Church, Cadaver effigy, Double effigy

St Patrick's parish church is dated back to the 13th century. The 30 metre long x 7.7 metre wide church was in ruins by 1642. It is a divided nave and chancel church with opposing pointed doorways in the north and south walls of the nave. The doorways were probably inserted in the 15th century. There are two double ogee-headed windows in the south wall. A window in the west gable has been removed and the opening is now blocked. A burial tomb in the nave, seen in the left corner of the image shown left, belonged to the Caddell family who resided in Naul and Herbertstown from the 13th to the 20th centuries.

A chantry chapel, dedicated to St Christopher, was added to the south wall of the chancel by Sir Robert Preston, 3rd Baron and first Viscount of Gormanston. The mid 15th century chapel has a nice pointed doorway in the west wall. At the base of each jamb is a head, carved upside down. The two stone heads, pictured above, are built into the south wall of the chapel. The most interesting monuments are situated inside the chapel, see below.

Reversed head at the base of the chapel entrance

Chantry chapel

Double effigial tomb

The double effigial tomb in the Preston chapel depicts William Preston, d.1532, and his 2nd wife Eleanor Dowdall, a widow of John Nangle. William was the 2nd Viscount Gormanston and only son of Sir Robert. William is wearing one of the few 'White armours' depicted in Ireland. Resting on his right hip is a dagger. His wife Eleanor is wearing a jeweled cap with a large veil and a collar around her neck. She is also wearing a full skirt folded back in the centre. A small dog rests at her feet. Both of their heads are resting on pillows held by angels. On the south side of the tomb is a crest depicting the Prestons-3 crescents top right, and families married into the Prestons, St Lawrence, Dowdall and Molyneux. Sir Robert, Williams father, was married to Janet Molyneux, a daughter of Sir Robert Molyneux of Sefton, died c.1459.

Crest with several families represented

The cadaver tomb cover pictured above is, along with the cadaver at Bewley, thought to be the oldest in Ireland. They are both dated to around 1450. The skeleton effigy at Stamullen is 1.72 metres in length and is depicts the decomposing body of a young unknown woman. The open shroud is tied back at the head and feet. This type of funerary effigy became fashionable in Europe after the Black Death. Only eleven examples of cadaver tombs remain in Ireland. Also present in the chapel is a round headed piscina with a nice basin, see bottom image.

Situated: Heading north on the M1, take exit 6. Turn left onto the R122. After 1.8K turn right. Drive 3.5 to Stamullin and turn right. The church is on the west side of the road in the centre of the village. There is parking at the shops on your right.

Discovery Map 35. O 1494 6574. Last visit Aug 2018.

Longitude: 6° 15' 44" W

Latitude: 53° 37' 44" N

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey.


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