Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary comprises of several counties, cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland. Here are From-Ireland.net’s records for Co. Kildare.
ContentCONNELL (GREAT), a parish, in the barony of CONNELL, county of KILDARE, and province of LEINSTER, containing, with the post-town of Newbridge, 1911 inhabitants.
In 1202, a priory was founded here, a under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin and St. David, by Meyler Fitz Henry, who placed in it Regular Canons from the monastery of Lanthony, in Monmouthshire. It subsisted till the Reformation, when it was granted to Edward Randolfe, with reversion to Sir Edw. Butler ; it was re-granted in the 3rd of Elizabeth to Sir Nicholas White, and is now the property of Thos. Eyre Powell, Esq.
The parish is situated on the mail coach road from Dublin to Limerick, and comprises 4738 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £2337 per annum. The land is chiefly under tillage, and the improved system of agriculture is making gradual progress. At Athgarvan ford, on the river Liffey, are the extensive boulting-mills of Messrs. Tuthill and Reeves, in which 15,000 bags of flour are made to annually.
The principal seats are, Great Connell Lodge, the property of T. E. Powell, Esq., but occupied by E. Butler, Esq.; Rosetown, the seat of E. Bateman, Esq. ; and Hillsborough, of G. Higgins, Esq.
The living is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Kildare, to which that of Ladytown is annexed, and in the patronage of the Bishop ; the rectory is impropriate in T. E. Powell, Esq. The tithes amount to £171. 5s. 2d. The church is a small plain edifice, erected about 50 years since ; and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently made a grant of £187 towards its repair.
In the Roman Catholic divisions this parish is the head of a union or district, comprising Great and Old Connell, Killishy, and Morristown-Biller, with parts of Carnalloway and Kill : the chapel is near Newbridge.
There are three private and two pay schools, in which about 60 boys and 60 girls are educated ; and a national school is about to be erected. The remains of the priory consist chiefly of the east gable of the church, with a great extent of ruinous walls, and many fragments of masonry, among which is the mutilated tomb of Prior Wellesley, Bishop of Kildare. Over the gateway, on one side, is a small sculpture of the Crucifixion, and on the other, Our Saviour crowned with thorns, and a mitred ecclesiastic ; and on another fragment is the figure of St. Peter, bearing the keys. It is said that, within the memory of persons still living, a round tower, 75 feet high, was destroyed during the minority of the present proprietor's father.