20 Jan Creaghe Research
Michael Barnett (b. 1933)
What follows is a summary of information gathered by Michael Barnett during a journey to Ireland and England that he and his wife, Merril took in 1997. Michael’s grandmother was Emily Caroline Creaghe, later Barnett (1860-1944) – see “Ancestors”. This relationship led to his interest in Creaghe family history, both in Ireland and Australia. His research and knowledge are invaluable to what our organization is trying to accomplish.
We have just got back from England & Ireland, where we followed up on the family history.
We had tea at Castle Blunden, with Lady Pamela Blunden, and her youngest daughter Fiona. The two ladies were very interested in our research, and I filled in a lot of the missing pieces. Pamela lent me the Percy Creaghe Papers, which have been quoted from time to time in other documents, but now I have the lot. I copied a couple of sets on our return, and Merril is typing the type-able parts, so others can have copies. The volume of material was overwhelming.
Lady Pamela lives at the castle on her own, since Sir William died in 1985 of Liver Cancer. She tried for male heirs, but had six daughters. The title has now passed to her brother in law, as the grant of title descends only through male lines. So no more Blundens at Castle Blunden.
I now have photos of the Castle, which is reached by a Kilometre long drive way, via the Gate House. Fiona and her new husband live in the gate house. Fiona married John McGovern on 28 June 1996.
Castle Blunden, as most Irish Castles, is in need of some maintenance, but alas, as with the English castles, death duties have played havoc with available fundings.
The fields are now let out to tenant farmers.
Pamela’s second youngest daughter married a Nicholas Marshall, and both now live near Cairns, in Australia’s far north. I rang her on our return, and she is hoping to come down for the reunion in November.
We went to Kilkenny Castle, which was given to the government, as maintenance was beyond the means of the family. The Government have restored a large part, and are working on the rest. Kilkenny Castle was the seat of the Butler Family, Dukes & Marquises of Ormond. There I got the family trees of that group, and was able to slot them into my chart. Our fore fathers were said to have been grand sons of the Duke of Ormond, and I found the connection through Anna Maria Archer-Butler, who married Richard Fitzroy Heileger Creaghe in 1842.
We went to Golden, and to the Protestant Church there. We first went to the Catholic church and school which are both booming, to ask for directions. I was shown the land next door. The church is still in one piece, but hasn’t been used for 50 years, and shows obvious signs of neglect. Vandals have broken in and destroyed much of the interior.
Sheep feed amongst the graves. The Creaghe mausoleum is still intact. It has recently been re roofed, but the surroundings and steel fence need repair. RFH Creaghe left 10 pounds a year for its upkeep, but the monies were tied up in an estate for many years. 10 Pounds is not much these days. I had hoped that the mausoleum would have the details of those interred there, but this is not the case, and if it ever were the case, the inscriptions are now missing. It is bricked up, with no entrance. Only the sculptured crest, and name “Constructed by RFH Creaghe” are now visible.
I was interested in the crest on the mausoleum. The Nags head is identical to other crests, but the details on the shield are simply of Laurel branches, where as the crest claimed by Percy Creaghe is more complicated. I find that there are variations to every crest with each generation having to register their own variation.
We stayed for a week at Knocktopher Abbey, which had been a stately home, but like everything else, had been sold off as Time Share apartments. It started life in the 11th century as an abbey, and had modifications from time to time. However, it was the only Abbey which we could find which was still in use at all. Knocktopher is about 30 Km south of Kilkenny town.
In 1850, Ireland had 6 million people, where as now there are only 3.9 million. I know, they are all out here and in America. The potato famine drove many overseas, and thousands died of starvation.
Percy Creaghe and family moved to England, and lived at Ottery St. Mary. His elder daughter Helen Holmes entertained us one night at the local pub. A lovely lady. She is perhaps more interested in Creaghe family than some others, as she is a Creaghe by blood, and Percy’s eldest child. I let her have a copy of her father’s papers, which she wanted very much. She had the Creaghe silver until last year, when burglars broke in and stole the lot. They have never been recovered. Helen’s husband died in 1990, and she lives on her own in Sidford, near Ottery St. Mary, close to Exeter.
Her younger sister Jean married a Canadian during the war, but the marriage didn’t work out. Jean still lives at Little Burcombe, Ottery St. Mary, England, where some of you have visited in the past. Jean changed her name back to Creaghe, and is now the only one in the UK phone book. There are none in Ireland.
Both Helen and Jean have four grand children each. All in England.
Since returning, we have located descendants of Stephen William Creaghe b 1805 (possibly in Argentina). Stephen’s grand daughter lives in New Zealand, and we believe the Argentina should read New Zealand. She is due to visit us in the next couple of weeks and she claims to have a lot of family history to show us. We are looking forward to the meeting. Dick Creaghe in New Zealand put us onto her.
So, I have got the tree of all the Creaghe’s descended from Richard Fitzroy Heileger Creaghe, back to Hervey, who came to Ireland about 1150; and for the Rockhampton Creaghes, back to Ankill, a Saxon Baron who fled to Scotland in 1069, chased by the Normans who conquered Britain at that time, and to Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland about 1350. That same line of course, I have traced down to the present Queen of England.
The rest is legend, as the Irish could not read or write until the 11th Century AD, when the Normans taught them. However, I am working on the Legends, and should have them in time for the reunion.
So, the research goes on apace, but I have to pause from time to time when my accounting practice calls. It is calling now, so I must go.
Plans for the reunion are nearing completion, so keep 2nd November 1997 free. Here in Sydney, Australia.
Love to you all,