Situated on a rise in a fairly level landscape. A church at Newtown in Kells deanery is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire. 5, 260). Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel of ‘Newtown by Kells’ as in ruins (Elrington 1864, 1, App. 1, lxxxviii). The church is depicted as a ruin on the Down Survey (1656 8) barony map of Kells and the parish map of Newtown. According to Dopping’s Visitation (1682 5) the church was in ruins since 1641 and it was not enclosed (Ellison 1973, 8). Newtown was united with Kilbeg, Emlagh and Robertstown in 1802 to form the Union of Newtown, but the church was in Kilbeg (Lewis 1837, 2, 434), which is probably an error for Newtown.
The shell of an 18th century church (ext. dims 18.15m WNW-ESE; 7.73m NNE-SSW) is in a rectangular graveyard (dims c. 55m WNW-ESE; c. 48m NNE-SSW) defined by masonry walls. There is an arcade of four round-headed window arches (Wth 1.1m) on the N wall and four round-headed windows in the S wall. The stonework of the W doorway has been removed. The walls were heightened by c. 1m in a second phase of construction when good quoins were added to the new work. Probably at this time a large, pointed E window was provided. There is no visible trace of an older church structure, but there is a stone (Wth 0.4m; max. H 0.66m; T 5-11cm) that has an inscribed cross (H 13cm; Wth 12cm) with bar-terminals in the graveyard. For the Down Survey parish map see this web page accessed on 22 May, 2014 http://downsurvey.tcd.ie/down survey maps.php#bm=Kells&c=Meath&p=Newtown
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 o revision: 22 December, 2014Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage