Marginal Drawings Of The Rats Of Ferneginen And The Bell Of Mactelwus, In Gerald of Wales's 'History And Topography Of Ireland'
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Gerald of Wales was born at Monorbier castle, in Pembrokeshire, in 1146. He was educated at Gloucester and Paris, and became Archdeacon of Brecon in 1175. He visited Ireland in 1183, 1185, 1199 and again for about two years from 1204. A version of his text--which is largely concerned with the marvellous things he saw or heard about there--is known to have been read publicly in 1188. This manuscript was written perhaps at Lincoln, probably before Gerald's death in 1223, and it has been suggested that he personally supervised its writing and decoration. This manuscript was later owned by St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury.
In Ferneginen, in Leinster, there are no rats, because they were all banished by St. Yvor for eating some of his books. In Mactelwuse, also in Leinster, was a bell which, if it was not exorcised each night, or tied, up, would be found the following morning at St. Finian's church, Clonard, in Meath.