1990:024 - *'Bellaghy Bawn', Bellaghy, Derry

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Derry Site name: *'Bellaghy Bawn', Bellaghy

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 49:1 Licence number:

Author: N.F. Brannon, Historic Monuments and Buildings Branch, DOE(NI).

Site type: Bawn and houses, with earlier rath

ITM: E 695231m, N 896291m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.805492, -6.518709

This excavation brought to a conclusion a project begun in 1989 and further examined the structures in the south-west corner of the early 17th-century Vintners’ Company bawn. The 1619 stone-faced earthen rampart, sealed beneath a larger, 18th-century version on the west side of the bawn, was traced along the south wall. Access to the top of the rampart from the cobbled courtyard was found to have been by steps angled into the corner. A drain, built with dressed sandstone, ran into the rampart beneath the steps, and emerged from the south wall of the bawn. The drain was clearly an original, 1619, feature, designed to carry off ground water which would otherwise have pooled on the cobbles in this low, south-west corner of the bawn.

Examination of the upstanding bawn wall brickwork exposed by the excavation confirmed that the standing south-west corner tower is a secondary feature, built no later than 1760. While a 1619 version may have stood in the corner (as hinted by an ambiguous 1622 picture-map) it must have been of timber construction and lacked a projection. No archaeological traces of it were noted. in the north-east corner of the bawn, a small trench cut to locate traces of the north bawn wall (probably demolished in the late 18th century) found only a large ‘modern’ pit, containing dumped stone and brick rubble, and a small length of the Early Christian period rath ditch, noted to the west during the 1989 season.

Artefacts were scarce. Late 17th- or early 18th-century ceramics were again found against the ruined rampart face (occupation/rubbish dumping on a derelict site), while early 17th-century finds were limited to structural debris, particularly clay roofing tiles.