Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Walter le Breton of Gloucester and family

Walter le Breton of Gloucester and family

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

After the disappearance of Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan, in 1974 it was twenty-five years before his family were granted control of his estate and it was not until 2016 that the Earl was officially declared deceased. In late thirteenth century Gloucester a man disappeared without trace and it was only six years before his family were given control of his estate. This article endeavours to recount the story of that man, Walter le Breton and his family.

Walter le Breton

The early history of Walter le Breton is unknown and he first appears in the records in 1285 on the occasion of his disappearance. Sometime around 1285 Walter le Breton had three messuages in Gloucester according to the Close Rolls.[1] It is not known for certain where these messuages were located in the town and if they were adjoining each other or scattered. In about 1258 a certain Walter Bruton held land beside the former lands of the Jews of Gloucester which Maud, daughter of David Dunning of Gloucester held and which she granted to William de Watford and Alice his wife, Maud’s mother.[2] But it is not certain if this was the location.

The Close Rolls also do not give us any value for the three messuages. A messuage was a general term for a cottage and a garden but they varied in value as they did in size and location. One messuage in Campeden was worth 3d in 1274 while another messuage in the same place was worth 4d. In 1277 one messuage in Tewkesbury was worth 4s.[3] In 1302 Walter le Bret held one messuage and garden at Pychenecombe worth 12d. Elsewhere the abbot of St. Peter of Gloucester had one messuage at La Kingshame paying 6s on rent per year and another paying 8s per year. In 1338 one messuage in Gloucester paid 2s per year in rent while another only paid ½d per year.[4]

Walter le Breton disappears 

In 1285 Walter le Breton disappeared without notice or as the records say ‘he secretly left the parts of Gloucester’. It is not known what the circumstances of his disappearance were. Could have been financial, personal reasons or in trouble with his neighbours or the government. People said that Walter had drowned himself but there was no evidence of this. Yet still there was no sign of him alive or dead at Gloucester or elsewhere in England.

Queen Eleanor seizes Walter’s property

After Walter’s disappearance the bailiffs of Queen Eleanor of Provence (wife of King Henry III) seized the messuages and held them against the claims of Christiana le Breton, sister and heir of Walter. This was against the law and custom of the country as the property was not truly escheats to the crown.[5]

Queen Eleanor had a number of property rights in Gloucester. In January 1288 Queen Eleanor got the right to take timber and rods from the Forest of Dene for the repair to her weir by Gloucester.[6] In February 1289 she got the right to have five oak trees from the Forest of Dene for the repair of the bridge of Gloucester castle.[7]

Eleanor of Provence by Matthew Paris

Restoration to Christiana le Breton and John Sage

On 20th September 1291 an order was issued to Edmund, the King’s brother and co-executor to Queen Eleanor, to cause Christiana le Breton, sister and heir of Walter le Breton, to have seisin of Walter's messuages in Gloucester until Walter returns.[8] The nice thing about this restoration is that in the great scheme of history Walter le Breton may not have moved mountains or become famous beyond the walls of Gloucester. Yet in the time of King Edward, the hammer of Scotland, ordinary people could succeed against the great people of the land like Queen Eleanor. Queen Eleanor was not a popular person, especially in the London area where she was often attacked by the inhabitants.

But the restoration was not automatic and another order had to be issued. On 23rd October 1291 a further order was issued to Walter de Bello Campo, constable of Gloucester castle, to restore to Christiana le Breton and John Sage, nephew of Walter le Breton, the three messuages formerly held by Walter le Breton and illegally held by the constable on behalf of the executors of Queen Eleanor.[9] John Sage was not mentioned in the first order of September 1291 and this omission possible warranted the issuing of the October order.

John Sage

If Walter le Breton figures rarely in the surviving documents, John Sage features in many Gloucester documents over a number of decades. In about 1260 John Sage was a witness to the grant by the Leper’s House of St. Margaret near Gloucester to William of Worcester of all the land outside the north gate which the House had received from Henry the Locker.[10] In about 1262-3 John Sage was a witness to the grant by Richard the Blund to the Leper’s House of St. Margaret near Gloucester of three selions of land in the Hamme near Southbrock.[11] In about 1280 John Sage was a witness to the grant by Adam of Northwich of land in the suburb of Gloucester called Newland to the prior of St. Bartholomew’s.[12]

John Sage, otherwise known as John the Wise

John Sage also went by the name of John the Wise. In about 1270 John the Wise (le Sage) was a witness to a grant by Robert the Mercer of property in Gloucester to Adam of Ardene.[13] In about 1284 John the Wise (le Sage) was a witness to the lease by the prior of St. Bartholomew’s, Gloucester to Nicholas Bagod of a tenement in Great Smith’s Street.[14]

John Sage the cordwainer and business success

John Sage was employed as a cordwainer otherwise known as a corvesor or a person who works with leather. In later times the term cordwainer was dropped in favour of shoemaker.[15] The medieval shoemaker was often an independent artisan retailer who catered for a local market using local supplies of skins and hides. After 1350 the economic and social status of the shoemaker increased but John Sage seems to have been ahead of his time in this respect.[16]

It would appear that John Sage was a successful businessman and had acquired a number of properties in and around Gloucester. In about 1285 John the Wise (le Sage), burgess of Gloucester, made a grant by John Florye and Celestria his wife of two shops between the two bridges of Gloucester. These shops were located between the land and messuage of Robert Florye.[17] Later, on 27th April 1301, John the Wise (le Sage), burgess of Gloucester, made a grant of two shops opposite the gates of St. Bartholomew’s to John Flory, butcher, and Celestria his wife.[18] These shops seem to be the same premises as in 1285.

Property at Brickhampton

In 1280 John Sage of Gloucester acquired a lease on one messuage, one ploughland and eight acres of meadow at Brickhampton and Norton from Hugh de Brickhampton. For this John had to pay Hugh 40 marks plus a rose a year along with two marks per year, 5 quarters of wheat, 2½ quarters of barley, 2½ quarters of beans and 10 quarters of oats.[19]

Property in Grase Lane

In about 1274 prior of St. Bartholomew, Gloucester, made a grant of land near Grase Lane to Henry of Penedok. This land was situated between the land of John Sage and Walter Haym.[20] Elsewhere it is recorded that on the east side of Grase Lane in the time of King Edward II John Sage held a tenement which was previously held by Henry Silvester (temp. Henry III) and by R. Scott (temp. Edward 1). One door further along the Lane John Sage had another tenement formerly held by Henry Silvester.[21] None of these two tenements appear to be associated with Walter le Breton. Elsewhere in Gloucester, between the north gates on the left side towards Dudstone, John Sage the cordwainer held another tenement in the time of King Edward 1 which was held by Henry Tyche in the time of Henry III.[22]

Property in Girdlery

In about 1275-6 Richard Fraunceis, burgess of Gloucester, made a grant of a shop in the Girdlery of Gloucester to Walter of Northampton, burgess. The shop was located between the shop of John Sage and the shop of William Sage. Later, in about 1280, Thomas of Hope and Mabel his wife, daughter of William Cleymund, made of grant of this shop beside that of John Sage, to the prior of St. Bartholomew’s.[23]

Property in Herlone Lane

At about the same time that John Sage became involved in the property of Walter le Breton, he also acquired property from his own family. On 21st September 1295 Walter the Wise (le Sage), son of William the Wise, late burgess of Gloucester, made a grant to his brother John the Wise of all his land in Herlone Lane with houses and bake-houses. This land was situated between the lands of Robert of Cornwall and Walter the Sergeant. On 24th June 1317 John Sage, cordwainer and burgess of Gloucester, made a grant of all this land in Herlone Lane with houses and bake-houses to Dom. Hugh of Neuton, chaplain. On 11th March 1317-8 Hugh of Neuton conveyed the property to John of Thormerton and sold to John of Thormerton all his movable and immovable goods.[24]

View over Gloucester

John Sage as town bailiff

The business success of John Sage not only increased his property portfolio but also increased his standing in the civil life of Gloucester. In about 1280 John Sage was one of the two bailiffs of Gloucester with Walter Seuare. As part of their office the two bailiffs were chief witnesses to a number of land deals in Gloucester in that year.[25]

John Sage in the time of Edward II

In 1311-12 John Sage was a witness to the grant by Adam of Tudenham of land at Leuydiecroft outside the north gate of Gloucester to Alexander the Soiurnaunt.[26] On 22nd April 1318 John Sage was a witness to a grant by Alexander the Soiurnaunt of a tenement in Newland without Gloucester to Robert son of John the White.[27]

John Sage in the time of Edward III

On 12th November 1336 John Sage, cordwainer and burgess of Gloucester, made a grant of a mark of annual rent on a tenement between the north gates of Gloucester to Audoen of Wyndesore, burgess. This tenement was located between the tenements of John of Northwich and William the Cutler.[28]
After 1336 John Sage disappears from the records. He was doubtless an old man by that time and had seen many changes in Gloucester and in his own life over the previous decades. It is not known if he left any family as his property portfolio seems to have passed to other people in later years. Yet as women change their surname on marriage it is possible that these people with other surnames were relatives of John Sage.

As for the three messuages of Walter le Breton their location and history is still difficult to tell. Maybe some future documents may tell some extra information to enlighten the story. The same could be said of the fate of Walter le Breton and his disappearance, although this is possibly more difficult. Yet something of his life before 1285 may come to light – something for another day.  

Bibliography

Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward 1

Elrington, C.R. (ed.), Abstracts of Feet of Fines relating to Gloucestershire 1199-1299 (Bristol and Gloucester Archaeological Society, Gloucestershire Record Series, no. 16, 2003)

Fry, E.A. (ed.), Abstracts of Inquisitions Post Mortem for Gloucestershire, part V, 30 Edward 1 to 32 Edward III, 1302-1358 (London, 1910)

Hollis, D. (ed.), Calendar of the Bristol Apprentice Book 1532-1565, Part 1, 1532-1542 (Bristol Record Society, vol. XIV, 1948)

Kowaleski, M., Local Markets and Regional Trade in Medieval Exeter (Cambridge, 1995)

Madge, S.J. (ed.), Abstracts of Inquisitions Post Mortem for Gloucestershire, part IV, 20 Henry III to 29 Edward 1, 1236-1300 (London, 1903)

Stevenson, W.H. (ed.), Rental of all the Houses in Gloucester A.D. 1455 compiled by Robert Cole (Gloucester, 1890)

Stevenson, W.H. (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester (Gloucester, 1893)

Wells-Furby, B. (ed.), A catalogue of the medieval muniments at Berkeley Castle (Bristol and Gloucester Archaeological Society, Gloucestershire Record Series, No. 17, 2004), vol. 1

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[1] Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward 1, vol. III, 1288-1296, p. 180
[2] Wells-Furby, B. (ed.), A catalogue of the medieval muniments at Berkeley Castle (Bristol and Gloucester Archaeological Society, Gloucestershire Record Series, No. 17, 2004), vol. 1, p. 466
[3] Madge, S.J. (ed.), Abstracts of Inquisitions Post Mortem for Gloucestershire, part IV, 20 Henry III to 29 Edward 1, 1236-1300 (London, 1903), pp. 82, 104
[4] Fry, E.A. (ed.), Abstracts of Inquisitions Post Mortem for Gloucestershire, part V, 30 Edward 1 to 32 Edward III, 1302-1358 (London, 1910), pp. 15, 21, 276
[5] Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward 1, vol. III, 1288-1296, p. 180
[6] Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward 1, vol. II, 1279-1288, p. 499
[7] Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward 1, vol. III, 1288-1296, p. 5
[8] Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward 1, vol. III, 1288-1296, p. 180
[9] Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward 1, vol. III, 1288-1296, p. 181
[10] Stevenson, W.H. (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester (Gloucester, 1893), no. 543
[11] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 578
[12] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 683
[13] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 606
[14] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 695
[15] Hollis, D. (ed.), Calendar of the Bristol Apprentice Book 1532-1565, Part 1, 1532-1542 (Bristol Record Society, vol. XIV, 1948), p. 203
[16] Kowaleski, M., Local Markets and Regional Trade in Medieval Exeter (Cambridge, 1995), p. 160
[17] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 704
[18] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 761
[19] Elrington, C.R. (ed.), Abstracts of Feet of Fines relating to Gloucestershire 1199-1299 (Bristol and Gloucester Archaeological Society, Gloucestershire Record Series, no. 16, 2003), no. 840
[20] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 638
[21] Stevenson, W.H. (ed.), Rental of all the Houses in Gloucester A.D. 1455 compiled by Robert Cole (Gloucester, 1890), p. 62
[22] Stevenson (ed.), Rental of all the Houses in Gloucester A.D. 1455 compiled by Robert Cole, p. 90
[23] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, nos. 648, 662
[24] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, nos. 735, 823, 826, 827, 828
[25] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, nos. 684, 685, 686
[26] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 797
[27] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 829
[28] Stevenson (ed.), Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, no. 882

Monday, June 5, 2017

Barnankile castle: a hall house in the Waterford landscape

Barnankile castle: a hall house in the Waterford landscape

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

The ruins of Barnankile castle is situated in the townland of that name in the civil parish of Kilrossanty in mid County Waterford. Barnankile means the ‘Gap of the Hazel Copse’. The building stands on an east facing slope with the Comeragh Mountains as a backdrop in the west. The castle is officially classified within the small seigniorial castles known as a hall house. These buildings are generally two-storey structures with a defended ground floor and a great hall on the first floor. The entrance is normally on the first floor by way of an outside timber or stone staircase. Most hall house types said to be thirteenth century with a few examples in the fourteenth century or later.[1]

Medieval Barnankile

Barnankile was in the thirteenth part of the large manor of Comeragh and owned by the Fitzgerald family of Shanid in County Limerick who were raised to the peerage as Earls of Desmond in 1329. In July 1298 an extent of the manor of Comeragh was made in Dungarvan following the death of Thomas Fitz Maurice. The manor was valued at £13 10s 10¼d (in 1300 revalued at £12 15s) and extended from Seskinan, on the Dungarvan to Clonmel road, to Kilrossanty and onto Stradbally by the sea. Apart from the mill at Stradbally no structure was mentioned.[2] It is therefore unclear if Barnankile castle was built by 1298 or was later in the fourteenth century. Elsewhere the escheator accounted for £6 15s 5¼d in income for Comeragh manor. This record also mentions Stradbally mill bot no mention of any castle.[3]

The extent of the manor of Dungarvan mentions a good number of places in 1298 but none that can be identified as Barnankile. This is not surprising as later records associate Barnankile with Comeragh manor.[4] 

Arrival of the first O’Briens

In the late fourteenth century Barnankile became associated with the O’Brien family. There were two migrations of O’Briens from their native County Clare to County Waterford in medieval times. In the late eleventh century, Murtagh Mór O’Brien, King of Thomond and Munster, settled some members of his extended family in County Waterford, then known as the Kingdom of the Deisi. This was to strengthen his control over the Deisi and keep an eye on the Vikings of Waterford city. The McGrath clan also came from County Clare to Waterford at the same time and for the same reason.[5]

At first the O’Brien clan were settled along the Blackwater and Suir rivers but following the Norman invasion of 1169 they were pushed into the higher ground around the Comeragh Mountains.[6]

Arrival of the second O’Briens

After the death in 1367 of Mahon O’Brien, King of Thomond, his brother, Tirlagh Maol became king but shortly after he was displaced by Brian Sreamhach O’Brien. The Earl of Desmond came to the assistance of Tirlagh Maol at the battle of Monasternenagh but both lost. As compensation, in 1370, the Earl of Desmond settled Tirlagh Maol O’Brien in the manor of Comeragh in County Waterford. Thus Tirlagh Maol O’Brien came to live at Barnankile castle and died there in 1398.[7]

Building of Barnankile castle

When Tirlagh Maol O’Brien came to Barnankile in 1370 it would appear that the castle was built by that time. The historical records are not extensive enough to say when the castle was built and no archaeological excavation has been carried out on the site to locate any dateable evidence. It is not mention in 1298 but as Professor Mike Aston used to say ‘The absence of evidence [is not the] evidence of absence’.[8] The window surrounds could have provided some dating evidence but they were removed long before 1901 by people seeking as easy quarry for stone.[9]

Barnankile castle c.1901 - Waterford County Museum photo

Grant of Barnankile in 1413

In 1413 James, 7th Earl of Desmond, granted Tirlagh mac Tadhg O’Brien the manor of Comeragh subject to the payment of an annual chief rent. The manor cover eight plowlands and included the townlands of Comeragh, Briska, Knockancullin, Crough, Gortnalaght, Furraleigh, Kilcomeragh, Graiguerush, Cutteen, Ballykilmurry, Curraun, Barnakile, Boulattin, Curraheen, Knockyelan, Bellaheen, Leamybrien, Kilgobnet, Ballyknock, Inchindrisla, Killadangan, Ballyconnery, Currabehy, Kilbrien, Ballynakill, Kilfarrel, Coolnasmear, Scartnadriny, Bohadoon and Barracree.[10]

O’Briens of Barnankile

After 1421 when much of the Fitzgerald estate in County Waterford was entrusted to the Fitzgerald family of Dromana, the O’Brien family of Barnankile paid the chief rent to Dromana and no longer to the Earl of Desmond.[11]

The O’Briens of Barnankile became noted horsemen with smart harness for their horses and flamboyant dress code, particularly in ceremonial occasions.[12] They were known as the O’Briens of the Silken Bridles.[13]

In the wars between the Earl of Desmond and the le de Poer family of County Waterford in the sixteenth century, the O’Briens of Barnankile sided with the de la Poers. At the battle of Curraghbaha East (also known as the battle of Boreen-na-Gurp) both families were heavily defeated.[14] In the early seventeenth century both families fell out of friendship and in June 1639 Thomas Power of Carrickanure challenged Derby O’Brien of Kilcomeragh for the ownership of Comeragh manor. The deed of 1413 was produced in court and the O’Briens continued to hold Barnankile and the Comeraghs.[15]

Among the chiefs of the O’Brien family to live at Barnankile included Tirlagh O’Brien (alive 1421), Tirlagh O’Brien (grandson of the latter), Donagh O’Brien, Tirely O’Brien (pardoned 1567), and Donagh O’Brien (pardoned 1620).[16] Although Barnankile castle was the grandest of all the O’Brien castles the chief of the family in the seventeenth century, Derby O’Brien, preferred to live at Kilcomeragh.

In the famous battle of Affane in 1465 the O’Briens of Barnankile supported the Earl of Ormond and their immediate chief, Sir Maurice Fitzgerald of Dromana against the Earl of Desmond. Yet within twenty years many O’Briens went out in rebellion and supported the Earl of Desmond. These were pardoned and for a time kept their lands.[17]

But having survived the reign of Queen Elizabeth the O’Briens were under pressure in the reign of James the First. Early in the reign King James granted the eight ploughlands held by the family since 1413 to Richard Nugent, Lord Delvin in Westmeath. This grant was forever subject to a chief rent of £5 per year to Dromana. By 1618 Derby O’Brien of Kilcomeragh had come to an understanding with Richard Nugent of Cloncoskeran and they both became trustees of the McGrath estate of Mountain Castle.[18] In 1639 Derby O’Brien was a witness to the lease of Mountain Castle by Philip McGrath to his son, John McGrath and Edmund Butler (brother-in-law of John).[19]

Barnankile in 1640

In 1640 Derby O’Brien of Kilcomeragh held the one and a half ploughlands of Barnankile and Curriheenedoty. There a chief rent of £3 per annum payable to the Fitzgerald family of Dromana from the property. Barnankile castle was described as a mansion house with a considerable slate roof encircled by a large bawn.[20] The considerable slate roof was remembered in local folklore up until 1938 when Shelia Flynn recorded this feature in the Folklore Commission Schools Collection.

Around the house were outbuildings and a good orchard and quickset hedges which implies a well layout landscape. Nearby was a mill worth £4. The land had 150 maturing trees with 150 acres of meadow, 94 acres of pasture and 4 acres of meadow and this land was worth about £16.5 per acre.[21]

Confederate War 1641-53

In October 1641 rebellion broke out in Ireland to follow the war in Scotland and the forthcoming civil war in England. Tirlagh and Donagh O’Brien of Barnankile joined their neighbours in rebel. In January 1642 Tirlagh O’Brien defeated Lord Broghill’s army at Affane and advanced across the River Blackwater into the English area of control.[22]

With this advance of the Irish forces many English settlers came to have suffered physical harm and to be robbed of their possessions. Charles Hart of Kilgobinet claimed that Tirlagh O’Brien robbed him of £9. Katherine Croker of Ballyanchor claimed that she was striped and robbed of £42 by various people including Tirlagh O’Brien.[23]

By July 1642 the English forces had recovered from their initial setbacks and went on the advance. Lord Broghill retook Cappoquin and relieved Knockmoan castle on the road to Dungarvan.[24]
At the start of 1643 Sir Charles Vavasour took charge of the English army in County Waterford and advance on Dungarvan. After a hard fight he took the town and castle. Vavasour then moved eastwards to Barnankile castle.[25] A fierce battle was fought at Barnankile castle in 1642 [1643?] as the O’Brien were entrenched behind the barricades. It was said that about eight hundred people were killed.[26] But the battle was a draw rather than a victory for either side. The strong medieval walls of the hall house were just too much. Instead Vavasour moved on to take Kilcomeragh castle without a fight and went on to take Kilmacthomas and Stradbally.[27]

Local folklore says that after the O’Brien family left Barnankile the O’Whelan family had the castle in the late 1640s. In 1649 the castle was attacked by Oliver Cromwell’s forces while O’Whelan was in occupation. The castle was bombarded from the top of Grawn Hill.[28]

This story is in conflict with other accounts. On 2nd December 1649 Oliver Cromwell lifted the siege on Waterford and moved onto Kilmacthomas. On the following day he crossed the Mahon River and advanced on Barnankile and Kilcomeragh castle. On this day the O’Briens were still in residence and were actually surprised by Cromwell’s advance. It seems the family offered some resistance and four sons of Derby O’Brien were said to be hanged for this.[29]

Barnankile after 1653

Although Derby O’Brien appears not to have gone out personally to fight in the Confederate War he suffered blamed like many others. The Parliament government had promised their soldiers land in Ireland in lieu of their long overdue wages and so Barnankile was in the line of fire for confiscation. In 1653 Derby O’Brien, his wife Mary and their family were transplanted to Connacht.[30]

In about 1660 there were 34 tax payers in Barnankile townland, the second highest population figure in Kilrossanty parish – Ballykerogemore had more people (38 tax payers).[31] In 1662 James Fitzgerald, Daniel oge McGrath, John Grant, Nicholas Power, Edmund O Mychan, Morish Forehane, Frances Hally and Teige O Mulcahy were all residents at Barnankile and were all husbandmen.[32]
The restoration of King Charles II held out the promise of restoration of the confiscated Irish lands but the king found this politically impossible to do even if he wished to do so. Instead further people were named as former rebels. In the 1660s Terence O’Brien of Kilcomeragh was indicted as a rebel during the Confederate War (1641-1653).[33]

But of course not all the confiscated land was acquired by retired English soldiers. Much of the O’Brien estate in Kilrossanty parish was taken over by Katherine Fitzgerald, daughter of Gerald Fitzgerald of Dromana. The house of Dromana was the previous head landlord of these lands and so had a good claim to have the property.[34] By 1850 Barnankile had passed to the Kennedy family with Sir Charles Edward Kennedy, baronet, as immediate landlord.[35]

Barnankile c.1940 showing south wall and outer west wall

Later accounts

Local folklore recounts the story that there was gold hidden in the castle. Yet although the castle has only possessed two outer walls for many decades, possibly centuries, few people have ventured in the find the gold or they would be chased by two black bulls.[36] It is not known when this story first became popular.

In 1746 Charles Smith mentioned the ancient castle at Barnankile but gave no description of it save to say that it was surrounded by a large tract of wood.[37]

In about 1840 John O’Donovan described Barnankile as a two storey structure with large window embrasures in the first floor.[38] A photo of Barnankile castle, taken about 1901, shows the outer west wall and a portion of the south gable wall.[39] This was the same description given by Shelia Flynn in the 1938 Schools Folklore collection. Shelia Flynn gave the castle dimensions as sixty feet long by twenty-five feet wide by thirty feet tall with the recollection of it once having a flagged roof.[40]

The Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, published in 1999, described Barnankile as a strong-house of internal dimensions of 19.65meters N-S and about 6.85meters E-W. By 1989 only three double-splay loops in lintelled embrasures could be seen in the west wall. That same wall had fallen considerably since 1938 as it was only about 3meters high or about 10feet.[41]

It is not known for how long more the seven hundred year old Barnankile castle will survive. Even to find it on the ground can be a challenge as it is sited at different locations in different maps. Yet it is an important castle to preserve as a hall house type of castle are not that common in County Waterford and they bridge the gap between the great Anglo-Norman castles of the thirteenth century and the more numerous tower houses of the fifteenth and sixteenth century.

Bibliography

Ainsworth, J., ‘Survey of Documents in Private Keeping’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 25, 1967

Ainsworth, J. & MacLysaght, E., ‘Survey of Documents in Private Keeping’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 20, 1958

Aston, M. and Gerrard, C., Interpreting the English Village: Landscape and Community at Shapwick, Somerset (Oxford, 2013)

Moore, M. (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford (Dublin, 1999)

O’Brien, F., The O’Briens of Deise (author, 2001)

Pender, S. (ed.), A census of Ireland circa 1659 with essential materials from the Poll Money Ordinances 1660-1661 (Dublin, 2002)

Simington, R. (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI with appendices (Dublin, 1942)

Smith, C., The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Waterford, edited by Donal Brady (Dungarvan, 2008)

Sweetman, D., ‘The origin and development of the tower-house in Ireland’, in Ludlow, J. & Jameson, N. (eds.), Medieval Ireland: The Barryscourt Lectures I-X (Cork, 2004), pp. 261-287

Sweetman, H.S. (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland (5 vols. Liechtenstein, 1974), vol. 4, 1293-1301

Tallon, G. (ed.), Court of Claims: Submissions and Evidence 1663 (Dublin, 2006)

Walton, J., ‘The subsidy roll of County Waterford, 1662’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 30, 1982, pp. 49-96

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[1] Sweetman, D., ‘The origin and development of the tower-house in Ireland’, in Ludlow, J. & Jameson, N. (eds.), Medieval Ireland: The Barryscourt Lectures I-X (Cork, 2004), pp. 261-287, at p. 264
[2] Sweetman, H.S. (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland (5 vols. Liechtenstein, 1974), vol. 4, 1293-1301, pp. 259, 260, 340
[3] Thirty-Eighth report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland (Dublin, 1906), p. 41
[4] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 4, 1293-1301, no. 551
[5] O’Brien, F., The O’Briens of Deise (author, 2001), pp. 30, 32
[6] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, p. 34
[7] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, pp. 38, 39
[8] Aston, M. and Gerrard, C., Interpreting the English Village: Landscape and Community at Shapwick, Somerset (Oxford, 2013), p. 132; Mick Aston Interviewed by Oxbow Books & The David Brown Book Company https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RR7-A3ghAQ accessed on 2nd June 2017
[10] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, pp. 38, 39
[11] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, p. 40
[12] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, p. 40
[13] Dúchas, Shelia Flynn story for the Schools Folklore Collection = http://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/5286167/5285600 accessed on 1st June 2017
[14] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, p. 42
[15] Ainsworth, J., ‘Survey of Documents in Private Keeping’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 25, 1967, p. 61
[16] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, pp. 45, 46, 47
[17] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, pp. 61, 67
[18] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, pp. 71, 72, 92; Ainsworth, J. & MacLysaght, E., ‘Survey of Documents in Private Keeping’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 20, 1958, p. 93
[19] Ainsworth & MacLysaght, ‘Documents in Private Keeping’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 20, 1958, p. 95
[20] Simington, R. (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI with appendices (Dublin, 1942), p. 78
[21] Simington (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI, p. 78
[22] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, p. 101
[23] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, pp. 102, 103
[24] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, p. 105
[25] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, p. 107
[26] Dúchas, Margaret Kiely story for the Schools Folklore Collection = http://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/4428144/4381560 accessed on 1st June 2017. Thank you to Aisling Corcoran for locating this source.
[27] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, p. 107
[28] Dúchas, Shelia Flynn story for the Schools Folklore Collection = http://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/5286167/5285600 accessed on 1st June 2017
[29] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, pp. 110, 126
[30] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, p. 51
[31] Pender, S. (ed.), A census of Ireland circa 1659 with essential materials from the Poll Money Ordinances 1660-1661 (Dublin, 2002), p. 337
[32] Walton, J., ‘The subsidy roll of County Waterford, 1662’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 30, 1982, pp. 49-96, at p. 78
[33] Tallon, G. (ed.), Court of Claims: Submissions and Evidence 1663 (Dublin, 2006), no. 889
[34] O’Brien, The O’Briens of Deise, p. 131
[35] Griffith’s Valuation, Barnankile, Kilrossanty parish, Decies without Drum barony, County Waterford
[36] Dúchas, Margaret Kiely story for the Schools Folklore Collection = http://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/4428144/4381559 accessed on 1st June 2017
[37] Smith, C., The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Waterford, edited by Donal Brady (Dungarvan, 2008), p. 61
[38] Moore, M. (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford (Dublin, 1999), no. 1624
[40] Dúchas, Shelia Flynn story for the Schools Folklore Collection = http://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/5286167/5285600 accessed on 1st June 2017
[41] Moore, Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, no. 1624