2003:1242 - Meat Market Lane, Drogheda, Louth

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Louth Site name: Meat Market Lane, Drogheda

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0823

Author: Linda Clarke, Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd, Unit 21, Boyne Business Park, Greenhills, Drogheda, Co. Louth.

Site type: Urban

ITM: E 708772m, N 775008m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.713400, -6.352213

An excavation was carried out at the Penny’s extension, Meat Market Lane, Drogheda, Co. Louth. Work commenced on 9 June and was completed by 7 August 2003. The proposed development includes the extension of Penny’s department store, from where it currently fronts onto West Street to the north, along Meat Market Lane, and as far as Dyer Street to the south. The southern extent of this site, which was formerly used as a public carpark and fronts onto Dyer Street, was assessed by Donald Murphy (Excavations 1999, No. 567, 99E0248). Two test-trenches were excavated within the southern extent of the site and medieval to post-medieval garden soils and post-medieval walls were exposed. The northern extent of this site (immediately behind Penny’s) was assessed by Robert O’Hara (Excavations 2002, No. 1316, 02E1673). Two test-trenches were excavated. Medieval stratigraphy in the form of garden soils and refuse pits and a number of linear features probably dating to the 16th century were uncovered. A possible well and a drain were also exposed.

As the name suggests, Meat Market Lane was once a former meat market. In 1778, a decision was made to move the meat vendors who sold meat from open stalls in West Street to a new venue along the north side of Dyer Street. This lane was not on Ravell’s 1749 map of Drogheda and was, therefore, created at some stage after that date. The lane was probably created for the sole purpose of constructing the meat market.

The majority of features exposed represent the remains of post-medieval structural features which are visible/partially visible on the Manuscript Town Plan of 1835 and the OS map of 1933. All these features were cut into/lay above the garden soil, the area of which was exposed was not stratigraphically intact. The majority of finds recovered from this layer were medieval in date. It would appear that this garden soil was imported into the site. It sealed both the cut for the post-medieval wall and a hearth feature, from which a sherd of post-medieval pottery was recovered. Floor surfaces, cobbled surfaces, drains, hearths and kilns were also exposed.

The most significant find was the remains of what appears to be a small barrel-vaulted medieval cellar, located towards the centre of the site. Four standing random-rubble limestone walls and the collapsed remains of a roof were exposed. This feature had an internal diameter of 3.65m north-south by 2.5m. The full extent of the walls was not exposed, as they extended beyond the depth of excavation.

The majority of finds recovered from the site consisted of sherds of local medieval pottery. Other finds include clay pipes, post-medieval and medieval tile fragments, quernstone fragments, nails, slag, etc.