The priory, or hospital, of St. John the Evangelist, founded by William Le Mareschal in 1220, notwithstanding its long alienation from ecclesiastical uses, was, in 1641, taken possession of by a fraternity of Jesuits, who commenced its restoration; a great part of it was afterwards demolished, and the east window of its church, enriched with delicate tracery, and part of the south side of the choir formed a picturesque ruin till the year 1817, when it was restored, and became the parish church of St. John. The annals of this house, called the Codex Kilkenniensis, were in high reputation, and formed part of the Chandos collection.

The Dominican abbey, founded in Irishtown by William Le Mareschal the younger, in 1225, was dedicated to the Holy Trinity; and chapters of the order were held in it in 1281, 1302, 1306, and 1316; part of it was, subsequently to the Reformation, made a shire-house, and in 1640 the whole was repaired. The remains of the abbey church are extensive and interesting; it was cruciform, with a central tower, which is still in good preservation, crowned with a graduated battlement with angular turrets; the windows and arches are of elegant design, and the nave and south transept are beautiful specimens of rich detail in the decorated English style; part has been lately restored for a R. C. chapel. Among the eminent persons interred in this church were the founder and his brother.

The Franciscan abbey was founded previously to the year 1230, and a provincial chapter was held in it in 1267; it extended from the city walls to the river, and of its extensive remains, part has been converted into a brewery. The body of the church is nearly entire, though without a roof, and is now used as a tennis-court; at the west end are the relics of a lofty window of seven lights, and from the centre of the building rises a tower of light and elegant proportions, resting on finely groined arches, and apparently of the date of the 14th century. Within the precincts is a well of pure water, formerly held in great veneration, and still in high repute. John Clyn, an annalist of some celebrity, was a friar of this house.

All these houses after the Reformation were granted to the corporation. Part of a house in the coal-market, now divided into five or six tenements, is said to have been the chamber in which the parliaments held at Kilkenny assembled; it consisted of a hall, 49 feet long and 47 feet wide, under which was a dungeon, 20 feet square; the windows are arched, narrow, and lofty, and are defended with iron bars. Among the eminent natives of this place were several bishops of various sees, of whom William Daniel, D. D., a man of great learning, translated the book of Common Prayer from the English, and the New Testament from the Greek, into the Irish language, and was made Archbishop of Tuam in 1609. John Banim, author of the O'Hara Tales, and other works of imagination, is also a native of this place. Kilkenny gives the title of Earl to the family of Butler.

Kilkenny, City of | Kilkenny History | Kilkenny Topography | Kilkenny Manufactures | Kilkenny Charter | See of Ossory | Kilkenny Parishes | Kilkenny Schools | Kilkenny Hospitals | Kilkenny Residences | Kilkenny Churches | Kilkenny, County of

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