IRL-MEATH-L ArchivesArchiver > IRL-MEATH > 2005-03 > 1110637253
From: Pamela Gray <>
Subject: Re: [MEATH] BURIAL OF THE DEAD BY RC
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2005 10:20:53 -0400
I'm in the same position as you -- haven't been to Ireland (well, not
for 40 years), haven't got an Irish family profile, and only have
suspicions about where to start looking. But I'm excited that you are
researching GRAY like I am! Perhaps we should join forces.
All I really know is that, according to the 1881 UK census, my great
grandfather WILLIAM GRAY was born in 1849 in Meath. He moved to
Escomb, Co Durham (North East England) at some unknown time and
worked as a forgeman and smith. He married a local girl called
All the rest are stories, some of which I will recount here.
Forty years ago, a few weeks after my father NORMAN GRAY died, my
mother, sister, and I decided to continue on father's "trip of a
lifetime" to places he remembered his father ARTHUR WILLIAM GRAY
telling him about after visits to long, lost Irish relatives in the
late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Most prominent in my memory is KILCOCK, CO KILDARE (yes, I know it's
not MEATH, but it's pretty close). An elderly brother and sister,
LARRY and ELLEN WARD, showed us the place where they remember the
last remaining GRAY men (bachelors) had lived, and the spot where he
had buried one of them in an unmarked grave, as they were destitute.
Their property had been some sort of farm, though the land - as there
were no apparent heirs - had been given over to "a Kerry man" for
pasture by the Irish Government many years earlier.
The main house had fallen down from neglect a long time ago.
Apparently, the GRAY brothers spent most of their timing making music
and writing poetry, though since one of them had had a withered arm
since birth, he may have had some excuse for not being too hot on the
The gateway to the property was still standing, consisting of two
relatively elegant stone pillars and an ornamental - though decrepit
- iron gate. So we assumed the house must have been more than a
The surrounding fields were lusciously green and largely flat, except
for one small hillock. On top - rather surprisingly - a spring
bubbled up to form a pool over which a gnarled tree kept watch. This
was Bride's Well, for which the property was named. The locals seemed
to think it was important that we visiting GRAYs should drink from
the well, which was said to have magic properties. So we did.
On another visit to the same place a year later, we found that the
tree had been struck and destroyed by lightning soon after our first
visit, and the well had turned brackish. Talk about creepy!
On our initial visit, Larry Ward introduced us to a family called
O'REILLY whom he swore were blood relatives of the GRAYs, though
they were Roman Catholics and my Grays were not. I was therefore very
sceptical of any connection until I saw the husband, who was not only
the same age as my father, but also his spitting image. I thought I
was seeing his ghost.
Mrs O'Reilly was v-e-r-y wary of us, and made us feel as if we were
being interviewed for a senior post in a major corporation. We must
have passed the test though, because before we left, she quietly and
graciously pressed a fine Victorian engraved glass finger bowl into
my hand. It was one of the few objects remaining from the "old
house". She considered my sister and myself to be true GRAYs and
therefore worthy to receive such an object.
But oh -- if only we could travel backward in time to find out what
really happened, and where.
>I haven't had the fortune to get to Ireland nor get a family profile
>yet so I know where in Meath I need to look. I have suspicions but
>no evidence yet.
>researching Yore, Bradley, Farley, Redmond, Davitt, Dixon, Gray,
>Baxter, Dorfler, Yerrington, McCrone, Nolan, Jackson, etc.
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Cara_Links" <>
>Sent: Friday, March 11, 2005 3:26 AM
>Subject: [MEATH] BURIAL OF THE DEAD BY RC
>>Snip- only to find out that in most instances the Catholics buried their
>>>people three and four deep with little or no records because of the
>>>oppression by the British. Catholics were not allowed to keep official
>>>Church records until 1853.-snap
><great big snip>
in Halifax, Nova Scotia looking mainly for -
ROBSON in and around Hexham, Northumberland
FORSTER in the Northumberland-Durham coalfield
GRAY in Meath, Ireland, and Bp Auckland, Co Durham
|Re: [MEATH] BURIAL OF THE DEAD BY RC by Pamela Gray <>|