The Prince and the Plunder

A book on how Britain took one boy and piles of treasures from Ethiopia

The sapper’s scroll

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: Scroll with ‘Sapper John Abbotts’ written on back

Where: The Royal Engineers Museum, Prince Arthur Rd, Gillingham ME7 1UR

The museum’s catalogue entry shows a 5 ft-long long narrow scroll with “five coloured drawn images depicting Christ and the apostles, an angel holding a knife in the right hand and a prayer object in the left”. There is also “a decorative image with a face in the top section of the scroll and a Coptic cross at the other end”.

On the back is written “7990 Sapper John Abbotts. 10th Company Royal Engineers. Abyssinian Field Force. Abyssinia // 13th April 1868”. That is the date of the last decisive battle when the British forces overran Magdala, found Tewodros dead and started looting the buildings.

From the catalogue entry
Object number: 4901.38
Material: parchment
Length: 1565 mm
Width: 75 mm

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