2001:1083 - Ballyburley, Offaly

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Offaly Site name: Ballyburley

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 01E0237

Author: Clare Mullins, 31 Millford, Athgarvan, Co. Kildare.

Site type: No archaeological significance

ITM: E 655108m, N 735207m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.364190, -7.172033

Test-trenching was carried out on a site at Ballyburley, Rhode, Co. Offaly, on 26 April 2001, in compliance with a condition of planning permission. The proposed development site consisted of a rectangular area, approximately 50m by 30m, in the grounds of the former Ballyburley House and accessed through what appeared to be the entrance gates of this house. The general area contains numerous pathways, walls and houses, many probably associated with the 18th/19th-century demesne. The actual development site consisted of a rough and disused area of slightly elevated ground; a derelict stone wall, approximately 2m in height, ran north–south from the north-west region of the property boundary, before turning and continuing eastwards.
The proposed development site was close to SMR 4:12, the site of a castle described in 1599 as ‘Wakeley’s Castle’, and SMR 4:13, a church and graveyard. The church was largely demolished in the 1970s but the lower foundation courses of a late medieval church survive. A commemorative plaque formerly placed over the doorway stated that it was built in 1686 by John Wakeley. Prior to its demolition, a cross-slab decorated with a ring-headed cross and interlaced pattern had been incorporated into the west gable. The graveyard contains 18th/19th-century gravestones.
Three test-trenches were opened. No archaeological features were uncovered. The area was quite disturbed and the impression given was that a certain amount of level heightening had taken place, possibly as a landscaping measure. The inclusion of red brick fragments and mortar pieces indicate that this disturbance occurred in recent times. The proximity of the remains of what was interpreted as a partially extant garden wall suggests that the disturbance may have been associated with the use of the area as a garden.