Kilkenny County Council has reacted strongly to the claims made about the buildings on Vicar Street, and says that the archaeological reports do not prove the houses are medieval .
“Work is not complete on the investigation, and while the greater part of the buildings have been shown to be of late date, nothing has been proven to be medieval,” said a spokesperson for the council.
“As for the medieval cut-stone window at No 22 Vicar Street, it said that the relationship of the cut stone window to the rest of the wall is not known until investigations are completed.”
The council says that there is nothing in the chimney breast or the quoin stones that indicate a medieval date, as these features appear in buildings up to the 19th Century.
Referring to the 1679 document which the anti-CAS campaigners say is flawed, the council said it is the only primary historical record of the existence of the manse house, and any move to discount it as a source leaves no evidence for the existence of the manse house at Vicar Street or anywhere else.
“The final results and findings regarding some aspects of these buildings cannot be determined until investigation is complete – particularly to the gable end of No 22 Vicar Street,” said the spokesperson.
“Further works are due to go ahead shortly that should allow a greater understanding of this wall.
“Pending the completion of the investigation, some facts that have been established so far include: There are no remnants of the manse house of the prebendary of Tascoffin surviving on this site or anywhere else, as the building was destroyed in the 17th Century.
“The site of this manse house cannot have been on the site occupied at present by the car park to the south of number 22 Vicar Street, as the prebendary of Tascoffin did not own that land.”
The council maintains that the gable end of No 22 Vicar Street belonged to a building that was on the car park site and cannot have been part of the manse house of the prebendary of Tascoffin.
The front, rear and internal walls of No 21 and 22 Vicar Street appear to be of a later date than the gable end and are no earlier than the 18th century, much of the building fabric being of 19th and 20th century date.
“The outstanding issue is the gable end wall on which further work is needed. However, assertions that the presence of quoin stones or a projecting chimney breast indicate a medieval date are erroneous,” said the council spokesperson.
“Projecting chimney breasts of this kind were common up to the 19th, if not the 20th century, while quoin stones are found wherever poor quality rubble stone is used for walls, as with this gable, and this was common up to the mid-1800s. “The relevance of the cut stone window cannot be assessed until further work is carried out to investigate the origins of the gable wall, as this wall has been altered, extended and rebuilt at various times over its life.
Kilkenny County Council says that investigations are continuing under the direction of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and in accordance with best professional practice. It is the third time investigatory work has taken place on the site.