Roscomroe

Research at Roscomroe ecclesiastical site

In the townland of Roscomroe, situated to the north-east to Roscrea, and to the south-east of the Slieve Bloom mountains, on a bend on the River Camcor is the multip-period site of Roscomroe. The visible remains include the ruins of a medieval church and a well. The site is reputed to have been, originally, one of the monasteries founded by St Molua in the 6th century AD/CE. This attribution persists in local tradition, including the record of a pattern, the celebration of a saints feast day, at the well on August 4th. There is also a rag tree present.

Current research is led by Ashely Green (PhD Candidate, Bournemouth University), who has undertaken archaeogeophysical survey on the site.

Very little is known about the site. The present church comprise the remains of a rectangular church ( ext. dims. 18.6m E-W; 7.8m N-S; wall T 0.8m) built from roughly coursed shale: the upstanding remains included the west gable wall, with a destroyed window and bellcote, and the west end of the north and south walls. The splay of the south doorway is in evidence here. The remainder of the church is represented by wall footings. The remnant window and doorway include Romanesque architectural fragments, indicating a 12th century (AD/CE) date. Some later medieval limestone fragments suggest that the church was modified in the late medieval period. In 1830, stone was taken from this church to construct the nearby Roman Catholic church of Roscomroe, this church may contain architectural fragments and fabric of medieval date that are now obscured by the rendered walls of the 19th century church. To the north of the site, and on the north side of the river is a possible mill pond; there is also mill stone in the graveyard, re-used as a grave marker. There is a tradition that, in the 16th century, the abbot of Roscomroe was taken and killed by the soldiers of Elizabeth I, led by Cromwell, but that he hid the monasteries treasures in the mill pond before they could be taken.

Thanks to Amanda Pedlow and the Offaly County Council Heritage Office.

Read More:

  • Fitzpatrick E and O’Brien C. 1998. The Medieval Churches of County Offaly. Dublin. Government of Ireland
  • O’Brien C 2006. Stories from a Sacred Landscape, Croghan Hill to Clonmacnoise. Offaly County Council
  • O’Brien C and Sweetman D. 1997. Archaeological Inventory of County Offaly. Dublin. The Stationery Office.
  • National Monuments Service Archaeological Survey Database www.archaeology.ie

 

SMR No.
Class
OF039-055—-
Church
OF039-055001-
Graveyard
OF039-055002-
Ritual site – holy well
OF039-055003-
Standing stone
OF039-055004-
Architectural fragment
OF039-055005-
Mill – unclassified