Saturday 10 December 2016

Mummery and Trumpery ~ John Crosbie, Lucan, 1834

Further to last week’s post, I came up with another possible reason why my ancestors, Darby Keogh and Jane Crosbie, may have obtained a marriage licence in 1833. Perhaps, Jane was Protestant or 'known' within the Protestant community. Perhaps, a marriage licence, issued by a Church of Ireland bishop, was deemed the best insurance policy to ensure the validity of a potential 'mixed' marriage, scheduled to take place in the Roman Catholic parish of Lucan, Co. Dublin. 

You see, prior to 1870, marriages between Catholics and Protestants were invalid under Irish civil law, unless celebrated by a Church of Ireland minister. So, if Darby or Jane was a practising Protestant, a second ceremony probably took place in the Church of Ireland. Unfortunately, though, as far as testing my theory goes, we’re at a loss – Church of Ireland records for Lucan seemingly only survive post-1845.

There is little basis for this theory, it must be said. The priest made no such notation beside their marriage in the register and there was no hint of it in subsequent records relating to their lives. Still, it makes for interesting speculation when you hear the story of John Crosbie, a man who posthumously created pandemonium in Lucan, the following year.

First, bear in mind, Crosbie was an uncommon surname in Ireland and, at the time, as few as seventeen hundred people lived in Lucan.[1] There’s a good chance everyone in the town bearing the Crosbie name was related. And, remember also, a John Crosbie witnessed Darby and Jane’s marriage. He could have been Jane’s father. 

Anyway, according to this story, John Crosbie, a practising Protestant, married a Catholic woman. And, on his deathbed, much to the chagrin of his Protestant minister, he 'converted' to Catholicism. The minister delivered a mighty sermon in Lucan Church afterwards. The intolerance he expressed towards his Catholic neighbours may border on paranoia, but, don’t forget, it occurred just five years after Catholic Emancipation, an alarming time for any Protestant minister in Ireland. 

The question that may never be answered is, was Rev. Ould talking about my GGGG-grandfather?

Death of John Crosbie, Lucan, 1834
Cork Constitution19 February 1835, p. 3

The full text of Rev. Ould’s sermon:-[2] 

The True Nature of the Church of Rome and the Duty of Protestants towards her
'There is no parish minister but must expect, there is no faithful one that will not be prepared against, such conversions as have given risen to this Sermon. The truly useful, pious and devoted clergyman who now comes before the public, has never been afraid, and never, under God’s blessing, will be ashamed to show himself watchful in his great Master’s cause; and however liberals and latitudinarians may sneer and say, he need not have thrown away voice or type in making such a pother about an old besotted pensioner, whose soul might have gone to purgatory, and his carcase might have been bandied about by the Papists, with all their mummery and trumpery, without a minister troubling himself about the matter; 
yet we deem that Mr Ould was called on to make this exposure of the mean arts – the stern bigotry – the untired persecution with which such a poor Protestant, stupified by illness, was besieged, when married to a Popish wife, and when surrounded by none but those who think that all who do not confess to a priest must inevitably go to hell – that these poor ignorant creatures that surround a dying Protestant’s bed, should thus unite in giving him no rest until he consents to surrender to their good intentions, is most natural, and we would be almost inclined to place it to the account of their good nature, were we not assured that it is more to gain a triumph for their cause, more to confound their Protestant neighbours with the sight of a living Protestant being turned into a dead Papist, than any concern whatsoever for the state of the departing soul. 
But that a priest, an educated man, should be found lending himself to all this bigotry and delusion that he should administer to this malignant triumph of his flock, and dare to bolster up the hope of the dying man, by putting him through the exercise of a momentary confession, and the anointing with a bit of grease. We say this is monstrous, and we announce that the man who practiced such delusions must, indeed, be part and parcel of that mystical Babylon and mother of abomination, which, for all her harlotry with which she has deceived the nations, the Lord will destroy with the breath of his mouth in the brightness of his coming, - Mr. Ould, in this discourse, in a very animated and feeling way warns his young Protestant hearers, of the ruinous consequences of marriages with Roman Catholics.' 
Rev. Fielding Ould, A.B. Perpetual Curate of Lucan. 

[1] Comparative Extract of the population of Ireland, 1821 and 1831, p. 4, HC, 1833, accessed on EPPI
[2]The true Nature of the Church of Rome...', a sermon by Rev. Fielding Ould, A.B. Perpetual Curate of Lucan, published in The Christian examiner and Church of Ireland magazine for 1834, v.iii, p. 938, by William Curry, Jun. and Co., Dublin, 1834, accessed on Google Books.

© Black Raven Genealogy


  1. Rev. Ould's sermon was an eye opener! Your theory seems quite plausible. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and more genealogical discoveries in 2017.

    1. Thanks Marian, it was a little surprising. I thought it was only the Irish Catholic priest who would deliver such a lambasting.

  2. Goodness, he didn't hold back did he? Happy Holidays to you and your husband Dara!

    1. No, he seemed to take it very badly, poor man. Happy Christmas to you and yours, too, Ellie.

  3. Wow! I hope someday you are able to prove this is your family - or not. But, it sounds reasonable that he was at least related.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May 2017 be filled with wonderful discoveries!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!