Wingfield Memorial Fountain

The inscription reads: "In Memory of the Honourable and Reverend William Wingfield, Vicar of Abbeyleix 1836-1880." Not only did the Reverend Wingfield serve for a remarkable 44 years as a Vicar of Abbeyleix, but he also saw immense changes in his own Parish Church building. This is the Vicar who was appointed shortly after the completion of the Semple Church and oversaw the reconstruction of the church under Sir Thomas Wyatt in the 1860s.

His time also spans the development of Abbeyleix under the De Vescis to the rise of Irish Nationalism in the latter part of the 19th century. Little was uncovered about the history of this fountain. We do know that it was used to supply water to the households on the Mountrath Road; also it provided a drinking trough for the animals on market day. It was restored by Tidy Towns in 2001 and is kept in pristine condition. The fountain was not operational for a number of years because the old lead pipe system had corroded and seized up.

Originally the fountains were fed by gravity. This system has been replaced by circulating pumps. Each fountain has a common feature; the water that comes through the centre is fed through the mouth of a Gargoyle. It is possible that much of the limestone was sourced locally because the De Vesci family had their own quarry. The decorative urns at the front of Abbeyleix House were designed by local craftsmen from the adjoining quarry.

For further information read the Fountains Booklet

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