North Street, Newry, County Down

North Street, Newry, County Down
North Street, Newry, County Down

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Sunday 2 November 2014

Daniel Jennings [d. 1817] of Newry, County Down

Daniel Jennings was the son of Andrew Jennings and Catherine O’Toole of 11 Upper North Street, Newry, County Down.
He was ordained at Maynooth by the Most Reverend Dr. Troy, Archbishop of Dublin, on the 27th. May 1809, and was appointed Parish Priest of Magheralin, Moira, County Down in the Diocese of Dromore, on the death of the previous incumbent Fr. Lavery.
Here he rebuilt the Church of St. Colman, Kilwarlin on land granted to the Catholic people of the area by the Marquis of Downshire. On the 7th December 1812 the Marquis of Downshire laid the foundation stone of the new church. It was then dedicated by the Most Reverend Dr. Derry, Bishop of Dromore on the 24th October 1814. The new church was said to be a neat, stone, roughcast, whitewashed building with a thatched roof. There was a painting of a crucifix over the altar, and the floor was partly boarded and partly mud. It had taken almost two years to complete, and cost one thousand pounds, a sum raised by subscription. Daniel Jennings had gone to England to raise the money.
It was rumoured that Lady Granard of Granard had presented the church with an ancient bell, the Clog Ruadh, but the bell never materialised.
The Rev. John Quail, P.P., Magheralin, wrote, ‘It was a Father Jennings who built Kilwarlin chapel; the date on it is 1812. But neither in it nor in Magheralin is there any trace of a bell….I do not know of any person who had the Clog Ruadh in his possession… I think there is no evidence that Father Jennings ever possessed the bell.’
From late 1816 to 1819 there was a devastating typhus epidemic in Ireland. A bacterial disease carried by lice, it was spread throughout the country by the large number of homeless families and vagrants travelling the roads seeking food, work and shelter.William Carleton compared Ireland at this time ‘to one vast lazar-house, filled with famine, disease and death. The very skies of heaven were hung with the black drapery of the grave’,
In August 1817 Daniel Jennings died of typhus in the home of his father, Andrew Jennings, 11 Upper North Street, in Newry.
‘Another victim to the prevalent distemper. Mr. Jennings was an honour to his sacred pro- fession’ commented the Belfast Newsletter  ‘there was no bitterness in his heart, and there flowed none from his pen.’
The Newry Commercial Telegraph printed a long eulogy.
‘1817, 6 August. The  Rev. Daniel Jennings, Roman Catholic pastor of Moira ... died in the course of Wednesday night last at the house of his father, Andrew Jennings, Esq.merchant of Newry ... He was conversant in ancient and modern polemics, and took a distinguished part in some recent discussions. He sought also to assuage the angry feelings of party. Appointed to the care of a poor congregation, to the disgrace of the country, without an edifice for the protection of public worship ...he erected a chapel.’

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Andrew Blake [abt. 1776 - 1829]

Andrew Blake [abt.1776 - 1829] was born in Waterford, the son of James Blake and Mary Walsh. He married Mary Galwey, the daughter of Patrick Galwey and Mary Collins, in 1815. They had six children, James Stanislaus, Patrick, Andrew, Francis A., John Aloysius and Grace. The Blakes were Rope and Sail makers and had a Ship Chandlers on the Quays.
On the 26th January 1801 Andrew Blake, son of James Blake of the City of Waterford Merchant, received the Freedom of the County of the City of Waterford.
In 1821 Andrew Blake, 45, head shopkeeper, May Blake, 30, wife, and James Blake, 5, were living at no 46 King Street. (Census extracts Waterford).
Andrew Blake also owned a house and lands at Ballinamona, New Jerpoint, County Kilkenny.
Andrew's eldest sons James and Patrick attended Stoneyhurst College, Clitheroe, Lancashire.  On the 12 March 1829 Andrew died in a coach accident in Blackrock, County Dublin. Andrew and Mary had been returning from Liverpool to Ireland after a visit to their two sons, James and Patrick, in Stoneyhurst.

The Waterford Chronicle. Tue, May 18th, 1829.
Melancholy Accident.
It becomes our painful duty to record an awful accident which proved fatal to Mr. A. Blake, of Little George's-street, one of our respectable fellow citizens. Mr. and Mrs Blake had been to see their children, who are placed at school in England, and after landing at Kingstown last Saturday, on their return home, were proceeding to Dublin by the coach, which, in making the turn of the road at Temple-hill, near the Black Rock, unfortunately upset, and melancholy to relate, Mr. Blake, who sat on the outside, was so severely injured, that he expired almost immediately. Mrs Blake also received some slight contusions; but we regret to learn that she is suffering much from the awful nature of the accident, and from the pressure of severe affliction. Of fourteen other passengers in and on the coach at the time, twelve were more or less injured. The remains of Mr. Blake arrived in this City between two and three o'clock this morning.

In his will Andrew left the lands of Ballynamona, County Kilkenny to his eldest son James Blake. Provision was made for his wife Mary, and the younger children.  Michael Farrell, a faithful, honest and an attentive servant for upwards of thirty years, was left the yearly sum of thirteen pounds.
After Andrew's death, James and Patrick were removed from Stoneyhurst. Mary Galwey married again, to Robert Joseph O'Brien. She is buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Cork.

Sunday 15 June 2014

Patrick Alfred Jennings (1831-1897)

            In Waverley Cemetery, Sydney, overlooking the sea, lies the neglected grave of an Irishman who was once the first non-Labor Catholic Premier of New South Wales. Surmounted by a tall cross it bears the words, “a good name is better than great riches and good favour is above silver and gold.”  This is the grave of Patrick Alfred Jennings, the son of Francis Jennings, linen merchant, and Mary O’Neil of Mill Street, Newry, Co Down.
            In 1852 aged only 21, he travelled as an unassisted passenger aboard the barque the Chaseley from Liverpool via Melbourne to Sydney. His name appears on a list from a letter of thanks to Captain Slaughter. The Ballarat and Bendigo Gold rushes had drawn many young men to Australia. Patrick prospered there, taking part in the 1855 gold rush as a merchant. By 1857 he was a Justice of the Peace.  He opened a store in what was to become St. Arnaud and operated a quartz mine at Bendigo. With the proceeds he went into partnership with another Irishman, Martin Shanahan, and bought a sheep station called Warbreccan. His mother, sisters and brother having followed him to Australia, they took over the running of the store. His sister, Mrs. Quigley, a widow, later married Thomas Gormley and the store then took that name.  The Jennings family were Catholics and the first Mass at St. Arnaud was celebrated at their residence.   For almost eight years Patrick lived and played an active part in the growth and development of St. Arnaud. There is still a Jennings Street in St. Arnaud. In 1863 he married Martin Shanahan's daughter Mary Anne at their Marnoo Homestead on the Richardson River and they made their home at Warbreccan.  Patrick and Mary Anne had one daughter and two sons.
            Patrick continued to acquire land and property, Garawilla, near Gunnedah, and Denobillie and Ulimambri, near Coonabarabran.
A Patron of the Arts, he was a trustee of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1876-87, and president of Sydney Liedertafel. He was an enthusiastic patron and performer of music and he contributed £1100 to Sydney University towards the cost of an organ.  In St. Arnaud he had, according to a biographer, led local amateur concerts and sometimes joined visiting professional singers in public performances of Rossini and Verdi.  His enthusiasm for Wagner was one of the few radical traits in a consistently conservative character. Patrick also donated a considerable sum of money through his friend, Archbishop Vaughan, to finance the building of a Library at St. John’s College. As a token of his generosity a window commemorating him was included in the building.
 He became Premier of New South Wales and Colonial Treasurer in 1886 but resigned in 1887. He was not a great Parliamentarian. During his Premiership he lived in Colebrook, a house noteworthy for its impressive ballroom and cast iron decorative work.  Banjo Paterson wrote an unflattering poem about him called “The Deficit Demon” in which he describes how
“…the people put forward a champion known as Sir Patrick the Portly.
As in the midnight the tomcat who seeketh his love on the housetop,
Lifteth his voice up and is struck by the fast whizzing brickbat,
Drops to the ground in a swoon and glides to the silent hereafter,
            So fell Sir Patrick the Portly at the stroke of the Deficit Demon.”
In 1887 he revisited Ireland and received an honorary LL.D from Dublin University. Two years later his wife died, aged only 42, and was buried in the family grave in Waverley Cemetery. In the Lady Chapel of St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, there is a stained glass window dedicated to Dame Mary Anne Jennings by Patrick Jennings.
            By then Warbrecccan had been sold and he continued to live in Colebrook until 1892.  In the 1890s through drought, financial crisis and his own failing health he lost all his property except Westbrook.  He went to live in Westbrook, near Toowoomba, which comprised 80,000 acres on the Darling Downs. There he led a quiet retired life but took a keen interest in benevolent and social movements.
 He was decorated by Pope Pius IX, Knight of St. Gregory the Great 1874 (Papal Order) and by Leo XIII, Knight Commander of Order of Pius IX 1876, Grand Cross of that order conferring title of Marquis 1885, making him Sir Patrick Alfred Jennings.
Anecdotal evidence describes him as travelling everywhere with a man carrying water bottle. There may have been some truth in the story as the cause of death was diabetes, a symptom of which is thirst.
He died in Brisbane having travelled there to attend a wedding. His body was returned by rail to Sydney (via Jennings township) for burial. A man of equable temperament and a range of informed interest, he was an organiser, administrator and benefactor and had attractive personal qualities. His obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 12th of July 1897 stated that “As a politician it may truly be said that he made no enemies…. those who were privileged to know him personally can bear not less generous testimony to his private qualities… He acknowledged the influence of culture, and represented in our public life a high standard of personal character,”

Thursday 22 May 2014


I found the journal when I was helping to clear a relative’s house for auction.  It was old and dusty, and a little worm eaten in places but it looked interesting. I saved it from the skip and the bonfire and put it carefully away. It wasn’t until recently that I finally found the time to take it out and examine it more closely.  With rapidly increasing interest I began to follow the adventures of a young Irish man called John, aged twenty-one, as he set out from Liverpool to New York for the first time.
            “We left Liverpool on the morning of the 8th April 1834” he wrote. “Every thing favored us.”
In his company I met and dined with the best of American Society in New York, Philadelphia and Washington. Famous names cropped up constantly – Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, Barclay, and Cunard. He attended the races, saw Fanny Kemble perform in the theatre, visited the Law Courts, attended the Senate and crossed the River Hudson by steamboat.
Then he left the cities and travelled through Virginia and Kentucky.  Throughout he kept up a running commentary on life in America, on politics, on slavery, on agriculture. He visited a prison and attended a Shaker Chapel. He grumbled about the roads, the inns and taverns and he never failed to mention the pretty girls. It became obvious at this point that romance would strike sooner or later, and strike it did. By the time he reached the Military Academy at West Point he had met an eighteen year old American Beauty called Delia and had fallen in love. Delia Tudor Stewart was the daughter of a naval hero, Charles Stewart, whose family had played a prominent part in American public life since the Revolution. She was tall, vivacious and striking with her oval face, her dark hair and her blue eyes. Whenever she was mentioned in the journal she appeared lively, energetic and fearless. At Kosciusko’s Retreat – a favourite spot for lovers – he proposed to her, and she, surprisingly, accepted. Unfortunately the journal had been heavily edited at this point, presumably by him. Whenever he wrote about Delia pages had been removed, doctored and replaced.
From the States John travelled North on a Cunard Steamer – still a novelty then – to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he indulged in some fruitless Moose hunting. The journal ended in mid-sentence on the last page in Frederickton, Nova Scotia, on the 5th October 1834.
 It seemed to suggest that there had been a second journal, perhaps even more, and now these were presumably lost forever. A little research  resulted in the discovery of a second journal in the National Library, which had been bought by them in 1926.  This journal started on the 7th October in Frederickton, only two days after the end of my journal.  The story was now complete.
John and Delia were married at Grace Church, New York on 31st May 1835. John brought his American bride back to Ireland, to his home at Avondale in Co. Wicklow. There she bore him eleven children. In 1854 she appears to have left Ireland to live in Paris with some of her children.
 Delia never returned to Avondale until after John’s death. It was her second son, named after her father, who made Avondale famous. He was Charles Stewart Parnell.

[Previously broadcast on RTE Sunday Miscellany]

Monday 12 May 2014

James Stanislaus Blake [1816-1873] [5]

In 1869 James wrote a poem for his wife Cornelia.

To my Wife
On the 24th Anniversary of our Marriage
7th May 1869

When first I met thee, dearest wife
Before our time of wedded life
No Maiden be she low or high
So charmed my soul or pleased mine eye.
Thy voice was musical to mine ear
-My pulse beat fast when thou wert near
-And when my hand was closed on thine
I felt 'twere bliss to call thee mine.
So thought I then - What think I now
When Time has marked with care my brow
And years have passed, full twenty-four
Of married life? - I love thee more
I have not seen, nor do I see
Maiden or wife to equal thee
For good thou art and wise and fair
-No other can with thee compare
Of all life's treasures thou art best
For him who hath thee God hath blest.[1]

[1] "Blessed is he that dwelleth with a wise woman." Ecc.

Saturday 10 May 2014

James Stanislaus Blake [1816-1873] [4]

James Blake was born on the 4th of March, 1816, the eldest child of Andrew Blake of Waterford and his wife Mary Galwey. The Blakes were Rope and Sail makers and had a Ship Chandlers on the Quays.
James Blake entered Stoneyhurst College, Clitheroe, Lancashire on 1 June 1827 and left on 12 March 1829 following the tragic death of his father Andrew in a coach accident in Blackrock, County Dublin. Andrew and Mary had been returning from Liverpool to Ireland after a visit to their two sons, James and Patrick, in Stoneyhurst.
After Andrew's death, Mary Blake [nee Galwey] married again, Robert Joseph O'Brien. She is buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Cork.
James attended Trinity College in Dublin:
Blake, James, Pen. (Mr. Sheahan), Apr. 17, 1835 aged 18 s. of Andrew, defunctus, b. Waterford. B.A. Vern 1839. (Alumni Dublinenses - Burtchaell and Sadleir 1593-1860).
He subsequently became a barrister:
Law Intelligence. Hilary Term was opened yesterday with the usual formalities when the following gentlemen were sworn in Barristers before the Lord Chancellor... James Stanislaus Blake, eldest son of Andrew Blake, of Waterford in the County of Waterford. (Freeman's Journal, Tue, Jan 12, 1841)
In 1845 he married Cornelia Ronayne, daughter of Edmund Ronayne of Cork. They lived in Ballinamona, Thomastown, County Kilkenny, and had six children, one of whom, Isidore, died in 1866 aged 12.
James Blake died at Ballinamona, Thomastown on 11th September 1873 and is buried in Teampaill (Thompal) Teagan graveyard in County Kilkenny, together with his son Isidore. The inscription of his grave reads:


Cornelia Blake [nee Ronayne] died in 1897.

Saturday 3 May 2014

James Stanislaus Blake [c.1817-1873] [3]

James Blake describes in his journal an encounter with customs in Le Havre. Clearly some things never change!

"Ah bon!" in Havre now I stand.
Here, as elsewhere, the porters run
For luggage; but the Frenchmen stun;
And set on by this ruthless crew,
From mild to savage soon I grew.
"Stop! That is mine. Let go my trunk;
D'ye hear, you scoundrel; are you drunk?
I wish to manage my affair."
"Mais monsieur, il est necessaire,
Voici mon carte, voila l'hotel -"
Then for my luggage fought pell-mell;
And when at length by dint of blows,
I gained a passage through my foes,
I was seized on by two gens-darmes,
Who kindly said, "they meant no harm,
But to the custom-house I must go,
With them to search in my portmanteau."
To government all must give way,
So with bad grace I gave my key:
They oped my trunk, and out they shook
Coat, breeches, shirts, and pocket-book;
And then politely bade me pack,
My scattered things in order back:
This done, I made no more delay,
But sought with haste the first cafe.

Saturday 19 April 2014

James Stanislaus Blake [c.1817-1873] [2]

James Blake lived in Thomastown, County Kilkenny. He enjoyed writing poetry and had an unusual sense of humour.

Written over a case of Port and Sherry,
buried in my garden at Ballinamona.

They who thro' life were held most dear,
Untouched by death, lie buried here;
Unlike the rest of mortals, they
Despise the fate of vulgar clay:
For when their sepulchre is burst,
No eye shall view them with disgust,
And when they rise again to light
Their ghosts, no sinners shall affright;
But even the sexton will have sport;
For one is Sherry, and the other Port.

Thursday 17 April 2014

James Stanislaus Blake [c.1817-1873]

James Blake lived in Thomastown, County Kilkenny. A barrister by profession, he also enjoyed writing poetry.

Description of my Study

This room, in which I keep my station,
Is in worst state of litigation:
A mother striving to eject
Her son, myself, without respect;
And lest she might succeed, I'll try
To keep a list of property.
First, is a portrait of my mother,
With profiles of myself and brother;
Two foils, a desk, a bugle, and
A table with a music stand;
Six chairs, the better to keep clean,
All covered with the best moreen;
A sword, a compass, and a sling,
With a small gun for battering;
A covered sofa, but on it,
I have strict orders not to sit.
A pistol, dagger, lamp, and screw,
With other things of much vertu;
And last of all, with studious air,
Myself upon an elbow chair.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Rum and Barbados

Can anyone provide information about this figure. It comes from Barbados, is clearly linked to rum and is very old.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

The search for Patrick Alfred Jennings [1831-1897]

           This is the story of a search, not a search for Patrick Alfred when it began, but a search for someone without a name and without a place, who quite possibly lived only in the imaginations of my family, and principally in the mind of my father. This nameless relative was reputed to have set out for Australia and to have been extremely successful there. So successful that he had built Government House, a Government House somewhere, no one was quite sure where, which was still in use when my father was alive, or so the story went, and for all I know, may still be in use today. One of my cousins had undertaken a search in the sixties to find this elusive relative and had come up with the name of Bourke. His mother, my aunt, who was an authority on these things, told him firmly that he was talking rubbish, that he knew nothing at all about the matter. He continued to search, undercover so to speak, and without any further success, until his death in 1974.
Almost thirty years passed and the Internet became a reality. One day, I thought, perhaps, just a little search would do no harm, and I might be the one to put this family mystery to rest forever. I had no name to search for. I didn't even have a place. So I started with the only thing I did have, my own name. Within minutes I had found Patrick Alfred Jennings and the story of Colebrook House, New South Wales.
 Colebrook House was built by William Augustine Duncan in the early 1860s. Duncan was New South Wales Collector General of Customs from 1859 until his retirement in 1881.
 "The focal point of Duncan's home was its impressive ballroom. Much use was made of cast iron decorative work imported from the Colebrookdale foundry in England. The interior was enriched with moulded plaster borders painted in pastel colours and surmounted with capitals and mouldings picked out with gilt. Ornamental roof lights in etched glass added extra light to the rooms."
After Duncan's retirement Colebrook was occupied by Patrick Alfred Jennings and it was here that he was living when he became the first NonLabor Catholic premier of New South Wales in 1886, remaining here until 1892.
At first it seemed as though I had been successful in my search. But there was one problem, or indeed two. Patrick had not built Colebrook House himself. That had been done by his predecessor William Augustine Duncan. And Colebrook House had been demolished in 1960. A seventeen-story unit block stood in its place. It is this building which now bears the name of Colebrook. The gates from the earlier Colebrook House form the entrance to the Rose Bay War Memorial. I had to grudgingly accept that Patrick Alfred Jennings was not the man I was looking for.
            By now something about him had begun to intrigue me, and I wanted to know more. Keying his name into the computer for the first of many searches I began to piece together the story of an ambitious and successful man, a story that was to take me across the sea from Ireland to the goldfields of Australia, from sheep stations to politics, from family man to patron of the arts, from business to religion. Clearly Patrick Alfred Jennings, whoever he was, was a man of many parts.
            I had no reason to believe that Patrick was a relative, but I was not entirely surprised when I found that he came from Newry, Co. Down, where my own family had lived. The grave of Patrick's father, Francis, lies in St. Mary's graveyard in Newry, close to the graves of two members of my family. He is buried there with his mother Mary, and four of his children. There is no mention on the headstone of the illustrious man one of his sons was later to become.
            Sir Patrick Alfred Jennings [1831-1897] is buried in Waverley Cemetery, Sydney, New South Wales.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Charles Jennings [Abt. 1780 -1855] of Newry, County Down

Charles Jennings lived at 28 Monaghan Street, Newry, and married Sophia Corley in 1811.  Sophia was the daughter of Patrick Corley of Clones, County Monaghan, and the sister in-law of Roger Therry, Judge of the Supreme Court NSW 1846-59. 
Charles had a warehouse at 30 Merchant’s Quay.

Rental of the Right Hon. the Earl of Kilmorey's Newry and Crobane     Estates 1822. Incidental Expenses. P. 53. No. 10.
Paid Charles Jennings amt of his acct for iron and coals. 

Eliza Jennings, his sister, was married to John Caraher, who had a house, stores, kiln, office and yard at number 15.
Like his father and brother, Charles was involved with the struggles of the Catholic population, and the fight for Catholic Emancipation.

We, the Undersigned, request a MEETING of the CATHOLIC INHABITANTS of the PARISH of NEWRY, at the NEWRY CATHOLIC POOR SCHOOL, on SUNDAY the 13th day of January, 1828, at the hour of TWO o'clock, for the purpose of petitioning the Legislature for the ENTIRE and UNCONDITIONAL restoration of our unjustly withheld rights; and of adopting such other proper measures, with reference to this subject, as may appear necessary to
said meeting. Newry, 8th January, 1828.
Denis Maguire, Constantine Maguire, John Caraher, Patrick m'Parlan, Mark Devlin, Charles Jennings, P.C.Byrne.

In 1837 he was appointed Newry Town Commissioner.
Charles had a Schooner, the EXPERIMENT.  Details of this vessel appear in the 1843 and 1844 editions of Lloyd’s Register.

EXPERIMENT - 1843-44
 Owners: Jennings
Port of registry: Newry
Voyage: sailed for Lancaster (1843); on Coastal Trade (1844)
Preston Custom House report. Sailed. EXPERIMENT for Newry, coal.

In 1846 Eliza Jennings’ husband John Caraher was declared bankrupt. Charles Jennings was declared bankrupt in 1850.

Bankrupt: Charles Jennings, of Newry, county Armagh, merchant, dealer, and chapman, to surrender on Tuesday, the 3rd day of December, and on Tuesday, the 31st day of December next.

The details of the Incumbered Estate sale of James Scott Molloy held in the Commercial Coffee Room, Newry, in 1851 describe Charles Jennings as a

Tenant under the Court of Chancery, from 1st May, 1849, for seven years…

The yard for sale, leased by Charles Jennings, had

                …limekilns on it, in constant work…

Charles Jennings was on the Provisional Committee of the Newry and Enniskillen Railway extension to Sligo. The expansion of the railways had been proposed in an attempt to encourage and promote commerce. The combination of the slow rate of investment in the new railway projects and the low economic state of the country after the Famine may have contributed to his bankruptcy. Newry had suffered an influx of the poor and the destitute, in part because of the Workhouse which had opened in 1841, and also because Newry and Warrenpoint were ports from which emigrant ships left for England and America. The population of Newry had increased from 18, 415 in 1841, before the Famine, to 20,488 in 1851. Almost two thousand paupers had been assisted in six months in 1847.

In the Court of Bankruptcy, Dublin, April 15th, 1851, The Belfast and County Down Railway Company in re the Estates of Charles Jennings, a bankrupt.

Pierce Mahony, solicitor to the Dublin and Kingstown Railway noted that

…the distress of the middle classes in Ireland resulting from the schemes of 1844       and 1845 is most alarming at present.

Mother Emmanuel Russell, a member of the congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, Newry, wrote an account of a visit to 28 Monaghan Street before the bankruptcy.

 First, our earliest friends, Mrs. Charles Jennings' family, welcomed us and were very, very kind…and I never forgot the picture of comfort, peace, and genial kindness her Christmas dinner-table presented. Such a handsome numerous family sat round it: father, mother, three sons and five daughters (besides two absentees – a Poor Clare and a police inspector), all bright, handsome faces…. I often recall that picture as that of the happiest family party as well as the handsomest I have ever seen; and most of them with God now, and all scattered.

Four of the sixteen children of Charles and Sophia died in childhood.  Andrew John died aged 27.  Anna Maria became Sister Mary John Jennings of the Poor Clares, a religious order which had come to Newry shortly after Catholic Emancipation. Three of her sisters entered the Presentation Order. Two sons, Joseph, an engineer with William Dargan, the great railway entrepreneur, and Charles, apprenticed to Arthur O’Hagan, solicitor, emigrated to America. Another, John, may have been a wine and spirit merchant on Merchant’s Quay, Newry. Daniel became a County Inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary.
Charles Jennings died in 1855. His widow Sophia with her daughters Kate, Ellen and Sophia left Newry and came to live in 8 Cabra Terrace, Dublin.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Frederick York Wolseley [1837-1899]

Frederick York Wolseley was born in Co. Dublin on the 16th March 1837, the second son of an army officer descended from a Staffordshire family.  Mount Wolseley House, in Co. Carlow, which had been the home of the Wolseley family since 1725, was burnt by insurgents in the 1798 rebellion and was no longer habitable. It would not be rebuilt for another twenty seven years.
Frederick's older brother Garnet followed their father into the army and went on to have a distinguished career. Frederick himself, however, at the age of seventeen, travelled to Australia, arriving  in Melbourne in 1854 and working  as a Jackeroo on a large sheep station named Warbreccan (near Deniliquin, New South Wales) where he later became the manager.
  In 1868 he turned to squatting for himself and in 1870 he became a Justice of the Peace. He then began experimenting with his idea of a mechanical sheep shearing machine. By now he had acquired his own property, 'Euroka' near Walgett on the Barwon River.    Here he gave his first exhibition and demonstration of his sheep shearing machine in the presence of a number of squatters. He  proved that his mechanical shearing machine was a success. A year later the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co. was set up in Sydney with a capital of  £20,000.
The company moved back to Birmingham, England, in 1889 and Frederick York Wolseley became the Managing Director. However he ultimately returned to Australia and resigned from the company in 1894.
 In Birmingham the works manager Herbert Austin started experimenting with motorcars. His first attempt, the Wolseley Autocar No. 1, is said to have  looked like an invalid chair with back to back seating for two adults and independent rear suspension. Only one model was made, and none were sold.
In 1899, the first Austin designed 4 seater was built. It was entered in the Thousand Miles Trial in the spring of 1900 and won its class. Within a year the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company had been established and began manufacturing.
As well as cars the Wolseley Company produced motor sleighs for the Scott Antarctic expedition and a two-wheeled gyrocar sponsored by the Russian count Peter Schilovski. During World War 1 Wolseley lorries were supplied in large numbers to the British Army in France and it was claimed that Wolseley aero engines contributed to the success of the Royal Flying Corps.
After the war normal car manufacturing was resumed. In 1932 The distinctive illuminated radiator badge was  introduced and never changed. For many years the Wolseley name was associated with the Police Force. Ealing Studios used the cars in films of the 1950s such as the Lavender Hill Mob and Whisky Galore.
Frederick York Wolseley himself never knew about the success of the Wolseley car. He returned from Australia to Surrey seriously ill and died on 8th January 1899; the same year that the first Austin designed 4 seater was built. He was buried at Elmers End Cemetery in London. His name was carried on by the company and became synonymous with cars of style and luxury.  "Wolseley cars – driven in three centuries." was the proud boast. In 1975 British Leyland built the Wolseley Wedge, renamed the following year as the Princess. It was the last of the line and the end of an era.

Monday 31 March 2014

Hellfire Clubs and other things

Samuel Hayes became famous through the publication of his book “ A practical Treatise on planting and the management of woods and coppices ” in 1794. He is to Irish Forestry as Sigmund Freud is to psychiatry, or Robert Boyle to chemistry.
Hayes made several journeys through the English countryside and was a very experienced planter himself before he produced his book  – encouraged as he tells us by  “ several respectable members of the Dublin Society” now the Royal Dublin Society. He was quite literally learning and getting ideas from the great English estates before he began planting his own estate of Hayesville, in County Wicklow. He was often critical of the estates he saw, but he gave great praise too where he thought it was deserved.
It was on one of these trips in the summer of 1769 that he visited the estate of Lord Le Despencer, West Wycombe House, at High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. In a journal he kept of these trips he describes the estate in detail. He admired it because it was open to view to the traveller, unlike many which were closely walled and hidden away from public view. These he thought too selfish. He commented favourably on the HaHa around the gardens which was in one part planted with small ships cannon which when fired towards the surrounding hills echoed like thunder. He did not comment so kindly on a small vessel carefully rigged and situated on a lake considering it too much of a sea vessel to give pleasure.  The carefully planned stable yard met with his approval and he was intrigued by a little shepherd’s house in the Park with wheels under it. This he was told was called a Rambler and could be used to drive to any pleasant spot. It held twenty persons and two servants and made a pretty object wherever placed.   Most of all he was delighted by a very striking object - a mausoleum on a hill, a six sided building with arches and pilasters richly ornamented, in full view of the traveller and beside a solitary church, the Church of St. Lawrence.
It is hard to believe that Hayes was unaware, or if he was aware he deliberately didn’t mention the fact, that Lord Le Despencer was better known by another name, that of Sir Francis Dashwood, nor does he mention ever meeting him in person. Francis Dashwood was a notorious rake, who was descended from what were then known as Turkish merchants – one who traded with the Ottoman Empire. He travelled widely bringing back ideas and artefacts to West Wycombe House. He has been described as an unashamed libertine who dedicated his life to the worship of the old gods such as Bacchus and Ariadne. Close by,  Medmenham Abbey, a disused twelfth century Cistercian monastery, was the meeting place of “The Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe.” This was one of several secret societies founded by Dashwood, also known as the Hell Fire Club.  The St. Francis referred to was Francis Dashwood himself. There were reports, possibly exaggerated, of orgies and black masses. Later, when the Abbey was accidentally burnt down, the society met in the nearby Hellfire Caves which had been artificially excavated by Sir Francis from the local quarries. He also changed the interior of the church of St Lawrence to resemble an Egyptian temple, and placed on the top of the capped tower a golden ball, 80 feet above the ground, measuring 7 feet across, which had a trapdoor and accommodated 3-4 people. The six-sided cabalistic mausoleum became a resting place for his friends. He was buried here in 1781 in the family vault of St Lawrence’s Church.
Hayes returned after his journeys to his home in Co Wicklow, Hayesville, and changed its name to Avondale – a name subsequently to become famous as the home of Charles Stewart Parnell. He planted the estate with such enterprise and dedication that its grandeur lives for us still. Then he left his knowledge and expertise distilled for us in his book. Though the original trees he planted have long since fallen, their descendants remain. It is fitting that Avondale should now be the home of Coillte- the headquarters of Irish forestry.  The Massy estate, near Dublin, also belongs to Coillte. Here the woods are overlooked by another Hellfire Club situated in the Dublin mountains.
Was there, perhaps, another side to Samuel Hayes? One that we know nothing about? Or was he so focussed on trees and estates and their management and his other great interest, that of architecture, that indeed he saw nothing else?

Sunday 30 March 2014

The disappearance of women from the Western seaboard in the first half of the nineteenth century

          The true extent of the oppression of women in 19th century Ireland becomes apparent when searching through the cemeteries of that time in the West of Ireland. Here women have been totally subsumed into the families of their spouses. Whether searching through Bohola cemetery, or Kilcolman old Cemetery at Ballaghadereen, or Tulrahan cemetery in Claremorris the story is the same. On almost every gravestone with few exceptions the wife is recorded only by her Christian name.  There is no longer any link with her father’s name, her bloodline and her own family. It becomes impossible to make for all but a handful of these women any physical or historical link with her forbears. No matter that her father may have been the most important man in the area, she is no longer his but has become her husband’s chattel. The implications are frightening. These are stone records. They were intended to and will last longer than any other record. Yet because these women have no name they are literally buried forever. They have lost their own identity. Before 1864, when births, deaths and marriages began to be officially recorded, there was no requirement to preserve the name of the female of the line. Only the parishes kept records, many of them poorly written, almost illegible, and now so faded in parts as to be useless.
But this wasn’t the only way that women were lost. Numerous living loving human beings were wiped from the records, even more completely, in the long lists of families who left the West of Ireland on the coffin ships of the 1840s never to return. These passenger lists strike a chill to the heart. Here wives and mothers travelled almost anonymously.  There is no way of linking a wife on board ship with the family left behind. Whole families were gone from the countryside, carrying with them their memories, a storehouse of our past - such a rupture between their past and our present – some of them did not even make it to the shores on the far side. Others reached port only to die of fever and starvation, to be buried hastily in alien soil. Their names, whether of the living or of the dead, were also frequently recorded incorrectly. The names were misheard, misunderstood and misspelt. Families were lost simply because they became untraceable in the records. A variety of accents from Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Donegal caused identical names to be misheard and spelled in completely different ways by the recording clerks.
Both these examples illustrate in a truly terrible way the humorous proposal “Would you like to be buried with my family?” In this context it takes on a deeper and altogether darker meaning.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Jennings of Newry, County Down

 The Jennings family of Newry, County Down, appear to have come originally from Ironpool, Kilconly, Tuam, County Galway. The Jennings/Jonine family of East Galway and Mayo was extensive and the records are fragmented. Variable spellings of the name are found in the earlier part of this period, Jenings, Jennings, Jonine, Johnin, Jonnins and others.  

 In the Grant of Arms, by Neville Wilkinson, Ulster King of Arms, in 1910, to Ulick Jenings of Ironpool, Tuam, County Galway there is found a crest of a cat’s head.  The arms are derived from those of de Burgo, or Burke, from whom the Jennings of East Galway and Mayo are descended. The motto is that of the Clanricarde Burkes.

Or, a cross + gules, in the first and fourth quarters a dexter hand couped, in the second and third a lion rampant sable, for crest on a wreath of the colours, a cats head affronté erased sable, charged on the neck with a cross crosslet or,
 and for motto
Ung roy, ung foy, ung loy.

         This cat crest is identical with that of the Newry family. The name Andrew is found in the pedigree of Ulick Jenings, descending from Andrew Browne.  Andrew is a name not usually found in the Jennings families of East Galway, and Mayo, but which is consistently used in Newry. As both families in East Galway and in Newry followed naming patterns strictly, this was another indication that there might be a connection.
The opening of the redeveloped Newry Ship Canal in 1767 resulted in considerable commercial expansion.  Davys and Jennings of Fishamble Street in Dublin, presumably attracted by the opening up of new markets, proposed expansion to Newry. They chose Dirty Lane, also known as North Street.

Isaac Walker, son of Abraham Walker of Rich-Hill, who lately transferred Business for Messrs. Davys and Jennings of Dublin; Begs leave to acquaint his Friends and the Publick, that he has opened a Grocers Warehouse in Dirty Lane, Newry, near the Market-house..... 

Within ten years Newry would have become a thriving port, importing timber, coal, grain and other goods, and supporting many local industries such as tanneries, foundries and mills.
          It was possibly Andrew Jennings of Ironpool, Edward’s brother, who moved to Newry from Fishamble Street. Andrew Jennings of Upper North Street, who had an established iron foundry and imported Swedish iron from Stockholm, and who died in 1818, may have been his grandson. 
         Andrew Jennings, and his sons, Andrew and Charles, were active Catholics. Andrew, and his son Andrew, were both involved in the 1811 Down Catholic Meeting and in consultations with the General Catholic Committee.

Down has selected the following Gentlemen to consult and confer with the General Catholic Committee, namely:
Andrew Jennings, Sen.
Andrew Jennings, Jun.

After Andrew’s death in 1818, his son, Andrew, continued to live in the house at Upper North Street. He married Mary Anne Clarke by special dispensation on October 10th 1825, in Newry. She was the second daughter of Edward Clarke of Newry. 
Andrew Jennings  had a spade factory at Finnard.

A paper mill was in existence on this site from at least 1776 until about 1830 and is described on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey as ‘ruins of a paper mill.’…The Premises are marked ‘The Paper Mill’ on the 1858 Ordnance map but were actually used as flax mills and as a shovel factory.

According to E.R.R. Green in 1860 a ‘shovel Manufactory’ was shown on the Ordnance map, described a few years later as a ‘Spade Factory’ occupied by Andrew Jennings. 

Friday 28 March 2014

Daniel Jennings [1765-1830] of Mill Street, Newry, County Down.

There are two graves in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Graveyard, Chapel Street, Newry. Daniel’s has a slate headstone with a stone surround.
“This monument was erected by Daniel Jennings of Newry 1816, who departed this life 21st June 1830 aged 65, also his beloved wife Bridget who departed this life 27th October 1832 aged 64, may the Lord have mercy on their souls, also pray for the soul of his son Patrick Jennings of Dundalk who died 18th November 1873 aged 74 and his wife Anne Jennings who died 18th May 1897 aged 87.”
 Daniel’s nephew, Andrew, is also buried here. The inscription is on a slate headstone.
        “Erected by Andrew Jennings of Newry in memory of his daughter Mary Catherine who departed this life on 19th August 1864, also Ellen McDonald who departed this life on the 16th February 1866, Andrew Jennings departed this life on the 12th April 1869 aged 76. Requiescant in pace.”
 Daniel Jennings’ will, probated in 1831, was a Prerogative Will. He was a miller and not wealthy but a small amount of property in another diocese probably made his will a Prerogative will.  As Newry straddles the border between Down and Armagh it was easy for property to be in two dioceses.  It would have been probated in the Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of Armagh. The will transcript located in the National Archives provides the names of his children, Patrick, Charles, Bridget and Anne.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Saule's Court, Dublin

 Laurence Saule lived at the sign of the Golden Key in Saule’s Court, off Fishamble Street, in 18th century Dublin. He and his brother-in-law, Edward Jennings, were Catholics in a predominantly Protestant city, a fact which was ultimately to prove his undoing.
Saule was a distiller and a grocer.   In 1740 he placed an advertisement in the Dublin Newsletter laying out his wares. In it he listed large or small Quantities of fine Bohea and Green Teas, of the last Importation, coffee, old brandy, choice rum, bourdeaux vinegar, and orange shrub, esteem'd by Judges to be very extraordinary. He also sold Chocolate of his own manufacturing, at 3s the pound, with the name SAULE, at large, impress'd thereon, to prevent any persons being impos'd on: fine and coarse bak'd, and raw sugars, best north whisky, spices, and several other sorts of Groceries.  And he sold Irish Cyder, at 5s.6d. the dozen, with encouragement to those who buy the hogshead.
             Edward Jennings was married to Saule’s sister Eleanor.  He came originally from Ironpool, Kilconly, near Tuam in County Galway, and had moved to France in 1738 where he practised as a doctor in Tonnay-Charente. He returned to Dublin in 1750 for the birth of his son Charles Edward Saule Jennings in Saule’s Court.  In Dublin he became one of a group of Catholic doctors who gave their services freely in the newly founded St. Nicholas' Hospital, or the New Charitable Infirmary, in nearby Francis-street.
In 1759 Laurence Saule was found to have harboured a Catholic girl in his home, in an attempt to protect her from the pressure she was under to conform to the Established Church. As a result he was prosecuted.  At his trial the Chancellor declared that the law did not presume that an Irish Papist existed in the kingdom. Saule threatened to leave Ireland. He wrote to Charles O’Conor.
" Since there is not the least prospect of such a relaxation of the penal laws as would induce one Roman Catholic to tarry in this place of bondage… will you condemn me for saying,” he asked, “that if I cannot be one of the first, I will not be one of the last to take flight!"
He expressed his regret at leaving his friends and family now that he was no longer young and being forced to remove himself to a place, which he calls a ‘dreary clime’ and, where, like a child, he would have to begin all over again.
'But," he added, "when religion dictates, and prudence points out the only way to preserve posterity from temptation and perdition, I feel this consideration predominating over all others. I am resolved, as soon as possible, to sell out, and to expatriate."
Laurence Saule, together with Eleanor, her husband Edward and their son Charles Edward, left Ireland for France in 1760. Charles Edward was about eleven years old.  In Tonnay-Charente the two brothers-in-law founded the brandy house of Saule and Jennings. It seemed like a new and more glorious beginning and for a time they prospered but a lull in the brandy trade soon saw the firm in difficulties. ‘This is a dreadful country to do business in’ Saule noted not long before his death.
            On his departure for France Saule commented that he had left  ‘all my books and papers not taken with me in the old shop house in the back closet up one pair of stairs.’ Presumably he hoped one day to return. But he was never to see Fishamble Street or Saule’s Court again. He died in France in 1768, two years after the death of Edward Jennings.  His will, which he had made in 1760, before leaving Dublin, was executed by Valentine Browne, described as one of the richest of Dublin’s Catholics, a brewer and a gentleman. The will, which was intended to bind the two families of Saule and Jennings together, in the end caused an irretrievable break down between them.
And what of Charles Edward, the boy who had been cruelly taken away by these events from his home in Saule’s Court and the city of his birth? At first he fell upon hard times, and his cousin John Saule called him ‘poor Jennings’ and claimed that he was ashamed to appear in public, not having a decent coat to put on. But Charles Edward Saule Jennings subsequently became one of Napoleon’s most trusted Generals, General Kilmaine.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Joseph Philip Ronayne [1822-1876]

Joseph Philip Ronayne [1822-1876] was a railway engineer and an Irish politician. He married Elizabeth Stace White [1825-1905] in 1859. His father was Edmond Ronayne, a glass maker in Cork, and a friend of Josiah Wedgewood. Who was Joseph Philip Ronayne's mother?

John Campbell [1740-1820]

John Campbell [1740-1820] was a stationer, paper merchant and stockbroker. He died in Mount Pleasant, Dublin and is buried in St. Werburgh's, Dublin. His daughter Annabella married Andrew Alan Kennedy of Ballyrainey, Comber, Newtownards, County Down in 1808, in Portpatrick, Wigtownshire, Scotland.Who were John Campbell's parents, where was he from and who did he marry?

John Campbell Kennedy [1810-1846]

John Campbell Kennedy lived in Upper Buckingham Street, Dublin in the 1830s and early1840s. He had several children including Annabella Kennedy who married Francis Edward Biddulph in 1861. John Campbell Kennedy came from Ballyrainey House, Comber, County Down.He is buried in St. Werburgh's in Dublin. Who did he marry?