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Cistercians Abbeys: MACOSQUIN

Name: MACOSQUIN Location: Macosquin parish County: Londonderry
Foundation: 1218 Mother house: Morimond (France)
Relocation: None Founder: Unknown
Dissolution: - 1600 Prominent members:
Access: Accessible to the public

Macosquin was founded in 1218 and colonized with monks from Morimond, a daughter house of Citeaux. In 1401 abbot John O’Flannra became bishop of Derry. By 1484 Macosquin had been without an abbot for a considerable time prompting Raymond O’Donnell to illegally claim the abbacy; arrangements were made for Maurice O’Cahan, a clerk, to be received into the abbey and to be appointed abbot. In 1505 Dermot O’Cahan was mutilated for hanging Abbot Donough O’Cahan. No reliable financial figures survive but the abbey is unlikely to have been prosperous. The abbey does not appear to have been dissolved at the time of the general Suppression but there is little information concerning its later history. The abbey must have fallen before the turn of the seventeenth century for it was at that time that the site was given to the Merchant Taylors as part of the Plantation of Derry. A Protestant church was constructed on the site during the nineteenth century and in 1840 it was reported that the last of the ruins consisted of a tall gable with a chimney that was used for keeping beehives. This was demolished when Glebe House was built c. 1770. St. Mary’s church still occupies the site and to the east of the chancel are the foundations of a rectangular structure, possibly the old Cistercian presbytery. The only other surviving part of the abbey is a lancet window, dating from the thirteenth century, which has been reused in the north wall of the existing church. It is known locally as the ‘leper window’.
The site can be accessed by the public at all reasonable times.