1990:071 - St David's Church, Naas, Kildare

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kildare Site name: St David's Church, Naas

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number:

Author: Brendán O Ríordáin, Burgage More, Blessington. Co. Wicklow.

Site type: Medieval Church

ITM: E 689032m, N 719130m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.215116, -6.666978

In the course of the initial phases of restoration of St David’s Church, Naas, Co. Kildare in 1989-1990 a number of features and artefacts of archaeological interest came to light; these included medieval potsherds, fragments of floor tiles and three hitherto unrecorded burial vaults located below floor level within the church.

Originally a side-aisle known as St Mary’s aisle had been in use adjoining the present south wall of the church. The cutting of a service trench, 1m wide and lm deep beside the south wall and within the former side aisle revealed a series of interments. In this cutting, also, were found fragments of decorated line-impressed tiles, probably of 15th-century date (identified and reported upon by Dr Tom Fanning, Dept. of Archaeology, University College, Galway to whom thanks are due). They were not in situ; another stray find from this area was part of a green glazed handle of Ham Green ware.

Under the floorboards within the church further fragments of line-impressed tiles were found and, also, part of a glazed rope handle from a pottery vessel of l3th/14th-century date and part of a glazed roof tile – a ridge tile -which may be of post-medieval date.

One of the vaults (vault no. 1) constructed of red brick, which was 3.85m long, 3.18m wide and l.87m high, contained five decayed wooden coffins; some had been lined and covered with velvet cloth. One of the coffins held skeletal remains having a shroud or veil of silk and a garland or wreath of laurel leaves around the skull; it is considered to date to the late 17th or early 18th century. (I wish to thank Mairead Dunlevy. Assistant Keeper, Art and Industrial Division, NMI for identifying the material and helpful comments thereon and Carmel Geraghty for her report, Dr Ray Gillespie of the Projects Division, OPW also provided helpful comments regarding the probable date.) A more detailed report with illustrations is printed in the Journal of the Kildare Archaeological Society 1991.