ME01493 - BALRATH - Cross

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A late-sixteenth-century cross with carvings in relief of the crucifixion and a pieta on the W and E faces. The cross was originally on the N side of the Duleek to Navan road in the valley of the Nanny Water and c. 160m N of the stream. It was moved c. 100m W around 1939 to a point on the W side of the Dublin to Slane road (N2) just N of Balrath cross-roads. Since 1984 it has been moved c. 190m SW to the SE corner of the graveyard at Ballymagarvey parish church (ME032-009003-). From King (1984, 105): A Celtic / Iona cross without ring, rectangular in section, decorated on all sides in relief, false relief and incision. Set on a rectangular damaged base. Broken in half, it was repaired by the insertion of two iron riveting bars which have caused damage to the S face. There is a small mortice hole in the upper shaft. A raised moulding outlines the figure sculpture on the E and partly on the W face. W: A Crucifixion. Christ is wearing a stylised perizonium with an elaborate knot above the right hip. Above and below there are a series of architectural motifs, a rosette, a bow, two triangles – one enclosing a triquetra – an ogee-arch, a trefoil, a round arch and a rectangular trefoil-headed panel. E: A Pietá. Below are two inscriptions, the upper in contracted Gothic Latin, crudely executed in false relief: ORATE P AIA / JHOANNIS / BROIN. The lower inscription is in incised Roman capitals: SR. ANDREW / AYLMER OF / MOVNTAYLMER / BART. & HIS LADY / CATHRINE / AYLMER HAD / THIS CORSS / BEAUTIFIED / A.D. 1727 / P. RH. SMITH /. N: A deeply incised face in the centre of the arm. The shaft has the Aylmer knot, a rounded arch enclosing lobes, spirals and a triquetra. S: A face in the centre of the arm. The decoration here is of two periods; the Crucifixion and the Pietá are original and it was probably when Andrew Aylmer had the cross beautified in 1727 by H. Smith that the N and S sides of the cross were decorated and the incised motifs were added. A date in the latter part of the 16th century is suggested. Material: limestone. Dims: shaft (0.28m x 0.24m; H 1.76m) span: 0.55m. The above description is derived from the published 'Archaeological Inventory of County Meath' (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1987). In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research. This is a National Monument in state guardianship, No. 356. Date of upload/revision: 22 August, 2014

Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Monument Details

53.6237, -6.48826

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