Aghada Hall, co. Cork.

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

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

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

aghada-hall
Aghada Hall, side view

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

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

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

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

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

aghada-hall-2
Aghada Hall, front

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

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

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

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

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

Lower Aghada
Lower  Aghada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kitty_Pope_Hennessy
Kitty Pope Hennessy

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

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

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

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.

The Fabulous Kitty Pope-Hennessey

Kitty Pope Hennessy

This is the start of the story of Kitty Pope-Hennessy. There’s way too much to put into one post, so this is the start of a series. It is tangential to the main families, but gives an interesting twist to the circles they move in, and also how inter-related they were.

Rostellan_Castle
Rostellan Castle

 

Kitty Pope-Hennessy married Edward Thackwell early in 1894 at Rostellan Castle in Cork. She was a forty-four year old widow, and he was twenty six. He was a year older than her eldest son who died young, and three, and seven, years older than his step-sons.

Kitty and Edward had almost certainly met at the wedding of his sister Catherine at Aghada Hall in 1891. She became a widow that year when John Pope-Hennessey died in October 1891. Lady Pope Hennessy’s wedding present to the bride was an Astrakhan wrap.

Edward was the only son of a second son, William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834–1910), who served in the Crimean War and in Egypt in 1882. All three of his uncles also served in the army, as did most of his cousins, but he certainly doesn’t join the army, and doesn’t appear to have worked much at all..

To paraphrase Mrs Merton ” So Edward, what attracted you to the wealthy neighbour with the castle?”

Edward’s grandfather had bought Agahada House in 1853, though by the time of the wedding, it had almost certainly been inherited by his uncle Joseph Edward Lucas Thackwell, and then passed on to Edward, and Katherine’s younger first cousin, Walter Joseph, (b. 1876).

The sale of the house was the end of John Roche‘s dream of creating a Roche dynasty, based on the male (Roche) sons of either of his nephews. The only male heirs John Roche had left after the death of James Joseph Roche in 1847 were John Roche O’Bryen, and his brothers.  Lieut.-Gen. Sir Joseph Thackwell, who bought the estate, was a veteran of  the Peninsular War, and Waterloo, as well as the First Anglo-Afghan War, and the First Anglo-Sikh War. Maria, his wife, was from the branch of the Roche family that owned Trabolgan House, which makes her a first cousin five times removed of Diana, Princess of Wales.

John_Pope_Hennessy
Sir John Pope Hennessy

Kitty’s husband, Sir John Pope-Hennessy had bought Rostellan Castle on his retirement from the Colonial Service.  It had been in the hands of the O’Brien/O’Bryens since 1645 until the death of the 3rd, and last, Marquess of Thomond in 1855, when it was bought by Dr T. A. Wise, followed by Sir John. The house was demolished in 1944. There is a description of the house by Samuel Lewis in 1837.

“Rostellan Castle, the seat of the Marquess of Thomond, is an elegant mansion on the margin of the harbour, over which it commands extensive and pleasing views, and in a highly cultivated and extensive demesne, comprehending one – third of the parish, and richly embellished with woods and plantations. The grounds are arranged with great taste, and for nearly two miles skirted by the waters of Rostellan bay, and diversified with the rural and picturesque houses of the farming steward, gardeners, and others connected with the management of the farm. The gardens are extensive and tastefully arranged; the flower gardens contain a fine selection of the choicest plants and flowers.“(A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837)

All three of the houses are within a five mile radius of each other on the south eastern edge of Cork harbour, though none have survived to the present day.  There are no clear apparent links between our O’Bryens and Roches to either of the Rostellan or Trabolgan families, apart from shared surnames, and any speculation is for another time.