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The Annals of Kilfenora or Ye Citie of the Crosses by Charles Ffrench Blake-Forster
The Annals: 1800-1866
1800-The right Reverend Nicholas Joseph Archdeacon, D.D. of Hermitage, near Kinvara, county of Galway, was consecrated Bishop of Kilmacduach and Kilfenora. His Lordship’s sister, Margaret, married in 1789 Walter Blake Esq, of Ballyglunin Park, county of Galway, by whom she was the mother of, with other issue, Martin Joseph Blake Esq, of Ballyglunin Park, J.P., M.P. for the borough of Galway from 1832 to 1857. The Archdeacons were a very ancient Catholic family in the county of Galway. Previous to 1218, Sir Stephen ‘Archdeken’, Knt. endowed the Abbey of St Thomas in Dublin. In 1309 Maurice Archdeacon had livery of his estates in Ireland; and in a short before that John, Maurice Sylvester and William le Ercedekne were summoned by King Edward II as Fideles of Ireland, to the Scottish wars. In 1310 Raymond Lercedekene was summoned to, and sat in, a parliament held at Kilkenny. In 1355 Sir Richard le Ercedecyne, or Archdeacon, was appointed one of the “guardians of the Peace” for that county. In 1585 Robert Archdeacon was one of the representatives of Ennistiogue in the Parliament held by Sir John Perrott, the Lord Deputy, and in 1589 Sir Nicholas Archdeacon was killed in a tournament. In 1610 Richard Archdeacon of Corballymore, county of Wexford, had a confirmatory grant thereof, “with courts leet and baron”. In 1611 he also received a confirmatory grant of the manor of Bawnmore and Kilmurry, with certain rights in the borough of Thomastown, all the latter premises being in the county of Kilkenny. In 1667 a Richard Archdeacon received a confirmatory grant of various lands in the same county, and in ten years after Nicholas Archdeacon, ancestor of the Lord Bishop of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora, passed patent for about 1,000 acres in the county of Galway. In the charter granted by James II, to Kilkenny in 1687, John Archdeacon was one of the Aldermen, John Archdeacon Junior Sheriff, and Peter Archdeacon Chamberlain. This Alderman Archdeacon was in 1698 elected Mayor of Kilkenny. The Lord Bishops ancestor, Nicholas Archdeacon Esq., was a cornet in the gallant Lord Clare’s famous Yellow Dragons during the Great War of the Revolution in Ireland. There was also an Archdeacon an Ensigm in Colonel Graces infantry, another was captain in Lord Kenmares, while Redmond Archdeacon was a Lieutenant in Lord Galways. Cornet Nicholas Archdeacon according to the description given of him in the Inquisition of Outlawry, in 1691, was “of the county of Cork”, yet it appears by the records of the county that he was “seised of various lands in the county of Galway”, which were the subject of a marriage settlement in 1699. Lieutenant Redmond Archdeacon is styled in his attainder as of “Tristane in the county of Galway”. There was also attained by Government in 1691, James Archdeacon of Kilmosheer; Henry Archdeacon, of the city of Cork, and John Archdeacon on Monkstown, in the same county - at which place a castle had been erected at an early period by one of his ancestors.
1808-According to a return made this year Kilfenora contained 37,000 acres; 19 parishes; 8 benefices, 3 churches, 1 glebe-house, 5 glebes, 2 benefices without glebes, no rectory impropriate, 2 wholly impropriate.
1819-A large cross over twelve feet in height, which stood on a hill east of the town, about five or six hundred yards distant from the cathedral, fell and was broken in two by the fall. It lay there utterly neglected for about two hundred years afterwards.
The cross which fell in 1819, was removed from Kilfenora to Claresford, Killaloe by the Right Rev Dr. Munt, Protestant Bishop of the united diocese of Killaloe and Kilfenora, who had it repaired and placed in a prominent position here, where it is very much admired.
1824-This year the Right Reverend Dr Archdeacon Lord Bishop of the united diocese of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora, died in Galway.
1831-The Right Reverend Edmond Ffrench was consecrated bishop of the united diocese of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora, on the 13th of March.
Dr Ffrench had been Warden of Galway from 1813 until 1831. The diocese of Galway, which comprise the city of Galway and some adjoining districts, originally belonged to the diocese of Enachdune, an ancient bishopric, united in 1324 to the Archiepiscopal See of Tuam. The Wardenship of Galway was instituted in 1484 by Pope Innocent VIII, and the Warden of Galway continued till the year 1831, the first year of the Pontificate of Gregory XVI., who abolished the Wardenship and erected it into a Bishops See, when the Reverend Edmond Ffrench, the then Warden, was appointed Bishop of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora as shown above.
The Right Reverend George Joseph Browne, D.D. who was born in the diocese of Elphin, and educated at Maynooth, was appointed first Bishop of the diocese of Galway, on the 27th of August, 1831, and consecrated at Athlone on Sunday, the 23rd of October following, by the Most Reverend Dr Kelly, Archbishop of Tuam, assisted by the Right Reverend Dr Kelly, Archbishop of Tuam, assisted by the Right Reverend Drs M’Nicholas and Burke.
1834-Kilfenora consisted on 19 parishes, 6 benefices, 3 churches of the Establishment, 1 other place of Protestant worship and 15 Catholic churches. The population of the diocese was 36, 405 of whom 36,166 were Catholics, 235 members of the Established Church, and 4 Presbyterians, being in proportion of 151 one-third Catholics to one Protestant, nearly. There are also 28 schools, at which were being educated 2,256 young persons of both sexes, being in the proportion of 6.14 per cent of the entire population under daily instruction, in which respect Kilfenora stood about twenty-fifth among the thirty-two diocese of Ireland. None of these schools was in connexion with the National Board of Education.
1853-On the first of May this year, the Rev Patrick Fallon, P.P was consecrated Bishop of the united diocese of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora.
1866-On the 19th of September this year, the most reverend Doctor MacEvilly, Lord Bishop of Galway, was appointed by his Holiness Pope Pius IX, Apostolical Administrator of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora.