Masons of Ardmore

Front face of the headstone

A visit by Simon Dowling to Ardmore graveyard in 2015 resulted in a remarkable discovery. A small, plain grave marker turned out to be highly decorated but difficult to read. Simon is a pioneering digital heritage recorder  and his photogrammetrical model of the stone showed five figures on the back of the stone and four on the front face.

We read the headstone in the following manner. The front face is divided into two sections for two people. They are self-titled Masons of Ardmore and their full names are not given, initials only. DW and LW. DW was aged (adged) 50 and his compatriot, LW, was aged 22/4 (?) years. There are Walshes in Ardmore parish and there are Whelan's too, albeit in smaller numbers. Also the combination of David and Walsh has been found in Waterford for many generations, so that is my current preference for deciphering the initials.

As yet we can read no date on either face but it could represent two stone masons, family members who were active in building works in Ardmore. Without dates we cannot easily hypothesise sequence and timing of D and L's deaths; did they die at the same time, or was the stone simply erected to commemorate them both after the second gent died?

At a guess, based on the nature of the carved figures, and the letter carving, the stone dates to the 1700s.