Saturday 25 May 2019

Future King of England can trace roots to Lombardstown

History comes to life at Mallow cemetery

Maria Herlihy

The future king of England will be able to trace his ancestors right back to Lombardstown and Newberry cemetery, near Mallow.

And it's all thanks to local history buffs Donie O'Sullivan, Jerry O'Keeffe and Pat Mulcahy. The trio, as part of a project initiated by IRD Duhallow, have spent the last two years deciphering inscriptions on hundreds of graves at the cemetery. 

As part of Heritage Week, Mr O'Sullivan showed people a tomb wherein he said lies the "direct ancestors of Princess Diana and Nano Nagle." 

And as with all stories, it is best to start at the beginning.  He said that James Lombard of Lombardstown stated in his will in and around 1680 that he was to be buried in the Lombard family vault in Kilshanning (Newberry). 

He said that James Lombard had acquired 358 acres of land in the townland of Gortmolire and created Lombardstown. When he died one of his daughters married David Nagle of Ballygriffin. And their son, Garrett, had two daughters, Nano and Margaret. 

Margaret married into the Curtin family, who hailed from east of Cork city, and their granddaughter married  Edmond Roche, who was another famous landlord family based in Trabolgan, which also covered lands in Castletownroche. 

Their son, Edmond Burke Roche, became the first baron of Fermoy and their son, James Burke Roche, became the second baron of Fermoy and their son then Maurice Roche became the third baron of Fermoy and his daughter, then Frances, married Edward Spenser. 

So the link is that Frances Roche married Edward Spenser and their daughter, Diana, was born in 1961. Diana, of course, became Princess Diana when she married Charles, Prince of Wales. Princess Diana had two sons, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Harry, Duke of Sussex. 

"The significance of this is that a future king of England will be able to trace his ancestry right back to Lombardstown and Newberry Cemetery. This piece of family history indicates a most unlikely kinship between Nano Nagle and Princess Diana. The Nagles were staunch Catholics, as were the Lombards, who changed their allegiance during the Penal times to hold onto their estate," said Mr O'Sullivan. 

Mr O'Sullivan said there is quite a lot of history already recorded about the Lombards and one very detailed book was done way back in 1837. Another local historian, John Joe Kavanagh, of Dromahane also wrote a book in 1982. 

"There was a lot of sources for us to work with. The Nagle family history is all on the internet now but with the Lombards and all their descendants it meant that we had to go digging. I went to the National Library and went through the Lombard papers and also went to the Deeds Office and got deeds going back to the 1700s, and slowly began to put it all together," said Mr O'Sullivan. 

When asked if he would be penning a letter to Buckingham Palace to detail what he has unearthed, with a huge laugh he said he wouldn't as he wouldn't know how far the letter would get. 

However, there is a huge amount of history attached to Kilshannig.  He said Daniel O'Connell's mother, Catherine Mullane, is buried there. 

The former prime minister of Australia, John Curtin, his great great grandparents were Curtin from Kilpeadar, which is west of Dromahane village. 

Mr O'Sullivan said when he hosted a heritage walk at the cemetery four years ago about 180 people attended. 

"When you are in the graveyard it's sometimes hard to imagine that within just one acre there is such a huge amount of history," said Mr O'Sullivan.