The Augustinian priory at Buttevant was founded by Philip de Barry in 1229. It was dedicated to St Thomas and consists of a number of 13th-century monastic buildings. It was dissolved in 1541 during the Protestant dissolution of the monasteries. Now in ruins (as it has been since the mid-18th century), the sprawling religious structure underwent renovation and periods of expansion and addition throughout its lifetime. For a time during the early 20th century, the centre and west end of the church were occupied by a farmhouse and out-offices.
The nearby columbarium, or dovecote, was likely part of the priory. The term `columbarium’ is derived from the Latin word `columb’, which means dove or pigeon cote. The name was later applied to burial buildings with small niches built into the walls (for holding urns containing the ashes of the dead) because of their similarity in building style to that of the dovecotes. The columbarium at Buttevant priory is largely intact.