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The History and Topography of the County of Clare by James Frost

Part III. History of the County of Clare
Chapter 29. Ecclesiastical

Franciscan friars seized at Breantre and imprisoned by Lord Orrery; Depositions of these friars

From the letters of Lord Orrery, Governor of Munster, addressed to the Duke of Ormond, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, we extract the following:— [5]
“Charleville, January 4th, 1667.—I have, by an order of the new Sheriff of Clare, seized on the friars who had erected a formal monastery at Breantry. There were but four of the friars in the convent, Francis Brody, their guardian, being absent. Their copes, vestments, chalice, &c., were also seized on, and they themselves sent to the county gaol. I here enclosed humbly present to you their confessions on examination. The gaol being ruinous, I gave the Sheriff leave to let them out on bail, and not to act anything against the law. I desire your Grace’s further commands concerning them. Before I gave these directions, according to your Grace’s orders, I sent for Mr. Coppinger, who assured me they were none of his feather. There was another monastery of the same order at Quin, in the same county, but, these being subscribers, I did not meddle with them. The papists in that county are grown very insolent, one of the Molonys (McMahoun) having given the high sheriff of the county a box on the ear, and one of the MacNamaras having run a Justice of the Peace through the arm for appearing against him at the quarter sessions, but the latter is fled and the comrade of the former so mortally wounded that the sheriff thought not fit to complain.”

“Com. Clare.—The examination of Murtagh O’Gripha, of Rooscoe, in the parish of Dysert, friar of the order of St. Francis, taken before John Gore, Esq., one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for said county, December 21st, 1666, being duly examined, saith as follows:—That being a Franciscian friar and in poverty, doth act and celebrate mass according to his Order, received from Maoelaghlin Kelly, Archbishop of Tuam; that he, with the rest of his associates, did erect a house at Rooscoe in Breantra for officiating their office; saith that Flan Brody is guardian and head of their convent, and that the place where they keep their convent was given them by one Maurice O’Connell, gent. for the use above mentioned; saith further that Flan Brody went that morning to Maurice O’Connell on some matter of business, the nature of which business deponent knows not more than that he was to go from thence to the Lord of Clares (at Carrigaholt); saith also that they have lived at Rooscoe, in their convent there, during the past three years, and that they are of the convent of Inish Clonroad, and further saith not. Capta coram me ut supra. John Gore. Murtagh O’Gripha.” [6]

The examination of Teige O’Hehir, another of the friars of Rooscoe, taken on the same day, is exactly to the like effect as that of friar Murtagh O’Gripha, and the examination of William Brown, and Richard Lysaght, lay brothers, is to the effect that they went abroad each day, amongst the good people of the country, to beg their charity for the relief of the convent.

In another letter of February 1667, to Ormond, Orrery mentions that, by means of John Crofts a spy of Ennis, he had arrested Flann Mac Brody and placed him in Limerick gaol, there to await the further orders of the Lord Lieutenant.