Located on a slight rise in a fairly level landscape, with the S-N Skane Rive c. 100-170m to the E. A church at Kilmessan is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire., 5, 255). Ussher (1622) describes the church as reasonably repaired but the chancel as ruined (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxxiv). According to Dopping's Visitation Book (1682 5) the church and chancel had been ruined since 1641 and the graveyard was not enclosed (Ellison 1972, 7). The present Church of Ireland church was built in 1731 (Lewis 1837, 2, 178). The site of the medieval parish church is within a subrectangular graveyard (dims c. 60m N-S; c. 55m E-W) defined by masonry walls, with trees inside the perimeter. Headstones date from 1705 to 1924, but there are no visible remains of the medieval church.
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: 11 March, 2015
Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage