Located towards the bottom of a SW-facing slope with a W-E section of the River Boyne c. 150m to the S. A priory following the rule of St Augustine and dedicated to the Holy Trinity, sometimes known as ‘de laude Dei’ – of the praise of God - was founded by a Jordon Comin in the late 12th century (Gwynn and Hadcock 1970, 159-60). In 1399 it was claimed that John O’Mayller, an Irishman, was prior, contrary to the statutes of Kilkenny, but Richard Cuthbert was able to demonstrate that he was the prior. The priory was burnt in 1446 and the following year the prior died of the plague. The priory possessed a much-venerated crucifix that was publically burnt in 1538 (Cogan 1862-70, 1, 169-170).
At its suppression in 1540 the priory was described as a church that had long been the parish church, a cemetery, cloister, a hall and other chambers that were ‘decayed’. There were also a garden and an orchard in the precinct. Ninety two acres and a water-mill were held in demesne where seven cottiers provided very specific services. A hundred acres at Ballyboggan were held by Sir William Bermingham. The priory owned 50 acres at Herenston (Harristown) and 200 acres of pasture or arable at Knockeangwoll and Kylnodogaghe (Knockersally or Colehill), Kyllosyllyng (Killaskillen), Balloskystye (Ballynakill?) and the unknown Cardystown. They also owned 160 acres of woodland in these townlands, which together amounted to Ballyboggan parish. They held the churches of Castlejordan, Killaderry, Co. Offaly, and Kilbride, Co. Westmeath (White 1943, 311-13). The estate was granted to Sir William Bermingham, later made Lord Carbrey (Lewis 1837, 1, 123).
The church consists of a nave (ext. dims 34.5m NE-SW; 10.2m NW-SE) and chancel (ext. dims 17m NE-SW; c. 10.2m NW-SE) but the transepts (dim. 8m NE-SW) are almost completely removed (total L 63m NE-SW). The SW wall of the nave is removed but the long walls have three windows each and there was a pointed doorway (Wth 2m) towards the W end of the NW wall. There were three windows in the NW and SE walls of the chancel, and the scar of a triple sedilia is in the NW wall, but Wilde (1850, 44-5) says they were trefoil, so the dressed stone was present then. Part of SW wall of the SE transept survives with pointed lancet windows in dressed sandstone. A raised rectangular platform (dims c. 30m NW-SE; c. 30m NE-SW) bounded partly by the SE transept and the nave may be the site of the cloister. The subrectangular graveyard (max. dims c. 55m NE-SW; c. 50m NE-SW) is located on the slope NE of the church. It is defined by masonry walls and has headstones dating from c. 1780 to the present. The church and graveyard are surrounded by the field system (ME046017----).
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
Cogan 1862-70 Cogan, Rev. A. 1862-70 Ecclesiastical history of the diocese of Meath: ancient and modern. (3 vols) Dublin: John Fowler, Joseph Dollard
Gwynn and Hadcock 1970 Gwynn, A. and Hadcock, R.N. 1970 (Reprint 1988) Medieval religious houses of Ireland. Dublin. Irish Academic Press.
Lewis 1837 Lewis, S. 1837 A topographical dictionary of Ireland, 2 vols. London. Lewis and Co.
White 1943 White, N.B. 1943 Extents of Irish monastic possessions, 1540-1541. Dublin. Irish Manuscripts Commission.
Wilde 1850 Wilde, W. 1850 The beauties of the Boyne and its tributary, the Blackwater (2nd ed). Dublin. McGlashan.
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.