Situated on a rise at the S edge of a plateau with the N edge of the valley of the W-E Nanny Water c. 130m to the S and the stream is c. 450m to the S. References date at least from 1306 and the names of some of the clergy are known (Ward 1967, 65-6). The church of Nany is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire. 5, 253). Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel of Nanny or Julianstowne as being indifferently repaired (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxiv). Dopping's Visitation Book (1682-5) describes the church of the Blessed Virgin at Julianstown as in good repair with a font, a pulpit and seats, although the chancel was roofless (Ellison 1971, 35-6). At that time there was glass in the windows, slates on the roof, and the graveyard was enclosed. The present Church of Ireland church was built in 1770 (Lewis 1837, 2, 32-3) and is in a subrectangular graveyard (dims c. 50-60m NNW-SSE; c. 45-55m ENE-WSW) defined by masonry walls, although in the 19th century the graveyard was D-shaped (dim c. 95m NE-SW), extending further to the SW.
There is no evidence of the medieval church, but a font, of uncertain authenticity, is in the present church (Roe 1968, 121). It is a shallow bowl (ext. diam. 0.66m; int. diam. 0.54m; D 0.14m) with the drain hole filled in. It is standing on a low, expanding foot (diam. of base 0.94m; H 8cm). Lining the E side of the path up to the door of the church is the 'Apostle Stone', which is the limestone surround of a chest tomb in three sections (total L 3.9m; H 0.6m). It is crudely executed and unfinished, probably dating from the 17th century. Some saints, including Peter with a key almost as big as himself, Andrew with a boat-hook and James with a small satchel like a hand-bag can be recognised. It is said to have come originally from Ballylehane castle, Co. Laois (LA025-023----). The head of a sandstone high cross (H 0.64m; Wth 0.62m; T 0.2m) from Colpe (ME021-012005-) is now displayed in the porch. There is a roll-moulding on the edge of the cross-shaft and arms, with a narrower moulding inside it. There is a mortise-hole on top. At the centre of the head on the E face is a slightly domed boss, surrounded by two circular ribs. The arms are decorated with interlace. The shaft bears an irregular angular interlace. On the W face the centre of the head is occupied by a crucified Christ clad in a short garment. Flanking Him are Stephaton and Longinus. Beneath each of Christ's feet there is a spiral, out of which two serpents unroll themselves (Harbison1992, 59-60).
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: 18 August, 2014Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage