Located on the E-facing slope of the Hill of Slane and c. 20m N of the church (ME019-060002-). In 1512 Sir Christopher Fleming and his wife, Elizabeth Stuckly, established a College of canons (ME019-06008-) at Slane. It was endowed for four priests, four clerks and four choristers (Westropp 1901, 409-10), and was designed as a small cloister attached to an existing tower house at its SE angle. The tower house continued as a residence for the parish priest of Slane into the early seventeenth century at least as Usher (1622) describes ‘a faire stone house or castle and offices reasonably repaired’ in connection with the church (Erlington 1847-64, vol. 1, Appendix V, XCI).
The tower house is a rectangular structure (ext. dims 13.65m E-W; 7.2m N-S; int. dims 11.6m E-W; 4.44m N-S) of three floors, vaulted over the ground floor and with towers at the NE and SE angles that do not project E. The original doorway is now destroyed, but it is at the W end of the S wall and its threshold is c. 1m over the external ground level. From the entrance a newel stairs leads only to the first floor over the E-W barrel vault. Only the E and S walls survive from this level upwards but at the first floor there are two enlarged windows in the S wall and one in the E, and the base of a fireplace and window embrasure are in the N wall. All the doorways that survive are lintelled, and a doorway at the NE angle at the first floor leads to a newel stairs that rises to the second floor and the parapet but also provides the only original access down to the ground floor. Corbels in the S and E walls supported the second floor which has only one enlarged window surviving in the E and S walls. Only the pinnacles over the NE and SW angles survive at the parapet level, that at SW with a gargoyle debouching over the doorway. The tower at the SE angle provided garderobes at the first and second floors, but hardly any of the masonry of this tower survives. At the ground floor there are three double-splay lights in the S wall, one of which is blocked, and one in the E, but the W wall is completely missing. A secondary passage was cut through the W end of the N wall that connects with the cloister of the College, while a stairs rising westwards from this passage leads not to the first floor of the tower house but to what was a wooden balcony around the cloister of the College. (Westropp 1901, 410-11)
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 revised upload: 22 June 2016
Amended: 27 January 2021
Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.