• A stone shelf at a medieval church at Ballyboher, Co. Wexford.

    And what is so special about a stone shelf? This stone shelf can be found in the chancel of the ruined medieval parish church of Ishartmon in the townland of Ballyboher near Tacumshin in south Wexford. There are plenty of medieval church ruins in this part of Wexford and at several of them you might evidence of a broken shelf. They are invariably found in the chancel - a little north of the east window. And almost always they are broken. Indeed, they are usually flush with the wall and you might not even notice it. These shelves were designed to support a medieval religious statue - probably wooden. Such statues are well known throughout many parts of Europe, but in Ireland relatively few survive today. Even rarer are the simple stone shelves that supported them in the churches where they once stood. After the Reformation of the 16th century many religious statues were destroyed - condemned as idols by the reformed church. And with the destruction of the statues, the stone shelves where they once stood in the chancel were also smashed. So you see, this unassuming stone projecting from the ruined chancel of a church in Wexford is actually a rare survival of what in medieval times was a common feature in churches throughout the country.



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