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Day 17 – Drogheda Token Found

There was great excitement on the site when Stefán unearthed a coin, a Drogheda Token (c.1650–70), while cleaning the upper surface of the south barn wall. A phone call to Kieran Campbell filled us in on the historical context of their use in post-Cromwellian Ireland. The kiln is no more and a stony surface underneath the kiln, which was cut by a medieval furrow, may be prehistoric. A sample from the ‘socket’ was taken for potential dating material. It was great to see archaeologists Laureen and Victor Buckley again following Victors’ recent illness and he was a good sport to look at our clay pipe collection. Our old friends Hugh, Catherine with their daughter Eve came to offer their services today and helped bring down another baulk so we could see more of the barn wall. Local composer Michael Holahan came to view the dig as did Maria and Peadar, alumni of St Patrick’s College (now DCU).

View of the ‘socket’ below the barn wall.

Bea McCullen with the flint she found whilst sieving the fill of the medieval drain. As shown by Bea’s T-shirt from 2019, she has been an important part of the excavation team for much of her young life.

Crowds gather around Stefaán (top left, in a blue mask) moments after he discovered the seventeenth-century Drogheda trade token. Stefán won find of the day honours (photo by Mick Mongey).

The seventeenth-century Drogheda trade token (photo by Mick Mongey). According to Gerard Rice, ‘The seventeenth-century tokens of county Louth’, Journal of the County Louth Archaeological and Historical Society 20 (1984), pp 297–313, @ p. 308, Hugh Fowkes was admitted a freeman of the fraternity of smiths in 1658. He was a glazier by trade. He acquired property in West Street (by 1666) and near the Guild Hall by 1678 but in 1663 was living in a one-hearth house in an unknown part of the town. His wife’s name was Charity. His family was born between 1665 and 1677. He was one of the overseers of St Peter’s parish in 1678. He died in 1687 and there is no further mention of him or of his family in the Drogheda records. His token is known from two different but closely related dies which have the Fowkes coat of arms, a claim perhaps to relationship with Col John Fowkes military governor of Drogheda in 1650 whose funeral entry contains a related coat of arms. Dr Tate, the vicar of St Peters, who died in 1660 was married to a Fowkes, perhaps a sister of Hugh for she had the same arms as appear on the token.

Mary and Gerry have been uncovering the corner of the barn near to the service tower. They seem to be enjoying their experience.

Victor Buckley examines our seventeenth and eighteenth-century clay pipes.

Eve shows us her Instax photo of the site.

Hugh and Catherine (parents of Eve) did a great job on the wall. At top right the stone scatter under the kiln (now gone) can be seen.

Osteoarchaeologist Laureen Buckley (left) was one of today’s distinguished visitors. Here she is seen with co-director Geraldine.

Alison Comyn wrote another fine piece on the Beaubec excavations for the Drogheda Independent. This one brings DI readers up to date with the latest from the dig.

Tara and Alex brought down a basket of sweets and cakes provided by three Ohioan volunteers. It was nice of them to think of us (photo by Grace McCullen).

Published by Matthew Stout

Lecturer, School of History and Geography, St Patrick's Campus, DCU

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