2003:1243 - DROGHEDA: St Lawrence Centre, Moneymore, Louth

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Louth Site name: DROGHEDA: St Lawrence Centre, Moneymore

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 02E1695

Author: Stephen J. Linnane, Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd.

Site type: Historic town

Period/Dating: Multi-period

ITM: E 708965m, N 775286m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.715865, -6.349178

An area of 25m by 10m was excavated in February/March as part of ongoing works to develop a substantial part of Drogheda town centre bounded by Lawrence Street, Peter Street, William Street and Palace Street. This work falls within Phase 2 of the development, Phase 1 having been resolved by Deirdre Murphy in 1998/9 (Excavations 1999, No. 574, 98E0544).

Stratigraphy extended to a depth of c. 2m where the natural subsoil was exposed. This consisted of orange/brown clay, cut into which was a series of ditches running from west to east containing fragmented grey mortar and limestone fragments. The ditch sections were c. 0.1m deep and c. 1m wide, with vertical sides, and would appear to represent the remains of a robbed-out wall. Running from north to south was a boundary ditch extending beyond the site to the north. To the south-west of the robbed-out wall were the remains of a large circular stone-built kiln, or oven, with a sloping entrance to the north. The entrance had been covered in lime plaster. In the north-eastern corner of the site was a substantial pit, providing evidence not only of industrial activity in the vicinity but also of the demolition of a substantial stone-built structure during the medieval period. Associated finds, which included a fragment of dressed window tracery, indicated that all of these features were medieval. However, detailed analysis of finds and stratigraphy has not yet been undertaken to establish the sequence or precise relationship between them.

Above these features, layers of garden soil had developed, suggesting that the area had ceased being used for any form of industry in the later medieval and early post-medieval periods. Cut into the lower deposits of the garden soils was a sequence of rubbish pits containing a fine collection of household debris from the early 18th century.

Post-dating the garden soils was a sequence of walls associated with industrial activity in the later 18th and 19th century. In particular, there were the remains of a substantial circular oven or kiln, with an entrance to the south leading into a complex of rectangular chambers. The kiln was c. 8m in diameter and appeared to be constructed of two concentric walls with a passageway between them. Most of the kiln had been destroyed by a later pit and no deposits in the surviving remains indicated the function of the structure. Historical research may provide answers to this question. Overlying the remains were deep deposits of demolition rubble from the 19th and 20th centuries, whilst the structures demolished on the site prior to excavation were of very recent date and constructed of blocks. Further work adjacent to this site was undertaken by Deirdre Murphy (No. 1244, Excavations 2003).

Unit 21, Boyne Business Park, Greenhills, Drogheda, Co. Louth