Power, prayer & public archaeology: A conference in celebration of 750 years since the foundation of the Black Friary

This conference took place on July 2nd & 3rd 2013 and included a launch event addressing the Albert Kahn Collection the Photographs of Ireland in 1913, and four sessions on archaeology and community heritage.

The conference aimed to explore the archaeology and material culture of Religious Houses in late medieval Europe, through innovative approaches to new stories. Take a look at our session schedule here: Conference Programme

Through interdisciplinary approaches, speakers addressed how the introduction of continental monastic orders impacted locally on social order, material culture, economy, burial practice, and the role of men, women and children.

Themes included European-wide research, Ireland-focused studies, architectural style and technologies and a focus on the Black Friary Dominican site in Trim Co. Meath as a case study. The latter included papers on community and public archaeology, an integral part of the Black Friary Archaeology Project, and a presentation from community representatives.

The need for this conference arose from the work being carried out at the Black Friary Community Archaeology Project. This project is centerd on the late medieval site of the Dominican Black Friary in Trim. The Friary, established in 1263, was the third friary established in Trim but was situated outside the town wall, on the north-east side of the town. The friary was in use for over 400 years, but following the Dissolution, it fell into disrepair, disuse, and was eventually sold off for stone.  There is some documentary evidence that tells us when it was established, and by whom (Geoffrey de Geneville), and that it was in important site, hosting a number of significant historical events but beyond that we know very little about the site, the friars that lived there, and what role the friary played in on the town.

This conference was valuable for all involved in exchanging evidence and ideas from recent and ongoing studies, and in engaging the community in archaeological and historical research. The presentations given will inform the research programme of the ongoing excavations at Black Friary and broaden our understanding of the nature of religious houses during the late medieval period, and their roles in towns such as Trim.

Geoffrey de Geneville

Geoffrey De Geneville, Seigneur of Vaucouleurs, married Maud or Matilda de Lacy in 1252.   Matilda had inherited, from her grandfather Hugh de Lacy, vast estates and lordships in Ireland, Herefordshire, and the Welsh Marches. Henry III granted Geoffrey and Maud, and their heirs rights in the land of Meath held by her grandfather, by charter dated 8th August 1252.

The conference will be held in the medieval town of Trim, Co. Meath, home to the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, and situated on the banks of the River Boyne.

Image from: Great Charter Roll of Waterford (1372), courtesy of Waterford Museum of Treasures

Supported by:

Heritage Council Logo

MCC Logo