Historical church archives to be opened to public in St. Peter's College

By amy lewis

Published 15/09/2015 | 00:00

THE Diocese of Ferns History and Archives Commission will soon open up its historical archives, giving members of the public a glimpse into Wexford Church history like they have never had before.

Minister Brendan Howlin will officiate the opening today (September 15) at a special launch in St. Peter's College. It is the first time that researchers, historians and individuals will have access to the unique archive, which brings together thousands of records relating to County Wexford.

Speaking prior to the launch, Fr. Aidan Jones, Chairman of the History and Archives Commission said that the collection was 'invaluable'.

'It contains the whole history of the Diocese going back to the beginning. It is made up of two parts, the library and the archives. The library is a collection of books and manuscripts, with the earliest going back to 1535,' he said. 'The archives include Bulls of Appointment, papers related to Bishops, and other volumes, letters and documents.'

There will also be many collections of interest. For the first time, members of the public will have access to documents such as The Hore Manuscripts. These manuscripts, which have never been on public display, contain records of County Wexford which were extracted from the original records in the Public Record Office between 1835 and 1900. Comprising thousands of leather-bound volumes, these manuscripts are unique to Wexford due to the loss of the original records in the Four Courts during the Civil War.

The collection also includes various photographs, vestments, bibles and assorted books, all of which will be greatly informative to those interested in local Church history. A chalice, which was found in a bog in the 1600s, will also become available to view.

'It is an extraordinary pewter chalice,' said Fr. Jones.

As the collections are fragile, viewing must be carried out during supervised visits, which can be arranged be appointment.

The Diocese of Ferns History and Archives Commission is located at St. Peter's College, comprising of the newly created central Diocesan Library at St. Peter's College, Wexford and the archives.

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