” Gerald Neilan was the first British officer to die in the Rising; his brother was a rebel.” – Irish Times. The shot that killed him was fired from the Mendicity Institute on the banks of the River Liffey.
I’ll let the Irish Times tell the next part of the story.
” In Glasnevin Cemetery there is a faded headstone over the Neilan family plot. Husband and wife John and Eva Neilan are buried there. They came originally from outside Roscommon town. After her husband died, Eva Neilan moved to Dublin. She died in 1930, outliving the first of her children listed on the headstone Lieutenant Gerald Neilan R.D.F (Royal Dublin Fusiliers).”
” His date of death is instructive as to when and why he died — “killed in Dublin, Easter Monday 1916, aged 34”. Neilan was the first British officer to die in the Easter Rising. He was an Irishman so “strongly nationalistic in his sympathies as to be almost a Sinn Féiner”, according to the author Stephen Gwynn. He was one of four Neilan brothers who served in the army during the first World War, three of them as doctors in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC)……. One Neilan brother though took a different path. Arthur Neilan was sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in 1913 and joined the Irish Volunteers shortly afterwards. He was only 18. On Easter Monday, Arthur Neilan was told by Patrick Pearse to proceed to the Four Courts garrison which needed reinforcements and found himself fighting in the same garrison that had killed his brother earlier that day. ” – Irish Times
All the stories reflect quite strongly on the tragic irony of Arthur Neilan serving along side the men who killed his brother, and the story of Irishmen fighting Irishmen on the streets of Dublin. What they don’t do is look in greater depth at what and who these men were, and I suspect the real story is a great deal more complicated than it looks at first sight.
The second Irish Times article, and the Irish Mirror article both quote a niece of both men, and the overall tone of the articles creates a very different picture from what is actually the case. As is often the way, the family folklore takes on a life of its own, and doesn’t appear to quite tell the real story. The first real clues to look at are the sentence ” He (Gerald) was an Irishman so “strongly nationalistic in his sympathies as to be almost a Sinn Féiner”, according to the author Stephen Gwynn.” and “ It is so, so sad because they should have been a happy co-operative family. They were loyal to the British. They looked on Arthur as a rebel.”. – S.M. – Gerald and Arthur Neilan’s niece
The two seem to contradict each other quite strongly. So let’s look at them in a little more depth. The quote from Stephen Gwynn seems to have been added to the Irish Times article from a book ” According to their Lights by Neil Richardson “ The Collins Press, 2015. A fuller quote is below.
” Stephen Lucius Gwynn – Irish Party M.P. , and also a Connaught Rangers officer later wrote in John Redmond’s Last Years (1919) about the ambush that killed Gerald Neilan on Ellis Quay. He recalled that Neilan “was so strongly Nationalist in his sympathies as to be almost a Sinn Féiner”, and that among the other Royal Dublin Fusiliers casualties “Others had been active leaders in the Howth gun-running. It was not merely a case of Irishmen firing on their fellow countrymen; it was one section of the original Volunteers firing on another. “
So the question now is how ” British ” were the Neilan brothers. The family folklore continued in an interview in the Irish Mirror “The family had always lived in Roscommon. My grandfather was a Justice of the Peace and a loyal British subject. Of course a lot of the people were then – they were in Great Britain. I never met my grandmother because she died in 1930. My grandfather John Alexander Neilan had sadly died in 1903, so I didn’t meet him either. But seven of their children survived to be grown-ups, and I knew all but two quite well………But because they had been brought up to be extremely British, and my grandfather was a Justice of the Peace, I think they were terribly hurt when Arthur went and fought for the rebels.”
This part of the story of the two brothers is starting to cause some problems. It’s told from a very British perspective, and almost certainly reflects the side of the family that had either moved to co. Durham before the First War, or settled there after the War. I think the bigger question is how Irish were the Neilan brothers, and the answer is very. Maria O’Conor their maternal grandmother was a fourth cousin of Owen O’Conor (1763 – 1831) who became the O’Conor Don in 1820. He was Patrick Grehan I’s brother-in-law, so stretching things almost to breaking point there is a family link. So the Neilan boys are fourth cousins twice removed from great-uncle Owen.
In the Name of God Amen. I Patrick Grehan formerly of Saint James Street Dublin Brewer being of sound mind do publish & declare this to be my last Will & Testament revoking all former ones I direct that my body may be interred in the most private manner in St James St Church Yard should I happen to die in Dublin or within three miles from it but not otherwise I direct all my just Debts to be paid if not more than four years standing I leave to my dear Daughter Jane Grehan now a member of the Religious Community residing at New Hall Essex the Dividends on one thousand five hundred pounds three P Ct reduced Stock or Annuities part of a sum now standing in my name for & during the term of her natural life I leave to my dearest sister Mary Roche fifty pounds as a token of my affection and regard I leave to my nephew Andrew Grehan and my niece Mrs Butler fifty pounds each for mourning I leave to Thomas Lynam formerly my Clerk fifty pounds I direct also my Executors to pay him two hundred pounds to be distributed by him amongst the most necessitous of my father’s Relations at his discretion taking into Consideration those who now receive an allowance at my hands if alive at the time of my Death I direct the sum of One hundred Pounds to be given for Masses for the Repose of my soul I leave Fifty Pounds to the Catholic Schools of St James Parish and fifty pounds to be distributed amongst the poor of the said parish as the Revd Doctor Lube or his successors think fit I leave to the Catholic Schools of St Catherines Parish thirty pounds to the Catholic Schools of the parish of St Andrews Townshend Thirty Pounds to the Catholic Schools of St Mary & Thomas Thirty I leave to my grandson Patrick Grehan one thousand pounds As to all the Residue & Remainder of my property I leave it share and share alike to be equally divided between my two sons Edwd Grehan or Graham and Patrick Grehan lastly I do appoint my two sons to be Executors to this my last Will and Testament written with my own hand this fourteenth day of January one thousand eight hundred and thirty _ Patrick Grehan Done at my sister’s Mrs Roche’s house No 50 Harcourt Street Dublin (Appearance by John Donnelly of No 28 Denmark Street Dublin as to manner and character of the handwriting of the deceased on 29 March 1832)
I came across this a couple of years ago when I was tracking down a whole bunch of family weddings. It really just came across as a very grand society wedding. But rather pleasingly, the groom’s step-father is a Lescher cousin. But it’s all madly posh
The marriage of Mr. Alexander Augustus Dalglish, eldest son of the late Mr. J. Campsie Dalglish, of Wandara, Goulburn, New South Wales, with Miss Mary Josephine Maxwell-Scott, daughter of the Hon. J. and Mrs. Maxwell-Scott, of Abbotsford, Melrose, N.B., and great-great-granddaughter of the novelist and poet, was celebrated on Tuesday forenoon at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Father William Kerr, S.J. [First cousin once removed of the bride] The bridegroom was attended by Mr. Ralph Kerr as best man. There were eight bridesmaids : Miss Elsie and Miss Daisy Maxwell-Scott, sisters of the bride ; Miss Dalglish, Miss Dorothy Dalglish, the Hon. Gwendolen Maxwell, Miss Marcia Maxwell-Stuart, Miss Ida Bellingham, and Miss Cecile Kerr. The bridegroom’s gifts to them were pearl and turquoise heart brooches. The nuptial ceremony was followed by Mass, Father Kerr being the celebrant. At the offertory Gounod’s Ave Maria was sung with violin accompaniment. The bridal couple had the happiness of receiving the Papal Blessing. Breakfast was served at Germistoun, Wimbledon Common, the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Rudd, and during the afternoon the newly-married pair left for Arundel Castle, placed at their disposal by the Duke of Norfolk.
Among the presents were : From the bridegroom, diamond and pearl pendant brooch ; the bride’s parents, diamond, ruby, and pearl necklace ; the bride’s brothers and sisters, the Border Edition of the Waverley Novels ; Mrs. Dalglish Bellasis,[groom’s mother] diamond star ; the Duke of Norfolk,[bride’s uncle] diamond necklace ; the Ladies Mary and Margaret Howard,[bride’s aunts] diamond and sapphire bracelet ; Lord and Lady Edmund Talbot,[bride’s uncle and aunt] enamel and moonstone bracelet ; the Marquis of Bute, diamond ring ; the Marchioness of Bute [bride’s second cousin], antique lace ; Lord and Lady Herries, [bride’s second cousin.Their daughter Gwendolen Maxwell became the 15th Duchess of Norfolk in 1904, marrying her first cousin once-removed] Russia leather travelling bag, with ivory and silver fittings ; Mr. Walter Maxwell-Scott, silver buckle ; Mr. Michael Maxwell-Scott, R.N., Maltese lace ; the servants of Abbotsford, torquoise chain bracelet and gold pencil case ; Mr. and Mrs. James Hope, pearl and diamond crescent ; besides gifts from the Countess of Yarborough, the Countess of Powis, and many others.
The above text was found on p.27, 25th September 1897 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .
Eustace Thomas Edward Cary-Elwes, TD, late Major, the Royal Norfolk Regiment (Territorial Army), of Albion House, Poringland, Norfolk, and previously of Thurton Hall, Norwich, scion of the landed gentry family of Elwes of Roxby, died 12 August, 2004. He was aged 95.
He was born 21 December, 1908, the fifth son of Charles Edward Joseph Elwes (1869-1947), of Staithe House, Beccles, Suffolk, by his wife Edythe Isabel (d. 1961), second daughter of Colonel Sir John Roper Parkington, DL, JP.
His grandfather, Windsor Charles Cary Elwes (1839-1916), married Augusta Caroline Louisa Law, scion of the Barons Ellenborough; his gt-grandfather, George Cary Elwes, married Arabella Heneage, scion of the Barons Heneage, &c.
Eustace was educated at Downside and Ampleforth. He married in 1933, Marjorie Henrietta (Daw) now deceased, daughter of Major-General Sir Henry Francis Edward Freeland, KCIE, CB, DSO, MVO, of Hayland, Suffolk, by whom he had a son, Peter (b. 1946); and two daughters, Caroline (Lady Egerton, wife of Sir Stephen Loftus Egerton, KCMG), and Gillian.
The funeral takes place at St Benet’s Minster of Beccles, Friday 3 September, 2004.
A Serjeant-at-Law (SL), commonly known simply as a Serjeant, was a member of an order of barristers at the English bar. The Serjeants were the oldest formally created order in England, having been brought into existence as a body by Henry II. There were rarely more than 40 Serjeants. The Judicature Act 1873, removed the need for common law judges to be appointed from the Serjeants-at-Law, removing the need to appoint judicial Serjeants. With this Act and the rise of the Queen’s Counsel, there was no longer any need to appoint Serjeants, and the order ceased after seven hundred years.
MEMORIALS OF MR. SERJEANT BELLASIS.
The lives of men who have lived well, or fought well, or studied well, must always possess some interest for the student of human nature. Their struggles are probably akin to his struggles, their joys and sorrows are identical. In all creative and dramatic art, as in all literature, the human element is the centre of interest, —the actors on life’s stage command our deepest attention.
Light has been shed broadly and powerfully on all the leaders of the great Oxford movement. Their motives and main-springs of action have been analysed and dissected until little is left to analyse or dissect. The battle-field is still whitened with innumerable relics of a doubtful battle. Profoundly interesting as were those times, and profoundly momentous the issues of them, it seems hardly possible to learn anything fresh about them. ” Tracts for the Times, ““No. 90, “ the Gorham decision, the Anglo-Prussian bishopric, the Anglican succession,—it is inevitable that all biographers of men who lived in those times should describe the same well- known facts and repeat the same well-worn phrases. There seems hardly space for another biography of an individual who played a part, though a comparatively small one, in a movement of which Dean Church and Mr. W. Ward have so lately recounted to us the principal events, giving us such brilliant portraits of the principal actors.
In the preface to this Memoir of the late Mr. Serjeant Bellasis, we read:— ” It has been deemed that some notice of Mr. Serjeant Bellasis, beyond the two or three columns in the National Dictionary of Biography, would not be out of place among the memoirs of the time ; for the late Serjeant, although not one of the more conspicuous public men of his day, nevertheless played some part in the Tractarian Movement of 1833, in connection wherewith he has left papers of interest. He was also an able and, for nearly a quarter of a century, a notable member of the Catholic body. “
The Serjeant’s early life and legal career are dismissed in the first chapter ; the rest of the volume is chiefly taken up with theological arguments and writings on the questions of the day, and letters from well-known people. Some of these letters have already appeared in Mr. R. Ornsby’s Memoir of James Hope-Scott. Edward Bellasis was born in 1800 at Basilden, a pretty village on the Thames, of which his father was the vicar. Dr. Bellasis died when his son was an infant, and shortly afterwards his widow married the Rev. Joseph Maude, a Low Churchman, whose intimate friends were chiefly Quakers and Evangelicals. The household was taught to pray against ” the machinations of Popery “ and the ” devices of the Bishop of Rome ; “ card-playing and theatre-going were forbidden. In spite of this prohibition, young Bellasis went to Drury Lane, and there ran against his step-father’s brother, the Rev. John Maude, in the pit, who remarked,—” If you tell of me, I’ll tell of you. “ He seems to have had a love of play-going all his life, and to have encouraged private theatricals in his children’s holidays. He was called to the Bar in 1824, and began a long and very successful career, being almost exclusively employed in Parliamentary business, often connected with railways, until his retirement in 1866. There is a graphic account of his receiving the ” degree of the Coif “ and the ancient forms and ceremonies attending the creation of a Serjeant-at-Law. His intimate friend, Mr. Badeley, was his ” colt, “ and presented the rings to the Lord Chancellor and the Judges. The Queen’s ring was ” large and massive enough to cover two joints of the finger. “ In conjunction with Mr. Hope-Scott, the Serjeant was appointed trustee of the Shrewsbury estates, a duty that both fulfilled with characteristic disinterestedness and high principle. ” There was a great deal in common in the dear Serjeant and Hope-Scott, “ wrote Dr. Newman; ” This similarity is what made them such great friends. “ The history of one is in great measure a counterpart of that of the other. Both were distinguished members of the Bar, both followed the Anglican revival with the greatest interest, finally both joined the Church of Rome, Bellasis in 1850, Hope-Scott in 1851, and Badeley, the third point in this friendly triangle, in 1852. When the news of the conversion [of Mr. Serjeant Bellasis] reached Quernmore Park, the residence of Mr. Garnett,[his father-in-law] Mrs. Bellasis’ aunt, Miss Carson, as a sincere Evangelical, was naturally much distressed, and the old family cook, seeing her mistress in tears, inquired the cause. ‘ Mr. Bellasis had gone over to Rome.’ Ah ! ‘ replied the cook, ” tis a pity. Isn’t it very cold there ? Hard nigh upon Rooshee, rye heard tell.’ “ Mr. Bellasis seems always to have had an inquiring mind in regard to religious matters, and to have started in life with a decided bias against ” Popery.” A visit to a Roman Catholic chapel in Moorfields in 1820 only ” impresses him with the superiority of the reformed Protestant religion. “ However, foreign travel corrected many of his ideas about the Roman Catholics. He notes the earnestness of the people at their prayers, and the admixture of devout observances with their ordinary daily occupations. He came home still a ” thorough Anglican,” but he could neither abuse, nor listen to abuse, of Catholicsor Catholicism. After his second marriage in 1835, Mr. Bellasis took a house in Bedford Square, and then began the intimacy with Mr. Oakeley, of Margaret Street Chapel, in whose footsteps, in religious matters, the Serjeant closely followed. Mr. Oakeley gave him letters of introduction to some of the most prominent leaders of the Oxford movement,—Newman, W. G. Ward, and J. B. Morris. He made several visits to Oxford, and got to know Hope-Scott, Badeley, Dr. Pusey, and Bounden Palmer ; he also stayed with the Yonges at Otterbourne, and met Keble and Wilberforce. ” We have had a rather pleasant, interesting man visiting us,” writes Canon James Mozley to his sister in January, 1840, ” a Mr. Bellasis, a barrister from London, very High Church, a friend of Ward of Balliol, who happens to be away just now, Newman and others have entertained him. It is amusing to see the variety of a Londoner in Oxford. Of the London element lie retains enough to make a change from what one commonly sees here ; though with none of the disagreeable features of it,—for example, he is so much more fluent, and can give regular narrations with spirit, showing a person who has been accustomed to argue and make speeches. “ In one of the Serjeant’s letters to his wife, there is a graphic account of Newman’s farewell sermon at Littlemore; he used to say afterwards that there was not a dry eye in the church, except Newman’s own. In 1845 the Serjeant wrote to his brother, ” I do not conceal from any one that I hold what you call ultra opinions; “ but he goes on to say, ” it has never occurred to me that it is the duty of persons holding such opinions to quit the Church of England. “ He had, however, thought much on the subject, as we read in the Memoir :—” The Serjeant himself had painfully gone through all stages, from Low Evangelicism to extreme High Churchmanship, until at length the time came when he found little of real difficulty in any Catholic doctrine. This is sufficiently illustrated, some time before his actual conversion, by a little paper of September, 1847, referring to Confession, perhaps a greater stumbling- block to Protestants inclined to Catholicism than anything else after Papal supremacy. “ The Serjeant was accustomed to weigh difficult questions, and to analyse the balance of evidence ; his excessive pains to get at the exact truth of Catholicism abroad gave Dr. Scholl, of Treves [Trier], the idea that he was too cautious ever to leave his own Church. “Ala, ce pauvre Monsieur Bellasis, it a taut de scrupules ; it n’entrera janmis dans l’Eglise.” Outward and visible signs and symbols. always attracted him—” believing himself to be a man without much sentiment or feeling, he said that he relied greatly upon externals in religion “—and he was always most exact in all outward observances. Much is said of his great industry and power of concentration. He writes of himself,—” It is my nature to be eager in whatever I take up, whether it is meteorology, geology, theology, or business ; “ but no recreation was ever allowed to interfere with business. His family life seems to have been particularly happy ; he was devoted to his children, and drew up many wise rules of conduct for their instruction, which are worth reading and copying. With one daughter, afterwards a nun, he kept up a playful warfare as to the amount of their mutual love. In 1871, he wrote to her:—” I have got a puzzle for you : St. Alphonsus says that of all love, paternal love is the strongest; now I think I have checkmated you.” There are many instances told of his unvarying kindness and courtesy to strangers, and to any one who served him or needed his help. Mr. Hope-Scott’s clerk, who saw him every day, said he never once knew the Serjeant ruffled or disturbed, and never heard him utter a harsh or unkind word. ” He died at Hyéres,” wrote his friend, Hope-Scott, during his own last illness, “l eaving an example to us all,” and Archbishop Manning and Dr. Newman echoed the words.
Such a life as the Serjeant’s does not contain much of deep interest to the general reader. His contributions to the literature of the day consisted of a few pamphlets, and the Memoir is naturally written from a devout Roman Catholic point of view ; but the surroundings of his life were interesting, and he was intimate with men whose names are written in Church history. It was probably Dr. Newman’s example and influence that finally led the Serjeant to abandon the Church of England. As Sir Francis Doyle has written,—” That great man’s ardent zeal and extraordinary genius drew all those within his sphere, like a magnet, to attach themselves to him and his doctrine.”
I published the original version of this obituary almost two years ago, when it was simply a slight curiosity about some fairly well connected upper-class English Catholic converts. The Bellasis surname crops up every so often in some of the weddings, and more specifically so does that of Mrs. Dalglish-Bellasis. The Catholic Who’s Who and Year-Book of 1908 helped a little bit with its entry on Eliza Bellasis’s son William
Dalglish-Bellasis, William — son of Serjeant Bellasis and brother of the Lancaster Herald; educated at the Oratory School, Edgbaston; is a Director of the Cornbrook Brewery Company, Ltd.; married, first, Miss Mary Walmesley, and secondly, Mrs Dalglish, widow of J. Campsie Dalglish, of Wandara, Goulburn, New South Wales. Mrs Dalglish- Bellasis is numbered with her husband among the “founders” of the new Cathedral. Her eldest son by her former marriage, Mr Alexander Dalglish, married (1897) Mary Josephine, daughter of the Hon. Joseph and Mrs Maxwell Scott, of Abbotsford, and great-granddaughter of Sir Walter.
What it didn’t throw up immediately was very slight family connections, and more to the point family connections from two very different branches that only became apparent nearly sixty years later. Amongst the mourners are members of the Bowring family, a Miss Lescher, [though which one is unspecified], and of course Mrs Dalglish- Bellasis. Lewin Bowring C.S.I. (son-in-law) is one of the sons of Sir John Bowring, and is a second cousin of Hugh Mulleneux (1841 – 1921)’s wife Fanny. Hugh is Adeline and Joshua Walmsley’s nephew. In one of those pleasing twists of fate, William Dalglish-Bellasis, Lewin Bowring’s brother-in-law turns out to be married to another cousin. In this case his first wife Mary Walmesley , who is completely un-related to Sir Joshua and Adeline Walmsley, but is the grand-daughter of Joseph Francis Lescher (1768 – 1827). He is Harriet Grehan [neé Lescher]’s uncle, and Harriet is of course 3x step-great Granny.
William Garnett was the Tory M.P. fo Lancaster between 1857 and 1864, and the family were Lancashire cotton merchants.
Obituary of Eliza Jane Bellasis, 27 Oct 1898
We regret to have to record the death of Mrs. Eliza Jane Bellasis, widow of Mr. Serjeant Bellasis, on Friday, the 21st inst., at her residence, 22, Prince of Wales -terrace, Kensington, W. The only daughter of William Garnett, of Quernmore Park, Lancaster, and Lark Hill (now Peel Park) Salford, she was born in 1815, and was consequently in her 84th year. She died on the 63rd anniversary of her wedding day, having been married on October 21, 1835, at St. Peter’s Collegiate Church (now Cathedral), Manchester.
After various conferences with Mr. (afterwards Cardinal) Manning, she followed her husband into the Church in 1851, being received by Father James Brownbill, of the Society of Jesus. During her brief last illness she was attended by Dom Sweeney, O.S.B., of Bath, and by her eldest and youngest sons, both priests. The funeral took place on Wednesday last, the 26th inst., at St. Mary Magdalen’s, Mortlake. High Mass of Requiem was sung at 11 a.m, by the Rev. Michael Fanning, Administrator of the Pro-Cathedral, the Rev. Richard Garnett Bellasis assisting as deacon, and the Rev. Henry Lewis Bellasis as sub-deacon. The Rev. Charles Cox conducted the choir ; Dom Sweeney and Father Hogan were also present in the sanctuary, and former acting as master of ceremonies. The mourners were Mr. Edward Bellasis (son), Mrs. Edward Charlton, Mrs. Lewin Bowring, and Miss Clara Bellasis (daughters), Mrs. Dalglish-Bellasis (daughter-in-law), Mr. L. B. Bowring, C.S.I. (son-in-law), Commander Edward F. B. Charlton, R.N., William L. S. Charlton, George V. B. Charlton and Lieutenant Vincent L. Bowring, R.N. (grandsons), Miss Mary T. Bellasis, Miss Elise J. Charlton, and Miss Edith M. Bowring (granddaughters), Mrs. W. J. Palmer (niece), and Messrs. R. Oliver, and C. Oliver (cousins). Among others present were Lady Clifford, Mrs. West, Miss O’Donnell, Mrs. Barry Farrell, Miss Lescher, and Mr. E. R. Crump. Mr. Dalglish-Bellasis was unable to be present owing to indisposition.
The Rev. Father William Kerr, S.J., said a few words at the close of the Mass, taking for his text : ” Thou bast loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. “ The first thing that it occurred to him to say with regard to the excellent woman whose loss they deplored, was that hers had been a happy life and he for one could not grieve over so happy a death. God led souls to Him in divers ways. It was her lot to be blessed in her saintly husband, blessed in her family (no less than five of whom were in religion). Not that she never suffered. None could know what interior trials those whom the Lord loved underwent. It was suffering (the loss of a child) that led her and her husband into the church. Both had sprung from Protestant families in the North, of the old school, with no leanings to Catholicism, but with prejudices against it. Yet once a Catholic how zealous was she, as well as her husband, for Catholic interests. In season, and (one might almost say) out of season, she was the valiant woman, ever active in dissipating error and falsehood about the Church. Yet she could show herself the good Catholic she was without offence to those without the fold. A woman impatient of wrong-doing and sayings full of charity and alms deeds, one who did her duty lovingly and bravely in that station of life to which she was called, she aimed, as she told the Benedictine Father who knew her well in her later years, at making Almighty God the centre of all her actions.
And for 25 years a widow, she remained to the last the living centre of her family ; to her latest hour she was unselfish, and she thought of others rather than of herself. Her natural gifts and acquirements insured for her a wide influence beyond the circle of her home. That home his own parents had known and loved, and so he thought he had some sort of right to speak about her now that she was gone. What such a loss was he knew by experience, and he could confidently tell them that mourned that day what he had found in his own case, that very soon their sorrow would pass, and their joy remain. Joy was the key-note of her life, and they would meet her again joyfully, if they were worthy, ” among the spirits of the just made perfect. “ R.I.P.
The above text was found on p.27, 29th October 1898 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .
For about ten years from the late 1850’s the Walmsley family had moved from London to the rather leafier surrounds of what they called Wolverton House [now Wolverton Park] in Hampshire.
The present house is a two-storey Georgian building faced in ashlar. The entrance was originally on what is now the garden side, and has seven bays, a balustraded parapet, an Ionic porch with coupled columns, and slightly lower recessed wings. On the present entrance front the centre is of five bays and the wings run forward to embrace an entrance court. The house perhaps took its present form after it was acquired by the 1st Duke of Wellington in 1837, but the core is probably 18th century. It was perhaps built for Sir Charles van Notten Pole, although it could be earlier; the wings are additions of the 1820s.
Inside, the house has a two-storey entrance hall with a cantilevered staircase rising, as a result of the reorientation of the house, from just inside the front door.
There is also an exceptionally handsome drawing room with simple plasterwork and a fine marble chimneypiece.
This is an ancient site: there was a royal deer park here in the 12th century, which was granted in 1215 by King John to Peter FitzHerbert, whose descendants owned it until the 15th century. The parish church, which stands above the park, was rebuilt in 1717 in classical style, and the park was landscaped in the 18th century. By 1810 there was a folly summerhouse with a spire in a plantation in the park.
Descent: Thomas Dyneley (d. 1502); to widow, Philippa for life and then to daughter Elizabeth, wife of George Barrett (d. 1525) and later of Sir John Baker, kt.; to son, Edward Barrett (d. 1586); to grandson, Edward Barrett (d. 1644), 1st Lord Newburgh of Fife; sold by the trustees of his will to George Browne (fl. 1661-69); to son, Sir George Browne; to daughter, Elizabeth (1671-88), wife of Sir Jemmett Raymond; to son, Jemmett Raymond (1688-c.1772); to second cousin, Dame Elizabeth Worsley (d. 1774); to son, Edward Meux-Worsley of Gatcombe House (IoW), who sold 1782 to Sir Charles van Notten (later van Notten Pole), 1st bt. (d. 1813); to son, Sir Peter Pole, 2nd bt. (1770-1850), who sold 1837 to Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), 1st Duke of Wellington; to son, Arthur Richard Wellesley (1807-84), 2nd Duke of Wellington; to nephew, Henry Wellesley (1846-1900), 3rd Duke of Wellington; to brother, Arthur Charles Wellesley (1849-1934), 4th Duke of Wellington; to son, Arthur Charles Wellesley (1876-1941), 5th Duke of Wellington; to son, Henry Valerian George Wellesley (1912-43), 6th Duke of Wellington; sold 1943 to Mrs H. Andreae of Moundsmere Manor; sold 1959 to Thomas Sidney Hohler (later Astell Hohler) (1919-89); to daughter, Isabelle (b. 1955), wife of Martin Sereld Victor Gilbert Hay (b. 1948), 24th Earl of Erroll. The house was leased by the Dukes of Wellington (tenants included Wallace James Walker) and is leased today.
Josh and Adeline were leasing the house from the 2nd Duke of Wellington. In the 1861 census, Josh describes himself as ” Knight, J.P. “ and Adeline’s occupation was given as ” Lady “. There were three children there, James, aged 34, and Emily, 30, and Adah, aged 21. The household comprised of the family, plus the cook, Maria Butts (60), three housemaids, and three male servants. Richard Pratt, the butler was only twenty-four, Tommy Smith was a sixteen year-old house boy, and Charlie Jacob, the groom was twenty.
Tracing the family over the twenty year period from the 1851 census through to the 1871 census, Maria Butts is the only servant who stays with them for more than ten years. She shows up as the cook at Wolverton Park, and then ten years later she is the housekeeper at Hume Towers in Bournemouth.
This is probably a good point to pause the Walmsley stories. Josh’s biography has come to an end. There is an up-dated version of the children of Joshua Walmsley posted fairly recently. If you haven’t seen it, it’s here. The only remaining thing to do is some faces to put to the names. By rights there should be at least one portrait of Adeline, and probably more of the girls, but they have yet to be unearthed.
This is from March 1867, Josh was seventy three at the time, and it was ten years since he had been defeated in the General Election of 1857. Entertainingly, St Martin’s Hall had been the venue for the First International of the International Workingmen’s Association three years earlier attended by Karl Marx. The hall had a 500 seat lecture theatre, and a 3,000 seat main hall. It was on Long Acre, in Convent Garden.
The annual meeting of the National Sunday League was held last evening at St. Martin’s Hall, Sir Joshua Walmsley in the chair. The chairman having briefly addressed the meeting congratulating it on the success which had attended the movement, the secretary read the report for the past twelve months, which stated that during the year the organization of the League was consolidated, and its internal arrangements considerably modified to meet the requirements of the members. Parliament would shortly be called upon to consider the laws which now denied to the masses rational freedom and recreation on Sunday. In the Spring on two Sundays, the Council invited Crystal Palace shareholders to spend social and recreative afternoons with them at the Crystal Palace, and on each occasion 600 were present. Discourses on Egypt, Pompeii, the extinct animals, &c., were delivered by various friends, and the resources of the Palace and grounds fully availed of for the purposes of instruction. Tho public notice taken of those Sunday meetings by the press was followed by a Sabbatarian memorial to the directors for the suppression of the practice, but their efforts had been defeated by the decisive resolution of tho Board.
The Sunday bands in the parks had proved as popular as hitherto. The Church Congresses at York and Rochester had given striking proofs that the more liberal-minded among the clergy were determined that puritanical views should not any longer sever the people from the Church. The Rev. Newman Hall, Mr.Samuel Morley, and others had expressed views considerably in advance for liberty and toleration of the policy hitherto experienced from the party to which they belonged.
Ten Sunday evening meetings had been held at St. Martin’s Hall, which had been conducted by an association distinct from the League. Mr. Baxter, the chairman of the Lord’s Day’s Society, had instituted a prosecution against the lessee of St. Martin’s Hall for permitting that institution being used for popular Sunday services. Sir Thomas Henry had, however, left the trying of the question on its real issue to a superior court. The Press had spoken out fearlessly on the opening of museums and providing rational recreation for the people. It had been said that the League was in favour of Sunday trading. Such was not the case, but at the same time it was necessary that ” some must work that all may rest.” The primary object of the League was to open national museums and galleries, and the opportunity for action, which must come before long, would no doubt find a Council as ready as that which had acted during tho past twelvemonths. The chairman moved the adoption of the report, which was seconded by Sir John Bowring, and carried unanimously. Addresses were then delivered by Mr. Baxter Langley, and others, and the meeting terminated after a vote of thanks had been accorded to Sir Joshua Walmsley for his dignified conduct in the chair.
The above text was from the Times, Friday March 22, 1867. p.12.
CHAPTER XXVIII. This chapter covers fourteen years from 1857 until 1871. As usual with Uncle Hugh, it is more political than personal, though the letters quoted in this chapter are more two old friends commentating on politics, and rather softer in tone. The whole chapter does have a rather valedictory tone.
For most of this time Josh and Adeline had retired to Wolverton Park, in Hampshire, a rather grand house they rented from the 2nd Duke of Wellington. In the 1861 census, Josh describes himself as ” Knight, J.P. and Adeline’s occupation was given as “Lady” There were three children there James, aged 34 and Emily, 30 and Adah, aged 21. The household comprised of the family, plus the cook Maria Butts (60), three housemaids, and three male servants. Richard Pratt, the butler was only twenty-four, Tommy Smith was a sixteen year-old house boy, and Charlie Jacob, the groom was twenty.
Thomas Milner Gibson, the Anti-Corn-Law Leaguer defeated in Manchester had won a by-election in Ashton-under-Lyne on 14th December 1857. He was the maternal great-grandfather of the Mitford sisters, through Thomas Gibson Bowles, the illegitimate son he had with a servant girl. Tommy Bowles founded both Vanity Fair, and The Lady.
The assassination attempt on Napoléon III referred to was planned and carried out by Felice Orsini who Josh had met at the American Ambassador’s dinner in 1854. Rather splendidly, his bombs were made for him by Joseph Taylor, an English gunmaker based in Birmingham.
When Parliament again assembled, every vestige of the Anti-Corn-Law League had disappeared from the benches of the House. Mr. Cobden, Mr. Bright, Mr. Fox, Mr. Milner Gibson, and Sir Joshua Walmsley had been unseated. Meetings were held to express sympathy with them. ” I had previously determined,” writes Sir Joshua, “ That if defeated at Leicester, I would retire into private life ; and despite several requisitions to represent constituencies, I adhered to this resolution. “ The session of 1857 closed without any Reform Bill being brought before the House.
Mr. Cobden, writing from Midhurst, 18th July, says: ” Looking at the servility of the House of Commons, and the absence of all earnestness in politics, I think we have no reason to be dissatisfied with our bargain — free air and exercise in place of being in a committee-room at Westminster. ”
The news of the attempt of the 16th January [it was actually the 14th January 1858]on the French Emperor’s life, had been received with reprobation by all classes throughout England ; but an official despatch from Count Walewski, accusing England of fostering crime and of erecting assassination into a doctrine, evoked a different feeling. Leaving unanswered and unnoticed Walewski’s despatch, Lord Palmerston, on the 8th February, moved for an alteration of the ” Conspiracy to Murder Bill. “ This brought on protest upon protest, against England altering her domestic laws at the dictation of a foreign power.
On the 19th, Lord Palmerston moved the second reading of his bill. Mr. Milner Gibson proposed an amendment, censuring Government for not having replied to the Walewski note, and his amendment was carried.
Before this vote of censure the Ministers retired, and Lord Derby came into office. The attacks of the French Colonels following closely on all this, roused public indignation to a high pitch. Mr. Cobden’s ideas on this subject are expressed in the following letter, dated 21st April, 1858 :
” Dear Sir Joshua,
” It was very kind of you to think of me. Your letter found us in great trouble. My poor brother, as you know, a sufferer from nervous pains. has been taken to his rest. The last two weeks were awful. It seemed as if the disease had seized suddenly on the spinal cord and moved slowly upwards, torturing him to death by inches. He underwent, for a fortnight almost, one continued paroxysm of agony. We could not witness it without praying God to release him and take him to Himself But I do not the less feel the void which his loss has occasioned. He was little known beyond his own family circle. His shyness and modesty prevented him from mixing in society. But he had a rare intelligence, and a memory so extraordinary, that I used to resort to it as to an encyclopaedia. I feel as if the daylight were partially withdrawn from my house. . . . “
” We shall, of course, be very quiet, and I do not feel any call at present to interfere in politics. I never saw so little above the political horizon worth fighting about. When the struggle is between Dizzy and Sam, earnest politicians may be excused for standing aside and taking a holiday. I quite agree with you about the scandalous tone of our papers respecting the state of France. But the worst part of the business is, that they are evidently bent on making bad blood between the two nations, for the sake of political capital. The Times, Economist, &c., only discovered those dangers and discontents in France after Palmerston’s downfall. “
” They want now to make it appear that his return to power is necessary for the French alliance, forgetting that he alone was the cause of the popular outcry in Hyde Park, against France and the Conspiracy Bill. The fact is, he wished to divert the attention of the House and country from domestic questions, and therefore he brought in that bill. A wise and honest minister would have prevented any public discussion on such a subject, by settling it privately, and showing to the French Government that it was unwise to moot it publicly, and thus rouse the well- known jealousy and pugnacity of our countrymen. But he was ‘ hoist with his own petard,’ and I hope he will not again intrigue himself into office. …”
But few letters remain now to be quoted of the correspondence extending over so many years between the two political allies and friends. An interval of nearly three years occurs before we find Mr. Cobden’s next letter, addressed to Sir Joshua in his retreat at Wolverton Park.
It is dated Algiers, where, after negotiating the Commercial Treaty with France, Mr. Cobden had gone to recruit his health, already impaired by the fatal malady that was too soon to rob England of his eminent services. From it we give the following extract ;
” 9th March, 1861.
“I am sorry to see your brief allusion to the unfavourable state of your health. I hope it is but a slight and temporary indisposition. For myself, though every year reminds me that I have passed my meridian, I have reason to be thankful for having come here for the winter, where the weather has been exceptionally fine, as it has been unusually severe in England. If you find your respiratory organs affected, you would find great benefit from a winter residence here. The hotels and lodgings are all full of visitors, the majority of whom are of course British. I intend to remain here till the end of this month. “
” The state of politics and the proceedings in the House offer but small temptations to return to one’s post — you have certainly the best of it in your rural retreats. In a letter which I got lately from Bright, he observes : ‘ What sensible fellows are Crook and Titus Salt to return to the care of their businesses and families. The worst feature in public matters is the apathy and indifference of people to domestic questions. It seems as if we had become blases by the excitement of foreign revolutions and wars, and had no longer any appetite for home politics. It will be well for us if material reverses recall us to a sense of what is due to ourselves. “
“It will give us pleasure when we again find ourselves at home (where I have scarcely found myself for two years), and renew our personal intercourse with your family. In the meantime, my wife joins me in kind regards to Lady Walmsley and all your circle, and I remain, “
” Very truly yours,
” R. COBDEN. ”
Two letters belong to the year 1864. We give them in their order :
” Midhurst, 6th March, 1864.
“My dear Walmsley,
“The two little pigs have duly reached, and promise to be a good addition to our Sussex stock ; many thanks for them. “
“Perhaps you have already seen the enclosed; if not, you will be glad to see that our friend Kossuth has just had a legacy of a thousand pounds, which I have no doubt will be just now very acceptable to him. By-the-way, I hear that the Hungarian refugees are beginning to turn their faces homewards, that Klapka is already at Turin, where there is said to be a plot hatching, and that unless Austria is as usual very lucky, she will have more fighting in the Adriatic than in the Baltic, and with worse results. It seems as if there would be a general commotion in the East of Europe, but wars and revolutions sometimes fail to come when they are most expected. “
“ I am going to town on Tuesday for a week or ten days before the Easter recess. But I really cannot help considering it an ignominious employment of one’s time to be a party to the hollow proceedings in the House. “
“With our united kindest regards to Lady Walmsley and your circle,
” Believe me, yours very truly,
“ R. COBDEN.
” If you should have Stephenson’s portrait photographed, I hope you will let me have a copy. ”
” At Mr. Paulton’s, 15, Cleveland Square,
11th March, 1864.
“My dear Walmsley,
” I have been amused by the article in The Standard. It is the first I have heard of my promotion. But there is, of course, not the slightest foundation for the report. I could not undertake any post requiring me to work in the City in the winter time. During the frost and fog of that season, I cannot breathe in the London air. I am strangely affected with a sort of asthma in certain states of the atmosphere. Since I have been in town, the weather has been so bad that I have not been down to the House once. No other medicine suits me but the thermometer at 70c. “
” Respecting the engraving or lithographing of my likeness, to which you kindly refer, I really do not know where it originally appeared, whether in London or Manchester. “
“ The proceedings of the House are dull beyond all example. There will be nothing done till Gladstone brings in his Budget. If the Tories were united and willing, they might have office at any time. But it looks as if the two chiefs had a tacit compact, by which it was understood that there is to be no change during the natural life of the Parliament or of the Premier. “
” I find Mr. and Mrs. Paulton very well, and Hargraves has got over the winter better than last year. They are looking to a migration to their country-place in the summer in the neighbourhood of Woking. My wife is here ; she joins me in kind remembrance to Lady Walmsley and your circle.
” Believe me, yours truly,
” R. COBDEN. ”
Death was soon now to sunder this friendship of thirty years, ” on whose surface,” says Sir Joshua, ”there was not a flaw. I think I possess Cobden’s last, or very nearly his last, letter. “ It runs thus :
” Midhurst, 18th March, 1865.
” My dear Walmsley
“ It was very kind of you to think of me with your prescription, which I have no doubt, in a given case, would be very useful. My throat trouble has, however, been somewhat peculiar. I have had what doctors call nervous asthma, which affects me only when the weather is cold or foggy. I am now pretty well, and am only waiting for fine weather to resume my duties in town. I hope in a few days to be able to leave home. There is some difficulty in knowing what one is to go to the House for at present. I confess I feel very little pride or satisfaction in lending myself as a witness to the hollow sham that is going on there. I suppose you will be paying your periodical visit to London. If so, I shall be happy to shake hands with you. My wife joins in kind regards to Lady Walmsley and your circle, and,
“ Believe me, yours very truly,
” R. COBDEN. ”
But this hand-grasp was never to be given. Mr. Cobden, confined to the house since November by bronchitis, brought on by the exertion of a long speech delivered in an overheated hall to his constituents, was in no fit state to undertake a journey up to London in the bitter cold of that spring. Three days after the date of the foregoing letter, on the 21st March, he came up to town, intending to take part in the debate on the Canadian defences. Bronchitis had seized him ere he reached his journey’s end. He was at once conveyed to his lodgings in Charles Street, where he died on the 2nd of April.
Our narrative now draws to a close. When Sir Joshua lost his seat in the electoral contest of 1857 he determined to retire from public life. ” My political career was now over, “ he says. ” I was fifty-six years of age when I entered Parliament. I could not at that late period acquire the facility of quick debate— so important to a public man, and which can be successfully cultivated only in the flexible years of youth — but I was up to the toil and drudgery such a life imposes upon whoever conscientiously enters into it. Whenever I addressed the House, I invariably obtained a patient hearing, for I was careful always to master the subject upon which I spoke. ”
After his eventful life, he was now entitled to allow himself a margin of rest. He took the lease of Wolverton Park, Hants, part of the estate presented by the nation to the Duke of Wellington. In this beautiful retreat, hedged round by friends, and ever exercising a genial, courteous hospitality, he spent some happy years. Horticultural pursuits and field sports had still the charm they had in the old days at Ranton Abbey. Nor was he forgotten by the nation. Requisitions from Liberal constituencies, inviting him to come forward and stand for their representation in Parliament, were on various occasions addressed to him. But he was firm in his resolution not again to enter the House of Commons as a member of its body.
Yet he watched with unflagging interest the progress of Reform, contributing articles in its support to The Daily News and other Liberal journals. Almost to the end, he kept up his connection with the Sunday League, remaining its president until within a few years of his death. To the last he was what he had always been — a man of the people ; from the people he sprang, and with them ran the strong current of his manly, generous sympathies. It was this sense of fellowship that led his voice and hand to be ever among the foremost of his day, in advancing every question and cause that involved their true interest and welfare.
In 1870, Sir Joshua removed to Bournemouth. Some time previously he had decided to build a house on an elevated stretch of moorland, and to end his days in this beautiful watering-place. His unabated mental and physical energy seemed to give assurance that he had yet many years to live, and he himself looked forward to a good old age. The building of the house and the laying out of his grounds were a source of much interest and pleasure to him. One day, before the building was completed, he gave the house its name. A few friends were assembled, when, raising a glass of wine to his lips, Sir Joshua gave : ” To the memory of my old friend, Joseph Hume, “ and accordingly the house was called ” Hume Towers. ”
The hope of spending some years in active rural enjoyment was not destined to be realised. In November, 1871, he died, after a brief illness. His widow survived him till September, 1873.
And now we cannot better wind up these memoirs than by quoting the touching words in which Sir Joshua describes what he owed to Lady Walmsley’s influence through life: ” My wife’s mild and gentle spirit, “ he says, ” constrained and tempered mine. Endowed with talent and excellent judgment, the advice she gave me in business, as well as in domestic matters, was in a great measure the source of my prosperity. I feel that but for her soothing influence and high standard of right, I might have gone sorely astray in the battle of life. She has indeed been to me all that woman could be. How much have I to be grateful for to Him who gave and has continued to me so good a helpmate. ”