MOYAGHER GRAVEYARD CO. MEATH
TOMBSTONES AND INSCRIPTIONS
Recorded by Doctor Beryl F. E. & Mr. & Mrs. John Cawkhill
MOYAGHER GRAVEYARD is roughly 30 x 50 yards, the east and west sides being the shorter. The gate used to be near the SE corner but a few years ago was changed to the N.E corner because of traffic congestion at this 3-road junction. This new entrance obliterates the cave excavated by Sunter Brady (?) for himself wife and family when he was evicted from his nearby farm and house. In court he said “You evicted me from my house in the land of the living and now I live in the land of the dead”. The Brady tombs were at the NE corner of the graveyard according to this story but the only Brady tombstone we found was in the nave of the church ruins.
MOYAGHER CHURCH measures 68 x 19’8 ft. and is of the chancel – nave type. It is situated on a small fort which is slightly higher than the surrounding countryside and has an extended view. Hill of Vaughan is clearly visible to the NE some 5 miles away. The chancel arch was built up. The doors were to N & S of the nave. No trace of a mural staircase can now be discerned. The Plunkett slab over a vault is at the SE corner of the nave and the Brady tombstone about the middle – east of the nave. Some of the east wall exists shrouded in ivy. We found a fine large carved stone belonging to the east window. Some years ago I discovered an unrecorded double aumbry but that bit of chancel wall has since collapsed. Cogan says Moyagher stones were carted off to build the faked west-end of Killua old church… The only bit of that ruin which can be seen from the nearby castle.
MOYAGHER TOMBSTONES are recorded in rows beginning at the N end of the E side and working across in rows to the S end of the E side . . .
1) SMYTH OF CARLONSTOWN KELLS 1951. A modern stone. “Edward Smyth of Carlonstown Kells who died 1967 aged 43 yrs. and his father Patrick who died 1951 aged 78 yrs.”
2) GILL 1890 – Celtic cross with heart in centre. “Erected by Rose Gill to her Father James Gill who died 1890, her mother Mary Gill died 1904, her brother Matthew died 1898, her uncle John Gill 1899, her sister Anne died 1925, her Sister Catherine died 1936, her brother Patrick died 1941, her brother John died 1945. Rose Gill died 18th May 1954”.
3) NEWMAN 1884 – Celtic Cross with heart in centre. “Erected by Hugh Newman to his wife Anne died 1916 aged 67 yrs. and his child Thomas died 1884 aged 16 mths. also his parents Thaddeus and Mary Newman. Hugh died 1939 aged 88 yrs. and his children Timothy James John Bridget Elizabeth Jane also lie here”.
4) NEWMAN OF MOONEYSTOWN 1741 – Old stone with old fashioned type of lettering. Sunburst with cross and IHS inside. “Here lyeth ye body of Thad Newman decd. April Ye 26. 1766 aged 71 yrs. Also his daughter Elinor decd. Augst. Ye 16. 1741 aged 20 yrs. This stone was erected by his son Thomas Newman whose brother Hugh & his sons John & Thaddeus Newman of Mooneystown are buried here”.
5) … Old large heavy plain stone with sunburst almost worn away. A rose carved on each side and writing almost obliterated. We failed to read it, so don’t know name or date.
6) O’Connor 1931 – Modern stone.
7) SMITH OF ATHBOY 1915 – Celtic Cross with IHS in centre. “Erected by Rev. J. Smith PP Sidney Australia in memory of his mother Anne Smith Athboy died 1921, his father Michael Smith died 1922, his brother John Smith died 1915, his brother Michael Smith died 1942 aged 67, Rev. James Smith PP died 1948, also Thomas died 1950”.
8) NEWMAN 1729 – Very old stone much worn and somewhat buried. Sunburst with Cross, IHS and heart pierced with 2 barbs, foliage on each side of this motif. “Here lieth Ye body of John Newman who departed this life April Ye 16. 1735 aged 53 years. Also lieth ye body of James Newman who departed in ye year 1729 aged 56”.
9) NEWMAN 1729 – Large old heavy stone with sunburst cross and IHS at top. “This stone was erected by Patrick Newman where underlyeth his father James Newman who departed this life in the year 1729 aged 56 years. Likewise his son James who departed this life April 5th 1773 aged 19 years. Also his brother Owen Newman who departed this life in the year 1760 aged 48 years. Eternal rest give them O Lord”.
10) NEWMAN OF GARDENRATH 1813 – Large old stone with some elaborate carving at the top e.g. a circle of foliage around a cross IHS and burning heart, a large rose on each side of this motif and an edge raised ¾ in. around the whole inscription. “Erected by Mr Newman of Gardenrath in memory of his parents sisters and brothers who died 17th Nov. 1813 and the relics of his posterity. Resquiscant in pacem”.
11) NEWMAN OF KILMAINHAM 1830 – A 6ft. rectangular pillar with a floriated cross of the Patonce type on top. “This monument was erected by Rev. Christopher Newman PP Kilbride, Co. Meath to his father Richard Newman of Kilmainham who died 18th Nov. 1830 also his mother Margaret who died 27th of Novr. 1838 and of his brother Patrick who died 23rd July 1843 also in memory of his sister Jane who died 3rd of July 1849 and of his beloved sister Margaret Landy of Kells who died 5th April 1863. Resquiscant in Pacem, Amen”.
12. TOBIN 1758. Plain old stone much sunk in the ground with cross and IHS. “Here lies Ye body of Thos. Tobin who died March Ye 26. 1758 aged 30. This stone was erected by Mattw. his father, also ye body of Mattw. Tobin died April 23. 1763 aged 72 yrs.
13) FARRELLY OF MAPERATH 1834 – Large Old stone with sunburst encircling cross IHS and heart. ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’ around upper half of sunburst, underneath a chalice the stem of which extends down into the first couple of lines of inscription. “Erected 8 of Decr. 1834 by Rev. Phillip Farrelly of Moynalty in memory of his parents Bryan and Judith Farrelly of Maperath, his brothers James Hugh Patrick and Owen Farrelly and also of all his deceased relatives for whose eternal repose the pious faithful are earnestly requested to pray”.
14) ROBINSON O’CONNOR & KELLY FAMILIES. . .(No date) – Modern stone no information given.
15) BRADY 1873 – In nave of ruined church. Celtic cross with ivy leaves underneath. “In loving memory of John Brady died 11th Feb. 1873, his daughter Bridget Nulty died 24th Decr. 1901, his wife Anne Brady died 26th June 1906, Kathleen Cassidy died August 1921”.
16) MILLIEN OF ALLENSTOWN 181 – Continuing along row south of church. Large heavy old stone, sunburst encircling cross IHS and heart. A rose on either side. “This monument was erected by Thos. Millien of Allenstown as a grateful tribute due to the memory of his beloved mother Anne Millien alias Plunkett who depd. this life April the 1st 1815 aged 72 yrs. Also his father Paul (or Patt) Millien who departed this life”.
17) GOLOUGHER 1712 – This is the oldest stone we found in the graveyard, a small one much sunk in the ground. Skull and crossbones at centre top. Round holes for eyes and triangular hole for nose. “Here lieth Ye body of Farrel Golougher who depd. Ye life Feby. Ye 2d 1712 aged 48 years, erected by his son”.
18) COYLE OF MOYAUGHER 1868 – Very large old heavy stone leaning backwards, cross patonce inside a ring. “This stone was erected by Mrs. Mary Coyle of Moyaugher in memory of her beloved husband Patrick Coyle who died August 12. 1883 aged 64. Also of his father Terence Coyle who died August 18. 1868 aged 88 years. Also his mother Mary Coyle who died February 25. 1879 aged 97 years. And also Thomas son of the above Patrick Coyle who died June 8. 1886 aged 25 years. Mrs.Elizabeth Griffin died June 10th 1895. Matthew Coyle died 10th May 1901, Mrs. Mary Coyle died April 25th 1910. Kate Coyle wife of Matthew Coyle died 24. June 1944 aged 78 years”. On this stone Moyaugher is spelt with a ‘U’.
19) RYDER 1802 – Small heavy stone with sunburst around cross IHS and heart, and a rose on each side of it. “Pray for the souls of Chr. (Christopher ?) Ryder his wife and children who lye beneath this stone erected by his daughter by his daughter Bridget Ryder 1802”.
20) GOSSON 1806 – Very heavy large stone with the inscription and fine carving on the back that is the west side of the stone. It is also tilting to the west. Sunburst enclosing cross IHS and small cherub’s head with the wings outstretched. Drapery looped and knotted (but no tassels) are carved underneath and then ‘Gloria in’ on one side of a chalice and ‘Excelsis Deo’ on the other side. The chalice stands out over an inch. “This stone was erected by Patrick Gosson of Berford as a grateful tribute to the memory of his brother Revd. Richard Gosson who departed this life the 6th day of November 1806 in the 35 year of his age. Sincerely and deservedly regretted. Here also are the remains of his father, mother and sister”.
21) LYNCH 1821 – Old stone with sunburst surrounding a cross & IHS. “Erected by James Lynch land surveyor in memory of his wife Mary Lynch alias Reilly daughter of Mr. Francis Reilly late of Athcarne depd. this life 4th of August 1821 likewise his father and mother and 7 of their children”. Only stone to give occupation.
22) GAUGHRAN OF ATHBOY 1768 – Heavy big old stone with a stopper stone on each side of the base of the slab. Sunburst with cross & IHS, and a ridge around the inscription. “Here lyeth the body of Mr. Thos. Gaughran of Athboy County of Meath who departed this life Febr. Ye 11th 1768 in ye 31st year of his age. Also his brother John who died ye 27th of August 1772 aged 17 years. And on the 29th day of May their father John Gaughran departed this life aged 72 years”.
23) BYRNE OF DORAMSTOWN 1876 – Plain stone with cross & IHS. “Erected by Matthew Byrne Doramstown in memory of his father and mother, Thomas and Marcella Byrne, also his three sisters Mary, Bridget and Julia Byrne. Also their brother James Byrne who died August 17th 1876 aged 65 years”.
24) MILLEN OF JAMESTOWN & MILLTOWN 1923 – Large modern celtic cross. “Erected by Patrick Millen March 1923 in memory of his parents James and Jane Millen also the above Patrick Millen who died 26th March 1932 aged 75 ‘Natives of Jamestown & Milltown’. Thomas Million died 17th Dec. 1945 aged 76 yrs. James Million died 5th Aug. 1948 aged 38 yrs. on whose souls sweet Jesus have mercy”.
25) MILLION OF JAMESTOWN 1805 – Sunburst around cross, IHS and heart with ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’ around top of sunburst. On viewer’s left a dove standing on a branch and on viewer’s right a sheep with cross on its back and cherub’s head above. These carvings have worn badly. There is a diamond border around the inscription. “This monument was erected by Patrick Million of Jamestown in memory of his father Richard Million who departed this life August 21st 1805 aged 60 years also his mother Mary Million alias Keegan who departed this life Sept. 12th 1837 aged 78 yrs. John Million died 17th Dec. 1890, Peter Million died 20th Aug. 1906 Mary Million died 22nd Nov. 1936.
In the West end of the graveyard are 4 modern headstones
26) SMALL CELTIC CROSS – John Farrelly of Balrathboyne 1968 aged 89 yrs.
27) LARGE CELTIC CROSS. Patrick Farrelly Milltown House Cortown Kells died 1965 aged 64.
28) LARGE CELTIC CROSS. Patrick Dolan Moyagher 1957.
29) LARGE CELTIC CROSS. Matthew Murtagh Milltown died 1956.
In the SE corner of the nave is the large badly worn and in places cracked
PLUNKETT-BEGG SLAB OF 8 x 3 ½ ft. It was at floor level but now is much
covered by grass but we have uncovered it. Inscription runs in 2 lines along 3
sides ( North East and South ) as a border.
North . . . Hic Jacet Christopher Plunkett cum uxore ca.
East . . . Therina Begg quond de Moya.
South . . . Gher generos qui me fieri fecit ano MDCXXX.
In the centre of the slab is a celtic cross on 3 steps. On the S side of the cross is DNI (short for Domini) as it was forgotten in the border. While on the shaft of the cross is . . . et obit 19 die Iul.
On the 1st (lowest) step of the cross is . . . orate pro muice in a totally different type of lettering. On the top of the cross . . . . . IHS.
On viewer’s left of the cross . . . cock in circle about 10 ins. across and a scourge (there is
On viewer’s right of the cross . . . pincers, hammer, 30 pieces of silver, spear, ladder and
WAYSIDE CROSS . . . 3 pieces of the old Moyagher cross without letters or carving are
fixed into a large cement table-like erection on the opposite side of the road. The
graveyard originally was much bigger and locally this cross is said to have been at the
head of an important grave.