Cantwell Knight

18 Sep

The Cantwell Knight displayed at the National Museum of Ireland, in my opinion, was one of the most alluring artifacts there. Exhibited was a life size plaster cast of an effigy of a knight.  The knight stands at just over eight feet tall, said to be one of the tallest carvings of a knight from the fourteenth century, and is holding a shield (apparently bearing the family’s arms) while wearing chain mail that is covered by a sloth coat.  The effigy was made from one very large piece of limestone and many historians believe the knight was a crusader due to the positioning of the body especially because the legs were crossed (Cantwell Fada, Atlas Obscura).

The figure is said to represent Thomas de Cantwell. He was a Norman explorer who after the English Conquest, became the lord of Kilfane.  The effigy stood just outside the Kilfane Church and is exceptionally well preserved. There are many stories and legends said about the Cantwell family and the Kilfane church still told today in Ireland.  The effigy is a very good representation of this period in Irish history, as it displays a man who once lived in the fourteenth century and from his shield we are able to see which family he comes from and his impact on society in that time frame.

This artifact was very large in comparison to the artifacts in from the time frame of the early fourteenth century.  I would say the most similar artifact was the chain mail displayed relatively close to the Cantwell knight from the same century.  In addition to this, many artifacts from this era greatly relate to the church.  This one of course was standing outside of a local protestant church, but many of the artifacts relate more closely to the Catholic church.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/cantwell-fada

National Museum of Ireland

By Bridget Shreve

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