Located on the junction of Tempelogue & Wellington Lane, adjacent the Spawell complex there lies the ruins of a medieval church and burial ground known asTeach Mealóg.The old church grounds are beside a modern cemetery. I had only recently noticed this even though I would have passed it many times over the years. Said to have been built in 1273AD, to replace the earlier chapel of Kilmesantan which had become inaccessible due the deteriorating security of the Lordship of Ireland. This new church dedicated to St Mel or Melog, provides the meaning of the Irish translation of Templeogue: ‘Teach Mealóg.
There is mention in the Book of Lecan, of MolcaetigiMolocal and in later 13th century documents it is referred to as Tachmelog (St. Melog’s house or church). Whilst no part of the church can be dated to the time of the original monastery,it is suggested that part of the structure may predate the Norman Invasion of Ireland. Archbishop Alan was recorded in his “RepertoriumViride, stating ” that the church was a chapel appendant to the church of Kilmesantan without the marches or pale; that it was built on the hither side of the Dodder, as being a safe place to hear divine service in during times of war; and that from its late erection it had the name of Templeogue, which signifies “New Church,” given to it.
The Talbot family whom resided in Templeogue House and owned most of the lands in the area were presumably not interested in maintaining what had become an Anglican church after the Reformation.By 1615AD the church was said to have been in a ruinious state. There are a number of interesting gravestones within the grounds and whilst most date from the 18th century there are a small number of stones which are from the medieval period or even earlier,these include three early cross-inscribed slabs one of which is deeply sunk within the church. The ruin is in relatively good condition with recent signs of the overgrowth being cleared.
The ruins consist of an Eastern facing gable which looks to be complete and contains a late splayed window. Only parts of the North and South walls remain. The south wall has a distinct kink about half way along with a buttress outside. The western end appears to have an entrance with steps leading up to it, this section looks like it may predate the other parts of the church. I am guessing here but even though this doorway may not be the original, a doorway in such a position would indicate an early date for this part of the church. The west wall is about 1 metre high, but has a buttress built against it nearly 5 metres high which must have been erected before the wall fell.
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