Ref: K122

St James', Castledermot

 
Townland: Castledermot Parish: Castledermot
 
Denomination: C of I Diocese: Meath & Kildare (C of I)
 
Grid Ref: 278441(E), 184985(N) Status: Closed
 
Record of Protected Structures (RPS): No Record of Monuments and Places (RMP): KD040-002031 - graveyard The site is a National Monument (Ref. 471)
 
Boundary Treatment: Stone wall (Granite) with coping, measuring about 1.5m in height
 
Natural Heritage Details: Some mature conifers and beech tress growing mostly on the boundary of the graveyard, several conifers growing throughout; lichen and moss growing on walls and headstones; some ivy on the boundary walls; several trees are growing out of the boundary wall causing some damage.
 
Description: The site is a National Monument on foot of the round tower , high crosses and Romanesque archway. The monastery was founded in 812. Part of the medieval church has been incorporated into the present church. The site is located within the town of Castledermot and is approached by a tree-lined avenue. The boundary is of well dressed granite stone blocks and a large double iron gate. A pedestrian stile is located on the left hand side where the church plaque is located. An OPW information panel is located just inside the main gates. The ground is under grass and well maintained and undulating. Some of the headstones date to the medieval period, but the majority of the headstones date to the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The only example of hogback grave marker in Ireland is located in the graveyard. Other Headstone types consist of rounded, kerb set, Celtic style, table tombs, recumbent slabs and grave railings
 
Appraisal: The site is of considerable archaeological, architectural and historic interest, attesting to the long-standing ecclesiastical presence in the area and is a national monument. The graveyard is enclosed by a stone wall with a gate and stile in the west wall. The present church lies on the site of a pre-Norman monastery and includes elements of Romanesque, 13th and 17th century elements. The only surviving element of the original Romanesque church is a portion of the W gable doorway. Features of note are the round tower (H 20m) and several high crosses (N cross, S cross and a W cross. There is also a hogback grave marker dated to the 10th century of granite. There are also several crosses and cross slabs dating from the 10th to 17th centuries. A granite font is located within the church. In addition, the graveyard contains various cut-stone grave markers from the 18th-20th centuries, which are of artistic and historic interest. Some headtones are leaning, a small number have been broken, some are overgrown and a small number have been moved from their original position. The grounds are well maintained.
 
Record Of Inscriptions: Recorded by: Brian Cantwell 1978
Location: Co. Kildare online Electronic History Journal

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