Saturday, 27 September 2014

Heraldry at Kentstown (Somerville, Smith and Nolan)

Heraldry at Kentstown, Co Meath

This article was first published in Riocht Na Midhe in 2011

The heraldic heritage of County Meath is very much in evidence on buildings, in graveyards, in the ‘big’ houses and in churches throughout the county. The heraldry at Trim (Hickey 1988/9, 129-40) and that on Sir Thomas Cusack’s monument (Hickey 1971, 75-91) are two notable examples recorded in this Journal. St Mary’s Church of Ireland at Kentstown, Co Meath contains several stained-glass windows in memory of various members of the Somerville family and they display heraldry mainly associated with that family. This church illustrates many of the intricacies associated with the subject possibly much more than any other church or building in the county.

It was in the twelfth century that armour-clad knights began to use brightly coloured patterns and emblems on banner and shield as a means of identification in battle. These emblems were also displayed on the linen surcoat which was worn over the armour, and so came to be called cotearmours, or coats of arms. Later it became the custom for knights, especially those taking part in tournaments, to wear a three-dimensional crest modelled in wood or boiled leather, on top of the helmet, usually with a wreath or torse, made of twisted silken bands covering the joint between helm and crest. It is an all-too-frequent error to refer to the arms or shield device as the crest, which is in fact a distinct item. More often than not the arms and crest are quite dissimilar (Crotty 2009, 140-1).

Later on, heraldry took on a less practical use but it continued to be used by leading families to highlight their importance or their network of influential relationships in their local community. 

The heraldry at Kentstown is dominated by that of the Somerville family who were benefactors to the church in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The church dates from the first half of the fifteenth century (Hunt 1974, i, 207) and its history is chronicled in a local publication (ICA 1996, 23-5). The inscription on the tower notes that ‘Sir James Quaile Somerville, baronet built this steeple Anno Domini 1797’. There is so much of a ‘Somerville presence’ in the church that it was commonly remarked that the church was to the glory of the Somervilles rather than to God! Many heraldic features such as impaled coats of arms, quartered arms as well as inescutcheons of pretence are represented at Kentstown. The two versions of the Somerville arms serve to illustrate how a family’s arms evolve. The heraldry in the church associated with the Nolan, Plunkett, Smith and Toler families is also discussed. Many of the coats of arms described in Appendix 1 are illustrated throughout the article while the Somerville and Smith family pedigrees are given in Appendices 2 and 3 respectively.  


The heraldry associated with the Somerville family is displayed both on monuments and in stained glass at Kentstown. The heraldic details in the stained glass are generally replicated on the monuments. The heraldic colours are generally not indicated on the monuments so this article concentrates on the heraldry depicted in the stained-glass windows. One of the windows was erected to the memory of William Somerville, first Lord Athlumney who died in 1873 and the first mention of the windows in the vestry book (1876-1957) is from a meeting held in February 1881. It was resolved to insure the stained-glass windows and the organ for a sum of £400 through the RCB (Representative Church Body). Lady Athlumney, being represented by the chairman ‘was willing to pay the premium on the windows connected with her family on the condition that if destroyed she should have the same voice in deciding on the designs of their ones [windows] to replace them as if she were putting them in at her own expense’ (The Vestry Book for Kentstown, RCB Library).
The early background to the Somerville heraldry provides a context for that at Kentstown. The earliest 
arms of the Scottish Somerville family appeared on a seal appended to a grant, formerly in the Scots 
College in Paris, by William de Somerville, of the church of Carnwath to the see of Glasgow between 
1180 and 1189. The bearing was ‘a lion rampant’, which Riddell describes as an: 
Extremely old instance, perhaps un-paralleled, of an armorial ensign in Scotland. The lion rampant 
appears again in the first and fourth quarters of the shield of Sir John Somerville of Quathquahan and 
Cambusnethan (ob. 1513) … the second quarter bearing six stars and not nine stars as now, were at an 
early period the bearing of Baillie his mother’s surname (Campbell 1897, 153). 
Sir John’s father, John, second Lord Somerville, in 1455/6 married secondly Mariota, daughter of Sir 
William Baillie of Lamington (Lanarkshire). Campbell also notes that the three crosses crosslet fitchy 
(fitchée) in the third quarter may have reference to the crusilly shield which was adopted by the Lords 
Somerville instead of the lion rampant. 
The arms (figure 1) on a gravestone at Monea, Co Fermanagh and the arms (figure 2) in the pediment of 
Somerville House, Kentstown provide the interesting link between the Somervilles of Cambusnethan in 
Scotland and the Co Meath family. The gravestone at Monea is for Thomas Somerville of Drumadown, 
Co Fermanagh who was buried in 1669. Steele (1904, 76-7) notes the inscription on the stone as ‘here 
lieth the body of Thomas Somervell, gentleman who deceased the sixth day of April anno Dom 16..’. 
However he incorrectly describes the arms as those of Somerville impaling the arms of some other 
unnamed family. In fact the arms at Monea are quartered and carry a lion rampant in the first and third 
quarters, six mullets in the second quarter and three crosses in the fourth quarter.

Figure 1: Somerville arms at Monea, Co Fermanagh

Figure 2 Somerville and Warburton arms at Somerville House

The arms on Somerville House (figure 2) are similar, the lions are in the first and fourth quarters while the six mullets and three crosses are in the second and third quarters respectively. The arms of Warburton appear on an inescutcheon of pretence, in reference to the marriage in 1740 of Sir Quaile Somerville to Mary Warburton. Her father was George Warburton who died on 1 December 1730 and his gravestone is at Kentstown. An inescutcheon of pretence is a small shield superimposed at the centre on the main shield usually for the heiress wife of the gentleman. The motto on Somerville House reads ‘Fear God in Life’. The presence of the lions on these two monuments probably refers back to the Cambusnethan family as discussed by Campbell (1897, 153). James Somerville, father of Thomas Somerville of Drumadown claimed descent from the Cambusnethan family. Although there is a suggestion among the Irish family papers (GO Ms 182a p119-31) that Cambusnethan is in Ayrshire, there is some doubt about this as the old Scottish records give no such indication. Rather there is a branch of the family with estates at Cambusnethan in Lanarkshire (personal communication with Mr. W.B.R.B. Somerville). The pedigree in Appendix 2 indicates that the Kentstown family descends from Thomas Somerville of Drumadown.

The presence of the Somerville arms in the stained-glass windows at Kentstown represents various family members since Sir James Somerville was granted the baronetcy in 1748. All the shields associated with the family carry the baronet’s badge of the red hand. The window erected in memory of Sir James’s grandson, Sir James Quaile Somerville (third baronet) contains the arms shown in figures 3 and 4. It was ‘erected in memory of Sir James Quaile Somerville Bart who planted the avenue of limes & added the tower to this church. Died July 17th 1797 aged 68 years’. It also displays in decorative form the initials IQS and CS (presumably for I(J)ames Quaile and Catherine Somerville) and the arms for Somerville as described by Lodge (1859, 826). The  arms depicted in figure 3 are quartered where the first and fourth quarters contain six mullets and six crosses respectively while both remaining quarters each carry bear a lion rampant as described in Lodge (1859, 826). Quartered arms usually indicate descent from an heiress where the paternal arms are carried in the first and fourth quarters while those of the heiress are borne in the second and third quarters. The situation is different in this instance, where the lions represent the earlier Somerville coat of arms discussed above while the arms more commonly used by the family bear the mullets and crosses (Crisp 1904, 107) (Burke 1884, 948). The arms on the second panel (figure 4) carry the impaled arms of Sir James Quaile Somerville, third baronet and those of his wife, Catherine Crofton, daughter of Sir Marcus Lowther-Crofton and Catherine Crofton. The husband’s arms appear on the dexter side (to the viewer’s left) of an impaled shield while those of the wife appear on the sinister side (to the viewer’s right). Here the quartered arms of Somerville appear on the dexter side while those of Crofton are depicted on the sinister side.

Figure 3: Somerville arms at St Mary's Church, Kentstown

                                 Figure 4: The Somerville arms impaling those of Crofton

The window erected ‘in memory of Sir Marcus Somerville Bart M.A. who died July 11th 1831 and of Mary Anne his wife who died Septr 19th 1821’ comprises two panels and contains the arms shown in figures 5 and 6. Sir Marcus Somerville (fourth baronet) was son of Sir James Quaile Somerville. The tinctures of the arms (figure 5) match those given for Somerville under Lord Athlumney by Crisp (1904, 107). The arms in the second panel of the window (figure 6) are those of Somerville with an inescutcheon of pretence, showing the arms of Meredyth – a lion rampant collared and chained. William Meredyth Somerville son of Sir Marcus Somerville and Mary Anne Meredyth was created first Baron Athlumney in the Peerage of Ireland on 14 December 1863 and was created first Baron Meredyth in the Peerage of the United Kingdom on 3 May 1866. The window also carries the letters ‘A’ for Athlumney and ‘M’ for Meredyth. A baron’s coronet is also placed above each letter. It also bears the initials JRS on both panels probably for James Richard (who died on 5 April 1869) son of Sir Marcus Somerville.

Figure 5 Somerville Arms

                                      Figure 6: Somerville and Meredyth Arms

The window ‘erected to the memory of Lady Harriet Somerville who departed this life on the 3rd of Decr A.D. 1843 aged 33 years’ bears the Somerville arms (similar to those shown in figure 3) on one of its two panels. The presence of the initials WMS and MHS on the window are accounted for by William Meredyth Somerville and his wife, Maria Harriet Somerville, daughter of Henry Nathaniel Conyngham (1st Marquess Conyngham). The other panel on the window displays the Conyngham arms (figure 7) on a lozenge. The arms of an unmarried lady or widow are shown on a lozenge. However in practice the arms of the wife’s own family before her marriage are often portrayed on a lozenge as they are at Kentstown. The mottoes of the Somerville and Conyngham families are also on the window.

Figure 7: The Conyngham Arms

The east window could be described as a ‘rose window’ a generic term applied to a circular window that is divided into segments by stone mullions and tracery. The stained glass contains the double impalement of the Somerville arms along with those of Conyngham and Jones as shown in figure 8. A brass beneath the window notes the dedication of the window ‘to the beloved memory of William Meredyth Baron Athlumney and Baron Meredyth born June 13 1803 died Dec 7 1873. This window is erected by his widow and their children.’ The double impalement of arms represents William’s two marriages. The arms of his first wife, Lady Harriet Conyngham, appear on the dexter side (to the viewer’s left) while those of the second wife, Maria Georgina Jones, are carried on the sinister side (right to the viewer) and the arms of Lord Athlumney himself are shown in the centre. A coronet is above the shield and the Somerville motto is also included.

The Conyngham arms on the dexter side of the shield are similar to those illustrated in figure 7. The quartered arms for Somerville in the centre are detailed in Appendix 1 under ‘Athlumney’ where the first and fourth quarters carry the ‘modern’ Somerville arms (figure 5), the second quarter contains the arms of Warburton for Mary Warburton, great-grandmother of William and the third quarter bears the Meredyth arms for William’s mother, Mary Anne Meredyth. The Jones arms on the sinister side of the shield are also quartered. The first and fourth quarters contain the lions of the Jones arms (website 1) while the second and third quarters both carry the two lion’s heads of the Allen arms. These quartered arms are for Herbert George Jones (father of Maria Georgina); sergeant-at-law who died on 17 February 1866 aged 61. He was second son of Calvert Richard Jones of Heathfield Lodge in Glamorgan (Burke 1832, ii, 69). There were three men called Calvert Richard Jones, grandfather, father and son. The grandfather who died in 1781 inherited estates which were formerly the property of the Herbert family of Plas-newydd, Swansea, through his wife Elizabeth (née Allen) (website 2). The third Calvert Richard Jones (1802-77) became an accomplished photographer and also served as a vicar. In 1829 he became Vicar of Roath, Cardiff and Rector of Loughor, near Swansea (website 3). This places Herbert George as brother to the latter Calvert Richard Jones. The arms of Jones also contain a crescent shape, a mark of cadency that indicates a second son or descent from a second son. Here it may represent the fact that Herbert George was second son of Calvert Richard Jones. It is noted that the lions of the Jones arms on the window in question at Kentstown are collared and chained, an obvious mistake, confusing them for the collared and chained lion for Meredyth. In a similar manner the ermine from the arms of Jones also appears on the Meredyth arms in the third quarter. In effect the artist has represented the arms of Meredyth and Jones in the same way.

The crescent on the Meredyth quarter (figure 8) on the Somerville arms indicates descent from a second son. Mary Anne Meredyth was daughter of Sir Richard Gorges-Meredyth and Mary Meredyth. Richard assumed the additional surname of Meredyth on 15 April 1775. Mary was daughter of Arthur Francis Meredyth of Dollardstown, Co Meath who was son of Lieutenant Thomas Meredyth (1665-1719) who in turn was second son of Arthur Meredyth (1639-1732) of Dollardstown. Arthur Meredyth was second son of Sir Thomas Meredyth of Dollardstown who was second son of Bishop Richard Meredyth of Leighlin and Ferns. The crescent also appears on the arms confirmed to Sir John Meredyth of Carlanstown, Co Meath who was a great-grandson of Charles, eldest son of Sir Thomas Meredyth. He was created baronet on 26 July 1795 (GO MS 113, p96). The inscription on the bishop’s monument at St Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin reads:

Here lyeth ye body of Richard Meredyth D.D. Lord Bishop of Leighlin & Ferns and Dean of this Cathedral of St Patricks who dyed August the 3d A.D. 1597. In memory of whom & Sever (sic.) all of his family who lye here interred. This monument is erected by Richard Meredyth of Shrowland in ye county of Kildare Esq: Charles Meredyth of Newtown, Dean of Ardfert and Arthur Francis Meredyth Esq: both in ye county of Meath being the ye remaining branches of his family. 1734.

An inscription from 1853 on the monument notes its renovation by both Sir William Meredyth Somerville and his cousin Sir Henry Meredyth descendants of the bishop. A later inscription on the monument reads ‘Renovated by William Meredyth Baron Athlumney in the Peerage of Ireland, Baron Meredyth in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, and Sir Henry Meredyth Baronet decendants (sic.) of the within named Prelate A.D. 1866’. It is obvious that this inscription was added after William Somerville became Baron Meredyth in May 1866. He was the first descendant of the bishop to be created a baron.

The monument at St Patrick’s also includes the Meredyth arms that contain the collared and chained lion. It is interesting to note that these were not the arms of the bishop. The arms from the funeral entries (GO Ms 64, p15 & GO Ms 65, p106) for Bishop Richard Meredyth contain a chevron between three goats’ heads. The bishop is descended on the direct male line (13 generations later) from Ithel Velyn Ap Llywelyn (born about 1083) and the arms of the bishop are thought to be derived from those arms (Cooke 1857, 18) attributed to his illustrious ancestor. The bishop’s sons Sir Thomas and Sir Robert who were knighted in 1630 and 1635 (website 4) respectively bore a different coat of arms to those their father. Their arms containing the collared and chained lion are recorded on the funeral entry of Charles Meredyth (GO Ms 67, p225) and on that of Sir Robert Meredyth (GO Ms 67, p147). The label (a mark of cadency indicating an eldest son) is also included on the arms of Charles, eldest son of Sir Thomas.

Figure 8: {Conyngham}, {Somerville, Warburton, Meredyth}, {Jones, Allen}

The east window at Kentstown also bears the initials of FEFS, GALS, CLS and MBS for the four daughters of William and Maria Georgina namely Florence Emily Frances, Georgina Alice Lizzie, Cecilia Louisa and Mary Anne Blanche Somerville. It also bears the initials ‘A’ and G.A. for Athlumney and Georgina (Baroness) Athlumney respectively. Georgina erected a monument in the church to the memory of her parents, Herbert George Jones and Maria Alicia (who died 21 November 1865). It also bears the Jones crest and motto. A window to the left of the east window comprises two panels. One of the panels contains the arms of Plunkett while the second panel carries the double impalement of arms (figure 9) representing Lord Athlumney’s two marriages. The arms along with a baron’s coronet, the family crest, supporters and motto (Crisp 1904, 107) are all displayed on this window as shown in figure 9. The difference between the coronets in figures 8 and 9 is noted, the coronet shown in figure 9 is that of a baron while artistic licence seems to have taken in the depiction the coronet in figure 8. The grant of supporters to the arms of Rt Hon William Meredyth Somerville dates from 30 December 1863 (GO Ms 109, 35-6). The lions of the Jones arms are not collared and chained on this window.

The monuments in the church to various members of the Somerville family contain heraldry similar to that displayed in stained glass. The monument to Lady Harriet Conyngham contains an impaled shield. The dexter side carries the quartered Somerville arms while the sinister side depicts the quartered arms for Conyngham and Burton as shown in figure 10. These latter arms are accounted for through Harriet’s great-grandparents, Francis Burton and Mary Conyngham. Their son Francis Pierpoint (Harriet’s grandfather) became second Baron Conyngham on the death of his uncle Henry Conyngham in 1781 (Lodge 1789, 186-8) when he assumed the Conyngham name.

Figure 9: Full Achievement of Arms

{Conyngham}, {Somerville, Warburton, Meredyth}, {Jones, Allen}

The monument to Margery, Baroness Athlumney, younger daughter of Henry Boan and widow of James, second Lord Athlumney, contains the arms (figure 11) of Somerville impaled with another coat that appears to be for Boan. The General Armory does not give the arms for Boan but it is likely that it is derived from the ancient family of Bohun whose arms contain a bend between two cotises (narrow stripes) and six lions (Burke 1884, 960). The supporters and baron’s coronet are also present. Margery married Lord Athlumney in July 1919. He died on 8 January 1929 at Kentstown without children and on his death his baronies became extinct while the baronetcy became dormant. Margery died in 1946. The estate subsequently went to Quentin Agnew (nephew of Margery). In 1950 on attaining the age of 21, he adopted the name and arms of Somerville and legally changed his name to Quentin Agnew-Somerville under the terms of his uncle’s will. He now lives in the Isle of Man and one of his daughters is the well-known actress, Geraldine Somerville who has played Lily Potter in all six Potter movies.

Figure 10: Somerville and Conyngham & Burton arms

Figure 11: Somerville and Boan arms

 A set of porcelain, containing the Somerville arms, owned by Mrs Imelda Marcos came up for sale.


The arms of Plunkett

 The oldest monument in the church at Kentstown is a fourteenth century slab depicting a knight’s effigy. The translation of the Latin inscription on the slab is given by Hunt (1974, i, 206-7) as: ‘Here lies Thomas de Tuite Knight, formerly once Lord of Kentstown, who died on the second day of June 1363’. Hunt notes that although the church contains earlier elements, it seems to date from the first half of the fifteenth century when it was founded by Christopher Plunkett. He was created a baron (Dunsany) by writ in 1439 (17th Henry VI), (ICA 1996, 23-5). The arms (figure 12) of Lord Dunsany are depicted on a panel of the stained-glass window to the left of the east window. The Plunkett arms, crest, supporters and motto (Burke 1884, 809) are all displayed on the window including the coronet of a baron for Lord Dunsany. A crescent shape is also present on this shield as the above Christopher was second son of Christopher Plunkett who inherited the lordship of Killeen through his wife, Joan, daughter and sole heir of Sir Lucas Cusack. The Plunkett family continued to be associated with the church at Kentstown until the nineteenth century. The petition of Randal Plunkett, thirteenth Lord Dunsany in 1816 for the advowson (patronage) of the churches of Kentstown, Oldcastle and Kilbride outlines the family’s links with these churches from the reign of Charles I (1625-49) to that of George III (1760-1820). The details of this particular case (in ecclesiastical law) go back to Lord Dunsany’s great-grandfather, Patrick, ninth Lord Dunsany who was noted as ‘an Irish papist’ before and after 23 February 1641. The manors of Kentstown, Oldcastle, Castlecor and Crossdrum (all in Co Meath) along with the advowsons of the respective churches, were seized and sequestered to the use of King Charles I. Patrick’s grandson, Randal, eleventh Lord Dunsany adhered to the declining fortunes of James II and was outlawed in 1691 but he was included in the terms of Treaty of Limerick, when his estates were restored. He neglected to re-establish himself in the privileges of the peerage. His son, Edward, twelfth Lord Dunsany conformed on 24 August 1735 to the Protestant religion but Edward died on 26 June 1781 seized of the advowson of the above churches. Following the petition of 6 February 1816, the advowsons of the churches were vested in Randall, thirteenth Lord Dunsany (Erck 1830, 279).


Figure 12: Plunkett Arms

Figure 13: Nolan and Boone Arms


The Nolan and Toler families were connected with Kentstown through family members who ministered there as clergymen. The Smyth family resided at Besborough House (Mullafin) in the parish. One of the windows is dedicated to Revd Frederick Nolan and a brass nearby bears the following inscription:

In memory of Frederick Nolan LLD FRS and for 42 years vicar of Prittlewell in the county of Essex England descended from the ancient family in this country and its last surviving head endued with intellect of the highest order adorned with learning of rarely equalled extent and distinguished by virtue which could adorn the Christian Minister, the husband and the friend, he closed a long and valued life in his 85th year at Geraldstown House in this county Sept 16th 1864. His remains are interred in the family vault at Navan. This memorial is erected by his widow near the spot where he performed his last ministerial office and in the church where for the last ten years of his life he consecrated his Sabbaths to the worship of Almighty God.

There is also a monument to him and his wife at St Mary’s Church of Ireland, Navan. It reads: ‘Sacred to the memory of Angelina, widow of the above Revd Frederick Nolan, LLD FRS, born 22nd October 1802, died 2nd August 1890’.

The first of the two panels on the Nolan window at Kentstown bears the arms, supporters, crest and motto as shown in figure 13. The Nolan arms (Burke 1884, 736) are on the dexter side while the arms of Boone are on the sinister side. The maiden name of Revd Nolan’s wife, Angelina, has been confirmed through the records of the Scratton family (website 5) of Prittlewell. A letter (D/DSc/F21) from David Robert Scratton to his aunt Angelina Nolan is dated 28 March 1889. The marriage certificate (D/DSc/F29) of John Bayntun Scratton (father of David) indicates his marriage to Harriet Boone of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Middlesex on 20 February 1813. The Boone arms as depicted at Kentstown are listed in the General Armory (Burke 1884, 98) under the names of Bone or Boun both variants of the name Boone. The motto is in an unusual script that has not been deciphered. It is likely to be associated with Nolan’s biblical work. The Bible is also depicted in the stained glass. His major work of 1815 was entitled 'An Inquiry into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate or Received Text of the New Testament'. The second panel on the Nolan window depicts the family arms, supporters and motto as in the previous panel, the helmet carries a fleur-de-lis as crest rather than the demi-lion in the first panel.

The monument to Revd John Toler who died on 21 November 1831 bears the crest of that family a fleur-de-lis (Fairbarn 1986, 354) along with the motto ‘right can never die’. Revd John Toler who in 1784 entered T.C.D. became Rector of Mourne Abbey in 1795 and subsequently served as Rector in the parishes of Slane and Kentstown. He married Frances Metge on 25 November 1802 (website 6), (website 7, Maunsell 1903, 122). Frances was daughter of Peter Metge (Baron of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland) of Athlumney, Co. Meath by his second wife Anne Archdeacon (website 7, Maunsell 1903, 122). Toler was a first cousin of his namesake John Toler who was advanced as Earl of Norbury in 1827. One of Revd Toler’s sons, Peter was chaplain to the first earl. Peter Metge’s first wife was Sophia Crofton whose sister Catherine Crofton was wife to Sir James Quaile Somerville.

Figure 14: Smith and likely Wallace arms at Kentstown

Arms at Annesbrook House, likely for Wallace/

The final family of interest at Kentstown is that of Smith. The window dedicated to Emily Smith bears her initials ‘E.S.’ and the inscription reads ‘to the beloved and ever dear memory of Emily Smith late of Besborough in this parish who departed this life in the faith of our most blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. April 13 1864’. Both panels of the window each display the arms of Smith. In one case these appear alone while on the other (figure 14) they are quartered with a second coat: - a silver lion rampant surrounded by eight golden mullets on a red field within a border composed of silver and blue sections. Where it not for the mullets these would be the well known arms of Wallace. It is possible that they represent a differenced version of this coat but no marriage to a Wallace heiress, which would suggest the quartering, has been found. This coat can also be seen on a lozenge in a window at Annesbrook House, Duleek, Co Meath (figure 15).

Henry Smith of Beabeg, Co Meath married secondly in 1809 Elizabeth Radcliffe of Tinnakilly, Co Wicklow. They had fifteen children including Emily Smith (1823-64). Annesbrook House was purchased by Henry Smith after 1810 for Stephen Henry, the eldest son from the second marriage. Mrs. Emily Cock in her family papers dating from 1910-20, now at Piperstown, Co Louth notes that her grandmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Smith (née Radcliffe) bought the lands at Besborough during the lifetime of her husband, Henry. ‘He took the greatest of interest in the planning building of the house, which was built entirely with my grandmother’s money so she was able to leave it to whomsoever she chose … which she did’ (Cock, page 106). After her husband’s death in 1857, Mrs. Smith retired to Besborough House and three of her children lived with her, namely Emily, Matilda and Kynaston. Most of the family members including Emily are buried at Duleek and their memorials at Duleek are recorded in this Journal (O’Boyle 2002, 96-9).

It does not appear likely that the unidentified Wallace-like quartering stands for Radcliffe. No special confirmation of arms to the Tinnakilly Radcliffe family is recorded in The General Armory or at the Genealogical Office, Dublin. Elizabeth Radcliffe’s mother was Catherine Cox so both the Radcliffe and Cox pedigrees have been examined for a likely match but none has emerged. The marriages of Henry Smith’s ancestors going back to early 1700s are listed in Appendix 3 and none of these family arms resemble those at Kentstown or Annesbrook. Emily Smith Cock in her notes mentions that she could go back no further than that outlined in the pedigree (Appendix 3). The longer established Smith family home at Beabeg (Co Meath) near Drogheda contains no heraldry nor do two other prominent Smith houses in Co Louth, namely Greenhills (Drogheda) and Piperstown. It is then natural to examine the arms of families who were married to Emily’s brothers and sisters.

Stephen Smith, who inherited Annesbrook, married twice. The arms in question do not match those of his wives both of which formerly appeared on the window in Duleek church. Stephen died in 1890 and it is reasonable to assume the stained glass had been installed by then. Besborough House was inherited by Stephen’s brother, William. The inscription on his gravestone outside the church at Kentstown reads ‘Sacred to the memory of William T. Smith of Besborough (Late Capt H.M. 22nd Regt) sixth son of the late Henry J. Smith of Annesbrook Esqr J.P., D.L. Born 15th Jany 1816 died 15th March 1884. Also his dearly beloved wife Kate Auber Smith who died 24th Jany 1909.’

Of the marriages of Emily’s brothers and sisters, the only one which might throw light on the identity of the arms is that of Catherine to Sir Robert Wallace K.C.B., K.C.S.I. on 16 August 1843 at Bath. He was in the Bombay Staff Corps and first commissioner of Rawulpindi. Catherine was named after her maternal grandmother Catherine Cox, daughter of the Rev Sir Michael Cox from where it appears the family wealth came. Papworth (1874, 119) notes the arms of Wallace as ‘gules a lion rampant argent a bordure wavy of the second charged with eight mullets of the first’. The General Armory (Burke 1884, 1067) gives the arms for Wallace as ‘Gules a lion rampant argent within a bordure compony of the second and azure’. The arms of interest both at Annesbrook and Kentstown could be blazoned as ‘Gules a lion rampant argent within an orle of mullets or all within a bordure compony of the second and azure’. These arms appear to be a combination or variation of the previous two. The window at Annesbrook may have been erected to commemorate the marriage of Catherine Smith the eldest surviving daughter of the house (Annesbrook) to Sir Robert Wallace.

Appendix One: Coats of Arms

All the coats of arms (unless otherwise indicated) are taken from the General Armory where they are listed in alphabetical order.

Heraldic terms: argent = silver, azure = blue, gules = red, or = gold, sable = black, ermine is a type of animal fur, dexter = right (left as viewed by an observer) and sinister = left (right as viewed). Some of the other heraldic terms are technical and the photographs serve as a pictorial illustration.

Allen               Per chevron gules and ermine, in chief two lions’ heads erased or.


Arms: Quarterly: 1st and 4th, Azure, three mullets or, between seven cross-crosslets fitchy, three and one and two and one, argent for Somerville; 2nd, Argent, a chevron sable between three Cornish choughs proper for Warburton; 3rd, Argent, a lion rampant sable, gorged with a collar and chain or for Meredyth.

Crest:   A demi-lion rampant gules, charged on the shoulder with a cross-crosslet fitchy, and two mullets argent.


Dexter: A greyhound proper, collared gules, and charged on the shoulder with a mullet and two cross-crosslets fitchy sable; Sinister: A lion rampant sable collared and chained or, charged on the shoulder with a cross-crosslet fitchy and two mullets argent (Crisp 1904, 107)..

Motto: Crains Dieu tant que tu viveras (Fear God as long as thou shalt live).

Baillie              Azure nine stars three, three, two, one argent.

Boan               (Bohun or Boun) Azure on a bend argent cottised or, between six lions rampant or, three escallops gules.

Boone (Bone or Boun) Argent on a bend azure three fleurs-de-lis or.

Burton            Purple a cross engrailed or between four roses argent barbed vert.

Conyngham   Argent a shake fork between three mullets sable.

                        Motto: Over fork over.

Cox                 (Dunmanway, Baronet) Or three bars azure on a canton gules a lion’s head erased argent.

Crofton          Per pale indented or and azure a lion passant guardant counter changed.

Ithel Velyn     (Ithel Velyn Ap Llywelyn) Gules, on a chevron between three goats' heads erased or, three trefoils slipped vert, for Iorwerth ap Grono, derived from Ithel Velyn of Yale (Cooke 1857, 18).

Ithel Velyn     Sable a chevron between three goats heads erased or (Burke 1884, 532).

Jones               Ermine, a lion rampant, sable (website 1). Crest: A lions head couped. Motto: ‘Bene volens’ (‘Wishing well’).

Meredyth       Argent a lion rampant sable collared and chained or.

Crest:   A demi-lion rampant collared and chained as in the arms.

Motto: Fiat Dei voluntas (Gods will be done).

Meredyth       (Sir John, Baronet of Carlandstown (sic.)) Same arms and crest with a crescent for difference.

Meredyth       (Bishop Richard Meredyth) Gules on a chevron sable between three goats' heads erased or as many trefoils of the last (GO Ms 65).


Arms: Azure on a bend between two fleurs-de-lis or, a lion passant guardant gules holding in the dexter forepaw a fleur-de-lis of the first.

Crest:   A demi-lion rampant gules holding a fleur-de-lis or.

Plunkett          (Lord Dunsany)

Arms:  Sable a bend argent in the sinister point a tower triple-towered of the last.

Crest: A horse passant argent.


Dexter: A Pegasus per fesse or and argent;

Sinister: An antelope argent collared, chained, armed and hoofed or. 

Motto: Festina lente (Hasten slowly).

Radcliffe        Argent two bendlets engrailed sable.

Smith:             Argent on a bend two bulls erased azure armed or, three lozenges or. Crest: A demi-bull salient azure and unglued or.

Somerville      Argent three mullets gules within an orle of six cross crosslets fitchy sable.

Somerville      (Baron Athlumney and Meredyth) Same arms quartering Warburton and Meredyth.

Crest:   A demi-lion rampant sable charged on the shoulder with a cross crosslet fitchy and two mullets argent.


Dexter: A greyhound proper collared gules and charged on the shoulder with a mullet and two crosses crosslets fitchy sable; Sinister: A lion rampant sable collared and chained or, charged on the shoulder with a cross crosslet fitchy and two mullets argent.

Motto: Crains Dieu tant que tu viverans (Crisp 1904, 107).


Quarterly, 1st, six mullets, three, two and one; 2nd and 3rd, a lion rampant; 4th six cross-crosslets, three, two and one (Lodge 1859, 826).

Wallace           Gules a lion rampant argent within a bordure compony of the second and azure.

Wallace           Gules a lion rampant argent a bordure wavy of the second charged with eight mullets of the first (Papworth 1961, 119).

Warburton     Argent a chevron between three cormorants sable.

Appendix Two: Somerville Pedigree

James Somerville married Elizabeth Hamilton (who died on 7 June 1666), daughter of Thomas Hamilton of Brimhill, Lanarkshire. James Somerville lived at Tullykelter Castle, Co Fermanagh and died in 1642. James claimed descent from a Cambusnethan family. Among other children two sons were James and Thomas.

James Somerville of Tullykelter Castle married in 1670 Anna Katharina (born in 1631), daughter of Lars Grubbe Steynfelt. James was her fourth husband. James’s brother was:

Thomas Somerville of Dromadown, Co Fermanagh who married Jean Warnock, daughter of James Warnock of Enniskillen. Thomas died on 6 April 1669 and is buried at Monea, Co Fermanagh and their son:

Thomas Somerville born 1667-8 was alderman of Dublin and he died on 23 July 1718.  He married Catherine King (who died 3 February 1725), daughter of James King of Corrard, Co Fermanagh. Their son was:

Sir James Somerville, 1st Bt. He married Elizabeth Quaile (who died 10 November 1725), daughter of William Quaile on 2 February 1713. He died on 16 August 1748 and he was M.P. for Dublin from 1720 until his death. He held the office of Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1736. He was created 1st Baronet on 14 June 1748 and he was succeeded by their son:

 Sir Quaile Somerville, 2nd Bt. of Brownstown, Co Meath, was baptised on 14 March 1714. He married on 19 February 1740 firstly Mary Warburton (who died in 1748) daughter of George Warburton. He married secondly Sarah Towers, daughter of Thomas Towers of Archerstown, Co Meath on 11 April 1755. He died on 5 December 1772 and was succeeded by his son James by his first wife:

James Quaile Somerville, 3rd Bt. of Somerville, Co Meath was born about 1741/2 and he married Catherine Crofton, daughter of Sir Marcus Lowther-Crofton 1st Baronet of Moate Park, Co Westmeath. She was born in 1752/3 and died 13 July 1775; he died on 19 July 1797 and was succeeded by their son:

Sir Marcus Somerville, 4th Bt. of Somerville and Dollardstown, Co Meath and also of St Catherine’s Grove, Co Dublin, he was born about 1772 and married firstly on 11 August 1801 Mary Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Gorges-Meredyth and Mary Meredyth. Mary Anne died on 19 September 1821. He married secondly Elizabeth Geale, daughter of Piers Geale of Clonsilla on 7 April 1825. He died on 11 July 1831 and was M.P. between 1800 and 1831. He was succeeded by his son from the first marriage:

Sir William Meredyth Somerville, 1st Baron Athlumney (5th Baronet) and 1st Baron Meredyth was born 13 June 1803. He married, firstly, Lady Maria Harriet Conyngham, daughter of Sir Henry Conyngham, 1st Marquess Conyngham and Elizabeth Denison on 22 December 1832, she died leaving one daughter. He married secondly, Maria Georgina Elizabeth Jones, daughter of Herbert George and Maria Alicia Leeds on 16 October 1860. He died on 7 December 1873 and is buried at Kentstown. He was M.P. (Liberal) for Drogheda between 1837 and 1852. He held the office of Under-Secretary of the Home Department between 1846 and 1847. He held the office of Chief Secretary for Ireland between 1847 and 1852. He was invested as a Privy Counsellor (P.C.) on 22 July 1847. He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) (Liberal) for Canterbury between 1854 and 1865. William’s son by his second wife was:

Sir James Herbert Gustavus Meredyth Somerville, 2nd Baron Athlumney and 2nd Baron Meredyth born 23 March 1865. He married Margery Boan, daughter of Henry Boan, on 30 July 1919 and died 8 January 1929 at Somerville without children. On his death, his baronies became extinct while his baronetcy became dormant.

Appendix Three: Smith Pedigree



Journal of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead, Ireland abbreviated to JAPMDI.

Burke, J. 1832                         A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire, London. Available as a GOOGLE Book.

Burke, B. 1884                        General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, London.

Campbell, G.W. 1897             ‘The family of Somerville, and the Port of the Chase’, The Genealogist, Vol XIII, part 3, 152-57.

Cooke, W.B. 1857                  The seize quartiers of the family of Bryan Cooke Esq of Owston, Hafod-y-Wern and Gavysaney, London. Available as a GOOGLE Book

Crisp, F.A. 1904                     Visitation of Ireland, Vol 4, London. Visitation of Ireland was edited by Frederick Arthur Crisp in six volumes 1897-1918 and reprinted in 1973 in Baltimore.

Crotty, G. 2009                       ‘A Guide to the heraldry of the Civic Families of Kilkenny in Elizabethan and early Stuart times’, Kilkenny Through the Centuries, Kilkenny, 140-217, Ed. By John Bradley and Michael O’Dwyer.

Erck, J.C. 1830                       Irish Ecclesiastical Register, Dublin.

Fairbairn, J. 1986                    Fairbairn’s Crests of the Families of Great Britain & Ireland, Poole.

Fitzgerald, W. 1911                ‘Kentstown Churchyard’, JAPMDI, viii, 2, 608-10.

Hickey, E. 1971                      ‘Monument to Sir Thomas Cusack’, Ríocht na Mídhe, iv, 5, 75-91.

Hickey, E. 1988/9                   ‘Royal Heraldry and some Irish Arms at Trim, County Meath’, Ríocht na Mídhe, viii, 2, 129-40.

Hunt, J. 1974                          Irish Medieval Figure Sculpture 1200-1600, 2 vols, Dublin.

I.C.A. 1996                             Kentstown in Bygone days, Kentstown.

Lodge, E. 1859                       The Genealogy of the existing British Peerage and Baronetage, London. Available as a GOOGLE Book.

Lodge, J. 1789                        The Peerage of Ireland, vii, Dublin. (revised by Mervyn Archdall). Available as a GOOGLE Book.

O’Boyle, E. 2002                    ‘Inscriptions from the wall plaques which were in St. Kienan’s Church of Ireland in Duleek’, Ríocht na Mídhe, xiii, 96-9.

Papworth, J.W. 1874              Papworth’s Ordinary of British Armorials, London.

Steele, W.B. 1904                   Monea Churchyard, Parish of Devenish, JAPMDI, vi, 1, 76-7.



Reference for Jones coat of arms from Annals & Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales, by T. Nicolas, published in 1872.


West Glamorgan Archive Service: Calvert Richard Jones Estate Papers.


            Reference for Revd Calvert Richard Jones.


A well researched and referenced website on Bishop Richard Meredyth that quotes from: W. A. Shaw, The Knights of England: a Complete Record of all the orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland and Ireland, London, 1906.


Essex Record Office: Estate and Family Records, The Scratton family of Prittlewell and Ogwell Devon.


            Website of The Church of Latter Day Saints (useful for genealogical searches).


(History of Maunsell or Mansel and of Crayford, Gabbett, Knoyle, Persse, Toler, Waller, Warren, White, Winthrop and Mansell of Guernsey complied by Robert George Maunsell, published in 1903 in Cork.)

All the websites were accessed on 25 June 2010.


National Library of Ireland, Dublin:

The Somerville Pedigree (GO Ms 182a p119-31).

Grant of supporters to the arms of William M. Somerville (GO Ms 109 p35-6).

The Meredyth Pedigree (GO MS 113, p96).

Funeral Entries for Bishop Richard Meredyth (GO Ms 64 p15), (GO Ms 65 p 106).

Funeral Entry for Sir Robert Meredyth (GO Ms 67 p147).

Funeral Entry for Charles Meredyth (GO Ms 67 p225).

The Vestry Book for Kentstown (P0441.05/2 1876-1957) at Representative Church Body (RCB) Library, Dublin.

Somerville Family Papers (Mr. William Somerville, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow).

Smith Family Papers (compiled by Mrs. Emily Smith Cock now with Mr. Brian Smith, Piperstown, Co Louth).


My thanks to Mr. William B.R.B. Somerville for his help, he read a draft version and provided copies of family notes pertaining to aspects of the Somerville heraldry. He has also noted a few corrections to the original pedigree (GO Ms 182a p119-31) based on further and more recent research undertaken by the family. Thanks to Gerard Crotty for much help and advice on the heraldry at Kentstown. His permission to include a paragraph from his recent publication is also acknowledged. Brian Smith of Piperstown kindly allowed access to the Smith family notes. Keith Winters helped with heraldry associated with the Meredyth family. I would also like to thank Mrs. Catherine Sweetman of Annesbrook House, Geoffrey Clarke (for access to Kentstown Church), Ms Jean Stevenson, Noel Ross, John McCullen and the editor, Séamus MacGabhann. Finally I would like to acknowledge the support and interest of the late Mrs. Jennifer McGrath of Somerville House.

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