Forgotten Patriot, James Creed Meredith, 1875–1942, Dublin born, Athlete, Revolutionary, President of the Supreme Court of the Dáil Courts. Senator of the National University. He was appointed by the League of Nations in 1934 to Supervise a Plebiscite the Saar Plebiscite Tribunal. Advocate of Proportionate Representation (PR). Supreme Court Justice.

The Southern Star in 1940 carried a report of a speech he gave expressing concerns about aspect of the Gardaí collection of evidence in criminal cases. It is likely that the concerns is held my quite a number of the Senior Judiciary in particular those who had a criminal practice prior to elevation to the bench. Whatever about now in the past there was a segment of the Gardaí who subscribed to the Dogs in the Streets School of Jurisprudence, ‘We know who did it and will get him or her’ the drive to get the conviction rate up trumping adherence to justice. Nor a problem confined to Ireland.

The Star report has him the son of the Rev. Meredith of Courtmacsherry. Frank Mac Gabhann gives his father as a barrister which the birth cert confirms. There is however a family connection to the Howe family who lived in the general area. It may be that the Star got it wrong.

This is  Frank Mac Gabhann writing


Truth Above Everything

Frank Mac Gabhann writes: This decade of centenaries has thus far passed with barely a mention of James Creed Meredith, a man largely unknown outside his family and even to relatively few lawyers and historians. This should not be the case. Not only was he a High, then Supreme Court judge, he was also one of the great sprinters of his generation, a member of the Irish Volunteers and a 1914 gun-runner, president of the Supreme Court set up by Dáil Éireann during the War of Independence who championed Brehon Law, a philosopher, a translator of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgement (still in print a century later with his commentaries and read by philosophers and students alike), a novelist and playwright who late in life became a Quaker. One wonders how many Irish lawyers of today could even read Kant, much less translate him. 

Meredith was born in 1875 in Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin of a prominent family that was serving the Church of Ireland, if not the British empire, well, with many clergymen among its ranks. His father, of the same name, practised as a barrister and was the deputy grand master of the Masonic Lodge of Ireland and even today there a lodge in Belfast bearing his name. His portrait in his Masonic robes still hangs in the Masonic Hall in Molesworth Street in Dublin. He was knighted by the British monarch and even invited to the coronation of 1910. He was appointed secretary of the new Royal University of Ireland, which may have had something to do with his son enrolling as a philosophy student there. The young Meredith was awarded a BA and subsequently an MA, as well as the gold medal in mental philosophy. He also studied at Trinity College, where he was awarded another gold medal. He qualified as a barrister in 1901. In 1911 Oxford University published his translation of Kant’s Critique of Judgement. In 1895, while at Trinity, he was the Irish champion at the 100, 220 and 440 yard events and the following year won the British championship at the quarter mile. At the time of his death Meredith was considered one of the greatest Irish quarter-milers of all time.

He was a member, with Tom Kettle, of the intellectually fertile Young Ireland branch (the only branch that allowed women to join) of the United Irish League. Perhaps Meredith the philosopher was reading Karl Marx’s eleventh thesis on Feuerbach: up to now philosophy has only interpreted the world ‑ the point is to change it. For Meredith now began to marry theory with praxis ‑ practice. By 1913 he was a convinced Irish nationalist and engagé. He joined the Irish Volunteers at its inception, although it is not known whether he wore the uniform. He was one of the organisers of the Howth and Kilcoole gun-running in the summer of 1914 and persuaded Dr Thomas Myles to use his yacht, the Chotay, which he helped to crew, to smuggle the guns to Kilcoole. He was one of John Redmond’s added nominees to the national committee of the Volunteers. Despite being a nominee of Redmond, he worked actively with the Republican members, according to Bulmer Hobson. Immediately following the British declaration of war on August 3rd, Meredith called a meeting at his own home in Dublin for the following evening, at which Seán Mac Diarmada, Bulmer Hobson and some Redmond nominees attended, to discuss how Ireland should respond. When Seán Fitzgibbon arrived late with the news that Redmond had pledged Irish support for the war the night before in the House of Commons, “Meredith was so annoyed that he could not discuss the matter”, according to Fitzgibbon.

Meredith is believed to have drafted the constitution of the Volunteers some months later, with its declared objective, “To secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the people of Ireland”. This is lawyer-speak, probably just vague enough to escape the rigours of the wartime Defence of the Realm regulations. In 1915 he published in a prestigious philosophical quarterly in the US the Kantian essay “Perpetual Peace and the Doctrine of Neutrality”, where he sets out both his anger at the war then raging and his views on pacifism. There is no record of his attitude towards the Easter Rising the following year. However, he did testify as a witness for the defence in the court-martial of Eoin MacNeill following the Rising. As late as July 1917 he was still involved to some degree with the Irish Parliamentary Party during a by-election for South Dublin, then a unionist stronghold. Republicans did not field a candidate in that by-election as the East Clare by-election was being held four days later. Meredith harboured the vain hope that the last-gasp, ill-fated Irish Convention that began that month might provide a way forward.

It is unclear exactly when, but at some stage after the overwhelming victory of Sinn Féin in the 1918 general election Meredith crossed the Rubicon and nailed his colours firmly to the armed independence struggle. He became president of the Supreme Court of the republican Dáil courts, the “chief justice” of the Irish Republic that functioned during the War of Independence. He defied the Irish Bar, which was not exactly stocked with patriots at the time. The Bar had forbidden barristers to appear in Republican courts. Those who did risked not simply the Bar’s sanction but also a different sanction from the Black and Tans, who were armed with more than summonses for professional misconduct. In one case heard by Meredith, he preferred Brehon law over common law in ruling that the father of a child born out of wedlock was required to pay maintenance in respect of that child. This ruling was followed thereafter in all Republican courts. With the winding up of the Dáil courts he was appointed chief judicial commissioner, deciding the disposition of those cases.  

When the provisional government decided to set up a British-style judiciary in 1924, there was no room for Meredith on the new three-member Supreme Court, the “Protestant seat” going to Gerald FitzGibbon, a unionist, in order to allay Southern unionist fears. Nor was there any room for a judge there to follow his Brehon example. A child born out of wedlock in the new Irish Free State reverted to being a filius nullius, a son of nobody, a baby whom the natural father could lawfully neglect. The new set-up was, in effect, demoting Meredith to the newly created High Court.

As there were effectively no vacancies until 1936, he had to wait until then to be promoted to the expanded five-member Supreme Court, joining FitzGibbon there. The unionist FitzGibbon never forgave Meredith for being a Protestant republican and, just before his retirement in 1938, FitzGibbon, without notice to Meredith, launched an unfair and wholly unwarranted attack on his fellow judge in a written judgement. According to the late Adrian Hardiman, this attack was unique in modern Irish judicial history, though typical of FitzGibbon’s vindictive style to one whom, according to Meredith’s family, he may have considered a traitor to his class and perhaps even to his religion. Meredith, by 1938 the good Quaker, did not reply in kind to the attack and turned the other cheek. Apparently alone among all the superior court judges, FitzGibbon is not recorded as attending Meredith’s funeral in 1942.

FitzGibbon had already fallen out with Hugh Kennedy, the first chief justice, without whose recommendation the decade before to the provisional government, he would never have been even considered for the bench. FitzGibbon gave judgement, reported in 1934, in a case involving a minor whose ancestors included a deputy lieutenant and a high sheriff and whose grandfather had owned 25,000 acres in Co Clare in the nineteenth century. FitzGibbon lamented that “the policy of successive Governments . . . has transferred the land [of his grandfather] to its occupiers”. He went on to comment on the possibilities of the minor carrying on the tradition of his class in Ireland to seek “distinguished service and exalted position in the colonies” of the British empire. FitzGibbon had the extraordinary effrontery in a judgement in 1935 to ridicule the state of which he was one of the chief magistrates, referring to “ . . . this other Eden semi-paradise, this precious stone, set in the silver sea, this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Saor Stát”, after Shakespeare. Not only is this unique in Irish judicial history, it is all but unthinkable in civilised legal exegesis anywhere.

It may be remembered that FitzGibbon’s father, of the same name, was a judge and loyal servant of the British empire for nearly half a century until he died in 1909. He was well known and despised by most Irish people and for that reason appears in Ulysses, whose action takes place in 1904, when the elder FitzGibbon was still sitting as a judge and dispensing justice. James Joyce playfully slid in a possible double meaning reference concerning him in the Aeolus episode. The elder Fitzgibbon’s father, also of the same name, had been perhaps the most bigoted lawyer in Ireland in the nineteenth century, publishing absurd sectarian drivel about Catholicism and about how fortunate the Irish people were during the nineteenth century to be ruled by Englishmen.

In the meantime Meredith had published in 1928 a translation of Kant’s Critique of Teleological Judgement with notes and analyses, as he had with the earlier translation. He chaired numerous state commissions, including that on the Army mutiny of 1924. He was appointed by the League of Nations in 1934 to supervise a plebiscite in the Saar Basin in still-occupied Germany. He also wrote three plays (including one entitled The Heckled Unionist) and contributed to a plethora of intellectual and literary journals, both Irish and British. His utopian, visionary, philosophical, science-fiction novel The Rainbow in the Valley is a story of visitors to western China, including a thinly disguised, at times whimsical, Meredith. They communicate by radio with Mars and discuss Freud, Aristotle, Hegel and Kant. as well as language, the partition of Ireland, the League of Nations, and politics in general, given the gathering war clouds in Europe. We learn that there has not been a war on Mars for 10,000 years. Even Éamon de Valera and Eoin O’Duffy get a mention, the former telling a joke about the latter. The narrator relates an incident about himself in 1920 going out of his way to avoid being forced by the British military to take off his hat during the passing by of a military funeral procession on the Dublin quays for the detectives shot by the IRA on Bloody Sunday, and how it led to a quarrel with a lifelong friend. The thought occurs that perhaps the comment elsewhere of the narrator, “I have the greatest respect for pacifist theories, but I value Truth above everything”, is Meredith’s credo. Unfortunately for the book’s dissemination, its publication coincided with the outbreak of the world war, although even in times of peace Kantian novels top few bestseller lists.

One of Meredith’s cases was the custody battle between Muriel MacSwiney, Terence MacSwiney’s widow, and Mary MacSwiney, his sister, over his daughter, Máire, born in 1918. MacSwiney, lord mayor of Cork and IRA commandant there, had died on hunger strike in London in 1920, with worldwide publicity. MacSwiney, in his will, had appointed his sister to be joint guardian of his daughter. After the civil war, during which both women took the anti-treaty side, Muriel left for the continent with her daughter. She became involved in leftist politics there. In 1932 Mary, her aunt, went to Germany and, with the daughter’s agreement, effectively kidnapped the minor and raced with her by taxi to the Austrian border and then back to Cork. By this point the child had forgotten both her English and Irish, and had had, as she later wrote, “an erratic upbringing, moving from place to place”. Meredith had to determine which woman would have custody of the fourteen-year-old girl. Both sides fought the case bitterly over several months. Meredith decided to speak with the girl privately in his chambers. By then she understood some English. He asked her with whom she would like to live. She replied, “My aunt”. Meredith awarded custody to the aunt.

An interesting aside to the case is that for a time she and her aunt were furnished with Garda protection as there was evidence that Muriel was trying to “re-kidnap” her. She recalled later her aunt’s discomfiture: she was a diehard Republican who never accepted the legitimacy of the Free State, yet was being protected by their police. Mary MacSwiney, it may be remembered, was one of the seven surviving abstentionist Sinn Féin TDs from the Second Dáil who in 1938 purported to delegate the authority of the Irish Republic to the Army Council of the IRA. This was, presumably, their version of apostolic succession which, according to Irish Republican mythology, converted the IRA Army Council into the legitimate “de jure Government of the Irish Republic”.  

Meredith’s grandson, Rowan Gillespie, is one of Ireland’s finest sculptors, whose work includes the famine statues on the Dublin quays and the dolmen in Blackrock. Proclamation, the sculpture outside Kilmainham Jail, is a tribute both to the vision of the 1916 leaders and to the vision of his grandfather. Meredith died in 1942. Athlete, philosopher, revolutionary, jurist, he is now barely remembered. He deserves better.

Doctor Jeremiah Lane, Belgooly, 99 years old 1989. Europe’s oldest Practising General Practitioner. 1908 Munster Dance Champion, accompanied on the Piano by Cork Lord Mayor Tomás McCurtain, Cork Lord Mayor, Murdered 1920 by the RIC. Medical Advisor to Tom Barry’s Flying Column, Biggest Problem not Bullet Wounds but Scabies. Formula Plenty of Water, BBC, Bread, Báinne (Milk), Cheese. Too busy to Marry until he was 45. Never Eats Beef Prefers Mutton. Died 1992.

pat crowley <>2 May 2021, 00:21 (1 day ago)
to me area

Preview YouTube video Interview with A 100 Year Old Irish Doctor, 1989Interview with A 100 Year Old Irish Doctor, 1989

Will be added to:

On one point Dr. Lane is wrong, UCC was not the first college to admit women to study Medicine. He says in is calas of 1919 there were 6 women graduates.

Women ” In 1865 Nadejda Souslova was in turn accepted at Zurich. In 1866, she requested the right to defend a doctoral thesis; she thus became the first woman doctor to graduate from a mixed European university. I think the first women graduated in the the US in the late 1850s from the women’s medical college of Philadelphia.”

“From John A. Murphy “The College”. “Dora Elizabeth Allman, a nineteen year old Protestant from Bandon, and Lucy Ellmarie Smith. A twenty-year old Presbyterian from Midleton, became the first medical students, graduating in 1896”.

1941 Ardfield and Rathbarry Parish Council. Council Officials should use something more durable than mud and furze when carrying out repairs on the Clonakilty Ardfield road

Council Officials should use something more durable than mud and furze when carrying out repairs on the Clonakilty Ardfield road.

Page 22

Chairman of the Parish Council Father Holland author of the HIstory of West

From Father Holland’s History of West Cork 1949, O’Mahony Genealogy including Schull family from 1200 AD


1940 West Cork in Retrospect During the ‘Emergency’

Courtesy Southern Star.

Of the items covered West Cork natives killed in England in German Bombing Raids, Protest against the Introduction of Summer Time. Football and Hurling Matches, Funerals, Water Shortages. West Cork Clerical Students coming home from Louvain in Belgium being Bombed by Germans, British Export Quota on Pigs, Convictions under Offence Against the State Act, Death of Canon Peadar Ó Laoghaire, Gaelic `scholar. Guilds of Muintir-Na-Tíre, Poteen Capture adn Much More.

1940, May during the Battle of Britain, weather so hot in May that at Sea Lodge, Gearhameen, in Durrus tuna came back as did pilchards.–WbH22S71VU/edit

1940 Local Security and Parish Committees, Adrigole, Ballinspittle, Ballinadee, Bandon, Durrus and Kilcrohane , Rathmore (Co. Kerry), Dunmanway, Muintir-na-Tíre.

In 1940 Parish Councils were set up all over Ireland as a response to the ‘Emergency’ (World War 2). Ireland was neutral, interestingly in World War 1 Ireland still a colony/part of UK/Kingdom probably suffered somewhere between 35,000 to 50,000 dead. In contrast Denmark was an independent country and was neutral and about 800 Danes died.

The Department of Local Government encouraged the establishment of Parish Councils. Interesting from some of the newspaper reports some at least were organised on vocational lines with different work areas such as labourers represented. they had wide community and cross religious support. The vocation slant probably echoes 1930s thinking wehe this idea was incorporated into the 1937 Constitution in the theoretical panels for election the the Senate.

The Parish Councils were similar the the very effective response to the outbreak of Cholera in 1832:

Durrus District during the ewmergency

The Emergency, War Years

The end of the economic war was welcomed by farmers who now had an outlet for their produce on the British market. After war was declared there was a market for their produce. During World War One there was a huge increase in agricultural prices and consequential prosperity, but this time prices did not increase to the same extent. There was an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in 1941. The imposition of rationing of tea and other items entailed sacrifices, but not the hardship experienced in the war zone.  There was compulsory tillage, which was a percentage of tilled land and this continued until the end of 1947, much to the annoyance of dairy farmers.  Fertilizer was non existent and sea sand, seaweed and sea wool was used.  In 1934 the railway to Courtmacsherry was threatened with closure.  It was stated that sea  sand from there landed by boat went to Durrus via Durrus Road Station.

There had been a subsidy in the 1930s from the Cork County Council for sea sand landed by boat or from the sea shore.

In the Bantry Fair of March 1940 the French Army had buyers for horses; they were seeking horses 5-7 years old and 15-16 hands in height.  In July of that year a young Jack Lynch was assisting at a sitting of the Circuit Court and was described as a native of the town, he had cousins in the Bantry area Baregorm.

There were few cars in the Parish at the outbreak of war, the Priest, the Minister, Chrissie O’Sullivan (later Mrs Leahy, they also had a small truck), publican Jim Hurley, Denis John L. O’Sullivan and P.J. Barry, both of whom operated a hackney service.  The train took 4 hours to reach Cork, coal was unavailable and the train stopped at each station to take on timber and turf. In 1940 road signs were dismantled. There was widespread hunger especially among those who did not own land and have the facility of growing their own food. There are stories of farmers giving flour from their own corn to neighbours in want.

In 1939 a chain of look out posts (LPOs) were built around the Irish coast and the one at Sheeps Head was no 31. There was an existing phone line to the end of the peninsula from British times This was manned by 7 operatives and an NCO.  It supplied information to military Intelligence (G2) who passed it onto the Department of External Affairs and from then to the British Military.  From October 1939 to March 1940 the south west coast was under surveillance by a British vessel masquerading as a trawler ‘Namura’ under the command of Captain Fell. The brief was to locate U-Boat refuelling bases alleged to be in the south west in popular mythology, none were found.

During the Emergency there was a series of directional markings at the end of peninsulas or on islands visible from the air around the coast. This was done at the request of the US as State Papers released in 1994 reveal.  At the end of the Muinteravara peninsula there is one marked ‘EIRE’ in white stone. 

The Luftwaffe High Command flew weather reconnaissance aircraft over the area and these were reported on by Sheeps Head LOP, and used the lighthouse at Dursey Island as a navigation buoy. The keepers got used to a Junkers plane that used to fly from Merignac near Bordeaux.  On the 23 July 1943 the aircraft crashed on the island, killing the crew of 4.  It might be noted that in the National Library’s Photographic Archive there are photographs taken by the Luftwaffe’s aerial photographic wing of military barracks, the airport, railway stations and city centre of Dublin.  A German plane was hit by the Royal Navy’s S.S. Major C. and crashed into Cashelane Hill, Dunbeacon on the 5th February 1941, killing 5 of its crew and 1 taken as prisoners of war.  The army retrieved the explosives left behind the crash. Miss May Nugent, Derryfunchion, rendered assistance to the only survivor and was presented with a German Life Saving Medal by the German Minister in Dublin. Miss Teresa (Daisy) O’Mahony from Ahagouna was one of a number to view the wreckage, (she drank poisoned water and died soon after). The mangled wreckage of the plane was on display in the Courtyard of Bantry House.  A German airplane crash-landed on Mount Gabriel on the 3rd. March 1942 killing all the crew, they were interred in the Abbey in Bantry and may have been moved to the German war cemetery at Glencree, Co. Wicklow.

Local memory has it that on a number of occasions British Destroyers moored at Ahakista to get fresh supplies of meat and vegetables.

Gerald McCarthy (1912-1984) of Old Dispensary House son of Dr Michael McCarthy was a young insurance agent and farmer during the War.  During the war years he covered an extensive area from Kilcrohane to Ballydehob and Kealkil by bicycle.  He was an officer in the LDF (Local Defence Forces it was known at the time as the Local Security Force, LSF).  He kept a diary from 1940 to 1984  and he related the drill, night exercises and conferences held during the period. His LDF duties included guarding the German aircraft which crashed in Dunbeacon in 1941. There were major military manoeuvres in Bantry in August 1940 with armoured cars; Bren guns and the entirety of the grounds of Bantry House were taken over by camps for 800 troops of the 4th Battalion.  There was a company of soldiers (2nd Cycling Squadron) billeted in Bantry House. 

On the first Friday of each month being Fair Day, a recruitment officer of the British Army (or possibly the civilian agency for recruitment of civilian employment in munition factories) came to the square

Gerald’s farming activities included a lot of time devoted to the growing of flax, as well as growing vegetables, potatoes and time spent saving turf. The flax was a labour-intensive crop and when pounded and scutched it was sold to buyers from the North of Ireland for £1 a stone.  A mill at Coonagh the remains of which are still visible on the Leap/Rosscarbery road did the preliminary processing. A number of farmers in the area grew flax including Jack Crowley, Ahagouna and Denis John L O’Sullivan of the village, but the main growing area was further east towards Clonakilty.  In 1945 there were 6,186 acres under the crop in West Cork and Drinagh Co-Op facilitated the sketching of flax.

The Government wished Parish Councils to be set up and in Durrus this happened in August 1940 and reports of it in the Southern Star show a concern about possible invasion. The Council was chaired by Father McSweeney and also involved were the Rev. Doherty and a wide selection of the local population

Many natives of the district emigrated to England, a number serving in the armed forces; others worked in hospitals and factories. The Southern Star at the time in its news from Bantry carried regular reports of ‘Recent Departures’ and also casualties of locals killed on active service or in air raids in England. The scarcity of tea in particular is remembered; the ration was reduced to half an ounce from January 1942, it could be obtained on the black market in Bantry for £1 a lb.  The newspapers of the time also refer to a ‘tobacco and cigarette famine’. Bob Spillane, Ballycomane recalls that you were very lucky if you or 5 ‘shirleys’ (cigarettes) from the local shop. Times were hard and many would have had great difficulty but for credit advanced by shopkeepers such as Jackie Cronin and Chrissie O’Sullivan (Mrs. Leahy).  Jacky Cronin used to go to Cork with a truckload of pigs and return with fresh bread.  He was from the Cove, Kealties and was one of the first entrepreneurs in Durrus, he later had two trucks (technically they were in the ownership of his mother Bridget who had a store at the Cove) and built a hardware store and mill opposite Driscoll’s garage.  There are now houses on the site.  He married Anna Barry, daughter of PJ Barry who ran the pub.  His son Kevin started the Durrus Ironworks Company. In this era, Bernie O’Leary showed films in the village hall once or twice a week.   

Luftwaffe Air Crashes

1941 5th, FW200C-3 0042/F8+AH.  1/K.G40 5 killed 1 prisoner of war.  Crashed into Cashelane Hill, Dunbeacon, Durrus, 850ft. in dense fog at 08.00 after being shot at by anti aircraft fire from S.S. Major C.  Miss Shanahan Dunbeacon, rescued awarded by German Government.  In the singer Seán Ó Sea’s autobiography he recounts one of the German aircraft being on display in Bantry House where the LDF were based.

1942, 3rd. March Ju88D-1 1429/CN+DU Wekusta 2-4 killed.  Crashed into Mount Gabriel.   Bantry businessman Paddy O’Keeffe (Principal G.W. Biggs and Co.) and historian took photographs immediately after.

1943, 23rd. July, Ju88D-1 430030 Wekusta 2-4 killed

Crashed at Dursey at 07.25.

Luftwaffe High Command’s weather reconnaissance Staffe 2

Hans Auschner at controls wearing his Iron Cross.  He had lost both legs and the plane was adapted for hand control; Bruno Noth, a civilian meteorological observer from Hamburg; Johannes Kushidlo, airman; Gerhard Dummler (19) radio operator the youngest man to die in an aerial crash in Ireland.

From William Tower Townsend, Myross Wood, Leap. In the issue of the Spectator of London of the 16th August 1930 a correspondent complains of the dearth of swallows. I noticed the same at my place in Sussex, where only one pair of swallows nested in an outhouse. But here in Ireland we have a larger number of swallows than I have ever seen before, every stable and cowhouse containing three or four nests and literally scores of old and young birds hawking all day around the house. Possibly the swallows what have found out what is dawning on many of us, that Ireland is now a far pleasanter country to live in than England, with its present enormous taxation and encouragement in doles, to idleness

From W. Tower Townsend, Myros Wood, Leap.  In the issue of the Spectator of London of the 16th August 1930 a correspondent complains of the dearth of swallows.   I noticed the saem at my place in Sussex, where only one pair of swallows nested in an outhouse. But here in Ireland we have a larger number of swallows than I have ever seen before, every stable and cowhouse containing three or four nests and literally scores of old and young birds hawking all day around the house.  Possibly the swallows what have found out what is dawning on many of us, that Ireland is now a far pleasanter country to live in than England, with its present enormous taxation and encouragement in doles, to idleness

From Colonel John Townsend family history:

William Tower Townshend (535) Date of Birth: 26 Aug 1855 Date of Death: 6 Feb 1943 Generation: 8th Residence: Myross Wood (1) & Bodiam Father: John Hancock Townshend [523] Mother: Tower, Katherine Spouse: Curzon, Hon Geraline Emily Issue: Alfred Curzon [559] Blanche Hermione [560] Marjorie [561] Eveline Mary Curzon [562] See Also: Table V ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors’ Tree ; Descendents’ Tree Notes for William Tower Townshend JP Married 28 February 1901 at All Saints’, Keddleston, Derbyshire (2). Hon Geraldine Emily Curzon (3), was the fifth daughter of the Rev. Alfred Nathaniel Holden, 4th Baron Scarsdale JP and sister of 1st Marquess Curzon KG, PC, GCSI, GCIE. Viceroy of India 1899-1901. See Burke’s Peerage – Curzon. Educated at Haileybury and Brackenbury’s Army School, Wimbledon, William was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant into The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment on 8 September 1877 (London Gazette 24501). Promoted Lieutenant on 23 October 1878 and Captain on 24 April 1881 (London Gazette 24971), he retired on 18 March 1882 (|London Gazette 25085). William was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1883, a year after he left the army, and this is recorded on page 108 of Francis Guy’s City and County Cork Almanac and Directory for 1884 which also records that he was living at Myross Wood – as was his father – at this time. Pages 110 and 113 of the next edition of the Directory (1891) show that William, still a JP, and his brother were both ex officio Poor Law Guardians for Clonakilty and Skibbereen and both were living at Myross Wood. According to the book ‘Mrs GBS’ (4) when Horace Payne-Townshend [5D12] had to leave Derry in 1877, in order to be with his wife in London, the care of Derry was placed in the hands of ‘William Townsend’ – “one of Horace’s kinsmen, who was land agent for a number of estates in the County of Cork”. Clearly some confusion here; William Uniacke Townsend [5B01] (aged 51) and William Charles Townsend [5B05] (aged 23) were both land agents at the time, whilst William Tower Townshend had just been commissioned! There is no doubt that after his military career William did become a land agent. A Hansard Report, House of Commons, dated 18 July 1890 records that “Mr. Townshend is reported to represent large properties in the two Baronies referred to as agent for his brother (5) and other owners”. Why William’s brother, Richard, should hand management of Myross to him is not clear, however, when Richard died nine years later the estate passed to William in his own right. There is a short history of Myross Wood on the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart website. The Irish name for Myross is Blath na Greine which literally means Flower of the Sun. Two documents in the Derry Papers show that William was actively managing the Derry estate between 1890 (6) and 1898 (7) on behalf of Nathaniel Wilmot Townshend [5D13], who had inherited most of the Derry Lands following the death of his brother Horace Payne-Townshend in 1885 in accordance with the wishes of their father. When Nathaniel died in 1896 these lands passed to his son George Chambre Wilmot Townshend [5D33]. The house itself and some lands were left to Horace’s daughter Charlotte Payne-Townshend [5D27]. Later in the book ‘GBS’ there is further reference about William being a land agent; in a letter from him dated 1 December 1890 and addressed to The Chief Secretary of Ireland he wrote – “As a land agent in West Cork representing nine different landlords I am strongly in favour of the proposed line from Clonakilty to Glandore.” (8) The Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland include a Return pursuant to Section 3 of the Evicted Tenants (Ireland) Act 1907 dated 31 March 1908. It records all cases in which an evicted tenant has been, with the assistance of the Estates Commissioners, reinstated as a purchaser of his or his predecessor’s former holding Pages 8/9 of the Return record that Ellen White was evicted from 90 acres of land at Brade by ‘Townsend Capt WT’ in September 1892 and re-instated with 102 acres of land. ‘Slater’s Royal National Directory of Ireland, 1894’ shows William living at both Myross and Derry. Under the heading ‘County Magistrates for the Province of Munster. Co Cork.’ – “Townshend William Tower, Myross Wood, Leap R.S.O” and under the heading ‘Munster Parishes – Myross. Private Residents’ – “Townshend William T. JP. Listarkin (?)” and ‘Munster Parishes – Rosscarbery. Private Residents’ – “Townsend WT. Derry.” Equally confusing are the entries in Guy’s City and County Cork Almanac and Directory for 1907. Page 158 shows William as a Justice of the Peace – “Townshend Wm Tower, Myross Wood, Leap 1883”; page 311 shows him as a Vice President of the Clonakilty Agricultural Society and page 435 shows him as a ‘Land and Estate Agent’ in Rosscarbery and living in ‘Derry House’. Guy’s City and County Cork Almanac and Directory for 1913 reflects the entries for the 1907 Directory with the addition of the appointment of William as High Sheriff for the County of Cork and as a member of the Committee of the Irish Landowners’ Convention – Co Cork Branch. Page 387 of the 1913 Directory shows William’s younger brother Arthur Edward Townsend [537] living at Myross. The April 1901 Irish Census records that William was a land agent and farmer living at ‘House No 6’ in Derry with his wife and four domestic staff. The house consisted of twelve rooms, two stables, two coach houses and a further twelve outbuildings. It is the largest house listed but does not accord with the April 1911 Irish Census which shows that the largest house was ‘House No 1’ which consisted of 22 rooms, 11 stables, a coach house, a harness room and a further 22 outbuildings. The 1911 Census also shows William, then aged 55, living at ‘House No 1’ with his wife, three daughters, two children’s nurses, a ladies maid, cook and three domestic servants. The 1901 Census shows William as the owner of eleven houses and that of 1911 as owner of nine houses – these presumably belonged to the Derry estate. William personally owned thirteen houses in Brade (Myross) in 1901 and nine in 1911. Whilst the 1901 Census records William’s mother living at Myross, there is no reference to the property in the 1911 Census; it must be assumed that the house was vacant at the time. William and Geraline returned to Myross Wood when Charlotte Payne-Townshend sold Derry in 1915 and lived there intermittently until 24 March 1922 when Lord Curzon leased The Manor House at Bodiam Castle (9) to them; at the time they were living at Vale Lodge, Tunbridge Wells. Geraline suffered from chronic asthma and this had forced them to avoid the very damp winters of southern Ireland, as they troubled her greatly. However, the family continued to live at Myross for the whole of every summer until it was sold (10). Questions about compulsory purchase of the Myross estate were asked in the Dail on 8 May 1940. The Minister for Lands was asked if “Mr. W. Tower Townshend” was going to “offer the lands for sale at an early date” or whether the “Land Commission will proceed with negotiations for the acquisition of the lands”. The reply was that the Land Commission “has not yet come to a decision on the question of their acquisition.” Being an entailed estate and with no male heir Myross was sold to Mr Cleary when William died in February 1943 – William’s daughter, Marjorie Townshend [561], remained living there until 1947 when the property was sold to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart for $4,200. It is now a Retreat Centre and Community Residence. The Irish Draught Horse Society records, under the heading ‘Changes in the distribution of registered Irish Draught Mares between 1917-19 and 1978’, “the concentration of mares in south central Cork is probably due to three main factors….. They included such fine horses as Town Moor, formerly owned by Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, and close third to Iroquois and Peregine in the 1881 Derby. Town Moor stood at Rosscarbery and belonged to Captain W.T. Townshend.” The Lloyds Register 1900 in the Royal Cork Yacht Club shows “Townshend Capt W. Tower. Myross Wood, Leap, Cork. ‘Linda’ (12 tons)”. The cutter rigged ‘Linda’ was 42 feet long, with a beam of 11 feet 8 inches and was registered in Colchester. She was owned by Richard Hungerford Townsend [5A02] in 1898. (1) Ordnance survey of Ireland. Discovery Series. 1:50,000. Map sheet 89, grid reference W203359. (2) Entry in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] – ‘Feb 26 1901 Mr Tower T married Honble Gertrude Curzon’. (3) Geraline was born in 1871 and died on 17 May 1940. (4) ‘Mrs GBS’ by Janet Dunbar. Published in London 1963 by George Harrap. This is the biography of Charlotte Payne-Townshend [5D27], who married George Bernard Shaw. (5) Captain Richard Harvey Townshend [534] who resigned his commission on 26 October 1889; most probably on account of his father who happened to die that same day. (6) Derry Papers 535/1. Letter dated 1 July 1890 to William Townshend from Orpen & Sweeney, Solicitors, 33 Angelsea Street, Dublin, concerning the Estate of Maria Townshend (wife of Nathaniel Wilmot Townsend [5D13]). (7) Derry Papers 535/2. 535/2. March 1898. Particulars of Tenant’s Holdings. William Tower Townshend to George Chambre Wilmot Townshend [5D33]. Estimate for Succession Duty. (8) The Clonakilty Extension (9) Geraline and her daughter (see below) lived in the Manor during WWII and left after William’s death in 1943. Thereafter Grace Curzon (George Curzon’s second wife) lived there until her death, whereupon it became an independent preparatory school. (10) William’s granddaughter, Valerie (Mollie) Townshend Garratt (see entry for Blanche Townsend [560]), remembers staying at Myross with much happiness. She recounts the following anecdote. “In about 1917, during the troubles in Ireland, my mother, her sisters and a governess were alone in the house. Sinn Fein were intent on destroying landlords’ houses round about, but spared Myross Wood because of their respect for my grandfather as a good landlord, and confined themselves to burning the stables (having first carefully removed the horses) and the car.” Echoes of Thomas Townsend’s [5A10] experience after he operated on ‘The One Eyed Gunner’! See Who Was Who 1941-50.

The main West Cork Townsend line descends from Helen Galwey who appears i the convert rolls in 1709

Helen Gallwey alias Townsend 1709 Wife to Philip Townsend and daughter to John Galway, of Cork, Esquire Ancestor of Skibbereen Townsends The Cork Galweys/Galways may be Hiberno-Danish in origin.

Despite the loss of their estates due to ‘rebellion’ the GAllweys thrives a s businessmen, land agents in Ireland, later as Judges in South Africa, the Continent and even Brazil

Richard S. Harrison on Flax in West Cork

Generally for West Cork Flax, Linen, weaving:

Flax Meitheals, (During US Civil War?) Dunbeacon, Durrus, Clothiers, Flax, Linen, Textiles, Weaving, West Cork.

1824  Barony of Carbery, in West Cork, Has good roads, Corn stores and Regular shipping to Cork, Dublin and even Portugal.

Genealogy of McGivern/Pattison family from 1805,  Dunmanway, by Major The Reverend James Sabine McGivern, S.J, MBE, CD, FRGC, PhD, CLJ, Toronto, 1968.  McGivern reputedly Descend from Niall of The Nine Hostages, New Brunswick, New York 1834, Judge Robert Swanton of Ballydehob, Mrs. Sullivan, O’Driscoll, Charles Connolly, Thomas Denahy, New Zealand.

1806, Skibbereen. manufacture of Striped Linens and Handkerchiefs, Land Produce Corn and Flax, Salt Works.

1934 Debate in Dáil (Irish Parliament) on Flax Bill, Deputy Thomas Hales, Fianna Fáil, Bandon ‘West Cork is isolated. It is no man’s land as far as industries go. It is too far away and too far out of the world. It must be remembered that flax must have a poor soil and that the land that is suitable for the growing of wheat or beet may not be suitable for the growing of flax. Flax does absorb an enormous amount of potash out of the land, but generally, in speaking of poor land, I have seen cliffs where flax can be grown. Deputy Timothy Joseph O’Donovan, Fine Gael ‘In times gone by, when an alien Government was here, when there was a slump in the linen trade, they compelled the clergymen, in order to encourage the development of the Irish linen trade, to wear linen surplices and cypresses at funerals and church services generally. That was, at that time, a great incentive to the development of the Irish linen industry, and if our Government were to go on these lines and to do something similar, they would help to bring back one of our oldest and one of our greatest industries, an industry that would give a great deal of employment.

Flax and Linen Development Dunmanway, Bantry, Flax Ponds Durrus District.

Richard S. Harrison on the History of Bantry Methodism.

Courtesy  Richard S. Harrison a scholar of great worth and the Southern Star

Included here:

Warners Butter Factory,  p. 1

Beara, p. 7

Methodism in Bantry, p. 14

Bantry Water and Sewage Schemes, p. 18

Dunmanway Methodism 1836-1986, beginnings 1783, Zechariah Yewdall, preaching by Irish Speaker James McQuigg, Church 1790, Lisbealid Chapel and School 1829, Ministers from Dunmanway.

1891 Death James (‘The Governor’) Hutchinson Swanton (1815-1891), Rineen Skibbereen, Carrisbrook House, Dublin (Mentioned in James Joyce Ulysses), Memoir of William Feckman and West Cork Methodist References.

Rev. Patrick Ernest Donovan (1861-1953), Foronaught, Myross, Skibbereen, West Cork, Irish Speaking Methodist Missionary.

Vickery Farmhouse and Genealogy, Post 1784, Ballycomane (Irish: Baile an Chumáin, meaning ‘town of the little valley’), Durrus, West Cork with Carpenter’s Wood Marks.

1906, February West Carbery Ploughing Match

March 1840, Ploughing Prizes Presented at Hollybrook, Skibbereen, West Carbery Agricultural Society.

West Cork Agricultural Society Ploughing Competition, 1862.

West Cork Agricultural Society in place since 1830 Poorly supported by Gentry and Farmers, Ploughing Prizes, Prizewinners Ploughmen for Estates and Boy’s Class, comments on Leases and Prizes for August 1862. Poor Agricultural Productivity feature of Land Tenure.

1883 Funeral of the Earl of Bantry, aged 83, Auction of the Late Earl of Bantry, Livestock including Two Handsome Plough Bullocks, Trained. Probate £107,000 (Circa €25 Million in 2020 terms).

Alleged Ignorance of the Plough. Reen, Bantry, 1800. 1832 From Dublin Penny Journal. Glengariff. Ripening Outdoor Grapes in Bantry, Mr.Tuckey, Mrs. Taylor, Mr. Hutchins of Ardnagashel

1849, Report of Henry J. Fawcett, Practical Instructor on Husbandry of Visit to Bantry, Kealkil, Dunmanway, Durrus, Kilcrohane, Agriculture Very Backward, Custom after taking a Corn Crop to Leave Land Fallow for 4 to 5 Years, Starving Horses, Pannier Tracks, need for Proper Roads, Ploughs A few Sticks Put Together With Pins Only Goes Down A Few Inches, Suggests Grain Crops, Drainage, Manuring, Proper Seed. Back Roads. No Shortage of Local Manures Huge Potential.

1825, Rio de la Plata (Argentina) Agricultural Association, 1 Million Acres Available, Ship Stopping in Cork 40 men wanted Preference to Good Ploughmen.