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William Murphy
Double Take

Double Take: The 'tomb of the jealous man and woman' said to have healing powers

The tomb dates back to the 16th century.

IN THE CATHEDRAL of St Peter and Paul in Trim, Co Meath is a tomb with two stone effigies of a man and a woman lying on top, with a sword between the two.

Known as the “tomb of the jealous man and woman,” the structure dates back to the 1590s. There are several tales as to where the tomb’s unusual title came from, but the most popular legend tells a story surrounding Sir Lucas Dillon and Lady Jane Bathe. 

Born in Newtown, Co Meath circa 1530, Sir Dillon was a member of the Irish House of Commons and eventually became Attorney General for Ireland. He and his wife Lady Jane had seven sons and five daughters together and lived in a castle in Trim, according to Picturing Ireland.

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. 

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“It is believed that instead of signifying the sword of state, the sword actually represents Sir Lucas’ displeasure at his wife for having an affair, forever separating the two,” writes Neil Jackman in Ireland’s Ancient East

Adding to its intrigue, the tomb is believed to cure warts and other skin problems. To do this, visitors must rub a pin against their wart or skin condition and leave it between the two figures. If legend is to be believed, your skin will clear as the pin rusts.

More Double Take: The easy-to-miss cemetery in Dublin city with a spelling mistake at the entrance

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