ABBEY-JERPOINT, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

ABBEY-JERPOINT, a parish (anciently a corporate town), in the barony of KNOCKTOPHER, county of KILKENNY, and province of LEINSTER, 1 ½ mile (W. S. W.) from Thomastown; containing 367 inhabitants. This place is situated on the river Nore, and derives its name from an abbey founded here, in 1180, by Donogh O'Donoghoe, King of Ossory, for monks of the Cistertian order, whom he removed from a distant part of Ossory. It was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and was amply endowed by the royal founder, who was interred here in 1185; and its possessions were subsequently confirmed by John, Lord of Ireland. In 1202, Felix O'Dullany, Bishop of Ossory, was interred here, at whose tomb many miracles are said to have been wrought; and the abbey became a favourite place of sepulture with all the great families in the surrounding country. The abbot was a lord in parliament, but in 1395 obtained exemption from his attendance, on the plea that his house was subject to the abbey of Baltinglass, the abbot of which performed the parliamentary duties.

The abbey continued to flourish till its dissolution in the 31st of Hen. VIII., when it was surrendered into the king's hands by Oliver Grace, the last abbot; and its possessions were subsequently granted by Philip and Mary to James, Earl of Ormonde, and his heirs male, to be held in capite at an annual rent of £49. 3. 9. The present ruins are very extensive, and display some fine specimens of the later Norman passing into the early English style of architecture, but are rapidly falling to decay through neglect and wanton injury: the most perfect portion is a well-proportioned, square, embattled tower. The parish is in the diocese of Ossory, and is a vicarage and one of the eighteen denominations, or reputed parishes, that constitute the union of Burn-church: the tithes amount to £70. In the R. C. divisions it is part of the union or district of Thomastown.

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