Tuesday 5 June 2018

Abbeyleix (Walsh)

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter lviii, at p. 615:

Abbey Leix on the river Nore and in the barony of Cullinagh. This abbey was founded in honor of the Virgin Mary

AD 1183 by Corcheger O More. The monks were brought thither from the Cistercian abbey of Baltinglass.
AD 1421 the 7th of May a great slaughter was made near this abbey by O More of the retinue of Lord Ormond then lord lieutenant of Ireland Twenty seven of the English were cut off the chief of whom were Purcell and Grant.  Ten persons of superior rank were made prisoners and two hundred others were saved by flying to this monastery. No counties in Ireland were more dearly purchased by the English adventurers than the King's and Queen's .The O Moores were engaged more than sixty years in deadly conflict with the invaders.

The lands of this abbey, 1227, acres were granted by lease for thirty seven years to Thomas, Earl of Ormond at the yearly rent of 6 16s 8d and afterwards at their reversion at an increased rent of 10 5s. The family of Ormond have profited much by their fidelity to the English government. The Duke of Ormond, so celebrated in the Irish annals of the seventeenth century, obtained enormous grants of lands tithes and impropriations. The book of the exiled Nicholas French, Bishop of Ferns, called the Unkind Deserter, has unmasked the cause of the Duke's treachery to the cause of his king and country. This tract is at present extremely rare as the family of the Duke, in order to keep to themselves the secrets which it divulged, purchased at any price wherever they could find it such an obnoxious piece of evidence. Similar has been the prudence of English parsons in buying up from Catholic booksellers Cobbett's History of the Reformation. A trace of the abbey of Leix is not to be found. It seems that its ruins were as cutting as the Unkind Deserter.