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Any visitor to Ireland cannot help but notice just how many abandoned and derelict churches there are and here I am not speaking about Monasteries I am referring to ordinary, small village churches. I have spent an age trying to pin-down exactly why there are so many.

The one pictured here was vacated in 1818 before the great potato famine of 1846 but I have been unable to find out why. The first record of a church on this site was in 1302 and this now derelict church was built in 1721. The only possible solution I have come up with is that in 1818, the Board of the First Fruits granted a loan of 600 pounds and a new church was built in Baltimore.

Interestingly, each abandoned church we explored was still in use as a cemetery and from we could see both Catholics and Protestants shared the hallowed ground.

This shot of Tullagh church was taken at the day’s end when the rain has stopped. Exploring the place earlier was a rather wet and slippery experience.

The Board of First Fruits was set up by the Church of Ireland (a branch of the Anglican Church) to enable a program of church building throughout the country so that everyone had a church within walking distance. There were four suggested church plans and it is possible to see examples of these in many different locations in Ireland.

The Board of First Fruits was established in 1711, when the revenue from annates was transferred from the Crown to the Established Church. Annates consisted of a proportion of the stipends of all clergy presented to a living during the first year of their holding the benefice. Until the Reformation they had been payable to the Pope. The Board of First Fruits was initially charged with using the income from annates to buy back impropriate tithes from lay owners, any surplus being devoted to the building and repair of churches and glebe houses. The latter function eventually became the primary one. From 1777 the fund was supplemented with a number of grants from the Irish parliament and from 1801, more substantially, from the Union government. In 1808 Parliament consolidated the Board's various sources of revenue into one account, doubled the size of its annual Government grant and gave it greater freedom of operation. The grant was further increased in 1810, and a system of interest-free loans from the Treasury established. These moneys supported a major programme of building, repairing and enlarging the churches and glebe houses of the Established Church throughout Ireland. With the passing of the Church Temporalities Act in 1833, the Board was dissolved (The Church of Ireland: Ecclesiastical Reform and Revolution, 1800-1885)

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This photograph is copyright of Rosemary Walden - © Rosemary Walden 2013. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of the image in any form is prohibited. You may not, except with my express written permission, copy, reproduce, download, distribute or exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system

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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2806 W: 84 N: 6959] (31631)
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