North Street, Newry, County Down

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

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Jackson Wray [1824-1855]

In 1823 Hugh Boyd Wray married Anne, the eldest child and only daughter of Francis Biddulph and Mary Steele. Their only son, Jackson Wray, was born on the 22nd of March, 1824, in Borris-in-Ossory, Queen’s County. He was named after his grandfather, Jackson Wray. The name Jackson came from the Jackson family of Coleraine, one of whom, Jane Jackson, had earlier married into the Wray family.
Jackson ‘Joe’ joined the Army, and fought in the Crimean War.  A portrait of Jackson in full uniform is in private possession. Jackson kept a journal in the first 15 weeks of 1955, while he was serving in the Crimea with the Connaught Rangers. It contains details of the conditions in the lines during the siege of Sebastopol. The journal was published in The War Correspondent, the official Journal of the Crimean War Research Society.[1]

On February 19th, 1855 Jackson wrote to his father Hugh from the Camp before Sebastopol:
We are all quiet still, yesterday I went to see our new [works] at Inkerman, those made by the French are magnificent, the work is so far superior to ours, they work and guard them for us, but we supply the Guns and Gunners, as soon as the Fire opens. On nearing the most advanced Battery we passed some six or seven of the dead Russians who fell at Inkerman, the bodies are quite black, but clothed and accoutred just as they fell, except their Boots, those articles are always stripped the moment the fight is over. Some of the large Mortars 13 inch shells are in the advanced Battery and will astonish the Russian Ships, that lay in the harbour.
Well my dearest Father, I have to thank you for another nice Parcel which came to Balaclava on Saturday with our Draft.  The clothing could not be better and the Telescope is an excellent one, I shall now be able to watch “Monsieur La Russe” more closely, the Tooth Brushes and Powder are also safe. Please God the Telescope will be brought Home yet [as] a match to the poor old Waterloo one[2], [I] shall have  an Inscription on it when please God I do get Home, “Received this Present from my fond Father on the 17th Feby, when Encamped on the Heights before Sebastopol.”[3]

Capt. Jackson Wray of the 88th Foot (Connaught Rangers) was killed in action, in the assault on the Quarries. 7th June 1855.
There is a Memorial in the Second Brigade, Light Division, cemetery overlooking Sebastopol
 "Sacred to the memory of Major Bayley, Captain Corbett, Captain Wray, and Lieut Webb of the 88th Connaught Rangers who fell while assaulting the Quarries on the night of the 7th June 1855."

In spite of recent searches by a member of the Biddulph family his burial place at Sebastopol has never been found.
Anne Wray died in November 1872 and is buried in Deansgrange Cemetery, County Dublin. Her husband Hugh died the following year.
The death of their son, Jackson Wray, is commemorated on the same gravestone in Deansgrange Cemetery, but he is not buried there.

There is a second Memorial to Jackson Wray in St Stephen’s Church of Ireland, Mount Street Crescent, Dublin.[4]
Sacred to the memory of the late CAPTAIN JACKSON WRAY
Of the 88th Regt The Connaught Rangers
Who fell before Sevastopol,
On the night of the 7th of June 1855,
After storming and while holding,
The Russian advanced works,
Well known as the Quarries.

This tablet is erected by his mourning
And deeply affected parents
As a record of their heartfelt sorrow
For a dearly loved and only child
And a memorial of all he was to them
As a fond and dutiful son:
And of the worth, youth, courage and unaffected piety
By which he was distinguished as a friend,
A gentleman, a soldier and a Christian.

We mourn for one whose honoured name will stand
Foremost amid the valiant of our land
Yet better far we know to him ‘twas given,
To be the soldier of his Lord in heaven.

“They shall be mine” saith the Lord of Hosts,
“In that day when I make up my jewels.”
Malachi III-17.

[1] The Crimean War Research Society,
[2] Hugh Wray, Jackson’s father, fought at Waterloo.
[3] Transcribed by Peter Colquhoun.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Anne Biddulph [1801 – abt. 1872]

Anne Biddulph was the eldest child of Francis Biddulph [1770 - 1826] of Mount Oliver, Queen’s County and Mary Steele [1779 - ] of Kyle, Queen’s County. She had one sister, Elizabeth, and  three brothers. Her eldest brother Nicholas Biddulph inherited Fortal, in 1824. Her younger brothers, Richard and Francis Biddulph, both emigrated to Canada.
In 1823 she married Lieutenant Hugh Boyd Wray [1795 – 1873], 40th Regiment of Foot.
MARRIED Lieutenant H. B. Wray, half-pay: 40th Regiment of Foot, to Anne, eldest daughter of Francis Biddulph, Esq. of Mount Oliver, Queen's County.  [Finns Leinster Journal 1771-1828 Wednesday, June 11, 1823]
Hugh Boyd Wray had fought at the battle of Waterloo and his name can be found in Dalton’s Waterloo Roll Call[1]. He retired in 1817 and  subsequently joined the RIC.
 Miss Sibthorpe remembered hearing that Hugh Boyd Wray served as Chief Constable for the King's County, and she had seen his truncheon...[2]
According to Jim Herlihy in his book The Royal Irish Constabulary Officers[3] Hugh Boyd Wray was tried and acquitted of murder at Kilkenny Assizes, August 1822, after which he was transferred to Queen’s County.
Hugh Boyd Wray retired from the Police Force in 1838 after 17 years. In 1838 he was presented with Plate when he left Birr and an Address which included the following tribute.
‘the acknowledged excellence , efficiency, and superior discipline of the Police force of this County, we feel bound to say, is mainly to be attributed to the activity and zeal  with which you have uniformly performed your duties.[4]
He expresses his gratitude to the Viscount de Vesci and the Magistrates of the Queen’s County, for their ‘highly complimentary and flattering address’ and for 'the very handsome present of Plate which accompanies itYour splendid Gift, I shall cherish as a lasting Memorial… and I shall hand it down to my son, with a Father’s request that he may as such value it’.
Hugh and Anne had one son, Jackson Wray, born in 1824, in Borris-in-Ossory, County Laois. He died in the Crimean War at Sebastopol in 1855.
Anne died in November 1872 and is buried in Deansgrange Cemetery, County Dublin. Her husband Hugh died the following year.
Wray - On the 23rd inst., [1873]at his residence, No. 4 Clifton-place, Monkstown, Dublin, in his 78th year, Captain H.B. Wray. He served as Lieutenant in the 40th Regiment in the Peninsular War, also at Waterloo. After a long illness he died in the Lord, much respected and lamented. Funeral will leave at 10 o'clock on to-morrow (Thursday) morning for Dean's Grange Cemetery.
The death of Jackson Wray is also commemorated on the same gravestone in Deansgrange Cemetery, but he is not buried there.
The grave in Deansgrange Cemetery, Kill o' the Grange, Co. Dublin, can be found by going through the main gates up to the turning circle, then turning left, close to Memorial Chapel, and on the left. The photograph of the grave was taken when the cemetery was new, before the main gates were relocated. The inscriptions are difficult to read:
Hugh Boyd Wray late Captain 40th Regiment died 23 February 1873 aged 77 years
and Anne his wife Died 29 November 1872 aged 7? Years JUSTE ET VRAI
(and on the other side)
Jackson Wray... Regiment ...ed at Sevastopol...Hugh Boyd Wray...

[1] Dalton’s Waterloo Roll Call.
[2] The Wrays of Donegal, London and Antrim, by Charlotte Violet Trench. OUP, 1945.
[3] Jim Herlihy, Royal Irish Constabulary Officers, Four Courts Press, 2005, 2016.
[4] Leinster Express, 9th March 1839.