Abbey and Parish Church of St. Mary’s Abbey Ardee

ABBEY AND PARISH CHURCH OF ST.MARY
The Abbey of St. Mary’s was founded by Roger de Peppard Lord of Ardee for the Crutched Friars, on the site of an earlier Celtic Monastery. Parts of the original building are incorporated in the present Church, notably the South Aisle Arcade and pillars, the piscine and the stair case to the Rood Loft. During repairs to the Church in 1867 the pillars were unfortunately plastered.
The annals record “In 1318 the Church of St. Mary’s Atherdee, filled with women and children was burnt by Edward Bruce.” Synods were held in Ardee Church by Primate Octavian in 1489, 1492, 1496 and 1504. In 1539 the Church was pillaged by Con O’Neill. In 1622 the Church was ruinous. In 1690 there were no bells; people were called to the Church by the sexton ringing the hand – bell of the Town. In 1692 the chancel walls had fallen. The chancel was formerly three times its present length. The Abbey and its possessions were given by Cromwell to the Moore family, Earls of Drogheda.
In 1723 the Church was rebuilt by Brabazon Moore. During the 19th century extensive repairs and redecorations were effected. Further extensive repairs and redecoration were carried out in 1963. The beautiful Lettering of the Chancel Arch, ( HOLY HOLY LORD GOD ALMIGHTY) has not been touched since it was originally done in 1913 by one of the Hargrave Brothers who were great tradesmen in the Town. Complete Church records for the past 200 years are extant. They are in the care of the Representive Church Body although I’ve got a lot which I stored on my computer.