Situated on a bluff overlooking the valley of the S-N Blackwater River, with the stream c. 60m to the W. It is not listed as a church in the deanery of Clonard in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV, unless its name is not recognised (Cal. doc. Ire., 5, 257-8). The names of some of the clergy are known, including Thomas Mareshall, who was presented in 1389, Hugo O’Kervane (1412), and Christopher Gaffney, who was presented in 1557 (Cogan 1867, vol. 2, 365-6). The earliest description of the church is from Ussher (1622), who describes the church and chancel as ruinous when Myles Pemberton was the rector (Erlington 1847-64, 1, C). According to Dopping (1682-5) the church of St Nicholas was ruined and the graveyard was not enclosed (Ellison 1973, 10).
The present Church of Ireland church, which was extant in 1837 (Lewis 1, 307) was still functioning in 1910 (OS 6-inch map) but it is now roofless. It is probably 18th century in date and occupying the site of the medieval church, of which there are no visible remains within a rectangular graveyard (dims c. 40m WNW-ESE; c. 30m NNE-SSW) defined by earthen banks at N and E and by masonry walls at S and W, which retain the slope. The headstones date from 1716 to c. 1900, but the extraordinary Swifte mausoleum in the form of a tetrahedron (L of side 4.54-4.6m) of interlocking limestone pieces has no date of inscription. The motte (ME041-014----) is c. 25m to the N and the field system (ME041-015----) is around both features to the N and E.
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: 20 March, 2015
Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage