THE CLARKES OF GRAIGUENOE PARK
Graiguenoe Park, near Holy Cross in County Tipperary, was built in 1833 by Charles Clarke
(1803-1879) on land bought from the Grenes of Tipperary – ancestors of Nicholas Grene who
is married to Eleanor Lenox Conyngham (see OM p. 44). A wing was added to the house by
his grandson Charles Neville Clarke in 1903. In 1923 Graiguenoe Park was burnt down by
insurgents and was not rebuilt.
The original house had six windows to the front and four windows to the side and three
floors – ground floor, first floor and basement, but as the yard was at a lower level than the
front approach, the basement was in fact the ‘ground floor’ at the back. The 1903 wing was an
extension to the original house at ground floor level and had four windows. Because of the
slope of the hill leading to the yard, the basement windows were ‘semi-basement’ in the front
and ‘ground floor’ at the back. The wing had a large loft space with skylights in a sloping
In addition to the twelve best bedrooms and four servant rooms, there were five reception
rooms. These were a drawing room, dining room, smoking room, library and ‘the big room’,
the largest and most used of the sitting rooms that stretched right across the new wing. Later
the ground floor bedroom was turned into a billiard room in which there was a half-size
The seventeen staff consisted of a butler, footman and pantry boy, cook, kitchen maid and
scullery maid, three housemaids, a ladies maid, chauffeur, coachman, groom, yardboy and
There was no electric light and no mains water or drainage. Lighting was by oil lamps and
candles, and the water supply was rainwater supplemented in dry periods by water brought
by tank cart from the River Suir a mile away. Piped water from the river was laid on in 1915.
There was a special donkey-drawn tank cart for drinking water that came from a spring near
Water was pumped by the yardboy from the underground storage tank which collected
rainwater from all the roofs into an overhead tank from where it dropped by gravity to the
taps in the basement, where the kitchen, scullery and pantry were located, and the ground
floor. From there, water was brought in cans to the first floor where each bedroom had its
own washstand and jug, basin and slop-bucket. There was a sink on the first floor for
emptying the slops. One had one’s bath in front of the fire in one’s bedroom. Ladies and
children used a hip bath in which one sat leaning back against its high back, while the men
used a larger, flat, low-rimmed bath in which one could squat. It was a great day when the
young boy was promoted to the man’s bath.
Sir John Clarke RN
Miss Anderson (his third wife)
(died in Madras 1776)
Revd Marshal Clarke
Charles (their 5th son)
Sarah Otway Bland
Mary Elizabeth Pearson
John Vernon Carlton
= Rachael Wadeson
= Joan Meyrick
= Ann Boileau
= Robert Randolph
Lineage of Charles Clarke
Charles Clarke was the 5th son of the Revd Marshal Clarke (1755-1833) who in 1783 had
married his boss’s daughter. He was then the 28 year old Usher to the Diocesan School in
Cashel, County Tipperary, and his bride, Elizabeth, the 15 year old daughter of the
headmaster, the Revd Patrick Hare.
The Hares came from Kilinaboy, County Clare. Patrick Hare’s grandfather, was Turloch
O’Hehir, chief of a Catholic sept of the O’Briens who was banished to France after the Battle
of the Boyne. Patrick’s father became a Protestant, changed his name to Hare, and was
ordained a clergyman of the Protestant Church of Ireland. Patrick Hare (1735-1816) married
Mary Crozier from Fermanagh in 1767 and Elizabeth was born the following year; the first of
ten children, four boys and six girls. Patrick started the Diocesan School in Cashel in 1768
when he was curate at Clonoulty, a village six miles north west of Cashel and about four
miles from Holy Cross. He then became Vicar of Athassell (Golden), Archdeacon of Cashel
and finally, Vicar General. He was also a J.P. and bought the farm ‘Deer Park’ a mile out of
Cashel on the Tipperary road.
The Revd Marshal Clarke came originally from Donegal and was educated at Dr Lamy’s
School, Raphoe, before going to Trinity College Dublin at the age of nineteen as sizar. He
took his degree in 1779, was ordained deacon in 1781 in Cloyne and was appointed curate of
Relickmurry. He was ordained priest in 1782 in the Chapel Royal, Christchurch Cathedral by
the Bishop of Raphoe. While he was at the Diocesan School he also held the appointment,
from 1784, of curate of Knockgrafton, a village six miles to the south.
Marshal’s father is thought to have been Sir John Clarke RN who died in Madras in 1776. Sir
John married three times and Marshal was the youngest son of his third wife, a Miss
Anderson. While Marshal was at Trinity College Dublin he came in for his share of landed
property and gave it to his half brother Samuel, second son of Sir John’s second wife –
perhaps he sold it to pay his university fees.
It is thought that the Clarkes originally came over from England – perhaps from Thame
where, according to ‘family tradition’, some Clarke ‘ancestors’ are buried. These are Sir John
Clerke who had fought at the battle of the Spurs in 1513 and died in 1539, and his great-great
grandson Sir John Clerke who died in 1677. In between, the family lived at Hitcham, near
Taplow, where three generations of them are buried and the name is spelt ‘Clarke’. The
second Sir John Clerke was a Royalist and suffered great losses during the Civil War. As a
consequence, he had to sell the Hitcham estate, acquired by the marriage of the first Sir John’s
son, and return to his lesser estate at North Weston near Thame. His memorial brass is in the
chancel of Thame church close to the first Sir John’s altar tomb.
In 1793 Marshal Clarke took over the school which was situated in John Street, near the
Cathedral. (Tuition, writing, arithmetic, washing, 24 guineas a year and 5 guineas entrance.) In
1798 he moved the school to a house called ‘Abbey’ near Tipperary, and became curate of
Tipperaray. The school seems to have prospered judging by entrances to Trinity College
In 1809 Marshal sold the John Street building and after Patrick’s death in 1816 took over the
business affairs of the Clarkes and the Hares. He was a shrewd businessman and by the time
he died in 1833 had accumulated £15,000 worth of investments and goods, and lands in five
places. In 1830, when he was 75, he became Rector of Shronell, a hamlet some two miles west
of Tipperaray, and held this living for his son, Mark, who took over at the age of 24 when
Marshal died. Elizabeth came and lived with Mark until her own death in 1847 at the age of
78. The School continued as a Diocesan School and was not left to any of the children.
Marshal and Elizabeth (Betty) had twenty-one children of whom twelve are recorded and
eleven grew up as listed in Chapter 2. The builder of Graiguenoe was the 5th son. The rest of
the family and their descendants are dealt with in turn in Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Charles Clarke and his family
Charles Clarke entered Trinity College Dublin at the age of sixteen as a pensioner and took
his BA degree in 1824 and his MA in 1832. He married Sarah Otway Bland of Bath in 1826,
became J.P. and D.L. and was High Sheriff of County Tipperaray in 1862. Sarah Otway was
one of the Blandsfort family and inherited a considerable fortune from her mother which,
together with some money Charles had inherited from an uncle, provided the funds needed
for the building of Graiguenoe. (see OM page 37.)
Charles and Sarah had four children; Marshal Neville, Sarah, Elizabeth and Frances. Sarah
did not marry and died at 7 Vicarage Gardens, Kensington, in 1903. Elizabeth married
Robert Cole Bowen of Bowenscourt, had twelve children and was the grandmother of
Elizabeth Bowen, the authoress (see OM page 37), and died in 1881. Frances (Fanny) died
when she was 18. Marshal Neville (1828-1884), MA, Trinity College Dublin, was a barrister
who practised in Dublin and lived at 11 Fitzwilliam Square. He was 51 when he inherited
Graiguenoe in 1879 and held it for only five years as he died suddenly of pneumonia in 1884.
During those five years he resided for part of the year in Dublin. In 1864 he had married
Mary Elizabeth Pearson (1836-1924). The Clarkes used to like wintering at Bath where
Charles had met Saray Otway Bland, and at Cheltenham, where Marshal Neville met his wife
and where the marriage between Marshal’s sister Elizabeth and Robert Cole Bowen took
place. It is ironical that Charles Neville should lose his life at Bath in an air raid in 1942 and
be cremated in Cheltenham.
Mary Elizabeth’s father, Colonel Charles Pearson, was the son of the Revd John Batteridge
Pearson who had, when a curate at Lichfield, inherited a fortune from Miss Lucy Porter, step-
daughter of Dr Johnson. Her mother was Jane Eccles, whose mother was Mary Vernon – a
family which had originally come over with William the Conqueror from Vernon-sur-Eure in
Normandy. Mary Elizabeth’s sister, Harriet Jane, married Captain George Henry Grey, only
son of Sir George Grey Bt of Fallodon, and their son Edward later became Viscount Grey of
Fallodon. (see OM page 57.)
The end of Graiguenoe Park
Charles Neville (1866-1942) inherited Graiguenoe when he was eighteen and still at Harrow,
but he soon sold the land to the tenants, keeping only the home farm which he farmed
His cousin Charles Eldon Clarke, son of Charles Clarke’s younger brother Robert, stepped in
and looked after the estate while Charles Neville completed his education at Pembroke
College, Cambridge and at the Wye Agricultural College in Kent, and then did a grand tour
of the Continent and Egypt with his cousin Godwin Swifte, one of Robert’s grandsons.
In 1908 the house was attacked by a mob after which the family and those employed on the
estate were boycotted by the local shopkeepers. In 1920 the local police barracks were blown
up and on 31 March 1923 the house itself was burnt down. Charles Neville, who had
undergone severe operations in April 1918 and March 1920 was not up to rebuilding and the
estate was sold to the Land Commission. They sold it to a Mr Small and made the stipulation
that he should live in the house. He got round this by putting a roof over part of the ruins
while he went on living at Thurles about four miles away, and the ‘building’ remained like
this for some forty years.
During the mid-1960s the ruins of the house were levelled but the stables were left and were
still there in April 1968. Shortly afterwards there was a ceremonial bulldozing of the remains
of the ruins into the yard to that the whole was levelled even to the daffodils on the lawn. By
1974 there were no trees, just a wilderness of ragweed and thistles but through it could be
seen a line of white clover and daisies making where the avenue had once been.
By 1975 it belonged to a gentleman who lived 46 miles away and farmed from there some
2,000 acres, whereas Charles Neville Clarke who was not a landlord but a landowner was
boycotted for farming the 1,000 acres on which he resided! Nothing is now left but the
cowshed. Stones from the house have been used in the restoration of Holycross Abbey.
The move to England
In 1895 Charles Neville met Bertha Cross at a dance at Nantlys, the home of his Pennant
cousins (see Chapter 7). She was the youngest of the eight children of John Kynaston Cross
MP for Bolton and sometime Under Secretary of State for India who married Emily Carlton
(see Chapter 8). They were married in 1896. In 1919, seeing how things were going in Ireland,
Bertha bought a small London house with all its content – 50 Egerton Crescent, SW3 – so as to
have a pied-a-terre outside Ireland. In 1922 this was exchanged for a larger house just around
the corner – 12 Egerton Place – which could be used as a family home if needed, and some of
the better furniture was brought over from Graiguenoe, smuggled out in loads of hay lest it
might be seen and destroyed.
With the compensation he received for Graiguenoe in 1929 (only a reduced compensation
was allowed to those who opted not to rebuild) Charles Neville bought Little Ormesby Hall
near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. Bertha retained 12 Egerton Place, so summers were spent at
Ormesby and winters in London until the beginning of World War II when they started living
entirely at Ormesby. In the autumn of 1940, 12 Egerton Place was taken over by the
Little Ormesby Hall was on the flight path of raiding aircraft and to get a rest from the noise
Charles Neville and Bertha went off, as they had often done before, on a short visit to Bath.
On 26 April 1942, nineteen days after the birth of their first grandson in South Africa, they,
together with Bertha’s sister Emily Timins, were killed by blast while they were having their
after-dinner coffee in the lounge when a bomb scored a direct hit on part of the Regina Hotel.
Charles Neville was then 76 and Bertha was 68. Had they been in their rooms, they would
not have been hurt. They had already had a narrow escape from death during World War I.
Charles Neville was given the choice of two appointments with the Surgeon Sir Berkeley
Moynihan at Leeds – one immediately, which involved a considerable rush in getting away,
and the other a fortnight later. Luckily, he opted for the immediate one; if he had chosen the
other, he and Bertha would have been on the ‘Leinster’ when it was sunk by the Germans in
the Irish Sea.
The next generations
Charles and Bertha’s three sons – the last generation to live at Graiguenoe – were Marshal
b.1897, Edward 1900-1975, and Vernon b.1907. Marshal Neville, a retired barrister is
unmarried and lives in London. Edward Neville CBE retired as a Brigadier from The Rifle
Brigade in 1953. He married, in 1947 in Hong Kong, Rachael Wadeson and lived in retirment
at Hephill, Lugwardine, Hereford where he was for twenty-one years Churchwarden of
Lugwardine Church and President of the Bartestree Branch of the British Legion. Their
daughter Rosemary Ann b.1949 married in 1969 Robert Randolph of Netherways, Ledbury
and lives at Crowell near Chinnor in Oxfordshire. Edward died on 14 January 1975 on his
75th birthday and his memorial service was on Rosie’s birthday, 26 January.
Rachael’s father was Major General F W G Wadeson CB of Redcliff, Exeter, whose father
Richard Wadeson VC (from Gaythouse near Lancaster) after a distinguished military career
in India followed by service in Ireland, Gibraltar, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mauritius and the
Cape, became Lieut. Governor of Chelsea Hospital. Her mother was a Fagan of Feltrim near
Dublin, a family which has seen much service in India and traces its history back to 1493,
with two Lord Mayors of Dublin in the latter part of the 16th century.
John Vernon Carlton, retired as executive of the Shell International Petroleum Co., and did
ten years teaching after retiring from Shell. In 1938, the age of 56, he married Joan Meyrick in
Alexandria. Joan’s father was Canon Frederick James Meyrick, Vicar of All Saints’ Church,
Hove, and earlier of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich. (See OM page 86.)
Vernon and Joan live at The Lodge, Colne Egaine, Essex and have three children: Charles
James Richmond, b. 1942, a solicitor in London who married Anne, the daughter of Hugh
Boileau Q.C.; Penelope Marion, b.1944; and Brian Meyrick Neville, b.1945 who in 1975
worked in Papua New Guinea as Field Officer looking after the 120 VSO volunteers there.
The Cadet Branches
a. Charles Neville had thee brothers and two sisters: Harriet Neville, b. 1867, Marion Sarah
Neville, b.1869, Loftus Otway, b.1871, George Vernon, b.1873, Marshal Falconer, b.1876.
There was also a seventh child, a son, who died soon after birth in 1879. The four brothers all
went to different schools: Charles, as already noted, to Harrow, Otway to Charterhouse,
George to Wellington, and Marshall to Eton.
b. Harriet Neville (Rita) married George Butler of Maiden Hall, Kilkenny, and had four
children: Cicely Marion 1899-1974, Hubert Marshal b. 1900, Joanna Vernon b. 1903, and
George Gilbert b. 1910. Rita died in 1939 and her husband in 1941.
c. Marion Sarah Neville married Major Johnson Atkinson Busfield, D.S.O., Cheshire
Regiment. They had no children; she died in 1955 and he in 1960.
d. Loftus Otway CIE (1924) BA and scholar of Christchurch Oxford entered the Indian Civil
Service in 1894 and was posted to Bihar. On the partition of Bengal in 1906 he was appointed
District Magistrate Mymensingh where he became the focus of intense odium caused by that
measure among Hindus. He put down a riot in Dewanganj single-handed. He then became
Deputy Commissioner Shillong and later, Assam. He married Evelyn Garden of Fishmoyne
in 1904; she died of an infection while on short leave to Agra in 1917 leaving one son.
Returning to England on leave by ship he was torpedoed on the way, and again on the return
journey to India. Otway’s final appointment was Political Agent to the Manipur State. On
retirement he bought Boultibrooke near Presteigne, became a J.P. and High Sheriff (1939). The
Busfields lived with him and Boultibrooke became a veritable ‘holiday home’ for nephews,
nieces and cousins with their young children, inspiring the rhyme:
‘Boulti, Boulti, Boultibrooke,
That’s the wondrous house that took
Many a tiresome noisy brat
Which went in thin and came out fat.’
When Otway died in 1954, Boultibrooke passed to his son Dr George Henry Vernon, b. 1908,
who, after serving in the RAMC, joined the Colonial Service and was the Government
Dermatologist of Nigeria from 1949 until 1963 and became a leading authority on tropical
skin diseases. After retiring from service overseas he worked in the National Health Service
from 1963 to 1974 as Consultant in Dermatology.
e. Capt. George Vernon was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery from Woolwich
and served in the South African War 1899-1902 taking part in the Relief of Ladysmith. On 8
April 1902 he was killed in action while trying to rescue a wounded man of the battery he
was commanding at Uitvlugt near Standerton. He was buried at Johanna near Vrede in the
Orange Free State.
f. Lt. Col. Marshal Falconer was commissioned from Oxford into the Cheshire Regiment,
served in the South African War (Mounted Infantry), India, Belfast and the Great War
(wounded four times and awarded DSO). He married Olive, daughter of Canon Lionel
Garnett, Rector of Christleton (see OM page 85). After commanding the Depot at Chester he
retired to Treble Hill, Glasbury which now belongs to his elder daughter Ursula Mary Lyon,
b. 1912. His poem won the Bardic chair of Brecon for 1932. His second daughter, Audrey
Mabel, b. 1913, lives at Sunningdale. His son, Lt. Col. Ralph Lionel Clarke CEng. MIWM, b.
1917, of Roslyn House, Witham, was commissioned into the Royal Engineers from Woolwich,
served at Dunkirk, Africa and Italy (despatches) and became Military Assistant to the
Controller of Munitions, retiring to take charge of research and development for the
Hoffmann Manufacturing Company. He became a consultant and a lay reader and founded
the UK Association of Professional Engineers, and the Dorothy L Sayers Society.
Ralph’s elder son Robert Whitehead Marshal, b. 1947, bought Pottlerath House, Kilmanagh,
Co. Kilkenny and is the only Clarke formerly of Graiguenoe Park now living in Ireland.
Information about younger generations and associated families is given in Chapter 9.