County Carlow

St. Laserian's Cathedral

St. Laserian's Cathedral, Old Leighlin

"The Churchyard at St.Laserian's Cathedral"
Old Leighlin
Co Carlow

St. Laserian's Cathedral, Old Leighlin Vigors Family

Posted by Jean Rice

Surnames: Vigors, O'Brien, Nicholas, Bernard, Bredin, Wilson, Brandon, Stopford, St George, Frith, Fishbourne, Stubbs, Aylward, Raffles, Doyne, Rocomb, Donatus

The beautiful Cathedral of Saint Laserian lies in the small village of Old Leighlin, Co. Carlow, Ireland. The village, now peaceful and tranquil, was plundered repeatedly and later totally destroyed by fire in 1060. Each time a benefactor came forward to aid in rebuilding and redevelopment. In 1399, when Richard Rocomb was Bishop, there were 86 burgesses or city councillors in the town.

The present Cathedral in Old Leighlin was begun by Bishop Donatus of Leighlin and completed by the end of the 13th century. One of the oldest items in the Cathedral is an 11th century font. A grand wind organ was installed under the tower in 1800 and moved to its present location in an alcove. A fine timber ceiling in the Chancel was installed in 1890.

"The 11th Century Font"
Old Leighlin
Co Carlow

The elegant entrance gateway to the Cathedral of St. Laserian was built in the early 18th century. One of the lights in the east window by Catherine O'Brien is of St. Laserian and dedicated to the memory of one of the Vigors family whose history is interwoven with the cathedral. The east window behind the altar features panels of Irish saints and there is a wonderful feeling of warmth with the honey-coloured oak pews and the wooden ceiling of 1899.
"Inside St. Laserian's Cathedral"
Old Leighlin
Co Carlow

Plaques and memorials include:

Under lies the body of Mrs. Christian Nicolas, late wife
To yet Honourable Colonel James Nicholas who departed this life ye 2nd day of Feb. anno dom 1706/7 in the 31 year of her age.
The date may have been written in that manner because of the year in which Pope Gregory XIII decreed that January 1st and not March 25th was New Year's Day, although it remains a matter for speculation.

Another reads (by my interpretation):

This Cathedral was repaired and beautified, A.D. 1843,
Honb. R. B. Bernard, Dean, Rev. James Bredin, A. M. Precentor, Rev. James Wilson, D.D. Chancellor, Rev. Wm. Brandon, A. B. Treasurer, Hon. H. S. Stopford, Archdeacon.

Rev. Arthur St. George, Rev. John Frith, Rev. Rob. Fishbourne, Rev. J. M. Stubbs, Prebendaries.

Rev. James Bredin, Economist

The Vigors family of Burgess in Leighlinbridge is identified strongly with this church with 32 memorials including a floor monument dated 1718 to Urban Vigors, High Sheriff, Co. Carlow. Succeeding generations lived on the large family estate nearby and a number held high offices of state, church or pursued military careers.

Nicholas Aylward Vigors who died in 1840 had a lifelong interest in science. With Sir Stamford Raffles he founded the Zoological Society of London. Colonel Philip Doyne Vigors, JP, served in the 11th Devonshire and 19th Princess of Wales Regiments, was VP of the Royal Historical & Archaeological Association, IR, and established the "Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead in Ireland" to record many faded tombstones in cemeteries; subsequent published Annual Reports today are sought after by family researchers.

A timber lectern in the Cathedral in the form of a eagle was presented in memory of Thomas Vigors (1800-1881) and wife Sophie (d. age 38, Nov. 5, 1865) by sons Charles, Thomas, Urban and Cliffe. Charles served in the Ceylon Civil Service, Cliffe was awarded an OBE for service in the Royal Irish Regiment, Urban was Advocate Gen. of W. Australia. Thomas succeeded his father as rector of Powerstown Parish in Kilkenny.

Did you know that at one time there was a Window Tax based upon the number of windows in a building; this did not apply to churches.

Beautiful photos of the interior of the Cathedral and much more information on the history behind the Cathedral can be found in "Ireland of the Welcomes," a fine periodical found where international magazines are sold, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Mar-April 2000), or requested via the Dublin-published magazine.

" The Tomb of O'Brien"
Old Leighlin
Co Carlow



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