1991:075 - Grey Abbey, Kildare

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kildare Site name: Grey Abbey

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

Author: Declan Murtagh, 37 Ross Place, Fort William, Invernesshire PH33 6JZ, Scotland

Site type: Medieval

ITM: E 672635m, N 710932m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.143944, -6.914282

In advance of the proposed building of a bungalow and garage at Grey Abbey, Kildare, two trial trenches were machine-excavated to assess the archaeological potential of the site on 15th March 1991. Both trenches revealed c. 0.2m of topsoil cover over a yellowish-brown sub-soil. No features of archaeological significance were uncovered during the Investigation.

Finds recovered from the topsoil included five sherds of local medieval pottery and a single sherd of post-medieval tankard ware. Small fragments of burnt animal bone were also recovered. These remains possibly relate to the kitchens on the northern side of the Franciscan Friary’s cloistral range.

The site revealed no evidence of structural features associated with the medieval Franciscan foundation of Grey Abbey.

A brief field walk of the recently ploughed field to the immediate west of the site produced numerous sherds of local medieval pottery including a fragment of line-impressed medieval tile. Examples of the design used, 4-foil in clockwise scroll, had previously been recorded at Kildare Cathedral and Great Connell Priory.

Foundation ground works were monitored on the site on the 25th May 1991. A localised finds scatter of sixteen fragmentary sherds of local medieval pottery was recovered from the topsoil. The sherds have a dull orange sandy fabric with coarse inclusions and some exhibit a mottled green outer glaze.

Excavation uncovered no evidence of stratigraphical deposits of archaeological interest.

Inspection of the ruins of the adjacent Grey Abbey noted the recent collapse of the easternmost section of the north wall, which left a number of buttresses free-standing. Local information confirmed that the wall had collapsed earlier in the month of May.