Situated on a NW-facing slope of a prominent hill in the parish of Laracor. The Leyns or Lynch family have been associated with Co. Kildare, but in 1421 Walter Leyns of the Knock is first recorded, and the Lynches continue to be associated with the Knock up to the end of the seventeenth century (Devitt 1909-11, 270). Peter Lynch was implicated in the rebellion of Silken Thomas in 1535 and was attained for a period but the family later recovered the Knock (ibid. 274). The ‘new castle on the Knock’ with a great barn adjoining is mentioned in 1609 (ibid. 278) and probably refers to this house. According to the Civil Survey (1654-6) Gerrett Linch of the Knock owned 590 acres there in 1640, and on the premises were ‘two castles, one Mill and divers cabins, and also an old chappell and a stone quarry’ (Simington 1940, 173). He also owned land at Readstowne (102 acres) and had a share in 360 acres at Laracor in the same parish (ibid. 173-6).
The castle was besieged and captured by the Royalist, Ormonde, in 1642, and was occupied by Cromwellian forces in 1647 (Devitt 1909-11, 280). The land was forfeited during the Cromwellian period and granted to Henry Jones, the Anglican Bishop of Meath from 1661, who lived in the castle (ibid. 283). Although Garrett had been a Royalist, and three of his sons had died for the cause, he failed to recover the Knock after the Restoration in 1660, and his old property continued in the possession of Jones (ibid. 288).
There is an almost complete tower house (ME043-021001-) with portion of this later house attached to the SW. The house was T-shaped but only part of the N wall and the N part of the W wall together with a large stairs return (ext. dims 6.3m N-S; 4.5m E-W) that was at the centre of the W wall survive. The stairs tower has a doorway (destroyed) at the ground floor on its N wall with a plaque dated 1636 on the outside of the wall. There are two small lights and a window on the ground floor of the return. Just N of the stairs tower a fireplace protrudes on the outside (L 3.5m) that had a light inserted into it. Just 5m N of the stairs return is a portion of the N wall (L 6.75m) with a single light. The first floor was supported on corbels in the N wall and there is a fireplace over that on the ground floor. There is a window in the W wall and another in the N wall, while a passage has been broken through to the first floor of the tower house, under its vault. The W and N walls are recessed to support the second floor, which has a fireplace over those below it and a window in the N wall. Gables rise over the W wall of the stairs return with a fireplace, and over the surviving portions of the W and N walls.
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: 13 July 2016
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.