The Barnwell Tomb

Barnwell tomb lusk
Barnwell tomb lusk
One of the finest medieval tombs in Europe, that of Sir Christopher Barnwell (1522–1575) and his wife Marion Sharl and is located inside the belfry of the Round Tower Church in Lusk.
Sir Christopher Barnwell is represented in a suit of Armour, his hands joined and his feet resting on the body of a greyhound. His wife, Marion Sharl, is lying beside him, her hands crossed on her breaststroke, her head resting on an embroidered pillow.
She outlived Sir Christopher and was the great grandmother of Saint Oliver Plunkett by her second marriage to Sir Lucas Dillion.
Sir Christopher’s nose has been worn away because the tomb used to be under the pulpit, it had a plank of wood placed across it which the ministers would walk over, eventually wearing down the marble.
We can look at Sir Christopher’s life again, suffice to say he was hugely popular and important in Fingal, so much so his life was eulogised in Holinshed’s Chronicles as follows:
The lantern and light as well of his house as of that part of Ireland where he dwelt,
who being sufficiently well furnished with the knowledge of the Latin tongue as of the common law of England, was zealously bent on the reformation of his country; a deep and a wise gentleman, spare of speech and therewithal pithy, wholly addicted to gravity…very upright in dealing, measuring all his affairs with the safety of conscience, as true as steel…fast to his friend, stout in a good quarrel, a great householder…of nature mild, rather choosing to pleasure where he might harm than harm where he might pleasure.

Marion Sharls second husband Sir Lucas Dillion, who is believed to have paid for the Barnwell Tomb is buried in a very similar tomb in Trim Cathedral beside his first wife in what is know locally as:

The ‘tomb of the jealous man and woman’


Sir Lucas was a jealous man, if folklore is to be believed, who suspected his wife was cheating on him. When Lady Jane died in 1581, she went on to be buried where the tomb rests today.

Sir Lucas remarried, but when he died in 1593, he was buried alongside his first wife.  Legend says that Sir Lucas arranged for a ceremonial sword to be placed between the two effigies to depict their separation for eternity. 



“Lusk through the ages” by Aidan Arnold is available from the Lusk Heritage Society for €6 and is a wonderful source of history of the town. Contact Love Lusk and we can arrange copies or from the Lusk Heritage Society.
The 'tomb of the jealous man and woman'

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