The church of St. John the Evangelist at Monkstown was erected on land granted by two tenants of Lords Longford and De Vesci, Daniel and Gerard Callaghan of Cork. The design was by William Hill, a well-known architect who designed many of the public buildings in Cork, including the North Infirmary and Kilmaloda House in Timoleague.
Construction of St. John’s finished in 1832. The cburch is a cruciform shape, built of limestone in the early English style with a tower and spire, 70 feet high at the east end. It contains a fine organ in its gallery. Etched into the stained glass of the west window are the armorial bearings of those who helped to cover the £950 construction cost. The church bell is inscribed as follows:
“Monkstown Protestant church, erected by voluntary contributions, collected in Ireland and England by Gerard Callaghan, Esq., M.P. for Cork, and the Rev. A. G. H. Hollingsworth. The first Protestant church erected since the Reformation.Lord Longford and Lord De Vesci gave the endowment, Gerard Callaghan, Esq., of Monkstown gave the glebe in perpetuity; A. G. H. Hollingsworth, the first Protestant incumbent; William Hill of Cork, architect. The church completed March 1832. Robert Shaw and Wm. Andrews, churchwardens.”
Reverend Hollingsworth, the first Protestant rector to the parish, came to Monkstown from the United Parishes of Roscrea and Kyle in 1831. He was instituted Vicar on 13th August 1835. The glebe-house or vicarage with its three acres of land was formerly the resident of Michael Westropp and leased forever from Robert Bernard Shaw at £25 per annum. The income of the vicar at the time was £50 per annum, secured by Lords Longford and de Vesci. When his departure from Monkstown was announced in 1838, Rev. Hollingsworth was presented with a commemorative plate by his parishioners and, in an almost unprecedented gesture, the Catholic population presented him with a silver box.
Rev. Hollingsworth was succeeded by the Rev. A. Stuart, who became Archdeacon of Ross in 1842. He was present at the opening of the tomb of John Archdeacon in the 1860s. During Archdeacon Stuart’s time in Monkstown, parliament produced a report indicating the poor condition of the glebe house. However, both Archdeacon Stuart and his successor, Rev. T. Gibbings, continued to live in it for the next nine years. It was only under the incumbency of the Rev. G. Hazelwood, who came to Monkstown in 1851, that the glebe-house was abandoned. Rev. Hazelwood went to live in Glenbrook.
Rev. T. Fleury was appointed to St. John’s in 1876. After he was moved to Ballyvourney in 1881, the Rev. C.S. Bruce, later Dean of Cork, replaced him. When Dean Bruce left St. John’s, Canon Brougham took up the rectorate. Canon Brougham was a descendant of King Henry III and it was during his time in Monkstown that a new rectory was purchased.