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Paper I hope to be able to give an account of the two remarkable incised gravestones in the chancel, and to lay it before the next quarterly meeting with Mr. Wakeman's sketches of them. One of these (coffin-shaped), on which the stems of palms are twisted and interlaced so as to form the upright and transverse portions of a long cross, nearly 6 feet in length, while from the emblem of suffering thus formed springs, as in the natural tree, graceful clusters of palm branches, emblems of peace and triumph, is singularly beautiful in conception and execution. It is, Mr. Wakeman's notes say, "in many respects unlike anything to be elsewhere seen in Ireland, or perhaps in Europe." I have very little doubt as to who the great personage was, who preferred that no other symbols than those of the cross and the palm should mark his last resting-place.
After the foregoing was written, finding that it could not be published in the Journal until March, 1895, I think it best to append in full Mr. Wakeman's note on this beautiful gravestone, and to let it appear with an engraving of his etching of the same, as well as his etching of the east window of the friary and the founder's tomb, and the ground-plan of the whole ruin :—
"Within the chancel are preserved two fairly perfect monumental slabs, and fragmentary portions of several others. The more remarkable of the former is, in many respects, unlike anything to be elsewhere seen in Ireland, or, perhaps, in Europe. It is shaped like the lid of a stone coffin, broader at one extremity than the other. It bears no heraldic device, and on account of its originality, is very tantalising to the archaeological inquirer. It is useless to speculate on the exact period of this unique work, which, however, cannot be older than the end of the thirteenth, or later than the early part of the sixteenth, century. The monument was, doubtless, intended to commemorate some great personage, but whether layman or ecclesiastic, it is difficult to determine."— William WAxeman.
This slab (p. 39) is fully 6 feet long, and 25 inches wide at the head, narrowing at the end, as in a coffin. Stothard says:—"The earliest tombs of this country, since the Conquest, appear to us in the shape of the lid of a coffin. These seem to have been placed even with the pavement, having, in some instances, foliage fancifully sculptured upon them, and in others crosses . . . these were carved in exceeding low relief. Effigies are rarely to be met with in England before the middle of the thirteenth century."1
The Rev. Denis O'Donoghue, P.p., of Ardfert, who accompanied us to the ruined Friary, was of opinion that the rope or cord-like twisted pattern, forming the cross, as shown in the accompanying sketch, was intended to symbolise the cord of St. Francis, but Mr. Wakeman was
1 Stothard's "Monumental Effigies of Great Britain," pp. 3 and 4. See also his fine engravings of the coffin-shaped lids of Queen Matilda's tomb at Caen, and Roger Bishop of Salisbury's tomb in Salisbury Cathedral.
disposed to think it was the old Celtic tracery usual on many ancient Irish monuments and in MSB. I should have ventured to suggest that both gentlemen were right, though apparently disagreeing on this interesting point, and that an Anglo-Irish sculptor had applied the Old Celtic interlaced ornament to represent the mediaeval Franciscan cord, but that a young Roman Catholic Irish peasant-girl, to whom I showed the sketch, and who at once recognised the beauty of the palm-stems and foliage forming the cross, and its meaning, said): "Oh! but St. Francis's cord is triple and this cord is only double, you see!" The young devotee's criticism seems certainly sound, as her perception of the beautiful idea underlying the sculpture was instantaneous and intelligent. When we remember that the period to which Mr. Wakeman assigns this beautiful incised cross, between 1299 and 1525, was one popularly believed to be full of civil strifes, in which the art and literature of ancient Ireland was well-nigh extinguished, especially in the wild West, one is forced to conclude that that popular verdict is wrong. No Celtic or Anglo-Celtic semi-barbarian ever conceived or executed this lovely piece of Christian sculpture. Compared with the floriated crosses in Boutell's "Monumental Brasses," and incised slabs existing in English churches, the latter are far inferior in beauty, some quite ugly and fantastic when placed side by side with this monument at Ardfert Friary. For reasons to be fully given hereafter, it is certain that this slab marked the grave of Edmund Fitz Maurice, 10th Baron of Kerry, who, between 1530 and 1540, when the great changes in religion were pending under Henry VIII., resigned what were, no doubt, for many reasons, political and religious, his burdensome and perilous honours, title, and estates, to his eldest son Edmund, llth Lord, and became a lay brother in the Franciscan Friary. He died there in 1543, just after the Act for the complete suppression of all the Irish monasteries passed the Irish Houses of Parliament. It was, doubtless, the intention of his son, the llth Lord, and of the friars, to place an inscription and heraldic device on the pedestal, shaped like a shield, on which the foot of the long cross rests, so as to distinguish his grave, in the chancel near his ancestor, the founder's altar tomb, from those of his humbler brethren in religion. But the times made the insertion of inscription or arms dangerous for the interests of the friars, and Edmund, the llth Baron, who was endeavouring to temporise and pacify the King. He succeeded, as we shall see, to a certain extent, for Henry created him Baron of Odorney, and Viscount of Kilmoily, limiting, however, those honours to the heirs of his body, by Catherine Zouche, the first wife of English name and lineage ever taken by a Fitz Maurice, Lord of Kerry. The King still further to secure the loyalty of the 11th Baron, granted to him and his male issue "several abbeys, friaries, and their appurtenances" (t>. Lodges' "Peerage of Ireland," revised by Archdall, vol. ii., p. 190, ed. 1785), with a reversion in case of failure of said male issue to the Crown. Those grants procured a brief respite for the Monasteries in Clanmaurice. IRISH FLINT ARROW-HEADS.
By Thb BEV. G. BAPHAEL BUICK, A.M., LL.D., Vice-president.
Tn a collection of Irish antiquities, the department which usually attracts most attention is that containing the arrow-heads. This in itself is not to be wondered at. The variety in the forms displayed, the graceful outlines, the numerous shades of colour, running up from snowiest white through graduated tints of grey and yellow to brilliant red or deepest black, the marvellous differences in detail, despite the general similarity which obtains, and the chipping, bold and free, or delicate and constrained as the case may be, appeal alike to the eye and imagination of the visitor.
Yet, strange to say, no detailed description of these beautiful and interesting objects, save the somewhat imperfect and meagre one given by Sir William Wilde, in the Catalogue of the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy, has hitherto been attempted. I propose, in this Paper, to supply, so far as I am able, the want; believing, as I do, that the time has come for a revision of our information regarding them, and that such a revision, however incomplete, being written from the standpoint of to-day, will not be without its uses either to ourselves or to others who are interested in the antiquities of our native land. Even should the attempt on my part do nothing more than induce some other and better qualified person to do the work more thoroughly, I shall have my reward in the satisfaction of feeling that I have not laboured altogether in vain.
Ireland is the country par excellence of arrow-heads. Sir John Evans, in his "Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons, and Ornaments of Great Britain" justly says, "in comparing the arrow-heads of Great Britain with those of what is now the sister kingdom of Ireland, we cannot but be struck with the far greater abundance found in Ireland, especially in its northern parts." Nor is our island behind in this respect when compared with other countries. America alone, perhaps, is superior, which is not saying much for it after all, considering its vast extent of territory and the comparatively late period during which weapons of stone continued to be employed by its inhabitants. I have made a rough estimate of the number of arrow-heads in the public and private collections throughout Ireland known to me, and find that, all told, they amount to something like ten thousand. At least as many more must have been taken out of the country, and when we add to all this the further fact that almost every day others are being turned up from the soil, we get a vivid idea of their phenomenal abundance. Evans finds himself in a difficulty when he tries to account for this. It may be due "to their use having come down into later times." Or, it may result from " the character of the country," largely made up as it is of morass and bog, both favourable to the preservation of such articles. Or yet again, it may be owing "either to the nature of the game pursued," or "to some peculiar custom among the early inhabitants." He refers to all these, but leaves the point undecided. Possibly, the true answer will be found in the comparative abundance of the flint out of which the great majority of our arrow-heads are made, though, of course, one or more of the causes suggested, in particular the last, may have contributed to swell the quantity.
Of stone arrow-heads, other than flint, there are comparatively few. So far as I can make it out from such statistics as are at my disposal the proportion is about one in every hundred. The majority of these are either of pitch-stone, or of a close grained basalt. A few are of Lydian stone, and I have seen one at least, the material of which is chalcedony. In the neighbourhood of Bundoran, County Donegal, arrow-heads of chert are to be found, but they are not at all numerous. I do not know of any similar finds elsewhere in Ireland.
As regards distribution, arrow-heads of flint are much more abundant in the north than in the other parts of the country. The counties bordering on Lough Neagh are specially prolific. This is only what might be expected, since it is in the north-east corner of this district that the flint bearing strata abound and are most accessible. "No flint arrow-heads were found in the Shannon excavations near Athlone; and very few, if any, in the works of the Drainage Commission beyond the limits of the flint formation of Ulster." In Antrim, of which alone I can speak with anything like accuracy, having collected some seven hundred specimens found in its fields, there are particular districts famous for the large numbers which they yield: such as the whole valley of the Bann from Lough Neagh to the sea; the King's Moss near Ballyclare; the mountain district of Ardamagh near Glenwherry; Ballynashee in the same neighbourhood; the Glens; Killyless in the parish of Ahoghill, a notable locality for triangular arrow-heads; Glenhue, in the same parish; Clough, in the barony of Kilconway; the mountain of Aura; Annoy and the district round Loughguile; and Lough Mourn and the Commons of Carrickfergus.
In size they run from about four inches to an inch in length. I have a few which measure about half-an-inch, but examples so small are extremely rare. Many of the larger specimens—three inches and over in length—must have beenspear or javelin points; but, as all are popularly called arrow-heads, I do not think it necessary to attempt a division. Indeed, I do not see how it is possible to separate the one class from the other, or in many instances to say positively which is an arrow-head and which is not. A medium size is from one inch and a-half to two inches long. Arrow-heads of this size are the most numerous of aU.