05 February 2018

Rathkeale parish notes in
‘Newslink’ February 2018

The Three Wise men arrive at the crib in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton

Rathkeale & Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes

Rathkeale, Askeaton, Kilcornan and Kilnaughtin

Priest-in-Charge: Revd Canon Patrick Comerford,
The Rectory, Askeaton, Co Limerick.

The Christmas season comes to an end with the feast of Candlemas, which links Christmas with Easter, the incarnation with the crucifixion and the resurrection.

Epiphany was marked in a new way this year, drawing on old traditions, when the lintels of rectory doors were chalked with the traditional Epiphany blessing 20 + C + M + B + 18, representing the numerals of the year, the initials of the Three Wise Men or Magi – Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar – who came to visit the Christ Child in his first home, and abbreviating the Latin blessing, Christus Mansionem Benedicat, ‘May Christ bless the house.’

As we move from Christmas and Epiphany to Lent and towards Easter, and the chalk blessings fade and are washed away in the rains, these have been weeks of joy and sadness in this group of parishes, with news of marriages and deaths.


Congratulations to Nicky White of Nantenan and Robert Daniel Foley from Cork who recently announced their engagement and who plan to marry in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, during the summer months.

Recent Funerals:

Madame Marianne Griffin (nee Micolod) of Altavilla, Askeaton, died on 10 January in Abbot Close, Askeaton. She was the widow of Ronnie Peter Griffin and the mother of the late Ronnie Francois Griffin. She is survived by her children Rosie, Maude, Gerald and Nicolas, her daughters-in-law Kaye, Marie, Rebecca and Sonya, her sons-in-law Peter, Eddie and Colin, and a large family. Her funeral and burial took place in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton.

Roland Neil Fitzell, of Carhoonakilla, Tarbert, Co Kerry, died on 12 January at Kerry University Hospital. He is survived by his wife Marina (West), sons Leslie and Raymond, brother Brian, sister Yvonne, daughters-in-law Christine and Jean, grandchildren Melissa, Rae, Lauren and Ali, and family and friends. His funeral and burial took place in Saint Brendan’s Church, Tarbert.

Kathy Casey Byrne died on 16 January after a short illness, at the heart-breakingly young age of 29. She is sadly missed by her husband Noel (Kiltimagh, Co Mayo), her parents Daphne and Pat, her sisters Melanie and Vanessa, her brother Conor, and her family and friends. Her funeral took place in Saint Molua’s Church, Ardagh.

Cathedral chapter:

The canons or chapter members of the Diocesan Cathedrals are being invited to enhance their roles by taking up residence in the cathedrals on a rotating basis. This initiative begins on Sunday February 18, the First Sunday in Lent, when Canon Patrick Comerford takes the services and preaches in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick, as the Canon Precentor, and the Dean of Limerick, the Very Revd Niall Sloane visits Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, and Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin.

February Services:

Sunday 4 February 2018, Second Sunday before Lent: 9.30 a.m., Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Holy Communion; 11.30, Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Morning Prayer.

Sunday 11 February, Sunday before Lent: 9.30 a.m., Castletown Church, Kilcornan, Holy Communion; 11.30 a.m., Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, Morning Prayer.

Wednesday 14 February, Ash Wednesday: 8 p.m., Holy Communion and Ashing, Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton.

Sunday 18 February, Lent I: 9.30 a.m., Askeaton, Morning Prayer; 11.30 a.m., Kilnaughtin, Holy Communion. The Dean of Limerick.

Sunday 28 February, Lent II: 9.30 a.m., Castletown, Morning Prayer; 11.30 a.m., Holy Communion, Rathkeale.

Lenten Study Groups:

A series of Lenten study groups on Thursday evenings in Lent is open to all. This year, the planned evenings in the Rectory in Askeaton will use the USPG Lenten Study Pack, ‘All Things Are Possible’, which explores how Anglicans worldwide are supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Other groups that have met in the Rectory in recent weeks include study and training days for clergy and readers on preparing for Advent and Christmas and preparing for Lent and Easter.

Select vestries: Rathkeale Select Vestry meets in the Rectory, Askeaton, on 8 February. Other vestry meetings are being arranged for February.

Listowel Workhouse: The Revd Joe Hardy recently took part in the unveiling of a plaque at the entrance to the Chapel in Listowel District Hospital to commemorate the hospital’s place as the last remaining link to the workhouse in Listowel. The plaque is an initiative of Listowel Tidy Towns Group.

February talks:

Rathkeale Historical Society: Friday 9 February, Canon Patrick Comerford talks about some interesting connections in the Southwell family.

Methodist Women, Adare: Friday 23 February, Canon Patrick Comerford talks about life before ordination.

Chalking the traditional Epiphany blessing above the door at the Rectory in Askeaton

Which Earl of Lichfield gave
his name to ‘The Drum’?

The Earl of Lichfield Arms on Conduit Street … known to generations in Lichfield as ‘The Drum’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Since my visit to Lichfield two weeks ago, I have written about a number of pubs and former pubs that are of architectural and historical interest, including the Scales on Market Street, the former Castle Inn on Market Street, and the Three Crowns on Breadmarket Street, once patronised by Samuel Johnson, who was born next door.

But some readers have asked why I have not yet written about the Earl of Lichfield Arms on Conduit Street, known to many people in Lichfield as the Drum.

This is a cosy, traditional, friendly local pub, with a secret beer garden at the rear, right in the centre of Lichfield, tucked into a pretty narrow space between a bank and a certain ubiquitous fast-food business. The main bar area is long and narrow, with a space at the far end for the regular open mic nights and live bands that perform here. As well as the real ales, the pub also serves a variety of food and meals.

The Earl of Lichfield Arms has been described as ‘one of the most compact pubs in the whole of Staffordshire.’ It is known locally as the Drum, after the drum used in the 1830s by recruiting sergeants who tried to press gang vulnerable young drinkers into the army.

The seemingly modern rebuild at the front tends to mask its age. The Earl of Lichfield Arms, owned by Marston’s brewery, is said to date from the 18th century. When it was built, Conduit Street was known as Butchers’ Row. The old name of the pub derives from the time in the 1830s when this pub on what was then known as Butchers’ Row was used by army sergeants to drum up recruits. Later in the 1830s, it was known as the Masons Arms and was run by Frances Middleton.

The coat-of-arms of the Earl of Lichfield on wall of the pub (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

By the 1840s, the premises had been bought by the Anson family, Earls of Lichfield, and was renamed the ‘Earl of Lichfield Arms’. Frederick Marshall was running the pub in the 1861-1896, and George Burden was the licensee in 1906-1940. Burden was also a tailor, and in 1916 he was fined £2 for having a faulty weighing machine that belonged to Lichfield Corporation and for which he was the toll collector.

Like the Scales on Market Street in 1930s, the pub was threatened with closure in the 1956 when the licence was reviewed. But the Drum survived and when the barber shop next door was acquired in the 1970s, the pub expanded, so that it still has two different floor levels.

Since 1952, this has been a Grade II listed building. It dates from the late 18th century, although the projecting part of the front was rebuilt in late 20th century in replica.

The pub is built in brick with ashlar dressing, with a tile roof with brick stacks. This is a three-storey building, with a single-window range to the left and a single-window range projecting to the right in the rebuilt front. There are 12-pane sash windows with gauged brick lintels and six-pane sashes on the second floor.

The entrance is under the arcade, with a panelled door. The ground floor has a large two-light fixed window to the left of the entrance and a shop-type window to the left, with a richly consoled facia and three round-headed lights. Inside, there are chamfered beams and some exposed timber-framed cross walls.

The Earl of Lichfield Arms in the early 1970s … note there is no heraldic sign on the wall

But which Earl of Lichfield is the ‘Drum’ named after?

The title of Earl of Lichfield has been created three times, twice in the 17th century (1645 and 1674) and once in the 19th century (1831). The third creation is still extant and is held in the Anson family.

The title was first given by King Charles I to his namesake Charles Stewart (1639-1672), when he was made Earl of Lichfield in December 1645.

Originally, Charles I planned to give the title to Lord Bernard Stewart (1623-1645), youngest son of Esmé Stewart (1579-1623), 3rd Duke of Lennox, as a reward for his actions at the battles of Newbury and Naseby in the English Civil War. However, Bernard Stewart died before he was given the title. Instead, the title was given in 1645 to his six-year-old nephew Charles Stewart (1639-1672).

This Charles Stewart, who became Earl of Lichfield in 1645, later succeeded as 3rd Duke of Richmond and 6th Duke of Lennox in 1660. He married Frances Teresa Stuart, the celebrated beauty and alleged former mistress of his cousin, King Charles II.

King Charles seems to have been upset by the loss of one of his mistresses, and sent the duke into exile as ambassador to Denmark. There he drowned in Elsinore on 12 December 1672. He had no children; most of his property to his sister Katherine, wife of Henry O’Brien, Lord Ibrackan, while the title of Earl of Lichfield died with him.

His death in 1672 long precedes the Earl of Lichfield Arms in Conduit Street, so the pub cannot be named after him.

The coat-of-arms of members of the Lee family as Earls of Lichfield

The Earl of Lichfield Arms on Conduit Street dates from the late 18th century. If the name adapted in the 1840s had been traditionally associated with earlier Earls of Lichfield, then could it have been linked with a second version of the title that survived for over a century from 1674 to 1776.

The title of Earl of Lichfield was revived in 1674, two years after the original earl drowned in Elsinore, when Charles II gave the title to Sir Edward Lee (1663-1716) of Quarendon in anticipation of his marriage to the then 10-year-old Lady Charlotte Palmer, later Lady Charlotte Fitzroy (1664-1718), the illegitimate daughter of the king and his mistress, Barbara Villiers (later Palmer), Duchess of Cleveland.

They were married three years later in 1677, when Charlotte was still only a 12-year-old, and they had 11 children. Their house in London, known as Lichfield House, was later incorporated into No 10 Downing Street, but they abandoned this house when they followed James II into exile in France.

The first earl’s eldest surviving son, George Henry Lee (1690-1742), became the 2nd Earl of Lichfield and built the stately home of Ditchley in Oxfordshire.

His brother, Robert Lee (1706-1776), was the fourth and last Earl of Lichfield in the Lee family. He had no children, and when he died in 1776, the title of Earl of Lichfield died out once again, while the representation of this family passed to his niece Lady Charlotte Lee (1724-1794), eldest surviving daughter of his brother George, the second earl.

Two years earlier, in 1774, Lady Charlotte had married a celebrated Irish general and exile, Henry Dillon (1705-1787), 11th Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen, Co Mayo.

Henry’s father was Colonel Arthur Dillon (1670-1733), a son of the seventh viscount, a Jacobite colonel in Ireland and the founder of the Dillon Regiment in 1688. In 1711, Arthur Dillon was made Count Dillon in France, and Earl of Dillon in 1721 by the ‘Old Pretender,’ James Francis Edward Stuart, the Jacobite ‘James III.’ Henry’s paternal grandmother, Mary Talbot of Templeogue, Dublin, was a daughter of Sir Henry Talbot of Templeogue Castle.

Henry Dillon was a colonel in Dillon’s Regiment in the French army. He moved from France to England, and in 1744 he married Lady Charlotte Lee. In 1767, he conformed to Anglicanism to regularise his position in England and to ensure the legitimacy of his children. Lady Charlotte died on 11 June 1794.

The children of Henry and Lady Charlotte Lee included Charles Dillon-Lee (1745-1813), 12th Viscount Dillon, who inherited the Ditchley estate but not the Lichfield title. He changed his name from Dillon to Dillon-Lee under the terms of the will of his uncle, George Henry Lee, 3rd Earl of Lichfield.

The Dillon or Dillon-Lee family also held vast estates in Ireland, including Loughglynn and Coolagarry, near Frenchpark, Co Roscommon. In 1876, Theodore Dominic Geoffrey Dillon-Lee (1811-1879), 15th Viscount Dillon, owned 83,749 acres in Co Mayo, 5,435 in Co Roscommon and 136 in Co Westmeath. His nephew, Harold Arthur Lee-Dillon (1844-1932), 17th Viscount Dillon, sold his estates in Co Mayo and Co Roscommon, totalling 93,652 acres, to the Congested Districts Board in 1899. Ditchley remained the home of the Dillon family until 1934.

The coat-of-arms of members of the Anson family as Earls of Lichfield

However, the association of the Anson family with the pub from the 1840s probably means the name of the pub is dates from some time after the title of Earl of Lichfield was revived for a third time in 1831 when Thomas Anson (1795-1854), 2nd Viscount Anson. He lived at Shugborough Hall, about six miles east of Stafford and 15 miles north-west of Lichfield, and was made Earl of Lichfield at the coronation of William IV.

Later he was Postmaster General, overseeing the introduction of the penny post. But he was also a gambling addict and accumulated massive debts. To clear his debts, he sold most of the contents of Shugborough Hall and Lichfield House at 15 Saint James’s Square, London, and moved to the Continent. He returned to England in 1847, but Shugborough remained empty and shut up.

When Thomas George Anson (1825-1892), succeeded as 2nd Earl of Lichfield in 1854 he sold Lichfield House in London and used the proceeds to redecorate and refurnish Shugborough Hall.

His youngest brother, the Right Revd Adelbert John Robert Anson (1840-1909), was Bishop of Qu’Appelle (1884-1892) in Saskatchewan, Canada. When he returned to England, he became Master of Saint John’s Hospital, Lichfield (1893-1898), an assistant bishop of Lichfield, and Chancellor of Lichfield Cathedral.

Saint John’s Hospital … Bishop Adelbert Anson was Master in 1893-1898 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

The Lichfield title continued to descend from father to son until the death of Thomas Edward Anson (1883-1960), 4th Earl of Lichfield. He was succeeded by his grandson, Thomas Patrick John Anson (1939-2005), 5th Earl of Lichfield, the photographer known professionally as Patrick Lichfield.

In 1975, Patrick Lichfield married Lady Leonora Grosvenor, elder daughter of the 5th Duke of Westminster. She is remembered in a number of monuments and plaques that bear her name in Lichfield.

The couple were divorced in 1986; he died on 11 November 2005 and was buried in the Anson vault at Colwich.

Lady Leonara Grosvenor, Countess of Lichfield … a foundation stone at Saint John’s in the Cathedral Close in Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

His son and heir, Thomas William Robert Hugh Anson, 6th Earl of Lichfield gave up the family flat in Shugborough, ending his family’s connection with Staffordshire after nearly 400 years. In 2009, he married Lady Henrietta Conyngham, daughter of Henry Conyngham, 8th Marquess Conyngham, known popularly as Henry Mountcharles.

Henry Mountcharles is famous for the open-air rock concerts organises at his home Slane Castle in Co Meath. These concerts have included performances by the Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy, Queen, U2, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Guns N’ Roses, Oasis and Madonna.

The present version of the coat-of-arms on the walls of the Earl of Lichfield are those of the Earl of Lichfield on the left, and the Grosvenors of Westminster. An earlier photograph of the pub from the early 1970s shows no heraldic plaque in this place on the walls of the pub.

So, this sign is recent and it dates from the 11-year period 1975-1986. Photographs from earlier decades showing earlier arms of the Earls of Lichfield might help in telling the tale behind the name of the Drum.

The coat-of-arms of members of the Grosvenor family as Dukes of Westminster

Additional reading:

John Shaw, The Old Pubs of Lichfield (Lichfield: George Lane Publishing, 2001/2007).

Neil Coley, Lichfield Pubs (Stroud: Amberley, 2016).