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St David, Knocktopher

(52°28′56″N, 7°13′14″W)
S 53 37
pre-1974 traditional (Republic of Ireland) Kilkenny
now Kilkenny
  • Tessa Garton

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Feature Sets

The W tower is attached to the ruins of a gothic church. There is a transitional Romanesque doorway on the W face of the tower. The upper parts of the tower are modern.


Matthew Fitz Griffin, seneschal of Munster was lord of Knocktopher in the early 13thc. He was a significant benefactor to Kells priory, to which he appropriated St. David's church. In 1312 it passed into Butler ownership. At the Reformation the church came to be used for Protestant worship and remained in use until about 1820. The church was largely demolished in 1870.


Exterior Features



The angle-shafts are not the characteristic Irish three-quarter angle shafts, but have the appearance of detached shafts, although coursed with the jamb stones and presumably cut from the same block. The almost free-standing appearance of the angle shafts and the keeled mouldings are transitional features and suggest a late 12th or early 13thc. date. Two incised slabs in the tower may date from the 9th to 12thc. (Manning, 1983)

W. Carrigan, The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory, Dublin, 1905, iv, 21-3.
P. Harbison, Guide to the National and Historic Monments of Ireland, Dublin, 1970, 137.
C. Manning, 'Two Cross-Slabs at Knocktopher,' Old Kilkenny Review, 1983, 471-4.