Organisation : Waterford County Museum
Article Title : Lewis's Topographical Dictionary - Waterford County
Page Title : Mothell or Mothel
Page Number : 63
Publication Date : 15 March 2011
Expiry Date : Never Expires
Category : Home

Mothell or Mothel, a parish, in the union of Carrick-on-Suir, barony of Upperthird, county of Waterford, and province of Munster, 3 miles (S by E) from Carrick; containing 3723 inhabitants. St Brogan founded here an abbey, of which he was the first abbot; and was suceeded by St Coan: it is thought to have been an house of Canons Regular of the order of St Augustine, though some say of Cistercian monks. The abbey and its possessions were surrendered in the 31st of Henry VIII., and two years afterwards were granted to a family named Butler and Peter Power, at the annual rent of £6.4. The parish comprises of 17,641 statute acres of arable land, and 3000 of mountains: all the western part is ocupied by the mountains of  Cummeragh, extending from the river Suir southward to the neighbourhood of Dungarvan, and forming an irregular chain of heights, the sides of which are extremely wild and precipitous, and present, even from a distance, striking masses of light and shade.

These lonely mountains, rarely visited but by the sportsman and the summer tourist, every where afford romantic and even sublime scenery. They are composed almost entirely of argillaceous schistus of different qualities, in vertical beds, together with a slaty conglomerate:close-grained white, grey, and red sandstone, and veins of quartz, occur, with porphyritic rocks, and indications of particularly iron glance. There are several lakes on the summits of the mountains, the scenery around which is highly picturesque, and in some parts magnificent; they are called the Cummerloughs and the Stillogues, and in the former a remarkably fine species of trout is found. In descending from this elevated situation to the Suir, the change is remarkably striking, as the country, in parts, assumes a great degree of softness and richness.

Near one of the Cummeragh mountains are the village and castle of Clonea, which latter is a perfect specimen of an ancient fortified residence, consisting of a quadrangular building of great height, divided into several stories approached by a flight  of stairs within the walls: the watch-tower commands a magnificent prospect.

The keep was formerly surrounded by a strong wall inclosing a square area, with circular towers at each angle and a moat outside; two of the towers can be distinctly traced. The plantations on the banks of the river Clodagh, which flows close to the castle, give additional interest to he scene. The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Lismore, episcopally united in 1800 to the vicarages of Rathgormuck and Fews, and in the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire, in whom the rectory is impropriate: the tithe rent-charge of the parish is £642, of which £237 are payable to the impropriator, and the remainder to the vicar; the gross vicarial rent-charge of the benefice is £634. The glebe-house was erected by aid of a gift of £100, and a loan of £900, in 1818, from the late Board of First Fruits: the parochial glebe comprises 2¼ acres. The church is a neat edifice with a tower, built by aid of a loan of £600 from the same Board, in 1817; for its repair the Ecclesiastical Commissioners recently granted £115.

In Roman Catholic divisions this parish and Rathgormuck are called the district of Rathgormuck and Mothell; in each is a chapel. The ruins of the ancient abbey cover a large extent of ground: what appears to have been the south and west walls of the conventual church are standing; in the latter a beautiful Norman arch, about 12 feet high, now partly built up, opens into a small square chamber. Six remarkably sculptured stones, inserted in different parts of the wall, present rude historial reliefs, and the rest are figures of the Apostles. These stones were part of the tomb of an ecclesiastic, whose name, Maurice Omenane, appears on the top stone in the churchyard, though the date is nearly obliterated; the sculptured parts were put up in the place they now occupy about the year 1826.

In the small building above mentioned, which is set apart for the interment of particular families, are some curious ancient memorials, ans several modern tombs of neighbouring families. Here is an ancient moat from which the parish is said to derive its name. In the river Clodagh a speices of muscle is found, frequently containing pearls of a pale-blue colour.

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