Some notes in Tullamore's oldest House - Sragh Castle 1588 A.D.
Srah or Sragh Castle, Tullamore's oldest house, was erected in 1588 and was damaged __________ repair in the Cremwellian Wars of 1649 - 1652. A cottage beside him ______ while the 1950s, (see photograph). The dates, time in the castle was renamed to Mount Briscoe near Daingean in the last century. ______ years ago the only _______
John Briscoe alias Briscoe or Brisko, a relative of John Brisco of the House of Crofton, passed over to Ireland and married Eleanor Kearney alias Kerney or Carney of Shragh. Kerne House of Ancient respectable family and it appears by a Tablet Stone that was built the Castle of Shraghikerne or Shragh in the King's Co. A.D. 1588. John Kearney was treasurer of St. Patrick's Dublin - was educated at Cambridge - he wrote a Catechism in Irish which was considered the first book written in that character. He also translated into Irish the New Testament. He died A.D. 1600 and is interred in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.
John Briscoe alias Brisko of Crofton Hall, Cumberland an officer of rank and merit who served the Crown in the Wars of Queen Elizabeth and assisted in the principal means of the overthrow of the late Earl of Tyrone and his adherents [The nine year war]. He married Eleanor Karney of Shraghikerne house which signifies Karne of Shraghe of Ancient and respectable family. they and their son, Karney Briscoe, Esq. built the Castle of Shraghikerne in a strong position adjoining the old and ancient road that then led from Dublin to Galway and resided there. It is situated about a quarter of a mile from Tullamore formerly Towllaghmore (which signifies the hill on the Water) or the big hill, parish of Kilbride barony of Ballycowan, King's Co. and erected a Tablet Stone in said Castle with his name "John Brisco, Karney Brisco and Eleanor Karney" with the date of the year 1588 of his having built the same. This branch of the Karney family resided there they erected a good house, the remains of the foundation of which is to be seen at the rear of this Castle and were the ancient proprietors under the person formerly claiming as owners of the Monastery of Dermagh now Durrow, King's Co. The Ancient road from Galway to Dublin passed convenient to Ballyboy Castle then situated at Ballyboy in the King's Co. to Shraghikerne Castle and to Philipstown Castle but turned at a bridge over the river at a small subdenomination of Shraghikerne Castle Manor lands called Cubreach alices Cubreagh, then passing Briscoe's then Mill, at this bridge Shraghikerne Castle side thereof now called Crows holding Garden house or small tower and shrub the trace of which bridge and road are still to be seen. This leading road from Dublin to Galway passed close by this Garrison or Castle of Shraghikerne, King's Co. leaving the river of Cubreagh alias Shreaghikerne river , now commonly called Tullamore river, between each side of this road which road did then pass in front of said river Ballyboy side of said Castle with a small fall in the road near this Castle on the Philipstown side thereof with a considerable number of high rocks 3 feet or 4 feet over the surface near the Castle. All or greater part of the rocks now disappear from the improvements in building the town of Tullamore and used in the general works in the Grand Canal, burnt of made into lime conveyed by Canal Boats to Dublin, sold there for divers uses. - all of which were in front of some or one of the squares of this Castle which gave this Garrison a command over any enemy, which garrison Briscoe kept as an Englishman. Here was a village convenient to the Castle, the residence of Tenants who occasionally served as Guards - remains or trace are still to be seen. A Blunderbuss the weight of which a man could scarce lift was in possession of the late Edward Briscoe of Screggan House shortly before his death which belonged to said Garrison.
The leading road through Fercall and Ely O'Carroll in King's Co. was made a pass by O'Neill in the wars of Elizabeth and particularly in the Battle of Kinsale. O'Neill's army encamped at Tullamore and his Irish Army committed acts of outrage. O,Neill rode from the Irish Camp at Tullamore alias Tullaghmore hill to Shraghikerne Castle where John Brisco was then a very aged man and dressed in his usual Scarlet cloak and Military Cap formerly had been a military man. O'Neill asked him who he was, Brisco made answer "Brisco O'Neill" Brisco meaning thereby that he knew that it was O'Neill the Irish General who was there on Horse, whereupon O'Neill replied by "You have saved your life, you Sasanough Bonnough" meaning thereby "You black Protestant" O'Neill at the same time asked Brisco for his daughter, Eleanor Brisco, for a wife for his O'Neill's nephew (Hugh McManus) and who was then the Irish General's nephew and O'Neill's Educamp which Brisco refused. McManus forced Eleanor Brisco out of Shraghikerne Castle, had her tied behind one of the Irish Army when they raised their Camp at Tullamore and marched for the North. She was married to McManus at the foord of Ballyduff (by a Priest of the Irish Army). Eleanor Brisco's child by McManus died in the North. This child interred in the Church of kilbryde. McManus obliged to fly from the North during the Irish War and took refuge at Killeigh in King's Co. where he survived during all those turbulent times and where he died 1683 and was interred and a Tomb or large flag with the image of his head and helmit cut or raised on the Flag or Tomb now remains in the Rooms of Kilbryde Church, Barony of Ballycowan near Tullamore with this inscription thereon "Here lieth the body of Hugh McManus who was interred the 5th day of April 1683. (He was from Tyrone). [This tomb has not been found.]
Ancient persons long since dead considered John Brisco of Shraghikerne to be an ancient English Settler and occupied as his property one of the first Pews in the Protestant Church of Kilbride then near Tullaghmore but now called Tullamore. Restoration of Charles II former Church of kilbride pulled down and the present Church which is now in ruin erected which appears not be have been plastered. The Moor family wishing to have the Church of Kilbride not repaired built a chapel of Ease at Tullamore in 1692. [The correct date is closer to 1720s].
Ancient persons of the name of Brisco many years dead mentioned they heard from tradition that John Brisco was charged about the reign of James I that he had married Eleanor Karney who was niece or near relative to Sir John MacCoughlan and allied to many other great Irish connexions. That said Eleanor educated one of her sons in a college in Spain and that said John Brisco's defence that if so it was without his knowledge he continuing a military man in the British service in Germany having his eldest son with him. Said John Brisco on his return to Ireland brought with him a German Servant by the name of Gonnode and many of that name are now respectable farmers in the neighbourhood of Shreagikerne. The loyal Protestant Family of Crofton Hall is of great antiquity in the County of Cumberland and acquired Crofton Hall by the marriage of Islod Briskoo with Margaret,, sole heir of John Crofton. Sir Robert Digby (1596) married Letitea daughter and heir of Gerard, Lord of Failey and she was created Baroness of Offaily for life and brought into the Digby family the Baron Lordship Manor and territories of Geashill - all inherited from her Grandfather, Gerard Earl of Kildare. She was several times assaulted in her Castle and in the rebellion sent her a summons to surrender the Castle, signed Henry Dempsey, Charles Dempsey, Andrew Fitzpatrick, Con Dempsey, Phelim Dempsey, John MacDonald and John Vicker's etc., etc.
The old records state that Robert de Brisgau of Brisgau in Swabia, brought one hundred lancers to join William I's army of freebooters in his fight for the Crown of England. He settled at Byrescoye near Carlslisle. In a Deed 20, Edward I. his greatgrandson is described as Robert Brisco de Byrescoye and his family resided there until his grandson, Christopher, had to sell it to the Abbot of Carslisle in order to pay his ransom to the Scots, as he had been taken prisoner at Wigan. His father Isold had married Margaret, daughter and heiress of John de Crofton (tem. Richard III), by whom he obtained Crofton. Whinhow and Leendraw and after the family resided at Crofton. The name Brisco is a corruption of Brisgau. It is curious that a similar corruption of names occurs hear here. One of my ancestors here fought in the German Wars (tem. Queen Elizabeth) and brought back to Ireland a German valet of the name of GOUNOD. His descendants live near here but now spell their name GONOUD.
E. J. M. Briscoe,
December 24th ?
Last week I write of the early history of Sragh Castle - Tullamore's oldest house dating back to 1588 and erected by an English Soldier John Briscoe who married Eleanor Kearney. The dates/time is new at Mount Briscoe near Daingean. The notes I reproduced last week were compiled by E.J.M. Briscoe of Screggan Manor.
Of Screggan Manor only the ruins survive. The house was destroyed again in the 'Trubles' and Civil War. E.J.M. Briscoe, the author of the note, is Edward John Marriott Briscoe, son of Edward John Broscoe of Riverdale, Co. Westmeath who was born in 1819 and married in 1852. E.J.M. Briscoe was corn in 1862. He traced his lineage. (see Burke 1912) (1) to Ralph Briscoe who acquired the Rathleen estate (see Mount Bolus) by pur------ c. 1720 and held it until it was taken over by the Irish Land Commission. (2) (See ------ Killaughy p. 160). E.J.M. Briscoe died 26 March 1943.
The same Ruligh Briscoe acquired the Lands or Ross, Screggan and Bonneterin c. 1747 in virtual freehold subject to a yearly rent of £120. These Lands c. 550 (Irish acs) were at the time occupied by Constntine Molloy. Portion of the lands were sold to the Land Commission c.1920s and the land to John Gorgan in 1926 Ross House was sold by Evelyn Irene Briscoe, ---------- of E.J.M. Briscoe in 1951.
Sragh Castle in --- of the ---- of the surviving Offaly tower houses. It was des----- in 1942 in ------ well ----- walls with a slight ------ - ------follow away but interesting
Authority Hibernica, Ancient Pieces relating to Ireland (By Walter Harris) also a Fragment of Ireland by Maurice Regan - pages from 46 to 49 and page 43, published Dublin 1770:- Note: Shraghikerne Castle is from end to end 30 feet on every square. The wall thereof 5' 2" thick from the Castle door to the inside wall which includes the place of the Geometrical Staircase, which is now in good preservation to the top and is 8' 8" thick, each step 3' long. The door of the Castle was very strong being hung by strong Irons and a strong double door, one shut in the Castle then fastened with strong iron bolts and the other shut out and closed inside with heary irons and deep oak bolt which lay in a case in the wall and occasionally drew across. Inside door at the end of the Geometrical staircase another exceedingly strong stone door case which occasionally opened to the stairs so that when the Castle was closed the door of this staircase been closed had a large oak bolt cased in the wall, occasionally drawn across this strong door which secured the staircase. The Ground Room opposite the Hall Door in the clear was 13' x 15' in like manner secured with a strong stone doorcase with the appearance of a powerful door hung thick with an oak bolt cased in the Wall and occasionally drawn across this door inside of this room which left this door independent of the Locks and Irons and left this room equally secured. A trap door in the floor of the next storey with the assistance of a ladder left a communication from this room to the second storey and through all the points of the Castle. From each room was a strong stone doorcase equally secured with strong Iron Locks and Bolts leading in to this Geometrical staicase. then was a small bed chamber that led from each room in range over the Hall to upper storey about 8' 8" by 10'. Also a Tower with a short stairs therein where the Guards could walk out and fire down in case anyone should be found breaking in the Castle door. Also the Angles was in like manner secured. The four squares of this Castle which is about 30' high exclusive of the Parapet Wall covered with spike holes, also round holes for blunderbusses, also holes for Musquets, or small arms. Elegant spike holes cut on the Corners of this Castle in the most mechanickly style through cut stone between the Hall door, staircase door and the room door of the Ground Storey formed a square dark Hall and a large Trap Hole made between those doors in the centre of this Hall occasionally covered with a Trapdoor and recess made in said wall and to receive said Trapdoor when raised) from this Castle. A kitchen was attached 10 yards long 16' wide in the clear which was lofted low so that the Castle could command the roof. From the kitchen was a small Tower for further defence of the Castle. The Castle Bawn or yard was 28 yards width and 30 yards long walled in. A very fine wall which was a few years only discovered and steps to the bottom within the yard for the use of the Castle. Stables 14 yards in length or 421/2 ft. (A High Wall from the Castle to the stables 16 yards in length - the house belonging to the Karney family before the Castle was built 22 yards, 66 ft. in length and in breath 11 yards or 33 ft. seems to be a House of the first respect in those early days prior to 1588). The Gate Way of the Castle Yard is 8 ft. wide and fro this Gate to the Castle door 34 ft. in length. Opposite the Gate there seems to be a house or fort for further security of said Castle. Any person viewing this Castle will evidently see it was built by and for defence in the turbulent times of Queen Elizabeth.
(Note). The Tablet Stone of the Castle of Shraghikerne was taken down about A.D. 1814 by some persons from Cappincor in search of money. Conway a Weaver then in Tullamore possessed himself if it thinking to make a Pig trough, 4" deep of this stone been sunk for the purpose of raising the letters of the names of the persons who built the Castle together with the date of the year same was built the following inscription and the letters done in the old manner of standing for names (as follows)
E K Exact copy
KB of entering
1588 in old manuscript
This is the inscription on the stone and it stands for Eleanor Karney also for John and Karney Briscoe for no other person and it is not improbable but those three ranges are on record both in England and Ireland as well as engraved on the Tablet Stone which was got by ..........
It was squar'd in the front about 16" hollow'd 4"deep and the letters and figures cut in raised work in the bottom of this Tablet, leaving and edge or rim round this square front of about 3" in breath. The same style of cutting is done on McManus's flag, Kilbride, date 1683 and also the same style of cutting on the Tablet of Dame Ismay Nugent on Ballinacor Bridge, Barony of Delvin, Westmeath, date 1584. The place of square of Shraghikerne Castle fronts the Kilbride road where the Tablet Stone was taken out of and placed in said Castle about 10' or 12' in height from the ground. The place where this Tablet Stone was taken out of is within a few days stop'd up with lime and stone as the butments and some large breaches have been newly repaired and in time this Stone would be stated was never in this Castle and was only a forgery for Antiquity.
N.B. The persons who built Castles if is considered was obliged to put up their Name and Date (and that in the most conspicuous place in said Castles). The Hall Door of this Castle Square with the square facing Tullaghmore, now Tullamore, were walled in and formed the Bawn or yard side of the Castle and therefore enclosed from public view and the square to Kilbride road was the square of the Castle the Tablet was in and which was the most public square thereof been open to publick view and on the road then from Dublin to Galway when Queen Elizebth's Army from all parts being then the Chief and publick road through that Country. Cromwell's Army pass'd said road which is now nearly defaced through the pavement and road appears at this Castle and by the Gateway thereof.
Note about Captain Tyrell (of Tyrellspass fame) - brave courageous Catholic gentleman !
Instructions to Commissioners sent by King James I to Ireland to enquire principally into the disturbances of the Parliament of A.D. 1613. Extracted out of Roals Office A.D. the 11th James I, Knig's Co. On the 20th April the freeholders assembled at Phillipstown to elect Knights and some of the Irish having consulted together the same morning attended the Sheriff at the Shire House between 8 and ( o'clock where the writ was then road. Sir Francis Rushe and Sir Adam Loftus were propounded by some of the freeholders as the fittest men to be elected to the Sheriff, two several lists of names in paper, who he said had given their voices for Sir John Mac Coughlan and Callagh O Molloy whom they had chosen already and they would no other, and upon the delivery of the list they cried out "Mac Coughlan and O Mulloy". The other side to the number of sixteen (16) gave their votes publickly for Sir Francis Rushe and Sir Adam Loftus. The Under Sheriff received the papers and made up the indenture for Mac Coughlan and O Molloy having the greatest number of names in the list - which indentures were accepted by the High Sheriff yet not - withstanding he returned Sir Adam Loftys and Sir Francis Rushe alleging that the greatest number of voices given publickly were more for them than for the other. In which proceeding on the part of Mac Coughlan and O Mulloy we find this miscarriage that two Gentlemen whose names were returned in the list upon the reading disavowed the same and subscribed to the other part. Some other also confessed he set his hand to the list after the Election was done and Sir Terence O Dempsey being absent gave his voice by proxy to the said Mac Coughlan and O Mulloy which O Mulloy cannot speak English. Sir John Mac Coughlan, then a great man of GarryCastle in King's Co: Callagh O Mulloy then a great man of the Castle at Ballyboy in King's Co. Sir Francis Rushe of Rushe Hall, Queen's Co., and of Castle Jordan in Meath.
The Abbey lands of Dermagh or Durrow signifying the Country of Oak comprised part of the map of the Territory called Fercall and which Abbey lands were formed into two parishes called Durrow and Kilbride and are now part of the barony of Ballycowan, King's Co., (independent of those Abbey Lands), the parishes of Rahan, Linally, Kiloughy, Ballyboy, Eglish and Drumcullen and these Union parished off and are called Fercall.
Lands amounted to :-
Ferrall alias O Mulloy........................ 49,235.
Mac Coughlan Country alias Delvin in
Kilcoursey alias Foxes Country in the
King's Co. 6,346.
Iregan alias O Doyne in the Queen's Co. 27,405.
Part of the Barony of Kolcommon alias
O Melaghlin's Country in Co. Westmeath. 7,672.
Total Acres. 308,482.
The natives were to be tied upon a proviso of forfeiture neither to take upon them of Irish names of Seignory as O Rourke, O Mulloy, Fox, MacCoughlan or O Doyne nor set up, assist or maintain any to usurp that name by giving to Irish Cutting Services.
Sir Jasper Herbert and Nicholas Herbert had a patent of 1300 acres at Ballycowan, King's Co. 2nd October A.D. 1620...................................................................................himselft and his family in which he placed a Talbot Stone in with the underneath inscription:-
This house built by Sir Jasper Herbert
and Mary Dame Finglass his Wife A.D. 1626.
"BY GOD OF MIGHT I WILL
HOLD MY RIGHT".
On said 1300 acres said Herbert caused to be erected three small Square Castles A.D. 1626. One at Aughenaugh a sub-denomination of Ballycowan: one at Ballekilmurry and one at Aharney for the residence of Three Tenants.
Robert Colley, Justice of Peace, to whom Queen Elizebth, 3rd February 1562, granted Castletown, otherwise Young Cowleystone, now Croghan and other lands in the King's Co., to hold to his heirs Male in Capite were granted to Sir Thomas Moore. He Moor was afterwards knighted for his service against the Irish by whom he was at length murdered in his Castle at Castletown and succeeded there by his son Sir John Moor, Knight, who in 1599 held his Castle of Croghan for the Queen for which he was knighted and made considerable addition to his estate. Married Dorothy, fifth daughter to Dr. Adam Loftus, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland: Jane married to Anthony O Demsey; and mary married Sir Matt De Kinzy. James I granted to him and his heirs the Castle, town and lands of Tullamore (Castle erected into the Manor of Croghan, 10th July 1638 - (does this really mean "Castle erected to the manner of Croghan, 10th July 1638?). The O Connor Flay laid siege to the Castle of Cronochan at this time (it was at the foot of a hill called Knockcrochan). The besiegers having no artillery scaled the walls with 100 foot soldiers and having entered put the garrison of Englishmen to the sword and became Masters of the Fortress.
To De Kinzy (Mary's husband) of Waghally alias Tenycross, there is now a subdenomination called Ballydaly. Built a strong house with a bawne or yard or Garrison Wall with two small towers annexed thereto. The Ancient road from Dublin to Galway then passed on the Hill of Waghally (Tenycross), parish of Kilbride, leaving this strong New House (of De Kinzy) in the hollow near the road which then led to Shraghikerne Castle and to Ballyboy Castle, Dublin side of Shraghikerne.
A Patent to Dempsey (Jane's husband) of part of the lands called Ballydrohed which comprised two denominations and one called Bealodrohedmore and one called Bealudrohedbegg and the lands of Bealudrohedbegg were that part of Ballydrohed given to O Dempsey who built a small square Castle on lands now enclosed in the park of Charleville, formerly Redwood, inside and within a few perches of what they now call the Red Gate and on the river side thereof Bealudrohedbegg lands were situated on the Redwood side of the river and the other denomination of Bealudrohid called B'drohedmore was situated on the Church of Kilbride and Shraghikerne Castle side of the river and considered formerly part of the Abbey lands called Dermagh, now Durrow. The Ancient road from Dublin to Galway passed between the river and (Dempsey's) then a New Castle and convenient to said building between Shraghikerne Castle and the Castle then at Ballyboy passing over Clarehenn Bridge and near the Mills of Ballinvougher on the Clothier or mountain river, which bridge and the old site of said Mill are now enclosed as part of Red wood, now Charleville Park, and passed through the lands of Linally, Mucla and through the land of the late Edward Briscoe of Screggan and so passed on to Ballyboy.