Walk into City Square Shopping Centre and take the escalator that leads down to the underground carpark. At the end of the escalator you will see, housed behind a wall of glass, the foundations of the twelfth-century St. Peter’s Church, one of the oldest parish churches in the city. St. Peter’s was excavated by Waterford Corporation during the major archaeological examination of the site that took place between 1986 and 1992, when over 6000 square metres were archaeologically resolved prior to the current development.
The foundations show that the church had a semicircular apse – a unique feature in twelfth-century Irish ecclesiastical architecture. The many thousands of objects recovered from this site are now stored at Waterford Treasures, where most of the important objects from the excavation, such as Viking Age and Anglo-Norman jewellery, form part of the permanent exhibition.
This late-12th century knife seen in the photograph, was discovered by archaeologists close to the site of St. Peter’s Church. Made of iron and decorated with copper plates, it bears a Latin inscription
“What is cut with this sharp edge, May be filled with the powerful love of Christ.”
This inscribed knife may have been used in St. Peter’s Church to cut the blessed but unconsecrated bread which was left over after Mass in order to distribute it to the poor. The handle, which has decayed was probable made of wood, bone or horn.