|Architectural style||English Renaissance style|
|Town or city||Kilkenny|
|Owner||Kilkenny Archaeological Society|
Rothe House, is a unique Irish 17th century merchant's townhouse complex located in the city of Kilkenny, Ireland. The complex was built by John Rothe Fitz-Piers between 1594–1610 and is made up of three houses, three enclosed courtyards, and a large reconstructed garden with orchard.
Rothe House is considered to be nationally significant because of the wide range of original post-medieval features which survive in good condition in Ireland. The property, an important element of Kilkenny's heritage, is owned by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society and houses some of the society's collection of artefacts relating to Kilkenny City, County and Ireland.
The garden to the rear of the house has been reconstructed to reflect a typical 17th-century garden. The burgage plot on which Rothe House was built survives intact one of a few in such an unaltered state. Kilkenny's medieval city wall forms part of the curtilage of the Rothe House complex.
The Rothes were merchants foremost, however, they were also involved in politics. They ware part of an oligarchy of around ten families who controlled Kilkenny throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, and into 17th century. Rothe house was constructed on burgage plot John Rothe Fitz Piers acquired.
The house was confiscated after Charles I defeat in England, due to their involvement in the confederation of Kilkenny. Following the restoration of Charles II the house was given back to the family.
Rothe House is a prime example of a house of Kilkenny's influential merchant class. It was built in the English Renaissance style which was introduced to the south-east of Ireland by the Thomas Butler the 10th Earl of Ormond in the 1560s.
The configuration of the original consecutive building sequence of John Rothe's three houses (dating respectively to 1594, 1604 and 1610) has survived intact. Rothe's sequential building programme is significant, as he deliberately built three independent houses rather than extending the first house to accommodate the needs of his growing family. In this, he followed the pattern of development chosen by his wife's family (the Archers) in their arrangement of the Archer house and the house built behind it, now known as 'The Hole in the Wall'.
Houses in Kilkenny which survive from the same period as Rothe House are; 'The Hole in the Wall', High Street, built 1582-4 by the Archer family; Shee Alms House, Rose Inn Street built 1582 by the Shee family; The Bridge House, John Street built around the late 16th century which survives in part; Kyteler's Inn, St. Kieran's built 1473–1702 built by the Kyteler family; also Deanery, Coach Road in 1614 and 21 Parliament Street which was built in the late 16th/17th century and survives in part.
Rothe House's statutory status is that it is listed as an element of the urban area of Kilkenny City in the Record of Monuments and Places, it is listed in the Area of Archaeological Importance in the Urban Archaeological Survey County Kilkenny. It also is a nationally significant structure from the Planning Authority Development Plan under List 1 of the Kilkenny City and Environs Development Plan, 1994 and it is listed as being of national importance in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage Survey of Kilkenny.
The museum at Rothe House contains a variety of artefacts of archaeological and historical interest, most of them found locally or donated by citizens of Kilkenny to the Kilkenny Archaeological Society.
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- Murtagh, B. (1998), "The New Building, an Eighteenth Century House, New Buildings Lane, Kilkenny", Old Kilkenny Review (Kilkenny Archaeological Society): 48–65
- Ó Drisceoil, Cóilín (2008), The Rothe family garden rediscovered: An interim report on the 2007 archaeological excavation project, "Old Kilkenny Review 2008", Old Kilkenny Review, No. 60 (Kilkenny Archaeological Society).
- McQuillan, Róisín (2008), The Rothe House family garden, "Old Kilkenny Review 2008", Old Kilkenny Review, No. 60 (Kilkenny Archaeological Society).
- Ozmin, Elizabeth (2002), Rothe House, Parliament Street, County Kilkenny, Conservation Plan., Heritage Council.