Seal of the Dean of Clonmacnois

[From the Dublin Penny Journal, Vol. 1, No. 16, October 13, 1832]

A short time ago while a labourer was engaged in digging a grave in the old burial ground of Tassagh, which lies four miles south of Armagh, and which the tradition of the district points out as the site of an ancient friary, he found a curious brazen seal, with a handle attached to it by a hinge—

The wood cut above is the size of the original, and an exact copy of the face of the seal, which is very rudely engraved, and is inscribed, "Sigillum Marrci Linch, Decan. de Clon-macnosii" - "The Seal of Mark Linch, Dean of Clonmacnois." I have not been able to discover at what period Linch was dean of that ancient bishopric, but it must have been prior to 1568, as in that year it was united to Meath, and I believe there has not been either a Catholic or Protestant bishop, or dean and chapter of it, independent of Meath, since that time. I find that the townland of Tassagh was the property of the regular canons of St. Augustin, of the abbey of Saints Peter and Paul, Armagh, and it is likely that the friary was a branch of that celebrated abbey. There was also an abbey of the same order at Clonmacnois - and Archdall in his "History of the Monastic Institutions of Ireland," informs us, that several of the religious of that order came to Armagh to spend the evening of their lives. Now it is not unlikely that Dean Linch, having become unable to perform the duties of his office, retired to the secluded friary of Tassagh, and there spent the remainder of his days.

J. C.