Templehouse Castle

Wakeman, who painted this scene on 28 October 1878, illustrates two different types of castle that have undergone structural changes throughout time, as well as a 17th house. The site is located in Templehouse demesne on level ground next to Templehouse Lake. The rectangular building on the right of the painting is what is called a hall-house. These date to the early 13th century Anglo-Norman period. It is considered a type of castle, although it is not a heavily defended structure, unlike other Anglo-Norman castle such as Ballymote.

Basically hall-houses are two-storey buildings with the entrance doorway on the first floor. The entrance would have been accessed via an external staircase of wood or stone. The main feature of the building was the large first floor hall, which was open up to the roof, while the ground floor was accessed via a trapdoor or internal staircase and was probably used as a storage area. Many hall-houses like Templehouse have been rebuilt or altered considerably. Its walls stand to full height although much of the west wall does not survive. In the centre of the east wall the original first floor doorway survives. A narrow stairs on the first floor and found within the wall leads to the wall-top level.

It was refurbished in the 15th/16th century and again in the 19th century. In the 15th/16th century the flooring was changed, an internal wall was added and new windows were inserted. The east wall has many repairs evident and signs that a building once stood against it. In the 19th century it was used for farm buildings and a bellcote was erected on top of the north wall to house a farmyard bell. Some have claimed that this was an earlier religious foundation of the Knights Templar, but this is doubtful given the typical 13th century architecture.

Overall, the arrangement of the existing buildings roughly covers a square area about 70m by 70m. The two-storey gatehouse on the left of Wakeman's painting stands on the north side of this arrangement and was probably the entrance into a bawn or walled area, forming part of a tower house and bawn dating to the 15th or 16th century. The hall-house was converted into the main residential block.

Only fragments of the bawn wall survive and it merges with the east wall of the 17th century house. From Wakeman's painting the tower of the 15th/16th century dating gatehouse stands to its full height but the south wall has collapsed entirely and much of it is covered in ivy today. By the 17th century a new residence was built in the southeast corner of the bawn. This early 17th house is L-shaped and is much destroyed and altered but parts are still intact. It was extensively changed during the 19th century as part of the farmyard complex but sections of walls, windows, the chimney, interior brickwork and a fireplace remain. The house was possibly built sometime by around 1627 by the Crofton family.

It featured in a siege in 1641 when it became a refuge for local Protestant families. In the 19th century, when Templehouse country house was built the complex was turned into servants quarters and farmyard buildings.

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