Situated on a shelf of a slight NE-facing slope in the valley of a small NW-SE stream, which is c. 40m to the NE and c. 1.8km WNW of where the stream enters the River Boyne. A church at Stackallan is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire. 5, 261). Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel as in reasonable repair (Erlington 1847-64, 1, xcii). According to Dopping’s Visitation (1682-5) the parish church of Stackallan was in disrepair since 1641 but the walls were good, and the graveyard was not enclosed (Ellison 1973, 5, 6). Cogan (1862-70, 2, 303-04) says the church was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and mentions a font in the graveyard that is not evident now. The early 16th century church is within a rectangular graveyard (dims c. 50m E-W; c. 40m N-S) defined by masonry walls.
The church was in use up to the middle of the 20th century, but it was deconsecrated and removed in 1955. It is described in 1940 as having the hood-mouldings of four segmental-arched windows on the S wall, each with two lights provided in wood. There was one window with three lights on the W wall, but there were no windows in the N wall. The E window was larger than the W and had three lights, with a male head at the apex of the hood and female heads on the labels (SMR file). The foundations of the church (ext. dims 23.5m E-W; 8.3m N-S) are traceable, although covered in cairn material (H 2m).
The segmental-arched doorway (Wth 0.95m; H 2.05m) from the W wall with a hood-moulding that terminates in foliage half way down the jambs is now built into the W wall of the vestry at St Patrick's Church of Ireland church in Slane (ME019-02303-). The escutcheon from over the doorway, now also at Slane (ME019-023004-), is the arms of Barnewall, and the inscription is to Sir Barnaby Barnewall, who died in 1493, and his wife, Margaret Plunkett (Du Noyer 1891; Leask 1960, 2, 31-2).
Two medieval graveslabs from the church are now also in Slane (ME019-023002-; ME019-023005-). One (Wth 0.37-0.65m; L 1.71m) is coffin-shaped with a floriated cross in relief and a sword with a central groove and disc pommel is parallel with the stem. An inscription along the long edges of the stone reads in French: Pater noster P charite pur la / lme sire Richard Descetre le seco. The other slab is also coffin-shaped (Wth 0.37-0.62m; L 1.61m) with a two-line expanding cross inside a two-line incised border. There are marigolds flanking the head of the cross and a design at the diamond-shaped crux. (Bradley and King 1985, 150 1)
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 upload: 15 December, 2014Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.