We were commissioned to craft a very special set of pens for the McCullen family using wood from a Copper beech tree planted in 1720; the tree fell in 2017 during storm Ofila. The tree lay on the ground allowing some of its branches to spalt giving us some unique and exciting colours and grain patterns in the wood. What an opportunity for us to use this wood and to make a set of our Feadán pens from it, the simplistic design of our Feadán pen is perfect for the wood as it allows the wood Mother Nature gave us to shine, some times what is simplest is best!
This tree shared a field with the remains of a gatehouse which dates back to 1260 A.D.
The history of the remains was always a passion of the landowner and to quench that thirst for knowledge the family set up a 3-year dig project to reveal the secrets of the Lost Abby of Beaubec. The words below are from John the owner of the field who with the support of Grace will find the Abby again.
The Lost Abbey of Beaubec
As part of the Norman Invasion of Ireland, the King of England granted large tracts of land to the deLacy family from Normandy. In turn Walter deLacy sublet farms to the various soldiers and friends of his, and for the good of his soul, brought Cistercian Monks from Beaubec in France to New Beaubec to set up a Monastery, farm the lands and export wool and crops and meat to the Mother House. New Beaubec became Beamore and Beabeg townlands and flourished until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, having lasted 300 years. Cusacks got the lands, and then Draycotts, and eventually the Beamore fields were sold to Thomas Pearson on 1713.
Pearson built a fine house, landscaped the grounds, set up a Linen Mill, adapted the Monastic remains and planted broadleaved trees. His Orchards and Estate were ‘long admired’. When he died, his niece, Hester Coghill, who was very well connected, inherited the property. She also obtained Drumcondra House in Dublin and the Beamore Mansion fell into disrepair in the late 1700’s, when Mr. Coulter, the Mill Owner, needed money and sold the lead from the roof of the mansion, which he had rented. After Mr Coulter’s departure and the end of flax growing for linen in 1820, the lands were owned in turn by Coopers, Cunninghams, Connors, Clarkes and finally in 1952 by farming neighbours, the McCullens.
The trees kept on growing, mostly planted in 1720’s – Beech, Oak, Ash, Evergreen Oak, Chestnut, Sycamore and Elm, but the outstanding one was the Copper Beech, a beautifully rounded specimen to the southeast of the House, standing majestically in the ‘Bleach Field’.
After three centuries there was very little over-ground trace of The Mansion and Gardens, ‘so long admired’, and ownership had passed to the McCullen Family, who guarded the icehouse, the monastic remains, and the Copper Beech Tree. A sudden brief and violent storm named ‘Ophelia’, in 2017, broke the tree trunk clean across the base and it fell to the ground, revealing an infection of fungus which caused the demise.
Now the time had come for the artists to work on the timber from the tree, which lay ready to create beautiful objects, reminiscent of the many and varied inhabitants of the ‘Bleach Field’, at the same time as the archaeological secrets of the Monastic remains were being revealed by Doctors Matthew and Geraldine Stout, with the aid of an FBD Trust grant scheme.