Captain Sir Robert Hall 1778 -1818

This is the start of a slight Hornblower moment or two. Robert Hall is Mary Roche’s (neé Verling) son by her first marriage to “Captain Hall”. She is 4 x Great-Granny  He is John Roche’s step-son.

The starting point for this post was coming across a couple of cuttings from the Irish Times, and the Irish Independent.

City of Cork Freedom Box

Irish Times, Saturday 22 January 2005.  A rare Irish silver freedom box, right, giving the Freedom of the City of Cork dating from 1808 is up for auction at John Weldon next Tuesday (25th January 2005)  with an estimate of €10,000-€15,000. The square box is hallmarked Dublin 1808 and is inscribed with the City of Cork arms and an inscription. It was presented to a Captain Robert Hall on August 22nd, 1809 for gallantry for his part as a midshipman on board The Dart in battle with four Dutch gunboats in 1796 and with a French frigate in July 1800.

The inscription reads: ” With this box the Freedom of the City of Cork in Ireland was unanimously given to Capt Robert Hall for his gallant conduct in his Majesty’s Navy the 22nd day of August 1809 “.

Irish Independent; 3 Apr 2015 – A Cork Freedom Box, made in Dublin in 1808 and given to the naval officer Captain Rob Hall for gallant conduct in the Napoleonic wars, sold at John Weldon Auctioneers on March 24 for €5,500.

So some local recognition of a local naval hero. But we need a little more. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (edited) we can get the following:  HALL, Sir ROBERT, naval officer; baptized 2 Jan. 1778 in County Tipperary (Republic of Ireland); his father remains unidentified, while his mother is known only through the probate of his will, where she appears as “Mary Roche, heretofore Hall”;  Robert Hall’s early years have not attracted the attention of naval biographers. It is known, however, that he was gazetted a lieutenant in the Royal Navy on 14 June 1800, a commander on 27 June 1808, and a captain on 4 March 1811.

HMS Dart and La Désirée

The Canadians go on at some length about Rob Hall’s career and achievements in Canada, but seem to have missed his early “gallant conduct”. The information with the presentation of the freedom box is for his “gallantry for his part as a midshipman on board The Dart in battle with four Dutch gunboats in 1796 and with a French frigate in July 1800”. So what was this early gallant conduct. It turns out to be the capture of Dutch ships in the Zuiderzee in 1799, not 1796, and a French frigate in 1800.

Rob Hall, later Sir Robert Hall [ 1778 -1818 ] is Mary Roche (neé Verling) son by her first marriage to “Captain Hall”. He is John Roche’s step-son, and John Roche O’Bryen’s step-uncle. He seems to have had a distinguished  naval career, and the Dictionary of Canadian Biography closes its entry on him as follows ” An affable, gallant, and cultivated officer, Hall in his Canadian posting had proved himself a conspicuously fair-minded, innovative, and efficient administrator. His heirs were a natural son, Robert Hall, born in 1817 to a Miss Mary Ann Edwards, and his mother Mary Roche, who was his residuary legatee. The son, baptized on 2 Nov. 1818 by George Okill Stuart, rector of St George’s Church in Kingston, became a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy and died in London on 11 June 1882 after having served for ten years as naval secretary to the Admiralty. “

I really like the fact that he acknowledged and provided for a bastard son, and was happy for it to be acknowledged in the family, and according to the Pedigree of the Verlings of Cove by Dr. Gabriel O’Connell Redmond, ” An obelisk was erected to his memory in Aghada Wood by his stepfather John Roche of that place.”;  so they certainly weren’t ashamed of him. There is more work  to be done on the early life, but there is certainly evidence that his step-sister Mary Roche seems to have been born in Ireland in 1780, and died in 1852, according to the obituary notice “Mary O’Brien, relict of the late Henry Hewitt O’Brien, aged 72,”. Her probate notice spells the name O’Bryen, but notes the will spells it O’Brien. So it seems highly likely that Mary Hall (neé Verling) had re-married as a widow with a son under the age of two, and that John and Mary Roche brought up three children. Mary’s son Rob Hall, and then Mary Roche junior, and, finally, John Roche junior, who was one of the parties to his sister’s [Mary Roche junior] marriage settlement in 1807.

So back to the Canadians.

It is known, however, that Robert Hall was gazetted a lieutenant in the Royal Navy on 14 June 1800, a commander on 27 June 1808, and a captain on 4 March 1811. He attracted attention for sterling service in the defence of a fort on the Gulf of Rosas, Spain, in November 1808 while in command of the bomb-ketch Lucifer. On 28 Sept. 1810 he enhanced his reputation when, as commander of the 14-gun Rambler, he captured a large French privateer lying in the Barbate River, Spain.

This does provide one slight problem if the inscription on the freedom box is correct. The inscription reads: ” With this box the Freedom of the City of Cork in Ireland was unanimously given to Capt Robert Hall for his gallant conduct in his Majesty’s Navy the 22nd day of August 1809 “. If the inscription is right, then the Canadians are wrong because they don’t make Rob a captain until 1811. If the Canadians are right, then the City of Cork has promoted him early.

More from the DCB.  In September 1811 Hall was appointed to command a flotilla entrusted with the defence of Sicily against naval forces operating from French-occupied Naples. He achieved a major success at Pietrenere (Italy) on 15 Feb. 1813 in a raid on a convoy of about 50 armed vessels, French supply ships escorted by many Neapolitan gunboats. With only two divisions of gunboats carrying four companies of the 75th Foot he neutralized the enemy’s shore batteries and captured or destroyed all 50 ships. In recognition of this feat he was made a knight commander in the Sicilian order of St Ferdinand and of Merit. Permission to accept this honour was granted by the Prince Regent on 11 March, at which time Hall was described as a post-captain and a brigadier-general in the service of Ferdinand IV of Naples.

The DCB goes into rather greater detail once Rob Hall arrived in Canada. It is probably considerably more interesting to Canadians so there is a link to the full entry here. My version is edited from the full version.  On 27 May 1814. Hall was designated acting commissioner on the lakes of Canada, to reside at Quebec; his actual headquarters would be the naval dockyard at Kingston, Ontario. [Kingston is at the junction of Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River, and was the main naval headquarters for the British Great Lakes fleet].  He was not immediately available and did not report for duty in Kingston until mid October. His new assignment involved a dual responsibility: to the commander-in-chief on the lakes, Sir James Lucas Yeo, for the building, outfitting, supply, and maintenance of naval vessels, and to the Navy Board in London for the administration of the navy yard at Kingston and its dependencies on the Upper Lakes and Lake Champlain, and all naval victualling and stores depots in the two provinces.

Burning the White House, 1814

The British and the Americans were in the middle of the War of 1812 [which actually lasted from 1812 – 1815]. Robert Hall’s arrival in Canada was at an interesting time; almost eight weeks earlier, a British attack against Washington, D.C., resulted in the “Burning of Washington”. On August 24, 1814, after defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, a British force led by Major General Robert Ross occupied Washington and set fire to many public buildings, including the White House, and the Capitol. It marks the only time in U.S. history that Washington, D.C. has been occupied by a foreign force. The new commissioner’s immediate concern was the implementation of Yeo’s plans for a decisive campaign against the Americans in 1815. These involved the completion or construction of five frigates, two ships of the line,  a number of gunboats, and brigs, To this ambitious program Hall made an important addition: a scheme to rid the naval units of transport duties He sent this proposal to the Navy Board, but all plans for a campaign in 1815 became redundant when the Governor  was notified of the ratification of an Anglo-American peace signed at Ghent (Belgium) on Christmas Eve 1814.

The peace posed immediate and serious problems for Hall and his staff. The yard and its dependencies had incurred expenses of some £40,000 in wages alone in 1814, the building of  the St Lawrence had been immensely costly, and a huge outlay was required to pay for the ships under construction. Prudence dictated the maintenance of a strong fleet for the time being. In March 2015,  Hall was dispatched to England for consultations with the Admiralty about the future naval establishment in the Canadas.

Hall remained in England for more than a year, during which time the British government was engaged in negotiations with the United States which eventually led to the Rush–Bagot agreement of April 1817 to demilitarize the lakes. On 29 Sept. 1815 Hall was named commander on the lakes and resident commissioner at Quebec, thus combining the two senior naval appointments in the Canadas. The first authorized him to style himself commodore; the second confirmed him in the post of commissioner. He was knighted on 15 July 1816 and, distinguished with the additional honour of a companionship in the Order of the Bath, returned to Kingston on 9 September 1816.

He was seriously ill with a lung infection in October 1817, recovered sufficiently to return to duty for a few weeks at the end of the year, but died of this disease at his quarters at Point Frederick on 7 Feb. 1818. An affable, gallant, and cultivated officer, Hall in his Canadian posting had proved himself a conspicuously fair-minded, innovative, and efficient administrator. His heirs were a natural son, Robert Hall, born in 1817 to a Miss Mary Ann Edwards, and his mother Mary Roche, who was his residuary legatee. The son, became a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy and died in London on 11 June 1882 after having served for ten years as naval secretary to the Admiralty.

Marriage settlement of Henry Hewitt O’Bryen and Mary Roche 1807

Transcription Of The Marriage Settlement Of Henry Hewitt O’Brien And Mary Roche, Dated 27th October 1807, No.404481

To the Register appointed by Act of Parliament for Registering Deeds Wills & so forth

Memorial of an Indented Deed of Settlement bearing date the twenty seventh day October, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seven, and made between Henry Hewitt O’Brien of Broomly in the County of Cork, Esquire, of the first part, John Roche of Aghada in the County of Cork, Esquire, and Mary Roche, Spinster, only daughter of the said John Roche of the second part, and John Roche the younger, of Aghada aforesaid, Esquire, and Stephen Laurence O’Brien of the City of Cork, Esquire, Doctor of Physic of the third part, and what was made previous to the Marriage of the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien with the said Mary Roche, whereby the said John Roche did agree to give as a portion with his said Daughter, Four Thousand Pounds Stock in the Irish Five per cent funds, By which said Deed whereof this is a Memorial the said John Roche for the consideration therein mentioned did grant assign transfer and set over unto the said John Roche the younger, and Stephen Laurence O’Brien, all that the said Four Thousand Pounds Stock in the Irish Five per Cent Funds.  

To hold the same unto the said John Roche the younger, and Stephen Laurence O’Brien, and to the Survivor of them his Executors Admst & Assigns up [sic] Trust, to permit the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien and his Assigns during his life to take the interest money, dividends and produce thereof for his own uses and after his death, to permit the said Mary Roche (in case she shall happen to survive the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien) and her Assigns during her life to take the interest money, dividends or produce thereof for her own use, by way of Jointure from and after the death of the survivor of them the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien, and Mary Roche, as to the said Sum of Four Thousand Pounds upon Trust for the Issue of such Marriage if any shall be, but in case there shall be no Issue or in case there should, and that all such shall dye before any of them shall be entitled to their respective shares of the said Sum, then as to the entire said Sum of Four Thousand Pounds Stock in the Irish Five per Cent Funds and all benefit to be had thereby, upon Trust, for the survivor of them the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien and Mary Roche his intended Wife, his, or her Heirs Exrs Admrs and Assigns and it is by said Deed expressed that the said John Roche the younger and Stephen Laurence O’Brien shall when thereto required by the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien invest the entire of the said Trusts Money, or any part thereof, in the purchase of Lands in Ireland which Lands when so purchased are to remain to the same uses and Trusts as are mentioned and expressed in every aspect as to the Trust Sum of Four Thousand Pounds in the Irish Five per Cent Funds to which Deed the said John Roche Henry Hewitt O’Brien & Mary Roche put their hands and Seals,

Witness thereto and this Memorial are John Cotter of the City of Cork Merchant, and John Colburn of said City Gent.

A lot of Bartholomew Verlings

It became clear very early on that there was more than one Bartholomew Verling who were part of the story. John Roche’s will of 1826 left some very significant bequests to various members of the Verling family.

“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 ;……..  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,”

From the will, it was clear that at least one Bartholomew Verling was John Roche’s nephew, and another nephew was a doctor. What wasn’t clear was whether this was one person or two. After some research, it became apparent that the “Dr Verling” referred to was Dr James Roche Verling, who was a naval surgeon of some distinction, and had been, for a time, Napoleon’s doctor on St Helena.

But there were also some early other pointers, The entry for the Verlings in the NUI Landed estates database [http://landedestates.nuigalway.ie] is as following:

Verling – In the 1870s Bartholomew Verling, Springfield Lodge (Oxclose), Newmarket, county Cork, medical doctor owned 883 acres in county Limerick and 110 acres in county Cork. He appears to have acquired his county Limerick estate post Griffith’s Valuation. Bartholomew Verling (1797-1893) was a naval surgeon of Oxclose, Newmarket, county Cork. He was the son of Edward Verling and his wife Anne Ronayne. The Verlings were established at Newmarket by the late 18th century.

The key to the whole question seemed to be an article written in 1916, and published in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 1916, Vol. 22, No. 110, page(s) 64­ – 71. It is titled ” Dr James Roche Verling”, and written by Gabriel O’Connell Redmond. Dr Redmond was the local G.P in in Cappoquin co. Waterford between 1880 and 1914.  He was a great grandson of Daniel O’Connell’s and also John Verling and Ellen Roche’s great grandson. In a pleasing way with numbers this makes him a third cousin, three times removed. He was a noted historian and antiquarian, and also the town’s columnist with the Waterford News.

So to start sorting them out.

Bartholomew Verling of Cove (b. abt.1715 – ) has two grandsons also called Bartholomew Verling who are first cousins. The elder Bartholomew Verling (1786 – 1855) of Cove is John Roche of Aghada’s nephew twice over. His mother is John Roche’s sister, Ellen, and his father is Mary Roche’s (nee Verling) brother, John Verling

The younger Bartholomew Verling (1797 – 1893) of Oxclose, is also a nephew of John Roche, but only as the son of Edward Verling and Anne Ronayne, – a brother-in-law, and sister-in-law. Edward Verling is John Verling, and Mary Roche (neé Verling)’s brother.

It all becomes clearer in the pedigree of the Verlings of Cove.

Mary I.E.Fetherstonhaugh/Blood (nee O’Bryen)1867-1947- another orphan

mrs-jordan
Dora Jordan

Mary Isabel O’Bryen is another splendid character. Pauline Roche was a definite ace, Mary Isabel, her first cousin is another. Not only is she another orphan, but very  entertainingly her great, great aunt was Mrs Jordan, the mistress of William IV.

Mary Isabel Emily O’Bryen was born in 1867, probably in February,  in Gibraltar, and died in 1947, in the Hall, West Farleigh, Kent  leaving  £15,769. Her executors were Henry Pollock (her son-in-law) and her step-son, Horace Blood. The Hall was her daughter Mary Corinne O’Bryen Margetts’ [nee Fetherstonhaugh] house.

Mary Isabel is Stephen Hewitt O’Bryen’s daughter, and was orphaned in 1872, at the age of five. She is a first cousin to Pauline Roche, Mgr HH O’B, Ernest O’Bryen, et al. She seems to be about seven months older than Rex O’Bryen, who was the youngest of the sixteen children of John Roche O’Bryen. She was also thirty years younger than her eldest cousins, Pauline Roche and Mgr Henry O’Bryen

Stephen Hewitt O’Bryen, (about 1816  -1872) is one of the seven children of Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Senior, and Mary Roche. He was the collector of revenue at Gibraltar. He had married Mary Hewson (1841- died before 1872) in Dublin in 1866. She would have been about 25, and he was about 50,  and Mary Isabel seems to be their only child. It is unclear whether Stephen and Mary died at the same time, but on Stephen’s death on 26th April 1872 in Gibraltar, Mary Isabel’s aunt Fanny became her guardian.

rock_of_gibraltar_1810
Rock of Gibraltar c.1810

“18 July 1874. Administration of the effects of  Stephen Hewitt O’Bryen late of Gibraltar in Spain late Collector of Her Majesty’s Revenue there who died on or about 26 April 1872 at same place granted 6 July 1874 at Dublin under the usual Limitations to Fanny Augusta Fetherstonhaugh [wife of Capt Henry Fetherstonhaugh] of Tullamore Kings County the guardian of Mary Isabella Emily O’Bryen a Minor the Daughter and only Next of Kin. Effects in England under £ 3000.”

Fanny is probably the most obvious, and logical choice as a guardian. She is twenty-three years old when Stephen dies, and Mary Isabel is orphaned, and has been married for just over three years. She has had two daughters, although Mildred died aged eight months in 1871. By 1875, Fanny and Henry have four children, two boys, and two girls.

  • Emily Cecilia Fetherstonhaugh 18 Jan 1870 – died 30 Jul 1938 in Belfast
  • Mildred Elizabeth Fetherstonhaugh 13 Apr 1871- died 5 Dec 1871 aged eight months
  • Laura Hardy Fetherstonhaugh 11 Sept 1872 – died 15 Jan 1938 Belfast
  • Henry Hewson Fetherstonhaugh 10 Jan 1874 – died 1939 London
  • Rupert John Fetherstonhaugh 9 July 1875 – died 20 July 1954 Ireland
  • and Mary Isabel O’Bryen became part of the household.

There was no obvious candidate to be a guardian amongst her O’Bryen uncles and aunts. Indeed, all but two of the seven were dead; Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Junior died eleven months after his brother Stephen in February 1873, leaving only Robert O’Bryen who was fifty eight.

The Hewsons were similarly complicated, there were four sons and five daughters. By 1873, Laura, Robert, and Mary herself were dead, John and Conrad were unmarried. Of the remainder, Dora was married to Richard O’Connor who was serving as the Chief Magistrate in Singapore, so not really a candidate. Cecilia was married to the splendidly named  Xaverius Blake Butler; she was, apparently, a secret drinker, and he had also taken to drink following the death of their three year old son in 1873, so that probably ruled them out. That left only two remaining Hewson uncles and aunts, Francis was recently married, and his wife Jane was expecting their first, and only, child, and then there was Fanny, the logical choice, as the only suitable one of Mary’s sisters, the unfortunate choice, in as far as, she died on the 5th November 1875.

tullamore-gaol
Tullamore Gaol

Henry Fetherstonhaugh (1826-1898) seems to have died in the summer of 1898 aged 72 in Tullamore, co.Offally.  He and Fanny Hewson had married on the 19th January 1869,  in Tullamore, when he was forty-three, and she was twenty. He had been a Captain in the Westmeath Rifles, and then served as the governor of Tullamore gaol, co.Offally, it appears right up to his death.

He and Fanny had four children who lived to adulthood, Emily, Laura, Henry Hewson, and Rupert. Mary Isabel Emily O’Bryen seems to have been part of Henry Fetherstonhaugh’s family, and household until she married  Alfred Joseph Fetherstonhaugh, who is a cousin on her mother’s side, in 1888. It was a relatively short-lived marriage, and Alf died on the 12th February 1894 in Biarritz, aged thirty-one.  They had a daughter Mary Corinne O’Bryen Fetherstonhaugh (1890-1973).who was born on the 21st Dec 1890 in Dublin, and died on the 29th November 1973 at Malling Place, West Malling, Kent.  She married Arthur Pearson Margetts in the summer of 1916 in Dublin.

Mary’s husband Alf is her uncle (and presumed guardian) Henry Fetherstonhaugh (1826-1898)’s first cousin once removed.  Or to put it another way, Henry’s great grandfather,William Fetherstonhaugh (????-1770)  is Alf’s  great, great, grandfather. And to make things even more complicated, Henry’s elder sister Jane is Alf’s aunt, having married his father’s  eldest brother, another William Fetherstonhaugh (1828-1914) . So her uncle’s sister is her husband’s aunt.

Alfred Joseph Fetherstonhaugh was the son of Stephen Radcliffe Fetherstonhaugh (1830 – 1895)  and Jane Boyce who had eleven children.  Jane was the daughter of Joseph Boyce who was a Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1855, and a ship owner

william_iv_crop
William IV

Mary Isabel’s maternal grandfather Frank Hewson was the nephew of  Dorothy Bland, (1761-1816). known as the actress Mrs Jordan. She was the mistress of William, Duke of Clarence (later William IV), who she had five sons and five daughters with; she had previously had a daughter by Richard Daly (1758-1813), an Irish actor and theatrical manager. She was then the mistress of Sir Richard Ford (c.1759-1806), having three more children, two daughters and a son (who died at birth). She died unmarried at 1 Rue d’Angouleme, Saint-Cloud, Paris, 5 July 1816.

Mary Isabel’s second husband was Alexander Findlater Blood, who she married in 1897. They both had children from a previous marriage, he had three, she had one and they then had a daughter, Millicent Alix Blood, born 1898. She married Lt.-Col. Jack Gronow Davis in 1932, and they had three sons. He served in the Indian Army, and retired to Sussex. Both died in Kensington in the mid 1980’s

Alexander Findlater Blood was born in Dublin, on 25 July 1853, the son of John Lloyd Blood and Margaret Findlater. He was a barrister in Dublin, and came from a Dublin brewing family.  The Bloods were distantly related to Colonel Thomas Blood (1618 –1680) best known for his attempt to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London in 1671.

Alexander’s first wife was Rachel Anne Park, the daughter of Lt.-Col. Archibald Park, who he married  on 28 September 1880; and the granddaughter of  Mungo Park (1771 – 1806) who was a Scottish explorer of West Africa. He was the first Westerner known to have travelled to the central portion of the Niger River.  His second wife was Mary Isabel O’Bryen, who he married on 23 April 1897, in Dublin. He died in Dublin, on 13 June 1933 aged 79.

trinity-college-dublin
Trinity College Dublin

Alexander Blood went to Trinity College, Dublin, and was admitted to the Irish Bar in 1877. He then practised as a barrister, and solicitor in New Zealand between 1878 and 1883. On his return to Ireland he was admitted to the Inner Bar in 1899. He was a member of the Senate of Dublin University, a practising Bencher of King’s Inns, Dublin and eventually a King’s Counsel (K.C.)

The Bloods lived in some style in Dublin in the early 1900’s. In 1901, they were at 7 Gardiners Row, in a thirteen room house, with a governess, nurse, cook parlourmaid, and a housemaid. 13 rooms. By 1911, they were in a larger house at 43 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin; this time with nineteen rooms, and a stable at the back. There were fewer staff, only a cook parlourmaid, and a housemaid, but the children were older so there was no longer a need for the governess, and nurse.

Alex had three children from his first marriage to Rachel Anne Park. Her father served in the 24th Bengal Native Infantry, and 29th Bengal Native Infantry, and his father was Mungo Park (1771 – 1806) the African explorer. Alex and Rachel’s children were

  • Dorothy Margaret Blood (1882-1973).  She was born in New Zealand, married Henry Brodhurst Pollock (1883-1952) They both lived at Castleknock Lodge, Castleknock, County Dublin; and are buried in St Brigid’s  Church of Ireland churchyard in Castleknock.
  • Horace Fitzgerald Blood (1885- unk). He was a doctor, and served as a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the First War. he seems to have lived in co. Wicklow, having had two sons in 1915, and 1917.
  • Brigadier Jeffrey Armstrong Blood (1893-1966) . he served in the Indian Army, and seems to have settled in London on his retirement. He married Mildred Mary O’Connor, in London, on the 12th  June 1926. Charles O’Connor was the last Master of the Rolls in Ireland, and one of the first judges of the Supreme Court of Ireland. 

In another of those curious twists about quite how close families were inter-linked,  Jeffrey Blood’s  sister-in-law  Evleen O’Connor, married Percy John Vincent MacDermot  (1875- 1955) the son of Rt. Hon. Hugh Hyacinth O’Rorke MacDermot.  Hugh MacDermot was a J.P. , and  Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) in co. Sligo, and was Solicitor-General [Ireland] in 1886, and then Attorney-General [Ireland] in 1892. He also became a Privy Counsellor (P.C.) that year.

Percy MacDermot, was a Captain in the West Indian Regiment. He lived and died at Drumdoe, co. Roscommon. Percy married twice, they married in 1927,  and his second wife was Amy Mary French. She was the daughter of Charles French and Constance Ellinor Chichester.  Constance Ellinor Chichester, was  Mary Esther Grehan (nee Chichester)’s sister. She is married to Stephen Grehan Junior, who is Ernest O’Bryen’s third cousin.

So Mary Isabel O’Bryen’s step-son’s second wife is the niece of her first cousin’s third cousin by marriage. Do keep up……God, these people make my head hurt at times.

Charles French, Amy’s father was the M.P for co. Roscommon between 1873 and 1880, and in a curious case of inheritance was passed over from inheriting his father’s title. Charles French,(1790-1868) was the 3rd Baron De Freyne, . His [Catholic] marriage to “Catherine Maree, a peasant girl (b. c. 1827; d. 13 Oct 1900)” in 1851 was held to be invalid under the laws of Ireland at the time – as a consequence his eldest son, Charles and his two immediately younger brothers were held to be illegitimate hence incapable of inheriting the title, which accordingly passed on their father’s death to the fourth son.”  [ all from cracroftspeerage.co.uk].  Charles and Catherine had a second [Church of Ireland] marriage in 1854, and the fourth son Arthur (1855-1913) inherited the title.

Marriage Settlement – Henry Hewitt O’Brien and Mary Roche 1807

TRANSCRIPTION OF THE MARRIAGE SETTLEMENT OF HENRY HEWITT O’BRIEN AND MARY ROCHE DATED 27th OCTOBER 1807, no.404481

To the Register appointed by Act of Parliament for Registring Deeds Wills & so forth

Memorial of an Indented Deed of Settlement bearing date the twenty seventh day October one thousand eight hundred and seven, and made between Henry Hewitt O Brien of Broomly in the County of Cork Esquire of the first part John Roche of Aghada in the County of Cork Esquire And Mary Roche Spinster only daughter of the said John Roche of the second part, and John Roche the younger of Aghada aforesaid Esquire and Stephen Laurence O Brien of the City of Cork Esquire Doctor of Physic of the third part and what was made previous to the Marriage of the said Henry Hewit O Brien with the said Mary Roche whereby the said John Roche did agree to give as a portion with his said Daughter Four thousand pounds Stock in the Irish five per Cent Funds, By which said Deed whereof this is a Memorial the said John Roche for the consideration therein mentioned Did grant Assigne Transfer and set over unto the said John Roche the younger and Stephen Laurence O Brien All that the said Four thousand pounds Stock in the Irish five per Cent Funds To hold the same unto the said John Roche the younger and Stephen Laurence O Brien and to the Survivor of them his Executors Admst & Assigns up [sic] Trust, to permit the said Henry Hewit O Brien and his Assigns during his life to take the Interest Money, dividends and produce thereof for his own uses and after his death, to permit the said Mary Roche (in case she shall happen to survive the said Henry Hewit O Brien) and her Assigns during her life to take the Interest Money, dividends or produce thereof for her own use, by way of Jointure from and after the death of the survivor of them the said Henry Hewit O Brien, and Mary Roche, as to the said Sum of four thousand pounds upon Trust for the Issue of such Marriage if any shall be, but in Case there shall be no Issue or in Case there should, and that all such shall dye before any of them shall be entitled to their respective shares of the said Sum, then as to the intire said Sum of four thousand pounds Stock in the Irish five per Cent Funds and all benefit to be had thereby, upon Trust, for the survivor of them the said Henry Hewit O Brien and Mary Roche his intended Wife, his, or her Heirs Exrs Admrs and Assigns and it is by sd Deed expressed that the sd John Roche the younger and Stephen Laurence O Brien shall when thereto required by the sd Henry Hewit O Brien invest the intire of the said Trusts Money, or any part thereof, in the purchase of Lands in Ireland which Lands when so purchased are to remain to the same uses and Trusts as are mentioned and expressed in every aspect as to the Trust Sum of four thousand thousand [sic] pound in the Irish five per Cent Funds To which Deed the said John Roche Henry Hewit O Brien & Mary Roche put their hands and Seals, Witness thereto and this Memorial are John Cotter of the City of Cork Merchant, and John Colburn of sd City Gent.

Note:

  Jointure – sole estate limited to wife, to be employed by her after her husband’s death for her life.

Pauline Roche (1835 -1894)

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.

Barryscourt Castle,Co.Cork

To recap briefly, she runs away from home in Bristol to Ireland in 1854, aged about eighteen. She takes her uncle, and guardian, John Roche O’Bryen to court, successfully gets her guardianship changed, and within two years of her court case has married into the Barry family.  The Barrys, one way or another, trace themselves back to the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 1170’s, and in various ways have managed to hold on to land, and money, or both, since then. Their original seat was Barryscourt Castle, and they were given the land from Cork to Youghal, about 50 sq. km. One of the main tactics for keeping wealth in the family was marrying cousins, or through the use of marriage settlements, so Pauline’s marriage was unusual. Having said that, she was bringing the modern-day equivalent of about £ 7,000,000 to the marriage, which helps.

So Pauline is marrying into a junior branch of an old established Anglo-Irish family. It all tends to point to her having some established pedigree, as well as cold, hard, cash. At the risk of speculating, I think it may well turn out that in Pauline’s case, the cash, as we know, comes from John Roche, who is both her maternal great grandfather, and paternal great-uncle. The pedigree, is more speculative, but here goes. Henry Hewitt O’Bryen, Pauline’s maternal grandfather, is the grandson of Daniel O’Brien (1717-1758).

Murrough_O'Brien,_1st_Marquess_of_Thomond_KP,_PC_(1726-1808),_5th_Earl_of_Inchiquin_(1777-1800),_by_Henry_Bone
Murrough O’Brien,1st Marquess of Thomond (1726-1808)

Daniel O’Brien appears to be either a bastard son of  William, the third Earl of Inchiquin, or potentially more likely, the bastard son of Charles O’Brien, William’s second son. Charles is rather curiously listed as died unmarried, rather than d.s.p. (died without issue). In Irish Pedigrees by John O’Hart; 1892, O’Hart lists an otherwise unlisted elsewhere, Donal, a fourth son of William O’Brien.  I don’t think we are pushing things too far to consider William O’Brien bringing up his bastard grandson as part of the household. It’s interesting that another grandson of William’s, Murrough O’Brien, the 5th Earl of Inchiquin, and 1st Marquess of Thomond was reputed to have a bastard son Thomas Carter, the composer (1769 – 1800) who lived with him at Taplow Court in Berkshire

The Irish landed gentry had a much more relaxed attitude to illegitimacy than is perhaps now realised. Henry Hewitt O’Bryen and Mary Roche were staying at Fort Richard, in co. Cork when their first three children were born, and John Galwey, who owned Fort Richard, and their probable host, and Henry’s contemporary, fathered seven children illegitimately at Fort Richard, starting in 1814, before finally settling down and marrying fifteen years later.  Father O’Connor, the parish priest,  wrote ‘Bastard’ next to each of those names.

So, in Pauline Roche’s case, the cash comes from John Roche who “amassed great wealth during the French wars, and built Aghada House“. We know JR was a merchant, but little more. Ireland’s exports were predominately agricultural, with a fair proportion heading across the Atlantic to the West Indies, and West Indian goods returning, so there is a reasonable possibility of part of John Roche’s money being tainted by slave labour, though no actual evidence yet.

The pedigree is rather looser; quite possibly a link to the O’Bryens at Rostellan Castle. The Earls of Inchiquin, who later became the Marquesses of Thomond lived at Rostellan, which is about a mile away from Aghada, where John Roche had built his house in 1808. In a slight curiosity, both families started spelling O”Bryen with a “y” rather than an “i” at about the same time. We’ve considered the possible link to William O’Brien earlier. Henry Hewitt O’Bryen, Pauline’s maternal grandfather, was the son of Laurence O’Brien, and Jane Hewitt. Their marriage settlement refers to Laurence having a malt house, and the Hewitt family were brewers, and distillers.  There is no firm evidence to link Jane Hewitt, and Henry Hewitt, her father, directly to the Hewitt brewing and distilling dynasty, but all the signs point in that direction. The Hewitts established a distillery in 1792, and ran it until 1864 when they sold it to the Cork Distillery Company who eventually evolved into Irish Distillers, now part of Pernod Ricard.

So Pauline’s maternal great, great, grandfather seems to be the bastard son of Irish aristocracy, and Old Irish at that. Topped up with strategic marriages that bring in money at each generation. The trustees and witnesses of the marriage settlement are significant. “John Sarsfield of the City of Corke Merchant & Richard Connell of the said City Esq” are the trustees of the settlement, “Francis Goold & Wm Galway, and Richard Townsend of Castle Townsend” are signatories to Laurence O’Brien’s indentures of leases. “Thomas Hardy of the City of Corke Gent & Matthew Thomas Hewitt of Castle Townsend aforesaid Esq.,”  are the witnesses to the agreements.

William Henry Barry of Ballyadam, is William Barry, of Rockville’s grandson, and the husband of Pauline Roche.  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. So Pauline Roche’s children are EAOB’s second cousins on their maternal grandmother’s side, and third cousins on their maternal grandfather’s side. All fabulously complicated…….

Pauline Barry (nee Roche) had died in the autumn of 1894, aged fifty eight,or fifty nine, almost exactly a year before the death of her cousin Mgr. Henry O’Bryen. They were both born in 1835, Pauline was born in Rome, and Mgr. H.H. was born in Montpellier, and they were brought up together in his father/ her uncle’s household.

William and Pauline Barry’s children were: (there is more detail here)

  1. (Patrick)Henry, born 1862; d. poss 1930, who appears to have been unmarried
  2. William Gerard; born 1864; d. 1940 in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, unmarried.
  3. Pauline; prob born 1865 or b.1867 – d. after 1911; unmarried.
  4. Edith,born probably 1863, but possibly as early as 1861, and possibly as late as 1866.  Died 19??
  5. Mary, born 18?? d. after 1911
  6. Henrietta, b. 1873/4,unmarried
  7. Kate. b 1879 unmarried.

Only Edith, and Mary Barry, get married, out of all seven brothers and sisters, .  Both Edith’s husbands were Army Surgeons. Mary married into the Smith-Barrys of Ballyedmond. 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( Sir Thomas) and Louisa Cusack-Smith, Mary Barry’s husband Cecil’s great-uncle and aunt. It’s a small, small world…

Edith has three sons with Patrick Hayes, and a son and a daughter with William Babtie.

Mary has two daughters with Cecil Smith-Barry.

Ballyadam House, the family home seems to be large. According to the 1901 Irish census it had 16 rooms, and the out-buildings listed are

  • 9 stables
  • 1 coach house
  • 1 harness room
  • 2 cow houses
  • 1 calf house
  • 2 piggeries
  • 1 fowl house
  • 1 boiling house
  • 1 barn
  • 1 potato house
  • 2 sheds

A total of 24 outbuildings

In 1901 Pauline Barry is listed as the head of household at Ballyadam, and was living there with her sister (Henrietta) Rose and a servant, and she is also listed as the owner of 2 2-room cottages each with 2 outbuildings. In 1911, both Pauline, and Rose are still living there, and they have been joined by their younger sister Kate, and eldest brother Patrick, who is listed as the head of the household. There are two servants living in the house, and their six year old niece Janet Babtie is living with them as well.

In 1901, Cecil and Mary Smith-Barry were living in a reasonably sized house in Castlemartyr, Cork. They had ten rooms, and a couple of stables, and a coach house. the household comprised of Cecil, and Mary, their five year old daughter Cecily Nina, and a twenty three year old house and parlourmaid, Julia Casey. Ten years later, Mary has 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 who is now fifteen, and four year old Edith, and a nineteen year old servant girl.

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.

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

Henry is Ernest O’Bryen’s paternal grandfather

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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