A Secluded Spot II

Not far away from the old church in Castledermot, County Kildare with its round tower and pair of High Crosses, stand the remains of a Franciscan friary. This is thought to have been founded in the early 13th century by Walter de Riddlesford the younger; his father, of the same name, had been granted the lands in this part of the country by Strongbow. The friary was plundered and badly damaged by Edward Bruce and his army in 1317, so it is likely that at least some of what can be seen today dates from a subsequent rebuilding programme.

Like all such establishments, the friary in Castledermot was officially closed down by government authorities in the 1540s, although there were still Franciscans living on the site 100 years later. However, it was badly damaged by English soldiers in 1650 and thereafter fell into ruin. What survives is a large, long church typical of the medieval mendicant orders. An opening on the north wall gives access to the transept, with what is left of three small chapels; in two instances the windows here retain their tracery windows but alas the gable end’s fine tracery shown in a late 18th century engraving by Daniel Grose, has long since been lost. A tower on the north side of the chancel was probably added in the 14th century as protection for the friary’s residents continued to be necessary during this period. The south side of the church, which would have opened into the long-disappeared cloister is less well preserved.

2 comments on “A Secluded Spot II

  1. Deborah Sena says:

    Looks like it is well maintained as to grounds being cared for and the church areas kept clear. Wonder your thoughts as to how much should/could be done for all these religious sites- particularly smaller/less reknown ones- in similar condition. Do you have the reference for the picture you mentioned on the transept window tracery?

    • To be honest, I would prefer grass rather than gravel be used inside these buildings as it would make them less austere, but gravel seems to be the material of choice at present (and it requires less maintenance than grass). As for the picture, just google Daniel Grose and Castledermot to find plenty of examples of this image.

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