Friday, July 1, 2022

Millstones at the port of Exeter, 1266-1321

 

Millstones at the port of Exeter, 1266-1321

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

 

Mills played an important part in the medieval life as they helped prepare wheat, oats and barley for use in food and drink production.[1] Many medieval tenants were obliged to grind their corn at the manorial mill that they lived in. A charge of 13th part of the corn delivered was usually retained for the miller. Many people had their own hand mills at home to grind their own corn but even with the cost, people preferred to go to the manorial mill because the mill used high quality mill stones and gave better results. 

Millstones usually need replacing every one to three years depending on how much business the mill was active. The three main sources of millstones for south-west England were from near Penselwood in Somerset, Welsh stones and stones from France. The millstones from France usually came into the ports of Southampton, Weymouth, Wareham and Topsham (on east side of the Exe River below Exeter). The cost of buying a millstone with the transport cost to bring it to the mill could be expensive and very variable depending on where the stone was brought and if it came from France, via what port it came into England. In 1257-8 the mills on Taunton manor purchased two French stones which cost £5 2s (five pounds and two shillings) including carriage. One stone that came through Wareham cost £2 11s 1d with transport to Taunton of 10s. Three Welsh stones with transport only cost £1 1s 6d but the French stones were of better quality.  Millstones from Somerset cost 19s 1d with 8s for transport. Towards the end of the thirteenth century the carriage of French stones through Southampton cost 15s by water and land.[2]

Southampton was one of the main ports on the English Channel at that time. Shippers liked to come into Southampton and tranship smaller cargos from there along the coast to the smaller ports like Exeter.[3] Southampton’s status made it very competitive compared to other ports. Two French millstones that came through Weymouth cost £1 11s 3d to transport to Taunton in Somerset. At Topsham a millstone purchased for Taunton cost £1 18s 4d including transport.[4] The Earl of Devon was lord of the port of Topsham and provided good storage facilities at the port along with an efficient land transport system beyond its bounds.[5] In 1263-4 the Exeter city council successfully won their legal case to collect two thirds of the custom at Topsham along with continuing to collect custom at their own port of Exmouth.[6]



French mill stone - photographer unknown


The landlord of the mill paid for the major capital expenses of construction and maintenance while the miller or the leasee paid for the day to day running costs and small essential expenses. But some landlords were able to reduce their contribution by getting their tenants to do the transport costs of carrying millstones from the quarries or the ports to the mill as at Calstock manor in Cornwall.[7]

The competitiveness of other ports meant that Exeter didn’t have a large trade in millstones. Between 1302 and 1320 five shipments of millstones were imported through Exeter but by the end of the century even this small trade had declined. In the ten years from 1381 to 1391 only two shipments of millstones came into Exeter.[8]

On 4th September 1303 Walter le Fraunceys imported two pairs of millstones along with two bales of alum and 1½ dozen of cordwains. The cargo came in on board the La Wynnegod of Teignmouth with John Grigge as master. The vessel carried a varied cargo of woad, potash, canvas, cloth and alum for ten different merchants beside Walter le Fraunceys.[9] Alum was a whitish transparent mineral salt used in the dying of cloth.[10] The said Walter le Fraunceys was a resident of Exeter and at other times imported 18 tuns of wine (1298), I tun of wine (1299) and 2 tuns of wine (1302).[11] The shipment of the millstones was outside his usual trade and so he may well have had a customer at hand to sell on the goods.

In 1310-11 Pagan le Bruere (Brewer) imported two small millstones into Exeter on board the La Holoc de St Louis under Captain John Rydel. These two millstones were Pagan’s own trade on the vessel. Also on the vessel Pagan carried 80 stone welds, 4 bales of alum, 36 hats, 15 lanterns and 100 knives with Stephen le Ellecombe. The third merchant on the vessel, Walter de Mochard carried 2 bales of alum, 50 knives and 12 hats.[12] Pagan le Brewer was a resident of Exeter acquiring freedom of the borough in March 1299.[13] In 1302-3 he rented a shop from Exeter city council for 12d (twelve pence).[14] Pagan le Brewer imported a number of shipments over the years. These included woad, potash, stone weld, and cloth in 1305; 2 tuns of wine in 1305; another 1 tun of wine in 1305; 7 tuns of wine in 1318 and brass pans, mortars, iron, potash and onions among other items in 1317.[15] The two millstones may have being imported for a ready customer but considering the other goods imported by Pagan le Brewer over the years he may have purchased the stones to sell onwards at some future date.

In 1311 Richard Osanne, merchant and ship master, imported 1 millstone with a cargo of 30 quarters of wheat, 20 quarters of barley and 12 hundred weight of mackerel on his own ship called the La Osanne of Cabourg on the coast of Normandy.[16] Richard Osanne likely came direct from France to Exeter with his cargo to sell to anybody and everyone willing to buy it.

On 13th August 1313 the last recorded shipment of millstones arrived in Exeter. These were 3 millstones and 20 tuns of woad imported by John le Someter on board the La Wake of Hook (near Warsash in Hampshire) under Captain Roger Walkelyn. On 23rd August Robert de Doune paid 20s in custom charges for the cargo.[17] The cargo possibly arrived in Southampton on a larger vessel and was transhipped to Exeter on the La Wake. Robert de Doune was a resident of Exeter and imported a number of shipments over the years. These included 2 tuns of wine (1299), 2 tuns of wine (1301), 2 tuns of wine (1302), 1 tun of wine (1305) and 10 tuns of woad in 1316.[18] Woad was a yellow flowered plant from southern France that was used to made blue dye.[19] The later shipments suggest that Robert de Doune was moving away from being a small time wine importer to trading in woad and millstones from France.

The fifth shipment of millstones into Exeter occurred sometime between 1313 and 1321 but it was not recorded in the local custom accounts for Exeter. The low number of millstones coming into Exeter and the speculative nature of some of the recorded imports suggests that millers in the south-west of England acquired their prized French millstones via some other port.

 

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[1] Hunt, T.J. (ed.), The manors of Taunton and Bradford on Tone (Somerset Record Society, Vol. LXVI, 1962), p. xlv

[2] Hunt (ed.), The manors of Taunton and Bradford on Tone, p. xlix

[3] Kowaleski, M. (ed.), Local customs accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1321 (Devon & Cornwall Record Society, New Series, Vol. 36, 1993), p. 16

[4] Hunt (ed.), The manors of Taunton and Bradford on Tone, p. xlix

[5] Kowaleski (ed.), Local customs accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1321, pp. 3, 6

[6] Kowaleski (ed.), Local customs accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1321, p. 16

[7] Hull, P.L. (ed.), The caption of seisin of the Duchy of Cornwall (Devon & Cornwall Record Society, New Series, Vol. 17, 1971), p. 104

[8] Kowaleski, M., Local Markets and Regional Trade in Medieval Exeter (Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 230

[9] Kowaleski (ed.), Local customs accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1321, p. 79

[10] Flavin, S., & Jones, E.T. (eds.), Bristol’s trade with Ireland and the Continent 1503-1601: The evidence of the exchequer customs accounts (Bristol Record Society, Vol. 61, 2009), p. 943

[11] Kowaleski (ed.), Local customs accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1321, pp. 53, 60, 73

[12] Kowaleski (ed.), Local customs accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1321, p. 120

[13] Hoskins, W.G. (ed.), Exeter Freemen, 1266-1967 (Devon & Cornwall Record Society, Extra Series, Vol. 1, 1973), p. 6

[14] Rowe, M.M., & Draisey, J.M. (eds.), The receiver’s accounts of the City of Exeter, 1304-1353 (Devon & Cornwall Record Society, New Series, Vol. 32, 1989), p. 92

[15] Kowaleski (ed.), Local customs accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1321, pp. 97, 101, 104, 157, 158

[16] Kowaleski (ed.), Local customs accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1321, p. 121

[17] Kowaleski (ed.), Local customs accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1321, p. 130

[18] Kowaleski (ed.), Local customs accounts of the Port of Exeter, 1266-1321, pp. 60, 66, 72, 89, 139, 226

[19] Flavin & Jones (eds.), Bristol’s trade with Ireland and the Continent 1503-1601, p. 963

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Mullinahone hall house castle

 

Mullinahone hall house castle

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

 

On the east side of Carrick Street in the village of Mullinahone (Slievardagh barony) in the south-east of County Tipperary stands the ruins of a hall house castle on a limestone rock outcrop some one meter above the surrounding ground level. The castle is also described as a two-storeyed chamber-donjon.[1] In 2011 the hall house castle stood at the rear of the public house premises of Michael Cahill. The present two storey structure has external measures of 17.30meters East-West and 13.50meters North-South (internal measures of 12.20meters E-W and 8.85meters N-S). The walls of the North, East and South sides extended to the full two storey height but the West wall only extended to the first floor. The castle was surrounded at its base by a substantial base-batter but much of this has been removed. The ground floor was lit by rectangular loops on the North and South walls. Much of the ground floor masonry and features are obscured by rubble and foliage. There is a small stair turret in the SW corner obscured by thick ivy.

The hall house was entered via a round-headed doorway in the east wall at first floor level. The first floor rested on a timber and had large round-headed windows. The upper reaches of the East wall has a line of corbels with a number of beam holes above these which possibly supported the roof.[2]


The castle from Carrick Street


Historical documents

Tradition ascribed ownership of Mullinahone hall house to the Knights Templar.[3] This tradition influenced the Ordnance Survey to mark the castle as the monastery of St. John with the ruined chapel of St. John nearby. Most of the property belonging to the Knights Templar at the time of their suppression in 1307 was later given to the Knights Hospitallers and the property registers of the latter show no evidence that they owned property in or around Mullinahone.[4] The description of the castle as a monastery is likely to be misplaced and the structure has a secular history. Historical documents placed Kells priory and the Sancto Albino (Tobin) family as owners of the Mullinahone area. The parish of Kilvemnon (sometimes spelt as Kilmenmon), in which Mullinahone is situated, was part of the Comsy district in medieval times.[5] In about 1200 Baldwin de Hamtenesford was lord of Comsy when he granted Kilvemnon church to Kells priory in County Kilkenny.[6] In about 1300 Adam de Sancto Albino (Tobin) and his son Edmund de Sancto Albino held property in the Comsy area.[7] In 1308-9 Sir John de Sancto Albino (Tobin) held the manor of Comsy by the service of 40s in royal service with suit of court every fortnight at Kiltevenan (Kiltinan).[8] In 1542 Richard, son of John de Sancto Albino of Rosseonyane (Rossane in Kilvemnon parish), gave land and property in Bryanyr, Ballycully and Rosseonyane (the latter two in Kilvemnon parish) in Comsy to Fulk Comerford, merchant of Callan, for the use of James Butler, Earl of Ormond.[9] 



Castle behind the shop


In the sixteenth century Mullinahone hall house was surpassed as the centre of local administration by Killaghy tower house castle to the North-West and outside the village of Mullinahone. In the seventeenth century Killaghy tower house was surrounded by its own village.[10] The Tobin family were lords of Killaghy castle and the area of Mullinahone hall house in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. James Tobin of Killaghy held an estate of about 10,500 acres in the 1640s.[11] By the 1650s the hall house castle was in ruins with only a mill mentioned in the civil survey as the only structure of note in Mullinahone village.[12] After the Cromwellian confiscation and plantation of the 1650s the Tobin family lost Killaghy and Mullinahone but following a brief stay in Connacht the head of the family returned to live nearby in the Clonagoose townland of Kilvemon parish.[13] Long after Mullinahone castle had become a ruin it was the scene of brutal suppression in 1798 when the head of pikeman, Daniel Norton, was placed on the castle by the local yeomanry.


Street view of the castle


Builder of Mullinahone castle

The architectural style of the hall house, also referred to as a two-storey chamber-donjon, is ascribed to the period around 1200-1220 in Munster and has many examples in Connacht after 1235. Mullinahone is possibly of that 1200-1220 date range.[14] This would place Baldwin de Hamtenesford as the person who commissioned Mullinahone castle which from the late thirteenth century onwards was occupied by the Sancto Albino (Tobin) family. Sometime around 1500 the Tobin family relocated from Mullinahone castle to Killaghy castle, a short distance to the north-west.



The wall structure 

Conclusion

Mullinahone hall house castle stands off the main street behind a grocery shop. It is hoped by this article to bring the castle out into the public view and give Baldwin de Hamtenesford the title of most likely to have had the castle commissioned. In the second half of the thirteenth century the Tobin family came to live in the castle and manage the surrounding estate around Mullinahone before they moved out of the village to a new tower house castle at Killaghy. 


Old image of the castle; photographer unknown



Location map


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[1] O’Keeffe, Tadhg, Medieval Irish Buildings 1100-1600 (Dublin, 2015), p. 222

[2] Archaeological Inventory of Ireland, Co. Tipperary, Reference number TS063-071001

[3] Archaeological Inventory of Ireland, Co. Tipperary, Reference number TS063-071001

[4] McNeill, Charles (ed.), Registrum de Kilmainham: Register of Chapter Acts of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem in Ireland, 1326-1339 (Dublin, 1932)

[5] Smyth, William, ‘Property, patronage and population reconstructing the human geography of mid-seventeenth century County Tipperary’, in William Nolan & Thomas McGrath (eds.), Tipperary: History and Society; Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County (Dublin, 1985), pp. 104-138, at p. 115

[6] White, Newport B. (ed.), Monastic and Episcopal Deeds (Dublin, 1936), p. 303

[7] Curtis, Edmund (ed.), Calendar of Ormond Deeds, 1172-1350 A.D. (Dublin, 1932), no. 856

[8] Curtis (ed.), Calendar of Ormond Deeds, 1172-1350 A.D., no. 418

[9] Curtis, Edmund (ed.), Calendar of Ormond Deeds, Volume IV, 1509-1547 A.D. (Dublin, 1937), p. 235

[10] Smyth, William, ‘Property, patronage and population reconstructing the human geography of mid-seventeenth century County Tipperary’, pp. 104-138, at p. 123

[11] Smyth, William, ‘Property, patronage and population reconstructing the human geography of mid-seventeenth century County Tipperary’, pp. 104-138, at p. 115

[12] Simington, Robert C. (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Tipperary Vol. 1. Eastern and Southern Baronies (Dublin, 1931), p. 138

[13] Smyth, William, ‘Property, patronage and population reconstructing the human geography of mid-seventeenth century County Tipperary’, pp. 104-138, at p. 137

[14] O’Keeffe, Medieval Irish Buildings 1100-1600, p. 226

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Liscarroll Castle, County Cork

 

Liscarroll Castle, County Cork

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

The parish and village of Liscarroll is located about 4½ miles north-northwest from Buttevant in County Cork. It is located in the Orrery portion of the barony of Orrery and Kilmore. This barony was before the Norman invasion of 1169 part of the larger kingdom of Múscraige Trí Maige (Muskerry of the three plains) which extended westwards to include most of the barony of Duhallow. The name Liscarroll (Carroll’s lios) possible comes from a levelled circular enclosure (diameter c.15meters) located just north of the village and c.140meters north of the castle.[1] The medieval stone castle of Liscarroll is located on a limestone outcrop with the flat floodplain of the Awbeg River to the north and upland area to the immediate south on which the present village of Liscarroll is situated.

In 1180-83 Robert Fitzstephen Múscraige Trí Maige, then known as Muscridonegan, to his nephew Philip de Barry, along with Killeedy in south-west Limerick and Olethan in east Cork (now known as the barony of Barrymore). Muscridonegan was then still in Irish hands with only Olethan available for immediate occupation.[2] After 1200 the Barry family were overlords of Múscraige Orbraige with their chief manorial centres at Ardnacrothen otherwise Athnacrothen (Newmarket), Liscarroll and Buttevant.[3] The deposed rulers of the O’Donegan family were given some land around Kanturk and north of the town which they held into the fourteenth century.[4] Meanwhile the bishop of Cloyne held an episcopal manor at Kilmaclennie in Muscridonegan.[5] In 1207 King John confirmed the previous grant of Fitz Stephen to Philip de Barry of the three cantreds of Olethan, Muscridonegan and Killeedy to William Fitz Philip de Barry.[6]



SW corner round tower & square gateway beyond


Liscarroll manor and parish

Liscarroll was a demesne manor of the Barry lords but it seems didn’t possess a large fee estate attached to it unlike its neighbouring manor of Buttevant. Instead Liscarroll manor appears to have been confined in area to the surrounding parish of Liscarroll.[7] In the 1830s the parish measured 3,855 statue acres while Clonfert parish, in western Duhallow, measured 64,871 statute acres.[8] The Barry manor of Ardnacrothen is said to be co-terminus with the area of Clonfert parish.[9] In the papal taxation of circa 1300 Liscarroll parish, spelt Kylscarwyl, was valued at 20shillings, which was nearly the lowest valuation of the twenty-two parishes and chapels in Muscridonegan.[10] This would suggest that Liscarroll manor was formed for military considerations and not solely for its economic potential. The rectory of Liscarroll was impropriated to Ballybeg priory, south of Buttevant, as were a large number of Barry parishes.[11]

Liscarroll castle fabric description

The stone castle of Liscarroll is a rectangular structure measuring circa 62meter north-south and circa 50m east-west with four circular corner towers of which three survive. The enclosing walls are circa 7m high. The stonework is rubble limestone with a low base-batter.[12] The presence of a base batter is common in thirteenth century castles but not in later structures.[13] The south wall is slightly shorter than the north wall and has a slight curve to connect it with the south-west tower. Tadhg O’Keeffe suggested that the builders started construction from the north end of the castle and progressed towards the south end readjusting the ‘Vitruvian’ rectangle as they went.[14] It would appear that the castle was built all at the same time or in phases as the horizontal lines in the masonry are uniform.[15]


Gateway passageway at light


The south wall has a centrally placed square gate tower which projects 2m out from the curtain wall and 8m into the ward. The entrance passage is covered by a barrel vault.[16] The elevated passageway through the gate tower suggests a drawbridge once crossed the surrounding moat.[17] Inside the drawbridge are vertical recesses for a portcullis. A rebate exists for a gate inside the portcullis while murder holes exist to greet any visitors who could get that far in. The current blocked up wall at the north end of the gateway is a modern insert with gate to restrict visitors. The first and second floor over the entrance way are said to be late medieval additions but some original first floor once existed. A possible machicolation once guarded the entrance passage ad the top of the tower would have had a wall walk but, due to the collapse of the upper floors, certainly is not guaranteed in this regard.[18]

The north wall has a centrally placed rectangular tower of three storeys with later remodelling sometime after construction such as installing a fireplace and a barrel vault roof.[19] The garderobe chute from the top of the tower is of a late medieval date.[20] The west wall has a ruined rectangular tower towards north-west corner of the curtain wall. This tower had at least two floors. It may have been a later addition to the castle to provide extract defence in that area. The three surviving circular towers at the corners (the south-east tower is in ruins), stand three storeys high with an entrance at the ground floor and first floor levels. The circular towers are not uniform and vary in diameter from 3m in the south-west tower to 3.75m in the north-west tower.[21] The ruined south-east tower had a well within it that was used during the 1640s war.[22] Kilbolane castle some miles north of Liscarroll is a similar structure with two corner circular towers and is of the same width as Liscarroll while Liscarroll is twice the length. It is likely they both were built in the same 1260 to mid-1270s period.[23] A drawing of Liscarroll castle in the 1740s shows an angular bastion outside the south gateway, crenulations on the castle wall and four sided gabled roofs on the round towers with a moat surrounding the castle.[24] How much this 1740s drawing reflected the current condition of the castle at the time or was artistic licence on behalf of the artist is difficult to tell. The gun bastions on the north side of the castle shown in the drawing can be seen in the archaeology today. The north-west opening maybe to allow the guns to exit and enter the castle depending on how well, or badly, the battle is going.


West wall with SW round tower in foreground


Inside Liscarroll castle

Having viewed the outside visitors to Liscarroll are usually curious as to what lies within the now empty ward. The curtain wall doesn’t display any signs of buildings placed up against the wall. Liscarroll is generally referred to as a castle but many scholars are now describing it as a towered-enclosure.[25] Geophysical work at Ballintober castle (another empty ward castle) shows a complex of large buildings forming a courtyard.[26] An inquisition of Ballintober in 1333 said it was an old castle surrounded by a stone wall.[27] Tadhg O’Keeffe suggests that at Liscarroll there were a number of buildings within the ward before the castle was built that were enclosed by the stone wall for better protection. This may account for the not quite rectangular shape of the castle as the builders line of sight was obstructed by pre-existing buildings.[28]

The enclosure of Liscarroll is noted to be abnormally large when compared to other contemporary castles. The triangular area opposite the entrance gate in Liscarroll village could have been the site of the medieval market. Maybe some of the market was held within the castle or animals from the market or the surrounding countryside were kept in the castle in times of war or plundering raids. A moat site at Ballyconnor near Old Ross, Co. Wexford, was constructed in 1282-4 to keep eight of the thirty-six oxen on the estate in a secure location as robbers occasionally stole oxen in the area.[29] Some test pits around the village and within the castle may provide dating evidence for a structure that has not certain existing dating evidence. Opposite the castle entrance and south of the suggested market place is the ruins of the parish church of Liscarroll which was in ruins by 1615 and is located in the townland of Coolbane.[30]

Liscarroll in the medieval records

There is as yet no medieval document that mentions Liscarroll and the manor only gets a brief acknowledgement that it existed without any description of its structure. In the eighteenth century the Barrymore muniments were destroyed by fire and with it were possibly lost documents relating to medieval Liscarroll.[31] David Barry (1604-1642), Viscount Buttevant and heir to the Barry estates in Muscridonegan and Olethan, became Earl of Barrymore in 1637.[32]


East wall with NE round tower


R.E. Glasscock placed the construction of Liscarroll castle into the period of 1240 to 1280 along with other keepless castles such as at Castlegrace, Co. Tipperary and Quin, Co. Clare.[33] Castlegrace has circular corner towers with a base batter like Liscarroll. In 1263 and 1266-8 David de Barry was justiciar of Ireland.[34] In that capacity he was aware in 1263 of people building new stone castles such as the new castle of Moylak on the River Suir in Tipperary.[35] Liscarroll castle may have been constructed in the 1260s in response to the crushing defeat of the Anglo-Normans at the hands of the MacCarthy kings of south Munster (Desmond) in 1261 at Callann in south Kerry.[36] Liscarroll castle sits at the western end the valley of the Awbeg River which leads to the important walled town of Buttevant. The castle faced the resurgent Irish nations of the Duhallow barony, barring their easy access to Buttevant and Anglo-Norman north Cork beyond. Liscarrol castle also controlled the north-west road to the upland region around Freemount. Yet it’s impressive size maybe for show that for solid defence. Even the arrow loops on the castle are orientated away from the base of the curtain wall to provide proper defence.[37] The curtain wall around the city of Oxford in England also has arrow loops that are poorly designed for practical warfare suggesting a curtain wall for show than for proper defence like at Liscarroll.[38] Yet for all the slight defects the castle was able to withstand a siege of thirteen days in 1642 against muskets an canon and so served its purpose.

In 1285-6 Sir John de Barry acknowledged before the king’s justices, that the manors of Buttevant, Lyscarewell and Adnogrothan in Muscridonegan were held of David de Barry and was given seisin on payment of a fine. John and David held the manors of the chief lords of the fee which was Maurice de Careu (heir of Robert FitzStephen) by knight’s service. At some unknown date afterwards David de Barry alienated the manors to Robert Coffyn, chaplain, so that Robert held the property of Maurice de Careu. This alienation continued under the reign of Edward 1, Edward II and into the reign of Edward III so that the Barry did not hold in chief. The Muscridonegan manors and estates were worth £60 per annum. In 1358 the escheator seized the manors of David fitz David de Barry in Olethan and Muscridonegan because David de Barry had alienated them to Robert Coffyn, chaplain, to hold for David and his heirs without getting a king’s licence. David de Barry petitioned the king for restoration and in April 1358 the king ordered the properties in Olethan and Muscridonegan to be restored to David de Barry.[39]


Inside the castle ward with north wall at far end


Liscarroll castle in seventeenth century

By the 1330s the MacCarthy and other Irish nations were attacking medieval Muscridonegan.[40] While the Barrys lost the western parts like Clonfert parish and Ardnacrothen manor they retained Liscarroll and Buttevant to form the core of the barony of Orrery and Kilmore. In the late sixteenth century Liscarroll castle was the home of John of Liscarroll, fifth son of James Barry, 1st Viscount Buttevant. John Barry (died 1627) married firstly to Joan, daughter of the White Knight and secondly to Ellen, daughter of Dermod McTeige McCarthy.[41] In 1604 Liscarroll was still held by the Barry family with John Barry of Liscarroll occupying the property. In that year he gave pledge, with the MacCarthy of Kanturk, O’Callaghan of Clonmeen and O’Keeffe of Dromaghan, for the good conduct of Laughlin McAuliffe of CastlemcAwliffe.[42] In 1625 Sir Philip Percival acquired the manor of Liscarroll with its castle and the property remained in the hands of his descendents until recent times.[43] Other unidentified sources say that in 1637 King Charles made a grant of Liscarroll to Sir Philip Percival. Meanwhile John Barry of Liscarroll was succeeded by William Barry who was the father of John Barry of Liscarroll who married Alice, the widow of David Barry, 1st Earl of Barrymore and daughter of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork.[44] on 1st April 1640 Sir Philip Percival gave the manor, town and lands of Liscarroll, along with other property, to four trustees to hold for his heirs.[45]


Arches inside the gateway passage


With high ground to the south of Liscarroll castle it would seem that its use as a military fort was made obsolete in the age of musket and canon fire but Liscarroll was made of good construction. In October 1641, Sir William St. Leger, Lord President of Munster, recognised the strategic importance of Liscarrol castle at the start of the Ulster rebellion. On 4th November 1641 Sir William St Leger wrote to John Hodder to put a ward in Liscarroll castle, which he described as a strong medieval castle.[46]  In 1642 the castle withstood a siege of thirteen days by General Barry who had 7,000 foot soldiers and 500 horse soldiers. In September 1642 the castle was relieved by a force of 2,000 foot and 400 horse led by Lord Inchiquin who defeated the Irish army in a battle near the town. In 1644 the castle again successfully kept out the Irish but in 1645 it surrendered to Lord Castlehaven without a shot.[47] In 1650 Liscarroll castle was said to be burnt and the new house built against the outside wall had fallen into adjoining the street.[48]

After the war Liscarroll castle was not destroyed like some other tower house castles around the country. Instead it was repaired in later centuries with its stone wall left intact and not used as an accessible quarry to build other houses in the village. Nor was the interior of the castle turned into a farm yard as happened at other medieval castles like Mogeely near Conna in east Cork.[49] The castle awaits future archaeological investigation and its relationship to the village and the wider landscape.

As an after note – during the War of Independence (1919-1921) Liscarroll castle was occupied in the winter of 1920-21 by the 17th Lancers as the local Royal Irish Constabulary had been made ineffective. But the Lancers fared little better as the Irish Republican Army knew the castle and its approaches. They launched a series of attacks and broke through the walls forcing the Lancers to evacuate back to Buttevant barracks.  


Gateway passage and over tower


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[1] Power, D., & Lane, S. (eds.), Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Volume 4: North Cork, Part 2 (Dublin, 2000), no. 13608

[2] MacCotter, P., ‘The Sub-infeudation and Descent of the Fitzstephen/Carew Moiety of Desmond (Part 1)’, in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, Vol. 101 (1996), pp. 64-80, at pp. 64, 65

[3] MacCotter, P., Medieval Ireland: Territorial, political and economic divisions (Dublin, 2008), p. 157, note 69 Ardnacrothen could refer to Newmarket or to Clonfert parish.

[4] MacCotter, P., A History of the Medieval Diocese of Cloyne (Blackrock, 2013), p. 50

[5] MacCotter, P., Medieval Ireland: Territorial, political and economic divisions (Dublin, 2008), p. 157

[6] MacCotter, P., ‘The Sub-infeudation and Descent of the Fitzstephen/Carew Moiety of Desmond (Part 1)’, in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, Vol. 101 (1996), pp. 64-80, at p. 76

[7] MacCotter, P., ‘Medieval Buttevant: 1100-1400AD’, in Eamonn Cotter (ed.), Buttevant: A Medieval Anglo-French Town in Ireland (Rathcormac, 2013), pp. 29-38, at p. 37

[8] Cadogan, T. (ed.), Lewis’ Cork: A topographical dictionary of the parishes, towns and villages of Cork City and County (Wilton, 1998), pp. 116, 331

[9] MacCotter, P., A History of the Medieval Diocese of Cloyne (Blackrock, 2013), p. 163. The late medieval castle of the McAuliffes is said to occupy the site of the earlier Barry castle.

[10] Sweetman, H.S. (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, Vol. 5, 1302-1307 (London, 1886, reprint Liechtenstein, 1974), p. 277

[11] MacCotter, P., A History of the Medieval Diocese of Cloyne (Blackrock, 2013), p. 192

[12] Power, D., & Lane, S. (eds.), Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Volume 4: North Cork, Part 2 (Dublin, 2000), no. 14335

[13] O’Keeffe, T., Medieval Irish Buildings, 1100-1600 (Dublin, 2015), Plate VIII

[14] O’Keeffe, T., ‘Liscarroll Castle: a note on its context, function, and date’, in Eamonn Cotter (ed.), Buttevant: A Medieval Anglo-French Town in Ireland (Rathcormac, 2013), pp. 51-66, at p. 63

[15] O’Keeffe, T., Medieval Irish Buildings, 1100-1600 (Dublin, 2015), p. 238

[16] Power, D., & Lane, S. (eds.), Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Volume 4: North Cork, Part 2 (Dublin, 2000), no. 14335

[17] Author’s observations

[18] Power, D., & Lane, S. (eds.), Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Volume 4: North Cork, Part 2 (Dublin, 2000), no. 14335

[19] Power, D., & Lane, S. (eds.), Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Volume 4: North Cork, Part 2 (Dublin, 2000), no. 14335

[20] O’Keeffe, T., Medieval Irish Buildings, 1100-1600 (Dublin, 2015), p. 290

[21] Power, D., & Lane, S. (eds.), Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Volume 4: North Cork, Part 2 (Dublin, 2000), no. 14335

[22] Lomas, S.C. (ed.), Report on the manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont, Vol. 1, Part 1 (London, 1905), p. 155

[23] O’Keeffe, T., Medieval Irish Buildings, 1100-1600 (Dublin, 2015), p. 246

[24] O’Keeffe, T., ‘Lohort Castle: Medieval Architecture, Medievalist Imagination’, in Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, Vol. 118 (2013), pp. 60-70, at p. 65

[25] O’Keeffe, T., ‘Liscarroll Castle: a note on its context, function, and date’, in Eamonn Cotter (ed.), Buttevant: A Medieval Anglo-French Town in Ireland (Rathcormac, 2013), pp. 51-66, at p. 63

[26] O’Keeffe, T., ‘Liscarroll Castle: a note on its context, function, and date’, in Eamonn Cotter (ed.), Buttevant: A Medieval Anglo-French Town in Ireland (Rathcormac, 2013), pp. 51-66, at p. 59

[27] Knox, H.T., ‘Occupation of Connacht by the Anglo-Normans after A.D. 1237, continued’, in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Vol. 33 (1903), pp. 58-74, at p. 59

[28] O’Keeffe, T., ‘Liscarroll Castle: a note on its context, function, and date’, in Eamonn Cotter (ed.), Buttevant: A Medieval Anglo-French Town in Ireland (Rathcormac, 2013), pp. 51-66, at p. 59

[29] Barry, T.B., The Medieval Moated Sites of South-Eastern Ireland: Counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Wexford (British Archaeological Report, No. 35, 1977), p. 96

[30] Power, D., & Lane, S. (eds.), Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Volume 4: North Cork, Part 2 (Dublin, 2000), no. 14413

[31] MacCotter, P., ‘Medieval Buttevant: 1100-1400AD’, in Eamonn Cotter (ed.), Buttevant: A Medieval Anglo-French Town in Ireland (Rathcormac, 2013), pp. 29-38, at p. 36

[32] O’Brien, J., ‘Denny Muschamp and The Ploughlands of Grange’, in Eamonn Cotter (ed.), Buttevant: A Medieval Anglo-French Town in Ireland (Rathcormac, 2013), pp. 103-112, at p. 105

[33] Glasscock, R.E., ‘Land and people, c.1300’, in Art Cosgrove (ed.), A new history of Ireland, Vol. II: Medieval Ireland, 1169-1534 (Oxford, 2008), pp. 205-239, at p. 219

[34] O’Keeffe, T., ‘Liscarroll Castle: a note on its context, function, and date’, in Eamonn Cotter (ed.), Buttevant: A Medieval Anglo-French Town in Ireland (Rathcormac, 2013), pp. 51-66, at p. 63; Sweetman, H.S. (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, Vol. 2, 1252-1284 (London, 1877, reprint Liechtenstein, 1974), p. 205

[35] Sweetman, H.S. (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, Vol. 2, 1252-1284 (London, 1877, reprint Liechtenstein, 1974), p. 205

[36] O’Keeffe, T., ‘Liscarroll Castle: a note on its context, function, and date’, in Eamonn Cotter (ed.), Buttevant: A Medieval Anglo-French Town in Ireland (Rathcormac, 2013), pp. 51-66, at p. 63

[37] O’Keeffe, T., ‘Liscarroll Castle: a note on its context, function, and date’, in Eamonn Cotter (ed.), Buttevant: A Medieval Anglo-French Town in Ireland (Rathcormac, 2013), pp. 51-66, at p. 55

[38] YouTube, University of Oxford, The Architecture of New College, Oxford: Julian Munby

[40] MacCotter, P., ‘Medieval Buttevant: 1100-1400AD’, in Eamonn Cotter (ed.), Buttevant: A Medieval Anglo-French Town in Ireland (Rathcormac, 2013), pp. 29-38, at p. 36

[41] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 73

[42] Curtis-Clayton, M. (ed.), The Council Book for the Province of Munster, c.1599-1649 (Dublin, 2008), p. 129

[43] Power, D., & Lane, S. (eds.), Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Volume 4: North Cork, Part 2 (Dublin, 2000), p. 521

[44] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 73

[45] Lomas, S.C. (ed.), Report on the manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont, Vol. 1, Part 1 (London, 1905), p. 114

[46] Lomas, S.C. (ed.), Report on the manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont, Vol. 1, Part 1 (London, 1905), p. 143

[47] Cadogan, T. (ed.), Lewis’ Cork: A topographical dictionary of the parishes, towns and villages of Cork City and County (Wilton, 1998), pp. 330, 331

[48] Lomas, S.C. (ed.), Report on the manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont, Vol. 1, Part 1 (London, 1905), p. 500

[49] Power, D. (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Volume 2: East and South Cork (Dublin, 1994), no. 5556