North Street, Newry, County Down

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

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?