2017:325 - Raheenacluig Church, Newport, Wicklow

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Wicklow Site name: Raheenacluig Church, Newport

Sites and Monuments Record No.: WI008-004 Licence number: 17E0356

Author: David McIlreavy, TMBP

Site type: Post-medieval occupation

ITM: E 727595m, N 717635m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.193837, -6.090485

A community-led research excavation was undertaken at Raheenacluig Church (WI008-004, Nat. Mon. 262) in Newcourt, Bray, Co. Wicklow by members of The Medieval Bray Project (TMBP). The excavation was carried out during Heritage Week 2017 (19-25 August). The location of the excavation areas (Cutting 1 and 2) were informed by a geophysical survey (licence 17R0017) undertaken by Susan Curran of TMBP; and each cutting targeted a specific research objective.

Cutting 1 was positioned to investigate two geophysical anomalies, consisting of a curvilinear feature and high resistance features to the north-east of the church building. Excavation revealed a significant level of ground disturbance to the north-east of the church. Artefacts recovered from the topsoil ranged from prehistoric lithics to modern 20th-century transfer and glazed wares. Directly underlying topsoil a levelling deposit was recorded which contained a range of post-medieval material (ceramics, structural ferrous objects, floorboard nails and possible furniture tacks) dating from at least the 16th century to the 20th century. Beneath this deposit the heavily truncated remains of a ditch terminus and a possible building floor were identified; corresponding with the targeted geophysical anomalies. No artefacts were recovered from either the ditch or building floor feature.

Cutting 2 was positioned to investigate the platform upon which the church building had been constructed. Again this area had been significantly disturbed and a deposit of stone had been deliberately packed around the base of the church building. A George V silver shilling, dating to 1936, was recovered from the deposit. It is likely that the deposit represents the stabilisation works conducted by the Office of Public Works during this period.

The 2017 excavations at Raheenacluig Church confirmed the existence of previously unrecorded structural elements in close proximity to the church building. While the recovered artefacts may be considered ex situ they represent an important window into prehistoric and post-medieval in the immediate environs of Raheenacluig Church. Preliminary results of TMBP research and the excavation were presented at public talks during Heritage Week at Bray Library and the Taylor Centre (Bray) on 23 and 25 August 2017 respectively. A publication is forthcoming.

C/o IAC Unit G1, Network Enterprise Park, Kilcoole, Wicklow