Secret Histories: The Hidden Archaeology of the Graveyards of Killora & Killogilleen, Craughwell, Co. Galway
Secret The hidden archaeology of the graveyards of Killora & Histories: Killogilleen, Craughwell, Co. GalwayRobert M Chapple
What I want to do:examine a number of quantifiable elements of gravestone morphology:
Going deeper ...Look at the apparent sexual and family politics of commemoration.1) the problem of a male/female dynamic in commemorative practice2) the social question of the family relationships between the deceased and the individual commissioning the memorial
In the beginning ...March 1995 to October 1997Craughwell Community Council and FÁSJob description: monitor cutting back of overgrowth and the trimming of ivy at Killora & Killogilleen.Also produced two books of gravestone inscriptions
A little bit of history ...Killora and Killogilleen: typical of small Irish Medieval churches. As such, they represent the two chief, traditional burial grounds for the modern ecclesiastical parish of Craughwell and Ballymanagh.
Killora & Killogilleen standing remains appear to date to the late 15th to early 16th centuries evidence for construction and alteration from at least the late 12th to early 13th centuries
KilloraName: Cill Eóra (Church of St Eora) or Cill Óthra (church of prayers)Earliest reference: 1333 (AFM records death of Archdeacon of Killora – disputed)1586: taxed at £1 6s 8d1588: lands leased to Bryan Fitzwilliams1593: lands leased to John Lye1625-49: sold to Robert Blake for £51661: sold to John Eyre
KillogilleenPapal letters of Innocent VIIIMarch 27th 1491: vacancy in the Canonry at Killogilleen. Dispute: On the death of the perpetual vicar (Geoffery Ocuan) lands illegally taken over by Florence OgerbaynFebruary 18th 1492: Florence & his brother (William) get Papal sanction to unite Killogilleen with the vicarage of Kilchreest.Name: the church of the O’Killeens
The gravestonesKillora: 181 gravestones.Directly dated examples: 1619 to1987.Killogilleen: 119 gravestones.Directly dated examples: 1654 to 1995.55 stones removed, leaving a corpus of 245, on which the analyses are basedSome removed: because they did not contain an extant or legible date sufficient to categorise them by decade.As the survival rate of the earliest gravestones is somewhat sporadic, three further stones which date to before the 1740s were not included
Problems & caveatsAccurately assess the decade of constructionfrequent delay in the erection of the gravestone after the initial burial.Reasons: Financial Engineering - ensuring that the earth has sufficiently settled to prevent the stone sinking or toppling forward
Gravestone may include a date of erection below the commemorative text - 14 recorded instances (6%) from 1795 to 1865.One stone bears the same date for both erection and the primary memorial, the average hiatus is 9.43 years with a maximum gap of 23 years.Usually construction date was deduced from the primary inscription. 90 cases (37%) commemorated a single individualMajority: estimation based on the analysis carving techniques etc. and on the order of commemoration.
Total number of stones (all types) erected by decade
Differences Killora is characterised by a rising series of peaks during the 1810s, 1870s and 1970s
Differences Killora is characterised by a rising series of peaks during the 1810s, 1870s and 1970s with corresponding lulls in usage during the 1840s and 1930s
Differences Although Killogilleen displays a similar peak during the 1970s, the primary period of grave marker erection appears in the 1790s and is relatively sustained until the 1830s, falling off sharply after this pointIt is in this relict framework of gravestone erection and survival thatthe rising and waning of individual styles and fashions in popularreligion and culture must be observed
Killora & Killogilleen are broadly similar to other parts of Ireland where the use of durable grave-markers did not begin to flourish until the 17th century, with a marked expansion during the first half of the 18th centuryThe reasons for this sudden increase in grave marker production may be related to a number of factors, including the burgeoning of a relatively affluent middle-class of local merchants, craftsmen, farmers etc., keen to display their wealth and importance in long-lasting, public forms.
Recumbent slabs & table tombssharp increase in their use in the period after 1760, culminating in the 1770s & falling off sharply in the 1780s-1790s (though still comprising c.50% of all monuments erected)
Recumbent slabs & table tombsThe 1800s saw a resurgence in popularity for the type, with a steady decline over following decades
HeadstonesKillogilleen: headstones are a (relatively) constant feature 1740s-1980sKillora: only effectively appearing during the 1820s & rise to domination
Rubrics (introductory phrases) Just like any other aspect of mortuary practice, these phrases go through phases of popularity and decline
‘Pray for the soul of’ first appears: 1750s, disappearing in the following decade before rising in popularity until the 1790s – decline after. Minor resurgence: 1860s to 1920s.
‘Sacred heart of Jesus have mercy on the soul of’: 1900 to 1920.
‘Sacred to the memory of’: 1870s to 1900s‘Erected by’: falls out of use: 1840s & 1950sPopular from 1770s to the 1960s.
Erected byby implication, commemorates less the deceased in favour of the individual responsible for commissioning the memorial
‘now these points of data make a beautiful line … ‘Lord have mercy on the soul of’: from 1790s, to 1920s, with a peak in the 1840s ‘In loving memory’: 1870s to 1980s.
IHS variously interpreted as Iesous a rendering of the Greek orthography for ‘Jesus’, Iesus Hominum Salvator (Jesus, saviour of mankind) or In Hoc Signo [Vince] (In this sign, conquer) easily the most popular single ideogram represented- occurs in various styles on some 151 examples (62%)
continuing popularity from the 1760s until its sudden decline in the 1870s.
two graveyards show markedly different distributions of the symbol.Killora: defined peaks during the 1770s, 1840s and 1910s.
Killogilleen: remained highly popular from the 1770s to the 1860s with a secondary peak culminating during the 1930s and 1940s.
Changes to the IHS formIHS with a cross (usually springing from the cross-bar of the ‘H’) first appeared in the 1760s and enjoyed a high popularity until the 1860s
‘IHS’ monogram with a cross where the ‘I’ was carved in the form of a ‘J’ appeared during the 1810s, peaking during the 1840s
plain form of the monogram (without a cross) – introduced: 1860s, peaked: 1890s and 1940s.
Entwined IHS: introduced 1880s, with peaks in the 1920s and 1940s.
The omega Ω Omega: most popular of the shapes used for the cross-bar of the H in the ‘IHS monogram. Omega may be construed as a symbol of death or memento mori.Represented on 25 gravestones (17%).Introduced: 1780sMost popular: 1810s.Decline: 1820s-1830sRevival: 1850s.
VariationOccasionally the omega is inverted, so that the ‘loop’ is open towards the top
Does it have a meaning?Speculation: may be a deconstruction of a death symbol - turning it into a symbol of life and resurrection.
Does it have a meaning?Speculation: may be a deconstruction of a death symbol - turning it into a symbol of life and resurrection.Any evidence?
Does it have a meaning?Speculation: may be a deconstruction of a death symbol - turning it into a symbol of life and resurrection.Any evidence? … maybeAnalogy: in Medieval sculpture dragons and other mythical and monstrous beasts are used as emblems of Satan, but are shown with knotted tails, indicating that they have been defeated by Christianity.
Carving at St. Nicholas Collegiate Church, Galway (15th Century)Inversion of monster shows same process:Red Crosse Knight Slaying the Dragon - Illustration from "The Fairie Queen" (1590)
St George & the Dragon by Gustave Moreau 19th century French Symbolist painter 19th/20th century illustration
21st century …Primeval TV show on ITV! 19th/20th century illustration
HeartsThe use of hearts has a long history within Christian symbolism as a whole. Plain, upright heart. Popular from 1780s to 1940s, peaking in the 1880s and 1890s.
Later ones: frequently cut in high relief and display additional attributes including bands of thorns, gushing blood and puncture wounds to the heart.This particular evolution of form may be as much the result of changes in fashion as developments in carving techniques and technology.
Inverted heartsThe form enjoyed popularity from the 1780s to 1850s, especially at either end of the period.
The symbol is most often found appended beneath the cross-bar of the ‘H’ in the ‘IHS’ monogram
The symbol may be interpreted as an image of death, similar to the use of the omega.Occasionally, the inverted heart occurs in conjunction with theinverted omega.Exact meaning of this combination is (at best) obscure.
Hearts have largely gone out of fashion.Today: frequently incorporated into representations of Christ.
Flowers (various forms) relatively rare & infrequent.Found from 1790s to 1940s.
Flower as a symbol of resurrectionKillora cemetery - arrangement of the symbols presents an explicit narrative of journey from death to resurrection.
Symbol of death or ‘memento mori’ (a skull and cross-bones)the ‘last day’ (Archangel Michael with a trumpet)
Judgement (a set of scales)Salvation (rosette)
Central panel represents heaven? IHS & cross: Jesus Cherubim Hand with key: St. PeterDecorative border: the wall around heaven (?)Revelations 21: 144 cubits high (roughly 216 feet)
Just a little aside ... This stone: dedicated to Patrick Cloonan & erected in 1839 Weighing of souls (Psychostasis): East Side of the Muiredachs Cross, Monasterboice, County Louth (900-923 AD)
West tympanum of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (1163-1250).Origin? … Egyptian theology? … the heart weighed against the feather Maat
A few words about peacocks … Ancient belief that the flesh of the peafowl did not decay – led to an association with immortality – adopted in Early Christianity
Happy families?165 memorials (67.35%) give details of family relationships between the deceased and the commissioner of the monumentSons for parents (29.70%) Wives for husbands (20.60%)Husbands for wives (9.70%) Fathers for children (8.48%)Daughters for parents (8.48%) Families as a group for parents (6.06%)
These figures are not static through time, but display marked changes.Detailing of family relationships is absent before the 1780s, at which point sons begin to be included in the inscriptions commemorating parents. Peaked: 1790s. Popular (if in decline) until 1880s.
First instance of a daughter commemorating her parents did not occur until the 1830s. Increasing until the 1910s (reached a level comparable with the numbers of sons commissioning monuments).
Husbands commemorating wives : intermittent dedications from the 1780s to 1980sWives commemorating husbands: did not start until the 1800s, is much higher, peaking in the 1890s.
Expectation:The chief group responsible for the erection of stones should be a close second generation relative, such as a son or daughter.True for sons commissioning monuments for parents (29.7%).But daughters comprise only the fourth largest named group (8.48%).This is at variance with what should be expected if we are to presume a roughly 50:50 male/female split in the population.
But why?We should see these figures as evidence of the perceived demands of graveyard (and societal) propriety where the eldest surviving son (or sons) was expected to shoulder the financial/organisational, burden of commemoration.Simple advantages: choice of sculptor; type/variety of symbols usedopportunity to have their own names included on the inscription.
But why?More complex benefits: public display of family continuityDisplay of continued wealth and prestige on the parochial stage.Economically: eldest son is most likely to inherit the bulk of the family property & therefore the one expected to commemorate the deceased.In this way, the act of commemoration of one’s parents (in particular one’s father) becomes a very public statement that the role of head of the family had passed to the next generation.
Problems with this approachUndoubted ‘stylistic’ element: times when such inscriptions were considered appropriateOther factors:relative ages of husbands to wives (older males predeceased their spouses)mothers dying in childbirthfamilies which produced no issue, or only female children.
A different approach ...The order in which the names of the deceased are placed within the inscriptions.109 gravestones (44.49%) list a husband and a wife.Of these, 81 (74.31%) list the deceased in the order in which they died: husband predeceasing the wife (67 cases, 61.47%); wife predeceasing the husband (13 cases, 12.84%).
Minor component: female who predeceased her husband is listed after him (13 cases). Sporadically from the 1860s to 1980sGaps between deaths: four days to 36 years.
Where a wife predeceased her husband (but is listed after him) – was there no personal property available to be inherited by the next generation? … any private property went to the surviving husband.Result: no change in the fiscal power within the family structure.It would make greatest financial and social sense to wait until the (male) head of the family died before commissioning a memorial to them both.
In the 13 cases where wives predeceased their husbands and are listed chronologically within the inscription, all but one post-dates the 1900s.The single example from the 1830s was erected by the daughter of the family – significant?
Numbers of gravestones commemorating one individual only … with the exception of the 1900s more men than women received stones … what does it say about how women were valued in rural Ireland from the 1750s to the 1980s?
The theme of family power and precedence are also reflected in the non-chronological ordering of children in relation to their parents.21 instances (8.57%) where children who predeceased one or both parents are placed lower on the inscription than would be from a simple list.These are considered as ‘internal relatives’, such as sons, daughters and grandchildren – part of the lineal descent of the family.
There are a further 4 cases (1.63%) where ‘external relatives’ (i.e. uncles, aunts, brothers- and sisters- in-law etc. of the commissioners) predeceased the primary individual, but are listed in a secondary position.
It should be noted that this is the only position in which predeceased children are commemorated, there being no instance where a predeceased child is listed before its parents.There is only one stone within the two graveyards where a child alone is commemorated. The stone is particularly small (0.93m high x 0.51m wide) and commemorates Francy Cawley (d. 1884, age 4 years). It may be significant that of all the stones analysed, this is the only one to include a verse.
Worth a mention ...with the exception of the previous case; the three individuals who died in the 1970s & one grandchild from the 1940s, all the predeceased children were juveniles to mature adults, whose ages range from 8 to 32, (average: 20.42 years).Probably a significant portion of the local dead (from post- baptismal infants to young juveniles) are wholly unrepresented within the until the 1940s at the very earliest.Those who are, are relegated to a secondary position within the inscriptions.
Final thoughts and conclusionsObserved a rural community whose conscious and unconscious actions in choosing gravestones betrays some of their ideas & concerns about how they perceive the workings of intra-family power and organisation, and indeed what constitutes the family in the first place.
Structure: father as head of the family, with wife and children taking up secondary roles.Family: clearly defined as a nuclear, linear unit where uncles, aunts, and various in-laws, or ‘external relations’ are accorded commemoration, but in a position inferior to the perceived head of the family and its core of ‘internal relations’ (as viewed by the commissioning individual!).Change: From the beginning of the 20th century, we see a slow democratisation entering (but not eclipsing) this view of the traditional family structure - predeceased wives accorded the primary position within the inscriptions.
Study of decoration: image of how individuals saw themselves within their communities.My argument: examination of non-chronological ordering within inscriptions allows us to see into local society.Also: how individual families saw themselves and how they understood their internal organisation and power structures - something that other avenues of research are largely unable to!While this trend towards non-chronological ordering of the inscription is a very minor element of the corpus as a whole, it still warrants further investigation to establish its wider temporal and physical distribution.
Publications on the subject:1995 The Church of Prayers: gravestone inscriptions from the graveyard of Killora, Craughwell, Co. Galway.1997 Cillogcillín: gravestone inscriptions from the graveyard of Killogilleen, Craughwell, Co. Galway.2000 ‘A statistical analysis and preliminary classification of gravestones from Craughwell, Co. Galway’ in Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 52, pp. 155-71.2011 ‘Rules, Rubrics and Relations: The conscious and subconscious construction of family structures and public images through gravestone art in Craughwell, Co. Galway, Republic of Ireland’ Academia.edu
www.academia.edu email@example.comThank you all for listening!!!!
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