Friday, 3 August 2012

Tintern Abbey

THE COLCLOUGH FAMILY WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY WEXFORD, WITH 13,329 ACRES

A visit to Staffordshire shows this family to have been of consideration in that county before it became eminent in Ireland. 
RICHARD COLCLOUGH, living in the reign of EDWARD III, had issue, three sons. The eldest, 

HUGH COLCLOUGH, granted Blurton and Cockenidge to his son, namely, 

RICHARD COLCLOUGH, living in the reign of HENRY V, who married and had issue,


JOHN COLCLOUGH, whose relationship to the above is not given. His son and heir, 

THOMAS COLCLOUGH, living during the time of HENRY VI, had a son,


RICHARD COLCLOUGH, Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme, in the reign of EDWARD IV.

The descendant of the above gentlemen, 

ANTHONY COLCLOUGH, of Blurton, Staffordshire, in 1566, was captain of the band of pensioners to ELIZABETH I, and was granted the Abbey and lands of Tintern, County Wexford.
This gentleman first arrived in Ireland in 1542, and was knighted by the Lord Justice of that kingdom in 1500. Sir Anthony died in 1584, and is interred under a handsome monument in Tintern Abbey. His wife was Clare, daughter of Thomas Agard, who amassed a great fortune as one of the receivers of the Irish revenue.
By her, Sir Anthony had a number of children, of whom the eldest surviving son, 

SIR THOMAS COLCLOUGH, knight, of Tintern Abbey, born in 1564, succeeded his father and had livery of his estate.

He married Martha, fourth daughter of the Most Rev Adam Loftus, Lord Archbishop of Dublin; and by her, who died in 1609, and was buried in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, he had issue, 

SIR ADAM COLCLOUGH, 1st Baronet (c1590-1637), of Tintern abbey, created a baronet in 1628. His elder son, 

SIR CÆSAR COLCLOUGH, 2nd Baronet, of Tintern Abbey (1624-84), wedded and left a son and daughter, viz. 

SIR CÆSAR  COLCLOUGH, 3rd Baronet (c1650-87), Deputy Lieutenant-Governor of County Kilkenny, who died without issue, when the baronetcy expired. His sister,

MARGARET, duly became heiress to her brother of his great estates.

She married Robert Leigh, of Ballybrittas, County Wexford, who took the name of COLCLOUGH; and secondly, John Pigot, who also assumed the name of COLCLOUGH.

She died without an heir in 1722, and was succeeded in the Manor of Tintern by her heir-at-law,

COLONEL CÆSAR COLCLOUGH, of Duffrey Hall, who, by Henrietta Vesey, his first wife, was great-grandfather of 

CÆSAR COLCLOUGH, of Tintern Abbey.


Situated on the west shore of Bannow Bay in County Wexford, Tintern Abbey was one of the most powerful Cistercian foundations in the South-east of Ireland until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536.

The first Cistercian foundation in Ireland, at Mellifont, County Louth, in 1142, was part of sweeping reforms which took place in the Irish Church in the 12th century.

The early Cistercians, who had their origins in the monastery of Citeaux in France, were dedicated to a simple life of prayer and manual labour.

By 1169, when the Anglo-Normans arrived in Ireland, there were already fifteen Cistercian houses in Ireland.

In 1200, William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, set sail for Ireland on his first visit as Lord of Leinster. Threatened with shipwreck, he vowed to found an abbey wherever he could safely land.

On reaching safety in Bannow Bay, he redeemed his vow bequeathing about 9000 acres of land for a Cistercian abbey.

Consequently, Tintern Abbey, sited on a gentle south-facing slope overlooking Tintern stream, is sometimes called Tintern de Voto, 'Tintern of the vow.'

Once established, the abbey was colonised by monks from the Cistercian abbey at Tintern in Monmouthshire, of which William Marshal was also patron.

Following its foundation, Tintern acquired large tracts of land in County Wexford and, at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, appears to have been the third richest Cistercian abbey in Ireland (after St Mary's in Dublin and Mellifont).

Shortly after, Tintern Abbey and its lands were granted to Anthony Colclough from Staffordshire, an officer in HENRY VIII's army.

The Colclough family extensively modified the abbey church, converting the crossing tower and later, the nave, chancel and Lady Chapel to domestic quarters.

In the 18th century, Sir Vesey Colclough built many of the fine battlemented walls seen around the abbey today.

In the 1790s, John Colclough converted the nave into a residence of neo-Gothic style.

He also established a flour mill, the ruins of which stand on the south bank of the stream close to the upper bridge.

At this period also, a thriving weaving industry had developed in Tintern village, located across the stream south-west of the abbey.

Following John's death, his brother Caesar inherited the estate and, shortly after 1814, built the village of Saltmills to replace the old village of Tintern which was then demolished.

The final member of the Colclough family to reside at Tintern was Miss Lucy Wilmot Maria Susanna Biddulph Colclough, who left in 1959, a few years before the abbey was taken into state care.

Conservation and consolidation works started at Tintern in the early 1980s and archaeological excavations between 1982-94 exposed many of the features of the original Cistercian abbey.

Constructed to the standard Cistercian plan, the abbey church was located to the north of an  enclosed cloister garth, which was surrounded on all sides by covered walks and a sequence of domestic buildings.

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