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Situated on a slight rise in a level landscape, with the fold of a small S-N steam just to the E, and the stream itself is c. 20m distant. Killegland was called Ceall Dumha Ghlúin – church of the mound of the knee – and a St Mogheanóg, a putative brother of Patrick, could be associated with it (Ó Riain 2011, 478-9). A more likely derivation of the name is from Cill Dhéalgáin through the assimilation of the ‘l’ and the following ‘d’ (pers com. Conchubhar Ó Crualaoich, 22/11/2019), although all local knowledge of a connection with St Declan of Ardmore (WA040-008001-) is long gone.
A church at Killeglan is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire., 5, 254). The parish church of Killeglan was amongst the possessions of St Thomas’ Augustinian abbey (DU018-020051-) at its suppression in 1540 (White 1943, 36). Ussher (1622) describes the church and chancel as ruined (Erlington 1847-64, 1, lxxii). According to the Dopping (1682-5) and Royal (1693) visitations the walls of the church of St Eglan (derived from Déalglán) and its chancel were standing but unrepaired since 1641, and the graveyard was not enclosed (Ellison 1971, 37). Cogan (1862-70, 2, 383) describes the church as measuring ’70 feet by 20 feet and 10 inches (c. 21.35m x c. 6.35m).’
Although the church is not marked on the 1836 ed. of the OS 6" map the enclosure is described in italic lettering as a 'Grave Yard' and in gothic lettering as a 'fort'. The church is a nave (int. dims 13.5m E-W; 4.7m N-S) defined by earthen banks (Wth 2-3m; int. H 0.3-0.6m; ext. H 0.2-0.6m) with entrance gaps towards the W end of the N (Wth 1.8m) and S (Wth 1.5m) walls, and chancel (int. dims 6.2m E-W; 4.1m N-S) defined by reconstructed walls (H c. 0.5m) at N and S. The reconstructed E wall (H 2m) has an embrasure (Wth 1.85m) which may be original but it is now foreshortened and displaying the heads of three ogee-headed windows with plain spandrels.
The church is within a subcircular graveyard (dims 47m N-S; c. 43m E-W) defined by a masonry wall that has an entrance gate and stile at E. The few headstones date mostly from c. 1900 to the present, but a headstone lying prone in the chancel has the date 1724. Inside the perimeter of the graveyard is a rath (ME045-004002-), identifiable as a subcircular area (dims 39m N-S; c. 35m E-W) defined by an earthen bank (Wth 5-5.5m; int. H 0.3-0.5m; ext. H 1.2-1.5m) that is most intact NW-NE and ESE-SW but no fosse or entrance can be identified. A souterrain (ME045-004003-) was recorded inside the graveyard in 1982, and during development works around the graveyard during 2005-06 two further souterrains (ME045-004005-; ME045-004006-) as well as the ecclesiastical enclosure (ME045-004004-) were exposed. These features are now preserved in a fallow area (radius c. 30m) around the graveyard
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 upload/revision: 8 April, 2015
Amended: 22 December 2021
Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage