Kilfane Church & Cantwell Fada ...

Kilfane Church
This 13th century church, now in ruins, has an adjoining castellated presbytery or stone house. There are traces of the original consecration crosses to be seen, the ogee headed doorways, remains of the altar, sedilia and book rest. In addition, the church has an adjoining original 3-storey fortified presbytery and bell tower worthy of exploration. Inside the ruined church on the North Wall is the effigy of a Norman Knight in full armour - a Cantwell warrior. It is referred to as Cantwell Fada and this effigy is the tallest of its kind in Britain or Ireland. The Cantwell?s were Lords of Kilfane and adjoining areas from shortly after the arrival of the Normans to the confiscations following the Confederation. The effigy is carved from a single slab of limestone. The knight wears a suit of chain mail. His legs are crossed, the right leg over the left, believed to show that he was a participant in the crusades. In the left hand is carried a large shield bearing the arms of the Cantwell family.

Cantwell fada
It is believed to represent Thomas de Cantwell (d. 1319), a Cambro-Norman adventurer who became Lord of Kilfane. The stone effigy is thought to originally have been a sarcophagus slab which has since been set upright against an inner wall of the church. The effigy was buried for a while in the 19th century but was dug up again. When the church was re-used as a school in the 19th century bad boys were made to kiss the stony lips of 'Long Cantwell' as a punishment. The statue represents a noted example of such art achieved by the Normans prior to a cultural and economic decline marked by the Bruce invasion and the arrival of Black Death.

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