Galtrim Castle or Motte: About 1176 Hugh de Hussey was granted the barony of Deece and established an earthen castle, a motte, at Galtrim. At Galtrim the motte is formed mainly of soil using the natural features of a glacial moraines as the base for the fortification The Hussey family were established in Shropshire. Hugh de Hussey arrived in Ireland in 1169 serving under Maurice fitz Gerald.
Lord Galtrim, Sir Walter Hussey: Lord Galtrim, Sir Walter Hussey, son of the Baron of Galtrim, was killed in battle on his wedding day. Maud Plunkett, whose tomb still stands in Malahide Abbey, is one of the most fascinating female characters in the story of the Talbots. The daughter of the Baron of Killeen, she achieved a tragic fame through her short lived first marriage to Sir Walter Hussey, lord Galtrim. the couple were married on Whit Monday 1429, but within a few hours the bridegroom was murdered in a skirmish at Balbriggan, Co. Dublin. So she was Maid, Wife and Widow in one day. This Lord Galtrim wanders through Malahide Castle at night pointing to the spear wound in his side and uttering dreadful groans. It is said he haunts the Castle to show his resentment towards his young bride, who married his rival immediately after he had given up his life in defence of her honour and happiness.
Galtrim House: Galtrim House is located south of Trim off the Dublin Road on a side road to Summerhill. Galtrim house was constructed about 1800 as a glebe house for Rev. Vesey Dawson, rector of Galtrim, whose wife was the daughter of Blayney Townely of Townley Hall. Galtrim House was designed by the noted Irish architect, Francis Johnston. A two storey over basement house, the main building is flanked by single storey over basement wings. Bence–Jones described Galtrim as ‘the finest of Francis Johnstown’s smaller houses’ and having ‘an interior of great subtlety.’
Dr. Maurice Craig said Galtrim’s decoration ‘is of the coolest kind imaginable.’ Craig wrote that “Galtrim is probably the best of Francis Johnston’s smaller houses.” Casey and Rowan described Galtrim as a delightful miniature country house with a formal stable court. The stable court has the style and charm of a village market house. The stone lions bear the date 1802. The L-plan single-storey gate lodge, was erected at the same time as the house. The gate lodge was an object to be looked at across the park.
Vesey Dawson was rector of Galtrim from 1794 to 1806. Dawson was married to a daughter of Blaney Townley who employed Johnston to design Townely Hall, near Drogheda. Townley Hall, erected in 1793, was Johnston’s best large house according to Maurice Craig. In 1802 Mrs. Dawson had a straw hat factory which gave considerable employment to the neighbourhood especially to young women and girls. Rev Dawson killed when a horse bolted on him. In his will he left a sum of money for the poor of Galtrim.
Matthew Fox from Foxbrooke purchased the house in 1813 from the Dawsons. A new glebe house for the parish clergyman was erected 1815. Matthew Fox who settled at Galtrim was born in 1745 married Elizabeth Grierson of Doolistown and died in 1808 leaving issue James, John, Joseph and William and five daughters. Matthew held the title, ‘The Fox’. Tadhg O Catharnaigh was chiefain of Teffia in the eleventh century and, for his wily ways, became known as ‘An Sionnach’ The Fox. His descendants became proprietors of the entire barony of Kilcoursey in Co Offaly and acquiring the title ‘Barons Kilcoursey’, they adopted his nickname as their own surname in place of O Catharnaigh, and the chief of the family took on ‘The Fox’ as a title. The current holder of the title, John William Fox, The Fox, Chief of his Name, lives in Australia.
Matthew’s eldest son, James, at Foxbrooke and Galtrim. He is buried in Laracor. His youngest son, Matthew Fox, was curate at Clonard, 1837 and vicar at Galtrim, 1838-43. In 1837 Galtrim House was described as a handsome residence in a well planted demesne and the seat of the Fox.
Matthew’s son, James, succeeded at Galtrim. James George Hubert Fox born 1842, served as a lieutenant in the 5th Royal Irish Lancers, lived at Galtrim, and died 1919. In 1906 Edward John French, solicitor, of Dublin married Georgina Frances Fox daughter of James George Hubert Fox of Galtrim House.
James was succeeded by his son, Major Brabazon Hubert Maine Fox who was born in 1868. The family also had connections to Tipperary. Major Brabazon Fox was educated at Trinity College, served with Royal Irish Rifles and was a member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. The Society members were guests of the Major at Galtrim when they came to examine the motte. Major Fox served in Malta, India and during the First World War. His son, Nial, also served in the First World War. Major the Fox died 1940.
The Eustace family purchased Galtrim 1936 from the Foxes. John Frank Fawcett Eustace, lived at Galtrim. He was married in 1936 to Natalie Annette Diamond, daughter of John Ernest Ardron, their children being, Mary Fawcett, born in 1938, and John Edwin, born in 1947. He sold the house in 1969 to Eileen Mount Charles. Eileen Mount Charles was the daughter of Captain Charles Wren Newsam and Eileen Ussher, Ashfield, Beauparc. Captain Newsam was the founder of Navan Carpets. Eileen married Frederick Conyngham, 7th Marquess Conyngham of Slane in 1950. They divorced in 1970. She died in 2016.
Galtrim Church: Located on a rise in a gently undulating landscape. A church at Galtrym is listed in the ecclesiastical taxation (1302-06) of Pope Nicholas IV. The rectory of Galtrim was amongst the possessions of the Augustinian priory of St Peter at Newtown at its suppression in 1540. Ussher (1622) describes the church as ruined and the chancel as repaired. According to Dopping (1682-5) only the walls of the chancel and the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary were standing, and the graveyard was not enclosed.
The present Church of Ireland church was erected in 1800, although 1830 is inscribed in roman numerals over the doorway, but it is now closed. It is within a rectangular graveyard defined by masonry walls. The headstones date from 1735 to c. 1990. The present building could incorporate walls of the older church, probably the medieval church since the north and west walls have a base-batter. Projecting east from the present church are the remains of a chancel.
Coconut Chalice: This chalice was used for the celebration of the Eucharist. Bishop Ellis recorded in “The State of the Diocese of Meath” that at “Galtrim they had no utensils for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper except a chalice of cocoa nut tipped with silver”. This record dates from about 1733 as Ellis was Bishop of Meath from 1732 to January 1734. The chalice disappeared from the church and came into the hands of Dr. Minchin of Kells who restored it to the parish of Galtrim. The stem of the chalice is made of ebony.
Galtrim Moraine: Prior to its extensive quarrying in the 1960’s, the Galtrim locality was the only place worldwide where an esker was seen to cross a moraine. The Galtrim Moraine represents a large glacial depositional feature known as a recessional moraine which formed along the ice front of a melting glacier as it retreated across the north central Midlands at the end of the last glaciation. The ridges around Galtrim represent fan-like accumulations at the margins of the glacial lake at Summerhill. The northwest to southeast trending eskers which join the northern ice contact face of the moraine represent the main subglacial feeder channels at the time of deglaciation around 17,000 BP.