Grehan of Mount Plunkett. – from Burke’s Landed Gentry [London 1871] with additions

The irony of this entry isn’t mentioned. 2,745 acres were advertised advertised for sale under a bankruptcy proceeding in January 1870, with part re-advertised in May 1870. So sadly, by the time the fourth edition of Burke’s Landed Gentry came out, the gent was landed no longer !

Grehan of Mount Plunkett. from Burke’s Landed Gentry (1871)

Grehan Patrick, esq. of Mount Plunkett and St John’s co Roscommon, J.P., b 21 March 1818; m. 4 April 1842, Frances, eldest dau. of the late John Pitchford, esq. of Norwich, a descendant of the old family of Pitchford of Shropshire, and has issue,

  1. Wilfrid b. 6 Aug 1848
  2. Charles b. Nov 1850
  3. Gerard b. May 1852
  4. Francis b. Oct 1855
  1. Mary O’Conor Graham 
  2. Alice
  3. Louisa 
  4. Clare
  5. Agnes 

Lineage – The family of Grehan claims descent from the Grahams of Montrose, and tradition narrates that its ancestor, escaping from the persecutions in Scotland, fled to Ireland and changed his name to Grehan.

The present Stephan Grehan, esq. of Rutland Square, Dublin succeeded by the recent death of his cousin Major Grehan, s.p. to the representation of the Grehan family. His cousin, 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

Clonmeen Lodge

So that’s what Bernard Burke has to say; the reference to Stephan Grehan ([1776] – 1871) is slightly confusing, particularly in regard to “succeeded by the recent death of his cousin Major Grehan, s.p. to the representation of the Grehan family”. This branch of the Grehan family are the Grehans of Clonmeen, in co. Cork, and the elder Stephan Grehan really did live until 95. This branch of the family were rather better at holding on to their land than Uncle Patrick. They descend from Peter Grehan, Patrick Grehan Senior’s eldest brother, and his wife Mary Roche. Her brother John Roche married Mary Grehan, their sister. Stephan Grehan ([1776] – 1871) succeeded his father Peter, and was the principal beneficiary of his uncle John Roche. John Roche’s legacy brought Clonmeen into the family, and they successfully held onto it for roughly the next one hundred and fifty years. The family sold Clonmeen in 1975, and the estate and family papers are now in the Boole Library, University College, Cork. At its height in the 1870’s the estate amounted to 7,000 acres [approximately 11 sq. miles]  in co. Cork

There are three Patrick Grehans in this post, I am going to use  suffixes to distinguish between them.  The suffix was not used by them and does not appear in any records. Patrick Grehan III  is Celia O’Bryen’s brother, and so a great, great, great uncle. He was the son of Patrick Grehan Junior (1791 – 1853), grandson of Patrick Grehan Senior (1758 – 1832),  and  Thady Grehan’s (c.1726 – 1792) great grandson. But this post is principally about Uncle Patrick.

St Leonards Bromley-by-Bow

He was born  in Ireland in 1818, and died 1877 in Hampstead.  He married Fanny (Frances Susan) Pitchford in 1842 in Poplar, [probably the parish of St Leonard, Bromley (not the South London one)] London.  She was born 1821 in Stratford, (the Olympics one, not the Shakespeare one) then in Essex, and died 1893 in Hampstead. 

I’ve struggled with whether the Grehans regarded themselves as Irish, or English, or British. In all probability, it’s a mixture of all three, with further shading done with a mixture of class, and religion. The family is fairly mobile, moving between Ireland , and England, and a substantial part of Patrick Grehan III’s early life seems to have been in England, though he was born in Ireland. He is the eldest of the three children of Patrick Grehan Junior by his first wife Catherine Meecham.

    1. Patrick III (born 21 Mar 1818)
    2. Joseph Maunsell (born about 1829)
    3. Celia Mary (born about 1831)

Patrick was born in Ireland, Maunsell in “foreign parts” according to the 1841 census, and Celia in Preston. Initially, it all seems rather peculiar. But as both Patrick, and Maunsell went to Stonyhurst; and Patrick was there between September 1830 and July 1836, it would help explain Celia’s birth in Preston, nearby.

Stonyhurst College

So far, it’s relatively uncomplicated. We have an affluent Anglo/Irish family sending their sons to the oldest Catholic boys school in England. Stonyhurst had started as the Jesuit College at St Omer in what was then the Spanish Low Countries in 1593, moving to Bruges in 1762, then to Liège in 1773, and finally moving to Lancashire in 1794.  Patrick Grehan III was following a family tradition, his father and both uncles went to Stonyhurst soon after it moved to England. Their cousin Stephan Grehan was one of the last pupils to have studied in France, the school being forced to move because of the French Revolution. The tradition continued in the family, with some of Patrick Grehan Junior’s sons, grandsons, great grandsons, and great great grandsons all attending as well.

In 1841, the Grehans were living at Furze Hall, in Fryerning, Essex, where we find Patrick Grehan Junior aged fifty, his wife Harriet, and ten year old Celia, four year old Ignatius,[his only child with his second wife Harriet (nee Lescher)] and four servants. Patrick Grehan Junior had married Harriet Lescher as his second wife, in Brighton in 1836. It was the start of a long inter-linking between the Grehan and Lescher families.

Two Lescher brothers, Joseph Francis, and William had emigrated from Kertzfeld, in Alsace by 1778, eleven years before the fall of the Bastille. The two brothers became partners in a starch factory.  Joseph purchased the estate of Boyles Court in Essex in 1826, but William remained in London, in Bromley, East London where he had married in 1798. The two households are about twenty miles apart.  Boyles Court, is still in the countryside just outside  Brentwood, and just outside the M25. It’s about four miles west of the Petre family at Thorndon Hall, and about ten miles from Furze Hall.

According to “the Life of Sister Mary of Saint Philip” (Fanny Lescher). “William Lescher’s youngest sister Harriet had married Patrick Grehan of Worth Hall. Her stepson, Patrick Grehan, married Fanny Pitchford in 1842, and the young couple made their home at “ The Furze ” at Southweald in Essex, near Boyles Court. In this same year, Fanny Lescher made her social debut at the wedding of another cousin, Eleanor Walmesley, who married Lord Petre’s second son.”

It all gets massively intertwined at this point. But to try to put it as simply as possible. Patrick Grehan Junior married twice, first to Catherine Meecham in 1817, and then, after she died to Harriet Lescher in 1836. The relatively straightforward statement  “Her stepson, Patrick Grehan, married Fanny Pitchford” should also include the fact that Fanny Pitchford is also Harriet’s great niece. William and Harriet’s mother was Mary Ann Copp (1775 –1858), and her elder sister, the splendidly named Cleopha Copp had married John Nyren (1764 -1837). He was a first-class cricketer, and the author of  “The Young Cricketer’s Tutor, comprising full directions for playing the elegant and manly game of cricket, with a complete version of its laws and regulations, by John Nyren; a Player in the celebrated Old Hambledon Club and in the Mary-le-Bone Club.” published in 1833 which was one of the first published Laws of cricket. Their daughter Susan Nyren married John Pitchford (1772 c.-1839) who was a chemist, and political radical  in Norwich. He had also been educated by the Jesuits in St Omer.

So radical, and Catholic; it’s a combustable mixture at a time when both were regarded with suspicion.  Paddy and Fanny were marrying only seven years after the Marriage Act of 1836 had been passed, allowing Catholics to legally marry in Catholic churches; and Catholics in public life were regarded suspiciously up to, and beyond, the turn of the C19th.

It’s not entirely clear whether the newly-weds lived with his father, and step-mother at Furze Hall, or whether Patrick and Harriet had moved. They later lived for a time at his brother’s house, Worth Hall, in Sussex. But certainly in 1841, various sides of the family were in very close proximity. Two of Harriet Grehan’s nephews, Edward and William Lescher were at Stonyhurst, as was her step-son Joseph Maunsell Grehan. All are clearly visible on the census return that year.

“The Grehans left Southweald, in Essex, in the autumn of 1847 to fix their home at Mount Plunket in County Roscommon..” according to the Life of Sister Mary of Saint Philip (Fanny Lescher).  It’s an extraordinary time to move to a poor, rural, part of Ireland. It’s the height of the Famine, in one of the areas that suffered most. They lived at Mountplunkett, Roscommon, Ireland, in the 1850s; leased by Patrick III in 1847 and then bought by him in 1851.  In the 1850s Patrick Grehan III also held lands in the parishes of Killinvoy and St Johns,  co. Roscommon, which he had inherited  via his maternal grandmother,  Catherine Hodson, who was the co-heiress of William Hodson, Lord of the Manor of St. John’s, co. Roscommon.

Patrick Grehan Junior died in Clifton, Bristol,in 1852,  and his will was proved in  London on the 24th March 1853, where Patrick III was the residual legatee. He had previously been left £ 1,000 in his grandfather Patrick Grehan Senior’s will, and received that in 1832.

Patrick Grehan III claimed descent from Rory O’More of Leix, and Thomas, 3rd son of Pierce, 8th Earl of Ormonde, via his paternal grandmother Judith Moore.  As a result, Patrick III was granted Arms in 1863 that included those from St. John’s and quartered O’More of Leix and Butler of Ormonde. There 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

In January 1870 the Estate of Patrick Grehan III amounting to 2,745 acres in the baronies of Athlone, Ballintober, Ballymoe and Castlerea was advertised for sale under a bankruptcy proceeding. The Mountplunkett estate and the part of South Park Demesne in the barony of Castlereagh were re-advertised in May 1870. The Irish Times reported that these lots were sold to Rev. W. West and Owen O’Connor. 

Patrick Grehan III died in Hampstead, in early 1877, at almost the same time as his step-mother Harriet Grehan. This seems to have been at the house of Frank Harwood Lescher [Harriett’s nephew and  Patrick Grehan III’s son-in -law]  Mary O’Conor Graham Grehan [Patrick Grehan III’s daughter] had married her cousin Frank Harwood Lescher [Harriett’s nephew] in 1873.

Link to BLG 1871: http://tinyurl.com/pqu2tuj

Link to Wikipedia for Piers Butler: http://tinyurl.com/nurhox8

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