Christ Church

Tomb Effigies

During the 15th century James Rice held the position of Lord Mayor of Waterford on 11 occasions. In the medieval period the vast majority of people in Ireland would have embarked on pilgrimages throughout the country. A popular pilgrimage, taken by the wealthy during this period, was the pilgrimage to the shrine of St James at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. It is recorded that James walked the Camino pilgrimage twice and his tomb became a starting point for Waterford pilgrims embarking on their journey to Spain.

The tomb, which he shares with his wife Catherine Broun, is one of Irelands finest cadaver monuments. It displays a decayed corpse riddled with worms and acts as a reminder of our own mortality.

The tomb also depicts the glory of saints. The weepers on the south side are the apostles, Matthias, Jude, Simon, Matthew, Bartholomew and Philip. St James the Major and St James the Minor are depicted on the north side along with, Thomas John, Andrew and Peter. The weepers on the east and west sides are pictured below. Part of the Latin inscription that surrounds the copse reads; I am what you will be; I was what you are now.’ The monument is on the nothside, or on the left as you enter the cathedral.

St Mary of Antioch, the Virgin Mary and St Catherine

St Edmund the Confessor, Holy Trinity and St Patrick

On the southside, opposite the Rice tomb, is a 16th century effigy of an unknown knight. The limestone mensa is resting on a modern stone table. The head is lying on a single cushion and the feet are resting on his faithful dog. If the dog is growling it symbolises his master had a violent death. The knights face has been damaged, which is quite common, as the medieval knights had many enemies. Lying on the floor below the knights head is a 16th century female effigy, see bottom image. She is wearing a V-necked pleated gown and her hands are joined in prayer.

Faithful dog


Situated: In the nave of Christ Church, C of I Cathedral, Waterford City.

Discovery Map 75: S 6091 1238. Last visit Sept 2017.

Longitude: 7° 6' 28" W

Latitude: 52° 15' 36" N

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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