The Prosperous Crozier

The oldest, securely-dated, complete crozier from Ireland and Britain.


This crozier was discovered around 1839 during turf-cutting at a bog near Prosperous, Co. Kildare. It was purchased from the finder soon afterwards by the Jesuit Community at Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare.


The crozier is an ecclesiastical staff of office. Its shape is based on the shepherd’s crook, symbolising the pastoral role of the Church in caring for its flock. About fifty croziers are known from early medieval Ireland, most of which are in the collection of the National Museum of Ireland.


Croziers generally take the form of a wooden staff covered by sheets of metal – typically of copper alloy – that are joined by knops or expansions along the shaft. The Prosperous Crozier appears to have been broken in two before it was placed in the bog. A radiocarbon date taken from its yew wood core indicates a date around the 10th century. The crozier, measuring 1.34m in height, is the tallest of the surviving early medieval Irish croziers, and is one of the oldest complete examples in Western Europe. The crozier drop is decorated with glass and champlev√© enamel. An enamelled Greek cross can be seen below the main glass stud on the drop. A secondary inscription on the underside of the drop indicates that at one time it belonged to St. Mary’s Abbey, Dublin.

The Prosperous Crozier is on loan to the National Museum of Ireland from the Jesuits and the Trustees of Clongowes Wood College