Category Archives: Roche

Marriage settlement of Henry Hewitt O’Bryen and Mary Roche 1807

Transcription Of The Marriage Settlement Of Henry Hewitt O’Brien And Mary Roche, Dated 27th October 1807, No.404481

To the Register appointed by Act of Parliament for Registering Deeds Wills & so forth

Memorial of an Indented Deed of Settlement bearing date the twenty seventh day October, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seven, and made between Henry Hewitt O’Brien of Broomly in the County of Cork, Esquire, of the first part, John Roche of Aghada in the County of Cork, Esquire, and Mary Roche, Spinster, only daughter of the said John Roche of the second part, and John Roche the younger, of Aghada aforesaid, Esquire, and Stephen Laurence O’Brien of the City of Cork, Esquire, Doctor of Physic of the third part, and what was made previous to the Marriage of the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien with the said Mary Roche, whereby the said John Roche did agree to give as a portion with his said Daughter, Four Thousand Pounds Stock in the Irish Five per cent funds, By which said Deed whereof this is a Memorial the said John Roche for the consideration therein mentioned did grant assign transfer and set over unto the said John Roche the younger, and Stephen Laurence O’Brien, all that the said Four Thousand Pounds Stock in the Irish Five per Cent Funds.  

To hold the same unto the said John Roche the younger, and Stephen Laurence O’Brien, and to the Survivor of them his Executors Admst & Assigns up [sic] Trust, to permit the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien and his Assigns during his life to take the interest money, dividends and produce thereof for his own uses and after his death, to permit the said Mary Roche (in case she shall happen to survive the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien) and her Assigns during her life to take the interest money, dividends or produce thereof for her own use, by way of Jointure from and after the death of the survivor of them the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien, and Mary Roche, as to the said Sum of Four Thousand Pounds upon Trust for the Issue of such Marriage if any shall be, but in case there shall be no Issue or in case there should, and that all such shall dye before any of them shall be entitled to their respective shares of the said Sum, then as to the entire said Sum of Four Thousand Pounds Stock in the Irish Five per Cent Funds and all benefit to be had thereby, upon Trust, for the survivor of them the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien and Mary Roche his intended Wife, his, or her Heirs Exrs Admrs and Assigns and it is by said Deed expressed that the said John Roche the younger and Stephen Laurence O’Brien shall when thereto required by the said Henry Hewitt O’Brien invest the entire of the said Trusts Money, or any part thereof, in the purchase of Lands in Ireland which Lands when so purchased are to remain to the same uses and Trusts as are mentioned and expressed in every aspect as to the Trust Sum of Four Thousand Pounds in the Irish Five per Cent Funds to which Deed the said John Roche Henry Hewitt O’Brien & Mary Roche put their hands and Seals,

Witness thereto and this Memorial are John Cotter of the City of Cork Merchant, and John Colburn of said City Gent.

The Will and codicil of John Roche, January 1826:

Lower Aghada, co Cork

The Will and codicil of John Roche, January 1826: 


Whenever it happens that the Aghada estate, is absent of male heirs, to wit, of the said James Joseph Roche, or by any other contingency reverts wholly to me, I hereby leave it in as full a manner as I can convey it to my nephew, William Roche, to be enjoyed by him and his lawful begotten heirs male for ever ; and, as I have perfected leases to be held in trust, of the demesne and two adjoining farms of Aghada, subject to a yearly rent accord-ing to a valuation made, I leave him my interest, if any I had, in those leases ; and in case of his not coming into possession of the estate by the means before-mentioned,  I leave him  £6,000 of my £4   per cent. stock, to be held by trustees, the interest of which is to pay the rent of the demesne and two farms above mentioned ;

  • to my eldest grandson, James (sic)  J. R.  O’Brien   I leave   £10,000   £4 per  cent. stock ;
  • to my grand-daughter, Jane O’Brien, I leave  £4,000 £4 per cent. stock ;
  • to my daughter, Mary O’Brien,  I leave the  £4,000  £4 per cent. stock I settled on her as a marriage portion on her marriage, for her use and that of her younger children ;
  • to my niece,  Ellen Verling,  I leave  £1,000 £4 per cent, stock, with £30 a-year profit rent I leave on her brother Bartholomew Verling’s stores ;
  • to my grandson, J. Roche O’Brien, I leave also my interest in White Point, after his mother’s death ;  
  • I leave  £100 to my sister, Ellen Verling ;
  • to my sister, Julia Enery, £100 ;
  • to my nephew, Doctor Verling,  and his sister, Catherine Ellis, £100 each,  and I desire the stock on the farm to be sold to pay these legacies ;
  • to my nephew,   William Roche, and my grand-daughter,  Jane O’Brien, I give my household furniture, plate, &c., and it is my wish, if the rules of our church allow it, that they should be married and live in Aghada house ; may it bless and prosper them and their offspring.

To the parish of Aghada, I leave the school-house, and £20 a-year for its support, and also the chapel and priest’s house  I leave to the parish rent-free for ever, as long as they shall be used for such qualified purposes ; the five slate houses I built in the village, I leave to five of the poorest families rent free ; to David Coughlan I leave the house he now lives in during his life ; to my servant, James Tracy   I leave the house his wife now lives in ;    and to my wife’s servant, Mary Ahearne, otherwise Finne, her house rent-free during their lives ; and to each of those three, viz.,David Coughlan, James Tracy, and Mary Ahearne,  otherwise Finne, I leave £10 a-year during their lives : 

having had unfounded confidence in my unhappy nephew, James Roche,  I did not take legal means under  the settlement I made to secure those last bequests out of the Aghada estate ; I trust, and hope, and desire that whosoever is in possession of the estate do confirm these my wishes and intents. I appoint my trusty friend, Henry Bennett, (my present law agent) William Roche, and my daughter, Mary O’Brien as executors of this my last will.”

 The codicil to the will was as follows :—

 By my will dated the 5th day of January, 1826, I appointed my friend Henry Bennett, my nephew, William Roche, and my daughter, Mary O’Brien, executors to that will ; now, by this codicil, I annul that appointment, and appoint John Gibson, barrister-at-law, Bartholomew Hackett, of Middleton, distiller, and my nephew, William Roche, as my executors to that will, and do hereby empower them to name and appoint two trustees for the purpose of managing the sums I left to my nephew, William Roche, my grand-daughter, Jane O’Brien, and my grandson, J. O’Brien, as it is my intent and will that they should only receive the interest, and the principal to remain untouched during their lives, to go to their children ; out of William Roche’s interest the rent of Aghada which I have leased him is to be paid ; and I desire that he and my grand-daughter Jane, who are shortly to be married, will reside there. I leave William Roche all the stock, &c., on the farm, and to him and his wife all my household furniture, plate, and china, and make them my residuary legatees ; it is my will that my grandson, James R. O’Brien, shall live with them at Aghada until he is of age, which is to be at the age of twenty-five, and not before ; and the trustees are to pay him until that period £100 a-year to complete his education, and another £100 a-year during that period to his mother, and the remainder of the interest of his £10,000 to be paid William Roche to assist him in keeping up Aghada during that period, and I trust by that time he will have a profession by which he will add to his income ; I request and desire that nothing shall prevent his following his profession;  it is my intention that William Roche and his wife shall step into possession of Aghada house, demesne, and farms, which are leased to him in the same way that I leave it when it shall please God to take me ; in case of the death of William Roche before his wife, she is to be paid the interest of her £4,000, to be made up £200 a-year as her jointure ; and if she dies before him, he is to have the £10,000, provided she has no issue; but if she leaves issue, it is to go to them after William Roche’s death, as before directed.”

A lot of Bartholomew Verlings

It became clear very early on that there was more than one Bartholomew Verling who were part of the story. John Roche’s will of 1826 left some very significant bequests to various members of the Verling family.

“to my niece,  Ellen Verling,  I leave  £1,000 £4 per cent, stock, with £30 a-year profit rent I leave on her brother Bartholomew Verling’s stores ;……..  I leave  £100 to my sister, Ellen Verling ; to my sister, Julia Enery, £100 ; to my nephew, Doctor Verling,  and his sister, Catherine Ellis, £100 each,”

From the will, it was clear that at least one Bartholomew Verling was John Roche’s nephew, and another nephew was a doctor. What wasn’t clear was whether this was one person or two. After some research, it became apparent that the “Dr Verling” referred to was Dr James Roche Verling, who was a naval surgeon of some distinction, and had been, for a time, Napoleon’s doctor on St Helena.

But there were also some early other pointers, The entry for the Verlings in the NUI Landed estates database [http://landedestates.nuigalway.ie] is as following:

Verling – In the 1870s Bartholomew Verling, Springfield Lodge (Oxclose), Newmarket, county Cork, medical doctor owned 883 acres in county Limerick and 110 acres in county Cork. He appears to have acquired his county Limerick estate post Griffith’s Valuation. Bartholomew Verling (1797-1893) was a naval surgeon of Oxclose, Newmarket, county Cork. He was the son of Edward Verling and his wife Anne Ronayne. The Verlings were established at Newmarket by the late 18th century.

The key to the whole question seemed to be an article written in 1916, and published in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 1916, Vol. 22, No. 110, page(s) 64­ – 71. It is titled ” Dr James Roche Verling”, and written by Gabriel O’Connell Redmond. Dr Redmond was the local G.P in in Cappoquin co. Waterford between 1880 and 1914.  He was a great grandson of Daniel O’Connell’s and also John Verling and Ellen Roche’s great grandson. In a pleasing way with numbers this makes him a third cousin, three times removed. He was a noted historian and antiquarian, and also the town’s columnist with the Waterford News.

So to start sorting them out.

Bartholomew Verling of Cove has two grandsons also called Bartholomew Verling who are first cousins. The elder Bartholomew Verling (1786 – 1855) of Cove is John Roche of Aghada’s nephew twice over. His mother is John Roche’s sister, Ellen, and his father is Mary Roche’s (nee Verling) brother, John Verling

The younger Bartholomew Verling (1797 – 1893) of Oxclose, is also a nephew of John Roche, but only as the son of Edward Verling and Anne Ronayne, – a brother-in-law, and sister-in-law. Edward Verling is John Verling, and Mary Roche (neé Verling)’s brother.

It all becomes clearer in the pedigree of the Verlings of Cove.

The Pauline Roche case – JR’s reply

The Pauline Roche story seems to have been very popular. This is a transcript of the very lengthy letter that John Roche O’Bryen wrote to his local paper “The Bristol Mercury and Western Counties Advertiser” on the 29th December 1855, giving his side of the story.

It is quite clearly carefully planned, and done with the support of the editor of the Bristol Mercury. The italics for inference are printed in the paper, so it is definitely planned with some care, and not just a letter to the editor.

It’s also a classic example of bad PR probably making things worse. In a taster of things to come, JROB starts his letter with the Latin tag “Audi alterum partem” best translated as “let the other side be heard as well”, and finishes with “Fiat Justitia, ruat caelum”  – “Let justice be done though the heavens fall”. This was most famously used by Lord Mansfield in 1772 in the first major English case on the legality of slavery. He was against.

So pompous, self-serving, and an astonishing attack in print on a teenager from a forty five year old doctor. Quite why he chose to go public when he did is not entirely clear, but it seems to be provoked by a decision by “the Court of the Corporation of the Poor” [they ran the Bristol workhouse]. I assume they had made the decision to remove JR as one of the guardians, but as yet I have no evidence to support that.

To be fair to JR, the Master of the Rolls who heard the case was Sir Thomas Berry Cusack-Smith (1795–1866), who does appear to be faintly bonkers. He was the Attorney-General who prosecuted Daniel O’Connell in 1844 on charges of conspiracy, sedition, and unlawful assembly. During the course of that trial he challenged one of the opposing counsel, Gerald Fitzgibbon, to a duel.

This is JR’s letter in full:

THE BRISTOL MERCURY, AND WESTERN COUNTIES ADVERTISER, SATURDAY DECEMBER 29 1855

DR. O’BRYEN AND THE CORPORATION OF THE POOR

Audi alterum partem,

To the Editor of The Bristol Mercury

SIR – I need make no apology for asking your indulgence to enable me to defend myself by bringing before the public such explanation as I can offer of certain expressions that fell from the Irish Master of the Rolls when called on to settle a mere matter of costs. What purported to be his language appeared in your paper of the 22nd of June last. The course the Court of the Corporation of the Poor have thought proper to adopt, at their meeting of the 11th instant, obliges me, most reluctantly, to re-open a matter I had rather forgotten, not that I feel at all conscious of having done wrong, for, were it so, I would not now ask a hearing. The manifestly partial and one-sided import of the words used by the Master of the Rolls, it was considered, would be their own antidote, for all who knew me in private life were aware how unfounded such “surmises” and “inferences” as he thought it not beneath him to indulge in, were in fact. For this, amongst several other valid reasons, not adverse to myself, which I cannot publish, my friends advised me to let the matter rest, and I now regret that I permitted myself to be prevailed on to leave the matter to public opinion, which, it was alleged, would not fail to discern the ex parte nature of his language, and judge accordingly, instead of at once showing (at all risks) how entirely at variance it was with the judgement of the Master in Chancery, to which no exceptions were taken.

Before entering into the merits of this case, or making any justifications of my conduct, three points of special difficulty must be borne in mind: –

1st – By the manner of proceeding in the court of Chancery, charges to any amount, in number and gravity, may be made at pleasure, without regard to their truth or application, and I was called on to prove a negative, and that extending over a period of 18 years, not even illustrated by dates, to a long list of charges so got up.

2nd – I laboured under the great and irremediable disadvantage of the absence of the most important, I might almost say the only, witness capable of directly answering who had lived with me for eight years: she had left and gone on the Continent, to a situation, some time previously. The rules of the Court require all testimony to be sworn before a Master Extraordinary of that Court. None such being on the Continent, I was deprived of her evidence; my children at home were very young, the others were on the Continent at school, under age, and therefore inadmissible. Hence, to prove the negative, I was compelled to rely on my own and my wife’s evidence, that of any servant I could find who had lived with us during that period, and the very few visitors and friends who knew our private household life sufficiently well (and all know how few such can exist) to be able to speak to the untruth of one or more of these charges.

3rd – I have now, in addition, to contend with the “surmises” and “inferences” which the Irish Master of the Rolls thought proper to indulge in when called on to settle a mere matter of costs.

The Minor, Miss Roche, made certain complaints to the Lord Chancellor Brady, who directed that the Master in Chancery, J.J.Murphy, esq, should proceed to examine into and report upon them to him, which was done, and the report presented to his Lordship, when he directed the Master of the Rolls to settle the costs.

Every impartial reader of the reported language of the Master of the Rolls must be struck with one fact, that, to use a mild expression, he allowed the gravity of the judge to disappear in the one-sided earnestness of the advocate. It is manifest his language did not meet the justice of the case, and for this view I rely on the finding and judgement of the Master in Chancery, the officer to whom the complaints were referred, and before whom all the witnesses were brought, and the evidence was investigated, and within whose province it came to decide on the validity and effect of the allegations against me; and notwithstanding all the difficulties I had to encounter in rebutting these charges, and the almost impossibility of finding evidence, yet I refer the reader with confidence to his verdict.

“In the matter of J.P.Roche, a Minor, – Hy. Thos Keane, plaintiff, Hugh Roche and others, defendants; Hy. Thos Keane, plaintiff, Elizabeth Roche defendant; Hy. Thos Keane, plaintiff, Peter Cook and others, defendants.”

“ To the Right Honourable Maziere Brady, Lord High Chancellor of Ireland. May it please your Lordship, pursuant to your Lordship’s order mad into this matter, and in these tatises bearing date 2nd day of November 1854, whereby it was referred to me to inquire and report whether the treatment of the said Minor had been proper and according to the direction of this court; and for the purpose of ascertaining and determining upon the guardian’s treatment of the said Minor, I directed that a specification should be prepared, setting forth in writing the charges or causes of complaint alleged by her, or on her behalf, against the said John Roche O’Bryen: the same were accordingly specified and marked with my initials.”

The charges laid before the Master in Chancery for investigation, were as follows:-

FIRST GENERAL CHARGE

“ That said john Roche O’Bryen treated said Minor in a harsh and cruel manner, unsuited to he age and constitutional delicacy.” Viz:-

  1. “By striking her with a riding whip, and on other occasions making use of personal violence to her, and generally treating her with cruelty and harshness.”
  2. “ In having compelled her, or induced her by false statements as to her position in his family, to undertake and perform menial services, such as washing and dressing the younger children of said J.R.O’Bryen, acting as nursery governess, sweeping rooms, and like offices.”
  3. “In having compelled, or induced said Minor to dine in the kitchen or servants hall, in company with the female servants and younger children of said J.R.O’Bryen.

SECOND GENERAL CHARGE

“That said John Roche O’Bryen treated said Minor in a manner unsuited to her age and constitutional delicacy, and prospects in life, and not in accordance with the allowance made for her maintenance in that behalf by the reports on orders in said matter, viz:-“

  1. “In supplying her with clothes unsuited to her age and prospects in life.”
  2. “In supplying her with food unsuited to her station in life and natural delicacy of constitution.”
  3. “In not allowing said Minor pocket money suited in its amount to her age and prospects in life.”
  4. “In not providing said Minor with horse exercise, in accordance with the report bearing date 28th May, 1850.”
  5. “In having caused the acquaintances and teachers to believe that said Minor was a dependant on the charity of said John R. O’Bryen, and to act towards her accordingly.”
  6. “That said John Roche O’Bryen concealed from Minor her true position in his family, and made false statements to her respecting her prospects and the true position of her affairs.”

J.J.M.

The evidence on both sides having been entered into in respect to these charges, Master Murphy gave the following judgement to which no exceptions having been taken, it was formally embodied in his report to the Lord Chancellor, and to this I now refer, as my reply to the following charges.

“The 1st is sustained so far as to striking her with a riding-whip, and on another occasion (see evidence) striking her with his hand – no other proof of actual violence. It further appears the Minor at an earlier period (see evidence) felt such apprehension that she left her guardian’s house. &c. The striking I consider wholly unjustifiable, and I have no further evidence of cruelty. As to harshness, I think Dr O’Bryen’s manner may have laid a foundation to that charge. He appears to me to entertain very high notions of the prerogatives of a guardian as well as a parent, but I have no sufficient or satisfactory evidence of any general or deliberate harsh treatment on his part.”

“I have not evidence that satisfies me that Dr O’Bryen made use of false statements as to the Minor’s position in his family. The Minor may have undertaken and performed what are termed menial offices, which she now complains of, but in my opinion she never was induced or compelled to do so by Dr O’Bryen. I think she was, to an advanced period of her life, left too much in communication with servants, governesses, and younger children having regard to her prospects in life and her constitutional and moral tendencies and her due self-respect. This coarse, I think, latterly made her reckless and indifferent, and indisposed to avail herself of the opportunities which may then have been afforded her of associating with Dr and Mrs O’Bryen.”

“Upon the evidence before me I consider this a misrepresentation. I do not see any reason to believe that she ever dined in the kitchen – servants’ hall there was not in the house. If she ever dined in the kitchen, or in company with the servants, she did so, in my judgement, without any inducement or compulsion on the part of Dr O’Bryen.”

“The second I have already partially answered (see above).”

“I consider it due to Dr O’Bryen to state that whatever fault of judgement or manner he may be chargeable with in the moral treatment of the minor, he appears to have had her well educated according to her position and capacity, and to have bestowed on her medical treatment very commendable attention and skill, and that he also gave her full opportunities of taking horse exercise if she pleased; also latterly, opportunities, so far as she appears to have desired, of associating with his respectable acquaintances; and, with the exception of the article of clothing (about which I doubt), and the defects of moral treatment above referred to, I can discover no well-founded reason to complain of his conduct as a guardian.”

“The specific complaints under this band are:-

  1. “In the article of clothes, but for the evidence of Mr Stephen O’Bryen, having made a complaint to Mr Sweeny on this (unclear) as appears in the evidence of the latter, I should have found against the charge; after that evidence I am inclined to think there was some ground for the Minor’s complaint on this bead.”
  2. “As to the supply of food, it was not exactly what I could have wished in some respects; but it was always the same as that given to Dr O’Bryen’s own children; and it further appears that the Minor was allowed to keep the keys, and could have taken what she wished. I consider the cause of this complaint was much exaggerated.”
  3. “It does not appear that Minor ever asked or expressed a wish to get pocket-money. It also appears that she had actually given some money to Dr O’Bryen to keep for her.”
  4. “As to not providing Minor with horse exercise, I consider this charge colourable, and without any real foundation or just cause of complaint.”
  5. “The evidence on this point is conflicting: there is a good deal of it on the part of the Minor, but the charge has not been established to my satisfaction.”
  6. “This I have already answered as to the Minor’s position in his family. As to her prospects, and the true position of her affairs, Dr O’Bryen has himself stated that he did think it not prudent to disclose in this respect, with his reasons he may have withheld. I cannot satisfactorily arrive at the conclusion that he made any false statements in this regard. I must, however, state my belief that the minor was not, for a considerable time past by any means so ignorant of the state of her property and the condition of her affairs as has been represented on her part. And, upon the whole, I find that she has been maintained and educated in a manner which entitles him to be paid the allowance payable for said minor.”

J.J.MURPHY

The above official document fairly disposes, after a thorough investigation, of a long list of specified charges; but there remain a few new ones, brought forward for the first time by the master of the Rolls, and I will now proceed to deal with them.

It appears in evidence that the minor went daily to the house of a governess for a fixed time, and that this person thought proper, during this time to give her a few lessons on the harp, which she alleges she did without charge as she considered the Minor an orphan and dependant. This was done without the knowledge or consent of her guardian. The Master of the rolls found on this “an inference” and a grave charge. He says- “It appears to me that if she did receive a proper education, it was that of a poor relation, and my inference is, that the money was spent on the ducation of the cousins of Minor, and that the governess, from motives of benevolence, gave this young lady, whom she supposed a dependant, instructions with her pupils.” No charge of this nature was ever made by my opponents: but on the contrary, it was admitted that Minor had received as good an education as she was capable of; a view confirmed by the report of the Master as follows:- “ I deem it right to state, in justice to the said guardian, that he appears to me to have displayed very commendable attention and skill in the medical treatment of said Minor, and to have had her duly and properly educated, and upon the whole that she has been maintained and educated by him in a manner which entitles him to be paid the allowance payable for the said Minor.”

Again the Master of the Rolls indulges in inferences. He is represented to have said-“Now, if the Minor deserved punishment for a falsehood, what punishment would be sufficiently ample for the man who told his niece such a falsehood as that her father died in debt and left her nothing.”  The facts of the case show the Master of the Rolls to have been ill-informed, and to have made a grave charge which he ought to have known was untrue in fact. The facts are these:- The father of Minor made his will in 1832 and died in 1835, when Minor was three months old. He left all his real and personal property to his brothers absolutely, save an annuity to his widow, and made no provision for any child or children. Master Goald’s report of 1836, when minor was made a ward, makes it appear that only £1374 remained in Irish funds out of £ 10,000 to which Minor was entitled under the will of her maternal great-grandfather, to whom her father was executor. Her father admits in his will that he drew and spent the money, and accordingly bills were filed against his brothers to recover deficiency. All the property was sold, and did not realise anything like the debt. Hence it was perfectly true to tell Minor that her father had left her nothing and died in debt.

That the letter of May 4th,  1854, written by Minor, was a part of a conspiracy, must appear to everyone, when I state that it was proved by several witnesses that the Minor knew she had property of her own, and was not dependant. Sympson, the man-servant who accompanied her when she rode out states in his evidence, “ Minor frequently told him when out riding with her, and he particularly recollects one occasion in the summer of 1851, and he heard her tell the other servants of the house the same thing, that she had property of her own, and that Dr O’Bryen was allowed for her maintenance, and also the keep of a pony for her use;” and the master has found, “I must, however, state my belief that the Minor was not, for a considerable time past, by any means so ignorant of the state of her property and the condition of her affairs as has been represented on her part.” So much for her alleged ignorance up to August 1855 which I am deeply grieved to say she has sworn to. In regard to the letter which this Minor has declared she wrote to Mr Orpen, at the dictation of Mrs O’Bryen, I will only say that Mrs O’Bryen has twice sworn that she only, as was her custom, connected the Minor’s ideas, and faithfully expressed her wishes at the same time without suggestion of her own, and I will add, we both now believe that she thus acted to deceive and put Mrs O’Bryen off her guard. The Minor took care to send to her solicitor the pencil sketch, which at least, demonstrates deep cunning. Again, this unfortunate child has sworn that on October 3rd 1854, when Mr Orpen called to see her, she was engaged sweeping out the school-room, and doing other menial work, while two persons clearly prove on oath that she was dressing to go out to pay a visit and not engaged as stated by her, and one of these witnesses was the servant, who was actually at the moment employed in these duties, who swore, “ saith that Minor hath not been, and was not employed in sweeping out the school-room, or making up her own room at the time of said Mr Orpen’s visit; inasmuch as this deponent was in the act of making said minor’s bed, dusting her room &c.2 Whilst said Minor was dressing to go out, saith “that whilst in said house Minor  never swept out school-room, never made up her own room, or did any other menial service.” After this, what reliance can be placed on this Minor’s statement?

I will say one word as to dress. This minor so wilfully neglectful of her dress and personal appearance, that for several months Mrs O’Bryen declined to speak to her on the subject for when she did so she received an insolent reply. Hence I was myself obliged, if in the house, to inspect her daily before she went out and when she came down in the morning, and it rarely happened that I had not to send her to her room to change or arrange her dress, brush her hair, and  often even to wash her face and neck. For a reason then unknown and unsuspected by us, but which has since transpired (viz:- her intention to found a charge and give it the appearance of truth), she would persist in only wearing old and worn-out dresses that I had several times made her lay aside, and directed to be thrown into the old clothes bag. In fact I had to threaten to search her room and burn them before I could succeed. She put on one of the worst of them outside the day she left my house. I often met her in the street, and had to send her back to change her dress, &c., and notwithstanding all this trouble, my wishes were evaded or neglected the moment my back was turned. The amount of vexation and annoyance this child gave us by her habits and general conduct cannot easily be described. Not a single article of dress was bought for her after Mr Orpen’s visit, and yet an excellent wardrobe was found in her room the day she left. The list is too long to add.

There is only one point on which the Master finds against me, viz. striking: on this subject I am unwilling to give details. It is quite true that in a moment of hastiness on two occasions (in 18 years) caused by extremely bad general conduct on the part of Minor, remonstrance having failed, which at these times was brought to a point, and I did strike her once each time as she was leaving the room, and of this, which in reality is nothing, much has been made by those who wanted to make costs, certain to be paid by either party.

My counsel in Ireland recommended an appeal, but my law adviser in this country said “What are you to gain? All material charges have been disproved; the master’s report is in your favour; no costs have been thrown on you; the allowance has been paid; would it be worth your trouble to appeal only to get rid of the language used by the Master of the Rolls? For this is all you could expect, while the expense of an appeal would prove considerable, and the trouble not a little.”

I will only add, in conclusion, that I hols certain instructions in Minor’s handwriting that she received from a gipsy, proving on the face of it that she was employed to act on this child’s mind.

I now submit the case, which I have shadowed(?) out in this letter, not so much in the hope of appeasing the unthinking anger of incompetent and prejudiced persons, as in the certainty of finding justice at the hands of all those who may have taken a very natural and justifiable interest in the allegations made against me, and are yet open to conviction, and are willing to give its just weight to a true and honest statement of facts.

It is a most painful position to be placed in, after many years spent in gratuitous and honourable professional service, to be summoned before a tribunal which has no power to acquit or condemn, but can only cast a stigma. But no man of earnest(?) and conscious rectitude chooses to withhold a defence beyond a certain limit, however strong his private reasons may be for so doing. That limit has now been reached in the opinion of friends and in my own, and I take with the utmost confidence the on course which appears left open to me.

“Fiat Justitia, ruat caelum

Yours, &c, Mr Editor,

JOHN O’BRYEN, M.D.

Aghada Hall, co. Cork.

Aghada  Hall was, apparently, a large  Georgian house designed by the Cork architect  Abraham Hargrave (1755-1808); though it seems to bea comfortable gentleman’s residence rather than a vast mansion.” It was completed in 1808. John Roche was also responsible for the start of the Aghada National School in 1819.

It’s time to revise this post quite a lot, and I am extremely grateful for a Thackwell grandson for the photos of the house. For the purposes of clarity, I’m going to call it Aghada Hall. John Roche, (17??- 1829) who had it built referred to it as Aghada House, but it was later referred to as Aghada Hall. Tony Harpur, a local historian in Cork sent me the following:

“The first edition Ordnance Survey map names the house as Aghada House (c1840). The house was named in the Ordnance Survey map of the early 20th century as Aghada Hall and was noted as being ‘in ruins’ – this is probably some time in the early 1930s because although a major survey was carried out by the Ordnance Survey before 1914, additional information was added to the map from a survey of 1935-1938.”

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Aghada Hall, side view

In the 1911 Irish census, Aghada Hall  was described as a first class house with 9 windows in the front, and 8 rooms occupied by the family, and 15 outbuildings. Edwin (or Edward – he used both) Penrose-Thackwell was also listed as the owner of a two room cottages, one three room, and one four room cottage, nearby.

The estate seems to be a substantial working farm. The main house had two stables, a coach house, harness room; three cow houses, a calf house, and a dairy. It also had a piggery, fowl house, boiling house, barn, shed, and a store. 

Fifty-four year old Edwin was living in the main house with a substantial staff, Thomas and Lavinia Buckley, who were married, were the butler, and housemaid respectively. They also had fifty-five year old Mary Flynn, the cook, and a dairymaid, parlourmaid, and kitchenmaid, all in their twenties.

In addition, to the main house, James Scanlon the gardener (48) and his wife were in the two room cottage. Ernest Jones (32), and his wife Gertrude (30) and their eight year old son were in the four room cottage, along with Gertrude’s twenty-five year old sister. Ernest was the chauffeur, and Ernie and Gertie had been married 11 years.  Finally, there were eight members of the Murphy family in the three room cottage. Edmond Murphy and his wife with three daughters, and three sons. All four men, Edmond (50), Denis (22), Edmond (16), and Patrick (15) are general labourers, presumably working on the estate.

The gardener and chauffeur’s houses, both had a shed and fowl house, and the Murphys had a piggery, and fowl house.

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Aghada Hall, front

John Roche who built the house,  “amassed great wealth during the French wars”, according to “Barrymore Records of the Barrys of County Cork”  published in 1902. He was Ernest O’Bryen’s great grandfather, and made quite significant efforts to establish some sort of Roche dynasty to maintain the family name, and the house that he had built for himself.

There were three significant beneficiaries of John Roche’s will of 1826, with a later codicil. They were his nephews James Joseph Roche, and William Roche; they seem to be cousins rather than brothers. The third main beneficiary was John Roche’s eldest grandson, John Roche O’Bryen. The total estate amounted to about £ 30,000 when John Roche died in 1829, the modern day equivalent of £45,720,000.00.

The house and land was left to James, and his male heirs, first of all, and then William, who also inherited £ 10,000, “in case of his not coming into possession of the estate by the means before-mentioned,  I leave him  £6,000″ plus John’s grand-daughter, Jane O’Brien’s ……  £4,000 £4 per cent. stock ;” . Jane O’Bryen, John Roche’s granddaughter was married to his nephew William Roche, and their daughter Pauline Roche inherited their share as a one year old orphan. The final third was John Roche O’Bryen’s  £ 10,000, presumably in the expectation that a male Roche heir would inherit the house and land.

John Roche O’Bryen,  and Jane O’Bryen were Catholic. All their  five remaining younger siblings were Church of Ireland. JROB and Jane/William Roche are the only O’Bryen beneficiaries of John Roche’s estate. The O’Bryen siblings are John Roche’s only grandchildren.

John Roche also left  a series of £ 100 legacies (present-day £ 150,000)  to various sisters, and nephews and nieces, and “To the parish of Aghada, I leave the school-house, and £20 ( £ 30,000) a-year for its support, and also the chapel and priest’s house  I leave to the parish rent-free for ever, as long as they shall be used for such qualified purposes ; the five slate houses I built in the village, I leave to five of the poorest families rent free ; to David Coughlan I leave the house he now lives in during his life ; to my servant, James Tracy   I leave the house his wife now lives in;  and to my wife’s servant, Mary Ahearne, otherwise Finne, her house rent-free during their lives ; and to each of those three, viz.,David Coughlan, James Tracy, and Mary Ahearne,  otherwise Finne, I leave £10 (£15,000) a-year during their lives :”

Lower Aghada

Lower  Aghada

Aghada  is a small fishing town situated to the south-east of Cork city in County Cork, Ireland. Aghada parish consists of several small villages and townlands including  Rostellan, Farsid, Upper Aghada, Lower Aghada, Whitegate, Guileen and Ballinrostig.

The estate, and the provisions of John Roche’s will were part of a court case, and appeal in 1848, and 1849. (Hillary Term 1848, Mary O’Brien v James Roche and William Roche…lands of Aghada [Mitchelstown Cork]… and Roche v. O’Brien —Feb. 1, 2. 1849) following the death of James Joseph Roche in 1847.  William Roche had died in 1836, and James Joseph Roche, and his family were living there until James’s death in 1847. The house appeared to have briefly in the possession of Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Junior, one of the younger O’Bryen siblings in the early 1850’s.

The house and land were sold in July 1853 in the Encumbered Estates Court, as part of the estates of James Joseph Roche, and William Roche, with Mary (Maria Josepha)  and Eleanor Roche listed as owners, and Pauline Roche as ex parte.  [The Encumbered Estates’ Court was established  to facilitate the sale of Irish estates whose owners were unable to meet their obligations. It was given authority to sell estates on application from either the owner or an encumbrancer (somebody who had a claim on it) and, after the sale, distribute the proceeds among the creditors, granting clear title to the new owners.]  The house was bought by Major General Sir Joseph Lucas Thackwell in 1853, and remained in the Thackwell family until at least 1911. Henry Hewitt O’Bryen does still seem to be a significant landowner in the area, so may well have kept some of the land.

thumb_entrance-to-aghada-hall_1024Most traces of Aghada Hall seem to have disappeared, apart from signs of a walled garden, half  an entrance and a small gatehouse.  The old sheds and stables have apparently been converted into houses.

Major General Sir Joseph Lucas  Thackwell had married Maria Audriah Roche (from the Trabolgan branch of the Roche family) in 1825. She was the eldest daughter of Francis Roche of Rochemount, County Cork (an uncle of Edmond Roche, 1st Baron Fermoy). This, incidentally, made Maria Thackwell, a first cousin, five-times removed of Diana, Princess of Wales. They had four sons and three daughters.  She should not to be confused with Maria Josepha Roche, who was James Joseph Roche’s daughter, and one of the parties to the 1848/9 court cases.

In a final twist, The Cork Examiner,reported on the 25th January 1860, having picked up the story from the Illustrated London News that:

“The will of the late celebrated General Sir Joseph Thackwell, G.C.B., has just been proved. By a codicil, dated the day before his death, he deprives his eldest son, Captain (Edward Joseph) Thackwell, the author of the “Second Sikh War, in 184-89,” [sic] and now a barrister at law, of all the property left him in a former will, including Aghada Hall, Cork, and Conneragh House, Waterford, and gives it to trustees in trust for his grandchildren, who must be educated in the tenets of the Protestant religion. Captain Thackwell had been received into the Roman Catholic Church only a short time previous to Sir Joseph’s decease.”

There seem to have been about nine grandchildren; all either the children of Edward Joseph Thackwell (1827, d. 1903), or his younger brother Major-General William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834–1910).  Edward Joseph’s son, Lt.-Col. Joseph Edward Lucas Thackwell (1853-1886) had four sons, and one daughter, who seemed to be the major beneficiaries, or users of the Irish houses. His son Walter Joseph de Rupe Thackwell was described as “now of Aghada,” in Burke’s Landed Gentry in 1894, and a younger son Captain Edward Hillyar Roche Thackwell, was living at the house in Waterford in 1911.

However Major William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834-1910), and his wife Charlotte Tomkinson seem to have lived in Aghada Hall, at least some of the time until 1894. Their eldest daughter Katherine Harriet Thackwell (1866 – 1950) married Col. Edward (or Edwin) Rawdon Penrose  in 1891, and they celebrated their wedding there. Katherine, and Edward added Thackwell to the family surname by 1911, most probably after the death of Katherine’s father in 1910, becoming Penrose-Thackwell from then on.

Kitty_Pope_Hennessy

Kitty Pope Hennessy

The only significant grandchild not to have a notable link to the house is William WR’s  only son Edward Francis Thackwell (1868 -1935) but that was most probably because he had married Kitty Pope-Hennessy on Feb 3 1894 at Rostellan Castle in Cork. She was a forty-four year old widow, and he was twenty six. He was a year older than her eldest son who died young, and three, and seven, years older than his step-sons.

It was probably a Catholic wedding, thus excluding Edward from the provisions of his grandfather’s will, but the pain may have been slightly ameliorated by his wife’s thirty room castle, with the sixty one outbuildings, including  seventeen stables, three coach houses, two harness rooms, and twenty cow houses. All of two and a half miles from Aghada Hall.

It is still not entirely clear when the house was demolished.

Sir Joseph Thackwell 1781- 1859

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Sir Joseph Thackwell GCB KH

Sir Joseph Thackwell GCB KH (1 February 1781 – 9 April 1859) enters the story because he bought  Aghada Hall in 1853, when it was sold following the death of James Joseph Roche, and the O’Brien v. Roche court cases in 1849.

Joseph Thackwell was born on 1 February 1781 at Rye Court, in Worcestershire. He was the fourth son of John Thackwell and Judith Duffy.  The Thackwells had been landed gentry in Gloucestershire, and Worcestershire  since at least the middle of the C17th. John Thackwell, JP, “of Rye Court,Moreton Court, and Birtsmorton Court in Worcestershire”, Joseph’s father died 1808. Nash, writing towards the end of the 18th century, remarked that ‘the Thackwells have now a good estate in this parish.’   The parish being Berrow in Worstershire.

The 15th Light Dragoons at the Battle of Sahagun 21 December 1808

He was commissioned as a Cornet in the Worcester Fencible Cavalry in 1798, was promoted to lieutenant in September 1799, and served in Ireland until the regiment was disbanded in 1800. He joined the 15th Light Dragoons, becoming a Captain in 1807. He served with the 15th Hussars in the Peninsular War at the Battle of Sahagún in 1808 and the Battle of Vitoria in 1813, and he lost his left arm at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He was promoted to a major at Waterloo, and made a brevet (honorary) lieutenant-colonel in 1817.

The 15th Hussars were at the Peterloo massacre in Manchester in 1817. So he may well have been at Peterloo. According to the Manchester Observer, “one officer of the 15th Hussars was heard trying to restrain the, by now out of control, Manchester and Salford Yeomanry, who were cutting at every one they could reach” calling out “For shame! For shame! Gentlemen: forbear, forbear! The people cannot get away!” It’s probably too much to hope he was the officer “trying to restrain the out of control Manchester and Salford Yeomanry”, but it is at least possible. He was almost as senior as Lieutenant Colonel Guy L’Estrange [the commanding officer on the day] , but, as a brevet (honorary) lieutenant-colonel, didn’t out-rank him on the 16th August.

military-memoirs-of-jtThe regiment had been split up in 1817, and occupied various country quarters until it was reformed in 1821. So he may not have been there, it is certainly not mentioned in “The Military Memoirs of Lieut-General Sir Joseph Thackwell” published in 1908, which has quite an extensive about riots in Nottingham in 1831, where the 15th Hussars were supporting the civil power.

He could have been at Peterloo, or perhaps not,  either way, a year after the massacre, he was in command of the regiment for the following twelve years up to 1832.

Joseph Thackwell was very much a career soldier, with brief pauses, he served almost fifty seven years in the Army.  It’s quite a thought that almost forty years of that service was with only one arm. He was made Lieutenant-Colonel of the 15th Light Hussars on 15 June 1820, and commanded the regiment from 1820 to 1832. He then served in India, commanding the cavalry in the First Anglo-Afghan War of 1838–89, and at the Battle of Sobraon in the First Anglo-Sikh War of 1845–46, and at the Battle of Chillianwala and Battle of Gujrat in the Second Anglo-Sikh War of 1848-9. He also commanded the 3rd The King’s Own Dragoons, was colonel of the 16th Lancers, and was appointed Inspector-General of Cavalry, replacing HRH the Duke of Cambridge (1819-1904).

His final promotion was to Lieutenant General on 20th June 1854, aged 73, as part of the Inspector-General of Cavalry appointment, although he had been seeking a cavalry command in the Crimean War. The appointment lasted less than a year, and he was replaced as Inspector-General on the 1st February 1855 by Major-General Lord Cardigan, fresh from the Crimea, and the debacle of the Charge of the Light Brigade. Cardigan’s appointment was political, and a reward for what was initially regarded as heroic behaviour, and poor old Sir Joe was the rather un-thanked casualty of Cardigan’s reward.

royal-hospital-chelsea

Royal Hospital Chelsea

Sir Joe was offered the Lieutenant-Governorship of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, but declined it, and finally retired to Aghada for the remaining three years of his life.

He had married Maria Audriah Roche, eldest daughter of Francis Roche of Rochemount, County Cork, who was a great uncle of Edmond Roche, 1st Baron Fermoy, on 29 July 1825.  Joseph was forty-four years old, she was nineteen.  Maria Thackwell was, therefore, a first cousin, five-times removed of Diana, Princess of Wales. Sir Joseph bought Cherrymount House, at Templemichael, co. Waterford,  in 1852, and Aghada Hall in co. Cork, the following year 1853. He died in Ireland on the 9th April 1859, aged 77, probably at Aghada Hall, and was buried on 14 April 1859 at Corkbeg cemetery, co. Cork, and Maria, who survived him by fifteen years, was buried there in June 1874. She was 68.

Joe and Maria had four sons and three daughters.

  • Edward Joseph Thackwell  b. 1827, d. 1903
  • Major-General William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834–1910) 
  • Osbert Dabitôt Thackwell (1837–1858), unmarried aged twenty one.
  • Francis John Roche Thackwell, ( ????-1869) unmarried ?
  • Elizabeth Cranbourne Thackwell
  • Annie Esther Thackwell m. Rev T.P.Little vicar of The Edge, Gloucs. d.1902
  •  Maria Roche Thackwell m. Lieut-Col James Bennett

 He was invested as a Knight, Order of Hanover (K.H.) in 1834, well technically admitted to the Third Class of the Hanoverian Guelphic Order, on his retirement from the 15th Hussars. He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (C.B.) in July 1837, a month after Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne, as part of his promotion to a Major-General in India, and then finally, on his retirement, made a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath (G.C.B.) in 1849, on the recommendation of the Duke of Wellington. To quote from his memoirs.

‘On the 17th May the Duke of Wellington wrote to Sir Joseph Thackwell acquainting him that- “The Secretary of State has, upon my recommendation, submitted to the Queen your appointment to be a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, of which Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to approve.” In reply Sir Joseph said- “To be promoted to the highest military honour is most flattering to the pride of an old soldier, and to have been recommended to Her Most Gracious Majesty’s favour by your Grace, under whose guiding wand I served some campaigns, is a matter of congratulation of which I may well be proud”.’

His four sons became officers in the British Army, though in Edward Joseph’s case, it was only briefly before he was called to the Bar. His second son, Major-General William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834–1910), served in the Crimean War and in Egypt in 1882. His third son, Osbert Dabitôt Thackwell (1837–1858), was lieutenant in the 15th Bengal Native Infantry. He was killed in the street in Lucknow,by some of the sepoys on 20 March 1858, following its siege, and capture. Final day of fighting before its recapture. He was twenty-one years old. His fourth son, Francis John Roche Thackwell, served in the Royal Irish Lancers, and died in India in 1869 from wounds inflicted by a tiger.

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Joseph Edwin Thackwell, CB (1813-1900)

His nephew Joseph Edwin Thackwell, CB (1813-1900) also served in the British Army, serving as Aide-de-Camp to his uncle when commanding the Meerut Division in India in 1852–53; he also served in the Crimean War, and also became a lieutenant general. His brother-in-law,  Edmund Roche 3rd Hussars, also served as his Aide-de-Camp, and also became a general. Edmund Roche’s only daughter Caroline Matilda Georgiana Roche [Sir Joe’s niece]  married Sir Joe’s grandson Lt.-Col. Joseph Edward Lucas Thackwell.

It is not entirely clear yet whether the girls had children, but the eldest two sons definitely did; Edward Joseph Thackwell  (1827-1903) had four sons, and a daughter, and Major-General William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834–1910) had one son, and two, probably three daughters.

All of Edward Joseph Thackwell’s sons also had army careers, and most of his grandsons served in the army, if only relatively briefly. The one standout Thackwell son who didn’t serve in the army unlike his father, grandfather, uncles, and cousins is William W. R. Thackwell’s son, Edward Francis Thackwell (1868 -1935) who had married  Kitty Pope-Hennessey in 1894. Is he the black sheep of that generation?

Marriage Settlement – Henry Hewitt O’Brien and Mary Roche 1807

TRANSCRIPTION OF THE MARRIAGE SETTLEMENT OF HENRY HEWITT O’BRIEN AND MARY ROCHE DATED 27th OCTOBER 1807, no.404481

To the Register appointed by Act of Parliament for Registring Deeds Wills & so forth

Memorial of an Indented Deed of Settlement bearing date the twenty seventh day October one thousand eight hundred and seven, and made between Henry Hewitt O Brien of Broomly in the County of Cork Esquire of the first part John Roche of Aghada in the County of Cork Esquire And Mary Roche Spinster only daughter of the said John Roche of the second part, and John Roche the younger of Aghada aforesaid Esquire and Stephen Laurence O Brien of the City of Cork Esquire Doctor of Physic of the third part and what was made previous to the Marriage of the said Henry Hewit O Brien with the said Mary Roche whereby the said John Roche did agree to give as a portion with his said Daughter Four thousand pounds Stock in the Irish five per Cent Funds, By which said Deed whereof this is a Memorial the said John Roche for the consideration therein mentioned Did grant Assigne Transfer and set over unto the said John Roche the younger and Stephen Laurence O Brien All that the said Four thousand pounds Stock in the Irish five per Cent Funds To hold the same unto the said John Roche the younger and Stephen Laurence O Brien and to the Survivor of them his Executors Admst & Assigns up [sic] Trust, to permit the said Henry Hewit O Brien and his Assigns during his life to take the Interest Money, dividends and produce thereof for his own uses and after his death, to permit the said Mary Roche (in case she shall happen to survive the said Henry Hewit O Brien) and her Assigns during her life to take the Interest Money, dividends or produce thereof for her own use, by way of Jointure from and after the death of the survivor of them the said Henry Hewit O Brien, and Mary Roche, as to the said Sum of four thousand pounds upon Trust for the Issue of such Marriage if any shall be, but in Case there shall be no Issue or in Case there should, and that all such shall dye before any of them shall be entitled to their respective shares of the said Sum, then as to the intire said Sum of four thousand pounds Stock in the Irish five per Cent Funds and all benefit to be had thereby, upon Trust, for the survivor of them the said Henry Hewit O Brien and Mary Roche his intended Wife, his, or her Heirs Exrs Admrs and Assigns and it is by sd Deed expressed that the sd John Roche the younger and Stephen Laurence O Brien shall when thereto required by the sd Henry Hewit O Brien invest the intire of the said Trusts Money, or any part thereof, in the purchase of Lands in Ireland which Lands when so purchased are to remain to the same uses and Trusts as are mentioned and expressed in every aspect as to the Trust Sum of four thousand thousand [sic] pound in the Irish five per Cent Funds To which Deed the said John Roche Henry Hewit O Brien & Mary Roche put their hands and Seals, Witness thereto and this Memorial are John Cotter of the City of Cork Merchant, and John Colburn of sd City Gent.

Note:

  Jointure – sole estate limited to wife, to be employed by her after her husband’s death for her life.