2003:1870 - 27 Church Street, Dungarvan, Waterford

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Waterford Site name: 27 Church Street, Dungarvan

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 31:40 Licence number: 03E1036

Author: Jo Moran, Knockrower Road, Stradbally, Co. Waterford.

Site type: Urban medieval/post-medieval

ITM: E 626235m, N 593039m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.088649, -7.617176

Pre-development testing was carried out at 27 Church Street, Dungarvan, in July 2003. Nine small trenches were dug by hand. The site is close to the centre of the medieval walled town, beside a 16th/17th-century stone building, Barry's Stores.

No. 27 incorporates the remains of an earlier stone building of archaeological interest, probably built in the 17th or 18th century. The back wall of the house is close to 1m wide and Trench 4 uncovered a similarly wide wall below ground level on the street-front between Nos 26 and 27.

Barry's Stores, bordering the north end of the site, may include part of an earlier stone building and was entered at ground level from a former lane on the south side of the building (on the development site) pre-dating 17th-century Quay Street (on the north side). Archaeological layers under Barry's Stores noted by Dave Pollock were truncated when the medieval building was converted to a store (Excavations 1997, No. 572, 97E0052), but similar levels appear to have survived on the south side of the building. Here, the top of the intact archaeological material was less than 0.2m below present ground level (and c. 0.3m above the present floor level in the Tannery restaurant). Midden, walls and surfaces were uncovered in the test-trenches at this level.

Garden walls around the site, with a distinctive fabric of quarried limestone rubble, may date back to the 17th century. Most or all of the standing pieces of wall were incorporated into buildings at some stage in the post-medieval period. Evidence from Trenches 8 and 9 suggests that the ruined outbuilding that is to be converted into a two-storeyed cottage appears to have originated in the 17th century as a single-storeyed industrial building attached to a property boundary wall.

Only Trench 4 was cut to the underlying clay subsoil. It is likely that the clay had been quarried from a good deal of the site in the late medieval period; investigations carried out nearby by Dave Pollock have found the backlands of the town, and even the roadside plots, riddled with clay extraction pits (Excavations 1997, No. 566, 96E0378; No. 567, 97E0325; Excavations 1999, No. 845, 98E0591). In the only place where it was observed on-site, the clay subsoil was less than 0.4m below present ground level, suggesting a relatively slight rise in ground level over the last millennium. But this is misleading. Church Street drops towards the north and would have reached its lowest point outside Barry's Stores or under Quay Street (as noted by Pollock in Excavations 1999, No. 846, 99E0666). The early medieval ground level is probably considerably below the present ground surface at the north end of the site. Unfortunately, the ground here appears to have risen considerably during the medieval period, and intact archaeological material (17th-century midden?) is within 0.2m of present ground level (in Trenches 1 and 2).