Bridgetown Priory

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The co-founder of the Castle Alexander Fitz Hugh is likely the man depicted in this carving found in Bridgetown Priory, the priory established by Alexander between 1202 and 1216 and located less than 2 miles from the Castle.

Alexander Fitz Hugh, Bridgetown Priory

Professor Tadhg O’Keeffe in his study of Bridgetown Priory on p23 suggests that
“This head, carved in oolithic limestone imported in the 13th century from south-western Britain, is conceivably from an early effigial tomb and it may represent Alexander Fitz Hugh, the priory’s founder.”
This is supported by Crofton Croker who in his “Researches in the South of Ireland” published in 1824 suggests that both the tomb in the altar of the priory bearing the Roche coat of arms and the carving are those of the founder.
‘About the middle of the corner moulding, on the altar side, a head in high relief is most unaccountably placed, without anything similar to correspond as a balance, and an inverted armorial shield, charged with one fish (the present Roche arms are three) is deeply marked in outline on the front of this monument, supposed to be that of the founder, Alexander Fitz Hugh Roche, but no vestige of an inscription can be discovered.”
Roche Tomb, Alexander Fitz Hugh
The Roche Tomb at Bridgetown Priory.
Tomb of Alexander Fitz Hugh, Roche Tomb, Bridgetown Priory
The Roche Tomb currently undergoing repairs.
Bridgetown Priory is fully accessible to the public and is located just over a mile from the Castle and is a wonderful example of a priory first constructed in the early 13th century with modifications and additions undertaken in subsequent centuries. A hidden gem.
P1000529
Dormitory window.
Bridgetown Priory, Castletownroche, Blackwater Castle
Three later 13th century chapter room (meeting room/study) windows with a dormitory window in the upper right of the photo (rebuilt as a twin-light).

P1000536
The Prior’s Tower.
Bridgetown Priory, Castletownroche, Blackwater Castle, Roche Castle
Looking towards the vaulted cloistered passage.

Bridgetown Priory, Castletownroche, Blackwater Castle, Roche Castle, refectory
The refectory or dining room on the first floor.

Bridgetown Priory, Castletownroche, Roche Castle, BLackwater CAstle
Doorway under refectory leading towards the undercroft or crypt/storage area.

Bridgetown Priory, Blackwater CAstle, CAstletownroche, Roche Castle, ruined nave
The nave (where the congregation would have gathered).

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