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It is the oldest date-inscribed tomb in Kilkenny, the oldest dated in St. Canice's being 1285, and it is one of the very limited number of Norman-inscribed tombs in the kingdom, there being only two others of that description in Kilkenny, one in the Black Abbey, and one in St. Canice's, neither of which ia dated. I feel sure that Mr. Edmund Smithwick will do all that is necessary to preserve thi3 curious relic of an age which sends us many quaint stories of mediaeval life, that now seem to us almost romances although truly invested with the stern realities of fact.
KETELLER STONE, KILKENNY.1
Bt COLONEL P. D. VIGORS, Vice-phesident.
^oirsrDERABLE uncertainty having been expressed as to the reading of several words in the inscription on this stone, more particularly as regards the name of the person in whose memory it had been inscribed, and on certain other points, I sent a rubbing of the inscription to England, hoping that, with the fuller information at the disposal of Antiquaries in London than we here have available, some additional light might be thrown on the subject. I have also quite recently taken fresh rubbings of the parts considered doubtful, and have examined the inscription as carefully as I could, with the aid of a powerful magnifying glass, and have come to the conclusion, beyond all doubt, that the following is the correct reading of the inscription in its present injured state, but I may add that there is a space sufficient for a word of five letters, of which only two, at present, can be read. This word is left to future research to determine. As I go along the inscription, this space will be brought under your notice. Let me here draw your attention to the very marked way in which each word is separated from that next it by three large dots in a vertical line, one over the other.
The inscription commences at the head of the stone near the centre— 1st, a Maltese cross will be noticed, then the three "dots," next come the letters Jci, the first I being made like a modern J, going well below the bottom of the other letters; then we have three dots again, and the word Gist I, and the dots as before. Next comes a. curiously formed J, with a looped head and tail, and next it an o. We have now arrived at the angle of the stone. The next two letters Se are on the side of the stone; later on I shall have to refer to these letters. The next word is De j, and after the dots comes the word, perhaps the most important on the stone, if I except the date—it is the name. Unfortunately the first and second letters of the word are injured, owing to a fracture in the stone, and the last two letters are also slightly imperfect. This word, about which there was at first much doubt, I now read, as Mr. Egan does, viz. Ketelleb, and though, in some degree, the first letter resembles an B, yet, on close comparison with the K in si, four or five words further on, and with the two E's in Tebspasa and Grace, it will be seen that they are formed differently from these K's. Again, the fact of Keteller, or Kyteler, being connected with Kilkenny, and about the period of this stone, should not be lost sight of.
1 Notes on the recently-discovered thirteenth-century tombstone in Kilkenny, described by Mr. P. M. Egan, at the Meeting of our Society in October last.
We now come to the break in the stone, which deprives us of two letters completely, and gives us one much injured. The only letters we can pronounce on with certainty arc, I think, the two at the end of the word, viz. Re, the three dots after them clearly point out that this is the end of the word whatever it was.
The next letter, E, is placed at an undue distance from the last dots, owing to a defect in the stone, which clearly existed at the time the inscription was cut. Mr. Egan reads the first letter of the broken word as a D, and it appears to resemble that letter. The remaining five words on this side of the stone present no difficulty. The Ki is found on other stones used in the same manner as on this, and the word cr for Ici is also another contracted form.
Unfortunately the remaining part of the stone at the foot is broken off, and no trace of it has been found—probably about 2 ft. 6 in. is gone.
The reading on the other—the left side of the stone—presents little difficulty, the letters, with one exception, being still well preserved. It reads :—
trapsa; Ian ; tst; Qtutt; rail • t • a 11; qfratre •
Owing to a whim, or else a mistake of the stonecutter, the D in De is formed in a very peculiar manner. You will observe a long vertical groove cut on the left side of the D, between the circular portion and the dots. This, beyond any doubt, is not a flaw, or defect, in the stone, but clearly shows the marks of the stonecutter's chisel.
The long space left between the last E and the word Qvatre, is to be accounted for by this part of the stone being rough and defective, and therefore intentionally avoided by the stonecutter.
We have now arrived at the left-hand top corner of the stone, where we find the three dots again, and the last [remaining] word Vins. I use the word remaining, because there evidently was another word here. The tail (turned to the right) of one of the letters may be seen, but, unfortunately, the stone is again broken away.
The inscription would therefore read :—
* Jri;gist; Jo-|u:fo:$etcUer .... «ic;bist;tfr;Miniiras
[Stone broken]—end of this side.
Continuing round the stone, we read on the other side:—
trapsa • Ian • bt . gra«; mil • t • tt \ t • qbztxt j [This completes
this side] bhtS \ . . . . [?].
Which, I think, may be translated:—
"HERE LIES JOSE DE KETELLER. [STAND ?] AND SAT [a PRAYER ] THOU WHO PAS8EST HERE. [he] DIED IN THE TEAR OF GRACE I280 [?].