Situated on a bluff on the N bank of a NW-SE section of the River Boyne as it flows through Trim town, with the river c. 50m to the SW. The house was reputedly built in the early fifteenth century by Sir John Talbot, who was the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland almost continuously 1414-19, and in 1425, and again in 1446-7. He also played a valiant role in the Hundred Years War, which earned him a walk-on part in Shakespeare’s King Henry VI (part 1) as the first Earl of Shrewsbury, which Talbot became in 1442. The house is a ten-bay, two storey over basement structure of the fifteenth century. The house is still occupied and not available for inspection, but a description is available (Potterton 2005, 204-08). The original windows are two-light cinquefoils, but most of the windows towards the E end of the building are of a pointed neo-gothic type, and an attic was added to the W end of the building. A tower projecting N at the W end could have served to house the entrance and services such as stairs and garderobes.
Although there is no direct documentary connection with the house Sir John and his brothers, Thomas who summoned a parliament to Trim in 1418, and Richard, archbishop of Dublin, did resort to Trim quite frequently, and Sir John also summoned a Parliament to Trim in 1446. An armorial plaque on the exterior of the N wall displays the arms of Talbot quartered with those of Furnival, John’s first wife who died in 1422, and this clinches the connection. The crest is supported by two talbots, a type of hunting dog now extinct and associated heraldically with the Talbot family. The house is sometimes regarded as part of the buildings of St Mary’s abbey, which is unlikely despite the proximity. However, it may have become a diocesan school, which is attested in Trim in 1567 and continued into the eighteenth century. The school counts Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852) of Dangan Castle (ME042-009----), the future victor of Waterloo (1815) and the first Duke of Wellington, amongst its alumni. Another graduate is Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805-65), the mathematician and scientist whose work on optics and mechanics is still relevant today (Boylan 1978, 134).
The above description is derived from the published 'Archaeological Inventory of County Meath' (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1987). In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research.
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of revision: 8 July 2019Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage