Catholic Burial as Native Resistance in Post-Dissolution Ireland

Author(s): Rachel Scott; Finola O'Carroll

Year: 2015


The Dominican friary in Trim, County Meath, Ireland, was founded in AD 1263 by Geoffrey de Geneville, Lord of Trim. An important religious center, the Black Friary was used for burial during the late Middle Ages both by the Dominican friars and by lay individuals living around the town. In 1540, as part of the dissolution of the monasteries, the commissioners of King Henry VIII suppressed the friary and sold its lands, buildings, and goods. However, although the site no longer possessed formal religious status, local Catholics still believed it to be holy ground and continued to inter their dead within the church and cemetery. In this paper, we consider the practice of post-Dissolution burial at the Black Friary, arguing that it not only reflected the deep attachment of the Catholic population to ancestral burial places but also constituted a form of native resistance to the imposition of English government and Protestant religion. Indeed, the right to burial in holy ground with appropriate funerary rituals later became a touchstone for Irish nationalism in the 18th and 19th centuries. The evidence for resistance at the Black Friary and similar sites thus foreshadows the contentious political and religious landscape of modern Ireland.

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Catholic Burial as Native Resistance in Post-Dissolution Ireland. Rachel Scott, Finola O'Carroll. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398158)

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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;