The Morpeth Roll

Ireland identified in 1841

Edited by: Christopher Ridgway

In 1841, on stepping down as Ireland's chief secretary, George Howard, Lord Morpeth, received a grand farewell testimonial from the people of Ireland. This took the form of 200,000 signatures on sheets of paper wrapped around a gigantic bobbin. When unwound, the testimonial measures a staggering 420 meters. After decades of lying in obscurity in Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, the 'Morpeth Roll' has been the subject of intense research, digitization, and conservation. In 2013, the roll will be seen in public for the first time in 170 years as part of a touring exhibition throughout Ireland, held in conjunction with The Gathering. This book of essays discusses the significance of the roll and examines what it can tell us about pre-Famine Ireland. Just how the roll was commissioned and assembled in a matter of weeks, with signatures collected from across Ireland, is one focus of enquiry; as are the reasons for Lord Morpeth's extraordinary popularity, which endured when he returned to Dublin in 1850s as viceroy. The roll is not only a document of national significance, it is also a unique mechanical object on its winding spool, presenting very special challenges for display and interpretation. *** "There are few things more exciting to historians than the discovery of a long-lost treasure! These essays by esteemed experts examine the newly-found Morpeth Roll, an 1841 data-mining treasure, at Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, England....Neither petition nor political plaint, the Morpeth Roll presents 'an opportunity to re-imagine Ireland through the simplest and most fundamental of signifiers - the signature.' There is little doubt that it will soon clarify many of that tumultuous era's enigmas." - The Celtic Connection, January 2014~


144 pages

Publication Date: 5/10/2013
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781846824067