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The Ecclesiastical Taxation of the Diocese of Kilfenora
by Michael MacMahon

Source: The Other Clare no. 42 (2018)



The Medieval Diocese of Kilfenora


The Ecclesiastical Taxation lists 1302-07 copied over a century ago by Sweetman from the con-temporary exchequer rolls provide us with the earliest list we have of our diocesan parishes (1). The tax was a subsidy granted by the Pope to the kings of England for the purpose of financing the Crusades. In the first column of the table below I have set down the names of the Kilfenora churches in the phonetic forms as read by Sweetman from the Exchequer Rolls. Sweetman’s at-tempt at matching the archaic forms of the place names with modern parishes, however, is not always successful - some names are misplaced or missing - and in order to avoid confusion, I have omitted it from the table. It should be borne in mind that Sweetman was working without the benefit of local knowledge and before any of the series of volumes of papal letters (from about 1190) from the calendars in the Public Record Office in London, had appeared in print (2). Moreover, it should be said that rarely will one go through the taxation list for any diocese with-out finding some unusual or anomalous situation, and in that regard Kilfenora is no exception. In particular, I refer to the two Aran churches – Kileany, named after St. Enda’s celebrated monastic school, and Dissert or Desertbrachan (better known today as ‘The Seven Churches’) at Onaght (Eoghanacht), Inishmore - the identification of which has been a stumbling block for many his-torians. In general the difficulty arose from the fact - not always understood by those who have written about the diocese - that the Aran Islands belonged to the diocese of Kilfenora until the beginning of the seventeenth century when they were placed under the jurisdiction of the archdi-ocese of Tuam (3).

Name in Taxation List Modern Name Value Tenth
Communia of the Church of Kilfenora The Cathedral Church of Kilfenora £5 6s 8d 10s 8d
Clonurpis Clooney.[4] (‘Clouna’) 26s 8d 2s 8d.
Kilsanyg Kilshanny 26s 8d 2s 8d
Kilmankyn Kilmanaheen. (Ennistimon) 40s 4s.
Killesconolan Killaspuglonane (Moymore) 26s 8d 2s 8d
Kilmaccrik Kilmacrehy (Liscannor) 66s 8d 6s 8d.
Killadlach Killilagh (Doolin) 66s 8d 6s 8d
Killenyarney Killeany (Inishmore, Aran Islands) [5] 23s 4d 2s 4d
Dissert Desertbrachan (‘The Seven Churches’), Inishmore, Aran.[6] 23s 4d 2s 4d
Wafferig Oughtdarra [7](now a church ruin in Killilagh Parish) 23s 4d 2s 4d
Glameduach Gleninagh 23s 4d 2s 4d
Carn Carran 4l 8s
Drumcruth Drumcreehy (Ballyvaughan) 60s 6s
Chapel of the Monks Corcomroe Abbey [8] 20s 2s
New Church Noughaval [9] 26s 8d 2s 8d
Kilcorny Kilcorney 13s 4d 16d
Killenny Killeany (‘Toovahera’) 26s 8d 2s 8d
Kilmugorin Kilmoon 23s 4d 2s 4d
Rath Rathbourney 26s 8d 2s 8d
Killoucan Killonaghan (Fanore) 26s 8d 2s 8d
Cromglaon Crumlin. A ruined fragment in Killonaghan (Fanore) - -
Thuomlynny Toomullin ( a ruined church with belfry in Killilagh parish) 10s 12d
Kiltocowragh Kiltoraght 26s 8d 2s 8d
  Sum of all the Taxation……. £40 3s 4d £4 0s 4d
  Besides the bishop’s goods taxed at……… £20 0. 0 £4 0. 0
  Sum total of the diocese……………… £60 3s 4d £6. 0 4d
1. H.S. Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland 1171-1307, 5 vols. (London 1875-86).
2. W.H. Bliss and J.A. Twemlow (eds.) Calendar of Papal Letters (London 1893 and subsequently)
3. Rev. M. Coen, ‘The Post-Reformation Catholic Bishops of Kilfenora’, North Munster Antiquarian Journal, xii (1969); M. Mac Mahon, ‘Kilfenora (Feneborensis): a Diocese Apart. The Other Clare, vol. 42 (2018).
4. Clooney de Clonpurgiss in Calendar of Papal Letters (CPL), ix, p.14
5. ‘The church of Sancti Endei in Aryn, a prebend in the diocese of Kilfenora’, CPL, x, pp. 582, 828
6. ‘Desertbrachayn insula de Ara, a prebend in Kilfenora’, CPL., xii, p.468
7. Seemingly, the Vatican clerks had great difficulty with Oughtdarra which appears to have been part of the modern parish of Killilagh. It appears variously as ‘Vchtforrayg’ and ‘Huctforrayg’ in the papal letters – ‘the united parish churches of Kyllellach and Huctforrayg alias Glae ‘ – CPL, xi p. 174. Tuath Glae (‘Tooclay’) is a name still commonly applied to the parish of Doolin.
8.The old monastic termon of Oughtmama granted as a foundational endowment to the Cistercians of Corcomroe Abbey after-wards formed the basis of the parishes of Abbey and Oughtmama.
9. ‘Nova alias Nuocouayl’ - CPL, xi, p.211-12.
 


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