The Story of Kilbarron Castle Part 6

In the Ulster Plantation the Abbey Assaroe lands north of the Erne were granted to Sir Francis Gofton who later sold these to Sir Henry Ffolliott. The O’Clery lands were divided between Trinity College and the Established Bishop of Raphoe. In compensation Lughaidh O’Clery was given a freehold for his life in Glenswilly shared with eleven other individuals dispossessed of their lands in the barony of Tirhugh.

Later in 1613, four hundred of the six hundred acres belonging to the Diocese of Raphoe in the parish of Kilbarron were leased by the Anglican Bishop Knox to Francis Bracey for thirty years, the remaining 200 acres comprising of the townland of Kildoney became the glebe land for the parish. It is not known for certain if Francis Bracey ever lived in Kilbarron Castle but he probably did as it would have been one of the few stone structures on the leasehold.

Bishop Andrew Knox Anglican  Bishop of Raphoe

As for the former owner, it is believed that Lughaidh Uí Cléirigh (now listed as Lewis O’Clery in documents of the period) died before 1623 but quite likely before then, as both Lewis and Sean were no longer listed as living in Glenswilly in the barony Kilmacrennan in 1619 according to Pynnar’s Survey of that year. As their portion of the 960 acres (shared between eleven other people) was a freehold for Lewis’s life only, it reverted to the Crown and was subsequently granted to Sir Ralph Gore.

Francis Bracey or Brassy leased the Kilbarron lands from the Bishop of Raphoe, Andrew Knox in 1613, holding a lease for thirty years. Francis Bracey came from England possibly from Worcestershire where incidentally Henry Ffolliott family seat, Pirton Hall was situated. It is not known if he lived in Kilbarron Castle or was it already abandoned by this time.

Those listed as sharing the 960 acres in Glenswilly

In 1641 rebellion broke out across Ulster, an abortive attempt was made to seize Ballyshannon in October of that year but it was relieved by Sir Frederick Hamilton of Manorhamilton who defeated the insurgents and took prisoners which were later hanged in the Manorhamilton Castle including one Donnell O’Clery.

Manorhamilton Castle

South Donegal remained largely in government control during the next ten years although in the shifting sands of loyalties it was Royalist first and later gave support the Parliamentary  forces under Oliver Cromwell. In the aftermath of the Parliamentary victor a survey was ordered and carried out between 1652 and 1655 where all land and property was assessed with the view to seizing from both former Royalist supporters of the executed King Charles I and the supporters of the Confederate Parliament in Kilkenny. The Kilbarron lands were assessed as being the property of The Bishop of Raphoe, a prominent royalist, Bishop Leslie and one of the leaders of the Laagan army. The survey shows that Kilbarron is a ruin described in the survey map as “the ruins of a stone house”

Map Courtesy of the Downs Survey Trinity College showing the Cromwellian confiscations of 1654.
Close up of above map showing “The ruins of a stone House”

The Bishop’s lands were forfeited over the period of Parliamentary rule but were returned to the diocese of Raphoe when Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660.