The Medieval Book That Emerged from a Bog After 1200 Years

By | September 30, 2016

This is the remarkable story of a medieval book that spent 1200 years in the mud.

Someone had a Book of Psalms made circa 800. It was a portable copy fitted with a leather satchel. The book consisted of sixty sheets of parchment that were carefully filled with handwritten words. Somehow the book ended up in a remote bog at Faddan More in north Tipperary, close to the town of Birr, Ireland.

Fast-forward to 2006. Eddie Fogarty, the operator of a turf digger, noticed an object with faint lettering in the bucket of his machine. Thanks to the conservation properties of turf, many pages of the book were still intact, as was its leather satchel the only surviving specimen from this early period.

Faddan More Psalter, c. 800: when it was found.

Before start of restoration

Words without a page. Remarkably, among the damaged pages were some that had let go of the words: kept together merely by ink, the words were floating around by themselves - like some sort of medieval Scrabble.

Restored cover