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.
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.
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