By Dan Walsh
It was confirmed at last Tuesday’s monthly meeting of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council that the ruins of St. Waleran’s House at Ballytegan, on the outskirts of Gorey, and the associated out-buildings have been demolished.
St. Waleran’s was destroyed in an outbreak of fire in June 2018 and the site of the ruins on 75 acres of zoned lands at Ballytegan was later acquired through NAMA by Wexford County Council.
Facing north, the architectural description of St. Waleran’s describes “A five-bay, two-storey, plus basement, plastered house, built 1868, with a hallow-pitched, shallow-eaved, hipped roof and four plain chimney stacks.”
HISTORY OF ST. WALERAN’S HOUSE
The original building situated in Ballytegan dates before 1824 when it was first occupied by Colonel Loftus Owen.
Renowned Dublin based architect John McGurdy redesigned and modernised the house for Isabella (née Newcombe) and Lieutenant General John Christopher Guise in 1868.
Isabella leased St Waleran’s and surrounding land to Patrick Walsh in 1901, after the death of her husband Major Guise in 1895, and then to Eliza Valentine in 1911. Other occupants included District Justice John Fahy, Patsy McCartan, Molloy’s and Gorey Educate Together.
St Waleran’s House was reconstructed for Lieutenant General John Christopher Guise by architect John McGurdy of Leinster Street, Dublin.
Major Guise was a British Army officer and English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Major Guise won a Victoria Cross saving a captain with the aid of a Sergeant Samuel Hill during the Indian Mutiny, specifically at Secundra Bagh Palace Lucknow, India.
He died in February 1895, aged 68, there is a memorial to his memory in Christ Church, Gorey, and he is interred in the adjoining graveyard.
After his death, his wife Isabella leased St Waleran’s House and surrounding lands to Patrick Walsh in 1901, followed by Eliza Valentine in 1911.
It was recorded in the early 1900s in the Census that there was a total of 27 windows in St Waleran’s. Many of the windows were sealed up with concrete by Isabella due to ‘window tax’.
In the 1940s, District Justice John Fahy and his wife moved into St Waleran’s. Mrs Fahy passed away in 1946.’
Afterwards Patsy McCartan moved into the house where he had a thriving timber business.
After McCartan’s time in St Waleran’s, the Molloy Printing Group moved into the premises. They had a contract with Calor Gas where they spray painted and designed majority of their gas products.
Molloy’s sold the premises for €5 million in 2006 to Damien Stapleton, who leased it to Gorey Educate Together.
The school vacated the premises in 2008 when they moved to Kilnahue Lane, off the Carnew Road.
St Waleran’s House was vacant when it was destroyed by an outbreak of fire in June 11th 2018, leaving nothing but a shell.