The foundation stone of St.Patrick’s Church was laid on 14th October 1857, by Mervyn Wingfield, 7th Viscount Powerscourt, on the day he came of age (his 21st birthday), the grandfather of the late Brigadier Anthony Wingfield, WFS, and great great grandfather of WFS honorary member, “Fergie”, the Duchess of York.
The church was a parting gift to Mervyn (who had inherited in 1844 – when his father, the 6th Viscount, died aged but 29), being a gift from his stepmother, the Marchioness of Londonderry. It replaced the church built in the 1600s, the ruins of which can still be seen in the old churchyard just to the north of Powerscourt House.
That in turn had replaced a medieval church, the ruins of which can be seen at a place now known as Churchtown (on the hill above the drive from Powerscourt House to Powerscourt Fall (the waterfall on the Dargle – the highest in the British Isles), but which had in medieval times been called Stagonil.
The new St Patrick’s was consecrated in 1863. Powerscourt Church has always been a prebendal church of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, and from 1303 to 1874 one of the canons of the cathedral was always Rector of the parish. There are several Powerscourt-Wingfield memorials in the church.