Catholics and the law of marriage before 1836

bordeaux-bridge
Bridge over the River Garonne in Bordeaux

There are a couple of peculiar entries in a family bible that belonged to John Roche O’Bryen, and subsequently his son Alfred, and then grand-son Bob.  

“John Roche O’Bryen & Eliza his wife (born Henderson July 27th 1805) married Decr 25/32 Janr th 7th /33 by Protestant Curate at Bordeaux” and also in a second entry  on “December 25th 1832 & again (according to the rights of the Protestant Faith) at the British consulate Chapel   Bordeaux  January  7th  1833.”

This has always been intriguing right from the start. All in all, it’s a bit of a dog’s breakfast. The double ceremony is odd, but, as seen below, for a Catholic marriage to be valid under English law before 1836, it had to be performed by an Anglican clergyman. Canonically, in the eyes of the Church, the first, presumably, Catholic marriage is fine. The second Anglican ceremony would provide the legal certainty of a marriage that would be accepted under both English, and Irish law. Ironically, because there is no evidence of a French civil marriage, neither of the marriages were legal in France

The following from the UK Parliament website sets out the state of English Catholic marriages in 1832- 1833.

Until the middle of the 18th century marriages could take place anywhere provided they were conducted before an ordained clergyman of the Church of England. This encouraged the practice of secret marriages which did not have parental consent and which were often bigamous. It also allowed couples, particularly those of wealthy background, to marry while at least one of the partners was under age. The trade in these irregular marriages had grown enormously in London by the 1740s.

1st_earl_of_hardwicke_1690-1764_by_william_hoare_of_bath
Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke 1690-1764

In 1753, however, the Marriage Act, promoted by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Hardwicke, declared that all marriage ceremonies must be conducted by a minister in a parish church or chapel of the Church of England to be legally binding. No marriage of a person under the age of 21 was valid without the consent of parents or guardians. Clergymen who disobeyed the law were liable for 14 years transportation.Although Jews and Quakers were exempted from the 1753 Act, it required religious non-conformists and Catholics to be married in Anglican churches.

Hardwick’s Marriage Act 1753 (‘The Act’) applied only to England & Wales and came into force in 1754. Scotland and the Channel Islands were exempt from the legislation. Under Hardwick’s Act, banns were made compulsory and licences were only valid for a specific church. Hardwick’s Act also declared that only marriages held at approved places (i.e. Anglican, Jewish or Quaker churches) were legal. This was a big change as previously couples who made a vow before witnesses, who lived together and who had children were recognised by the church and law as being ‘married’. In order to legalise their marriage, some couples married again in an Anglican church, having first married in a non-conformist chapel. Marriage by other denominations, (i.e. Roman Catholic and Non-Conformist) wasn’t legalised until 1836.

This restriction was eventually removed by Parliament in the Marriage Act of 1836 which allowed non-conformists and Catholics to be married in their own places of worship. The Marriage Act 1836 allowed for non-conformists and Catholics to marry in their own place of worship, ie. chapels and Roman Catholic churches.

The provisions introduced in England and Wales empowered the Established Church to register the marriages but marriages in other churches were to be registered by a civil registrar. In Ireland the Roman Catholic Church was concerned that this latter requirement might detract from the religious nature of the marriage ceremony. Consequently, provisions were not introduced by the government there until 1845 to enable the registration of non Catholic marriages and for the appointment of registrars who were also given the power to solemnise marriages by civil contract. Ireland had legalised exclusively Catholic to Catholic marriages in the late C18th, but the penalties for marrying a mixed Catholic/Protestant couple were extreme to put it mildly.

The death penalty and a large fine were still on the Statute Books in 1830.  In a House of Commons debate on the 4th May 1830, Daniel O’Connell tried to change things: [HC Deb 04 May 1830 vol 24 cc396-401] It was one of the first things he raised, having taken his seat as the first Catholic M.P. since the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 which allowed Catholic M.P.s

The Pauline Roche case – JR’s reply

The Pauline Roche story seems to have been very popular. This is a transcript of the very lengthy letter that John Roche O’Bryen wrote to his local paper “The Bristol Mercury and Western Counties Advertiser” on the 29th December 1855, giving his side of the story.

It is quite clearly carefully planned, and done with the support of the editor of the Bristol Mercury. The italics for inference are printed in the paper, so it is definitely planned with some care, and not just a letter to the editor.

It’s also a classic example of bad PR probably making things worse. In a taster of things to come, JROB starts his letter with the Latin tag “Audi alterum partem” best translated as “let the other side be heard as well”, and finishes with “Fiat Justitia, ruat caelum”  – “Let justice be done though the heavens fall”. This was most famously used by Lord Mansfield in 1772 in the first major English case on the legality of slavery. He was against.

So pompous, self-serving, and an astonishing attack in print on a teenager from a forty five year old doctor. Quite why he chose to go public when he did is not entirely clear, but it seems to be provoked by a decision by “the Court of the Corporation of the Poor” [they ran the Bristol workhouse]. I assume they had made the decision to remove JR as one of the guardians, but as yet I have no evidence to support that.

To be fair to JR, the Master of the Rolls who heard the case was Sir Thomas Berry Cusack-Smith (1795–1866), who does appear to be faintly bonkers. He was the Attorney-General who prosecuted Daniel O’Connell in 1844 on charges of conspiracy, sedition, and unlawful assembly. During the course of that trial he challenged one of the opposing counsel, Gerald Fitzgibbon, to a duel.

This is JR’s letter in full:

THE BRISTOL MERCURY, AND WESTERN COUNTIES ADVERTISER, SATURDAY DECEMBER 29 1855

DR. O’BRYEN AND THE CORPORATION OF THE POOR

Audi alterum partem,

To the Editor of The Bristol Mercury

SIR – I need make no apology for asking your indulgence to enable me to defend myself by bringing before the public such explanation as I can offer of certain expressions that fell from the Irish Master of the Rolls when called on to settle a mere matter of costs. What purported to be his language appeared in your paper of the 22nd of June last. The course the Court of the Corporation of the Poor have thought proper to adopt, at their meeting of the 11th instant, obliges me, most reluctantly, to re-open a matter I had rather forgotten, not that I feel at all conscious of having done wrong, for, were it so, I would not now ask a hearing. The manifestly partial and one-sided import of the words used by the Master of the Rolls, it was considered, would be their own antidote, for all who knew me in private life were aware how unfounded such “surmises” and “inferences” as he thought it not beneath him to indulge in, were in fact. For this, amongst several other valid reasons, not adverse to myself, which I cannot publish, my friends advised me to let the matter rest, and I now regret that I permitted myself to be prevailed on to leave the matter to public opinion, which, it was alleged, would not fail to discern the ex parte nature of his language, and judge accordingly, instead of at once showing (at all risks) how entirely at variance it was with the judgement of the Master in Chancery, to which no exceptions were taken.

Before entering into the merits of this case, or making any justifications of my conduct, three points of special difficulty must be borne in mind: –

1st – By the manner of proceeding in the court of Chancery, charges to any amount, in number and gravity, may be made at pleasure, without regard to their truth or application, and I was called on to prove a negative, and that extending over a period of 18 years, not even illustrated by dates, to a long list of charges so got up.

2nd – I laboured under the great and irremediable disadvantage of the absence of the most important, I might almost say the only, witness capable of directly answering who had lived with me for eight years: she had left and gone on the Continent, to a situation, some time previously. The rules of the Court require all testimony to be sworn before a Master Extraordinary of that Court. None such being on the Continent, I was deprived of her evidence; my children at home were very young, the others were on the Continent at school, under age, and therefore inadmissible. Hence, to prove the negative, I was compelled to rely on my own and my wife’s evidence, that of any servant I could find who had lived with us during that period, and the very few visitors and friends who knew our private household life sufficiently well (and all know how few such can exist) to be able to speak to the untruth of one or more of these charges.

3rd – I have now, in addition, to contend with the “surmises” and “inferences” which the Irish Master of the Rolls thought proper to indulge in when called on to settle a mere matter of costs.

The Minor, Miss Roche, made certain complaints to the Lord Chancellor Brady, who directed that the Master in Chancery, J.J.Murphy, esq, should proceed to examine into and report upon them to him, which was done, and the report presented to his Lordship, when he directed the Master of the Rolls to settle the costs.

Every impartial reader of the reported language of the Master of the Rolls must be struck with one fact, that, to use a mild expression, he allowed the gravity of the judge to disappear in the one-sided earnestness of the advocate. It is manifest his language did not meet the justice of the case, and for this view I rely on the finding and judgement of the Master in Chancery, the officer to whom the complaints were referred, and before whom all the witnesses were brought, and the evidence was investigated, and within whose province it came to decide on the validity and effect of the allegations against me; and notwithstanding all the difficulties I had to encounter in rebutting these charges, and the almost impossibility of finding evidence, yet I refer the reader with confidence to his verdict.

“In the matter of J.P.Roche, a Minor, – Hy. Thos Keane, plaintiff, Hugh Roche and others, defendants; Hy. Thos Keane, plaintiff, Elizabeth Roche defendant; Hy. Thos Keane, plaintiff, Peter Cook and others, defendants.”

“ To the Right Honourable Maziere Brady, Lord High Chancellor of Ireland. May it please your Lordship, pursuant to your Lordship’s order mad into this matter, and in these tatises bearing date 2nd day of November 1854, whereby it was referred to me to inquire and report whether the treatment of the said Minor had been proper and according to the direction of this court; and for the purpose of ascertaining and determining upon the guardian’s treatment of the said Minor, I directed that a specification should be prepared, setting forth in writing the charges or causes of complaint alleged by her, or on her behalf, against the said John Roche O’Bryen: the same were accordingly specified and marked with my initials.”

The charges laid before the Master in Chancery for investigation, were as follows:-

FIRST GENERAL CHARGE

“ That said john Roche O’Bryen treated said Minor in a harsh and cruel manner, unsuited to he age and constitutional delicacy.” Viz:-

  1. “By striking her with a riding whip, and on other occasions making use of personal violence to her, and generally treating her with cruelty and harshness.”
  2. “ In having compelled her, or induced her by false statements as to her position in his family, to undertake and perform menial services, such as washing and dressing the younger children of said J.R.O’Bryen, acting as nursery governess, sweeping rooms, and like offices.”
  3. “In having compelled, or induced said Minor to dine in the kitchen or servants hall, in company with the female servants and younger children of said J.R.O’Bryen.

SECOND GENERAL CHARGE

“That said John Roche O’Bryen treated said Minor in a manner unsuited to her age and constitutional delicacy, and prospects in life, and not in accordance with the allowance made for her maintenance in that behalf by the reports on orders in said matter, viz:-“

  1. “In supplying her with clothes unsuited to her age and prospects in life.”
  2. “In supplying her with food unsuited to her station in life and natural delicacy of constitution.”
  3. “In not allowing said Minor pocket money suited in its amount to her age and prospects in life.”
  4. “In not providing said Minor with horse exercise, in accordance with the report bearing date 28th May, 1850.”
  5. “In having caused the acquaintances and teachers to believe that said Minor was a dependant on the charity of said John R. O’Bryen, and to act towards her accordingly.”
  6. “That said John Roche O’Bryen concealed from Minor her true position in his family, and made false statements to her respecting her prospects and the true position of her affairs.”

J.J.M.

The evidence on both sides having been entered into in respect to these charges, Master Murphy gave the following judgement to which no exceptions having been taken, it was formally embodied in his report to the Lord Chancellor, and to this I now refer, as my reply to the following charges.

“The 1st is sustained so far as to striking her with a riding-whip, and on another occasion (see evidence) striking her with his hand – no other proof of actual violence. It further appears the Minor at an earlier period (see evidence) felt such apprehension that she left her guardian’s house. &c. The striking I consider wholly unjustifiable, and I have no further evidence of cruelty. As to harshness, I think Dr O’Bryen’s manner may have laid a foundation to that charge. He appears to me to entertain very high notions of the prerogatives of a guardian as well as a parent, but I have no sufficient or satisfactory evidence of any general or deliberate harsh treatment on his part.”

“I have not evidence that satisfies me that Dr O’Bryen made use of false statements as to the Minor’s position in his family. The Minor may have undertaken and performed what are termed menial offices, which she now complains of, but in my opinion she never was induced or compelled to do so by Dr O’Bryen. I think she was, to an advanced period of her life, left too much in communication with servants, governesses, and younger children having regard to her prospects in life and her constitutional and moral tendencies and her due self-respect. This coarse, I think, latterly made her reckless and indifferent, and indisposed to avail herself of the opportunities which may then have been afforded her of associating with Dr and Mrs O’Bryen.”

“Upon the evidence before me I consider this a misrepresentation. I do not see any reason to believe that she ever dined in the kitchen – servants’ hall there was not in the house. If she ever dined in the kitchen, or in company with the servants, she did so, in my judgement, without any inducement or compulsion on the part of Dr O’Bryen.”

“The second I have already partially answered (see above).”

“I consider it due to Dr O’Bryen to state that whatever fault of judgement or manner he may be chargeable with in the moral treatment of the minor, he appears to have had her well educated according to her position and capacity, and to have bestowed on her medical treatment very commendable attention and skill, and that he also gave her full opportunities of taking horse exercise if she pleased; also latterly, opportunities, so far as she appears to have desired, of associating with his respectable acquaintances; and, with the exception of the article of clothing (about which I doubt), and the defects of moral treatment above referred to, I can discover no well-founded reason to complain of his conduct as a guardian.”

“The specific complaints under this band are:-

  1. “In the article of clothes, but for the evidence of Mr Stephen O’Bryen, having made a complaint to Mr Sweeny on this (unclear) as appears in the evidence of the latter, I should have found against the charge; after that evidence I am inclined to think there was some ground for the Minor’s complaint on this bead.”
  2. “As to the supply of food, it was not exactly what I could have wished in some respects; but it was always the same as that given to Dr O’Bryen’s own children; and it further appears that the Minor was allowed to keep the keys, and could have taken what she wished. I consider the cause of this complaint was much exaggerated.”
  3. “It does not appear that Minor ever asked or expressed a wish to get pocket-money. It also appears that she had actually given some money to Dr O’Bryen to keep for her.”
  4. “As to not providing Minor with horse exercise, I consider this charge colourable, and without any real foundation or just cause of complaint.”
  5. “The evidence on this point is conflicting: there is a good deal of it on the part of the Minor, but the charge has not been established to my satisfaction.”
  6. “This I have already answered as to the Minor’s position in his family. As to her prospects, and the true position of her affairs, Dr O’Bryen has himself stated that he did think it not prudent to disclose in this respect, with his reasons he may have withheld. I cannot satisfactorily arrive at the conclusion that he made any false statements in this regard. I must, however, state my belief that the minor was not, for a considerable time past by any means so ignorant of the state of her property and the condition of her affairs as has been represented on her part. And, upon the whole, I find that she has been maintained and educated in a manner which entitles him to be paid the allowance payable for said minor.”

J.J.MURPHY

The above official document fairly disposes, after a thorough investigation, of a long list of specified charges; but there remain a few new ones, brought forward for the first time by the master of the Rolls, and I will now proceed to deal with them.

It appears in evidence that the minor went daily to the house of a governess for a fixed time, and that this person thought proper, during this time to give her a few lessons on the harp, which she alleges she did without charge as she considered the Minor an orphan and dependant. This was done without the knowledge or consent of her guardian. The Master of the rolls found on this “an inference” and a grave charge. He says- “It appears to me that if she did receive a proper education, it was that of a poor relation, and my inference is, that the money was spent on the ducation of the cousins of Minor, and that the governess, from motives of benevolence, gave this young lady, whom she supposed a dependant, instructions with her pupils.” No charge of this nature was ever made by my opponents: but on the contrary, it was admitted that Minor had received as good an education as she was capable of; a view confirmed by the report of the Master as follows:- “ I deem it right to state, in justice to the said guardian, that he appears to me to have displayed very commendable attention and skill in the medical treatment of said Minor, and to have had her duly and properly educated, and upon the whole that she has been maintained and educated by him in a manner which entitles him to be paid the allowance payable for the said Minor.”

Again the Master of the Rolls indulges in inferences. He is represented to have said-“Now, if the Minor deserved punishment for a falsehood, what punishment would be sufficiently ample for the man who told his niece such a falsehood as that her father died in debt and left her nothing.”  The facts of the case show the Master of the Rolls to have been ill-informed, and to have made a grave charge which he ought to have known was untrue in fact. The facts are these:- The father of Minor made his will in 1832 and died in 1835, when Minor was three months old. He left all his real and personal property to his brothers absolutely, save an annuity to his widow, and made no provision for any child or children. Master Goald’s report of 1836, when minor was made a ward, makes it appear that only £1374 remained in Irish funds out of £ 10,000 to which Minor was entitled under the will of her maternal great-grandfather, to whom her father was executor. Her father admits in his will that he drew and spent the money, and accordingly bills were filed against his brothers to recover deficiency. All the property was sold, and did not realise anything like the debt. Hence it was perfectly true to tell Minor that her father had left her nothing and died in debt.

That the letter of May 4th,  1854, written by Minor, was a part of a conspiracy, must appear to everyone, when I state that it was proved by several witnesses that the Minor knew she had property of her own, and was not dependant. Sympson, the man-servant who accompanied her when she rode out states in his evidence, “ Minor frequently told him when out riding with her, and he particularly recollects one occasion in the summer of 1851, and he heard her tell the other servants of the house the same thing, that she had property of her own, and that Dr O’Bryen was allowed for her maintenance, and also the keep of a pony for her use;” and the master has found, “I must, however, state my belief that the Minor was not, for a considerable time past, by any means so ignorant of the state of her property and the condition of her affairs as has been represented on her part.” So much for her alleged ignorance up to August 1855 which I am deeply grieved to say she has sworn to. In regard to the letter which this Minor has declared she wrote to Mr Orpen, at the dictation of Mrs O’Bryen, I will only say that Mrs O’Bryen has twice sworn that she only, as was her custom, connected the Minor’s ideas, and faithfully expressed her wishes at the same time without suggestion of her own, and I will add, we both now believe that she thus acted to deceive and put Mrs O’Bryen off her guard. The Minor took care to send to her solicitor the pencil sketch, which at least, demonstrates deep cunning. Again, this unfortunate child has sworn that on October 3rd 1854, when Mr Orpen called to see her, she was engaged sweeping out the school-room, and doing other menial work, while two persons clearly prove on oath that she was dressing to go out to pay a visit and not engaged as stated by her, and one of these witnesses was the servant, who was actually at the moment employed in these duties, who swore, “ saith that Minor hath not been, and was not employed in sweeping out the school-room, or making up her own room at the time of said Mr Orpen’s visit; inasmuch as this deponent was in the act of making said minor’s bed, dusting her room &c.2 Whilst said Minor was dressing to go out, saith “that whilst in said house Minor  never swept out school-room, never made up her own room, or did any other menial service.” After this, what reliance can be placed on this Minor’s statement?

I will say one word as to dress. This minor so wilfully neglectful of her dress and personal appearance, that for several months Mrs O’Bryen declined to speak to her on the subject for when she did so she received an insolent reply. Hence I was myself obliged, if in the house, to inspect her daily before she went out and when she came down in the morning, and it rarely happened that I had not to send her to her room to change or arrange her dress, brush her hair, and  often even to wash her face and neck. For a reason then unknown and unsuspected by us, but which has since transpired (viz:- her intention to found a charge and give it the appearance of truth), she would persist in only wearing old and worn-out dresses that I had several times made her lay aside, and directed to be thrown into the old clothes bag. In fact I had to threaten to search her room and burn them before I could succeed. She put on one of the worst of them outside the day she left my house. I often met her in the street, and had to send her back to change her dress, &c., and notwithstanding all this trouble, my wishes were evaded or neglected the moment my back was turned. The amount of vexation and annoyance this child gave us by her habits and general conduct cannot easily be described. Not a single article of dress was bought for her after Mr Orpen’s visit, and yet an excellent wardrobe was found in her room the day she left. The list is too long to add.

There is only one point on which the Master finds against me, viz. striking: on this subject I am unwilling to give details. It is quite true that in a moment of hastiness on two occasions (in 18 years) caused by extremely bad general conduct on the part of Minor, remonstrance having failed, which at these times was brought to a point, and I did strike her once each time as she was leaving the room, and of this, which in reality is nothing, much has been made by those who wanted to make costs, certain to be paid by either party.

My counsel in Ireland recommended an appeal, but my law adviser in this country said “What are you to gain? All material charges have been disproved; the master’s report is in your favour; no costs have been thrown on you; the allowance has been paid; would it be worth your trouble to appeal only to get rid of the language used by the Master of the Rolls? For this is all you could expect, while the expense of an appeal would prove considerable, and the trouble not a little.”

I will only add, in conclusion, that I hols certain instructions in Minor’s handwriting that she received from a gipsy, proving on the face of it that she was employed to act on this child’s mind.

I now submit the case, which I have shadowed(?) out in this letter, not so much in the hope of appeasing the unthinking anger of incompetent and prejudiced persons, as in the certainty of finding justice at the hands of all those who may have taken a very natural and justifiable interest in the allegations made against me, and are yet open to conviction, and are willing to give its just weight to a true and honest statement of facts.

It is a most painful position to be placed in, after many years spent in gratuitous and honourable professional service, to be summoned before a tribunal which has no power to acquit or condemn, but can only cast a stigma. But no man of earnest(?) and conscious rectitude chooses to withhold a defence beyond a certain limit, however strong his private reasons may be for so doing. That limit has now been reached in the opinion of friends and in my own, and I take with the utmost confidence the on course which appears left open to me.

“Fiat Justitia, ruat caelum

Yours, &c, Mr Editor,

JOHN O’BRYEN, M.D.

Aghada Hall, co. Cork.

Aghada  Hall was, apparently, a large  Georgian house designed by the Cork architect  Abraham Hargrave (1755-1808); though it seems to bea comfortable gentleman’s residence rather than a vast mansion.” It was completed in 1808. John Roche was also responsible for the start of the Aghada National School in 1819.

It’s time to revise this post quite a lot, and I am extremely grateful for a Thackwell grandson for the photos of the house. For the purposes of clarity, I’m going to call it Aghada Hall. John Roche, (17??- 1829) who had it built referred to it as Aghada House, but it was later referred to as Aghada Hall. Tony Harpur, a local historian in Cork sent me the following:

“The first edition Ordnance Survey map names the house as Aghada House (c1840). The house was named in the Ordnance Survey map of the early 20th century as Aghada Hall and was noted as being ‘in ruins’ – this is probably some time in the early 1930s because although a major survey was carried out by the Ordnance Survey before 1914, additional information was added to the map from a survey of 1935-1938.”

aghada-hall
Aghada Hall, side view

In the 1911 Irish census, Aghada Hall  was described as a first class house with 9 windows in the front, and 8 rooms occupied by the family, and 15 outbuildings. Edwin (or Edward – he used both) Penrose-Thackwell was also listed as the owner of a two room cottages, one three room, and one four room cottage, nearby.

The estate seems to be a substantial working farm. The main house had two stables, a coach house, harness room; three cow houses, a calf house, and a dairy. It also had a piggery, fowl house, boiling house, barn, shed, and a store. 

Fifty-four year old Edwin was living in the main house with a substantial staff, Thomas and Lavinia Buckley, who were married, were the butler, and housemaid respectively. They also had fifty-five year old Mary Flynn, the cook, and a dairymaid, parlourmaid, and kitchenmaid, all in their twenties.

In addition, to the main house, James Scanlon the gardener (48) and his wife were in the two room cottage. Ernest Jones (32), and his wife Gertrude (30) and their eight year old son were in the four room cottage, along with Gertrude’s twenty-five year old sister. Ernest was the chauffeur, and Ernie and Gertie had been married 11 years.  Finally, there were eight members of the Murphy family in the three room cottage. Edmond Murphy and his wife with three daughters, and three sons. All four men, Edmond (50), Denis (22), Edmond (16), and Patrick (15) are general labourers, presumably working on the estate.

The gardener and chauffeur’s houses, both had a shed and fowl house, and the Murphys had a piggery, and fowl house.

aghada-hall-2
Aghada Hall, front

John Roche who built the house,  “amassed great wealth during the French wars”, according to “Barrymore Records of the Barrys of County Cork”  published in 1902. He was Ernest O’Bryen’s great grandfather, and made quite significant efforts to establish some sort of Roche dynasty to maintain the family name, and the house that he had built for himself.

There were three significant beneficiaries of John Roche’s will of 1826, with a later codicil. They were his nephews James Joseph Roche, and William Roche; they seem to be cousins rather than brothers. The third main beneficiary was John Roche’s eldest grandson, John Roche O’Bryen. The total estate amounted to about £ 30,000 when John Roche died in 1829, the modern day equivalent of £45,720,000.00.

The house and land was left to James, and his male heirs, first of all, and then William, who also inherited £ 10,000, “in case of his not coming into possession of the estate by the means before-mentioned,  I leave him  £6,000″ plus John’s grand-daughter, Jane O’Brien’s ……  £4,000 £4 per cent. stock ;” . Jane O’Bryen, John Roche’s granddaughter was married to his nephew William Roche, and their daughter Pauline Roche inherited their share as a one year old orphan. The final third was John Roche O’Bryen’s  £ 10,000, presumably in the expectation that a male Roche heir would inherit the house and land.

John Roche O’Bryen,  and Jane O’Bryen were Catholic. All their  five remaining younger siblings were Church of Ireland. JROB and Jane/William Roche are the only O’Bryen beneficiaries of John Roche’s estate. The O’Bryen siblings are John Roche’s only grandchildren.

John Roche also left  a series of £ 100 legacies (present-day £ 150,000)  to various sisters, and nephews and nieces, and “To the parish of Aghada, I leave the school-house, and £20 ( £ 30,000) a-year for its support, and also the chapel and priest’s house  I leave to the parish rent-free for ever, as long as they shall be used for such qualified purposes ; the five slate houses I built in the village, I leave to five of the poorest families rent free ; to David Coughlan I leave the house he now lives in during his life ; to my servant, James Tracy   I leave the house his wife now lives in;  and to my wife’s servant, Mary Ahearne, otherwise Finne, her house rent-free during their lives ; and to each of those three, viz.,David Coughlan, James Tracy, and Mary Ahearne,  otherwise Finne, I leave £10 (£15,000) a-year during their lives :”

Lower Aghada
Lower  Aghada

Aghada  is a small fishing town situated to the south-east of Cork city in County Cork, Ireland. Aghada parish consists of several small villages and townlands including  Rostellan, Farsid, Upper Aghada, Lower Aghada, Whitegate, Guileen and Ballinrostig.

The estate, and the provisions of John Roche’s will were part of a court case, and appeal in 1848, and 1849. (Hillary Term 1848, Mary O’Brien v James Roche and William Roche…lands of Aghada [Mitchelstown Cork]… and Roche v. O’Brien —Feb. 1, 2. 1849) following the death of James Joseph Roche in 1847.  William Roche had died in 1836, and James Joseph Roche, and his family were living there until James’s death in 1847. The house appeared to have briefly in the possession of Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Junior, one of the younger O’Bryen siblings in the early 1850’s.

The house and land were sold in July 1853 in the Encumbered Estates Court, as part of the estates of James Joseph Roche, and William Roche, with Mary (Maria Josepha)  and Eleanor Roche listed as owners, and Pauline Roche as ex parte.  [The Encumbered Estates’ Court was established  to facilitate the sale of Irish estates whose owners were unable to meet their obligations. It was given authority to sell estates on application from either the owner or an encumbrancer (somebody who had a claim on it) and, after the sale, distribute the proceeds among the creditors, granting clear title to the new owners.]  The house was bought by Major General Sir Joseph Lucas Thackwell in 1853, and remained in the Thackwell family until at least 1911. Henry Hewitt O’Bryen does still seem to be a significant landowner in the area, so may well have kept some of the land.

thumb_entrance-to-aghada-hall_1024Most traces of Aghada Hall seem to have disappeared, apart from signs of a walled garden, half  an entrance and a small gatehouse.  The old sheds and stables have apparently been converted into houses.

Major General Sir Joseph Lucas  Thackwell had married Maria Audriah Roche (from the Trabolgan branch of the Roche family) in 1825. She was the eldest daughter of Francis Roche of Rochemount, County Cork (an uncle of Edmond Roche, 1st Baron Fermoy). This, incidentally, made Maria Thackwell, a first cousin, five-times removed of Diana, Princess of Wales. They had four sons and three daughters.  She should not to be confused with Maria Josepha Roche, who was James Joseph Roche’s daughter, and one of the parties to the 1848/9 court cases.

In a final twist, The Cork Examiner,reported on the 25th January 1860, having picked up the story from the Illustrated London News that:

“The will of the late celebrated General Sir Joseph Thackwell, G.C.B., has just been proved. By a codicil, dated the day before his death, he deprives his eldest son, Captain (Edward Joseph) Thackwell, the author of the “Second Sikh War, in 184-89,” [sic] and now a barrister at law, of all the property left him in a former will, including Aghada Hall, Cork, and Conneragh House, Waterford, and gives it to trustees in trust for his grandchildren, who must be educated in the tenets of the Protestant religion. Captain Thackwell had been received into the Roman Catholic Church only a short time previous to Sir Joseph’s decease.”

There seem to have been about nine grandchildren; all either the children of Edward Joseph Thackwell (1827, d. 1903), or his younger brother Major-General William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834–1910).  Edward Joseph’s son, Lt.-Col. Joseph Edward Lucas Thackwell (1853-1886) had four sons, and one daughter, who seemed to be the major beneficiaries, or users of the Irish houses. His son Walter Joseph de Rupe Thackwell was described as “now of Aghada,” in Burke’s Landed Gentry in 1894, and a younger son Captain Edward Hillyar Roche Thackwell, was living at the house in Waterford in 1911.

However Major William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834-1910), and his wife Charlotte Tomkinson seem to have lived in Aghada Hall, at least some of the time until 1894. Their eldest daughter Katherine Harriet Thackwell (1866 – 1950) married Col. Edward (or Edwin) Rawdon Penrose  in 1891, and they celebrated their wedding there. Katherine, and Edward added Thackwell to the family surname by 1911, most probably after the death of Katherine’s father in 1910, becoming Penrose-Thackwell from then on.

Kitty_Pope_Hennessy
Kitty Pope Hennessy

The only significant grandchild not to have a notable link to the house is William WR’s  only son Edward Francis Thackwell (1868 -1935) but that was most probably because he had married Kitty Pope-Hennessy on Feb 3 1894 at Rostellan Castle in Cork. She was a forty-four year old widow, and he was twenty six. He was a year older than her eldest son who died young, and three, and seven, years older than his step-sons.

It was probably a Catholic wedding, thus excluding Edward from the provisions of his grandfather’s will, but the pain may have been slightly ameliorated by his wife’s thirty room castle, with the sixty one outbuildings, including  seventeen stables, three coach houses, two harness rooms, and twenty cow houses. All of two and a half miles from Aghada Hall.

It is still not entirely clear when the house was demolished.

Pauline and William Barry’s grandchildren

Pauline Roche (1835 -1894) has been part of the story for a while. But I’m becoming increasingly sure that she helps place a lot of things into context.  This is one of a series of posts covering her marriage into the Barry family, and her daughter’s marriage into the related Smith-Barrys, and a look at where they all fit into both Irish, and British society. 

Pauline & William Henry Barry  had seven children, five of whom were unmarried, only two of the girls marry. Their children were:

  • (Patrick) Henry, born 1862; d. poss 1930, who appears to have been unmarried
  • William Gerard; born 1864; d. 1940 in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, unmarried.
  • Pauline; prob born 1865 or b.1867 – d. after 1911; unmarried.
  • Edith,born probably 1866, but possibly as early as 1861, and possibly 1863. Edith and Mary both give their ages as 35 in the 1901 census so it’s likely they are twins.
  • Mary Barry, b. 1866,  married Cecil Smith Barry, (b. 19 Oct 1863, d. 21 Nov 1908) so Cecil was Pauline Roche’s son-in-law. 
  • Henrietta (Rose) , b. 1873/4,unmarried
  • Kate. b 1879 unmarried.

Edith marries twice, and has three sons with her first husband;  William, and Joseph b. 1891 who are twins, and then Gerard b. 1893, a year later,, and a daughter, Janet b. 1905,  with her second.

Mary married Cecil Smith Barry, and had two daughters Cecily Nina b 1896, and Edith b 1907

So the grandchildren are:

  • William Hayes  1891 – 1918, aged 27
  • J B (Joseph Barry )Hayes 1891-1927, aged 36
  • Gerard Patrick Hayes 1892 – 19??
  • Cecily Nina Smith-Barry b 1896
  • Janet Babtie b 1905;
  • Edith Smith-Barry b 1907

Edith married Patrick Aloysius Hayes (1847-1900)  who was born in Dingle, Co Kerry in 1847, and was a surgeon-major H. M. Army Medical Department, and they had three sons; William Hayes  1891 – 1918, J B (Joseph Barry )Haynes 1891 – 1927, and  Gerard Patrick Hayes.  Will and Joe appear to be twins, according to the 1901 census, both aged 9, Gerry is a year younger at 8, so probably born in 1892. Patrick Hayes Senior died in Wimbledon on the 20th March 1900. Edith then married Lieutenant General William Babtie V.C (1859 -1920), as a widow in 1903, and had a daughter Janet born in 1905.

Edith died on 25th June 1936 at 18 St Patrick’s Place, Cork and her address was given as The Hermitage, Rushbrooke, Cork; probate was given to Gerard Patrick Hayes, who described himself as an advertising salesman.

Mary and Cecil Smith-Barry had two daughters, Cecily Nina b 1896, and Edith b 1907. Cecily died in Bournemouth in the winter of 1954, “aged 56” actually 58. By that point she was firmly calling herself Nina Cecily. She was entered on the General Register of Nurses on Feb 16 1923, and still on the register in 1940, where her address was given as 9 Walkers Row, Fermoy, co. Cork. 1937 her address was Ruddiford, Wimborne Road, Red Hill, Bournemouth. She got her nursing certificate between 1917-1920 at St George’s in London. By 1943 she was at 3 Bodorgan Road, Bournemouth. There is very little trace of Edith Smith-Barry to date.

All three of Edith’s sons served in the First War, both Will and Joe in the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, and Gerard in the Royal Fusiliers.

Will was awarded a D.S.O. (Distinguished Service Order), and Joe a M.C. (Military Cross). The D.S.O. is awarded for an act of meritorious or distinguished service in wartime and usually when under fire or in the presence of the enemy. The Military Cross is a decoration for gallantry during active operations in the presence of the enemy. The decorations rank two, and three, respectively, in the order of precedence behind the Victoria Cross, which, incidentally, was awarded to their step-father Lieut.-General Sir William Babtie during the Boer War.

William Hayes  died of  flu on the 20th October, 1918, in Italy, and is buried at Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa. He had served throughout the First War, having been part of the original Expeditionary Force in 1914; out of the 1,000 men of 1st Battalion The Queen’s Royal Regiment who landed in France in 1914, only 17 were alive at the Armistice. So Will almost made it.

Gerard was wounded in 1916, when he was also mentioned in dispatches by Sir Douglas Haig, and Joe was awarded the Military Cross the same year. Will was  mentioned in dispatches, and awarded the D.S.O. in 1917.

Joe survived the war, but died on December the 19th, 1927, aged 35. He had married in the winter of 1920, and his widow Gwen [nee Harold] survived him, and died almost fifty years later in 1976.  Their address was given as the Very House, Worplesdon, Surrey, when Gerard Patrick was granted probate. Joe left £ 226. 13s. 11d., a present day equivalent of about £ 66,000.

Pauline Barry died in the autumn of 1894, aged 56. The registration district was Midletown, in co. Cork, so we can safely assume that she died at home in Ballyadam. All three of her grandsons had been born before she died, but none of her granddaughters.

Patrick Hayes died at Wimbledon on the 20th March 1900, presumably at 132 Worple Road Wimbledon where the boys were living at the time of the census in 1901. The house itself appears to be a relatively small two storey late Victorian semi-detached house. The greatest curiosity is that, at the time of the 1901 census, all three boys were living there without their mother, and only three servants looking after them.  Elizabeth O’Shea aged 30, described as a nurse domestic on the census, but presumably their nanny; and Mary Phillips, a 21 year-old house maid, and Violet Gatling, also 21, who was the cook.  The census was taken ten days before Will, and Joe’s tenth birthday on the 11th of April.

The censuses in 1901 in both Ireland, and England were taken on the same day 31st March, though the forms in Midleton in Ireland were not filled in until the 12th April 1901. They show that Edith Hayes was in Ireland staying with the Coppinger family at Midleton Lodge, rather than with her brother and sisters at Ballyadam House, nearby. There could be any number of reasons for this, Pauline, and Rose Barry are both living at Ballyadam with only one servant, in a sixteen room house outside of town, whereas the Coppingers are in the middle of Midleton in a rather larger house, with four daughters aged between eleven and twenty-one, a governess, and seven servants.  Quite simply, it may well be that life at Midleton Lodge was a bit livelier, and as the widowed mother of three youngish sons Edith was looking for a rest, and some adult company. In all likelyhood, the Coppingers were also likely to be cousins of some sort.

Both families, the Barrys, and the Coppingers were living in considerable comfort,  compared to the majority of the population of Ireland at the time. The Coppinger house appeared to have 22 rooms, and 20 outbuildings including 6 stables, a coach house, harness room, three cow houses, a calf house, dairy, piggery, fowl house, boiling house, barn, and a workshop, shed, and store. The house had “16 windows at the front” , in fact from the look of it, five windows at the front in a good solid double fronted Georgian house that is now the local council offices. Just to give some idea of how mobile all the families were Thomas Stephen Coppinger says in the 1901 census that he was a 57 year old merchant,  born in Lucca, Italy in 1842.

Ballyadam, by contrast, was marginally smaller with 16 rooms, and 9 stables, a coach house, a harness room, 2 cow houses, a calf house, 2 piggeries, a fowl house, boiling house, barn, potato house, and 2 sheds. The Barrys were also listed as the owners of two 2-room cottages, each with 2 outbuildings  next door to Ballyadam House.

The family living in the smallest house, though still more than comfortably, were Cecil, and Mary Smith-Barry. In 1901 they were in Castlemartyr, co. Cork, in the second largest house in the village, with 10 rooms, “eight windows at the front” , two stables, and a coach house. It was a mixed marriage, with Cecil a member of the Church of Ireland, and Mary and the children Roman Catholic. They only had one servant with them though, twenty-three year old Julia Casey.

At the time, 1901, Worple Road was just round the corner from the All England Tennis and Croquet Club, until it moved to Church Road in 1922. The site became the sports ground for Wimbledon High School for Girls.

By 1911, Will had been gazetted into the Army, Gerry was at Beaumont College, in Windsor, and Joe was an “army student” boarding at Edge Hill Catholic College in Wimbledon. Edge Hill became Wimbledon College, and it was a third of a mile, or about five minutes walk from 132 Worple Road.  Amongst Joe’s fellow students were Charles Joseph Weld, Thomas Joseph Weld, and Cecil Chichester-Constable, whose aunt Esther had married Stephen Grehan Junior in 1883, and was the mother of  Major Stevie Grehan, (1896 -1972) whose memoirs of the First War are held, and documented in the Grehan papers at University College, Cork.

So, slightly curiously, both Joe Hayes, and Cecil Chichester-Constable were both related to the O’Bryen’s at Ernest O’Bryen’s generation. Joe, Will, and Gerry’s mother was his second cousin, and Cecil’s uncle, Stephen Grehan Junior, was also his second cousin. It’s all a very small world.

It is not entirely clear as to where all the Hayes boys went to school. Both Will and Gerry went to Beaumont, in Windsor, with Will going on to Sandhurst, before receiving his commission in 1911. Joe was just short of twenty years old when he was described as an “army student” at Edge Hill, so old to still be at school. He may well have been at Beaumont as well. It would be slightly odd to send two out of three boys to one school, and one to another.

Beaumont was certainly grand, being where it was on the edge of Windsor Great Park, it rapidly developed a claim to being the “Catholic Eton”, a tag at the school was “Beaumont is what Eton was: a school for the sons of Catholic gentlemen”, though similar claims have been made for Stonyhurst , Ampleforth, and the Oratory. Beaumont was one of three public schools maintained by the English Province of the Jesuits, the others being Stonyhurst, and St Aloysius’ College, Glasgow. To be fair to all of them, Stonyhurst has much the greatest claim, having been founded in 1593 at St Omer, in France to educate the sons of Catholics, who couldn’t get a Catholic education in Elizabethan England. None of the other three were founded until the C19th.

The family were still all very close, and in the 1911 census all the unmarried Barry siblings were at Ballyadam House, along with Edith’s eight year old daughter,  Janet Babtie, who was the youngest of Pauline and William’s grandchildren. They had a couple of servant girls, and amusingly, Pauline claimed to be two years younger than she was ten years before, and Rose was a year younger.

Meanwhile Mary Smith-Barry had moved to a smaller house about ten miles away at Ballynoe, on the outskirts of Cobh. She is forty-five years old, and has been a widow for three years. The house is rented from her late husband’s cousin Lord Barrymore, who seems to own most of the village. Mary seems to be living quietly in the village with her daughters (Cecily) Nina who is now fifteen, and four year old Edith, and a nineteen year old servant girl.

To put things in perspective, when Cecil died in 1908, he left just over £ 5,000 [ the best current-day equivalent is £ 3.2m]. In the same year, The Old Age Pensions Act 1908 introduced a non-contributory pension for ‘eligible’ people aged 70 and over. The pension was 5 shillings a week, about half a labourer’s weekly wage, or £ 13 p.a.  Cecil’s £ 5000 was the equivalent of three hundred and eighty four years of old age pension, so Mary, and the children, were hardly paupers.

Joseph Sidney Lescher – (1803 – 1893)

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Church Row, Hampstead

Joseph Sidney Lescher (1803 – 1893, aged 90), son of William Lescher and Mary Ann Copp; so on our side of the Lescher family. He’s the father of  Frank Harwood Lescher,Patrick Grehan III’s son-in-law;  Father Wilfred, Sister Mary of St Wilfrid, and Herman the accountant. He was a partner of the wholesale druggists Evans, Lescher, and Evans. His father William Lescher (1768 – 1817), had emigrated from Alsace, France, in 1778, before the French Revolution. Family tradition holds that “Lescher of Kertzfeld” received his patent of nobility in the reign of Louis XIII, in the middle of the C17th. The Leschers were Roman Catholics. His wife, Sarah Harwood  was the daughter of a West India merchant in Bristol and a member of a staunch Baptist family, but she converted to Catholicism two years after her marriage. This branch of the family lived mostly in Hampstead, including 17 Church Row, later the home of H.G.Wells, and even later, in the 1960’s, the home of Peter Cook, where he had Lennon, McCartney, and Keith Richard to kitchen suppers in the basement.  Joseph Sidney also lived at Oak Lodge, in Pond Street, further down the hill, where he was living with his sister Harriet, Patrick Grehan Junior’s widow in 1870; three months after that census was taken Harriet Grehan’s step-daughter, Celia O’Bryen was herself to become a widow when John Roche O’Bryen died in South Kensington on the 27th July’

Joseph Sidney Lescher’s obituary from the Tablet is below.

We regret to record the death of MR. JOSEPH SIDNEY LESCHER, at the ripe age of 90 years, by which a link is broken with a long Catholic past. Born in 1803, Mr. Lescher was, about the year 1810, for a short time at a school at Carshalton, in Surrey, under the Dominican Fathers, and was afterwards amongst the first, if not the first, of the students at Ushaw College. In after life Mr. Lescher took an active part in City affairs, until about twenty years ago he retired from active life in order to devote himself more largely to those works of charity and beneficence which had always occupied his leisure. It has been said of him that he was never known to refuse an appeal calling for the exercise of genuine charity. The extent of his means was the extent of his charity—a charity that went hand-in-hand with an earnest faith and with extreme simplicity of heart and character. He was happy in having given to the Church a son, Father Wilfrid Lescher, of the Dominican Order, and an only daughter, Sister Mary of St. Wilfrid, of the Order of Notre Dame, now the Superioress of the Everton Valley Convent, Liverpool. Two of Mr. Lescher’s nieces had joined the same Order, the elder one, Miss Frances Lescher (better known as Sister Mary of St. Philip) being the Foundress and present Superioress and presiding genius of the Mount Pleasant Training College at Liverpool. Another of his nieces, Miss Monica Lescher, is present Lady Abbess of East Bergholt, where her sister holds the office of Mother Prioress, and there are others of the family at Atherstone, and at the Convent at Taunton—all following the family tradition of service in the cause of Catholicity in England.

The funeral took place at Kensal Green Cemetery on Monday last, after a Solemn Requiem Mass, sung by the Dominican Fathers in their church at Haverstock Hill, whither the body had been taken over night. The Very Rev. Father John Procter, Prior, sang the Mass, and there were present in the church and at the funeral, amongst others. Mr. F. Harwood Lescher, Mr. Herman Lescher, and the Rev. Wilfrid. Lescher, 0.P., sons of the deceased ; the Rev. Edward Lescher, Mr. Lescher, of Boyles Court, Mrs. F. Harwood Lescher, Mrs. Herman. Lescher, Mrs. Patrick Grehan, and Miss Clare Grehan, &c., &c.

The above text was found on p.29, 15th July 1893 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 .

Roche v. O’Brien 1849

THE IRISH JURIST: VOL. I. – MISCELLANEOUS: FOR THE YEAR 1849. (page 156)

COURT OF EXCHEQUER CHAMBER

ROCHE v. O’BRIEN—Feb. 1, 2.

This was error from the judgment of the Court of Queen’s Bench. The action was in covenant by the heir-at-law of John Roche the lessor, claiming the reversion in fee against the assignee of William Roche, the lessee, who claimed as devisee of the reversion in fee after the estate tail created by the will of the lessor. The remaining facts appear sufficiently in the judgment of the court.   The whole question turned upon the construction of the Will and codicil of John Roche, which were as follows: 
       “Whenever it happens that the Aghada estate, is absent of male heirs, to wit, of the said James Joseph Roche, or by any other contingency reverts wholly to me, I hereby leave it in as full a manner as I can convey it to my nephew, William Roche, to be enjoyed by him and his lawful begotten heirs male for ever ; and, as I have perfected leases to be held in trust, of the demesne and two adjoining farms of Aghada, subject to a yearly rent accord-ing to a valuation made, I leave him my interest, if any I had, in those leases; and in case of his not coming into possession of the estate by the means before-mentioned,  I leave him  £6,000 of my £4  per cent. stock, to be held by trustees, the interest of which is to pay the rent of the demesne and two farms above mentioned; to my eldest grandson, James J.  R.  O’Brien   I leave   £10,000   £4 per  cent. stock; to my grand-daughter, Jane O’Brien, I leave  £4,000 £4 per cent. stock; to my daughter, Mary O’Brien,  I leave the  £4,000  £4 per cent. stock I settled on her as a marriage portion on her marriage, for her use and that of her younger children; to my niece,  Ellen Verling,  I leave  £1,000 £4 per cent, stock, with £30 a-year profit rent I leave on her brother Bartholomew Verling’s stores; to my grandson, J. Roche O’Brien, I leave also my interest in White Point, after his mother’s death;   I leave  £100 to my sister, Ellen Verling; to my sister, Julia Enery, £100; to my nephew, Doctor Verling,  and his sister, Catherine Ellis, £100 each,  and I desire the stock on the farm to be sold to pay these legacies; to my nephew,   William Roche, and my grand-daughter,  Jane O’Brien, I give my household furniture, plate, &c., and it is my wish, if the rules of our church allow it, that they should be married and live in Aghada house; may it bless and prosper them and their offspring. To the parish of Aghada, I leave the school-house, and £20 a-year for its support, and also the chapel and priest’s house  I leave to the parish rent-free for ever, as long as they shall be used for such qualified purposes; the five slate houses I built in the village, I leave to five of the poorest families rent free; to David Coughlan I leave the house he now lives in during his life; to my servant, James Tracy  I leave the house his wife now lives in;  and to my wife’s servant, Mary Ahearne, otherwise Finne, her house rent-free during their lives; and to each of those three, viz.,David Coughlan, James Tracy, and Mary Ahearne, otherwise Finne, I leave £10 a-year during their lives: having had unfounded confidence in my unhappy nephew, James Roche,  I did not take legal means under  the settlement I made to secure those last bequests out of the Aghada estate; I trust, and hope, and desire that whosoever is in possession of the estate do confirm these my wishes and intents. I appoint my trusty friend, Henry Bennett, (my present law agent) William Roche, and my daughter, Mary O’Brien as executors of this my last will.”

The codicil to the will was as follows :—

     By my will dated the 5th day of January, 1826, I appointed my friend Henry Bennett, my nephew, William Roche, and my daughter, Mary O’Brien, executors to that will; now, by this codicil, I annul that appointment, and appoint John Gibson, barrister-at-law, Bartholomew Hackett, of Middleton, distiller, and my nephew, William Roche, as my executors to that will, and do hereby empower them to name and appoint two trustees for the purpose of managing the sums I left to my nephew, William Roche, my grand-daughter, Jane O’Brien, and my grandson, J. O’Brien, as it is my intent and will that they should only receive the interest, and the principal to remain untouched during their lives, to go to their children; out of William Roche’s interest the rent of Aghada which I have leased him is to be paid ; and I desire that he and my grand-daughter Jane, who are shortly to be married, will reside there. I leave William Roche all the stock, &c., on the farm, and to him and his wife all my household furniture, plate, and china, and make them my residuary legatees ; it is my will that my grandson, James R. O’Brien, shall live with them at Aghada until he is of age, which is to be at the age of twenty-five, and not before ; and the trustees are to pay him until that period £100 a-year to complete his education, and another £100 a-year during that period to his mother, and the remainder of the interest of his £10,000 to be paid William Roche to assist him in keeping up Aghada during that period, and I trust by that time he will have a profession by which he will add to his income ; I request and desire that nothing shall prevent his following his profession ; it is my intention that William Roche and his wife shall step into possession of Aghada house, demesne, and farms, which are leased to him in the same way that I leave it when it shall please God to take me ; in case of the death of William Roche before his wife, she is to be paid the interest of her £4,000, to be made up £200 a-year as her jointure ; and if she dies before him, he is to have the £10,000, provided she has no issue; but if she leaves issue, it is to go to them after William Roche’s death, as before directed.”

   Sir С. О Loghlen for the plaintiff in error, the defendant below.—The question is, whether William Roche took an estate tail alone, or an estate tail with an expectant or reversionary fee. First, it is clear that the testator did not mean to die intestate, and, that nothing might be undisposed of, made William Roche and his wife residuary legatees. Secondly, that the testator having a contingent reversion in fee in the property, he devised it from his heir at law, and gave it to another, charging it in such a manner as to shew that whoever should have the property should take under the will. These charges cannot be enforced against the heir at law, as he takes by title paramount. Thirdly, that, having his heir at law in contemplation, he took from him that he would otherwise be clearly entitled to. He had most fully provided for him, and designedly gave the property to William Roche, for the purpose of founding a family of the name of Roche, who were to dwell in Aghada house. If the construction contended for by the plaintiff below be the true one, the manifest intention of the testator is wholly defeated. The reversion would not be disposed of; his heir would take at law, and not under the will ; and the estate would go to the very person he intended to deprive of it. The first portion of the sentence, ” I hereby leave it (the Aghada estate) in as full a manner as I can convey it,” conveyed the fee simple, and the subsequent words, ” lawful begotten male heirs for ever,” reduce it to an estate tail, with a reversion in fee. Chyck’s case, (Dy. 357, Pasch. 19, El.) That case, as reported in Dyer, is still law, and the case reported in Benloe, 300, and Anderson, 51 by the name of Baker v. Raymond, is not the same. In Abraham v. Twig, (Moore 425, 11 Jac.); Roberts v. Roberts, (2 Bul. 127, 13 Jac.) ; Blanford v. Blanford, (1 Rol. 320, 21 Jac.) ; Sergeant’s case, (2 Rol. 425) ; Herbert v. Thomas, (Har. and Wol. 434—per Littledale, J.) ; Doe d. Herbert v. Thomas, (3 Ad. & El. 128, Sheph. Touch. 445). All these authorities rely on Chyck’s case, as cited in Dyer. Daniel v. Uply, (Latch. 43,) is a decision to the same effect, by Doderidge, J., who was either at the bar or on the bench at the time of the decision of Chyck’s case. The following cases and authorities were also relied upon, and commented on during the argument—Turnman v. Cooper, (Cro. Jac. 476, S. C. Rol. Rep. 19, 23, S. C. Poph. 138; 1 Thomas’s Co. Litt. 518, 21 a.); Altham’s case, (8 Coke 154, b.) denied to be law in Turnman v. Cooper, (Pop. 138; Year Book, 21 Hen. 6, 723, b). (Blackburne, C. J.—That was the case of a deed where the whole estate passed from the grantor.) (Anon. Brownl.45) ; Holland v. Fisher, (O’Bridg. 212; 1 Steph. Black. Com. 460); Mellish v. Mellish, (2 В & C. 520) ; Barker v. Giles, (2 P. W. 279, S. C., affirmed on appeal ; 3 Bro. P. C. 297) ; Littleton & Ux v. Green, (4 M. & W. 229) ; Nanfan v. Legh, (7 Taun. 85, S.C. 2 Marsh. 107) ; Doe d. Ellis v. Ellis, (9 East. 382) ; Davie v. Stevens, (1 Doug. 321); Doe d. Murch v. Marchant, (6 Man. & Gr. 813).

   Chatterton, with him R. W. Greene, Q. C., and F. Fitzgerald, Q. C., contended—That, according to the true construction of the will, William Roche took only an estate tail. That the construction contended for by the defendant below would tend further to defeat the testator’s intention to found a family, than that sought to be put upon the will by the plaintiff, as the fee would be more easily alienated. That the devise shewed no intention of the testator to dispose of his whole property ; the words were, not my estate, but ” the Aghada estate,” words of description only. The charges made by the testator upon the devised estate would take place on the reversion, whether the estate be taken by descent, or under the will. That the reversion was disposed of, and that there was no general intention expressed in the will inconsistent with an estate tail. The learned counsel distinguished Chyck’s case, and Turnam v. Cooper, and cited and referred to Altham’s case, (8 Coke, 154, b.); Ossulton’s case, (3 Salk. 336) ; Baker v. Wall, (1 Lord Ray. 185) ; Doe d. Lord Lindsay v. Colyear, (11 East. 548) ; Slater v. Slater, (5 T. R. 335) ; Nanfan v. Legh, (2 Marsh. 107, S. C.; 7 Taun. 85) ; Davie v. Stevens, (Doug. 32l ; Co. Litt. 27, a.); Church v. Wyatt, (F. Moore, 637) ; Wood v. Ingersole, (1 Bul. 63) ; Doe d. Eustace v Earley, (1 Cr. M.& Ros. 823); Winter v. Perrott  (9 Cl. & Fin. 613) ; Angell v. Angell, (9 Q. В. 353)  ; Oddie v. Woodford, (3 My. & Cr. 584); Doe d. Ellis v. Ellis, (9 East. 382) ; Trenke v. Frencham. (2Dy. 171) ; Chilton v. Cooper, (2 B. & Ald. 610),

   Napier, Q. C., in reply—The court will effectuate the intention expressed on the face of the will. It is clear from the whole testament, the testator thought he was devising the property out and out. There is first a general expression conveying the fee, and the subsequent words cannot narrow it. By the ” Aghada estate,” he intended his whole interest, and to convey it ” in as full a manner as he could,” when he should become possessed of the reversion in fee, and the charges evidence that intention to deal with the whole. He referred to Randall v. Tuchin, (6 Taun. 418—per Chambre. J.) ; Moffet v. Catherwood, (AI. & Nap. 472) ; Cotton v. Stenlake, (12 East. 515).

   Feb. 2.—ВLACKBURNE, C. J., now delivered the judgment of the court.—This is an action of covenant brought by the plaintiff below as heir at law of John Roche, the testator, claiming the rent reserved in a lease executed by John Roche to Wm. Roche, whose assigns the defendants are, and the plaintiff below insists he is entitled to the reversion, as heir at law of John Roche. The declaration states a settlement executed on the marriage of the testator’s nephew, James J. Roche, limiting the estate to John Roche for life, remainder to James Joseph Roche for life, remainder to him in tail male, with the reversion in fee to John Roche, the settlor. It then states the will of John Roche, devising his reversion to William Roche in tail male, and the death of William and James without issue male, and traces the descent of the reversion to the plaintiff. The plea of the defendant sets out the will and the codicil of the testator, John Roche, in haec verba, on the construction of which the question in this case wholly depends. The plaintiff below alleges that Wm. Roche took only an estate tail, which has now determined. (The learned Chief Justice then read the words of the will.) It is not denied that the words in the devise give an estate tail, Lord Ossulton’s case, (3 Salk. 336,) puts this question beyond doubt. The addition of the word “for ever,” makes no difference. Baker v. Wall, (1 Ld. Raymond 185). Davie v. Stevens, (1 Doug. 320,) was a devise to A. of the ” fee simple and  inheritance of Lower Shelstone, to him and his child, or children, for ever.” The language of Lord Маnsfield is, every word, applicable to this case. Nanfan v. Legh, (7 Taunt. 85,) is a leading authority, and has a strong resemblance to this case, and there the devise was held to confer an estate tail, and no more, and for this position there will be found a large body of authority. The defendant below contends that there is a devise to Wm. Roche of two distinct estates, first, an estate in tail male ; and secondly, of an estate in fee expectant on the reversion. To maintain this view the sentence is divided in two, and the order of it inverted, for the purpose of avoiding the absurdity that would follow. I know of no authority for so altering the plain language of a will. The contract requires no such construction, but rather the contrary. I shall only say, that in all the reasons given in the cases for this construction, it never occurred that in a devise a sentence could be stopped in the middle. The judgment of my brother Crampton in the court below contains so able a review of Chycke’s case, that I shall not further refer to it. The judgment of Lord Ellenborough in Doe d. Ellis v. Ellis, (9 East. 882) which is now impugned by the defendant below contains a clear exposition of the law. No one can
read that case without seeing that it militates against the whole argument of the defendant’s counsel. Considering the whole will, we think the inference to be drawn from it is, that the testator intended W. Roche to take an estate tail only.

Judgment affirmed.

__________________

Rev Hewitt O’Bryen’s school Rochdale 1839

This was five years before the Rochdale Pioneers started the Co-Operative Movement…………

THIRTIETH ANNUAL REPORT of THE NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING THE EDUCATION OF THE POOR THROUGHOUT ENGLAND AND WALES (established ad 1811 incorporated 1817) LONDON 1841 Sold By J G And F Rivington St Paul’s Churchyard And Waterloo Place Pall Mall Also By Roake And Varty 31 Strand

The remaining factory cases are in the chapelries of Lees near Oldham and St James’s Heywood near Rochdale. To the former containing a population of 7000 your Committee granted for two years a sufficient sum to pay the salary of a mistress for the daily instruction of girls. The incumbent of the latter district the Rev Hewitt O’Bryen has under his pastoral charge a district containing about 8000 souls. He was probably among the first to bring into effectual operation the provisions of the Factory Act. [The Factory Act of 1833 restricted working hours to eight hours a day for nine to thirteen year olds, and twelve hours a day for thirteen to eighteen year olds, it also required children under 13 to receive elementary schooling for two hours each day.]

In a building erected with the aid of £160 from the Society he opened his school in January 1839 having previously succeeded by personal application in prevailing upon all the mill owners with only one exception to contribute towards the institution, 220 children one half of whom worked in factories were soon in regular attendance.

The details says Mr O’Bryen of this joint school, boys and girls being taught together, are as follows, it is open from nine to twelve am from half past one to half past four pm. Half the factory children come in the morning, and half in the afternoon, by an arrangement with the employers, the half which attend one fortnight in the morning attend the next in the afternoon and vice versa. The school opens with prayer. It consists of four classes in which boys and girls are mixed, the instruction for the first two hours consists of reading writing and ciphering conducted on the principle of mutual instruction with assistance from visitors who regularly act as monitors. The third hour during which the factory children remain of their own accord is devoted to simultaneous instruction. The lessons then given are in geography, grammar, history, Scripture, and the Catechism. This part of the instruction, I frequently conduct myself, the younger children who are incapable of it are sent under a monitor to the Infant school from which they have generally been drafted.

To assist this zealous clergyman your Committee made a grant of £50 for providing additional accommodations besides £10 annually for two years towards a pupil teacher to take especial charge of the factory children.

Hewitt O’Bryen is the third child, and second son, of Henry Hewitt O’Bryen, and Mary Roche, and another of John Roche‘s grandsons. He was baptised at Tracton Abbey, in a Catholic ceremony, like his brother John Roche O’Bryen, and elder sister Jane. When he became a member of the Church of Ireland is still unclear, or why for that matter.

He appears to have lived, at least briefly, in Limerick which would make some sense as he married Louisa Grace Ann Hoare, the daughter of the Reverend John Hoare, the Chancellor of the diocese of Limerick. They then seem to have moved to England. As seen above, he is in Lancashire in 1839, before moving to Norfolk where he was rector of Edgefield, Norfolk in 1845, where he died aged thirty three. His widow, Louisa, then moved to Derbyshire where she lived for some time at the home of her aunt, Alicia, wife of the Rev. Walter Shirley, rector of Brailsford, before moving to Bath where she died, aged 61, on 2 October 1861.

Poor little rich girl – Pauline Roche 1835 – 1894

I love Pauline Roche, she’s the sort of relation everyone should have in their family history. Her story is so bizarre that it reads like a novel.

She is John Roche’s great-granddaughter, and in an unintended way, one of the major beneficiaries of his will, at her marriage, she was said to have about £7,000 (roughly £ 7.5m today). So to set her in context; Pauline Roche is Ernest O’Bryen‘s first cousin on her mother’s side. Her mother Jane is John Roche O’Bryen‘s eldest sister. She is also his second cousin on her father’s side, because William Roche, Pauline’s father is their ( Jane and John Roche O’Bryen) first cousin once removed.

Vatican City Bridge and St Peters
Vatican City Bridge and St Peters

Pauline was born in Rome in 1835, and her father died the same year, when she was three months old. Her mother died the following year (1836) when she was eleven months old. She becomes John Roche O’Bryen’s ward for not entirely clear reasons.

However, JROB is her uncle, and only he, and Jane O’Bryen were Catholic. All their remaining siblings are Church of Ireland. JROB and Jane/William Roche are the only O’Bryen beneficiaries of John Roche’s estate. It is also reasonable to consider other factors.  In 1836, John Roche O’Bryen is married with two young children, Emily who is four, and Henry (the future Mgr O’Bryen) who is almost exactly the same age as Pauline. None of the other O’Bryen siblings have established families, Robert marries that year, and Stephen the year after. 1836 is also the year that Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Senior dies, so Pauline’s grandmother Mary O’Bryen is a recent widow.

It may also be as simple as the fact that John Roche O’Bryen is almost twice as rich as all his remaining siblings, and mother put together.  Robert, Stephen, and Mary O’Bryen were the main beneficiaries from their father’s will, but the majority of their inheritance was from their parents’  £4,000 marriage settlement, which Mary (Roche) O’Bryen was still benefitting from until her death in  1852; whereas JROB had inherited £ 10,000 from his grandfather in1829. Well, technically he received the income from the money in 4% stock, with his children being the ultimate beneficiaries of the capital on his death, with a number of caveats regarding him receiving the full benefits until he was twenty five, or married. In part, that might explain, his marriage at the age of twenty one, in Bordeaux. Wealth comparisons are notoriously complicated, the measuring worth website can be useful because it provides a range of calculations and comparisons depending on what you are looking for. Using their income value calculation, JROB’s annual income was, a present day equivalent of, over £ 500,000 a year.

Anyway, for what ever reasons, Pauline is part of the O’Bryen family, and is shown living with them in Bristol in 1841, and again in 1851.

Lower Aghada
Lower Aghada, co . Cork
Bellevue, Clifton, Bristol

However in 1847, James Joseph Roche dies, triggering a dispute in the family that culminates in Roche v. O’Brien which goes through the courts in 1848, and 1849. James Joseph Roche was the main beneficiary of John Roche’s will from 1826. It is quite clear that John Roche was attempting to build a Roche dynasty to maintain the family name, and the house that he had built for himself  (Aghada House).   James Joseph Roche, who inherited Aghada from John Roche, married Catherine Callaghan. The marriage itself has all the appearances of being at least in part a commercial link between two merchant families. John Roche’s will refers to his contribution of £4,000 to a marriage settlement in 1821. Coincidently, the same amount, that he contributed to his own daughter’s marriage settlement in 1807.  John Roche “amassed great wealth during the French wars”, and Daniel Callaghan Senior was, “one of the most enterprising and successful merchants of Cork”.  Pauline as a minor of 12 or 13, is a party to the case. Aghada House, and the land was sold in 1853 in the Encumbered Estates Court, with Pauline Roche listed ex parte.

This is where the story gets much, much, more interesting. In 1854, aged about 19, Pauline runs away from home in Bristol, crosses the Irish Sea to her uncle Robert O’Bryen in Cork, and goes to court seeking a change of guardian. It all sounds relatively straightforward, and even better it’s all over the papers, well some of them anyway, The Daily News, in London, the Dublin Evening Post, The Liverpool Mercury and Supplement, and  The Tralee Chronicle.

The Daily News called it a “A singular minor case, involving charges of cruelty against a guardian”, The Dublin Evening Post said it was an “EXTRAORDINARY CASE…..the question at present before the court being whether the guardian of the minor should pay the costs of proceedings consequent upon an alleged system of cruelty practised towards her.”  The Liverpool Mercury headlined the story the “PERSECUTION OF A WARD IN CHANCERY” and the Tralee Chronicle said  “The general nature of the charge against the late guardian appeared to be this – that although he was allowed from 1850 a maintenance of £ 130 per annum, this young lady was not properly fed – had been most cruelly treated and subjected to personal violence.”

Pauline Roche’s maintenance allowance of £ 130 per annum, was a huge sum of money. In modern day terms, it is about £ 180,000 a year. Not bad for a teenager, and possibly quite irritating to your uncle that you are entitled to an equivalent of about thirty per cent of the O’Bryen household income. JROB’s income from the interest on capital is about £ 500,000 p.a.

The reporting is amusing, and shows the Victorian press weren’t so different from todays. The  Dublin Evening Post  manages to muddle up which uncle Pauline runs off to, and the Tralee Chronicle not only gets the uncles wrong, but also has Pauline being mistreated by ” Dr Robert O’Brien, of Belfast”.

However, the gist of the story is still Pauline wants a new guardian, and she says she’s been mistreated. Actually, if her story is true, it’s much worse than that. According to the Daily News, “Miss Roche was a young lady whose constitution was delicate, and therefore, it was contended she required great care and attention, instead of which she was provided with bad food, bad clothes, and was deprived of such necessaries as sugar and butter; she was likewise deprived of horse exercise, which was indispensable to her health. A pony, the bequest of a dying patient…….” –  I particularly like the fact that this was a gift from a dying patient – “was given to her; and when she was deprived of this, a carriage horse was procured, which kicked her off his back, and she refused ever again to mount him. She also complained that upon two occasions he (guardian) beat her severely – that he made her a housekeeper and governess to the younger children, that he led her to believe she was dependent upon his benevolence; and further, that she was not permitted to dine with him and his wife, but sent down to the kitchen with the children and the servants.”

carriage horseThe Dublin Evening Post told us ” she was provided with bad food, bad clothes, and was deprived of such necessaries as sugar and butter; she was likewise deprived of horse exercises which was indispensable to her health………..” and in his answer to the allegations.. “Dr O’Bryen replied that he had treated his niece with kindness – that her preservation from consumption was solely ascribable to his judicious and skilful treatment – that he caused her to be well educated, had given her many accomplishments and a horse to ride, which was not a carriage horse but an excellent lady’s horse – that she upon two occasions told him untruths which required correction, and that he would have punished his own children much more severely.”

And in a fairly un-subtle piece of character assassination;  It was likewise contended that she would have better consulted her own respectability and displayed better taste, if she had abstained from taking such proceedings against her uncle and guardian with whom she had been for so many years.”

The Dublin Evening Post continues, and the story just gets worse. From the reporting, the (Irish) Master of the Rolls, is clearly on Pauline’s side. He “said that a petition was presented by Mr Orpin, the solicitor for the minor, for the purpose of removing the late guardian for misconduct. His lordship made an order on that occasion to the effect that the minor should reside within the jurisdiction of the court, which was indirectly removing her from the protection of the late guardian.”

It continued “The general nature of the charge against the late guardian appeared to be this – that although he was allowed from 1850 a maintenance of  £139 per annum, this young lady was not properly clothed – that she had not been properly fed – had been most cruelly treated and subjected to personal violence. Six or seven years ago she was actually driven to run away, which of course she had since been obliged to repent, and even if she did get education it was the education of a poor relation of the family. The governess who was employed to educate her cousins swore, as he (the Master of the Rolls) understood, that if the minor did get education it was at the expense of the guardian, and that she gave her instructions as a matter of charity. This young lady was obliged to run away, and conceal herself in a neighbouring village, and no person who looked at the subsequent transactions could entertain a doubt but that she had been treated with cruelty. It was sworn by Mr Sweeny, a solicitor of the court, that he was ashamed to walk with her she was so badly dressed.”

The mauling from the Master of the Rolls continued, ” The Master found, and it was actually admitted by the respondent ( JROB) , that he told her on one occasion, her father had left her nothing; that she would be in the poorhouse but for his generosity. He (the Master of the Rolls) adverted to this circumstance  for the purpose of asking this gentleman who struck this young lady, in delicate health, with a horsewhip for having told him, as he represented an untruth – what punishment he deserved for having told her the falsehood that her father had left her nothing?”

letterAnd it just goes on, and on.. ” On the morning of the 4th of May 1854, the transaction took place which led her to write the first letter to her uncle who was now her guardian. It appeared that one of her cousins brought her a piece of leather which the child had got in the study of the late guardian, but not telling her anything about it she asked her to cover a ball, and she did so. He interrogated her on the subject, and having denied she took the leather, he took his horsewhip and struck this delicate young lady a blow which left a severe mark on her back to the present day. His lordship then read the letter of the minor to her uncle in Cork inquiring about her father’s circumstances, and complaining bitterly of the treatment she had received, and stating that, though she was then nineteen years of age, she had no pocket money except a little which had been supplied by friends. His lordship continued to say that the facts contained in that letter were corroborated by the statements of the guardian himself. On another occasion, the minor being in the room with her uncle, his powder-flask was mislaid, and being naturally anxious about it, as there were younger children living in the house, he asked this young lady respecting it, but she laughed at his anxiety, and he struck her a blow, according to his own version, with his open hand, but after the blow of the horsewhip, he (the Master of the Rolls) was inclined to think it was with his fist as she represented.”

So, a doctor in Bristol, in his mid-forties, who admitted in court that “she, upon two occasions, told him untruths which required correction” which seems to have been using his horse whip, and fists, and that  ” he would have punished his own children much more severely.” basically attacks  a teenage girl.

Now the Dublin Evening Post continues in the same vein, ” The general nature of the charge against the late guardian appeared to be this – that although he was allowed from 1850 a maintenance of £ 130 per annum, this young lady was not properly fed – had been most cruelly treated and subjected to personal violence. This young lady was obliged to run away, and conceal herself in a neighbouring village, and no person who looked at the subsequent transactions could entertain a doubt that she had been treated with cruelty. It was perfectly clear that this young lady had been kept ignorant up to a late period of the state of her circumstances.”

And the catalogue of criticism from the Master of the Rolls just continues, and continues. More from the Dublin Evening Post:

  • “Six or seven years ago she was actually driven to run away, which of course she had since been obliged to repent,”
  • “The Master (of the Rolls)…..found that the minor, who was in her nineteenth year,  dined with the servants.”
  • “The Master (of the Rolls) found, and it was actually admitted by the respondent, that he told her on one occasion her father had left her nothing; that she would be in the poorhouse but for his generosity.” 
  • “She got half a pound of butter for a week, but no sugar or any of those matters which were considered by mere menials to be the necessaries of life.”
  • “On the 9th of October a letter was written, by the dictation of this young lady, giving the most exaggerated account of her happiness, and this was alleged to be her voluntary act, though by the same post Mr Orpin (her solicitor) received a letter from her stating that she was under the influence of her aunt when she wrote it.”

And finally, though they get the uncles the wrong way round:

  • “Ultimately, in the absence of her uncle, and late guardian, and apprehending his anger when he returned, she left the house and went to reside with her uncle John (sic) in Cork, her present guardian. A circumstance occurred when Mr Robert O’Bryen (sic) went to recover possession of his ward, which corroborated strongly the minor’s statement. When he was passing through Cork, she was looking out of the window and fainted upon seeing him – so much frightened was she at his very appearance.”

There is a full transcript of the newspaper reports, here.  JROB’s defence of his behaviour is quite extraordinary,and also included in the transcripts. It is something I’ll come back to in another post. It is quite clearly carefully planned, and done with the support of the editor of the Bristol Mercury. The italics for inference are printed in the paper, so it is definitely planned with some care, and not just a letter to the editor.

It’s also a classic example of bad PR probably making things worse. In a taster of things to come, JROB starts his letter with the Latin tag “Audi alterum partem” best translated as “let the other side be heard as well”, and finishes with “Fiat Justitia, ruat caelum”  – “Let justice be done though the heavens fall”. This was most famously used by Lord Mansfield in 1772 in the first major English case on the legality of slavery.

So pompous, self-serving, and an astonishing attack in print on a teenager. Still, greater consideration of that is for another time.

Back to Pauline; she stayed in Ireland, and was married two years later in 1857, aged about 21. According to the “Barrymore Records of the Barrys of County Cork”   “Pauline Roche, (is the) only child of William Roche, son of Lawrence Roche, whose brother, John Roche, amassed great wealth during the French wars, and built Aghada House. John Roche’s only daughter, married to ” O’Brien, (sic) [Henry Hewitt O’Bryen]  of Whitepoint, Queenstown, J.P., left a daughter, who married her cousin, William Roche, and with her husband died shortly after the birth of their only daughter, Pauline, who was entrusted to the guardianship of her uncle, Dr. O’Brien, of Liverpool, and at marriage had a fortune of  £ 7,000.”

Pauline Roche married William Henry Barry, of Ballyadam, who was described as a gentleman. He was also a Justice of the Peace. William was his uncle Henry’s heir and was for many years postmaster of Cork. The Barrys of Ballyadam were part of the vast, interconnected Barry family in Cork. William Henry was  the grandson of William Barry (1757 -1824) , of Rockville, Carrigtwohill, in county Cork. Various branches of the Barry family trace themselves back to the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the C12th.

In a slightly curious irony, the Master of the Rolls who sat on Pauline Roche’s case in 1855 ( Sir Thomas Berry Cusack-Smith) married into the Smith Barry family, as did Pauline and William’s daughter Mary, making him and Louisa Cusack-Smith, Mary Barry’s husband’s great-uncle and aunt. It’s a small, small world…

Pauline and William Henry Barry had seven children, including William Gerard Barry – the Irish painter, Mary who married into the Smith Barry family of Ballyedmond, and Edith, whose second husband, William Babtie won a Victoria Cross in the Boer War.

Pauline appears to have died in 1894, and various of her children were still living at Ballyadam almost twenty years later.

Fr Philip O’Bryen 1861 – 1913

Philip O’Bryen is one of Ernest O’Bryen‘s older brothers. To be precise, he is four years older.

Philip, Celia, and Alfred OBryen
Philip, Celia, and Alfred OBryen

He was born 25th Jun 1861 in South Kensington, and died 7th Nov 1913. He is the third son of John Roche O’Bryen and Celia Grehan, one of their six children. He is a half brother of Mgr Henry O’Bryen, and Corinne and Basil O’Bryen by his father’s marriage to Eliza Henderson.

His obituary from the Tablet gives some clues.

The Tablet 15th November 1913

THE REV. PHILIP AUGUSTUS O’BRYEN.

We regret to record the death of the Rev. Philip Augustus O’Bryen, rector of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Princes Park, Liverpool which occurred on Friday afternoon, November 7, with startling suddenness. His morning had been spent in active work in the parish. After saying an early Mass at 6.45, he heard confessions and took Holy Communion to eight sick people. Between breakfast and noon he visited the sick in the Consumption Hospital, and returned home about midday. Feeling unwell and in considerable pain, he took to his bed. A little before three he was visited by one of his curates; at three he was found dead, having succumbed to heart failure, arising from rheumatism, to which he had, been subject since an attack of rheumatic fever in his student days at Ushaw.

Father O’Bryen, who was a cousin of Archbishop Bagshawe, was born in Westminster in 1861. He received his early education under the Christian Brothers, at Clapham, and went in 1872 to Ushaw, where he remained eighteen years, four of which were occupied in teaching. He was a B.A. of London University. Ordained at the English Martyrs’, Preston, in 1889, by Bishop O’Reilly, he was immediately appointed Professor of Mathematics and Science at St. Edward’s College, Liverpool, where he remained until his appointment as assistant priest at the important mission of the Sacred Heart, Liverpool, in 1895. Towards the end of the following year he was placed over the Mission of St. Joseph, Skerton, near Lancaster. On his arrival he found only a school chapel, but through the generosity of the late Miss Margaret Coulston he was able to build the present magnificent church and presbytery. In 1902 he succeeded the Rev. Father Pyke, now of the English Martyrs’, Preston, at Mount Carmel, Liverpool, and applied the funds raised by his predecessor in connection with the silver jubilee of the mission to erect a roodscreen and effect other improvements. His first important work in his new sphere was the division of his parish, and he superintended the building of St. Malachy’s Church, the foundation stone of which was laid some ten years ago by Cardinal Logue.

Requiem Masses for the soul of the deceased priest were said in several Liverpool churches. On Sunday evening the remains were taken to the church, where a crowded congregation had assembled. A solemn dirge was recited on Monday evening. The funeral took place on Tuesday, when a High Mass of Requiem was sung at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by the Archbishop of Liverpool, the deacon being Father Newton (Eccles), and the subdeacon Father J. Fitzgerald. Dean Goethals and Father J. Broadhead (vice-president of Ushaw) were deacons at the throne, and Father H. Blanchard was master of ceremonies. The music of the Mass was sung by the clergy diocesan choir, under the direction of Father A. Walmsley (Great Crosby.) The relatives present were Mr. and Mrs. Alfred O’Bryen, Mr. R. O’Bryen and Mr. B. Smith. The clergy present included Canons Kennedy and Hennelly (Birkenhead), Prior Burge, 0.S.B., Dom Wilson, 0.S.B., and Dean O’Donoghue (Wigan). The sermon was preached by the Rev. Father J. Hughes, who spoke highly of the character and work of the deceased.

The remains were taken to London, and the interment took place at Fulham Catholic Cemetery on Wednesday.—R.I.P.

 

The Fabulous Kitty Pope-Hennessey

Kitty Pope Hennessy

This is the start of the story of Kitty Pope-Hennessy. There’s way too much to put into one post, so this is the start of a series. It is tangential to the main families, but gives an interesting twist to the circles they move in, and also how inter-related they were.

Rostellan_Castle
Rostellan Castle

 

Kitty Pope-Hennessy married Edward Thackwell early in 1894 at Rostellan Castle in Cork. She was a forty-four year old widow, and he was twenty six. He was a year older than her eldest son who died young, and three, and seven, years older than his step-sons.

Kitty and Edward had almost certainly met at the wedding of his sister Catherine at Aghada Hall in 1891. She became a widow that year when John Pope-Hennessey died in October 1891. Lady Pope Hennessy’s wedding present to the bride was an Astrakhan wrap.

Edward was the only son of a second son, William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834–1910), who served in the Crimean War and in Egypt in 1882. All three of his uncles also served in the army, as did most of his cousins, but he certainly doesn’t join the army, and doesn’t appear to have worked much at all..

To paraphrase Mrs Merton ” So Edward, what attracted you to the wealthy neighbour with the castle?”

Edward’s grandfather had bought Agahada House in 1853, though by the time of the wedding, it had almost certainly been inherited by his uncle Joseph Edward Lucas Thackwell, and then passed on to Edward, and Katherine’s younger first cousin, Walter Joseph, (b. 1876).

The sale of the house was the end of John Roche‘s dream of creating a Roche dynasty, based on the male (Roche) sons of either of his nephews. The only male heirs John Roche had left after the death of James Joseph Roche in 1847 were John Roche O’Bryen, and his brothers.  Lieut.-Gen. Sir Joseph Thackwell, who bought the estate, was a veteran of  the Peninsular War, and Waterloo, as well as the First Anglo-Afghan War, and the First Anglo-Sikh War. Maria, his wife, was from the branch of the Roche family that owned Trabolgan House, which makes her a first cousin five times removed of Diana, Princess of Wales.

John_Pope_Hennessy
Sir John Pope Hennessy

Kitty’s husband, Sir John Pope-Hennessy had bought Rostellan Castle on his retirement from the Colonial Service.  It had been in the hands of the O’Brien/O’Bryens since 1645 until the death of the 3rd, and last, Marquess of Thomond in 1855, when it was bought by Dr T. A. Wise, followed by Sir John. The house was demolished in 1944. There is a description of the house by Samuel Lewis in 1837.

“Rostellan Castle, the seat of the Marquess of Thomond, is an elegant mansion on the margin of the harbour, over which it commands extensive and pleasing views, and in a highly cultivated and extensive demesne, comprehending one – third of the parish, and richly embellished with woods and plantations. The grounds are arranged with great taste, and for nearly two miles skirted by the waters of Rostellan bay, and diversified with the rural and picturesque houses of the farming steward, gardeners, and others connected with the management of the farm. The gardens are extensive and tastefully arranged; the flower gardens contain a fine selection of the choicest plants and flowers.“(A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837)

All three of the houses are within a five mile radius of each other on the south eastern edge of Cork harbour, though none have survived to the present day.  There are no clear apparent links between our O’Bryens and Roches to either of the Rostellan or Trabolgan families, apart from shared surnames, and any speculation is for another time.