Jenkinstown

Kilkenny Archaeological Society & Old Kilkenny Review

The placename ‘Jenkinstown’ is of old English origin. It replaced a much older Irish name called ‘Corclach’. Both names tell us something about the locality and the people who lived there. The name ’Corclach’, means roots or stumps i.e. stumps of trees. The presence of trees must have been the main feature of this area; they must have been sufficiently numerous to give it it’s placename. They probably date back to the time of primeval forest, thus telling something of the character of the area.

The old English name Jenkinstown was derived from the Christian name Jenkin or Johnakin or Little John. This name was particularly well known in the Kilkenny family of Rothe. Several references to Jenkin Rothe and John Fitzjenkin Rothe can be found in the calendar of Ormond Deeds. The Rothes owned property in this area, hence the name Jenkinstown.

Corclagh, later Jenkinstown was situated in the ancient parish of Mayne or Maighin. This name is of topographical origin and means a little plain, a name which aptly describes it. That it was an ancient parish can be gleaned from the fact that in 1220 the tithes of Mayne were granted to St. John’s Priory by William de Druhull, Constable of Kilkenny Castle (Archives of Kilkenny Castle). On the suppression of the monastries by King Henry VIII these tithes were handed over to the Kilkenny Corporation to which they have belonged up to the present time. The parish church of Mayne stood on the north bank of the Dinan river. It survived until 1835 when it was finally swept away in the great flood of that year. Only part of the nearby graveyard still remains.

The patron of the parish of Mayne is St. Muicin. The earliest form of his name is Muccine and was Latinised Moginus. Other churches in the dioceses were dedicated to him as well. A Pattern at the old church and graveyard was held on the last Sunday in July up to the mid-nineteenth century. This was also known locally as Dohawnagh-Crown Dhuv because of tradition of conversion of a certain pagan named Crom Dhu. The earliest reference to the name “Jenkinstown” (sic) found in the Calendar of Ormond Deeds is in a paper copy of the inquisition taken at Kilkenny after the death of James Butler IX Earl of Ormond. Two dates are in fact given with this inquisition; they are May 1st., 1536, while the Earl was alive, and march 28th 1547 one year after his death.

An important reference to Jenkinstown is found in an indenture dated 1602, March 19th in which the Earl of Ormond etc. grants to Sir Nicholas Walshe, Chief Justice of the Common Bench, all his honours, lordships, manors etc., for a number of places of local interest. They include Jenkinstown, Mayne, Cowlerahine, Shynaganagh, Gragerawe, Kilmocarr, Toomecheeny, Inchechilly, etc., all names still in use in the locality, but some with different spelling. Other ancient spelling of Jenkinstown are Gynkinstown, Ginkinstown, Jenkinstowne. This Walshe indentive is of special interest to Jenkinstown because that name is to be found later in connection with the Bryan (Jenkinstown) vault in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Kilkenny.





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