Symon Semeonis

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Symon Semeonis

Native name
Síomón Mac Síomóin
NationalityIrish (Lordship of Ireland)
Other namesSimon FitzSimon(s)
CitizenshipLordship of Ireland
OccupationFranciscan monk
Years active1320s
Notable work
Itinerarium Symonis Semeonis ab Hybernia ad Terram Sanctam

Symon Semeonis (fl. 1322–24; also Simon FitzSimon or Simon FitzSimmons) was a 14th-century Irish Franciscan friar and author.


Of Hiberno-Norman origin, Symon is the author of Itinerarium Symonis Semeonis ab Hybernia ad Terram Sanctam (The Journey of Symon Semeonis of Ireland to the Holy Land).[1] In 1323 he and his companion friar, Hugo Illuminator (Hugh the Illuminator), undertook a pilgrimage from Clonmel in Ireland to Jerusalem. In his manuscript account he describes his experiences and encounters during that journey.

His encounter with a migrant group ‘the descendants of Cain’ outside the town of Heraklion (Candia) in Crete is probably the earliest surviving description by a Western chronicler of the Romani people in Europe. The account of his experiences in what is now Greece is also one of the earliest written reports of that land to reach Britain.[2]

He received a special passport for Mendicants from the Sultan at a reduced fee. This passport was apparently authenticated by the application of Sultan Al-Nasir Muhammad's fingerprints.[3] The original manuscript is currently held as MS 407 in the Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

His surname is now rendered FitzSimon, FitzSimmonds, or Simmonds, and still found in Ireland.


Fitzsimons describes a detailed itinerary. Starting from Clonmel, he does not say how he left Ireland, but the fact that he enters Wales at Holyhead makes his departing via Dublin a near-certainty; even today, Dublin–Holyhead is an active ferry route. From Clonmel, the road went north to Roscrea, and then Fitzsimons could follow the Slighe Dála ("Way of the Assembly") east to Abbeyleix, and then northeastwards through Naas, Tallaght and Dublin.[4]

From Holyhead, his party continued eastwards across North Wales. They then followed Watling Street down through England to Canterbury, leaving via Dover — not to Calais, but to Wissant. They continued south across France to Paris, then down the Seine to Châtillon, crossing overland to Beaune and then down the Saône and Rhône to Marseilles.

Places in Egypt and the Levant visited by Symon Semeonis on his pilgrimage.
The pilgrimage of Symon Semeonis. Towns and cities are called by their modern names.

Others of the name[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Itinerarium Symonis Semeonis
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-23. Retrieved 2014-03-23. Robert Elsie
  3. ^ Eastward Bound: Travel and Travellers, 1050–1550 By. Rosamund. Allen.
  4. ^