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Situated on the crest of an E-W ridge. A church at Greenock is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV (Cal. doc. Ire., 5, 254). The rectory of Grenoke 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 at Greenocke as reasonably repaired (Erlington 1847-064, 1, lxxii). According to the Dopping (1682-5) and Royal (1693) visitations the church of St Nicholas and its chancel had been in disrepair since 1641. However, the walls were standing, and the graveyard was enclosed (Ellison 1971, 37).
The parish church of Greenoge is within a subrectangular graveyard (dims c. 55m N-S; c. 30m E-W at N to c. 45m E-W at S) defined by masonry walls, with headstones dating largely to the 19th and 20th centuries, although there is a headstone with the date 1753 in the nave. The rectangular base of a cross (dims 0.85-0.88m x 0.7m; H 0.24-0.27m) with a socket (dims 0.28m x 0.22m; D 0.2m) is on top of a gate-pier at the original entrance of the graveyard at the NW angle (Feeley 2001, 46). A holy well (ME045-062----) is at the roadside c. 90m to the NE.
The church is a divided nave (int. dims 13.7m E-W; 6.3m N-S) and chancel (int. dims 10.97m E-W; 5.75m N-S), with the base of a tower (int. dims 2.5m N-S; 2.13m E-W) attached to the W. This tower is open to the nave and appears to be secondary. The N wall survives complete (H c. 4m) with good quoins and a pointed doorway (Wth 1.22m; H 2.1m) that has probably been inserted located towards the W end. This is mirrored by a reconstructed doorway opening (Wth 1.13m) in the S wall (H c. 2m). A pointed chancel arch (Wth 2.97m) leads to the chancel, whose conserved walls (int. H c. 1m) are almost featureless, apart from a plain aumbry (Wth 0.46m; H 0.34m; D 0.24m) towards the E end of the S wall and the base of the window embrasure for the E window. The N pier of the chancel arch (T 0.95m) has a blocked ogee-headed doorway (Wth 0.55m; H 1.55m) in its E face, which suggests that there was a rood loft at the E end of the nave.
The NE angle of the nave was re-modelled in the 18th century with the insertion of a two-storey watch-house (int. dims 3.25m E-W; 2.44m N-S) inside the nave. This was accomplished by converting a window embrasure towards the E end of the N nave wall into a lintelled doorway (Wth 0.93m). The rectangular window (Wth 0.42m; H 0.7m) with an external chamfer just to the E of the new doorway, which is associated with the rood loft, was converted into a narrow light such as those (Wth 7cm; H 22cm) in the newly-constructed W and S walls of the watch-house, which block half the chancel-arch. An internal ladder would allow access to the first floor, which was supported on joists set directly into the S and N walls. The narrower new walls rise above the original nave walls. The first floor has a fireplace in the W wall and a light at its S end that re-uses the head of a cusped ogee-headed window, a rectangular window in the N wall and lights angled to the SW, S and SE in the S wall. The blocked doorway to the rood-loft is also visible in the E wall at the first floor of the watch-house.
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: 8 April, 2015
Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage