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Ballyadams Church
 

County

Laois

Coordinates

N 52° 57' 45.24"   W 007° 04' 23.16"

Nearest town

Athy

Grid Ref.

S 62272 90602

Map No.

55

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

133

Date of visit

Monday 6 June 2016

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The church in the old graveyard.


We had tried to reach this church after visiting Ballyadams Castle on June 13th, 2014, but we had to gave up because we would have been late to catch the flight back home. This time we had plenty of time and off we went. The church is in a private field nearby some sheds. We walked for about 370 metres on a dirt path, then we took a narrower path on the left for about 80 more metres until we saw this small church.
It has nothing special to show but two wonderful features in the east section of the church.
The building is in ruins, the east gable is the less damaged section of the church, all the other walls are partly missing and the whole structure is overgrown with ivy and other vegetation. The west window is totally collapsed and the resulting opening gives full access to the ruins.
The nave is divided in two sections by a wall crossing half width, a rusty fence and gate fill the gap towards the north wall.
In the northeast corner of the nave is a beautiful memorial erected in 1631 in memory of Robert Bowen and his wife Alice Harpole, decorated with coat of arms on the north wall, a lengthy inscription below it and effigies on the three slabs which contain the tomb. The covering slab is missing, supposedly destroyed in 1832. Robert Bowen was the son of John Thomas Bowen, also known as John of the Pike, who was in possession of the nearby Ballyadams Castle. This memorial was shown on the 1841 OS Map with the name of "Shone Apheeka Bowen's Tomb" (from the Irish "Shaun-na-Phica", John of the Pike's Tomb).
In the southeast corner there's a broken grave slab marking the burial place of Thomas and Walter Harpole, possibly the brothers of Alice Harpole. This slab carries a single effigy and an inscription along the edges.
The church is aligned to the east (95°), it's about 20 metres long and 6 metres wide.
Several other headstones and grave slabs are in the surrounding graveyard but they are very worn and damaged. The graveyard is enclosed in a squarish boundary stone wall with a gate and stile in the southwest section.


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