Niall Caille, High King of Ireland drowns in the Kings River (Avon Ree), reputedly while trying to save a servant from drowning.
High Cross erected at Kilree.
Geoffrey Fitz Robert was most likely established lord of the cantred of Kells after William Marshall came into possession of Leinster in 1192, and he was also granted lands in Dysart, Co. Kilkenny and the cantred of Grean in Co. Limerick. Geoffrey decided to build a motte-and-bailey castle in his cantred of Kells, on the bank of the King’s River, a site that had already been important in the pre-Norman kingdom of Osraige.
Kells Priory was founded by Geoffrey FitzRobert in 1193. FitzRobert was brother-in-law to Strongbow and the priory succeeded an earlier church which was dedicated to St. Mary, the Blessed Virgin and served as parish church to nearby Kells village.
During its first century and a half the priory was attacked and burned on three occasions, firstly by Lord William de Bermingham in 1252.
Gilbert the Clare, eighth earl of Gloucester and seventh earl of Hertford (1291–1314), magnate, died and consequently the liberties of Kilkenny was divided among his three sisters and brothers-in-law. The heirs were: Hugh Despenser, the younger (d. 1326), Roger Damory (d. 1322) and Hugh Audeley (d. 1347). Kells fell into de Audeley’s hands.
Edward Bruce reached Kells in March of this year.
The Bishop of Ossory Richard de Ledrede paid a lenten visit to the priory. Following an inquisition into a Kilkenny sect of heretics, Alice Kyteler and William Outlawe were ordered to appear before the Bishop to answer charges of witchcraft. Outlaw was supported by Arnold de Paor, Lord of Kells who arrested the Bishop and had him imprisoned in Kilkenny Castle for 17 days. This caused great scandal and on his release the Bishop successfully prosecuted the heretics. Alice Kyteler fled to England and remained there, Alice Smith also fled, but her mother Petronilla de Meath became Ireland's first heretic to be burned at the stake.
The priory was attacked and burned by the Scots army of Edward Bruce on Palm Sunday, 1326.
Kells and the surrounding area was sacked and burned by the de Birminghams and Fitzgeralds during a baronial war. It seems likely that the walls and fortifications of the priory date back to this period of unrest.
The fragile alliance between the houses of Ormond and Desmond was dissolved, as a result, Kells was devastated by Desmond and his Irish allies.
Dissolution of Kells Priory finally took place in March 1540 Its last prior, Nicholas Tobin, and two canons were granted pensions. Tobin retained a rectory and continued as curate of Kells. Under secular hands, the priory was turned into a farm and the Prior’s Tower with the cloister was used as farmhouse. Part of the church was used as a parish church.
St Kierans church was re-adapted as a Church of Ireland place of worship.
The church and property were surrendered to James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormonde.
Patrick Comerford; an Augustinian, was appointed prior of Kells by Pope Paul V and also became bishop of Waterford and Lismore.
Patrick Comerford was banished following Cromwell’s Irish war. In the same year St. Kierans church was built possibly incorporating an older church pre-1540.
Kells bridge constructed.
Kells Bridge widened.
Mullins Mill Built.
Hutchinsons Mill Built.
Following Catholic Emapcipation in 1829 the current catholic Roman Catholic was built. Kells Glebe/Priory the residence of the Church of Ireland Clergy is built in the same year.
The Church of Ireland church was built.
Kells Priory becomes a National Monument in the guardianship of the Commissioners of Public Works.
Hutchinsons Mills closes.
Mullins Mill closes.
Extensive excavations carried out at Kells Priory under the direction of Tom Fanning, Office of Public Works.
Mullins Mill renovated.
The OPW begins tours of Kells Priory. First tour takes place on the 29th of June.
Photogrammetry carried out by Simon Dowling in conjunction with Historic Kells reveals bird markings on the base of the market cross.