The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Bell of St Mura
  • Bell
  • The Bell of St Mura
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Ireland (Kells?)
  • 11th-16th centuries (decoration, applied in stages)
    late 11th century (body)
  • Bronze, brass, gold, silver and precious stones, gilded
  • Object size: 15 x 8.95 x 7.7 cm
  • W2
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Commentary
History
  • This hand bell is reputed to have come from the Abbey of Fahan, County Donegal in Ireland, founded in the seventh century by St Mura (Muranus). The bronze body of the bell was probably made at Kells, County Meath, the great centre of art and monastic life in Ireland, with further layers of decoration applied in successive stages. The earliest is an Irish style of Viking ornament, visible in the bottom right corner where a later piece has become detached. The silver filigree and cast plaques, and the rock crystal and amber stones were added at various times from the eleventh to the sixteenth century. Several legends are connected with the bell, which is said to have descended from heaven ringing loudly.