The little known about tower where the Breagagh meets the Nore
The Castle in The Garden
Evans Turret is a tower that forms part of the city walls and was built circa 1400. It is located at the extreme north-east corner of the St Francis’s Abbey Brewery site, where the Breagagh meets the Nore. The top of the tower can be accessed by a rising stairs over a vault. This vault collapsed many centuries ago but much of it's features still remain. Evan's Turret received it's name through the lease of the property by the Corporation to an Alderman Evans in 1724. It is thought that in the 18th Century the tower was heightened and this can be seen in the illustration included above of the tower in 1851 when it was still roofed. A short length of wall immediately adjacent to Evans Tower survives today and stands to a height 3 metres above the river level, and may contain an arrow loop.
Evans Turret is never mentioned when people talk of the heritage of the city yet it may have been even more important than Talbot’s Tower and was known as the 'Castle In The Garden'.
The fact that it is has remained in private ownership, on the brewery site, without public access, most likely saved it from vandalism or accidental damage and it is true that many do not even know of it's existence. This has ensured that very little damage has been done to the tower besides the effects of ageing and nature.
Now that the brewery has closed, we feel that it is of utmost importance that an archaeological dig be conducted at the tower and the adjacent walls, and that the tower be returned to it's original condition. The fabric of the tower has many layers to it which you would not even realise, viewing it from the outside. These include: a basement level (with an internal arched entrance), a first floor, and an upper level with apertures. It has had many uses throughout it's history, such as a garden feature and a summer home and it is an important site due to its links with the priory and of course it's connection to the brewery. There is no doubt that an archaeological dig would yield many great results. Monitoring of the Breagagh revealed a sword fragment in 2001 and a proper archaeological analysis of the Breagagh should see finds of similar significance.
Currently the tower is in reasonable condition, and timber has been used in an effort to secure the tower and prevent it's collapse. There are a number of large external cracks in the tower walls and the collapse of the internal stair vault suggests that movement has occurred. There is no doubt that work will be done on the tower but it is important that work is conducted as soon as possible so that no more damage can befall the structure.
Included is an illustration from Robinson’s Antiquities and Scenery of County Kilkenny, 1851 where a roofed Evans Turret can be seen on the right, to the left of the mill.