In Charles Kerry’s opinion

I’d never heard of the BabelStone blog before I found this entry earlier. Now I’m a big fan of it. Whoever writes it, they go into extraordinary depth on a broad range of topics related to ancient scripts and inscriptions (the one on the Staffordshire Hoard is a good starting point, although I can see myself becoming interested in Uyghur seals if the most recent post is anything to go by). It makes me want to strive to make this blog as thorough as possible – although I have to say whoever the author is, they seem to have more time on their hands than I do at the moment.

Anyway, the point of this post was to highlight a reference to Charles Kerry in the entry linked at the start of this paragraph. It concerns a ?Roman-era millstone fragment bearing an Ogham inscription found in the vicinity of Uttoxeter in 1870. The artefact is lost, preventing any chance of transcribing and translating the inscription, but to judge from the quoted passage of 1886, we have Kerry to thank for identifying it (moreover with characteristic gusto, it would seem). One could be pedantic and argue that Ogham is not the same as the later Runic script Kerry probably had in his mind, but they are related and as such his analysis in this instance was accurate (unlike some of his Journal entries in which he insinuates some of the “British” worked flints he found belonged to the Iron Age).

3 Responses to In Charles Kerry’s opinion

  1. Thanks for your kind comments about my blog. Charles Kerry’s purported identification of the Uttoxeter “Runic stone bearing Ogham characters” (here I think “Runic stone” simply means “stone with inscribed writing”) is intrigiung, and living within walking distance of Puttenham I wished I knew more about him. I wonder, do you know anything about the “Kerry manuscripts” mentioned at ? I suppose that for Kerry to make an identification of the inscription, Redfern must have supplied him with a drawing of the stone, and that drawing could conceivably be amongst the Kerry manuscripts or in his correspondence if it still survives anywhere. It would be a great find if ever a drawing of the inscription could be located.

    • Andrew, the Kerry manuscripts listed on the site you refer to are a series of journals Kerry kept during his time as curate of Puttenham church, a tenure which (off the top of my head) lasted from 1868 to 1876. They concern local matters in the main, with the occasional intrusion of national or international news. Befitting an antiquarian of the time, the notebooks encompass rudimentary archaeological investigations (no sections, but some rather good drawings of the artefacts he recovered), recording and discussion of local folklore, and transcriptions of church registers. The originals are preserved in the record office in Derby, but both the Puttenham & Wanborough History Society and Surrey Archaeological Society hold photocopies; in the case of the former the copies are incomplete (although I have done my best to put them back into the correct order). This is offset by the fact the History Society possesses three notebooks that seem to have been where Kerry, during his first couple of years in Puttenham, first set down his thoughts on topics before “writing them up” in his journals. It also holds the scripts of a talk he may or may not have delivered to the parishioners in the early 1870s, and other odds and ends including a pencil drawing of an unnamed man. No drawings of stones, however – consequently your best bet may be to see what is held at Derby.

      • Robert, thanks so much for the detailed information, and for checking whether the papers include drawings of a stone. It was a long shot, but if I’m ever in Derby I might check out the record office there.

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