The Augustinian Houses of the County Clare:
Clare, Killone, and Inchicronan

Thomas Johnson Westropp
Home | Search Library Catalogue | Search this Website | Copyright Notice
Clare County Library

Killone Convent - Details and Fragments
Killone Convent – Details and Fragments
1 and 4, Corbels. 2 and 5, Windows.
3, 6, 7, and 8, Doors
Killone Convent

The Ruins: the Church

The church is so curiously constructed and repaired as to be worth some detailed notice. It was originally 129 feet long; the west end was 31 feet wide, the east 36 feet 9 inches. The north wall was all of one piece, but in later times a strong partition wall with a gable was built across the nave, leaving an irregular eastern portion 86 feet 6 inches to 88 feet long, and 27 feet to 28 feet 2 inches wide, the lesser dimensions being to the north and west. The excluded western portion was fitted with a fireplace, and is used for the burial place of the Stacpooles of Edenvale, but all features are destroyed. The south pier of the belfry leans over, “kicked out” by the heavy pitched blocks of the head, which form a pointed arch. At some later period the upper portions of the side walls of the church were rebuilt and crowned with a neat corbelled cornice.

Killone Convent - North Window
Killone Convent – North Window
The old walls being crooked, the upper part overhangs or sets back an inch or so according to the “wind” in the lower part, and this uncomely feature occurs on the inner and outer faces of both sides; the walls are 13 feet 9 inches high in the chancel, and nearly three feet more in the nave. At the south-east external angle is a curious corbel, a human bust with a strange cap and upraised hands (fig. 1, supra); the hair falls in two conventional ringlets, but the appearance of great age springs rather than from unskillful carving than from antiquity, as similar corbels of the fourteenth and even fifteenth century are not uncommon.

The north wall shows patches of late masonry and arch-like arrangements of stones telling of considerable repairs in later mediæval times. Indeed, at one point a large gap must have been filled up in later days, though most of the outer face is original. The only features are the defaced north door (reconstructed in an absurd manner with blocks from the cornice in 1895), a projecting holy water stoup, and a well executed double window. The two lights are entire; it probably dates from the fourteenth century, but is best described by the plan and illustration. It seems to have replaced a richly moulded one; part of the eastern jamb of the inner splay only remains, and probably one of the loose blocks belonged to its heads.
Killone Convent - Section and Plan
Killone Convent –
Section and Plan.
(a) Stacpoole burial-place (b) Stoup (c) Font (d) Early Tombstone (e) Entrance to Stairs leading to Crypt (f) Corbel with Nun’s Head (g) Lucas Monument (h) Daxon Monument

The floor rises some 3 feet at this window, and marks the extent of the crypt. Near it is a simple but interesting font, resting on an octagonal pillar, with round fillets to four sides, and a moulded head with a round basin.

Killone Convent - Font
Killone Convent - Font
There are two ancient tapering tombstones or coffin lids, both quite plain, one being chamfered; they lie near the west end. The floor was evidently at all times on the same level, as shown by the roughness of the wall below the ground line. Among the fragments lying in the church are a block from a window head, decorated with chevrons in bold relief (figs. 2 and 5, supra), a piece of a moulding, trefoil-shaped in section, and a portion of the central shaft of a window, with moulded fillets, perhaps part of an inner detached shaft of the northern window, which may have resembled the south one at Tomfinlough, in the same country. Half of the south wall has fallen; in the remainder are a window slit near the east end, the sill alone being ancient, and a slightly pointed door, leading to the upper story of the domicile. I heard from one who remembered the ruin before the wall fell,[10] that a door stood near the west end, opposite that in the north wall. The blocks of these doors lie about the graveyard, and in a plantation opposite the east end of the convent, in the wood above St. John’s well. These have, some, late mouldings, with quatrefoils in the cavetto; others, angular beadings; and one, a plain chamfer. Unfortunately, at the recent repairs, some were brought back to the graveyard, where they are getting dispersed and lost. I understand that the more elaborate blocks belonged to the south door (figs. 3, 7, 8, supra).
Killone Convent - East Window
Killone Convent –
East Window (Interior)

The last, but most interesting, feature of the church is the east window. It is double, with two semicircular headed lights, lined with smooth stone work. The inner heads have plain hoods, and a bold band of raised lozenges, once in high relief, and similar to those at Killaloe Cathedral, 1182. This carved arched rested on capitals of bold twelfth century foliage. These had small detached shafts in niches, resting on decorated corbels. The southern has been forced out of its recess by the ivy. The outer face of the window has only a recess and chamfer. The frames of the glass were held by twelve pins on each side to a flat edge, and not set into a reveal or channel, as was usually done. A passage, with two flights of steps, leads through the trefoil-headed opes in the piers, along the sills, and up a broken but accessible stair at the south-east angle, to the gutter of great flagstones from the quarries of the farther west, and beautiful view of the lake and ruins.[11]

Previous Chapter

Main
Next Chapter