June 2019

An Interesting Memorial GWYNNE MORRIS considers a memorial at St. Peter’s Church, Llanbedr DC and its connection with royalty and Ruthin Churchyards hold the cherished remains of people from all walks of life, rich or poor, remembered by simple memorial tablets or in some cases in more elaborate stone crosses. The photograph shows one such in St. Peter’s Church, Llanbedr, in the form of a Celtic cross long forgotten by their family and covered in dense growth. While these crosses are associated with all Celts, their origin is in Gaelic Ireland and they were probably introduced to Scotland, Wales and parts of England by Irish Christian missionaries. Llanbedr’s is situated next to the wall of the drive to the vicarage. On the side facing the road is the inscription: THERE ARE ALSO INTERNED IN THIS ENCLOSURE LADY MARY TAYLOUR YOUNGEST DAUGHTER OF THOMAS, SECOND MARQUESS OF HEADFORT, DIED 27 SEPTEMBER 1909, AND LADY OLIVIA FITZPATRICK, WIFE OF THE REV. FREDERICK FITZPATRICK, AND ELDEST DAUGHTER OF THE MARQUESS OF HEADFORT. DIED SEPT 4 1916, THIS INSCRIPTION HAS BEEN ADDED BY HER SURVIVING CHILDREN “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” This suggests that the memorial was first erected to another. Research shows that this person was a Frederick Fitzpatrick, who had died at Warren Hall, Broughton, in February 1898 at the age of 78. Engraved on the Eastern side of the Cross are the words:- Rev. FREDERICK FITZPATRICK died 5th feby 1898 This cross was erected to his memory by his loving wife and children. Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after Righteousness for they shall be fill The question which arose was—who were they and what was the connection with Llanbedr? The answers made interesting reading. The Rev. Fredrick Fitzpatrick had for several years been the Rector of Cloane, Co Leitrim, Ireland. He married Lady Olivia Taylour, eldest daughter of the second Marques of Headfort. In her younger days, she was known as a ‘flighty’ character and is reported as having affairs with Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband. When this became known, she was banished from Court. In later years, after the death of the Prince, and after her husband had left his parish at the 1870 disestablishment of the Irish Church, the Fitzpatricks returned to Britain. Olivia then slotted back into the social world of the past. The 1891 Census shows that the family lived at Plas Draw in Llangynhafal. After the death of her husband in 1898, she took up residence at Bryn Edwin, now a Nursing Home, near Flint. Even in old age she was still friendly with Prince Edward when he became King Edward VII, as it was reported in ‘The Welsh Coast Pioneer’ on 16th December 1909. The account states that “the king, while staying with the Duke of Westminster at Eaton Hall, Chester, motored to Bryn Edwin, Flint Mountain, the residence of Lady Olivia Fitzpatrick, who is in her eighty sixth year, and was many years ago connected with the Court during Queen Victoria’s reign. The king was accompanied by the Duchess of Westminster and Princess Henry of Pless”. The 1911 census showed that she still resided at Bryn Edwin. She was quoted as being a widow, head of household living with her two grand- daughters and grandson. In 1914, however, owing to failing health, she moved to live with her daughter Mary (‘Patsy’) Cornwallis-West, wife of Col. William Cornwallis-West, at Ruthin Castle and where she died in 1916. Patsy’ had a close connection with ‘Bertie’, Queen Victoria’s eldest son, who eventually reigned as Edward VII—but that’s quite another story altogether!
Archive from 2013 Historic Interest