Newtown Monuments

Newtown Monuments

The Newtown Monuments consist of a large medieval cathedral, two monasteries and small church which date from 1206. On the walls of the church one will find the late 16th century alter tomb with effigies of Sir Luke Dillon and his wife. The Friary of St. John the Baptist, is the remains of a 13th century Augustinian foundation, which was later converted to a hospital in the 18th century.

St Peter & Paul Cathedral

This medieval cathedral is situated in Newtown Cemetery. It was founded close to the temporal power of Trim Castle by the Norman Bishop Simon de Rochfort in c.1206 after his cathedral at Clonard was burned down. Only part of the original nave and chancel of this largest Gothic Church in Ireland survive. Part of the ruined Priory of Augustinian Canons, which were established to maintain the Cathedral, also survive.

Buried under the high alter of the cathedral are the remains of the founder Simon de Rochford (died 1224) and one of his successors, Bishop William Sherwood, who died in 1428. The figure of the bishop now affixed to the wall of the cathedral was long trodden underfoot and was badly worn in places. The figure is commonly known as ‘king john's daughter' but is probably the figure of Simon de Rochford the founder of the cathedral.

In the parish church in Newtown-Clonbun stands the remains of the tomb of Sir Lucas Dillon and his wife Lade Jane Bathe, daughter of James Bathe of Athcarne and Drunmconrath. The recumbent figures of Sir Lucas in Renaissance armour and his wife in Elizabethian gown surmount the tomb. This tomb is known locally as the tomb of the jealous man and woman because the two figures do not touch each other at all. And also the sword of state separates the figures.

Priory of St John the Baptist

This priory was founded in the early 13th century for the Crutched or Crossed Friars of the Order of John the Baptist. This monastery was built on the southern bank of the Boyne just across St.Peters Bridge from the Victorine Friary.

On the north east corner is the remains of a building like the Castle at the West end. Along the riverside run the hospital and other offices. Some of these buildings were used as granaries and breweries.

One of the buildings shows the remains of a chute disposing of waste material into the river. Edmund was the first prior.

The first contemporary record of the priory is in 1281 when there was a grant of alms from the manor of Magathtreth.

In 1513 Edmund Dillon was prior of this monastery. Edmund was the brother of Thomas Dillon who was prior of SS Peter and Pauls at about the same time. At the time of the Suppression their brother Robert Dillon was granted St Johns. Laurence White was the last prior.

At the time of the dissolution the priory owned a church, two towers, a hall, storehouse, kitchen, brewhouse, two granaries, a pigeon-house and a haggard. There was twenty acres of arable land on the north side of the Boyne, seventy arable acres on the south side of the Boyne, land and a mill on Blackwater, a Castle and land at Longwood and various other lands around County Meath.

The Priory and its possession were granted to Robert Dillon who later disposed of it to the Ashe family who made their home in the main keep.

After being abandoned by the Ashe family the keep was inhabited by Bishop Brown the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath. After the Battle of the Boyne the building was granted to one of King William's men. During his first night in the holy spot he saw a “most horrid vision” and at dawn of the day he ordered his horse and rode away never to return.

The Echo Gate

Just outside the town on the Dublin road is the Echo Gate. Shout across the river to the ruined Victorine Friary and your words are returned in a perfectly clear echo.

St Peters Bridge

Which is also known as Newtown Bridge. The bridge has five arches and on alcove and it is thought to date from the 15th century.

St Peters Well

On the south side of the Boyne at Newtown is a spring well called after St. Peter Dean Butler said that this well supplied the water to the priory of SS Peter and Paul and records that many yards of lead piping for carrying the water were dug up in the early 1800's.

Listen to some wonderful audio about  Trim Castle - part of the Boyne Valley drive

Newtown Monuments
+ 353 (0) 46 943 7227

Trim Visitor Centre and Ramparts Coffee Shop,
Castle St,
Co. Meath
F: + 353 (0) 46 943 8053