History of the Barony of Shillelogher Home -- Callan -- Crannagh -- Fassadinin -- Galmoy -- Gowran -- Ida -- Iverk -- Kells -- Knocktopher -- Shillelogher
County Kilkenny Ireland History

Barony of Shillelogher

"The derivation of the word Shillelogher, and the origin of its application to this part of the County of Kilkenny, are lost in the obscurity of time" (Hogan 1884, 311). However, Shillelogher is cited in Irish as "Siol Ui Luachra", meaning the descendants of Luachair (Kilkenny Journal of Archaeology, 1851, p. 347; History of County Kilkenny, O'Kelly, 1969). Shillelogher has also been described in the Irish form "Siol Fhaelchair", meaning "Faelchar tribe lands" (' Ceallaigh 1953, 63-70). That it was an early Medieval cantred within the shire of Kilkenny, named for Gaelic tribal lands during the period of the Anglo-Norman arrival, seems apparent.

The Gaelic sept of the Ui-Cearbhall (O'Carroll) have been identified with the ancient tribe land of 'Magh Mail', part of a limestone central plain roughly co-extensive with the barony of Shillelogher, the Liberties of Kilkenny and the districts of Gowran. O'Cearbhaill or O'Carroll, and O'Donchadha or O'Donoghoe, are noted by the genealogist O'Hart as Gaelic chiefs of the barony of Gowran and Sliogh Liag (possibly another name for Shillelogher), both in Kilkenny. O'Hart goes on to say, these O'Carrolls, it is conjectured, were a branch of the O'Carrolls, princes of Ely; and the O'Donoghoes, a branch of the O'Donoghoes, princes of Cashel. Another version claims the Kilkenny O'Carrolls were unrelated to those of Ely, and they derived their name from the great Cerbhaill, a king of Ossory who distinguished himself in the Danish wars of the 9th century.

On the heels of the Cambro-Norman invasion into Ireland during the late twelfth century, William Marshall shared out central Ossory among his household knights. The cantred of Shillelogher was divided among a number of lesser knights. The more important fiefs in the cantred of Shillelogher included Tullaroan (Grace), Tullaghanbrogue (St. Leger), Ballybur with Castleinch (de Valle, Wall), Burnchurch (fitzGerald, Barron) and Kilferagh (Avenal) (source: Whelan and Nolan 1990, 76-77).

Burnchurch castle was originally said to have been built by Maurice fitzGerald about A.D. 1215. Maurice was namesake for most of the FitzGerald families in Ireland, and some of his descendants at Burnchurch are said have changed the surname to Barron.

The Anglo-Norman Treading family was noted in the parish named from them, Ballyreddin, as early as 1218, in a legal document describing their possession of a tenement at 'Tredynstoun', or Treadingstown.

In 1247 recorded names of those holding knights fees in the barony of Shillelogher included:
  • William de sancto Leodegaro, 1/2 knights fee at Taluchambroc [Tullaghanbrogue].
  • William son of Maurice, 1/2 knights fee at Kiltrafh [Fitzgerald of Burnchurch].
  • Reimund de Vall[e], or John de Valle, 1/2 knights fee at Theolechan [Inchyolaghan or Castleinch].
  • Henry de Erl[egh], or de Herlegh, 1/2 and 1/4 knights' fees at Nova Villa [et] in Cullak [Earlstown].
  • Nicholas Avenell, 1/4 knights fee at Kilfidragfh [Kilferagh].
  • William Archid', or le Archer, 1/4 fee at Archery [Archerstown, parish of St. Patrick's, liberty of Kilkenny].
  • William Hogechin, or de Hogeky, 1/4 fee at an unspecified place [perhaps Rathduff, parish of Stonecarthy].

    In 1317 recorded names of those holding knights fees in the barony of Shillelogher included:
  • William de St. Leodegario, or heir of William, 1/2 knights fee at Theloghanbrok or Tythanbrog [Tullaghanbrogue].
  • Maurice son of Maurice, or William son of Maurice, at Kiltramyn or Kyltuyn [Burnchurch].
  • John de Valle, 1/2 knights fee at Cheleghan or Inchwoleghan [Inchyolaghan or Castleinch].
  • John de Erlaye, or John de Erley, 1/2 and 1/4 knights' fees at Nova Villa de Erlay & Nova Coyllagh [Earlstown].
  • Nathaniel Avenel, or Andrew Avenel, 1/4 knights fee at Kilfeteran or Kylfethragh [Kilferagh].
  • William de Kenfeg, or William Kenfeg, 1/4 knights fee at Ragultheby [Rathculbin].
  • William larcher, or John le Red, 1/4 fee at Archereston [Archerstown, parish of St. Patrick's, liberty of Kilkenny].
  • Thomas de Sakvill, or William Houtillagh, 1/4 fee at Rathmeduffe or Raudoff [perhaps Rathduff, parish of Stonecarthy].

    In 1355 recorded names of those holding knights fees in the barony of Shillelogher included:
  • Remund de Vall[e], 1/2 fee at Inchewolghn [Inchyolaghan or Castleinch].
  • heir of John Derly kt., 3/4 fee at Erleyseton and Nova Coyllagh [Earlstown].
  • Andrew Avenell, 1/4 knights fee at le Fetheragh [Kilferagh].
  • heir of Richard Chever, 1/4 fee at Rathgulvy [Rathculbin].
  • Thomas, son and heir of Thomas Flemyng, 1/8 fee at Archerstoun [Archerstown, parish of St. Patrick's].
  • John Druyl, 1/4 fee at Rathmeduff and Conanestoun [perhaps Rathduff, parish of Stonecarthy].

    The Comerfords were lords of the district of Ballybur [castle and parish] in early Anglo-Norman times, the head of the family later becoming Baron of Danganmore in Dunnamaggin parish.

    The Gaelic O'Shees and O'Clerys, immigrants from Munster, were noted around Shillelogher, at least by the 16th century, although their arrival has also been stated to be earlier than this.

    The distribution of lands in the barony of Shillelogher circa 1640 shows the major landowners to be the Earl of Ormond, the St. Legers, Comerfords, Rothes, Fitzgeralds, Sweetmans, and others.

    The principal Irish names and their number in the 1659 census, Barony of Skillelogher, included: Brenon, 09 ; Butler, 08 ; Bane, 07 ; Donell, 10 ; Dulany, 06 ; Fleming, 10 ; Glison, 05 ; Hologhon, 05 ; Kelly, 06 ; Lorkan, 07 ; Morphy, 18 ; Mogher, 17 ; Morish, 07 ; Nolan, 11 ; Phelan, 12 ; Ryan, 09 ; McTeige, 07. Total number of Irish in the barony, 1190 ; total number of English in the barony, 075.

    Further reference:
    Parishes and Townlands of Shillelogher
    Barony and Civil Parish Map of County Kilkenny

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