Cannistown Church

AKA Ardsallagh Medieval Church

I was thrilled to visit Cannistown church on such a gorgeous day. I had visited quite a few sites around Meath that day, but Cannistown was the real highlight. The church was probably built in the 12th century by the Nangles, an Anglo-Norman family, who were granted Cannistown by the Norman Knight, Hugh de Lacy, 1st lord of Meath. It is believed to be built on the site of a sixth century monastery founded by St Finian of Clonard. By the 13th century it was known as the Parish church of Ardsallagh.

It is an almost complete divided nave and chancel church, except for the north wall, which is missing from the nave. Only two windows, pictured below survive. The first image shows the window in the south wall and the second is the window in the west gable. The final image features a bullaun stone, sitting in the interior of the south window. The rest are destroyed. The chancel arch has decorated 12th/13th century pilasters.

From the south west corner

The image below right, from the north pilaster, features three dogs attacking another animal. There are two decorated corbel stones above the arch, these were to support a roof loft. Another corbel stone, to the north of the arch features a worn head. There is a pointed piscina in the south wall of the chancel and an aumbry in the north wall. It is believed the church, which is dedicated to St Bridget, was largely rebuilt in the 15th /16th century, but was in ruins by 1641. A superb site situated in a well maintained graveyard.

Chancel arch

Chancel arch carving

Decorated corbel

Worn head on corbel stone

Remnant of south window

Bullaun Stone

Situated: From the M3 take the Navan south exit. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit for the R147. Then the 2nd right, immediately after 1st right. After about 600 metres turn right at the bend. The church is 200 metres down here on the left, opposite a dormer bungalow.

Discovery Map 42. N 8813 6401. Last visit May 2017.

Longitude: 6° 40' 5" W

Latitude: 53° 37' 7" N

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

North west corner

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