Like many other religious sites, the former Franciscan friary at Ross Errilly, County Galway continued to serve as a burial site long after it had officially been put out of commission during the 16th century Reformation. Later visitors often commented on the poorly interred bodies here: in 1851 the Rev. John Hervey Ashworth claimed he had counted no less than sixty skulls scattered about the semi-ruinous buildings (see To Walk the Studious Cloisters Pale, July 14th 2014). Today there are no corpses to be seen, but many handsome tombstones inserted into the mediaeval walls, such as the two examples seen here dating from the early 18th century.
That explains how in MR James’s story ‘The Residence at Whitminster’ the Lord Viscount Saul, son of an Irish peer in the 18th century, is said to have frequented graveyards and collected bones and the like
You encourage me to re-read MR James again as it has been a long time. I am re-reading Augustus Hare’s memoirs which are full of ghost stories and tales of the supernatural which he was told by his contemporaries. On the other hand, I am sure it was not just in Ireland that persons were known to frequent graveyards and collect bones…
The second tombstone originally was over the vault of the Lynches of Ballycarrin – the arms are those of a Tasburgh and the inscription reads-
‘The arms of ye Ancient Family of Tasburgh of Tasburgh afterwards of St Peters Hall in ye Manor of Southelham in Suffolk now of Felxton in said County. This monument was erected by Ellen Lynch daughter of Patrick Lynch of Lydican and wife of Peregrine Tasburgh who died the 5th February 1710.’
There is an interesting piece on the miracles of a Jesuit Fr. Tassburgh of the same family in “Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus historic facts …etc., by Henry Foley
Thank you for this additional, and most interesting information: I have mislaid the notes I took when at Ross Errilly so what you have provided is especially welcome.