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Situated on a slight rise in a fairly level landscape with a small NW-SE stream c. 50m to the N. A church at Kilbey is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire. 5, 260). Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel at Kilbegge as ruinous (Erlington 1847-64, 1, xc). According to Dopping’s Visitation (1682-3) the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Kilbeg had been in disrepair since 1641, although it was enclosed (Ellison 1973, 8). The medieval parish church is within a D-shaped graveyard (dims c. 45m N-S; c. 45m E-W) defined by a slight bank (int. H c. 0.1 0.4m; ext. H 1 1.4m) that is retained by an external stone-cladding NW-E-SW. The original perimeter is absent SW-NW where the graveyard has been extended (dims c. 40 45m E-W; c. 30m N-S) to a N-S public road.
The church is represented by the foundations of an undivided nave and chancel structure (ext. dims 15m E-W; 7.97m N-S; int. dims 12.84m E-W; 5.7m N-S) reduced to the foundations (Wth 0.9-1.25m; H 0.2-0.4m) of clay-bonded walls. The E end of the S wall is re-built inside its original line creating a narrower E end (int. dim. 4.5m at E). No features are visible, not even an entrance. There is a sandstone cross-slab (dims 0.46m x 0.13m; H 1.08m) with a ringed cross in relief occupying its E face in the graveyard. The design is composed of raised double lines (Wth of shaft, arms 11-12cm) with the double lines of the ring (ext. diam. 0.26m; int. diam. 0.16m) connecting the arms and shaft. The motte and bailey (ME011-019----) is c. 70m to the WSW. Archaeological testing NW of the graveyard produced some trenches (Wth of base 0.4-0.6m) cut into the subsoil overlain by a substantial wall with a shallow ditch on its N side. A large amount of slag and medieval pottery was recovered. (Meenan 1991)
The above description is derived from the published 'Archaeological Inventory of County Meath' (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1987). In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research.
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of revision: 11 December, 2014
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.