To the north
of Carlow, beside Oak Park, lie these two townlands adjoining one
another. At the end of the sixteenth century they were in the possession
of the St. Leger family. Edmund St. Leger, of Dunganstown, died on the
10th December 1597, and was succeeded by his nephew Robert St. Leger in
the Queen's County, son of his brother Thomas,
following description of the place is copied from a County Carlow
Exchequer Inquisition taken in 1614:—
The said Edmund was in possession of the Castle, towne and lands of
Dowganston now commonly called the Pigeon House, consisting of the
Mansyon or Cheefe House and Orchard there, the Island, and the fishing-weare
of the said towne; the croftes and gardens, and an aker of land of the
greate country measure; and the following parcells—Akreanga, Willow aker,
Blackditch aker, the Peare-tree, aker, two akers called Skeagh-Venneady,
and other lands, besides the hamlet and landes called Garrynowe alias
New Garden parcell of the said Dowganston.
A few years
later, the family of Butler of Tullow (co. Carlow) were in possession of
"Dowganstowne and Garrynew", held of the king as of his Castle of
Carlow. James Butler, late of Tullagh, is found by an Inquisition to
have died in possession of these lands on the 10th February 1629; by his
wife Ellen .... who survived him, he left a son and heir Edward, and a
daughter, Arabella, who was the second wife of Gerald 'Oge' Fitzgerald
of Morette in the Queen's County.
Survey (1659) shows the Castle of "Ducans-towne" as then standing close
to the bank of the Barrow.
family named Best, who settled here in the eighteenth century, the
townland became known as 'Bestfield.
Close to the
Athy road is a ruinous enclosure containing a large tomb-slab on which,
until cut away by orders of Mr. Bruen in 1890, an old ash had so grown
that a portion of the inscription was hid under its encroaching bark;
the slab, which was originally probably a table-tomb bears the following
lyeth the Body of Mrs. Sarah Best, the wife of Arundel Best, Esqr, who
departed this life ye 15 Day of February 1743 aged 72. Here alsoe lyeth
the Body of George Best son of the said Arundel Best and Sarah who
departed The 16th Day of March 1739.
lyeth the Body of Arundel Best, Esq, who departed this life The First
Day of May in the year of our Lord 1755, Aged 78. Also the Body of
Caulfield Best, second son of Elias and Elizabeth Best & Grandson to the
said Mr. Arundel Best of Bestfield in the County Carlow.
informed by an old man named Matthew Gatney of the Knock at Castleroe,
long since dead, that he had seen a second slab in this enclosure
belonging to one of the Bests whom his father had disinherited, on which