Rothe House

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  • Moments in Kilkenny History

Rothe House was built between 1594 and 1610 by John Rothe Fitz Piers. His family, along with ten or so other wealthy families completely controlled the trade and government of the city from the late Middle ages to the 17th century.

The house was built in three parts, which Rothe referred to as the first, second and third houses. The first building was completed in 1594. It had a ground floor merchant's shop with family, living and sleeping quarters on the first and second floors.

The second house was finished in 1604. It was built to provide extra living space for the family.

Third House

The third house, which was completed in 1610 included a new kitchen on the ground floor. The kitchen had a new hearth and a bake oven. Extra rooms on the first and second floors were also added.

The gardens of Rothe House were found at the rear of the third structure. There were orchards, a pigeon house, a well, herb and vegetable gardens and a Summer house found here.

The Rothe Family

John Rothe was a very active politician and he served as mayor of Kilkenny in 1613. He was married to Rose Archer, who came from another important Kilkenny family.

They had 12 children with Peter their first-born in 1590. Following John's death in 1620 his son Peter inherited most of his estate.

In October 1642, Rothe House hosted a meeting with all the Catholic Bishops of Ireland present. The outcome of this meeting was the setting up of The Confederacy (where Ireland had self-government between 1641 and and Cromwell's arrival in 1649).

The Rothe family paid dearly for their links with the Confederacy. The house was confiscated and the Rothe family were exiled to Connaught in 1653.

The house was returned to the Rothes in 1660 after the restoration of CharlesII. Rothe House finally passed from the family in 1691.