Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ofhearghusa – creating the four medieval parishes

Ofhearghusa – creating the four medieval parishes

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

The medieval Irish parish structure was formed and developed principally in the period from 1150 to 1250 with a few parishes formed before and a few after (the diocese of Ardagh had few if any parishes by the early thirteenth century).[1] Among the recent publications on question of medieval parish formation are Brand, P., ‘The formation of a parish: the case of Beaulieu, County Louth’, in Bradley, J. (ed.), Settlement and Society in Medieval Ireland: Studies presented to F.X. Martin (Kilkenny, 1988), pp. 261-276; Nichols, K.W. ‘Rectory, Vicarage and Parish in the Western Irish Dioceses’, in Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquarians of Ireland, Vol. CI (1971), pp. 53-84 and Otway-Ruthven, A.J., ‘Parochial Development in the Rural Deanery of Skreen’, in Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquarians of Ireland, Vol. XCIV (1964), pp. 111-22. This article gathers material relating to the four medieval parishes within the area of Ofhearghusa with an idea of seeing if any patterns exist on the ground or in the manuscripts to explain the existence the four parishes. We know that the four parishes were in existence at the end of the thirteen century but how far back in time were they formed is a question of an unknown answer.[2]

The four parish and neighbours

Kilcockan parish

The parish of Kilcockan, according to the surveyors of the Civil Survey, was bounded on the east by the River Blackwater, on the south with the parish of Templemichael, on the west with a small river which separated it from the parish of Kilwatermoy and on the north with the River Bride.[3]

In Kilcockan parish there are ringforts at Ballybrack (no. 527), Crossery (no. 600), Kilcockan (no. 678), Newport West (no. 727), and Newport West (no. 728).[4] There were enclosures at Ballyphilip West, Crossery and Newport West.[5] There was an earthwork at Newport West.[6]

In about 1300 Kilcockan parish was valued at £5 13s 4d with the tenth paid to Rome 11s 4d.[7] The high value of the parish compared to its neighbours could be accosted by the presence of Strancally castle and a developed town and agricultural estate surrounding it. In regard to the location of Strancally castle in relation to Kilcockan church which suggests that Kilcockan church maybe a later formation than the castle. There was a preference among the early Norman castle builders of locating the castle near the existing parish church like at Mocollop and Mogeely. But Strancally is not so located.

In 1640 the parish was divided into three townlands. Strancally measured five ploughlands and contained 1,000 acres. Ballymcphilip measured two ploughlands and contained 310 acres while Kilmcnicholas measured four ploughlands and had 840 acres. The full size of the parish was eleven ploughlands and 2,150 acres worth £170.[8]

In about 1851, as part of Griffith’s Valuation, Kilcockan parish was divided into twenty-two townlands along with Strancally demesne.[9]

Kilwatermoy parish

The parish of Kilwatermoy, according to the surveyors of the Civil Survey, was bounded on the east by a glen which divided it from the parish of Kilcockan, on the south with the mountain of Bredagh, on the west with a small river which divided it from the parish of Tallow and on the north by the River Bride.[10]

In Kilwatermoy parish there are ringforts at Fountain (no. 640), Headborough (no. 668) and Headborough (669).[11] There was an enclosure at Ballyhamlet.[12] There were earthworks at Ballymuddy, Fountain and a small circular earthwork at Tircullen Upper.[13] In about 1300 Kilwatermoy parish was valued at £2 with the tenth paid to Rome 4s.[14]

In 1640 the parish was divided into fourteen townlands. Kilwatermoy measured one ploughland and had 220 acres. Ballyhamlet measured one ploughland and contained 130 acres. Tircullenmore measured one ploughland and had 85 acres. Ballyclement measured a quarter of a ploughland and had 40 acres. Tircullenbeg and part of Ballyclement measured three quarters of a ploughland and contained 90 acres. Ballynemodagh with Canemucky and Ballynitye measured three ploughlands and had 280 acres. Dunmore measured one ploughland and contained 230 acres. Ballymote measured one ploughland and had 400 acres. Ballyshonicke measured two ploughlands and contained 600 acres. Killfountain with Glangenouane measured one ploughland and had 400 acres while Ballyfinsoge measured one ploughland and had 300 acres. The full size of Kilwatermoy was thus thirteen ploughlands and contained 2,775 acres, worth £233 6s 8d.[15]

In about 1851, as part of Griffith’s Valuation, Kilwatermoy parish was divided into thirty-six townlands.[16]

Tallow parish

The parish of Tallow (Tallogh), according to the surveyors of the Civil Survey, was bounded on the east by a small river which separated it from the parish of Kilwatermoy, on the south with the mountain of Bredagh in the Barony of Imokilly, Co. Cork, on the west with the Barony of Kinnatalloon and on the north with the River Bride.[17]

There are no surviving ringforts in Tallow parish.[18] There was an enclosure at Loughnatouse which was described as a bivallate ‘Danish Fort’ in 1776. In the first edition of the Ordnance Survey 6-inch map the enclosure was described as a rectangular enclosure.[19] There was an earthwork marked on the 1776 Scale map at Knockrour and which was described as a ‘Danish Fort’.[20]

In about 1300 Tallow parish, called Tillaghrath, was valued at £4 18s with the tenth paid to Rome 9s 9½d.[21] The location of the town of Tallow within this parish increases its value relative to its neighbouring parishes. It is possible that the parish of Tallow could be a late creation to give the town a parish of its own.

In 1640 the parish of Tallow was divided into nine townlands. Glenaboy measured half a ploughland and contained 120 acres. Kilmore (which included the town of Tallow) measured one ploughland and contained 400 acres. Kilwinny and Carrigree measured three quarters of a ploughland and contained 200 acres. Ballyhander measured one ploughland and contained 60 acres. Kilbeg measured one ploughland and contained 60 acres. Killeagh measured three ploughlands and had 620 acres. Carrigroe measured a quarter ploughland and had 40 acres while Barnykely measured half a ploughland and contained 140 acres. The full measure of the parish in 1640 was eight ploughlands and 1,640 acres worth £390 16s.[22]

In about 1851, as part of Griffith’s Valuation, Tallow parish was divided into twenty-eight townlands including the town of Tallow.[23]

Templemichael parish

The parish of Templemichael, according to the surveyors of the Civil Survey, was bounded on the east by the River Blackwater, on the south by the River Tourig, on the west with part of Cornifeagh, part of Ballydonnell and the mountain of Slieveonariffe and on the north with the mountain of Kilmacnicholas and the lands of Strancally.[24]

In Templemichael parish there are ringforts in Ballynatray Demesne (no. 555) and Castlemiles (no. 586).[25] There were enclosures at Ballycondon and Ballynatray Demesne.[26] There were earthworks at Ballydasoon, Ballyrussel, Carrigeen and Coolbeggan East.[27]

In about 1300 Templemichael parish, called Rincrew, was valued at £2 16s 8d with the tenth paid to Rome 5s 8d.[28] This parish contained Molana Abbey yet it has a low value compared to its neighbours for which an answer is difficult to conclude. Yet the present of the ancient abbey of Molana may meant that this parish was an ancient formation of pre-Norman times.

Molana Abbey

In 1640 the parish was divided into two great parts; the land of Ballynatray and the lands of Templemichael. Ballynatray measured five ploughlands and contained 723 acres. Templemichael measured seven and a half ploughlands and contained 907 acres. Between these great parts was another 1,000 acres in disputed ownership. Thus, in 1640 the parish of Templemichael measured twelve and a half ploughlands and had 2,630 acres worth £250.[29] In about 1851, as part of Griffith’s Valuation, Templemichael parish was divided into twenty-three townlands along with Ballynatray demesne.[30]

The four parishes in comparison

Having viewed each parish in turn it is now to compare each parish to its neighbours and see if any pattern develops which could explain why four medieval parishes exist in this land of Ofhearghusa.

Archaeological sites

Table 1

Ringfort
Enclosure
Earthwork
Totals
Kilcockan
Five
Three
One
Nine
Kilwatermoy
Three
One
Three
Seven
Tallow
None
One
One
Two
Templemichael
Two
Two
Four
Eight

The number of archaeological sites in table 1 would suggest that population size was a factor in the size of a medieval parish. But of course the listed archaeological sites are those that we can see. Recent archaeology investigations to do with road construction have shown that there are many more archaeological sites under the ground that we do not know of. The above figures therefore very possibly will increase if a large archaeological survey was made in the Ofhearghusa area.

c.1300

Table 2

Value
Statute acres
1841
Value/acre
Kilcockan
£5 13s 4d (1,360d)
4,538
0.300d/ac
Kilwatermoy
£2 (480d)
6,557
0.073d/ac
Tallow
£4 18s (1,176d)
5,027
0.234d/ac
Templemichael
£2 16s 8d (680d)
8,215
0.083d/ac

The values per parishes in about 1300 are the earliest record we have available. The Synod of Cashel in 1171 commended all within a parish to pay tithes to their own parish.[31]

1640

Kilcockan = 195.45 acres per pl = £15 9s 2d per pl = 18.97d per acre
Kilwatermoy = 213.46 acres per pl = £17 18s 11d per pl = 20.18d per acre
Tallow = 205 acres per pl = £48 17s per pl = 57.19d per acre
Templemichael = 210.4 acres per pl = £20 per pl = 22.81d per acre

These values per parish would seem to suggest an average value of 21 pence (d) per parish with Tallow showing a higher value because of the town. When the four parishes were created about 1200 + 50 years it is likely that Tallow town was not there to any large extent and that the four parishes could have been all about the same value.

1660

In 1660 a numerical listing of taxpayers was made and gives us some idea of the populations in each parish at that time.[32] The 1662 Subsidy Roll gives a much reduced number of taxpayers yet the proportion to each parish is about the same as in 1660.[33]

Table 3

Taxpayers in
1660
Hd/acre
Taxpayers in
1662
Kilcockan
180
0.0397/ac
25 (0.0055)
Kilwatermoy
229
0.0349/ac
37 (0.0056)
Tallow
347
0.0690/ac
38 (0.0076)
Templemichael
244
0.0297/ac
29 (0.0035)


1841
Table 4

People
Statute acres
People/acre
Kilcockan
1,420
4,538
0.313
Kilwatermoy
2,400
6,557
0.366
Tallow
4,867
5,027
0.968
Templemichael
2,994
8,215
0.365


Discussion

The reason for the shape and size of the four parishes on the basis of the above data is as yet unknown. The real data we need is from the 12th and 13th century and that is just beyond our reach. The question of what was the main motivating factor in the size of a medieval parish is still unclear – was it the size of the population (Viking towns in Ireland like Cork, Waterford, Wexford and Dublin have a number of parishes within the town) – the value of the tithes (table 2) – the size of the pre-existing temporal territory or some other factor or a combination of factors.

It is also possible that the land of Ofhearghusa was once one single parish and that by 1300 had been divided into four parishes. At the time of the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540 Molana Abbey possessed the rectorial tithes of all four parishes.[34] In about 1185 the parish of Skreen in County Meath was a single unit but by 1233 had divided into six parishes and eight parishes by 1300 and had descended into ten parishes by the 16th century. In about 1190 Pope Alexander III decreed that a new parish could be created out of an existing one if the old parish church was difficult to attend in winter for those living in the far reaches of the single parish.[35] The combined area of Kilcockan and Templemichael is 12,753 acres while Kilwatermoy and Tallow is 11,584 acres. Although the eventual area of each parish is different the combined area of two parishes joined up is only about 1,000 acres in difference. These combined parish formation is worth remembering.

In pre-Invasion Ireland the tuath was the lowest lordship unit which on good land averaged about 17,000 acres and was larger on poor land. The total area of Ofhearghusa was over 24,000 acres. Each tuath was further divided into individual bailte which gives the ubiquitous ‘bally’. These bailte averaged about 2,000 to 3,000 acres on good land and were larger on poor land.[36] In the sequence of events the temporal estate came before the formation of a medieval parish. Evidence elsewhere shows that the existence of parishes can be traced back to pre-existing temporal estates as in the case of Henbury and Westbury in Gloucestershire.[37] Studies in Ireland support the idea of the temporal estate coming before the parish formation and that the former influence the boundaries of the latter.[38]  

All accounts suggest that Ofhearghusa was one area before the Norman Conquest as far as we can assess and had one temporal landlord (Fitzgerald of Kildare, later the de Clare family/Badlesmere, Earls of Ormond and 15th/16th century the Earls of Desmond) after 1200 with two principal tenants (the Dene family and the de Exeter family) along with the Molana Abbey estate.[39]

Although the medieval records relating to Ofhearghusa are few they provide us with interesting information and the absence of documents is also of interest. The two principal tenants are often mentioned as holding land in Tallow, the Island (Kilcockan parish) and Rincrew (Templemichael parish) but Kilwatermoy is not mentioned.[40]

The medieval ownership of Kilwatermoy is obscure. It appears the parish lay outside the Fitzgerald/Clare/Badlesmere/Ormond/Desmond ownership. In 1540 Molana Abbey held land there.[41] In ancient legend the site of the medieval church of Kilwatermoy marks the place where the enraged St. Patrick’s cow caught up with her calf which was stolen by a family who, it is claimed, still have descendants in the parish to modern times.[42] It is possible that the ancient religious tradition in Kilwatermoy allowed Kilwatermoy to be an existing parish before the Norman invasion and before the formation of its neighbouring parishes.

Kilwatermoy medieval church

Above the level of the parish was the rural deanery where a group of parishes were united for the purposes of diocesan administration. The four parishes of Ofhearghusa form part of the large rural deanery of Lismore/Dungarvan.[43] This area included the Norman cantreds of Dungarvan, Owath, Slefgo, Athmethan and Lismore/Ofhearghusa.[44] In other places it appears that the rural deanery corresponded to the tuath cét of pre-Invasion Ireland. These tuath cét were the lowest level of kingdom to exist.[45] Although this is interesting information it seems not to add greatly to our investigation for the origin of the four parishes of Ofhearghusa.

Instead the combined information gathered in this article would seem to suggest that before 1169 there existed in Ofhearghusa the presence of two parishes, namely; Kilwatermoy/Tallow and Templemichael/Kilcockan. After 1169 and possibly around 1210 the parish of Tallow was formed to accommodate the growing town of Tallow. About the same time a castle was erected at Strancally which castle grew in importance such that its lord desired to have a parish of its own surrounding it. Thus Kilcockan parish was formed with a new church located some distance to the west of the castle. All this formation happened long before 1300 so that by the end of the 13th century there were four parishes where once there was only two.

It would appear therefore that a combination of factors made the four parishes. The territorial factor made Kilwatermoy and Templemichael before 1169 while population combined with tithe income may have caused the creation of Tallow parish while territorial influences coupled with tithe income helped the creation of Kilcockan parish. Thus in the formation of the medieval parish there is no single reason for that formation but a combination of factors which influence different parishes at different times. It is those different influences at different times which have prevented historians up until now from writing a definitive answer to parish formation because they have searched for a single answer but there is no single answer. Rather a varied combination of local and international factors influenced medieval parish formation.

Bibliography

Brand, P., ‘The formation of a parish: the case of Beaulieu, County Louth’, in Bradley, J. (ed.), Settlement and Society in Medieval Ireland: Studies presented to F.X. Martin (Kilkenny, 1988), pp. 261-276
Brooks, E. St. John, Knight’s fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny in 13th-15th Century (Dublin, 1950)
Empey, C.A., ‘County Waterford: 1200-1300’, in Nolan, W., and Power, T.P. (eds.), Waterford History & Society: Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County (Dublin, 1992), pp. 131-146
Harbison, S.H., ‘The Absentee Problem in Waterford and East Cork during William of Windsor’s Administration, l369-'76’, in Decies, No. 23 (1983), pp. 4-16
MacCotter, P., A History of the Medieval Diocese of Cloyne (Blackrock, 2013)
MacNeill, E., Phases of Irish History (Dublin, 1920)
Moore, M. (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford (Stationery Office, Dublin, 1999)
Orme, N., and Cannon, J. (eds.), Westbury-on-Trym: Monastery, Minster and College (Bristol Record Society, Vol. 62, 2010)
Pender, S. (ed.), A census of Ireland circa 1659 with essential materials from the Poll Money Ordinances 1660-1661 (Dublin, 2002)
Power, Canon P., Place-names of the Decies (Cork, 1952)
Simington, R.C. (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI with appendices (Stationery Office, Dublin, 1942)
Sweetman, H.S. (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland (5 vols. Kraus reprint, 1974), vol. 5
Walton, J., ‘The Subsidy Roll of County Waterford, 1662’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 30, (Dublin, 1982), pp. 47-96
White, N. (ed.), Monastic extents of Irish monastic possessions 1540-1541 (Stationery Office, Dublin, 1943),
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[1] Brand, P., ‘The formation of a parish: the case of Beaulieu, County Louth’, in Bradley, J. (ed.), Settlement and Society in Medieval Ireland: Studies presented to F.X. Martin (Kilkenny, 1988), pp. 261-276, at p. 262
[2] Sweetman, H.S. (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland (5 vols. Kraus reprint, 1974), vol. 5, pp. 305, 306
[3] Simington, R.C. (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI with appendices (Stationery Office, Dublin, 1942), p. 20
[4] Moore, M. (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford (Stationery Office, Dublin, 1999), nos. 527, 600, 678, 727, 728
[5] Moore (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, nos. 806, 847, 937
[6] Moore (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, no. 1202
[7] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 5, p. 305
[8] Simington (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI, p. 20
[9] Griffith’s Valuation, Kilcockan parish, Coshmore & Coshbride barony, Co. Waterford, pp. 1-7
[10] Simington (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI, p. 17
[11] Moore (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, nos. 640, 668, 669
[12] Moore (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, no. 785
[13] Moore (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, nos. 1013, 1105, 1229
[14] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 5, p. 306
[15] Simington (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI, pp. 17, 18, 19
[16] Griffith’s Valuation, Kilwatermoy parish, Coshmore & Coshbride barony, Co. Waterford, pp. 9-17
[17] Simington (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI, p. 16
[18] Moore (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, pp. 71-101.
[19] Moore (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, no. 925
[20] Moore (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, no. 1185
[21] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 5, p. 305
[22] Simington (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI, pp. 16, 17
[23] Griffith’s Valuation, Tallow parish, Coshmore & Coshbride barony, Co. Waterford, pp. 107-24
[24] Simington (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI, p. 20
[25] Moore (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, nos. 555, 586
[26] Moore (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, nos. 774, 805
[27] Moore (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Waterford, nos. 989, 1028, 1057, 1068
[28] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 5, p. 305
[29] Simington (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Waterford Vol. VI, pp. 20, 21
[30] Griffith’s Valuation, Templemichael parish, Coshmore & Coshbride barony, Co. Waterford, pp. 125-32
[31] MacNeill, E., Phases of Irish History (Dublin, 1920), pp. 286, 287
[32] Pender, S. (ed.), A census of Ireland circa 1659 with essential materials from the Poll Money Ordinances 1660-1661 (Dublin, 2002), pp. 338, 339
[33] Walton, J., ‘The Subsidy Roll of County Waterford, 1662’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 30, (Dublin, 1982), pp. 47-96, at pp. 58-60
[35] Brand, P., ‘The formation of a parish: the case of Beaulieu, County Louth’, pp. 261-276, at pp. 262, 268
[36] MacCotter, P., A History of the Medieval Diocese of Cloyne (Blackrock, 2013), p. 65
[37] Orme, N., and Cannon, J. (eds.), Westbury-on-Trym: Monastery, Minster and College (Bristol Record Society, Vol. 62, 2010), p. 7
[38] MacCotter, A History of the Medieval Diocese of Cloyne, pp. 64, 65
[40] Brooks, E. St. John, Knight’s fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny in 13th-15th Century (Dublin, 1950), pp. 50, 219, 222, 226;  Harbison, S.H., ‘The Absentee Problem in Waterford and East Cork during William of Windsor’s Administration, l369-'76’, in Decies, No. 23 (1983), pp.4-16, p. 9 with reference to C.C.H., p. 129, no. 57 = about 1400 the Uniacke and de Capella families were tenants of the two fees from the Earl of Ormond
[41] White, N. (ed.), Monastic extents of Irish monastic possessions 1540-1541 (Stationery Office, Dublin, 1943), pp. 148-9
[42] Power, Canon P., Place-names of the Decies (Cork, 1952), p. 26
[43] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 5, pp. 305, 306
[44] Empey, C.A., ‘County Waterford: 1200-1300’, in Nolan, W., and Power, T.P. (eds.), Waterford History & Society: Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County (Dublin, 1992), pp. 131-146, at p. 132
[45] MacCotter, A History of the Medieval Diocese of Cloyne, p. 77

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