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Rectory was appropriate to yo monastery of S. Thos. Dublin, and by 12 Car. I. granted to the vicar under a crown rent of £24 Irish and 30 pecks of corn.
“ Ardsallagh was entirely impropriate to ye monastery of S. Peter n' Trim, but by 12 Car. I. made presentative, and the tythes granted to ye incumbent under a crown rent of £12 Irish and 30 pecks of corn.
“The land of Donamore in yo parish of Donamore wh: was formerly demesne of ye monastery of Navan pays no tythe to ye incumbent, and contains 424 acres.
"In ye parish of Navan there are 3 acres of glebe lying in the townland of Balreaskee.
“In yo parish of Donomore there are 8 acres of glebe, viz. 5 acres in the town of Donamore, and 2 in y' town of Clonmagaddon, and 1 in Simonstown.
“ There are in the whole union 36 families of ye established church, je rest are popish except 12 women married to papists. There is a mass house and a popish priest's. The church of Navan is in good repair, and has a bell, ye isles are flagged and seated throughout. There is a font of stone, and ye communion table is railed in, and ye churchyard is enclosed with a wall of lime and stone. The incumbent resided at first in the town of Navan, but since yi removed to lodgings in the country in a popish family which gives offence. There is divine service and a sermon every Sunday in ye church of Navan, and prayers every Wensday and Fryday & every holyday.”
The same report gives the following description of Athlumney :" Athlumyony or Athlumney is a rectory and vicarage. The rectory belonged to the monastery of S. Mary's, Dublin, and is now a lay impropriation belonging to the family of the late Lord Chief Baron Deane. The vicar has been anciently endowed, and enjoys one-third of all the tythe. There is no house nor glebe; value of vicarage £20. The parish contains 1331 acres. The church is ruinous; nor is it necessary to repair it, no part being much above 2 miles to Navan church by Killcairn bridge and not much above a mile by the ford when the waters are down. Mr. Cusack, patron ; R. Downes, vicar, resides in his parsonage of Castlecorr; Pat. Lyon (also rector of Kentstown) curate, lives at Navan.”.
There appears to have been a dispute between the Crown and the lay patron as to the presentation to Athlumney, as Mr. Grace is described as vicar of Athlumney & Donamore and rector of Navan and Ardsallagh in the Liber Munerum Hib. Mr. Grace was also curate of Bective. In 1744, Mr. James Cavendish became rector, and in 1747 Dr. D. A. Beaufort who subsequently in 1748 was also made rector of Moymet, and in March, 1753, provost of the cathedral church of S. Mary, Tuam; and in 1758 rector and vicar of Clonenagh (or Mountrath) & Clonaghan dio. Leighlin, when he resigned Moymet which was given to Dr. Washington Cotes, dean of Lismore.
as vicar Liber Munerum lish became rec
The Vestry minutes from 1750 have been preserved, and contain many notices of interest. In 1752 the church was found to be inconveniently small, and proposals were made to enlarge it, but the money was not forthcoming. In 1759 the Vestry decided to build a “steeple" at the west end with a vestry joined to it, and a plan by Edward Morgan and Robert Price, masons, was submitted ; and next year a committee was appointed to superintend the work, viz. Dr. Beaufort, rector; Messrs. G. W. M'Gusty, and John Ryder, church wardens; and Messrs. Peter Metge, Thomas Barry, Francis Tuke, Patrick Rooney, and John Scrugam. In 1764 Edward Morgan got a bonus of £3 38. for his extraordinary care in building the steeple. In 1765 the north wall of the church was rebuilt, and the church re-roofed, and two galleries erected. In this year Dr. Beaufort resigned, and was succeeded by his son who bore the same name, Daniel Augustus Beaufort, who continued rector till 1818. This Dr. Beaufort was also rector of Collon, county Louth, where he chiefly resided. In 1767 the pews were auctioned, and the arrangement of the pew-holders is given in the vestry-book. A seat above the reading-desk, which was in the centre of the south side, cost £10 108., and below the reading-desk £5 58. The church was receiled, and the “Isle" flagged the same year. The work does not appear to have been very well done, as the vestry minutes contain frequent references to repairs to the roof, &r. A slater got £2 a-year to look after the roof.
In 1764 an organ was got. Mr. Commell, organ-builder, got £3 88. 3d. for his trouble and extraordinary attention in erecting the organ, and was voted £6 68. a-year for keeping it in repair, and a vote of thanks was passed “ to the young ladies who are so obliging as to accompany the organ with their voices.” The organ involved a host of extra expenses. Fires had to be kept up to prevent it from suffering from damp; an organist and bellows-blower salaried, besides the cost of keeping it in tune. In 1786 the communion plate was renewed. The chalice and paten bear the inscription “Originally given by Thos. Meredyth, Esquire, Recorder, for the use of the church of Navan, renewed by the Parish in 1786"; the hall-marks are 0. RB. I am informed that O stands for 1730. The flagon and collecting plates are plated, and inscribed “ Parish of Navan, 1786."
In 1804 Bishop O'Beirne made a great effort to have glebes built under the Glebes Act of the previous year, 43 Geo. III., and Dr. Beaufort's reply, declining to avail himself of it, bas been preserved, and is in the Record Office. He writes from Allenstown, February 26, 1804, and after apologising for delay in replying to the bishop's circular, he proceeds to say :-“For though you have sometimes mentioned the subject of building to me, as you have it at heart, most properly, to provide a residence for the incumbent wherever it is possible, yet I flatter myself that when you consider my situation and necessary residence at Collon, your lordship will see how great a hardship it would be upon me to pay
of in myself the troy to save so much my life, without
an interest of £60 or £80 a-year during my life, without any advantage to myself, and merely to save so much to an unknown successor, taking upon myself the trouble and responsibility of building, and the hazard of dilapidations afterwards. Besides, the scantiness and inconvenience of my glebes are a great discouragement to any attempt being made at present; and I do assure you that no efforts of mine shall be wanting to obtain an increase of land, or to make such an exchange of the few scattered acres I have as to bring the whole glebe together. I beg leave to present my regards to Mrs. O'Beirne and the young ladies, and have the honour to be your lordship's very obedient and obliged servant, D. A. BEAUFORT.”
It was proposed to build a spire on the new tower or steeple, but the scheme fell through, and, in 1804, the Vestry ordered the great bell to be hung and the boarded covering on top of the tower repaired for a temporary protection, “as it is expected that the steeple shall be finished this summer either by subscriptions for ornamenting it or by a plain roof.” In 1807 £60 was voted for the four great windows of the belfry, and the outer door, and for roofing in the belfry, and four years later over £20 was required for staunching and completing the steeple.
In 1813 a gift of £600, and a loan of £1100, repayable in seventeen years at 6 per cent., were obtained from the Board of First-fruits to build the present church; and in 1815 service was held in “the great room of the Tholsel” during the rebuilding. In 1818 the pews were allotted. · They were arranged like the seats in Trinity College Chapel, lengthways along the side walls, and there was a pew with a canopy over it for the bishop.
In this year, 1818, Dr. Beaufort resigned, having been rector for tiity-three years. He died in Cork on the 17th May, 1821. Dr. Beaufort had apparently a taste for road-making and maps. In 1792 he published an elaborate map of the diocese of Meath on a large scale, shaded to to show the hills, and showing all the public roads. There are several copies of this map in existence.
Dr. Beaufort was succeeded by Philip Barry, of Boyne Hill, who had previously been churchwarden. An action was brought by the builders of the church against Dr. Beaufort and Rev. Ph. Barry, and the vestry ordered it to be defended.
In 1822 the salaries of the parish officers amounted to £78 28., viz. clerk, £20; organist, £20; vestry clerk, £10; sextoness, £10; organ blower, £6; bell-ringer, £5 68. 6d. ; organ-tuner, £6 168. 6d. These salaries, and current expenses, and £66 instalment of loan, amounted to £166 158. 4jd., which was raised by a cess of 103d. per acre on the parishes. In 1750 the sum levied was £60, by a cess of 3d. per acre; the clerk's salary was then £5, and there were no other officers. The salaries were gradually raised, and the other officers added, till in 1833 church rates were abolished, and the whole system changed. The vestry
minutes make frequent reference to the difficulty of collecting this cess, and the Easter vestries had to be adjourned because the church wardens had not their accounts ready. In 1788 there was a riotous resistance to collecting the rate in Donaghmore. In 1804 the people of Athlumney and Abbeylands refused to pay, and counsel's opinion was taken as to their liability, and in 1806 the churchwardens had to make seizures in Athlumney. In 1823 the present bells were purchased. The former bell was given by Mr. Preston in 1788. The larger bell bears the inscription: “William Dobson fecit, Downham, Norfolk, England, 1822.” The smaller bell has only the date 1819. The clock was put up about this time.
In 1827 Mr. Barry accepted, in composition for the tithe, £705, viz. £275 out of Navan, £280 out of Donaghmore, and £150 out of Ardsallagh.
The fortunes of the Roman Catholic members of the community are told by Father Cogan in his history of the diocese.
In 1693, as Dr. Dopping reports, the Mass house was repaired for the use of the Established Church. In 1702 seq. in Queen Anne's reign, a mud-wall thatched chapel was erected at Leighsbrook, separated from Leighsbrook house by the stream. Mass was offered here for 70 years. On occasions when this chapel was closed Mass was celebrated on the rocks along the Boyne, below Blackcastle. No school was allowed till 1782. There was a hedge school at Donaghmore. In 1772 the mud wall chapel fell on Christmas night, and for months after Mass was offered up in a sentry box in a yard off Trimgate street. A mud-wall thatched house was next erected on the site of the present chapel, and used as a barn during the week. On Sundays a door on two barrels served for an altar for eight or nine years. The present church was erected about 1836, and consists of a large rectangular building, placed nearly north and south, with a tower at the south-east angle.
The coach road from Dublin to Navan was made under the 3rd Geo. II. cap. xix. in 1729. Two years later, in 1731, an Act was passed for a road from the Navan road, at Blackbull, to Trim and Athboy. The junction of the Trim and Naran roads at the Blackbull was long a noted resort of highwaymen. In 1733 the Navan road was extended to Nobber and Kells.
In the next reign, the existing Road Acts having proved insufficient, a fresh Act was passed in 1796 for a mail coach road from Dublin to Navan. For the next fifty years the work of extending these coach roads went on till it was put a stop to by the introduction of railways. The Dublin and Drogheda railway was extended to Navan in 1849, and the Dublin and Meath line was constructed in 1859.
In making the railway from Drogheda a “souterrain” was discovered in the cutting near Athlumney, described by Sir William Wilde as "consisting of a passage 533 feet long, 8 feet broad, and 6 feet high, branching into two smaller passages at right angles to it, and ending in two circular bee-hive chambers, similar to those at Clady.” Remains of similar chambers were accidentally discovered lately at Blackcastle, and at Donaghpatrick in building the present glebe.
The Act for making a canal from Drogheda to Trim was passed in 1787, and surveys were directed to be made from Slane to Naran, and thence to Virginia Water and Trim, and from Trim to Dublin; and two years later a supplemental Act was passed for creating £12,500 Debenture Stock at 4 per cent. for making the canal from Drogheda to Trim. The Commissioners for making the canal were the Earls of Mornington and Bective, the Hon. W. Conyngham, B. T. Balfour, the four Members of Parliament for Meath and Louth, the two Members for Drogheda, the Mayor of Drogheda, the Bishop of Meath, Baron Metge,' Lord Headfort, John Preston, Hamilton Wade, Skeffington Thompson, W. Moyle, Dixie and Henry Coddington, Edward Harman, and David Jebb. The canal was only completed as far as Navan.
Poolboy bridge would appear to be very old. The name is derived from the yellow clay of which the north bank is composed, and which in old times muddied the water at the ford. The “New bridge” over the Boyne was built between 1733 and 1756. There are the remains of the piers of a bridge below Blackcastle, nearly opposite Donaghmore, and one arch on the south bank. This was Babe's Bridge, and it is said to have been the only bridge not carried away by a great flood in 1330.
The town is described by Lewis in 1836 as containing 4416 inhabitanta, and as having three principal streets, and about 850 houses, many of which are well built. Altogether it has a cheerful and thriving appearance.
Sir William Wilde, in 1849, says: “The inhabitants of Navan, like those of most Irish towns through which a river runs, have turned their backs upon the stream, scarcely a glimpse of which can be obtained from any of its narrow streets.”
1 Baron Metge was a judge of the Court of Exchequer. There is a tombstone over his grave in Athlumney churchyard, containing the following inscription :
HOC MONUMENTUM ELATUM
3° MAIL ANN. DOM. 1803
DE ATHLUMNEY COMITATU MEDEN 8I
BARONI SCACCARII HIBERNICI
PROPINQUIS ET RELATIVIS
SIGNUM MAXIMÆ AFFECTIONIS.