21 Jan The Creaghe, Butler, Blunden & Other Related Names in Ireland
James R. Corning (1919-2000)
In Ireland (in the Tipperary, Kilkenny, Waterford, Cork, Limerick regions) the Creaghe and Butler names go back to the English-Norman invasion in 1166! From then until the reign of Henry VIII (16th century) both the invaders and the invaded people of Ireland were Catholic. When the Church of England split from Rome, almost all English and Anglo-Irish people in occupied Ireland switched religious allegiance from Rome to Canterbury. Almost all Celtic Irish remained loyal to Rome resulting in a harsh new dimension to their suffering, especially during the Cromwell era. At one period they could not own real property, not even a horse. Fortunately some of the ruling class in Ireland and England have all through history been moved by conscience to defend the oppressed, giving strength to the civil rights movement and leading to the great event of 1922 when Great Britain recognized the Irish Free State with Dublin as its capital. This same treaty permitted continued British rule in the northeast province (Ulster) where a majority of the people were and still are royalist and Protestant. In this Irish Free State (now called the Republic of Ireland with 5/6ths of the land area of the island) lived the Creaghes, Butlers, Blundens, and many, many other distinguished Anglo-Irish families. The Treaty of 1922 ended British rule, but thank God there was no spirit of revenge against the Anglo-Irish minority which to this day maintains its rich inheritance of culture, proud tradition, titles from the English past, the land and the lovely homes, its fraternal and its Anglican ties. Those born before 1922 have dual citizenship: Great Britain and Republic of Ireland. Those born after are Irish citizens. All the ones I know remain Protestant in a republic that is 94% Catholic.
In the years since 1922 the 3 million people of the republic have elected two Anglo-Irish Protestants as president. You can see their biographies in Encyclopedia Britannica – Dr. Douglas Hyde (1937-1945), a Gaelic scholar, author and playwright and Erskine Childers (1973-4) born in London and the son of a British general who supported Irish independence. In the sorely troubled northeast of Ireland which remains a part of the United Kingdom there would very probably be all-out civil war if the British were to suddenly withdraw. The British government has admitted past discrimination against the Catholic minority and has taken many steps to end all this. What is desperately needed now is wisdom and forgiveness and a complete break by the citizenry on both sides with the masked men of terror and revenge. A majority of people on both sides of the border and their governments oppose a forced union of the two Ireland entities.
With this background in mind, you can imagine what an enlightening and wonderful experience it was for me to go to Ireland in 1978 and to meet the grandson of Philip Creaghe(1850-1933): 2nd cousin Sir William Blunden, 6th baronet of Kilkenny, and son of Lady Phyllis Creaghe Blunden, successful farmer and raiser of thoroughbred horses, husband of Lady Pamela Purser Blunden, and father if six daughters, all graduates of Trinity College, Dublin, chartered by Queen Elizabeth I. Sir William who was also a lieutenant commander in the British navy died in 1985 at age 66. His title passed to his brother Philip O. Blunden in Dublin. Before 1922 Philip Creaghe was a magistrate in the British administration of Ireland.
Other Creaghe descendants in Ireland are descendants of the two daughters of Florence Creaghe Going who married Benjamin Going in 1878. The daughters were Mabel Going Threlfall and Bena Going Cobden. Although I have not traced other branches of the family, it stands to reason that there are many more rather distant relatives in Ireland.
The genealogy charts in this report were compiled in 1934 by Percy Creaghe (1876-1949), Philip Creaghe’s son, and passed on to me by my brother, Charles Corning(1928-2007), who inherited them from Mother. Extensions to these charts beyond 1934 were by Charles. Included also is an account of Percy Creaghe’s marriage in 1912 to Evelyn Negus. They lived in Ottery St. Mary, a lovely village in Devonshire, and had two children.
You will also notice from the charts that Grandfather’s brother Richard (1844-1922) and his wife, Marry Elizabeth Chetwood Vowels, moved to Austria where the family name continues. Another brother, Captain John W. W. Creaghe (1853-1931) was skipper of several Cunard passenger ships, including Empress of Australia and Empress of South Africa. I visited his lovely old home in Southampton in 1944, lived in by his widow, Julia, and her housekeeper. This couple had no children. To me the really big surprise of the Percy Creaghe charts was to learn that Grandfather Creaghe’s mother, Anna Marie Archer Butler Creaghe, who died in 1903, is a DIRECT descendant of Thomas Butler, the 10th Earl of Ormonde, who lived at the time of Elizabeth I. To appreciate the significance of these names be sure to read the attached articles on Butler and Ormonde from Encyclopedia Britannica. From my research Anna Marie Butler Creaghe and her husband, Richard Fitzroy Heileger Creaghe, who were married in 1842, lived in Waterford in a house named “Blenheim”, in Clonmel at “Ashbourne” house, and Tramore south of Waterford in the south coast where she died. The very detailed obituary and funereal account tells of the long route of the funeral procession from Tragmore to Golden, part of it by rail. She and her husband and her husband’s parents are buried in the Creaghe mausoleum in the Anglican churchyard in Golden, Tipperary. This mausoleum is to the right rear of the church and is obscured by shrubbery. There are Creaghe and Blunden graves in St. Canice Cathedral churchyard, Kilkenny.
In concluding this look into a fragment of the past, I also want to remember Bill Corning, my brother who lived from 1920 to 1976; two lovely cousins, Mary Creaghe (daughter of Dick and Nan Creaghe) and Jane Hillyer; Jane’s brothers, Granby Hillyer II and St. George Hillyer; and Arthur S. G. (Woody) Gordon, son of Arthur C. and Lola Gordon.
Mr. James R. Corning
Red Bluff, California