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The Re-Enactor Issue 54, August 2013

The Battle of Clontarf, Ireland. Millenium Event

Greetings All I am a couple of days early with this month’s issue as I will be at Berkeley Castle for an event this weekend. Last year this event was flooded out but 2013 is looking much better what with nearly 3 weeks of continued sunshine over here in the UK, with just a few showers forecast for the weekend. Thank you to Niall O’Brien, Elizabeth Ashworth & Danielle Daglan for their articles this month and to Elizabeth Ashworth for supplying a copy of her latest book for this month’s competition. I need more articles and stories for future issues so get in contact if you have something you would like to see published. Please send all correspondence to the following email address: Competitions: All competitions are free to enter Winners will be selected at random on the 24th of each month for the relevant competition. Winners will be notified via email shortly after the draw takes place. No correspondence will be entered into. The editor’s decision is final.

Features This Month 1: Attack on an Irish Tower House, 1571 2: Book Review-The Historical Novel Soc. 3: Book Competition 4: Richard III & The Other Anne 5: Medicine & Morality Seminars 6: Event Information 7: The Battle of Clontarf 1014

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The views and opinions expressed in the articles in this ezine are those of the individual authors themselves and not those of the Editor

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Attack on an Irish tower house, 1571 Niall C.E.J. O’Brien The townland of Carrickettle lies in the civil parish of Kilteely in County Limerick. Although most the parish of Kilteely lies in the Barony of Coonagh, the townland of Carrickettle lies in the Barony of Small County. 1 In May 1571 the tower house at Carrickettle became one of only two castles in the province of Munster that were attacked by English forces using ordnance. 2 The tower house stood on a rock outcrop known as Carrickettle Rock and was surrounded by an outer wall. The circumstances of the attack on Carrickettle had their origins many years previous.

The province of Munster at the start of the reign of Queen Elizabeth of England and Ireland had a divided political landscape. Stretching across the northern part of the province, from Tralee to Limerick and on to Dungarvan in Co. Waterford was the vast Earldom of Desmond with Gerald Fitzgerald as chief. In and around this earldom was land occupied by the old Anglo-Norman families of Barry, Barrett, Bourke, Condon, Fitzgibbon, Power and Roche while the Earl of Ormond (Thomas Butler) was master in County Tipperary. The south-west and central section of the province was occupied by the Irish chiefs and their followers. In 1565 the two Earldoms of Desmond and Ormond came to battle at Affane in County Waterford. A furious Queen Elizabeth imprisoned both earls but soon released her cousin, the Earl of Ormond. With no sign of a release date for the Earl of Desmond, his cousin, James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald started a rebellion in Munster in June 1569, known as the First Desmond Rebellion. His plan was to cause such unrest that the government would release the Earl of Desmond to bring peace to Munster which is eventually how the war ended. Robert Simington (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Limerick (Stationery Office, Dublin, 1938), pp. 39, 96 2 Anthony M. McCormack, The Earldom of Desmond 1463-1583: The Decline and Crisis of a Feudal Lordship (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005), p. 125 1

After an initially slow response the English, with three succeeding commanders, launched a massive attack on the rebels and their strongholds. The second military chief, Humphrey Gilbert (half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh), was knighted for his campaign of unrestricted terror – the “shock and awe” treatment. After the third commander, Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormond, the English believed that it was “Mission Accomplished” but the war had now turned into a guerrilla war which continued for another two years. In December 1570 Sir John Perrot, supposed illegitimate son of King Henry VIII, was appointed President of Munster and fourth English military commander in the province. Because the English believed the war to be nearly finished the troop numbers were reduced considerably. In April 1571 the English forces in Munster numbered about 140 horsemen and 180 footmen with additional soldiers occupying a few strategic castles. The rebel forces of James Fitzmaurice varied from 200 to 1,500 foot and horsemen. Sir John Perrot arrived in Kilmallock, Co. Limerick in early May 1571. There he found the medieval walled town to be in a very sorry state. Many of the buildings were burnt or in a ruinous condition. The town wall was breached in a number of places and was nearly worse than useless. Many of the inhabitants had left for the protection of Limerick city and the normally large numbers of corn fields about the town were reduced considerably in number. Sir John Perrot believed that unless the people were encouraged to return the few crops growing might not be saved at harvest time Sir John Perrot wrote to Lord Deputy Fitzwilliam in Dublin to send £200 to help rebuild the town. In the meantime Perrot left Captain William Furres with his 100 footmen as encouragement to draw back the people. But Perrot’s own forces needed encouragement. A few days previous to their arrival at Kilmallock the soldiers had to go hungry for 48 hours because the victualler was not provided with enough money to buy food. The countryside was so wasted because of the “shock and awe” campaign of Humphrey Gilbert in 1570 that no supplies worth talking about could be got while on the march. Perrot told Dublin that the soldiers were very weary and unwilling to follow him at times. Perrot threatened to execute soldiers for mutiny while at the same time using his own resources of persuasion. The soldiers followed on but were beginning to doubt more and more of ever seeing England again. All their training was to meet an enemy on the battle field and win. But this was guerrilla warfare and James Fitzmaurice was too smart a commander to risk his troops against the English. He preferred to keep his advantage of knowing and using the terrain with hit and runs raids to wear the English down. Sir John Perrot decided to return to Limerick city with his horsemen. The quickest and most direct route was due north out of Kilmallock but Perrot went north-east towards Carrickettle. The Glen of Aherlow was due east of Carrickettle and that heavily wooded and difficult terrain was the main rebel stronghold. Perrot had received word that the rebels were moving westward and occupying tower houses which, if left unchallenged would cut off the main road between Limerick city and Kilmallock. The person who controlled Kilmallock would be the person who controlled central Munster and so Sir John Perrot needed to keep that supply route open. One of these occupied tower houses was Carrickettle. When Sir John Perrot arrived he asked the constable of the castle for admittance. This was refused. Perrot asked the constable to come outside so that he might see the castle within. This was refused with a big laugh and the most colourful language that was ever heard in those parts. There then followed a shower of stones and missiles that sent the English back down the hill for cover. Sir John Perrot decided to summon the owner of the tower house, Theobald Burke. Although Theobald Burke had a number of tower houses in the area of Carrickettle he had lost authority among his own people because he supported the English cause. For his own safety

and that of his family he was living within Limerick city at that time. This abandonment had allowed James Fitzmaurice to move into Burke’s lands and occupy Carrickettle. Fitzmaurice did not risk his own life in this forward movement but entrusted the campaign to a person called O’Brien. Via the same courier to Burke, Perrot sent a letter to the mayor of Limerick to send a company of footmen and some pieces of ordnance. Perrot had only horsemen in his force and they refused to get down and act like foot soldiers. Perrot’s authority among his horse troops was at a low ebb. The foot soldiers and Theobald Burke arrived within a short time. Perrot ordered Burke to ask for entry. Burke went to the grate of the door and asked to be left in as the castle owner. The soldiers within refused and threw down more stones from on high while firing on the foot soldiers.3 The foot soldiers refused to assault the castle until the ordnance arrived. Perrot sent for his own foot soldiers at Kilmallock who came without delay. On arrival they went straight into the attack, breaking down the iron grille (known as a yett) protecting the door. The yett protected the door from a battering ram and they are quite rare. As the tower house no longer exists the mention of a yett is very fortuitous. Under a barrage of stones and missiles the soldiers prepared the door for burning. Sir John Perrot in his letter to Dublin after the battle says the soldiers entered the castle as soon as the door was burnt. But a recent experiment by a group of young Irish archaeologists shows this to be impossible. After placing the firewood against the door while under attack from raining stones the soldier’s job would not be finished after lighting the fire. The experimenters found that the fire had to be regularly fed to keep the heat up so as to burn and weaken the oak planks which made up the door. It took the experimenters 40 minutes to burn an oak door without making any attempt to extinguish the fire. It is very likely that the soldiers inside Carrickettle tower house made some attempt to extinguish the fire. The tower house, in common with the vast majority of such caste types, had only one doorway. Soldiers on the battlements and at the various windows could keep attackers from getting to the door but protecting the door was still crucial. 4

Mary O’Dowd (ed.), Calendar of State Papers, Ireland: Tudor Period 1571-1575 (Public Record Office, Kew & Irish Manuscripts Commission, Dublin, 2000), no. 41.2, Sir John Perrot to Lord Deputy Fitzwilliam, 14 May 1571 4 Duncan Berryman, ‘Home Security: how strong was a tower-house door?’ in Archaeology Ireland, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Summer 2009), pp. 8-10 3

Even after the door had burnt the English soldiers had to wait while the timber cooled before gaining access. This was possibly the easiest part as the defending soldiers had left the ground floor and gone upstairs and took up the stone steps with them. The stone vault over the ground floor meant the stairway was the only open access way to get to the upper levels but that way was impossible. Instead the foot soldiers gained access to the loft underneath the vault where they proceeded to make a hole in the vault. But making the hole was difficult to make with the defenders throwing stones and firing shot. Eventually the hole was made but the English were prevented from getting up to the first floor by a determined defence. The two sides rested that night. Early the following day, which was Sunday, a demi-culverin arrived from Limerick. The demi-culverin was one of the smaller siege guns in use in Ireland. It fired a 2lb shot with a range of about 1,800 feet. This was quite effective for Irish conditions where from the accession of Queen Elizabeth field and siege guns were the almost exclusive preserve of the English. The first record of ordnance used for the capture of a castle was by the Earl of Kildare in 1488 when he took Balrath castle, Co. Wetmeath. 5 The English fired on the outer wall and made a hole big enough to get the cannon into the castle ward. A few more shots were fired at the tower house. A short but fierce battle ensued in which a number of the defenders were killed. It was not until the leader of the defenders was shot in the hand did the fighting cease. The defenders came down from the upper floors and surrendered. After examination Sir John Perrot had them all put to the sword. Unfortunately Perrot forgot to question the undertaker and medical staff as confusion over the causality figures soon followed. Perrot said that six surrendered including the rebel leader but then had second thoughts. Perrot had about 100 men or more in his attacking force and it would look bad in the papers if they were frustrated for nearly two days by six men. He then counted all the dead defenders and came up with twelve all told. Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormond (who was not at the siege), upped the defenders to twenty to make it look better. Yet without the ordnance piece it is very likely that the English would not have been able to capture the tower house. On the English side one of the footmen of Captain Furres was killed with a stone, possibly while trying to burn the door. Two or three other footmen were wounded by shot or stone. Perrot had no actual idea how many had died or how many were injured. He did know that one of his horsemen was injured by shot and that his injury was not life threatening. After the battle Sir John Perrot assured Theobald Burke that he could have his tower house back but instead kept Burke within Limerick city while sending the sheriff out to take possession.6 The rebel leader, James Fitzmaurice abandoned the idea of taking possession of castles and tower houses. Yet he did not allow Perrot to enjoy his victory. Within three days Fitzmaurice sent a raiding party of 60 footmen and 4 horsemen to Kilmallock. The cry of the townsfolk reached Perrot in Limerick and he went forth with the footmen of Captain Furres (the horsemen would not go because their pay was in arrears). The two sides met in battle between Kilmallock and the Glen of Aherlow at which 27 rebels were killed. Yet still Sir John Perrot could not get the knockout blow. Two months later he failed to take the rebel castle at Castlemaine. Later in 1571 Sir John Perrot challenged Fitzmaurice to single combat and the winner to win the war. Perrot came to the appointed place and waited for a few hours dressed in Irish costume. Fitzmaurice sent a servant with a note which said “For if I G.A. Hayes-McCoy, ‘The Early History of Guns in Ireland’, in the Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, Vol. XVIII (1938), pp. 47, 52 6 Mary O’Dowd (ed.), Calendar of State Papers, Ireland: Tudor Period 1571-1575, no. 41.2, Sir 5

John Perrot to Lord Deputy Fitzwilliam, 14 May 1571

should kill Sir John Perrot the Queen of England can send another president into this province; but if he do kill me there is none other to succeed me or to command as I do." The war continued until

February 1573 when James Fitzmaurice surrendered on terms and left for Spain to fight another day. Fitzmaurice returned to Ireland in July 1579 to start the Second Desmond Rebellion. Although he was killed the following month the war continued on until November 1583 when the English were victorious. Sir John Perrot left Ireland in July 1573 without permission and resigned as President of Munster. He had enough of that ‘thankless charge’ that was Ireland. But the ‘graveyard of English reputations’ was not done with Perrot and he returned to Ireland in the 1580s as Lord Deputy. But his term had mixed results and he asked to be replaced. In the 1590s his enemies laid charges of treason and Perrot was found guilty. He died in the Tower of London in September 1592. Theobald Bourke, the owner of Carrickettle, continued to support the English cause but also supported the Earl of Desmond on his release from prison in 1573. Theobald Bourke died in 1578 and his son, Theobald Bourke, was raised to the peerage as Baron Bourke of Brittas in 1618.7 The tower house of Carrickettle was still standing in 1640 when it was held by Sir Maurice Hurley of Knocklong.8 When the first Ordnance Survey map was made in 1840 all trace of Carrickettle had disappeared.

G.E. Cokayne, The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, edited by Vicary Gibbs (6 vols. Alan Sutton, 1987), vol. 1, p. 252 8 Robert Simington (ed.), The Civil Survey A.D. 1654-1656 County of Limerick, p. 96 7


Britanniae is set in England during the last period of the Roman occupation. The heroine, Flavia Vindex, is a single woman of a scholarly bent who becomes head of a farm estate in East Anglia after the death of her father. Her mother is living in Constantinople and her elder brother Titus is serving with the army in the north as a political agent. News arrives from his commander on Hadrian’s Wall that Titus is missing, assumed killed. After the arrival of a coded message for Titus, Flavia becomes worried that her brother has been drawn into an intrigue and decides to head North to see whether she can discover what happened to him. She sets out with a freedman servant and an Irish-born slave but soon runs into trouble in Lincoln, from which she is rescued by Arctus, a high-born Roman who then accompanies Flavia for the rest of the journey. The author clearly knows the period well. It gives an insight into life across a range of different classes of society, locations and both Roman and non-Roman characters. As an unmarried woman travelling with a non-relative, Flavia encounters disapproval among the Roman matrons. Certainly making the central character a woman creates more problems than writing about a man who can move more freely but it was interesting to see how Flavia tackled these. I felt that at times the density of background information detracted from the story. The narrative is also rather episodic – as is real life – but it would have been nice to have more in the way of resolution at the end and to have learned more of the fate of the characters we have met, both good and bad. The book is well presented with author’s notes, a map, lists of characters and places and notes, although the typeface is rather small.

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When 17 year old Richard, Duke of Gloucester, defies his elder brother, Edward IV, and rides to Hornby Castle in the north of Lancashire to help the Harrington family defend their birthright against Sir Thomas Stanley, he engenders a chain of events that will have repercussions for years to come. His fight for justice for the inhabitants of the castle and his relationship with head-strong Anne Harrington cause a rift that will never be healed, and Richard's defiance of the wily Stanley leads to him being betrayed when he most needs support. When Stanley puts plans in motion to secure a marriage for Anne as her guardian, this rift etches itself yet deeper. As a beguiling romance blossoms between Richard and Anne, the Duke finds himself fighting not only for her home but also her heart. With a close eye for detail, Ashworth creates an intricately nuanced landscape which serves as a remarkably effective and convincing backdrop before which Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is presented in a thrilling new light.

I have a copy of “By Loyalty Bound” to give away in this month. Just answer the following question to be in with a chance of winning:

Q: What was Elizabeth Ashworth’s first novel called? Visit: to find out the answer Send your answer along with your full postal address to me at the following email address before August 24th to be in with a chance of winning. Email:

Richard III and the other Anne Much is made in fiction, and sometimes non-fiction, about the love between King Richard III and his wife, Anne Neville. But Anne Neville was not the only woman in Richard’s life. He had at least one mistress and two illegitimate children – John and Katherine. Historian Rosemary Horrox has suggested that Katherine Haute may have been Richard’s mistress. She received an annuity from Richard of 100 shillings per year for life. The reason for the grant is not recorded, but as Richard’s daughter was given the same name, Katherine, it led Horrox to suggest that Haute may have been the child’s mother. Another name that I’ve seen suggested is Alice Burgh. In March 1474 at Pontefract, she received £20 per annum (four times the grant to Katherine Haute) from Richard for ‘certain special causes and considerations’. As Richard’s son, John of Gloucester was also known as John of Pontefract (probably because it was where he was born), there could be a connection, but it seems more likely that she was a nurse as she later received another allowance for being a nurse to Edward of Warwick, the son of the Duke of Clarence. In my novel By Loyalty Bound I suggest a new name for Richard’s mistress: Anne Harrington. Although this is also based on speculation there is some circumstantial evidence. Firstly, she was in the right place at the right time. Anne’s grandfather and father, Thomas and John Harrington, were killed at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, fighting alongside Richard’s father, the Duke of York, who also lost his life. Because Thomas died first and his son second, the Harrington lands, which included Hornby Castle in Lancashire, passed through John to his two young daughters, Anne and Elizabeth. If John had died first, the lands would have passed from Thomas to his next son, James Harrington. The wardships of John’s daughters, Anne and Elizabeth Harrington, were given by the king, Edward IV, to Lord Thomas Stanley who then had the right to marry them to husbands of his choosing – men who would become owners of the Harrington lands. Considering this to be unfair, James Harrington took possession of his nieces and fortified Hornby Castle against the Stanleys who tried to take it by force by bringing a cannon named the Mile End from Bristol to blast the fortifications. But it seems that the Harringtons had the support of the king’s youngest brother. A warrant issued by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, on the 26 th March 1470 was signed ‘at Hornby’. This evidence places seventeen year old Richard and fifteen year old Anne together in the castle. Is it possible that these two young people were attracted to one another? Secondly, Richard’s illegitimate son was named John – which was the name of Anne’s father. His daughter was named Katherine. This name does occur in the Harrington family. It is also worth noting that in the church of St Wilfrid at Melling near Hornby, there was a chapel that was originally dedicated to St Katherine. But perhaps more telling, there was a chantry chapel in the medieval church of St George at Doncaster founded by John Harrington (Anne’s great uncle) and his wife Isabel where they were buried. It was dedicated to St Katherine and there were stained glass windows depicting members of the Harrington family and asking for prayers for their souls. Is it possible that Anne named her daughter after a favourite family saint?

Thirdly, John of Gloucester was probably born at Pontefract Castle, which is very close to the Yorkshire lands of the Harrington family at Brierley and Badsworth. James and Robert Harrington, who had been retainers of the Earl of Warwick until his rebellion, were both taken into the service of Richard when he was Duke of Gloucester. They both fought by his side at Bosworth. If Richard had been successful he was planning to reopen the debate about Hornby with a view to returning it to the Harringtons. Given the close connections between Richard and the Harrington family, is it possible that Anne may also have had a close relationship with him? There is no evidence that Anne Harrington was Richard’s mistress, but neither is there evidence for the other names suggested. If it were true it would add an extra dimension to the enmity between Richard and Lord Thomas Stanley who was instrumental in his defeat and death at Bosworth – and it may also account for why the name of Richard’s mistress has vanished from history. By Elizabeth Ashworth

Event Information

August 2nd – 4th Knights of Royal England jousting Tournament, Blenheim Palace, UK 3rd & 4thThe Midlands Festival of History, UK 3rd & 4th The Loxwood Joust, Loxwood Meadow, RH14 0AL, UK 9th – 11th Knights of Royal England jousting Tournament, Hever Castle, UK 16th – 18th Knights of Royal England jousting Tournament, Hever Castle, UK 17th & 18th Scotlands Festival of History, Chatelherault, Scotland 17th & 18th M5-Multi Period Re-enactment Weekend, Spetchley Park, Worcs UK Website – 23rd & 24th Knights of Royal England jousting Tournament, Hever Castle, UK 25th & 26th Knights of Royal England jousting Tournament, Hedingham Castle, UK 25th & 26th The Sheffield Fayre, Norfolk Heritage Park, Sheffield.,.uk or August 31st & September 1st: On the Home Front 1939-45, Rufford Abbey Country Park, Notts. Annual 1940s show. or

September 12th & 13th Bexbach 1474 Call To Arms 14th & 15th The Battle of Mortimer’s Cross, Hampton Court Castle, Herefordshire. September 21st & 22nd: Wimpole at War, The Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire. Annual 1940s event. or September 28th & 29th: Sherwood through the ages, Sherwood Forest. Annual Ancient to 1980s multi-period event. or

October October 5th & 6th: Hughenden’s Wartime Weekend, Hughenden Manor, Bucks. Annual 1940s event. or 12th & 13th International Events of Historical Crafts (EIAH) Portugal Email:

November 15th-17th The Original Re-Enactors Market, Ryton on Dunsmore, Coventry, UK 16th & 17th The National Living History Fair 23rd & 24th The Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fair, Ludlow Castle, Shropshire

THE BATTLE OF CLONTARF 1014 – MILLENIUM COMMEMORATION Good Friday 1014 – The Battle of Clontarf, the most noteworthy Irish battle of the medieval era; Brian Boru, last High King of Ireland is slain in the fray and the system of monarchy in Ireland was never to be the same again. Easter 2014 - 1000 years on Ireland will commemorate the battle, explore the legend of Brian Boru and dispel the myths around this story to reveal the true lines of conflict. This fascinating tale and its enduring legacy forms the basis for this once in a lifetime commemoration event, seeking to dispel fable and popular opinion to reveal the true lines of conflict in the Battle of Clontarf and countering the assumption that this was the war of the Irish Vs the Vikings. In reality, warriors under Brian Boru were an amalgamation of his own household troops, a considerable force of mercenaries and contributions from the Hiberno-Norse towns of Munster, plus a contingent from South Connaught, fighting against an army amassed by Sitric Silkenbeard, King of Dublin (and Boru’s son-in-law) which comprised Viking warriors from around the Irish Sea and north of Britain, the Isle of Man and the Jarldom of Orkney. The mixture of Irish and Viking warriors within each side brought with it an assortment of weaponry, armour and fighting styles, with the Irish noted for not wearing mail or metal helmets into battle, instead wearing some form of layered or padded leather armour and helmet, with spears as their weapon of choice; whereas Viking warriors wore shirts of mail, metal helmets and fought primarily with swords and axes. At 73 years of age, Boru himself did not take to the field of battle, instead delegating command to his son Murchad, and retiring behind the battle line to pray; Silkenbeard too opted not to partake in the fighting, although his decision may have had more to do with his lack of skill and experience as a soldier. The battle was a major victory for Boru and his army as Silkenbeard’s troops and allies retreated. Success was short-lived however, as Boru and Murchad both lost their lives in the conflict – Murchad from wounds inflicted in battle and Boru killed by Brodir as he prayed behind battle lines. Maélmórda and Sigurd the Stout were also killed, while Brodir was later captured and killed for his role in the death of Brian Boru. Although Brian’s army was victorious, his death meant that his dynasty (the Dál Cais) did not recover its position until nearly 60 years later; Brian’s real legacy however, was that his successes prior to the Battle of Clontarf, his route to becoming High-King of all of Ireland, meant that he began the process of ending the traditional system of monarchy in Eire. After the Battle of Clontarf, Máelsechnaill II of Meath retook the high kingship of Ireland and despite his defeat, Sitric Silkenbeard remained King of Dublin until he was ousted in 1036, later dying in 1042.

The legend of Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf lives on in the rich saga traditions of Ireland and Scandinavia, with varying degrees of embellishment and accuracy. This millennium commemoration is an exciting opportunity for historical re-enactors to get involved in a unique event and play a crucial role in bringing history to life for domestic and international visitors. Dublin City Council are looking for interested groups and individuals with a re-enactment background and/or traditional crafting/performance skill of the era to be involved in this historic event, which takes place over the 19th & 20th April 2014. For more information please contact Danielle Daglan at Jorvik Viking Centre on / 01904 543400. Expressions of interest will be collected until the end of August. Danielle Daglan Sources: The Battle of Clontarf – Darren McGettigan Viking Age Dublin – Ruth Johnson

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