Browne Clayton Monument

Browne Clayton Monument

The Browne - Clayton Monument is a 94ft 4in Corinthian Column on a square pedestal base on Carrigadaggan Hill, Carrigbyrne, Co. Wexford, just off the N.25 route between Wexford and New Ross.

It is the only  internally accessible Corinthian Column in existence and is thus a hugely important and unique international architectural landmark.

It was built of Mount Leinster granite and contains an internal staircase leading to the Capitol, from which an impressive view of the surrounding country-side can be obtained.

History:  Its construction commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1841. It is a replica of     what is known as  Pompeys Column in Alexandria, Egypt, which is some 10 feet lower in height.

It was built by General Robert Browne - Clayton of  Carrigbyrne, Co. Wexford,  in commemoration of Sir Ralph Abercrombie who was his commanding officer with whom he fought and was victorious in the Egyptian battles in 1801 against Napoleon.                                           It was at these battles that Abercrombie was mortally wounded.

These events have given the Monument historical significance and  created huge international interest in the restoration project.  

The Monument was designed by the renowned architect,  Thomas Cobden,  who is most famous for the design of the gothic Cathedral in Carlow Town as well as the Ducketts Grove near Tullow, Co. Carlow.

It is also interesting to note  also that  Robert Browne-Clayton was the third son of Robert Browne of  Browne’s Hill, just outside Carlow town.

Lightning Strike: On 29th December 1994 the Monument was struck by lightning and considerable damage was caused to the Capitol and the top 1/3 of the Column, in which a large gaping hole was made. The internal stairway was blocked by falling rock and debris.

The Wexford Monument Trust Ltd. was formed  as a limited company in December, 2001, with the objectives of acquiring, restoring and repairing the Browne-Clayton Monument.

The Trust consists of representatives from Wexford County Council,  the World Monument Fund in Britain, and An Taisce.

Restoration: 

The restoration commenced with the drawing up of a conservation report in July 2002. This  recommended that the repairs be done in two phases. 

The emergency phase 1 was completed in November, 2002. It  consisted of making  a temporary access route to the Monument, strengthening the damaged Column with supporting scaffolding and the removal of the Capitol and almost one third of the Column itself.

Phase 2,  the completion phase, commenced in July 2003.  This consisted of stone masonry  work  to either replace or  repair damaged stone  and then the re-assembly of the Column and Capitol and was completed in November, 2003.

Financial Support:

The restoration was successful and  could not have been done without the  generous funding from Wexford County Council, The World Monument Fund in Britain, The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the Heritage Council, An Taisce and private donors. 

Access:

As part of the restoration project the Trust acquired the land around the Column as well as a pathway to give direct access to it from the public road.

Interesting Facts:

·         Total No. of  Sections: 78.
·         No. of Sections of the Capitol: 9.
·         Weight of Repaired Capitol:   32 tonnes.
·         Weight of each shaft section (ashlar +rubble): 3.5  tonnes.

Health and Safety when visiting the Monument:

Vehicles should park in the lay-bys along the public road leading to the gated entrance.
Visitors are asked to keep all gates closed and bring their litter home.
The pathway and entrance are grassed and can be slippy with grass, twigs etc. as hazards. Caution is needed.
Care is needed when on the pathway to avoid overhanging bushes, branches etc.
As there is a slight inclined walk involved persons should be mindful if they have any health issues which may be exacerbated by the climb.
The area around the Monument must be approached with extreme caution as there are steep drops around the base of it.
Anyone under 18, including children are prohibited from the site.
Access to inside the Monument itself is not permitted.

For further information contact:

Company Secretary,
Wexford Monument Trust Ltd.,
Carricklawn,
County Hall,
Wexford

noel.stacey@wexfordcoco.ie

Phone  053  919 6281,

Fax.     053  919  6075.