Medieval Fore, County Westmeath

Rory Masterson

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ISBN: 978-1-84682-513-2
August 2014. 74pp.

In the history of Norman monasteries founded in Ireland, the Benedictine priory of Fore stands apart. While many foundations were independent entities and others were cells or priories of English foundations, Fore was a cell of the French monastery of St Taurin, Evreux, in Normandy. As such, it was one of only two alien priories in Ireland in medieval times. While the kings of England were still dukes of Normandy, the priory was considered their own property. As conflict between England and France grew, the priory came to be seen as alien property and by the 14th century was considered ‘French’, resulting in its seizure by the English crown. By the early 15th century the priory had become the property of the local gentry of the region. This books charts the rise and fall of the priory and the surrounding area of Fore in the medieval period. The story of the priory at Fore is not just the story of what happened locally but also of how far distant events such as the Great Western Schism and the Hundred Years War impinged into the very recesses of medieval Ireland.

Part of the Maynooth Studies in Local History series (Raymond Gillespie, general editor). The studies in this series range widely, both chronologically and geographically, over the local experience in the Irish past. They are at the forefront of Irish historical research and represent some of the most innovative and exciting work being undertaken in Irish history today. They provide models that others can follow up and adapt in their own studies of the Irish past, allowing us to understand better the regional diversity of Ireland and the social and cultural basis for that diversity. For a list of all titles published in this series to date, click here.

Rory Masterson holds a PhD from NUI Maynooth. He has lectured part-time at NUI Maynooth, is the editor of the Offaly Historical Journal, and contributes to many other historical journals. He teaches full-time at Colaiste Choilm, Tullamore.