The fragmentary double effigy tomb of a lady and her knight is now reconstructed in the N recess at the E end of the nave. The table (dims 2.23m x 1.38m; T 0.1m; H over base 0.84m) has a chamfered edge and is carved in false relief, although only the heads survive in trefoil niches with crocketed surrounds. The partial inscription mentions John Cusack, who is unidentified, but it is probably mid-15th century in date. The side-panels might not be related but one long side has five ogee-headed niches with foliate cusps and crockets above, and three surviving crests displaying the arms of Barnwall, Butler or le Poer, and Plunkett impaling Cusack and Tuite quartered. The W end has crests bearing symbols of the Blessed Virgin (a heart pierced by a sword) and symbols of the Passion. (Cogan 1862-70, 1, 357-60; FitzGerald 1911, 403-05; Moore 1970, 27, No. 7; Hunt 1974, 1, 207-08, No. 190).
It is described by FitzGerald as: The upper portion of an altar-tomb slab of the fifteenth century. Under a double canopy appear two heads, one the head of a knight in armour, and the other, that of a lady wearing a capacious horned head-dress. The lady is placed on the right side of the knight. The remainder of this double-effigied slab is lost.
An inscription in raised black letter ran round the edge of the slab. All that is legible on this fragment are the words (with the contractions expanded): OBITUS DOMINE JOHANE CUSAK DOMINE DE KILLEN, UXORIS C….
Translation: The death of Dame Joan Cusack, Lady of Killeen, wife of C[hristopher Plunkett Kt. ?]
The first word of the inscription is very doubtful, and looks like “Oritus,” and may be a mistake for “Obitus.” The inscription possibly refers to Joan Cusack, daughter and heiress of Sir Lucas Cusack, Kt. Lord of Killeen, who married in 1401 Sir Christopher Plunkett, Kt. of Rathregan, the ancestor of the Plunketts, Barons of Killeen and Dunsany.
According to Archdall’s edition of “Lodge’s Peerage of Ireland, “ vol. VI, p 174, Joan died on the 4th March, 1441, and Sir Christopher in 1445. See however, another slab to them No. IX (ME038-013009-).
The surrounds consist of three portions of the sides of a fifteenth–century altar-tomb, but to which of the existing covering slabs it may belong cannot be ascertained…
These sides are divided into richly ornamented ogee-headed panels; and, though the panels contain no sculpturings, there are shields, each supported by two angels, bearing coats-of-arms or religious emblems, in the spaces between the panels heads.
....the first shield contains the St. Lawrence family arms. The second shield is quartered viz: 1 and 4 a (?) lion rampant, 2 and 3 a bend dexter between six birds; these arms have not been identified. The third shield has not been identified and the fourth shield may be the arms of the le Poer or the Butler family. The fifth shield is the Plunkett coat impaling Cusack and Tuite quartered. The sixth and seventh shields bear religious emblems, viz: on one, a heart pierced by two swords; and on the other a cross, spear, sun (? crown of thorns), three nails, and two scourges. The Plunkett and Cusack arms would look as if these sides belonged to the altar-tomb slab described as No. IX (ME038-013009-).
See attached views of the reconstructed tomb.
Date of upload: 18 March, 2015Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.