North Street, Newry, County Down

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

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.

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