In west Kilkenny, located in the civil parish of Killamery and the Roman Catholic parish of Windgap, is the townland of Kiltrassy. Similar to other sites in this part of Kilkenny, there is a grouping of archaeological features, a standing stone, an earthen moat, a church and well.
The church is in ruins and has not been used for many years. The moat on the other hand is still in very good condition.
Kiltrassy Church and well are located in the adjoining modern townland of Oldcastle, which originally formed part of Kiltrassy. A plaque on a wall on the remains of the church states that “Cill an Turasa (Kiltrassy) The church of the pilgrimage”. There is also a reference that Kiltrassy (Cill Dreasa) is named after a Saint Teresa of Spain [St Teresa of Avila (1515-82)?]. According to Carrigan, in Irish it was called “indifferently Kilthrassâ and Kyle-throssâ”.
In the Ormond deeds of 1373 to 1376, it is referenced as Kyldresse and Kyldress:
On March 21, 1373, Walter son of Walter fitz Oliver quit-claims to Geoffrey son of Thomas son of Nicholas Howell Walshe all his right in all lands and tenements of the town of Melagh and Saundrestoun [note: in Overk, Co. Kilkenny], and in a carucate of land, three acres of meadow and seven of wood in Kyldresse. Given on Monday next after the feast of St. Patrick in the 47th year of Edward III. [source: Ormond Deeds, ii. #185, p. 127]
...in Melagh, Correstoun, and Saunderestoun, with a carucate of land called Barouneslondde lying in the tenement of Kyldresse in county Kilkenny. Given on the 28th day of August in the 50th year of Edward III. August 28, 1376. Seal.
In the Calendar of the Liber Ruber of the Diocese of Ossory, late 14th Century, has the following references:
3 (d) Kenlys Deanery : Kenlys, Evylhart R P 12d. each in each case; Erley, Kylmegheh R 12d., V 6d., P 12d. in each case ; Callan R 2s., V 12d., P 2s. ; Coylagh, Tyllamayne R 12d., V 6d., P 6d. in each case ; Kyldresse, Kylamery P 6d. in each case ; Lomok R P 6d. each ; Maylardystoun R 6d., V 3d., P 6d. ; Ballagh R V P 6d. each ; Kyllalo [here follows space of several lines].
36. Taxation of Ossory Diocese. ff. 57v, 62, 65*. Late in cent, xv (?). (a) The Dean's Portion: Athnyrle 30 mks., St. Patrick's 30 mks., half of St. Mary's 18 mks. The Precentor's : Tylahtyrim 60 mks. The Archdeacon's: Kylfan 20 inks. The Chancellor's: Kyllamery with the Chapel of Colat and Kylldrasse 30 mks. 20d...
According to Carrigan, similar to above, in the Red Book of Ossory, about 1500, Kiltrassy church appears as the "Capella de Kylldrasse" in the parish of Kyllamery ; and, in another list, of about the same date, in the same volume, it appears as Kyldresse.
In the Calendar of Ormond deeds, in the 1600’s the name is referenced as Kiltracie, Killtracy and Killtrassy,
In the Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County Of Tipperary, it is called Kyltrassy
...bounded River Lennan bounded by the lands of Kyltrassy by the lands of Ballyuadlea in ye sayd Barony, in the County of Kylkenny...
Kiltrassy, if named after the Traceys, may translate as Tracey’s wood or church. In a 1548 Fiant of Edward VI, there is a reference to Rory Trassy of Butlerswood, which is in the same modern civil parish, but on the opposite side of a hill.
As such, the church and moat may have had a connection with this family.
In the 1659 census, it was called Kill Trass.
Carrigan, William (1905) The history and antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory, Volume 4 [Online Book]
Lawlor, Hugh Jackson. Calendar of the Liber Ruber of the Diocese of Ossory. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature, Vol. 27 (1908/1909), pp. 159-208
Last update: 03 April 2012