BALFEAGHAN GRAVEYARD, CO. MEATH
TOMBSTONES AND TABLETS
Recorded by Dr. Beryl F.E. Moore & Mr. Ml. Kenny
BALFEAGHAN GRAVEYARD is situated on the top of a little hill on the east side of the Summerhill- Kilcock Road about 1 mile north of Kilcock. All the Headstones are in and around the small ruined Church, only one being on the North side. The two Tablets inserted in the east wall of the Chancel are in memory of the Reynolds Family who are interred in a Vault under the Chancel with a large inscribed stone closing it. The Chancel seems to have been constructed into a Mortuary surround for the Reynolds Family. The whole ruin is covered with ivy inside and outside, and many elderberry trees grow close to it. When I visited this site in 1972 I did not see either of the tablets in the east wall as they were hidden under the ivy but when I came in the Spring of 1974 I found vandals had been there in the meantime and they had opened the Vault, broken up the contents (5 Coffins) and left the bones and bits of coffins strewn about the tiny Chancel. In the Autumn of 1974 I went with Mr. Kenny and some of his young friends who were provided with slash-hooks and clippers to cut away some of the ivy. To our great surprise we found a small tablet (about 2 ft by 1 ft) had been inserted in the lower part of the built-up east window and it evidently had a metal Chalice of about 1 ft high and a wafer of about 3 ins above it and 7 Latin sentances on each side and below it. But the vandels had removed the Chalice and wafer only leaving 3 nail marks and the impression in the stone of the Chalice and wafer. To the left of the east window we found on cutting the ivy away a very big tablet tomembers of the Reynolds Family in English. The large stone covering the Vault contains a long Latin inscription commemorating the young Rev. Anthony Reynolds. I made a copy of the Latin and
my good friend Rev. Conor McGreevy kindly supplied the English translation which I gave in these notes.
7 Tombstones on the east side of Balfeaghan Church.
1) LATTIN 1794-1803 – Large plain limestones slab slightly tilting forward. ‘GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO’ around the upper half of a full sunburst, which encircles a cross IHS and heart pierced by 2 barbs, the shafts of which are elaborately feathered. ‘MOMENTO’ is on the left side and ‘MORI’ on the right side. “THIS STONE WAS ERECTED BY PATRICK LATTIN OF JAMES STREET IN THE CITY OF DUBLIN IN MEMORY OF HIS MOTHER MARGARET LATTIN WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE THE 27th OF APRIL 1794 AGED 53 YEARS. HERE ALSO LIETH THE REMAINS OF HIS UNCLE LUKE LATTIN WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE THE 3rd OF SEPr 1803 AGED 64 YEARS. ALSO THE REMAINS OF HIS FATHER ROGER LATTIN WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE THE 27th OF SEPr 1803 AGED 58 YEARS. HERE LIETH THE REMAINS OF HIS TWO UNCLES JOHN AND PATRICK LATTIN. REQUIESCAT IN PACE”.
2) KELLY 1789-1813 – Heavy limestone slab tilting very much forward. The entire edge of this stone is nicely dressed. Sprays around a full sunburst with cross and heart pierced by 2 barbs. On each side of this motif is a nice rose and further out on each side is a very elaborately carved Chalice with sprays of bluebells. This stone has many little
carvings in and around the above but they are not easily made out as the whole stone is covered with white and yellow lichen. A spray of vine like leaves stretches down each side of the following inscription “ERECTED BY JAMES KELLY IN MEMORY OF HIS MOTHER MARGARET KELLY WHO DEPrtd THIS LIFE OCTOBER 12th 1789 AGED 45 YRS. ALSO HERE LIES THE BODY OF HIS SON JOHN KELLY WHO DEPARTd THIS LIFE JUNE THE 24th 1813 AGED 8 YEARS”.
3) WATSON 1918 – A plain polished grey marble British army tombstone. The badge at the top depicts an oldfashioned grenade with flames issuing from its top. In the centre of the grenade is a bengal tiger and an elephant below it to represent 2 old east India Company Regiments …. 102 European Infantry REGt (Royal Madras Fusiliers) and 103 Infantry (Bengal Fusiliers). Both these Regiments were distinguished in the Indian Mutiny and afterwards (in the late 1860’s) both were added to the British Army as 102 and 103 Regiments of foot and in 1881 became The Royal Dublin Fusiliers; so we get under the grenade a scroll with R D F on it. This whole motiff is carved on a cross under which we get “16294 PRIVATE J. WATSON ROYAL DUBLIN FUSILIERS 30th OCTOBER 1918 AGED 23”.
4) PLUNKET 1754-1781 – A short distance from the east wall of the Church we dug up 2 large pieces of this tombstone and found that they fitted together and belonged to a small piece of a nearby base which was in position: thus we were able to read the whole inscription. This is a large heavy stone with some nice carving. A half sunburst is on top with a Maltese cross inside it. Leaves and scrolls on each side and after the last word a small fancy design. “THOs PLUNKET ERECTED THIS STONE IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER EDWARD WHO DIED IN 1758 AGED 66. ALSO HIS MOTHER MARY WHO DIED IN 1754 AGED 65. LIKEWISE HIS SON PATT DIED DECr 25 17…. AGED 19 YEARS. AND HIS SON JOHN DIED APRIL 4. 1781 AGED 10 YRS. MAY THEY REST IN PEACE”.
5) SHORT 1756 – Very plain old stone which we found completely covered in ivy, which had started to grow into the stone so that a large portion is likely to flake off in the near future. At the top is the usual cross IHS and in this case a flaming heart with sprays of tulips on each side. “THIS STONE WAS ERECTEd by MARTIN SHORT IN
MEMORY OF HIS FATHER JOHN SHORT WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE APRIL 1756 AGED 70 YEARS”, A small scroll follows the last word.
6) HUGHES 1952-7 – A wellkept modern grave with plain white marble headstone surrounded by a polished grey curb. “IN LOVING MEMORY OF JANE HUGHES KNOCKNATTA DIED MARCH 1952. HER HUSBAND NICHOLAS DIED DEC. 1957. THEIR SON MICHAEL DIED 1972. REST IN PEACE”.
7) McCORMACK 1955-68 – A well kept grave with plain white marble headstone and cement curb. “IN MEMORY OF JOSEPH McCORMACK KILCOCK DIED 23rd JUNE 1955 AGED 78 YRS. HIS WIFE SARAH ANNE DIED 13th FEB. 1968 AGED
80 YEARS. RIP. ERECTED BY THE FAMILY”.
6 Tombstones on south side of church
8) HEALY 1777 & 78 – Old stone notched on top, with cherub’s head and outstretched wings in central top, and underneath a cross with HIS “THIS STONE ERECTED BY MATHEW HEALY IN MEMORY OF HIS SON PATRICK. HE DIED AUGst 30th 1777 AGED 3 YEARS. HERE LIETH PATRICK BRYAN DIED 1778 AGED 60 YEARS”.
9) GIBNEY 795-1810 – Plain old stone with full sunburst cross IHS and heart in central top, and Chalice on each side of it with ‘MOMENTO’ on left and ‘MORI’ on right. Tassels hang out of the Chalice. Gloria etc underneath and on each side of the inscription is a spray of vine leaves extending to the ground. “ERECTED BY MR MARTIN GIBNEY OF KILCOCK IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER THOMAS GIBNEY WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE JANry 27. 1795 AGED 71 YEARS. ALSO HIS MOTHER ANN GIBNEY WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE MARCH 22. 1810 AGED 57 YEARS”.
10) KELLY 1957 – Iron cross with IHS in centre and all set in a big plaster block. “THOMAS KELLY DIED NOVEMBER 29th 1957 RIP”.
11) HEGARTY 1859-1929 – Tall narrow stone with ringed cross on top with IHS in its centre and little cross on each limb. The grave is surrounded by an iron curb. “ERECTED BY WILLIAM HEGARTY OF NEW YORK IN MEMORY OF HIS BELOVED FATHER THOMAS HEGARTY WHO DIED 29TH SEP. 1859 AGED 33 YEARS. ALSO HIS BROTHER PATRICK WHO DIED 6TH JAN 1885 AGED 27. ALSO HIS MOTHER M A HEGARTY WHO DIED 29TH JULY 1895 AND HIS
SISTER M. LYNCH WHO DIED 26TH FEB. 1906 AGED 46. AND W HEGARTY WHO DIED IN NEW YORK. HENRY HEAGARTY DIED 22 APRIL 1929. MARY ANNE MCINTYRE DIED 29TH JULY 1929. JAMES LYNCH 10 NOV. 1896. RIP”.
12) O’ BRIEN 1778-1803 – Large stone tilting forward with notched top, full sunburst encircling a cross IHS and heart pierced by 2 barbs. On each side we get an 8-petalled rose. “THIS STONE WAS ERECTED BY THOMAS O’ BRIEN IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER AND MOTHER JOHN AND ELLEN O’ BRIEN WHO DEPARd THIS LIFE APRIL 28. 1778. ALSO HIS BELOVED WIFE CATHARINE O’ BRIEN WHO DEPARTED DECEMr 15TH 1801 AGED 43 YEARS. AND THEIR SON CHARLES WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE FEB. 19. 1803”
13) DONOUGHo 1789 & 92 – This stone was much sunk in the ground and is very close to the O’Brien (12) stone. It is noticed at the top and has a full sunburst with cross and IHS. It is very plain and old-looking “THIS STONE WAS ERECd BY PATRICK DONOUGHo IN MEMORY OF HIS MOTHER BRIDt DONOUGHo WHO DEPd THIS LIFE MAY THE 6TH 1789 AGED 60 YRS ALSO HIS FATHER FRANs DONOUGHo DEPd MAY 4TH AGED 72 YEARs. May their souls rest in Pace”.
2 Tombstones on west side of church
14) COLGAN 1878 – THE LORD GAVE AND THE LORD TAKETH AWAY’ around a peaked top with IHS in the middle. Several fancy lines curve in different directions out of the ‘H’ and end in small shamrocks. Underneath is a scroll with ‘BLESSED BY THE NAME OF THE LORD’ and then comes the inscription “IN MEMORY OF THOMAS COLGAN OF BARSTOWN WHO DIED 4TH AUGUST 1878 AGED 62 YEARS RIP. ERECTED BY HIS BELOVED WIFE FRANCES AND THEIR SON PATRICK”. A frame is carved around the inscription.
15) CORCORAN 1855 & 56 – Full sunburst around a cross and IHS, on each
side of which is a Chalice. “ERECTED BY MR ANDREW CORCORAN IN MEMORY OF HIS BELOVED PARENTS MARGARET CORCORAN DIED 8TH FEBy 1855 AGED 65 YEARS. EDWARD CORCORAN DIED 3RD OCTOBER 1856 AGED 66 YEARS. ALSO BRIDGET ELLEN AND THOMAS CORCORAN WHO DIED YOUNG”.
1 Tombstone on north side of church
16) MELIA. 1908-43 – Small granite ringed cross with inscription on base. “IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR DEAR MOTHER MARGARET MELIA DIED 21ST
NOV. 1908 AND OUR DEAR FATHER MICHAEL MELIA DIED 9TH SEPT. 1943”.
2 Tombstones in nave of ruined church
17) DIXON 1953-69 – Modern stone. “KATHLEEN DIXON DIED 10TH JUNE 1953. HER HUSBAND MICHAEL (BUZZ) DIXON 26TH JULY RIP”.
18) DIXON 1973 – Modern stone. “IN LOVING MEMORY OF THOMAS DIXON
BALFEAGHAN DIED 26TH MAY 1973 AGED 62. ALSO HIS PARENTS, BROTHERS AND SISTERS RIP. ERECTED BY HIS WIFE AND FAMILY”.
3 Tablets in chancel
19) REYNOLDS 1835 – Cogan tells us in vol. 1 page 125 that at the east end of the Chancel over a Vault there is a Tablet about a yard square commemorating the early death of a young Priest Rev. Anthony Reynolds. This Vault was visited by vandals within the last couple of years and the tablet replaced crookedly. Latin inscription
as follows: Ero Mors Tua O Mors Resurrectionem Moruorum Firma Fide Expectans
Rev. Antonius Reynolds Cum Pietate Dotmitionem Accepit Saxto Idus Jan AD 1835 Annis Primae Juventutis In Literis Humanioribus Et Colendis Juventatis In Literis HumanoioribusDominum TanquamPartem
Hereditatis Suae Eligere Cupiens Collegium Manutianum Petivit Ubi Cursu Academico Magna Cum Laude Confecto Caserbotali Honore Auctus Est In Sacro Ministerio Dispensatorem Fidelem Et Operarium Inconfusibilem Laboribus Quos Indefessus Subivit Omnibus Praeseryim Pauperibus Seipsum Comprobavit
In Amore Dei Et Proximi Sic Indies Proficiens Una Cum Aliis Eximiae Pietatis Sacerdotibus Secundum Commune Propositum Jam Olim Conceptum Vivendi Rationem Ad Regulum Sanoti Vincenti A Paulo Componere Susce-Pit Vix Tamen Voti Compos Phthisi Correptus Consummatus Brevi Explevit Tempora Multa Obiit Amnos Natus 27.
Requiescat in Pace. Amen
English Translation:- I shall be thy death, O death (Referring to our Lord by his Resurrection overcoming death). Re, Anthony Reynolds expecting the Resurrection of the dead, with a firm faith accepted death with piety on Jan. AD 1835. Having been schooled in his early years and desiring to choose the Lord as the portion of his inheritance, He entered Maynooth College where having pursued his academic course with credit he was raised to the Priestly state. In the Sacred Ministry he showed himself a faithful Minister and a worker undisturbed by his unceasing labours towards all particularly the poor.
Advancing in the love of God and his neighbour, together with other priests of singular piety according to a common desire already conceived, he undertook to live according to the Rule conceived by St Vincent De Paul with
nevertheless scarcely had he taken his vows when he was stricken with tuberculosis. Having accomplished in a short time what would take much to accomplish he died aged 27. May he rest in peace. Amen.
20) – A tablet immediately over the entrance to the Vault let into the east wall under the filled-in east window which apparently originally had a metal Chalice and a wafer above it fastened to the tablet by 3 nails. Within the last couple of years vandals stole it. These sentences in Latin were discovered recently when the ivy was cut………
Qui Manducat Meum Carnem Et Bibit Meum Sanguinem
Habet Vitem Aeternam
Et Ego Resuscitabo Eum In Novissimo Die
Beati Mortui Qui in Domino Moriunter
He who eats my flesh And drinks my blood
has life eternal
And I will raise him up on the last day
Blessed are the dead who die in the lord
21) REYNOLDS 1831-39 – Avery large stone let into the east wall of Balfeaghan Church on the left side of the blocked-up east window (viewer’s left). There is a cross and IHS in a sunburst in centre top. “THIS STONE WAS ERECTED BY MICHAEL REYNOLDS TO THE MEMORY OF HIS SON CHRISTOPER REYNOLDS WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE ON THE 15TH OF MARCH 1839 AGED 12 YEARS. ALSO HIS DAUGHTER MARY REYNOLDS WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE ON THE 30TH OF AUGUST 1831 AGED 23 YEARS”.
The vandals removed 5 skeletons from the Vault but only 3 of them are recorded in the inscriptions. Cogan must have missed this tablet also. We only discovered it when a considerable amount of ivy was cut away.