You are hereHome >National Monuments > ME01661 - NEWTOWN,SAINTJOHNS,IFFERNOCK - Settlement deserted - medieval
In 1202 when Bishop Simon de Rochford moved the diocesan centre of Meath from St Finnian’s old monastery at Clonard (ME047-007----) he established it at a new location about a kilometre east of Trim town that became known as Newtown Trim. He moved it here so that it could take advantage of the protection afforded by the de Lacy castle (ME036-048004-), and also to provide an alternative site for an urban settlement. The Cathedral (ME036-049002-) and St Peter’s Augustinian abbey (ME036-049003-) would become a node around which economic activity developed as the name Newtown Trim illustrates. A weekly market was held from 1217 (Hillaby 1992-3, 29) and an eight-day fair to be held on 21-28 July was instituted in 1279, but the burgesses are only referred to directly in 1275 (Bradley 1988-89, 45) and again in 1319 (Kelly 2005, 31-3). The settlement was not fortified, and even its extent is not fully known, although it is suggested on the N side by the road (ME036-053----) from the Navan gate of Trim looping N east of Lackanash Bridge before turning S with the present road to cross Newtown Bridge. The priory of the Crutched friars dedicated to St John the Baptist (ME036-049011-) could have been founded by Simon de Rochford before he died in 1224, but it was certainly extant by 1281 (Gwynn and Hadcock 1970, 215), testifying to the importance of the settlement in the thirteenth century. In the demesne of St Peter’s there were four named tenants and 22 cottiers at the Suppression in 1540 (White 1943, 293), while four messuages or plots were associated with the demesne of St John the Baptist’s demesne at that time (ibid. 299). Archaeological testing (04E0825) over an extensive area (dims c. 150m E-W; c. 70-100m N-S) NE of the bridge produced medieval pottery in almost all trenches, although from disturbed contexts mixed with post-medieval material (Duffy 2004, 2007). Archaeological deposits have also been identified closer to the bridge (ME036-049001-) (Seaver 2010).
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload: 9 July 2019
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.