ME01742 - CRICKSTOWN - Church

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Situated on a slight S-facing slope. A church at Crickstown is not listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-04) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire., 5, 254-5), which suggests that it was created out of neighbouring parishes at a late date. It might have been separated from Kilbrew (ME038-023----) to the NW and Cookstown (ME045--001----) to the SE as the land in the three parishes was owned by members of the Barnwall family in 1640 (Simington 1940, 93-8). Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel at Crickstown as reasonably repaired (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxxii). According to the Dopping (1682-5) and Royal (1693) visitations the walls of the nave and chancel of St Andrew’s church were standing but it had been unroofed since 1641 although the graveyard was fenced (Ellison 1971, 39). The parish church is within a D-shaped graveyard (dims c. 60m NNE-SSW; c. 48m WNW-ESE) defined by an earthen bank and hedge with the straight side at S. The few headstones date c. 1850 to c. 1950. This is an undivided nave and chancel structure (int. dims 13.85m plus E-W; 5.7m N-S), of which only the E wall and attached portions of the long walls survive, together with a grass-covered cairn (Wth 4m E-W; H 1m) at its W end. A lintelled doorway leads to a steep mural stairs rising eastwards in an added projection on the outside of the N wall, which led to the rood loft, of which there is no other evidence. There is a destroyed window just to the E in the N wall, but there was no chancel arch. The E wall has a large pointed embrasure but no tracery survives, and no features are evident in the base of the S wall that survives, other than portion of a window embrasure towards the E end. A sacristy (int. dims 4.7m E-W; 3m N-S) was added on the N side of the chancel, entered by a lintelled doorway from the chancel. Its ceiling was supported on joists set directly into the N and S walls, and access to its first floor, attested by the remains of an E window, must have been by a ladder and trapdoor. The highly decorated Apostle font (H 0.99m) from this church is now in the Roman Catholic church of Cuarraha (ME039-005----), c. 600m to the NW, and it has been fully described by Roe (1968, 37-45). The font is carved in relief but is now covered in a white wash that obscures some detail. It is octagonal (ext. dim. 0.65m; H 0.42m) and has a circular basin (int. diam. 0.49m; D 0.27m) with shallow under-panels that are decorated with monstrous heads at the angles, separated by leaves. The Crucifixion and the Annunciation are depicted in opposite upper panels, the others being divided into two sections with a full-length figure of an apostle in each compartment. The figures on the shaft (H 0.34m) include St Catherine of Alexandria beneath the Crucifixion and, moving anti-clockwise, St Margaret of Antioch, an abbess, an archbishop and a tonsured abbot with a crozier. These three can be tentatively identified as SS Bridget, Patrick and Columcille, the leading saints of the Irish Church. Next is St John the Baptist, identified by his two-pronged beard, St Michael with a shield, triumphing over Satan as a dragon, and a bishop with mitre and crozier. The base (H 0.23m) is slightly concave and expanding outwards. It is decorated with some fabulous animals connected by a moulding. A graveslab commemorating the Barnwell family was recorded by Sir William Bethan, who was a member of the Royal Irish Academy and died in 1853. The inscription is in Latin and the only dates recorded are 1624 and 1679 (Mahony 1910). The original stone does not survive, but a replacement inscription in polished Wicklow granite was provided by the Barnwall families of Australia in 1998 and this is set up inside the E window. Archaeological testing (08E0229) by G. Dehaene immediately S of the graveyard produced no related material ( 2008:948). 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: 19 March, 2015 Amended: 6 January 2021

Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage

Monument Details

53.5331, -6.43754

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