Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The Wexford (or Enniscorthy) Carol

Musicologists differ on the precise origins of 'the Wexford Carol' or 'the Enniscorthy Carol,' and even upon its proper designation, it seems.  William D. Crump's The Christmas Encyclopedia, for example, fails to attribute it to the 12th Century, as many do, at least as regards the tune.  We are unable to source the basis of this claim of antiquity.  What is certain is that Dr. the Chevalier Grattan-Flood (1859-1928), Titular Organist of Enniscorthy Cathedral, claims to have transcribed the Carol, both tune and lyrics, from a local man and published them in The Oxford Book of Carols (1928) as 'the Wexford Carol.'  However, subsequent research has found that the first verses are very close to a Carol found in William Devereux’s A New Garland Containing Songs for Christmas (1728).

At any rate, 'the Wexford Carol' can be sung with a special joy by Irish, especially Wexford, voices this Christmastide.

The Wexford Carol

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved Son.

With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born.

The night before that happy tide,
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.

But mark right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas,
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox's stall.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep,
To whom God's angel did appear,
Which put the shepherds in great fear.

Arise and go, the angels said,
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you'll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born.

With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find
And as God's angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold.

Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid,
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife.

There were three wise men from afar,
Directed by a glorious star,
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay.

And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah lay,
They humbly cast them at his feet
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.

An Irish Translation of the first four verses:

Ó, tagaig' uile is adhraigí
An leanbh cneasta sa chró 'na luí
Is cuimhnígí ar ghrá an Rí
A thug dár saoradh anocht an Naí.

'S a Mhuire Mháthair i bParrthas Dé,
Ar chlann bhocht Éabha guigh 'nois go caomh,
Is doras an chró ná dún go deo
Go n-adhram' feasta Mac Mhuire Ógh.

I mBeithil thoir i lár na hoích'
Ba chlos an deascéala d'aoirí,
Go follas don saol ón spéir go binn
Bhí aingle 'canadh ó rinn go rinn.

"Gluaisig' go beo," dúirt Aingeal Dé,
"Go Beithil sall is gheobhaidh sibh
É 'Na luí go séimh i mainséar féir,
Siúd É an Meisias a ghráigh an saol."

Friday, 4 December 2015

Dunbrody Abbey (Walsh)

From Walsh's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 1891, c. xix, p. 173 ff:

Dunbrody, in the barony of Shelburne, on the river Barrow, and four miles south of Ross. Harvey de Monte Maurisco, who was seneschal of the whole estate belonging to Eichard, earl of Pembroke, made a considerable grant of divers lands to St. Mary and St. Benedict, for the purpose of erecting an abbey for the monks of the Cistercian order.

Felix, who was consecrated bishop of Ossory, in 1178, was witness to this charter.

A.D. 1179, Harvey, the founder of this house, entered into the monastery of the Holy Trinity, in Canterbury. Richard, earl of Pembroke, and his grandson, Walter, were principal benefactors to
this house.

A.D, 1182, the abbot and monks of Bildewas, m Shropshire, who were included in the charter of Harvey, made a cession to the Cistercian abbey of the blessed Virgin Mary, at Dublin, of the whole right and claim, which they possessed in right of de Marisco's grant, over the new foundation of Dunbrody. John, lord of Ireland, in the lifetime of his father, confirmed the grant of Harvey.

A.D. 1216, Herlewin, bishop of Leighlin, was interred in the abbey church, a great part of which he had caused to be erected.

A.D. 1296, Walter, earl of Pembroke, confirmed the grants of Harvey and of Strongbow.

A.D. 1308, Damin was abbot.

A.D. 1340, Philip de Chicull was abbot. Having refused to submit to the visitation of the abbot of St. Mary's, near Dublin, he was deposed from his office. The prior, William de Rosse, was chosen in his

A.D. 1368, David de Cornwalshe was abbot. The monks of Tracton, in the county of Cork, having openly resisted the authority of their abbot, David was commissioned to restore them to order. David, for his trouble in so doing, was presented by the abbot, David Graynell, with a horse, worth twenty marcs, and £10 sterling in ready money; after which David took from the monks another sum of £20, and being thus bribed by both parties, he deprived the abbot Richard of his office. In two years afterwards he was convicted of the same offence, and fined in the sum of one marc, but received the king's pardon.

A.D. 1380, it was enacted by parliament that no mere Irishman should make his profession in this abbey.

A.D. 1390, David Esmonde, a burgess of the town of Wexford, being appointed by letters patent to enquire, by the oaths of good and lawful men of this county, into the extortions and offences committed in this abbey, from which mere Irishmen were excluded, having arrived to put in force his commission, David Cornwalshe, the abbot thereof, with divers associates, assaulted said Esmond, with force and violence seized and destroyed the king's letters, and secured Esmond in the abbot's prison for the space of sixteen days, until they compelled him to swear that he would never prosecute any of the aforesaid persons, nor John Develyn, who was a party to the transactions.

A.D. 1394, the said Develyn was abbot.

A.D. 1402, King Henry IV granted to the abbot and convent a confirmation of all their rights and possessions.

A.D. 1418, John Calf was abbot.

A.D. 1522, Alexander Devereux was abbot. The abbot of this house sat as a baron of parliament.

Alexander Devereux, the last abbot, surrendered this noble establishment in 1539, after having first provided for his relatives bv the sacrilegious plunder of its possessions.

By an inquisition, taken in the thirty-seventh of Henry VIII, this abbey was found to possess sixty acres of pasture in Dunbrody; one hundred and twenty acres in Battlestown; eighty acres in Duncannon ; sixty acres in Clonard, and one thousand one hundred and thirty acres in various parts of the county of Wexford, besides immense possessions in Connaught, and in the counties of Limerick and Waterford. In 1546, these possessions were granted to Osborne Itchingham, at the annual rent of £3 l0s. 6d. While in the twentieth year of Queen Elizabeth, the lands and rectories belonging to this abbey, in the county of Limerick, were conceded to Robert Callan.

The ruins of Dunbrody abbey, rising in awful grandeur at the conflux of the rivers Suire and Barrow, present a truly picturesque and magnificent appearance. These ruins, including the cloister and church, are, perhaps, the most complete, and at the same time the most extensive of any in the kingdom. At the west end stood the porch, adorned with filigree open-work, cut in stone, while the immense gothic window which rises above the porch, displays an amazing specimen of curious
and splendid architecture. The chancel and the walls of the church are entire. Within are three chapels, vaulted and groined, while the aisles are separated from the nave by a double row of arches, with a moulding, which reclines on beautiful consoles. Tlie tower also is complete, and the arch on which it rests is, for its curious and expansive curvature, much esteemed.