William Betham – Round Towers Resolved: Purpose

Round Towers of Ireland Resolved

The pivotal point of this penultimate posting on the Round Towers of Ireland is that in 1833 the mainstream established a harmonious Settled History belief system that reconciled the [previously warring] factions in the academic and ecclesiastical power bases within Ireland.

In 1833 evidence based scholars “all went out of the door” in Ireland.

In 1833 the Settled History belief system was “firmly established” in Ireland.

The following year, 1833, a gold medal for the best essay was awarded to Petrie himself.

His essay is a scholarly refutation, courteous but damning, of the wilder theories of his predecessors, Molyneux, Vallancey, Ledwich, Louisa Beaufort and others.

Danes and Druids, Persian or Scythian fire-worshippers, African sea-kings, Phoenicians and Indians, all went out of the door and the towers were firmly established as ecclesiastical in origin, monastic structures of the early Celtic church, primarily bell towers, refuges and treasure stores, with secondary uses as watch towers and possibly beacons.

Round Towers of Ireland: Study and Gazetteer – Lennox Barrow – 1979

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/george-lennox-barrow-and-the-round-towers/
See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/henry-obrien-and-the-round-tower-competition/

For the last 183 years Irish Settled Historians have been saddled with an ecclesiastical narrative that can’t pass a rudimentary sniff test.

Irish medical professionals simply bury [or burn] their mistakes.

Irish Settled Historians, on the other hand, have to [somehow] preserve their mistakes.

This is no easy task for Settled Historians because propping up their decaying corpses at the back of the lecture theatre always runs the risk that someone will have the audacity to mention the smell or the temerity to suggest they’re an intellectual health hazard.

For the last 183 years Irish Settled Historians have been bluffing, bamboozling, [academically] bludgeoning and [eventually] burying evidence based scholars.

Therefore, as Easter draws to a close, it seems fitting to resurrect an evidence based scholar who has been buried by the Irish Settled Historians.

Sir William Betham (1779–1853) was an English herald and antiquarian who held the office of Ulster King of Arms from 1820 until his death in 1853.

Betham took an active part in the proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, from the period of his admission to it as a member in 1820.

He became one of its governing body, acted as secretary, and made contributions to its publications.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Betham_%281779%E2%80%931853%29

William Betham was part of the “governing body” of the Royal Irish Academy during the Irish Round Towers Competition fiasco and he finally resigned from the Royal Irish Academy in 1837 when George Petrie won a second gold medal.

The only other entry came from Henry O’Brien, a twenty-five year old enthusiast for oriental learning, to whom the council awarded a consolatory bronze medal.

Reading his essay today, it is hard to understand how any responsible body that recognised the value of Petrie’s work could have awarded anything for this farrago of romantic and mystical nonsense.

Its sub-title, ‘the mysteries of freemasonary, of sabaism and of buddhism for the first time unveiled’, well conveys its content.

With scarcely a pretence at scholarly argument it repeats a large part of the errors that Petrie so ably refutes.

The award is probably explained by the presence on the council of Sir William Betham, Ulster King of Arms, an ardent champion of theories about the transmigration of the Druidic Buddha, set out in his Etruria Celtica.

There was clearly a clash of personalities as well as of opinions, and in 1837 when Petrie was awarded another gold medal, for an essay on the antiquities of Tara, Betham resigned in protest.

To the dismay of Petrie’s supporters, O’Brien’s essay, duly described as winner of the Academy’s medal, was published in 1834.

Petrie’s work did not formally appear until 1845 when it was printed as volume twenty of the transactions of the Academy, under the title The ecclesiastical architecture of Ireland anterior to the Anglo-Norman invasion, with a second edition, in smaller format, the same year (referred to below as ‘Petrie’ and all page references are to the latter edition).

Round Towers of Ireland: Study and Gazetteer – Lennox Barrow – 1979

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/henry-obrien-and-the-round-tower-competition/

William Betham was unimpressed by Henry O’Brien’s “abominable book”.

Dr. Villaneuva, from his ignorance of the Irish history and language, was involved in the most absurd blunders, and poor O’Brien was insane.

This brief statement of the opinions and belief of Buddhism, clearly shows, that the late Mr. O’Brien totally misunderstood its precepts, and that all his premises being erroneous, his conclusions must be equally so.

The Essay which gained the gold medal of the Royal Irish Academy ten years ago (which has not, and that of Mr. O’Brien, which has been published), are both found erroneous in their conjectures.

The opinion propounded in Mr. O’Brien’s ” abominable book ” as it is styled by the writer in the Quarterly Review, is entirely grounded on the solitary circumstance of the Irish word boi signifying the Phallus. His ignorance of the localities, as well as of the doctrines of Buddhism was extreme, he talks of Persian Buddhists whereas it does not appear that the name of Budh, was even known in that country.

Much allowance should, however, be made for that unfortunate young man, who undoubtedly laboured under aberration of mind, and died suddenly, it is believed, from a disordered brain.

His book, throughout, exhibits evidence of a crazed intellect.

Etruria-Celtica – William Betham – 1842
https://archive.org/details/etruriacelticaet02beth

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/henry-obrien-and-the-round-towers/

William Betham was unimpressed by George Petrie who “repudiated the idea” that “an urn with bones” had been discovered underneath a Irish Round Tower as “utterly unworthy of belief”.

I have read Mr. Petrie’s essay, and must say it failed to convince me of the accuracy of his opinions.

Some years since, Mr. Middleton, who lives in the neighbourhood of Timahoe, in the Queen’s County, told me that a peasant having frequently dreamed that treasure was hid in the round tower of that place, induced two others to join him, and went at night, and having removed the earth, came to a flag-stone which they raised, and discovered an urn with bones therein.

Mr. Middleton assured me he had often conversed with those men, and had no doubt, whatever, of the truth and accuracy of the statement.

I mentioned this fact to Mr. George Petrie, but he repudiated the idea as utterly unworthy of belief.

Etruria-Celtica – William Betham – 1842
https://archive.org/details/etruriacelticaet02beth

William Betham, therefore, began his own investigations which revealed the Round Tower of Timahoe is a non-Christian sepulchre.

Some years afterwards I became acquainted with Mr. Moore, of Cremorgen, near Timahoe, and I requested him to inquire into the facts.

Shortly after I received from that gentleman a letter, of which the following is a copy, fully bearing out Mr. Middleton’s statement : –

My dear Sir – When I was last in town, you expressed a wish that I should make some inquiries respecting the Round Tower of Timahoe, in the Queen’s County ; I have accordingly done so, and find that about fifty years ago, some persons were tempted to dig within the tower in search of money, when, having gone as deep as three feet, they found a flag, and over it a very large rib, which they supposed to be that of a horse, on finding which, the search was discontinued till many years after, when some persons again commenced digging in the tower, when having gone down about three or four feet farther than the former persons they found a flag (stone), and under it an earthen vessel filled with bones, having the appearance of being burned.

This circumstance caused no surprise in the persons searching, as in almost every sand-hill in the neighbourhood (of which there are a great number), similar earthen vessels, filled with bones, have been found, at from four to eight feet down.

I received this account from eyewitnesses on whom I could depend.

Believe me to be, yours very truly,

Pierce Moore

This letter, in my mind, demolishes the notion of these buildings being belfries, or even Christian buildings.

Cremation, so far as history informs us, never obtained as a mode of sepulture among Christians, therefore, urns and burned bones being found buried within the tower of Timahoe, demonstrates an earlier period for the erection of the Round Towers.

Etruria-Celtica – William Betham – 1842
https://archive.org/details/etruriacelticaet02beth

Timahoe Round Tower

The Round Tower of Ardmore is also a non-Christian sepulchre.

Ardmore Round Tower

ARDMORE

This tower stands in the County of Waterford, on the coast near the entrance of Youghal bay.

It is above one hundred feet high, forty-five feet in circumference, fifteen in diameter.

It is divided on the outside by projecting bands into four unequal stories, with a window in each, except the upper, in which are four opposite to each other.

The door is about fifteen feet from the ground.

This is the only tower in Ireland (at least I believe so) which has the projecting bands, in which it resembles much the Indian Towers of Boglipoor. (See plates.)

On the 25th of July, 1841, I received a letter from my excellent and indefatigable friend William Hackett, of Mitchelstown, in the County of Cork, Esq., of which the following is an extract : –

Middleton, St. Declan’s day, (24th July) 1841.

I hesitate not for one post to hand you an extract of a letter, which I received last night from Mr. Odell, of Ardmore, to whom I had transmitted a copy of your letter to J. Windele, in which you recommended that the digging should be persevered in, and in which you mention the fact of the urn having been found in Timahoe Tower.

It must be very gratifying to you that your suggestion has been of such benefit.

As Windele, Abell, and I, are bound for Ardmore this evening, I shall take the liberty of writing to acquaint you with the result.

Mr. Odell deserves the thanks of all lovers of antiquarian research.

I am, &c.

W. Hackett

Extract from Mr. Odell’s letter : –

But I will tell you what I did find, which has mystified me not a little.

It must be fresh in your memory, that in the former excavation I had to sink through a mass of very large stones, so closely packed together, that it was not easy to remove them ; but without any mortar, except where they approached or joined the wall of the tower.

This description, however, applies to the two or three lower courses of the stones, for the upper were not so close.

Your letter, however, and a little of my own curiosity, determined me on sinking deeper.

To work, therefore, I went yesterday, and came at once upon regular courses of immense unhewn stones, so packed and joined in with the surrounding work, as apparently to have formed part of the original structure.

These stones were so close, that it was almost impossible to get a crow-bar between them, and they were removed with great difficulty.

At length we got up the last of them, and found they had been lying on a bed of mortar, quite level and smooth.

This mortar was exactly level with the external base of the tower, and I naturally concluded we had arrived at a ne plus ultra ; but, to my great surprise, the crow-bar went through into soft mould !

So down we still went, the stones standing round like the sides of a wall, and about a foot lower down, across the centre of the tower, and lying east and west, we found a human skeleton ! ! !

But pray come and see things yourself.

On the 30th of July I received a second letter from Mr. Hackett, of which the following is an extract : –

Middleton, 29tli July, 1841.

Let me now relate our proceedings since I wrote.

Windele, Abell, and Keleher, joined me, and we met Mr. Odell at Ardmore, and on descending, we found every thing at the bottom of the tower, as described in Mr.
Odell’s letter, except that the bones had been collected in a basket, the head and feet not having been extracted from the foundation, where they were so embedded, that they could not be extracted.

Mr. Odell’s letter described the labour in reaching the bottom ; let me now describe what appears to have been the manner in which the builders of the tower proceeded.

They first went about ten feet, or more, below the surface, and there laid their foundation of large rocks ; about four feet from the bottom they laid the body across, the head and feet resting on the rocks at the opposite side, the body lying on a bed of mould, four or five feet diameter ; they then continued to carry up the foundation, the ends irregularly serrated, so as to overlay the head on one side, and the feet on the other ; they then covered the body with about two feet of mould, which they covered with a floor of mortar ; over this, they wedged in, with such force, as to render them impervious to ordinary labour, large blocks forming a compact mass of unhewn stones, and above them another layer of similar stones, but not so compact ; over this were indications of another mortar floor, which being only visible at the edges, indicated a former attempt at exploration.

Only about one course or two of large blocks were laid higher than the outside plinth; above these was a loose mass of small stones, five or six feet deep of the same kind of stones as the sub-stratum of blocks, all of which are different from the stone of which the tower was built.

I am thus minute in the description, because it has been suggested that, as the skeleton was found lying east and west, as the bodies do in the surrounding cemetery, the tower had been built over a grave unknown to the builders.

This induced me to examine it with more care, and I took with me an intelligent mason, who agreed with me that this tower was certainly intended as a sepulchre, for the whole was carefully and artificially prepared for that purpose ; first, laying down a concrete floor, then four successive layers of mason’s work, and finally, above these, a second floor of concrete ; all this would not be accidentally built over a body previously deposited, for the last floor and the walls rest on the solid rock.

Etruria-celtica - 137

On the 29th of July, I received a letter from my friend, John Windele, of Cork, Esq. confirming Mr. Hackett’s statements; and on the 18th of August following, one from Mr. Odell, stating that he had discovered a second skeleton, so embedded in the solid work of the tower, he had ” not been able to extract it, but that it can be got out without, in the slightest degree, interfering with, or endangering the foundation, which rests, as I had anticipated, upon the rock.”

This last circumstance, clearly demonstrates the suggestion of the tower having been built over a previous grave, to be erroneous.

In a subsequent letter, dated I7th August, 1841, Mr. Hackett sent me drawings of a section of the tower, with floors, masses of stone, and the mould, with the body in situ, (and also of the several grotesque sculptures in the interior of the tower,) which will be found in Plate, Ardmore Tower No. II.

Etruria-Celtica – William Betham – 1842
https://archive.org/details/etruriacelticaet02beth

The Round Tower of Cashel is also a non-Christian sepulchre.

Rock of Cashel

CASHEL TOWER

The tower on the north side of the cathedral on the rock of Cashel, was the next examined.

Permission having been obtained from the Dean and Chapter, on the 3rd and 4th September, 1841, Messrs. Horgan, Odell, Hackett, Abell, Willes, Keleher, and Windele, undertook the task, in the execution of which, they were joined by the Very Rev. Dean Cotton.

The door is twelve feet above the external base.

The interior was found filled with loose earth, intermixed with human bones, about two feet deep ; under this was a mass of solid stone-work, forming the original floor of the building, about five feet nine below the door, through this the workmen penetrated to the rock on which the tower was built ; small fragments of charcoal were found at the base of the tower.

It is evident this tower had been examined, the body, or bodies, were deposited between the door and the floor in the five feet nine inches, a space amply sufficient for the purpose ; the two feet of loose mould and human bones were part of the debris left after examination.

The state in which this tower was found is consistent with having been a sepulchre like that of Ardmore.

Etruria-Celtica – William Betham – 1842
https://archive.org/details/etruriacelticaet02beth

The Round Tower of Cloyne is also a non-Christian sepulchre.

Cloyne Tower

CLOYNE TOWER

In September, 1841, the Rev. Messrs. Horgan, Rogers, Jones, Bolster, D. Murphy, and Messrs. Hackett, Sainthill, Abell, Windele, Keleher, and F. Jenning, proceeded to examine the tower near the cathedral of Cloyne, in the County of Cork.

The workmen, after clearing out about three or four feet of rubbish, fallen nests of jackdaws, rotten bones of birds, and stones, came to a solid floor of broken lime-stones laid in gravel, so firmly fixed as only to yield to continual applications of the pick-axe and the crow-bar, under which was found a bed of fine black earth, in which were three human skeletons, two lying beside each other, and a third below ; under this was a layer of heavy stones, with a smooth level surface fixed in gravel, under which were two tiers of light flags, which rested on the solid rock.

There is no question of the sepulchral character of this tower, nor can a doubt be raised on that point.

Etruria-Celtica – William Betham – 1842
https://archive.org/details/etruriacelticaet02beth

Cloyne Round Tower

The Round Tower of Roscrea is also a non-Christian sepulchre.

Roscrea Round Tower

ROSCREA TOWER, TIPPERARY

My indefatigable and intelligent friend, Hackett, again exerted himself with Mr. Edward Wall, a gentleman of Roscrea, who undertook the excavation. Mr. Hackett transmitted me extracts from letters of Mr. Wall’s, of which the following are copies : –

Roscrea, 16th Feb. 1842.

I have had two men at the tower these two days, they have sunk eight feet, or within one of the foundation ; three feet consisted of earth and loose stones, intermixed with human bones.

We then met a floor of rich mortar, which had the appearance of grouting, it was about six inches thick, beneath it was a layer of hard tenacious clay, about fifteen inches thick, with similar clay in layers to the bottom.

All through there were human bones sparingly interspersed ; I found three under jaw-bones of aged persons, but one had the teeth in good preservation, with several thigh-bones, and it is remarkable that they were all found close to the walls.

I should infer that the bodies were not buried in the position we found them.

Portions of skulls were also found, and the rib of a child.

At the bottom we found a bed of clay, in the centre of which was a small round hole, about two and a half inches diameter, into which the handle of the shovel was inserted five feet six inches, without any interruption but the mark of water on the handle.

Roscrea, 22d Feb. 1842.

When I wrote last I had got about eight feet below the door, or within a foot of the external base.

I have now proceeded four feet deeper, and could not proceed lower as the water flowed in upon us.

As we proceeded, the human bones became more numerous and longer, embedded in tenacious clay ; I have kept all the bones.

The round hole before described, did not reach the length of the shovel-handle, and terminated in a hard impenetrable substance.

The irregularity of the interior of the wall of the tower from the door-way downwards, contrasts strongly with the smooth even finish of the wall upwards.

The door is due south, a window on the east about twenty feet higher than the door, is topped with stones closing to a point externally, but forms a round arch on the outside.

About ten feet higher is a window to the west, an oblong square.

There are no other openings; the lower is at present eighty feet high, but has been much more ; the door-way is five feet three inches high, and the walls three feet six inches thick ; there is a groove of about one inch and a half round the door-way inside, as if to fit a door, and holes for the pivots for the door to swing on, and a large hole for the bolt.

There are corbels projecting throughout to the top, placed irregularly, and some broken.

The mason-work is not of the irregular character common to our ecclesiastical buildings ; I should almost say it was coursed, but not in horizontal lines ; in some of the stones small portions are cut out and pieces fitted in, to keep the course regular ; some of these pieces are polygons, others square ; the mortar was rich and strong.

I shall examine the round hole at bottom, if the water abates, as I think it curious.

Roscrea, 14th April, 1842.

Since I last wrote, I have carried my researches still deeper in the tower, and found the opening to terminate in seven large round stones which we raised, but as we were working in water (and very cold also), I can only say we met many more bones than before in the same space, but much decayed from the damp.

We also found a piece of oak about the size of a hand, about a quarter of an inch thick, which had the appearance of having been charred on one side ; altogether, we penetrated fifteen feet from the door-way, and the human bones increased as we descended.

I got ladders and ascended to both windows. I found on the stones of the window a figure of an old galley, and other figures, of which I send you drawings ; there was an inscription under the vessel, but it is defaced ; the characters were about an inch long.

There are two square windows, not one, as stated in my last, and the openings are all in the cardinal points.

The door south, the highest window north, the peaked one with the ship east, the other square one west.”

Mr. Wall’s description is very minute, and, therefore, the more important and valuable.

The irregularity of the interior of the wall downwards, while that upwards was so smooth and finished, clearly points out that the lower portion was intended for a sepulchral deposit.

It was found full of human bones at the lowest portion at fifteen feet from the door-way, and they gradually diminished in the upper portion of the mould and stones.

That the tower certainly had been examined before, appears from the dislocated and confused state in which the bones were found.

Etruria-Celtica – William Betham – 1842
https://archive.org/details/etruriacelticaet02beth

The Round Tower of Drumbo is also a non-Christian sepulchre.

Drumbo Round Tower

DRUMBO TOWER

Is situated in the County of Down.

My noble friend the Marquis of Downshire, transmitted to me two letters from Andrew Durham, Esq. his lordship’s agent, containing a detailed account of the examination of this tower ; his lordship, with a laudable zeal to promote science, and the literature of his country, as well as her general prosperity, having directed this tower, and that of Maghera, to be examined.

Belvedere, Lisburn, 29th Dec. 1841.

My Lord – As your lordship and party were prevented attending the interesting search at Drumbo Tower, I beg to inform your lordship that about seven feet below where we commenced excavating, we found a skeleton, in situ, laying by compass N. W. by W., wanting both feet from the knees, and the right arm.

The earth we removed was of a blackish colour, as if principally composed of decomposed vegetable matter, full of stones ; many of which, from the mortar on them, must have fallen from the top and the entrance, which is about five feet above the external level ; and on the eastern side, it also abounded in bones of different animals, and a few horns, seemingly of black cattle ; under this earth we came to a surface of mortar, this induced us to proceed still more cautiously, and immediately under this mortar we first discovered the skull, in good preservation, together with the teeth ; we then laid bare the entire body, a work of no little difficulty, from the wetness and adhesiveness of the soil ; we were much inclined to leave the body as we found it, but were obliged to raise it, to enable us to continue our search.

We excavated to the very foundation of the tower, without finding anything else ; our intention is, after levelling the surface, to construct a rude stone coffin, replace the bones in their former position, and cover them up again, with the exception of the skull, and the upper and lower jaw, which we think it better, to avoid being stolen, to transfer to the Belfast Museum, with its history.

In the earth we found many pieces of charcoal, the skull was lying on the right side, and from the general appearance of the bones, I should think the interment was not anterior to the Christian era, though the dorsal and cervical vertebrae were considerably decomposed.

In the present state of the tower, there is nothing interesting beyond itself to be seen, as the bones are all removed.

May I beg your lordship to express my acknowledgments to Lady Downshire, for her ladyship’s very polite note ; though having a dinner-engagement, I avail myself of twenty minutes to spare, to write this hasty and imperfect account, which I trust your lordship will excuse from the interesting nature of the subject, and

Believe me to remain, my Lord, with great respect,
Your Lordship’s faithful and obliged,

Andrew Durham.

My Lord — As your lordship has accounted for the absence of the legs from the knees down, by supposing the diameter of the tower would not have admitted the entire length of the body, I think it necessary to state that the diameter is nine feet ; and what appears still more remarkable is, that the trunk was not placed exactly in the centre, but the head so near the side, that there would have been room sufficient for the body, with its legs and feet, had it been perfect it would have been in the centre, the mystery seems to me increased by the want of the arm.

None of the bones found had been acted on by FIRE.

There was no flag-stone, nor floor, either above or below the body, the layer of mortar seems to have been intended as a substitute for a floor.

There were several jaw-bones, apparently pigs from the size and tusks, but no skulls, with the exception of one of a bird.

The external circumference of the tower is fifty-one feet, the walls being four feet thick.

I believe I have mentioned every thing of importance, I leave to others to draw conclusions.

Should your lordship wish for further information I shall be happy to give it.

I have the honour to remain, my Lord,
Your Lordship”s faithful and obliged,

Andrew Durham.

Belvedere, 31st Dec. 1841.”

Etruria-Celtica – William Betham – 1842
https://archive.org/details/etruriacelticaet02beth

The Round Tower of Abernethy in Scotland is also a non-Christian sepulchre.

Abernethy Round Tower

ABERNETHY

There are two round towers in Scotland, one at Abernethy, in Fifeshire, the other at Brechin.

The Rev. Andrew Small, minister of Edenhead, in Fife, published a small volume on the Roman Antiquities, found in Fife in 1823.

In which he gives an account of the examination of the round tower of Abernethy, from which the following is extracted : –

There are lofts or floors in it, which are ascended by ladders, and there is a bell placed in it.

As to the tradition, that the king of the Picts, or Peghs, was buried in it, the plain meaning is, that it was originally intended for a mausoleum for burying their kings in, not under it, but within it, as there is full room for two or three coffins to be beside each other within the square of the aisle ; and it is as clear to me as the sun’s beam, that the Pictish race of kings all lie buried in it.

I am convinced, that if trial were made, by digging down about six or eight feet, their bones will be found in full confirmation of this.

In the Appendix to Mr. Small’s work is an account of the examination of the tower by digging, in accordance with Mr. Small’s suggestion, as follows : –

This experiment was made on the 10th of May, 1821, in the presence of the Rev. Mr. Laurie, Dr. Guthrie, and the writer hereof (Mr. Small).

The Rev. Mr. Duncan was from home, but his place was supplied by his brother, and another young gentleman.

The sexton, who was employed, had not dug down four feet when he came to plenty of human bones, and the fragments of a light green urn, with a row of carving round the bottom of the neck ; most of the bones appeared to have belonged to the person that had been last interred, as they came up double, and of the same size ; the arm-bones, the thigh-bones, the leg- bones, and all the ribs on both sides, as also part of the skull and back -bones, all in a state of apparent good preservation.

There was one bone, however, which was dug up among the rest, that obviously appeared to us all not to belong to the human body, which the Doctor declared to be rather the bone of a dog (the thigh-bone).

The man, in digging, soon came to thin broad flags, which served either as the bottom of the first coffin, or the cover of another, and by removing one, which seemed to be the largest, found there was plenty of bones below ; and thus, after gaining our end in ascertaining the original design of building it, as a cemetry for the royal family, we desisted.

After making this important discovery within, we then went out, and soon made another without.

When looking up to it we observed, that the first twelve rows of stones from the foundation were exceedingly weather-beaten, old and corroded by the effect of time, though seemingly of a hard and durable nature.

The contrast was so great with those immediately above them, that these appeared to be only as if they had been newly built, in comparison with the others.

This contrast appeared to best advantage from the west side,

The sexton has since informed me that he had afterwards dug farther down, and found many more bones, among them seven skulls, all lying together.

The flesh was adhering to some of the bones, which the uncommon dryness of the mould must have caused.

When bells began to be used, on the introduction of Christianity, a bell was suspended in it.

This reverend and worthy individual is entitled to the credit of first pointing out the original intention and use of the round tower, although all his speculations respecting them may not merit full credence, yet he is deserving of praise ; his book is very little known ; I saw it first last year, it was lent me by the Rev. Mr. Fitzgerald Day, who bought it in Edinburgh, on his return from a tour to the north of Scotland.

The same idea had struck me from reading the travels of Fan Hian, in the proceedings of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Etruria-Celtica – William Betham – 1842
https://archive.org/details/etruriacelticaet02beth

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/the-heinsohn-horizon-and-the-round-towers/

The Round Tower of Trummery is also a non-Christian sepulchre.

Trummery Round Tower

Since the printing of the foregoing pages the Round Tower of Trummery, in the County of Antrim, has been examined, at the bottom of which a circular staircase has been discovered, leading to a sepulchral chamber, where several skeletons have been found.

I have only heard this fact verbally, but from authority which I consider unquestionable.

This is an additional proof of the sepulchral character of the Round Towers, and puts an end to all controversy on the subject.

Etruria-Celtica – William Betham – 1842
https://archive.org/details/etruriacelticaet02beth

Therefore, William Betham clearly established [way back in 1842] that the Round Towers of Ireland were originally non-Christian sepulchres [“like those in India and Italy”] that have been appropriated, adapted and adopted by the Ecclesiastical Establishment in Ireland.

It is scarcely necessary to apply this evidence, or to sum up what has been adduced, in order to satisfy the most incredulous, that the round towers were sepulchral mausolea, like those of India and Italy, erected for the deposit of the bodies of eminent individuals, most likely of the spiritual hieorophants of the Celtae.

That they have been also applied by Christians to the use of belfries, is not only probable, but certain ; that some of them have been erected since the Christian era is also very probable, and possibly with a design and object very different from those of the founders of the oldest towers : man is imitative ; change of faith did not remove the veneration due to the tombs of their ancestors, which have ever been held sacred by all nations of antiquity.

This long-agitated questio vexata, may now be considered as set at rest.

The Essay which gained the gold medal of the Royal Irish Academy ten years ago (which has not, and that of Mr. O’Brien, which has been published), are both found erroneous in their conjectures.

The delay of the appearance of the former has rendered it an abortion confuted while yet unpublished ; if it ever appears, it may be useful as a statistic account of the present appearance of the round towers, but for showing the object for which they were erected, it will be altogether worthless.

Etruria-Celtica – William Betham – 1842
https://archive.org/details/etruriacelticaet02beth

The conjectures and assertions of George Petrie were shown to be “altogether worthless” back in 1842 but the Settled Historians of today still push the Petrie orthodoxy.

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3 Responses to William Betham – Round Towers Resolved: Purpose

  1. CW says:

    “… a sepulchral chamber, where several skeletons have been found.” These skeletons might be the remains of sacrifice victims. Their placement suggests classic foundation sacrifices.
    CW

  2. stupid question: Is it possible for some of these towers there’d be a man who became some kind of chief, had impregnated scores of women, and by the time he died had hundreds of grandchildren. So they buried him and built a tower that was kind of phallic? then later they would bury his children (their parents) there?

    This link is about 8000 years ago, I have no idea about time frames
    http://www.psmag.com/nature-and-technology/17-to-1-reproductive-success

  3. Pingback: William Betham – Round Towers Resolved: Origins | MalagaBay

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