Requiem for the repose of the soul of Mgr. O’Bryen November 1895

PERSONAL NOTES.

Rome, Sunday, October 27, 1895. 

Mgr Henry Hewitt O’Bryen

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. 

Sant’Andrea delle Fratte

Sunday November 3, 1895

A solemn Requiem for the repose of the soul of Mgr. O’Bryen was celebrated at the church of St. Andrea delle Fratte on Wednesday last. His Grace the Archbishop of Trebizond, Mgr. Stanley, the Rectors of the English and Scots Colleges, were present. Mgr. Kelly, Rector of the Irish College, sang the Mass.

The above text were found on p.17, 2nd November 1895, and p.16, 10th November 1895, respectively, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

John Roche O’Bryen’s will – 1870

THIS IS THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT of me John Roche O’Bryen Esquire of Thistle Grove Brompton in the County of Middlesex Doctor of Medicine I appoint my dear wife Celia Mary O’Bryen and the Reverend Henry Hewett O’Bryen D.D. my oldest son to be Executrix and Executors and Trustees of this my Will and Guardians of my infant children during their respective minorities And I direct that my children be educated in the one Holy Catholic Church of which Pius IX is now Pope. I bequeath to my said dear wife all the wines liquors and other consumable effects which shall at my decease be in or about my dwelling house I also bequeath to my said wife the sum of one hundred pounds for her immediate occasion to be paid to her as soon as conveniently may be after my decease I devise the freehold copyhold and leasehold estates to which I shall be entitled at my decease with their appurtenants unto and to the use of my said trustees their heirs executors administrators and assigns according to the nature thereof respectively upon trust when and as my said trustees in order to effectuate any of the purposes of my Will or with a view to the advantage of my estate for the more convenient division thereof among the persons entitled thereto shall in their discretion find it necessary or expedient so to do to sell my said estates or any part thereof together or in parcels by public auction or private contract or to raise money by mortgaging in fee or for years or by charging my said estates or any part thereof and to do all acts requisite for effecting or facilitating any sale mortgage or charge pursuant to this trust I bequeath the residue of my Personal Estate and effects of every kind to which I shall be entitled at my decease unto the said Celia Mary O’Bryen and the Reverend Henry Hewett O’Bryen upon trust subject as herein after mentioned to convert into money get in and receive so much thereof as shall not consist of ready money or of such investments in stocks funds or securities (whether of the description contemplated by the trust for investment herein after contained or not) as my said trustees shall think it desirable to continue And I direct my said trustees to receive the money to arise from my said residuary personal estates and stand possessed thereof together with the stocks funds and securities to be continued as last aforesaid upon the trusts herein after declared concerning the same And as to the monies to arise from the execution of the trusts herein before contained concerning my real and residuary personal estate and not presently applicable to the purposes of my Will I direct my said trustees to invest the same in their names in or upon any of the securities herein after mentioned And I authorize them to vary and transpose at their discretion as well the stocks funds and securities whereon such investment shall be made as any stocks funds or securities which shall at my decease compose part of my personal estate for any other stocks funds or securities of the description contemplated by the preceding direction And I direct my said trustees to stand seized and possessed of my residuary real and personal estate upon the trusts herein after expressed and declared concerning the same that is to say upon trust to permit my said wife to occupy and enjoy at 28 Thistle Grove my residence aforesaid and to have the use of the furniture and other effects in and about the same including the horse and carriage during her life provided she shall so long remain my widow And upon trust to pay the net income arising from the residue of my said real and personal estate to my said dear wife Celia Mary for her life for the maintenance of herself and children and their education which I request may be of the best character in her power In the event of my said wife Celia Mary marrying again after my decease she will have the interest of her own fortune which is already settled upon her And I direct my trustees to stand possessed of the income of my residuary estate during the remainder of the life of my said wife upon trust for the equal benefit of all my children by my said wife And upon trust from and after my decease to set apart out of my residuary estate the sum of one thousand pounds or stocks or shares forming part of my residuary estate of that value at the market price of the day and to pay or transfer the same to the trustees for the time being of a certain Indenture of Settlement bearing date the thirteenth day of May one thousand eight hundred and seventy made between me of the first part my daughter Corine Margaret O’Bryen of the second part and Mrs Mary Celia O’Bryen and Miss Harriet Matilda Burke of 32 Thistle Grove aforesaid of the third part to be held by such trustees upon such and the same trusts as are declared in and by the said Indenture of the trust estate thereby settled And upon trust after the decease of my said wife Celia Mary to set apart out of my residuary estate the further sum of three thousand pounds or stocks and shares forming part of my residuary estate of that value at the market price of the day to be held by them upon trusts herein after expressed and declared for the benefit of my daughter Evelyn and her issue and to set apart in like manner the sum of two thousand pounds for each of my other children by my said wife Celia Mary living at my death And I direct that the income to arise from each said sum of three thousand pounds and the said sums of two thousand pounds and the investments thereof shall be applied to the benefit of my children respectively until they shall respectively attain the age of twenty five years when the corpus shall be paid to sons and shall be settled upon daughters in manner following that is to say Upon trust to pay the income thereof respectively to such daughter for her sole and separate use free from the control of her husbands and so that such daughters shall not have power to dispose of the income in the way of anticipation And upon trust after the decease of my said daughter in trust for all or such one or more of the child and children and remoter issue of my said daughter such remoter issue being born during the life time of my same daughter at such ages or times or age or time in such shares if more than one upon such conditions and in such manner as my same daughter shall by any deed or deeds with or without power of revocation shall appoint And in default of such appointment and so far as any such appointment shall not extend in trust for all the children of my said daughter who being a son or sons shall attain the age of twenty four years or being a daughter or daughters shall attain that age or marry under that age in equal shares and if there shall be but one such child then the whole to be in trust for such one child And subject to the payment of the several last mentioned sums be and shall stand possessed of my residuary real and personal estate in trust to pay or set apart in manner aforesaid and to transfer to the trustees of the said Indenture of Settlement of the thirteenth day of May one thousand eight hundred and seventy and to stand possessed of the ultimate residue of my estate in trust for such child or children of mine by my said wife Celia Mary as she shall by Will or deed appoint at her discretion the sons when they shall attain the age of twenty five years the daughters when they shall attain that age or marry under that age with the consent (if marrying after my death) of her or their respective guardian or guardians and if more than one in equal shares Provided always and I declare that if any child of mine for whom provision is made by this my Will shall die in my life time leaving issue in existence at my death and who being male attain the age of twenty one years or being female attain that age or marry under that age of each such child of mine so dying shall take by substitution as tenants in common in equal shares per stirpes if more than one (and so that no issue remoter than a child of such deceased child shall take except in case of the death in my life time of his her or their own parent and in the place of such parent) the provision which such child of mine would have taken under the trust in that behalf herein before declared had he or she survived but Provided always and I hereby declare that it shall be lawful for the said trustees or trustee for the time being after the death or future marriage of my said wife or during her widowhood with her consent in writing (and so that the present power may be resorted to for the purpose of making an addition to any of the respective legacies herein before bequeathed to each of my sons attaining the age of twenty five years and to each of my daughters attaining that age or marrying under that age with such consent as aforesaid and so augmenting the provision then immediately available for any such son or daughter of mine respectively) to raise any part or parts not exceeding in the whole one half of the then expectant share or presumptive share of any child under the trusts herein before declared and to apply the same for his or her advancement or benefit as the said trustees or trustee shall think fit And I hereby declare that the said trustees or trustee for the time being shall after the death or future marriage of my said wife apply the whole or such part as they or he shall think fit of the interest dividends and income of the share to which any child shall for the time being be entitled in expectancy under the trusts herein before declared for or towards his or her maintenance or education and may either themselves or himself apply the same or may pay the same to the guardian or guardians of such child for the purpose aforesaid without seeing to the application thereof and shall during such suspense of absolute vesting as aforesaid accumulate all the residue (if any) of the same interest dividends and income in the way of compound interest by investing the same and the resulting income thereof in or upon any such stocks funds shares or securities as are herein after mentioned for the benefit of the person or persons who under the trusts herein contained shall become entitled to the principal fund from which the same respectively shall have proceeded and may resort to the accumulations of any preceding year or years and apply the same for or towards the maintenance or education of the child for the time being presumptively entitled to the same in the same manner as such accumulations might have been applied had they been interest dividends or income arising from the original trust funds in the year in which they shall be so applied Provided always and I hereby declare that it shall be lawful for my trustees for the time being to defer and postpone the sale reversion and collection of the whole or any part or parts of my said real and personal estate respectively so long as to such trustees or trustee shall in their or his uncontrolled discretion deem proper but my real estate shall for the purpose of transmission be impressed with the quality of personalty from the time of my death And I empower the said trustees or trustee during such interval or postponement to manage and to let upon lease or from year to year my real and leasehold estates and to make out of the income or capital of my real and personal estate any outlay which such trustees or trustee may consider proper for improvements repairs insurance calls or shares premiums or policies or otherwise for the benefit or in respect of my real or personal estate And I declare that the net rents and profits or other income produced from every or any part of my real or personal estate previously to the conversion or collection thereof pursuant to the trusts herein before declared shall be applied in the same manner in all respects as if the same were income proceeding from such investments as are herein after directed or authorized and that the whole of the income produced from my estate (real or personal) in the actual condition or state of investment for the time being whether consisting of property or investments of an authorized or of an unauthorized description and whether of a permanent or a wasting character shall as well during the first year from my death and at all times afterwards be applicable as income under the trusts of this my Will no part thereof being in any event liable to be retained as corpus or capital but no reversion or other property not actually producing income which shall form part of my estate shall under the doctrine of constructive conversion or otherwise be treated as producing income or as entitling any party to the receipt of income Provided always and I further declare that notwithstanding any thing herein before contained any investments taken or made for the purpose of this my Will during the widowhood of my said wife (whether originally or upon a variation or transposition of investments) may with her concurrence and consent (whether she shall at the time be a trustee for the purposes of this my Will or not) be taken or made (if the trustees or trustee for the time being of this my Will shall so think fit and in their his or her discretion) in or upon any Government or real or leasehold securities in the United Kingdom or Bank Stock or the Debenture Guaranteed or Preferred Stock or Shares or the debentures or obligations of any Railway or other Incorporated Company of the United Kingdom Colonial Bonds and Russian (Nicola) Bonds or any other stocks funds shares or securities which the said trustees or trustee shall consider fitting and safe and every investment so taken or made shall be deemed to all intents and purposes an authorized investment Provided always and I declare that the provision hereby made for my said wife shall be accepted by her in satisfaction and bar of the dower and freebeuth to which by the Common Law or by Custom she might be entitled in or out of the freehold copyhold or customary hereditaments of or to which I have been or am or shall be seized or entitled Provided always and I further declare that (unless as to any such sum I shall in writing direct to the contrary) all sums which I shall in my life time advance or give or covenant or agree to advance or give to or with any of my children on his or her marriage or otherwise for his or her advancement or preferment shall be taken in or towards satisfaction of the provision intended to be hereby made for such children (as to a child dying in my life time) for his or her issue taking by way of substitution as aforesaid for such child respectively and shall be brought into hotchpot and accounted for accordingly But so that with respect to any child of mine any such future advancement shall be taken as being primarily in or towards satisfaction of the legacy herein before bequeathed to such child of mine respectively and as to the excess only (if any) of the amount of such advancement above such legacy respectively shall be taken in or towards satisfaction of the share of such child in my residuary estate And with respect to the issue of any child of mine dying in my life time and such future advancement in favour of the parent shall not be accounted for unless the total amount of such advancement shall exceed two thousand pounds and then shall only be accounted for to the extent of the excess of such advancement above such sum of two thousand pounds And I declare that if any question shall arise as to the amount to be accounted for the same shall be determined by the trustees or trustee for the time being of this my Will (other than the child the value of whose advancement shall be in question if such child shall happen to be a trustee of this my Will) according to their his or her discretion and such determination shall be final And I declare that if the trustees hereby appointed or either of them shall die in my life time or if they or either of them or any future trustee or trustees of this my Will shall die or desire to retire from or refuse or become incapable to act in the trusts of this my Will before the trust shall be fully performed then and in every such case it shall be lawful for my said wife during her life and after her decease for the continuing trustees or trustee for the time being of this my Will or if there shall be no continuing trustee then for the retiring or refusing trustees or trustee or the executors or administrators of the last acting trustee to appoint any other person or persons to be a trustee or trustees in the place of the trustee or trustees so dying or desiring to retire or refusing or becoming incapable to act as aforesaid with liberty upon any such appointment to increase or diminish the original number of trustees and upon every such appointment the trust premises shall be so conveyed and transferred that the same may become vested in the new trustee or trustees either jointly with the continuing trustee or trustees or solely as the case may require and every such new trustee (as well before as after the trust premises shall have become vested in him) shall have all the powers and authorities of the trustee in whose place he shall be substituted I devise and bequeath all estates vested in me as a trustee or mortgagee unto the said Celia Mary O’Bryen and the Reverend Henry Hewett O’Bryen their heirs executors and administrators subject to the trusts and equities affecting the same respectively but so that the money secured by any mortgage shall form part of my personal estate In witness whereof I the said John Roche O’Bryen the testator have to this my last Will and Testament contained in this and the nine preceding sheets of paper set my hand this sixteenth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy – John R. O’Bryen M.D. – Signed by the said John Roche O’Bryen the testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us (present at the same time) who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses – William Henry Burke 32 Thistle Grove, Brompton  – Chas Jas Richards Clerk to Jas Warner 61 Chancery Lane & 9 Livermere Road, Dalston

 

The Grant of Probate for John Roche O’Bryen’s Will shows assets valued at under £14,000. 

This transcription of John Roche O’Bryen’s Will is reproduced from the original manuscript copy retained by the Probate Office Sub Registry in York .

The Cardinal of San Gregorio. [Cardinal Manning] The Times, Tuesday, April 6, 1875

This is from The Times; it’s good to see Uncle Henry has settled down in Rome, and quite a major change from being a parish priest in Orrell, near Wigan to participating in a Cardinal’s installation in less than eighteen months.

San Gregorio al Celio, Rome

The Times, Tuesday, April 6, 1875

THE CARDINAL OF SAN GREGORIO.

(from an occasional correspondent)

ROME March 31.

Yesterday Cardinals Manning, Dechamps, Giannelli, and Bartolini were – as Cardinals Mc’Closkey and. Ledochowski are still – only nominally Princes of the Church; today their creation has been completed. The Pope has closed their mouths; they have assisted at a meeting of the Sacred Council, at which having no deliberative voice they were mute spectators; their months, have been opened, and they have taken part in further proceedings of the Council at which they have given their votes with the rest; and, in token of the mystic marriage between the Cardinals and the Churches which form their ” titles” – typical of that between the Saviour and the Universal Church -the Pope placed the sapphire rings upon their fingers, and in future should Cardinal Manning adhere to an ancient custom he will call the Church of St. Gregory  ” Sponsa mea.”

At half-past 10 His Holiness, accompanied by his Court, entered the hall of the Consistory, and having pronounced the customary prayer, “Adsumus, Domine Sancte Spiritus,” 24 members of the Sacred College now in Rome took their seats on each side from the throne, the four new Cardinals standing in the centre. Their hands were bare, no rings upon their fingers, and as they stood uncovered and holding the little red scull caps, the zucchetti, in their hands, the Pope performed the ceremony of closing their mouths, pronouncing the words, ” Clauidimus vobis os, ut nec in Consistoriis neque in Congregationibus aliisque functionibus sententiam vestram dicere valeatis.” The Papal Master of the Ceremonies, the Chamberlains of Honour, and others present then left the Hall, the new Cardinals, covering their heads with the zucchetti, took their seats upon the stools assigned to them, and the Pope remaining alone with the members of the Sacred College, proceeded to the preconization of four Bishops to fill the Sees of Anagni, and of Patara, Samaria and Ptolemais in partibus. As the Pope named each Bishop, he asked the opinions of the Cardinals, saying ” Quid vobis videtur ” to which all replied in the affirmative, with the exception of the new Cardinals, who, having no voice, remained silent. Then His Holiness pulling the rope which hangs by the side of the throne rang the bell, and the Masters of the Ceremonies having re-entered, and closing the door behind them, the four new Cardinals stood again bare headed before the throne, while the Pope performed the ceremony of opening their mouths, repeating the formula, ” Aperimus vobis os, ut tam in Consistoriis quam in Congregationibus aliisque functionibus sententiam vestram dicere valeatis.” Monsignore Cataldi, Papal Master of the Ceremonies and Chamberlain of Honour to His Holiness, then conducted the new Cardinals one by one to the foot of the throne, where, each kneeling in turn, the Pope placed the sapphire rings upon their fingers, and with the customary formula named their “titles,” espousing the Cardinals to their respective Churches    Cardinal Manning to the Church of Saints Andrew and Gregory;  Cardinal Dechamps to the Church of Saint Bernard ad Thermas, the little round church at the Baths of Diocletian; Cardinal Giannelli to the Basilica of St. Agnes extra muros; and Cardinal Bartolini to the Church of Saint Nicholas in carcere. This done, each Cardinal first kissed the Pontiff’s foot, then his hand, and rising received the embrace from His Holiness. Tle Pope then retired to the throne room of his apartment to impose the rochet upon two of tlie new Bishops – those of Anagni and of Samaria in partibus, while the Cardinals remaining in the Hall of the Consistory held a Congregation for the confirmation of new officials of the Sacred College, thus affordinag the new Cardinals an opportunity of taking part in its proceedings. A little later His Holiness received the new Cardinals privately. In past times newly-created Cardinals appeared before the Pope on this occasion attired in all the splendour of their scarlet robes ; but this morning, in consequence of the calamitous condition of the times, they wore their black sotanas, bordered with red, red sashes, and scarlet mantles only.

At 4 o’clock his Eminence, the Cardinal of St. Gregory went to take possession of his church. In times gone by this ceremony was performed with great splendour    the Cardinal going in his state coach, drawn by black horses caparisoned with red, and three footmen hanging on behind, runners preceding it, and a train of carriages following    to-day all was done in private. The church was closed, and entrance was only to be obtained by those honoured with cards bearing the name of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, of which it was understood that only a limited number would be issued. But such was the interest    in some cases, perhaps, only curiosity – felt by the English speaking colony in Rome, by Protestants whether Churchmen or Dissenters as well as by Catholics, that the English College was well nigh besieged, and a good half hour before the ceremony commenced the Church of St. Gregory was crowded.

It was to a certain extent addobbata as for a festa and on the pilasters at each side of the apse were hung, according to custom, the great dark crimson velvet portieres of his Eminence, embroidered with gold-coloured silk, and bearing his arms, embroidered in their heraldic colours on the centre, with the motto “Malo mori quam foedari.”  At 4 a bell rang, and the procession, issuing from the Sacristy, passed down the nave to the door, where a rich carpet, with a kneeling cushion upon it, had been spread, and where the ceremony was to commence, for had it been public the Cardinal with his cortége would have come in by the great door. Standing then just within the door, as if he had entered, attired in the cappa magna the full Cardinal’s costume with long train of scarlet silk  – he was received by the community of Camaldolese Monks, who serve the Church of St. Gregory. Then kneeling upon the cushion, the Crucifix was presented to him, which, at the same time uncovering his head reverentially, he kissed, and rising took the aspersoir and, having first made the sign of the Cross with it upon his own forehead, gave the holy water per tactum to those around –  first, to the Bishops and others of his cortége: Monsignore Howard, Bishop of Neo Cesario ; Monsignore Quin, Bishop of Bathurst, in Australia; Monsignore de Senestry, Bishop of Ratisbon; and Monsignor Stonor, who were all in full prelatic costume; next to the Rev. Father Beneassai, – or, as we have the name, Goodenough, – the General, and to the Rev. Fathers Anselmi, Bassi, and Archi,  Abbots of the Camaldolese Order. Lastly, the Cardinal sprinkled the water upon the clergy and people around. This done the incense was presented to his Eminence, aud, having covered the hot coals, the Rev. Leone Clari, Prior of the Monastery of St. Gregory, took the thurible and swung it three times before the Cardinal.

When entering for the first time the door of his church, holy water is presented to the Cardinal, and clouds of incense are spread around him to symbolize that, inasmuch as before the bridegroom enters the bride-chamber he washes and is perfumed, so, the Cardinal having been espoused with the putting on of a ring to the Church of his “Title,”  holy water and incense are offered to him ;at the moment of his entering into possession.

As the choir burst forth with the antiphon ” Ecce Sacerdos Magnus,” the procession proceeded up the nave to the Chapel of the Sacrament, at the end of the left aisle, in the following order :-Students of the English College, carrying the crucifix on an embroidered cushion, the thurible, and the holy water ; the clergy, headed by the cross-bearer; the General, Abbots, and Monks of the Camaldolese Order in their full monastic habits; his Eminence the Cardinal, with the Prior of the Monastery on his left, Monsignor Cataldi Master of Ceremonies to his Holiness, on his right, and accompanied by the Very Rev. Dr. O’Callaghan rector of the English College, the Very Rev. Dr. Kirby, rector of the Irish College, the Rev. Father William Manning, rector of the Catholic Church of St. Charles’s, Bayswater, chaplain to his Eminence, and others. Having adored the Sacrament, the procession passed on to the High Altar, where, all having taken their places according to rank, the Cardinal knelt at the faldstool while the Abbot, standing on the Epistle side of the altar, chanted the versicles prescribed by the Roman Pontifical ” Super Electum Cardinalem.” ,His Eminence then ascended the throne raised upon a high dais on the left, with a background and canopy of dark crimson velvet. When he had taken his seat with a monk on a low stool at each side, who acted as assisting deacons, the Pontifical BulL with the leaden seal was first presented to him by two officers of the Apostolic Dataria, and then read by Monsignore Cataldi, in his capacity of Protonotary Apostolic. The customary official formalities having been observed, the monks, commencing with the General and ending with the youngest lay brother, went up one by one and paid homage to the Cardinal, in response to which he rose and addressed them in Italian. He told them of the deep satisfaction he felt in the “title “ assigned to him being that of St. Gregory; spoke of the ties which had, from the commencement of this Church’s history, connected it with our island; assured them that whenever, in repeating the names of the Apostles, he pronounced that of St. Andrew-to whom St. Gregory originally dedicated the church –  his thoughts would turn to them with affection ; and concluded by recommending himself to their constant prayers.

Cardinal Manning c.1884

He then turned to the crowd of visitors present and spoke, in English, as follows .-

“ It is not my purpose to speak to you at any length, or in any studied words; the occasion is not one when it would be fitting to speak at length or in any detail. I cannot forget that our meeting here to-day is one altogether without precedent; it is an occasion which may never – in all probability will never -occur again. Never has one of my race taken possession of this Church of St. Gregory on the Coelian. It is not likely that any other will, because in the case of any successor of my nation being created Cardinal the title of St. Gregory may not be vacant. There is great fitness in the act of to-day. The church of which I take possession is closely related to our history. It was from this church and hill that St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, went forth upon his mission to England. St.. Gregory, in the largeness of his heart, had conceived the purpose of bringing back our fore-fathers to Christianity. We all, therefore, spring from this place. It is the cradle of our spiritual life. In truth, there are many here, whose hearts are animated with feelings like my own, but there are others who may not be like-minded; yet I cannot think that you have come here as to a ceremony, or from any mere curiosity. If so, you will, I fear, be disappointed. All who are here present, if not of one nation, are of one speech; you are English, or, if all are not, you are of the same race and language which spreads throughout our Colonial Empire and in the great continent of Northern America. I am, indeed, invested with an office which separates me from many among you, but most of you are Christians of our English speech, and as such you also sprung from this place; you are the spiritual children of St. Gregory. If you will read the history of the Anglo- Saxon Church, written by the Venerable Bede about a hundred years after St. Augustin’s mission, you will see the outline of all the glorious work which St. Gregory accomplished in England.

Another motive has brought you here – the love of our country. The gift of piety is from the Holy Ghost; the highest object is God and His Kingdom, the second is our kindred, the third our mother country. The children of St. Patrick, of St. Aidan, and of St. Columba will think I pass them over or exaggerate the love we have for England. We are divided, indeed, in much, but in much also we are united. We are united in believing that Christianity is the Revelation of God, that the inspired Scriptures are His Word, that our baptismal creed is a summary of the Christian faith. All this you have from the great Apostle of England in common with us. It is the consciousness of this which draws your hearts to this sanctuary, which was his home. Many hearts are failing because the days are evil and the Church is assailed on every side. But when St. Gregory died, the Christian world seemed vanishing away. The East was overrun by heresies, Constantinople was on the verge of schism, Russia, Germany, and the North of Europe were not as yet in Christendom, Spain was Arian, Lombardy was Arian, England had become heathen again.

But at this day the Church was never so widespread as now; the Episcopate never so united in itself, never so united to its Head; the pastors never so united to their bishops; the people never so united to their pastors. Come what may, there is yet a feature more glorious and more fruitful than the past. We are met here to-day in a multitude gathered from many countries. Some are of my flock, whom I know as a pastor; others are not – I would to God they were;  others, again, I do not know even by name ; but we are all come here with many thoughts.  Shall we ever meet again’? Never till the last day, when the Good Shepherd shall tell His sheep upon the everlasting hills. God grant that in that great day, of all that are here, not one may be wanting in the Vision of Peace.”

The Te Deum was then sung, followed by the antiphons of St. Andrew and St. Gregory, and the Cardinal, descending from his throne to the altar first intoned the Oremus of the two Saints, and then gave the Benediction to all present. The Cardinal then went in procession to pay his devotions in the chapel of St. Gregory, and thence to the Sacristy, where he was followed by a number of the ladies and gentlemen present, desirous of offering their congratulations. Finally, the Rev. Dr. O’Bryen, in the names of a number of the Catholic visitors in Rome, presented three gold embroidered copes to his Eminence, “in token of their respectful homage and affection. “

Montreal 1886

28th August 1886

 

Mgr. O’Bryen is the type of the Roman prelate, tall, distinguished in manner, with fine intellectual head, He wears gold glasses and was arrayed in the magnificent silk scarlet habit with a folded cloaking over the left shoulder, which is worn by the supernumeray chamberlains of the Court of Rome on occasion of state. After the decree was read the Ablegate stepped forward again and read a triple address to his Eminence. The Latin address was delivered with a thorough Italian accent and pronunciation, so much so that one might have fancied he heard the reading of an indult [a licence granted by the Pope authorizing an act that the common law of the Church does not sanction.] in the Sistine chapel. The French was well read, but with a slight English accent. The English address made an eloquent allusion to the union of French and Irish in the cultivation of their faith in Canada.

Rome – June 1886, Uncle Henry is about to go to Canada…

Uncle Henry is about to go to Canada…..

19th May 1886 –  CONSISTORY.

consistory2The Osservatore Romano of Thursday last  announced the Secret Consistory [restricted only to Cardinals] as to take place Monday, June 7th, for the creation of six new members of the Sacred College, whose names have been already given. Several Cardinals will, it is whispered, be reserved “in etto”. On Wednesday, 19th inst., the Holy Father named the Noble Guards who are to be Messengers Extraordinary to convey to the five foreign Archbishops the formal announcement of their promotion to the sacred purple. Count Naselli goes to Rheims, Count Salimei to Rennes, Count Folicaldi to Sens, Count Muccioli to Baltimore, and Count Gazzoli to Quebec. Yesterday the five Guards above named were admitted to private audience by the Pope to return thanks for the honour accorded them.

Cardinal Biretta sikThe choice of the Ablegates to bear the Berretta to the new Cardinals has fallen on Mgr. Straniero for Baltimore, Mgr. Henry O’Bryen for Quebec, and Monsignori Vico, Misciatelli and Grassi for the three French Cardinals. The name of Father Mazzella, S.J., Prefect of Studies in the Gregorian University is now added to the list of future Princes of the Church. The Ablegates and the Noble Guards start on their respective missions immediately on the close of the Secret Consistory. Thursday, June 10th, is the day fixed for the Public Consistory, wherein the cardinalitial hat will be conferred on Mgr. Theodoli, and on the Cardinals Patriarch of Lisbon, and the Archbishops of Vienna and of Valencia, created in 1884. The Archbishop of Seville, likewise of the same promotion, is prevented from private reasons from coming to Rome for this Consistory. Count Carlo Gazzoli, who is to be the bearer of the hat to Mgr. Taschereau, belongs to a very ancient noble family. On the mother’s side he is descended from the Princes’ Simoneth, an old baronial family of the Marche ; and from the Princes Spada of Rome on the father’s side. He is a brother of Mgr. Gazzoli, Canon of St. Peter.

The above text was found on p.29, 22nd May 1886  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

Monday, June 7th.

This morning, as announced, his Holiness held a Secret Consistory in the Vatican Palace, in which, after the Cardinal Secretary of State, as Procurator for Cardinal Agostini, Patriarch of Venice, resigning the title of S. Eusebius, had opted for the vacant title of S. Maria della Pace, the Holy Father pronounced a brief allocution [a formal speech giving advice or a warning.] laudatory of the three countries of France, United States, and Canada in relation to the Catholic faith, and personally eulogistic of the two Italian candidates, he created and proclaimed Cardinal Priests of Holy Roman Church the Archbishops of Sens, Rennes, Rheims, Quebec, and Baltimore, U.S.A. ; and Cardinal Deacons Mgr. Augustus Teodoli, and the Rev. Camillus Mazzella, S.J.

He then preconised [approved the appointment of] titulars to the Metropolitan See of Toledo, in Spain, for Cardinal Paya y Rico, translated from that of Compostella ; to the Archiepiscopal See of Sorrento, to fourteen Cathedral Sees, and to two titular Episcopal Churches for the Auxiliaries respectively of the Cardinal Archbishop of Naples, and of the Cardinal Archbishop of Saragozza. After the Consistory the Pope imposed, with the usual formalities, the rochet [a white vestment worn by a  bishop, similar to a surplice] upon the newly preconised Bishops, present in curia, who then paid the customary visits of formality to the Cardinal Secretary of State and to the Vatican Basilica ; the five Noble Guards started on their foreign mission as Extraordinary Couriers ; and the official notice of promotion to the Cardinalate was duly conveyed to the two new members of the Sacred College present in Rome. The Papal Ablegate, Mgr. Straniero, leaves Rome this evening, en route for Baltimore, to convey the berretto to Cardinal Gibbons. Mgr. Henry O’Bryen and the other three Ablegates will depart in a few days for their destinations, to Quebec and to France.

PUBLIC  CONSISTORY.

pope in sala regia
The Pope in the Sala Regia

On Thursday the Pope held a Public Consistory in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Palace, in which he conferred the Cardinalitial Hat upon Cardinal Neto, Patriarch of Lisbon, created and published in the Consistory of March 24th, 1884; upon Cardinals Ganglbauer and Monescillo y Viso, created and published in the Consistory of November loth, 1884, and upon Cardinals Theodoli and Mazzella, created and published in the Consistory of Monday, 7th inst. During the ceremony one of the Consistorial Advocates argued, for the third time, the cause of beatification of the Venerable Servant of God, Sister Gertrude Maria Salandri, of Rome. The promoter of the faith thereupon made the customary protest, to which his Holiness replied : “Ad nostram Sacram Rituum Congregationem quae videat et referat.”  The Holy Father then closed the Public Consistory, and, proceeding to the Hall of the Consistory, held a Secret Consistory, wherein, after closing the mouths of the new Cardinals, he preconised titulars to four metropolitan and sixteen cathedral sees, including that of Mayence for Canon Haffner, and that of Madrid for Mgr. Sandra Hervaz, translated from Avila ; the remaining fourteen sees being in France, Spain, Africa, and Mexico. His Holiness next notified the provision by brief of the metropolitan see of Posen ; of the cathedral sees of Ermeland ; of Down and Connor, of Limerick and of Kilmore ; of Savannah and of Green Bay, U.S.A. ; and of Panama ; and finally of ten titular episcopal sees for the Vicars Apostolic of Southern Tonquin, of the Congo, and of the Free State of Orange ; for the Coadjutors of Waterford, of the Western district of the Cape of Good Hope, of Ghent, and of  Angra ; and for the Auxiliaries of Lemberg, of the Latin Rite, and of Trigonia . Postulation of the sacred pallium was then made for the metropolitan sees of Toledo, Port au Prince, Compostello, Burgos, Sorrento, Aix, and Posen ; for the two churches of Montreal and of Ottawa recently raised to metropolitan rank, under their present titulars, Mgr. Edward Fabre and Mgr. Thomas Duhamel, and likewise for the cathedral see of  Ermeland, endowed with that privilege by Benedict XIV. The Pope then placed the cardinalitial ring upon the new Princes of the Church, assigning to Cardinal Neto the priestly title of the Holy Twelve Apostles ; to Cardinal Monescillo that of St. Augustine ; to Cardinal Ganglbauer, that of S. Eusebius ; to Cardinal Theodoli, the diaconal title of Sta. Maria della Scala ; and to Cardinal Mazzella the diaconate title of S. Adriano al Foro Romano. Finally, returning to his private apartments, his Holiness received the new Cardinals in collective audience.

SACRED CONGREGATIONS.

The Pope has assigned to Cardinal Neto, Patriarch of Lisbon, the Sacred Congregations of Propaganda, the Rites, Indulgences, and Holy Relics, and the Lauretana ; to Cardinal Monescillo, Archbishop of Valencia, those of the Council, Index, Studies, and Regular Discipline ; to Cardinal Ganglbauer, Archbishop of Vienna, those of Bishops and Regulars, Rites, Studies, and Ceremonial ; to Cardinal Theodoli those of the Council, Rites, Ceremonial, and Fabrica of St. Peter ; and to Cardinal Mazzella those of Propaganda, Index, Studies, and Indulgences, and Holy Relics.

THE NEW CARDINALS.

gregorian-university-atrium
Gregorian University Rome

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the five Cardinals in Curia, of those created in the Consistory of the 7th inst., received the visits of felicitation, in di calore, as it is termed. Cardinal Ganglbauer, at the Palace of Venice, the seat of the Austrian Embassy to the Holy See ; the Cardinal Archbishop of Valencia, at the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican ; the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, at the National Portuguese Establishment attached to the Church of S. Antonio dei Portoghesi ; Cardinal Theodoli, in the apartments of the Majordomo of the Papal Palace ; and Cardinal Mazzella, in the Grand Aula of the Gregorian University.

It is stated that the last-named Prince of the Church, in company with Cardinals Melchers, Hergenroether, and Ledochowski, will later be furnished with suitable apartments in the new German Hungarian College, formerly the Hotel Costanzi. On Friday the two Ablegates, Mgr. Misciatelli and Mgr. Grassi-Landi, destined respectively to convey the Cardinalitial berretta to the Archbishops ot Sens and of Rennes, were received by the Holy Father in audience of conga, and with their secretaries left Rome last evening for Paris. The Ablegate for the Archbishop of Rheims is Mgr. Vico, Secretary of the Nunciature of Paris. It is said that the imposition of the berretta upon the three new Cardinals will take place at the Palace of the Elysee early in the coming week.

BALTIMORE AND QUEBEC.Mgr. Strainer and Count Muccioli, the  Ablegate and the Noble Guard appointed to convey the Cardinalitial berretta and zucchetta  to the Archbishop of Baltimore, quitted Rome on Monday evening in company with the Rev.Thomas S. Lee, Rector of Baltimore Cathedral, and were to sail yesterday from England in the Servia. The Holy Father has delegated the Venerable Archbishop of St. Louis, the doyen of the American episcopate, to impose the berretta upon Cardinal Gibbons, which ceremony will take place at Baltimore Cathedral on the 30th inst. His Holiness has delegated the Archbishop of Toronto to impose the red berretta on Cardinal Taschereau, the Ablegate, Mgr. Henry O’Bryen, leaves Rome en route for Quebec this evening. He will probably be likewise bearer of the pallium to the newly promoted Archbishops of Montreal and of Ottawa, which, with the pallium for the other metropolitan and episcopal sees enjoying that honour, duly postulated in the Consistory of June 10th, were imposed with customary formalities, on Friday,by Cardinal Mertel, Vice Chancellor of Holy Roman Church and First Cardinal Deacon, the Very Rev. Don Jules Captier, Procurator General of the Father of St. Sulpice, acting as Procurator for the Archbishops of Montreal and of Ottawa ; the Archbishops of Compostella and of Sorrento being the only prelates of the ten recently promised to receive the pallium, in person, as being present in curia. The Osservatore Romano of Friday published a telegram from Quebec, bearing the signatures of the President of the Council and of the President of the Assembly, addressed to the Cardinal Secretary of State, which informed his Eminence that on reception of the news of the elevation to the Cardinalate of the Archbishop of Quebec, both the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly of that city adjourned, in token of joy, and forthwith repaired in a body to present an address of felicitation to the new Prince of the Church ; which fact these officials begged might be made known to his Holiness.

umberto-1-in-1878
Umberto I – 1844 – 1900

OPENING OF PARLIAMENT. On Thursday, l0th inst., King Humbert of  Savoy [It’s quite an interesting description from the Tablet, – Umberto 1st had become King of Italy on January 9th 1878 on the death of Victor Emmanuale II, a month before Leo XIII became Pope. Describing him as King of Savoy was still not recognizing him as King of Italy sixteen years after the fall of Rome, and the unification of Italy. It does explain the tone of the report]  inaugurated with customary solemnities the sixteenth legislature of the Italian Parliament. The Royal speech was received, for the major part, in icy silence ; the largest modicum of applause greeting the paragraph referring to “the providential mission confided to the House of Savoy, to give life, liberty, and unity to Italy.”  Viewing the abject misery, the grinding taxation, the conscription, the ‘confusionismo’ to quote Signor Bonghi, which have fallen to the lot of Italy since it was raised to the rank of a kingdom, one is tempted to question the happy results arising from the said “mission,” and to wonder if the spoliation of the Vicar of Christ, the occupation of Rome, the progressive destruction of the Eternal City, the continued series of sacrilegious attack upon the church, upon religion, and upon the papacy, the peril to the faith and morals of the rising generation, thanks to the irreligious system of enforced public education and the unbridled license of an infidel and obscene press, fall likewise within the sphere of this ” providential mission.” Another feature of the royal address was the utter absence of the slightest allusion to the Divinity, which, for a nation claiming to be Catholic, was, to say the least, noticeable. However, as the Voce della Verita remarks, there being among the Commandments of the Decalogue—that the Name of the Lord shall not be taken in vain—the omission is rather deserving of commendation than otherwise.

Castel Sant' Angelo
Castel Sant’ Angelo

During the interval between the exit from, and the return of the Royal party to the Quirinal Palace, the cannon from Castle S. Angelo thundered forth the salute of one hundred guns, whilst in the Vatican Palace the Pope was holding the Public Consistory. A somewhat unpleasant incident marred the harmony of the proceedings : the German Ambassador to Italy being refused right of way by the troops, forced the cordon, and dashed up the Corso at full speed, regardless of consequences.—Commander Seoul, former Director-General of the Treasury and Councillor of the Exchequer, fell dead from apoplexy at his desk in that Bureau, on Tuesday evening, the 8th inst., three hours after the Gazzetta Officiate had published his name among the list of the forty new senators recently promoted to that dignity. The Government had annulled the election in two districts, by a large majority in each, of Amilcare Cipriani, one of the most active of the Communists of Paris in 1871, and who is now serving his term of twenty years in the galleys for a double homicide, perpetrated at Alexandria, Egypt, in 1867. During the term of the elections Fanfulla accused the Deputy Mussi of hearing Mass on days of obligation, and of being a member of a religious confraternity. The candidate to political honours, fearful of losing caste, hastened to deny the charge, by formally declaring that he never dreamed of attending Mass, &c.—The Senate of the kingdom are about to assemble in High Court of Justice, to judge the case of Senator Zini, author of a novel entitled La Famiglia Moscardini, a ” libello famoso ” against the late Deputy Bonchetti. Such are some of the individuals who make laws for the Kingdom of United Italy.

The above text was found on p.17, 12th June 1886  in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

Dr O’Bryen’s Sermons 1880

Rome, February 22nd, 1880.

S. Andrea della Fratte , Rome

A person who signs himself an ” Anglo-Catholic” has written and circulated a letter  to the Rev. Dr. O’Bryen on the subject of the sermons preached by him in the Church of S. Andrea della Fratte on the two Sundays previous to Quinquagesima. “Anglo-Catholic” complains that Dr. O’Bryen “assumed that Henry VIII. of England was a Reformer, and that he constituted himself Head of the Church of that kingdom.”

“Anglo-Catholic” maintains that Henry VIII. “lived and died a member of Dr. O’Bryen’s communion,” and in proof of this assertion alleges the Act of Six Articles and the last will of the King in which money was left for masses for the repose of his soul. “Anglo-Catholic,” on parity of reasoning, may be also a Catholic, for he may attend mass and may bequeath, if he likes, any amount of money for the repose of his soul. The Catholic Church, however, will not admit the plea of “Anglo-Catholic,” and without submission to the See of Peter he can never become a Catholic, nor be acknowledged as such by Catholic priests or laymen.

The rest of “Anglo-Catholic’s “ letter is as silly as the beginning. He seems never to have read or understood the simplest Catechism, which would have taught him the Catholic doctrine of devotion to the B. Virgin and the Saints. And he is equally ignorant of ecclesiastical history. In fact “Anglo-Catholic” writes in the style of the vulgar controversialists, Messrs. Murphy and Maguire, and the other learned divines of Exeter Hall notoriety.

The above text was found on p.17, 28th February 1880 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

Dorothy Bell — mistress of the Big House at Fota

Dorothy Bell was the daughter of Arthur Smith-Barry, Lord Barrymore.  So she is a second cousin of Pauline Barry (nee Roche)’s granddaughters Nina, and Emily, who are in turn, Mgr Henry, Corinne, Basil,  Alfred, Philip, Rex, and Ernest O’Bryen‘s third cousins.  Dorothy’s father had owned Fota House, which was inherited by his brother James, and then his nephew Robert. Dorothy Bell bought the estate back from her cousin Robert in 1939, for £ 31,000.  Quite how the family managed to hold onto their land, and money given Lord Barrymore’s behaviour to his tenants in the 1880’s is some mystery, as is the following description of life at Fota House in the 1940’s. Essentially, it wouldn’t have been much different at any time in past hundred and fifty years.

The following description of life at Fota House is largely taken from ‘Through the Green Baize Doors: Fota House, Memories of Patricia Butler’ , and various interpretations of it in the Irish Times, and Irish Independent about five years ago. The subtle distinctions between Irish and English staff, – Two weeks holiday for Irish staff, and a month for English staff, separate dining rooms, and an acceptance of the big house having hot and cold running water while there was none in the village, and  the  “Oh weren’t the gentry lovely” take on things appears to be a perfect example of false consciousness. Over to Patty Butler.

Fota House 2
Fota House

Back in the 1940s, when Dorothy Bell — mistress of the Big House at Fota — arrived home from a day’s hunting, she never did so quietly. She would, recalls former maid Patty Butler, rush through the front door, ringing the bell, and stride through the hall and up the stairs, calling the servants one after the other, “Mary!” “Patty!” “Peggy!”, discarding as she went her picnic basket, jacket, the skirt she wore over her jodhpurs for side-saddle riding, her whip and her hunting hat. As the staff, including the butler, rushed to pick up Dorothy’s belongings, her lady’s maid hurried to run a bath.

Patty was just 23 when she started work as the “in-between maid” at Fota House in 1947, after returning to Cork from England. On the advice of her cousin Peggy, who was working in Fota as the parlour maid, Patty applied for the job.

On the day of the interview, a somewhat awed Patty, who came from the nearby village of separate, was shown into the library by the butler, George Russell. “To me, the inside of Fota House on that day seemed like a palace,” she recalls. “I felt very small but also very excited in the midst of all this grandeur.” She was greeted by the mistress, who was sitting at a desk. The interview was brief. “Patty, have you come to join us?” inquired Dorothy. “The housekeeper will show you your duties. It won’t be all clean work, so you won’t be dressed up as you are now. Mrs Kevin will tell you what to wear.” And with that began a quarter of a century of dedicated service, as Patty became a member of staff in the efficiently run, though sometimes-eccentric, household a few miles outside Cobh. Over the years she was promoted to housemaid, lady’s maid and eventually cook.

fota-staff
The Fota House stafff in c.1920

Before Patty’s arrival, the family — The Honourable Mrs Dorothy Bell, her husband Major William Bertram Bell and their three daughters, Susan, Evelyn and Rosemary — had been looked after by an army of servants.  According to the census return for 1911, 73 people were on site at Fota House on Sunday, April 2nd, 1911. None of them were the Smith-Barry family who had lived in Fota House for generations, as records show they were away on holiday at the time. In the 1930s, an estimated 50 men had worked on the grounds of Fota alone, but by the time Butler took up employment in the Big House in 1947, overall staffing levels had fallen to about 13.

“I began working in Fota House in 1947. I worked there for about 25 years. I was initially employed as an in-between maid but later I worked in almost every capacity, as a housemaid, cook and housekeeper. The cook, Mrs Jones, who came to Fota with Mrs Bell from England, left after 45 years so Peggy Butler, my cousin, and I managed the cooking for Dorothy, her husband, Major Bell, other members of the family and visitors.”

“Mrs Bell had a secretary too, Miss Honor Betson. She had an estate agent and clerical staff who lived in the courtyard. Mr Russell, the butler from Yorkshire in England, supervised the household until he died on January25th, 1966. He died in Fota House.”

fota-4“There was a lovely homely feeling there. It was a very pretty house and Mrs Bell was very into flowers, so it was always lovely and very pretty,” recalls Patty, now 87.

She was given her own comfortable bedroom in the servants quarters. “I had everything I needed: a bed, a wardrobe, a dressing table with a mirror and an armchair near the fireplace. I remember also a beautiful washstand shaped like a heart with three legs. On top of that, there was a jug and basin with a matching soap dish. “There was also a towel rail with a white bath and hand towel. All the servants’ rooms were similar.”

“There was some distinction between the upper (mostly English and Protestant) servants, and the lower (mostly Irish and Catholic) servants. We dined in separate rooms, the upper servants in the housekeeper’s room and the lower servants in the still room. But we were all the best of friends. There was no rivalry or no animosity.”

“We also enjoyed food and board. The food was fabulous in Fota, of course, as fresh fruit and vegetables were produced there all the year round in the market garden and in the fruit garden and orchard. From the farm in Fota came milk, cheese, butter and cream. Rabbit and pigeon were eaten regularly in those days. The servants ate the same as the Anglo-Irish family, more or less.”

The anecdotes are legion — the way the servants occasionally ‘borrowed’ the Major’s Mercedes to go to Sunday Mass when their van didn’t work. How the housekeeper, a kindly soul with a strong Scottish accent, kept a cupboard in her bedroom especially for the pieces of china she broke while dusting Dorothy’s treasured ornaments. The times the servants were all driven to Cork Opera House by the chauffeur — the Bells had a great affection for the theatre and felt their staff should enjoy it too.

And then there was Dorothy’s eccentric habit of cutting the fruit cake in such a way that nobody could take a slice without her knowledge, and, of course, the parties that took place when the Bells were away, travelling the world.

Local lads from the village were invited up to the Big House by their sisters for a bath and a fry-up — there was no running water in many houses until the 1950s, or even the 1960s, says Patty. However, Fota had its own generator for electricity and water was always supplied from a nearby well. “We’d fry them up rashers and sausages and they’d have the bath and use the beautiful big, soft white towels and they’d think they were in heaven. The boys would love the bath — they were in their 20s and wanted to go into Cobh all poshed up!”

One day, however, Dorothy remarked that she had received an anonymous letter claiming that Patty and Peggy were having “parties” in the house while she was away. As Patty stood there, quaking, Dorothy laughed and told her relieved maid that she had thrown the letter in the fire.

Every morning, Mrs Kevin’s bell rang at 7am. Patty rose, dressed in a blue dress with a big white apron and white cap, and set to her housekeeping duties, which included cleaning the Major’s study and hoovering, dusting and polishing the Housekeeper’s Room before having breakfast at 8am. At 8.45am, Patty would bring her assigned guest — Fota nearly always had guests — morning tea on a tray with dainty green teapots with a gold rim and matching teacups. “I’d wake her in the morning with a breakfast tray and a biscuit, open the shutters, pull back the curtains and tidy the room. If there were any shoes that needed to be polished, I would take them down and they would be polished by a man who came in.”

The bed linen was beautiful. Each linen pillowcase had the Smith Barry crest in the corner and frills around the edges. After ironing, Patty remembers, each frill had to be carefully “goofed” or “goffered” by hand until it was perfectly fluted.

fota-house-dining-roomThe gentry came down for breakfast — kippers, kedgeree, rashers, sausages and eggs or boiled eggs, served with toast and fresh fruit from the garden — each day at about 9am. “You always knew they were gone down because their bedroom doors would be open. So you’d go up and make the beds and tidy the room and wash out the bathroom — but you had to be back behind the green baize door by 11am.” In the evenings, she wore a black dress with a small apron and a smaller white cap with a black velvet ribbon. Male servants also wore black.

“There was always lots to do,” she recalls. After the morning household tasks came lunch. “I’d be helping in the pantry and at the lunch. There was a long walk from the kitchen to the dining room — it was three or four minutes, but there were no trollies, so everything was carried by hand.” Lunch — which could be anything from roast beef to pigeon pie, rabbit, fish soufflé or cold meat in aspic jelly with vegetables from the garden, water and a selection of wines — could last from 1pm to 2.30pm.

fota-5Tea was at 5pm in the Gallery in summer and in the library in winter. “Tea, for which there were cucumber and marmite sand-wiches, scones, tea and a cake, could last until 6.30pm,” she says.

At 7pm, the gentry would go up to their bedrooms to change and have a bath before dinner — a lengthy four or five-course affair, which usually included game from Fota Estate. “Each dinner was served with suitable trimmings. Butter and cream were used in food preparations, so the flavours were always delicious,” she says. The kitchen had meat from the cattle and Fota’s home-produced milk, cheese and butter, as well as veg and fruit from the garden.

“There were always visitors, there was always somebody staying. They had the shooting season, the fishing season, the tennis season, the seaside in summer, the hunting — all the seasons brought different activities. You’d know by the season what was happening.”

Christmas was a particularly memorable time, she recalls. A single large Christmas tree was placed in the Front Hall, decorated with streamers, silver balls and other decorations, and on Christmas morning Dorothy gave each of the staff presents. “I remember I got a white apron,” recalls Patty, who says the mistress also distributed gifts to her tenants.

“On Christmas morning, the family went to the library to exchange presents. They loved gifts such as books and music records, ornaments or exquisite boxes of chocolates.” The chocolates, she says, often lasted for weeks, as the family usually ate only one at a time.

On Christmas Day, the servants had Christmas dinner in the middle of the day in the Servants’ Hall, while the family helped themselves to a cold lunch in the dining room. “This was the only day of the year that they waited upon themselves so that we could enjoy our Christmas dinner,” Patty recalls. That evening, the servants lined up in the Hall to watch the family, in full fancy-dress — these clothes were stored in a special chest in the attic — parade into the dining room.

“We had to bow to them as they passed by. I remember one year in particular when I could scarcely stop myself from laughing. Mrs Kevin, the housekeeper, carried a bell behind her back and as she bowed to each individual, the bell rang out!” After the fancy-dress parade, the family enjoyed a traditional Christmas dinner followed by plum pudding. They later drank to each other’s health from a silver ‘loving cup’, which was passed around. The men played billiards and the women talked and drank coffee in the library until late in the evening.

There were plenty of famous guests at Fota: Lord Dunraven of Adare, Co Limerick, Lord Powerscourt from Wicklow, the Duke and Duchess of Westminster and, according to the Visitors Book of Names, “eight international dendrologists with illegible signatures”.

The Bells enjoyed life, Patty recalls. “They had a lovely life; they were into everything. They went to the Dublin Horse Show and to the summer show in Cork. In his study, the Major had pictures of the bulls and cows with their first-prize rosettes. “They had a very privileged life and they enjoyed it,” she continues. There always seemed to be plenty of money. Mrs Bell had her own money, while the Major was, says Patty, “supposed to be a wizard on the stock exchange. They also had the farm and they owned a lot of houses and property in Cobh and Tipperary”.

In the evenings, Patty recalls, it was her job to go back upstairs, remove bedspreads, turn down beds and prepare hot-water bottles. “Some guests brought their own beautifully covered bottles, otherwise, stone jars were used. Most ladies brought their own pillows covered with satin pillowcases because they believed satin did not crease the face. “They had pink satin nightdress cases covered with lace and tied with ribbons.”

Fota House, Patty remembers, was a home from home. “It was a very happy place. Mrs Bell was excitable and eccentric. She was very athletic and quick. It was a very happy time, all of it.  In every household little things will happen to ruffle your feathers but, overall, it was a fabulous place to work, and it was the people who made it.”

“There were lovely people at Fota,” she continues. “They were extraordinary. There were men who were extraordinary craftsmen — there was a blacksmith, for instance and a shepherd and a stone mason. They’d usually have a young apprentice that they would be training up.”

By the 1960s, however, most of the servants had left. “There was only me and Peggy running the house. Pat Shea was the last butler. Little by little, the staff dwindled away: the cook left, the ladies’ maid left.” When George Russell died in 1966 — he had been butler at Fota for 45 years and came with the Bells from England — it was the end of an era, she recalls. “Mr Russell told me he would love to write a book about Fota. He was going to call it, ‘What the Butler Saw’.”

The household slowly began to change. A series of nurses were employed to nurse Major Bell in his declining years until he died. Dorothy moved to the Gardener’s House, which was situated in the orchard at Fota, and lived there until she died a few years after her husband, in 1975.

The estate today comprises 47 hectares of land, including the parkland, gardens and arboretum. In December 2007, the Irish Heritage Trust took over responsibility for Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens.

‘Through the Green Baize Doors: Fota House, Memories of Patricia Butler’ — a revised edition of ‘Treasured Times’ transcribed and arranged by Eileen Cronin