1991:030 - NEWRY: The Abbey, Down

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Down Site name: NEWRY: The Abbey

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 46:21 Licence number:

Author: N. Crothers, Christine Gardens, Glengormley

Site type: Religious house - Cistercian monks

Period/Dating: Late Medieval (AD 1100-AD 1599)

ITM: E 708627m, N 826506m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.176007, -6.336075

The area is known as the site of a Cistercian monastery founded from Mellifont in 1153. Granted to Sir Nicholas Bagenal around 1552, a picture map from 1587 shows a group of buildings along a frontage which survives as Castle Street.

A U-sectioned ditch, 2.8m wide and 1.4m deep, was located and produced medieval pottery, shoe fragments and iron-working slag, as well as large quantities of animal bones and shells. Pieces of worked wood were also recovered from the ditch, which was crossed by a causeway of large granite boulders constructed during its infilling.

The presence of human bone in the ditch probably resulted from accidental disturbance of graves in the area and the scattering of the exposed bones.

Sherds of a French wine flask and the radiocarbon dating of twigs from the bottom of the ditch indicate a 16th-century date, but 13th-century pottery was found near the top of the fill. This is probably due to the deposition of residual material into the ditch during deliberate infilling.