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THE ORIGINS OF PREHISTORIC ORNAMENT IN IRELAND.
By GEORGE COFFEY, A.I.B., M.R.I.A., Fellow.
C\sk of the most interesting chapters in Professor Boyd Dawkins' ""Early Man in Britain" is that on the Prehistoric Trade-routes of Europe. Extending with fuller details and references, the important discussion at the Prehistoric Congress, Stockholm, 1874,1 it forms a valuable summary of the subject.
The evidence turns chiefly on the amber and tin trades. Since the publication of " Early Man in Britain" (1880), important contributions have been made to the subject of the tin-routes by Mr. C. Elton and Professor Ridgeway, especially as regards the identification of the Cassiterides.8 We shall have occasion to refer to these writers when discussing the identification of the Cassiterides—for the present it will be sufficient to give Professor Boyd Dawkins' general summary of the Trade-routes from the Mediterranean to the North and West of Europe. Four routes are distinguished, which I extract, with trifling abridgment, in Professor Dawkins' words. Though necessarily open to revision in details their main lines are generally accepted by archaeologists.
I. Starting from Hutria (at the head of the Adriatic Sea), by the Valley of the Adige, past Verona, Roveredo, and Trient, over the Brenner Pass into the Valley of the Inn, crossing the Danube at either Linz or Passau. Thence over the Bohemian Mountains into the Valley of the Elbe to the amber coast of Schleswig and Holstein. This route was probably connected with that passing up the Danube, and down the Rhine, as well as that which crossed the Danube lower down at Pressburg.
II. From Hatria, taking a line eastward of the previous route, by Trieste, by way of Laibach, Gratz, and Bruck, across the basin of the Leitha to Pressburg, thence to the line of the Upper Oder, past Breslau, to the Lower Vistula, to Elbing, and ultimately to the amber coast of Samland.
III. From the Greek settlement of Olbia, on the Black Sea, up the Dnieper, thence in a north-westerly direction to the line of the Lower Vistula, aud so joining the main trade-line from the Adriatic Sea.
IV. From the Greek settlement of Massilia (Marseilles), up the Rhone,
1 "L'Origine et le Commerce de l'Ambre Jaune dans l'Arjtiquite.—Hjalmar Stolpe: "Cong. Prehist., Stockholm," 1874.
2 "The Origins of English History," C. Elton, 1882. "The Greek TradeRoutes to Britain," W. Ridgeway, "Folk-lore," vol. i., 1890.
afternoon drive, what these were, she explained them to me. The tower is said to have fallen in those cylindrical masses during a great storm in 1771.
There is now no statue in the ruined Friary, but a well-known one, popularly but absurdly called St. Brendan, stands in the old cathedral. It is said to have been dug up there about sixty years ago, when it was placed in the niche where it stands. Can this figure, apparently of a fourteenth-century bishop in alto relievo, have been the same that Archdall saw in the friary in 1780-6? It is for reasons to be given hereafter, extremely unlikely that any bishop of Ardfcrt but one was ever buried in the friary; their proper burial-place would of course be in their cathedral church. Yet the transference of a statue from the friary to the cathedral in old times is not unlikely to have taken place. When the Protestant church was built in 1670 at the south-east side of the cathedral, the whole of the fine fifteenth-century window in the transept of the friary church was transferred to the new edifice, and remained there for more than a century, when John Crosbie, last Earl of Glandore, who died childless in 1815 (bequeathing his estates to his sister's son, the Rev. John Talbot, of Mount Talbot, on condition of his assuming the name and arms of Crosbie), with commendable good taste, had it taken down and restored to its original position. He was a nobleman of cultivated and accomplished tastes, and is said to have done all in his power to preserve the friary ruins, and to have felt a great interest in them. He was a child when his grandmother, Lady Anne Fitz Maurice, daughter of the 21st Lord and 1st Earl of Kerry, died, and he was through her the direct descendant of the founder, as is his grand nephew, the present Mr. Talbot Crosbie, D.l., now owner of Ardfert.
Ardfert Friary is in many respects like that at Mucruss (or Oirbheallach) near Killarney; but as the latter was occupied by the Franciscans until 1641, and probably again between 1660 and 1688, while their brethren at Ardfert were wholly dispossessed in the sixteenth century, Mucruss Friary is of course in a far better state of preservation.
The following notes on the Ardfert Friary have been kindly given to me by Mr. W. F. Wakeman, Hon. Fellow, and are peculiarly valuable as recording the judgment of one of our very highest authorities, the friend and fellow-labourer of O'Donovan, Petrie, and the Rev. James Graves, a skilled archaeologist and artist, on the architecture and antiquities of a beautiful ruin of which, strange to say, we have hitherto had no full account. In July last Mr. Wakeman came specially from Dublin to examine the Ardfert Friary, and sketch the most interesting portions of it, as well as a very curious old round castle near it in Clanmaurice, built in the twelfth or thirteenth century by the Fitz Maurice Lords of Kerry or one of their feudatories. In company with Miss Rowan, Member, and myself, he spent two days examining the friary and making several sketches, two of which—a view of the interior of the Choir, and a sketch of a tombstone—accompany this Paper. His notes on the ruin are as follows :—
"The Priory of Ardfert, like most structures of its kind in Ireland and elsewhere, exhibits unmistakeable evidence of having been remodelled from time to time to suit the architectural tastes, or perhaps necessities, of a long line of occupiers. The oldest, probably the only original portion of the ruins, consists of a lofty and beautifully proportioned chancel, having at its eastern end five slender lancet lights, separated from each other by widely splaying piers of solid masonry, and in its southern wall an array of similar opes, nine in number. The northern wall, which is not pierced by any window, was probably overshadowed by a screen of domestic buildings, very few traces of which remain. The style of this chancel clearly belongs to the close of the twelfth or earlier half of the thirteenth century. It is pure and impressively simple, and heralded the grandest phase of so-called "Gothic" design, i.e. the second pointed. There is some reason to believe that at an early period the nave extended westward, and that the plan of the church was cruciform; but we have no evidence that here a tower ever rose above the intersection. True it is that in the great majority of our monastic churches a campanile appears, supported on two or four arches, placed at the junction of nave and chancel, but such features are generally detected as additions. Notable examples of such supplementary towers are easily observable in Sligo Abbey, and in that of Mueruss, near Killarney. Further, it seems to have been a common practice during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and even somewhat later, to attach to the western end or angle of a twelfth or thirteenth-century church a tower more or less strong and lofty. This served as a belfry, as well as a place of security for the ecclesiastics, and within it were doubtless deposited the treasures of the community. In all likelihood it was often used as a dwelling-place for a considerable number of the officiating clergy. Perhaps the finest examples of this class of towers are those of Bective Abbey, in Meath, and St. Patrick's in Dublin. The tower at the west end of the nave in Ardfert Friary church is another good specimen of what may be considered as the successors of the cloictheach or round tower belfry of the old Irish Church. From the luxuriance of the ivy by which it is enshrouded but few details reward the search of an architectural student, but enough remains exposed to indicate an age probably about two centuries later than that of the chancel. It is, perhaps, contemporaneous with the beautiful arches of the cloister, which still remain to excite the admiration alike of the artist and antiquary. Those arches are strikingly like those at Mueruss and Sligo, which there is every reason to believe date from about a.d. 1400 or later. It was probably in the earlier years of the fifteenth century that
the northern wall of the nave, and possibly a side aisle adjoining, were removed to make room for a portion of the cloister. The opposite side of the nave presents a beautiful array of arches, which no doubt opened into a side aisle, long swept away, of which no trace is now visible. The work here is certainly less ancient than the chancel, and is earlier than the cloisters, but by no great length of time. From the southern side of the church, near the junction of the nave and chancel, extends a transept which presents all the appearance of having been used as a separate chapel. Its gable window presents a very pleasing example of very late fifteenth-century design. It would be very hazardous to pronounce an opinion as to the age of the other opes of this transept. The walls of it have evidently been largely tampered with, and the majority of the windows can hardly be said to suggest any recognised style of ecclesiastical architecture, but they have a very suspicious post-Reformation look."—W. F. Wareman.
Thus far Mr. Wakeman, on the architecture of the friary, or abbey, as it is incorrectly called, the Franciscan houses' right name being friary or convent. The community settled at Ardfert by Thomas Fitz Maurice, 1st Lord of Kerry and Lixnaw, was of the Conventual Rule, much less strict than the original one of St. Francis ; but in the year 1518 the community conformed to the Observantine Rule, becoming Franciscans of the Strict Observance, more nearly resembling that enjoined by their saintly founder. The tower at the west end of the nave was certainly enlarged and strengthened in the sixteenth century, so that it presents the appearance of a small keep or military castle rather than a church tower. In my early days I remember ascending the steep and dilapidated winding-stairs that led to its summit; but even then it was esteemed dangerous to go more than half-way upward. I believe, however, these stone stairs have of late been repaired and strengthened by Mr. W. T. Crosbie, who like his granduncle, Lord Glandore, is very careful of the fine ruins. The length of the chancel and nave, from the east window to the base of this tower, is 132 feet, the width of the chancel rather more than 24 feet. Mr. Wakeman's supposition that the tower was used as a residence by successive occupants is proved true by history. After the dissolution the tower was turned into a barracks (the rest of the building being also taken up for secular uses) for the accommodation of Colonel Zouche, a very distinguished officer in the Elizabethan army, and his soldiers. During his iron rule the 16th baron of Kerry died at Lixnaw, and his body was brought to the friary, to be interred in the before-mentioned tomb of his ancestors, near the high altar. Zouche, unmindful of the reply of a great soldier to someone who urged him to destroy the tomb of a fallen enemy, "we war not with the dead!" refused to permit the funeral to enter the friary; and the 16th baron was laid to rest in the old cathedral.
The motives of Zouche's ungenerous conduct will be given hereafter when I come to deal with the romantic and adventurous life of this 16th baron, and the life of his heir, whose long and desperate rebellion was caused by this insult to his dead father, just as much as by the covetous designs of Zouche and Captain Ralph Lane against his inheritance. After the English troops left the friary tower it was occupied by
x. Altar Tomb of the founder, Thomas FitxMauricc, ist Lord of Kerry, ob. 128".
2. Incised Cross on gravestone of Edmund, 1'th Lord of Kerry, ob, 1543, a lay brother in the Friary.
3. Gravestone, with incised figure of Gerald Fitz Maurice, Grand Prior of the Knights
Templar, crosier and spear, or lance pennon.
4. Tombstone with incised floriated Cross.
5. Window, removed to church in the village in 167', but brought back to Friary by the last Earl of Glandore, circa 18'".
6. Site of High Altar under east 1
the two first Protestant bishops of the See, and probably during their residence the transept was used for divine service, and received those "suspicious post-Reformation" alterations and additions touched on by Mr. Wakeman. There is a tradition that many years ago, when the surface of the ground in this transept was being smoothed and renovated,