Saturday, 16 January 2021
Comerford Profiles 43:
Charles Comerford (1877-1953),
in the GPO, Dublin, in 1916
I have been writing about Kenilworth Square in Rathgar in recent weeks, and about the houses, architecture, history and people of this Victorian square in Dublin 6. No 60 is one house that once belonged to a branch of the Comerford family over 100 years ago, Charles William Comerford who lived in the house had close links with the events of the Easter Rising in 1916 and its aftermath.
In 1916, No 60 Kenilworth Square was the home of Charles William Comerford (1877-1953), the only member of the Comerford family who was actually in the GPO in Dublin in Easter Week 1916.
Charles William Comerford was born on 28 February 1877, and was baptised on 31 January 1878, in Saint Peter’s Church (Church of Ireland), Aungier Street. His father, William Comerford, an heraldic engraver, lived in Parnell Road, Harold’s Cross, and his mother, Hannah Jordan, was from Bridge Street; they were married in Saint Audeon’s (Church of Ireland) parish church on 29 September 1862.
His baptism record was difficult to find because the parish register for Saint Peter’s only gives his mother’s maiden name, spelling it as Hannah Jordon, and mistakenly, by omission, giving the name Jordon to both parents.
By 1901, Charles William Comerford was working as telegraph clerk, and living with his father’s family at Parnell Place, Rathmines.
In 1910, he married Adelaide Margaret Field (1878-1953), daughter of John E Field, solicitor’s clerk, of 39 Longwood Avenue, South Circular Road, Dublin, and his wife Elizabeth Mary (née Doyle), daughter of William Doyle of 53 Lower Clanbrassil Street.
A year later, in 1911, he was a telephonist and working in the GPO. His granddaughter, Angela Marks, believes Charles Comerford was in the GPO in O’Connell Street in 1916 and says family tradition tells of him crawling out along the street and swearing to leave Ireland.
The family left Ireland ca 1922, but the memory of the family home in Rathgar was continued in the name ‘Kenilworth’ which he gave to his house on Nore Road in Portishead, near Bristol. Adelaide Comerford died on 2 February 1953, and Charles Comerford died seven months later on 3 September 1953. They are buried at Saint Peter’s Church, Portishead.
Charles and Elizabeth Comerford, they had three daughters who were born at No 60 Kenilworth Square. When they left Dublin, all three daughters moved to England with them, and they became teachers later in life.
The Family Tree:
RICHARD COMERFORD, watch maker, watch case maker and silversmith, of 22 Mary Street (1849) 20 Jervis Street (1851) and 6 Ship Street (1857), Dublin. He married Eliza Philips, and they were the parents of:
1, William Comerford (ca 1842/1843-1907), of whom next.
2, James Comerford (1843-post 1857), born 1843, baptised in Saint Nicholas of Myra Church (Roman Catholic), Francis Street, Dublin, on 18 May 1857.
3, Eliza Comerford (1849- ), born 25 June 1849 according to the baptismal register in Saint Mary’s Church (Church of Ireland), but baptised in SS Michael and John Church (Roman Catholic), Dublin, on 24 May 1849 (sponsor Eliza Philips), and in Saint Mary’s Church (Church of Ireland), Dublin, on 12 August 1849.
4, Mary Anne Comerford (1851- ), born 24 May 1851, and baptised in Saint Mary’s Church (Church of Ireland) on 29 June 1851 by the curate, the Revd Benjamin Gibson, and in Saint Nicholas of Myra Church (Roman Catholic), Francis Street, by Father N O’Farrell on 30 May 1851.
5, Richard Comerford (1853- ), born in 1853, and baptised in Saint Nicholas of Myra Church (Roman Catholic) Church on 6 April 1853 (Witnesses: William Ledwidge, Teresa ...).
The first-named son:
WILLIAM COMERFORD (ca 1842/1843-1907), heraldic engraver, and living at 24 Whitefriar Street (1864); 2 Montague Street (1866); 29 Upper Camden Street, 1870 (1871); Clanbrassil Street, 1873; 18 Parnell Place, Rathmines (now Parnell Road, Harold’s Cross), Dublin (1877-1907). He was aged 58 at the time of the census on 31 March 1901. On 29 September 1862, in Saint Audeon’s Church (Church of Ireland), Cornmarket, Dublin, he married Hannah Jordan, daughter of John Jordan, accountant, of 3 Lower Bridge Street, Dublin (witnesses, James Smyth and Mary Murphy).
The wedding was conducted by the Revd Dr Charles William Benson (1836-1919), then the curate of Saint Audeon’s (1862-1863), Headmaster of Rathmines School (1859-1899), and later Rector of Balbriggan (1903-1919).
William Comerford died at 18 Parnell Place, Harold’s Cross, on 28 May 1907, and administration was granted to his sons Charles W Comerford and Joseph C Comerford.
William and Hannah Comerford were the parents of seven children:
1, Elizabeth, born 30 October 1864, baptised 23 February 1865, Saint Kevin’s Roman Catholic Church, Harrington Street (sponsors: Henry Jordan and Mary O’Brien, 74, Whitefriar Street, Dublin). She married on 5 November 1890, in Saint Catherine’s Church of Ireland Church, Dublin, James Harvey, Bandmaster, North Lancashire Regiment, then resident in the Soldiers’ Institute, 18 Parnell Place, and son of James Harvey, foreman, London Clocks (witnesses William Carsy and William Comerford). They went out to India with the First Rifle Volunteers (later the First North Lancashire Regiment), and there he was made bandmaster in Kamptee, Poona, Bombay, in 1895. From India, they moved to St Wilfred’s House, Trinity Road, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, where Frank ran a hardware shop and Elizabeth ran a B&B. They took part in various concerts. After her husband James had an accident while swimming at the Isle of Wight, Elizabeth (Comerford) Harvey followed her son Frank to Ireland and rejoined the remaining Comerford family in Dublin. She then rented the house at 27 Mount Pleasant Square in Ranelagh.
Elizabeth (Comerford) and James Harvey were the parents of five children:
● 1a, Frank William Harvey (1891-1971), born in India 25 December 1891. He was an apprentice engraver and living with his Comerford uncle and aunts in Parnell Place at the 1911 census. He served his time with Comerford & Brady, Silversmiths and Engravers, Eustace Street, Dublin. He eventually took over the business and retired in 1949, when the business closed. He then worked from his house at 27 Mount Pleasant Square, Ranelagh, Dublin, for many years. He died on 2 April 1971.
● 2a, James Charles Harvey (1895-1962), born 11 December 1895. He lived at 27 Mount Pleasant, Ranelagh. He married Florence Emily Peck of 95 Meadway, Ilford, Essex, in June 1934 in All Saints’ Church, Goodmayes, Romford, Essex. They moved to 21 Frankfort Avenue, Rathgar, Dublin, where their only son, James Richard Harvey, was born on 13 January 1940. He died on 2 February 1962. His son, James Richard Harvey, married Daphne Gertrude Carter in 1962 in Saint Lawrence’s Church, Chapelizod, Co Dublin. They were the parents of two daughters and three sons: Sandra Elizabeth (born 1963), Jennifer Margaret (born 1966), James Charles William Harvey (born 1968), Andrew Richard Victor Harvey (born 1970) and Timothy Charles Malcolm (born 1973).
● 3a, Charles Reginald Victor Harvey (ca 1899-1955).
● 4a, William Beaconsfield Harvey (1912-1933), born on 12 April 1912, died in 1933.
● 5a, Christine Ada Harvey (ca 1892-ca 1894). She was born ca 1892, was baptised on 19 September 1893, and died the following year from pneumonia.
2, Mary Christina, born on 28 December 1866, baptised on 25 January 1867 in Saint Kevin’s Roman Catholic Church, Harrington Street (sponsors: James Comerford, Catherine Shaw); aged 35 in 1901, and 40 in 1911, when she is named Christina and is listed as Church of Ireland.
3, Richard Henry Comerford (1870- ), born 1 June 1870, baptised 7 June 1870, Saint Kevin’s Roman Catholic Church, Harrington Street (sponsors: Richard Comerford, Anne Mullin).
4, John William Comerford (1871- ), born on 10 May 1871, baptised on 27 June 1871, Saint Kevin’s Roman Catholic Church, Harrington Street (sponsors: John and Susan Jordan).
5, Susan (1873-1937), born on 18 March 1873, baptised on 30 March 1873 in Rathmines Roman Catholic Church (sponsors: George Jordan, Mary Anne Backen), aged 27 in 1901, and 36 in 1911, when she is listed as Church of Ireland. She died at 21 Parnell Road on 9 June 1937, unmarried, aged 60 (sic).
6, Charles William Comerford (1877-1977), born on 28 February 1877, baptised on 31 January 1878, Saint Peter’s Church of Ireland, Aungier Street (note, the baptismal register only gives his mother’s maiden name, spelling it as Jordon, and gives his father’s surname as Jordon), of whom next.
7, Joseph Henry Comerford (1879-post 1919), heraldic engraver, born on 28 February 1879, baptised on 7 August 1879 in Saint Peter’s Church of Ireland Church, Aungier Street, Dublin, by the Revd Robert William Buckley, curate of Saint Peter’s and Rathmines, and organising secretary of SPG Ireland (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel). Joseph Comerford was aged 22 in 1901 and living with his father’s family. With his brother Charles he was granted administration of his father’s will in 1907. He was a witness at the wedding of his brother Charles in 1910.In 1911, he was 31, and was living in Parnell Place with his sisters Christina and Susan, and a nephew, Frank William Harvey, an apprentice engraver (aged 19), born in India. On 5 February 1919, in Blackrock Roman Catholic Church, Co Dublin, he married Miriam Elizabeth Dutrannos, daughter of Henri Dutrannos of Seapoint (witnesses: William Ivers, Frances Alexander).
The sixth named child:
CHARLES WILLIAM COMERFORD (1877-1953), of 60 Kenilworth Square, Rathgar, Dublin. He was born on 28 February 1877, baptised on 31 January 1878, Saint Peter’s Church of Ireland, Aungier Street (note, the baptismal register only gives his mother’s maiden name and his father’s surname as Jordon).
He may have been named Charles William after the Revd Dr Charles William Benson, who conducted his parents’ wedding. He was aged 24 in 1901, telegraph clerk, and living with his father’s family at Parnell Place, Rathmines, on 31 March 1901. With his brother Joseph he was granted administration of his father’s will in 1907.
On 9 June 1910, Charles Comerford married Adelaide Margaret Field (1878-1953). He was then living at 15 Parnell Place, Harold’s Cross, and she was living at 13 Leinster Square, Rathmines. The wedding in Holy Trinity Church (Church of Ireland), Rathmines, was conducted by Canon Samuel Musgrave Harris (1846-1914), Rector of Rathmines (1883-1914).
Adelaide was the daughter of John E Field, solicitor’s clerk, of 39 Longwood Avenue, South Circular Road, Dublin, and his wife, Elizabeth Mary (née Doyle), daughter of William Doyle of 53 Lower Clanbrassil Street. John Field and Margaret Doyle were married on 14 April 1868 in Saint Luke’s Church, Dublin, and were living at 53 Lower Clanbrassil Street in 1874. Adelaide was born on 18 February 1878, and baptised by the Revd Robert William Buckley in Saint Peter’s Church, Aungier Street, on 23 April 1878. Buckley was then the curate of Saint Peter’s (1872-18974) and the organising secretary (1868-1864) of the Anglican mission agency SPG Ireland, now USPG (United Society Partners in Gospel). The witnesses at their wedding were Joseph Comerford and Rebecca Field.
Holy Trinity Church, Rathmines … Charles Comerford and Adelaide Field were married here in 1910 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
In the census returns in 1911, they both declared they were born in Dublin and members of the Church of Ireland. He was aged 34 in 1911 and described himself as a telephonist at the GPO. When their first daughters were born in 1912 and 1914, he described himself as a civil servant.
His granddaughter Angela Marks believes Charles Comerford was in the GPO in O’Connell Street in 1916 and says family tradition tells of him crawling out along the street and swearing to leave Ireland. The family left Ireland ca 1922 and lived at ‘Kenilworth’, on Nore Road, Portishead, near Bristol.
Adelaide Comerford died on 2 February 1953; Charles Comerford died seven month later on 3 September 1953. They are buried at Saint Peter’s Church, Portishead.
Charles and Adelaide were the parents of three daughters:
1,, Lillian Mary (Jarrett) (1912-1999), a teacher. She was born on 19 November 1912 at 60 Kenilworth Square. She married Ronald Jarrett, and she is buried in Portishead Cemetery, North Weston.
2, Nora Adelaide (1914-2001), a teacher. She was born on 27 October 1914 at No 60 Kenilworth Square. She was educated Royal Holloway University, and taught in Reading and in Exeter, where she was head of Maths at Exeter Maynard School. She lived in Pinhoe, Exeter.
3, Kathleen Elizabeth (Parker) (1917-1995), a teacher. She was born at 60 Kenilworth Square on 13 May 1917. She was a teacher at Luckwell School, Bristol. She married Sidney Parker (1913-2002) of Portishead, at Saint Peter’s Church, Portishead, on 7 March 1944. They lived in Roath Road, Portishead, and then in Beach Road West, Portishead. She is buried in Portishead Cemetery, North Weston. They were the parents of a daughter and a son:
● 1a, Angela (Marks), born 1945. She attended Redland High School, Bristol, and trained as a teacher in Gloucester. She married on 6 April 1968 Patrick Marks, an engineer. They were the parents of a son and a daughter, Roger Patrick Marks and Rosemary Jane Marks.
● 2a, David Parker, born 25 April 1947, educated at Kingswood School, Bath. He worked for the family glazing firm, SH Parker of Bristol, and later became an architectural model maker. David and his partner Jacqui live in Pill, near Bristol.
As for No 60 Kenilworth Square, the house stands on about 0.14 acre and backs onto Garville Lane. After it was sold by the Comerford family in the 1920s, it remained the home to the same family for almost a century. until it was placed on the market in 2016, with an asking price of €1.2 million.
It was described by Sherry FitzGerald at the time as a once gracious house and an imposing and elegant two-storey-over-garden-level Victorian detached house. It still boasted a wonderful interior of elegant proportions, with a superb quality of natural light throughout. Many of the period features remain intact, including the original fireplaces, ceiling coving, ceiling roses, high ceilings and sash windows, synonymous with the Victorian era.
The accommodation is about 211 sq m (2,271 sq ft) laid out over three levels. Gracious granite steps lead up to the hall level with two inter-connecting receptions rooms. The first floor has four bedrooms and a family bathroom. The garden level has a kitchen, living room, bedroom/family room and a bathroom. The walled south-facing rear garden is 158 ft long and 29 ft wide, and has access onto Garville Lane.
There is also an interesting connection with the Revd Dr Charles William Benson, who gave his name to Charles William Comerford at his Baptism. When I was ordained priest 20 years ago in 2001, my good friend the late Canon Norman Ruddock presented me with a Home Communion set that first belonged to the good Dr Benson.
Benson’s home communion set was inherited by his son, Canon William Fitzgerald Benson, who once the organist in Saint Audeon’s, where his father had married Charles Comerford’s parents. He gave the home communion set to his only son, also Canon William Fitzgerald Benson.
From Bill Benson, the communion set passed to Noel Willoughby, who was Rector of Delgany and Glenageary and Archdeacon of Dublin before becoming Bishop of Cashel and Ossory. He died in Wexford in 2005, having passed on the chalice and patten to his close friend, Canon Norman Ruddock.
In turn, I have passed on the home Communion set to one of my former students.
This profile was prepared for the Comerford Family History website, and I intend to migrate it across to that site in time