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St. Peter's Church Grave Slab
 

County

Louth

Coordinates

N 53° 43' 01.86"   W 006° 20' 58.74"

Nearest town

Drogheda

Grid Ref.

O 08932 75433

Map No.

43

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

33

Date of visit

Monday 15 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The grave slabs in the east wall of the graveyard.


Against the east wall of the St. Peter's Church of Ireland church and graveyard there is a wonderful collection of grave slabs.
Actually they all come from the same altar tomb which has been dismantled at some time in the past and each of its panel has been set vertically into the graveyard wall.
The tomb was of sir Edmond Goldyng and his wife Elizabeth Fleming who, it is said, both drowned in the river Boyne due to a mysterious accident with their boat. They are part of a local legend according to which their ghosts still haunt the area of the river where the accident occured. According to others, their presence can be felt at the graveyard.
The grave lid was a nice example of cadaver tomb, a type of tomb typical of the 15th and 16th for those people who were rich enough to afford such a work to be done by a sculptor. Generally this type of tombs were made when the rich person was still alive, so that they could be aware of what was expecting them after their death. The tomb was also a reminder for them about the fact that nobody escapes death. The effigy on a cadaver tomb represents a body in decomposition, with bones and inner organs exposed.
In this case we have two effigies, man and wife, both partially wrapped in shrouds opened on the front to reveal their rotting bodies. The top of each shroud is twisted and tied with a knotted rope.
The male figure shows a more intact body in contrast with a more incomplete sculpture. He misses much of his arms and the central section of his legs. His hands are crossed on his waist.
The female figure shows a body with clear signs of decaying. The face is more similar to a skull, her abdomen is empty. Her hands rest along her body.
Along the edges of the slab there's a lengthy inscription, another inscription runs top to bottom between the two bodies. The inscriptions are very worn out and mostly illegible.
Another slab with a long inscription around its edges lies flat on the ground at the feet of the figures.
Five smaller slabs are set into the same wall on the left and the right of the main slab, all parts of the same original altar tomb. it seems that the other slabs carry the name of three other wives of sir Edmond Goldyng.
The main slab is 1.50 metres wide and 2.57 metres tall.
The other slabs range from 62 to 78 centimetres in height and from 90 to 210 centimetres in width.


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