pillar crossThe Market Cross stood in Market Square.

It was erected by Martin Nangle, whose sister Catherine married Nicholas Herbert, and the coats of arms of these families can be seen on one side of  the cross, along with the arms of the Dowdalls, another early Norman family, indicating intermarriage betwen these families.

It dates from c. 1585, and has 4 carved sides. It was uprooted during Penal times probably during the first half of the 17th century. In the past it was customary for coffins to be carried around the cross before burial.

A fragment survives, enough to place it as one of the tall pillar crosses

erected in Meath around this time. (left)


The Market Cross fragment was returned to Navan by the National Museum in 2011 and is now on permanent display in the Solstice Arts Centre.


The photos of the Market Cross fragment shown here, were taken by one of our members  HilaryTullach, and are shown courtesy of the National Museum.


The article below is by Rev.C.C Ellison,

published in Ríocht na Mídhe 1963 Vol.II  No.1

One of the stones from the ancient Market Cross Cross was found by W.F. Wakeman in 1849 and removed to the Royal Irish Academy. It is now in the National Museum.

Judging by the slender shape of this stone, the Cross seems to have been a tall pillar, carved or inscribed on each side, with perhaps a small ornemental cross at the top.

Wakeman relates how he found the stone built into a wall in " a miserable back lane, branching from Trimgate Street," and was allowed to remove it. Hearing of two similar stones, being used as support for casks in a public house in Trimgate Street, he used every endeavour to be allowed to make drawings of them and offered to pay for any trouble caused in removing the casks. But he was at first flatly, and at length insolently refused. P.R.I.A. 1849.

These two stones were probably the ones described by Dean Cogan as "preserved by a family in the town." One of them, he says,"has an inscription in Irish commemorative of the sufferings of Christ, and His opening Heaven to us. The other has a figure of St. Patrick, with mitre and crozier, on one side of which is 'S' (Saint) and on the other 'P' (Patrick); a second side has a shield and a figure of a bird, perhaps the arms of the Nangles. The Nangle crest was a falcon. Burke, General Armory. "

A third side has the 'Ecce Homo' crowned with thorns; and the fourth has a crowned figure of the Blessed Virgin, with the Infant Jesus in her arms." Cogan, Vol 1, 229-30.

Sir William Wilde in his classic work, The Beauties of the Boyne and Blackwater, says: " It is probable that a cross existed in this town in the market place, where all passing funerals now make a solemn circuit. A friend of ours possesses a portion of a small sculptured cross lately dug up in Navan."This may refer to the stone preserved at the east end of St. Mary's Church of Ireland Church, upon which can still be seen on one side a crowned figure bearing a sword in the right hand, and on the other a mitred bishop.

market cross AThe stone rescued by Wakeman (left) is 22 inches in height and 8 inches square. At the bottom is a small dowel hole about an inch square, while at the top the stone tapers so as to fit a socket in a stone or cross bar above. Lodge's "Peerage of Ireland" mentions an ancient inscription in stone, probably part of a gateway erected by Martin and Alisona (Nangle) in 1589. The Rev. Mervyn Archdall, who revised the work, adds in a footnote, " Market Cross of Navan, now in the churchyard of that town." Lodge, Vol. 111, 79.

The stone has on one side a shield (below left) the arms of the Nangles. ( Az. Three fusils or lozenges conjoined in fees or.), quartered with those of Dowdall ( Fees between five martlets- Martin's great grandfather, John, married Elinor, heiress of Sir Thomas Dowdall), and impaled with those of the Herberts, three lions rampant. Above it are the names Nangle and Harbart, and below almost some obliterated letters, which may be "obit 1585".

According to Sir William Beetham, Martin, eldest son of Patrick, Baron of Navan and his wife Janet, daughter of Martin Blake of Athboy, Martin Blake was a prosperous merchant (Riocht na Midhe, 1961, p.43) married Alison, daughter of Sir Francis Herbert of Coghlanstown in Co. Kildare. He died before his father in 1585 and his son Thomas succeeded to the Barony in 1595. P.R.I.A. 1849.

market cross Nangle armsLodge terms the said Martin Nangle the third son of the third Viscount Gormanston, thus giving him the family name of Preston, and continues "their (Martin's and Alison's) issue was Hugh, who married a daughter of Joclyn Nangle, Baron of Navan, and by this marriage he became possessed of Ardsallagh and also the Corporation of Navan."

This statement, since copied by several historians, seems to be an error. The obituary notice of the 3rd Viscount Gormanston gives his issue as one son, Christopher, and five daughters. Journal Royal Society Antiquaries Ireland 1932. G.D. Burtchaell, a noted authority, comments" There is no such person as Martin Preston. The husband of Alisona Herbert was Martin Nangle.

Lodge or Archdall incorrectly copied the entry." Martin was the grandson of Sir Thomas Nangle whose wife was the eldest daughter of Jenico, third Viscount Gormanston. After the death of Sir Thomas, she married Richard Nugent, Baron Delvin. The only Jocelyn Nangle, Baron of Navan, who appears in the family pedigree is the original recipient of the Barony in the 12th century. Ulster's Office, Vol.17, p. 381. Beetham states that Martin Nangle's sister, Catherine, married Nicholas, eldest son of Sir Francis Herbert. In the Ulster's Office pedigree Catherine is entered as the first wife of Nicholas Herbert of Ballycotton.

Another source (Pedigrees of many Irish Families, Trinity College Dublin Library Ms. F.418) gives Alison Herbert in the Nangle pedigree as daughter of Sir Jasper Herbert of Durrow, and in the Herbert pedigree as the daughter of Nicholas of Ballycotton and his first wife, Agnes Plunkett. Catherine Nangle is entered here as his second wife. Sir Jasper was the youngest son of Nicholas Herbert, who inherited his Durrow estate and built Ballycowan castle there in 1626. Probably there was more than one Alison Herbert, hence the confusion in the perdigree. Francis Herbert, a Dublin merchant and alderman, was sent by the citizens to warn the King of Silken Thomas' rebellion, and as a reward was dubbed a knight and "infeoffed with part of Christopher Eustace of Balicutlan his lands" (Holinshed). In addition to Ballycotland or Coghlanstown, Co. Kildare, he also had an estate at Portlester, Co. Meath, and married Janet Golding of Piersetownlandy, Co. Meath. His son and heir, Nicholas, got a lease from the Crown of the lands of Edenderry, and the dissolved religious houses of Monasteroris and Darrow (Journal Kildare Archaeological Society, Volumes V11 and V111).

Ardsallagh, together with vast estates in Meath and Laois, was granted to John Preston under the act of Settlement in 1666. (Burke. Dormant and Extinct peerages.) He was son of Hugh Preston of Bolton in Lancshire,and served as Mayor of Dublin in 1653-54 and M.P. for Navan in 1661. He founded the Preston Schools in Navan and Ballyroan in 1686.

The first of his three wives was Mary Morris of Bolton. Their grandson, John of Ardsallagh, had a son Phineas, who died without issue, and a daughter Mary. This heiress married Peter Ludlow and their son Peter was created Baron Ludlow of Ardsallagh in 1755, and Viscount Preston of Ardsallagh and Earl Ludlow in 1760. Peter, Earl Ludlow,married Lady Frances Saunderson, daughter of the third Earl of Scarborough, but their children all died unmarried and the titles became extinct. The second son, George James, third Earl Ludlow, served in the British Army during the War of American Independence and the French wars, and rose to the rank of General. " Having no near relatives, he devised his estates to the well known statesman Lord John Russell, from admiration of his political character."

( The Complete Peerage. edited Doubleday).

They are interred beneath Navan Church, as is recorded by a marble tablet erected on the south wall of the nave by the Duke of Bedford in 1858. About the same time the Duke, to whom Ardsallagh had descended, demolished the ancient castle of the Nangles and built a Tudor style mansion on the site. (Butler, Trim Castle, 4th edition 277)

Mrs Delany, about 1732, commented on the fine gardens, and remarked that the house, although old, was a good one ( Letters, 1, 374 and 11, 498). A few years later, Isaac Butler noted that the house was lofty and well designed, with " a delightful garden and curious subterraneous grottoes" ( A Journey to Lough Derg). Sixty years later, throumarket cross E de angulogh the non residence of its owners the building had fallen into decay and presented a dismal prospect with the timber all gone and a "solemn silence" reigning over it ( Thomas Bell, Descriptive Sketches, 1809).

market cross F














The second side of the stone (above left) has the inscription in relief, " 10 sulinus de Angulo the first baron of the Novan (for his servis was given) him by Sir Hughe de Lacie... The letters are partly obliterated, but this seems to be the probable reading.

Sir Hugh's ancestors, who are said to have been descended from Charlemange, came from Lassy in Normandy with the Conqueror, and carved out huge estates on the Welsh border. After the Anglo Norman invasion King Henry 11, for the service of 50 knights, granted him the whole Kingdom of Meath, and large tracts of land round Dublin and in the counties of Carlow, Offaly and Longford. de Lacy Bellingari. " The Roll of the House of Lacy."

He in turn parcelled out estates to his knights. To Gilbert de Angule he gave Morgallion, and to his son Jocyln, Navan and Ardbraccan. The Nangles were dispossessed by Cromwell but recovered some of their lands at the Restoration, finally forfeiting them after the Battle of the Boyne. The name de Angulo is said to come from the place still called Angle in Pembrokeshire,where the family had settled after the Conquest. It later became changed to Nangle in Leinster, Nagle in Munster, and Costelloe in Connaught. Various other renderings are also to be found such as de la Corner and Nangyll.

The third side (pictured above right) has at the top a three quarter length figure, which looks like that of a lady in Elizabethan costume. Perhaps to represent the patron of the market. Under it is the name Philippus in relief, followed by the incised letter N, with a lozenge of the family arms on each side, and the words "aliquando baro de Novan forum ac nundina."

( i.e."Philip Nangle, formerly Baron of Navan, a market place and a market or fair day.")

Nundina was the Roman Godess, who presided over the naming of infants, boys on the ninth and girls on the eight day after birth. Hence nundina or the ninth day came to denote the periodic market day, upon which the people came into the city for business and to attend to public and religious affairs. The wording probably continued with the details of the granting of this privilege, which could only be given by the king or feudal lord and was a source of considerable revenue.

Philip Nangle's father and grandfather had been deprived of their lands for rebellion, but obtained a pardon from King John in 1207, the former being again in possession of land in Kilbixy and elsewhere by the year 1210.

In 1215 Walter de Lacy, son of Sir Hugh, having been restored to the Earldom of Meath after the signing of Magna Carta, made a new grant of Meath lands to Philip Nangle. Philip Nangle also appears to have been granted lands in County Cavan and in Connaught by Walter de lacy between November 1220 and July 1221. A claim for rents, based on this Grant, by Thomas Nangle in 1551 was upheld in part by the Council

(Journal Royal Society Antiquaries Ireland 1903, p. 183).

The inscription shows that the right to hold fairs in Navan was probably included in this grant.

Market Cross D SymbolsThe fourth side seems to be a symbolic representation of mortality and immorality.

Above is a naked figure with the head supported by the right arm.

The elbow rests on a globe like object, perhaps a skull.

The left arm is extended and the hand is holding what appears to be an hour glass.

Underneath the figure are two other skulls (?)

and between them a head with formalised

wings on each side of it.

The winged head may symbolise the soul of man

leaving behind the earthly body.