1991:042 - Lr Stephen St., Dublin, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: Lr Stephen St., Dublin

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

Author: Alan Hayden, 14 Waterloo Roadbridge, Dublin 4.

Site type: Medieval church and graveyard

ITM: E 715626m, N 733826m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.342018, -6.263628

Archaeological monitoring and excavation was undertaken in September and October 1991 as a condition of the planning permission. The site lay on the southern side of Lr. Stephen St adjacent to the former Mercer’s Hospital and measured c. 40m north-south by 30m east-west. Funding was provided by the developers.

During monitoring of the excavation of a trench around the perimeter of the site a number of 1 8th-century human burials were noted at the south-east corner of the area. These were noted to overlie medieval burials so mechanical excavation was halted and an intensive one-week excavation was undertaken of an area measuring c. 10m square. The mechanical excavation of the remaining area of the site could only be partly monitored as excavation proceeded before the writer was notified.

A depth of 2.2m of archaeological deposits survived.

The earliest features uncovered consisted of a large east-west running ditch with a bank on its southern side. To its south the corner of a substantial stone building surrounded by a stone terrace occurred. These features were either of 12th-or early 13th-century date (few closely datable finds were recovered). A single fragment of medieval floor tile was uncovered. The building is probably St Stephen’s Church (shown in this area on Speed’s map of 1610). The church was part of St Stephen’s Hospital (founded before 1230 AD).

Twenty six human burials ranging in date from the 13th to 17th century were excavated. One 13th-century burial was marked by the broken fragment of a 12th-century? high cross shaft. None of the burials displayed any definite indications of leprosy but the full report on the skeletal remains is not yet to hand. Traces of coffins and/or shroud pins occurred with many of the burials.

Pits, laid surfaces and pathways ranging in date from the 13th to 17th century were noted in the area around the church.

The church was dissolved in the 16th century and demolished in the 17th century but the area continued in use as a burial ground until the late 18th century.