Feast of St Patrick – Rome 1887

The Tablet Page 17, 26th March 1887

FEAST OF ST. PATRICK.Irish_College,_Rome

The Feast of St. Patrick, the Apostle and Patron Saint of Ireland, was celebrated according to custom at the Irish College by a preparatory triduum in the Church of St. Agatha, the preachers being the Very Rev. Mgr. Dillon, of Australia, the Bishop of St. Paul, U.S.A., and the Archbishop of Melbourne ; and the sermon each day being followed by Solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. On the feast itself High Mass was sung at ten a.m., and later Archbishop Kirby entertained at dinner the Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec, the Cardinal Archbishop of Baltimore’ the Secretary of Propaganda (Mgr. Jacobini), the Archbishop of Melbourne ; the Bishops of Richmond, St. Paul, and Columbus U.S.A. ; the Right Rev. Abbot Smith, O.S.B. ; the Rectors of the English, North American, and Scots Colleges, Mgr. O’Bryen, Mgr. Dillon, and other guests. At the Irish Franciscans of St. Isidore, the Papal Consistory of that day to confer the red hat on the new cardinals necessitated the postponement of the sermon in honour of St. Patrick, annually delivered in that church. It will be preached on Sunday by the Bishop of Richmond, U.S.A.

Why the Grehans are quite posh.

Patrick Grehan III, Celia O’Bryen’s brother had inherited land in the parishes of Killinvoy and St Johns, barony of Athlone, county Roscommon via their grandmother Catherine Hodson. Their grandmother Judith Grehan (nee Moore) was the great, great, great, great, great grand-daughter of Rory O’More, and Margaret Butler, and therefore related to Anne Boleyn

Rory O’More is sometimes referred to as King of Leix (modern day Co.Laois), but is essentially a clan chieftain. But in Irish terms he is Gaelic nobility, Margaret Butler is the daughter of Piers Butler, the 8th Earl of Ormond. The Butlers are Old English aristocracy, i.e they were part of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the C12th.

Patrick’s entry in Burke’s Landed Gentry in 1871 reads as follows:

Patrick Grehan, esq., now of Mount Plunkett, is the son of the late Patrick Grehan, esq. of Dublin ( by Catherine his 1st wife, dau. of George Meecham, esq., and co-heiress of her mother Catherine, dau. and eventual co-heiress of William Hodson, esq. of St John’s, co. Roscommon) and grandson of Patrick Grehan, esq. of Dublin who m. Judith, dau. and eventually co-heiress of Edward Moore, esq. of Mount Browne, co. Mayo (lineally descended from Lewis, the 4th son of  Roger O’More, of Leix, by Margaret, dau. and heiress of Thomas, 3rd son of Pierce, 8th Earl of Ormonde). Through this marriage with the co-heiress of Moore, Mr Grehan of Mount Plunkett quarters the arms of O’More of Leix, and Butler, Ormonde. 

Arms–Or, a trefoil, slipped, vert, on a chief, sa., three escallops, of the first; quartering O’More of Leix, Butler of Ormonde, and Hodson of St. John’s–the family of Hodson of St. John’s, is one of considerable antiquity, and at the decease, in 1829, of the last male heir, Oliver Hodson, Esq., a moiety of the St. John’s estates devolved on the present Patrick Grehan [III], Esq.

Crests–A demi-lion, gu. gorged, with three escallops

Motto–Ne oubliex

Seat–Mount Plunkett, Licarrow, Roscommon

Their is a record of the confirmation of arms to Patrick Grehan III, in 1863

  • National Library of Ireland: Arms of Grehan of Mount Plunkett, Co Roscommon, 1863. GO MS 179: 101
  • National Library of Ireland:  Copy of confirmation of arms to Patrick Grehan (III), Mount Plunkett & St Johns, Co Roscommon, grandson of Patrick Grehan (Senior)of Dublin, merchant, 5 June 1863. GO MS 109: 13-14

To help the trail a bit:

Patrick Grehan Senior married Judith Moore, daughter of Edward  Moore. Edward Moore was a partner with Thady Grehan, Patrick’s father. In some sources, Thady is referred to as Edward’s drayman, they were brewers together. In which case, it is a pretty spectacular case of social mobility, pretty much, the van driver’s lad marrying the boss’s daughter.

Edward Moore’s father, James died in 1741. James Moore’s great grand father was Walter More.

Walter More’s father was Lewis (Lysagh) O’More,  one of four sons of  Rory O’More (Ruairi Caoch O’Mordha) who married Margaret Butler. Margaret was the daughter of Thomas Butler and granddaughter of Piers Butler, eighth earl of Ormond.

There is more detail in possibly one of the most complicated entries in Burke’s LG, for the More – O’Farrells of Balyna



Lady O’B – Gertrude Mary Purssell 1873 – 1950

Youngest daughter of Alfred Purssell

Gertrude (Lady O'B)
Gertrude (Lady O’B)

The London Gazette Sept 1919

O’BRYEN, Mrs. Gertrude Mary, widow of Ernest
Adolphus O’Bryen, Esq., late Mayor of Hampstead,
upon whom it was H.M.’s intention to have conferred the honour of Knight Bachelor, has been granted the precedence of a Knight’s Widow.

The Tablet, Page 22, 6th September 1919

Lady O'Bryen
Lady O’Bryen

The many friends of the late Mr. Ernest O’Bryen, Mayor of Hampstead 1913-1919, who deeply lamented his untimely death last April at the early age of 53, will greatly rejoice that His Majesty the King has ordained that the widow of the late Mayor shall have the title and precedence, which she would have had if her husband had lived to receive the knighthood which His Majesty had intended to confer upon him. Lady O’Bryen is the youngest daughter of the late Mr. Alfred Purssell, and was married to the late Mr. Ernest O’Bryen in 1898.

During her long term of office as Mayoress of Hampstead, she earned great popularity for her large share in the many war works with which her husband was so intimately associated. Her efforts in connection with the Belgian Refugees will serve as an example of the devoted work which gained for her the grateful esteem of the citizens of Hampstead, irrespective of creed. In 1914, the Mayor formed a committee for assisting these refugees, which between October and December of that year dealt with a very large number of them, some 18 hostels being opened locally for their accommodation. For four years this committee continued its work, under the direction of Lady O’Bryen, finding employment for and looking after the interests of the refugees. Just before the Armistice about 300 were, still under the care of the committee.

Leonard Arthur Bidwell,1865 – 1912

Leonard Arthur Bidwell  1865 -1912. He was known professionally as Leonard, and Arthur in the family, as his father was also Leonard. He was a surgeon. 

Leonard Arthur Bidwell
Leonard Arthur Bidwell

He was the son of Leonard Bidwell, Chief Clerk in the General Post Office. Educated at Blackheath School, and entered St Thomas’s Hospital in 1882, where he was a House Surgeon. He then studied in Paris, was appointed Assistant Surgeon to the West London Hospital in 1891, and became Surgeon in 1906. There he distinguished himself in the surgery of the abdomen, and more especially as a teacher and administrator in the Post-Graduate College. The number of entries to the Post Graduate College during his term of office (1896 – 1912) exceeded 2500. He was also Surgeon to the Florence Nightingale Hospital, to the Blackheath and Charlton Hospital, and to the City Dispensary. He also served as Surgeon Major in the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry. His death occurred from acute appendicitis on Sept 2nd, 1912. He had married Dorothea, daughter of Sir J Roper Parkington, Bart, in 1896; she survived him together with three sons and two daughters. He practised at 15 Upper Wimpole Street.

There is a fuller biography online, and also an obituary below

from The Tablet Page 36, 7th September 1912


We regret to announce the death, at his London residence, 15, Upper Wimpole Street, W., of Mr. Leonard Arthur Bidwell, F.R.C.S. He had attained great eminence in his profession, and at the time of his death, which closes a brilliant and useful career at the early age of 47, was senior surgeon to the West London Hospital. Mr. Bidwell married Dorothea, eldest daughter of Sir J. Roper Parkington, and leaves five children.—R.I.P.

Alfred Purssell 1831 -1897

Alfred Purssell is Gertrude Purssell’s (Lady O’B) father.  He is one of nine children of Roger Purssell and Charlotte Peachey as shown Purssell letter006by this copy from a family bible. Alfred himself had seven children. Five girls and two boys

  • Laura
  • Lucy
  • Alfred Joseph
  • Frank
  • Agnes
  • Charlotte
  • Gertrude


The Purssells were variously described as confectioners, bakers, tea importers, and by 1871, Alfred described himself as a wine merchant. In the census in 1881, he is living in Clapham as a widower, with five servants. (a housekeeper, cook, housemaid, parlourmaid, and a children’s maid.)

Alfred Purssell
Alfred Purssell

Alfred was also a member of the Court of Common Council in the City for many years. He was a Trustee of the Bridge House Estates, who were responsible for building Tower Bridge  as shown on theAlfred Purssell tower bridge plaque on the north side of the bridge.



He is listed as a guarantor of the International Exhibition of 1862 –  not the Great Exhibition (£100), which also lists him as a Member of the Society of Arts, and he is listed as a founder of Westminster Cathedral.

As part of the initial search for who was who in the photos, I also traced this print in the London Metropolitan  Archives, which confirmed that our picture was Alfred.The Chairman and Officers of the Commissioners of Sewers of the City of London 1889-1890


And then finally from the Tablet, Page 22, 22nd February 1930

Mr. Purssell served for many years as a member of the Court of Common Council for the Ward of Cornhill, of which the present Lord Mayor is Alderman. If memory serves, he was Chairman of the Bridge House Estate Committee when the Tower Bridge was opened.

Not quite true; he was on the committee, but not the chairman. But he was at the opening ceremony.

Reginald Rickman 1881 -1940

From Wikipedia:

Reginald Binns Rickman (6 May 1881 – 22 November 1940) was a British Army officer and cricketer who played first-class cricket for Derbyshire between 1906 and 1911 and captained the side in 1908 and 1909.

Rickman was born at Doncaster, Yorkshire, the son of Samuel Rickman and his wife Emily Rachel Binns, daughter of Charles Binns manager of the Clay Cross Company. The family lived in Devon, and Rickman’s first games were Minor Counties matches for Devon in 1901 and 1903.

In the 1906 season, Rickman made his debut for Derbyshire in an uninspiring performance against Lancashire in May. He continued to play in 1907 and in 1908 was captain in a season which saw Derbyshire move up to third from the bottom in the County Championship. He captained again in the 1909 season but the team slipped a notch in the table. He played seven games in the 1910 season but appeared in his last single game in the 1911 season. Rickman was a right hand batsman and played 65 matches for the club and 118 innings. His highest score was 68 and he averaged 11.47. He was a right arm medium bowler and took 62 wickets at an average of 31.72.

RBR and the King 2
Lt Col RB Rickman escorting the King 1918, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Rickman was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, the Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment), and was promoted to a lieutenant on 19 March 1902. Her served in the Second Boer War in South Africa February to May 1902, and took part in operations in Orange River Colony. In May 1904 he transferred to the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment. He later served in the First World War, and became a Lieutenant Colonel.                             

RB Rickman and the King 1918
Lt Col RB Rickman escorting the King 1918, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum






He died in Chelsea, London at the age of 61.

Elizabeth Pritchard 1851-1934

The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Queensland, Friday 8 June 1934, page 16

The death occurred on Tuesday after a short illness of Mrs Elizabeth Elworthy, a member of one of the early pioneering families of Queensland. The late Mrs Elworthy sailed as a child from England to Queensland with her parents in the Agricola 81 years ago. She was the wife of the late Mr John Elworthy, partner in the old grazing form of Elworthy and Mellor at Imbil and Dovedale in the Wide Bay district. IMG_20160309_123128162She is survived by a family of three sons and three daughters – Dr H.H. Elworthy, of London. Mr A.W. Elworthy, of Philadelphia. Dr R.R. Elworthy, M.D. of London. Miss Edith Elworthy, Mrs Norman Bell, and Mrs G.M. Parsons. For some years the deceased lady had lived at St Kilda, Melbourne, with two of her daughters.

Elizabeth is on the left, with her son Rex and granddaughter Joanna in about 1925. It was taken in the garden of 100 Castlenau, Barnes in London.

In 1891, she was living in London while the children were going to school, and whilst she and the girls returned to Australia, the boys stayed, though Arthur moved to Philadelphia.

1891 Census

Civil Parish – Hammersmith; Parliamentary Borough – Hammersmith; Ecclesiastical Parish – Hammersmith

203 Uxbridge Road

Elizabeth Elworthy Head Wid 40 Living on own means Gloucester

Edith Dau S 12 Scholar Australia, Queensland

Isabelle dau S 10 “  “ Australia, Queensland

Rex son S 8 “  “ Australia, Queensland

Gladys dau S 5 “  “ Australia, Queensland

Alice Leatherby serv S 22 servant domestic London Chelsea

John Elworthy 1835 – 1887

John is the father of Rex Elworthy, and grandfather of Joanna, amongst many others.

Rex Elworthy aged about 12.
Rex Elworthy aged about 12.

John Elworthy (1835-1887) and William Henry Elworthy (1833-1912) were brothers. William Henry Elworthy went to Australia in 1863 with his wife Mary Amelia Elworthy (they were 2nd cousins)and child Mary (Minnie) (b.1862). 

John Elworthy left England for Australia in 1864, leaving behind his wife Sarah and  twin children John Tolley Elworthy (b.1863) and Sarah Evelyn (b.1863), he never visited them again before he died in 1887. He then married Elizabeth Pritchard in 1876 in Sydney. Apparently re-marriage after seven years of no contact with a previous wife was legal in Australia, I have no idea whether this is true. In English law, he would have been regarded as a bigamist.

William & John’s younger brother Edward 1840- ???? went to the USA (before 1861),lived in Buffalo City, New York State, joined the Unionist army as an artillery man in 1863, and then deserted in 1865.

William & John started logging together on the river Mary near Logan, Queensland,  and then moved to Gympie in 1870, to follow the gold rush. They failed to make a fortune in gold, though I do have some gold ore from John, but then started rearing beef at Imbil, Queensland, and in partnership with two brothers from Devon (Mellor Brothers who were butchers) sold beef to the gold prospectors in Gympie and made a considerable fortune.

Elizabeth returned to England with the children, and they all went to Cheltenham College, or Cheltenham Ladies College. She, and the girls, went back to Australia. The boys remained in England, though Arthur moved to Philadelphia.

The mysterious John Roche d. 1829

John Roche c.1755 – 1829 is the father of

Mary, 1780 – 1852  m. Nov 1807 Henry Hewitt O’Bryen (1780 – 1836)

and the grandfather of John Roche O’Bryen, Jane Roche (nee O’Bryen), and at the same time both the great-grandfather, and great uncle of Pauline Roche. Pauline Roche’s mother is John Roche’s grand-daughter Jane O’Bryen, and her father is his nephew William Roche.

 John Roche appears to have two brothers, and two sisters:

Hugh, who is the father of

James Joseph Roche

Hugh Roche  

Lawrence who is the father of

William m. Jane O’Bryen and father of Pauline Roche

Ellen m. John Verling and mother of

Bartholomew Verling

James Roche Verling

Catherine Ellis (nee Verling)

Ellen Verling Jnr.

Julia m. ? Enery


Irish Journal of Medical Science, January 1971, Volume 140, Issue 1, pp 30-44 – regarding the Irish doctors who attended Napoleon on St Helena including James Roche Verling

References to (Ellen Verling??) and her brothers John and Laurence Roche of Aghada as members of the council of Cork. Also refers to James Roche Verling having a brother Bartholomew who was a J.P.

From Roche v O’Brien, and his will, we know that John Roche has two sisters

Julia Enery, Ellen Verling

And at least four nephews

James Joseph Roche, William Roche, Bartholomew Verling, and Doctor (James Roche) Verling

And at least two nieces

Ellen Verling jnr, and Catherine Ellis (nee Verling)

From the BLG 1847 entry we know there is another brother Hugh, who is the father of James Joseph Roche, and Hugh Roche jnr

From Barrymore Records we know William Roche is the son of Laurence Roche

Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Senior (1780 -1836) and Mary Roche ( 1780 – 1852 )

Henry is Ernest O’Bryen’s paternal grandfather

Following the same convention I have done elsewhere, I am planning to make this HHOB,  Senior, to distinguish him from his fourth son Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Junior, and also from two grandsons. Henry Hewitt O’Bryen b. 1835, son of John Roche O’Bryen, and Henry Hewitt O’Bryen b. 1845, son of Robert Hewitt O’Bryen. They will be referred to throughout as Mgr O’Bryen, and Henry Hewitt O’Bryen III.

Henry Hewitt O’Bryen was born in 1780 in Ireland , and died on the 11th May 1836 in Cobh, County Cork.  He married Mary Roche in November 1807 in Whitepoint, Cove, Co. Cork, she was the daughter of John Roche and Miss Collins?.  She was born in Ireland in 1780 and died in 1852.

He is the son of  Laurence O’Brien and Jane Hewitt who married  on the 20th March 1778 in Castle Townsend, County Cork. He was born in1754 in Ireland.   Jane was the daughter of Henry Hewitt and an unknown mother.  Henry appears to have a brother Stephen Laurence O’Bryen though this is unconfirmed.

Henry’s paternal grandparents appear to be Daniel O’Brien was born 1717, and died 1758 in Castletownsend, Co. Cork, and Ann Sullivan. They married in 1743, in Cork.

The children of Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Senior  and Mary Roche are:

Jane O’Bryen, born 1808; died 1837. She married William Roche. b. ????, died 26th September 1835. They are the parents of  Pauline Roche, born 1836 in Rome. 

John Roche O’Bryen, born 1810 in Cork, Ireland; died 26 Jul 1870 in London. 

Hewitt O’Bryen, born 1812 in Ireland; died 14 Jun 1845 in Norfolk, without issue.  He married Louisa Grace Ann Hoare 1836 in Limerick, Ireland; born 1805 in Cork, Ireland; died 1861 in Bath.

Robert Hewitt O’Bryen, born 1814 in Ireland; died 1888 in Cork, Ireland. He married Jeanette Augusta Hargrave 1837 in Cloyne, County Cork.  She died 1848 in Aghada, County Cork.

Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Junior, born 1815 in Ireland; died 22 Feb 1873 in Aghada, Co. Cork, Ireland.  He married (1) Charlotte Roche 1836 in County Cork (uncertain).    He married (2) Jessie Harriett Sudlow 10 Jan 1860 in Queenstown, County Cork.  She was born 1829 in Liverpool, and died 1912 in Dublin, Ireland.

Stephen Hewitt O’Bryen, born Unknown in Ireland; died 1872 in Gibraltar.  He married Mary Isabella Hewson 1866 in Dublin , daughter of Frank Hewson. (second marriage 1872 ? in Cork)

Mary A O’Bryen, born Unknown in Ireland; died 1863 in Cobh (Queenstown), Ireland.