presents the deserted remains of a once good inn and a large brick mansion, now inhabited by a Mrs. Aungier,
overhanging a pretty glen watered by a winding rivulet.
Here is a very remarkable circular moat, from which the locality derives its name,
Knocksedan, i.e. the bill of the quicksand. It is elevated about 50 feet over the river, and commands a most extensive view.
Ware, in reference to this object in his time, says, "Numbers of human bones are now to be seen lying promiscuously in this
mount, which was opened for gravel some years ago by the orders of Mr. Blair, on whose land it stands.
Some curious gentlemen," he adds, "about two years ago discovered in it a human
skeleton of a monstrous size, which measured from the ankle bone to the, top of the cranium eight feet four inches, so that,
allowing a proportionable extension from the ankle to the sole of the foot, and for the skin and flesh covering the cranium,
as well as for the space occupied by the cartilages between the several bones in a living body, the person, to whom this body
belonged, must have been not far short of nine feet high.
The scull in the most solid part was better than a quarter of an inch thick, and
the bones of the big toe were each of them two inches long, and three inches and a quarter in circumference. The dentes molares,
or grinders, were also enormously big, and the tibia above 20 inches long.
The position of the head was to the north and south, and all the bones except
the teeth were in a crumbling and decayed condition. He conjectures that these remains were deposited there after the battle
of Clontarf. There are two similar mounts within half a mile of this place.
These funeral mounts, so much resembling the raths, and equally numerous over
the country, are by the Irish Annals, particularly those of the Font Masters, ascribed to the very highest antiquity. Indeed,
they are "modelled after such a manner as wisely and effectually to answer the ends for which they were first designed, defying
the injuries of the weather, and all the usual assaults of devouring time.
They are raised on a large base, and gradually diminish as they advance upward,
until at length they terminate at the top in a fiat surface, and in the whole have the appearance of a cone. They differ in
their dimensions and heights, according to the quality of the person for whom they were raised, as they do also in the materials
composing them, some being made of earth only heaped together, and others of small, round paving stones with sand or earth
mixed, and piled up in a high cone covered with a coat of green sod."
As they were often thrown up over those who fell in war, they became commemorative
of places where battles were fought. The practice of raising such monuments over the dead, is one of the many aboriginal principles,
which adhered to the different societies that diverged from the confusion of Babel; such was the tomb of Patroclus, as described
in the 23rd book of the Iliad, such were the barrows of Achilles Antilochus, Peneleus, Ajax Telamon, AEsytes,
Such were the mounts mentioned by Herodotus as raised over the Scythian kings,
such those described by Strabo as constructed by the Myrsians and Phrygians over the dead, such the monument of Dercennus
who governed Laurentum before the arrival of AEneas in Italy, such the royal mounts noticed by Lucan, such the pile erected
over Damaratus the Corinthian, as recorded by Plutarch in his life of Alexander, such the tomb on the banks of the Wolga mentioned
by Adam Olearius in his travels into Muscovy and Persia, and the tombs in Westphalia and Friesland described by Keisler in
his Northern Antiquities, and such were the funeral piles of earth erected by the Danes over their kings and heroes, and which,
during the long establishment of that people in Ireland, became mixed with the corresponding memorials of the natives.
About the glen of Brackenstown and in its woods, the botanist will find rosa arvensis,
white trailing dog-rose; tilia Europoea, common lime tree; ranunculus auricomus, goldylocks; stachys palustris, marsh woundwort;
geranium rotundifolium, round leaved crane's-bill; ulex Europoeus, common furze, the best fuel for heating ovens; carex remota,
remote sedge; carex pendula, pendulous sedge; carex pseudo-cyperus, bastard cypress sedge; polypodium aculeatum, prickly polypody;
meruleus umbilliferus, a delicate and minute species of mushroom; agaricus elephantinus, which, when in perfection,
is almost white, when cut becomes red, and when left to gradual decay becomes as black as if burned into charcoal; various
other species of the agaricus, or mushroom; boletus bovinus, cow-spunk, the young plants of which are eaten as a great delicacy
in Italy; the Russians, Poles, and Germans, also account them a dainty; boletus igniarius, touchwood spunk, used for tinder
in some parts of England as also in Germany, while the Laplanders burn it round their habitations to keep off the gadfly from
the young reindeer, and the natives of Franconia are said to beat the inner substance into the form of leather and sew it
together for garments; boletus olivaceus, lichen olivaceus, and scrophularia aquatica, water figwort, in the wet ditches.
More immediately near Knocksedan grow, silene inflata, bladder catchfly; tilia
Europoea, common lime tree; and the prunus cerasus wild cherry tree. The cherry tree obtained its name from having been brought
into Europe from Cerasus, a city of Pontus, by Lucullus the Roman General, after his conquests in Asia, and was, perhaps,
the only substantial fruit of the Mithridatic war.
At Knocksedan, a bold bridge of a single, tall, narrow arch is erected over the
glen. At one side of it a bad bridle road, but carried over a terrace that prettily overhangs the continuation of the glen
already alluded to, crosses the rivulet by a worse than Al-Sirat bridge, and, passing by an ancient mill, leads into the holy
solitude of 
Killeigh, [Now Called Killeek]
a little ruinous village, on an uncultivated eminence, although within seven miles of the metropolis.
Were the vicinity of this spot wooded, and its approaches made more practicable, it should be visited as a scene of much beauty
and interest; in its present state it is utterly unknown; Sir Thomas Staples has the fee of this townland, which he lets at
the acreable rent of 10s. per annum.
The ruins of the church present chancel and nave, divided by a circular arch,
with doorways, also circularly arched. The length of the chancel is 10 yards, of the nave 15, the width of each being five
yards. Ash trees flank and overhang the ruin, but, neither within its walls nor in the surrounding graveyard, is there any
tomb worthy of notice.
The churches of the ancient Christians, it may be here observed, were always divided into two parts,
viz. the nave or body of the church, and the sacrarium, since called the chancel, from its being divided from the nave by
cancelli latices, or cross-bars.
The nave was common to all the people, the chancel was peculiar to the priests
and sacred officers, and was always placed at the east end of the church. In the chancel, the altar or communion-table was
placed, which none were allowed to approach but such as were in holy orders, and the admission of the laity during the service,
was expressly forbidden in the Greek church by the 19th canon of the Council of Laodicea. In the service of the liturgy in
the fifth year of Edward the Sixth, a clause was added at the end of the first Rubric, expressly enjoining that the chancels
should remain as they had dome in times past. It is, however, to be observed, that the right of a seat and sepulchre in the
chancel, was a privilege appertaining to every founder of a church.
The parish, in which this place is situated, takes its name; comprises 807a. 2r.
4p. in three townlands, and was returned in 1834 as having a population of 166 persons, all Roman Catholics The rectory being
impropriate in the dean and chapter of St. Patrick's, this parish ranks as a curacy in the deanery and union of Swords.
At a very remote period this was one of the chapelries subservient to Swords,
but, about the 15th century, was erected into a parish church, while its tithes were early appropriated to the economy of
In 1414 Robert Luttrel was the proprietor or lands in this parish, of which he was deprived by
William Ashbourne and Richard Maddocks, who were subsequently convicted thereof and outlawed. [Rot. in Canc. Hib.]
The manor of Killeigh soon afterwards vested in the Hollywood family, and, on
the marriage of Margaret, daughter of Sir Robert Hollywood, passed to her husband Robert Burnell. [Ib.]
In 1530 Allen styles Killeigh, "the most stately of all the chapels of Swords." [Repertorium Viride]
An inquisition of 1547 defines the extent of the tithes of the economy here, and computes their
annual value as 13s. 4d.
The regal visitation of 1615 states this rectory to be impropriate. At which time,
and previously, the Dillon family were the chief proprietors here, but in 1641 the inheritor, Luke Dillon, having joined the
lords of the Pale, forfeited the whole townland  of Killeigh, containing 160 acres, together with the water-mill there;
[Inquis. in Canc. Hib.] the manor, however, continued to be in the Hollywood family. For a notice of Killeigh in 1627, see
In 1648 the tithes of Killeigh were demised to John Pue, Alderman and Mayor of
Dublin, for 21 years; and in 1663 Lord Chief Baron Bysse obtained a lease, for 21 years, of "the tithe of corn and hay, and
the small tithes of Killeigh parish."
In 1666 John Hollywood, son and heir of Nicholas Hollywood or Artane, deceased, passed patent for
Ballcarrig 375a., Baltra 67a., Westrew 68a., and the Moate of Killeigh 129a. statute measure; and in 1669, Lord Kingston had
a grant of 80a. plantation measure here, with a water-mill and water-course.
For a notice of the tithes of Killeigh in 1681, see ante at "Malahide." In 1683
they were demised, with those of Skidow, to Henry Scardeville, Prebendary of Swords, with a saving to the curate, of the burials
and � per annum salary.
A wild pathway, commencing at the before mentioned mill-head, leads hence to Chapel
Midway, through a glen waving (12th of June) with scentless but graceful aquatic flowers, and overhung about mid-way by the
ruinous remains of the old mansion-house of Westrew. Returning, however, through Knocksedan, crossing the lofty arch of its
bridge, and leaving Brackenstown, and the now serrated walls, that once enclosed its demesne, at left, the course of the present
excursion proceeds by some extensive remains of an old family mansion-house at Forest, which once belonged to the Armstrong
family. Its ancient great doorcase is embodied in a farm-house. Beyond it at left is Fosterstown, formerly the seat of that
true patriot Baron Hamilton, from which a bleak road conducts to
In 1359 Sir Elias Ashbourne was seised of various lands in Barbaderstown, Gadstown, "Pycotstown,"
Colwellstown, Brekdenstown, (Brackenstown,) Colyncoght, and Rath near Kilossery, with certain premises in Cook-street, which
were then estreated for debts due to the crown.
In the commencement of the 17th century, Robert Barnewall of Dunbroe, was seised of Pickerstown,
Cowltree, and Barberstown, three messuages and 82 acres, which he held from the Archbishop of Dublin by fealty. [Inquis. in
Passing through Swords a picturesque road leads to Brazeel, at first ascending
at the south of the churchyard, then passing on the edge of a terrace that overhangs the little river and glen of Brackenstown,
with its mills in the depth of the secluded valley, and its mansion-house seen on the opposite ascent from the glen.
This house was formerly the residence of Viscount Molesworth, whose ancestor,
Robert Molesworth of Brackenstown was one of those attainted in King James's parliament. He subsequently filled the office
of ambassador from King William to the Court of Denmark, and ultimately was elevated to the Irish peerage by King George the
He was the author of "An Account of Denmark," and more especially of "Considerations
on the Agriculture and Employment of the Poor of Ireland." In this pamphlet his lordship deprecates the ruinous consequences
of a tenant being suffered to deal with his farm as he pleases, for "that is what his laziness, his ignorance, or dishonesty
prompts him to without regard to covenants."
He recommends enactments restrictive of the courses of husbandry, the duration
of leases, the extent of farms, the abolition of subletting, landjobbing and tithejobbing, the enclosure of commons, the establishment
of agricultural schools in every county, the distribution of premiums to the best husbandmen, and the curtailment of holidays.
On all which points he makes some very pertinent observations.
"In England," he 'says, "it is taken for granted that a tenant, who comes
into a farm of good land with the grass side uppermost, at the usual rent of corn land in that country, and obtains liberty
to break it up or make his best of it by ploughing it, has a profit during the first four years equal to the value of the
inheritance of the land. Few landlords in this kingdom are sensible of this, and therefore do not provide accordingly."
In reference to the extent of farms, "twenty acres," he remarks: "rightly distributed and well
husbanded, shall yield more profit to the tenant, and do no harm to the landlord, than a hundred acres, managed as in Ireland,
with infinite damage to both."
He strongly recommends the erection of public granaries, to prevent the ruinous
advance in the price of provisions when years of scarcity occur, and where he speaks of the agricultural schools, he suggests
that Tusser's old book of husbandry should be taught to the boys, as "the very best English book of good husbandry and housewifery
that ever was published, fitted for the use of humble men and farmers, and ordinary families. In these schools," he says,
"I would not have any precepts, difference, or distinction of religions taken notice of, and nothing taught but only husbandry
and good manners, and that the children should daily serve God according to their own religions, this school not being the
proper place to make proselytes in."
On his death in 1725 his eldest son, John, who had been envoy to the Duke of Tuscany
in 1710, and to the King of Sardinia in 1720, acquired the title as second Viscount, but dying in the same year was succeeded
by his brother Richard, the third viscount, who became a field marshal in the army, and general and commander-in-chief of
the forces in Ireland. He entered a volunteer in Queen Anne's reign, in 1702 received a commission in the Earl of Orkney's
regiment, whose colours he carried at the battle of Blenheim, and on the eve of the battle of Ramillies was appointed aid-de-camp
to the Duke of Marlborough, whom he rescued from the French, by mounting him on his horse, when run down by their cavalry.
After a campaign of active and successful service, he was appointed a colonel
in 1710, and with his regixnent was sent into Spain where be fought under the Duke of Argyle and the great Staremberg, and
on the breaking up of that regiment at Minorca, his lordship devoted the remainder of his life to study.
The water works at Chelsea were at this time carried on under his direction. In
1715 he was again called into military service, fought and was wounded at the battle of Preston. He died in 1758 and was succeeded
in the title by his only son Richard, the fourth viscount.
Passing from Brackenstown, the ruins of the house of Brazeel appear at right.
On this townland, on the night of the tattle of the Boyne, the Duke of Berwick rallied about 7,000
foot, "of which he sent to acquaint King James, then in Dublin, and desired he would please to send him some horse and dragoons
to enable him to make his retreat. The king accordingly ordered six troops of Luttrell's regiment or dragoons, and three of
Abercorn's horse, (which were all he had but those newly arrived with the king) to march to the Duke's relief; but, as soon
as it was night, that general found most of his gathering dispersed again, of which he sent an account." [Clarke's Life of
James the Second, vol. ii. p. 402.]
Brazeel became subsequently the property of the Bolton family, of whom Edward
Bolton, the founder of this line, was, for his attachment to the cause of King William, attainted in James's parliament, as
was also Richard Bolton. The mansion was destroyed by fire some years since, at which time a unique portrait of Sir Richard
Bolton is said to have been burned. He was formerly Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and in 1640 was impeached in the House of
Commons as having assisted in the introduction of arbitrary government, by the assistance and countenance of the Earl of Strafford.
In 1661, however, all records of this transaction were voted to be expunged, "inasmuch as they seemed to be an entrenchment
upon the honour, worth, and integrity of honourable persons, whose memory this house cannot in justice suffer to be sullied
with the least stain of evil report."
In November, 1647, Owen Roe O'Neill and Sir Thomas Esmonde, with their royalist forces, encamped
here. Brazil House, was a ruin since a fire in 1812 and was owned by the Bolton family.