ME01719 - TREVET - Church

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Located on a rise on a broad, low hill, with wide view out E-S over what would have been the lake of Lagore. An early monastery was founded at Trevet (Treoit) before AD 563, but no trace of it is evident. The founder was probably Lónan, but even his name is not remembered locally (Ó Riain 2011, 403). Notices of scribes and abbots, often called princeps or prince, of Treoit date from 739. The oratory of Treoit was burned in 850 and the church was ruined in warfare in 903. It was burned by Donnchadh O Carroll in 1145 and by the Uí Broinn in 1152 (Cogan 1862-70, 1, 152-4; Gwynn and Hadcock 1970, 46). After the Anglo-Norman settlement the church became parochial. A church dedicated to the Holy Trinity at Trevet is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire., 5, 254). Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel at Trivett as ‘somewhat ruined’ (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxxi). According to the Dopping (1682-5) and Royal (1693) visitations the walls of St Patrick’s church and the chancel at Trevet were standing but it was unroofed, and the graveyard was not fenced (Ellison 1971, 38). The names of many of the clergy are known (Cogan 1862-70, 2, 154-5), but the parish was united with Kilbrew in 1678 (Lewis 1837, 2, 645-6). The parish church is within a raised but neglected subrectangular graveyard (dims c. 62m E-W; c. 43m N-S) defined by masonry walls with very few headstones that appear to be 19th century in date. There is a NNE-SSW public road immediately to the W. There is a mound (ME038-018----) just to the N, and the field system (ME038-015----) with its associated hollow way and rectangular enclosure (ME038-016----) are just to the NW. The church is an undivided nave and chancel structure (int. dims 28m E-W; 6.2m N-S), of which the W wall (with plentiful cairn material inside) and interrupted sections of the N and S walls partially survive (H c. 3m). A destroyed S doorway, which has an ogee-headed stoup (Wth 0.25m; H 0.45m; D 0.23m) with chamfered edges, on the E side of the embrasure is the only recognisable feature. There is one window embrasure W of the S doorway and two to the E, and a corbel in the inner face of the S wall, E of the surviving embrasure suggests that there may have been a rood loft. The walls at the E end of the church are reduced to the grass-covered foundations. Two stones associated with the memorial of Sir Thomas Cusack dated 1571 (FitzGerald 1917; Roe 1969, 18-19; Hickey 1971, 82-90) are in the chancel area, but they are obscured by growth. A small armorial stone was moved to Staffordstown church (ME032-001003-), probably before the middle of the 18th century, where it cannot now be located, and a large side-stone depicting the family is now displayed in the Church of Ireland church at Tara (ME031-033084-) (Hickey 1971, 77-82). A broken heraldic stone (dims 2.56m x 1.22m) has a family tree representing the children and some grandchildren of Sir Thomas and his wife, Dame Maud (nee Darcy), depicted as shields springing from a central stem. The arms of three sons are on the dexter (left as viewed and reading from the bottom) side, and the crests of the husbands of seven daughters are on the sinister side. From the crests depicted Hickey concludes that it was commissioned c. 1604-09 by Sir Abrose Forthe, whose family held the tithes of Trevet and who was married to a granddaughter of Sir Thomas, (ibid. 82-4). There were multiple alliances with the Aylmer family of Lyons, Co. Kildare, but other families represented were Tuite, Bellew, Talbot, Cruise, Handcock, Butler, Cowley, and Morrogh O’Brien, 4th Baron Inchequin, the first husband of Margaret. Another stone (dims 2.15m x 0.87m) is broken in several places and has an incised inscription commemorating Sir Thomas, who was Lord High Chancellor, or chief law officer, at one point (FitzGerald 1917). The stone was carved by his son John, and the epitaph composed by a grandson, James. The inscription is surrounded by mementes mori – death as a skeleton aiming an arrow at Sir Thomas who holds an hour-glass, a shroud with a spirit arising from it, and a mermaid for the Cusack family. 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: 18 March 2015

Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage

Monument Details

53.5415, -6.53908

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