ME02126 - TOWN PARKS - Tomb - effigial

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An early 16th century double effigy tomb and three fragments of its surround (Hunt 1974, 202-03) that were in the graveyard beside tower have been taken into the church and are now displayed in the vestry. It is described by Hunt as: No. 182 Athboy Tomb of a knight and lady Early 16th century On the south side of the tower and near the entrance to the Church of Ireland church of Athboy there is a double altar tomb with part of a carved tomb-chest. The mensa bears the remains of figures of a knight and his lady who have not been identified, though Lord Walter FitzGerald has tentatively suggested that they may belong either to the Cruise or Cusack family. The knight is armed in a harness of elegant form, the body defence being a finely waisted hauberk of many lames continuing as a lamed skirt to mid-thigh with short lamed tasses. The lames of the skirt are of reversed chevron form. The hauberk continues as a collar of lames to defend the throat. The vambraces are of gothic style, the pauldrons having fluted rosettes protecting the armpits. The cowters are splinted and have rosettes upon them, and they encircle the elbow joint. The head is very much damaged, but it probably bore a bascinet with visor, of which the pins are abnormally high, well above the forehead line, and the visor was decorated with rosettes,. The legs also are of a gothic style, with median ridge, the poleyns fluted above and below with expanded and moulded side-plates. The feet have the usual sabatons with short points and the lames are of chevron form. There is a belt at the waist from which the sword hangs by ring and straps. The knight is the sword-grasping attitude, and the sword has a slim straight cross. A chain over his shoulders supports a large ring-like jewel which appears to be a Crown of Thorns. The lady wears a mantel over a long pleated gown with a belt at the waist. The edge of the kirtle shows beneath the hem of the gown. The bodice has a high neck, while the gown has a collar of V-shape with a yoke across it. She has a twisted chain with a small jewel or cross hanging over the front of the undergarment. Her hands are in an attitude of prayer on her breast. Her feet rest on a dog, there are semi-hexagonal brackets above the heads of the two figures as well as in the centre between them. The slab bearing the effigies is very thin, like that at Castlemartin, Co. Kildare. It is probable that the effigies were carved by the Castlemartin sculptor. Tomb surrounds: 182b Dexter front-slab. On the front of the tomb-chest there are two panels, each with a flattened ogee arch above it. The dexter slab has the following two subjects: 1 St. Michael in feathered dress with four wings and a sword; he is represented in the act of weighing souls in scales. The pommel of the sword is of sixteenth-century type. 2 Christ as Judge, seated on a rainbow, swords issuing from behind his neck and with two figures of the Just beside him. His feet rest upon the globe of the world. 182c Sinister front-slab. The other font-slab has a representation of the Resurrection. Christ is shown stepping from the tomb on to a sleeping soldier beneath him. Two soldiers stand within the tomb on either side with what is evidently intended to be mail hauberks and pointed bascinets on their heads. One soldier holds a spear and the other a pole-arm. Christ holds the cross-staff in his left hand and blesses with his right. It should be noted that the small figure of a sleeping soldier under the foot of Christ is wearing a laminated hauberk of the same waisted form as that shown on the armour of the knight of the effigy. These two panels now forming the tomb-front may once have acted as end-slabs. The date of the tomb is probably early sixteenth-century. Now lying on top of the tomb is a broken figure of an ecclesiastic in Mass vestments with crozier staff in his left hand and with his right on his breast. His head is missing. This figure probably comes from one of the side panels of the tomb. Date of upload: 2 January, 2014

Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage

Monument Details

53.6217, -6.91839

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