Jordan's Castle's early history is somewhat obscure. The earliest authentic reference is to a defence of the castle by Simon Jordan against the O'Neills for three years, until relieved by Lord Deputy Mountjoy in 1601. In 1911 the Belfast antiquarian, Francis Joseph Bigger, bought the castle and restored it, using it to display his extensive collection of antiquities and making it freely accessible to everyone. When he died in 1926, the castle was presented by his executor, Dr Joseph Bigger, to the state on condition that, with its contents, it should be preserved as an Ancient Monument. The contents have since been dispersed among the Ulster Museums general collections and the tower is no longer open to the public.
Jordan's Castle is a rectangular tower house four storeys high. On the north face are two rectangular projections, one containing a stone spiral staircase, the other an inner closet at each level, with those on the lower stages having outlets to the ground. Architecturally there is little evidence to give a definitive date for the castle. The masonry is blue stone rubble with a little freestone in quoins and window jambs. Some of the window details suggest 15th century, but have had so much reconstruction that dating is difficult.
The ground floor chamber is unfloored and the irregular surface of the outcropping rock can be seen. It therefore may have been a storehouse. The main room is apparently on the first floor, which contains its original stone floor supported on a pointed barrel vault. The floors on the second and third storeys are at the original levels but of modern construction, with the beams going at right angles to the original direction. The concrete roof is also an addition. The wall tops retain their stone-flagged rampart walls and archery turrets. The turret to the north-west contains a dovecote, the nest-holes of which are contemporary with the main structure.
The entrance is at the bottom of the north-west tower and leads to a spiral stairway to roof level. It is protected by a machicolation at that level. The projecting towers are connected by a high-level arch which also functions as a machicolation.References:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.