I found this old graveyard by pure chance having passed by it many times over the years. Situated at the north end of the small Kildare village of Johnstown. It contains the ruins of a medieval nave and chancel which was built by the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem. Presumably where the village took its name from as the Hospitallers were a medieval order of knights who held lands in the surrounding area until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1540s.
There were many members of local landlords and aristocracy which were buried in the graveyard, most notably those of the Bourkes, who were Lords of Naas and Earls of Mayo. Perhaps the most famous of these was Richard Southwell Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo (1822-1872) who was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland three times in the 19th century. HE was also appointed as Viceroy of India in 1868, were he came to an untimely end after being stabbed to death. He then became known as 'The Pickled Earl', locally after his body was reputedly shipped back to Ireland in a barrel of rum (for preservative purposes). He is believed to be buried under the wonderfully ornate Celtic cross in the centre of the graveyard.
|Bourke family plot.|
|Flatsbury and Wogan grave slab|
Also worthy of a mention are the octagonal base of a medieval baptismal font which lies in the confines of the chancel and is in reasonable condition for its age, and a fine example of a lancet window which remains suprisingly intact in comparison to the remainder of the structure.
|Medieval Baptisim Font|