The ‘Portlester’ Cross Shaft in 3D
Text and Model by Seán Sourke
Coghlanstown ‘Portlester’ Cross Shaft (National Monument KD029-005006-)
Located in the graveyard of the ruined medieval parish church at Coghlanstown, close to Ballymore Eustace in east County Kildare, is a broken cross shaft, possibly part of a wayside cross originally. The inscription, “Euftace Lord Portlester 1462”, refers to Roland FitzEustace’s baronial title and conferring year, but is carved in an 18th century style and, therefore, not contemporary with the shaft’s creation. Roland died in 1496 and the shaft itself is anachronistic relative to his floruit. The lettering style of the original (now illegible) inscription on the projecting collar, the fluting on the shaft, and the overall form, all indicate a late 16th or early 17th century creation date. The shaft has four shields, three of which contain heraldic carvings. The crowned south shield is more prominent and angular compared to the others. It is original and possibly represents the Eustace family coat of arms. This family was prominent in medieval Leinster, as evidenced by the name of the nearby village, Ballymore Eustace. The shaft in its present state is something of an enigma. It is inappropriately cemented into a medieval font. A model of Roland’s effigial memorial can be viewed here: The Portlester Effigy
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