A community of Franciscan friars from the supressed friary at Trim (ME036-048025-) became established at Meadstown early in the 18th century on a leased farm that became known as Courtown Friary. They provided pastoral care to the medieval parishes of Bective, Rataine, Churchtown, Clonmacduff, Moymet, Tullaghanoge, and Kicooley, which became the modern parish of Dunderry. The first known prior was Fr. Francis Fay (1720-43), and as well as the cure of Dunderry they provided priests for other parishes. The last friar was Rev. Patrick Ryan, who died in 1826, after which the friary was discontinued and their effects were moved to the Franciscan friary at Multifarnham, Co. Westmeath. The friars were buried in the graveyard at the Black Church in Meadstown (ME030-009001-) where two headstones in the SE of the graveyard commemorate them. There is no evidence of any structures at the friary site that could have been connected with them. (Cogan 1862-70, 1, 121-4, 311)
Archaeological testing (15E0027) by john Stirland just to the E produced no related material. See: https://excavations.ie/report/2015/Meath/0024376/ accessed on 09/04/2019. Archaeological testing (09E0060) by Michael Tierney c. 100m to the E had a similar result. See: https://excavations.ie/report/2009/Meath/0020989/ accessed on 09/04/2019
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of revised upload: 17 April, 2019Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.