Cork County Archaeologist assists BEAHG heritage
group to explore and repair a 300 year old tomb,
at Ballymoney/Knockaneady Graveyard.
The Tomb shown above is uninscribed but is reputed to be the burial place of William Daunt and succeeding generations. William Daunt is the first of the Kilcascan Daunts. He acquired Kilcascan Castle in 1712.A defendant from a neighbouring family from that period confirmed the tomb as belonging to Daunt of Kilcascan. The tomb entrance slab (see photo) is open and has been like this for many years.
It was decided to enter the tomb on 8 June 2010 and investigate. The exploration was supervised by Catryn Power Cork County Archaeologist. JERRY AHERNE, experienced speleologist provided expert light, photography and advice. It was hoped to confirm the identity of those interred but unfortunately no evidence of coffin plates remained. Many skeletal bones were visible and spread around. The bones were interspersed with some coffin studs & handles. The skeletal remains appeared laid out as if the coffins were placed along the South wall (3), West wall (2) and North wall (3). Examination by Catryn Power determined at least two remains were very young children. One adult 20s had evidence of a bad abscess which may have been fatal.
Structurally the tomb is sound and dry. The walls were plastered & appeared painted (white). The ceiling and roof was arched stone. The floor was stone slabbed. The Ballineen Enniskeane Area Heritage Group BEAHG decided that the tomb should resealed. The door slab was lifted out and placed to one side. This exposed the back filling which was removed down to about 5′ At this level the door slab resting step was exposed (First step). Further probing uncovered a series of six access steps each 4′ wide x 2′ x 8″ deep. The access steps were bound each side by stone walls to ground level so as the structure formed an integral part and framed the access. The structure & stone work was built to a high standard.
To seal the Tomb the door slab was lowered into position closing the entrance. The bottom of the door slab was secured with a purpose made horizontal locking slab (4′ x 2′ x 6″) which was placed flat. It fitted neatly into the second step to lock the base of the door slab. Photo above. All excavated soil was replaced to cover the entrance as found. BEAHG are pleased to report that the tomb was ecumenically blessed on 14 July 2010.