Situated on a slight rise in a fairly level landscape. The earliest reference is from 1212 when the church of Moyllach was confirmed to the Knights Hospitallers of Kilmainham (DU018-020026-) (Sheehy 1962 vol. 1, 148-9), and in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. Doc. Ire., 5, 257) the church of Ratamolechan was still held by the Hospitallers and exempt from taxation. At the suppression of Kilmainham in 1541 it still held the church, 35 acres and five messauges or house plots at Rathmolyan (White 1943, 114). Bishop Ussher in his visitation (1622) describes the church and chancel of Rathmullian as ruinous (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxxxvii). According to the Dopping (1682-5) and Royal (1693) visitations St Michael’s church had been in disrepair since 1641 but the chancel and some of the church had been repaired by 1693. At that time the windows were glazed and it had a slate roof, but the floor was bare and most of the necessary liturgical paraphernalia was missing, apart from a font (Ellison 1972, 11). The names of some of the clergy from the 16th century are known (Cogan 1862-70, 2, 374).
The present Church of Ireland church was built in 1797 (Lewis 1837, 2, 504). The site of the medieval parish church is within its subrectangular graveyard (dims c. 75m NW-SE: c. 45m NE-SW at NW to c. 80m NE-SW at SE) defined by masonry walls, with headstones dating from c. 1780 to the present. There is one piece of window surround (H 0.52m) from the medieval church re-used as a grave-marker. Archaeological monitoring (07E0922) by D. Shine (excavations.ie 2008:960, 961) of trenches for a water pipe under the road W of the graveyard identified an enclosure (ME042-020002-) centered on the graveyard that is probably the rath after which the townland and the parish are named. Numerous other ditches that are related to the medieval settlement (ME042-02004-) and evidence of medieval metal-working (ME042-020003-) was also encountered. (Shine 2009)
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: 23 March, 2015
Amended: 26 April, 2021Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.