1991:096 - DUNDALK: 5 Seatown, Louth

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Louth Site name: DUNDALK: 5 Seatown

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

Author: Eoin Halpin, Archaeological Development Services Ltd.

Site type: Graveyard

Period/Dating: Undetermined

ITM: E 705028m, N 807510m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.006129, -6.397774

The short series of excavations at Seatown were in response to the discovery, by workmen, of a number of skeletal remains during the refurbishment of some outbuildings at the back of the house at No. 5 Seatown, Dundalk. It was clear that the site lay within the precinct of the Priory and Hospital of St Leonard. The priory was founded sometime in the later part of the 12th century by either Bertrum or Nicholas de Verdun and was run by the Fratres Cruciferi to look after the sick, old and infirm of both sexes. By the mid-16th century the foundation had increased in size to include a church, chapter house, dormitory, halls and some 250 acres of land as well as several messuages and the tithes of the rectories of Dundalk and Haggard.

The site obviously suffered in the dissolution but the church continued in use until the 19th century and the nearby burial ground was demonstrably in use up to 1876. It was clear from the excavations that the plot lay within the graveyard presumably associated with the Priory and Hospital of St Leonard. Evidence from the cuttings showed that the graveyard was well ordered with the bodies buried in rows, all of them orientated and none apparently disturbing a previous burial. This strongly suggests that there were surface grave markers at least in this area of the graveyard.

The evidence also showed that both adult and juveniles were being buried and it is likely, although no direct evidence was uncovered, that both males and females were represented. No direct evidence for dating was recovered but the discovery of the possible remains of a coffin associated with one of the skeletons does not suggest that this particular example was very old. It is also noteworthy that this skeleton was the only example, where positive evidence survived, to have its arms folded across its chest, the other examples all had their hands crossed over the pelvis. Finally, what emerged from this project is that any digging in the area of No. 5 Seatown, will, in all probability, produce more skeletal remains and possibly some structural evidence associated with the adjacent Priory and Hospital of St Leonard.

The Power House, Pigeon House Harbour, Dublin 4