Situated on a bluff overlooking the estuary of the SW-NE River Boyne with its tidal mud-flats immediately to the N and the canalised river c. 300m distant. The S-N Colpe stream enters the Boyne c. 100m to the W. Mornington was a settlement from the 13th century when it was known as Marinerstown, which probably took its name from Robert le Mariner, who died before 1234, and it is now c. 3km from the sea (Bradley and King 1985, 91). A church at Maris is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire. 5, 252). Parts of the parish were granted to Furness Abbey in Yorkshire and Llanthony in Gloucestershire, and Marynerton is amongst their Irish possessions at the Suppression in 1536 (White 1943, 314, 319). Ussher (1622) describes the church of Mornanton or Marrynestwone as ruined (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxviii). According to Dopping (1682-5) the church of Mornington or Marinerstown was dedicated to St. Columba but the graveyard was not enclosed. The nave and chancel walls were standing then but had not been repaired since 1641 (Ellison 1971, 36). The parish church of Mornington is at the SW end of a subrectangular graveyard (dims c. 75m NE-SW; c. 25m NW-SE at SW to c. 40m NW-SE at NE) defined by masonry walls.
The ivy-covered W gable (ext. L 7.5m) with a rectangular window and the base of a belfry, together with the adjacent part of the N wall (L c. 5m plus; T 0.9m) of a large church survive. Austin Cooper, writing in the 1780s, describes a round chancel arch and a chest tomb with armorial crests, which he thought were of Bellew and Talbot, including one of Sir Thomas St Lawrence who held office under Edward VI (1547-53) (Price 1942, 106). The arch is gone but a chest tomb, consisting of a plain slab (dims 2.32m x 1.09m; T 7-13cm) with no devices resting on the S side-panel (L 1.89m; H 0.68m; T 12cm) and E end-panel (L 0.68m; H 0.58m plus; T 15cm) of a tomb within the area of the church. The panels have lightly-incised crests – four on the long side and one on the end-panel. The four on the long side are very similar and may represent Bellew and Talbot.
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.
See the attached views of the tomb from S (002) and SE (011).
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload/revision: 16 December, 2014Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.