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Christopher and Henry Verdon were “ of the nobility, citizens, and burgesses of the counties, cities, and ancient boroughs of Ireland," who, in 1613, deputed Lords Gormanstown and Dunboyne, and several others, to repair to England to present to James I. a petition for the relief of their grievances and wrongs. The signatories for Louth were Christopher Verdon and Theobald Gernon ; for Kilmallock, Henry Verdon and Patrick Kerny.
In the Commonwealth “ Council Books,” we find the following entry under the date December, 9th 1653 :
“James Verdon of Killmallock hath upon the 19th day of December, 1653," delivered a declaration containing his name and those of such as remove with him, “viz. the said James aged seventy yeares, gray haire, Christopher Verdon, aged twenty-eight yeares, flaxen haire, middle stature, Catherine Verdon his wife adged twenty yeares, flaxen haire, Thomas Verdon, adged fiftie yeares, red haire, middle stature, his wife Margaret Verdon aged fiftie yeares black haire, Eleanor Verdon aged eighteen yeures, browne haire, with four children, his substance three cowes, eight hogges and garrans, eight and half an acre of corne.” Whether the family was transplanted, and if so, whether they remained where they were set down in Connaught, or were allowed to return to their homes after the Restoration we know not. No one of the name is to be found now in Kilmallock or its neighbourhood. John Verdon asked to be exempted from transplanting because he was blind, but he was not dispensed. Henry Verdon, of Ballanialloem, in the barony of Small County, county Limerick, and Eleanor, his wife, were transplanted, but he seems to have been restored, for I find in the list of securities given in accordance with the Act of 2 Anne, Chap. VIII., “ for registering the Popish Clergy,” Henry Verdon, of Ballynemawle, probably the son of the former, set down as security for the parish priest of Nohaval, Tracton Abbey, and Mitchelstown, in county Cork.
Hardiman, in his “History of Galway," says the name of Verdon is found among the families who, if not previously to the invasion of Henry II., at least sometime after it, were principally occupied in the fishings of the lake and bay, and in making short voyages along the coast. Several of these were afterwards known as “the tribes,” and are found there still. Others do not seem to have settled there permanently ; among the latter must be reckoned the de Verdons.
The senior co-heir to the barony of Verdon is Lord Mowbray, Segrave, and Stourton, who descends from Joan, eldest daughter and co-heir of Theobald, Baron de Verdon, through the families of Furnival, Neville, Talbot, Howard, and Stourton.
ARDFERT FRIARY AND THE FITZMAURICES, LORDS OF
By MISS HICKSON, Hon. LOCAL SECRETARY FOR Kerry.
(Continued from page 40.)
othly the Ministerding to the rule the highest of
en and the poor. In the unto but to mi
ancis of Assisi"
W e nowadays in Kerry talk and write of Ardfert Abbey, but in truth
the Franciscan house there was not an abbey nor a priory, nor were its heads abbots or priors. The highest official in the Franciscan communities, according to the rule of St. Francis himself, was to be called simply the Minister, i.e., he was not to be ministered unto but to minister to the needs of his brethren and the poor. In the same spirit "sweet Saint Francis of Assisi,” as Lord Tennyson truly calls him, never allowed himself to be called anything but “ Brother Francis," one of a band of Christian men whom he desired should be called Fratres Minores, i.e. the lesser brethren. They had, under his original rule, no lands, house property or churches; but lived in small wooden or clay huts built by themselves, in lanes amongst the very poorest people, serving and helping them in their needs and in sickness, with money begged from the rich; and worshipping in the parish churches. When the first nine of those brethren came to England, in 1224, only one of the nine was a priest. I may here mention, that Sir Samuel Ferguson considered that the letter A, with an abbreviation over it, in his reading of the inscription given at p. 36 of Journal for March, 1895, stood for “Sacerdos" and showed that the Frater Minor who made the work was a priest as well as a friar (Latin, frater, French, frère, English, brother). In about a dozen years after its formation the Franciscan Order had so increased that St. Francis h:d to appoint Ministers for its communities in Spain, Germany, and France, and soon after his death, friaries and friary churches arose all over Europe and in these islands. Still the heads of these communities were not called Abbots or Priors but Ministers. Thus on the 11th February, 1254, Royal Letters concerning the See of Meath were addressed to the “ Bishop of Killaloe, the Archdeacon of Waterford, and the Minister of the Franciscans in Ireland” (see Sweetman's Calendar of the Irish State Papers, vol. ii., p. 47), and four years previously the king writes to the “ Prior of the Dominicans" and the “Minister of the Franciscans” in Ireland to preach in support of the Crusades. (Ibid., vol. i., p. 457.) On September 17th, 1291, Edward the First in a royal letter commands the Justiciary William de Vesey, and all his officials in Ireland to assist " Brother Reymund, general minister of the Franciscans and other brothers of that Order, commissioned in his place to correct breaches of discipline and concord amongst the brothers.” (Ibid., vol. iii., p. 423.) This was Reymund Gaufredi, Minister General of the Franciscans, who is said to have
liberated Brother Roger Bacon from prison on the death of Pope Nicholas IV., who had been the Minister General of the Order before he ascended the Papal throne and was known as Brother Jerome of Ascoli. The heads of the Franciscan friaries in the accounts of the dissolution in 1530-40, are often called priors, but in earlier times the rules laid down by St. Francis were strictly observed, and the heads of individual houses were called custodes or guardians, while the head of the Order in the country was Minister Provincial, and the chief of the whole Order Minister General. “ Ardfert Abbey” is therefore certainly a misnomer, and it is likely to be still used, though neither an abbey nor an abbot ever existed there. It is curious that the ruins of the real abbey of Kyrie Eleison at a little distance from Ardfert, a Cistercian house which had a mitred abbot, who sat in parliament (he was sometimes a Fitz Maurice), are generally spoken of as Odorney only, a name which is a corruption of the Irish Ui Thorna, a sept that owned the district thereabouts before 1174. The native Irish seem to have had a special attachment to the Franciscan and Dominican Orders, more particularly to the former.
The slab numbered 3, in the ground-plan of Ardfert Friary, has been a puzzle to many and to none (as it now is) more than to myself. I will first give Mr. Wakeman's and our President's notes on it, before venturing to give my own, which indeed I should not give at all, but that they describe this slab as I saw it in 1879–80, before the sculptured figure on it had been nearly effaced, not so much by the action of the weather, to which it was fully exposed, as by the sliding with skates on it, of mischievous children and boys. When I saw it first, it had only just been brought to the surface of the ground, and cleared from the earth and grass, which, while concealing its beauties, had preserved them from desecration. I only wish it had remained safely hidden away in the earth a few years longer, but even at the eleventh hour I am thankful Mr. Wakeman's skilful pencil has been able to save a portion of it from oblivion. His notes of last year when he first saw it, are as follows:
“ The other fairly preserved monumental stone evidently covered the grave of a churchman, either a bishop, or mitred abbot, as indicated by the pastoral staff carved on the righthand side. In the centre of the upper portion of the slab which is coffin-shaped, is a human head, bearing a pointed covering, which but for the presence of the staff, sometimes styled a crosier, might be taken for a helmet such as was worn during the Middle Ages. It is probably, if not certainly, a mitre. Surmounting this face, and on either side of it, are a number of smaller heads, each having a nimbus. On the right-hand side, below one of those small heads, extends a carving, probably intended to represent an arm, the hand holding an