Ordnance Survey Field Name Books of the County of Meath 1835-36, Vol. 1, No.1


This townland is situated on the east side of the parish.

It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Donaghpatrick and Liscarton.

It is bounded on the east by the parishes of Liscartan and Navan and the townlands of Neillstown Park and Glebe.

It is bounded on the south by the townlands of Boyerstown, Mullaghmore alias Allerstown, Irishtown and Ongenstown.

It is bounded on the west by the townlands by the townlands of Betaghstown, Neillstown, Durhamstown and Grange.

It contains 1,096 acres 1 rood 3 perches statute measure, and is all under cultivation. It is the property of the Bishop of Meath, who holds about 278 acres in his possession and lets the remainder under leases of 21 years at the yearly rent of from £1-15 shillings per Irish acre. The tenants purchase their bog at £1 per perch. The soil is of good loam and produces excellent crops. It yields 12 barrels of wheat, or 16 barrels of oats, or 56 stones of flax, or 360 bushels of potatoes per acre.

The Bishops Palace is situated near the centre of the townland, and is known by the name of Ardbraccan House.
It is beautifully situated in a demesne adorned with forest trees, and its gardens are elegantly laid out. About one fifth of a mile south west of the palace is a Protestant Church, capable of accomodating 350 persons. It was built in 1777. Convenient to the church is a school house. The school is supported by the Bishop and by Archdeacon Pakenham.
The Master and Mistress have a free house and garden and £28 per annum.The average number of scholars is; Protestants, 25 males and 20 females; Catholics, 30 males and 20 females. About one sixth of the inhabitants of the townland are Protestant; the remainder are Roman Catholics.

County Cess is 1 shilling and 2 pence per acre per half year.


Ordnance Survey Field Name Books of the County of Meath 1835-36 Vol. 1. No1.

Parish of Ardbraccan, Barony of Lower Navan

Ard Breacain St. Brecan's height.

Ardbraccan John O'Donovan.

Ardbrackan Down Survey.

Ardbrackan Civil Survey 1654-56.

This parish is situated in the barony of Navan Lower. It is bounded on the east by Liscarton and Navan parishes.

It is bounded on the south by the parishes of Ardsallagh, Rataine and Churchtown.

It is bounded on the west by the parishes of Clonmacduff and Martry.

It is bounded on the north by Donaghpatrick parish.

Townlands: Ardbraccan, Betaghstown, Boyerstown, Curraghtown, Durhamstown, Gainstown, Glebe, Grange, Hanlonstown, Irishtown, Mullaghmore alias Allerstown, Neillstown, Neillstown Park, Ongenstown.

It contains 6,490 acres 3 roods 18 perches statute measure. The principal proprietors are the Earl of Essex, Nicholas Codington Esq., of Oldbridge, and the Preston family. It is a rectory, and is united with other parishes in the Union of Ardbrackan. The incumbent is the Honourable Archdeacon Pakenham. The See House of the Bishop of Meath is in this parish.

St. Brecan, of a Thomond family and who is said to have been baptised by St. Patrick, is traditionally the founder of the first church here, and fromhim the parish takes its name. But the patron saint of the parish is St. Ultan, whose feast date was the 4th of September. There is a well, called Tobar Ultain, St. Ultan's Well, in Ardbraccan townland, at the church of Ardbraccan.

The proportion of County Cess paid by this parish during the last half year (1834) was £85-2-5 1/2.

In "The Rising Out of Meath", circa 1586, the following then inhabitants of this parish are mentioned:-

Jn. Waffer of Gainstown.

W. FitzGarret of Ongestown.

Jasper Staples of Hollanstone.

Sir John Dillon of Doramestown.


Glebe: Ardbraccan Parish

The Glebe is situated on the east side of the parish.

It is bounded on the north by the townland of Ardbraccan.

It is bounded on the east by the townland of Neillstown Park.

It is bounded on the south by the parish of Navan.

It is bounded on the west by Ardbraccan townland.

It contains 61 acres 1 rood 4 perches statute measure, and is all under cultivation. It is church land, and is held by the rector of Ardbraccan. The soil is good loam, and produces 12 barrels of wheat, 16 barrels of oats, 56 stones of flax, or 360 bushels of potatoes per acres. County Cess is 1 shilling and 2 pence per acre per half year. The Glebe House is situated in the centre of the townland, about half a mile from the church.


Recent Excavations

County: Meath   Site name: ARDBRACCAN
Excavations.ie number: 2004:1158        License number: 04E0584
Author: Neil Fairburn, Cocyn Uchaf, Moelfre, Anglesey, Wales LL72 8LL, for ACS Ltd.
Site type: Burnt mounds, circular enclosure and pits
ITM: E 682203m, N 767849m
Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.653946, -6.756472

Testing took place along Testing Area 11 of the Navan bypass section (Contract 3) of the planned M3 Clonee-North of Kells road scheme, Co. Meath. The work was carried out for N3 Meath Consult on behalf of Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority. The testing methodology generally consisted of mechanically excavating 2m-wide trenches along the centre-line and perpendicular to the centre-line to the edge of the land-take every 20m. Three sites in the form of two burnt mounds, a circular enclosure and two circular pits, designated Ardbraccan 1, Ardbraccan 2 and Ardbraccan 3, were uncovered.

Ardbraccan 1 consisted of a burnt mound c. 8m in diameter and 0.2m deep and three circular pits 0.6m, 0.61m and 1.1m in diameter, which were filled with charcoal and burnt stone. An isolated charcoal-rich pit was also located in an adjacent field. No other features were exposed in the vicinity.

Ardbraccan 2 consisted of a burnt mound c. 8m in diameter, a possible trough, two probable modern linear ditches and an undated circular enclosure. The burnt mound was sectioned across its width and showed that it had a mixed fill of silty clay, charcoal and heat-shattered stone to a depth of c. 0.3m. The section appears to show that the burnt stone may have been deposited at different times, as there are distinct deposits.

One rectangular pit was positioned close to the edge of the burnt mound and may be a trough. It measured 1.65m by 1.15m and had a depth of c. 0.3m. It had a mixed fill of silty clay and charcoal.

The undated circular enclosure, c. 30m in diameter, c. 2.5m wide and c. 1.1m deep, had cut through the edge of the burnt mound and is clearly a later feature. The main fill of the enclosure ditch was a heavily laminated silty clay and this would strongly indicate that the ditch contained standing water during the formation process of the ditch fill.

Ardbraccan 3 consisted of two large subcircular pits, both 1.5m in diameter and 0.3m deep, and a curving spread of burnt stone. No other features were exposed in the vicinity.


County: Meath   Site name: ARDBRACCAN
Excavations.ie number: 2004:1160        License number: 04E0586
Author: Neil Fairburn, Cocyn Uchaf, Moelfre, Anglesey, Wales LL72 8LL, for ACS Ltd.
Site type: Ditch and pits
ITM: E 682383m, N 767869m
Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.654097, -6.753745

Both pits were c. 0.3m in diameter and c. 0.08m deep. They had mixed fills of brown silt and charcoal and were located 1m from the edge of a slightly curving V-shaped ditch. The ditch Testing took place along Testing Area 13 of the Navan bypass section (Contract 3) of the planned M3 Clonee-North of Kells road scheme, Co. Meath. The work was carried out for N3 Meath Consult on behalf of Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority. The testing methodology generally consisted of mechanically excavating 2m-wide trenches along the centre-line and perpendicular to the centre-line to the edge of the land-take every 20m.

One site in the form of a V-shaped ditch and two shallow pits, designated Ardbraccan 4, was uncovered.was 0.8m wide and 0.37m deep, with a light-brown compact fill of silty clay with occasional charcoal.



County: Meath. Site name: Testing Area 1 Ardbraccan

Excavations Number: 2004:1161 Licence Number: 04E0924

Author: Dermot Nelis, Irish Archaeological Consultance Ltd. 8 Dungar Terrace, Dunlaoghaire, Co. Dublin

Site Type: Possible Bronze Age hut sites; burnt spread

ITM: E682023, N768858m.

An assessment was carried out in advance of the planned M3 Clonee-North of Kells PPP scheme, Co. Meath, on the Navan Kells and the N52 bypass (Contract 4) between July and October 2004. This section of the scheme is c. 11km long from the townland of Ardbraccan, north of Navan to the townland of Cakestown Glebe, north of Kells. The EIS recommended testing any known or possible site identified and Meath County Council further proposed to test the whole of the remainder of the route. For the purposes of testing, this section was divided into 14 testing areas. The assessment methodology generally consisted of mechanically excavating 2m wide test-trenches along the centre line and perpendicular to the centre-line to the edge of the land-take every 20m. The work was carried out on behalf of Meath County Council, the National ROads Design Office and the National Roads Authority.

Testing Area 1 is located in the townland of Ardbraccan, between Chainages 6000 and 60470. Within this area, 8324m2 available was test trenched, providing assessment coverage of 22.4%. There were no known monuments within the vicinity of the testing area. Two sites were identified in this area and designated Ardbraccan 5 and 6.

Ardbraccan 5 consisted of two slot-trenches 55m apart. The first is subcircular in plan (Chainage 60250)  and was recorded immediately south of a north-east/south-west modern field drain.  The area was extended by machine by 3.8m to the east to define fully the extent of this possible structure and any associated archaeological remains. Two hand-dug sections, located at the west and south and measuring 0.2m and 0.4m in width respectively, were excavated across this feature. It was sealed by topsoil and cut into natural.

This feature, interpeted as a Bronze Age temporary hut site, measured 3m north-south by 3.5m, with the slot-trenching measuring 0.25-0.4m in width. Testing showed it to have a sharp break of slope at the top, with sides varying from steep to gently sloping to a generally flat but slightly uneven base.  It was filled with a friable mid-brown silty clay with ocassional small stones evenly distributed.  A possible entrance was located in the south-east side of the feature and measured 1.5m in length. It was represented by a break in the slot-trench, but there was no evidence for an antrance surface in this area.

A possible post-hole located 0.1m east of the possible structure measured 0.2m in diameter and a small hand-dug section showed it to be 0.1m deep, with a sharp break of slope at the top with near vertical sides and a sharp break at the bottom with a flat base.  It was filled with a loose to friable mid-brown silty clay, with occasional small stones evenly distributed.

No finds were recovered from either of the hand-dug sections or from the topsoil in this area.  The site was located on a relatively low-lying flat area of dry ground.

The second slot-trench was recorded 55m to the north. It consisted of a subrectangular possible structure (Chainage 60300) with a possible entrance to the north.  It was cut into natural and sealed by topsoil.  The area was extended by machine to the east to define fully the extent of this possible structure and any associated archaeological remains; no firther features were revealed.

The feature measured 3.3m north-south by 2.1m and consisted of a non-enclosed slot-trench 0.2m wide and open to the north.  It had gently rounded corners and a sharp break of slope at the top  with almost vertical smooth sides giving on to aa gently rounded base.  The slot-trench was 0.2m wide and 0.18-2m deep, with an opening measuring 1.1m.  It had a single fill of loose to friable mid-brown silty clay, with occasional small stones evenly distributed.  No finds were recovered from the hand-dug section or from the top-soil in this area.

The second slot-trench is also interpeted as a possible Bronze Age temporary hut site, similar to the first, although it is noted that this feature is subrectangular in plan rather than subcircular and has a possible entrance in the north and not in the south-east.

Ardbraccan 6 (Chainage 60040) consisted of an irregular-shaped burnt spread measuring 13m east-west by 12.5m and 0.1-0.25m deep. It extended beyond the trench in an eastward direction, but it was not possible to excavate another trench in this area, as it was located immediately west of a north-south fence line.  It is estimated that the spread woudl not extend east beyond the trench for more than c. 3m, giving it an estimated overall length of c. 16m east-west. There was no above ground evidence for the presence of this feature, which it is suggested had been leveled in the recent past as a result of ploughing.

The burnt spread consisted of a loose dark brown/black sandy clay, with frequent burnt and broken stone and charcoal inclusions all evenly distributed.  It was located on a geltly sloping ground immediately west of a marshy area defined by the nroth-south channelled stream/drain. Two hand-dug sections, oriented north-south and east-west, were excavated in teh middle and north-east of the feature to help define its extent and character. No artifacts were recovered from either of the sectons.

Ardbraccan 6 is interpeted as the ploughed-out remains of a probably Bronze Age burnt spread, ideally situated on a slightly sloping ground on the interface with a noticable wetter area. Two hand-dug sections were excavated, but there was no evidence for a trough.  Due to the presence of the heat-shattered stone, however, it is considered likely that the presence of at least one such trough may survive in the immediate landscape.


Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837 & 1861

Ardbraccan, a parish, in the barony of Lower Navan, county of Meath, and province of Leinster, 2 ½ miles (W.) from Navan; containing 3798 inhabitants.  This place derived its name, signifying, in the Irish language, "the Hill of Braccan," from St. Braccan, who presided over a monastery here, and died in the year 650.  The establishment subsequently became the seat of a small bishoprick, which flourished under a series of prelates, many of whom are noticed as eminent ecclesiastics, till the twelfth century, when, with several other small bishopricks, it was included in the diocese of Meath.  The monastery was frequently plundered and laid waste by the Danes, and repeatedly destroyed by fire, from the 9th to the 12th century; and, in 1166, Moriertach, King of Ireland, granted to it in perpetuity a parcel of land at an annual rent of three ounces of gold.  The village, which was anciently a place of some importance, especially during the existence of the see, appears to have declined since the period of the English invasion, and is no longer of any note.

About one half of the parish is under tillage, two fifths in pasture, and the remainder meadow land.  The only remarkable elevation is Faughan Hill, the conical summit of which being well planted, is conspicuous over the surrounding flat districts; and on the western border of the parish is a chain of bogs.  Limestone is quarried for building; and at a place called White Quarry is found a particular kind of limestone, of which the bishop's palace is built.  Limestone, gravel, and marl are also raised for manure.  The bishop's palace, one of the most elegant ecclesiastical residences in Ireland, was erected by the late Bishop Maxwell: it is beautifully situated, and the grounds and gardens are tastefully laid out; the demesne is embellished with forest trees of stately growth, among which are some remarkably fine horse chestnut trees; and there are also two very beautiful cedars of Lebanon, planted by the late Bishop Pococke. Oatland House, the residence and demesne of Blennerhasset Thompson, Esq., is also within the parish; and Dormerstown Castle is an old fortified residence.  The weaving of linen cloth is carried on to a small extent, and some cotton looms are also employed by the inhabitants.

The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Meath, united by act of council, in 1771, to the rectories of Liscarton and Rataine, the chapelry of Churchtown, and the vicarage of Martry, and by the same authority, in 1780, to the rectory of Clonmacduff, which six parishes constitute the union of Ardbraccan, in the patronage of the Crown.  The tithes amount to £433. 16. 10 ¾.: the gross amount of tithes payable to the incumbent is £820. 15. 5 ¼.  The church is a handsome edifice, erected in 1777, under the auspices of the late Bishop Maxwell. The glebe house is situated about half a mile from the church: the glebe comprises 33 acres of profitable land.  The R. C. union or district of Ardbraccan, called also Bohermein, includes the parishes of Ardbraccan, Martry, Rathboyne, and parts of the parishes of Moyagher and Liscarton: there are two chapels in Ardbraccan and one in Rathboyne.  The male and female parochial school is principally supported by the rector, and is aided by an annual donation from the Bishop of Meath; and there are two free schools at Byerstown and Bohermein, supported by bequests from the late Rev. Mr. Brannigan, P. P., and by annual subscriptions from Earl Ludlow and the parishioners.  In these schools are about 300 boys and 160 girls; and there are also two private schools, in which are about 60 children.

Dr. Chetwood, formerly rector of this parish, left £500, and Dr. Sterne, Bishop of Clogher, left £30 per annum, for apprenticing the children of Protestant inhabitants of the diocese to Protestant, masters and mistresses; about 30 children are annually apprenticed from these funds.  In the churchyard is a square tower with a spire and vane, forming a pleasing object.  There is also a monument to Bishop Montgomery, who died in London, on the 15th of January, 1620, and was buried here; and on the south side of it is a small tablet to the memory of that celebrated traveller, Bishop Pococke, who presided over the see of Meath, and died in 1765.


The Lewis Topographical Directory was first published in 1837 in two volumes, with an accompanying atlas.  The first edition is available online. A second edition was published in 1842.

Lewis relied on the information provided by local contributors and on the earlier works published such as Coote's Statistical Survey (1801), Taylor and Skinner's Maps of the Road of Ireland (1777), Pigot's Trade Directory (1824) and other sources. He also used the various parliamentary reports and in particular the census of 1831 and the education returns of the 1820s and early 1830s. Local contributors were given the proof sheets for final comment and revision. The names of places are those in use prior to the publication of the Ordnance Survey Atlas in 1838. Distances are in Irish miles (the statute mile is 0.62 of an Irish mile).



The Parliamentary Gazetteer 0f Ireland, 1844-1845, Vol. 1

ARDBRACCAN, a parish in the barony of Lower Navan 2 1/2 miles west of Navan, Co. Meath, Leinster.  It contains part of the village of Bohermeen.  Length, 5 1/2 miles; breadth, 4; area, 6,491 acres. Pop., in 1831, 3,798; in 1841, 4,596. Houses 678. Pop. of the rural districts in 1841, 3,884. Houses 536.
The land is, for the most part, arable and good.  The surface, in common with that of five contiguous parishes with which it is ecclesiastically united, is a luxuriant plain, skirted along the west with bog, and relieved in its flatness principally by a richly wooded and conspicuous hill, having somewhat the form of an obtruncated cone.  A white limestone, quarried on the lands of Ardbraccan, is peculiarly suitable for embellished architecture: it is purely white when chiselled, and assumes a dark greyish tint when polished; it becomes blackish when long exposed to the air, but can be restored by chiselling; and, unlike much of the building stone in Ireland, it neither absorbs water, nor contracts a green hue from nurturing the growth of lichens.
Ardbraccan, "the knoll of Braccan," is said to have been, in 650, made the site of a religious establishment by St. Braccan. The saint, whether Culdee or whatever else, is in the usual style represented as having made the affair both a see and an abbey; and he currently figures in story as the first of a line of local bishops and abbots.  The religious house, whether cathedral or abbey, or both, or neither, was often plundered and burned by hostile dynasts and by Danes; and is said to have partly fallen to the ground in 1170. The see was one of several small bishoprics which became consolidated into the see of Meath.  A "strong castle" — at least an edifice designated such in a scarce pamphlet which details many events of the rebellion of 1641 — was, from an early period, the episcopal residence of this great diocese.
Ardbraccan house, the successor of the castle, and the present episcopal palace of Meath, was built since 1766 from designs by James Wyatt, Esq., and is regarded, for beauty and splendour, as the second edifice of its class in Ireland. It is composed of the Ardbraccan limestone; consists of a main building and two wings, connected by circular walls and niches; and combines the magnificence of the palace with the comfort of the English mansion.  The circumjacent demesne is extensive, and highly as well as tastefully embellished; and, among various beautiful trees and shrubs, it contains some cedars of Lebanon and other exotics, planted by the oriental traveller Pococke during the time of his being bishop of Meath.  A small, ill designed, and ill sculptured slab in the churchyard of the parish does burlesqueing duty as a monument to Bishop Pococke.  The tomb of George Montgomery, bishop of Meath and Clogher, stands on the north side of the slab; and strongly fixes attention by its minglement of pretension, barbarousness, and absurdity.  Figures which it exhibits of the bishop, his wife, and his daughter, are the rudest productions of the chisel that can well be conceived.  Beneath the figures are the words, "Surges morieris, judicaberis."  On the east side is a bust, with three plumes surmounted by a mitre; above the mitre is a cup, with a representation of the Roman Catholic sacramental wafer; and beneath the bust are two swords, laid across each other, and intersprinkled with fleurs de lis.  On the west side is an angel blowing a trumpet, and a shield charged with armorial bearings, and surmounted also with a cup and the Roman Catholic wafer.  An old square tower near this masterpiece of absurdity is surmounted by a spire and a vane, and forms a noticeable object in the plain.
Ardbraccan is a rectory in the dio. of Meath; and, together with the vicarage of Martry, the chapelry of Churchtown, and the rectories of Liscaktin, Rataine, and Clonmacduff, forms the benefice of Ardbraccan.  Length, 8 miles; breadth, 5 1/2. Gross income, £890 11s. I 1/2d.; nett, £686 17s. 4d. Patron, the Crown.  A curate has a stipend of £100, a house, and upwards of 19 acres of land.  The church is a homely structure, rather in the domestic than in the architectural style; and contains, in the interior, an episcopal throne.  It was built in 1777by means partly of a donation of unknown amount from Bishop Maxwell, and partly of a contribution of £369 4s. 7 1/2d. from the parish.  Sittings 350; attendance, from 160 to 200.
A Roman Catholic chapel at Bobermeen is attended by 2,000, and one at Boyerstown by 800; and, along with Courtown chapel in Rathboyne parish, are under the care of two officiates.  There is a Roman Catholic chapel also at Churchtown.  In 1834, there were in the parish 311 Protestant, and 3,613 Roman Catholics; and, in the union, 391 Protestants, and 6,517 Roman Catholics.  In the same year, there were in the parish, the Ardbraccan freeschool, aided with £8 from the bishop, and £22, house and garden, from the rector, and attended by 84, the Boyerstown free school, aided with £2 10s. from Lord Ludlow. £2 10s. from bequest by Rev. Mr. Branningan, P.P., and £15 from subscription, and attended by 211, the Bohermeen free school, aided with £3 5s., a house and garden, and attended by 161, and two hedge schools, attended by 10 and 45; and the only other school in the union was one in Churchtown.

Slater's Directory, 1894

Ardbraccan, a parish in Co. Meath, barony of Lower Navan, union of Navan, diocese of Meath, 2 1/2 miles west from Navan station on the Great Northern (Ireland) railway, containing 14 townlands.   For Protestant purposes this parish is formed into a union with Martry, Clonmacduff, Liscartan, Churchtown and Rataine.  The area comprises 6,494 acres; the population in 1891 was 1,390.  Letters through Navan.

Church of Ireland: Rev. Duncan John Brownlow M.A.

Law, John A. j. p. Ardbraccan Palace.


Pettigrew, Thos. monumental sculptor.


Beggan, Denis & Patrick, Boyerstown.

Brady, John, Boyerstown.

Brennan, William, Curraghtown.

Buchanan, James, Allerstown.

Buchanan, Michael.

Buchanan, William, Irishtown.

Collins, Thomas, Grange.

Commins, Edward, Betaghstown.

Corrigan, Peter, Gainstown.

Donaghy, Terence.

Gilsenan, Michael, Betaghstown.

Kavanagh, Nicholas, Gainstown.

Keene, Patrick, Grange.

Lightholder, John, Hanlonstown.

Lightholder, Michael, Hanlonstown.

Mallon, James, Ongenstown.

Martin, William, Ongenstown.

Smith, Michael, Curraghtown.

Urell, William, Neilstown.

Wall, Patrick, Allerstown.