Located on relatively low ground at the N end of a SSW-NNE spur, with a S-N section of the River Boyne c. 30m to the E. A SSW-NNE section of the W-E Clady River is c. 50m to the W, crossed by the bridge (ME031-019001-), and the confluence with the Boyne is c. 70m to the NE of the church. This church could be a Capella ante Portas or church for the lay brothers of Bective Cistercian Abbey (ME031-026----), which is c. 1km to the S. As such it would not be listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire. 5, 256-7). The rectory of Bective is amongst the possessions of the abbey at the Suppression in 1537 (White 1943, 269). Ussher (1622) describes the church as ruinous (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxxxvi). Dopping (1682-5) describes it as a small chapel that was not enclosed, while the Royal visitation (1693) describes it as a long time ruined and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Ellington 1972, 13).
The remains consist of the foundations of an E-W building (int. dims 14.5m E-W; 5.2m N-S), now obscured with undergrowth. The W gable is complete to a belfry. A S transept was added, perhaps to display two arches of the cloister arcade (ME031-019003-) thought to have come from Bective Abbey (ME031-026----) and which is now completely obscured (Moore 1961, 63). The church is within a subrectangular graveyard (dims c. 50m N-S; c. 15m E-W at S to c. 30m E-W at N) defined by masonry walls at S and W and earthen banks at N and E. A font described by Wilde (1850, 95-6) is probably the font now in the Roman Catholic church in Robinstown (ME031-070----) c. 1.7km to the W. The souterrain (ME031-018----) is c. 40m SW of the graveyard.
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: 9 January 2015Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage