Church, Crosses, Fonts and Armorial Plaque

Monknewtown (Irish: Baile Nua na Manach, meaning "new town of the monks") was a grange of the Cistercian monastery at Old Mellifont. It is situated between Mellifont and the Bru na Boinne World Heritage site. Other townlands in the area are named, Newgrange, Sheepgrange, Littlegrange and Grangegeeth. The ruins of a medieval parish church sit within a rectangular graveyard. The west gable, with it's double belfry, is the only part of the church still standing to full height. In the centre of the gable there is a single round-headed window. Another feature in the west wall is a corbel stone with a face, I did not locate it during my visit. There is a piscina located at the east end of the south wall, see image bottom left. Located above the piscina is an armorial plaque with a shield bearing three fish carved into the sandstone. In a small niche in the north wall there is the head of a ringed sandstone cross. Standing in the graveyard to the south of the church is an early 18th century graveyard cross, with a crucifixion scene, and an inscription carved on the west face.

Pictured above from left to right are, the interior wall of the gable, the latin cross and the armorial plaque.

The Crosses

The inscription of the west face of the 1.3 metre high cross reads:

THIS / CROSS / WAS ER / ECTED / BY THE / (REV)RN / FATHEr / PHILIP / REILY / ANNO / DOM / 1711 ( FitzGerald 1904). The is a moon and Sun carved on the ends of the arms each side of the crucifixion. The east face is plain.

The small cross head pictured right, has in imperforate ring. Four deep arched depressions have been carved inside the ring and the short arms protrude beyond the ring. The opposite face is a mirror image.

Cross head

To the north of the graveyard, at the front of St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, are two fonts. The Largest font , to the left above, came from the parish church at Dowth. It is a 1/2 metre high octagonal stone font. The stone tapers in towards the base. There appear to be four indents around the rim. The second font, above right, came from Monknewtown church. It too is octagonal in shape but only half of the stone survives. Monknewtown is a really interesting site, with a rich variety of antiquities.

Situated: From Slane head east towards Drogheda. After 5 kilometres, turn left at the thatched pub. The church is 300 metres up this road on you right.

Discovery Map 43. O 0102 7524. Last visit Aug 2018.

Longitude: 6° 28' 10" W

Latitude: 53° 43' 1" N

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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