Trim was probably incorporated as a town by Hugh de Lacy before his death in 1186, although its earliest surviving charter was granted by his son Walter c. 1194. In the only surviving, seventeenth century copy of the charter the town is granted the same rights as Bristol, but it has been argued that this is a scribal error for Breteuil (Hillaby 1992-3, 28-9), which was a more generous form of charter to the burgesses. The town would be largely self-governing under a portreeve and council, who were elected and who would have met regularly to discuss the town’s affairs. A tholsel or town hall would not be a prerequisite for a council but such a structure would also serve as a market hall where the council officials could preside to settle disputes and collect any tolls that might be levied. A tholsel could be used for any legitimate public meeting such as those of guilds. In 1455 Sir Robert Barnwell held an inquisition or enquiry in the guildhall of Trim, and it may the site described in references of 1570 and 1593 as: ‘a great waste messauge uncovered called the Blackhall in the Fayer street’ (Potterton 2005, 161-2).
The location of any tholsel or hall at Trim is not known, and even its existence is uncertain, but the most likely position is thought to be at the junction of Market St. and Bridge St. (Hennessy 2003, 3). A building here is depicted as U-shaped, open to the street, and described as the Meat Market on the five-feet to one mile Fair plan of the 1830s (ibid. Map 9). This is at the heart of the trading area and close to the river. Trim was at the upper extent of the navigable river, and the goods that might have been available are recorded in a mandate of 1244: ‘to Walter de Godarville, seneschal of Meath, to cause to be retained all the wines, hides, wool, cloth and iron which he can find at the fair of Trim, together with 500 crannocks of wheat and 500 crannocks of dry oats…’ The S end of High Street was known as Fishable Street in the seventeenth century, so sea fish would also have been for sale. (ibid. 3)
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload: 9 July, 2019Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.