Windham Life and Times February 10, 2023

Ancient Windham Artifact

I was thumbing through William Goodwin’s book, “The Ruins of Great Ireland in New England” and came across this photograph of a ancient porridge spurtle from South Windham, NH. Godwin believed than the old stone structures and bee-hives found all over New England were constructed by Culdee Monks from Ireland. “Epicurious Magazine” says that, “The most awe inspiring kitchen tool in existence is the spurtle. That is if you ask Scotland’s competitive porridge cooks (yes, that’s a thing).”

     The Culdees (Irish: Celili De, lit, “Spouses of God”) Were members of ascetic Christian monastic and eremitical communities of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England in the Middle Ages. According to Swiss theologian Philp Schaff, the term Culdee or Ceile De, ot Kaledei, first appeared in the 8th century. While ’giving rise to much controversy and untenable theories…” but according to Fracois Boniface, the Culdean Church was founded in the 2nd century…” “In Scotland, Culdees were more numerous than in Ireland: thirteen monastic establishments were peopled by them, eight in connection with cathedrals.”  “As historian A.J. Wylie explains in his History of the Scottish Nation, Vol. III., “The 12th century, particularly in Scotland and Brittany, was a time when two Christian faiths of different origins were contending for possession of the land, the Roman Church and the old Celtic Rite. The age was a sort of borderland between Culdeeism and Romanism. The two met and mingled often in ‘the same monastery, and the religious belief of the nation was a mumble of superstitious doctrines and a few scriptural truths”. Wikipedia

     Apparently these monks travelled to North America before the Vikings; “What further proof of Irish Culdee Monks in America is available? One place to look is the Norse sagas. They state that the Irish reached America before Leif Ericson. The Norse sagas are stories of daring deeds, indeed, boastful recounting. It doesn’t seem reasonable to suppose the Viking story tellers would credit the Irish with being in America before their great hero Leif Ericson…unless it were simply undeniably true.”

  “One Norse sage tells of a Viking named Ari who was baptized by Christian priests in America. Further, the Icelandic sagas refer to a place on the American mainland as Great Ireland. They also mention seeing white men dressed in robes, carrying lighted torches and chanting hymns that disappeared into a hole in the ground.”

   In Windham, there were three additional stone chamber similar to the ones shown above near Canobie Lake; and they were destroyed when interstate 93 was built in the 1960’s. Since this spurtle came from South Windham, it may have come from the area of these three ancient stone chambers. Photographs of Windham chambers were held at Mystery Hill for a number of years but have now disappeared. The Kolbrin or Bronzebook of Britain are salvaged manuscripts known as the Coelbook stored in Glastonbury Abbey…  According to legend, ‘The Culdees’ or Celtic followers of Christianity brought these texts to south-west Britain by Joseph of Arimathea in the 1st century AD. Where the spurtle has gone is a mystery.

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