Parish of Arles
Source: Rev M Comerford "Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin" Vol. 3 (1886)
THE ancient and more proper title for this parish is Kilabban. It receives its present name from the parish church being placed in modern times at Arles. This name is derived from Ard-glas, i.e. "the verdant hill;" or, according to some, from Ard-lios, i.e. "the forted hill." The earliest place of worship here appears to have been a chapel built in 1686, of which there is a description and an illustration (Pl. 34, Vol. II.) in Grose's Antiquities. It is there described as having been "built, according to tradition, by a lady of the family of Hartpole. It is erected in the form of a cross, and is thatched. In one arm of the cross is a small chapel, the place of interment for the Grace family. A long Latin metrical epitaph to Dame Frances Grace, alias Bagot, wife to Sheffield Grace, who died 3rd May, 1742, aged 32, is given; and another, in English, to Mrs. Martha Grace, wife of Michael Grace, who died Nov. 28, 1736, in the 55th year of her age." Grose's illustration shows this chapel to have been a very plain structure, with the thatch sadly in need of repair. An inscribed stone, let into the wall of the present church, records the name of the builder of the old chapel: "Madam Scurlock, alias Walsh, alias Hartpole, built this chapel, A.D. 168-" (last figure broken away).
According to the annals of the Grace family, this chapel was pulled down in 1795, and was replaced by that which existed until the present beautiful church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was built, towards the erection of which the late Mrs. Grace Grace was a munificent contributor. The Grace mausoleum is a conspicuous object in the adjoining grave-yard. It was built in 1818, in place of the original one-erected in 1687, by Oliver Grace, Chief Remembrancer of the Exchequer; by Mrs. Alicia Kavanagh, daughter of Michael Grace of Grace-field; Sir William Grace, Bart; and his brothers Sheffield Jurisconsult, and Percy, Admiral of the Royal fleet, for themselves and posterity, on the site of the southern wing of the church of Arles. The following is the inscription upon it, recording the above: "Hoc sepulchrum Alicia Kavanagh, filia Michaelis Grace de Gracefield, Arm.; Gulielmus Grace, Baronettus, et fratres ejus Sheffieldus, jurisconsultus, Perceus Regiae Classis Praefectus, poni curaverunt, A.D. MDCCCXVIII., sibi posterisque. Quo loco fuit olim Australis ala aedis Arlesianae ab Olivero Grace de Shangano sive Gracefield, Armig. Anno Salutis MDLXXXVII. aedificata, jamdiu vetustate collapsa." This mausoleum is fully described and illustrated in the family Annals, compiled by Sheffield Grace, who traces their pedigree to Raymond Fitz William, surnamed Le Gros, who accompanied Strongbow to Ireland, and through him further back to the Ducal House of Tuscany.
The circumjacent cemetery has been extensively used during the last two centuries for the interment of both priests and laity; of the former it is said that scarcely less than 40 lie at rest here. Over the remains of a few of these appear the following inscriptions: -" Here lieth the body of the Rev. Bryan Moore, who departed this life August 3rd, 1746, aged--." (Age obliterated; but as he is stated, in the Registry of 1704, to have been then "aged 49 and some months," he was therefore in his 92nd year at the period of his death.) On the same stone: -
On mural tablets within the church, are the following: -
Another tablet has an inscription to the memory of
the Rev. Henry O'Neill, C.C. of Arles, who died 12th of July, 1876.
This parochial district derives its name from St. Abban, who built a monastery here, according to Trias Thaum., about the year 650, but, according to other authorities, a century earlier. The Martyrology of Donegal, at March 16th, that saint's festival, has the following :- " Abban Mac-ua-Corbmaic of MaghArnaidhe, in Ui Ceinnsealaigh, in Leinster, and of CillAbbain in Ui Muireadhaigh, in Leinster. He was of the race of Labraidh Lorc, son of Ugaine Mor; Miolla, sister of Bishop Ibhair, was his mother, as his life states in the first chapter." There are two saints Abban, commemorated in the Irish Calendars whose acts have become hopelessly entangled. St. Abban, senior, was the nephew of St. Ibhair, named by some as having preceded St. Conlaeth as Bishop of Kildare. St. Ibhair having established himself at Beg-Erin, in Wexford harbour, his nephew, Abban, went there for his education, about the year 490, being then twelve years of age (Ussher). In his Life, by Colgan, his connexion with this locality is thus referred to- "Sanctus Abbanus cum suis clericis, fines Laginensium intravit, et venit in plebem Huathmarchy, et ipsa plebs honorifice recepit eum, et valde gavisa est in ejus adventu. Et vir sanctus benedixit eam diligenter, et multis diversis languoribus ibi sanatis, et miraculis perpetratis, inde recessit in plebem Huarnidhi, ibique magnam monasterium construxit, et propter honorem ejus in eodem loco civitas aedificata est; et monasterium et civitas uno nomine Scoticd vocantur Ceall-Abbain." (AA. ,SS. p. 617.)
A curious passage, regarding the interment of St. Abban, occurs in his Life, by Colgan. It is here given as translated by the author of Loca Patriciana, p. 7, et seq: -" We wish to write some brief details of his decease, and how his holy remains were deposited in the earth. On a certain day when the time of his passage to the heavenly kingdom was at hand, calling together some of his brethren he mentioned to them the day of his departure. The Praepositus of his monastery, who was also the procurator of every requisite in-doors and outside, was born in the town of Ceall Abain, which is in the territory of the North Leinstermen, and which was the first place St. Abban had founded in the land of the Leinstermen-to this Praepositus, alone, he disclosed the precise hour of his dissolution. That very same moment the Praepositus determined to carry away the blessed body of the holy man, and to bring it, if he possibly could, to his own town; he sent messengers to his native place, in order that his own people should collect together the North Leinstermen to come to meet him at the appointed day, and by the road on which these messengers should determine. These orders they obeyed with alacrity, but as the Praepositus had the oxen already mentioned in his charge, because these were for the use of the monastery, as the saint prophesied of them before they were born, they were like monks, nor was there any necessity to urge them to work, as they themselves willingly and meekly obeyed, so that the holy father and the brethren loved them much. The Praepositus placed these oxen beside the waggon in the assigned place on the night on which the holy father foretold his departure for heaven-and the angels on that night were seen visiting the man of God. The Praepositus, knowing from the lips of the saint the precise hour of his departure, ordered all the brethren to retire to rest for some time, except his own accomplices who were cognisant of his plans. Awaiting awhile quietly till the brotherhood had retired, meanwhile the soul of the holy father ascended among the angelic choirs to the heavenly kingdom. The Praepositus with his friends forthwith carried away the sacred body from the monastery, and placed it on the waggon with the aforesaid oxen yoked thereto, which, aware of the precious burthen they carried, began their journey with the attendants. Then the angelic array descended from heaven, singing sweetly around the corpse; and light like the rays of the rising sun, or when he sets in serenity, shining from them, illuminated the whole way. They continued thus until the venerable remains were placed in the grave, while the leaders of the procession walked with quickened paces under the influence of the angelic light.
'At Killabban are the ruins of an ancient Church, consisting of nave and chancel; nave, 45 feet by 22; chancel, 28 feet by 22. The chancel-arch remains; it is 15 feet wide and Norman in style. The entrance-door is in the west gable, it is 3 feet in width, and is round-headed. There is a long lancet window in the east-end, part of the stone casing of which remains, and shows it to have been well-wrought. There appears to be a gable campanile at the west end, but the ruin is so completely covered with luxuriant ivy that it is impossible to trace its architectural features satisfactorily. The fragments of a stone coffin are scattered about within the walls of the church. In Roll of Receipts, Easter term A.D. 1286, John, Clerk of Killabban, because he came not when attached, was fined half a mark. (Cal. State Documents - Sweetman). A Patent Roll, 5th and 6th of Philip and Mary, (Morrin) records the presentation of Edward Shorthall, Clerk, to the Vicarage of Killabban. The name of Theobald Denn, Gent, of Killabban, appears in the Registry of Parish Priests taken in 1704, as surety for Rev.Brian Moore, of Killabban, Rev. Kedagh Moore, of Ballyadams, and Rev. Edmond McGinis, Killeshin. This is, no doubt, the Theobald Denn, Esq., who was appointed one of the Burgesses of Old Leighlin under the Charter granted to that Borough by King James II. On the 4th of July, 1688. Sir Richard Butler, Bart., of Poolstown, (now Paulstown) dying in 1886, Elizabeth, his widow, married Theobald Denn, Esq. (De Brett's Peerage.) In a Return dated 1731 (see Vol I. P. 269,) it is stated that there were in Killabban one Mass-house, two private chapels, four schoolmasters, and two priests; and that several itinerant priests, supposed to be regulars, frequently officiated in the said chapels. In all likelihood, one of these private chapels was at the residence of Theobald Denn or his descendants. For the particulars supplied by a similar return, made, March 29th, 1766, by Edwd. Whitty, Protestant Curate, see Appendix.
GRANGE, OR MONKSGRANGE
This was anciently a distinct Parish, the church of
which is still to be seen, in ruins, between those of Killabban and Sletty
having an ancient burial-ground attached. The name is sometimes written
Grangemonk; and in the Inquisitions it is given as Monksgrange, alias
Kilmagobbock. Within a short distance of the ruinous Church of Grange,
there is another ancient cemetery and, most probably also, the site of
a church. It immediately adjoins Shrule Castle, and is still occasionally
used for interments; the remaining tomb-stones, - the dates on which range
from 1737,- show no incription calling for notice. Sir Jonah Barrington,
in his Personal Recollections, makes reference to this graveyard. In this
district and probably on this site, one of our earliest Monasteries stood;
it was known as that of Sruthair, (a word signifying a Stream) or Sruthaire-Guaire,
now changed into Shrule. According to Archdall, who errneously places
it in the County of Wicklow, this Monastery was presided over by St. Mogoroc,
the brother of St. Canoc, who flourished about the year 492; he was the
patron of the church of Derge, or Dergne, in Huidh-bruin-chualan. His
festival was observed on the 23rd of December. It is entered in the Martyrology
of Tallaght at that date:- "Mogoroc Diergne." Whether Sruthair
be the same as the abbey of Dergne, Colgan cannot determine. The name
Kilmagobbock appears to be a corruption of Killmogoroc, i.e. the Church
of St. Mogoroc.
A.D. 901. Maelpoil, Abbot of Sruthair-Guaire, died. (Id.)
A.D. 952. Caenchomhrac, Abbot of Cill-Easpuig, Saintain, and Sruthair, died. (Id.)
A.D. 1355. The Abbot of Sruthair, McCathail, died. (Annals Donegal.)
In the partition of the property of the native Irish, massacred at Mullaghmast in 1577, that portion lying in this neighbourhood fell chiefly to the lot of the Hartpoles. By an Inquisition taken at Maryborough, the 22nd of May, 1632, it appears, that George Hartpole of Monksgrange was seized in fee tail to himself and his heirs male, of the town and land of Shrowell, of which the hamlets of Ballehorner, Rossenalgan, Ballyrahan, Rathduffe, Ballycollin, Garrybrickin, Aghetinan, and Cappiscribedore are parcel, all of which contain 1 castle, 10 messuages, and 22 acres of land of the small measurement, in the country called Slewmargagh. The aforesaid George was also seized in fee of the lordship of ____, and of the town and land of Newcastle alias Castlenoe, Ballynegall, Ardlisse alias Narlissse, Clonevacan, Clowlenowle, Farnans, Garrans alias Negarran alias Clonecangarran, Kilcloghe, Cossan, Rathtillge, Garrendenny, Killgore, Clonebrocke, Killnemore, Rossenamount, Rosseconse, Emelaghe, Bareneslattye, Ballynekillye, Garrowghe, Aghenecrosse, Tenesraghe, Cargin, farrminabee, Killcollykin, Killagin, and Garrymore, which are all parcels of the said lordship, and contain 1 castle, 20 messuages, and 50 acres of land of the said small measure; 2 messuages in the town of Maryborough, and the town and land of Le Grange of Killmagobbock alias Monksgrange, with the tithes of same, containing 1 castle, 1 water-mill, and 40 acres, with the rectories of Killabban and Corclone, and all the tithes belonging to them, together with the advowson and right of presentation to the vicarage of Killabban aforesaid. The said George Hartpole died on the 24th of January, 1631. Robert Hartpole is his son and heir, was then of the age of 25 years, and married.
The remains of an old castle at Grange have lately been incorporated with a modern dwelling-house. There is another castle at Shrule, built in the reign of Elizabeth by Sir Robert Hartpole, Constable of Carlow Castle and Governor of the Queen's County. This castle has also been fashioned into a modern residence. In the Aphori,smical Discovery, vol. 1, c. 5, it is related that "Robert Harpold, in the Queene's Countie, did (in 1641) make up a troupe, and maned his own casshell of Shrule, for the Irish, within two miles of Caterlogh, soe did Walter Bagnall make a troupe, and tooke Laghlin Bridge; Edward Butler, of Tulloe, mad up men, and James Birne, all those proved verie curagious and earnest in those primer times, and so did all the Irish severally in the respective provinces, that I am confident a 100 English would not face ten Irish in these beginnings, for God did fight for them then, having, as they had, religion as their onely objecte of warfare, and allsoe the English was mightie discouraged, seeing the multitude of Irish in eache province, and how they thrived, that they thought strange where we are soe manie all the while, and persuaded themselves that they rose from porgatorie (which until then they never beleeved) in so much that verie many of the rankest Protestants, nay of theire chiefe ministers, was verie earnest for reconcilement to holy churche, and being received, showed extraordinarie devotion."
There is a local tradition that a priest named Moore, a member of the princely family of O'Moore, who officiated in the parish, was seized at the time of the Cromwellian persecution, and hanged at the cross-roads of Bohernassere, from an oak tree which is still standing. It is further stated that the body of the priest was buried beneath the tree on which he suffered martyrdom.
In the immediate vicinity of this village are the ruins of an ancient church, measuring about 40 feet in length, by 16 feet in width. The western gable, which is nearly perfect, is pierced by a small stone-cased window, 2 feet high by 1 in breadth, and terminates in a bell-turret with opes for two bells. Portions of the side walls remain, and also the east gable in which there is a deeply-splayed window; another window may be traced about mid-way in the south wall. No remarkable inscriptions are observable in the adjoining graveyard. In June, 1786, an earthen urn was dug up in a field beside these ruins, containing many curious coins; these are referred to at page 56 note.
A castle stood at the place so named, some portions of which are still in existence. The period when this stronghold was erected has not been ascertained, but it must have been prior to the year 1346, as it is referred to by Clyn at that date. This writer records a great slaughter of the O'Mores and their followers to the number of 300, at Ballylehane, in the year 1315.
"A.D. 1315. Strages magna Hybernicorum scilicet de O'Morehys et bominibus illorum, circiter 300 occiduntur juxta Bellilethan, in Epiphania Domini." Again, two years later, Clyn states that there was a great defeat of the Irish at Castledermot, by Edmund Butler, and another, of the soldiers of O'More, by the same at Baclethan. (Ba flylehane.) And in another entry in Clyn's Annals, under date 1346, the castle of Ballylehan is expressly referred to, in which it is stated that in the week succeeding Low Sunday, the castles of Ley, Kumeade, and Ballylehane were taken and dismantled by O'More, O'Conor, and O'Dempsy, on Thursday before the feast of the Holy Cross. "A.D. 1346. In hebdomada post Dominicam in Albis, castra de Ley, Kilmehid, et Ballylethan, capiuntur et franguntur per 0 Murthe, O'Konkur, et O'Dymisey, die Jovis in crastino Sanctae Crucis." O'Donovan identifies Ballilethan, as "Ballylehane, Queen's County." As Ballylehane was within the territory of the O'Mores, there can be scarcely a doubt that the castle was built by them. A Branch of the MacDonnells appears to have settled in this locality in the 16th century. On the 7th of May, 1578, an agreement was entered into between Sydney, the Lord Deputy, and the three septs of the Clandonnells, the representative of one of which was Maelmurry McEdmund of Rahin. 'Edmund McDonnell of Rahen,' is named in the Carew Calendar, A.D. 1596, as one of the principal gentlemen of the Queen's County. A Memorial presented by the Irish Council to Essex, in 1599, represents the MacDonnells as then in rebellion with the O'Mores; and about this time their castles of Rahin and Derry were forfeited, and bestowed on Sir R. Greame (See Vol. 2, p. 153.) An Inquisition, taken at Maryborough, 18th April, 1628, sets forth that the late King James, by letters Patent, dated 4th May, 1613, had granted to Sir Richard Greham, and his heirs and assigns intail, the town and lands of Rahinderry, Banganagh, (Shanganagh) . . Killmaronny, Ballelihan alias Ballelinan, Agharow alias Aghenure, Ballecornan, and a moiety of the townland of Balleaghan, containing 4 castles, 20 messuages, and 717 acres; in the town and land of Rahinduff, 6 messuages and 71 acres; in Cremorgan alias Clomorgan, 80 acres of arable and 10 of brushwood and moor; in Dowary and Moneduff 6 messuages and 184 acres; in Rathaspick, Monynebooly, and Killeckly, 4 messuages and 100 acres, and the advowson of the church of Kilbride, to be held of the king, his heirs and successors, in capite, by military service, etc. The said Richard died, 17th Nov., 1626. Thomas Greham was his son and heir, and was then of the age of 40, and married. Two ancient piers, on which armorial bearings are carved, form the entrance to the plot on which stands the ruined castle of Ballylehane.
In the townland of Clonpierce, adjoining Ballylinan, an extensive ruin exists, called in the neighbourhood, the Abbey ofShanecourt, or Old Court. Beyond a passing reference in the Annals of the family of Grace, as a monastery stated to have been built by the O'Mores, nothing is recorded of an abbey having stood here. It is curious that all traditions of what this building really was, have disappeared from the minds of the natives. It was an Episcopal Residence of the Bishops of Leighlin, as is shown by a passage from the Report made, in 1612, by Dr. Ram, Protestant Bishop, and given in Vol. "p.244: -
"The Incroachers of the manor of Shanecourt alias Woodstock, in the Queen's County, are Sir Richard Greame of Ballylehan, Knight, and Piers Ovington of Amorstowne, Esq., who have, the one on the one side, and the other of the other side, so encroached upon the sayd manor, that, whereas it consisted of eight score acres arable land, in the fift yere of Edward the first as by the Excheator then beinge, his accompts appeareth in the King's rowles, and so much hath bin in possession with the Bishop of Leighlin his tennaunt within fiftie years last past; they have left with the house but one acre of land. If I hoped that theis lands could be recovered in lawe by any reasonable charge," &c. The Bishop of Leighlin having a residence here, will account for the fact of his having usually held the rectory of Killabban in conjunction with his See.
Due east of Old Court, at a distance of about half a mile, and with distinct traces of a roadway connecting both places, there is a burial-ground, now disused, in the townland of Clonagh. Sir Charles Coote makes the following reference to this place in his Statistical Survey of the Queen's County :-" There was formerly a monastery at Clonagh; a fine steeple was erected here, and was pulled down by the barbarian who tenanted the ground, for the sake of the limestone of which it was built. The ruins of the monastery are yet to be seen, with the vestige of a curious arch," This, O'Donovan remarks, is shown as a large church on the old map of Leix and Offaly. At the present time there is nothing to indicate the former existence of buildings at this place.
The present Protestant church stands on an ancient church site Local tradition avers that Father Bryan Moore, the then P.P., celebrated mass here on the day on which was fought the Battle of the Boyne. There is also a tradition of a priest having been drowned by accident, in the adjoining river. Some Catholics are still interred in the burial-ground attached to this church. A remarkable mound, probably a Tumulus, stands at a few paces' distance from the church.
The little village of Ballickmoyler was formerly a place of some note. It had a patent for a weekly market, and for two fairs, on March 15th, and November 11th. It suffered much injury in the rebellion of 1798, when half its houses were made a heap of ruins.
SUCCESSION OF PASTORS
In Easter term 1286, JOHN, Clerk of Killabban, because he came not when attached, was fined half a mark. -Pat. Rolls.
THOMAS REUGH appears as the priest of this district in 1612. In Dr. Ram's Return of that date (See Yol. 1, p. 242), "of priests resorting the diocese and the ordinary harbourers of them"-he names "Sir Thomas Reugh, priest, keeping about a xii. month since at the house of Garrat McTeg of Ratellick, in the parish of Killabban: where (his arm being broken) he lay at cure, but since I have not heard of him."
BRYAN MOORE was appointed P.P. in 1686. In the Registry of 1704, he is returned as residing at Ballinagawle in the barony of Slemaregagh, aged 49 and some months, P.P. of Killabban, Grange-Shruile, and Sletty, now and for eighteen years past was ordained at Cloghilla, Co. Kilkenny, in 1678, by Dr. James Phelan, Bishop of Ossory, and his sureties were Theobold Denn of Killabban, gent., and Thomas Muleahill (Mulhall) of Doonane, gent. He was still P.P. in 1733, as appears from Dean Skelton's List (Vol. 1, p. 274), In the burial-ground at Arles, a stone marks the grave of the Rev. Bryan Moore, who departed this life August the 3rd, 1746, aged - years." The age is obliterated; but if this be the grave of the P.P. appointed in 1686, as there is every reason to believe it is, he was 92 years of age at the period of his death.
WILLIAM TAAFFE succeeded. In a Parliamentary Return made in 1766 (See Appendix) we find "the reputed parish priest of Killabban, William Taaffe; reputed assistant, --Roche." How long subsequently Fr. Taaffe survived does not appear. It is most likely that he lies interred at Arles, where there is an inscription to a Rev. James Taaffe, who died in 1763, aged 35 years-probably a relative of the P.P.-his namesake
EDWARD ROCHE, whom we find named as assistant
in 1766, was appointed to the pastoral charge of the parish on the death
of Fr. Taaffe. He died in 1794, when he was succeeded by
Rev. PATRICK HICKEY was then translated to Arles from Hacketstown. He died November 26th, 1857, and was interred at Arles.
Rev. DANIEL M'CARTHY succeeded, for particulars regarding whom see Vol. 1, p. 203. Father M'Carthy survived till 1881, but having been afflicted with mental infirmity during the last 20 years of his life, the parish was placed in charge of Administrators, viz.: -
Rev. JOHN BOLAND, appointed P.P. of Conmore in 1866;
Rev. JOHN D. WYER, appointed P.P. of Leighlin in 1870;
Rev. JAMES BRAY, who died Feb. 5th, 1879, and is interred at Arles;
Rev. THOMAS A. TYNAN, appointed P.P. of Leighlin in 1881;
Rev. FINTAN PEELAN, who, from being Administrator, became P.P. on the death of Father M'Carthy.
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