History

Original St Mark,s House, Glasson

The history of St Mark’s is something we are currently “unearthing”. The original house and property is clearly marked on the first Ordnance Survey of Ireland (OSI) 6 inch map (1837-1842) which can be viewed OSI website. http://maps.osi.ie/publicviewer/#V1,605963,747949,7.

The property has been in the Hopkins family since 1941. Prior to that was owned by John J. Potts, Esq, and is listed in the 1837 publication “A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland” by Samuel Lewis.

BENOWEN, or BUNNOWN, a parish, in the barony of KILKENNY WEST, county of WESTMEATH, and province of LEINSTER, 2 ¾ miles (N. by E.) from Athlone; containing 1418 inhabitants. This parish forms the north-eastern bank of an arm of Lough Ree, called the Inner Lake, and, near the village of Glasson,. touches for a few perches on the road from Athlone to Ballymahon. It was the retreat of Sir James Dillon, when driven from Athlone, which he had taken, in 1641, by one of the boldest military manoeuvres on record. In his retreat from that place Sir James at first took up his quarters at Bally-Kieran, and afterwards retired to the castle of Killinure, in this parish, whence, in about three weeks, he recaptured Athlone, which, after a short occupation, he was again compelled to abandon. The parish comprises 2937 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act: about 160 acres are underwood and bog, and of the remainder, the principal portion is arable and pasture. Agriculture is in a state of slow but progressive improvement; the only waste lands are the rocky shores of the lake.

Portlick Castle, the residence of Robert Smyth, Esq., is beautifully situated on the border of Lough Ree, and is one of the very few ancient feudal castles at present in good repair and inhabited. Killenmore, the residence of Capt. Fry, is also finely situated on the border of the lake. The other seats are St. Mark’s, that of John Potts, Esq.; Lough Ree Lodge, of Gustavus H. Temple, Esq.; Killinure, of Major-General Murray; Benowen, of Capt. Caulfield; and the beautiful cottage on Hare Island, in Lough Ree, belonging to Viscount Castlemaine. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Meath, and in the patronage of the Bishop, to whom the rectory is appropriate, as a mensal: the tithes amount to £92. 6. 1 ¾., payable to the lessee of the bishop. The church, a neat plain structure, was erected in 1822, by aid of a gift of £600 from the late Board of First Fruits in 1818. The glebe-house was built by aid of a gift of £415 and a loan of £46 from the same Board, in 1829.

http://www.libraryireland.com/topog/B/Benowen-Kilkenny-West-Westmeath.php

John J. Potts of Saint Marks is listed in “A Return of Game Licences” 25 March 1810. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~dutillieul/ZOtherPapers/DJSep291810.html

St Mark’s is mentioned in many publications some of which are available to browse in St Mark’s B&B.

The burnt-out ruins of the original house still exist today. The splendour of the building is very evident from the decorative detail that surrounds the entrance (the rear of the house faces the lake). It is an unusual structure, with below ground bedrooms, and formal parlours at ground level. It is well worth a look. but keep your distance as nature is reclaiming this structure at an alarming rate, and caution shoud be taken.

Original St Mark's House