Rothe House is an example of a typical middle class house of the Tudor period. It was built by a rich merchant John Rothe, and his wife Rose Archer, 1594 - 1610. Rothe placed his arms, a deer and an oak tree and the arrow points of his Archer wife over the main gate. In his "great stone mansion" he and his wife had twelve children.
In a detailed will made one year before his death, 1620, Rothe gave a clear picture of his house, property and family. In the 1640s a legislative assembly was held in Kilkenny - the Confederation of Kilkenny. Peter Rothe, the builder's son, was owner during that period and he entertained the notable figures of the day in his father's fine house. The Bishop of Ossory was his cousin and there is a record of the Bishops, Lords Spiritual in the Parliament, walking in the gardens after dinner. At that time the interior was panelled in oak with fine Elizabethan plaster work ceilings. The Confederation collapsed with the arrival of Cromwell in 1649 and its supporters were dispossessed. Peter Rothe like many rich merchants lost all his property. It was restored to his sister but it finally went out of the family after the Jacobite wars (1690).
The family lived here in some splendour, there is evidence of music and literature. There were two sunny courtyards for recreation and leisure. In the second courtyard can be seen the only source of water, the well, with a well-house of 1604. Also in this courtyard there is a reconstructed megalithic tomb moved here for preservation.
The newly restored building contains the great common kitchen, the bakery and the brewhouse. Kilkenny Archaeological Society bought the property in 1960. The building contains an interesting collection of pictures and artifacts of Kilkenny's past. The Reception room has some fine oak furniture and interesting pictures. There is an interesting museum collection and a fine collection of costumes.
Situated within Rothe House, a superbly restored Tudor Merchant's House, Kilkenny Brass Rubbing Centre is unique in Ireland. Anyone, with our guidance, can create images spanning the history of Ireland and Northern Europe, using the materials that we provide.
These pictures from the Viking, Medieval, Tudor and Stuart ages make very special mementoes of your visit. At a modest cost, you can spend an hour or two in an absorbing, relaxing and enjoyable activity in an authentic Tudor environment. Brass Rubbing is suitable for children and adults. No artistic ability is required. In addition, ready made rubbings and a range of historical and craft gifts may be purchased. Rothe House and the Brass Rubbing Centre are located off parliment Street near the castle.