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Crossing a WSW-ENE section of the River Boyne. It connects the Augustinian Abbey of Newtown (ME036-049003-) on the N bank with the church of the Crutched friars (ME036-049011-) on the S bank. Since both were founded in the thirteenth century it is possible that the bridge could date from then. The bridge was certainly extant in 1544 when it is described as St Peter’s Bridge in a grant to Sir William St. Leger of two watermills with the weirs and fishing on the Boyne formerly owned by St Mary’s abbey (pers. comm. Conchubhar Ó Crualaoich 22/02/2021). It is depicted on the Down Survey (1657-8) county, barony (Johnstown or Newtown Bridge) and parish maps. The bridge (Wth 4.9m) has five segmental arches with cut-waters only on the W or up-stream side. Only the cut-water of the second pier from the N is carried to the parapet creating a refuge for pedestrians. There are three corbels from both sides of each pier at the springing of the arches but there is no evidence of any original centring. Archaeological monitoring (E002932) during 2007 of a sewer pipe on the S side of the bridge revealed a rough stone surface (D 1.3m) overlying a blue/grey clay with animal bones and charcoal, while a small pit and an E-W wall were encountered just N of the bridge (Seaver 2010).
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: 9 July 2019
Amended: 22 February 2021
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.