Prince Family at Claggan, Ballycroy

Mr Prince
Photographer Henry J Brooks in Abingdon, Wiltshire from 1867 to 1877

Stephen Farr Prince 1825-1906 lived at Claggan near Ballycroy where he was the agent and manager of the Clive family’s estate. Son of blacksmith Jubal Prince, Stephen was born in Wanborough, near Swindon in Wiltshire, England. He was a servant living in Paddington, London when he married Sophia Drew in 1852. The first four of their offspring were born in England before the family moved to Claggan sometime after the baptism of their son Ernest in 1856 and before John Oram noted in his diary on 23 March 1861 “Mr Prince’s child’s funeral”.

Sophia Drew 1825-1888

Researchers into the background of Sophia Drew are having a problem identifying her parents and birthplace. All we know is that on the marriage certificate her father is Richard Drew, builder. Unfortunately like Stephen, Sophia does not seem to be included in the 1851 census which is odd as they were both servants living in the same house in Harrow Road when they married a year later.

This page may hold a clue as four of the photographs were taken in Abingdon, Berkshire. On the back of the photographs here are two different logos suggesting that the Prince family visited Henry J Brooks’ studio at least twice while it was open between 1867 and 1877. Importantly one of the photographs above was annotated by Arthur Oram’s daughter Gretta as “Mrs Drew and Mr H Prince”. The census returns for Abingdon in 1861 and 1871 include the family of builder Richard Drew born c.1815 in the hamlet of Cothill, Berkshire. This Richard could be Sophia’s elder brother baptised in 1813 in Marcham, Berkshire, son of Richard and Elizabeth Drew. The witnesses to Stephen and Sophia’s marriage gives another link with Abingdon as porter Henry Thomas was born there. Henry and Sarah, the second witness and their family were living in Paddington in 1851.

The Prince and Oram families

Mr Prince often arranged transport beyond Mullranny for John Oram, and later Arthur Oram when they attended Fishery meetings at Ballycroy or collected rents on the Lagduff estate. On these journeys both John and Arthur sometimes stayed overnight at Claggan.

The offspring of Prince and Oram families were of a similar age and friends. Seventeen year old Ernest Drew Prince 1856-1872 died in London and in 2020 the name of child who died in 1861, above does not seem to be available on-line.

Arthur Oram’s Diaries

In his diaries Arthur refers to the surviving Prince siblings as Harry Prince, Mrs Simpson, Mrs Lofting, Mrs F O’Donel and Alexandra as Miss Prince, Mrs Little and then Mrs Orsmby. Sources used in the brief histories below are the free for images of many Irish birth, death and marriage registers and certificates and the subscription site

“Harry Prince” was Henry Stephen Prince 1852-1898 who lived in London. In 1893 Arthur visited Harry in Bayswater. On 2 September 1898 Arthur heard “that Harry Prince died in London yesterday”.

“Mrs Simpson” was born Emily Anne Prince 1853-1930 and married Robert Simpson 1850-1929 on 16 August 1879 at Ballycroy. Robert, son of land agent James Simpson was a sub agent at Loughglynn, Castlerea, Co Roscommon. At the time of the 1901 and 1911 censuses Robert, born Co Armagh was land steward on Lord Inchiquin’s estate at Dromoland, Clare. Emily and Robert had no offspring. When Robert died on 6 March 1929 they were living at Harbour View, Tramore, Waterford. A year later Emily died on 4 March 1930 at 15 Spencer Villas, Dun Laoghaire from a Carcinoma 2yrs and Cardiac failure.

“Mrs Lofting” was born Rose Clara Prince 1855-1947 and in 1883 in London married Edgar Lofting 1858-1899 who was a hosier’s assistant. In the 1891 census they were living in Chelsea with their two sons. Edgar died in 1899 while he was at Claggan. On 21 January 1899 Arthur accompanied his coffin from Claggan to Newport for his funeral. A month later Clara visited the graveyard and stayed overnight at Wilford. By the 1901 census Clara had moved to Ealing where her occupation was given as ‘letting apartments’. Arthur’s diaries show that during August 1906 Clara spent time in the local area with her sister Alexandra and in the 1911 census they were together at Rossyvera. Clara died on 2 June 1947. The probate calendar shows that Clara’s final address was 54, Berrylands Road, Surbiton, Surrey, a detached house now worth over £1m. Edgar, Clara and their two sons Charles and Henry are commemorated on a headstone in Old Barnes Cemetery, London, see the photograph below. On 16 August 1906 Arthur went “fishing with Charlie Lofting after dinner”.

“Miss Prince”, “Mrs Little” and “Mrs Ormsby” were different names of Alexandra Sophia Prince c1864-1940 who spent her life in the Newport-Ballycroy area. As Alexandra’s life was followed in Arthur’s diary she has been given her own page Alexandra Prince-Little-Ormsby

“Miss K Prince”, also “Mrs F O’Donel” was born Kathleen Charlotte Prince 1865-1956. Arthur recorded meeting Miss K Prince a few weeks before she married land agent Francis O’Donel 1856-1906 on 10 September 1889 at Ballycroy. Francis was son of land agent Francis O’Donel 1825-1898 who left a sizable estate in Ireland and England. In 1901 the family were living in in Ellison Street, Castlebar with their four sons (their daughter was born in 1902) . Francis was a Justice of the Peace and a land agent. There are many references to Mr F O’Donel and Mrs F O’Donel in Arthur’s diaries. Dog licences were held by Francis O’Donel at Ardagh, father, son or another Francis O’Donel? Also Kathleen’s sister Alexandra appears to be living at Ardagh around 1906. Unfortunately Francis died at home in Castlebar on 5th August 1909 due to “Carcinoma 16 months Asthenia Certified”. On 19 March 1909 Arthur went to the Assizes at Castlebar and visited Francis finding him “no better and Mrs O’D not well.” Arthur and William Rose attended Francis’ funeral in Castlebar on 7 August. Kathleen soon moved to Dublin, perhaps because her son Sidney was attending veterinary school. On 24 November 1909 Arthur visited 98a Marlborough Road, Dublin, the same address as Kathleen’s in 1911. When her son Hugh died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis in 1915 they were both at 63, Albert Road, Kingston, Dublin. Kathleen died at 39 Bawnmore Road, Belfast in 1956. There is a memorial to three of Kathleen’s sons in Deansgrange Cemetery, Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Funeral of Sophia Prince nee Drew 18 April 1888 and her gravestone

According to the register of deaths Stephen Prince was present when Sophia died. The cause was given as “Described as Debility no med attn”. Arthur’s first reference to Sophia’s death was the next day on 16 April 1888 when he went to “Newport and arranged with sexton about Mrs Prince’s grave.” and then travelled to Claggan where he stayed for a couple of hours. Two days later “To Mrs Prince’s funeral left here 6am carrying W[illiam] Rose [and Arthur’s cousins-in-law] James Cowan and John Anderson. Funeral left Claggan 10.30am heavy showers in the road reached Newport 3pm. Prince home direct I stayed and got grave etc finished”.

Three months later Arthur on 4 July Arthur “repaired up Mrs Prince’s grave” then on 13 July “Miss Prince and Mrs Lofting came“. On 21 December Arthur “met Mrs Simpson (Emily Prince) by 4pm train .. and rode back to Wilford”. The next day “Mrs Simpson home by Claggan car sent here for her”. On 24 January 1889 Arthur went “to Newport. Rose and I with Prince erecting headstone at Mrs Prince’s grave.” About three weeks later Arthur was re-fixing the headstone. Over five years later Mrs Simpson stayed at Wilford on the night of 23/24 August 1894 before Arthur took her to visit Newport church the next morning. “Mrs S hands me 10/- to get her mother’s grave seen to.”

Stephen Prince’s marriage to Jane Mary Mills 1839-1916 in December 1891 and her employment by the Clive family

Stephen Prince’s second wedding is not mentioned in Arthur’s diaries. The ceremony took place in Fulham, London. The certificate shows that Jane’s father William Mills was a steward. All the researchers seem to agree that Jane was born in 1838 in Monks Kirby, Warwickshire where her father was a servant and in later census returns he was a grocer. In which case in the 1891 census Jane was housekeeper to widow Annsybella [probably Ann Sybella] Clive on the Clive estate at Perrystone Court in Herefordshire. The wikipedia entry for General Edward Clive 1837-1916 says that Ann Sybella was his mother and he had residences at Perrystone, Ballycroy and in London. The first witness to the marriage was W Mills, probably Jane’s brother who lived in nearby Putney. The second was Sarah Kathleen Lyttleton, the daughter of Sybella Harriet Clive and Lord Lyttelton who was born in 1870.

The first mention of Mrs Prince after the wedding is probably on 12 October 1892 when Arthur reported that while he was at Claggan “Mrs Prince gave me a splendid young cockerel”. After Stephen’s death Jane was either living in or visiting the area as on, for example 5 June 1908 Arthur recorded “Mrs Prince and Ormsby called“. Three days earlier “Mrs Prince with baby O’Donel called”. There are no locally registered O’Donel births at that time so ‘baby O’Donel’ must have been 4 year old Kathleen, daughter of Kathleen and Francis O’Donel, above. In the 1911 census Jane is renting rooms in Lewisham in London. Probate records show that Jane was living at the same address in Lewisham when she died in 1916 at Excelsior Cottage, Weedon [Lois?], Northamptonshire.

Stephen Prince’s final illness and funeral 31 March 1906

In Arthur’s diaries he gave no reason for Stephen Prince’s final illness. The death certificate shows that Stephen died of “senile decay and debility following gastric hemorrhage 6 months certified” and that Nurse L. Trinham was present at his death. Arthur first mentioned the illness on 4 October 1905 when he visited Claggan and found Mr Prince improving. On 5 January 1906 Arthur was writing a note to Mr Prince about sending a carpenter to Lagduff. On the 22 January Arthur and his spouse Catherine visited Claggan and found Mrs Simpson, Mrs Little and Dr Cleary and nurse Trinham with a ‘very weak’ Mr Prince. On 7 March 1906 Arthur attended a meeting of the Conservators in Ballycroy then “.. drove round by Claggan, Mr Prince keeping up wonderfully tho’ still very weak.” On 29th March Arthur “Heard of Mr Prince’s death by wire from Mrs Little”. The next day Arthur received “Letter from F O’Donel saying Mr P’s funeral from Claggan 9 o’clock tomorrow Saturday”.

On the day of the funeral Arthur “Left 6am arrived Claggan 8.5, left with funeral 9.35 to 45, arrive at Newport 2pm, lunch at hotel with J Cowan and PL [?] Petrie who left by evening train, cold on my chest.” On Monday Arthur “Met Mr and Mrs Simpson at Station and took box with (General Clive’s) wreaths and put them on grave.” On Tuesday there was a “box by post with wreath for Mr P’s grave, which I put on”. Thursday Arthur “Drove to Newport with flowers by post from Mrs Little for Mr Prince’s grave”.

Mr W Prince
Photographer Chancellor, in Dublin between 1862 and 1923

Who was Mr W Prince?

There a photograph clearly annotated by Arthur’s daughter Gretta as “Mr W Prince” taken at Chancellor’s Studio in Dublin. The studio was in business from 1869 to 1923.

Stephen Prince had two sons Harry and Ernest, so was Mr W. a nephew?

Back to parent page

Alexandra annotated “Miss A Prince”
Photographer ET Church, at 53 Donegall St, Belfast between 1869 and 1890
Edgar Lofting
The Lofting memorial in Old Barnes Cemetery, South West London. By kind permission of Frédérick who took the picture on 7 November 2020

2 Responses to Prince Family at Claggan, Ballycroy

  1. Valerie Chambers says:

    Hi Carolyn,
    I am enjoying reading through the website. My particular interest stems from the fact that we live in the now converted St. Catherine’s Church in Newport. Arthur Talbot Oram and Catherine are buried in our graveyard. Mowing the lawn over the past number of years I have become intrigued by the stories of some of the souls resting here, not the least being ‘My Darling Children, Little Jack aged 4 and Eileen 2’ who died in May 1906. The headstone is dedicated by Alexandra S. Ormsby. She was the widow of Lowther H. Little, who died in 1904. She remarries in 1906, the same year that her father, Stephen Farr Prince dies. Her mother is buried beside them, Sophia d.1888, and her brother-in-law, Edgar Lofting (not Loftus) d. 1899. He was the husband of Clara Prince who is named on the 1911 Census as Clara Loftus. I was fascinated to know where Lowther Little was buried and your website has answered that – I’ll be heading off to Ballina to pay my respects! It all seems such a tragedy for the family. I wonder why your ancestors reported him ‘unhinged’!

    • Carolyn Scales says:

      Hi Valerie, you will be interested in Arthur Oram’s diaries as he was a church warden at St Catherine’s. Hopefully UCD will put them into their digital website before May. Did you find the photos of the interior of the church? They are in the ‘pictures of Newport’ slide show under ‘Places’.
      We hope to visit Mayo early summer. A few days ago I sent you a message to the e-mail address you have given us.
      Regards, Carolyn

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