Margaret Gowen and Co. Ltd., Rath House, Ferndale Road, Rathmichael, Co. Dublin, is a professional archaeological company founded in the early 1980s. The company has carried out a number of archaeological excavations and development-led investigations arising from the requirements of development control and planning process, in line with legal provisions of the Planning and Development Acts (2000) and the National Monuments Acts (1930-2004) and Amendments Acts.
The Mother Redcap's Market Collection is one of many site archives that has been generated through these development-led excavations.
A phase of assessment took place in the large spaces which until recently were occupied by Mother Redcap’s Market and pub. The testing phase under discussion took place in July 2006 and consisted of the mechanical excavation of sixteen trenches, located all over the market/pub complex and in an adjacent yard. Five main foci of activity were identified: the Hiberno-Norse defensive bank, medieval cultivation, with structural evidence on the Back Lane frontage, general post-medieval occupation and the Kildare Hall complex.
The redeposited material making up the Hiberno-Norse bank was located in each of the four trenches excavated against the Lamb Alley It appears that the bank must have had a topographical presence in the back of property plots fronting Back Lane well into the post-medieval period; the absence of any evidence for building in the area is possibly a function of the localised rise in ground level and this may well explain why the market floor is raised above the level of the street at Back Lane.
Medieval deposits were located more towards the Back Lane frontage. The most extensive medieval deposits were recorded in Trench 21.
Post-medieval deposits generally occurred almost directly underneath the present site surface and consisted of demolition debris that sealed cultivated garden soils. The latter contained the characteristic indicators of such material, frequent inclusions of minute fragments of pottery, marine shell and charcoal. There was some evidence where clear profiles were obtained of more cultivated soils towards the upper levels, suggesting a period when the ground may not have been built upon.
Kildare Hall, the Jesuit chapel, novitiate and college was opened on the site in 1628. The archaeological evidence for the complex of structures consisted of fragments of brick walls located in several trenches across the site. The brick was in all cases fired to a bright buff hue. No fixtures or fittings associated with a religious institution were recovered from the trenches and pits. The pottery recovered from the area did not suggest a high-status structure on the site during this period.
The results of the various archaeological investigations undertaken in the Mother Redcap’s complex provide a simple set of levels indicating the uppermost levels of archaeological deposits. Unusually, Hiberno-Norse levels are present along the Lamb Alley frontage higher than the upper levels of medieval activity elsewhere on the site. This is due to the fact that the defensive bank, which enclosed the settlement on its western side, is present beneath the foundations of the City Wall along Lamb Alley and lies very close to the present ground surface. The medieval deposits appear to consist of cultivated garden soils; however, along the Back Lane frontage structural evidence, in the form of what appeared to be an in situ timber ground beam, was recorded. The wall fronting Lamb Alley does not appear to have medieval fabric, apart from one location in Trench 16. The external appearance of the wall or walls attests to their being of 18th or 19th century date; the wall, however, follows the line of the medieval town wall and can be considered its notional extension. Of particular note is a high area of potentially very sensitive archaeology, towards the centre of the site in Trench 24. This is the result of the survival of a red-brick wall, which more than likely constitutes evidence for Kildare Hall. The distinctive handmade brick has been identified in other trenches across the site. In Trench 17 what appears to be a latrine shaft was found, which originally discharged out through the city wall at a point below the present pavement level.
Archival History ↴
Transferred by Margaret Gowen and Co. Ltd. To Dublin City Archives, 18 September 2009
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: Margaret Gowen and Company ↴
This collection contains archaeological excavation records from the site Mother Redcap’s Market, Francis Street, Dublin 8, by Franc Myles.
Includes:correspondence, planning material, administrative material, reports, research, maps, drawings, plans and CDs.
Appraisal Destruction ↴
Collection processed and box lists created by Niamh Collins. Arranged according to document type.
Conditions of Access & Use
Available to view by public who apply for research card in Dublin City Library and Archive Reading Room, 138-144 Pearse street, Dublin 2
Conditions Governing Reproduction
The terms of the Copyright and Related Acts (2000) allows DCLA to provide photocopies of material for research purposes only. Publication by written permission from Margaret Gowen and Company only.
Material Language Script
Box list available on DCAA Database in Dublin City Library and Archive Reading Room.
Archive Web Link →