The priory here at Ballinskelligs was founded by Augustinian Canons from Ratoo. The priory part of a network that included a foundation on Innisfallen Island. Together with Skellig Michael, the three sites all share a common connection with St Fíonán. With an association with such a key early saint, the Augstinian Canons benefited from pilgrimage, providing a lucrative source of income for centuries.
Ballinskelligs Priory was dissolved during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, but it is believed it continued in use up until around 1578, when the lands of the priory were granted to Gyles Clinsher, before passing to John Blake in 1585. It then became the possession of the wealthy Richard Harding of Bristol, and later to the Sigerson family in 1615. According to an account from 1902, Richard Sigerson was due to marry Harding’s daughter. As he arrived at the Harding family home in Bristol to be married, he met her funeral party leaving the house. However, the father treated him as if she had lived and married, and gave him the manor of Ballinskelligs, with the abbey and lands attached to it.
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