Florence MacMoyer

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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MacMoyer, Florence, was last hereditary keeper of the Book of Armagh, a MS. of 221 vellum leaves. A portion dates as far back as 807. It is written in Latin, and contains the only complete copy of the New Testament scriptures transmitted to our time from the ancient Irish church. Besides the Gospels, Acts, and Epistles, it comprises St. Patrick's Confession and some tracts. It has always been regarded with peculiar veneration, was supposed to have been written by St. Patrick, and was preserved in a silver shrine. This precious relic was in MacMoyer's care on 29th June 1662, as appears from an entry on the reverse of the 104th leaf. MacMoyer was one of the witnesses against Archbishop Plunket in London in 1681. Previously he had pawned the volume for £5. He died, 12th February 1713, and was buried at Ballymoyer.

On account of his connexion with Archbishop Plunket's death, his memory is held in the greatest abhorrence by the country people, who believed, until a recent period, that he was annually cursed by the Pope. After passing through various hands, the Book of Armagh came in 1858, by the care of the Rev. William Reeves, and the munificence of the then Lord Primate, into the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. The particulars of the life of John Moyers, given in his evidence against Archbishop Plunket, do not exactly correspond with those generally given of MacMoyer, the hereditary keeper, so that they may have been different persons, and Florence MacMoyer may have given his evidence privately.

Sources

11a. Armagh, Memoir of the Book of: Rev. William Reeves, D.D. Lusk, 1861. See also No. 45.

312. State Trials, Cobbett's, 1163 to 1820. 34 vols. London, 1806-'28.

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