Timoleague Franciscan Friary

Site Plan
Image of Plan of Timoleague Franciscan Friary

Exterior of the transept, choir and crossing tower. Note the chapel
projecting east off the transept, and the roof scar of a building added to the
church in the 16th century.

Western façade of the friary church, showing the pointed-arch doorway through which the people attending the friars’ office and sermons

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Located in the western part of the church, the nave was where congregations gathered to hear sermons preached and to attend Mass. In Cistercian churches, the nave was the site of the Laybrothers’ Choir, the area in which those members of the community charged with manual work attended Mass and an abbreviated form of the Divine Office at the beginning and the end of their day’s work

View of the nave from the south-aisle, with one of the arcade pillar
on the right, and an inserted 15th-century tomb niche in the background,
which partially filed in an earlier niche.

A close look at the 15th-century tomb niche that was inserted
in the north wall of the nave, partly filling in an earlier niche, and which was
probably built and paid for by an important benefactor of the friary.

The church nave people would have assembled to attend the friars’
offices and listen to their sermons. To the left is the arcade opening into the
south aisle, an ‘extension’ to the nave usually designed to accommodate the
growing congregation.

Interior of the nave, looking east towards the crossing tower and
the choir. This is view that worshippers attending the church would have had of
the choir east window and of the high altar placed underneath, which would
have been made visible to them only during the Eucharist.

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Aisles were the area on either side of the nave or chancel.

This area is separated from the nave through an arcade (a row of arches and columns).
Aisles often housed side altars and were used for liturgical processions

Another look at the western façade of church, showing how the roof of the nave was made to include the south aisle, a sort of ‘extension’ of the nave, usually built to accommodate the growing congregations attending Franciscan churches.

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In monastic churches the transepts were rectangular extensions abutting the nave/chancel that gave the church its characteristic cruciform appearance. In friary churches generally only one transept is found. The transept provided space for additional altars dedicated to various saints and serving as mortuary, burial or chantry chapels for the community’s benefactors. In friaries the transept was often the location of a shrine to the Virgin Mary and was known as the Lady Chapel

A look into the south transept, a common feature of mendicant
churches, which were in fact the site of chantry or memorial chapels built and paid for by benefactors for burial purposes and for private masses and prayers
to be said for their souls by the friars. Here the transept is divided by an arcade
opening into a side-aisle.

The triple lancet windows similar in style to the
choir east window seems to indicate that the transept belongs to an early phase
of construction of the friary, in the late 13th or early 14th century. An additional
chapel was later built to the east of the transept, of which you can see the arched
entrance to the left.

A closer look at the side-aisle of the south transept.

A view of the crossing tower, looking up from the transept, with the transept roof scar visible on the wall underneath.

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Secondary altars within a designated space in the church are known as chapels

These can be dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Lady Chapel) or be erected by members of a specific family as a private chapel

Mass was celebrated here for smaller congregations

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Towers served as belfries, ringing out the hours of the Divine Offices, which called the religious community to the church. They were generally built over crossing or the intersection of the nave and chancel.

A look at the friary crossing tower from the south transept.

A look at the crossing tower, which was inserted in the fifteenth century, showing the choir roof scar and the moulded stringcourse above.

A view of the nave from the choir, showing the tall pointed arches of the crossing tower, inserted in the fifteenth century.

Entrance to the crossing tower from the cloister, pointed arch.

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Situated at the east end of the church and separated from the nave by a wooden or stone screen (cancellus), the chancel was the area reserved to the members of the religious community. At its west end were the choir stalls where the community gathered for the daily celebration of the Divine Office. At the east end of the chancel, underneath the principal window stood the High Altar and the sedilia or ornamental seats for the clergy officiating at Mass. This part of the chancel was also known as the presbytery

Exterior of the choir, looking from the road. In the Middle Ages it is
likely that the River Argideen came up to the church eastern facade.

View of the triple lancet east window in the choir.

A close look at the unexplained wall passages running through the choir walls, here to the south of the east window.

Exterior of the choir showing the remains of a building which projected south of the choir, and was a sixteenth-century addition.

A close look at the 15th century inserted tomb niche located in the north wall of choir, with a pointed arch, broken bar tracery and a square architrave framing the arch.

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The sacristy (or vestry) is a room off the church, where vestments, church furnishings and altar plate are stored and where the clergy robe for church services

Close look at a carved and hollow stone which is locally known as a ‘wart well’, and is now located in what may be the site of the sacristy.

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The chapter house played a key role in monastic life. The community gathered here every morning after Prime (first hour of prayer at the first hour of daylight – usually 6am) to listen to a reading of a chapter of their rule, to pray for their benefactors and to receive instructions for their daily tasks. Elections, the reception of new members into the community, disciplinary matter and the admission of benefactors to confraternity with the community all took place in the Chapter House

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The cloister was an open quadrangle (garth) surrounded by a covered walkway, ambulatory or arcade; connects the domestic offices with the church

Cloister square, looking southwest at the junction of the west and
north range, with remains of cloister arcade to the right. The graves are modern in date and testify to the continuous importance of the friary as burial ground for
the local population.

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The cloister walk (or cloister alley) was the covered walkway that surrouded the cloister garth, connecting the domestic ranges to the church. It was often used as a burial place for members of the order or for important benefactors.

A close look at a section of the remaining cloister arcade, showing a triple pointed light with chamfered mullions under a single depressed/three-centred hood.

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The west range of domestic buildings was where the community interacted with the secular world, where visitors and alms were received. In Benedictine and Cistercian communities, the west range was reserved for the lay brothers.

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The north range (although sometimes located to the south of the cloister) of domestic buildings contained the rooms where the religious community dined, including the refectory, kitchen and a warming room known as a calefactory.

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The refectory was the main dining room of the community, normally located in the cloister range parallel to the church. In houses of Augustinian Canons, the refectory was often located on the first floor, a position that recalled the cenaculum, or upper room in Jerusalem in which Christ had celebrated the Last Supper. Each refectory contained a pulpitum, or reader’s desk from which a member of the community read devotional material during the silent communal meals

There was a lavabo at the entrance for the religious to wash their hands

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