The Murder Window

A lone visitor enters the gatehouse of Castle Roche, a brooding hilltop ruin harbouring a little known tale of an ambitious and ruthless 13th century woman who would stop at nothing …

Bertram de Verdun arrived in Ireland as part of King John’s first expedition to Ireland. Given, or more likely, appropriated land in the Anglo-Norman territory known as The Pale, he erected a manor house in 1185. But our story concerns his wayward and scheming granddaughter…

Rohesia de Verdun, was married to Theobald le Botiller, 2nd Chief Butler of Ireland. After her husband’s death in 1230 during the English invasion of France, Rohesia returned to her lands in Ireland and immediately set about fortifying the land with a castle.

The legend tells how her quick tempered reputation deterred all potential architects; so she offered her hand in marriage and a share in her wealth to the man who would build the castle to her liking. The myth continues that after the wedding banquet in the newly completed castle, she took her husband to the bridal suite and urged him to view their estate from the large bedroom window – and promptly pushed him to his death out of the window, hence forth known as the Murder Window…

The lady went on to garner a violent reputation as a ferocious fighter, riding into battle in full body armouragainst her enemies, the O’Hanlons. Then as time went on, the pressure to re-marry increased until she decided to become a nun, and by 1242 she was a member of the community at Grace Dieu.

And a Holy Terror!


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