The Bligh chest tomb is reconstructed in the SW angle of the chancel. The slab is broken (max. surviving dims 1.45m x 0.86m) and commemorates John Bligh, who obtained the lordship of Rathmore in 1657 and died in 1666. Above it and blocking a double-light window is the memorial (Wth 0.92m; H 1.78m) of Thomas Bligh (d. 1775). (Leask 1933, 164)
It is described by FitzGerald (1908, 438-40) as: This slab, of which less than half now remains, lies on a foundation of mason-work at the butt of the south wall inside the ruins below the built-up window, containing the modern Bligh monument, the inscription on which is given on P 115 of vol. 3 of the Journal. At the top of the recumbent slab is a crest and a shield containing two coats-of-arms impaled, viz: In the dexter half: ‘Azure, a griffin sergeant or, between three crescents argent’, for Bligh. In the sinister half: ‘Argent, three bars and a canton gules.’ for Fuller. The crest is the upper half of a griffin.
Of the inscription, which is in raised slender Roman capitals, that portion on the left half of the slab alone remains, and even then many of the letter are illegible. It has appeared on p 155 vol., 3 of the Journal in a quite unintelligible form, and should have run thus: IOANNES BLIGH ARM / SOLY NVPER QUA / ADIACENTIS / IAM VERE / A SVIS POS / POSSIDETVR / TIS QVIPPE / CONTENTVS / MAM HANC / CVLAM FOELICE O RI / SAPIA GVIELMO PA / COMIT / CATHERINA / DVPLICI NOMIN / FVLLER PATER / RE LA / PATER GVIEL / LIMERICENO / COPO EC / QVORUM A / FILIUS / ANT.
The ‘Peerages’ state that the above-named John Bligh was a citizen of London, and son of William Bligh of Plymouth, and that he was the founder of the Bligh family in Ireland. He was employed as an agent to the adventurers for the estates forfeited by the Rebellion of 1641, and in that capacity went over to Ireland in the time of Oliver Cromwell’s government, when he also became an adventurer himself by subscribing £600, and, among other lands, obtained the lordship of Rathmore in 1657, which was confirmed to his son Thomas under the Acts of Settlement in 1668. In the first Parliament after the Restoration he was returned member for Athboy.
He died in the year 1666, and by Catherine, his wife – sister to William Fuller, Bishop of Lincoln, translated from the Bishopric of Limerick (1663-67) – he had Thomas, his only son, and six daughters.
Revised by: Michael Moore
Date of revised upload: 5 September, 2014Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.