1990:111 - Double Tower, Castle Street, Ward of Mount Sion, Waterford, Waterford

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Waterford Site name: Double Tower, Castle Street, Ward of Mount Sion, Waterford

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

Author: Ben Murtagh, City Engineer's Dept., The Mall, Waterford.

Site type: Tower of city wall

ITM: E 660537m, N 619951m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.327838, -7.111865

Facing onto Castle Street, this late medieval tower is located to the north-west of Manor Street, a distance of 56m from the Watch Tower (see No. 112 below). It adjoins two well-preserved sections of city wall. Resembling a mini tower house, it is oblong in plan. It consists of a ground floor, first floor, a stone roof surrounded with a parapet, and the remains of a stairway turret, rising a storey higher, at the north-west. Externally there is a noticeable batter from the ground to the bases of the overhanging parapets.

In order to facilitate conservation work by Waterford Corporation on the tower, it became necessary to excavate the interior. Divided into two parts, the ground floor consists of a main oblong chamber, with a sally port at northwest (the two were originally unconnected). The work was conducted during May-June 1990 for a period of four weeks.

The work revealed that the tower consisted of five phases of building.Phase 1 was represented by the remains of a gateway through the city wall. This was revealed under the main chamber. It consisted of the remains of two jambs, 1.85m apart, with a paved surface in between. Inside at the north-east the passageway widens from 2.22m in the form of a splay. On either side there are two spud stones.Phase 2 involved the construction of a two storey tower over the demolished gateway, with the ground floor divided into two parts as described above, and the entrance to the main chamber located to the rear of the passage of the old gateway. Phase 3 was represented by the construction of a stone stairway inside the tower, the addition of a stone roof, supported by a pointed barrel vault with wicker centring, together with the stairway turret at the north-west – thus giving the structure its present appearance.

Sometime in the middle of the 17th century, the interior of the tower was partly destroyed by a fire resulting in the partial collapse of the south-east corner of the building. Subsequent to this, Phase 4 of building was undertaken which involved the reconstruction of the south-east corner. The outer face was well finished, unlike the inner, which was left rough. The main ground floor chamber was filled up with boulder clay to the height of the first floor, probably to strengthen the tower against artillery.

With the construction of terraced houses on either side of the city wall in the 18th century, the tower underwent Phase 5 of building work. This involved, firstly, the division of the sally port on the ground floor in two, to form two small chambers, or sheds, at the rear of the gardens at either side of the tower. Secondly, the first floor chamber was repaired in brick, and was used as an outhouse of one of the terraced houses which fronted onto Parliament Street to the north-east of the site.