Grange Abbey

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"Grange Abbey"
(Chapel of the Grange of Baldoyle, a holding of the Priory of All Hallows)
53°23′57″N 6°09′38″W / 53.399075°N 6.160429°W / 53.399075; -6.160429Coordinates: 53°23′57″N 6°09′38″W / 53.399075°N 6.160429°W / 53.399075; -6.160429
LocationDonaghmede, Dublin (formerly Baldoyle)
CountryIreland
Architecture
StatusDisused since 17th century, ruined
Completed14th century?
Specifications
Length13.7m
Width4.8m
 
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"Grange Abbey"
(Chapel of the Grange of Baldoyle, a holding of the Priory of All Hallows)
53°23′57″N 6°09′38″W / 53.399075°N 6.160429°W / 53.399075; -6.160429Coordinates: 53°23′57″N 6°09′38″W / 53.399075°N 6.160429°W / 53.399075; -6.160429
LocationDonaghmede, Dublin (formerly Baldoyle)
CountryIreland
Architecture
StatusDisused since 17th century, ruined
Completed14th century?
Specifications
Length13.7m
Width4.8m

Grange Abbey is a ruined chapel on the former Grange of Baldoyle lands, now in Donaghmede, in the townland of Baldoyle, at the northern edge of Dublin city, Ireland.

History[edit]

The Priory of All Hallows (or All Saints) was founded by the King of Leinster, Diarmuid MacMurrough, in 1166 just outside Dublin city, and to support it he gifted to the Bishop of Louth the lands of Baldoyle with their existing tenants[1] (and it is later noted that the priory had the rights to wrecks on the Baldoyle coast also). The priory is noted as still holding a Grange at Baldoyle in 1275 and while no early reference to a chapel or church is made, it would have been common for a monastic holding to have some such facility. One writer on the topic, Mac Giolla Phadraig, calculated, based on architecture, that the building might date from the late 13th or early 14th century.[2]

The first explicit reference to the chapel dates from 1369, noting that the Lord Deputy of Ireland held a Parliament in "the Church of the Grange" then. A further reference is made in 1472, when a John Sherreff of Howth left money to the churches at Coolock, Raheny and "Little Grange."[2]

When the Irish Reformation was followed by monastic property seizures, the "Grange of Baldowill" was assessed, and granted, in 1539, to the Corporation of Dublin as part of the property of All Saints.[2] The small church was repaired, by Thomas Fitzsimons, the tenant of the Grange, and others, in 1609, and had a curate in 1615. In 1630, the archiepiscopal visitation reported that the church was ruined, only bare walls remaining, and there were no Protestants in the parish, although there was still an assigned curate - and the tenant still collected tithes, while also allowing Mass to be said in his house.[3]

Renewal of the lease of the Grange was sought in 1630 and granted by Dublin Corporation in 1638, but there is no mention of any repair to the chapel, and in 1675, the curacy of Baldoyle was merged into the parish of Howth.[3]

The chapel is mentioned again from the mid-19th century, as a picturesque ruin, abandoned (without tithes), on the grounds of Grange Lodge, Baldoyle, the whole civil parish still being the property of Dublin Corporation.[4]

Development of the lands, still mostly municipal property, began in the late 1960s, with the construction of modern roads and housing, but the chapel was protected. Grange House was demolished in 1972, and its yards and gardens removed. The rubble of the house was used to fill the last of its fish ponds.

Status[edit]

Grange Abbey is a National Monument [5]

Naming[edit]

No dedication for the chapel is now known, nor is it known when what might properly perhaps be called "Grange Chapel" became "Grange Abbey."[1]

Structure[edit]

The rectangular stone building, aligned east of north east, measures 13.7m by 4.8m internally, and the four walls are intact to a height of about 2.4m. The surviving stone comprises uncoursed limestone masonry, with dressed limestone quoins. There was no separation of nave and chancel. A path leads to a northern doorway (the southern doorway is blocked), and there is a fine two-section west window, the central portion of which is restoration work, while there is also a partially restored eastern two-section window. There are aumbries on each side, and a small basin at the eastern end of the southerly wall. There are also two gravestones inside.

Restoration works[edit]

Restoration work was performed on the chapel in the mid-1980s by AnCO, the then national training State body.

Archaeological works[edit]

An excavation within the chapel itself was performed in 1986, to prepare for conservation including flooring work, and including study of ground materials. One conclusion was that the original levels of the doorways would have been at least 35cm lower than now. Many fragments of bone were found, but had been much disturbed over time. Two phases of construction, and of burial prior to the erection of the eastern wall were conjectured. A few sherds of 13th century pottery, believed to be of local manufacture, were also found, indicating some human activity at the site in that period.[6] An excavation of part of the church site was carried out in 1999, in connection with M50 link road works, and found light traces of Grange of Baldoyle or later estate works, including domestic refuse pits and a 1.1m wide wall, and remains of a long stone drain, and small stone "water house" probably containing controls for water flow into fish ponds which existed adjacent until at least the 19th century, with at least one surviving until 1972. As noted, the last pond was filled with rubble from Grange House and when this was studied, a hoard of 41 gold sovereigns, dating from 1817 to 1830, was found.[7] The stone drain probably drew water from the Grange Stream, a Mayne River tributary that runs just south of the site (the stream is now culverted).

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mac Giolla Phadraig, Brian, "Grange Abbey, Baldoyle." Dublin, Old Dublin Society, "Dublin Historical Record" vol. 20, no. 3/4 (June - Sept. 1965), p. 129
  2. ^ a b c Mac Giolla Phadraig, Brian, "Grange Abbey, Baldoyle." Dublin, Old Dublin Society, "Dublin Historical Record" vol. 20, no. 3/4 (June - Sept. 1965), p. 130
  3. ^ a b Mac Giolla Phadraig, Brian, "Grange Abbey, Baldoyle." Dublin, Old Dublin Society, "Dublin Historical Record" vol. 20, no. 3/4 (June - Sept. 1965), p. 131
  4. ^ Mac Giolla Phadraig, Brian, "Grange Abbey, Baldoyle." Dublin, Old Dublin Society, "Dublin Historical Record" vol. 20, no. 3/4 (June - Sept. 1965), p. 132
  5. ^ Archaeological Survey of Ireland, : DU015-069-001 (Church) and DU015-069002 (surrounding graveyard, now landscaped)
  6. ^ Database of Irish Excavation Reports: Dublin 1986:22, retrieved from www.excavations.ie 21/11/2011
  7. ^ Database of Irish Excavation Reports: Dublin 1999:160, retrieved from www.excavations.ie 21/11/2011

Sources[edit]