ROCHESTOWN, or BALLYWILLIAM, a parish, in the barony of CLANWILLIAM, county of LIMERICK, and province of MUNSTER., 6 miles (S.) from Limerick, on the road to Bruff; containing 190 inhabitants. This place takes its name from the Roches, its proprietors, who, in the reign of Hen. VII., erected a strong castle here on a bold rock, of which the remains still form a conspicuous and interesting feature in the surrounding landscape. A monastery for Franciscan friars was founded here in the 13th century by the Clangibbon family, and called Bailenambratharbeg, or "Little Friars'- town," to distinguish it from Friars'-town in the parish of Cahirvalla; at the dissolution it was granted to Sir Thomas Baird. The parish is situated on the river Commogue, and comprises 1059 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act: the land is of good quality; about one-fourth part is under tillage, and the remainder rich meadow and pasture; on the banks of the river are some corcass lands, sometimes overflowed, but which might be embanked at a very trifling expense. The substratum is limestone, and the western termination of the basaltic formation appears in one or two places much decomposed and assuming a columnar tendency.
The principal seat is Ballynaguard, the handsome residence of J. Croker, Esq., pleasantly situated in an extensive and well-wooded demesne; there are several excellent farm-houses. The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Cashel, and in the patronage of the Archbishop; the rectory is partly impropriate in E. D. Freeman, Esq., and partly in J. Croker, Esq. The tithes amount to £60, of which £20. 11. 4. is payable to Mr. Freeman, £19. 9. 8. to Mr. Croker, and the remainder to the vicar. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union of Ballybricken. On the banks of the Commogue, near Six-Mile-Bridge, are the remains of the ancient monastery.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.
The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.
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