Re: Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

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@Punchbowl wrote:

I also look forward to what surprises present themselves as you make your way down the street, particularly at the old site of the original ‘James Gate’ and along the route of the old city wall at Cornmarket

Thank you very much. We will be very careful at these locations for obvious reasons – also there is a former watercourse (the Glib Water I think) at James’ Gate which is of great interest, and some human remains were found by workmen in front of St. Catherine’s church in 1973-4 so that’s another area of high potential.

@Punchbowl wrote:

That metal surface outside the church is very interesting. What’s your feeling on what it is?

A ‘metalled’ surface is the somewhat confusing name archaeologists give to a densely packed surface of small stones, like gravel, often pushed into clay. This metalled surface comprises two stretches of sloping metalling 400mm-780mm below existing pavement level laid directly over natural clay subsoil. The surface stretches E-W over c. 36m across the frontages of Nos. 119, 120 and St. James’ CoI Church (now Lighting World), and is truncated at No. 124 to the West (presumably by late Georgian basements).

Surfaces like this are difficult to date: there was nothing underneath it, and it is the earliest feature found by us on James’ Street so far. It is truncated by a possible late-18th century pit and numerous 19th century services, a few sherds of North Devon Gravel-Tempered Ware (c. 1630-1730) were found lying on top of it, and it predates the late Georgian streetscape as indicated by the level of the coal cellar crown identified outside No. 130 James’ Street.

The most interesting thing about the metalled surface is that it appears to incorporate an access of some sort at a locally high point leading northwards off James’ Street approximately towards the existing gates of CoI church. As noted the surface is probably earlier than the 1860 church and thus is associated with something that was there before. It is the site of one of the oldest churches and graveyards in Dublin – St. James’, which later gave its name to the street, and in the medieval period it was a point on the European pilgrimage circuit. We may expose more of the surface after Christmas.

Location of surface: Western Extent: 313952.425E, 233917.780N, 16.352 OD (truncated at this point to W). Eastern extent: 313989.280E, 233921.733N, 16.124 OD (may extend further East)

@Punchbowl wrote:

… although I presume being a former pub that there was a cellar there at some point, which may explain the shards of red brick I saw. Delighted the slabs are being looked after too

@gunter wrote:

There was no basement at the off-licence [41 James Street], nor apparently at the houses to the west, now a taxi office, leading to the suspicion that this section of James Street may have been originally occupied by ‘weaver’ type houses which, unlike most other brick built houses of the period, characteristically didn’t have cellars.

I didn’t find any evidence for basements in front of No. 41 (Next Door) and to the best of my knoweldge the modern shop has no access to a basement level, so you are probably right about this Guntar. I did find the backfilled open air basement-level areas in front of No. 43 and adjacent plot to the west (possibly not No.42) so this plot did have a basement; the current building (Spic & Span) is later however and the original building seems to have had a slightly different footprint. These basement areas are depicted on the 1910 25” OS Map, and a tiny part of the original building of No. 43 appears to survive in an odd curving feature inside a corner to the west of the modern building.

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