Thursday 22 August 2019
Burgage Crosses & Standing Stone Co Wicklow
At one time there was a medieval church and castle at Burgage More near Blessington in Co. Wicklow. Whereas partial remains of the castle remain (see earlier post here) only small fragments of the church remain. In the 1940's the area was flooded to create a reservoir and so some historical items were removed from the site and relocated to the Burgage cemetery near to Blessington.
Among the items were two early stone crosses. The first known as St Mark's cross or previously St. Boaitin's cross is situated at the Southern boundary wall of the cemetery..Unlike many Celtic style crosses it does not have the quarter piercings in the ring around the arms.It stands approx fourteen feet high and has a weather worn inscription which appears to be in old Gaelic. It is composed of granite and stands tall and slender and appealing to the eye.
The second cross which is a few metres adjacent to the first also has no perforations in the ring and it stands approx four and a half feet high. Similar to St Mark's cross the arms are quite wide but on this cross one of the arms is missing. Apparently local folklore tells of a man who broke off the arm but it fell upon him sinking him permanently into the ground!
The crosses were not the only items saved from Burgage More. Many old gravestones were removed to preserve the memory of those buried there and these were randomly placed in the new cemetery. Amongst these as pictured above is a gravestone marked 1690. This has to be the oldest legible one that I have come across on our travels. On closer inspection it appears to be dated July 14th 1690 as the date of death but only the first four letters of the name are visible and they are WILL.
The cemetery and nearby castle remains are very interesting to visit. As a matter of interest if you leave the cemetery by its main gate and turn left and travel to the second turn left along this road (Troopersfield) in the grounds of a factory near the perimeter fence on the North West corner of the junction is an ancient standing stone. Initially it took a little while to find it but we eventually did. It appears to stand between four and five feet high with a slight tilt.
To find the high crosses take the N81 from Dublin to Blessington. Just past the main street there is a left turn onto Troopersfield (L8858). Turn onto this road and continue for approx 700m and you will see the cemetery on your right. There is a small area to park outside. If you continue on past the cemetery you will eventually reach the the end of the road where a 7 or 8 minute walk will across a field to the shore and Burgage castle