Category Archives: Famous People

John Cassidy, Sculptor

John Cassidy, son of a farmer was born at Littlewood, Slane Co. Meath on January 1st 1860. He served his apprenticeship as a bar assistant in White Horse Hotel Drogheda. It was then said that he spent most of his spare time etching, drawing and painting. Some of his paintings of 1880 vintage are to be found in Drogheda, most notably The Bathe House and a Street Scene in Drogheda 1880. Both of these pictures hang in Drogheda Corporation Offices.

Aged 20 years John went to work in Dublin, where he attended night classes in Art School. He gained a scholarship to study in Milan. Two years later he settled in Manchester where he spent the rest of his life. He studied at the Manchester School of Art and established a studio at Lincoln Road. As his reputation grew he exhibited at the Royal Academy , the Hibernian Academy and in Manchester City Art Gallery. His public works can be found at various sites around Manchester and throughout Britain.

Some of his most famous sculptures are the Edward Colston statue in Bristol, the Hygeia Monument in Aberdeen, the Ben Brierly statue in Queen’s Park Manchester and The Ship Canal Digger in Manchester City Art Gallery. Perhaps his greatest achievements are to be seen in the famous John Rylands Library in Manchester. Here John fashioned a group of statues entitled “Theology Directing The Labours Of Science and Art” which adorn this august building. He also created two matching statues in white marble of John Rylands and his wife Enriqueta which stand guard over the two ends of the Reading Room. His many war memorials are much admired. John’s best known work in Ireland is a full length figure of Queen Victoria in Belfast.

John died on July 19th 1939 and was buried in Southern Cemetery in Manchester. Until recently, his achievements and reputation have been more or less unheralded in Ireland. Over a weekend in October 2004 Slane History Society mounted an exhibition of John’s works in his native village. This included approx. 40 photographs of his sculptures and paintings which were greatly admired by visitors from near and far.

A Trip to Manchester — John Cassidy Research

Written by Michael Leahy.

The six members of the John Cassidy sub-committee travelled to Manchester on the 24th June 2003. They were on a fact finding tour of the Greater Manchester area seeking out the many pieces of sculpture crafted by John Cassidy which are to be found in the area. The members felt that they needed to view a number of John’s creations and attempt to evaluate them before organising some form of celebration of the artist’s works in his native Slane.

We found several pieces of our local artist’s work, ranging in size from the commemorative medallions to Alcock and Brown to the massive statue of Edward VII in Whitworth Park. In our humble opinion, John Cassidy was a formidable artist with a prodigious output of a wide variety of high quality pieces. We are now aware of the existance of over sixty of his sculptures and new ones are coming to light regularly.

We departed Slane by minibus at 9.30am and took Ryanair to Manchester Airport. On our arrival we were greeted by Pat Duff, a native of Grangegeeth, who had transport arrangedfrom the airport to our hotel. Mr. Duff has a civil engineering business in Manchester and in his personal capacity and through his association with the Manchester Irish Centre he was ever so helpful towards us and proved an invaluable contact. By 2.00pm we were up and running. Our first port of call was Manchester City Hall. We were disappointed when informed that the pieces of sculpture by John Cassidy held there were in storage and not available to the public. These included a bronze relief of Daniel McCabe, Lord Mayor 1913-1915, and a bronze memorial to Alcock and Brown.

We walked from the City Hall to the Manchester Information Centre. This was a futile journey as the officials here were of no assistance at all. So off we went to Manchester City Art Gallery. This gallery houses several examples of John Cassidy’s work, but as in the City Hall all but one were in storage. Lack of space and renovations were the reasons cited. Cassidy’s pieces here include a bronze bust of the painter William Powell Frith R.A. modelled from life in his ninetieth year, a bronze bust of the painter H.Clarence Whaite, and a marble bust of Edward John Broadfield. The only piece available to us was a bronze figure entitled “The Ship Canal Digger”. We all agreed it was a charming work of art.

The caption read “The Ship Canal Digger ( about 1893 ) Bronze. This image of the weary digger contrasts with official commemorative work. The man represents the workers, more than 16000 of them, who dug the 36 miles canal from Runcorn to Salford mostly using only picks and wheelbarrows. Cassidy has created quiet a sentimental image, pride in an ideal of the dignity of labour. John Cassidy came to Manchester when he was 22 years of age. He studied at the Manchester School of Art and became a well known and respected sculptor, particularly in the Manchester area”.

A change of scene was now thought to be a good idea and we decided to take a bus ride to a suburb and Whitworth Park.

Standing in a queue for half an hour in the sweltering heat of the city centre was not conducive to historical research or art apprecation but we persevered and our efforts were rewarded when we eventually found the statue of Edward VII in Whitworth Park.

This massive bronze statue shows the king in court robes with an orb and sceptre in his hands. It was unveiled in 1913 and the base and statue must be over 20 feet high. We returned to base, partook of an evening meal, and retired.

Wednesday morning was devoted to the John Rylands Library where three sculptures by John Cassidy are on display. In brief, John Rylands became Manchesters most successful cotton magnate and one of the wealthiest “self made” men of his day. Although he married three times no children survived his and his wife inherited his estate valued at £2,575,000  he died. Enriqueta Rylands decided to build a magnificent public library for the city in honour of her late husband. The John Rylands Library has been acclaimed as the finest examle of noe-Gothic architecture in Europe. On entering the main hall a group of statues entitled “Theology Directing The Labours Of Science And Art” dominate the view. The complete piece was carved by John Cassidy from shawk, a Cumbrian sandstone. That John Cassidy was engaged to create this sculpture , in such an august building, is an indication of the esteem in which he was held at this time. The famous Main Reading Room is presided over at each end by Cassidy’s full size marble statues of John and Enriqueta Rylands.

On this Wednesday morning Charlie Hulme I.T. co-ordinator of the library called to our hotel at 10.00a.m. and we walked with him to the famous library. This arrangement arose from Frances Lee-Gargan’s many contacts with the Rylands Library in the course of her research over many months. Mr. Hulme was ever so helpful, as were all the staff. One of the library’s chief archivists admitted us to a special reading room where she displayed some of the library’s rarest manuscripts. We would have liked to stay longer but duty called and we walked to the Bridgewater Centre. This complex is devoted to music and displays two busts of the composer Halle.

One is in bronze and the other is in plaster. The here informed us that the artist who created these two pieces was unknown to the management until a member of our group enlightened them. Having got out their stepladder they found JC embossed on the back of both sculptures. John Cassidy sometimes signed his work in this way. One thing leads to another. A staff member here informed us that there was another Halle statuette in the principal’s office in the Royal Northern College of Music. The blind led the blind.

We succeeded in getting on the wrong bus. When we eventually got on the right bus we got off at the wrong stop. There followed an amusing scene. When we found the College and climbed the 72 steps to the Principal’s office he was out. His secretary allowed us to sneak into the office and there on the windowsill stood a John Cassidy bronze statue of Halle, a charming piece about 50cm high. We didn’t dally here but took a long bus ride to Heaton Moor. After a despairing walk we found Cassidy’s war memorial to the men and woman of this area who fell in the Great War.

By the time we retraced our steps it was time to dine.We invited Pat and Anne Duff to accompany us as a gesture of gratitude towards their willing help. A Manchester Evening News reporter, known to Frances, was also invited to share a beverage with us. This reporter arranged a lenghty press interview with our group on the next evening.

We hired a minibus on Thursday morning as we planned visiting a number of outlying towns and sites. Our first stop was Southern Cemetary where John was buried on July 18th 1939. This was the highlight of the entire trip and the time we spent there was tinged with both sadness and pride. The staff were most helpful in assisting us to find the plot. As we were leaving they presented us with photocopies of John’s burial arrangements and details of the erection of the headstone by his nephew George. It was pleasing to find that the plot and its environs are well maintained. A few days before our departure to Manchester four members of our sub-committee visited the site of the remains of the Cassidy household at the Commons, Slane, and collected a sample of dried mud from the old mud wall, some flakes of lime from a whitewashed area and a fragment of newspaper which we found adhering to an interior wall. We continued on to Grangegeeth old cemetary and brought back with us a scrape of soil from the family plot. As Frances sprinkled our samples from home on John’s grave, tears were shed and our simple tribute to our beloved artist was poignent and moving. We recited a decade of the Rosary and reluctantly left Southern Cemetary.

There followed a frantic rush about. We went to Oldham but failed to locate a Cassidy sculpture, known to us to be in this town. Better luck befell us in Bury. Here in Kay Park is a magnificent arrangement of sculptures clearly inscribed ‘John Cassidy’. This is a commemorative piece celebrating the inventions of John Kay. He invented mechanical aids which revolutionised the weaving and spinning industry. Down the road in the imposing town of Bolton we found a large Cassidy statue of Benjamin Dobson gracing the main square.

As we had an appointment with Manchester Evening News at 4.00pm we rushed back to the city centre. For one reason or another the interview did not take place until 6.00pm which left us with a frustrating wait.Eventually our party was interviewed at lenght. Photographs were taken and there followed a newspaper article. We made contact with the Manchester Guardian and with the Manchester Post and these newspapers also featured articles on our visit to Manchester. On Thursday evening we were pleasantly surprised to be invited to Manchester Irish Centre where we were treated to a splendid dinner. Rose Morris, Art and Culture Director Mr. Patrick Marmion the Manager, and Pat and Anne Duff sat with us. This centre has ambitious plans for a new complex costing some £14,000,000. We previewed the outlines of this new development and enjoyed ourselves. Close by in Queens Park is a life size statue of Ben Brierly, regarded as one of John Cassidy’s finer works. It was admiringly called ‘Owd Ben’ shortly after its erection because of its remarkable resemblance in figure and features to the genial Lancashire humourist it commemorates. Although the time was approaching midnight some members of our party tried in vain to find this statue on their way home. Their failure was put down to poor light.While in Manchester we failed to see a group of sculptures by Cassidy entitled ” Humanity Adrift In The Sea Of Life” which are presently in storage. They will be restored to their original position in the newly refurbished Piccadilly Gardens in the near future. This was the first outdoor non portrait example of the new sculpture to be acquired by the city. On Friday morning we arranged to depart for Manchester Airport at 11.30am. Before this some members met with some success in their individual research. We enjoyed our short stay in Manchester. The pace was hectic and my fellow members showed boundless energy and no mean display of research ability. In all our communication with the Manchester people, both formally and casually, we were treated with courtesy, friendliness, and gratitude for having honoured them with our visit. The group members were; Noel Foley ( Noel is a grand nephew of the artist John Cassidy ) and his wife Mary, Mr. James Gargan and his wife Frances, Miss Shiela Crehan, Mrs. Marie Meade, Mr. Nicholas Wall and Mr. Michael Leahy.

The Johnstons, Musical Group

By Nicholas Wall

The Johnstons – a talented family group of singers started singing in their father, Marty’s, pub in Slane, Co.Meath in the early sixties. They consisted of Adrienne, her younger sister Lucy and brother Michael. They sang Irish ballads and popular folk songs of the time which went down very well with the customers. Michael played a twelve string guitar and the girls sang harmonies. Sometimes the pub piano was in use.

Word soon spread about this group and they did a few gigs in the Dublin area. They then, after only a few weeks together as a group, came to national prominence by winning the first Wexford Ballad Competition in February 1966. They won £100 and a slot on the Late Late Show. Luci was then only sixteen and still attending school. From this they were offered a recording deal by Pye Records and had one of their first releases, a cover version of Ewen McCall’s “The Travelling People” reach number one spot in the Irish pop charts setting them off on a whirlwind of touring, television and more recording.

Later that year Michael reluctantly left the group and the girls were joined by Paul Brady and Mick Maloney. The Johnstons were influenced by American singers like The Mamas And The Papas and Joni Mitchell. Their popularity increased in Ireland and in 1968 they signed with the UK’s premier folk label Transatlantic, on which they released six albums in five years. They were the first act ever to release two albums on the same day, The Barleycorn and Give a Damn.

With this success they decided to relocate to London in 1969. Lucy didn’t like the idea and stayed in Dublin leaving sister Adrienne as the sole original Johnston. Here they enjoyed wider success and remained there for three years appearing regularly on British television and radio and touring all over the U.K. Many trips to Germany, Scandinavia and Holland followed.

Eventually, on the back of a minor US hit with a cover version of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’ they went to America where their first gig was with Joan Baez on Boston Common in front of twenty thousand people. They played at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in 1971 from which they received favourable reviews in the American media. Amongst other gigs they did a couple of week long sessions at Gerde’s Folk City where Dylan had started off some years before and The Johnstons were the first act to open the legendary Bottom Line Club in New York city.

Mick Maloney left the group in 1971 leaving the Johnstons as a duo comprising of Adrienne Johnston and Paul Brady to record the final album “If I Sang My Song” in 1972. The album was made up of all original material written by Paul, Adrienne and her husband, American songwriter Chris McCloud who had taken on the role of producer. After Paul went his own way Adrienne recorded one solo album Adrienne Johnston of the Johnstons in 1975 and then returned to Ireland and rejoined Lucy for some TV work here.

Adrienne Johnston returned to the States where she died tragically in 1981. Mick Maloney went back to college and became head of the folklore dept. at Penn State University and got deeply involved in the development of Irish folk music in North America. Lucy Johnstone is a well known and successful photographer in Dublin. Paul Brady became a major songwriter and solo artist. Michael Johnstone stayed at home to run the family business.

The Flemings and the Conynghams

By Terry Trench

The landownership changes which took place in Slane during sixty or more years following the rebellion of 1641 reflect what was taking place over a major part of Ireland during that period.

It was common practice, and not only in Ireland, for the property of defeated rebels to be confiscated. In Ireland the practice was followed with particular vigour, in support of the policy to replace Catholic rebel landowners, such as the “Old English” as well as the Gaelic aristocrats, with Protestant planters or ‘adventurers’ from England or Scotland, or with soldiers whom the crown was committed thus to reward for their services, the rewards in some cases being of vast dimensions.

Slane was no exception to this general pattern, though the ultimate owners were not planters nor adventurers, but purchasers of the forfeited lands at a later date.

So when the Fleming estates were confiscated, they did not pass immediately into the possession of the Conyngham family. In fact the estates changed hands, at least on paper, passing backwards and forwards, seven times between 1641 and 1703, when Henry Conyngham first purchased a small fraction of them.

Briefly, the Fleming estates were forfeited in 1641, restored in 1663, forfeited again in 1688, granted to General Ginkel in 1692, sold by him to ‘Irish Protestant purchasers’ in 1698, resumed to the crown in 1700, and sold by the trustees of the forfeited estates in 1703.

Richard Le Fleming and his forces had joined with De Lacy and the Normans in the invasion of Ireland in 1169. He had made his way up to Meath, seized the castle on the Hill of Slane and the lands attached to it, and been made baron of Slane. By the year 1640, his decendant William Fleming, 14th baron of Slane, was in possession of large estates in Meath, and smaller estates in Louth, Monaghan, Cavan and Roscommon. His estates in Meath extended, but by no means continuously, from the Boyne at Slane to Drumconrath and Ardagh at the northern extremity of the county, and across the Boyne to the parishes of Fennor and Duleek and as far south as Galtrim and Culmullin.

Whatever their racial origins in Flanders, the Flemings were ranked with the ‘Old English’ in Ireland. Decendants of the original Anglo Norman settlers, usurpers of the land of the native Irish, they steadfastly maintained their loyalty to the crown, while joining forces with the Catholic Irish in rebellion in 1641.

For his part in the rebellion, Slane, along with the other great lords of the Pale, was attainted for high treason and his estates were forfeited and vested in the king. Subsequently, under the Cromwellian Act of Settlement of 1652, the mass of Irish Papists was given a general pardon but this did not apply to Slane. Slane had been a member of a committee of Irish lords who in February 1641 objected to the Irish parliament being treated as if it were subordinate to the parliament of England. In the summer of that year, with Lord Gormanstown and many others in Leinster, he had been involved in an abortive plan to raise an army, at the request of Charles I, to seize Dublin Castle, and to declare for the king against the English parliament.

In October, rebellion having broken out in Ulster and spread widely, Slane, with most of the lords of the pale, had approached the lords justices, and, professing their loyalty to the king, had asked to be provided with arms for their own defence, a request which had met with no meaningful response. As the rebels advanced from the north, the nobility and gentry had feared that an assault by government troops would result in the extirpation of Catholicism and themselves with it, and Slane, with other representatives of the Old English had joined with the Ulster Irish, and had arranged to appoint captains and raise troops, later declaring in a petition to the king their loyalty to him and their reasons for taking up arms in self defence.

So Slane had played a leading part in the rebellion and although he had died before the end of that year, in 1641, he had been outlawed posthumously and his lands declared forfeit. His son, Charles, 15th baron, had carried on fighting and is named as one of the four lords of the pale ( the others were Gormanstown, Trimleston and Netterville ) to be driven out at Trim by Sir Charles Coote in late April 1642. Thus it came about that William, Lord Slane, and his son Charles, for their part in the rebellion, were excepted from pardon by Cromwell. So Slane had played a leading part in the rebellion and although he had died before the end of that year, in 1641, he had been outlawed posthumously and his lands declared forfeit. His son, Charles, 15th baron, had carried on fighting and is named as one of the four lords of the pale ( the others were Gormanstown, Trimleston and Netterville ) to be driven out at Trim by Sir Charles Coote in late April 1642. Thus it came about that William, Lord Slane, and his son Charles, for their part in the rebellion, were excepted from pardon by Cromwell. Charles entered the service of Louis XIV with 10,000 men and lost his life in that service in Italy in 1661.

Charles’s brother, Randall, 16th baron, was restored to his estates, as were many other peers and large landowners, under the Act of Settlement and Distribution of Charles II’s reign, namely by decree dated 27th March 1663. Randall is to be remembered for the beautifully inscribed tomb which he erected in St. Erc’s Hermitage in the grounds of Slane Castle and on which he commemorates his two wives, Ellenor, daughter of Sir Richard Barnewall of Crickstown, and Penelope, daughter of Henry Moore, earl of Drogheda. Penelope was the mother of Christopher, 17th baron of Slane, who was seven years old when his father died in 1676.

Penelope’s mother, Alice, Countess Dowager of Drogheda, was Christopher’s guardian during his minority. In a petition which she presented to the king on his behalf, she declared ‘that his father Randall, late lord baron of Slane, was declared an innocent Papistand was restored to all the lands whereof he or his ancestors were seized on or before 23 October 1641, by decree dated 30 April 1663 … and prayed that as it appears by the said decree his father had always demeaned himself a loyal dutiful subject and faithful to the crown, his Majesty would, in consideration thereof and for the further preserving a family whose ancestors were always faithful subjects, be pleased to direct a patent to pass of all the lands so declared to his father’. whereof he or his ancestors were seized on or before 23 October 1641, by decree dated 30 April 1663 … and prayed that as it appears by the said decree his father had always demeaned himself a loyal dutiful subject and faithful to the crown, his Majesty would, in consideration thereof and for the further preserving a family whose ancestors were always faithful subjects, be pleased to direct a patent to pass of all the lands so declared to his father’. whereof he or his ancestors were seized on or before 23 October 1641, by decree dated 30 April 1663 … and prayed that as it appears by the said decree his father had always demeaned himself a loyal dutiful subject and faithful to the crown, his Majesty would, in consideration thereof and for the further preserving a family whose ancestors were always faithful subjects, be pleased to direct a patent to pass of all the lands so declared to his father’.

In this petition the lands are listed townland by townland to a total of 12,635 Irish acres, namely 11,228 acres in Meath, 205 acres in Louth, 1,002 in Cavan and 200 in Monaghan. These figures were evidently agreed when the lands were confirmed to Christopher by patent pf 20 March 1682.

In 1688 everything was forfeited again. Bereft of his lands, Christopher continued to support the Jacobite cause. He sat in James II’s parliament in 1689 and fought at the Boyne. Along with many of the Jacobite aristocracy, including Lord Bellew of Duleek ( who died of wounds ) he was taken prisioner at Aughrim. He was attainted on 16 April 1691 and followed James to France. By an act of parliament of 1708 he was restored to his peerage, but not to his estates, which had finally been disposed of by the trustees of the forfeited estates and interests in Ireland. Christopher died without male issue in 1726, and his only daughter died unmarried. So ended this Fleming line.

Out of the Irish estates forfeited in 1688, enormous grants of land were made to a number of foreigners who had contributed to the success of William of Orange. Amongst the major grantees was the Dutch general, Goddard, baron de Ginkel, who commanded the Williamite forces and who was created earl of Athlone. He was granted 26.480 acres of which 12,931 comprised the estates of Christopher Fleming, late baron of Slane.

This grant, made in 1693, was confirmed by an act of the Irish parliament in 1695, and was the only grant to be confirmed in this way. Nevertheless, it was set aside by the Act of Resumption five years later, by which the English parliament resumed all but a small fraction of the Irish forfeitures and vested them in trustees. Meanwhile, however, in June 1698 Ginkel had already disposed of the land, breaking the great estate for the first time and selling small parcels to seventeen persons for a total sum of £17,684.12s.9d. The Act of Resumption rendered these sales invalid and the lands were put up for sale on 3 April 1703 by auction to the best bidder; but there was little or no competition and they were in fact sold back to the seventeen who had purchased them from Ginkel.

The total of profitable acres forfeited in Co.Meath and sold by the trustees was 92,452, the largest acreage forfeited in any county but Cork, and Lord Slane lost more in Meath than anyone but the late King James and more in Cavan than any other owner.

It is in connection with the sales of the forfeited estates in 1703 that the name of Conyngham first appears with reference to Slane. Like most of the purchasers of these estates, the Conynghams were already established in Ireland before the forfeitures of 1688. They have been in Donegal since the reign of James I, when Alexander Conyngham arrived from Scotland. He was in 1611 the first Protestant minister to Enver and Killymardin the diocese of Raphoe, and he was appointed dean of Raphoe in 1631. He settled at Mount Charles, which estate he leased from John Murray, earl of Annandale, the owner of ‘a vast estate’ in Scotland. Conyngham subsequently acquired the Mount Charles property through his marriage to the earl’s grand-neice, Marian, daughter of John Murray of Broughton, in Scotland. By her he had twenty seven children, the second being Sir Albert Conyngham, Kt.

Sir Albert’s son, Henry, was the first of the family to acquire property in Meath, namely in the baronies of Slane, Upper and Lower. On 10th April 1703 Brigadier Henry Conyngham purchased 806 profitable acres in the townlands of Rochestown ( 220 acres ) Roestown ( 128 acres, with the tucking mill and the corn mill thereon ) Stackallan ( 198 acres ), Abelstown ( 113 acres ), Barnwelltown ( 40 acres ), Corballis ( 107 acres ) and all other lands in the tenure of John Blackley as tenant to said trustees. For these 806 acres Conyngham paid £1766 and a rent of £160. This lot came out of the estate of James II, the previous proprietors having been Richard Fleming, James Fleming, Robert Barnewall and Richard Barnewall.

This sale was registered on 18 June 1703. Five days later a further sale to Conyngham was registered, of 1,422 acres for £4,637.19s.3d. and a rent of £23.18s. 7½d. This lot was from ‘the estates of Lord Slane and the late King James’. This is a case where the estates of Lord Slane and the late King James are so intermixed that they are not readily differentiated, but I give the acreage purchased by Conyngham as follows: The manor, capital messuage ( i.e. the dwelling occupied by the proprietor ) and castle of Slane, The town and lands of Slane and Slane Hill, 991 Irish acres, Harlinstown 215, Mullaghdillon 180, Cashel 36, total 1422. This figure, added to the 10,032 acres of the other sixteen purchasers, approximately makes up the total of the very large acreage of Slane’s estates sold in Meath

In respect of Conyngham’s purchase of 806 acres for the net sum of £1,776, it is recorded that he paid one-third previous to the execution of the conveyance and obtained the usual credit for the remainder, but that he only paid a further £600.15s.9 ½d, leaving a balance of £577.16s.10 ¾d which ‘does not appear to have been ever paid in order to complete the said purchase’. Similarly, in respect of the purchase of 1,422 acres for the net sum of £4,637.19s.3d., it is recorded that Conyngham paid £1,545.19s 0 ½d. And later another one-third, leaving a sum which ‘appears to remain unpaid’.

Whatever he paid, brig. Conyngham had by his two purchases acquired 2,228 profitable Irish acres or 3,609 statute acres, just over half of what became the total Conyngham holding in Meath by the 1870s. The Meath lands are detailed in an enormously complicated settlement executed by Conyngham on 21 August 1704 for the benifitof his wife, Mary, lady shelburn, and their three sons and thre3e daughters. Mary was the daughter. Mary was the daughter of Sir John Williams, bart., of Minster, kent. (Minister gives the Marquis Conyngham his title of Baron Minster in the U.K. peerage, whence his seat in the House of Lords).

Of his sons, Albert is named as the eldest in the settlement and he is recorded as having died young. The second son, called Williams after his mother, Died without issue surviving. The third son, Henry, created Baron Conyngham in 1753, Died without issue. Of the Brigadier’s eldest daughter, Susanna, we know only the date of her baptism, and the second daughter, Margaret, only that she Died young. That left the third daughter, Mary, as heiress. She married Francis Burton, and t5hier son succeeded to his uncle’s title and estates, and to his name, and from his descends the presents Conynghwm line.

NOTE The above is extracted from a lengthier and more detailed article by the present writer which appeared under the title of ‘Fleming and Conyngham of Slane’ in Ríocht na Midhe, vol. VII, no.2, 1982-83, with precise details of the sources for the information given therein.

William Reynolds – The Banner Artist

William Reynolds was born in Dowth, Slane, Co.Meath on the 22nd September 1842. He painted all the Drogheda trade union banners which are in Millmount museum in Drogheda and thirty guild banners for the Holy Family Confraternity. He designed the Celtic cross, with sword intertwining a harp, over the grave of Col. Patrick Leonard. Col. Leonard was a Fenian who is buried in Monknewtown Cemetary, Slane parish.

William was also a classmate of John Boyle O’Reilly, a Fenian who was transported to Australia and later, on his escape, became a newspaper owner in America.

Brick and Stonelayers Banner (Side A)
240cm. wide x 278cm. high
Brick and Stonelayers Banner (Side B)
240cm. wide x 278cm. high
The Boyne Fishermen’s Banner
275cm wide x 217cm high
The Boyne Fishermen’s Banner
275cm wide x 217cm high

William Reynolds worked as an illustrator and wood-cut artist on the Dublin Star. When technology changed he turned to zinc etching and later contacted zinc poisoning which caused his death. He then lived in Oldbridge and was buried on Donore Hill, where a Celtic cross bears the inscription

“Pray for the soul of William Reynolds, Oldbridge, to whose memory this cross has been raised by his friends at home and abroad, who admired him for his many virtues, sterling patriotism and great and varied gifts and as an artist, who successfully illustrated the religious and national glories of his native land. Born 22nd September 1842 and died 30th December 1881.”

The cross has, on one side, a harp intertwined by shamrocks, on the other an artists palette with four brushes.

William Reynold’s Grave

He is buried adjoining an old church where King James is said to have spent the night before the Battle of the Boyne and where some Dominican priests were buried during penal times. The Dominicans of Drogheda had a friary in Donore and, when they were banished from Drogheda by the Williamites, took refuge here for several years. A brother of William Reynolds worked on the Coddington Oldbridge Estate.

This is an extracted from a book by Moira Corcoran and Peter Durnin entitled “The Drogheda Banners” 2001