THE PARISH OF FETHARD.
SITUATION: This Parish Is in the Barony of Middlethird and is bounded on the west by the Parishes of Donaghmore and Redcity; on the northwest and north by those of Barrettsgrange and. Rathcoole; or the east and on the south by those of Kiltinan and Baptist's Grange.
NAME: The name of this Parish is now pronounced, by the natives, who speak Irish very well, as if written Fiard, but we have the authority of the Annals of the 4 Masters for the true orthography which is Fídh Ard, signifying Sylva Alta or Highwood. See my letter upon the Parish of Fethard In the County of Wexford, in which I have shown that the Ulster King of 1645 was wrong in his positive assertion that the name signifies Fight Hard. If I could prove that to be the meaning of this Fethard it would be a grand thing, no doubt, because the men of Fethard were wont to fight (drink) hard before they were reformed by Father Mathew. We are glad to have it in our power to say that it might now with great propriety be called Fídh Neimhedh or Sídh Ard quia pax et ulta silentia regnant.
I here insert what the Irish writers have preserved of the history of this place: - FIODHARD (Fethard).
(Annals 4 Masters).
A.D. 1582. In the summer of this year the Earl of Desmond proceeded to the east of Munster and the western part of the country of the Butlers. He was met on this occasion at Fethard by the two young sons of the Earl or Ormond. viz., Edmond of Callow and Edward, and the two sons of James (who was son of Pierce Roe, who was son of James, who was son of Edmond) and brothers of the then Earl of Ormond (viz., of Thomas) for these were they who had been left by the Earl to protect the country on his departure for England.
They had under their command in that town a vigorous body of cavalry and select battalions of Gallowglasses and Giomanachs. These courageously formed into an army and entered the same field with the Earl. Both parties marched on from Fethard, Fíodh Ard. to Knockgraffon, keeping at a short distance from each other without coming to any engagement.
At the latter place however the Earl turned round upon and defeated the Butlers, who (being obliged to abandon the field) left a great part of their cavalry and all their foot soldiers at the mercy and discretion of their enemies, so that the hill on which they fought was variagated with the bodies of men slain by the Geraldines in that engagement.
In this battle (on the side of the Butlers) was slain one whose death caused great lamentation viz., Colla, the son of Maelmurry, who was son of Donall Oge Mac Sweeny, Chief Constable of the Butlers, There was only one man slain on the other side viz., Gerald (the son of John Oge, who was son of John, who was son of Thomas, the Earl) whose death was a cause of lamentation in his own country.
FETHERD (County of Tipperary)
At Fetherd an ancient market and borough town formerly walled; its gates still remaining, six miles east of Cashel. The Augustinian Eremites had a house before 1306 (Archd., 657). It ceased to have representatives at the union. About half a mile from it are ruins of Crumps Castle. Others at Mobarnan, three miles beyond Thurles - (Wilson, 373).
FETHERD (County of Tipperary)
Archdall's Monasticon Hib., V.2, p.657, R.I.A.
A market and borough town in the Barony of Middlethird and about six miles east of Cashel. The Eremites of St. Augustin Of Fetherd having acquired to themselves, contrary to the Statute of Mortmain, one acre and a half in the said town from Walter de Mulcote (In pure and perpetual aims) for the purpose of rebuilding their house, and the archbishop from whom the lands were immediately held having granted his confirmation, the King (Edward I) by patent dated 22nd of June, A.D. 1360 did grant to the said Eremites a full and free pardon. - (Prynn, V.3, p.1160).
' AD. 1385, A messuage in this town being seized into the Kings (Edward III.) hands he granted the same during pleasure to these Friars, they paying yearly into the treasury of Dublin the true value thereof as extended by John, son of Adam of London and Robert Scandan; and in 1379 the said Friars obtained the grant of a mill in this town. - (King. p.425).
William Burdon was the last Prior, who surrendered the Priory 8th April XXXI Henry VIII, then containing within the site a Church and steeple, a dormitory, hall, two chambers, a kitchen, a store, two stables, a cemetery, an orchard, two gardens containing one acre, all in ruin and of no value besides the reprises; also 24 messuages, 9 acres of arable and one of meadow with a mill and bake house in Fetherd, annual value besides reprises £6: 13s: 4d; 12 acres of arable. 12 of pasture and two of copse in Clowanston near Fetherd, annual value besides reprises l3s: 4d: and 8 acres of arable with 4 of pasture in Crossard, annual value besides reprises. 6s: 8d. - (Chief Remem).
16th January XXXV Henry VIII this Monastery with its appurtenances; a bake house, a messuage, 24 acres of arable and one of meadow in Fetherd; a water mill with 16 acres of arable and four of pasture In Ballyclowan and three acres of arable with 10 of pasture called Crosaide were granted for ever in capite to Sir Edmond Butler Knt., at the annual rent of 5s: 4d: Irish money. (Aud. Gen).
Inquisition 29th November XIX Elizabeth finds that ye Town of Feddert is an ancient borough and Corporation with a provost, burgesses etc; that Nonne Currocks alias Crosce, formerly one of the burgesses, being seized in fee of 6 messuages viz., the house now inhabited by Rlcard Lacy alias Ley; the house inhabited by Anne Hacket; ye house inhabited by Thom's Nashe; ye house Inhabited by William Nyvin; the house inhabited by Thady O'Curra & the house inhabited by Rtcard Tyrrell; and more than 9 acres or land with the appurtenances adjacent to the town, did without obtaining the Royal licence bequeath the said messuages & lands to the provost etc., of the said town & their successors forever for the use and support of a Priest or Chaplain to celebrate Divine Offices in the Church of St. John of Fiddert aforesaid, the same being of the annual value of 26s: 8d: Irish money. And that Richard Hacket of Feddert has for 9 years past occupied ye said lands and now occupies the same.
Inquisition 22nd April (NB. It is In the bundle of ye XXX of Elizabeth) finds that William Hacket of Fetherd, clerk, being seized in fee of a house with the appurtenances in Fetherd, now inhabited by Richard Comyn, granted to ye Vicar of Fethard and his successors at annual rent of 16d: Irish money for saying a certain service for the good of his soul & contrary to ye Statute of Mortmain; and. also that Robert Carrock, formerly Burgess of Fetherd, being seized in fee of a house with the appurtenances in Fetherd in the tenure of James Hacket of the annual value of - - also 3 acres of land In the burgary of Fetherd in the tenure of Nicholas Racket, annual value 2s. Also 4 acres of arable In the land of Fetherd called Waterfilde in the tenure of Joan White, widow of Richard Hacket, of the annual value of 2s: 8d: Irish. Also an acre in the said burgary in the tenure of the said Joan, annual value 8d. Irish. Also a todd (fac sim, of orig.) of land containing 7 ridges in Gortinehawbogg on the north of the said burgary, annual value 1d: Irish, which said houses etc., the said Robert Carrock gave to God & the Parish Church of Fetherd & the chaplain thereof to celebrate Mass & other Divine Offices for the good of his soul, contrary to the statute of Mortmaln.
A great part of the town wall of Fethard still remains; the apace enclosed by it is about a quarter of a mile in length and one eighth in breadth. The four gates still remain in good preservation but they exhibit no grandeur whatever.
The Augustinian Abbey is situated at the southeast end of the town; it to partly In ruins but its great chapel has been roofed and repaired for the use of friars of the Order of St. Augustin, who have an establishment at Fethard but they are not as rich as their predecessors were In the reign of Edward III.
The Protestant Church still in use is said to be the ancient Parish Church of the town. It is dedicated to the Holy Trinity and has a square tower at the west end, very like the tower of a great abbey.
At a short distance to the east of this Church there is a square castle measuring on the outside forty two feet by thirty three feet; it is four stories high and built of limestone. Its windows are all of a quadrangular form and built of chiselled limestone.
Immediately to the south of this castle there are two others of which one is about the same size and age with the one just described, the other, which joins the town wall, measuring forty feet by twenty two feet, And Its walls are four feet thick about twenty eight feet high; it consists of two stories and is now roofed and inhabited. Besides these there are other smaller towers on the town wall not now easily approached.
At the distance of about twenty perches from the town wall on the south side and in the Townland of Garryinch there is a small old church in ruins called Ternplemartin (Teampull Martain) i.e., St. Martin's Church. Its south wall is nearly destroyed but the others are tolerably perfect. It is twenty nine feet long and seventeen feet broad. Its north wall is three feet two Inches in thickness and twelve feet in height and built of hammered limestone cemented with lime and sand mortar. It had three windows, one on the north wall, another on the west gable a third on the east but they are all now disfigured. There is no burial ground attached to this little Church.
An effigy of the Blessed Trinity is still preserved in the Chapel at Fethard, whither pilgrims come far and near to see it. It is said to have been sent from Rome in the 13th century to be placed in the Church of the Blessed Trinity at Fethard. The present Parish Priest wishes to remove it to his native Town of Thurles but the Inhabitants of Fethard are unwilling to part with a relic so ancient, so venerable for its name, and which reflects so much honour on their ancestors. See Du Noyer's Sketch of it.
John O'Donovan Sept. Sept 17th 1840