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Located on the outer edge of a shelf towards the bottom of a gentle S-facing slope. A church at the ‘vill de Gernoun’ 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). Dopping (1682-5) describes it as ruined and the graveyard was not enclosed but the font is mentioned (Ellison 1973, 6). The parish church of Gernonstown is within a rectangular graveyard (dims c. 50m E-W; c. 40m N-S) defined by earthen banks at N and E and masonry walls at S and W.
The church is an undivided nave and chancel structure (int. dims 23m E-W; 6.4m N-S) with ivy covered walls (T c. 1m) that survive almost complete, except most of the N and E walls. There are gaps towards the W end of the N and S walls, probably for doorways, and a portion of a window with glazing-grooves and bar-holes is towards the E end of the S wall where there is a piscina. The remains of a large tracery window of two lights are in the W wall, but this wall is supported by buttresses. A barrel-vaulted chamber (int. dims 5.11m E-W; 2.4m N-S; H 2.65m) attached externally to the E end of the N wall is probably a sacristy as it is connected with the church by a lintelled passage (Wth 0.87m; H 1.63m; L 1.55m). A plain subcircular, sandstone font (ext. diam. 0.63-0.7m, max. H 0.46m) with a circular basin (diam. 051m; D 4-12cm) that has damaged side-walls was described as in the church (Cogan 1862-70, 2, 303) but became deeply embedded in the ground (Roe 1968, 119) of the rectangular graveyard. It is now outside the Roman Catholic church at Rushwee (ME019-118----), c. 1km to the S.
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/revision: 15 December, 2014
Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage