Land at Kilmainhambeg in Kells parish was a grange or out-farm of the Knights Hospitallers of St James at Kilmainham in Dublin (DU018-020285-), which is not to be confused with their preceptory at Kilmainhamwood (ME005-028----). The grange was surrendered in 1541 (White 1943, 111-2), but the precise location of its caput or centre is not known, although it could be at this location. A gabled house at Kilmainham (88) is depicted on the Down Survey barony and parish maps of Telltown parish in Kells barony and in this vicinity (http://downsurvey.tcd.ie/). According to the terrier (commentary) of the map Nicholas Barnwall of Turvey, Richard Ledwitch of Cookstown, Robert Beg of Navan, and Patrick Barnwall of Beymore owned the entire townland, but according to the Civil Survey (1654-6) they owned only 248 acres there in 1640 and the house is not mentioned in either document (Simington 1940, 297). It is described as an ‘Old Castle’ in gothic script on the 1835 ed. of the OS 6-inch map. It is situated on the flood-plain of the River Blackwater c. 240m SW of where the river turns from N-S to W-E.
Two opposed corners of a building (ext. dims c. 9m NE-SW; c. 8.2m NW-SE) survive separated by the NE-SW demesne wall of Headford, with a corner fireplace at the W angle and evidence of a doorway on the SE wall close to the E angle at the ground floor. The walls are rebated for the first and second floors, and there is evidence of a window embrasure on the SE wall at the first floor. A parapet has evidence of long narrow slits, now blocked. The building was conserved at some time probably because it is in view of Headford House, c. 1.3km to the N, on the other side of the river. The house is in the centre of the field system (ME017-024----) and probably contemporary with it.
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 revised upload: 22 June 2016
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.