Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mother St. George’s obituary, The Times, 1914

The death took place last Tuesday, at the convent of the Faithful Virgin, Upper Norwood, of Mother St. George, at the age of 87. Mother St. George (Frances Jane Purssell), who was born In 1827, she was a sister of the late Alfred Purssell, a founder of Westminster Cathedral. She professed at La Délivrande. Normandy, in 1850, and went to the Norwood convent of the Order. She left Norwood in 1854 with other volunteers, in response to the appeal of Bishop Grant, to tend the wounded and cholera-stricken in the Crimean War, and rendered valuable assistance to Mrs Florence Nightingale in nursing the sick. She was the last survivor of the band of volunteers, and corresponded with Miss Nightingale for many sears, afterwards being elected a member of the committee which was entrusted with the work of erecting a memorial to her. As an acknowledgment of her services she was decorated by Queen Victoria with the Red Cross. From 1857 to 1860 Mother St. George took part In the foundation of the convent at Roseau, Dominica, in the West Indies. For over 30 years she was Superior of the Convent of the Faithful Virgin at Folkestone, where she earned the respect and affection of all who knew her. The last six years of her life were spent in retirement at the Convent of the Faithful Virgin at Upper Norwood.

from The Times, April 16, 1914. p.10


Radcliffe – Weld 1893

Page 25, 4th February 1893


On February 1 the marriage took place of MR. PHILIP RADCLIFFE, Royal Engineers, son of Sir J. Percival Radcliffe, Bart., of Rudding Park, Yorkshire, with Miss MAUD WELD, daughter of the late Sir Frederick A. Weld, K.C.M.G., of Chideock Manor, Dorset. Long before the hour fixed for the wedding, the church which had been beautifully decorated for the occasion with choice white hot-house flowers, ferns and palm trees, was crowded as well as the aisle and transepts, many being unable to obtain seats. The church bells rang gaily from an early hour ; triumphal arches had been erected in great numbers bearing appropriate mottos and good wishes to the bride and bridegroom, and flags were everywhere to be seen. The bridegroom arrived a few minutes before 10, accompanied by his best man Mr. Bernard Radcliffe ; and soon afterwards the young bride entered the church leaning on the arm of her eldest brother, Mr. Humphrey F. J. Weld, who gave her away. She looked lovely in a gown of rich ivory duchesse satin with court train, the only trimming consisting of lappels of satin, richly embroidered in pearls falling partly down the front and over the sleeves. A long Honiton lace veil was worn over a coronet of real orange blossoms and myrtle. She carried a magnificent bouquet composed of rare exotics. She wore a diamond ” sun” and a diamond star the gift of the bridegroom, a diamond star, the gift of Sir P. Radcliffe, and a diamond heart the gift of her brother-in-law, Captain Edward Druitt. She was accompanied by her bridesmaids, Miss Angela Weld (sister of the bride) and Miss Laura Talbot (cousin of the bride and bridegroom). Their costumes were of the palest blue merveilleux silk, the bodices being draped with deep lace frills falling over voluminous puff sleeves of cream velvet. The skirts were made with trains, and edged with feather trimmings. They wore large picture hats of cream velvet, with ruches of pale blue and ostrich feathers, and each carried a satin shoe filled with Marechal Niel roses and lilies of the valley. They wore pearl and turquoise initial bangles, the gift of the bridegroom. Her train was carried by two little pages, Master Rudolph Graham Mayne (nephew of the bride), and Master Frank Talbot (cousin of the bride and bridegroom). They wore pale blue ” Little Lord Fauntleroy ” plush suits, and caps with ostrich feathers. Each wore a pearl and turquoise pin, the gift of the bridegroom. The Nuptial Mass was celebrated at 10 o’clock, the marriage ceremony being performed by the Right Rev. Dr. Virtue, Bishop of Portsmouth, assisted by Mgr. D. B. Bickerstaff Drew, the Very Rev. Canon Mansfield (chaplain of Chideock Manor), the Rev. F. G. Wood (chaplain of Rudding Park), and the Very Rev. Canon Debbaudt. After the marriage service a reception was held at Chideock Manor, during which the tenants presented the bride with a beautiful Queen Anne silver tea-tray and urn. The wedding breakfast took place at 12 o’clock. Owing to recent mourning in the bride’s family, the guests consisted of only near relations of both families. Later in the afternoon the happy pair left for London, en route for the continent, where the honeymoon will be spent. The bride’s travelling costume consisted of a soft shade of electric blue Amazon cloth, trimmed with a deep shade of velvet, the front of the skirt being slightly draped ; the full corsage was confined at the waist by a deep Empire belt of velvet, the large puff sleeves being finished at the elbow with folds of velvet. She wore a large felt hat of the deepest shade of electric blue, which had a quaint little crown of pale blue velvet, with sable tips. His Holiness the Pope sent a special blessing to the newly-married pair.


Lady Weld, turquoise necklace, pendant, bracelet, hair ornament, brooch, Honiton lace, Blonde lace, turquoise ring ; Sir J. P. Radcliffe, canteen of silver, pearl bangle, oak case of cutlery, cheque ; Lady Radcliffe, diamond and ruby bangle, house and table linen, hair bracelet, crown Derby writing set ; Miss Radcliffe’ old silver fruit spoon, Japanese embroidered cushion ; Miss F. Radcliffe, old silver tongs, six old silver apostle spoons ; Mrs. de Lisle, silver salt cellars ; Mrs. Brown, Queen Anne silver coffee-pot, tea-pot, cream jug, sugar basin ; Miss Brown, silver fruit spoons ; Mr. Humphrey F. J. Weld, pony carriage cob and harness ; Miss Angela Weld, standard lamp, Japanese embroidery, screen, silver soup-tureen ; Mr. R. and 0. Weld, travelling clock in silver case; • Mr. Henry Radcliffe, lacquer tea-table, silver mounted tantalus ; Mr. Bernard Radcliffe, silver egg-boiler, silver revolving entree dish, two silver lamps ; Mr. Roger Radcliffe, six silver hand-candlesticks ; Lord Arundel of Wardour, cheque ; Mr. and Mrs. Radcliffe, cheque silver sugar castor ; Captain Graham Mayne, pearl bracelet; • Mrs. Mayne, cheque, Indian embroidered silk shawl ; Mrs. Charles Weld, cheque ; the Hon. Mrs. A. Strutt, pearl necklace and pendant • Mr. Edward Strutt, ivory and silver-handled fish carver ; Miss Lisle Strutt, Wedgewood breakfast service ; Mrs. Blount, brass writing set ; Mr. Edwin de Lisle, Tennyson’s Maud; Mrs. Edwin de Lisle, opera cloak ; Major and Mrs. Frederick Bland, silver-mounted claret jug ; Mr. Reginald Talbot, set of Queen Anne silver salt cellars ; the Misses Talbot, silver-mounted carvers ; Mrs. Reynolds, Royal Worcester vase ; Mr. J. G. Duplesis, silver cigar box ; Messrs. J. and J. Weld and the Misses Weld, silver fish carvers ; Mr. and Mrs. C Radcliffe, old silver apostle spoon ; the Rev. F. G. Wood, brass revolving book stand ; Miss W. O’Connor, silver-mounted tortoiseshell paperknife • Mr. de Lisle, silver sugar basin ; Sir Charles and Lady Clifford, Dresden china tea-service ; Mr. and Mrs. Scrope, glass casquet ; Miss Radclifle, silver embossed cream jug, sugar basin and tongs ; Mr. and Mrs. C. Brown, Louis XVI. clock ; the Rev. Mother, New Hall, handsomely •illuminated Agnus Dei ; Mrs. Arthur, standard kettle, tray, and Japanese tea service ; the Countess de Torre Diaz, pearl crescent, turquoise stars brooch ; Mr. Perry, drawing. room standard vase ; Captain Edward Druitt, diamond heart pendant ; Mrs. Edward Druitt, pearl ring, silver box • Miss Mary Druitt, handpainted fan ; the Rev. and Mrs. Goddard, silver muffineers ; Sir P. and Lady Mostyn, standard kettle ; Mr. Algernon C. Bowring, diamond and sapphire pin ; Sir W. and Lady Vavasour, silver mirror ;, Mr. and Mrs. Ulric Charlton, six silver coffee spoons ; Miss R. Brown, old silver mustard-pot ; Miss F. G. Brown, silver muffineers ; Lady Armytage, silver egg cups, spoons and stand ; Sister M. Gertrude, leather workcase ; Sister M. Gertrude, picture ; Colonel and Mrs. Lloyd Evans, silver fish knives ; Mr. and Mrs. J. McDonald, two silver scollop. shell butter dishes and knives ; Mr. F. J. Radcliffe, Miss and Mr. F. Radcliffe, six silver spoons ; Winifred Lady Howard of Glossop, pearl crescent, pearl and coral pendant ; Mr. and Mrs. John Talbot, silver fruit dish ; Mr. and Mrs. Edward Mostyn, brass inkstand ; Dr. and Mrs. Barry Ball, silver-mounted ivory paper-knife ; Mr. and Mrs. Snead Cox, gold-mounted scent bottle ; Miss G. Coventry, silver button-hook ; Sir Hugh and Lady Low, old French silver buckle ; Mrs. Bidulph, Mont Barow vase ; the Hon. Lady Clifford, glove box ; Mrs. D’Arcy Hartley, carriage clock ; Mr. Charles Radcliffe, silver toast rack ; Mr. and Mrs. Kitson, Queen Ann silver cream jug ; Lady Lovat, pair of vases ; Colonel and Mrs. H. P. Knocker, silver embossed sugar basin and tongs ; Miss B. Roope, folding photograph frame ; Mrs. Hibbert, brass-mounted paper case ; the Misses Hibbert, brass-mounted blotting book ; Sir Molyneux and Lady Nepean, travelling clock; the Very Rev. Canon Mansfield, silver-mounted carriage whip ; Major-General and Mrs. Hales, china lamp ; the Misses Weld, lace handkerchief ; Mr. and Mrs. Morragh Bernard, silver shoe horn, button hook, and glove hook ; Mr. Manley, walking stick and telescope ; Mr. Whitgreave, ivory-handled fish carvers ; Mr. and Mrs. J. Coventry, silver sugar castors ; Mrs. D’Arcy, silver butter dish and knife ; Mr. and Mrs. H. Weld, brass kettle and stand ; the Right Rev. Abbet Leo Linse, 0.S.B. sacred picture ; Mr. and Mrs. Wilfred Weld, gold curb bangle ; Master Everard J. Radcliffe, pair of silver candlesticks ; Miss Freda Radcliffe, silver tray ; the Misses Prince, silver scent bottle ; the tenants and inhabitants on the Chideock Manor, Queen Ann silver tea tray and urn ; the household servants and employed on the Rudding estate, two pairs of silver candlesticks ; household servants of Chideock Manor, pair of candelabra ; bride to bridegroom, set of pearl studs, gold watch ; bridegroom to bride, diamond ring, diamond and ruby butterfly, ostrich feather fan, diamond “sun,” and diamond star.

O’More of Laois

There is a two volume set of books titled, History of the Queens County, written by V. Rev. John Canon O’Hanlon and Rev. Edward O’Leary, Volume one was published in 1907 and Volume two in 1914 in Dublin, Ireland by Sealy, Bryers & Walker.

Appendix I to Volume two was copied from Notes on the O’Mores as they were published in the Journal of the County Kildare Archaeological Society, Volume VI . The  edited papers were published in Dublin in 1911. The papers, and appendix were written by Lord Walter Fitzgerald, who was a younger son of the 3rd Duke of Leinster. To be more precise, he was the fourth of eight sons, and the tenth of fifteen children. He was a noted Irish antiquarian, and to quote from the Kildare Observer, form the 24th October 1898

“Lord Walter Fitzgerald resides at Kilkea Castle Co Kildare, a charming old residence which has been for centuries one of the family places of the Earls of Kildare…..Lord Walter takes a keen interest in the life and times of Lord Edward (Fitzgerald – 1763 – 1798, a United Irishman), for he is a thorough Irishman, and delights to dwell upon the glorious traditions of the House of Geraldine. He is a well known archaeologist and is an authority upon Celtic nomenclature.”

So he is a fairly reputable source, and historian, of wider family history.

This appendix includes the following subjects, and for the ease of reading, I have split them into three separate posts

CASSAR—AGIUS. 23rd Jan 1900


The marriage of Professor S. Cassar, M.D., with Inez, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. T. Agius, of Belsize Grove, Hampstead, London, took place at the Church of St. Ignatius of the Jesuits’ College, Valetta, Malta, on Tuesday the 23rd ult. The Rev. Father Ambrose Agius, 0.S.B., uncle of the bride, celebrated the Nuptial Mass and officiated, assisted by the Very Rev. Father Kenny, Rector of the College, and an appropriate address was delivered by Father Agius. The Holy Father sent a special Blessing to the couple on an illuminated parchment scroll, signed by Cardinal Rampolla. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a gown of rich white satin, with a train from the shoulders of white striped brocade, lined with satin and chiffon, adorned with ruches cf soft silk—some beautiful Honiton lace was arranged fichu-fashion on bodice, and caught up at the side with a bunch of real orange blossoms. Her veil was composed of net, edged with lace, while her jewels were pearls and diamond-stars, given by the bridegroom, together with a lovely bouquet of white roses and orange blossoms.

There were four bridesmaids—Miss Marie Agius, sister of the bride, and the Misses Muscat, Mifsud and Cassar, cousins of the bride. They wore white muslin and lace with pink fringed sashes, white chiffon picture bats, and pink roses to match. They carried baskets of pink geraniums which, with gold bangles, were presented by the bridegroom. The sister of the bride, Miss Marie Agius, was picturesquely dressed in pink Oriental satin and hat to match. The bridegroom was attended by Mr. Joseph L. Galizia, M.D. After the ceremony, a reception was held by Mr. and Mrs. Ed. T. Agius at ” Capua Palace,” Sliema, kindly lent by Marchese A. Mattei, LL.D., the guests numbering over 300.

Sarah Bernhardt. Requiem at Westminster Cathedral April 1923


I like this one, it’s got a great, great grandfather , and a first cousin four times removed (by marriage) in it, and an A-list cast of luvvies.

Sarah Bernhardt c.1878

A Requiem Mass for Madame Sarah Bernhardt, the famous French tragedienne, was celebrated on Tuesday, at Westminster Cathedral, in the presence of a congregation that filled the building to the doors. The occasion was organized as a London tribute to the memory of the dead actress, and brought to the Cathedral a very representative gathering. Although the Mass did not begin until half-past eleven, many who wished to be present were in their seats as early as nine o’clock, whilst a large number of those who came later to assist at the ordinary half-past ten Mass remained for the Requiem an hour later. In the absence of the Cardinal Archbishop, who was presiding at the Bishop’s Low Week meeting, the Bishop of Cambysopolis presided. The King was represented by the Hon. Henry Stonor and Queen Alexandra by Major Edward Seymour, whilst Colonel Waterhouse was present as representing the Prime Minister.

Westminster Cathedral

The Royal representatives and the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, who attended in state, were received at the entrance to the Cathedral by the Administrator, Mgr. Howlett, and conducted to specially reserved places.. The French Ambassador was not able to attend personally, but was represented by his wife, the Comtesse de St. Aulaire, who was accompanied by a number of members of the staff of the Embassy. The Belgian Ambassador ; the Polish Minister ; the French Military Attaché ; Sir Edward Elgar ; Mr. T. P. O’Connor, M.P.; the Hon. Maurice Baring; Madame Verneuil and Madame Gross (grand-daughter of Sarah Bernhardt) ; Sir Charles Russell ; Col. Sir Roper Parkington, and Sir Aston Webb (representing the Royal Academy) were also present. Sir Gerald Du Maurier and Sir George Arthur officiated as stewards.

Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth by John Singer Sargent -1889

Among the many notable members of the theatrical and musical professions who attended the Requiem were Madame Albani, Lady Tree, Miss Ellen Terry, Mrs. Kendal, Sir Charles and Lady Hawtrey, Miss Viola Tree, Dame Clara Butt, Dame Nellie Melba, Miss Marie Lahr, Sir Charles and Lady Hawtrey, Mr. Allan Aynesworth, and Mr. George Grossmith.

The Mass was sung unaccompanied to a setting by Palestrina, and the ” Dead March “ was played as the congregation left the building.

The above text was found on p.28,14th April 1923 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .

The life of Sir Joshua Walmsley 1794 -1871 – Chapter 2


Early Struggles — Arrival in Liverpool — The Aspect of the Town — “Old Charlies” — Press-gangs — Privateers — Sufferings of the Inhabitants — No employment — Sets up a School — War with America — Commercial Vicissitudes — Mr. Knowles’ School — Walmsley refuses Offer of lucrative Partnership — Resolves upon a mercantile Career — The first Rung of the Ladder.


Two years before, in company with Mr. Ainslabie, young Walmsley had visited Liverpool. “I found

my native town much altered,” he says. ” Dale Street had been widened ; a new, and what seemed to me a very stately edifice — the Exchange — had been built, and the Athenaeum, in Church Street, replaced the old news-room in Bates’ Hotel, at the lower end of Lord Street. The pipes from the waterworks of Bootle did duty for the water-carts going from door to door, as I remembered them in my childhood. Although there were trees in Church Street, a windmill on the top of Duke Street, hedgerows and lawns beyond Rodney Street, which was then an outskirt of the town, pasture-land where Cornwallis Street is now, and though it was open country beyond Lime Street, yet Liverpool seemed to me a magnificent city. Its principal streets — Lord Street, Church Street, and Bold Street — were then un-flagged, the only footway they could boast of being composed of pebbles stuck on end. At night the town was lit by oil-lamps, few and far between, that flickered and blew out when the wind was high. It was guarded by a police composed of sixty old men, known as the ‘ old Charlies,’ so aged and feeble, that the inhabitants could only account for their filling the post by supposing that, when men were considered too decrepit for any other employment, they were elected guardians of the public safety.

The inhabitants of Liverpool at that time were ninety thousand, and seven thousand sailors in the port. Such was the Liverpool of that day. But even then there were vast docks — St. George’s Dock being the last in one direction and the Queen’s Dock in the other ; nor must I forget the ‘ Old Tower,’ used as a debtors’ prison. On the other side of the Mersey was Birkenhead, where the old Priory stood alone, fields stretching away all round it. That side of the river was almost terra incognita few, unless compelled to do so, caring to trust themselves in the small ferry- boats. It was war-time then, and I gazed with awe at the seventy-five guns looming black in their embrasures, mounted on the North Fort. I sometimes walked off towards Bootle, to see another smaller fort

mounting some nine or ten guns. But above all I was never wearied watching the docks, the shipping, and the old guardship the Princess. The press-gang was so active it was unsafe for landsmen to be abroad after dark. Morning might find them on board the Princess, vainly endeavouring to soften the heart of the captain — the genial, hard-drinking old sailor — Sam


” There were constant fights going on between the sailors and the press-gang men. At times these riots were so serious that the volunteers had to be called out. Sailors homeward bound in merchantmen, to escape being caught, would go ashore on reaching the rock at the mouth of the Mersey, and make their way to Everton, or some adjacent village, for safety. Privateers sailed out daily, and occasionally returned followed by a captured prize. Often, too, the sound of guns might be heard on the river ; for the French trying to lay an embargo on the coast, merchant vessels had to sail under convoy, when some dashing frigate, taking charge, would fire into any obstinate

skipper that refused to obey the pennant. This hubbub of adventure, warfare, and commerce contrasted strangely with the half-gipsy, half-sportsman life I led on Stanemoor. During that holiday, two years ago, I had sought for employment, but 1809 was a year of commercial panic. The Berlin decrees were telling on the trade of the port, with all the dire consequences Napoleon had foreseen. Prices were at famine height. While such a state of things existed, merchants had neither the desire nor the enterprise to take in new hands. My efforts to find employment had failed.”


Now, in 1811, with a meagre purse and scarcely a friend to look to, the young man was once more on his way to Liverpool. His sister was a teacher in that town, where also his father’s brother lived ; but the latter was poor and had a large family. Joshua Walmsley resolved not to seek out his relations until he had found a situation. Should mercantile occupation fail him, he would try his fortune out in the Indies : some merchants, whose names he remembered, had promised his father to find employment for him out there. Resolving these projects in his mind, he travelled on towards Liverpool and the future. ” I decided,” he says, “to go to a house in Manisty Lane, where I had lodged with Mr. Ainslabie. The people had been kind to me then, and I would seek them out now. And so when the coach drove into the place, and the narrow streets of my native town passed before me, my mind was made up, and I felt not altogether friendless in it. I gave the guard one

shilling and sixpence, and had a shilling left. I was not mistaken, the good folks were poor ; but they welcomed me and listened to my story. I made a clean breast of it ; told all I had borne till I could bear it no longer, and said I had now come to seek my fortunes here. It was at once agreed that I should have a bed and my meals with them, and that I should pay them when I had found employment — time enough then. They gave me hope and courage, although there was no disguising it, these were bad times for Liverpool. The poor had no bread, and they told me peas, potatoes, and rice had been bought in large quantities by a committee of benevolent men, who sold them at reduced prices to the needy. The quartern loaf was selling at one shilling and sixpence ; a paper was circulating, calling on the rich to use flour sparingly, to allow no pastry

in their houses, and to use no bread that had not been baked twenty-four hours, also to give reduced rations of oats to their horses. Bacon that some time ago was fourpence a pound was now one shilling and twopence, and cheese had risen in proportion. These were hard times for the poor of Liverpool, but the dock trustees had raised a loan to employ as many hands as they could during the winter. The honest couple had in no way exaggerated the distress, and they were among the poor.


” Next morning when I awoke I realised that now, indeed, life was beginning in earnest for me. Immediately after breakfast I set out on my quest The sight of the vast docks and the shipping somewhat re- assured me. Surely there must be some humble berth that I could fill which might prove a stepping-stone to the future. Young, strong, active, fairly educated, resolved to give the best that was in me in exchange for a salary that would enable me to live, my hope of success seemed to me based on reasonable ground.

‘ That day I went to several warehouses, knocked at the doors of many offices. At some I was dis-

missed with a curt refusal, at others I was asked for references. I had none to give. This first day was a complete failure, without one glimpse of encouragement. From morning to night for several days I went from office to office, from warehouse to warehouse. In the evening, wearied after the fruitless day’s tramp, I lost hope, but with the morning it revived. There must be surely some berth,some work for me in this huge commercial world, and that berth and that work I would find. They must not be lost for lack of searching.

” At last hope began outright to wane. The East Indian scheme proved a failure ; the merchants had forgotten their promises. The same answer met me everywhere. Times were bad and I had no references. On the tenth morning I heard of a vacant situation. It was not at a merchant’s office but at a pawnbroker’s.

Still, it was an opening, and might serve to keep the wolf from my door. By means of it I might at least obtain the needed references. I went, determined to take what I could find. The master was a Jew, he offered me scarce enough to sustain life, in exchange for which I was to give continuous labour from early morning till a late hour of the night, including in this the cleaning of the boots and shoes of the establishment. I could not stand this last clause, and broke off negotiations instantly. Then at last I lost heart.

That night I faced the truth ; my boots were worn out — my money spent — I was living on charity. It had almost broken my heart, returning weary and worn out night after night to have to tell my kind hostess the sad tale of my daily failure, but she had always bidden me to cheer up. This night I saw it could go on no longer, so I determined I would see my aunt and uncle next day.

‘ They lived in Toxteth Park. He was a clerk in the post-office, and she a bright hard-working woman, helping her husband to bring up their six children by keeping a night-school. She received me kindly. It was not right, she said, I should be dependent upon strangers. If, after further eflforts, I failed in procuring what I had so set my heart upon, she advised me to try a night-school. Till then she invited me to remain with them.


” The thought of opening a night-school was galling to me. Teaching was weariness and a slavery. To return to it was returning to the bondage I had escaped from. It was death to all the dreams and

hopes I had nurtured for two years, and an abandonment of all chance of fulfilling my father’s prophecy.

After a few more desperate and bootless efforts to find a berth in a merchant’s office I set myself to carry out my aunt’s suggestion. I took two small rooms in Toxteth Park. I made it known in every house in the neighbourhood that I had opened a night-school for adults. My training at Kirkby Stephen had stood me in good stead. Soon my two rooms were filled so that they could hold no more. My reputation as teacher spread, and day work came besides. I taught writing and arithmetic in a gentleman’s school in Rodney Street. Still, my few spare hours were spent in seeking for that longed-for clerkship, no matter how modest it might be, in a merchant’s office. I was soon

in what might be said to be flourishing pecuniary circumstances. I paid off my debts to my friends in

Manisty Lane and to my aunt.”

War had broken out with America, and was involving the commercial world in chaos. Men who

were rich in the morning were beggars by night, and vice versa ; a victory or a defeat determining the issues. As may be imagined, it was a period of intense excitement and widespread distress. In his new career, Mr. Walmsley had made the acquaintance of Mr. Knowles, a gentleman who kept one of the larger schools in Liverpool, a man of large connections and much experience of the world. His principal teacher having left him, Mr. Knowles offered the, vacant post to the young master of the night- school.

To accept the offer seemed like riveting the chain of bondage. The very precariousness of his present mode of existence appeared to Mr. Walmsley a sort of pledge that it was not to last for ever. ” The idea was intolerable to me,” he says, ” that life should go on a prolonged weary repetition of Kirkby Stephen. The pay also was smaller than my own earnings. I hesitated. ‘ I shall use all my influence to procure you mercantile employment,’ said Mr. Knowles, knowing well the bait he was offering.


”That moment the bargain was struck between us. Lower pay than what I earned by my night-school and daily lessons; but the hope that promise held out was better than money.  “I accepted. Eighteen months elapsed, during which Mr. Knowles gave no sign that he remembered his promise, and accordingly I remonstrated. In answer, he offered me a partnership in the school — partnership in this school meant four or five hundred a year. Two years ago, I had entered Liverpool with a slender knapsack on my back, with a well-nigh empty purse, and high hopes. It might be thought that these hopes were more than realised in this proposal. At twenty, to receive the offer of a post worth four hundred a year.  For one moment only I hesitated, and then I respectfully but firmly declined the offer. Had I accepted, I knew my fate would have been sealed.

A fate that would have been bondage to me.” The singleness of purpose that had actuated the young man throughout this period of his life was sure to have its reward.

In Mr. Knowles’ school were two boys of the name of Carter. Their father was a large grain merchant in Liverpool. Mr. Walmsley had gained the boys’ affection, and was occasionally invited down on a Sunday to their father’s country house in Wavertree; for Wavertree was then broad country, miles distant from any street of the town. The spring of 1814 had come — a spring that seemed to inaugurate an era of peace and revived commerce. Bonaparte had taken leave of his Old Guard in the court of the palace of Fontainebleau, and peace was signed between France and England. In that month of May, Liverpool began to participate in the trade with India, the monopoly of which had, since the time of Queen Elizabeth, belonged to the East India Company. The

Kingsmill, on the 27th May, 1814, was the first ship that ever sailed from Liverpool to India. There was hope also now that our differences with America would speedily be settled. Bright days were coming at last.

In this improved condition of affairs an opportunity presented itself for Mr. Walmsley to make his

wishes known to Mr. Carter. The grain merchant wanted a clerk. The salary was forty pounds to

begin with, rising ten pounds annually, and the contract was to last four years.

” I had just refused four hundred a year,” he says, ” but here was an opening to the career I had so long coveted, and though the salary was so small, I offered myself to Mr. Carter, and was accepted. The contract was signed. For four years I was bound to serve Messrs. Carter and Piers, at the above-named salary. It was a modest sum. But what cared I ? Had I not fed upon rye bread and wheelbarrow cheese for weeks together, and slept on the wild moors, with a donkey-cart for shelter on rough nights? All I thought of was, that it allowed me to plant my foot upon the first rung of the ladder, and it would be no fault of mine if I did not reach the topmost. My father’s words rang in my ears, ‘Remember, lad, an apple is as easily felled as a crab,’ and his other prophecy as well, like that of Bow bells to Whittington ; “Jos will be mayor of Liverpool some day.”


On the 12th June, 1814, I turned my back upon Mr. Knowles’ school and my usher life for ever, and

took my place on the high stool in Mr. Carter’s office.

John Roche of Aghada

John Roche was a mystery right from the start, and remains so. But it’s probably time to put together some bits of the jigsaw. He’s a great, great, great, great, great grandfather to the youngest generation.


Aghada Hall

We know a few documented bits; from the “Barrymore Records” [1902]  he “amassed great wealth during the French wars, and built Aghada House.”  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 building  the Aghada National School in 1819. The house remained in the family until 1853.

He seems to have 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.  From Henry Hewitt O’Bryen and Mary Roche’s marriage settlement of 1807, we know that John Roche had at least one child, Mary, and can speculate, probably, a son called John. The two trustees of the settlement are “John Roche the younger, and Stephen Laurence O’Brien,” but by the time John Roche [senior] drew up his will in January 1826, there is no reference to John Roche the younger, and we can probably conclude he had died. It would be likely that family members were the trustees of the settlement, and also likely that John Roche the younger, and Stephen Laurence O’Brien, were the brothers of the bride and groom respectively.

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 £45,000,000.

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 seem to be 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 :”

So working from the above, we know that John Roche [c.1755 – 1829] is the father of Mary Roche, [1780 – 1852] who married  Henry Hewitt O’Bryen (1780 – 1836) in Nov 1807; and the grandfather of John Roche O’Bryen, Jane Roche (nee O’Bryen), and their siblings, Hewitt O’Bryen, Robert Hewitt O’Bryen, Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Junior, Stephen Hewitt O’Bryen, and Mary O’Bryen .  At the same time, he is both the great-grandfather, and great uncle of Pauline Roche. Pauline Roche’s mother is John Roche’s grand-daughter Jane O’Bryen, and her father is his nephew William Roche.

 John Roche appears to have two brothers, and two sisters:

  • Hugh, who is the father of James Joseph Roche and Hugh Roche  
  • Lawrence who is the father of William who married Jane O’Bryen and is the father of Pauline Roche
  • Ellen m. John Verling and mother of Bartholomew Verling, Dr James Roche Verling, Catherine Ellis (nee Verling), and Ellen Verling Jnr.
  • Julia m. ? Enery [the surname is unclear from the transcript of John Roche’s will]

At this stage there are only hints, rather than facts, but John Roche (Senior) seems to be part of the merchant class in late C18th Cork, and the family’s marriages appear, at least in part, strategic. Bartholomew Verling,[the non-doctor one] was also a Cork merchant, and the Spanish Consul in Cork. He also seems to have been politically linked to Daniel O’Connell, and slightly ironically, to have been responsible for getting Cobh renamed Queenstown when Queen Victoria visited Ireland in 1849. There is also the mercantile/political connection between John Roche and the Callaghans with James Joseph Roche’s marriage to Catherine Callaghan, where JR provided her marriage settlement fund of £4,000, and left instructions in the codicil to his will that she should receive the money even if the marriage didn’t go ahead. So he really did have a lot of money or was really keen on a deal going through.


From     What is clear is our Bartholomew Verling isn’t this one “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.” But they are almost certainly relations.

From the Irish Journal of Medical Science, January 1971, Volume 140, Issue 1, pp 30-44 – regarding the Irish doctors who attended Napoleon on St Helena including James Roche Verling. Dr James Roche Verling is the Doctor Verling referred to in John Roche’s will. The source references  (Ellen Verling) and her brothers John and Laurence Roche of Aghada as members of the council of Cork. It also refers to James Roche Verling having a brother Bartholomew who was a J.P.

From Roche v O’Brien, and his will, we know that John Roche has two sisters

Julia Enery [though the spelling and therefore the name is unclear], Ellen Verling

And at least four nephews

James Joseph Roche, William Roche, Bartholomew Verling, and Doctor (James Roche) Verling

And at least two nieces

Ellen Verling jnr, and Catherine Ellis (nee Verling)

From Burke’s Landed Gentry 1847 entry we know there is another brother Hugh, who is the father of James Joseph Roche, and Hugh Roche Junior. 

Roche Of Aghado 

Roche, James Joseph Esq of Aghado House, co Cork b. 12 May, 1794 m in Nov 1821 Catharine youngest dau of the late Daniel Callaghan Esq of Lotabeg in the same county and has issue

  1. Maria Josepha
  2. Emily

Mr Roche, a magistrate for the co. Cork s. his uncle, the late John Roche Esq in March 1829. He and his brother Hugh, an officer in the navy, are sons of Hugh Roche, Esq by Anne, his wife dau. of Daniel McCarthy Esq, a Spanish merchant son of John  McCarthy Esq.  Seat. Aghado House co. Cork.

We know William Roche is the son of Laurence Roche from  “Barrymore Records of the Barrys of County Cork from the Earliest to the Present Time, With Pedigrees. London:” published 1902

“Patrick Barry, of Cork, gentleman, died 1861, having married Mary Anne, daughter of Stephen Murphy, of the city of Cork, draper, and had with an elder son, Stephen Barry, of H. M. Customs, Cork, and a daughter, Kate, who both died unmarried, a younger son, William Henry Barry, of Ballyadam, gentleman, J.P., who was heir to his uncle, Henry Barry, of Ballyadam, and was for many years post­master of Cork. He married in 1857 Pauline Roche, only child of William Roche, son of Lawrence Roche, whose brother, John Roche, amassed great wealth during the French wars, and built Aghada House. John Roche’s only daughter, married to [Henry Hewitt] O’Brien, of Whitepoint, Queenstown, J.P., left a daughter [Jane O’Bryen], who married her cousin, William Roche, and with her husband died shortly after the birth of their only daughter, Pauline, who was entrusted to the guardianship of her uncle, Dr. O’Brien, of Liverpool [sic], and at marriage had a fortune of £7,000.