There has been a church on the green in Clane since 520 ad. when St. Ailbe, Bishop of Ferns, established an abbey in Clane. He made St. Sencel, the elder, its first abbot. It was here that the famous synod of 1162 was held. In 1542 the Monastery was disbanded. A reference in the Royal Visitation Book describes the chancel as being in ruins in 1615. Petit's map of the Down Survey conducted in the latter half of that century shows two churches on the site. The Church of Ireland maintained continuity of worship there until 1883 when the church of St. Michael and the angels was built in Millicent.
Taylor's map of 1783 shows a thumbsketch of the church with, surprisingly, a tall pointed spire surmounting the present square steeple. In 1798 part at least (probably the roof) of the church was destroyed by fire and the economy lands had to be mortgaged to raise funds for restoring it and for building a spire to the steeple. The building of the spire seems to have been skimped, for as soon afterwards as 1826, the consent of the Bishop was obtained to have it taken down in consequence of its very unsafe state and the "repeated expenses incurred by it". The proposal, however, aroused the wrath of the people who assembled in large numbers and resolved "that every expedient be tried before the parishioners resort to the necessity of taking down the village spire". Three surveyors were appointed to report on the state of the spire, but it was ultimately taken down and in the words of the Vestry "The steeple was surmounted by pinnacles" which may still be seen - minus their points.
Reproduced from "Le Chéile" by kind permission