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a flag covering the entrance to a large vault was discovered, which vault contained an immense quantity of human bones. It may have been the common burial-place of the friars minor, and of English soldiers killed in battle after 1579, when death had stilled their strife and enmities. Or as is more probable, this vault may have been the burial-place of the powerful younger branch of the Fitz Maurices, known (vide "Archdall's Lodge," vol. ii., p. 185) as the Tanist House, owners of Kilfenora, olose to Fenit, and of Liscahane, between Fenit and Ardfert, attainted and deprived of their lands and castles after 1584. The ruins of a mediaeval church exist at Kilfenora, and the Tanists' forfeited castle of Liscahane was occupied by Edward Grey, son of Lord John Grey of Groby in 1597, and remained until 1641-9, but not a vestige of it I believe can now be traced on the farm of Liscahane (portion of Sir Robert Arthur Denny's «state). This Tanist branch descended, according to Archdall, from Gerald Fitz Maurice, younger brother or younger son of Thomas Fitz Maurice, 1st Lord Kerry, the founder of the friary. The honours and estate certainly descended according to the English law of primogeniture from the 14th century, but as the barons of Kerry, unlike their cousins, the Desmond earls, almost always married wives of the native Irish race, the tanistry custom, though deprived of practical effect, had a certain influence, and the claimants under it were held in great respect until 1584-1600. On the 27th September, 1597, George Isham of Wexford, gentleman, had large grants of forfeited lands in and around Ardfert, including Farranwilliam, forfeited, the Queen's Letter says, by "Shane Oge Mac Shane Mac Thomas (Fitz Morris) of Kilfenora attainted." Farranwilliam is marked on the Ordnance map (sheet 20) a little to the southwest of the friary.
On a stone in one of the "beautiful array of arches," which Mr. Wakeman describes as having probably opened into a southern side aisle of the friary, long swept away, is the inscription which Archdall in 1780, and Smith, in or about 1750, read as containing the date 1253, marking the year the friary was founded. Neither, however, gives the words of the inscription. Since Archdall wrote, four antiquaries of repute have given four different readings of it, and which to accept as the true one, is a matter of no small difficulty. In my first series of "Kerry Records," printed by Hazell, Watson, and Viney, London and Aylesbury, in 1872, I gave a reprint of my father's old friend Richard Sainthill's letter in the Kilkenny Arehceological Journal (now this Journal, R. S. A. J.) for 1852, in which he says he read the inscription as follows in 1831, and sent it to the "Gentleman's Magazine" of May in that year:—
"DONALDU8 FITZ BOHUN HOC
DOBMITOB FECIT H. O. TJ8 (SoC OpUS?)
Subsequently Mr. Sainthill sent another copy of the inscription to Sir Richard Colt Hoare, the well known English antiquary, who gave his solution of the puzzle in the following note.
"Sir,—I send you the best solution I can of your inscription, but it is not quitesatisfactory to me. I cannot make anything of the letters H-e-n-d, but if read thus it would be somewhat intelligible:—' Donaldus Fitz Bohun, heic dormitor, fecit hoc opus, Orate Preco. A° Mccccliii.'
"Your obedient servant,
"R. C. Hoahb."
In or about 1850 Mr. Hitchcock, the most accurate and painstaking of observers, who did so much in searching for, and discovering, Ogham stones in Kerry, and whose Papers on west Kerry ruined castles were published in the Journal of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, edited by Rev. James Graves, examined this Ardf ert inscription, and read it asfollows :—
"DONALDUS DIGEN OHEN . . . C
DOS B FEC ... HO . . 0 . . V
Oba ..p..o: A: D: M : cccc: Lin."
In 1879, Sir Samuel Ferguson visited Ardfert and examined the stone, taking a cast of the inscription, and spending much time attempting todecipher it. He came to the conclusion that it originally ran:—
"DONALDUS NIGER OHEA
When I examined the stone in a very cursory way in 1880 or 1881, my attention then being absorbed by the far more interesting tombs in the chancel wholly overlooked by antiquaries, all I could make out of the inscription was the date, which seemed to me to be 1543. But I believe that this my hasty reading is incorrect, and Sir S. Ferguson's equally so. I feel sure that either Mr. Sain thill's or Mr. Hitchcock's reading is the correct one. They have a certain support in history and genealogy, and it is to be remembered that they were made long before Sir S. Ferguson's, when the letters were more legible. In a pedigree of the Carew nephews and grand nephews of Raymond Le Gros, given in the "Life and Times of Sir Peter Carew," by Sir John Maclean, one of the most accurate of genealogical and historical writers, and a Fellow of this Society, he says on the authority of ancient records in the Heralds' College, and Lambeth Library, that Nicholas Carew, fifth in descent from Odo, the brother of Raymond, married Avice, daughter and heiress of ( ) Digon, baron of Idrone, in Carlow county, and left a son John, Baron of Carew and Idrone, who died in 1324, having married Joan, daughter of Sir Gilbert Talbot. Lynch, in his "Feudal Dignities of
Ireland in Early Times," says that in Ireland in early times a writ of summons to parliament as a baron gave no hereditary title (legally) to such baron's descendants, so that the Digons, barons of Idrone, were probably only barons by writ, or else sub-feudatories of Strongbow's heiresses (v. "Lynch," pp. 134, 157). No doubt, however, such titular barons were accounted magnates, and men of noble birth, and they were often of far more ancient and honourable descent than many whose loftier titles date from patent grants of the fifteenth century. Raymond Le Gros had lands in Carlow, and it is probable that his brother Odo's descendant's marriage, circa 1300, with the Digon heiress from that county, brought some of her relatives and namesakes to Kerry. The name of Digen or Diggen is still found there, but in some cases it may be a corruption of the Irish Duggan, or, indeed, the Duggans may have sometimes assumed the old English name. The Bohuns also had lands near Raymond's Leinster grants, and after 1390 the Fitz Maurice lords of Kerry, had a plentiful share of the De Bohun blood in their veins, through the marriage of the sixth lord with Lady Joan Fitz Gerald, daughter of Gerald, fourth Earl of Desmond (the poet earl who haunts Lough Gur), and great granddaughter of the Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet, daughter of Edward I., by her husband, Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Essex and Lord High Constable of England. That Digons and De Bohuns should be inmates of the friary founded by a Fitz Maurice, Lord of Kerry, seems therefore very natural.
Perhaps the most interesting portion of the friary to the historian as well as to the genealogist for reasons to be more fully given hereafter, is the north-east side of the fine chancel, close to the great east window and high altar, where Lodge and Archdall, and traditions from time immemorial, tell us the founder of the friary, Thomas Fitz Maurice, first Lord of Kerry, was buried in 1280. On a similar spot, as we know, and under a similar canopy, or ogee arch, the White Knight, the alleged founder of the Kilmallock Abbey, is believed to rest. This north-east wall of the Ardfert chancel, probably as Mr. Wakeman says, the oldest portion of the ruin, began to fall inward some thirty or forty years ago, during Mr. Crosbie's absence from Ireland, and either through the fall of the wall, or the well-meant but ignorant attempts of country masons to restore it, all traces of the ancient Fitz Maurice tomb (probably an altar tomb) were swept away. The masons, however, built two arches of limestone, like a modem rural bridge, in the wall, in imitation of the ancient canopy, with recesses under them. In one of those recesses a monumental tablet to the memory of Mrs. W. T. Crosbie has been placed with a graceful modern canopy of grey marble over it, and a huge ivy-tree happily veils the new mason work. There was probably a double canopy over the vanished Fitz Maurice tomb; the accompanying sketch by Mr. Wakeman of its site as it now appears, and of the east window, gives a faithful representation of both. In a future