De Airix en de Catalans: transcription challenges

There’s a sign outside Montgat’s C11th Ermita de Sant Martí (this walk) which lists people interred there between 1677 and 1814:

name date description
Patrici Aucana 1677-9-8 Irishman, soldier at Montgat Castle
Eduard Fuit 1689-7-29 Irishman, soldier at Montgat Castle
Altura Morfi 1695-12-15 Subaltern at Montgat Castle
  1699-3-19 Pauper of the town of Tui, Roussillon
Anton Rosselló 1717-9-5 Labourer at Can Pallejà
Pedro Iñigues 1756-11-3 Castilian soldier, died violently
Anton Altafatiga 1762-10-18 Artilleryman at Montgat Castle
Anton Linder 1763-10-29 Squad commander at Montgat Castle
Anton Dupuis 1764-12-30 Of Clermont, France. Died by drowning (ofegat: could be strangulation…)
at the foot of the castle
Tomas Codina 1808-6-6 Fisherman aged 63. Died at the hands of the French
Bartomeu Bonet Codina 1808-6-6 Died aged 79 at the hands of the French
Ramon Capellas Duran 1808-6-6 (Buried near Teixidor’s mill)
Josep Sanpere Guasch 1808-6-6 Aged 57, buried at the Riera of Miquel Matas
Vicenç Sala Gericó 1808-6-6 Governor of Montgat Castle
Ma Teresa Franci Vila 1808-6-6 Wife of Josep Batlle, died during the same events
Fortunato Astor 1808-7-29 Neapolitan, died of a gunshot
Francesc Trias Sala 1808-8-20 Somatent [watchman] of Barcelona, died of a gunshot
Mateu 1808-10-7 Fisherman from Barceloneta, died aged 20
Vicenc [sic] 1808-10-7 Neapolitan
Francesc Ribó Castellà 1809-2-3 Died of a gunshot administered by the French
Pau Ros 1808-6-19 Of Mataró, died aged 10 at Can Pau Botey
Maria 1810-1-13 Wife of Isidre Ribes, sailor, died of a fall
Hipòlit Arboix Lopes 1814-10-16 Died of a wound on the Camí Ral [Royal Highway]

There are several interesting things about this. One is the extraordinary diversity of people getting done in at a time when travel was still quite difficult. Another is the terrible impact of the French on the village, and a third is the miserable time men called Anton were having in the early 1760s. But, as you guessed, I’m most interested in the Irishmen. Patrick O’Connor probably died unable to write his own name, but if you pronounce the transcription attempted by the local clerk then his accent comes floating down the years. Mr Fuit might have been a Faoite, but your guess is as good as mine. Let’s do some more of this.

Ramon de Perellós, before he died in 1419, was a nobleman with land on both sides of the Pyrenees who served the kings of France, Aragon, and Cyprus (briefly), was captured by the Saracens, and rescued from them by Peter III of Constantinople, and … well, that’s where everything gets a bit confused. In 1395 (or 1396 if you believe some people) fun-loving incompetent Joan I of Aragon fell off his horse and died before a priest could get near him. For some reason this was felt in alarmingly significant measure to be Ramon’s fault, so he left behind some very confused politics featuring Antipope (or Pope, as some Catalan historians would have it) Benedict XIII and took to the road in order to clear his name.

Here I am using Jordi Tiñena’s 1988 edition for Edicions 62

Ramon de Perellós’ Voyage to Purgatory details a journey that took him via Paris, Canterbury, Oxford, Dublin and a meeting with an Irish king at a stage when Ireland didn’t have kings to St Patrick’s Purgatory in the middle of Lough Derg up in Donegal. There, making liberal use of other accounts of this pilgrimage, he descended into the cave and found Joan I being tortured horribly by some suspiciously Gallic-sounding demons. This is a happy ending for both Joan and Ramon, because Joan is in Purgatory rather than Hell and can shortly be expected to ascend to Paradise, meaning that Ramon’s alleged failings at the time of the monarch’s death had had no serious long-term consequences. Ramon then made his way back down south, wrote up his story, and was, with some wobbles, a jolly good fellow for ever after.

I think there are enough glaring inconsistencies and blatant lies even in the for-real part of the story to suggest that the author may just have hung around in northern France or southern England while things calmed down and based his account on the stories of members of the Anglo-French ruling class who had actually been over to Ireland. However, there are some very amusing bits – notably a description of the dreadful manners of the Irish – and I was particularly intrigued by transcriptions of English and Irish names in which, this time, a strong French accent is to be heard. Oliet, indeed:

viatge al purgatori suggestion, partly based on tiñena
Tomàs Agut Thomas Agood – the author says the man’s English…
Armas Armagh
Conturberi Canterbury
Darmant Armagh, it having an archbishop
Joan Diuri John Dury
Dondela Dundalk
Drave Dover
Drudan Drogheda
Esteper [? in/near Wales, before Chester]
Estavafort Oxford, says Tiñena, although the word itself sounds more like
Illa d’Armant Isle of Man
Irises Irish
Irnel O’Neill, supreme king of Ireland, according to the author
Londres London
Oliet Holyhead
lo Quisiel Lichfield, although it sounds like Quixhill, Staffs
Sixte Chester
Joan Talabot John Talbot

The Belfast Telegraph reports that

Pa McAlindon has bought a vineyard in the sexy, new wave Priorat region of Catalonia where he intends to produce a limited quantity of high quality wines.

Another recent investor in the region is Catalan chanteur, Lluís Llach. It remains to be seen what he and the locals make of Mr McAlindon’s name.

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  1. Get this. “Marc Pala is a writer and Vice-President of the Association du Patrimoine Culturel de Sigean et les Corbieres” and he gave a talk on “the journey the 13th Century soldier and troubadour Ramon de Perillos made from Roussillon to Lough Dergh in Ireland, to commune with his dead king Jaime I of Aragon. ” That’s another moron for your collection

  2. “Conturberi” appears in Tirant lo Blanc as well,
    and “el ducat” (or whatever) “d’Etcètera”
    (for Exeter) and others. And we say Londres,
    Saragossa, Moscou… and you say Lisbon and
    Seville and Rome. Is anything wrong with that?

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