Issac Butler, writing c. 1749, recorded the apostle font at Kilcarn church (ME031-003----) (1892, 126). It was moved to Dublin for the Great Exhibition in 1853 (Roe 1968, 61), and after this it may have been moved to its present location in the Roman Catholic church at Johnstown, c. 900m NNW of its original home. It is made of limestone and is dodecagonal, or twelve-sided, in form (ext. dim. 0.77m; H 0.43m) with a flat-bottomed basin (diam. 0.51m; D 0.2m). Each side-panel is decorated as a high medieval ogee-headed niche, enriched with foliage, buttresses and pinnacles. Mythical beasts and human heads attached to the under-panels gnaw at the base of the columns separating the niches. The twelve apostles have been placed in eleven of the niches, two unfortunates having to share, while the twelfth panel depicts the crowning of the Virgin by her Son. All the apostles are seated on benches facing forward, and some can be identified by their symbols: Peter with the Keys; Paul with a sword; St. Andrew with a saltire. St. James is equipped as a pilgrim with a satchel over his shoulder and the scallop shell, the emblem of his great shrine of Compostella in NW Spain, in his hand. The font stands on a plain twelve-sided limestone pillar (total H 0.87m), and is dated by Roe (1968, 65-6) to the late 15th or early 16th century. The font from Follistown (ME025-041001-i) s outside the church, and a pier (ME025-041002-) from the cloister arcade at Bective abbey (ME031-026----) is displayed on the outside of the church tower.
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 attached image
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of revision: 10 July 2014Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.