In the sacristy of the fortified parish church of Rathmore (ME024-017001-) is reconstructed the double effigy (dims 2.15m x 1.15m) of a lady and her knight. It is damaged and the inscription on its chamfered edge is too poor to read, but it is probably a representation of Mary Cruise and Sir Thomas Plunkett (d. 1471). (FitzGerald 1908, 425-31; Leask 1933, 161-3; Hunt 1974, 211-12)
It is described by Hunt (1974) as follows but the surrounds are now attched to the altar in the chancel:
Standing in the sacristy of the ruined church built probably by Sir Thomas Plunket in the mid-fifteenth century is a double altar tomb, with the figures of the founders carved in high relief.
The mensa slab is unfortunately very much broken and defaced. The knight is armed in a bascinet and his head rests upon a cushion. The blind visor is raised and the bottom edge of the visor and the top of the face-opening above the eyes are both pointed. The lower borders of the cheek-pieces are drawn in slightly. The position of the visor pins is much higher than is the case with those of the Ossory effigies; here they are level with the ears. The shoulders and neck are defended by a pisane, its edge falling in a semi-circle on the breast. There are besagews with raised centres on the shoulders. These are situated slightly more towards the front than in the case of the Ossory type. The body defence is a pair of plates of many lames to the hips. The skirt of the habergeon appears below it to the fork. The arms and legs are of plate. The vambraces show the hinges, the cowters have roundels and the plates encircling the joint are angular and not flat as in the Ossory type, which would make the praying position of the hands difficult to depict. There are gauntlets on the hands, with short bell cuffs of one piece with the metacarpal plates. The legs are of plate, with poleyns of simple angular form inverted above and below, and with articulating plates also above and below. The joints of the cuisses are clearly shown both inside and outside. The graves have a slight median ridge. The sabatons are the usual lamed form and the feet rest upon a dog. The sword hangs from a diagonal belt at the waist. Its pommel is missing, and it has a straight cross drooping sharply at the ends.
The lady’s gown is very full in the skirt, which is indicated by the usual vertical folds, while the bodice is so tight at the front that it is provided with a deep vent to the middle of the abdomen below the belt. The vent is bordered with a broad band representing some contrasting material such as velvet, and unlike similar vents of the fourteenth century was closed, presumably by a lace and not by buttons. About the waist is a belt decorated with S’s in relief upon it. The feet in pointed shoes rest upon a cushion. Most of the upper part of the body and arm has been destroyed and the whole slab has been very roughly repaired with modern cement.
There is a very fragmentary inscription round the edge of the slab, but unfortunately this in no way helps to identify those whom the slab commemorates. That it probably commemorates Sir Thomas Plunket, died 1471, and his wife Marion Cruise, we can only presume from the coats of arms on the tomb-front, which has now been rebuilt against the wall in the position of the ancient altar.
200b Tomb-surrounds Long sides
The two sides were evidently comprised of niches of the type found also at Killeen (190), Duleek (186), and Dunsany (187) in the same county. They are of foliate above with elaborate cusping below. In the spandrels above them are coats of arms, only three of which remain on the side-panels. The coats of arms on the desxter side have the Instruments of the Passion, and the second coat has fretty for Bellew, per pale indented with a border for Bermingham. The sinister shield has the arms of Plunket, Cusack and Cruise (?). In the half-spandrel on the sinister end is a small demi-figure of an angel with outspread wings holding a shield bearing a cross.
22c South end. The southern end-slab has three similar niches containing figures of saints within them. On the dexter is a bishop with an out-turned crozier, perhaps St. Patrick; in the central nice there is an archbishop with a cross-staff (St. Thomas?), and on the sinister side, St Bridget with an out-turned crozier in her right hand and holding a book in her left. In the spandrels above are two shields bearing
1. A mitre pierced by two swords, referring to St. Thomas below, and
2 A shield with vair, a chief chequy for Fleming.
200d North end. The north end-slab has three similar niches, the central one with a figure of St. Lawrence, to whom the church was dedicated, the grid-iron in his right hand and a book in his left, and vested as a deacon. He is flanked by two angels in albs swinging censers. The shields above them bear the arms
1 Plunket impaling Hollywood
2 FitzGerald or Eustace impaling Talbot or Rochfort.
The style of the carving is pedestrian and dull, though competent. It is evidently from the same workshop as the companion tomb at Duleek (186).
Revised by: Michael Moore
Date of revised upload: 5 September, 2014Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.