Category Archives: Grehan

Owen O’Conor, the O’Conor Don 1763 – 1831

Owen O’Conor, the O’Conor Don (1763 – 1831), of Belanagare and Clonalis, co. Roscommon was the brother in law of Patrick Grehan Senior (1756 -1832). He was married to Judith Moore’s eldest sister Jane. So he’s a 5th great-uncle.

He was the first Catholic M.P. for Roscommon since his ancestor Sir Hugh O’Conor Don (1541-1632) ,  his son and two grandsons were also M.P’s. He was a friend, and colleague of Daniel O’Connell, who wrote to his son Denis after his death

” The death of my most respected and loved friend, your father, was to me a severe blow … How little does the world know of the value of the public services of men who like him held themselves always in readiness without ostentation or parade but with firmness and sincerity to aid in the struggles which nations make for liberty … I really know no one individual to whom the Catholics of Ireland are so powerfully indebted for the successful result of their contest for emancipation … His was not holiday patriotism … No, in the worst of times and when the storms of calumny and persecution from our enemies and apathy and treachery from our friends raged at their height he was always found at his post. “

He was only an M.P. from 1830 – 12 June 1831, but the seat was inherited by his son Denis who was an M.P for sixteen years, and later his grandson Charles Owen O’Conor who was an M.P for Roscommon for twenty years.

The O’Conors were descended from the ancient kings of Connaught through a younger son of Sir Hugh O’Conor Don (1541-1632) of Ballintubber Castle, sometime Member for county Roscommon. Owen’s grandfather Charles O’Conor (1710-91) was a noted antiquary and his father Denis and uncle Charles (1736-1808) of Mount Allen, as heirs to one of the oldest and most extensive Irish landholding families in the province, participated in the Catholic agitation of the late eighteenth century.

Owen, who served as a Volunteer in 1782 and was one of the Roscommon delegates to the Catholic convention in 1793, was also active in this campaign and probably became involved with the United Irishmen. However, except for his remark to Wolfe Tone in January 1793 that he was prepared for extreme measures, he steered clear of revolutionary activity, unlike his radical cousin Thomas (of Mount Allen), who in 1801 emigrated to New York; it was there that his son Charles (1804-84) became a prominent Democrat lawyer.

Denis O’Conor’s fourth cousin Dominick O’Conor (d. 1795) had left Clonalis ( the family house, and estate)  to his wife Catherine (d. 1814) and then to Owen as future head of the family. This was disputed by Dominick’s younger brother Alexander, who succeeded him as the O’Conor Don and had delusions of establishing himself as a self-styled monarch in a rebuilt Ballintubber Castle; he and his next brother Thomas, who predeceased him, were described by Skeffington Gibbon as ‘men of high and noble birth, but from their eccentric, secluded, pecuniary difficulties and habits, hardly known beyond the walls of the smoky and despicable hovels in which they lived and died’. After protracted litigation that reduced the value of the property, O’Conor purchased Clonalis outright in 1805, and on Alexander’s death in December 1820 he inherited the headship of the Don part of the old Catholic clan of the O’Conors. 

By the early 1820s the O’Conor Don was one of the most influential of the older generation of reformers in the Catholic Association. He played a leading part in the regular petitioning by Catholics in Roscommon, where he gave his electoral support to the pro-Catholic County Members. He spoke against the introduction of Poor Laws to Ireland and the increased Irish stamp and spirit duties. He stood in the general election of 1830,  pledging to support a range of radical reforms and to devote the rest of his life to the Irish cause. He was returned unopposed as the first Catholic to represent Roscommon since his ancestor Sir Hugh.

Twenty-seven generations of great-grandparents

A while back I posted that if you are somehow descended from Patrick Grehan Senior (1756 -1832) and Judith Grehan (neé Moore), then you are a fourth cousin of Anne Boleyn , and a fifth cousin of Elizabeth 1st. You can find that post here.  I hadn’t taken it any further, so I’m grateful to Nancy Beckley for pushing things back to Edward the First. I picked it up, and pushed it a bit further. It all seems very impressive until you do the maths. 27th great-grandparent means there are another 536 million other great-grandparents who aren’t kings or queens. Still it’s always nice having a saint in the family.

Saint Margaret is Scotland’s only royal saint, and Malcolm is the one in Macbeth. 

27th great grandparents William the Conqueror (1028–1087) and Matilda of Flanders (1031-1083), and also Saint Margaret and the Scottish king Malcolm III. 

26th great grandparents Henry I (1068 – 1135) and Matilda [originally christened Edith] of Scotland (c. 1080 – 1 May 1118),

25th great grandparents Geoffrey V (1113 – 1151) of Anjou and Matilda, (1102 – 1167)

24th great grandparents Henry II ( 1154 -1189) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 -1204)

23rd great grandparents King John (1199-1216) Isabella of Angoulême (1188 – 1246)

22nd great grandparents Henry III (1207-1272)/Eleanor of Provence (1223 – 1291)

21st great grandparents: King Edward I (1239-1307)/Eleanor of Castile (1241 – 1290)

20th great grandparents:  Elizabeth of Rhuddlan (1282-1316)./ Humphrey de Bohun, (1276-1322) 4th Earl of Hereford (second husband)

19th great grandparents:  Lady Eleanor de Bohun (1304-1363)/James Butler (1305-1338), 1st Earl of Ormond

18th great grandparents:  James Butler (1331-1382), 2nd Earl of Ormond/Elizabeth Darcy (1332-1390)

17th  great grandparents: James Butler (1359-1405), 3rd Earl of Ormond/Anne Welles (1360 -1397)

16th  great grandparents:  Richard Butler (1395-1443), Sir Richard Butler of Polestown/ Catherine O’Reilly(1395-1420), Gildas O’Reilly, Lord of East Breifne

15th  great grandparents:  Edmund MacRichard Butler (1420-1464), The MacRichard of Ossory/ Catherine O’Carroll (?-1506)

14th  great grandparents:  Sir James Butler (1438 -1487),/Sabh Kavanagh (1440 -1508), Princess of Leinster, daughter of Donal Reagh Kavanagh MacMurrough, King of Leinster (1396-1476)

13th great grandparents:  Piers Butler (1467-1539), 8th Earl of Ormond/Margaret Fitzgerald (c.1473 -1542)

12th great grandparents:  Thomas Butler (?-1532)/wife not known

Rory O More

11th great grandparents:  Margaret Butler/Rory O’More (?-1556)

10th great grandparents:  Lewis O’More/wife not known

9th great grandparents:  Walter Moore/Alicia Elliott

8th great grandparents:  Patrick Moore/Joan O’Hely

7th great grandparents:  Edmund Moore/Elizabeth Graham

6th great grandparents:  James Moore (?-1741)/Mary Cullen

5th great grandparents:  Edward Moore (?-1787)/Jane Reynolds

4th great grandparents:  Judith Moore (1763-?)/Patrick Grehan (1758-1832)

3rd great grandparents:  Patrick Grehan (1791-1853)/Harriet Lescher (1811-1877)

2nd great grandparents:  Celia Mary Grehan(1838-1901)JohnRoche O’Bryen1810-1870

1st great grandparents: Ernest A O’Bryen 1865-1919/Gertrude Purssell 1873 -1950

Countess Cecile de Sommery 1804 -1899

This seemed so simple to start with, and turns out to be full of twists and turns.

There are rather faded entries, in difficult to decipher hand-writing, in John Roche O’Bryen’s family bible which list all his 16 children, the dates and times of the births, and where they were. It also lists the god-parents. The entry for Cecilia Agnes, the ninth child, and seventh daughter is as follows:

Page from John Roche OBryens Family Bible.

9. Cecilia Agnes [O’Bryen] at Bellvue  Novr 17th 1846          10 A.M  Gdfather, Wm Jones Esq, Pike Inn, Glamn Wales.  GdMother, Miss Cecile De Lonmery, Bath.  Died at The [French] Convent Belgium Janr 5th 1856 at 9 yrs & was buried in the Parish Church attended at her grave 320 persons who thanked God that she was taken to her  [chosen end] whilst innocent to God

I’m almost completely sure that Miss Cecile De Lonmery, is in fact Countess Cecile de Sommery. Almost all of that generation’s godparents appear to be wealthy, landed, titled, or Catholic, or in a number of cases at least three out of four.  

Willie Leigh 1829-1906 [Basil O’Bryen’s godfather – child 10] inherited the Woodchester estate in 1873, which his father had bought for £ 170,000 in 1845. He built the Church of the Annunciation, and Woodchester Priory for the Dominicans  shortly after their arrival in October 1850. It housed the noviciate of the Dominican order in England for more than 100 years; they only left in the 1960s when the buildings became too expensive to maintain. The monastery was demolished in 1970 leaving a small contingent of Dominicans to look after the parish.

Philip O’Bryen’s [ child 13] godfather Simon Scope came from a recusant family had had acquired their estates in Wensleydale in the 12th century, and still owned Danby Hall into the 1960’s.

But back to the Countess, this is her obituary in The Tablet.

THE COUNTESS CECILE DE SOMMERY.

Eyre Chantry, Perrymead, Bath

The Requiem Mass for the Countess Cecile de Sommery took place on Monday at the Franciscan Friary, Clevedon, and the body was then , conveyed to Bath for interment in the family vault [the Eyre Chantry] in the Catholic cemetery at Perrymead, where the remaining portion of the service was conducted. The grand-nephew of the deceased, the Marquis de Sommery, and Mr. Thomas Eyre, and his wife, Lady Milford, were the only relatives present. His Royal Highness the Duke of Madrid, head of the House of Bourbon, telegraphed an expression of sympathy with the late Countess’s relatives. The Countess Cecile de Sommery, Chanoinesse of the Royal Order of St. Anne of Bavaria, whose death occurred at Clevedon, Somerset, on April 26, was born in London in the year 1804. Her parents. Armand de Mesniel, Marquis de Sommery, and Cecile Riquet de Caraman, came over to England with the Bourbons during the French Revolution. Her mother was among the ladies last presented at the Palace of Versailles to Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette. One of her sisters married Count Eyre, father of the Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow. R. I. P.

The above text was found on p.26, 13th May 1899 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

So far, all very factual, but fairly astonishing all the same. An elderly single lady being buried in Bath, whose mother met Marie Antoinette, and one of whose nephews was the first Catholic archbishop of Glasgow since the Scottish Reformation, and one of the first patrons of Celtic FC. Another nephew, William Eyre was the rector of Stonyhurst between 1879 -1885, and would have been so for almost the entire school careers of both Ernest and Rex O’Bryen there. So Cecile de Sommery’s nephew was the headmaster to her god-daughter’s youngest two half-brothers, although she [Cecilia O’Bryen] had been dead for eleven years when the elder of them was born.

The sister who married Count Eyre, father of the Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow was Augustine Cécile Pulcherie de Sommery (1797 – 1876). They married in 1828, three years after the death of his first wife Sarah Parker (1790 -1825). John and Sarah had five sons, four of whom became priests, and four daughters, three of whom died young, in the eight years of their marriage. So Augustine would have been very much a mother to all the children, who were all under nine when she became their step-mother.

John Lewis Eyre (1789-1880), Count Eyre, was an entrepreneur and one of the founding directors of the London and South Western Railway Company, taking for many years a leading part in the development of that railway. His title was a papal one, granted by Pope Gregory XVI, who created him a Count of the Lateran Hall and Apostolic Palace in 1843. According the Burke’s  A Genealogical And Heraldic Dictionary Of The Peerage And Baronetage Of The British Empire” 1845.  ” The dignity of a Count of the Lateran Hall and Apostolic Palace was conferred by the sovereign pontiff Gregory XVI on Count Eyre the brevet or patent is dated at St Peter’s Rome under the seal of the Fisherman the 3rd day March 1843 and in the thirteenth year of his pontificate signed A Cardinal Lambruschini.”  Pius IX made the title hereditary in 1847, it was inherited by the Archbishop in 1880.

The best known of his four priest sons is Charles Eyre, the first post- Reformation Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow. the others being John, a priest in Newcastle, William Eyre S.J., Rector of Stonyhurst and Vincent Eyre, parish priest in London, first of St Mary’s Cadogan Street and then St Mary’s,Hampstead.

Another nice touch, St Mary’s Cadogan Street was the church that Bishop Bidwell was parish priest of, for thirteen years [from 1913 – 1930], and St Mary’s,Hampstead was, in part, founded by Joseph Francis Lescher (1768 – 1827).

In 1894, Archbishop Eyre  invited the Sisters of Notre Dame to come from the Mother House in Liverpool to establish a community in Glasgow. The Notre Dame Training College was opened in 1895 at Dowanhill. Joseph Francis Lescher’s great granddaughter Mary Adela Lescher ( 1847 – 1926)  [Sister Mary of St Wilfrid] was its first Mother Superior.

She  was Harriet Grehan’s niece, and Harriet Grehan was John Roche O’Bryen’s step-mother-in -law. She was also Fanny Lescher’s niece, she [Fanny} was another nun – [Sister Mary of St Philip] who was the Mother Superior at Notre Dame in Mount Pleasant,Liverpool.

It is still a mystery why Thomas Eyre’s wife still called herself Lady Milford after her first husband’s death  in January 1857. She and Thomas married in 1861, she was Lady Anne Jane Howard, daughter of William Howard, 4th Earl of Wicklow, so was a Lady in her own right. But it does seem odd that she still called herself Lady Milford  years after her first husband’s death, and only three years of marriage [ his second after a twenty eight year first marriage].

The Eyres were an old English recusant family, at Newbold, Derbyshire and Lindley Hall, Leicestershire, very wealthy, and owned a substantial amount of land in Ireland, as well as in England. Thomas Eyre had a large Georgian house at Uppercourt, Freshfort, county Kilkenny, . In the 1870s he owned 762 acres in county Tipperary, 1,909 acres in county Kilkenny and 164 acres in county Waterford.

In 1891, he and Lady Anne were living at 16 Hill Street, in Mayfair, just off Berkley Square. It was a very grand household, with  a butler, two footmen, two ladies maids, two housemaids, a kitchen maid, and two scullery maids, and curiously on the night of the census, no cook living in.He was succeeded by his cousin Stanislas Thomas Eyre in 1902, and left the modern day equivalent of £ 120m.

It’s all a very small world

If you’re related to Patrick Grehan Senior (1756 -1832) then you are a cousin to Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth 1.

Anne Boleyn

I’ve avoided this one for a while, partly because it is out of period, and also partly because it is hard to work through. It does also appear to be slightly showy-offy, which it isn’t intended to be, well maybe a bit.

It does make it a bit slow going around the National Portrait Gallery, as well as getting a bit of a look when I chime up with “That’s another one of yours…”

Where I do think it helps, is in helping to set into context, how the Grehans would have felt about themselves. In a period when lineage, and status was very important to people; and when there was a strong emphasis on family backgrounds, then it is almost impossible to believe that there wasn’t talk of being the descendants of Irish kings, and of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy. It almost certainly colours some of the wedding choices in the C19th.

But a word of warning from Sir Bernard Burke, in the preface to the 1912 edition of Burke’s Irish Gentry.

“Of course, one knows that every Irishman is the descendant of countless kings, princes and other minor celebrities. One admits it, the thing is unquestionable. One knows, of course, also, that every family is the oldest in Co. Galway, or Co. Sligo, or somewhere else, and that, for some reason or other, every Irishman is the ” head ” of his family…”

Elizabeth I – The Armada portrait

However, it does appears that if you are somehow descended from Patrick Grehan Senior (1756 -1832) and Judith Grehan (nee Moore), [in our case, they are great,great,great,great, grandparents, so ha ha Danny Dyer] then you are a fourth cousin of Anne Boleyn [yes that one.], and a fifth cousin of Elizabeth 1st [yes that one, as well.], as well as descended from a number of Kings of Laois, and a fair smattering of Irish Earls.

The first major clue comes from Burke’s Landed Gentry in the 1871 edition. In the lineage of Patrick Grehan III (Patrick Grehan senior’s grandson) there is the following statement.

(lineally descended from Lewis, the 4th son of  Roger O’More (more commonly, referred to now as Rory O’More), of Leix, by Margaret, dau. and heiress of Thomas, 3rd son of Pierce, 8th Earl of Ormonde). Through this marriage with the co-heiress of Moore, Mr Grehan of Mount Plunkett quarters the arms of O’More of Leix, and Butler, Ormonde.”

Patrick Grehan III had his rights to the arms confirmed in June 1863, so it must have been accepted by the Ulster King of Arms.

Broken down in, I hope, the simplest way; Judith Grehan’s great-grandfather was Edmund Moore, and he, in his turn, was the great-grandson of Lewis More, the youngest son of Rory O’More, and Margaret Butler. So they are separated by seven generations.

Therefore, Judith Grehan is a fourth cousin of Anne Boleyn, seven times removed, and a fifth cousin of Elizabeth 1st six times removed. In order to work out your own relationship simply add on the right number of generations. In the case of my children, it is a fourth cousin of Anne Boleyn, fourteen times removed, and and a fifth cousin of Elizabeth 1st thirteen times removed.

Rather than expand this post too much, I have decided to link to two further posts, containing the workings-out.

How Margaret Butler and Anne Boleyn are related.

More-Butler-Grehan

There is also more detail on the More-O’Farrell post, though that is possibly the most confusing entry in any edition of Burke’s Landed Gentry ever.

 

Jane Grehan 1782-1866, and New Hall convent in Essex

Jane Grehan (1782- Abt. 1866, aged 84), was the daughter of Patrick Grehan Senior and Judith Moore. She is a great,great,great,great, aunt. She seems to be rather a shadowy figure; but from the extract below from the New Hall records at least we know what her school fees were. And from the look of it, great,great,great,great, grandpa Paddy Grehan Senior was paying the equivalent of an Eton education for a girl in 1798. So good on him for that…

RECORDS OF THE ENGLISH CANONESSES OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE OF LIEGE, NOW AT NEW HALL.1652-1793.EDITED BY RICHARD TRAPPES-LOMAX.

[Trappes-Lomax, Richard, late Captain 3rd Batt, K.O. Lancaster Regiment, J. P. for Lancashire — born 1870, eldest son of Thomas Byrnand Trappes, of Stanley House, Clitheroe, by Helen,daughter of Thomas Lomax, of Westfield, Preston, who inherited the Clayton and Great Harwood properties from her uncle, James Lomax, D.L., K.C.S.G.; educated at Stonyhurst; took name of Lomax 1892; served in the South African War 1900-1901; married (1894) Alice, daughter of Basil Fitzherbert, of Swynnerton, Co-editor with Mr Joseph Gillow of “The Diary of the English Nuns of the Immaculate Conception at Paris”. The Manor of Clayton- le-Moors came to the Lomax family by marriage with the heiress of John Grimshaw of Clayton Hall about 1720. The Trappes family was formerly seated at Nidd Hall, Yorkshire. from the Catholic Who’s Who and Yearbook 1908.]

A history of this community was printed for private circulation, on the occasion of its Centenary at New Hall, in 1899 ;and to it I am indebted for the following brief account :

About 1480, one John a Broeck, a Canon Regular of the Holy Sepulchre, established a Monastery at Mount St. Odile, near Cologne, and another a few years later at Kinroy, near Maesych on the Meuse. This he soon after transformed into a Convent of Canonesses. The Order flourished, and rapidly spread over the Low Countries.

In 1641, Susan Hawley and Frances Carey entered the Sepulchrine Convent at Tongres, with a view to founding an English Convent of the same order. In the autumn of the following year they established themselves at Liege, accompanied by a Belgian lay sister and a Mother Margaret of the Tongres Community. They settled in a house on the Hill of Pierreuse.

In 1656 they numbered fifteen choir nuns, four young professed, and four novices. After ten years on the Pierreuse they moved to a house in the Faubourg d’Avroy (1655-6). In 1794 the Revolutionary wars compelled them to move to Maestricht, and thence to London. After a two years stay at Holme Hall, near Market Weighton, in Yorkshire, they moved to Dean House, near Salisbury, (1796)  and in 1798 to The following records from the Convent Archives comprise :

A. The Chapter Book.

B. The Benefactors Book.

C. The Dead Book, or Necrology.

D. An Account of the Beginning of the Convent at Liege.

E. An Account of the Revolutionary Troubles, migration to

England, and settlement at New Hall.

F. Lists of the girls at the Convent School, 1770-1799.

G. Notes of Deaths from the Book of Pensioners and Boarders.

H. Charities received, 1651-1663.

I. Accounts of Pupils and Boarders, 1651-1777.

The above have been transcribed by Mother Aloysia James (Kendal) and Sister Ann Frances (Trappes-Lomax)

.

RECORDS OF THE ENGLISH CANONESSES OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE OF LIEGE p.157

F. NAMES OF THE SCHOOL GIRLS.

[Original list of school girls from 1796]

DEAN HOUSE, WILTSHIRE.

  • Miss Goldie came upon ye 18th of June 1797 she pays 40 Guineas a yr She left us ye 18th June 1798. pd all.
  • The Honble Miss & Miss Christina Clifford came here upon ye 22d of Augst 1797. They pay 37 Guineas a yr each they do not drink Tea. They accompanied us to New Hall where Miss Clifford
  • died ye 1st of July 1805. Miss Christina left us ye[?] of May 1806.pd all.
  • Miss Smith came here upon ye 24th of Augst 1797. She pays £23. 3s. including washing she does not drink Tea, she accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 7 of Augst 1800. pd all.
  • Miss Nihell came here upon ye 20th of Sepbr 1797, she pays 25 Guineas a yr including washing She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 5th of Decbr 1807.
  • Miss Tuite came here ye 6th of Novbr 1797, she pays 40 Guineas a yr. She left us ye 16th of Novbr 1798. pd all.
  • The 2 Miss Wrights came ye 23d of Octbr 1797, they pay 40 Guineas a yr they accompanied us to New Hall. Miss Mary Wright left us ye 30th of Janry 1801. Miss ann Wright left us ye 9th of Augst 1802. pd all.
  • Miss O. Toole came here upon ye 13th of Decbr 1797. She pays 40 Guineas a yr She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 26th of June 1800.
  • The 2 Miss Whites came here ye 13th of Decbr 1797. They pay 30 Guineas a yr & are not found in Tea & Pocket money. They accompanied us to New Hall. Miss White left us ye 22d of June1806. Miss Margaret White left us June ye 28th 1808. pd all.
  • Miss C. Stourton came here upon ye 3d of July 1798, she pays 40 Guineas a yr, she accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye20th of June 1800.
  • Miss Isabella McDonald returned to us ye 14th of Janr v 1798.she accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 28th of May 1800.pd all.
  • Miss Charlotte Conolly came here ye 10th of Sepbr 1798. She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 10th of June 1803 she pays 40 Guineas a yr. Pd all.
  • Miss Melior Weston came here on ye 28th of Sepbr 1798. She pays 20 Guineas a yr. She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 23d of Febry 1804. pd all.
  • Miss Addis came here on ye 3d of Octbr 1798. She accompanied us to New Hall. She pays 40 Guineas a yr. She left us ye 4th of May 1800. pd all.
  • Miss Coppinger came here the same day. She pays 20 Guineas a yr. She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye [?] of Augst 1800. pd all.
  • Miss Bourke came here upon ye 4th Octbr 1798. She accompanied us to New Hall, she pays 40 Guineas a yr. She left us ye 16th of Novbr 1801. pd all.
  • Miss Grehan came here upon ye 29th of Novbr 1798. She pays 40 Guineas a yr. She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 23d of April 1804. pd all.
  • Miss Power of Waterford came here on ye 17th of Decbr 1798, she pays 40 Guineas a yr,she accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 24th of May 1802.

There is a post about the 125th anniversary of the school and convent here

Grehan of Mount Plunkett. – from Burke’s Landed Gentry [London 1871] with additions

The irony of this entry isn’t mentioned. 2,745 acres were advertised advertised for sale under a bankruptcy proceeding in January 1870, with part re-advertised in May 1870. So sadly, by the time the fourth edition of Burke’s Landed Gentry came out, the gent was landed no longer !

Grehan of Mount Plunkett. from Burke’s Landed Gentry (1871)

Grehan Patrick, esq. of Mount Plunkett and St John’s co Roscommon, J.P., b 21 March 1818; m. 4 April 1842, Frances, eldest dau. of the late John Pitchford, esq. of Norwich, a descendant of the old family of Pitchford of Shropshire, and has issue,

  1. Wilfrid b. 6 Aug 1848
  2. Charles b. Nov 1850
  3. Gerard b. May 1852
  4. Francis b. Oct 1855
  1. Mary O’Conor Graham 
  2. Alice
  3. Louisa 
  4. Clare
  5. Agnes 

Lineage – The family of Grehan claims descent from the Grahams of Montrose, and tradition narrates that its ancestor, escaping from the persecutions in Scotland, fled to Ireland and changed his name to Grehan.

The present Stephan Grehan, esq. of Rutland Square, Dublin succeeded by the recent death of his cousin Major Grehan, s.p. to the representation of the Grehan family. His cousin, Patrick Grehan, esq., now of Mount Plunkett, is the son of the late Patrick Grehan, esq. of Dublin ( by Catherine his 1st wife, dau. of George Meecham, esq., and co-heiress of her mother Catherine, dau. and eventual co-heiress of William Hodson, esq. of St John’s, co. Roscommon) and grandson of Patrick Grehan, esq. of Dublin who m. Judith, dau. and eventually co-heiress of Edward Moore, esq. of Mount Browne, co. Mayo (lineally descended from Lewis, the 4th son of  Roger O’More, of Leix, by Margaret, dau. and heiress of Thomas, 3rd son of Pierce, 8th Earl of Ormonde). Through this marriage with the co-heiress of Moore, Mr Grehan of Mount Plunkett quarters the arms of O’More of Leix, and Butler, Ormonde.

Arms–Or, a trefoil, slipped, vert, on a chief, sa., three escallops, of the first; quartering O’More of Leix, Butler of Ormonde, and Hodson of St. John’s–the family of Hodson of St. John’s, is one of considerable antiquity, and at the decease, in 1829, of the last male heir, Oliver Hodson, Esq., a moiety of the St. John’s estates devolved on the present Patrick Grehan [III], Esq.

Crests–A demi-lion, gu. gorged, with three escallops

Motto–Ne oubliex

Seat–Mount Plunkett, Licarrow, Roscommon

Clonmeen Lodge

So that’s what Bernard Burke has to say; the reference to Stephan Grehan ([1776] – 1871) is slightly confusing, particularly in regard to “succeeded by the recent death of his cousin Major Grehan, s.p. to the representation of the Grehan family”. This branch of the Grehan family are the Grehans of Clonmeen, in co. Cork, and the elder Stephan Grehan really did live until 95. This branch of the family were rather better at holding on to their land than Uncle Patrick. They descend from Peter Grehan, Patrick Grehan Senior’s eldest brother, and his wife Mary Roche. Her brother John Roche married Mary Grehan, their sister. Stephan Grehan ([1776] – 1871) succeeded his father Peter, and was the principal beneficiary of his uncle John Roche. John Roche’s legacy brought Clonmeen into the family, and they successfully held onto it for roughly the next one hundred and fifty years. The family sold Clonmeen in 1975, and the estate and family papers are now in the Boole Library, University College, Cork. At its height in the 1870’s the estate amounted to 7,000 acres [approximately 11 sq. miles]  in co. Cork

There are three Patrick Grehans in this post, I am going to use  suffixes to distinguish between them.  The suffix was not used by them and does not appear in any records. Patrick Grehan III  is Celia O’Bryen’s brother, and so a great, great, great uncle. He was the son of Patrick Grehan Junior (1791 – 1853), grandson of Patrick Grehan Senior (1758 – 1832),  and  Thady Grehan’s (c.1726 – 1792) great grandson. But this post is principally about Uncle Patrick.

St Leonards Bromley-by-Bow

He was born  in Ireland in 1818, and died 1877 in Hampstead.  He married Fanny (Frances Susan) Pitchford in 1842 in Poplar, [probably the parish of St Leonard, Bromley (not the South London one)] London.  She was born 1821 in Stratford, (the Olympics one, not the Shakespeare one) then in Essex, and died 1893 in Hampstead. 

I’ve struggled with whether the Grehans regarded themselves as Irish, or English, or British. In all probability, it’s a mixture of all three, with further shading done with a mixture of class, and religion. The family is fairly mobile, moving between Ireland , and England, and a substantial part of Patrick Grehan III’s early life seems to have been in England, though he was born in Ireland. He is the eldest of the three children of Patrick Grehan Junior by his first wife Catherine Meecham.

    1. Patrick III (born 21 Mar 1818)
    2. Joseph Maunsell (born about 1829)
    3. Celia Mary (born about 1831)

Patrick was born in Ireland, Maunsell in “foreign parts” according to the 1841 census, and Celia in Preston. Initially, it all seems rather peculiar. But as both Patrick, and Maunsell went to Stonyhurst; and Patrick was there between September 1830 and July 1836, it would help explain Celia’s birth in Preston, nearby.

Stonyhurst College

So far, it’s relatively uncomplicated. We have an affluent Anglo/Irish family sending their sons to the oldest Catholic boys school in England. Stonyhurst had started as the Jesuit College at St Omer in what was then the Spanish Low Countries in 1593, moving to Bruges in 1762, then to Liège in 1773, and finally moving to Lancashire in 1794.  Patrick Grehan III was following a family tradition, his father and both uncles went to Stonyhurst soon after it moved to England. Their cousin Stephan Grehan was one of the last pupils to have studied in France, the school being forced to move because of the French Revolution. The tradition continued in the family, with some of Patrick Grehan Junior’s sons, grandsons, great grandsons, and great great grandsons all attending as well.

In 1841, the Grehans were living at Furze Hall, in Fryerning, Essex, where we find Patrick Grehan Junior aged fifty, his wife Harriet, and ten year old Celia, four year old Ignatius,[his only child with his second wife Harriet (nee Lescher)] and four servants. Patrick Grehan Junior had married Harriet Lescher as his second wife, in Brighton in 1836. It was the start of a long inter-linking between the Grehan and Lescher families.

Two Lescher brothers, Joseph Francis, and William had emigrated from Kertzfeld, in Alsace by 1778, eleven years before the fall of the Bastille. The two brothers became partners in a starch factory.  Joseph purchased the estate of Boyles Court in Essex in 1826, but William remained in London, in Bromley, East London where he had married in 1798. The two households are about twenty miles apart.  Boyles Court, is still in the countryside just outside  Brentwood, and just outside the M25. It’s about four miles west of the Petre family at Thorndon Hall, and about ten miles from Furze Hall.

According to “the Life of Sister Mary of Saint Philip” (Fanny Lescher). “William Lescher’s youngest sister Harriet had married Patrick Grehan of Worth Hall. Her stepson, Patrick Grehan, married Fanny Pitchford in 1842, and the young couple made their home at “ The Furze ” at Southweald in Essex, near Boyles Court. In this same year, Fanny Lescher made her social debut at the wedding of another cousin, Eleanor Walmesley, who married Lord Petre’s second son.”

It all gets massively intertwined at this point. But to try to put it as simply as possible. Patrick Grehan Junior married twice, first to Catherine Meecham in 1817, and then, after she died to Harriet Lescher in 1836. The relatively straightforward statement  “Her stepson, Patrick Grehan, married Fanny Pitchford” should also include the fact that Fanny Pitchford is also Harriet’s great niece. William and Harriet’s mother was Mary Ann Copp (1775 –1858), and her elder sister, the splendidly named Cleopha Copp had married John Nyren (1764 -1837). He was a first-class cricketer, and the author of  “The Young Cricketer’s Tutor, comprising full directions for playing the elegant and manly game of cricket, with a complete version of its laws and regulations, by John Nyren; a Player in the celebrated Old Hambledon Club and in the Mary-le-Bone Club.” published in 1833 which was one of the first published Laws of cricket. Their daughter Susan Nyren married John Pitchford (1772 c.-1839) who was a chemist, and political radical  in Norwich. He had also been educated by the Jesuits in St Omer.

So radical, and Catholic; it’s a combustable mixture at a time when both were regarded with suspicion.  Paddy and Fanny were marrying only seven years after the Marriage Act of 1836 had been passed, allowing Catholics to legally marry in Catholic churches; and Catholics in public life were regarded suspiciously up to, and beyond, the turn of the C19th.

It’s not entirely clear whether the newly-weds lived with his father, and step-mother at Furze Hall, or whether Patrick and Harriet had moved. They later lived for a time at his brother’s house, Worth Hall, in Sussex. But certainly in 1841, various sides of the family were in very close proximity. Two of Harriet Grehan’s nephews, Edward and William Lescher were at Stonyhurst, as was her step-son Joseph Maunsell Grehan. All are clearly visible on the census return that year.

“The Grehans left Southweald, in Essex, in the autumn of 1847 to fix their home at Mount Plunket in County Roscommon..” according to the Life of Sister Mary of Saint Philip (Fanny Lescher).  It’s an extraordinary time to move to a poor, rural, part of Ireland. It’s the height of the Famine, in one of the areas that suffered most. They lived at Mountplunkett, Roscommon, Ireland, in the 1850s; leased by Patrick III in 1847 and then bought by him in 1851.  In the 1850s Patrick Grehan III also held lands in the parishes of Killinvoy and St Johns,  co. Roscommon, which he had inherited  via his maternal grandmother,  Catherine Hodson, who was the co-heiress of William Hodson, Lord of the Manor of St. John’s, co. Roscommon.

Patrick Grehan Junior died in Clifton, Bristol,in 1852,  and his will was proved in  London on the 24th March 1853, where Patrick III was the residual legatee. He had previously been left £ 1,000 in his grandfather Patrick Grehan Senior’s will, and received that in 1832.

Patrick Grehan III claimed descent from Rory O’More of Leix, and Thomas, 3rd son of Pierce, 8th Earl of Ormonde, via his paternal grandmother Judith Moore.  As a result, Patrick III was granted Arms in 1863 that included those from St. John’s and quartered O’More of Leix and Butler of Ormonde. There is a record of the confirmation of arms to Patrick Grehan III, in 1863

  • National Library of Ireland: Arms of Grehan of Mount Plunkett, Co Roscommon, 1863. GO MS 179: 101
  • National Library of Ireland:  Copy of confirmation of arms to Patrick Grehan (III), Mount Plunkett & St Johns, Co Roscommon, grandson of Patrick Grehan (Senior)of Dublin, merchant, 5 June 1863. GO MS 109: 13-14

In January 1870 the Estate of Patrick Grehan III amounting to 2,745 acres in the baronies of Athlone, Ballintober, Ballymoe and Castlerea was advertised for sale under a bankruptcy proceeding. The Mountplunkett estate and the part of South Park Demesne in the barony of Castlereagh were re-advertised in May 1870. The Irish Times reported that these lots were sold to Rev. W. West and Owen O’Connor. 

Patrick Grehan III died in Hampstead, in early 1877, at almost the same time as his step-mother Harriet Grehan. This seems to have been at the house of Frank Harwood Lescher [Harriett’s nephew and  Patrick Grehan III’s son-in -law]  Mary O’Conor Graham Grehan [Patrick Grehan III’s daughter] had married her cousin Frank Harwood Lescher [Harriett’s nephew] in 1873.

Link to BLG 1871: http://tinyurl.com/pqu2tuj

Link to Wikipedia for Piers Butler: http://tinyurl.com/nurhox8

A Historic Essex Convent – the 125th anniversary of New Hall, Essex in 1925

New Hall Essex

New Hall Essex

I stumbled across this when I was looking for more  information on the Roper Parkingtons, and this was on the same page as the notice of Lady RP’s death.

PARKINGTON.—Of your charity, pray for the soul of Marie Louise Parkington, wife of the late Col. Sir John Roper Parkington, who died on June 13, fortified by the rites of Holy Church, at Broadwater Lodge Wimbledon. R.I.P. 

It is all part of a very small world because Great, Great, Great, Great Aunt Jane Grehan joined the convent  about 1800, and Great, Great, Great Grandpa Patrick Grehan Senior left her, and presumably the convent, £ 1,500 in his will of 1830. It was a huge sum of money. New Hall was the girls’ equivalent of  either Douai, or more probably Stonyhurst (though 100 years later than either). It’s also entertaining that the house belonged to Thomas Boleyn because he was Jane Grehan’s third cousin about seven times removed, and the Butlers got the Earldom of Ormond back on the grounds of Thomas Boleyn not having any male heirs. The execution of his son George along with his sister Anne having something to do with it…

Anyway back to the Tablet in 1925

The one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Convent of the Holy Sepulchre, New Hall, near Chelmsford, was commemorated on Tuesday, when new school buildings were opened by His Eminence Cardinal Bourne, in the presence of a distinguished gathering of clergy and laity. New Hall is an historic Tudor mansion, purchased at the end of the eighteenth century for the English branch of the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre, which was founded at Liege in 1642, and came over to England in consequence of the French Revolution. The place originally belonged to the Augustinian Canons of Waltham Abbey, and was the summer residence of their Abbots, who frequently entertained royalty here on their way, via Harwich, to and from the Continent. It subsequently became Crown property. Henry VIII, who acquired it from Sir Thomas Boleyn, father of the ill-fated Anne, gave it the name of Beaulieu, and kept the great feast of St. George here with his whole Court in 1524. His arms are to be seen to this day in the chapel ,of the Convent, which was originally the ” great hall ” of the mansion. The blessed Thomas More, the martyr, visited here with the Court, and it was Mary Tudor’s favourite abode. Queen Elizabeth also visited here, and on the front entrance over the chapel door are the Royal Arms and an inscription to her. The new school buildings, designed by Mr. Sidney Meyers, consist of six new class rooms, a dormitory, an art studio, and practising rooms. The principal addition is a spacious hall to serve as gymnasium, as a theatre for the performance of plays, and as a recreation room in inclement weather.

Pontifical High Mass, “Coram Cardinale” was celebrated by the Bishop of Brentwood, with Father Wilfrid Thompson, rector of Chelmsford, as deacon, and Father M. Wilson, of Brentwood, subdeacon. The assistant priest was Canon Dolan, of Sheffield (brother of the Mother Prioress), and the deacons at the throne were Canons Shepherd (of Stock) and McKenna (Southend). Mgr. Wm. O’Grady, V.G., was assistant priest to the Cardinal, and Mgr. G. Coote master of ceremonies to His Eminence. In the sanctuary were the Archbishop of Bombay ; Abbots Smith and White, C.R.L. ; Mgri. Watson and Rothwell ; Canons Bloomfield, Shepherd, and Driscoll ; the President of St. Edmund’s College, Old Hall; the Rector of Beaumont College; the Rector of Manresa House, Roehampton ; the Superior of the London Oratory (Father Crewse); Revv. B. S. Rawlinson, O.S.B., Bede Jarrett, 0.P., C. Galton, S.J., Bradley, C.SS.R., G. Nicholson, C.SS.R.,Burnham, Blackett, S.J., James Nicholson, S.J., E. King, S.J. O’Gorman, S.J., P. L. Craven, Coughlan (Braintree), Gay (Kelvedon), and P. Butler (chaplain of the convent).

Among the laity were Audrey Lady Petre, Sir Thomas and Lady Neave, Lady Shiffner, Lady Horder, Lady Keith Price, Admiral and Mrs. Haggard, Commander and Mrs. Fell, Mr. Mitchell Banks, K.C., M.P., Captain and Mrs. Curtis, Major and Mrs. Fleming, Mrs. Hunter Blair, Major, Mrs. and Miss Tufnell, Madame Girod de l’Ane, Colonel and Mrs. E. Blount, Mr. and Mrs. Turville Petre, Mr., Mrs. and Miss H. S. Petre, Mrs. Weld Blundell, Miss Trappes Lomax, Mr. C. Trappes Lomax, and Mr. Robert Trappes Lomax (who was train-bearer to the Cardinal).

After lunch a splendid performance by the pupils was given of ” A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which was beautifully staged in the new Hall and produced by Miss Winifred Dolan. The young performers displayed a fine dramatic •instinct, and had an enthusiastic reception. At the close they sang for the first time “New Hall School Song” (in which are traced the historical associations of the place), the words by Miss Dolan. It was composed by Madame Emilie Clarke, who played selections from her own compositions, while the incidental music was played by Miss Janet Curtis.

THE CARDINAL’S ADDRESS.

Speaking at the close of the performance, Cardinal Bourne offered the very sincere congratulations of all to the Mother Prioress and the community of New Hall on the anniversary they had been celebrating. One hundred and twenty-five years !—well, they had not invented a name for such a celebration. They had jubilees of different kinds—silver, golden, diamond—and centenaries. What they would call 125 years he did not quite know. A century and a quarter, and on that occasion it marked the opening of what he believed was certain to be a new epoch in the history of the school. The community had, to his mind very wisely, not been afraid to embark on a great enterprise. They had seen that day in the splendid entertainment provided for them what one might call the first fruits of the new enterprise ; and in expressing to the children of the school their appreciation of what they had shown them, the excellent way in which every-thing had been staged and presented, he took that as an augury of the future. What they had done that day showed what they were capable of, and although they might be the first to admit that such an entertainment was not the most important thing in their school life, still it did take an important part in it, and gave them courage and to us all the assurance that in the most important things they would do as they had done in that entertainment. That morning in the chapel they had what he regarded as something to be welcomed—a truly liturgical High Mass with not a single word in the vernacular, and he appreciated a liturgical Mass like that very much. Then very wisely the community set an example for all of them that might be pursued in other places : there were no speeches at the luncheon. And so until that moment they had not an opportunity of offering their good wishes to the Mother Prioress, the community, and the children on what had been achieved and what that achievement meant for the future. The school occupied a very important place in the educational life of the country, and he hoped that would never be forgotten. It represented a very old and very important tradition. There was a time not so long ago when the number of children there seriously diminished, and, as he had said, the community had determined to place the school once again in the forefront of Catholic schools for girls. They had done so very wisely, and on behalf of the visitors he wished all those connected with the school, the Mother Prioress, the community, the young girls and the old girls, the realization of their hopes and dreams for the future. He had said that school had occupied a very special place on account of its links with the past, and he thought those communities that go back in the history of this country now for 125 years, and go back in their own history for a much longer period of time, had a very special place in the history of the Catholic Church in this country. They were one of the answers, and a very important answer, to the false theories of continuity that had become rife in this country in more recent years. New Hall, the Benedictine houses, the Canonesses Regular of the Lateran, and other religious houses were founded abroad, remember, because their existence was impossible in England ; their existence in England would not have been impossible had there not been a radical change in the religion Of the country. Let them never forget that. It was because their English Catholic maidens who had desired a religious life could not find that religious life in England, owing to the religious change of the sixteenth century, that those houses were founded abroad. They were living in happier and better times, and thanked God for it. Let them never forget the history of the past. They do no service to their country or to its religious interests if they forgot that. And so, said His Eminence in concluding, I thank this religious community for their continued existence. Their presence among us, their continuance in difficult and easier times, are things for which the country and the whole Catholic Church in this country have reason to be thankful. Looking at the new buildings and upon the children, we look forward to the future full of hope and confidence that the next seventy-five years, which will have to elapse between this and the second centenary, will see New Hall always growing in strength, always filling that religious place in the educational life of this country, and always doing the work for which it was founded.

THE BISHOP OF BRENTWOOD.

The BISHOP OF BRENTWOOD thanked His Eminence for coming there and also for speaking words of encouragement to the good nuns who were living on that historic spot and doing a splendid work that had been carried on for 125 years. The existence of New Hall was one of the brightest features in the diocese of Brentwood. He believed there were some people who would not have known anything about the diocese of Brentwood or of Essex except for New Hall. One class knew of Essex by Southend, and another knew of Essex by New Hall. He had been in many parts of the country, and everywhere met people who had told him that they had been brought up at New Hall, and that meant to him that New Hall had made the diocese and the county known. He wished to thank the community for all they had done. When the nuns first came there 125 years ago they found the place very much dismantled. They paid a good sum of money for the property. They found the children were separated too far from the rest of the community, and it took them a year before they were able to get the work accomplished. He could not help thinking as he looked at the new buildings that day that the spirit of the nuns of New Hall was exactly the same spirit of 125 years ago. Anybody who had been associated with New Hall would say that those who had come from that school had always had the same charming homelike spirit. There was something about it, something about the children, that produced a most charming type and at the same time a love of New Hall that brought people back there again and to send their children in order to get the benefits of the place. He wished to thank the nuns for creating that spirit, and re-echoed the words of His Eminence the Cardinal. There was a charm, but they could not be content merely with that. They must move with the times. He thought the community had come to a right decision ; that they would go on singing the Divine Office and saying all the prayers, and also go on educating the children put into their charge. In order to do that properly they must have the buildings and equipment which’ they saw that day. He congratulated the nuns, and echoed the words of the Cardinal that that might be the beginning of a new epoch, and the next 525 years a more glorious period than the last in educating children to be staunch workers, and so help on the great work they were trying to do here in England.

FATHER JAMES NICHOLSON, S.J., who is acting as one of the chaplains, conveyed the thanks of the Mother Prioress and the community to the visitors. In a tribute to New Hall he observed that there is a home feeling in it that comes of the charity that exists there.

 

The above text was found on p.16, 27th June 1925 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .