Saturday, 10 August 2019

Old Mayne Church Co Louth


                                               Above Image: The entrance gate

                                          Above Image: The two nave doorways

                                          Above & Below Images: The East gable


                                                 Above Image: The West gable



                                          Above Image: A large fissure in the wall






We came across this nice little ruin on a narrow lane just North West of the picturesque fishing village of Clogherhead in County Louth,
There is not a lot of information  available regarding the ruins other than it is known as "Mayne Church" and that it dates from the late medieval period. It is a simple nave and chancel structure and all four walls are standing, The west wall has an extension for a belfry while the East gable has a single large arched window, There are doorways in both the North and South walls.
Within the ruins the space has been used as consecrated burial ground with a number of large grave slabs one of which is a Priest's grave memorial positioned near the West wall and is inscribed to the memory of Reverend James Corigan. It is dated November 23rd 1795. Apparently Faulkner's Dublin Journal in March of 1793 reported that a certain Fr Corigan was thought to be holding weapons in a hay haggard for distribution to locals in the event of a rebellion, Whether this was the same man buried in Mayne we can only speculate,
There aren't many other features within the church apart from a couple of small alcoves in the walls and the presence of a small Motte in the field beyond the Southern boundary wall of the graveyard but it is nonetheless worth a visit to this ruin if in the area.
To find the ruin take the R166 from Drogheda and drive for 8KM to Termonfeckin. Follow the R166 through Termonfeckin until you reach a crossroads the other side of the village. Take the right hand turn for Clogherhead again following the R166. After 5KM you will reach Clogherhead. Follow the R166 through the village and a short distance out of the village you will pass a crossroads with St Michael's Church on your right. Continue straight on passing a local road the L6279 on your left then  250m further there is a narrow lane that leads up to the ruins. You can park outside the entrance gate..

5 comments:

  1. Many thanks for this post, I wasnt aware of this site previously. You inspired me to visit the site and also to do a bit of a write up on the site and my, very much amateur, research on it. If you are interested it can be read at the link to my site below.

    https://cyclingintolife.blogspot.com/2020/04/mayne-church-graveyard-and-motte-glebe.html

    Thanks again, your site is a wonderful resource and inspiration.

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  2. Thank you kindly John I'm glad you like Ireland in Ruins. I'm checking out your link right now!

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  3. Hi John. There is some interesting folklore about Mayne cemetery on the Duchas web site if you search under Mayne graveyard.

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  4. Hi John. Do you have any sense of why the church at Mayne has two entrances opposite each other? It's s curious thing, given that it is a relatively small building. Thanks

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    1. Hi,
      I had thought so too, why would such a small church have two doors,, directly opposite one another?

      Oddly enough however, multiple doors, particularly directly opposing doors like at Mayne, are relatively common from the 1200s on. Opinion seems to be divided on the purpose of these doors, but there are a few theories:
      1. Different entrance for men and women,
      2. Congregation use one entrance and those involved in the celebration of the mass use the other,
      3. Those of rank, Lords etc. and their families use one entrance, the ordinary folk use the other.

      In my own (very amateur!) opinion I believe that theory no 3. is the most likely.

      I think that the multitude of put holes in the western wall suggest that these were used for beams to support a raised gallery that covered from roughly around the doors back to the west gable. This would perhaps tie in with the high window on the western gable. The gallery would probably have been used by someone important, like the local lord, and his family. Maybe they entered through one door and ascended to the gallery and everyone else used the other door?

      It’s interesting to think about!

      I might write some more about this on the post on my site, why, by the by, is now at www.theirishantiquarian.com (I decided to do things properly and just post about ruins etc. on that blog, I’m having issues with the site at the moment but it will be at that web address once I get it fixed, so check it out.)

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