The History of the Sword : Chitticks of Fermangh, Ireland.
Author: Charles M. Stack D.D. (Bishop)
- recorded November 9th, 1905
Story: circa early 1800's.
The story I am about to write was told to me by Guy Armstrong,
who lived at Clonelly Bridge (near Kesh), and was an old man
at the time. Several years before the sword was found, I had
told the story to Mr. Barton, the grandfather of the present
owners of Clonelly. Some time after, I had a letter from Mr.
Barton asking to go to Clonelly, "as he had something to
show me". Upon my arrival, he said "Kellam's sword
had been found just as you told me in the story."
"In the time of my grandfather," said Guy Armstrong,
"there lived at Muckross a family of Chitticks, (I am
not sure of the name, but it must be remembered in the neighborhood,
the ruins of the house still remain). There was a widowed
mother who had seven sons. The young men were wild and masterful,
and carried things with a high hand in their part of the country.
"A young man named Kellam (a name still known in Kesh
in my early days) had made friends with these young men and
joined in more than one mad feat.
"The whole of North Fermanagh was at that time a forest.
There was an opening (clearing) at Ederney with a little inn
or 'pub house' about the place where the R.C. Chapel now stands.
This was a favorite place of meeting of the 'young bloods'
and here (on the occasion, which gave rise to this story)
Kellam and his friends and several others spent the night
together, drinking heavily. The reports of the night's doings
reached Mrs. Chittick. She called her son to her, and asked
whether the story was true, as she had been informed there
had been an altercation between him and Kellam, and that the
latter had used language which 'no gentleman could put up
with'. He replied that he could not remember, and he believed
that this was also the case of the rest of the party. "I
have", she said, "a very distinct account of the
affair and no son of mine can lie under the burden of words
such as have been used to you. You must challenge Kellam and
let his blood wipe out your disgrace". The young man
pleaded that Kellam was the best friend he had in the world,
and that eve if such words had been said the fact that the
whole party were mad drunk, would take away any offence. However,
she would not listen to him. Her last words were, "Challenge
Kellam and kill him, or never let me see your face again."
"The challenge was sent and accepted." Chittick's
second was one of his brothers and Kellam's second was Guy
Armstrong's grandfather. The lower part of what is now Clonelly
Lawn was open ground, the bog was, and still is, perhaps,
above the little river. The old man described the duel thusly:
"The morning was cold and C. Chittick's brother wore
a heavy horseman cloak, which he did not remove. The men had
long 'cut and thrust swords', and took their swords and stood
opposite each other, within reach of the duelists I knew Kellam
to be the better man.
After some time Kellam was wounded slightly in the neck.
We (the seconds) put our swords across and I said (Guy Armstrong),
"Is not this enough?" Chittick had been fighting
desperately and Kellam on his defense. Kellam said he was
satisfied and that he had no quarrels with Chittick. The other
said "I shall not stop until one or the other of us is
on the ground" "oh!" said Kellam, "is
that so? Very well then." They engaged again and after
a little, Kellam dipped his sword, for he had a thrust which
no man could parry (evade), and ran him through the body.
I am sure I gave this part of the story almost word for word,
as Guy must have often heard it from his grandfather's lips.
"When the man (Chittick) fell, Kellam's second (Armstrong)
caught him by the arm, whirled him around and said, "Run!"
He (Kellman) started at once towards the river and the bog.
Armstrong turned around quickly, and found that the brother
of the dead man had thrown back his cloak and was deliberately
aiming at the running man with a short musket.
"Muskelon", I think he said. He (Armstrong) leaped
forward and just as he (the dead man's brother) fired bent
down the gun with his sword. Kellam leaped across the stream
and Armstrong saw the bullet strike the stone below him. He
(Armstrong) ran up the bank into the bog. Where he (Armstrong)
saw him (Kellam) thrust his bloody sword down into the bog
and run on unarmed. He (Armstrong) never saw him (Kellam)
again. Of course his (Kellam's) life would not be safe in
the neighborhood with six such men as the Chitticks. He got
away at once, went to London and enlisted in the Guards on
the strength of his swordsmanship, for as the old man said.
"He had a thrust no man could parry".
There can be no reasonable doubt that the sword in the possession
of Mr. Barton, which I have identified as "the cut and
thrust" sword found in the bog, is the weapon which Kellam
thrust into the bog after he had killed Chittick.