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Situated on a level landscape, it was once beside an old SE-NW road from Navan to Rathaldron Castle (ME025-011----) c. 700m to the NW that fell out of use (Moore 1899). The highly decorated cross shaft (dims 0.24m x 0.19m; H 1.26m) stood on a plain base (dims 0.74m x 0.7m; H 0.22m) and had been set up in 1588 by Margaret Dexter and her Cusack husband, according to its inscription (Wilde 1850, 133-4; Crawford 1920; King 1984, 110). Excavation in 1977 revealed a plinth of two steps made from cut limestone blocks (dims of base 2.5m x 2.5m). The remains of 8 infants and young children were recovered in the vicinity, confirming local traditions of its use as a Childrens Burial Ground (ME025-059----) (Cahill 1987-8). The cross is now on display in the Meath County Library in Navan (ME025-067----) and has been described by King as:
A shaft fragment rectangular in section set in an undecorated rectangular base. The shaft has rounded edges, an inscription, floral motifs and an heraldic shield in false relief. 1st: The lower part of a shield with the Cusack (per pale or and azure a fess counterchanged) and Dexter (argent a cross fleury gules between four parrots vert) arms impaled and the letters M.C. M.D. 2nd: An inscription in contracted Gothic Latin. [C]USA / ARMIG / ER I ET / MARGA[R] / RETAE DE / XTER UX / ORIS EJU /S AC HE / REDU EO / RM QUE/ HANC C/RUC FECE / RUT A. . /DNI 1588 / QUORU / ANIMA / BUS P[RO/PICIET] U [R / DEUS]. 3rd: Has a stiff undulate band of eight tulips. 4th: Has a vertebrate band of seven tulips growing from a vase.
The date and patrons of this cross are evident from the inscription: ‘Cusack Knight and Margaret Dexter his wife and their heirs who had this cross made A.D. 1588 on whose souls may God have mercy.’
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 revision: 16 April, 2015
Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage