BRIDGETOWN, a parish

BRIDGETOWN, a parish, in the barony of FERMOY, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 1 mile (S.) from Castletown-Roche; containing 970 inhabitants. This place is situated on the river Blackwater, and near the road from Mallow to Fermoy: it derived its name from a bridge that formerly existed here, which is said to have been destroyed by Cromwell. A priory for canons of the congregation of St. Victor was founded here in the reign of John, by Alexander Fitz-Hugh Roche, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin: it was liberally endowed by the founder, and supplied with monks from the priory of Newtown, in the county of Meath, and from the abbey of St. Thomas, near Dublin. Edward I. confirmed the original endowment, which was greatly augmented by the Roche family; and in 1375, when Edward III. issued his writ to the Bishops and commons, to elect persons to assist him and his council in the government of the kingdom, and in the prosecution of the war in which he was then engaged, Thomas, the prior of this house, was one of those deputed for that purpose. The extensive remains of the abbey are pleasantly situated at the confluence of the rivers Awbeg and Blackwater, here flowing through a rocky glen; they consist principally of parts of the church, and the refectory and cloisters may still be traced.

On the south side of a chapel, near the site of the altar, under an arch of irregular construction, is a monument, supposed to be that of the founder, from an inverted armorial shield charged with one fish, but without any inscription; the present arms of the Roche family are three fishes. In a small chapel adjoining is a tomb, inscribed "Theobald Roche," with the date 1634; and in both chapels are several ancient and curiously sculptured gravestones. The parish comprises 3022 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £2071 per annum: about one-third of the land is coarse mountain pasture, forming part of the range called the Nagle mountains, on the south side of the river; the land under tillage is good, and produces abundant crops. The only seat is Clifford, the residence of T. Lloyd, Esq., pleasantly situated on the north bank of the Blackwater. Prior to the year 1835, the parish formed part of the union of Castletown-Roche, from which it was then separated and made a distinct benefice: it is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Cloyne, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the tithes amount to £180. In the R. C. divisions it still forms part of the union or district of Castletown-Roche.

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