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|A Survey of Monuments of Archaeological and Historical Interest in the Barony of Bunratty Lower, Co. Clare by William Gerrard Ryan|
Part 3: Pre-reformation
church and monastic sites
Cratloemoyle Church; Friary at Cratloe (site of); Saint John’s Well; Kilcredaunnadober and Moneenagliggin Graveyards
Nat. Grid. Ref: R513596; ½” Sheet 17
For information relating to this site refer to: (a) site plan (b) site description (c) series of photographs on the site.
Plan of Cratloemoyle Church:
The southern wall originally contained the entrance area but no trace of this has survived. An examination of the site plan will show a 4.0 metre wide gap in the wall to the south-west (photo 1). Presumably the doorway was originally here. A deal of collapse does occur in this immediate area but there is no evidence of cut stone suggesting traces of the doorway.
Four metres further east of this gap, also along the southern wall,
part of the interior stone facing is gone, for a distance of 2.0 metres.
A short distance beyond this, 1.30 metres, is the site of a damaged window.
This was originally of a rectangular shape with a lintel on top. It had
inclined jambs, making it 1.0 metre wide on the inside and 1.15 metres
high but only .30 metre wide on the outside. The outer eastern facing
to this window is gone, leaving only rough limestone pieces visible (see
site plan and photo 2). This outer-facing damage, unfortunately, is not
solely restricted to the area of the rectangular window but it continues
to the opening next to it. Here there is a fluted basin of a Piscina
in a good condition (photo 3) though the outer wall is, as stated above,
quite damaged (see site plan and photo 2).
The eastern wall is 8.20 metres in length externally and contains the
lower traces of a stone cut rectangular window (photo 4). Originally
this had a central shaft but only the end part of it now may be noted
on close examination. This window, which has inclined jambs (site plan)
is 2.10 metres wide on the inside but only .50 metre wide on the outside.
It survives to a height, with the upper part missing, of 1.47 metres
and a cut stone depth of .15 metre. On the inside of this eastern wall
is a niche. It begins 1.0 metre above ground level, it is .55 metre wide,
.48 metre high and .47 metre deep.
The northern wall, which is 19 metres long and 3.50 to 4.0 metres high on average, has part of its stone facing missing on the outside. It contains no windows or other features of interest.
The western wall, like the eastern one, is 8.20 metres long and contains trace of a small rectangular window at its centre. This is .50 metre wide, inside and out, .95 metre deep and .85 metres high. Originally it was defined by cut limestone but most of this is now gone (photo 5). This western wall averages 4.50 metres above the interior.
There are no graves associated with this church site which is very close to Cratloemoyle Tower House (see relevant 6” O.S. Sheet).
Date of Church:
Westropp, 1900, does not give an actual date for the construction of this site but says: “…it appears to be a very late building…” (page 153).
REFERENCES TO CRATLOEMOYLE CHURCH
Gives a general description of the site but with little extra information to that given above. Says the site was never a Parish Church but rather a Chapel of the nearby Castle.
Friary at Cratloe, (site of);
Field examination failed to find any trace of this friary. Its site is known locally and consisted of an area of level land a short distance above the highest point reached by the spring tides prior to the construction, in the nineteenth century, of embankments along the Shannon. I have only been able to come across one brief reference to the site:
“…In the lawn of Cratloe House there stood, about thirty years ago (c. 1860) a ruin called the Friary but to what order of monks it belonged is unknown. It was removed by the late Augustus Stafford O’Brien, M.P., because it interfered with the view from his windows.” (Frost, 1893, page 13).
Holy Well: Saint John’s Well
Cratloe Townland; Co. Clare 6” Sheet number 62; Reference – 23.4
cm North; 39.6 cm East; at 30’ O.D.
One of the problems we are faced with in relation to Killeely Civil Parish is that the site of the pre-Reformation Parish Church is now unknown. We have already stated that Cratloemoyle Church was a chapel of the nearby Tower House and not a parish church as such.
Could we suggest that, perhaps, the old parish church was on the site of the graveyard under discussion? Certainly there has been a tradition of burials here going back many centuries. Perhaps this site is used because it formerly contained a church and is therefore consecrated ground.
2. Moneenagliggin Graveyard (Disused)
“…In the townland of Moneenagliggin (i.e. little bog of the skulls) in this parish (i.e. Killeely) there is a small burial ground of the same name but it does not appear that there ever was a church at the place…” (Ordnance Survey Letters, Volume 2, 1928 edition, page 133).
(See also Westropp, 1900, pages 172 and 173).