Pauline Roche (1835 -1894)

Pauline Roche (1835 -1894) has been part of the story for a while. But I’m becoming increasingly sure that she helps place a lot of things into context.  This is one of a series of posts covering her marriage into the Barry family, and her daughter’s marriage into the related Smith-Barrys, and a look at where they all fit into both Irish, and British society.

Barryscourt Castle,Co.Cork

To recap briefly, she runs away from home in Bristol to Ireland in 1854, aged about eighteen. She takes her uncle, and guardian, John Roche O’Bryen to court, successfully gets her guardianship changed, and within two years of her court case has married into the Barry family.  The Barrys, one way or another, trace themselves back to the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 1170’s, and in various ways have managed to hold on to land, and money, or both, since then. Their original seat was Barryscourt Castle, and they were given the land from Cork to Youghal, about 50 sq. km. One of the main tactics for keeping wealth in the family was marrying cousins, or through the use of marriage settlements, so Pauline’s marriage was unusual. Having said that, she was bringing the modern-day equivalent of about £ 7,000,000 to the marriage, which helps.

So Pauline is marrying into a junior branch of an old established Anglo-Irish family. It all tends to point to her having some established pedigree, as well as cold, hard, cash. At the risk of speculating, I think it may well turn out that in Pauline’s case, the cash, as we know, comes from John Roche, who is both her maternal great grandfather, and paternal great-uncle. The pedigree, is more speculative, but here goes. Henry Hewitt O’Bryen, Pauline’s maternal grandfather, is the grandson of Daniel O’Brien (1717-1758).

Murrough_O'Brien,_1st_Marquess_of_Thomond_KP,_PC_(1726-1808),_5th_Earl_of_Inchiquin_(1777-1800),_by_Henry_Bone
Murrough O’Brien,1st Marquess of Thomond (1726-1808)

Daniel O’Brien appears to be either a bastard son of  William, the third Earl of Inchiquin, or potentially more likely, the bastard son of Charles O’Brien, William’s second son. Charles is rather curiously listed as died unmarried, rather than d.s.p. (died without issue). In Irish Pedigrees by John O’Hart; 1892, O’Hart lists an otherwise unlisted elsewhere, Donal, a fourth son of William O’Brien.  I don’t think we are pushing things too far to consider William O’Brien bringing up his bastard grandson as part of the household. It’s interesting that another grandson of William’s, Murrough O’Brien, the 5th Earl of Inchiquin, and 1st Marquess of Thomond was reputed to have a bastard son Thomas Carter, the composer (1769 – 1800) who lived with him at Taplow Court in Berkshire

The Irish landed gentry had a much more relaxed attitude to illegitimacy than is perhaps now realised. Henry Hewitt O’Bryen and Mary Roche were staying at Fort Richard, in co. Cork when their first three children were born, and John Galwey, who owned Fort Richard, and their probable host, and Henry’s contemporary, fathered seven children illegitimately at Fort Richard, starting in 1814, before finally settling down and marrying fifteen years later.  Father O’Connor, the parish priest,  wrote ‘Bastard’ next to each of those names.

So, in Pauline Roche’s case, the cash comes from John Roche who “amassed great wealth during the French wars, and built Aghada House“. We know JR was a merchant, but little more. Ireland’s exports were predominately agricultural, with a fair proportion heading across the Atlantic to the West Indies, and West Indian goods returning, so there is a reasonable possibility of part of John Roche’s money being tainted by slave labour, though no actual evidence yet.

The pedigree is rather looser; quite possibly a link to the O’Bryens at Rostellan Castle. The Earls of Inchiquin, who later became the Marquesses of Thomond lived at Rostellan, which is about a mile away from Aghada, where John Roche had built his house in 1808. In a slight curiosity, both families started spelling O”Bryen with a “y” rather than an “i” at about the same time. We’ve considered the possible link to William O’Brien earlier. Henry Hewitt O’Bryen, Pauline’s maternal grandfather, was the son of Laurence O’Brien, and Jane Hewitt. Their marriage settlement refers to Laurence having a malt house, and the Hewitt family were brewers, and distillers.  There is no firm evidence to link Jane Hewitt, and Henry Hewitt, her father, directly to the Hewitt brewing and distilling dynasty, but all the signs point in that direction. The Hewitts established a distillery in 1792, and ran it until 1864 when they sold it to the Cork Distillery Company who eventually evolved into Irish Distillers, now part of Pernod Ricard.

So Pauline’s maternal great, great, grandfather seems to be the bastard son of Irish aristocracy, and Old Irish at that. Topped up with strategic marriages that bring in money at each generation. The trustees and witnesses of the marriage settlement are significant. “John Sarsfield of the City of Corke Merchant & Richard Connell of the said City Esq” are the trustees of the settlement, “Francis Goold & Wm Galway, and Richard Townsend of Castle Townsend” are signatories to Laurence O’Brien’s indentures of leases. “Thomas Hardy of the City of Corke Gent & Matthew Thomas Hewitt of Castle Townsend aforesaid Esq.,”  are the witnesses to the agreements.

William Henry Barry of Ballyadam, is William Barry, of Rockville’s grandson, and the husband of Pauline Roche.  Pauline Roche is Ernest O’Bryen‘s first cousin on her mother’s side. Her mother Jane is John Roche O’Bryen‘s eldest sister. She is also his second cousin on her father’s side, because William Roche, Pauline’s father is their ( Jane and John Roche O’Bryen) first cousin once removed. So Pauline Roche’s children are EAOB’s second cousins on their maternal grandmother’s side, and third cousins on their maternal grandfather’s side. All fabulously complicated…….

Pauline Barry (nee Roche) had died in the autumn of 1894, aged fifty eight,or fifty nine, almost exactly a year before the death of her cousin Mgr. Henry O’Bryen. They were both born in 1835, Pauline was born in Rome, and Mgr. H.H. was born in Montpellier, and they were brought up together in his father/ her uncle’s household.

William and Pauline Barry’s children were: (there is more detail here)

  1. (Patrick)Henry, born 1862; d. poss 1930, who appears to have been unmarried
  2. William Gerard; born 1864; d. 1940 in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, unmarried.
  3. Pauline; prob born 1865 or b.1867 – d. after 1911; unmarried.
  4. Edith,born probably 1863, but possibly as early as 1861, and possibly as late as 1866.  Died 19??
  5. Mary, born 18?? d. after 1911
  6. Henrietta, b. 1873/4,unmarried
  7. Kate. b 1879 unmarried.

Only Edith, and Mary Barry, get married, out of all seven brothers and sisters, .  Both Edith’s husbands were Army Surgeons. Mary married into the Smith-Barrys of Ballyedmond. In a slightly curious irony, the Master of the Rolls who sat on Pauline Roche’s case in 1855 ( Sir Thomas Berry Cusack-Smith) married into the Smith Barry family, as did Pauline and William’s daughter Mary, making him( Sir Thomas) and Louisa Cusack-Smith, Mary Barry’s husband Cecil’s great-uncle and aunt. It’s a small, small world…

Edith has three sons with Patrick Hayes, and a son and a daughter with William Babtie.

Mary has two daughters with Cecil Smith-Barry.

Ballyadam House, the family home seems to be large. According to the 1901 Irish census it had 16 rooms, and the out-buildings listed are

  • 9 stables
  • 1 coach house
  • 1 harness room
  • 2 cow houses
  • 1 calf house
  • 2 piggeries
  • 1 fowl house
  • 1 boiling house
  • 1 barn
  • 1 potato house
  • 2 sheds

A total of 24 outbuildings

In 1901 Pauline Barry is listed as the head of household at Ballyadam, and was living there with her sister (Henrietta) Rose and a servant, and she is also listed as the owner of 2 2-room cottages each with 2 outbuildings. In 1911, both Pauline, and Rose are still living there, and they have been joined by their younger sister Kate, and eldest brother Patrick, who is listed as the head of the household. There are two servants living in the house, and their six year old niece Janet Babtie is living with them as well.

In 1901, Cecil and Mary Smith-Barry were living in a reasonably sized house in Castlemartyr, Cork. They had ten rooms, and a couple of stables, and a coach house. the household comprised of Cecil, and Mary, their five year old daughter Cecily Nina, and a twenty three year old house and parlourmaid, Julia Casey. Ten years later, Mary has moved to a smaller house about ten miles away at Ballynoe, on the outskirts of Cobh. She is forty-five years old, and has been a widow for three years. The house is rented from her late husband’s cousin Lord Barrymore, who seems to own most of the village. Mary seems to be living quietly in the village with her daughters Cecily who is now fifteen, and four year old Edith, and a nineteen year old servant girl.

Poor little rich girl – Pauline Roche 1835 – 1894

I love Pauline Roche, she’s the sort of relation everyone should have in their family history. Her story is so bizarre that it reads like a novel.

She is John Roche’s great-granddaughter, and in an unintended way, one of the major beneficiaries of his will, at her marriage, she was said to have about £7,000 (roughly £ 7.5m today). So to set her in context; Pauline Roche is Ernest O’Bryen‘s first cousin on her mother’s side. Her mother Jane is John Roche O’Bryen‘s eldest sister. She is also his second cousin on her father’s side, because William Roche, Pauline’s father is their ( Jane and John Roche O’Bryen) first cousin once removed.

Vatican City Bridge and St Peters
Vatican City Bridge and St Peters

Pauline was born in Rome in 1835, and her father died the same year, when she was three months old. Her mother died the following year (1836) when she was eleven months old. She becomes John Roche O’Bryen’s ward for not entirely clear reasons.

However, JROB is her uncle, and only he, and Jane O’Bryen were Catholic. All their remaining siblings are Church of Ireland. JROB and Jane/William Roche are the only O’Bryen beneficiaries of John Roche’s estate. It is also reasonable to consider other factors.  In 1836, John Roche O’Bryen is married with two young children, Emily who is four, and Henry (the future Mgr O’Bryen) who is almost exactly the same age as Pauline. None of the other O’Bryen siblings have established families, Robert marries that year, and Stephen the year after. 1836 is also the year that Henry Hewitt O’Bryen Senior dies, so Pauline’s grandmother Mary O’Bryen is a recent widow.

It may also be as simple as the fact that John Roche O’Bryen is almost twice as rich as all his remaining siblings, and mother put together.  Robert, Stephen, and Mary O’Bryen were the main beneficiaries from their father’s will, but the majority of their inheritance was from their parents’  £4,000 marriage settlement, which Mary (Roche) O’Bryen was still benefitting from until her death in  1852; whereas JROB had inherited £ 10,000 from his grandfather in1829. Well, technically he received the income from the money in 4% stock, with his children being the ultimate beneficiaries of the capital on his death, with a number of caveats regarding him receiving the full benefits until he was twenty five, or married. In part, that might explain, his marriage at the age of twenty one, in Bordeaux. Wealth comparisons are notoriously complicated, the measuring worth website can be useful because it provides a range of calculations and comparisons depending on what you are looking for. Using their income value calculation, JROB’s annual income was, a present day equivalent of, over £ 500,000 a year.

Anyway, for what ever reasons, Pauline is part of the O’Bryen family, and is shown living with them in Bristol in 1841, and again in 1851.

Lower Aghada
Lower Aghada, co . Cork
Bellevue, Clifton, Bristol

However in 1847, James Joseph Roche dies, triggering a dispute in the family that culminates in Roche v. O’Brien which goes through the courts in 1848, and 1849. James Joseph Roche was the main beneficiary of John Roche’s will from 1826. It is quite clear that John Roche was attempting to build a Roche dynasty to maintain the family name, and the house that he had built for himself  (Aghada House).   James Joseph Roche, who inherited Aghada from John Roche, married Catherine Callaghan. The marriage itself has all the appearances of being at least in part a commercial link between two merchant families. John Roche’s will refers to his contribution of £4,000 to a marriage settlement in 1821. Coincidently, the same amount, that he contributed to his own daughter’s marriage settlement in 1807.  John Roche “amassed great wealth during the French wars”, and Daniel Callaghan Senior was, “one of the most enterprising and successful merchants of Cork”.  Pauline as a minor of 12 or 13, is a party to the case. Aghada House, and the land was sold in 1853 in the Encumbered Estates Court, with Pauline Roche listed ex parte.

This is where the story gets much, much, more interesting. In 1854, aged about 19, Pauline runs away from home in Bristol, crosses the Irish Sea to her uncle Robert O’Bryen in Cork, and goes to court seeking a change of guardian. It all sounds relatively straightforward, and even better it’s all over the papers, well some of them anyway, The Daily News, in London, the Dublin Evening Post, The Liverpool Mercury and Supplement, and  The Tralee Chronicle.

The Daily News called it a “A singular minor case, involving charges of cruelty against a guardian”, The Dublin Evening Post said it was an “EXTRAORDINARY CASE…..the question at present before the court being whether the guardian of the minor should pay the costs of proceedings consequent upon an alleged system of cruelty practised towards her.”  The Liverpool Mercury headlined the story the “PERSECUTION OF A WARD IN CHANCERY” and the Tralee Chronicle said  “The general nature of the charge against the late guardian appeared to be this – that although he was allowed from 1850 a maintenance of £ 130 per annum, this young lady was not properly fed – had been most cruelly treated and subjected to personal violence.”

Pauline Roche’s maintenance allowance of £ 130 per annum, was a huge sum of money. In modern day terms, it is about £ 180,000 a year. Not bad for a teenager, and possibly quite irritating to your uncle that you are entitled to an equivalent of about thirty per cent of the O’Bryen household income. JROB’s income from the interest on capital is about £ 500,000 p.a.

The reporting is amusing, and shows the Victorian press weren’t so different from todays. The  Dublin Evening Post  manages to muddle up which uncle Pauline runs off to, and the Tralee Chronicle not only gets the uncles wrong, but also has Pauline being mistreated by ” Dr Robert O’Brien, of Belfast”.

However, the gist of the story is still Pauline wants a new guardian, and she says she’s been mistreated. Actually, if her story is true, it’s much worse than that. According to the Daily News, “Miss Roche was a young lady whose constitution was delicate, and therefore, it was contended she required great care and attention, instead of which she was provided with bad food, bad clothes, and was deprived of such necessaries as sugar and butter; she was likewise deprived of horse exercise, which was indispensable to her health. A pony, the bequest of a dying patient…….” –  I particularly like the fact that this was a gift from a dying patient – “was given to her; and when she was deprived of this, a carriage horse was procured, which kicked her off his back, and she refused ever again to mount him. She also complained that upon two occasions he (guardian) beat her severely – that he made her a housekeeper and governess to the younger children, that he led her to believe she was dependent upon his benevolence; and further, that she was not permitted to dine with him and his wife, but sent down to the kitchen with the children and the servants.”

carriage horseThe Dublin Evening Post told us ” she was provided with bad food, bad clothes, and was deprived of such necessaries as sugar and butter; she was likewise deprived of horse exercises which was indispensable to her health………..” and in his answer to the allegations.. “Dr O’Bryen replied that he had treated his niece with kindness – that her preservation from consumption was solely ascribable to his judicious and skilful treatment – that he caused her to be well educated, had given her many accomplishments and a horse to ride, which was not a carriage horse but an excellent lady’s horse – that she upon two occasions told him untruths which required correction, and that he would have punished his own children much more severely.”

And in a fairly un-subtle piece of character assassination;  It was likewise contended that she would have better consulted her own respectability and displayed better taste, if she had abstained from taking such proceedings against her uncle and guardian with whom she had been for so many years.”

The Dublin Evening Post continues, and the story just gets worse. From the reporting, the (Irish) Master of the Rolls, is clearly on Pauline’s side. He “said that a petition was presented by Mr Orpin, the solicitor for the minor, for the purpose of removing the late guardian for misconduct. His lordship made an order on that occasion to the effect that the minor should reside within the jurisdiction of the court, which was indirectly removing her from the protection of the late guardian.”

It continued “The general nature of the charge against the late guardian appeared to be this – that although he was allowed from 1850 a maintenance of  £139 per annum, this young lady was not properly clothed – that she had not been properly fed – had been most cruelly treated and subjected to personal violence. Six or seven years ago she was actually driven to run away, which of course she had since been obliged to repent, and even if she did get education it was the education of a poor relation of the family. The governess who was employed to educate her cousins swore, as he (the Master of the Rolls) understood, that if the minor did get education it was at the expense of the guardian, and that she gave her instructions as a matter of charity. This young lady was obliged to run away, and conceal herself in a neighbouring village, and no person who looked at the subsequent transactions could entertain a doubt but that she had been treated with cruelty. It was sworn by Mr Sweeny, a solicitor of the court, that he was ashamed to walk with her she was so badly dressed.”

The mauling from the Master of the Rolls continued, ” The Master found, and it was actually admitted by the respondent ( JROB) , that he told her on one occasion, her father had left her nothing; that she would be in the poorhouse but for his generosity. He (the Master of the Rolls) adverted to this circumstance  for the purpose of asking this gentleman who struck this young lady, in delicate health, with a horsewhip for having told him, as he represented an untruth – what punishment he deserved for having told her the falsehood that her father had left her nothing?”

letterAnd it just goes on, and on.. ” On the morning of the 4th of May 1854, the transaction took place which led her to write the first letter to her uncle who was now her guardian. It appeared that one of her cousins brought her a piece of leather which the child had got in the study of the late guardian, but not telling her anything about it she asked her to cover a ball, and she did so. He interrogated her on the subject, and having denied she took the leather, he took his horsewhip and struck this delicate young lady a blow which left a severe mark on her back to the present day. His lordship then read the letter of the minor to her uncle in Cork inquiring about her father’s circumstances, and complaining bitterly of the treatment she had received, and stating that, though she was then nineteen years of age, she had no pocket money except a little which had been supplied by friends. His lordship continued to say that the facts contained in that letter were corroborated by the statements of the guardian himself. On another occasion, the minor being in the room with her uncle, his powder-flask was mislaid, and being naturally anxious about it, as there were younger children living in the house, he asked this young lady respecting it, but she laughed at his anxiety, and he struck her a blow, according to his own version, with his open hand, but after the blow of the horsewhip, he (the Master of the Rolls) was inclined to think it was with his fist as she represented.”

So, a doctor in Bristol, in his mid-forties, who admitted in court that “she, upon two occasions, told him untruths which required correction” which seems to have been using his horse whip, and fists, and that  ” he would have punished his own children much more severely.” basically attacks  a teenage girl.

Now the Dublin Evening Post continues in the same vein, ” The general nature of the charge against the late guardian appeared to be this – that although he was allowed from 1850 a maintenance of £ 130 per annum, this young lady was not properly fed – had been most cruelly treated and subjected to personal violence. This young lady was obliged to run away, and conceal herself in a neighbouring village, and no person who looked at the subsequent transactions could entertain a doubt that she had been treated with cruelty. It was perfectly clear that this young lady had been kept ignorant up to a late period of the state of her circumstances.”

And the catalogue of criticism from the Master of the Rolls just continues, and continues. More from the Dublin Evening Post:

  • “Six or seven years ago she was actually driven to run away, which of course she had since been obliged to repent,”
  • “The Master (of the Rolls)…..found that the minor, who was in her nineteenth year,  dined with the servants.”
  • “The Master (of the Rolls) found, and it was actually admitted by the respondent, that he told her on one occasion her father had left her nothing; that she would be in the poorhouse but for his generosity.” 
  • “She got half a pound of butter for a week, but no sugar or any of those matters which were considered by mere menials to be the necessaries of life.”
  • “On the 9th of October a letter was written, by the dictation of this young lady, giving the most exaggerated account of her happiness, and this was alleged to be her voluntary act, though by the same post Mr Orpin (her solicitor) received a letter from her stating that she was under the influence of her aunt when she wrote it.”

And finally, though they get the uncles the wrong way round:

  • “Ultimately, in the absence of her uncle, and late guardian, and apprehending his anger when he returned, she left the house and went to reside with her uncle John (sic) in Cork, her present guardian. A circumstance occurred when Mr Robert O’Bryen (sic) went to recover possession of his ward, which corroborated strongly the minor’s statement. When he was passing through Cork, she was looking out of the window and fainted upon seeing him – so much frightened was she at his very appearance.”

There is a full transcript of the newspaper reports, here.  JROB’s defence of his behaviour is quite extraordinary,and also included in the transcripts. It is something I’ll come back to in another post. 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.

So pompous, self-serving, and an astonishing attack in print on a teenager. Still, greater consideration of that is for another time.

Back to Pauline; she stayed in Ireland, and was married two years later in 1857, aged about 21. According to the “Barrymore Records of the Barrys of County Cork”   “Pauline Roche, (is the) 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 ” O’Brien, (sic) [Henry Hewitt O’Bryen]  of Whitepoint, Queenstown, J.P., left a daughter, 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, and at marriage had a fortune of  £ 7,000.”

Pauline Roche married William Henry Barry, of Ballyadam, who was described as a gentleman. He was also a Justice of the Peace. William was his uncle Henry’s heir and was for many years postmaster of Cork. The Barrys of Ballyadam were part of the vast, interconnected Barry family in Cork. William Henry was  the grandson of William Barry (1757 -1824) , of Rockville, Carrigtwohill, in county Cork. Various branches of the Barry family trace themselves back to the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the C12th.

In a slightly curious irony, the Master of the Rolls who sat on Pauline Roche’s case in 1855 ( Sir Thomas Berry Cusack-Smith) married into the Smith Barry family, as did Pauline and William’s daughter Mary, making him and Louisa Cusack-Smith, Mary Barry’s husband’s great-uncle and aunt. It’s a small, small world…

Pauline and William Henry Barry had seven children, including William Gerard Barry – the Irish painter, Mary who married into the Smith Barry family of Ballyedmond, and Edith, whose second husband, William Babtie won a Victoria Cross in the Boer War.

Pauline appears to have died in 1894, and various of her children were still living at Ballyadam almost twenty years later.

When cutting seaweed was a crime – 1843

James Joseph Roche, the Chairman of the magistrates in this case, is the nephew of John Roche, and in 1843 was living in Aghada Hall. He’s Ernest O’Bryen‘s first cousin twice removed.

(Cork Examiner 5/5/1843) –

CLOYNE PETTY SESSIONS – WEDNESDAY – CUTTING SEA-WEED – (FROM OUR REPORTER) – Presiding Magistrate-SAMUEL W. ADAMS, Chairman, JAS. J. ROCHE, R. G. ADAMS, THOMAS G. DURDIN, and JOSEPH HAYNES, Esqrs.

Glengarriff-Harbour-Co-Cork-Ireland-RP-Postcard-0835This being the day appointed by the Magistrates to investigate into the right of the public at large to cut sea-weed on Corkbeg and Trabolgan strands, great numbers of country-people assembled at the Court-house, and appeared most anxious to be present at and be informed as to the result of the trial. At an early hour the Court-house was thronged with listeners, and but for the judicious arrangements made by the magistrates, great inconvenience might have resulted from the vast number present on the occasion.

Besides the Magistrates on the bench several other respectable persons were in attendance, amongst whom were E. B. Roche, Esq., M. P., and Robert U. Penrose Fitzgerald, Esq. 

Bartholomew Dennehy, John Hart, Michael Cotter, Patrick Kirby, Simon Kennedy, William Hart, J. Dennehy, William Cronin, and John Cronin, appeared on the summons of Michael Hallinan to show cause why a penalty not exceeding £5 should not be inflicted on them, under the provisions of the malicious trespass Act, 9 Geo. 4, cap 56, for having cut seaweed on the 13th of April at Corkbeg strand.

Mr. Scannell appeared as Counsel for the complainant, and Mr. Nagle as Agent, and Mr. Walsh appeared on behalf of the defendants. – Mr. Scannell said that this was a prosecution instituted under the , 9 Geo. 4, cap 56, sec. 30, which was framed for the purpose of enabling parties to punish persons for committing a malicious injury who would not be solvent marks for an action in the higher Courts. That section enabled the Magistrates to award a reasonable compensation for the injury sustained, but it should not exceed £5. That Act however, contained a proviso, that the party complained of should not be fined or punished, if he did the act under a reasonable supposition that he was authorised in doing it. Sea Weed was becoming a most valuable property and he was ready to prove Mr. Fitzgerald’s title to the weed growing on the Corkbeg strand, by a patent granted by Charles the II. Mr. Scannell then cited several cases from the 5th Term Reports, Nunn and Walsh and several other law authorities, to prove that the case came within the malicious trespass act.

Carrigline beachMichael Hallinan was called and examined at some length by Mr. Scannell. He proved that the defendant had cut seaweed above low-water mark; he saw them go to the place in boats. Cross-examined by Mr. Walsh – I often saw men cutting weed there for the last 30 years; will not swear that other boats were on the same spot and cut weed, but as long as I remember, I have seen boats coming from Seamount cutting weed below low-water mark; the description of weed they cut was lawn clout; each of those men were cutting lawn clouts on that day; they grow high and dry on the rock when the tide is out and some of them are a foot and some two feet long, the same as ourselves grow (laughter); I did not see slings there on that day, but boys had them the day after. To Mr. Scannell – Power was not looking at the persons cutting the weed within low-water mark nor did he know they were cutting it. To Mr. Walsh – I would not swear that within 30 years Power or his people did not see them cutting the weed.

Maurice Uniack examined by Mr. Scannell – I know the strand under Carlisle over 20 years and the line of rocks lying above low water mark; was taking care of the weed for the late Col. Fitzgerald and when any boats took it, it was against my consent. Cross-examined by Mr. Walsh – I don’t know the spot where those boats were cutting the weed; the people were prevented for the last 20 years from cutting weed there by Colonel Fitzgerald; as I never saw any person cutting weed there who did not pay for it; Mr. Fitzgerald lets the strand early in the season, and any person that cut it, took it from the tenant. To Mr. Scannell – The strand has been let for the last 20 years.

The case for the prosecution having closed, Mr. Walsh put it to the Bench whether they had evidence of Power having the strand from any person or that he let it to Hallinan. The Chairman thought there was not sufficient evidence of it.

John Power proved that he took part of the strand from Mr. Cox for £7 a year, who got it from Mr. Fitzgerald. Cross-examined by Mr. Walsh – I kept part of the strand and let the remainder to Hallinan; they were cutting the weed against my will, but as the boat was not marked, I could not tell the names of the owners. Mr. Cox examined by Mr. Scannell – I know this strand which I took from Mr. Fitzgerald, and let part of it to Power. Cross-examined by Mr. Walsh – There was writing between me and Mr. Fitzgerald, on taking it.

Mr. Scannell then produced a lease which Mr. Walsh contended was but an agreement for a lease and that as the rent was £100, there should be £1 15s. stamp to it. Mr. Scannell stated that it was stamped within the last six days in Dublin. The validity of the lease was allowed after a long argument. Mr. Cox, cross-examined by Mr. Walsh – It was for the purpose of establishing the right I took the strand; I had the strand three years before this prosecution.

Mr. Walsh said that his clients were only summoned last night, and he had not time to look at his papers or prepare for the defence. Mr. Adams – Do you claim an adjournment? Mr. Walsh – Yes, until next court day, that I may consult with the law officers of the Crown. Mr. Fitzgerald – But the weed will be cut in the interim. Mr. Walsh – But the poor people must have fair play. Mr. Fitzgerald – I will give them no fair play when they have no title to it.

Mr. Walsh wished to have time to frame their defence, and he would undertake that the persons from that district would not cut the weed until this day week. His object was to get the advice of the law officers of the crown on the matter. Mr. Fitzgerald – Here is the opinion of the law officer of the crown (handing a paper). Mr. Walsh – But you should remember that the opinion of Mr. Green is at variance with Mr. Monaghan who gave an opinion on a case similar to this which Mr. Jagoe admitted was a failure. Mr. Nagle – Mr. O’Connell’s opinion is that the weed growing between high and low water mark is private property. Mr. Jagoe said that in cases of this description, where a patent was produced or a judgement against the parties, the Magistrates were bound to receive it. Mr. Scannell – And that is just what I am going to do. Mr. Scannell then produced a grant of Charles the 2nd to Garrett Fitzgerald of the lands of Corkbeg.

Mr. Nagle produced a conviction granted at the suit of Patrick Geary against James Corkeran for a trespass on that strand, for which he was fined 7s. 6d. Mr. Walsh contended that the patent did not grant the sea shore, but 600 acres profitable land. Mr. Adams did not see what land could be more profitable than the strand. Mr. Walsh objected to their reading the sea shore as profitable land, but land which is cultivated.

Mr. Fitzgerald – What do you say to the right of fishing? Mr. Walsh – That is an appurtenance to the land because it is on the sea. Mr. Nagle – There are 971 acres mentioned in another part of the patent.

Mr. Walsh said there were three kinds of land, terra firma, sea-shore and bottom; the subject can exercise a right over the sea shore between high and low water mark. Mr. Adams stated that Mr. Green’s opinion said that the shore was the property of the Crown between high and low water mark, but it was sometimes vested in the subject. Mr. Walsh agreed with him, but a grant had been produced in this case. If no grant had been produced they might assume that it was his property by exercising an ownership over it. That patent being produced, the Crown granted only 600 acres of profitable land by it. They were well aware that in old grants, the sea shore was not denominated profitable land, and the sea shore being land it could not be held as an appurtenance to land. Mr. Walsh then cited several cases from Barnwall and Creswell, Hall and Butler’s Reports, to prove that land could not be held as an appurtenance to land. He then contended that they could not assume, from his exercising acts of ownership, that the patent granted more than it was found to grant on its production. He submitted that as the sea shore was not granted by the patent, it raised the magistrates right of jurisdiction. Mr. Adams – You will not say that your client could go there against the prescriptive right in the Corkbeg family.

After some further arrangement, Mr. Walsh then contended that they should dismiss the case without entering into the claim of right at all. Were they to assume that those parties who cut the weed for thirty years would now ipso facto set up a fictitious supposition to having a right. He called on them to let the party try their civil right in another Court. Notwithstanding what has been said in the law books respecting their jurisdiction, they sat there like so many chief justices and tried the prescriptive right and a patent; and he called on them to adjudicate on the matter without legal assistance. It was better for them either to let the party try his civil right or else take informations and return them over to the Assistant Barrister’s Court.Mr. Adams suggested that the men should go and cut the weed tomorrow and let them be tried at the Sessions. Mr. Walsh was satisfied. Mr. Scannell – But no indictment could be framed unless there was a charge of violence.

Mr. Walsh was satisfied to allow information to be taken for using violence, and let the right be tried by the Assistant Barrister. The Court would not allow this and, Mr. Walsh said, he would now call on John Harty to give evidence. Mr. Scannell objected to his being examined as he was one of those summoned. The Court after a long argument would not permit the examination of the witness. The Chairman at length announced the decision of the Bench to be that they should be fined 10s. each or in case of non-payment to 1 month’s imprisonment in the House of Correction. Mr. Walsh requested them to impose a lighter fine. The Chairman declined doing so, as they would fine them much more heavily but for something that appeared on the trial.

Timothy Kiely, John Scannell, John Flynn Jun., John Enright, J. Flynn Sen., Thomas Barry and James Sliny, appeared on the summons of Richard Collins, to shew cause why they should not be convicted in a penalty of £5 under the malicious trespass act, for having cut a weed at Trabolgan on the 15th of April. Mr. Jagoe said that in this case he would proceed to prove his prescriptive right.

Michael Fitzgerald examined by Mr. Jagoe – Swore that he was at the strand of Trabolgan on the 15th of April and saw Enright pulling the weeds of the rock at half ebb tide; I desired him to go away but he desired me to mind my own business. Cross-examined by Mr. Walsh – He was standing on the dry rock pulling the weed and throwing it into the boat; John Scannell, Timothy Kiely and Thomas Barry were in the boat; when the tide would be out the place the boat was would be dry; I saw him push away the boat which was in, raised there by the water; he pushed her away with an oar; there were other boats there but they were further out to sea; Paddy Cashman and I went out to see if the strand under the rock would be dry at low water; he went off the rock almost immediately after being desired; would not swear that the weed he took was worth a halfpenny.

James Collins proved having seen Enright cutting the weed on the 15th of April, but did not think he cut 6d worth; he was cutting it on the strand about half way between high and low water mark.

Edward Sisk stated that he was never six months out of Trabolgan since he was born, and remembered Col. Roche setting the strand to Ahern in 1777, and no person ever attempted to trespass on it; it was held since by several persons and then the Ahern’s got it again; since 1837, when it was given up by Russell it was set in lots. To Mr. Walsh – Does not know on what part of the strand those men were cutting the weed.

The case for the prosecution having closed, Mr. Walsh considered that the evidence was clear that what the defendant cut was above low water mark, and he had no case on which he could raise an objection as to Mr. Roche’s right to the strand. However there was no evidence as to the value of the weed cut. The Chairman said that he conjectured that it was worth 2d. Mr. Walsh contended that in a criminal case they could not convict on a conjecture. Mr. Scannell believed the witness swore it was worth 2d at least.

Mr. Roche confessed he was anxious to convict Enright because he was one of a body he convicted before, and let off on a promise of not coming again. He was ready to let off the others on the conviction of one, as they were instigated to do the act in consequence of the feeling being abroad that it was not firm property. If they would plead guilty, he would let them off on a nominal penalty, as he had proved his property, and was not anxious to punish them.    Mr. Scannell wished to have them plead guilty and not be called in for judgement unless they trespassed again. Mr. Walsh would have no objection to that course, if Mr. Roche’s own eyes were on them, and could decide whether they were above or below low water mark. He would consent to Mr. Roche’s proposition to have them fined a penny each on a promise they would not go there again. Mr. Roche – That is what I have done.

The Court then fined the parties one penny each, and then being informed that six of those who were fined 10s. each had declined paying the penalty, warrants were made out, and they were transmitted to the County gaol to be imprisoned for one month.

Fr Philip O’Bryen 1861 – 1913

Philip O’Bryen is one of Ernest O’Bryen‘s older brothers. To be precise, he is four years older.

Philip, Celia, and Alfred OBryen
Philip, Celia, and Alfred OBryen

He was born 25th Jun 1861 in South Kensington, and died 7th Nov 1913. He is the third son of John Roche O’Bryen and Celia Grehan, one of their six children. He is a half brother of Mgr Henry O’Bryen, and Corinne and Basil O’Bryen by his father’s marriage to Eliza Henderson.

His obituary from the Tablet gives some clues.

The Tablet 15th November 1913

THE REV. PHILIP AUGUSTUS O’BRYEN.

We regret to record the death of the Rev. Philip Augustus O’Bryen, rector of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Princes Park, Liverpool which occurred on Friday afternoon, November 7, with startling suddenness. His morning had been spent in active work in the parish. After saying an early Mass at 6.45, he heard confessions and took Holy Communion to eight sick people. Between breakfast and noon he visited the sick in the Consumption Hospital, and returned home about midday. Feeling unwell and in considerable pain, he took to his bed. A little before three he was visited by one of his curates; at three he was found dead, having succumbed to heart failure, arising from rheumatism, to which he had, been subject since an attack of rheumatic fever in his student days at Ushaw.

Father O’Bryen, who was a cousin of Archbishop Bagshawe, was born in Westminster in 1861. He received his early education under the Christian Brothers, at Clapham, and went in 1872 to Ushaw, where he remained eighteen years, four of which were occupied in teaching. He was a B.A. of London University. Ordained at the English Martyrs’, Preston, in 1889, by Bishop O’Reilly, he was immediately appointed Professor of Mathematics and Science at St. Edward’s College, Liverpool, where he remained until his appointment as assistant priest at the important mission of the Sacred Heart, Liverpool, in 1895. Towards the end of the following year he was placed over the Mission of St. Joseph, Skerton, near Lancaster. On his arrival he found only a school chapel, but through the generosity of the late Miss Margaret Coulston he was able to build the present magnificent church and presbytery. In 1902 he succeeded the Rev. Father Pyke, now of the English Martyrs’, Preston, at Mount Carmel, Liverpool, and applied the funds raised by his predecessor in connection with the silver jubilee of the mission to erect a roodscreen and effect other improvements. His first important work in his new sphere was the division of his parish, and he superintended the building of St. Malachy’s Church, the foundation stone of which was laid some ten years ago by Cardinal Logue.

Requiem Masses for the soul of the deceased priest were said in several Liverpool churches. On Sunday evening the remains were taken to the church, where a crowded congregation had assembled. A solemn dirge was recited on Monday evening. The funeral took place on Tuesday, when a High Mass of Requiem was sung at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by the Archbishop of Liverpool, the deacon being Father Newton (Eccles), and the subdeacon Father J. Fitzgerald. Dean Goethals and Father J. Broadhead (vice-president of Ushaw) were deacons at the throne, and Father H. Blanchard was master of ceremonies. The music of the Mass was sung by the clergy diocesan choir, under the direction of Father A. Walmsley (Great Crosby.) The relatives present were Mr. and Mrs. Alfred O’Bryen, Mr. R. O’Bryen and Mr. B. Smith. The clergy present included Canons Kennedy and Hennelly (Birkenhead), Prior Burge, 0.S.B., Dom Wilson, 0.S.B., and Dean O’Donoghue (Wigan). The sermon was preached by the Rev. Father J. Hughes, who spoke highly of the character and work of the deceased.

The remains were taken to London, and the interment took place at Fulham Catholic Cemetery on Wednesday.—R.I.P.

 

Basil O’Bryen 1848 – 1920

Basil O’Bryen is one of Ernest O’Bryen’s brothers. More specifically, he is one of the three children of John Roche O’Bryen and Eliza Henderson to survive to adulthood. The others are Mgr Henry, and Corinne Burton.

(William Gregory) Basil O’Bryen was born on the 9th May 1848 in Clifton, Bristol, and died on the 27th March 1920 in Norwood, Adelaide, South Australia.  He married Harriet Matilda Burke on 1st February 1871 at the Pro-Cathedral (now Our Lady of Victories) in Kensington. He was  23, and she was 32.  Harriet was born in 1839 in London, and died 1873 in Eastbourne,  Sussex,aged 34. The O’Bryens, and the Burkes were neighbours in London. The O’Bryens were at 28 Thistle Grove (present day Drayton Gardens) in South Kensington, and the Burkes were two doors down at No 32.

The families, or at least some members of the families, appear to have been close; William Henry Burke, Harriet’s father was a witness to John Roche O’Bryen’s will signed on the 16th May 1870, about two months before his death. William Burke died 12 days before JROB, on the 17th July 1870 at Queenstown (present day Cobh), and Harriet, and Basil were, somewhat curiously, the executors along with George Wood, an accountant in the City.

Basil and Harriet had a son, Basil John Hewitt O’Bryen, who was born on the 21st September 1872 in Torquay, Devon; he appears to have died before 1907. Harriet died on the 28th August the following year (1873) at 34 Cavendish Place, Eastbourne, though her and Basil’s address is given as the Burke family home at 32 Thistle Grove. Basil seems to have obtained probate almost two years later  – by the 30th August 1875. He is now a widower with an eleven month old son, at the age of 25. 

He then marries Agnes Mary Kenny on the 17th May 1874 in Richmond, Surrey, eight days after his twenty-sixth birthday, she was twenty three.  She was born in 1851 in Richmond, Surrey, and died 15th August 1924, at Convent Lodge, Harrow. 

Basil and Agnes have four children:

  • Oswald 1876 – 1895, aged 18. 
  • Mary 1877 – 1880, aged 3.
  • Cecilia 1880 – 1880, within a year of her birth
  • Gladys 1883 -1960, aged 77.

Basil abandons his family in London sometime in the 1880’s, and reappears in Australia, where he marries Harriet Edwards in 1894. At this point he is forty six years old, and she is twenty nine. Assuming the information in the John Elworthy post is correct – “Apparently re-marriage after seven years of no contact with a previous wife was legal in Australia in the C19th. In English law, he would have been regarded as a bigamist.” We can assume that Basil would have been in Australia from at least 1887.

Basil and Harriet (nee Edwards) O’Bryen had two children.

  • William Basil O’Bryen, 1896 – 1974 
  • Eileen O’Bryen, 1895 – unknown

Both married, and had children in Australia.

The Mayor of Hampstead’s Garden Party – 4th July 1914

It took a lot of digging to try to find out the answers to this one, but it was always the most intriguing photo. Some of the people are clearly identifiable from other photos. Particularly the members of the O’Bryen family, Ernest and Gertrude are easily identifiable either side of the clergyman, with Cis kneeling looking at her mother, and Kenneth and Molly also to the front with their parents. Rex O’Bryen and his wife Florence are standing on the far left.

The clergyman remained mysterious for rather longer, as did most of the others in the picture. He did provide a very useful spur in the search, which rapidly threw up two O’Bryen priests. The first was Father Philip, who was an older brother of Ernest, and Rex. The other was Mgr Henry O’Bryen, who was a much older half-brother.

The Mayor of Hampstead Garden Party 4th July 1914

The clothes provided the next clues, particularly the hat and ring. Fr Phil was a parish priest, so wouldn’t have dressed like that, and Mgr Henry was dead before Ernest and Gertrude married, so it couldn’t be him. Eventually I found this…..

The Tablet Page 17, 11th July 1914 NEWS FROM THE DIOCESES

WESTMINSTER-THE CARDINAL’S ENGAGEMENTS

THE MAYOR OF HAMPSTEAD’S GARDEN PARTY.—The Cardinal Archbishop was entertained by the Mayor and Mayoress of Hampstead, Mr. and Mrs. E. A. O’Bryen, on Saturday last (4th July) at a garden party at their house and grounds at Daleham Lodge. A large company had been invited to meet his Eminence, and were presented to him. Among the guests were Canon Wyndham 0.S.C., Sir Roper and Lady Parkington, Lady Parker, Mgr. Grosch, the Father Superior and several of the Fathers from Farm Street, Prior Bede Jarrett, and several of the Dominican Fathers from Haverstock Hill, Canon Brenan, Mr. Lister Drummond, K.S.G., and Mr. C. J. Munich, K.S.G., and very many others. Refreshments were served in the grounds, and there was some, very enjoyable music.

This now answered some of the questions, but not all, and also is one of the many odd coincidences. One of the Roper Parkington’s granddaughters  Marie marries Alan O’Bryen ten years after this photo, and Colonel Sir John Roper Parkington, and Lady RP have quite a part in this tale. We’ll come back to whether it is the two of them behind the Cardinal, and the Mayor.

Very Reverend Mgr. H.H. O’Bryen 1835 – 1895

Henry Hewitt O’Bryen is the eldest son of John Roche O’Bryen and Eliza Henderson, which makes him a great great uncle.

He was born on the 5th of March 1835 in Montpelier, France, where his father was studying medicine, and died on the 24th October 1895 in Montreal, Canada, whilst on a papal mission, and is apparently buried in the cathedral there.

He was brought up in Bristol, and studied at the English College in Rome, where he was ordained in 1858. He then served as a priest in Liverpool; first at St Patrick’s in Toxteth, then as Principal of the Catholic Institute 1863-65, and finally Parish Priest at St James, Orrell 1869 -73. He then moved to Rome where to quote from his obituary

Sant Andrea della Valle
Sant Andrea della Valle

Mgr. O’Bryen had the spiritual care of all the Catholics of English tongue, and the Church of St. Andrea della Valle, parochial for the Piazza di Spagna and its neighbourhood, was that in which he heard confessions.”

He became a papal chaplain to Leo XIII (Cameriere Segreto Sopranumerario) in 1881, and also served as a papal ablegate. The majority of the Roman postings are either events he was at, or things that were happening in Rome at the time.

This is his obituary from The Tablet, 2nd November 1895

PERSONAL NOTES.

The telegraph has brought news of the death of Mgr. O’Bryen, Domestic Prelate of his Holiness, who died two days ago at Montreal. The news has been received with the deepest regret, as Mgr. O’Bryen had passed many years in Rome, and had won universal esteem. Though believed to be suffering from apoplexy, he seemed to be in fairly good health. His death was probably caused by a stroke of apoplexy brought on by the fatigue of his travels in Canada and the United States. Until the donation of the Church of San Silvestro in Capite to the English-speaking people, Mgr. O’Bryen had the spiritual care of all the Catholics of English tongue, and the Church of St. Andrea della Valle, parochial for the Piazza di Spagna and its neighbourhood, was that in which he heard confessions. The English sermons on Sundays during the season, which have been a tradition since the days of Pius VII., were delivered in other churches such as the Gesu e Maria, and one of the twin churches, which adorn the Piazza del Popolo. Before coming to Rome, Mgr. O’Bryen had served on the mission in the diocese of Liverpool.

Lady O’B – Gertrude Mary Purssell 1873 – 1950

Youngest daughter of Alfred Purssell

Gertrude (Lady O'B)
Gertrude (Lady O’B)

The London Gazette Sept 1919

O’BRYEN, Mrs. Gertrude Mary, widow of Ernest
Adolphus O’Bryen, Esq., late Mayor of Hampstead,
upon whom it was H.M.’s intention to have conferred the honour of Knight Bachelor, has been granted the precedence of a Knight’s Widow.

The Tablet, Page 22, 6th September 1919

Lady O'Bryen
Lady O’Bryen

The many friends of the late Mr. Ernest O’Bryen, Mayor of Hampstead 1913-1919, who deeply lamented his untimely death last April at the early age of 53, will greatly rejoice that His Majesty the King has ordained that the widow of the late Mayor shall have the title and precedence, which she would have had if her husband had lived to receive the knighthood which His Majesty had intended to confer upon him. Lady O’Bryen is the youngest daughter of the late Mr. Alfred Purssell, and was married to the late Mr. Ernest O’Bryen in 1898.

During her long term of office as Mayoress of Hampstead, she earned great popularity for her large share in the many war works with which her husband was so intimately associated. Her efforts in connection with the Belgian Refugees will serve as an example of the devoted work which gained for her the grateful esteem of the citizens of Hampstead, irrespective of creed. In 1914, the Mayor formed a committee for assisting these refugees, which between October and December of that year dealt with a very large number of them, some 18 hostels being opened locally for their accommodation. For four years this committee continued its work, under the direction of Lady O’Bryen, finding employment for and looking after the interests of the refugees. Just before the Armistice about 300 were, still under the care of the committee.

Alfred Purssell 1831 -1897

Alfred Purssell is Gertrude Purssell’s (Lady O’B) father.  He is one of nine children of Roger Purssell and Charlotte Peachey as shown Purssell letter006by this copy from a family bible. Alfred himself had seven children. Five girls and two boys

  • Laura
  • Lucy
  • Alfred Joseph
  • Frank
  • Agnes
  • Charlotte
  • Gertrude

 

The Purssells were variously described as confectioners, bakers, tea importers, and by 1871, Alfred described himself as a wine merchant. In the census in 1881, he is living in Clapham as a widower, with five servants. (a housekeeper, cook, housemaid, parlourmaid, and a children’s maid.)

Alfred Purssell
Alfred Purssell

Alfred was also a member of the Court of Common Council in the City for many years. He was a Trustee of the Bridge House Estates, who were responsible for building Tower Bridge  as shown on theAlfred Purssell tower bridge plaque on the north side of the bridge.

 

 

He is listed as a guarantor of the International Exhibition of 1862 –  not the Great Exhibition (£100), which also lists him as a Member of the Society of Arts, and he is listed as a founder of Westminster Cathedral.

As part of the initial search for who was who in the photos, I also traced this print in the London Metropolitan  Archives, which confirmed that our picture was Alfred.The Chairman and Officers of the Commissioners of Sewers of the City of London 1889-1890

 

And then finally from the Tablet, Page 22, 22nd February 1930

Mr. Purssell served for many years as a member of the Court of Common Council for the Ward of Cornhill, of which the present Lord Mayor is Alderman. If memory serves, he was Chairman of the Bridge House Estate Committee when the Tower Bridge was opened.

Not quite true; he was on the committee, but not the chairman. But he was at the opening ceremony.

Ernest Adolphus O’Bryen 1865 -1919

 

This was almost the first thing I searched on. We sort of knew that he had been Mayor of Hampstead, but not that it had been throughout the First War. In fact, from 1913 until his death in 1919 (six terms in total). He is easily identified in the garden party photo sitting next to the Cardinal. The decoration he’s wearing is a bit odd, and I suspect it’s possibly a papal decoration. He was granted a knighthood, but died before being done; but Lady OB was given the title anyway.

We also had pictures of him being the Mayor in the photo collection

The next thing I found was this obituary.

The Tablet, Page 28, 3rd May 1919

ALDERMAN ERNEST A. O’BRYEN.

We regret to record the death of Alderman Ernest A. O’Bryen, Mayor of Hampstead, which took place on Saturday night, at the age of fifty-three years, following on an operation from which he at first seemed to be progressing favourably. Educated at Stonyhurst and Cooper’s Hill, he spent some ten years in the Indian Forest Service in Upper Burmah, shortly after its annexation. He retired from the service in 1897 and married in the following year, Gertrude, daughter of the late Alfred Pursell. In 1913 he was elected Mayor of Hampstead, first Catholic to hold that position, and held it till his death. In 1916 he was President of the Stonyhurst Association and the same year was elected a Vice-President of the London Circle of the Catenian Association. During the war he took a leading part in making arrangements for the feeding and accommodation of Belgian refugees, and he also organised and equipped hospitals for the British Red Cross and St. John Ambulance. In 1915, Alderman O’Bryen was instrumental in raising the 183rd Howitzer Brigade and the 138th and 139th Heavy Batteries of Royal Garrison Artillery.

The funeral took place on Wednesday. The Requiem Mass was celebrated at St. Dominic’s Priory, Haverstock Hill, by Father Bodkin, S. J. Among those present were Mrs. O’Bryen and her five children, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Winstanley, Captain and Mrs. Parker, Mr. Alfred Pursell, Mrs. Edwardes, Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Bellord, Mr. Frank Pursell, Mr. Alfred O’Bryen, Mrs. Rex O’Bryen, Mrs. Basil O’Bryen.

This helped a lot. Working on an obvious hunch that everyone named is a close relation, and a bit of digging, we have the soon-to-be Lady OB with her four sisters and two brothers, two brother-in-laws, and it appears the wife of a brother-in-law.  All eminently Googleable.

And not a difficult step to get to Dr John Roche O’Bryen, his father………..