The name Agher comes most likely from “Achadh” meaning field in Irish. In the mid sixteenth century the area was known as Agherpallis.
Ringfort- There is a ringfort in Agher townland and it is described as a slightly raised circular area defined by earthen bank (diameter 47m) with external fosse. Original entrance at east–south-east. A ringfort or rath is a roughly circular or oval area surrounded by an earthen bank with an external fosse. They functioned as residences and/or farmsteads and broadly date from 500 to 1000 AD.
Motte – 500m to the east of Agher parish church situated on a slight rise on a south facing landscape Agher motte is a flat-topped, grass-covered, sub rectangular earthen mound within a D-shaped, grass-covered bailey. An inner, rectangular bailey may exist around the motte, defined by scarps and a ditch at NW, but this may be the result of landscaping. A motte and bailey is an early form of castle consisting of a flat-topped, steep-sided, earthen mound supporting a wooden tower, with an associated courtyard or bailey, which is often raised and enclosed by a bank and fosse. Constructed by the Anglo-Normans in the late 12th and early 13th century AD.
Deserted Settlement – The deserted settlement is immediately northwest of the outer bailey and the field system. Six definite house platforms defined by slight trenches are located northwest of the motte and bailey. A sunken roadway runs north through settlement to a rectangular enclosure defined by earthen banks. There is a possible windmill mound at the south edge of the settlement, and the field system extends off to the southwest. An abandoned medieval settlement dating from the 13th century to 1550 AD consisting of a group of houses in close proximity with associated land plots, associated with a parish church and/or castle or tower house, often evident as earthworks. A field system is situated in pasture on a gentle south-facing landscape with a small NE-SW stream forming the SE edge. An area of about 15 ha (c. 37 acres) has remnants of a system of rectangular fields defined by banks and ditches. The fields extend off to the southwest of the motte and bailey and the deserted settlement.
Agher until the 18th Century – The Parys family of Agher or Agherpallis are recorded from the fourteenth century and in 1385 Edward Perers possessed two carucates at Agher. In 1534 Christopher Parys was implicated in the rebellion of Silken Thomas, but if they suffered forfeiture they had recovered Agher by the middle of the century. However, the involvement of George Parys in conspiracies with O’Connor of Offaly resulted in the confiscation of Agher about 1550. Although Parys was reconciled to the Crown by 1552, Agher had already been granted to a George Gernon of Louth, who managed to retain it, and Parys received no compensation. In 1567 Gernon secured a lease for 21 years of ‘the castle of Agher, Ballintogher and Trubly’. In 1621 Anthony Gernon held from the King ‘one castle, five messuages, seven cottages, 240 acres of arable land and 200 acres of moor in the town of Agher’. According to the Civil Survey (1656-8) George Gernon of Agherpallice, owned 425 acres at Agherpallice and on the premises were ‘a castle, a church, a pigeon house and some cabins’. He also held 50 acres at Ballintogher in the same parish. After the Cromwellian period Agher was acquired ultimately by Benjamin Pratt from Leicestershire, but in the mid-eighteenth century it passed through marriage to the Winter family, who were the principal family in the parish into the nineteenth century. They probably built Agherpalis House, now removed, and established the landscaped gardens that were worthy of note. These were largely to the west of the house, but the medieval remains south of the old house would also probably have been affected.
Agher House: Agher House stood south of Summerhill village until 1945 when its ruins were removed. The yard with its rows of old style out offices has survived. There was an underground passage leading from the basement of the house to the yard so the servants could not be seen by the occupants of the house. Close to the house was an ornamental pond. There were two avenues into the house; the one which went by the church was the back avenue which led to the farmyard.
In 1652 Samuel Winter, who had received an MA at Cambridge, was made Provost of Trinity College and managed to acquire land in Offaly and at Tullyard, Trim. Following the restoration of Charles II Winter was removed from his position at Trinity College. From his first marriage he had five sons. Samuel, his eldest succeeded him. Two sons, Ebenezer and Gonaught, inherited only 100 acres between them, and that only on condition that “they should reform their wicked lives.” The Winters inter-married with local and newly arrived families particularly the Bomfords.
Francis Winter was born about 1690 and as a younger son had to find his own living as a woollen draper in Dublin. When his older brother, Samuel, died he inherited all the Winter estates. Francis married Margaret, eldest daughter of Benjamin Pratt of Agher. Another branch of the family established themselves at Cabra Castle, Kingscourt. Benjamin Pratt became the first of the Pratts to settle at Agher. The original property of 1150 acres included the townlands of Agherpallice, Ballintogher, and the detached townland of Genetts (Ginnetts) near Galtrim to the north. Benjamin Pratt died in 1706 aged 67 and was succeeded by his second son, Benjamin. This Benjamin married twice, firstly to Jane Nugent and secondly to Elizabeth Moore. His daughter and heiress Margaret married Samuel Winter. Their son, Samuel Winter, was born in 1741 and brought up with his two sisters by their uncle, John Pratt. In 1771 when Benjamin Pratt died Samuel Winter inherited the Pratt estates including Agher, Killeter, Co. Cavan and Killynon, Westmeath. This united the Winter and Pratt estates.
Samuel then rebuilt Agher House and moved to Agher in 1776. The cost of building was such that parts of the estate were sold to generate the necessary revenue. In 1778 and again in 1784 he was High Sheriff of Meath. In 1784 his undersheriff disappeared with public funds and Samuel had to make good the loss. He died aged 70 on 19th May 1811 and was the first occupier of the Winter vault, which he had constructed. His eldest son, John Pratt Winter, was born in 1768 and educated at Rev Oliver Miller’s school at St Mary Abbey, Trim. He became a barrister and magistrate. Marrying Anne Gore, the couple made their home at Eccles Street, Dublin. The couple then moved to Agher until their home at Tullyard was completed.
In 1798 John Pratt Winter resigned his position as captain in the Lawyer’s Corps of the Yeomanry as he could not accept the government’s actions of ill treating the ordinary people and burning the houses of the peasantry. In the Statistical Survey of County Meath, printed in 1802 for the Dublin Society, Agher and the Winters are cited in this book on a number of occasions for their go-ahead farming techniques; the sowing of winter wheat, manuring of land in winter by deliberate flooding, the rotation of tillage and pasture, the introduction of clover as a crop, drainage by covered sewers, movable fences and hedges of furze were all at least thought about by Samuel Winter and his son John Pratt if they had not actually experimented with them. This Meath Survey states “the tenants at Augher have more the appearance of real comfort than those of any estate that I have seen in the county, by the addition of a good kitchen garden to each house.”
In 1803 John was appointed a Resident Magistrate for Meath and Kildare; in 1804 he was made Deputy Governor of Meath and in 1805 High Sheriff. His father died in 1811 and John inherited Agher and the other Winter estates, all of which were heavily charged to provide portions for the younger children under the terms of his parent’s marriage settlement. Agher was badly damaged in February 1813 when these two brothers, Sam aged 17, and Arthur aged 15, “caused a basin of gunpowder to explode in the upper storey”.
He stayed on at Tullyard until his mother died in 1814 when the whole family moved to Agher.
In 1817 his financial position was so serious that he was forced to lease Agher and take his wife and the younger members of the family, including young George and Samuel Bomford to live in a boarding house in Paris. They remained there for seven years, returning in l824. John Pratt Winter was known to the Bomford family as “The Ruffian.” John Pratt Winter died in 1846.
John’s sister, Anna Maria Winter, never married but did published three books; “Some Thoughts on the Moral Order of Nature,” “The Fairies and other Poems” and a poem “The Ideal Confidant.”
Samuel Winter, the eldest son of John Pratt Winter, was a justice of the peace and Deputy Lieutenant of Meath. In 1837 he was elected High Sheriff of Meath and in 1851 of Cavan. He was a guardian of the Trim Union (Workhouse) and in 1861 was Chairman of the Guardians. Samuel died in 1867 and was buried with his wife, Lucy, in the Winter vault at Agher Church.
Samuel’s brother, Arthur Gore Winter, went to Greece as a member of Lord Bryon’s Expedition. Another brother, John Pratt Winter (the younger) became a portrait painter.
In 1836 the house was described as an excellent house with good out offices, garden and orchard. The townland was well wooded with fences were planted with ash trees and a large portion of Agherpallis was planted with ornamental shrubs and trees. The demesne consisted of 360 acres.
A member of the family, Samuel Pratt Winter, left Ireland in 1833 for Van Diemen’s Land. His wife was Frances Bomford from a neighbouring family. His brothers Trevor and George joined him in Australia. Samuel established himself at Murndal. Samuel managed to acquire 19,000 acres freehold and 12480 acres on licence. He collected paintings and built up a library of more than 1000 books. He had an Aborigine boy in livery mounted on his horse’s croup on his visits to the Melbourne club. He introduced Pyrenean sheepdogs to guard his flocks and wrote a poem in 1874 commemorating his invention of a swing gate for drafting sheep. Before his death he had instructed his brother to bury him where the Aborigines were buried and to mark his grave with a stone cairn but this created a shocked reaction in the community and the request had to be modified to a more conventional burial.
Another member of the family, John Pratt Winter, was a captain in her Majesty’s 17th regiment of light dragoons (lancers). He fell gloriously leading the second squadron of his regiment in the heroic but disastrous charge of the Light Cavalry Brigade on the Russian army at Balaklava before Sebastopol in the Crimea on 25th October 1854 in the 26th year of his age. A memorial in the interior of Agher Church commemorates this member of the family.
James Sanderson Winter was born in 1832 and succeeded to an estate which included 1640 acres in Meath, 861 in Westmeath, 940 in Cavan and 206 in Kildare, a total estate of 3,647 acres. He graduated MA from Trinity, joined the Royal Meath Militia as a Captain, became a justice of the peace; was elected High Sheriff of Co Cavan in 1871 and of Co Meath the next year. James erected a number of new estate buildings including a school and stewards house. James Sanderson Winter died unmarried on 10th July 1911 and was the last Winter to be buried in the family vault at Agher. His estates were passed to his nephew, Lieut-Colonel Edward Winter Purdon, the eldest son of his sister Elizabeth Anne, with the proviso that he took the surname of Winter, which he did in 1912.
When Edward Winter Purdon died in 1927 Agher passed to his eldest son, Captain Charles Edward Purdon-Winter. In 1936 Agher was sold to the Land Commission, which split the estate into separate lots. The house fell into ruins. The old yard survives as does the seven feet square underground passage leading from the basement of the old house to the yard.
Agher Church: Agher church stands just outside the garden of Agher House and so formed part of the estate. Located towards the bottom of a S-facing slope. Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel at Agher as ruinous. According to Dopping (1682) the church and chancel walls were out of repair since 1641 but the graveyard was enclosed . The site of the medieval parish church is within the D-shaped graveyard which is defined by an earthen bank or scarp and by masonry walls. There is no visible trace of an older structure, but a slate grave slab dated 1771 and now in the graveyard includes the phrase ‘beneath this floor’ and would have come from the older structure. Jonathan Swift was rector at Agher from 1699 until his death in 1745 but he lived at Laracor when he was not away in Dublin or London. By 1793, when John Bolton was in charge, the Church and walls were “badly out of repair since 1641”. John Bolton lived at Ratoath, eight miles away, and his curate was William Major. The curate lived at the Glebe House beside the school on Agher estate just north of Rahinstown. In 1804, a new church was erected to seat one hundred. The cost was mainly borne by the local land-owner, Samuel Winter, who made a gift of £450 and later, to make up the short-fall, a loan of £168. The church is renowned for its east window. Made in Dublin by Thomas Jervais, it is the second earliest known piece of Irish-made stained glass. The unusual subject is St Paul preaching to the Athenians on top of Mars Hill outside the Court of Areopagus. The design was inspired by a cartoon of Raphael and was created by painting on glass rather than using stained glass. The window was originally erected in the private chapel of Dangan Castle, the seat of the Wellesley family, which burnt down in the 1809. The window was presented to Agher by the O’Connor family, who were then occupying Dangan. Soon after the new Agher church was constructed Samuel Winter erected a family burial vault in the churchyard. Agher church was re-built in 1902.
Agher Church And Graveyard Co. Meath Tablets And Headstones: Recorded by Dr. Beryl F.E. Moore & Ml. Kenny. 1975. Full details in County Library, Navan.
Agher Church Co. Meath consists of Nave, Chancel, Porch and Vestry. John O’Donovan visited this small Church and met the then Rector (The Rev. John Kellett) and remarks in a letter that ‘the Church has neither tower nor steeple’. The present Church is on the same site and has a small tower. There is said to have been an earlier Church in the S.E. corner.
Tablets and Memorials of Interest:
- Pratt 1706-71 Benjamin Pratt of Agher Esqr who departed this life the 3rd day of June 1706
- Winter 1854 . . . White marble tablet with ‘Virtute’ at the top: “Sacred to the memory of John Pratt Winter Esqr Captain in her Majesty’s 17th. Regt. of light dragoons (Lancers). He fell gloriously leading the second squadron of his regiment in the heroic but disastrous charge of the light cavalry brigade on the Russian army at Balaklava before Sebastopol in the Crimea 25th. October 1854 in the 26th year of his age leaving no blot on his name, looking proudly to Heaven from the deathbed of fame”. R. Kirk RHA Sculpt. at bottom.
- Rowley 1917 . . . Brass tablet with “In memory of Honble George Cecil Rowley 2nd Lieutenant King’s Royal Rifle Corps Son of the 4th Baron Langford killed in action near Miraunmont 17th Feb. 1917 aged 20. Buried near Miraunmont”. Below Sawier Dublin.
- Rowley 1916 . Honble Noel Maud Rowley daughter of the 4th Baron Langford.
- Small Stained Glass Window representing Charity. “In memoriam Baroness Langford OB 16 Dec. 1901”.
- Langford 1901 Georgina Mary wife of the 4th. Baron Langford who died December 16th 1901 aged 35 years.
- Ferguson 1849 . The Ferguson Family are said locally to have died as a result of the famine and been buried inside this enclosure.
- Ferguson 1844 .“Died on the 3rd of December 1844 aged 47 Robert Ferguson third son of John Ferguson late of Summerhill County Meath”.
- Orme 1923 . “In memory of Annette Mary Orme died 22 July 1923. In thy sight we shall see light”.
- Richardson 1805 . “Hear lies the body of Mrs Margaret Richardson who departed this life 13th of July 1805 aged 21 yrs”.
- Norton 1810 – 21 . “Erected by Jane Norton in memory of her beloved husband Malachi Norton who depd life 27 of Oct. 1819 aged 74 yrs.
- Trotter 1838-60 . “Sacred to the memory of Maria the beloved wife of David Trotter Esqr M D of Summerhill in this County who departed this life 26th June 1838 aged 34 years.
- Trotter 1921 . “In loving memory of Major W.J. Trotter R A M C 7TH Nov. 1921 aged 62.
- Purdon 1877 – 1948 . . . “Purdon of Ardrums
- Couper 1944 . “Kathleen Mary Ireland Couper dearly loved wife of Major J R Couper D S O, A and S H, and daughter of Col. B R Purdon R N . . . . . . . 8.1.1882 AND 30.5.1944”.
- Purdon 1903 – 4 . . Bartholomew Purdon of Ardrums
- Purdon 1856 . . . A Bartholomew Purdon of Clonymore
- Purdon 1821-54 . Henry Purdon Esqr of Hotwell
- Purdon 1862 – 1920 . Henry Purdon of Hotwell
- Trotter 1913-4 . “In loving memory of Elizabeth Catherine dearly loved wife of David Trotter M D Summerhill died May 15th 1913 aged 91 years.
- Trotter 1856 – 1912 . .. “In loving memory of Kate Maria Trotter born 11th. January 1858 died Easter Sunday April 9th 1871.
- Bomford 1899 . “In loving memory of Eleanor Louise dearly loved daughter of George and Maud Bomford died 13th Sept. 1899 aged one year. ‘Is it well with the child? It is well’.”
- Bomford 1854 . “Sacred to the memory of Arthur Chichester Bomford younger and dearly beloved child of George and Arbella Bomford of Oakley Park who departed this life on the 14th October 1854 in the 4th year of his age”.
- Bomford 1837 .“Here lyeth the body of Arbella Anna infant daughter of George and Arbella Bomford who departed this life February 1837 aged 3 months. ‘Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven’”.
- McKay 1928-35 .. “In loving memory of our beloved mother Elizabeth McKay Moy Summerhill Co. Meath died 12th February 1932.
- Seaton 1770-87 . . .. “Here lies the body of Charles Seaton of Trim who died the 31st day of May 1770 in the 56th year of his age. An honest man, respected by the great, humane to the poor and sincere to all. Here lies the body of Elizabeth Seaton his widow who died the 19th June 1787. Respected and lamented by all her friends”.
- Martin 1741 “Here lies interrd Mrs. Elizabeth Martin who died the ninth day of December 1741 aged fifty eight years. In memory of her faithful service for twenty eight years to Clotsworthy Upton Esqr and his daughter Mrs Elizabeth Rowley this tone is inscribed”.
- Skeath 1773 .“This stone was erected by Mrs. Ann Kelly in memory of her mother Mrs Ann Skeath who departed this life September the third 1773 aged sixty three years”.
- Bradly 1746 . “Here lyeth ye body of Elizabeth Bradly who departed August 1746 aged 19 years”.
- Seaton 1735 – 6 “Here lyeth the body of Mrs Elizabeth Seaton wife to Mr Charles Seaton who departed this life Ye 26th of Feb. 1735 aged 35 years. Also Hercules their son died July Ye 4. 1736 aged 21 months”.
- Borne 1760 . “This stone was erected by Elinore Bourne of Summerhill in memory of her father and mother-in-law Anthony and Mary Borne. Also in memory of her found husband Anthony Junr their son with three more of his brothers he departed April 17th 1760 aged 35 years”.
- Chandler 1805 . “Erected by Robt and John Chandler in memory of their respected father Jno Chandler who departed this life the 3rd day of March 1805 aged 70 yrs. Here also interred Elinor and Jno Chandler children of Jno Chandler”.
- Chandler 1911-65 . . “Erected by Elizabeth Chandler in loving memory of Robert Chandler died 28th March 1941. Also his daughter Annie Forbes died 24. April 1944. Also Thomas Chandler died 5. Nov. 1946. Robert John Chandler infant son died Oct. 1911. Thomas Smyth died 22nd Feb. 1965 aged 76 yrs.”
- Dennis 1734-1800 “Here lyeth the body of Mr George Dennis who departed this life the third day of March in the year of Our Lord 1734 aged 64 years. Here also lyeth the body of his granddaughter Elizabeth Bryan of Springvalley who departed this life the 17th of Feb. 1800 aged 76 yrs”
- Wood 1729-52 .It is the oldest stone in the graveyard. “Here is interred the body of Alexander Wood M A 37 years Pastor of the Church of Protestant Dessenters at Summerhill. A man of approved integrity, a judicious and useful preacher, his conversation which happily varied the profitable and pleasant was universally acceptable. He died Feb. 8. 1747 in his 64 year. Here are likewise interred the bodies of Hercules who died July 25.17 29 in his second year and of Anne who died May 26. 1732 in her second year children of Mr. Wood”.
- Chandler 1908 .. “In loving memory of Edward Chandler who died 22. Oct. 1909 aged 75 years. Also his son Edward J. Chandler died 13 May 1908 aged 21 years. Also his wife Charlotte died 3 Oct. 1917 aged 61 years. ‘Until the day break’s’.”
- Murray 1759. “This stone was erected by Mrs Elizabeth Pratt daughter of Arthur Judge of Mosstown in the County of Westmeath Esqr in memory of Honora Murray the tender nurse who died Septr Ye 11th 1759 aged 82 yrs and lies here intered with her two sons Dennis and Daniel”.
- Mc Nabb 1796-1804 . .. “Erected in the year 1804 by Saml McNabb of Summerhill to the memory of his wife Mrs Elizth McNabb died Novbr Ye 16th 1796 aged 36 years and also to the memory of two of his children Marcella aged 9 years and William aged 1 year and 5 months who both died in the same year and month of their mother”
- McNab 1754 “Here lyeth ye body of Elizabeth McNab wife of David McNab of ye city of Dublin clothier who departed this life 4th of Janry 1754 aged 74 years and 3 of her grand-children died young”.
- Weeks 1756. “Here lys interred Joseph Weeks who dyed Ye 20, Novr 1756 aged 69 years”.
- Shannon 1747 “Here lyeth the body of Christopher Shannon who died May 27th 1747 aged 9 months”.
- Blackburn 1843-57 “AD 1843. Erected by John Blackburn in memory of his father who departed this life Jany 30th 1843 aged 64 years. Also his mother who depd this life July 25th 1857 aged 75 years”.
- Bliss 1757 . “Here lieth the body of William Bliss formerly of London builder who died at Dengan 10th Octr 1757 aged 35 years”.
- Butler 1894-1948 .. “Erected in loving memory of Richard Butler died 10 June 1936 aged 68. John Butler died 26 Jan. 1910 aged 16. Matthew died 25 May 1907 aged 20. Margaret died 27 Dec. 1894 aged 2. Rose Butler died 12 August 1948. R I P”.
- Fitzsimons 1775-85 . . “Here lieth the body of Joseph Fitzsimons who died Jan 20th 1775 aged 57 yrs. His brother Thos Fitzsimons died Febry the 3. 1783 aged 70 yrs. Also his brother Michl Fitzsimons died Novr 23. 1785 aged 76 yrs. Erected by Ther Three sons”.
- Seymour 1886 “In loving memory of Godfrey Seymour second son of the Revd Robert Seymour and Frances Jane Seymour. Born 25 March 1885 died 11 March 1886. ‘We asked life of thee, and thou gravest him a long life, even forever and ever’
- Divine 1793-6 . . “This stone was erectd by Michl Divine in memory of his father Richard Divine who died May the 16. 1793 aged 56 yrs. Also his uncle Andw Divine May the 1. 1796 aged . . . . . yrs”.
- Fannan 1771- 3 . “This stone was erectd by Patt. Fannan in memory of his father Michael Fannan who died the 18 of January 1773 aged 50 years. Also his brother James Fannan died Ye 17 of Septr 1771 aged 24 yrs”.
- Earls 1884-1920 . “Erected by Laurence Earls Agher in loving memory of his father James Earls died 21 Sept. 1894 aged 55 years. Also his mother Anne Earls died 16 Aug. 1906 age 69 years. His brother James died 8 Aug. 1884 age 22 years. His sister Lizzie died 10 July 1906 age 35 years and his sister Kate Cribbin died Dec. 25. 1920 age 45 years R I P”.
- Higgins 1802-5 “This stone was erected by Thos Higgins in memory of his mother Mary Higgins who departed this life on the 5th of August 1805 aged 46 years. Also his grandmother Catherine Higgins who depd this life the 3rd of Octr 1802 aged 72 years. May eternal bliss be their portion. Amen”.
- Magill 1805-10 . . . “In this place is interrd the remains of Messrs. Jas. Jno and Richd McGill late of Summerhill in the Coy of Meath. Jas died 9th Decemr 1805 aged 25 yrs. Jno died 1st. March 1808 aged 22 yrs. Richd died 29th Apl 1808 aged 19th yrs. Also the body of Richd Magill of Rathrone in the Co. of Meath Esqr who departed this life 6th Decemr 1809 aged 60 yrs. Here also is interred the rems of Mrs Elizath Magill relict of the above named Richd who departed this life 18th Sept 1810 aged 59 yrs. A kind and tender parent. To whose respected memory this stone has been erected by her most affectionate and dutiful daughters.
- Roe 1872-1966 . . “Erected in affectionate remembrance to Thomas Roe of Athboy who died on 5th July 1875, and his wife Margaret who died on 5th July 1872 by his own son Joseph and his brother Joseph Roe of Stokestown. Joseph Roe died 21 Mar. 1888. Joseph Roe died 31 Dec. 1904. Also Daisy Roe died 7 Nov. 1950 and Annie Douglas died 5 April 1959. Also Thomas Albert Roe of Stokestown died 5 Oct. 1966”. Below ‘Into thine hand I commit my spirit. Thou hast redeemed me O Lord God of truth’ Psalm 31. 5.
- Rock 1889-91 “In loving memory of Alex Rock late of Agher who died 29th Decr. 1891 aged 60 years. Also his daughter Katie wife of Fredk Perry who died 20th Sept. 1889 aged 26 years.
- Rock 1937-65 . . . Small stone rounded at top. “In loving memory of Thomas Rock who died 11 Nov. 1949. Also his wife Letitia died 20 Nov. 1937. Also her daughter Annie Elliott wife of Edward Elliott died 29 March 1965. ‘Your Heavenly Father Knoweth’.”
- Kellett 1848-76 . “Blessed are the dead that die in the lord. This tomb erected by A D Kellett to the memory of her beloved husband the Rev. John Kellet who departed this life July 20th 1848 aged 87. He was 61 years in the Sacred Ministry 39 of which he was rector of Agher. Nought can disturb this heir of life, his worldly cares are fled, to be with Christ was his desire, and he is now perfected.” Lower down “Here also rest the remains of Mrs Anne Dawson Kellett relict of the above named Rev. John Kellett who departed this life May 23rd 1876 aged 73 Yrs”.
- Brown 1971-2 “In loving memory of Robert Brown who died 12th July 1971 and his wife Elaine who died 8th April 1972”.
- Hall 1883-1965 . “In memory of William Hall of Aberdeen who died at Summerhill 12th August 1883 aged 54 years. Also Marianne wife of the above died March 11th 1934 and their daughters Mary Jane died 26th August 1937. Wilhemia died 23rd November 1953. Agnes Ellen Hall died 28th September 1965”.
- Douglas 1934-58 . . “In loving memory of John Douglas Rahinstown died 13th Feb. 1934. aged 74 years. Also his sister Annie Douglas died 21stNov. 1958”.
- Lauder 1870 . . “Sacred to the memory of the Reverend Robert Lauder for twenty one years Rector of this Parish died July 23. 1870 aged 68 yrs. Also to the memory of Albert Bernard Lauder oldest son of the above died at sea February 6. 1870 aged 25 yrs”.
- Reid 1879 . “Erected by Mr. John Reid of Summerhill in this County in memory of his dearly beloved daughter Elizabeth Reid who departed this life June 18th 1869 aged 20 years. Anne Reid born 1813 died 27th November 1879. John Reid born 1805 died 11th December 1882”. On north side of the monument we get “Margaret Reid born 1850 died 1st. April 1885.
- Vance 1844? … “This stone is erected to the respected memory of Mrs. Martha Vance late of Summerhill who on the 15th Febry 1844? to her redeemer in her 80th year. This stone is erected by her affectionate son. Rest in peace”.
- Hobin 1890 . “Erected to the memory of Elizabeth Hobin who died at Agher 3rd February 1890 aged 85 years. A faithful servant and trusted friend for more than 50 years in the Family of the late Samuel Winter of Agher”.
- Duncan 1908-12 . “In loving memory of Charlotte Duncan who died July 30th 1912 in her 75th year. Also of her dearly loved adopted child Faith Thomas who died Sept. 20th 1908 in her 15th year. Rest in the Lord”.
- Lauder 1906-51 . . “In loving memory of Barbara Ellen infant daughter of William and Margaret Lauder who died 12th Dec. 1906. Also of their only son William David who died 15th June 1939 in his 27th year. And of their daughter Euphemia Margaret who died 28th Sept. 1941 aged 33 years. Also in loving memory of Margaret Lauder who died 7th Feb. 1951 aged 73 years. Also the above William Lauder who died 24th Dec. 1951, aged 83 years. Reunited”.
- Willock 1929-54 . . . “Erected in loving memory of my dear wife Esther V. Willock called Home 2nd January 1954. Also my dear father Benjamin Willock called Home 5th January 1929 and my dear mother Frances Willock called Home 22nd. September 1931”.
- Marshall 1783 . . “Here lies Mrs. Elizabeth Marshall who departed this life the 27th Novr 1783 aged 6- years. Erected by Willm Marshall”.
- Barnard 1956-74 . .“In loving memory of James Barnard Summerhill died 8th January 1956 aged 62, late R F A 1914-1918 war. George Barnard late Northumberland Fusiliers died 1st April 1964 aged 77. Hannah Barnard beloved wife of Thomas Barnard died 24th Feb. 1964 aged 71. The above Thomas died 8th April 1974 aged 83”.
- Barnard 1915-33 “In loving memory of my dear brother William Barnard Northumberland Fusiliers killed in action 11th March 1915 aged 19. My dear parents Thomas Barnard late Northumberland Fusiliers died 21 May 1919 aged 69. His wife Sarah died 30th July 1929 aged 68. My dear husband William Widdis late Rifle Brigade died 6 Jan 1933 aged 49”.
- George 1924-66 . . . A plain stone with a little leafy design on each side within a curb. “In loving memory of Susan E. George who passed away at Agher 4th April 1924 in her 17th year…
- Glanville 1956-67 “In memory of my beloved husband Thomas Albert Glanville, the Glebe, Agher died 31st August 1959 aged 66 years. Also his wife Phyllis Marjorie died 21st January 1967 aged 67 years”.
- Booth 1947-62 . “In memory of my beloved wife Elizabeth Booth who died 27th June 1947 aged 50 years. Also her husband John L. Booth died 15th March 1962”.
- Mc Dermott 1965 “In loving memory of Robert McDermott Ardrums Agher died 25. May 1965”.
- Langford 1919 “To the beloved memory of Hercules Edward 4th Baron Langford K C V O. B. 1st June, 1848 D. 29th Oct. 1919”
- Rowley 1916 . “In loving memory of the Honourable Noel Maud Rowley daughter of the 4th Lord Langford who passed away on the 28th Jany 1916 aged 22 years”.
Agher Schoolhouse: Agher Schoolhouse built in 1879 by the local landlords, the Winters, to provide education for the families who lived on the estate. Red brick walls with date plaque, yellow brick decorative detailing and limestone strings courses. Though Agher House is now demolished, this former school forms part of an interesting group of related structures, with the steward’s and Agher church, which were built by John Sanderson Winters. The architectural design this building, with its gabled and projecting elements, are unusual in the Irish context. The survival of many original features and materials enhance this architectural design. The building is a colourful addition to the streetscape, with its purple slate roof, red and yellow brick walls and grey limestone dressings. Plaque reads: ‘J.S.W. 1879’.
Steward’s House: Detached three-bay two-storey red brick former estate steward’s house, dated 1894, now in use as private dwelling. Hipped slate roof with decorative eaves course, rendered chimneystacks and crested ridge tiles. Bay window, entrance porch and oriel window to south elevation. Single-storey extensions to east and north, two-storey extension to north and timber windows replaced c.1985. This steward’s house forms part of an interesting group of related structures, with Agher school and Agher church, which were built by John Sanderson Winters. This house is of an interesting architectural design, due to its irregular form. The varying treatment of the windows, with a bay window and an oriel window to the entrance elevation are notable features. The house is a colourful addition to the surrounding landscape, with it red brick walls, moulded brick eaves course and terracotta ridge cresting. Plaque reads: ‘J.S.W. 1894’.
Tithes (1832) Families in Agher townland: –Burke, Byrne, Chandler, Caffrey, Dunn, Ennis, Fullam, Gravell, Gowran, Guggerty, Hendrick, Healey, Keena, Keeffe, Kiernan, Mullaghan, Mullaly, Monaghan, Ryan, Richardson, Rick, Toole, Winter.
Griffith’s Valuation (1854/5) –Families in Agher townland: Byrne, Chanler, Dunne, Ennis, Fullam, Gogarty, Goggins, Gowran, Healy, Lord Langford, Lawler, Mallalley, McKay, Mulligan, Richardson, Ryan, Smith, Smyth, Thompson, Toole, Winter.
1901 Families in the Census in Agher townland: Anderson, Buchanan, Bradley, Byrne, Carlow, Chandler, Cleary, Cowly, Earls, Elliott, Ennis, Gardiner, Goodfellow, Gogarty, Gough, Gowran, Grehan, Greig, Greville, Griffin, Halligan, Healy, Hussey, Kane, Kearney, Keefe, Keenan, Kiernan, King, McCann, McKay, Melia, Mulligan, Murphy, Murrin, Nangle, Nixon, Pratt, Richardson, Rock, Ryan, Smith, Stuart, Thompson, Winter.
1911 Families in the Census in Agher townland: Blakeney, Buchanan, Buddock, Butler, Carroll, Caldwell, Chandler, Connor, Cubbin, Duncan, Dundas, Earls, Elliott, Ennis, Forbes, Gardiner, Gogarty, Graham, Grehan, Greville, Halligan, Healy, Hegarty, Henshall, Hussey, Kearney, Leahy, McCann, McMullen, Melia, Morgan, Morteshed, Mullagher, Murphy, Murray, Murrin, Nangle, Pratt, Reilly, Richardson, Rock, Ryan, Stuart, Thompson, Winter.
Ardrums – Great and Little
Ardrums is in the civil parish of Rathcore but it is in the Catholic parish of Summerhill and Coole. It comes from the Irish words, ard druim, meaning high hill or long ridge.
Ringfort – In the 1836 and 1900 OS maps a fort is shown to the south of Agher School at the northern end of Ardrums Great townland. It is described as a circular area defined by earthen bank (diam. 30m) with external fosse. Original entrance cannot be determined. Ringforts or raths were a roughly circular or oval area surrounded by an earthen bank with an external fosse. They functioned as residences and/or farmsteads and broadly date from 500 to 1000 AD.
Tithe Applotment Books (1826) Families in Ardrums townlands Silth, Little and Great: Bany, Bradley Brilly, Burn, Coyne, Digmund, Drum, Hannan, Mulligan, Purdon, Reilly, Watson.
Griffith’s Valuation (1854/5) Families in Ardrums Great townland: Barry, Clarke, Connaghtan, Durgin, Kelly, McDonnell, Purdon, Tully, Watson.
1901 Families in the Census in Ardrums Great townland: Barry, Brilly, Donegan, Fogarty, Gallagher, Higgins, Lynam, Maxwell, Mulligan, Purdon, Reilly, Reynolds, Sweeney, Tully.
1911 Families in the Census in Ardrums Great townland: Brilly, Day, Donegan, Hard, Lynam, Minor, Mullagher, Purdon, Reilly, Reynolds, Smith, Smyth, Tully, White.
Griffith’s Valuation (1854/5) Families in Ardrums Little townland: Barry, Reilly and Watson.
1901 Families in the Census in Ardrums Little townland: Clavin.
1911 Families in the Census in Ardrums Little townland: Clavin
Ardrums House – Ardrums House is in the townland of Ardrums Great and the civil parish of Rathcore, near Enfield. Henry Purdon acquired Ardrums about 1800. Henry was residing there in the 1830s. In the 1850s Ardrums was in the possession of his son, Bartholomew Purdon. Bartholomew married Maria Trotter, daughter of Doctor Trotter of Summerhill, at Laracor in 1847 and he died at Ardrums in 1904. They had four boys and three girls. David William Purdon succeeded his father in 1904. David had been a colonel in the Indian Army. He served during the Rumpa Rebellion 1881, in the Burma War 1887-88, and in Great War, 1914-19. David died in 1948 and was buried at Agher churchyard. The estate was sold shortly afterwards.
Balastran, also Ballastrum, is a small townland with Gardaice townland to the south and Drumlargan to the west. It contains only 56 acres and in 1836 was owned by Mr. Balfour of Townley Hall, near Drogheda. He was leasing it to Edward Brannan for a period of 21 years.
Griffith’s Valuation (1854/5) Families in Balastran: Costello, Maguire.
1901 Families in the Census in Balastran townland: None
1911 Families in the Census in Balastran townland: None
Ballinatogher or Ballinatogee is derived from the Irish, Baile an Tochair, meaning the town of the causeway. It would appear that there was a mill in this townland. The Ryewater river bounds the townland.
In 1836 it was the property of John Pratt Winter and leased by Michael Connolly at £1 10s an acre.
1901 Families in the Census in Ballintoghee townland: Byrne, Smyth, Lynch.
1911 Families in the Census in Ballintoghee townland: Byrne, Kelroy.
In 1836 the chapel at Cooldurnin was described as a “neat thatched house surrounded by trees and capable of accommodating about 300 persons.” It was a T shaped building with mud walls. Described as being at Cooldurnin. Tradition says this building was replaced by the present chapel and opened on 15th August 1843. The parishioners walked to Tara for the great Repeal meeting after the first Mass.
Repeal Meeting on Tara – On Tuesday morning, the 15 August 1843, most of the population of Meath, with many thousands from the four counties round, were pouring along every road leading to Tara. Daniel O’Connell organised a rally on the Hill on 15 August 1843, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to support his call for the repeal of the Act of Union.
Having achieved Catholic Emancipation in 1829 Daniel O’Connell turned his attention to repeal of the Act of Union. This act was passed in 1800 removing Ireland’s right to have a parliament of its own and the country was ruled from London. Daniel O’Connell wanted an independent parliament for Ireland under the crown and blamed the Union for all the ills of Ireland. The first public meeting took place in Trim on 16th March 1843. There was an attendance of thirty thousand people.
Daniel O’Connell held one of his largest Repeal meetings on the Hill of Tara on 15 August 1843. O’Connell had breakfast in Lower Baggot Street before departing for Tara. He travelled through Dunshaughlin to loud cheers and music. At Belper O’Connell was met by the men of Trim, Navan and Kells with their bands. The Trim band was dressed in a white uniform faced with brilliant green. Father McEvoy of Kells carried a large banner.
From early Monday morning people were arriving in the vicinity of Tara and erecting tents to provide overnight accommodation. Navan was the rendezvous for the groups coming from the North and North West. At Tara the multitudes assembled were estimated in the Nation at 750,000; an exaggeration, certainly. But they were at least 350,000. Two bishops and thirty five priests were present as, soon after midday, O’Connell’s carriage made its way up to the top of the hill through an archway that included the words ‘Tara of the Kings hails the Liberator with 100,000 welcomes’. It took O’Connell’s open carriage two hours to make its way through the vast crowd.
O’Connell spoke “Tara is surrounded by historical reminiscences which give it an importance worthy of being considered by everyone who approaches it for political purposes and an elevation in the public mind which no other part of Ireland possesses. We are standing upon Tara of the Kings, the spot where the monarchs of Ireland were elected, and where the chieftains of Ireland bound themselves by the solemn pledge of honour to protect their native land against Dane and every stranger. This was emphatically the spot from which emanated every social power and legal authority by which the force of the entire country was concentrated for national defence. On this important spot I have an important duty to perform. I here protest in the face of my country and my God against the continuance of the Union.” There were huge cheers for O’Connell’s words. O’Connell described the assembly “an august and triumphant meeting.”
The British government banned the next monster meeting set for Clontarf. O’Connell cancelled the meeting and lost a huge amount of support for doing so. O’Connell returned to Tara for another monster meeting in May 1845 but the Repeal movement was running out of stream. There was none of the excitement of the meeting two years earlier.
Parnell – Many Meath people were devoted to Charles Stewart Parnell, who had entered Westminster as their MP in 1875. The loyalty of many of them was unaffected by the divorce court revelation in 1890 of his adultery with Katharine O’Shea, which caused the split that continued even after his death in 1891. However, Bishop of Meath Thomas Nulty preached that no Parnellite voter could ‘continue a Catholic.’ The bishop then nominated Michael Davitt, founder of the Land League, to unseat North Meath’s Parnellite MP, Pierce Mahony (who is commemorated in the name of Navan’s GAA club).
While the Parnellites successfully petitioned the courts to have Davitt’s election – and that of Patrick Fulham, his colleague in South Meath – annulled because of ‘undue clerical influence’, new anti-Parnellite candidates narrowly won the ensuing by-elections.
Fr. John Fay was appointed parish priest of Summerhill and Coole in 1889. He died in 1904 and was buried at Coole. He was described as a “most laborious and zealous and charitable priest.” He was impetuous by nature and took a strong anti-Parnellite position so much so that he spent a month in Mountjoy prison for contempt of court during hearing of the South Meath petition of 1892. The petition sought to annul the election of 1892 due to the influence of the church on the election. Over 50 police with several officers of high rank made the arrest and took him to the railway at Ferns Lock. A procession of more than 100 cars accompanied them and on his release, Fr. Fay was brought home in triumph.
Schools: In 1788 there were three schools in the parish. There was a hedge school at Gallow. In 1824 a school was held in a mudwalled thatched house in Coole. In 1836 there were two schools in Agher, one taught by the Clerk of the Protestant Church and attended by about 20 Protestants. This school was supported by the Rector of the parish and the Winter family. The other school was attended by about 40 Catholics which was supported by the scholars themselves.
In 1955 work on a new school at Coole began and the building opened a year later.
Culcor, also Culcor and a variety of other spellings and possible two townlands of the same name, comes from the Irish Cúil Corr, the corner of the cranes. In 1654 the Civil Survey records that “Both the Colcors” in the Parish of Gallow contain 144 plantation acres with “on the premisses a tatch house”. In 1836 it was the property of Mrs. Bewly of Dublin but Mr. Coates of Bridesstream was renting it forever at a cost of 4s 6d an acre. John Coates of Culcor, married May 1803 Sarah Frances, 4th daughter of David Bomford. They lived at Bridestream House and had four children,
In 1906 the Untenanted Lands Return shows Culcor belonging to James M. W. Coates containing 246 acres with a valuation of £264 for the land and 15/- for buildings.
Enclosure – There is the remains of a ringfort at the western side of the townland near the border with Gallow townland. This has been more recently classified as an oval area defined by traces of fosse. These may date to any period from prehistory onward. There is a field system nearby consisting of a number of rectangular fields defined by banks, scarps and ditches covering c. 40 acres.
Griffith’s Valuation (1854/5) Families in Culcor townland: Coates
1901 Families in the Census in Culcor townland: Reynolds
1911 Families in the Census in Culcor townland: Reynolds
Bridestream House, nearby – Bridestream House is located at Calgath, Kilcock. Bridestream is a detached two storey over basement house. Bridestream has been described as a miniature Palladian house. Bence-Jones said it was possible to attribute the house to the amateur architect, Nathaniel Clements, from the similarity of the wings to the wings of other houses by Clements or attributed to him.
Dating from around 1740 fragments of the eighteenth century garden survive behind the house with its horseshoe shaped pool. To the south of the house is the site of a dried up lake. A belt of trees formed the boundary of the estate demesne.
In 1761 Richard Barry was the occupier of Bridestream. In 1786 Bridestream was the seat of Mr. Hill. In 1798, it became the home of Sir Percy Gethin and on the lawn there Sir Fenton Aylmer rallied his yeomen after the Battle of Kilcock. In 1801 Mathew Bathurst was the landowner at Bridestream.
John Coates of Culcor, married May 1803 Sarah Frances Bomford in 1803. They lived at Bridestream House, about a mile south of Culcor, and had four children. John held Culcor from Mrs Bewely of Dublin. From at least 1814 the Coates resided at Bridestream. In 1835 Bridestream House was described as a neat two storey house slated building in Cologagh townland, Roddanstown with Mr. John Coates as resident. In 1876 Matthew W. Coates of Bridestream held 741 acres in Meath. In 1880 Matthew Coates, salesmaster of Smithfield, Dublin and Bridestream was adjudged a bankrupt. During the late twentieth century the Lane family lived at Bridestream House.
Drumlargan – Druim Leargán – the ridge of the slopes
Ringfort – Drumlargan ringfort is described as a raised circular area defined by earthen bank (diam. 43m) with external fosse. Entrance gap at ENE. A ringfort is a roughly circular or oval area surrounded by an earthen bank with an external fosse. They functioned as residences and/or farmsteads and broadly date from 500 to 1000
Balloon Houses – One of a pair of similarly eccentric gate lodges built for Summerhill House. According to local legend, “An architect was asked to design two gate-lodges to be placed at the end of the avenue on either side of the main road; the same architect also had to design two block-houses for the Indian Army to be sited to guard the Khyber Pass leading into Afghanistan. Needless to say the plans got mixed up and two low square block-houses with roofs like balloon-shaped pyramids were built on the road at Drumlargan. It would be interesting to know what the Indian Army thought about their blockhouses, but the Irish were intrigued with their “Balloon Houses” as they were soon named, and they remained an outstanding piece of local architecture until they were unjustifiably pulled down.” There are variants of this legend in almost every county in Ireland – any eccentric or odd design seems to have been really destined for some far-flung colonial outpost. The O’Reilly family lived in the Balloon house, Summerhill. There were 6 children in the family. So 8 people lived in this lovely house. The house was very basic inside and not very big at all. The family had a small farm on the land around the house. There is a old bike against the side wall. The house was built on a main road so that nobody could pass the house without the person living there seeing them. The Balloon Houses pre-1836.
Drumlargan House 1970
Drumlargan House – Drumlargan House was previously known as Bloom Field House and is located outside Summerhill, just off the Kilcock Road.
Drumlargan is a two storey double gable-ended house, probably early eighteenth century according to Bence-Jones but with nineteenth century widows and a nineteenth century projecting porch. One of the reception rooms is octagonal. The original house at Drumlargan was called Bloom Field and consisted of a central block with wings each side. In the early 1700s the wings were removed and the central block enlarged to form the present house. This reconstruction took place about 1724 as there is a plaque bearing this date over the front door.
The Bomfords were settled at Rahinstown. Stephen Bomford’s eldest son, Robert George, succeeded him at Rahinstown. His second son, George, married Arabella Winter of Agher in 1809. George Bomford leased Drumlargan parish from Dixie Coddington in 1787, purchasing the property in 1795. As in all articles relating to Bomford houses much of the information on this house is obtained from Peter Bamford’s excellent website.
Lynch’s Wood in Drumlargan was obtained by Lynch from Baron Hussey of Galtrim by a trick. Lynch asked Hussey to rent it to him for the rotation of three crops. Hussey thought these would be oats or wheat but Lynch chose oak, beech and elm. It is said that the lease has not run out yet and that the Forestry Department has only just set the third crop. George Bomford probably set the second crop.
George’s son also George succeeded to his father’s estates at Oakley Park. George married Arabella Pratt Winter of Agher in 1832. Their eldest son, George Winter Bomford, succeeded to Oakley Park.
In the 1830s Bloomfield was described as a tolerably good house but becoming ruinous. In the early 1830s it was occupied by a Mr. Purdon and later in the decade by a herd. About 1860 the house was improved by George Bomford for his younger son, John Francis. John was the only Bomford to live at Drumlargan House as it was then called. The porch was added at this time. John married Eleanor Bolton and they had ten children. John Stephen served with the Indian Police and died in Burma in 1891 aged 21. Samuel Richard Bomford fought in the Boer War gaining the rank of Captain in the service of the Cape Mounted Rifles. Trevor Broughton Bomford gained the rank of officer in the service of the Surma Valley Light Horse Mounted Infantry Regiment, Indian Army and emigrated to Canada in 1908. Their youngest son, William Harold, became a surgeon and served as District Medical Officer in the Fiji Colonial Service. In 1900 John Francis and his family moved to Oakley Park. Drumlargan was sold to George Wilson of Tara for a little over €3000. John Francis died in 1911 aged 73. In 1901 and 1911 William R. Orme, a retired army Captain, and his sister lived at Drumlargan. In 1876 William R. Orme held 1521 acres in County Mayo.
In the 1920s the Bomford lands at Drumlargan was acquired by the Land Commission.
Drumlargan Church – Situated on a slight east – facing slope. The chapel at Dramlargan is amongst the possessions of St Peter’s priory at Newtown Trim at the Suppression in 1540. Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel as ruinous. The church at Drumlargan is listed by Dopping (1682-5) as a chapel-of-ease to Galtrim and he describes the church and chancel as ‘down’ and the graveyard was not enclosed. Cogan (1862-70) says the graveyard was ‘only lately enclosed.’ The overgrown west wall of the parish church with the remains of a narrow window survives in the neglected sub-oval graveyard defined by masonry walls. The east end of the church may be provided 10.5m to the east of the gable by a North-South pit with a mound. The few headstones date from c. 1784 to c. 1908. The graveyard is within a larger ecclesiastical enclosure (diam. c. 170m) defined by a scarp and slight traces of an external ditch East-South, and by a curving road. Burials were found in the western part of the larger enclosure in 1982. A dome shaped vault was constructed in the west end of this little church rising 3 – 4 ft. above floor level, so must have been constructed after services ceased to be held in Drumlargan church. In recent times this vault has been broken open.
Monumental Inscriptions – Drumlargan Graveyard – Recorded by Beryl F.E Moore & Mrs. Josephine Maguire 1974. Now in Meath County Library.
Drumlargan graveyard is round and has a diameter of about 55 yards. It has a wall around it but unfortunately the recent storm blew down 2 large trees which have broken down big areas of this wall. There are only 10 burial places with lettered tombstones and none on the north or east sides of the ruined church.
- Brady – “In loving memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Brady, Garadice, nee Bruton, Whitehall, Westmeath died 15th June 1937 aged 34 yrs”.
- Buttler – “Here lyeth Ye body of Thos buttler who depd Ye 30 July 1729 aged 48 years”.
- Carr – “Erected by Patr … Carr in memory of his father John Carr who died March the 27. 1768, aged 57 yrs., also his mother Mary Carr who died Octr. the 11th 1781 aged 58 yrs”.
- Gogarty(?) -. “This stone was erected by Pa …. and James Go…. In memory ….”
- Gowran – “Here lieth the body of Mary Gowran who died April the 91781 aged 48 yrs. Also her son John died June the 16th 1784 aged 21 yrs. Erected by Edwd. Gowran”.
- Mc Enteer – “Here lieth the body of Richard McEnteer who died April the 16th 1764 aged 65 yrs. and also his wife Margaret McEnteer who died Sept. the 20. 1755 aged 55yrs. Erected by Thomas McEnteer “.
- Magee – “This stone was erect’d by Patrick Magee in memory of his mother Marget Magee who …… 1782 aged 72 yrs and his daughter Elizabeth … Nov. 18th ……”
- Richardson – “Erected by G ? Richardson Ferrans July 20th 1908 in memory of his 4 children”.
- Scully – “This stone was erected by Michael Scully” “in memory of his father Michael Scully who died January the 26th 1766 aged 70 years. Also Darby Daly died …”
Archaeological Investigation at Drumlargan – In April 1982 an archaeologist from the National Museum of the site at Drumlargan, near Summerhill, where a large number of human bones were discovered, seems to indicate that the burial mound could date even further back than local people at first believed.
The archaeologist who carried out an examination of the area believes that the burial mound could date as far back as the Iron Age or the Early Christian transition period. Mr. Finbar Moore told the “Meath Chronicle” that a cursory examination had indicated that the burial orientation indicated that it could have been a pagan site. The bones were discovered during Holy Week when a field owned by Mr. Thomas Reilly was ploughed. Two local men, Messrs. Kevin Kelly and Laurence Balfe, investigated the find and reported the matter. Up to now local people believed that the bones could date back to the battle of Dungan Hill, which took place in 1647 between the Parliamentarians and the Royalists. Jones army (Parliamentarians) defeated Lord Preston’s mainly Irish Royalist force leaving, it was claimed, 7,000 dead. Many of these are believed to have been buried at the site where archaeologist, the remains were discovered, Commenting on the find, Mr. Moore said: “It is unlikely to be the burial site for the battle. It may be earlier than that and more than likely it is. But nothing definite could be said.”
According to the archaeologist the small existing mound was probably much larger in the past and contains quite a sizeable number of skeletons, dating from different periods. The mound contains a “stratified sequence of burials”, which indicates the possibility of a number of periods being represented at the site.
Mr. Moore added: “There are a good number of remains as anywhere you dig a hole there is a skeleton and it is likely there are a lot more.” However, he said it was unlikely anything in the region of the numbers mentioned were actually on the site. He believed the number of remains could range between 50 and 60. The site is now being taken over by the Office of Public Works, who expect to carry out a detailed excavation of the site in the coming weeks.
Mr. Danaher said: ” It is part of a very large monastic enclosure which dates from the early Christian times. But that burial could be quite modern.” In April 1982 human remains were discovered during deep ploughing in a roughly circular raised area. The remains represented at least five individuals. At least two were females and one male. There was at least one adolescent aged 15-16 years and one young adult aged 18-21 years
The Battle of Dungan’s Hill, 1647 – After the defeat of King Charles in the English Civil War, the Westminster Parliament turned its attention to the conquest of Ireland. Lenient terms were offered to the Marquis of Ormond for the surrender of Dublin and in June 1647, the first contingents of the New Model Army landed in Ireland under the command of Colonel Michael Jones. Ormond surrendered Dublin to Jones on 19 June and formally handed over his sword of office to Parliament’s commissioners in July.
At the beginning of August, Colonel Jones with around 4,000 foot and 800 horse marched out of Dublin against the Confederate Leinster army under General Preston, which was besieging the garrison of Trim in County Meath. On 4 August, Jones joined forces with government troops from Drogheda and Dundalk to bring his army up to around 5,000 foot, 1,500 horse and two field guns. As Jones approached, Preston lifted the siege of Trim and withdrew across the River Boyne, apparently intending to march on Dublin. Jones sent an advance guard of 500 horse to watch the Confederates while he followed with his main force. Preston’s army of 7,000 foot, 1,000 horse and four pieces of artillery made slow progress and had advanced no more than ten miles south of Trim when Jones caught up with it. Preston took up a strong defensive position on Dungan’s Hill near the modern village of Summerhill.
Preston’s forces were deployed in an unorthodox fashion with his best cavalry formed up along a narrow lane to the right of the main body of infantry. Preston apparently intended to move the cavalry down to charge the Parliamentarians as they formed up at the bottom of the hill where the lane opened out into fields. A reserve of seven troops of horse was posted behind the infantry, which stood in a large cornfield protected by ridges and embankments. On the left of the regular infantry was a force of 800 Gaelic Scots, known as “Redshanks”, with skirmishers posted in front of the infantry lines. Further to the left, the Confederate flank was protected by a bog.
When Jones approached the Confederate position at about 10 o’clock in the morning of 8 August, he ordered his cavalry to attack immediately, without waiting for the infantry to deploy. The Parliamentarians reached the opening of the lane first, trapping the Confederate cavalry on Preston’s right flank. After suffering a number of casualties, the Confederate cavalry broke through the hedgerow to escape to the comparative safety of the cornfield, but as they did so, they disrupted the formations of infantry in the field. In the ensuing panic, the cavalry was unable to regroup and the reserve fled in confusion.
With the routing of his cavalry, Preston was forced onto the defensive. As the Parliamentarian infantry advanced, the Redshanks charged downhill. They were beaten off but regrouped and made two more desperate charges. With no discernible movement among the main body of Confederate infantry, Jones concentrated his attack on the Redshanks, who broke through the ranks of the advancing Parliamentarians and made their escape into the bog on the Confederate left flank. After holding off several Parliamentarian assaults, the Confederate infantry began to break formation and attempted to follow the Highlanders by escaping into the bog. The grim final stage of the battle was the massacre of the retreating Confederate infantry. According to Irish accounts, the slaughter took place after they had surrendered. While Parliamentarian losses were relatively light, at least 3,000 Confederates were killed in the battle and ensuing massacre. The Leinster army never recovered from this disastrous defeat.
Aidan Holmes has written a more detailed account of the battle and should be consulted as well as the writings of Padraig Lenihan.
In 1836 Drumlargan the property of George Bomford and Lord Langford. Lord Langford lets 142 acres to Mr. Maher of Gallow. There was 69 acres of bog in the townland in 1836. The neighbouring inhabitants draw their fuel from this bog.
Captain Patrick Giles – Born on the 4th of October 1898 Patrick was the son of Lawrence and Anne Giles (nee Dunne) Brackinrainey, Longwood. His mother’s first cousin was Éamonn Duggan’s mother, Margaret Duggan, nee Dunne, and this created a strong local connections between Duggan and the Giles family. Patrick was sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood by Mr. P. J. Conway, the school master in Longwood. Patrick was for a time the Secretary of the County Board of the GAA in 1919. He became involved in the nationalist cause probably as a result of his father’s activities and Eamonn Duggan. Joining the IRA in 1917 he took part in a number of actions in Longwood, Ballivor and Trim. He was promoted to Captain in 1920 and was arrested in 1921 and sentenced to three years penal servitude. He was deported to Perth prison but was released before the Treaty was signed.
Patrick took the Pro-Treaty side in 1922. He joined the Army shortly afterwards and retired some years later with the rank of Captain. Following the Curragh Mutiny in 1924 he was discharged and at this time took up farming at Drumlargan, Summerhill. In 1934 he was elected to Meath Co. Council and was also appointed a member of the Co. Board of Health. In the 1930s Captain Giles supported the Blueshirt movement locally.
In 1933 Duggan felt he could not fight another election and was not a candidate. Captain Patrick Giles of Longwood became his successor as T.D. for Meath being elected to the Dáil in 1937 as a Fine Gael TD for the Meath-Westmeath constituency. As a Deputy, he was one of the most independent members of his party. He spoke frequently in the House, and his speeches did hit the headlines.
In the 1930s and 40s he opposed the provision of lands purchased by the Land Commission to families outside Meath. He accused the Rathcairn scheme of being little to do with the spread of the Irish language and more to do with ensuring an increase in the Fianna Fáil vote in the area. He wanted 1916 and War of Independence veterans to have priority then local people. He fought for the IRA veterans throughout his political career.
When Butlins proposed a holiday camp for Mosney Captain Patrick Giles outlined his objections to this “foreign combine” in an article for the Catholic Standard headlined ‘Holiday Camp and Morals’. “Holiday camps are an English idea and are alien and undesirable in an Irish Catholic country – outside influences are bad and dangerous,” he wrote.
In August 1955 Captain Giles said in Navan “”The public in Ireland think that we political people have great hatred for one another. That is not so.” said Captain P. Giles, T.D., in seconding the vote of thanks to Mr. de Valera and the other speaker at the Muintir Na Tire Week in St. Columba’s College, Navan. “Mr. de Valera and myself have our differences in political opinion but these do not amount to hatred. As a matter of fact I love the man and consider him a great national figure,” continued Captain Giles. Captain Giles said that since they won freedom in this country great work had been done. Cumann na Gaedhal, Fianna Fail and the Inter-Party all had a hand in that work and they all deserved the nation’s thanks.”
Speaking in Trim in 1957 during an election campaign he said “Forget cheap politics and unite as, one family to weed out our many inherent weaknesses.””
He retired from the Dáil for health reasons in July, 1961 and in November 1961 a presentation dinner was held in his honour in Navan to mark his retirement from the Dáil. Captain Giles died in 1965 and at the time of his death was vice-chairman of Meath County Council and was also vice-chairman of the Co. Committee of Agriculture.
The chairman of Meath County Council Senator P. Fitzsimons, said the death of Captain Giles came as a great shock to all the councillors. “No matter how much they differed from him politically, everyone had a wholesome respect for his opinions. He had always expressed his views very forcibly and displayed a tremendous knowledge of local authority affairs.” Jimmy Tully, T.D, said he always admired and respected Captain Giles for speaking what was on his mind. He was a spirited debater who expounded his views on any particular topic without fear or favour. No matter what argument or controversy he indulged in at council meetings, he never harboured spite or bitterness afterwards. The Meath Chronicle recorded that “Capt. Giles was certainly one of the most controversial figures ever associated with the public life of Meath—and one of the best liked. As a politician and a Co. Councillor, he never pulled his punches and never spoke with his tongue in his cheek.” He is buried in Coole graveyard.
Tithe Applotment Books (1833) Families in Drumlargan townland: Bomford, Lord Langford, McDonnell Purdon, Turner, Winter.
Griffith’s Valuation (1854/5) Families in Drumlargan townland: Bomford, Bourke, Byrne, Chanler, Donough, Farrell, Halford, Lord Langford, Maguire, Maher, Monahan, Seery.
1901 Families in the Census in Drumlargan townland: Blakeney, Carlow, Coonnor, Duncan, Gogarty, Grehan, Greville, Hussey, Kearney, Keernan, McCann, Morteshed, Murray, Reilly, Richardson, Rock.
1911 Families in the Census in Drumlargan townland: Bell, Burke, Byrne, Clynch, Dunne, Farrell, Larkin, McArdle, McGawley, McNally, Malone, Mullagher, Murrin, Orme, Walker, White.
The name, Ferrans, Ferns or Fearns, is taken from the Irish Fearna, meaning elder trees.
Archaeological Excavation 2007: The excavation of Site 12, Ferrans, was carried out in April 2007. Site 12 consisted of a small number of pits and spreads excavated as part of the archaeological resolution in advance of the road realignment of the R158 between Kilcock and Summerhill. The site was identified in January 2007 during testing carried out in advance of this work, undertaken on behalf of Meath County Council. The site was located in a low-lying area to the east of and within the realignment of the R158 this. Site 12 was located 20m north of Site 13, a possible fulacht fiadh/burnt spread, which was also excavated within this scheme.
The zone of archaeological deposits encompassed an area measuring 15.5m north–south by 9m and was situated at 92m OD. The excavation revealed three pits and four spreads, which contained occasional inclusions of charcoal and burnt-stone fragments. The spreads were shallow and irregular in plan, mainly formed in depressions in the uneven surface of the site. The largest spread was located in the western part of the site and extended beyond the limit of the excavation. The pits were shallow and oval/subcircular in plan, although with clearly defined cuts. The single find recovered consisted of a glazed sherd of medieval pottery of 14–15th-century date, which was retrieved from a small spread. The preliminary interpretation of the site is that it is of late medieval date and that the features may relate to a settlement located beyond the limit of the excavation.
Archaeological Excavation 2007: Site 13, Ferrans, was excavated in April 2007. The site was identified during testing carried out in advance of the realignment of R158 between Summerhill and Kilcock, undertaken on behalf of Meath County Council. It was located in a low-lying area to the east of R158 and within the realignment of this road. The excavation encompassed an area measuring 15m north–south by 13m and was located at 92m OD. The site appeared to extend to the west beyond the limit of excavation, which was determined by the extent of the road-take.
Site 13 consisted of a portion of a possible fulacht fiadh/burnt mound, including two main spreads with inclusions of heat-fractured stones and charcoal, a small number of underlying pits and six possibly associated wooden stakes. The pits were irregular in plan and were located beneath the largest of the spreads and contained fills with high concentrations of heat-fractured stones and charcoal. None of the pits appear to have functioned as a trough. Six unworked wooden stakes were found in the area of the larger of the two main spreads, of which five appeared within the perimeter, and were pushed into the natural clay to a maximum depth of 0.65m. The stakes did not form any apparent pattern, and it is uncertain if these are contemporary with the burnt mound. Analysis of wood and soil samples is ongoing and is likely to reveal a possible relationship between these features.
The archaeological features were interpreted as part of a fulacht fiadh/burnt mound, and were likely to be of prehistoric date. A modern drain and several narrow agricultural linear features constituted later disturbance to the site. There were no finds recovered from the site. An additional site, Site 12 (see No. 1311 above, 07E0162), was situated 20m north of Site 13 and was excavated within the same scheme; it consisted of a number of pits and spreads, provisionally attributed a late medieval date.
In 1836 the townland was owned by Mr. Bomford of Dublin who let out the land. The biggest tenant was Mr. North of Ferransville.
Ferrans House or Ferransville: Ferrans, Gallow, Kilcock was home to the North and Bomford families. Quite a considerable amount of information is available on the Bomford website.
The lands were held by the Bomford family from as early as 1672 but the big house was not erected until the 1820s. The house was erected by Isaac North. The cost of the house was probably paid by North‟s uncle, Isaac Bomford, a Dublin attorney who actually owned the land. Ferransville was described in 1835 as being a neat two storey slated house occupied by Mr. North who later changed his surname to North-Bomford in order to inherit Gallow, 596 acres and Ferrans, 412 acres. Isaac was made a Justice of the Peace for county Meath and was a member of the Board of Guardians for Trim workhouse. When his uncle died in Dublin Isaac North inherited his house in Dominick Street, Dublin. Isaac’s wife, Belinda Emily, died in 1852 leaving her husband with a young family of seven ranging in age from 18 down to about 3, with one daughter married. Isaac North-Bomford’s eldest son was named Isaac. Born in 1834 he became a Captain in the 59th Regiment and served in China, dying unmarried in 1862. The years 1856 to 1860 were the period of the Second Foreign War of China, sometimes called “the Second Opium War”, and Isaac almost certainly took part in this war, at any rate up to the Treaty of 1858. Isaac North-Bomford senior died in 1866 and was succeeded by his son, John, who was born in 1838.
John North-Bomford joined the army and served in Burma and Bengal before returning home to take up his father’s estates, following the death of his elder brother. John married twice. He died in 1905 aged 67. His son, John George North-Bomford, was born in 1883 and reached the rank of major in the service of the Royal Fusiliers. He served in both World Wars, being at Gallipoli in 1916 and serving with the RAF from 1940. He married twice, firstly in 1909 to Hilda Frances Munn and secondly in 1961 to Elizabeth Susan Armstrong. His son with Hilda Frances, David John, was born in 1912 and died in 1949. Major North-Bomford died in 1965 aged 81. The house was enlarged in the 1860s. A lodge was constructed in 1867. The house was destroyed by fire in 1923 in an attack by the IRA, although the owner also had had a dispute with one of his herds. It was re-built.
The house was occupied by the North-Bomford family until John George North-Bomford died in 1965. The property was sold in 1967 and seven years later the house was burned again and rebuilt again.
Ferrans is now operated as a stud farm by Juddmonte Farms. The stud farm is owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, a member of the Saudi ruling family and one of the biggest bloodstock and racehorse owners in the world. He was the first Arab owner to win an English Classic when his now famous green colours with white sleeves, pink sash and cap, were carried to victory by Known Fact, who took the 1980 2,000 Guineas.
Fern’s or Ferran’s Lock on the Royal Canal: The Royal Canal, on which Ferrans Lock and Bridge was built in 1797, passes through the south end of the townland.
Fern’s or Ferran’s Lock (double), the start of the 32 km Long Level to Thomastown. Immediately below 17th Lock an important feeder enters the canal drawn from the upper reaches of the Ryewater which accompanies the canal here for some distance. From the 17th Lock to Cloncurry Bridge is an attractive tree-lined stretch of waterway. The stretch from Fern’s Lock to Enfield passes through Cappagh Bog and proved a laborious and expensive undertaking with problems caused by the sides slipping and the bottom swelling up. By 1800 the company was once again in financial difficulty and the works were halted just beyond Enfield.
Canal lock station, consisting of pair of locks, bridge over the canal and remains of lock keeper’s house, built c.1795. Pair of timber and steel lock gates, set in channel with ashlar limestone embankment walls. Roughly dressed rubble limestone bridge, dated 1797, partly rebuilt with concrete blocks. Remains of former lock keeper’s house to site, now in ruins. This canal lock station forms an interesting group of canal related structures, with the remains of the former lock keeper’s house, the bridge and the lock gates. Though the bridge is now partially rebuilt, and the house is in ruins, the lock gates and canal channel are well maintained. Plaque inscribed: ‘1797 Mc Loghlin Lock & Bridge R Evens Eng’.
Work began on the construction of the 146 km long Royal Canal, to connect Dublin, with the upper River Shannon in 1790, and the canal was completed in 1817. It operated in competition with the Grand Canal which ran an almost parallel route never more than 30 km to the south, and with the Grand, was made redundant by the advent of the railways in the mid-19th century.
In the 1780s a director of the Grand Canal Company quit to build a rival waterway. But the route of the Royal Canal was not precisely planned, the project amassed huge debts, and the founding company was ultimately dissolved.
In 1801 the canal company asked the newly elected Directors General of Inland Navigation for financial aid and they sent their engineer, John Brownrigg, to inspect the works. At this time the canal ended at the aqueduct over the Blackwater but the line was laid out across the Boyne and on towards Kinnegad. A grant of €95,856 was given to the company with a proviso that the canal must be completed to Mullingar without further aid and that docks should be constructed at the junction with the River Liffey in Dublin. The Royal Canal finally met the Shannon in 1817, costing far more than its rival.
The Dublin-Sligo railway line follows the canal too. The Midland Great Western Railway Company bought the whole waterway in 1845 to build a track on the land beside it.
CIÉ closed the Royal Canal in 1961 and was rapidly falling into disrepair until 1974 when the Royal Canal Amenity Group in conjunction with CIE set about redeveloping the disused waterway as a public amenity. Campaigners fought to save to it, and in 2010 the full canal reopened. The towpath is now a long-distance walking trail, the Royal Canal Way, running from Dublin to the Shannon.
Railways – Fern’s Lock: The Midland Great Western Railway Act received the Royal Assent in July 1845, authorising it to raise £1,000,000 capital and to build a railway from Dublin to Mullingar and Longford and to buy the Royal Canal. Construction of the main line began from Dublin in January 1846 and proceeded westwards in stages, supervised by chief engineer G.W. Hemans. It opened from Dublin Broadstone as far as Enfield in May 1847, to Hill of Down in December 1847 and to Mullingar in October 1848. The MGWR was first railway to reach Galway , going via Athlone and reaching Galway, 126.5 miles (203.6km) from Dublin, in August 1851.
Ferns Lock station, Co. Meath, is located adjacent to the Ferns Lock on the Royal Canal which runs parallel to the Midland Great Western Railway’s Dublin to Sligo line as far Mullingar. Serving a sparsely populated area, the wayside station was located between Kilcock and Enfield, opened in August 1848 and closed to passenger and goods in 1947 and closed in 1963. The station remained a block post however until 1963. The platforms (and possibly station buildings) remained intact until the mid 1990s, when they were demolished to allow the track to be relayed and re-aligned. Today, only part of the up platform remains, buried under gravel.
Empress of Austria uses Ferran’s Lock Railway Station
Born on Christmas Eve 1837, Elizabeth, the daughter of the Duke of Bavaria, was known from an early age as ‘Sissi’. At the age of fifteen Elizabeth was introduced to the Austrian emperor, Franz Joseph, who immediately fell in love with her and married her a year later. Elizabeth was absolutely miserable at court, she felt like a circus freak with people looking at her. Eventually she had a mental breakdown. When she recovered Elizabeth became more assertive and followed her interests in hunting, horse and her beauty treatments. Empress Elizabeth took up the cause of the Hungarians in the empire and a compromise was agreed where Hungary gained limited self-rule but still under the control of the Emperor. This would later serve as model for the demands of Arthur Griffith and Sinn Féin. An ancestor of Princess Diana’s, Earl Spencer, had been impressed by the hunting in Ireland when he served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and he encouraged the Empress to go to Ireland.
Hercules Edward ‘Paddy’ Langford, fourth Baron Langford, leased Summerhill House to the Empress of Austria as a hunting lodge in 1879 and 1880 and was her guest for these periods. It was not an official royal visit and there were no welcomes from the authorities. In fact the authorities resented the presence of the Empress. Elizabeth arrived by train to Ferrans Lock station. A room was converted as a private chapel, another as a gymnasium and a direct telegraph line installed to Europe. Her horses were not suitable for the Meath obstacles and she was given the loan a horse by Leonard Morragh, Master of the Hounds. The Ward Union Hunt met at Batterstown on 24th February 1879. At 1.00 am the hunt assembled at Batterstown Station to meet a special train from Dublin which carried forty members and guests and their horses. The Empress was driven to Parsontown Manor where she dressed for the hunt. Her dressing delayed the start of the hunt. Upwards of 150 followers of the chase awaited the word to go.
A stag was released and the hunt began. The stag raced southward through Moyglare and through a gap into the Maynooth Seminary with the hounds and the Empress in pursuit. The stag was captured and the President, Dr Walsh, came out to meet the group. The Empress of Austria complained of the cold and asked for a shawl. Dr. Walsh lent her his gown, invited them in for refreshment and she promised to return. The Empress managed to hunt nearly every day, hunting with the Ward, the Royal Meath Fox Hounds Club and the Kildare Fox Hunt. The many dangerous obstacles provided her with excellent challenges to her riding. The Empress presented a riding crop to the master of the Meath Hunt, Captain Robert Fowler of Rahinstown House. The riding crop which she presented to Fowler was sold at auction in 2010 for €28,000.
In the early spring of 1880 the Empress again visited Ireland, going straight to Summerhill. On the first Sunday she went to Mass at the seminary in Maynooth and presented a gift of a three foot high model of St George slaying the dragon. She was unaware that St George was the patron saint of England and when she was told of its significance she ordered a fresh present, shamrock covered vestments from Dublin. St. George is also the patron of horses and the hunt, so she may have had this in her mind when she commissioned the statue. The Empress left Ireland intending to return. However the unsettled political situation and the disapproval of Queen Victoria resulted in the Empress never returning to Ireland. The Empress was assassinated in 1897 by an anarchist in Geneva having dismissed her police guard.
There are many parallels between the Empress and Princess Diana including marriage at a young age, being known for their beauty, trapped in unhappy marriages and death as a result of dismissing their police protection.
Griffith’s Valuation (1854/5) Families in Fearns: Bomford, Brennan, Mc Entire, Martin, Tyrrell
1901 Families in the Census in Fearns townland: Byrne, Coate, Coen, Kane, Maguire, North-Bomford, Richardson, Tevlin.
1911 Families in the Census in Fearns townland: Byrne, Hogge, Kavanagh, Richardson, Tevlin.
Ringfort: There is a ringfort or rath in Gallow townland. It is described as a circular area defined by earthen bank (diameter. 21m) with external fosse with the original entrance at East. A ringfort is a roughly circular or oval area surrounded by an earthen bank with an external fosse. They functioned as residences and/or farmsteads and broadly date from 500 to 1000 AD.
Civil Survey: In 1654-6 Gallo had a castle and seven or eight cottages.
Ordnance Survey Namebooks: A large townland of 846 acres in 1836 Mr. Potterton of Clarkestown held over 250 acres. The Bomford family were the owners of the remainder and this was leased to Mr. Maher of Gallow House for 31 years at 50 shillings an acre. Mr. Maher also rented 142 acres in Drumlargan from Lord Langford.
Clarkestown House: Clarkestown House is in the south of the townland of Gallow and in 1836 was two storey high and slated. Clarkestown House was erected by Samuel Winter of nearby Agher in the eighteenth century. George Bomford resided there in the early 1800s. According to another source : Clarkstown House belonged to Thomas Coates and he bequeathed it in 1794 to his grandson, James Potterton (son of his daughter, Bridget), and James was the father of Thomas and Rev John Potterton Samuel Pratt Winter lived at Clarkestown and his children were born there. The house was destroyed by fire in 1829 and re-built in stone and slated. The farm buildings date from this time as one of the arches has the date “1829” carved on its keystone. In the 1830s the house was occupied by Thomas Potterton and later occupied by Rev. John Potterton. It remained in the Potterton family till 1924The house was demolished about 1950 and a new house erected on the site.
Gallow House: Gallow was bought by Thomas Bomford in 1709 from Francis Isdell who had been living there. In 1711 Stephen the elder took over the place from his brother and moved into the house, living there until he died in 1759. Gallow House is at the centre of the townland. As Stephen’s family increased and money became available, it is thought that around 1730 he enlarged and improved the house, and it would be this house, “two storied and slated” which was mentioned in 1836. After Stephen died the Rev John lived there until his death, then followed a gap of 10 years when David Bomford moved there from Dublin. David died in 1809 and was the last Bomford to occupy the house. In 1803 the house was leased to Mr. Flanagan. In 1836 Gallow Hill was home to Mr. Maher and the Maher family inhabited it for the nineteenth century. Gallow was sold by J .G. North-Bomford in 1943 and the house was pulled down during the 1960’s. A new house was built on the site but parts of the yard remain. It is now a stud farm.
The Trial and Execution of Laurence O’Connor at Naas in 1795: Laurence O’Connor was a middle ranking leader of a secret Society known as the Defenders in the period before the 1798 Rising. He may originally have come from Inchicore where his first employment was as a toll-gate keeper on the Naas to Dublin turnpike road. He came to Meath as a land steward and manger for the Rowley family of summer hill. He later opened a school in the parish of Agher and Rev. John Cregan appointed him clerk of the parish. They were prominent in defending the rights of small tenant farmers and labours, and were very much influenced by the French Revolution.
The Defenders were founded in Ulster initially to defend Catholics against sectarian attacks, however, by the early 1790’s they had moved from their base in the north and had become quiet numerous in North Kildare and South Meath. They had also adopted a more political philosophy which aimed to regulate rent, wages, tithes and food prices.
In early 1795 there was an upsurge of Defender activity with many people reported as talking the Defender Oaths, which included a reference, ‘to be true to the French’. Because of the war with France at the time, references by a group or an individual favouring the French were considered treasonable by the government. The High Sheriff of Kildare county at the time Sir Fenton Aylmer from Donadea Castle supported by other local magistrates decided that they would have to curb the activities of this group. On Sunday the 12nd of July 1795, O’Connor and another prominent Defender, Michael Griffin were busy recruiting new members in Kilcock. One of the recruits was a soldier, Private Bartholomew Horan of the South Mayo Militia. Horan promptly went to his commanding officer with the information and as a result O’Connor, Griffin and eleven other suspected Defenders were arrested. It is likely that Horan was involved in an elaborate set-up aimed at gathering evidence against the Defenders and O’Connor in particular.
A photo of Naas Gaol, now the Town Hall, prior to 1904. From Stan Hickey, Liam Kenny, Paddy Behan (eds.), Nás Na Riogh (2nd Edition), Naas, 2001.
The prisoners were held overnight in the local Military Barracks. Although there were over 70 soldiers quartered in the town a serious incident occurred when up to six hundred local people demonstrated and demanded the release of the prisoners. According to the authorities intimidation was used and Defender Oath was taken openly. The next day a number of local magistrates including Aylmer with a heavy escort set out with the prisoners for Naas. The Defenders planned a rescue attempt between Kilcock and Clane but Aylmer was forewarned of the attempt and took certain precautions. However, the party arrived safely in Naas and the prisoners were delivered to the ‘New Gaol’ in the Town. This building is still in existence and is now Naas Town Hall.
The accompanying magistrates then made their way back to their respective homes in North Kildare. However, a serious incident occurred when John Ryan, one of the magistrates who worked as a land agent for Lord Cloncurry, was ambushed by Defenders near Kilcock. He was severely wounded with head injuries and was lucky to escape with his life. In response to this outrage the magistrates of the county called a meeting later in the week. The meeting which was chaired by the Duke of Leinster was held in Sallins and resulted in a reward of £300 being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the crime.
A letter from Dr. John Troy, catholic Archbishop of Dublin to Dr. Plunkett, Bishop of Meath, dated 21 July 1795 said “… it is said that O’Connor a leader of the Defenders now in the New Prison, was a schoolmaster and occasional parish clerk of Agher, diocese of Meath. The most seditious publications were found upon him and he is , it is said, to be indicted for high treason. This connection between the parish priest and O’Connor furnishes matter of much speculation to all. It is easy to conjecture what our enemies may, and what even our friends do actually say. The latter regret the connection and remark that O’Connor as a schoolmaster and clerk was in some degree in the confidence of the priest who could not be entirely ignorant of his principles. Hence they censure the priest for employing such a person in any capacity instead of trying to banish him from the parish.” Archbishop Troy urged Bishop Plunkett to ensure “more caution in future on the part of the priest.”
Two days later on the 20th of July five suspects from Newtown were arrested and subsequently tried on the 14th of August at Athy assizes. Three of the accused were found guilty and sentenced to death. The two others were acquitted and released. The three convicted men were hanged outside the ‘New Gaol’ in Naas three days later. A Freeman’s Journal reporter who was present at the execution reported that: “…these poor deluded men appeared to be very penitent at the place of execution, and confessed their guilt, adding that the sole object of their pursuit was to get about two acres of land cheep, and to raise the price of workman’s labour.”
On the 31st of August Laurence O’Connor and Michael Griffin went on trial charged with High Treason. This was one of the most important trials in County Kildare for some time and was presided over by Justice Finucane. One of the Defence lawyers was Leonard McNally who subsequently defended a number of well-known United Irishmen including Robert Emmet. McNally was an informer and in return for payments from the government, he would betray his United Irishmen colleagues to the authorities.
The two defendants were accused of conspiracy against the life of the King by enlisting men to assist the French. The prosecution called Private Horan who gave details of how O’Connor assisted by Griffin recruited him into the Defender movement and administered the oath which included a phrase ‘to be true to the French’. McNally for the defence questioned Horan at length before calling on two character witnesses for the defendants. It took the jury two hours to reach a guilty verdict for both of the accused. However, in relation to Griffin they recommended that the court show mercy.
O’Connor then took the opportunity to address the court from the dock. He chose to give a politicised speech explaining the meaning of the papers found on him when arrested and gave explicit details of the principals of Defenderism. He also spoke of taxes and oppressions of various descriptions. One of the grievances related to land-holders refusing to let land directly to cottagers. This point resulted in an exchange of words between Judge Finucane and O’Connor with the Judge indicating that he had always let his land directly to cottagers and not to middlemen, and as a result his tenants prospered. O’Connor then congratulated the Judge in the following manner, “God bless your lordship for that, you will feel the benefit of it, but you must allow there are but few rich men like yourself in the country.”
O’Connor was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Griffin was also given the same sentence, however, he was granted a stay of execution for three weeks, and was eventually reprieved. The authorities offered O’Connor provision for his wife and children in return for information on the Defenders but he refused. The Catholic Church automatically excommunicated Defenders and because of this O’Connor was denied the sacraments at the time of death.
The execution of Laurence O’Connor took place outside the entrance to Naas Gaol on the 7th of September and one newspaper at the time published the following graphic account: “O’Connor’s execution at Naas was almost immediate after his coming out on the board, by which means any address to the surrounding populace was avoided. The body after hanging a short time, was let down to a parapet in front of the prison, where the head was severed with no great dexterity, and the other parts of the sentenced executed. An application had been made, but refused by the friends of this misguided man for his remains, the body having been taken into the Gaol and buried in the inner yard.”
A subsequent report from the Freeman’s Journal reported that, “The head of that martyr to Defenderism O’Connor was placed on top of Naas Gaol on Saturday last upon an iron spike six or seven feet high—it is so conspicuously situated that it can be seen at miles distance from Naas.”
From the point of view of the authorities, the execution of O’Connor and the other Defenders had the desired effect, it curbed the growing power of the movement which subsequently declined in importance. However, the Defenders did not go away and the remnants of the movement were eventually integrated into the United Irishmen in the period preceding the ‘98 rising.
An interesting addendum to the O’Connor saga occurred on the Streets of Dublin on the night of the Emmet Rising in 1803. On that occasion following Emmet’s departure from the scene bands of rebels ran amuck causing several atrocities. The most serious was the piking of Lord Kilwarden the former Arthur Wolfe. Among the rebels that night were former Defenders and many of them particularly from North Kildare bore a grudge against Lord Kilwarden. He was the Attorney General during the Defender troubles of the 1795 period. When Kilwarden’s carriage was stopped by rebels one of them was heard to say ‘that is Wolfe! …remember O’Connor’. According to some reports a rebel named Shannon was the first man to pike Lord Kilwarden. He was the father of a Defender who was executed in the mid 1790’s when Kilwarden was the Attorney General.
Laurence O’Connor was described as ‘the Martyr of Liberty’ in a poem allegedly penned by Thomas Moore. He paid the ultimate price for his noble principals and today his remains rest forgotten in an unmarked grave, in un-consecrated ground, within the grounds of the Town Hall in Naas. To date there is no memorial to his memory. (With acknowledgement to Seamus Cullen)
Gallow in 1837 Lewis: Gallow, a parish, in the union of Trim, barony of Upper Deece, county of Meath, and province of Leinster, 2 miles (N. N.W.) from Kilcock, on the road to Trim; containing 641 inhabitants. It comprises 2583; statute acres, of which about one-third is in tillage, and the remainder good pasture. The principal seats are Gallow, Clarkstown, and Ferrans. The parish is a rectory, in the diocese of Meath, forming part of the union of Agher, with which parish this was episcopally united by act of council in 1836: the tithe rent charge of Gallow is £96. 18.5. In the Roman Catholic divisions it is a part of the district of Laracor, or Summerhill.
Gallow Church – Situated at the crest of the W side of a small N-S valley, with a NW-SE section of the N-S stream c. 50m to the E. The chapel of Gallowe is amongst the possessions of the Augustinian priory of St Peter’s at Newtown Trim at the Suppression in 1540. Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel at Galloe as ruined. According to the Dopping Visitation (1682-5) Gallow had been a chapel-of-ease in Galtrim parish but became an independent rectory in 1615. However, the church and chancel were in ruins, although the graveyard was fenced. The foundations of a small building are visible as earth and stone banks with a small platform attached to the west. Originally the structure may have been extended to the east beneath a small mortuary enclosure defined by masonry walls that was probably built in the 1830s. The church is within a sub-rectangular graveyard defined and retained by masonry walls with evidence of a slight bank inside the perimeter, which is probably the result of cutting back the mound of the graveyard from the top of the walls. Seven architectural fragments, including four from a single-light ogee-headed window, lie in the west part of the graveyard. A fragment of what may be a cross-slab is also in the graveyard. A triangular-shaped stone possibly a fragment from a wall monument, has been set on the ground immediately east of the graveyard entrance; it is carved with a representation of the scourging of Christ.
After the closure of Drumlargan Church in 1674, Henry Moneypenny became the Rector of Gallow Church from 1674 to 1682 and Drumlargan Parish was combined with Gallow. In 1682 Gallow Church was also shut down and the Parishes of Drumlargan and Gallow were combined with Rodanstown (also called Balroddan or Roddanstown) and Henry Moneypenny became the rector of the united parishes. It was of these combined parishes that John Bomford was Rector from 1755 to 1776.
Gallow Headstones and Inscriptions: Recorded by Dr. Beryl F. E. Moore & M. Kenny 1975. Gallow Graveyard is situated on the right hand side of a green lane (230 yards from the road) which branches off the western side of the Summerhill-Kilcock road. It used to be a pleasant walk up to this rarely visited cemetery but now it is almost impassable as it is wet, dirty and bogged by cattle. This lane really was the old roadway to the Castle of Gallow which was only a short distance past the Graveyard. The 6 inch map of the Ordnance Survey of 1835-6 and its revised map of 1909 show the Castle as ‘in ruins’.
The East Window was filled in and a Maher tablet placed on top of it.
The Nave is 33 ft long and the same width as the chancel but nothing of these walls survive except impressions in the grass. There were north and south doors into the nave.
Gallow Graveyard is oval…. 42 yards north-south and 59 yards east-west and seems to have been constructed on top of a small hill fort. Some of its fosse and ditch still remains to be seen and outside is a retaining wall presumably built when it was claimed as a Church and graveyard. The whole graveyard is a considerable height above the top of the wall and looks down on the neighbouring countryside. All the graves are on top of the fort and none on its sides.
- Maher Tabletomb …. This very heavy big slab now lies against the east wall of the church and its 6 well carved pedestal stones lie in different parts of the chancel. The inscription reads “Underneath lie the remains of William Maher of Gallow. He was born in the year 1779 & having discharged in the most exemplary manner all the duties of a Christian life, he died full of hope of a blessed immortality thro the merits of Our Saviour in the 58th year of his age on the 2nd of July 1837. His disinterested exertions to promote the public good, his generous charity in relieving the poor, his judicious zeal in sustaining the oppressed, rendered him beloved and esteemed by all who knew him”. At bottom…May he rest in peace.
- Maher & Power …This tablet is set into the east wall over the blocked-up east window and measures 2 ½ ft long by 1½ ft wide and is ornamented by a very small cross on each side of the inscription. “Of your charity pray for the soul of William Maher, Rosanna Power and Mary Anne Maher whose remains are interred within this enclosure”. R I P at bottom. Below the tablet on the east wall itself is “Erected A D 1858”.
- Hughes “Erected by Neale Hughes in memory of his father and mother. Also two of his sisters April 6th 1810”.
- Grogan … “Erected by Mrs Bridget Ennis in memory of her mother Julia Grogan died 13 August 1872. Father Matthew Grogan died 21 May 1873. Her brothers Philip died 6 August 1916, John died March 1922”.
- Hughes .. “This stone was erected by Jno Gaynor in memory of his mother Ann Hughes who died June 7th 1756 aged 61 years”.
Dunn . “Laughlin Dunn died 1670 aged 96. His son Tim died 1717 aged 52 and 5 of John’s brothers and 2 sisters”. This is the oldest headstone we found in Gallow.
- Boylan … This stone was erected by Andrew Boylan in memory of his father Daniel Boylan who departd this life December 19th 1776 aged 82. Also three of his children”.
- McMullen … “This stone erected by James McMullen of Augher to the memory of his father Alexandr McMullan who depd this life March 11th 1795 agd 57 years. And his brother Alexander McMullan who depd this life 1793 A…..”
- Donohue …. “In loving memory of mother Jane Donohue who died 7th July 1906 aged 64 years RIP. Erected by her daughter Theresa”.
- Mulligan “Erected by Thomas Mulligan in memory of his father…..Mulligan who died Jan. the 18th 1780 aged……..and his mother Bridget Mulligan died December 9th 1770 aged 68 and two of his daughters Bridget and Margaret who died young. Here also lies his beloved wife Ann Mulligan who died April the 23rd 1829 aged 76 years”.
- Connell … “Erected by Bridget Connell of Gallow in affectionate rememberance of her parents Nicholas and Kate Connell and of her brother Stephen and sister Kate”. Lower down “On whose souls Sweet Jesus have mercy Amen. Bridget Connell died December 25th 1899 aged 75 years”.
- Duffy… “In loving memory of William Duffy and his wife Bridget Duffy. Erected by his daughter Mary Duffy R I P”.
- Moore Pray for the soul of John Moore who died 29th Sept. 1907 aged 81 years and his wife Catherine died 16th March 1895 aged 64. Also their son John died 11th June 1877 aged 14 R I P. Erected in loving memory by their children”. On north side of base “And their son Thomas died Oct. 23 1936 aged 75”.
- Ennis “Erected in loving memory of Jackie Ennis died 13th May 1955. Also his parents John died 1st August 1957 Mary 6th September 1944 R I P”.
- Warren. “Here lies the body of John Warren who departed ye 14 of July 1755 aged 54 years. Also his wife Margaret who departd ye 12th of August 1767 aged 52 years. This stone is …..”
- Tagan …. “Sacred to the memory of Andy Tagan who died 7th January 1872 aged 77 years”. At bottom “Erected BY Capt J.N. Bomford’.
- Richardson … “Erected by John Richardson of Agher in memory of his beloved mother Mrs Margaret Richardson who died 13th June 1861 aged 77 years”.
- Dunn. “Erected by Mrs Brigid Dunne of Branganstown to the memory of her beloved husband Michael Dunne who departed this life 26th March 1851 aged 74 years. Here also are interred two of their children Anne and Rose who died young. Beneath also be the remains of the above Mrs Bridget Dunne who departed this life 10th June 1866 aged 75 years and of their daughter Bridget who died 16th June 1866 aged 34 years”.
- Dunn “This memorial was erected by Joseph Dunn (here spelt without the final e) For His Posterity. His father Patrick Dunn died Septr 10th 1772 aged 60 years. Also his mother Mary Dunn alias Ennis died Decr 10th 1788 aged 56 years.
- Ennis …In memory of Patrick Ennis died 8th June 1878 aged 60 years. And his wife Catherine died 27th Jany 1907 aged 79 years. Also their son Michael died 19th Sept 1898 40 years”.
- Gallagher “Erected by Anne Gallagher in memory of her mother Christiana Gallagher who died 4th March 1804 aged 44 years. Of her father Thos Gallagher who died 16th January 1814 aged 63 years. Of her brother Matthew who died 18th July 1841 aged 47 years. Also of her brother Thomas who died in Feby 1844 aged 45 years”.
- Brennan “Here lieth the body of Mary Brennan alias Hanlan who died February ye 1st 1759 aged 52 years. Also her son Michl Brn died Novembr the 5th 1767 aged 34 years. Also her husband Thomas died May ye 1st 1776 agd 82 years”.
- Connolly … “Sacred to the memory of Mr M. Connelly of Ballintogher who departed this life Septr 21st 1865 aged 74 years. Also his beloved daughter Mary who Jany 17th 1860 aged 28 years”.
- Rev. James McEver …This stone faces west to show this Priest was buried facing his congregation. “This stone was erectd by Mrs Alice Lynham in memory of her uncle Revd James McEver Rector of Laracor And Gallo 26 yrs departed this life 30th Sept 1787 aged 60 yrs”.
- McKeever … “Here lyeth ye body of Edward McKeever who departed this life ye 16th of 9br 1745 aged 54 years & Ye Lord have mercy on his soul. This erected by his wife Margery McKeever alias Grehan”.
- Lynham … “This stone was erected by Mr Thomas Lynham St. James’s Street in the city of Dublin in memory of his dear beloved parents. Here lieth the body of his mother Mrs Catherine Lynham who departed this life the 16th of Novr 1775 aged 38 years. Here also lieth the body of his father Mr Christopher Lynham of Thomas St. who departed this life the 15th of Jany 1779 aged 46 years. Here lieth two of their children who died young. Here also lieth the body of his dear beloved Mrs Bridget Lynham who departed this life the 12th of Octr 1786 aged 20 years”.
- Moran. “Beneath this stone and beside his uncle The Reverend James McEver lies interred Michael Moran of Pill Lane Dublin who died the 26th day of April 1790 aged 25 years. Sacred to his beloved and lamented memory and to implore the prayers of the faithful this stone was erected by his mother Hannah Moran of Ormond Quay A D 1795”.
- Murn …. Erected by Elizabeth to the memory of her beloved husband who departed the 3rd Feby 1826 aged 49 years”.
- Feegan … “This stone was erectd by Edwad Feegan in memory of Elizabh Woods his mother who departed this life Decbr ye 31. 1739 aged 57 years”.
- Brennan. “Erected by Patrick Brennan to the memory of his beloved father Thomas Brennan who departed this life 17th Feby 1850 aged 62 years. Also his daughter Ellen who departed this life 21st April 1844 aged 18 years and his son Thomas who departed this life 15th Jany 1838 aged 10 years”.
- Ward “Sacred to the memory of John Ward of Piercetown who departed this life 11th April 1885 aged 81 years, also his wife Rose who departed 23rd June 1885 aged 80 years”.
- Chandler … “Erected by John Chandler Clarkstown in memory of his loving wife Teresa Chandler who died 15th March 1949”.
- Daly …. “Erected by Patrick Daly of Brayfield in memory of his beloved mother Mrs Mary Daly who died 29th July 1855 aged 66 years. Also his beloved father Bernard Daly who died 2nd Jany 1854 aged 58 years”.
- Sheridan … “Erected by Simon Sheridan Utica New York in affectionate rememberance of his beloved father Thomas Sheridan who died 8th Novr 1883 aged 89 years”.
- Murphy …“This stone is erect by Ann Feagan in memory of her father Nichols Murphy who died March the 14. 1798 aged 75 years. Also her mother Mary Murphy died May 16. 1791 aged 62 yrs Also her daughter Bridgt agd 6 years. Requiescant In Pace”.
- Whelan … “Erected by William Whelan in memory of his father James Whelan who departd this life MAY 17th 1799. Also his mother Jane Whelan who departd this life January 26 1818 and his posterity 1647”.
- Murray …“Erected by Michl Murray of Freffans in memory of his father James Murray who died ………May 1818 aged 47 years. Of his mother Mary Murray who died April 30th 1845. Also of his sisters Anne…..Catherine Mary and his brother”.
- Kerrigan “Erected in memory of James Kerrigan of Garadice who died 8th August 1880 aged 64 years. And of his wife Catherine who died 30th Sept. 1907 aged 79 years. And of his son Andrew who died 1st Oct. 1917 aged 50 years. R I P. Patrick died 19 January 1931 Joseph died 17 May 1955”.
Gallow 1854/5 Families in Griffith’s Valuation: Allen, Connell, Fagan, Gill, Lynch, Maher, North-Bomford, Potterton, White.
Gallow 1901 Families in the Census: Boylan, Connor, Earley, Henry, Hughes, Lawerence, Lynch, Manning, Reilly, Tool, White.
Gallow 1911 Families in the Census: Anderson, Byrne, Chandler, Connor, Early, Hughes, Manning, Reilly, White.
Garadice, sometimes Guaradice, comes from Garrdha Díse, meaning the garden of the two people.
Garadice Castle -Located towards the top of a south facing slope. According to the Civil Survey (1654-6) Vallerian Weisly of Dangan owned 354 acres at Garreris in Gallow parish in 1640, and on the premises was ‘a castle’. Only part of the circular north tower with fragments of stairs and lights survives together with a portion of the north east wall, but it had no vault. It had three floors as attested by the two-light windows on the NE wall, those at the ground and first floors under square hood-mouldings. A small crest carved in false relief depicting three gorgets or crescents and a fess or horizontal bar is now in the garden of a nearby house. It has ‘Beati Pacilis’ (blessings of peace? Or blessed are the peacemakers) inscribed in a cursive script on a ribbon around a dove with an olive branch above the crest, which most resembles the arms of the Dillon family or it could be the arms of the Fitzsimons family. A castle such as this was a fortified residence in the form of a tower, usually four or five storeys high, and for the most part slightly more rectangular than square in plan. They were constructed by a lord or landholder and were often partially or completely enclosed by a bawn. The majority date to the 15th and 16th centuries AD.
An enclosure is nearby. This is a subcircular area defined by remains of fosse. An area defined by an enclosing element and occurring in a variety of shapes and sizes, possessing no diagnostic features which would allow classification within another monument category. These may date to any period from prehistory onwards
Archaeological excavation at Garadice 2007: The excavation of Site 10, Garadice, was carried out between May and July 2007. The site was identified in January 2007 during testing carried out on the route of the Phase 2 Summerhill to Kilcock section of the realignment scheme of the R158, undertaken on behalf of Meath County Council.
The excavation encompassed an area which measured 100m north–south by 17m in maximum width, tapering to a point to the north. It was situated on a prominent rise in the general landscape, located c. 240m north-west of Garadice Castle (ME049–002), a ruined tower-house. An additional, previously unknown, site, Site 11, a medieval settlement which was also excavated during this current scheme of works, was located c. 200m south of Site 10.
A range of archaeological features was exposed during the excavation; these were interpreted as part of a medieval settlement, including corn-drying kilns, metalled surfaces, ditches, pits, post- and stake-holes. A second phase of medieval activity was identified, as two separate groups of inhumations were located within the site, truncating a kiln in one location. There was no association between these two groups; it is, however, likely both are of late medieval or possibly early post-medieval date. A curvilinear ditch located along the current road was identified as post-medieval in date and may relate to the road, which has been identified in documentary sources as having been in place since the early 16th century, and possibly earlier. This can be interpreted as the last phase of archaeological activity within the site, and the ditch truncated a number of medieval features and one grave-cut, suggesting a substantial amount of time had passed between these phases of activity.
Finds consisted of pottery, ferrous objects and a small number of glass beads. The medieval pottery consisted mainly of local wares of 12th–14th-century date, with the exception of two assemblages of possible souterrain ware, which may constitute the remains of the earliest phase of activity on the site. The metal finds consisted of corroded ferrous objects, of which the majority are of possible medieval date. The glass beads were from medieval contexts, although a more specific date for these is expected from radiocarbon dating of relevant contexts.
Archaeological excavation at Garadice 2007: The excavation of Site 11, Garadice, was carried out between April and May 2007. The site was identified in January 2007 during testing carried out on the route of the Phase 2 Summerhill to Kilcock section of the realignment scheme of the R158, undertaken on behalf of Meath County Council.
The excavation encompassed a rectangular area which measured 40m north–south by 17.5m. The site was located in a low-lying flat area immediately to the east of the current R158 and within the realignment of this road. The general area consists of gently rolling hills, mostly farmland in pasture. Site 11 was located c. 240m south-west of Garadice Castle (ME049–002), a ruined tower-house, and c. 200m south of Site 10 (see No. 1313 above, 07E0296), a medieval settlement with a secondary function as a burial-ground, the latter also identified and resolved during this current scheme of archaeological works.
A large number of archaeological features were exposed during the excavation, mainly consisting of pits, gullies and linear ditches, which were interpreted as part of a late medieval settlement. The main features within the site consisted of two large pits, interpreted as wells or water-pits, and a large number of shallow pits and linear gullies, some interconnected and forming a possible channel associated with one of the large water pits/wells. A possible structure was identified which consisted of post-holes, stake-holes, pits, and a possible hearth, which were partially enclosed by two possible slot-trenches. There was no distinct pattern among the majority of features within the site and stratification of features was evident in places. A number of features extended beyond the limit of excavation and visible potential archaeological anomalies were observed in the field to the east of the site, which may contain additional structures and possibly the nucleus of the settlement.
Based on the large amount of iron slag encountered, the site was interpreted as having been used for iron production and possibly also pottery production, again based on the large amount of sherds of local wares of 12th–14th-century date. Metal finds consisted of corroded ferrous objects, including a scythe, and small objects of copper alloy, resembling strap-ends or possible book clasps, of which one bore incised linear decorations. Material evidence suggests the settlement continued in existence into the early post-medieval period, although to a lesser extent. A more specific date will be retained from radiocarbon dating of the features and the specialist report on the find.
In 1836 the townland was the property of the Wellesley family and was let to Mr. Pratt for 5s an acre for ever.
Griffith’s Valuation (1854/5) Families in Garadice: Beglin, Blackburne, Brennan, Burke,Byrne, Coffey, Creighton, Dungan, Egliston, Ennis, Farrell, Fleming, Flynn, Gouran, Gowran, Gravel, Halford, Hogarty, Hughes, Kenny, Kerrigan, Kevlin, Larkin, Ledwidge, Lee, Leonard, Lynch, Magee, McEntire, Monaghan, Monin, Murray, Richardson, Rock, Shanley, Sheridan, Smith, Toole, Traynor, White.
1901 Families in the Census in Garadice townland: Balfe, Beglin, Blackburn, Burke, Byrne, Cassons, Coffey, Connell, Connolly, Crosbie, Crosby, Donohoe, Dunne, Ennis, Fagan, Flynn, Galvin, Harnan, Healy, Herbert, Hughes, Kane, Kerrigan, Kilroy, Lane, Larkin, Lee, Lynan, Lynch, Magee, McIntyre, McLoughlin, Maguire, Manning, Mullagher, Murphy, Murrin, Quinn, Reilly, Reynolds, Sheridan, Toole.
1911 Families in the Census in Garadice townland: Balfe, Beglin, Blackburnm Burke, Byrne, Clark, Coffey, Connolly, Crosbie, Culley, Dagg, Downes, Ennis, Flynn, Gaffney, Gouran, Harnan, Herbert, Hughes, Kerrigan, Lane, Larkin, Lynch, McDonagh, MacGrath, McIntyre, McLoughlen, Manning, Matthews, Mullagher, Murphy, Murtagh, Quinn, Reynolds, Shereden, Toole.
In 1836 this townland was the property of Mr. Ussher of Tyrrell’s Pass and Mr. Mills of Dublin leased it.
Ringfort – There is a rath or ringfort just to the north of the canal. It consists of a raised circular area defined by remains of earthen bank (diameter 27m) with two outer banks and two intervening fosses. Entrance at ESE. A ringfort or rath is a roughly circular or oval area surrounded by an earthen bank with an external fosse. They functioned as residences and/or farmsteads and broadly date from 500 to 1000 AD.
Reconstruction of Ringfort
Griffith’s Valuation (1854/5) Families in Oldtown townland: Foran, Hyland, Tyrrell.
1901 Families in the Census in Oldtown Great townland: Byrne, Connell, Donegan, Flynn, Foran, Gaffney.
1901 Families in the Census in Oldtown Little townland: Kennedy, Mulligan.
1911 Families in the Census in Oldtown townland: Boggin, Byrne, Connell, Conroy, Fitzsimons, Flynn, Gaffney, Harnan, Holmes, Minor, Mulligan, Reynolds.
World War 1
William Barnard. Private, Northumberland Fusiliers, 1st Battalion, 3469. Born: Summerhill. Son of Thomas and Sarah Barnard. Father’s occupation: Bailiff on the Summerhill Estate. Father had served in Northumberland Fusiliers. Enlistment location: Dublin. Served in France from 13 August 1914. Killed in action, Neuve Chapelle, 11 March 1915. Age: 18. Memorial: Panel 8 and 12; Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Agher church. Barnard, W. Private, Northumberland Fus. (Trim Church of Ireland, Roll of Honour) his older brother, George Barnard, Northumberland Fusiliers was wounded in March 1916 but survived the war.
The Hon. George Cecil Rowley. 2nd Lieutenant, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 5th Bn attached 1st Battalion, Son of Hercules Edward Rowley, fourth Baron Langford of Summerhill and his wife Georgina Mary, daughter of Sir Richard Sutton. Killed in action, 17 February 1917. Age: 20. Memorial: I.E.17; Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt.
George Glyn Fowler, 2nd Lieutenant, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 2nd Battalion, Born: 21 January 1896. Younger son of Capt. and Mrs. R. H. Fowler, of Rahinston, Enfield. Father’s occupation: Retired Army Captain and J.P. Served in France from 26 January 1915. Died of wounds received at the battle of Loos, 26 September 1915. Age: 19. Memorial: I.C.52; Lapugnoy Military Cemetery.
His brother, Robert St Leger Fowler, served as a captain in World War I, winning a Military Cross during the defence of Amiens against the last German offensive of 1918. Robert died from leukaemia at Rahinstown in 1925
“Trim Rural Council – Fell in the War – Mr. Ennis proposed: – The Trim District Council desire to express to Capt. and Mrs Fowler of Rahinstown, their deep sympathy on the death of their son, Lieut. George St. L. Fowler. Mr. Shannon said that he seconded the resolution with regret. It was more than sad to see such a fine type of manhood taken away. He wished to join in the expression of sympathy with Capt. and Mrs. Fowler.
The Chairman, Mr. King and Mr. Maguire associated themselves with the resolution which was passed.” Meath Chronicle 9 October 1915.
John George Bomford On the outbreak of World War I John George Bomford joined the army and served with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers; he was a member of the first landing at Gallipoli in 1915 where, after nine months of fighting, the British troops hardly got further than the beaches and had to be withdrawn; he left the army at the end of the war as a major. Capt. North-Bomford, was wounded in France early in March 1916. Then he transferred to a staff appointment. In 1940 at the beginning of the Second World War he rejoined the forces but being 57 the army refused his services, however he was able to get into the RAF.
Burning of Summerhill House – 1921
On the 4th February 1921 Summerhill House was set on fire by the IRA and completely destroyed. Seán Boylan said he had received a message from General Headquarters that the Auxiliaries were going to occupy Summerhill House. Boylan gave orders for the house to burned down immediately. Captain Michael Graham and the Summerhill Company carried out the order. Colonel and Mrs Rowley were away. The five servants who lived in the house were sitting together in the kitchen when they heard a knock on the back door. The English butler did not open the door and some minutes later a whistle was blown and the back door battered in. The servants escaped through a door into the basement and made their way out into the darkness. As they walked down the avenue the house was doused in petrol and fire started in a number of places. Fifty six gallons of paraffin oil was used to set the building ablaze.
The reason given for firing the house was that it ‘on high ground which commanded one of the routes to the west. The Auxiliaries with field glasses, could have swept the country’. Séamus Finn said there had been some intensive enemy activity around the Summerhill area and it was surmised that this was a forerunner to the occupation by a strong force of Auxiliaries of Summerhill House. It was reported by one of the raiders that there were 36 chickens ready to be roasted for the imminent arrival of the Auxiliaries. The Earl of Mayo in the House of Lords in February 1922 said “The military said that they were very likely to take over Summerhill. Once a rumour of that kind gets about the place is, of course, a marked house. The tragic thing is that Mr. Rowley, who inherited the house, actually had a letter in his pocket saying that the military were not going to take it over when he went down to find the house burned. Some of your Lordships may know the house; it was a beautiful building, and full of beautiful things.”
The house was ‘reduced to a mass of blackened ruins’ with the complete loss of its contents. There was a miniature lake on the roof of the house and police and fire fighters shot at the lake in the hopes of the water escaping and extinguishing the fire.
In 1921 Colonel Rowley, the 6th Baron Langford, sought compensation from the Free State Government. In September 1921, a claim for £100,000 was made at Trim quarter sessions for Summerhill and £30,000 for its contents. However only £65,000 was awarded for the house and £11,000 for contents. Given the size of the proposed award, the matter was referred to the Compensation Commission which eventually awarded £43,500 in damages, with no obligation to rebuild, approximately one third of the value of the house and contents destroyed in the fire. Colonel Rowley invested the money in gilt-edged stocks and moved to Middlesex, England.
The cut stone from the house was sold off in 1957 and the remains were bulldozed into the ground in the early 1970s. Some of the stones from the ruins were used at Dalgan Park, Navan to construct a loggia. Though Summerhill House has been demolished, the entrance and tree-lined avenue are reminders of the demesne. The entrance acts as a focal point within the village of Summerhill. Summerhill Demesne is private property. Summerhill House was considered to be one of the most dramatic of the Irish Palladian houses. Crowning a hill to the south of Summerhill village, the house consisted of a main block with curved wings ending in a tower and pavilion. Summerhill House was designed by Edward Lovett Pearce and completed by Richard Castle, two of the greatest architects working in Ireland in the eighteenth century.