Bodleian Library letters to Caulfield

Bodleian Library MS ENG misc e 108

24th Jan 1864.

Dear Mr Caulfield,

Some of the bones have been identified (1 word illegible) olden and one of the surgeons of the town whose (3 words illegible) as kinsman. This rushes the (1 words illegible) the more intensely as although we have not as yet found any remains of (10 words illegible) and it will be worth while (5 words illegible) what else may be in the same holes. I am (8 words illegible)


31 Aug 1866

My dear Caulfield,

Very many thanks for letting me know about the coins as I am not a regular coin collector. I don’t buy them unless I manage to get them a wonderful bargain. But what those you speak of appear by your account to be well worth the sum put upon them. However it does not do to buy every thing one hears of or one must hire the Crystal Palace to contain them, not to mention breaking the bank at some future time. But if at any time you can manage to get me a Brackdeale (?) or two or (1 word illegible) any of the (1 word illegible, possibly Danish) coins I should be most thankful. Send me the celts if you can get any last of (1 illegible word) history of them. I have not yet been able to see any one about the almanac of the (1 illegible word), everyone is out of town now. I had a letter from Mr Way the same day I received yours. Your handwritings are so much alike that I am (1 word illegible) to look at the (1 word illegible) each time to see which is which, I suppose it is an archaeological hand. Can you send me the date of St. Declan’s Oratory at Ardmore. I mean the one in which the ogham stone was found built up in the wall. I cannot find the exact date anywhere but I believe St. Declans was one of the earliest Christian monasteries. Which I think fixes the ogham at a period prior to Christianity upon account if the account of its discovery is authentic. I am preparing a paper for the Archaeological Journal on the Roovesmore oghams and I want to quote the date of this building if I can. (4 words illegible) of Scotland in your notice you will find it extremely interesting in connection with (2 words illegible). ...


31st Oct 1866.

My dear Caulfield,

I wrote a letter to you some days ago to tell you of the vacancy of under secretary to the Archaeological Society of Great Britain and Ireland but as it occurs to me you may be away I write again in hopes my letter may be forwarded as it appears to me a (2 words illegible) you should not know of a vacancy that might passing suit you. The salary is 10 £ per annum, hours of attendance 11 (1 word illegible) 4 or 5. As an (1 word illegible, possibly Englishman) I don’t think it would be unworthy of your acceptance and as it is a (7 words illegible). I am certain the occasions should not pass by without your being informed of it. There are several candidates one a lawyer the other the vicar of place somewhere down the Thames who purposes to take it as an amusement but the council appears to think his duties as vicar might not leave him time enough to attend to the duties of secretary. I have not mentioned your name in the matter as I was quite uncertain whether it is a part you would like to take. I only said I knew of a person who I thought would be just the man in the world for it if it would suit him. Albert Way wrote to me recently to say that they had several candidates but none that he (4 words illegible) so begged me if I had any one in vain to let the Secretary know. If you have any idea the occupation might suit you please let me know. I have not mentioned your name to Way in reference to the appointment. I am in hopes you might find it your while as I think you are buried alive at The Cork Substitution in (1 word illegible).


3rd Nov 1866.

My dear Caulfield,

I am sorry the post won’t do for you but your quite right not to give up an occupation in which you are doing so much good until you can get something worth changing for. Thanks for the useful mention about the ogham book. If will send it, my (by book post I suppose is best) I will (1 word illegible) 1.5 to you in part of this order.

Please get me all the information you can about it. I suppose the present-owner known how it came (3 words illegible). If I could ascertain the date of the (1 word illegible) and (1 word illegible) because of it, it would add enough to the usefulness of the work. I conclude is it legible? As equals the (2 words illegible) if you will let me know the particulars and price I will speak to Franks about it. I have lately been (1 word illegible) some interesting researches in some excavations that are being carried on about 40 yards south of the London wall at about 16 feet  beneath the surface they came to (1 word illegible, possibly peat) in which are a (1 word illegible) of oak piles the tops have (1 word illegible) rotted of when they were exposed to the air but the posts are well preserved. All about the (3 words illegible) of bones of horse, cow, pig and boar, goat and deer all broken up and (6 words illegible). Top the (1 word illegible) numerous remains of oyster, cockle and mussel shells, kitchen middens (6 words illegible) handles and (1 word illegible) bones the shank bone of the ox and some bone skates mixed with fragments of Roman pottery and coins. They are all found in peat showing that even in Roman times this part of London was (1 word illegible) and that the Brettons build their inhabitations in it upon piles like the causeways of Ireland. (1 word illegible) bones are found all the way from here to the Bank Mansion house and Thames.

(This letter also contained in it a small drawing of the section with the oak posts sticking out of the ground, and 2 small sketches of the bone drawings included in Lane Fox’s paper on London Wall.)


11th May 1868.

My dear Caulfield,

Many thanks for your note, going over the drawing of the ogham on green hill –TTGENU MACI MUCOI QRIT TI – I think I can remember having seen the word Mucco more than once on oghams. The only one I can call to mind at present is on one of the ogham stones which have been moved to Burnham Land recently a house near Dingle from the neighbourhood. On one ogham there is NAFICAS MAC I MUCO. I send you by book post a copy of my paper in the Archaeological Journal on the oghams at Roovesmore which are not in the British Museum. I will send you shortly the papers relative to the International congress of Prehistoric Archaeology which is to assemble at (1 word illegible) this year the same time as the British Association and of which I am Hon Secretary. The subscription for the year is 10 shillings which will entitle the subscriber to all the papers for the year and to attend the meetings. Sir John Lubbock is President, (1 illegible word) Franks, Huxley (2 illegible words) Burk, Hookes and other members of the (1 word illegible) committee. (3 words illegible) was kind enough to send me a drawing of the ogham found also this morning.


Dec 1868.

My dear Caulfield,

The other day I bought some things at W Nelligans sale. [1] I am (1 word illegible) to exhibit them at the society of antiquarians with a thoughtful account of them. Neligan’s description of them is of no value as he is in the habit of dealing in these things, but if I could lay before the society a communication from you on the subject it would be valuable. You would be going me great favour if you would kindly investigate the matter for me and send me a letter on the subject that I may communicate to the antiquarians. The first thing is the spear head with the gold socket that I bought for 11.15. I am anxious to know 1stly the date and the circumstances of it discovery in Lough Gur. Also especially whether there is any truth in the shaft having been found with the spear head. Nelligan in a letter to me says that he has seen Lord Guillarmore’s butler who told him he saw it brought up from Lough Gur with the shaft in it and that it was all covered with bog stuff on first sight of the shaft. I considered it must have been modern but on examining the rivet which is stuck in the hole and (1 word illegible) it to the shaft, I thought that the rivet appeared old, and I (1 word illegible) that the sides of the spear fit exactly the side of the hole on alternate sides thus (small sketch of the rivet holes) as if they had corroded together. This leads me to (4 words illegible) though may be genuine. It is a (3 words illegible) and as the spear is certainly unique. I feel and I and the society would appreciate any trouble you might take in investigating the matter, and I should particularly so. What I want to get if possible is the (1 word illegible) of Lord Guillamore’s butler on if any one saw the spear found and confess that it might be (7 words illegible). I would gladly pay. You might communicate with M. (1 word illegible) on the subject. (3 words illegible) find out who the other people are that know about it taking what he says (keep to ourselves) with caution. Neligan in his private catalogue say that he has satisfactory proof that the shaft was found with it. I also bought a gold lunette I (1 word illiegible) to have been found near Muddleton. I should like much to know the circumstances and date of this find and who they were found by. I (1 word illegible) W Neligan from 20 £ for the two and they were 20 £ at his sale so he didn’t make much out of that. Also a (5 words illegible) said to have been found near Armagh with a pattern on it thus IIIIIIIXIIIIIIIIIX if this circumstance of it discovery could be verified it would be satisfactory. We are getting on with one prehistoric book which will be a good one for the price as nearly all the contributors have presented their identifications. I forgot to mention a funerary urn which I found at Neligan’s sale should it come from New Grange can this be verified.

P.S. (1 word illegible) R. Day most courteous in holding a court of enquiry over these things. You understand of course they only object in (1 word illegible) a truthful account of the (3 words illegible) as one never pays any attention to this (2 words illegible, possibly describing prices) at a sale.


[1] Pitt-Rivers is known to have bought some material from William Chadwick Neligan in April 1878 (via Sotheby) and also on the 7 December 1868 (so this letter must postdate then). The only items known to have been bought in December were:

1884.35.45 Ireland Newgrange Bronze Age food vessel

1884.119.348 Ireland Lough Gur Socketed spearhead, this is the discussed at some length in the letter


14th Oct 1869.

Dear Mr Caulfield,

It is ages since we communicated. I fear however I must confess myself the defaulter as I have had so much to do what with the Prehistoric (1 word illegible) and the Archaeological Society. By the way I hope you received volume (2 words illegible) of the Prehistoric transactions copy was nearly ready for you. I hope it my compensate for the delay but our fund were to small that we could not rush on the illustrations and even dependant cutting on the contributions of the authors. However the member will get for 10s a volume which Longman is now selling for £1.1. My particular object in writing now is to ask you to cooperate with Professor Harkness, Mr Brach (?) Mr Westropp and Mr Day in forming a committee to report on the Megalithic monuments of Cork and Kerry. We have a committee of which Sir John Lubbock is President the object of which is to urge the government to take steps for the preservation of these monuments but before we can make a suggestion of the subject it is necessary to report on their present condition and on the monuments most worthy of preservation. (7 words illegible) and Professor Harkness at the meeting of the British Association (1 word illegible) to send us a report on Cork and Kerry with a map showing the position of these monuments most worthy of being looked after. I hope you will (6 words illegible) and cooperate with him.

P.S. I have written to Professor Harkness today. Would you kindly ask Mr Day if he can give the Ethnological Society any communication this year on any prehistoric discovery that he has made.


20th Oct 1869.

Dear Mr Caulfield,

I am very pleased to hear you are setting to work about the antiquities of Cork and Kerry. It will be a very (2 words illegible) If you see Prof Harkness please thank him for his work. Many thanks also for his promise of a paper on the “Routes” (?) will you procure it and send it to me. Also would you kindly ask (5 word illegible) to let us have the notes of his discovery of flint implements in the (1 word illegible) it will (2 words illegible) as although we have lots of comparable implements in this country we have very little authentic account of the circumstances connected with discovery.

5th Jan 1870.

8th Feb 1870.

22nd April 1870.

Undated letters: 8

Transcribed by Charlotte Diffey February 2013.

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