The French Cistercian abbey of de Bello Becco in Normandy established a grange or out-farm about 5 km outside Drogheda at Bey More that came to be known as Beaubec. The foundation date is not known, but sometime after 1225 Walter de Lacy granted lands at Gillekeran to the church of SS Mary and Laurence of Beaubec. The name Gillekeran – servant of Kieran – suggests it may be on an older ecclesiastical foundation or on Church land. In 1259 Geoffrey de Geneville granted further land to Beaubec at Kells, and Beaubec was valued at almost 30 shillings in 1304-06. After 1303 its abbots lived abroad and it was run by attorneys until in 1332 Beaubec was transferred to the Cistercian abbey of Furness in Lancashire. This abbey already had land in the area and continued to export grain to the motherhouse throughout the fourteenth century. The right of Furness to Beaubec was challenged but confirmed in 1380, An extent of the manor of Colp in 1408 describes Beaubec as having the largest holding of 4 carucates or townlands as well as two carcuates held in burgage. Furness retained Beaubec and its lands until it was suppressed in the 1530s, and In 1538 Edward Becke of Mornington received the lands of Furness including 400 acres at Bey More. Through the marriage of his daughter Mary to Henry Draycott the property passed to this English family but in 1640 their descendent John Draycott, described as an Irish papist, owned 640 acres in Bey More and Bey Beg where there was a stone house and some outhouses and cabins (Simington 1940, 3-4). Thereafter the property passed to the Talbot family, and in 1723 the land was sold to Thomas Pearson of Athboy who landscaped the grounds (D’Alton 1844, 453-4). (Stout 2018, 194-8)
The medieval masonry remains consists of a rectangular tower (int. dims c. 4.8m NW-SE; c. 2.2m NE-SW) with lights in the NE and SE walls at the ground floor. There is a blocked doorway in the NW wall and a modern entrance in the SW wall. A wall (L 8.3m; H c. 7m) with a buttress at its far end extended NE from the N angle of the tower. Archaeological excavation (97E0046) uncovered a cobbled surface overlying the foundations of a wall (Wth 1m; L 8m plus) extending NW from and bonded with the tower, demonstrating that the tower was attached to a larger structure (Murphy 1997, 1997a). A geophysical survey (Leigh 2016) identified areas of high resistivity immediately SW of the standing remains that can be interpreted as a large building (L c. 35m NE-SW). Another area of high resistance is c. 30m SSW of the standing remains is interpreted as a structure that has its walls aligned with the current field boundaries. This structure was extant on the 1836 edition of the OS 6-inch map. The foundations of the NW and SW sides of what might be a medieval grange are still likely to be extant, and a gradiometry survey confirmed activity in the same areas. (Stout 2018, 198-202)
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload: 29 January 2020
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.