Select Ireland Miscellany



Here are some Ireland stories and accounts over the years:

Sir Gilbert Ireland and John Middleton


John Middleton, reputed to have reached 9' 3" in height, was born in Hale in Lancashire in the 1570s.  Legend has it that he was originally of normal size and grew in a single night.  In 1617 his patron Sir Gilbert Ireland took him to the Court of King James I in London where he put out the thumb of the King's wrestler in a bout.  This feat was reported to have earned him the disdain of the courtiers and a gift of 20 from the King.


The Irelands at Crofton Hall

The Irelands of Lydiate Hall on Merseyside were Catholic and William Ireland of that family, an eminent lawyer, took that faith with him when he crossed the Pennines to make his home in Yorkshire.  His son Sir Francis and wife Elizabeth suffered for their faith, losing their estates at the time of Cromwell. 

Sir Francis and his wife left two sons and two daughters.  The eldest William resided at Crofton Hall near Wakefield.  He was a Royalist cavalry captain during the Civil War, but - like his brother - was reported to have been slain during the conflict.  One of his daughters was renowned for her beauty.  It was said when Marmaduke Rawdon was on a visit to York in 1656: 

He seldom went abroad but he was accompanied with some ladies, amongst which there was a young beauty Madam Ireland, the daughter of Sir Francis Ireland, in whose company he took the most delight of any." 

Son William Ireland became a Jesuit in 1655.  Twenty three years later he was implicated in the Popish plot to assassinate the King.  He was arrested and tried and executed at Tyburn in early 1679.  A grandson Ralph stayed at Crofton Hall and was registered there as a Catholic non-jurer in 1717.



Ireland Surname Distribution in the 1891 Census

County
Numbers (000's)
Percent
Lancashire
   1.5
   25%
Yorkshire
   0.5
    8%
Gloucestershire    
   0.4
    6%
Devon
   0.3
    5%
London
   0.8
   13%
Elsewhere
   2.7
   35%
Total
   6.2
  100%         


John Ireland from Ashburton in Devon

John Ireland, the Dean of Westminster, was born in 1761 at Ashburton in Devon, the son of a local butcher.  His education began at the free grammar school of Ashburton under the Rev. Thomas Smerdon. William Gifford, the founder of the Quarterly magazine, was a fellow-pupil, and their friendship continued unbroken until death.  They are buried together at Westminster Abbey. 

John Ireland was Dean of Westminster for 26 years and crowned three monarchs, King George IV, King William IV, and Queen Victoria.  There is a Georgian building in Ashburton, Ireland House, which was given to the governors of Ashburton grammar school as a boarding house by a grateful John Ireland later in his life.



Ireland Arrivals in America by Country of Origin

Country
Numbers
Percent
England
   242
   54%
Ireland
   141
   31%
Scotland
    54
   12%
Elsewhere
    15
    3%
Total
   452
  100%


Irelands in Burlington, Ontario

The descendants of Joseph Ireland from Yorkshire who moved to Burlington, Ontario in 1819 were invited to attend a family reunion in 2007 at the Oakbridge Farm home that Joseph Ireland had built in 1835 and is now a museum.  Prior to that time four generations of the Ireland family lived in the house.  Over that time the Irelands rarely threw anything out.  So the house still retained many of the prized possessions of its earlier generations. 

Some heirlooms have, however, gone.  Oakbridge had at one time, hanging on an overhead beam, the saber which John Ireland, the brother of Joseph, carried with him in the War of 1812.  There were in the early days a number of weapons from that war on the beams.  But these weapons are no longer hanging there. 

There were 150 Ireland family descendants that attended the reception that was hosted by Allan Ireland, the last Ireland family member to have lived at the Ireland House before it was purchased by the city of Burlington in 1987.  A service was held at St. John's church in Nelson county which Joseph Ireland helped found.  Many Irelands are buried there.





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