Saturday, January 18, 2014

CURRAGHMORE BLACKSMITHS

OLD GATE LATCH


This interesting manufacturer's mark on an estate gate-latch caught my eye a number of times, 
but only yesterday did I see it lit by the pleasant sunshine which we had most of the day!
I have endeavoured, but failed, to find any info on the manufacturer. whose name was PURSER,
In the past I have traced the manufacturer of gates from the 1800s at the site of 
a former GOING house at Ballyphilip, South Tipperary. 
The name there was PROCTOR, who worked from Clonmel!
The name GIBBS, from Ballypatrick, can be found on
many gates, cemetery grave-markers and railings in the Clonmel area.
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Not giving up too easily,  I have spent a considerable time researching the Purser name since adding the above 'post'. I can now say that it's possible the gate may have been made by NATHANIEL PURSER, a servant in the Curraghmore household. Curraghmore did have it's own forge. Further info to follow.
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Well, I got more than I bargained for as there were PURSERs galore in Portlaw in the 1901 census,   taken on March 31st of that year, which is there for all to check out on the Internet:

The Household Return Form for Curraghmore was filled out by the Marquis himself, Henry Delapoer (sic) Beresford, then aged 25 years, in beautiful handwriting, and signed by the enumerator, James Slattery - Constable, in an equally fine hand. 

Out of a total of a total of 33 occupants, shown as living in house No. 1, obviously Curraghmore House itself, were five members of the Beresford family, plus 28 servants, and among them was HANNAH PURSER, then aged 25 years, a housemaid and domestic servant. Hannah’s birthplace was given as County Carlow, marital status – single, and she was shown as a member of the Church of Ireland. 

All other PURSERS mentioned hereunder were shown as members of the Church of Ireland.

House No. 7 showed MARK PURSER, aged 28 years,  birthplace – County Carlow, religion – Irish Church (obviously Church of Ireland), whose occupation was given as a coachman and domestic.
House No. 14 showed RICHARD PURSER, aged 31 years, head blacksmith and head of family; ELIZABETH PURSER, aged 37, birthplace Scotland, wife;  also SUSANNA PURSER, aged 3, birthplace – Co. Waterford .

House No. 16 showed SUSAN PURSER, aged 53, birthplace – County Carlow, and head of family; NATHANIEL, aged 26, birthplace – Co. Carlow, blacksmith; SARAH PURSER, aged 17, birthplace – County Carlow; EMILY PURSER, aged 14, birthplace – County Waterford;  JOHN PURSER , aged 12 years, birthplace – County Waterford, WILLIAM PURSER, aged 20, once more born in County Carlow, whose occupation was shown as a blacksmith!

A grand total of eleven PURSERS at Curraghmore estate, and three of them blacksmiths! 

An examination of the 1911 census, showed considerable changes after a lapse of just ten years, as follows:

The only Curraghmore entries showing the PURSER surname were from house No 5: WILLIAM PURSER, aged 30, single and head of family (?), blacksmith; SARAH PURSER, aged 26, single, Housekeeper; JOHN PURSER, aged 22, brother, blacksmith. The form was signed by WILLIAM PURSER, head of family.   

House No. 10 in Coolroe townland, showed as follows:
RICHARD PURSER, aged 41, (married), head of family, estate blacksmith; SUSANNAH MARY, aged 63 years, mother (widow), and Susanna Mary, aged 13.
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After all this, I thought it better to also look up the surname in County Carlow via Google, and came up with the name NATHANIEL PURSER, blacksmith, from Staplestown. Despite much searching, I failed to find it a second time in order to get further information. This is surely a definite link with all those Portlaw PURSERs.  It’s quite possible that this Co. Carlow NATHANIEL, was the man of the same name who lived in house No. 16 at Curraghmore in 1901!  If so, he forged the gate in question in 1893 at the age of 23, when head blacksmith in Curraghmore, but I'm surprised that, being a servant, he was allowed to put his brand on the gate! 

By sheer coincidence, I had photographed the picturesque Church of Ireland building at Staplestown in 2012 on my way to county Wicklow. Maybe I should go back and have a look at headstones there next time I’m in the area.  

                                          
 I’ll leave further searching over to YOU!!!                                                               
 
              
Curraghmore forge, no longer operational, as seen last year, 2013.

3 comments:

  1. Terence Kearney's (Waterford) grandfather, Billy Purser was a blacksmith in Curraghmore, he lived in the house behind the Curraghmore lodge (from Portlaw side). He had two in family (as far I can remember), May (Purser) Kearney,Brown Street and (forget his first name) Purser, (England). he died in the late 1950's or 1960's.

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    1. Thank you, Helen! I've replied to this twice, but my replies simply disappeared!

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  2. Part of my initial comment, which 'disappeared':-

    Whilst in Donore, Co. Meath, last year, I decided to have a look at the interior of the R.C. Church, and was pleasantly surprised to see for the first ever time three stained glass windows by Kearneys of Dublin, The Nativity, St. Patrick and St. Bridget, each one a superb work of art. I was aware for many years that Val Kearney of Waterford and Portlaw was in charge of or owned that part of the company's business. Later I came across a note somewhere which said that these were in fact the work of a Donegal man who worked for them.When I get time I will put some of them online. I would like to hear of any other Kearney windows around the country. With renewed thanks!

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