Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
A Philosophical Survey of the South of Ireland [...] (Author: Thomas Campbell)


Appendix 1


An Account of some antique Curiosities found in a small Bog near Cullen

Horns large enough to have a circle of about three feet diameter described on each palm.

1731, A brazen vessel containing two gallons and an half, which had four legs, a broad bumped bottom, growing narrow to the neck, and from thence wider towards the brim, and weighed nineteen pounds.

1732, A poor woman, taking up a black slimy stuff, which lies very deep, to dye wool, found three pieces of bright metal of equal size, and in shape of heaters used for smoothing, which, weighing seven pounds and an half, she sold as brass. Same year, a labourer found a piece of gold, like the frustum of a spheriod, less than half a small egg, which weighed three ounces four pennyweight seven grains.

1738, Seven arrows of brass, about five inches long each, two inches of which formed a


socket of three-fourths of an inch diameter, in each of which was a shaft of rotten wood, about nine inches long — from the socket to the point they were two-edged and tapered; on either side was a beard, one inch and an half long from the point. Thirteen spears of the same metal, ten inches long, four of which formed a socket of about one inch and three-fourths in diameter, at the entrance of the handle near the socket the blades were broad, but gradually grew acute to the point; the handles of each seemed sound and of quartered ash, about six feet, but on taking them they soon mouldered away; they all weighed six pounds and an half.

1739, A boy found a circular plate of beaten gold, about eight inches in diameter, lapped up in a triangular form, wherein were inclosed three ingots of gold, weighing about a pound.

1742, A thin plate of gold, in the form of an ellipsis, the transverse diameter about two inches and a quarter, and the conjugate less than an inch; weight eighteen pennyweight fifteen grains.

1744, A golden cup in almost the form of a wine glass, the handle of which was hollow, and about one inch and an half long, of the thickness of a goose quill; it was chased, and contained about a thimblefull; the bottom was flat, and about the breadth of a six-pence,


weight twenty-one pennyweight twelve grains. A tube of four inches long, and as thick as the stem of a tobacco-pipe, which weighed one ounce seven pennyweight twenty grains.

1745, A quadrangular vessel of bright yellow metal, each side of which about ten inches long at the brim, and from the brim to the bottom eight inches; five inches from the brim was entirely flat, the remainder was semiglobular; on either side was an handle, like those on common metal pots. This the poor woman who found it sold to a tinker for a shilling. N. B. The common Irish, at this day, have a vessel, not unlike this, of solid timber, excavated, which they call a Mather; the only difference is, that the mather is not so wide, and all the sides are flat, and the mouth is somewhat wider than the bottom. In a cabbin where I entered with Mr. Baker, they offered us cream in a mather to drink.

1748, A brass weapon, two feet seven inches long, which was two-edged from the hilt to the point. These edges very much resembled the fin which proceeds out of both sides of an eel, from the navel to the top of the tail. It seemed to have been cast in that form and never whetted. It was one inch and three-fourths broad near the hilt, from which, for four inches, it was diminished to an inch and a quarter. From thence to the middle it increased an inch and an half; and from thence it grew narrower to


the termination in an acute point. The blade was near half an inch thick; the part taken for the hilt was about five inches, near an inch broad in the middle, but less toward the blade and the pommel; in it were six rivets, each of which was about three-fourths of an inch long, and on one of them hung a thin piece of gold, which weighed twelve pennyweight nine grains.

1747, A girl found a thin plate of gold rolled up, which extended, was fourteen inches long, and about a quarter broad — another of the same kind, in a sod of turf, as she made the fire.

1749, A plate of gold, round, and ten inches in diameter. There was a gold wire inlaid round the rim, and about three inches towards the centre there was gold twist sowed in and out, and by it another plate of four inches diameter was fastened within — for the larger had a hole in the middle wherein the lesser was concentrically fitted. Three tubes like goose quills split open.

1750, A small plate of gold, in the form of an equilateral triangle, of one inch shand three-fourths each side. The finder sold it to a pedlar without weighing for 2l. 12 s. — And


his wife found, the same year, in a sod of turf, a piece of gold which weighed eleven pennyweight sixteen grains — a ring like a ring-dial, one ounce three pennyweight twelve grains.

1751, Such another weapon as that found in 1748, on the rivets of which was a plate of gold which covered one side; at the end of which was a thing like the pommel of a small sword, with three links of a chain hanging out of it: all the gold together weighed three ounces three pennyweight eleven grains.

A plate of gold five inches broad at one end, and four on the other, and almost six long, beautifully chased and engraved. The goldsmith, to whom it was sold, said he supposed it to have been part of a crown. It weighed one ounce twenty pennyweight sixteen grains.

A piece of hollow gold in form of the mucro of a scabbard of a small sword, which weighed one ounce twenty-three pennyweight seventeen grains.

A weapon of the same form of that described in 1748, but that the metal of this was more refined. A goldsmith upon trial found there was gold in it. Close to the hilt on the thick part was engraved an oblong square, about one inch and an half long, inlaid with pewter and copper.


A small hollow cylindrical piece of brass, two inches and an half long, and about three-fourths of an inch diameter, open at one end; the other end resembled a finder used by coopers in cleaving twigs.

A gold vessel in the form of our chalice, but with a handle naturally curved. The cup was cracked and bulged, but opened to its full capacity would contain almost a pint. The bottom was not found. The cap and handle were chased and engraved, and weighed ten ounces twelve pennyweight twenty-three grains.

Two thin leaves of gold, folded in each other like the hats of babies, each about three inches in diameter; the crown of one of them was in the form of a cone and smooth. John Damer, Esq; of Shronehill, gave for them their weight in coin, viz. one guinea and an half.

A piece of gold almost in form of a large scollop-shell. Mr. Damer gave for this also its weight in coin, viz. fourteen guineas and an half.

Two pieces of gold, one like a man's thumb and hollow, the other an oblong square, about three inches long and one broad, both weighed three ounces nine penny-weight twenty-one grains, and about two grains of gold wire. A


lump of coarse brass of about a pound weight, which seemed to have remained in the ladle after casting. A piece of gold two inches long, as thick as a child's finger, and that seemed to have been cut off a larger piece, on the edge of an anvil; it weighed one ounce seven grains.

Something in the form of a bow, about six inches long, of black heavy wood, but gritty like a stone: on either end was a thin plate of gold which entirely covered about half an inch of it, through which passed a small screw which fastened the plate, and from which appended a little gold chain. The plates and chain were (without being weighed) sold for two guineas. The wood is in the possession of Mr. Damer.

1753, Twenty-two of the brass swords, pretty much as before described, some of which were an inch more, and some so much less than two feet — and three only fourteen inches.


Fig. I. Plate facing last page, represents a very extraordinary piece of plated gold, which Thomas Foresyth, Esq; shewed me: it was found by his servant, cutting turf in a bog in the county of Tyrone. The crescent, if completed, would form a circle of about eight inches and a half diameter; — the distance between the horn or extremities of the crescent is two inches; — the diameter of the hollow five inches; — the greatest breadth of the plate, three inches; — at the end of the horns were two plates, cutting the other at right angles, each of which was larger than a six pence, but less than a shilling. What use it had been applied to I pretend not to determine, but conjecture it to have been a sort of gorget worn either by a Priest or a Judge. It was of so elastic a temper, that though the horns approached so near each other, it would open so as to receive a neck of moderate thickness.

Keating mentions a miraculous collar, called Jadh Morain, first worn by Fearaidach Fionfachtah64, so called from his love of strict justice, in the beginning of the first century. This collar, he tells us, was endowed with a most surprising property, for if it was tied about the neck of an unjust Judge, who intended to pronounce false sentence, it would immediately shrink, and contract itself close so as


almost to stop the breath; but if the Judge who wore it changed his resolution, and resolved to be just in his decision, it would instantly enlarge itself, and hang loose about the neck. This Jadh Morain was likewise used to try the integrity of witnesses in judicial affairs; and if it were put round the neck of a person who designed being a false witness, it continued closing, till it had either throttled him or extorted the truth. Such is the account of the wonderful collar given by the father of Irish history! Whether that we have seen is one of them, I leave the reader to judge.

Fig. 2. is a representation of a piece of gold now in the possession of Sir Capel Molyneux. It is about three inches diameter. What the use of it was, I dare not so much as guess. It has been conjectured, yet without much warrant even from the shape, that it had been used as a fibula for the old Irish mantle; but the Rev. Mr. Archdall shewed me casts in lead of several of them, which had been in the possession of Dr. Pocock, Bishop of Ossory, some of which were so small that the little cups or bell-like figures at the ends touched each other; and he had some without cups at all; which plainly proves that they never could have been intended for fibulas. Mr. Foresyth told me he had seen one, found in his neighbourhood, above


twice the size; and a goldsmith assured me he had melted no less than four of them, some of which had been larger and some smaller than this one; and that he had heard of many more being sold, by the persons who found them, to other goldsmiths.

I must observe too, that Mr. Archdall shewed me a drawing of a plate of gold, in all respects like that represented Fig. 1. only that it had not the two little transverse plates at the ends of the horns.

The End