The name of a fish,

The sound of a bell,

Carries a weight 

And what does it spell.

Coddington Surname

Coddington is an English surname. The Cheshire branch of the family is thought to be the source of most, if not all, cases of the name. The place name dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Cotintone. Coddington is also located in Nottinghamshire (a village), Derbyshire (home of two farms) and Herefordshire (a tiny hamlet.) The Domesday Book lists Cotintone in Nottinghamshire and Cotingtune in Herefordshire. The place name literally means “estate associated with a man called Cot(t)a,” from the Old English personal names + “ing” + “tun.”

Coddingtons of Holm Patrick

William Coddington, from Grantham, Lincolnshire, England, settled at Holm Patrick (Skerries) about 1633. The family of Coddington is thought to have come to Ireland from England at the end of the sixteenth or early seventeenth century. John Coddington married Anne Clooney in 1606. They had a son, William, who settled at Holmpatrick, Skerries, Co. Dublin.

William was born 4 October 1607 at Grantham, Lincoln. He married Thomasina Cawton on 29 May 1632. Thomasina was born 12 November 1614 at St. Swithins, Lincoln. She died 1679. William was High Sheriff of Co. Dublin 1655 and of Co. Wicklow 1656. William died 31 August 1657 and was buried at Holmpatrick, Co. Dublin. William and Thomasina had four sons and eight daughters. Their eldest son, Nicholas, succeeded them in the estate.

Their son, John Coddington, of Cloverell or Clonerry, King’s Co. married Anne Stearne, daughter of Robert Stearne, of Tullynally, Co. Westmeath, and Anne Packenham of Bracklynn, Co. Westmeath on 11 February 1668/9. John died February 1690-1. John and Anne had a daughter, Anne Coddington, who married her cousin, Dixie Coddington in 1686. John and Anne’s daughter, Hannah married John Waller, of Kilmainham Castle, Co. Meath, and their grand-daughter, Hannah Waller, (born in 1705), married her cousin, Dixie Coddington, of Athlumney.

Son of William and Thomasina, Captain Nicholas Coddington, of Holm Patrick, married firstly Elizabeth Ashton, daughter of William Ashton, Recorder of Drogheda, in 1655 and secondly Anne Dixie about 1660. Anne Dixie was possibly a daughter of Sir Wolstan Dixie, 1st Baronet (1602-1682), first of the Dixie Baronets. In 1672 Nicholas Coddingtom was the administrator of Wolstan Dixie’s estate at Holmpatrick.  Nicholas was holding the lease of Holmpatrick by 1659 and held it until 1721 when the Earl of Thomond sold it to John Hamilton. Nicholas and Anne had three sons and a daughter. On 16 May 1669 Captain Coddington returned to his company to the commissioners of array for County Dublin.

In 1668 Peter Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin, landed at Skerries and was hospitably entertained by Captain Coddington. Nicholas died 6 July, 1685 and was succeeded by his son Dixie.

Detail of Nicholas’s will

Another son, Henry, was educated at Trinity College and became a lawyer. The King’s Inns admission papers record “Councillor Henry Coddington having defrauded many people of considerable sums of money left his house at Stephen’s Green on 2 January 1733 and never returned to Ireland.” In the 23 June 1733 issue of the Dublin Journal the following appeared: “The public seemingly very desirious to know the particulars of the several gross frauds committed by Counsellor Henry Coddington Esq, Counsellor at law…. We do therefore desire that any person or persons who are well informed on said Mr. Coddington’s frauds, forgeries ….” Another son, William, is said to have been an officer in the Inniskilling Regt. According to family tradition William was present at the Battle of the Boyne. Their daughter Elizabeth married Sir William Handcock M.P. for Athlone and Recorder of Dublin.

Dixie, of Holm Patrick (1665-1728) married his first cousin Anne Coddington in 22 December 1686. It is suggested that he was present at the Battle of the Boyne. Dixie was High Sheriff of Co. Dublin in 1695. They had six sons and three daughters. He died 22 July 1728.

Memorial to Dixie Coddington in Skerries Church

Dixie Coddington, son of Dixie and Anne, lived at Athlumney Castle, Navan and he was Principal Sergeant of Arms in the Irish House of Commons from 1768 until 1776. Born in 1693 Dixie married his second cousin, Hannah Waller, Kilmainham Castle, Kells.. Their son, Dixie, was resident in Boyne Hill, Navan and Marlborough Street, Dublin. He was Sergeant of Arms in the Irish House of Commons. Dixie married Jane Ormsby and their son, Dixie, was Deputy Sergeant of Arms in the Irish House of Commons. Dixie junior lived at Boyne Hill, Navan and died as Sergeant of Arms in 1798.

Dixie and Hannah’s daughter, Friedswide, married John Moore of Tullyallen whose descendants became the Moore-Brabazons of Tara. John Moore, of Dublin, acquired the town lands of Balgatherine, Hill of Rath, Tullyallen, and Drybridge, all in the Barony of Mellifont, and Co. of Louth in 1721.

Henry, son of Dixie and Anne, was a Barrister and lived at Tankardstown, Ninch and Laytown. He was described as “an eminent attorney.” He had a house in Stafford St., Dublin, as well as in Drogheda. He was Clerk to Mr. Justice Thomas Tenison, Register of the North East Circuit of Ulster, and Secretary to the Commissioners of Appeals. Henry died in 1751.

Debates from Irish House of Commons

William, son of Dixie and Anne, became a clergyman and was Vicar of Carrickmacross. He married Mary Bellingham of Castle Bellingham. Their grandson, Rev. William Coddington, was rector of Kilmoon parish, Meath.

The lands at Holmpatrick held by the Coddingtons from the Earl of Thomond were sold to James Hamilton in 1721 and so the Coddingtons had lost their lands. A story in the Coddington family was that  Dixie Coddington asked his friend, James Hamilton to bid at the auction for him, starting at £10,000 and then in increments of £1,000, until the property was bought. At the auction Hamilton did bid £10,000 for Dixie Coddington, but then bought the property for himself for £11,000 or £12,000. Dixie Coddington considered this a breach of contract and trust so took a court case against Hamilton.

James Hamilton was appointed chief agent for the Irish estates of Henry O’Brien, Earl of Thomond, in 1719, and was given full power to examine all vouchers, books, deeds and writings ‘anywise’ concerning the revenue or management of the estate. In 1726 Henry O’Brien, Earl of Thomond, took James and John Hamilton and John Jacob to court with regard to the  fraudulent misrepresentation in sale of Thomond’s estates in Ireland including estates at Holmpatrick, in Co Carlow, Queen’s County and Limerick in 1720. The appeal case was heard on April 1733 in the Irish House of Lords. In 1738 the case was still active and Thomond moved to Ireland from Britain, where he had spent most of his adult life. It was re-heard in 1740. In 1741 the Earl died but the court case was still appearing in the courts in 1758, 1768, 1770 and 1799.

Battle of the Boyne and the Coddingtons

There is historical evidence to show that possibly least one member and possibly two members of the Coddington family did service at the Battle of the Boyne. Story, who was present, tells us: “About 8 or 9 a Clock at night i.e. 30th June, the eve of the battle, the King called a Council of War, wherein he declared that he was resolved to pass the River the next day, which Duke Schonberg at first opposed, but seeing his Majesty positive in it, he advised to send part of our Army that night at 12 a clock, to pass the River at, or near, Slane bridge, some three miles above, and so to get between the Enemy and the pass at Duleek, which was about four miles behind them, but this advice was not taken. One thing under consideration was, where to get guides that were trusty and good, whilst this matter was in question, my Lord George Hambleton was by, who immediately brought four or five of his Inniskilling Officers that knew the Fords very well, and took upon them to guide the Army next day, and here it was concluded how the Army should March, and who should Command at the different Posts.” Impartial History, p. 77.

It can be assumed that Willam Coddington, of the Inniskilling  Foot,  was  one  of  these  four or five  Inniskilling Officers whom Story mentions as ” knowing the Fords very well.”

From another source that at this very time a Captain Coddington was appointed to William’s Staff.   A certain Albert Joseph Boyer, who served through the Campaign, kept a Diary’ in which appears, under the same date, 30th June, this entry: — “I sit in sorrow to make this morning’s entry.   Orders have been given to General Douglas and young Schonberg to proceed in the direction of the bridge of Slane.   Captain Coddington, now appointed to the Staff, engages to lead the Division, and turn the Enemy’s left.   Orders to march at 4 a.m.”‘

From this MS., — which is weather-worn and illegible, except in those portions of it which the writer says he wrote in camp ” in China ink,” — Mrs. Brown has made the following extracts : — “20th March, 1690. Thursday. Met Captain Coddington this morning. He told me that this day Parliament meets, and he feels very anxious about the appointment of a Speaker.”

” 29th March. Great rejoicings in the Camp, (considering our afflictions). Sir John Trevor, Captain Coddington’s friend, has been chosen Speaker, and has transmitted a copy of the King’s Speech to that Officer, which gives the greatest satisfaction, as the first clause of the Speech states the King’s intention to visit Ireland in person.”

Boyer’s account of the Battle, tells us “Caillemot, at the head of the French Protestants, was in the act of crossing. Captain Coddington rode up to his friend, who was shot and mortally wounded; and as he came up, the brave old soldier gave his men in charge to the Captain, and ordered himself to be borne back again through the river, that he might cheer up his men, which he did, pointing out to them their new leader, and crying as he passed, “A la gloire, mes enfants, a la gloire.”

From Harris comes the account of another incident in the battle, in which Captain Coddington appears on the scene, although he is not named: “His Majesty, accompanied by the Prince of Denmark, passed the river with the left wing of the horse, at a ford within a mile of Drogheda, though with some difficulty, his horse being bogged on the other side, insomuch that he was obliged to dismount, till one of his attendants assisted him to extricate his horse and remount. As soon as the troops were over, and put into some order, the King drew his sword (though the wound he had received the day before made the wielding of it uneasy), and marched at their head towards the Enemy, who were advancing again in good order to attack the English Foot now got over the pass, and boldly hastening towards the Irish, though double their number. When these two bodies were almost within musket-shot, the Enemy discovered the King’s horse moving towards them ; at which they made a sudden halt, and retreated up a hill to the small village of Donore, about half a mile from the pass. The English pursued and came up with them at this village, where, resuming courage they faced about, and forced the horse to give ground, though headed by their King. His Majesty immediately rode up to the Inniskilleners, and asked them what they would do for him. Their chief officer telling them it was the King that was doing them the honour to head them, they boldly advanced, and the King at their head received the enemy’s fire.” About 1904 Charles Croslegh visited Oldbridge when he was compiling his book “Descent and Alliances of Croslegh, Crossle, or Crossley, of Scaitcliffe and Coddington of Oldbridge and Evans of Eyton Hall” – I had the great advantage of going over the Battle-field of the Boyne with Colonel Arthur Blaney Coddington, when I was staying at Oldbridge, in 1887. From the days of his boyhood he had been familiar with every inch of the ground. And his instinct as a soldier, and his high training as a surveyor enabled him to determine the position of troops on the field in a way that was very striking. He was in charge of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, and he had lately invented a new process for the engraving of maps from which he hoped great things. As a sample of what could be done by the new process, he was making a plan of the Battlefield. When I visited him later in the Phoenix Park, the engraving was not yet complete, but he promised that I should have a copy of it. He died not long afterwards. As far as I am aware, only two copies of what was done were ever struck off. Col. Coddington, of Oldbridge, has one of them. And, through the great kindness of Major R. C. Hellard, R.E., Arthur Coddington’s successor in the Ordnance Survey, the other is in my possession. What Major Hellard says about it is interesting :— ” It is unfortunate that the Superintendent of the Branch concerned, who would have known all about the matter, died here last year, and there are no records of what was intended to be done ; but we have managed to hunt out a small part of the result, and I now enclose you a copy found, probably a proof submitted to the late Col. A. B. Coddington from the experiment. But nothing more than this has ever been done that I can trace, and even the proof I now send seems to be unfinished.”

Leopold von Ranke (1795–1886) was the most influential historian of the nineteenth century. On the morning of 4 July 1865 Ranke arrived with his son in Ireland, in time for the conferring of an honorary doctorate by Trinity on the following day. Ranke wished to see the place where he believed the fate of Ireland had been decided: the location of the Battle of the Boyne (1690). His interest is understandable since his latest volume of the History of England dealt with the years 1689–92, within which the Battle of the Boyne formed a central point of Irish and English history. Together with Charles and Robert Graves, Ranke made a trip to the Boyne on Saturday 8 July 1865. On their way they passed by the Hill of Tara, which ‘was the residence of the old kings whom all clan chiefs served’. When arriving at the River Boyne, which was, in Ranke’s opinion, ‘the centre of old Irish history’, they saw on the other bank the monument of Newgrange, ‘an artificial hill made from stones with a narrow entrance’. Charles explained to Ranke that in the centre was a large burial chamber. He knew of it because in his younger years he had entered it, although he admitted that no burial remains were to be found any more. He added that ‘it is here that St Patrick did his first conversion with the help of the river’, which was also ‘the scene of Old Irish poetry, which often included speeches between heroes and priests’. Ranke noted in his letter to his wife that ‘this, however, was not my main interest; rather I wanted to know more about the battle of the Boyne, which was to seal the fate of Irish history many years later’. At the river Ranke and Charles were welcomed by Mr Coddington, a relative of Charles’s who owned several fields in the area of the former battle. It was a warm, sunny day, and Ranke enjoyed the valley as ‘one of the most beautiful sights’ because ‘the trees lining the graceful river and the green meadows were unlike any I have ever seen before’. Together the visitors were shown the site of the battle, and they followed up the different movements of the armies on a map kept by Coddington. For Ranke this exercise was also history: following up his knowledge of the facts with a map and the actual site itself. Although ‘the area has since been altered by the building of a canal’, it was easy for him to follow the movements of the armies and to find ‘the forts, which were defended by one army and occupied by another’. Ranke was shown ‘the hill from which King James watched the battle and made a dash for freedom; the graves of the defeated, and the monument of the victors’. Besides this, Coddington related how the father of his great-grandfather’s carpenter had told of how he brought the corpse of Schomberg on his cart to Dublin, where he was laid to rest in St Patrick’s Cathedral. Ranke commented to his wife that such explanations were ‘a thread of a living tradition that was passed down to us from that time. I had good reason to often discard what I heard and somehow managed to convince my companions’. Ranke and Charles returned satisfied to Dublin. Source – “Von Ranke in Dublin” History Ireland Issue 1 (Jan/Feb 2008), Volume 16

Cannon ball from battle over front door

John Coddinton of Oldbridge1724-1740

From 1713 there was a tenant for life on the Oldbridge lands. The Jennet family leased the land on this date from the Moores. On 16 July 1724 Richard and Patrick Jennett, Carrickhill, Co. Dublin assigned a lease of Oldbridge to John Coddington of Drogheda, Co. Louth. On 25 September  a schedule of lands for the payment of Lord Drogheda’s debts in Ireland was drawn up. This agreement includes the then tenants and their leases, the names of the purchasers and the purchase money. In 1729 the Oldbridge lands were acquired from Moores Earl of Drogheda.

The lands at Staleen, Oldbridge, Sheephouse, Donore and Rathmullen amounted to 1,892 acres in 1711 when they were the property of the Earl of Drogheda. The lands at Tankardstown, amounting to 470 profitable acres in 1715 were inherited through marriage into the Osborne family.

Deed between Jennet family and John Coddington of Drogheda

John Coddington was born about 1691, son of Dixie  and Anne Coddington of Holmpatrick. He matriculated from Trinity College on 12 April 1708 aged 18.

The Coddington’s papers refer to a trust made by John Coddington of the lands at Oldbridge in 1724. John Coddington purchased an estate at Oldbridge from the fifth Earl of Drogheda in 1724 for £4,000. Later in the same year John bought out the leasehold interest of the sitting tenants, Patrick and Richard Jennet, whose lease was in contravention of the 1704 Act to Prevent the Further Growth of Popery in Ireland.

In 1724 John Coddington entered into an agreement with the Moore family, Earls of Drogheda to: “grant, bargain, sell, release and confirm unto John Coddington the town and lands of Oldbridge containing about 400 acres and 40 acres of plantation and the fishing weirs of Oldbridge. The deed of sale  included: the messuages, houses, orchards, meadows, pastures, ways, waters, watercourses, woods and underwoods, mines, minerals, quarrys, and the fishing and fishing weirs of Oldbridge and all and singular those royalities, privileges, rights, members, indents, appendances and appurtenances of the said land and premises.

The grant from Earl of Drogheda was confirmed 18th February 1729. At the same time the Earl of Drogheda disposed of Donore to Mr. Graham, Beyrath to Alexander Carroll, Gilltown to Andrew Caldwell and Duleek and Newtown to Thomas Trotter.  Garret Wesley of Dangan and Charles Campbell of Dublin acquired the lands at Knowth and Staleen.  Various other landowners had an interest in the Earl’s properties and so were named on leases as being parties to the transfer. These included Thomas Carter, Dublin, George Rochfort, Peter Ludlow, George Warburton, Rt. Hon. Trevor, Lord Viscount Hillsborough and George Johnson. Also a party to the sales was Rt. Hon. Charlotte, Countess of Drogheda.

On the 23 May 1711, John Coddington, son of Dixie, married Frances, second daughter and co-heiress of Captain John Osborne, of Drogheda and Balgeen, Co. Meath, and of Timahoe, Co. Kildare. With the marriage came 2,500 acres of lands including Tankardstown, Shalvinstown, Hilltown, Balgeen and Rawlinstown – lands near Slane in county Meath, Tankardstown and the old family seal. Tankardstown was Osborne lands from at least 1677.

In 1708 John Osborn, late of the City of London, Silk Dyer, but now of Ballgeen, Co Meath, and his wife Anne, gave for 120 years, the lands in the Barony of Deece:Dromlorgan, Dunganstown or Balldungan, Ordnellstowne or Edinstowne, Knockbegg or Knockturin  and part of Monatry; in the Barony of Duleek:Ballgeene (1 mile west of Ardcalf, now called Ballgeeth; in the Barony of Slane: Shalvinstown, Hilltowne, Ralangstowne or Rawlingstowne, Bathsland in Ardcalfe, Rabranletemple or Rabran Church, Brownestown, Part of Hopkinstowne called Osbornsland; and in the Barony of Morgallen: Willkinstowne called Osbornsbogg to Henry Tennison of the City of Dublin, and to Richard Rogers of Ballgeen for £200 a year to be paid to him or his wife Anne, whichever lives the longer. However the land is to be farmed by Bryan Osborn and Anne his wife, of Thomastown, Co Louth. Anne is the eldest daughter of John and Anne Osborn. Bryan Osborn is to be ‘aided’ by Thomas Kirkwood and Arthur Knox, both merchants in the City of Dublin.  Signed: John Osborn, Ann Osborn, Hen Tenison, Richd Rogers, Nath Boyes, Bry Osborn.

Since they signed the deed, it is thought that perhaps Henry Tennison who died in 1709 and Richard Rogers who died in 1726 got the land by a mortgage to John Osborn. Henry Tennison of Dillonstown, Co Louth, a barrister and MP, whose daughter married Nicholas Coddington in 1722, died the year after this deed of settlement.

On 8 March 1736 Oldbridge and the rest of the estate was mortgaged to John Ervey of Bannaboy, Co. Cavan

John Coddington was High Sheriff of County Meath in 1725. The High Sheriff of Meath was the British Crown’s judicial representative in County Meath, Ireland, from the conquest until 1922, when the office was abolished in the new Free State and replaced by the office of Meath County Sheriff. The sheriff had judicial, electoral, ceremonial and administrative functions and executed high court writs. The usual procedure for appointing the sheriff from 1660 onwards was that three persons were nominated at the beginning of each year from the county and the Lord Lieutenant then appointed his choice as High Sheriff for the remainder of the year. Often the other nominees were appointed as under-sheriffs. Members of the Coddington family held the position in 1725, 1754, 1785, 1798, 1843, 1848 and 1922.

John, only child of John Coddington and Frances Osborne. Born 21 October 1715. Died 21 October 1736, drowned in the river Boyne.

 A most accomplished young man. He was betrothed to a young lady who refused to marry him, because she had had a dream that he would come to an untimely end before reaching the age of 21 years. The day before the completion of this period, his mother locked him up in his chamber to prevent him going to hunt.  He jumped from the window, went into a curragh and was drowned.”

The story circulated in the country and was set down in “The Real Story of John Carteret Pilkington.” “The Real Story of John Carteret Pilkington, Written by Himself” was first published by subscription in 1760.  John Carteret Pilkington (1730–1763) was an Irish singer and writer who left lively memoirs of his early life and collaborated on the memoirs of his mother Laetitia Pilkington. The story recorded:

Miss Broderick entertained us with the following story, which she assured us was a fact, and which I have since heard confirmed by several persons of equal veracity.

Mr. and Mrs. Coddington, of Oldbridge town, near Drogheda, who had a liberal fortune and beautiful estate, situated on the Boyne water, just at the place where King William’s army crossed it, were patterns of hospitality, virtue, and conjugal affection. Their house was the continual resort of both the indigent and the gay; the first found relief, and the latter pleasure and entertainment, they were therefore venerated by all beneath them, and beloved as well by their equals as their superiors.

Heaven blessed them with one son who seemed from his infancy born to inherit their mutual good qualities, as well as their fortune: as this young gentleman advanced towards manhood, he advanced in all the politer arts that finish that character; but as this cannot be completely done by mere precept or speculation, it was necessary he should take the tour of Europe, in order to know men as well as books.

So excessively fond were this happy couple of this their beloved and only offspring, that they imagined it not safe for him to go abroad without their accompanying him; so that if any accident happened at sea, as their whole comfort was centred in his life, they might all perish together. After having made all the preparations requisite for such an undertaking, the whole family set out for Paris, at which place they arrived safe and in full health and spirits. After they had been there some time, they had an invitation to a splendid ball; upon which occasion the young gentleman, very lovely in his person, was so elegantly dressed, that he attracted the eyes of the whole company. A young lady, whom he approved more than any other present, he selected out to dance with him; but she at first modestly declined it, and upon his further entreaties; absolutely refused him. While young Mr. Coddington walked to the other end of the room, his mother, whom the young lady did not know, and a gentlewoman whom she was acquainted with, came to her, and asked, why she, being the brightest female in the place, could refuse her hand to so handsome a young gentleman? She answered, that she had her own reasons, gave a deep sigh, and endeavoured to avoid more conversation. This awakened all the curiosity of an affectionate mother, who concluded, that the young lady was in love with her son; she therefore eagerly pressed her to explain that sigh, and likewise her previous behaviour.

Madam, replied the lady, I think, in my life, I never beheld so many unstudied charms, as appear in that amiable foreigner; nor did I ever behold a youth my heart would sooner incline me to give my hand to, if it were consistent with the will of our parents. After telling you this so candidly, you will judge my refusing to dance with him proceeded from no dislike, either to his country, person or breeding; but, alas! Madam, I see with grief and horror, that, before this day twelve months, that amiable blossom of youth and comeliness will die an untimely death. Judge what an alarm this prognostication was to the attentive parent who, though she had a great share of good sense, could not be unalarmed at the dreadful presage. However, she passed it off with a becoming decency, and did not interrupt the pleasures of the company or the night, which ended in great harmony. When the old gentleman and lady retired to their apartment, she acquainted him with what had passed, in a very serious and pathetic manner. After having gravely attended to her, he burst out a-laughing, and told her he minded no such fancies, and entreated she would think no more of it: she told him, he knew her too well to suppose her superstitious, but at the same time they could not be too careful in watching against accidents, where they had such a warning given them; therefore, my dear, said she, as you never refused any favour requested by me, I hope you will now oblige me, by returning with our son to Ireland, where there is scarce a danger but we may be guarded against. The good man, already weary of travelling, was pleased with the motion, gave his consent, and without letting the young gentleman know their motive, embarked in a few weeks for Ireland; where after a short passage, they landed safe, and again took possession of their own fireside.

They continued in their usual tranquillity eleven months, at which time Mr. Coddington began to banter his wife in private, about her Joan de Pucelles prophecy,as he termed it; nay, the young man was well and safe, till the night before the predicted time was to expire; which night, she ordered the servants to lock every door in the house, and bring her the keys: she then went and saw every bit of fire and candle in the house extinguished; after doing this she retired to repose, and fastened her bedchamber door. Young Mr. Coddington was a keen sportsman, and had made an appointment to go a hunting the succeeding morning, of which his mother had no knowledge: when he arose and found all doors fast, he demanded of the servant the meaning of it? They informed him it was done by his mother’s command: oh! Very well, said he, then I’ll get out at the window, which he accordingly did. As soon as he came to the water side, he found the dogs and horses were gone across the river, therefore determining not to lose game for a little obstacle, he put himself from the shore in a small cot or canoe. This was carried down by the strong current for half a mile, when it overset, and the youth was unfortunately drowned, in presence of his friends and servants, who, for want of a boat, could afford him no assistance: so that the first object which struck the afflicted other’s eye, when she arose in the morning to look out of the window, and thought her fears were over, was the corpse of her son carried on a board by some of the servants. The lamenting father, on hearing the news, instantly became a lunatic, and died raving mad in a few weeks after. The poor mother, unable to survive the loss of all that was dear to her, broke her heart with grief; so that a whole family, who might have promised themselves years of comfort, were extinguished by one fatal event in less than three months.”

The will of John Coddington is dated 5th December 1739. In his will he left £50 to Susanna Barron “for her tender care of me and my wife.” The will also included “ornament and furniture of the greenhouse”, diamond ring, microscopes and an old family seal. The will mentions Henry Coddington residing at Tankardstown. John’s nephew, Dixie, was to inherit all the large family paintings and a quarter of his books and plate. John senior died in 1September 1740 and Frances died 1747. John was succeeded by his nephew, Dixie, son of his brother, Nicholas. In 1741 Dixie was confirmed as heir to John.

Dublin Journal 14 October 1740

John Coddington’s Will

Probate granted 1740 on John Coddinton’s Will

Dixie Coddington of Oldbridge1740-1770

John’s brother, Nicholas, was the second son of Dixie Coddington, of Holm Patrick. On 14th July, 1722 Nicholas married Mary, daughter of Henry Tennison, of Castle Bellingham, and had issue, three sons and seven daughters. Their eldest son was Captain Dixie of Oldbridge and second son was Henry.Nicholas died November 1737. In 1785 Mrs. Coddington relict of Nicholas Coddington died at Oldbridge in the 85th year of her age.

Dixie Coddington was born in 1727, eldest son of Nicholas Coddington and Mary Tenison. He was educated at Mr. Skelton’s School and entered Trinity College in May 1743, graduating with a BA in 1747.

In January 1741 Rathbrand, Slane, 600 acres of land belonging to the late John Coddington was put for sale. This was a condition of John’s will in order to meet any costs. The lands were leased to Sir William Ogle, Alderman of Drogheda. Purchasers could contact Dixie Coddington in Athlumney or Henry Coddington at Tankardstown, Executors of John Coddington. In 1741 Dixie Coddington gave a donation of £30 to Mercer’s Hospital.

In 1745 Mary Coddington, relict of Nicholas and other family members, were offering for sale lands in King’s County

In 1746 Henry Coddington put lands at Tankardstown for lease and other lands, 480 acres at Tankardstown, 124 acres at Davidstown, 69 acres part of Gernonstown, Ardcalf 229 acres, Dorahamstown, 434 acres and Grenoge 71 acres. At Tankardstown there is a good dwelling house, with barns, stables, coach house, brewhouse, pidgeon house, and several other offices, with very good gardens, planted with choice wall and standard fruit trees… at Dorhamstown, an orchard and between thirty and forty acres  enclosed with a wall and stocked with deer…

Dixie married Catherine Burgh, daughter of Thomas Burgh and Anne Downes, daughter of Dive Downes, Bishop of Cork and Ross in 1754, and had seven daughters, who all died young. Thomas Burgh lived at Bert House, Athy, Co. Kildare and was MP for Lanesborough 1727-1758. During this period there was a Thomas Burgh who was Surveyor General for Ireland and designed a number of public buildings, churches and houses in Dublin and surrounds but this is a completely different person.

Dixie held the office of High Sheriff of County Meath in 1754. He gained the rank of Captain in 1760 in the 9th Dragoons, commissioned 1760. He was governor of the Charitable Loan Society 1623, Vice President of the Charitable  Musical Society 1763, Governor of the Foundling Hospital and Workhouse 1769-75 and Governor of the Hibernian Society 1769-76.

On 13 April 1757 Dixie Coddington of Oldbridge sold Tankardstown to Joseph Morris “by public cant (auction)”

Thomas Tennison was grandson of Richard Tennison, Bishop of Meath. He served as a judge of the Court of Common Pleas and also sat in the Irish House of Commons for Dunleer from 1728 to 1761.The original patron of the borough of Dunleer was Lord Dartmouth, who sold his estate of one thousand acres to the Richard Tenison in 1698. Elections for the borough were disputed in 1715 and 1727. This insecurity enabled the Fosters, who were tenants of the Tenisons, to gain control of the borough. In 1735 the two families came to an agreement each to have one seat; this was sustained until the Union, when the borough was disfranchised and John Foster and Henry Coddington  (through his mother Mary née Tenison) shared the £15,000 compensation equally when the parliament was abolished in 1800. John Foster became MP for Dunleer in 1761 and later became Speaker of the House. Foster was married to Margaretta Burgh, a half-sister of Catherine Burgh, wife of Dixie. Dixie Coddington became MP for Dunleer in 1762 and served until 1783. Henry then became MP and served until 1800. Henry tried to negotiate a deal for his vote for the Union with the Irish government but did not succeed so he followed John Forster’s lead in opposing the move. The Coddingtons were frequently Dunleer’s Sovereign but were said not to be too interested in politics. They were interested in promoting the cause of their clerical brothers. The Report of the Municipal Corporation Commission, 1833, mentions that Mr. Coddington, the late proprietor of the manor had retained the books of the Corporation.

In March 1768 Dixie Coddington was appointed Principal Serjeant at Arms in place of James Bailie. Thomas Tennison had one son, Richard, who predeceased his father by 20 years, leaving at least one daughter but no son. In 1779 Thomas’s estate passed at his death to his nephew Dixie Coddington, the son of his sister Mary, who married Nicholas Coddington of Oldbridge

In 1765 Dixie Coddington of Oldbridge was a Boyne Navigation Commissioner. Dixie leased Oldbridge to his brother, Henry, in 1770 for two hundred pounds a year, the lands “within the demesne walls with fishtraps in the river Boyne and tenants and gardens in the town of Oldbridge for 41 years”. Henry seems to have been administering the Coddington lands before this date. In 1765 Henry Coddington Dublin was letting the New Inn recently built in the town of Dunleer.

A house and twenty acres was leased to his Dixie’s nephew, also named Dixie, this property may have been Farm, later known as Glenmore.

In 1787 Dixie Coddington (1727-1795) leased Drumlargan and Knockturin (Knockstown), to George Bomford for 41 years at a rent of £796.5.0. In 1788 Dixie Coddington appears to have leased the land to Christopher Wade. In 1792 Dixie Coddington mortgaged the lands to Charles Farran for £5,000. The 1795 lease to George Bomford was for three lives and the acreage is 1,202 statute acres. Dixie Coddington agrees to grant a fee farm lease for ever once the mortgage of £5,000 is paid. On 17th May 1788 Dixie Coddington leased to Christopher Wade and Hamlet Wade the lands of Dunganstown, Drumlargan and Knockturin with the bog containing 742 plantation acres (1202 statute) in the Parishes of Drumlargan and Kilmore. However the Wades could not continue payment so now George Bomford produced £500 and took over their lease. 

Dixie lived much of his life in Raglan Road, Dublin where he died in 1794. He was succeeded by his brother, Henry.

Dixie seems to have lost a bet playing cards in 1765. He had to give Edward Hardiman the right to fish in his waters. Edward Hardiman was a prominent merchant and politician in Drogheda. He held the office of Mayor in 1768. He dealt in grain and wine and manufactured linen. He was a supporter of John Foster, who was also an ally of the Coddingtons. He was a successful candidate in the parliamentary by-election at Drogheda in 1798 but was defeated in 1802. He opposed the act of Union as did Foster and Coddington. The family became extinct in Drogheda but their names is recalled in the street name” Hardiman’s Gardens” on the north side of the town.

Edward Hardman’s licence to fish on the Boyne, signed by Dixie Coddington May 2, 1765. Ms. 17,308 NLI. Written on back of playing card! Had Dixie had a run of bad luck at cards? And was this put in to cover the bet?

Henry Coddington of Oldbridge 1770-1816

Henry Coddington was born in 1728 and christened at St. Peter’s, Drogheda on 15 September 1735. He was the son of Nicholas Coddington and Mary Tenison. He married Elizabeth Blacker, daughter of Latham Blacker and Martha Beaver of Applefield, Rathesker, Co. Louth in 1762.   Their children were Henry, Dixie, Thomas, Latham, Martha, Mary, Elizabeth, Mary Jane, Anna and Nicholas.   

Henry was a practising Barrister-at-law. In 1772 Henry Coddington was appointed Sheriff of the town of Drogheda. He held the office of High Sheriff of County Louth in 1784 and of Meath 1785. After the death of his cousin, Dixie Coddington, in 1791 he became Deputy Sergeant of Arms and was so at the time of the Union. Henry received compensation of £350 for the loss of office of Deputy Serjeant at Arms at the Act of Union. He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Dunleer from 1781 to 1800. A 1784 Parliamentary List declared that “He attaches himself to Mr. Foster but being impatient for office, now and then takes a fit of opposition. Hopeful.” It was said that “He is not ambitious of parliamentary consequence but in order to secure the place of Chief Serjeant-at-Arms to his brother he was obliged to come in for it himself. The object being obtained, it will probably, as usual, hereafter go to the highest bidder.” Henry voted against the Act of Union. On 12 February 1800 he accepted the office of Escheator of Munster and sold his seat to Quintin Dick, who unsuccessfully tried to claim his money back when compensation was being awarded for loss of boroughs. He held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for County Meath and for County Louth.  Henry was Secretary to the Commission of Appeals 1759-94, Clerk to the Prime Serjeant 1759-60, Clerk in the Court of Common Pleas 1760-7, Attorney of the Court of King’s Bench, Common Pleas and Exchequer 1789, Coroner of Drogheda 1773-80.

Henry was tenant of Paughanastown, Kildemock, Co. Louth from 1796-1818.

In 1803 Henry Coddington the elder of Oldbridge, Co Meath, heir at law of Dixie Coddington late of Boyne Hill (died 28th May 1794/5), and Henry Coddington of Dublin, second son of Henry Coddington the elder, leased to George Bomford of Rahinstown the town and lands of Dromlargan  Balldungan or Dunganstown, Ardnelstown or Edinstown, Part of Clonlyon, Part of Moiralvy or Moneley, and Knock or Knockturin for ever.

Henry bequeathed two hundred and thirty five acres at Sheephouse and nearly three hundred acres at Donore to his second son, Henry, who lived at Rokeby Hall, in County Louth. This land was subsequently divided between Henry’s three daughters: Isabella, Eleanor Dorothea and Elizabeth.  

In 1810 John Gamble visited the area and wrote: “His (Coddington) grounds are highly improved and beautifully planted – he has dug up an immense number of balls that had lodged there, on the ever memorable day I have related – his house was attacked and nearly carried by the rebels in 1798.”

On Saturday  9th May 1812 the Magistrates and landowners of Meath, Drogheda and Duleek held a meeting under the chairmanship of Earl Conyngham. Sir Marcus Sommerville and Messrs Coddington, Gorges, G Tandy, Caddle, Harman, Osborne, Gustavus Hamilton and Henry Smith Jr attended. It was agreed that landowners should be watchful of their employees and discharge anyone suspected of radical acts. The meeting also agreed to petition for a pardon for any worker who voluntarily submitted to them.

Henry died 21 September 1816.

Henry married Elizabeth Blacker. Above is a portrait of Elizabeth Blacker of Carrickblacker and is attributed to the Irish artist, Lowry Strickland. It was sold at Sotheby’s in 1996 and also noted by the National Gallery of Ireland. Both say that she was the wife of Henry Coddington of Oldbridge.

However there is another portrait of possibly the same woman painted by Thomas Gainsborough but this identifies her as Elizabeth Blacker (1739–1822), daughter of William Blacker  and wife of Sir William Dunkin, an Irish barrister and judge in Benegal.

Elizabeth Blacker by Thomas Gainsborough

Taylor and Skinner’s Map 1777

Nicholas Coddington of Oldbridge 1816-1837

Nicholas Coddington was born in 1765, the son of Henry Coddington and Elizabeth Blacker. He married Laetitia Barry, daughter of Gaynor Barry, of Beau, Co. Dublin on 13 July 1793. She was a sister of Viscountess Allen.  They had four sons: John, Henry Barry, Joshua William and Fitzherbert Nicholas and two daughters Anna Elizabeth and Laetitia Mary. Nicholas Coddington on board of governors of Drogheda Infirmary in 1814. He was Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Dunleer in 1795. He held the office of High Sheriff of County Louth in 1795 and High Sheriff of County Meath in 1798.

Nicholas was a member of the Grand Jury of Meath in the 1790s.  His son, Henry, was treasurer to the Grand Jury in 1807.

Grand Jury of Meath 1806

Nicholas and his son, Henry Barry, carried out a number of improvements on the estate. The house was re-modelled in the 1830s to the drawing of Frederick Darley.

Nicholas was a shareholder in the Dublin to Drogheda Railway proposed in 1836. Nicholas died at Farm 31 August 1837 aged 72 and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Henry Barry. His eldest son, John, had died in 1822.

Henry Barry Coddington 1837- 1888

The Oldbridge Estate then passed to Henry-Barry Coddington, son of Nicholas. Henry-Barry Coddington was born on May 22nd in the year 1802; he was the eldest surviving son of Nicholas Coddington and Laetitia Barry.

Henry was admitted to Trinity College 5 July 1819 aged 18 and then admitted as a fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge 16 October 1822  and granted a BA in 1824. Henry Barry took a Grand Tour of Europe and kept a diary of events and sights. He married Maria Crawford, eldest daughter of William Crawford of Bangor Co. Down on 16 September 1827 in Bangor church. She died 23 March 1845.

In May 1832 H.B. Coddington was among a group of magistrates who wrote to the Under Secretary for Ireland in Dublin Castle. Resolution of a meeting of the magistrates and householders residing in the baronies of Upper and Lower Duleek, [County Louth], held in Duleek, requesting that a board of health be appointed to the district in order to deal with the threat from cholera; noting the names of 13 individuals nominated to the board; signed by Sir William Somerville and HB Coddington, magistrates; to Sir William Gosset, [Under Secretary]

Maria’s father, William Sharman Crawford, was the owner of 5,748 acres in County Down at Crawfordsburn, Rademon, Banbridge and Rathfriland as well as 754 acres at Stalleen in County Meath. William Sharman Crawford took an active interest in politics. He is best known for his advocacy of Tenant Right – the Ulster Custom which gave a tenant greater security through the three “f”s: fair rent, fixity of tenure and free sale of goodwill. Crawford called this “The darling object of my heart”. This idea was not popular with other landlords, but Crawford remained a strong advocate of it for the rest of his life. In 1843 Crawford managed to persuade Sir Robert Peel, the Conservative prime minister, to establish the Devon Commission to investigate the Irish land question. Tenant right, the subject of eight successive bills drafted by Sharman Crawford, was eventually conceded in the Land Acts of 1870 and 1881.  A distant cousin owned a brewery in Cork and they married back in to the Crawfordburn family. An advocate of Catholic relief from 1812, he publicly supported emancipation in 1829, and the following year was strenuous in his efforts as a magistrate to disperse Orange demonstrations. He championed a democratic franchise and a devolved legislature for Ireland.

William Sharman Crawford

Henry and Maria had six sons and three daughters, John Nicholas, William Henry, Henry Joshua, Fitzherbert, Arthur Blaney, Dixie Latham, Laetitia Mabella, Maria Anne and Florence Elizabeth.

In 1829 Henry Barry Coddington of Oldbridge House signed his name to `The Protestant Declaration of Loyal Gentlemen in Ireland to the Crown of England”. This called for the removal of restrictions on Roman Catholics.

In 1828 Maria gave birth to a boy, John Nicholas, at Crawfordburn, Co. Down. In 1831 the lady of Mr. H. Coddington was delivered of a daughter, Maria Anna, at Farm.

In 1831 Henry wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Sir William Gosset, Under Secretary for Ireland, at Dublin castle, reporting his efforts to disperse an assembly of country people, who were meeting outside the village of Slane. Henry as magistrate had a detachment from the 23rd fusiliers to assist him. He managed to disperse a crowd at Duleek. The people were assembling in order to agitate for increased wages for labourers.

Letter depicted below:

H.B. Coddington Signature on letter

The English Government finally abolished slavery in 1834. However, with the abolition of slavery, the Government also paid in excess of £20 million in what was termed the `loss of their property`.

A Parliamentary Return of 1837-38 which was over 300 pages long, presented the list of names of those who made claims for payments.

Among the Irish claimants for compensation payment for `loss of property`, i.e. slaves, was Mr Henry-Barry Coddington of Oldbridge House Drogheda Co. Meath. Coddington was also the owner of a vast Estate called Creighton Hall in the parish of St. Davids in Jamaica where he was recorded as the `Master` to 235 enslaved individuals. Henry Barry Coddington became owner of the Jamaican estate from the will of the previous owner, his great uncle, Fitzherbert Richards  who died at Bath about 1811. Fitzherbert inherited Creighton Hall from his brother Robert Richards.

The estate was 1165 acres of which 399 acres was sugar cane in 1790. The plantation also produced sugar, rum, molasses, cotton, ginger, coffee, cocoa and pimento.

Creighton Hall Estate, Jamacia

Creighton Hall in 1832 was in the possession of Fitzherbert Batty and John Richard Ayley as attorneys to Henry Barry Coddington Esq.

Coddington’s claim was dealt with on March 21st 1836, where he was seeking a compensation payment of £4532 14 shillings and 7 pennies for the loss of the 235 slaves. The payment was however, contested and a counterclaim was made by two trustees named as Robert Snow and William Curtis and although it was clearly shown that it was certainly Coddington who was the “owner” of the slaves, he was unsuccessful in his claim for the compensation.

Henry Coddington was one of the trustees listed in a prospectus for the Drogheda, Meath and Louth Banking Company, issued in 1836.

In March 1841 Henry held a ploughing match at Oldbridge and the Drogheda, Meath and Louth Farming Association held a ploughing match at Oldbridge in February 1843.

Henry was High Sheriff of Meath in 1843 and 1845. Henry’s wife, Maria, died 23 March 1845 aged 36, after giving birth to a son, Dixie Latham. In 1847 Henry Barry Coddington of Farm was listed as a magistrate for Meath.

At the Meath Spring Assizes of the Meath Grand Jury in March 1839 Mr. Coddington put forward a proposal for a new road leading from Navan to Drogheda – but what appeared to be a new road leading from Drogheda to Oldbridge. The proposal was opposed by George Ball of Ballsgrove on behalf of his tenants at Rathmullan and Sheephouse. Ball’s proposed road was 85 perches shorter than Coddingtons and also cheaper. Coddington’s proposed cost of £800 was too dear and the Grand Jury adopted Ball’s proposal at a cost of £380. This road would run along the river rather than over the hill at Rathmullan.

Major Coddington was one of the dignitaries who took the first train from Dublin to Drogheda. On the morning of 25 March 1844 a train came from Dublin to Drogheda before 9.00 a.m. to carry the dignitaries back for the “experimental trip”. The train stopped at Piltown bridge to pick up Thomas Brodigan of Piltown House who had been a major driving force behind the project. When the train reached Dublin at 10.00 a.m. there were already people queueing. Seven carriages were set to carry 250 passengers but by 11.00 a.m. there were 565 people waiting on the platform. A reporter described the first class carriages: “Nothing could be more rich or more luxurious than the fixing in these carriages. The most delicate Sybarite must pronounce them faultless. Cushions of the richest texture and the most agreeable colours offered themselves to aid the repose of each member. On every side beautiful mirrors are set at the particular angle of inclination, which permits the dandy or dandizette to have the gratification of ascertaining that no one of their points, from the ambrosial curl to the shoestring, has been discomposed.” At 23 minutes past 11 the engine “Norah Creina” left the station pulling “upwards of 35 tons of flesh and blood in addition to about 85 tons which the carriages and engines are computed to weigh.”  The locomotive pulled in to Drogheda one hour, 18 minutes and ten seconds after leaving Dublin.  “Immense crowds line the way. Hurra! Hurra! A loud shout rends the air as we pass under the bridge three pieces of  cannons roar out their vociferous welcome, the flags float upon the breeze, the joy bells ring out in a merry peal and we reach the temporary station house amid the cheering and joyous shouts of 10,000 throats.”

View of Drogheda and Railway

In 1846 reports of the potato disease, blight, were coming in from across the country. The Freeman’s Journal of  7 February 1846 reported “For example, we may mention a large field at Skerries, where not more than one potato in twenty was found by us in a state which would admit to preservation; and another near Oldbridge, in which from the want of skill in the owner, all appear to be perishing in the pits, and we have proof that these are not rare examples. We would even add, melancholy as this picture is, that in all probability the late rainy weather has rendered the mischief yet greater.”

HB Coddington, Oldbridge, Drogheda, reporting the appointment of a relief committee for the baronies of Duleek Upper and LowerReference: RLFC/3/1/2281 15 May 1846. Creator: Famine Relief Commission

The Drogheda Argus made a report of an incident near Drogheda in January 1848: “About half-past two o’clock p.m. on Sunday last, as Mr. H. B. Coddington Esq. of Oldbridge, was riding home, accompanied with his son, from Drogheda, where they had been at Divine Service, they were stopped near King James’s Hill on the ramparts of the Boyne, by two footpads, each of whom presented a pistol, and called on Mr. Coddington to “stand and deliver”. On the impulse of the moment Mr. Coddington struck down one of the pistols by a blow from a heavy whip he carried, and drawing again instantly, he struck the fellow  across the face, cutting him under the eye. At the same moment both gentlemen put spurs to their horses, and one of the fellows pulled a trigger after them, but the pistol missed fire. The younger Mr. Coddington, by direction of his father, hastened home to call out the servants and give chase, and the robbers fearing this, crept over a hedge and made their escape through thick plantation. The servants and tenants at Oldbridge scoured the country as did also the police, who soon got out from Drogheda,  but without effect; all that could be heard  of the assailants was that one with a cut under the eye, were seen soon after the event on the road going towards Drogheda. The fellows had the appearance of “navvies” – they were able men; one wore a blue coat, the other a sustain jacket. Up to this they have not been discovered. We may state that there was no motive except plunder for this outrage. Mr. Coddington is son-in-law to Mr. Sharman Crawford; he is an excellent landlord, one of the very best employer in the country; and most exemplary for his humanity and charity towards not only his dependents but the poor of the neighbourhood.”

Some weeks later the Drogheda Conservative reported that “Several persons, were at that time, arrested by the police, on suspicion, but on Wednesday, Head Constable Coe succeeded in arresting in this town, two persons of notorious bad character, John McParland and Laurence Dignan, who were fully identified by Mr. Coddington, and forthwith committed to Trim, by James Mathews Esq. High Sheriff of this town, to abide their trial for the offense. Both of these ruffians confessed their guilt before the magistrates – one of whom stated, the pistols were heavily loaded, and that his comrade in arms called to shoot Mr. Coddington at once. A quantity of bacon was found in the house of one of the robbers.

In July 1848 John Parland and Laurence Dignan were charged with having attacked H.B. Coddington with intent to rob him and were sentenced at Trim assizes by the Chief Baron to ten years transportation.

The Meath Archers held their first meeting of the season at Oldbridge on 11 July 1849. A handsome tent was erected on the lawn in front of the house, over which flew a union jack. In front of the tent a space of about ninety yards was enclosed  with eight targets, four at either end. To the right of the house stood a splendid dinner tent of the Society, measuring 126 feet in length supported by twelve pillars.  

A photograph of Miss. Coddington of Co. Louth c 1852. It could be Letitia Mabella or Maria Anna, both aged about twenty in 1852.This photograph  appears in a collection of portraits the National Library of Ireland. 1 photograph : quarter-plate daguerreotype; 12 x 9.5 cm. Duggan Collection: Collection consists of daguerreotype, ambrotypes and other examples of early photographic techniques.        

Members of the Coddington family played in a cricket match of military against the civilians of Ireland at the Phoenix Club, Dublin, in 1850. Phoenix, the first cricket club in Ireland, was founded in 1830. Cricket was played at Oldbridge at various times in the 1850s and 1860s. In 1855 Captain Coddington played on the Meath Cricket team against Westmeath. The teams were made up of the nobility and larger landowners in both counties. John Nicholas, Fitzherbert, Dixie, William Henry and Arthur Blaney  and other family members played cricket on various teams.

All-Ireland United Cricket team at Phoenix Park, Dublin, ca. 1858,

In July 1855 Mr. Coddington as one of guardians spoke to a group of 24 young girls which the Guardians were sending to Canada. The board had provided suitable outfits, the cost of their passage and a pound in cash. They embarked on the steam packet, the Brian Boiroimhe

In January 1858, Henry Barry Coddington, Espine Batty and the Reverend Edward Batty advertised for sale the rental of over 570 acres in the parish of Donaghmoyne, county Monaghan, held on leases from the Archbishop of Armagh, dated 1 November 1856.

A public meeting of members of the Church of Ireland was held in Drogheda in June 1870 to discuss the re-organisation of the Church of Ireland. The Church was being dis-established and breaking its links to the state and becoming independent of the government.  The chair was taken by Rev. John Eccles, vicar at St. Peter’s. H.B. Coddington proposed a resolution that the meeting had entire confidence in Representative Body in its appeal for funds for maintaining the Church. He praised the new roles of vestrymen and parochial nominators would have in the future appointment of clergy and the “most influential voice” being given to the laity.

Henry Barry Coddington J.P. Drogheda and Co Louth, High Sheriff 1843 Co Meath, owned 1133 acres valued at £247 in Co Wicklow; 2,604 acres valued at £ 2678 in Co Meath, Ireland in 1876.

Henry Barry died Oldbridge 23 March 1888 aged 85, on the anniversary of the death of his wife.

Henry Barry Coddington had personal estate in England £9653 18s. His remains were buried in Dunleer churchyard.

Reference from HB Coddington From Emer McDaid

The Tenison Mausoleum at Dunleer was erected for Henry Tenison, Treasurer of Ireland. He died 22 September1709 aged 42. His wife Anna died in childbirth on 10 Janaury 1708 aged 32. It is presumed that this vault was later used by the Coddingtons as there is no memorial to the family in the graveyard.

Colonel John Nicholas Coddington 1888-1917

Portrait of John Coddington taken around 1890

(Picture: Copyright © 2006 Nicholas Coddington)

John Nicholas was the eldest son of Henry-Barry and Maria Coddington, born on 24 June 1828 at his mother’s home, Crawfordsburn, Co. Down.  He died on 29 August 1917, at age 89. He was buried on 31 August 1917 in Mellifont Church. John Nicholas married three times and outlived his three wives and four of his children.

John Nicholas was educated at Cheltenham College, England and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with an M.A. J. Nicholas Coddington was made captain in Meath Militia 15 November 1854. He gained the rank of Major and Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Meath Regiment of Militia. He was High Sheriff of Meath in 1843. He held the office of Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) of County Meath. He held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for County Meath.

John married firstly 30 July 1870, Leila Jane, eldest daughter of James Lenox William Naper, of Loughcrew, Co. Meath, and had issue: Arthur Francis and Hubert John. Lelia Jane Naper was born 1 April 1836. She died 1 February 1879. James Naper was a Member of Parliament briefly 1813-1818 for an English constituency and High Sheriff of Meath in 1822.

He married secondly in 1883 to Maria Louisa, widow of John G. Pollock, of Mountainstown and daughter of Henry Darley of Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin. Maria Louisa had married Pollock in 1856 and he had died in 1871. She died 25 March 1886.

He married thirdly 11 March 1891 Constance Elizabeth, second daughter of Lieut.-Col Stephen Henry Smith of Annesbrook, Co. Meath and by her had a daughter Audrey Muriel born 3 May 1894, died in infancy 21 August 1895. Constance Maria died 11 August 1894.

He lost his first son, Thomas, at the age of eight to typhoid, his two daughters, Louisa and Aubrey died in infancy and his third son, Hubert, was killed in Flanders during the First World War.

Colonel Coddington was one of the subscribers to fund the new Cottage Hospital in Drogheda. The hospital was initially opened on 14th December 1909 by Countess Aberdeen with just 12 beds at first as a result of the efforts of two sisters known locally as the Misses Smith of Greenhills, who were its first secretaries, and who raised the money for its erection and maintenance. The concept of a ‘cottage hospital’ was a small rural building with only a few beds but the advantages were that the local physician knew their patients and their case histories better than at a county hospital. There were facilities to deal with emergencies more immediately than transferring to a voluntary or county hospital, and the level of care meant a journey to a county hospital was unnecessary.

John Nicholas was a member of the Louth Hunt and the Meath Hunt. His favourite hunter was called “The Pope”.

The Robbery at Colonel Coddington’s, Oldbridge. May 1893

At the Duleek Petty Sessions on Tuesday, before Mr A.G. Meldon, R A I, Messrs F. Kelly, J.P., and G. Gradwell, J.P., a man named Henry Imirson, employed at Colonel Coddington’s residence, Oldbridge, was charged by Sergeant Hackett, Duleek, with having on the 17th and 21st April, and other dates, stolen sums of money amounting to £12 4s , the property of Col Coddington. The deposition made by Mrs. C. Coddington was read, in which she stated that she was in the habit of keeping money, gold and silver, in a despatch box in her bedroom. She missed altogether £12 4s which was taken at different times during the year from this box. The box was always kept locked and the key was generally left on the foot of the looking glass on the table. On the previous Thursday her husband marked three sovereigns and five half sovereigns and with six shilling pieces and a halfpenny, she put them all into the despatch box, leaving it locked and leaving the key in the usual place. She counted the money at certain intervals to see if any would be missing, and was usually at home each day, but the Monday after the money was put in marked, she happened to be away forabout two hours and a half in the afternoon. On examining the box in which the money was placed, about 10.30 on Monday night, one of the marked half sovereigns was missing.

During the entire time no one had access to the room except the members of the family and the servants. She kept examining the box at intervals during the following days and on Friday another of the marked half sovereigns had disappeared and some of the silver that was not marked. The next time she saw the money was when produced by Sergeant Hackett. The deposition of Colonel Coddington was next read. He stated that in consequence of what his wife told him about the money having been stolen out of the despatch box in her room, he thought that the best course to pursue was to mark some of the money and await the further developments. He corroborated the evidence of Mrs Coddington regarding the-periodical examination of the box and identified the two half sovereigns Sergeant Hackett produced as those marked by him. The coins were found in a box in Imirson’s room.

Sergeant Hackett’s deposition was to the effect that on the evening of April 21st he proceeded with Constable Duffy to Oldbridge, and searched Imirson’s room, where he found the marked coins in a box. He arrested Imirson and charged him with taking the money, and having admitted first that he stole some, Imirson afterwards admitted that he stole all. The accused, when asked would he wish to be tried summarily, at once pleaded guilty, saying he would make good the money he had taken. The prisoner was sentenced to two months imprisonment with hard labour.

Secretary to the Grand Jury

The Coddingtons were regularly members of the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury was selected by the High Sheriff from the leading propertied Protestant gentlemen of the county. Catholics were excluded  until 1793 but even after that date were rarely selected. The High Sheriff was appointed annually from among the leading county families, nominally by the Lord Lieutenant but in practice by the influence of local or national political magnates. It was his duty twice a year to empanel a grand jury from among the gentlemen of standing in Meath. It sat for a few days of assizes, which was held in spring and summer. Membership of the Grand Jurys changed only a little each year. The same families served on the Meath Grand Jury over a prolonged period. The Coddingtons were represented on the Grand Jury of 1803 and were still there in 1894. The Grand Jury was the only organ of local government in the county, taking on both the role of administration as well as taxation.

The Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 was an Act of the British parliament that established a system of democratic local government in Ireland similar to that already created for England, Wales and Scotland by legislation in 1888 and 1889. The Act effectively ended land owners’ control of local government in Ireland.

In March 1899 the Meath Chronicle reported: “Warm Tribute to Col. Coddington. At the meeting of the Meath Grand Jury last, Wednesday the following resolution was passed nem core:— “That we, the members of the County Meath Grand Jury, at this our last meeting as a body for administering the business of the County wish to express our great appreciation of the services of our Secretary, Colonel Coddington. who has held that position for more than 30 years. His great business capacity, his unfailing courtesy to all, and his untiring attention to even the minutest details of County administration. have been of the greatest possible assistance to us in carrying on our business, and we gladly take this opportunity of thanking him and expressing our good wishes for his future welfare, health, and happiness.

In August 1899 the Meath Chronicle reported the resignation of Lieut-Col Coddington from the position of Secretary to Meath County Council. “A graceful and well-deserved tribute to Lieut-Col. J. N. Coddington, on his resignation of the office of Secretary to the Meath County Council, was paid by the Chairman (Mr P.J. Kennedy) at the meeting in Navan last Monday. During the long period for which Lieut-Colonel Coddington held the post of Secretary to the Grand Jury, his zeal and efficiency, his high integrity and unfailing courtesy, were recognised and appreciated by everyone with whom his duties brought him into contact. Although a staunch Conservative he enjoyed by reason of those characteristics—which Mr Kennedy happily summarised by the term “fine old Irish gentleman “—a large measure of popularity. The change in the system .of Local Government imposed upon him an arduous and difficult task, and he faced it bravely. He purposed retaining office till next April, but the imperative orders of his medical advisers have caused him to alter his intention, and last Monday he tendered his resignation after a long and honourable career. We cordially wish the gallant Lieut-Col many years enjoyment of his well-earned repose. Already the names of several well known gentlemen have been mentioned in connection with the vacancy. The salary and emoluments of the office amounted, we understand, to about £800, but it is probable they will be considerably reduced by the Council.”

Colonel Coddingtton was a Justice of the Peace and so took charge or participated in court cases in Duleek.

Two girls at front door

Herd murdered at Boyne Obelisk

In August 1914 a herd named Patrick Briscoe, in the employment of Colonel Coddington, was the victim of a murderous assault perpetrated at Oldbridge, near Drogheda, on Saturday night. Briscoe was a young man, with a wife and two children, and lived in one of his employer’s cottages in the vicinity of the scene of the tragedy. It seems that the deceased attended a Volunteer parade at Slane on Saturday, and was returning home about 9-30 p.m. when he was shot. From the nature of the injuries received it is obvious that the assailant must have been very close to his victim when the shot was fired. The report of the firearm quickly drew a number of people to the spot, and information was at once given to the police at Drogheda. District-Inspector Carbery, Head-Constable Walker, and several of their men, in conjunction with District-Inspector M’Mahon, of Slane—in whose district the occurrence took place—and a number of members of the Slane force, proceeded to scour the country in search of the murderer. From information received it is stated that the police have come to the conclusion that the tragedy is connected with a poaching adventure, which was frustrated early on Saturday, when a poacher’s dog was shot by Colonel Coddington’s gamekeeper. In consequence a number of men of the R.I.C. raided the houses of several poachers, and effected more than one arrest. It is thought that the murderer mistook Briscoe for the gamekeeper, whom the deceased somewhat resembled in build and appearance.

The Oldbridge Murder – Statement by the Accused

Kenny-Sent For Trial. Drogheda Independent Saturday, September 5, 1914.

The case, in which Joseph Kenny, Killineer, Drogheda, is charged with the murder of Patk Briscoe at Oldbridge on the night of the 15th August, was continued on Wednesday in Slane Courthouse before Messrs Wm. Sullivan, B.L., R.M., and G.J. Deane. Mr. Fottrell, Crown solicitor, prosecuted, and Mr. P.P. Kerley, solr, appeared for the accused.

Mrs Kate Kimmins, Bog Lane, Manimore, deposed that the prisoner, Kenny, on the evening of the 15th August came to her house and asked her for the lend of the gun. At first she refused him. Her husband was in bed. She went up and spoke to him. The bedroom was beside the kitchen and the door was closed, but she left the door open while she was speaking to her husband. At this time the accused was standing at the kitchen door and was inside the house. She could not say if he could have heard what was said by her to her husband. After speaking to her husband, she came back to the kitchen and gave Kenny the gun, which was over the mantlepiece. The gun (produced) was the gun she gave him, and she told Kenny when giving him the gun to bring it back in a few minutes. Along with the gun she gave him three cartridges and he said he would bring back the gun in five minutes and went out with it to the lane by the Barley Field, where the pigeons were. She did not see Kenny again that night.  It was her husband that brought back the gun at about 10.20 or thereabouts.

Joseph M’Quillan, Collon Road, Mel, Drogheda, deposed that on the morning of the 15th August, at 6.10 a m, he was standing outside his door when Joe Kenny came up from the direction of the sessions house on the main road from Collon to Drogheda. He had a small hare and two rabbits with him. Kenny asked him for a rabbit skin and witness said he had none. Kenny then said he wanted it to sew up the hare, which he said the dog had chased across six of Coddington’s fields. He also said he himself had been through Coddington’s. The dog which Kenny had with him was a half greyhound brindle. He was wearing dark cloths and had a cap on his head. Witness then said to him that it was curious that he should be  out such a night because there had been thunder and lightning, and Kenny replied that that wouldn’t frighten him, and that he might be at Oldbridge that night again, Kenny then went down towards Waterunder in the direction of Carter’s public house.

Thomas Russell, Killineer, Drogheda, farm labourer, deposed that on the 15th August he was in Carter’s public house about 7.30 along with his brother Peter. He did not know many of the people about because he was a County Meath man himself and had not been long there. He knew the accused man Kenny, and he was in Carter’s public house that evening and had a double barrelled gun with him. Witness heard him asking for a drink. He was first served with a glass but said he had called for a pint and was served with it. He heard him saying he was going to shoot Coddington because Coddington had shot or poisoned some dog at his, but did not put much heed on him because he had often heard him talking wild before. Kenny also said that he had plenty of ammunition in his pocket. He did not see Kenny leaving the public house, but he was not in it when witness was leaving. Witness saw Carter take Kenny’s gun and look through the barrels, and then tell Kenny to take himself and his gun out of the place. Carter handed the gun back to Kenny.

Peter Russell, Hill of-Rath, a labourer, who was in Carter’s public house that evening along with his brother, the previous witness, gave similar evidence. When Carter looked through the gun he said to Kenny—”There is nothing in this anyway, but take yourself and your gun out of this.” Kenny only remained about ten minutes in the house.

Mary Frances Hughes, North Road, Drogheda, aged 18, deposed that she lives with her father, who keeps a grocery and public house. She knew Kenny well, because he lived opposite her. On the night of the 14th of August, about 11-10 pm, Kenny came the hall door and asked for a 2d loaf, saying that he wanted it for Mrs Roe’s  dog, as he could not bring it hungry to hunt. She knew Mrs Roe, who had only one dog, that dog was black, and was like a greyhound—it was a big, thin dog. Sergeant Matthew Sharpe, Drogheda, deposed that he went to the house of Patrick Kimmins on the morning of the 18th August, about 9.15. In the house he found Kate Kimmins, wife of Patrick Kimmins. He saw a gun standing on the mantel piece over the kitchen fire. The gun (produced) was the weapon, and had been handed to him by Kate Kimmins. He examined the gun and found it was a double-barrelled breech loading fowling piece. He smelled the barrels and got an odour of fresh gunpowder off the right barrel, which had apparently been recently discharged. Inside the left barrel there was white dust like lime dust and it had apparently not been used for some time. “He examined the gun and found no trace of dust on the stock or barrel. It was a twelve bore gun. He took possession of ten live cartridges which he found in a press in the kitchen. The cartridges (produced) were all twelve bore. Three of them were No 8 shot, two No 7, one No 6, two No 4, one No 5, and the number on another was obliterated. He knew Thomas Farrell who had made a deposition in the case. Farrell pointed out on Tuesday the spot on the Drogheda to Slane road where (hesitated in his deposition) he met the accused man on the night of August 15th. Witness measured the distance from the spot to where Briscoe was found dead at Oldbridge. The distance was 1 mile 764 yards, statute. He also walked the distance at a fairly fast pace and found that it took him 25 minutes to do it.

Head Constable Robert Kinahan, Slane, deposed he had been investigating the case since its occurrence. On 20th August, Patrick Kieran, who had made a deposition in the case, pointed out to him the spot on the Drogheda to Slane road where he states he met Joseph Kenny on the night of August 15th. He measured the distance from that particular place to the spot where Briscoe was shot by the public road, and found the distance to be 785 yards. Kierans also pointed out where he met Farrell on the same night. Witness measured the distance from where Kieran met Joseph Kenny to where he had met Farrell, and that distance was 1½ miles and 47 yards, statute. On the same day Lizzie Murphy and Elizabeth M’Mahon. who had also made depositions, pointed out the place where they had met a man with a dog on August 15th, on the road between the Obelisk Bridge and the Canal Bridge. The distance from that spot to the scene of the tragedy was 230 yards. On the same date, Richard George Henry, Captain Coddington’s steward, pointed out where he was on the Back Avenue when he heard the shot on the night of the 15th August. The distance from the spot to the scene was 110 yards. On the same date Mr Alfred Mitchell pointed out to him where he was when he heard the shot on the same night. The distance from the scene of the murder  was 35 yards 2 feet. The distance from the farm yard gate, where Lizzie Murphy heard the shot, to the canal bridge was 300 yards. From the south end of the Obelisk bridge to the centre of the canal bridge was 355 yards.

DI Patrick M’Mahon, Slane, deposed— ” I arrived at Oldbridge on the night of the 15th August at 12.35 am. I arrived at the canal bridge at Oldbridge and found a dead body lying on the bridge, which I subsequently ascertained to be the body of Patk Briscoe. He was lying on his back, his right hand across the lower part of his chest, left arm fully stretched out, hand clenched. I examined the closed hand and found nothing in it to indicate a struggle. There were extensive bloodstains on the body. About 3½ft and 2½ft respectively from his feet there were two large bloodstains on the road. I examined his clothing and sawa hole in his coat near the right groin into which I could exactly put my mid finger. The cloth was completely punched out. I found a watch in his vest pocket still ticking.

Mr Fottrell asked that the prisoner be sent for trial to the next Assizes for Co Meath.

Kenny’s Statement,-. The charge having been read over, the Accused made the following statement:—

“I remember the night of the 15th August. I had a lot of drink taken that day. I did not go out that night with the intention of shooting Coddington or any other man. I would not shoot a fly. I met this man Briscoe upon the bridge. We had a few hot words. He struck me and we straggled, and the gun went off. I got horrified and ran away. I was always good friends with Briscoe, and the Lord have mercy on his soul. That’s all I have to say.” Prisoner then signed the statement.

The prisoner was sent for trial to the next Assizes of Co. Meath.

Freeman’s Journal 12 December 1914

Briscoe family hold poignant gathering.

Drogheda Independent Sat 23 Aug 2014

Generations of the Briscoe family gathered at the gates of Oldbridge House to remember the murder of Patrick Briscoe a century earlier.

In 1908 and 1912 the Coddington family took lock keeper, Philip Tiernan, to court as a result of trespass on the Coddington’s lands. Tiernan claimed to have the grazing of one cow and a calf as part of the position of lockkeeper.  His cattle grazed everywhere including the front lawn of Oldbridge. The Coddingtons had lost their patience and the situation was now intolerable as the cattle were being found trespassing. An entrance to the Gruggins field had been created at the back of the lockkeeper’s garden. Philip’s grandfather, Nicholas, had been lockkeeper and woodkeeper  and Tiernan’s uncle had been the previous lockkeeper. Tiernan won the case.

Larceny of Silver Plate at Oldbridge. Pantry Boy Charged.

2 September 1916

Thomas Meade, aged 17, was charged in custody by D I M’Cormack with the larceny of six silver liqueur measures and a morocco case containing two silver knife rests, the property of Capt Arthur Coddington of Oldbridge, and value for about £7.

James Kirwan, a butler, in the employment of Capt Coddington, said that at 2 p m on the 28th August, the accused, who was employed as pantry – boy at Oldbridge, left the house. He had previously asked witness for leave to go home to Dublin, but was refused permission. Shortly afterwards he left and witness looked round to see if there was anything missing. He found, that a morocco case containing six silver liqueur measures, which were in the press in the pantry, were gone. Witness went immediately to Drogheda and reported the matter at the South Quay Police Barracks. At about 3.45 p m on the same day, Constable Doherty produced to him a morocco case containing two silver knife rests which he identified as being the property of Capt. Coddington. He gave no person authority to remove this case which was also in the pantry from which the other articles were stolen.

Constable James Doherty said that at 2 30 p m the previous day, the last witness reported at the South Quay Barracks, Drogheda, that the morocco cases in question were missing, He went immediately to the station and arrested the prisoner, and found in his possession the cases. He found on his person also 19s 9d in silver, 4½din coppers, a postal order for 3s and 7d in postage stamps, which had evidently been removed from letters. When arrested Meade said —”I found the cases and a box of cigarettes at the cow shed between two buckets of water.” On the charge being read prisoner pleaded guilty and was remanded pending further enquiries as to previous character.  

Gardener Commits Suicide.

 Drogheda Independent, Saturday, November 18, 1916

Another tragedy has occurred at Oldbridge. The last, which took place about two years ago, was a murder, this one is a suicide. The facts were detailed at the inquest on Saturday:—

Mr Daniel Corry, J P, the Coroner for South Meath, held an inquest on Saturday last at Coddington Hall, Oldbridge, touching the death of Jas Sleigh, about 35, a gardener in the employment of Captain Coddington, who was found dead the previous evening with his throat cut, in a potting shed attached to the home.

Sergeant Phillips, Duleek, represented the police.

Christopher M’Cormick, assistant gardener at the Hall, said he had known Sleigh for about two years. During that time witness formed the opinion that he was a man of perfectly sound mind. Yes, there was some little matter that got him into trouble—he was before the R M. Coroner—I do not think we need go into that case. Witness—Deceased was crying and fretting about what he had done for about three days after it had happened. He was brought before the R.M. on November 1st and remanded. Witness last saw him alive about 1.10 on the previous day (Friday). He was then at work in the garden as usual and was quite sober. But he looked unwontedly pale, and just barely replied to witness when the latter enquired what was to be done after dinner. When witness returned to the garden about five o’clock, he went into the potting shed, where he found deceased lying dead with his throat out. Jas Stafford, Thos Martin and Frank Cogan had left the garden with witness at 1.10 o’clock and did not return until five o’clock. In spite of a row the steward, Richard G Henry, and deceased seemed always to be friendly with each other. In fact, Sleigh often said since November 1st, that the steward was a very nice man, and he (deceased) was very sorry for what he had done.

Joseph Lynch, groom, said he also knew Sleigh for over two years. His mental condition was perfectly sound. Witness had been speaking to him at 9 o’clock the previous morning. At that time, he was looking very well; but since Wednesday he had seemed greatly depressed and only bade the time of the day to witness, with whom he had been always cheerful and pleasant previously. On Monday when talking to Sleigh the latter told witness he had lost his character and might get gaol. He said Mr Henry was a very nice man, and it was through some stories he had heard he had done the wrong. “

Dr Hunt said he was summoned to Oldbridge at 5.15 the previous day and he arrived about 5.30. He went straight to the house in the garden and found a man lying with his face towards the east and his head to the west. His face was on the ground, and there was a pool of blood, round his neck. There was blood sprinkled all round the house. There was a blood-stained razor on a bench quite close. He was absolutely dead and had been for some hours, as the body was quite cold. There was a very large lacerated wound in the neck. This wound extended from one angle of the jaw to the other. It cut right into the bone. The bone itself was even out. The wind pipe and food passage were completely cut. The skin was so lacerated that it was evident there must have been several attempts to cause the wound. The hands were tightly closed. In witness’s opinion death was due to haemorrhage resultant on the wound. The jury found a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, and added that in their opinion the wound was self-inflicted during a fit of temporary insanity. They expressed sorrow with the deceased’s widow, to whom the coroner also offered his condolence. The deceased, who was a native of Scotland, was aged 35 years, had been about two years at Oldbridge and was married.

The Coddingtons held lands in Wicklow for grouse shooting. In May 1917 most of these lands were destroyed in a fire and Captain Arthur Coddington made a claim against the council for the destruction by fire of heather, sedge, old fern and grass and the nests of grouse on Kerikee, containing 300 acres and destroying the nests of grouse on Ballinabarney Hill containing 142 acres.

Coddington Family Graves

Mellifont Church, Tullyallen

Captain Arthur Francis Coddington 1917-1955

Mrs. Coddington on a horse about 1910-1920 – probably Dorothie Coddington.

Arthur Francis Coddington was born on 8 November 1873, second son of Lt. Colonel John Nicholas Coddington of Oldbridge and Lelia Jane Naper of Loughcrew. His older brother, Henry Thomas, died of typhoid aged 8 in 1879.  Lelia died in 1879. His younger brother was Hubert John.

Arthur married Dorothie Rhoda Osborne 28 October 1908 at Julianstown Church, Co. Meath. Dorothie was the daughter of Francis Charles Osborne, a gentleman from Smithstown, Co. Meath. He was a well-to-do Church of Ireland landowner and Justice of the Peace. He married Annie Sarah Baker, née Baker, a widow in November 1881 and they had 7 children, amongst them, Annie, Dorothea, Edward, John, Geoffrey. Though the couple married in Dublin, Francis came from Smithstown House near Julianstown in Co. Meath. The family also had a house on Vincent Square in London. Though Francis survived the sinking of the Leinster in 1918, he died of pneumonia just 3 months later in January 1919. Given his age, it seems very possible that this pneumonia came from his time in the water after the disaster. His wife and remaining 5 children outlived him. Annie administered his estate. Smithstown House was sold by the family in the 1920s. Dorothie’s brother, Geoffrey William Osbourne, 2nd.Lieut. Royal Air Force youngest son of Francis Charles Osbourne of Smithstown, County Meath was killed in action 29th. June 1918 aged 26 years and buried in the Souvenir cemetery Longueverse, St. Omer.

Arthur entered Cheltenham in April 1887. He served in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He gained the rank of Captain in the Royal Meath Regiment of Militia. He served in the First World War. He held the office of High Sheriff of County Meath in 1922, the last holder of that appointment which was abolished during his shrievalty.

When his son, Dixie, returned from the war, Arthur raised, the British flag over Oldbridge House to celebrate his son’s safe return. Arthur died 12 January 1955 at age of 81 and buried at Mellifont on 14 January 1955.

Dorothea Coddington nee Osborne and an unknown lady

Dorothea inherited a piece of a dress which was worn at the first Dublin Assembly Ball after the Battle of the Boyne. She inherited it from two maiden aunts, “the Misses Jones.” It was briefly on display at the Kensington Museum, now the Victoria & Albert Museum. The dress was a canary yellow brocade with six panels of embroidery on it.
Dorothie attended a course in cheese making at Cahermoyle House, Limerick, from 24 May to 2 June 1917. She received a certificate on the 8th signed by the tutor, Mabel O’Brien, Lennox Robinson and R.A. Anderson. Mabel wrote “Not once did she ever produce anything which by the greatest stretch of imagination could be called cheese, but during her brief stay at Cahermoyle, she succeeded in turning out a strange substance of viscous and clammy character. this mass of coagulated curd, when thrown on the floor of the cheese room, bounded with almost inconceivable velocity to the ceiling. It is still (8th June) bounding up and down on the cheese room floor though the height of its “leps” gradually diminishing”.

On the 16th March 1922, the Royal Irish Constabulary evacuated Millmount Fort and it was then occupied by the local Anti – Treaty IRA. In May a Black and Tan based in Gormanston was shot dead leading to reprisals in Drogheda. This prompted the mayor of Drogheda, Phil Monaghan, to contact the Provisional Government and ask them to send a National Army garrison to the town. On the 4th of July 1922 Free State troops under Ned Stapleton begin shelling Millmount Fort using 18 pounder gun that the previous week were being used against the Four Courts in Dublin. The Fort took heavy damage and after several hours of bombardment the Anti – Treaty garrison surrendered.

On July 8th 1922 Free State Troops surrounded Smarmore Castle near Ardee in Co Louth and arrested 22 Anti -Treaty Republican Soldiers who had made their way there and who had been part of the Republican Forces who had been holding out at Millmount. These Republican prisoners were brought back to the West Gate Free State Barracks in Drogheda where a number of their comrades were already being held following their arrests in and around Drogheda in the aftermath of the shelling of Millmount. Some of these prisoners were removed to Dublin over the following days.

Republican Anti-Treaty Forces occupying Millmount

National Army at Millmount

National Army at Millmount

Oldbridge House was occupied by the National Army in July 1922. In 1923 Arthur F. Coddington of Oldbridge brought a claim against the government for damages done by the National Army forces when they occupied Oldbridge House between 9 and 21 July 1922. The claim was for £29 17s 5d. The repairs included slates, plumbing, painting and six trees felled.

Below is the claim form: Arthur F Coddington, Captain in Her Majesty’s Army, Oldbridge, Drogheda, County Louth. Reference: FIN/COMP/2/17/7 Date: Apr 1923-[?1926] Creator: Department of Finance Scope and Content: Residence damaged at Oldbridge due to occupation by National Army forces between 9 and 21 July 1922.

Front of Claim Form 1923

Arthur F. Coddington’s Signature on the Form

Killed by a Rhinoceros

In March 1925 Muriel Green, widow of Frank Ernest Green, Dublin,  was killed by a rhinoceros in Kenya. Muriel Lena Coddington, was born 4 Oct 1874 in London, England the daughter of Arthur Blaney Coddington and Elizabeth Bertha Bloxsome. Frank Green had been head brewer and subsequently assistant managing director of Guinness’s Brewery. He had died aged 63 in March 1922. 

Unknown man at rear of Oldbridge House

Captain Arthur Coddington, Diana with the dog, Dorothea and possibly Denise

Dog Breeding at Oldbridge

In 1934 Captain Coddington attended the Ulster Gun-Dog League Retriever Trials.

In October 1946 Captain Coddington gave a lecture in Drogheda on the subject of gundogs. The local newspaper reported: “A very fine lecture on ” Gun-dog Handling and Gun-dog Trials” was given to members of the Drogheda and District Gun Club in the White Horse Hotel on Tuesday night by Capt. A. Coddington, Oldbridge. Rev. Fr. McDonnell presided over a large gathering of the members. Capt. Coddington, who is one of the greatest authorities on gun-dogs in Ireland and Britain, dealt with every aspect of gun-dog breeding, rearing, training and handling. He went into much valuable detail as regards the instinct and habits of Retrievers, Setters, Pointers, Irish Water Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels, and held the keen attention of the audience from beginning to end of his talk, imparting many little known facts discovered by him in a lifetime’s daily association with all the breeds mentioned and by relating many remarkable and often amusing incidents which had occurred at field trials within his own experience in both Ireland and Britain.

The lecturer stated that some pups can have their training commenced at three months and others not until later. Females can usually be started earlier than males, but a great deal depends on individual intellectual development. It is always best to begin when the pup has shown some initiative such as darting off to sniff around bushes or other cover. He emphasised that patience is the secret of dog training and said that in order to succeed in getting two pairs of dogs of different breeds to work in perfect harmony he had himself done three hours hard work per day for three months some years ago.

Capt. Coddington also dealt with worming and successful treatment of hysteria in dogs. He also spoke on the use of the long lead in curing dogs of “running-in on birds”, as well as ways of preventing hard mouth, dropping retrieved birds too soon, etc. He stressed the importance of keeping kennels and the environment of kennels very clean in order to protect the keenness of the dog’s nose. Dogs kept in a smelly atmosphere, he pointed out, cannot preserve the natural sharpness of scent. Another interesting point mentioned was in regard to the use of the whistle. He said it is useless to whistle a dog when the animal is moving away in a straight line from the master. One should wait until the animal turns to one side before whistling as the dog cannot hear otherwise.”

Old Bridge Bob’s owner was Captain A.F. Coddington of Old Bridge, Drogheda. Old Bridge Bob was bred by R. Arthur Alexander of Portglenone House, Co. Antrim, one-time Secretary of Ulster Gundog Club. The black Labrador, Old Bridge Bob, qualified as an Irish Field Trial Champion by winning the South Ireland Gundog League Open Stake in 1930, South Ireland Gundog Club Open Stake in 1933 and the Irish Field Trial Association Open Stake the same year. The Irish Kennel Club was founded in 1922 and he was one of the first Retrievers to qualify as a Field Trial Champion under Irish Kennel Club rules. He qualified as a British Field Trial Champion by being joint first in the Ulster Gundog League Open Stake in 1930 (his litter brother, Old Bridge Bones, had a Certificate of Merit) and by winning the stake in both 1931 and 1932; a great achievement to win it three years running. He was probably the first Dual Irish and UK Field Trial Champion Retriever. His dam, Old Bridge Fancy, was from a line of working Labradors and his sire, Ponto Bones, was a very well-bred dog with significant dogs behind him. Bones paternal grandfather and one maternal great-grandfather was Peter of Faskally, a dog born in 1908 about whom Lorna, Countess Howe wrote in The Popular Labrador Retriever “… did a very great deal to popularize the Labrador Retriever”. Further back in Bones pedigree were many Buccleuch and Munden dogs owned respectively by the Dukes of Buccleuch and Lord Knutsford.

Lady Motorist Charged with  Manslaughter

Drogheda Independent 5 October 1929

At the Drogheda Circuit Court on Tuesday, before Circuit Court Judge St. L. Devitt, K.C., Mrs. Dorothea Coddington, Oldbridge, Drogheda, was charged that she did at Drogheda. on 10th September, unlawfully kill Olive Mary Hoey, aged 8 years, of Beamore, by running her down with a motor-car. In accordance with the requirements of recent legislation the jury, which had been empanelled in secrecy, answered to numbers instead of names.

Mr. Basil McGuckin, B.L. (instructed by Mr. J. B. Hamill, State Solicitor for Louth) prosecuted, and Mr. K. B. Dockrell, K.C. (instructed by Messrs. McKeever and Son, solrs.) was for the accused.

Sergt. Harrington, South Quay, produced a plan of the place where the occurrence took place and verified measurements taken by him there. He said he arrested the accused and when charged with manslaughter she stated: “It was an accident.” Cross-examined—She came herself to the barracks and reported the accident about 3.30 p.m.; the accident took place about 3 p.m.

Thomas Fleming, a postman, swore that when cycling through James’ Street about 3.05 p.m. he saw four horses and carts on his left-hand side, the first opposite South Quay gateway and the last was opposite Hodgkinson’s. He did not notice if these carts were all close together. He passed the carts and just as he cut in behind the last of them he observed a motor coming behind him, driven by the accused; it passed him and was in the middle of the road. He noticed the child about 7 yards in front of him when the motor was about 5 yards in front; she was then off the path and running towards the Church. The motor struck the child. Witness then repeated the evidence given by him in the District Court, and already published. Cross examined, witness said he did not actually see the child on the pavement, and he agreed that it ran across the road two yards in front of the motor; he thought the motor was about four yards long and it was the centre of the car that hit the child on the right hip; he was satisfied that the back wheel did not go over the child, but the front wheel did. He would contradict any witness who said that the car pulled up within its own length; in his opinion from where the child was struck to where the car came to a standstill was about nine yards. He did not suggest that the child was dragged along that distance by the back wheel. Witness was not a judge of speed; he thought 12 or 15 miles would be a reason able speed in James’ Street and he had sworn in the Court below that that was the pace that in his opinion the car was travelling. To Mr. McGuckian—When the child was first struck it was thrown forward by the car.

Jas. Clarke swore that he did not see the motor approaching as his view was obstructed by the horses and carts already referred to; the child’s view was similarly obstructed. Witness saw the child running along the footpath from the direction of the schools and she was then near Bateson’s shop; she came to McAlevey’s, where he was standing; she looked over to the Church and ran out behind the last cart; as she did so the motor came up and the buffer struck her and knocked her along with it. The car then, travelled the length of itself and the left front wheel crossed the child’s body; the child was not dragged by the back wheel. He did not hear any horn sounded; if it had been sounded he believed he would have heard it and would have warned the child not to cross. Cross-examined—The child ran from directly behind the last cart and the motor pulled up in its own length. It would not be possible for a motorist to see the child until it came from behind the cart. He was not certain about the horn; he did not see any other child crossing before the deceased. Dr. Wm. A. Bradley swore that as a result of a ‘phone call he attended the child shortly after the accident; he detailed the injuries as already reported. Witness was not cross-examined, Mr. Dockrell asked for a direction, submitting that there was no case of criminal negligence to go to a Jury. The Judge decided to allow the case to go to the jury. Mr. Dockrell, addressing the jury, said no one regretted the occurrence more than Mrs. Coddington. She was going at a very reasonable pace over James’ St. About 4 or 5 yards before she came to the last cart, another child ran across the road and she would be actually described by Mrs. Coddington’s daughter. Mrs. Coddington then blew the horn and applied the brakes and did not see the other child at all. Mr. Dockrell pointed out that this was a charge of criminal negligence, not civil negligence, and the evidence to convict would require to show gross negligence, that in the words of one of the greatest judges they ever had, said it would want to be such as was a crime against the community. A man blind drunk, recklessly driving a motor at 40 miles an hour in a crowded street would be a case in point. From one point of view he was glad to put Mrs. Coddington in the box, because though Drogheda was not quite a small place, still gossip got about and some suggestions had been made that she had acted in a callous manner. She was more upset by that suggestion than by the fact that she was now standing in the dock, because it was a reflection on her as a woman and a mother.

Mrs. Coddington swore that she had been driving motors for 21 years and on this date was driving with her daughter, who was 17, and other children were in the back. The car was a Ford and the hood was up; she came through John St. at 3 o’clock and went on towards James’ St. When she came into James’ St. she was travelling, at 12 to 15 miles, not more, because she had stopped dead coming out of John St. In James’ Street she saw the carts pulled up. Coming to the first of the carts she saw a young child run across the road; she was about 11 years of age and had large glasses on her; witness blew the horn and applied the brakes at once and thought that it was a bit of luck that the child sot across. She was about to release the brakes when the car struck something: her daughter got out and witness- got out after her. Her daughter said: “Mammie, it is a child!” and she then saw the postman taking the child from underneath the car. They were carrying the child in when someone said to go for a doctor. After she put on the brakes, she was practically stopped; the first child was about 3 yards in front of her when she crossed the road. When she heard someone saying to go for a doctor she went to Dr. Hunt, who was out; to Dr. Murray who was out, and then to Dr. McCullen, who went down, and she went down to the shop also. She waited some time there to see if the doctor would go out and then went to the police barracks. From there she returned to James’ St.; someone there told her the child had been taken to the Infirmary; she went to the hospitals and thought the child had been taken to Dublin; to pass the time she then went down to the Sea with her children and when she thought Dr. McCullen could be back from Dublin she returned and learned from the maid that the child had died. She could not have avoided the accident in any way. She told her husband, who went immediately to the child’s father. Cross-examined—She agreed that James’ Street was a very dangerous street and that a great degree of care was necessary for motorists driving along there. It did not occur to her that there was any danger; she knew children came from school about 3 o’clock but she had just passed through John Street and there were not many children there. She could not be definite as to where she was in relation to the stationary carts when the first child crossed over. She judged that she was about the middle of the stationary carts. She agreed that if she was at Murdock’s when she saw the first child she would have pulled up before reaching McAlevey’s; but she was not at Murdock’s, she was at a sweet shop, Hodgkinson’s. Her brakes were in excellent order; travelling from 12 to 15 miles an hour, she expected that the car would stop within its own length almost. After the application of the brakes she was just moving, under five miles an hour. She agreed that at that pace she could have stopped very quickly if she had seen the deceased, but she did not. She was positive that she did not see the deceased at all. It would not be true to say that she did not see because she was not looking. Mr. McGuckian—What is your explanation?—I was looking straight ahead, as I always look. She came from the back of the carts apparently. Mr. McGuckian—But the evidence is that she was struck by the centre of the bumper.—I don’t think anyone could have seen her. Witness said she did not remember stating that she was stooping down to release the brake at the moment of the impact; that was not so, she had no necessity to stoop down.

Mr. Louis Turley, C.E., identified a map of the place prepared by him. From the Bull Ring to Graves’ Lane was a distance of 116 yards.

Miss Evelyn Coddington, aged 17 years, swore that she was sitting in front with her mother and on her left. She noticed the farm carts with sacks in James’ St. and she could not state what speed her mother was driving at, but it was not fast. After they had passed one of the carts she saw a child dressed in brown, with a brown cap and large spectacles, run across the road; this was’ about 3 yards in front of them. Her mother applied the foot brake and sounded the horn. The next thing witness noticed was a bump; this was immediately after they had passed the first child; she did not see what the car hit because she was looking at the child that had got across. Cross-examined — She could not fix exactly the number of stationary carts, nor where they were. She thought the carts were fairly close together, perhaps a couple of yards between them; the motor was on a level with the second last cart when the first child ran over; she agreed that the car would then have to travel two yards and the length of the next horse and, cart before hitting the second child. She did not see the second child, because she was looking over after the other. She agreed that if the child was struck by the centre of the bumper and that if she were looking straight ahead she would have seen it. It was later on that she discovered that it was a child.

Mr. Dockrell again asked for a direction which was refused. Mr. Dockrell said that in the circumstances no motorist could avoid the accident.

Mr. McGuckin said that in this particular trial they were not engaged in considering Mrs. Coddington’s conduct; it had not been introduced by him and had nothing to do with the case. There was no doubt that the little child’s injuries were so great that notwithstanding the presence of two skilled doctors it died within- three hours; but the whole question was, were these injuries due to the criminal carelessness of Mrs. Coddington? He contended that if a person driving in a narrow thoroughfare and knowing such a thoroughfare to be one of the most, if not the most, dangerous, in the streets of a busy town was in such a position of inattention from any cause whether from stooping down to adjust brakes or looking at something that should not be looked at, did not see. a little child coming from the left hand side, not being knocked down by the left hand side of the car, but proceeding directly in front of the car, being struck and knocked forward some distance, at any rate before the car passed over her, a person guilty of such Inattention, and not to be able to pull up must be guilty of very gross negligence.

The Judge said the charge was that the accused had failed in a duty owed by everyone who drove a motor car, when driving that car along the public road. But for a conviction it would be necessary for the jury to find that there was real criminal negligence, amounting to recklessness. He suggested that the jury should ask was there in this case a blind disregard for the rights of anyone else on the road; that was entirely a matter for the jury: to say whether her actions were such that she was determined to go along irrespective of anyone else’s right to use the road. In his opinion the only evidence they could come to such a conclusion on was that of the Postman, Fleming, who was unquestionably a very honest witness, endeavouring to the very best of his ability to tell them the truth of the incident; but his evidence would have to be examined carefully by the jury as to its accuracy in stating that the car went on from 9 to 12 yards; that did not suggest for a moment that this witness was stating anything but what he believed to be the perfect truth. Clarke’s evidence was of importance as it stressed that while the motor car could not be seen from where he was standing, the same applied to the people in the motor, they would not see any person coming off the footpath until they had come to the end of the stationary carts. If they left out Fleming’s evidence as to the distance the car travelled and believed that it only went as far as the hind wheel touching against the child, it would be very difficult for them to say that there was gross or reckless negligence. Whether it was a fact that Mrs. Coddington did really see the second child and had now forgotten it as a result of shock, was a matter which they would have to consider. If they considered that the circumstances were such that no matter what Mrs. Coddington did she could not have avoided the accident, then, although contributory negligence was no answer to a criminal charge, still they would not hold her guilty of criminal recklessness. The Judge mentioned that since the new Act had been passed, it was not necessary to get an unanimous, verdict for conviction or acquittal. A majority verdict of nine was all that was required but the Foreman of the jury must not on his return intimate whether the verdict was unanimous or otherwise. After five minutes absence the Jury found the accused ‘not guilty” and she was discharged.

1938 Coddington versus Mathews Tennis Match at Oldbridge

Daphne, Denise and Diana Coddington Diana on the right.

Not clear as to which is Daphne and Denise

Major Dixie Henry Coddington 1955-1984

Major Dixie Henry Coddington was born on 9 November 1909 at Hume Street, Dublin.  Son of Arthur Francis Coddington and Dorothie Rhoda Osborne, he was educated at Cheltenham College. He fought in World War II and gained the rank of Major in the Indian Army. Major Coddington had returned to Oldbridge in 1945 and lived there until three years before his death.

Dixie married Joan Sophia Ogle, second daughter of Henry Ogle of Dysart, Delvin, Co. Westmeath. Her mother was Mabel Simpson and Joan’s parentsmarried 16 January 1907 in Kilsyth Derby, Grey, Ontario, Canada. Derby is to the northwest of Toronto. Joan’s father, Henry,  died 8 March 1961 at about age 90 in Cottage Hospital, Drogheda. It was in the 1660s that Nicholas Ogle (the Ogle’s came from Northumberland) garnered about 440 acres in Westmeath . Nicholas worked for the revenue in Ireland and bought up the lands from Cromwellian soldiers in Col. Ingoldby’s regiment who had received them in lieu of pay. The lands had belonged to an Edmund Nugent and Alderman Nugent of Drogheda. The Ogle family were also established in Drogheda where a number became Members of Parliament for the borough.

Map showing location of Derby, Ontario

Dixie’s mother, Mrs. Dorothie Coddington, moved to Blackrock, Dublin. In October 1966 she was killed following a traffic accident at Dunleer on the main Dublin-Belfast Road. Her car struck a truck while she was on the wrong side of the road. Major DH Coddington, Oldbridge identified the body of his eighty one year old mother.

Major Dixie began a commercial market garden business, pheasant shoots and the sale of salmon and trout in the Dublin fish market. A number of young people trained in horticulture at Oldbridge. In 1948 the Drogheda Independent reported “As reported in this issue a young Drogheda girl is one of three, applicants chosen from amongst 100 candidates for a course of training as lady gardeners at the Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. Naturally, people will wonder where this Drogheda girl, Miss Lucy Kelly, of 1 Railway Terrace, obtained the necessary training to qualify. She has for a year or more been one of the young local people who have been receiving horticultural education, both practical and theoretical, at the splendid gardens of Capt. A. Coddington, Oldbridge, near Drogheda, Major D. Coddington (son of Capt. Coddington) since his return from the war has gone in for market and nursery gardening in a fairly extensive manner and has afforded eager youths and girls with an opportunity of learning almost the whole range of horticulture including the growing of fruit, vegetables, flowers, shrubs and rock plants. They can learn the modern scientific theory of gardening as well as the practical side and the most significant indication of the value of this training is the success of Miss Kelly, who is being taken into the rock plant department of the Botanic Gardens. There are good openings for persons qualified in the modern growing craft not only in larger private gardens, but in commercial gardens producing for the market and in seed firms’ gardens.”

Dixie and Joan had one son, Nicholas Dixie, born 20 February 1956.

Mrs. Joan Coddington 1969 

Major Coddington 1969

Dixie Coddington was a well known figure about Drogheda, coming in to town at the weekends dressed in sports jacket, tweed cap and the inevitable wellies.

Major Coddington died in Canada in November 1984. He was aged 75 and had been ill for the previous two years. He was buried in Canada. He was survived by his widow Joan, son Nicholas and daughter in law Katherine. He died in 1984 at Burlington, Canada. Joan died 11 May 1985 in Ontario Canada.

Fisheries Disputes 1960-1990

The Malone family occupied the weir in the 1870s. In 1872 Peter Malone absconded, probably to America, owing the Coddington’s two years rent.

The Coddington family were members of organisations seeking to preserve and protect the fishing on the Boyne such as the Boyne Fisheries Conservators and the Boyne Fishery Board.

In 1954 Major Coddington summonsed a 16 year old boy for being at the fisheries at Yellow Island. This was just one of the many court cases taken against people who were fishing illegally in the Coddington’s lands.

In 1968 a group of men met three other men on the banks of the Boyne. One of the men had a sack with four salmon. Three labourers were caught and charged with possession of fish belonging to Major Coddington. It was alleged that the salmon were taken from the traps owned by Major Coddington. The Fisheries Inspector said he had heard the traps being worked that night before they caught the men with the salmon.

In December 1962 Major Coddington said, “Never in living memory, I think have so many fish been seen in the Boyne.”

In the late 1960s the Angler’s Club won the right to fish the river and paid an annual rent to the Coddington family.

In June 1969 a fishing lodge belonging to Major Coddington had all its windows broken, furniture damaged and all sprayed with paraffin or cresote, some flammable liquid.

In the late 1960s a campaign was organised against Germans buying lands in Ireland and a petrol bombing campaign took place. An incident occurred at Oldbridge, Major Coddington’s house was under day and night surveillance by the Gardai.

When the estate went for sale in 1984 the Drogheda District Anglers Club prepared to engage in fishing again along the three and a half mile stretch of the Boyne privately owned by the Coddington family. Des Clinton said “ The battle of the Boyne 1984, that is what it is going to be… The anglers are going to fish the river no matter who buys it.

The Drogheda Anglers developed coarse fishing and a riverside walk along the old canal at Glenmore. The club paid the Coddingtons in the region of £1250 per annum and were prepared to pay up to £30,000 for the rights to the fishing.

The Coddingtons said they could not give a value on the fishing but would not commit to any sale of the fisheries separately or before the auction. Nicholas said they could recommend the new owners renew the lease with the Drogheda Anglers which he said was “an excellent organisation” and had been “extremely good tenants.” He could not say what the next owners would do with the fishery rights.

In March 1985 the Drogheda and District Anglers Club agreed a lease of the Oldbridge fisheries with the exception of the Curley Hole for an annual fee of £1000 with the new owner Jack Marry.

Robbery 1982

On 18 January 1982 a gang broke into Oldbridge House and stole £600,00 in antiques. A gang of thieves  broke into the vacant Oldbridge House and according to the Gardai “cleaned out the place”. The haul included a huge assortment of silver antique cutlery, silver cigarette cases, tea pots and jugs. Also stolen was a rare collection of mint stamps, Victorian vases, ornaments, glass, delph, antique clocks and miniature portraits. The 1982  robbery included a specialised collection of stamps from Indian states. It included  many unusual items such as errors, proofs and some rare classics. Two men were arrested and convicted for this robbery.

Marriage of Nicholas and Katherine

Major (CAF retired) and Mrs. William Hoy of Nepean are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter, Katherine Elizabeth to Mr. Nicholas Dixie Coddington, son of Maj (I.A. retired) and Mrs Dixie Coddington. The marriage took place at Papinea Lake, Ontario on 3rd September 1983. The couple were both graduates of Trent University.

Robbery January 1984

Twelve armed and masked men, claiming to be INLA members held the Coddingtons at gunpoint for eleven hours on the night of 28 January 1984.

At 8.30 p.m. the Coddingtons were going to a party and drove down the avenue. On the evening in question Mr and Mrs Coddington left their home intending to travel to Navan. As they drove down the avenue which led from the house to the road, they saw a car blocking the way. Nicholas Coddington got out of his car  and was confronted  by four or five masked men, some of whom were armed. They asked him to identify himself and he produced his driving licence.

The men then drove Mr. Coddington and his wife back to the house. On the way they asked about the alarm system. They drove to a side entrance, got the door key from Mr. Coddington and went into the office inside. They asked if there were any firearms and he pointed out a shot gun in the office. The Coddingtons were then taken to an upstairs bedroom and were tied up on the bed. The gang were joined by a number of other men at midnight. There was an armed man in the room with them at all times. The raid went on until 2 a.m. when they heard a vehicle drive away and the house became quiet.

Among the items stolen was an eight-foot picture of King William III, dating back to 1700, a number of landscape paintings and a number of family portraits. The haul included items that had been recovered from the robbery two years previously.

Two men, one armed with a machinegun and the other with a revolver, remained with them until 7 a.m. The couple managed to free themselves about twenty minutes later and a neighbour drove them to the Garda Station. In all Mr. Coddington saw seven different masked men, although there could have been more. Four shotguns were stolen from the house along with property worth £108,000. A very small amount of the property was recovered.

One of the raiders, Joseph Farrell, said he had joined the IRA in 1983. Early in 1984 he was asked to drive a lorry on a job. They picked up the lorry in Julianstown. They drove to Oldbridge where the gates were opened by a man wearing a balaclava helmet and carrying a walkie talkie. Farrell parked the lorry at the back of the house. Inside he saw four men taking paintings off the wall and ransacking the place. There was also a masked man upstairs. They loaded the van and drove it to a house in a remote rural area in Westmeath. The lorry had arrived at the home of Brian McCormack, Streamstown, Co. Westmeath. At  McCormacks house the men unloaded the lorry. McCormack told them to put the material at the back of the shed. Some days later, four men and a girl came and took the things away. They left some silverware, rings and clocks behind. Gardai managed to recover this large quantity of silverware and a small amount of firearms.

Nicholas Coddington said they would have been foolish to have thought their lives were not in danger. He said he could not tell how many guns the gang had nor could he distinguish their accents. The 11 hour ordeal “turned out to be the longest night of our lives.” His wife, Katherine, said the ordeal was “ a terrible introduction to the Irish way of life.” “You don’t know how beautiful the blue sky seemed when we got out this morning. The whole episode was an awful nightmare.”

The raiders were armed with pistols and revolvers and dressed in boiler suits and wore balaclava helmets. They also carried a number of walkie-talkie sets. They told the Coddingtons they were members of the INLA but Gardai thought this was just a ploy.

From the Drogheda Independent:

Saturday, January 28, 1984: the day that will be engraved forever on the memories of Katherine and Nicholas Coddington, was a “clear, black, starry night.”

At 8pm that evening, as the couple drove along the driveway on the way to a friend’s party in their dove-grey Ford Escort car, balaclava-clad raiders, armed with handguns, blocked their car with their own vehicle and forced them at gunpoint back into the house.

The scene, frozen sharp in their minds, haunts them still – was it the end for young newlyweds as they were forced upstairs and tied while the gang plundered the mansion of an estimated £¼ million worth of valuables?

The following eleven hours were to be a nightmare for Nicholas and Katherine Coddington as they stared up the barrels of the guns trained menacingly on them by their captors.

“In a situation like that, you definitely understand your own mortality” Katherine, 25, a Canadian, recalls. “The revelation is made very clear to you. During those 11 hours one was prepared to meet one’s maker, to be prepared for anything and not be defeatist.”

“I don’t recall praying but somehow, I probably did. I suppose because you are prepared to meet your maker you begin to access your life. With guns trained on you all the time it is psychologically hard.

Katherine, who holds a degree in psychology and anthropology admitted that she thought mostly about losing her husband during those long nightmarish hours in captivity.

“If I lost my husband, what would I do, I kept saying to myself” said Katherine, who was married only last September. “It was a totally empty feeling. If I had been allowed to live but had no husband, what would I do?”

“We were tied separately but could hold hands”. Nicholas interrupted. “Being near to each other meant quite a lot to us that night. It helped us endure the ordeal all the more.”

Nicholas, 27, who met Katherine, while studying for a B.A. in economics and history at Trent University in Canada, didn’t feel they were ill-treated as such “But to be tied up for 11 hours could certainly be considered mental ill-treatment.”

He said he didn’t wish to talk about threats or what conversation took place but admitted they had been offered a drink of water.

Then at 7a.m. on Sunday morning, the Coddingtons – family motto- Nil Desperandum (Do not despair) – managed to free themselves. They walked swiftly to the house of a tenant who drove them to Drogheda.

The Coddingtons admit to being very distressed by the theft of some family mementoes, including wedding presents and a watch given to Katherine by her parents on her 21st birthday, but were particularly saddened when Katherine’s engagement ring was also taken.”

Said Nicholas “ The loss of antiques, silver and paintings is important, I suppose but it’s the little things, like my wife’s engagement ring, which were stolen that really hurts. The ring was given to my mother by a friend of the family on the occasion of her first ball in 1930”

“It was given to her in love and friendship and she in turn gave it to me as her only child. I in turn gave it to Katherine when we became engaged last June. In years to come I will probably be able to afford a dozen rings but nothing could replace this one.”

Katherine, the daughter of a retired Canadian Air Force Major, who now works with the Ministry of Transport, is no stranger to Oldbridge. She visited there two years ago and has known her husband, Nicholas for five years.

So how does she feel about Ireland now? “I think it is beautiful. The Emerald Isle is an apt description “

“When I decide to marry, I felt I would make my home in Ireland with my husband. Up until the raid I had a very good impression of Ireland and I suppose my view has not changed now.”

“I suppose it depends on how you want to describe the raiders – as subversives or just a plain ordinary gang of thieves. I feel, however, that the majority of Irish people should not be held responsible for the actions of a few of their fellow countrymen.”

“Change is necessary but the way it is brought about is sometimes wrong. We would just like to be thought of as ordinary people trying to live like everyone else in today’s world”.

A big house is no bowl of cherries for anyone these days and having a big house certainly does not make things any easier.”

Her husband, who runs the 3 storey mansion in the 750 acre estate in the absence of his father, Major Dixie Coddington, now living in Canada for the past two years. A staff of six ran the house and the farm.

Mrs. Coddington said the raid was “quite an introduction to Irish life.” She described their ordeal as “ a pretty shocking experience. I never expected something like this when I came to Ireland but looking back now, perhaps I should have known it could happen.”

“It’s unfortunate but I think people do have this strange big house complex. It’s a liability, in fact. Here in the Drogheda area, and our family connections go back generations, our lives are interwined, whether one tries to run a farm or a post office. We are all inter-dependent, all trying to get by.”

Katherine felt the locals were just as upset as they were and her husband produced a letter from a sympathiser which said “ We are all the poorer from such actions … I do believe 99.9% of your neighbours and the Irish people condemn such scandalous robberies.”

Generally, the Coddingtons claim to get on “very well” with their neighbours. “Most are really sweet” said Nicholas, “ We like to help each other.”

In March 1984 the Coddingtons put in a claim for £250,000 to Meath County Council in respect of damage to furniture and fittings at Oldbridge House.

In February 1985 two men, were convicted for their part in the £108,000 robbery of Oldbridge. Dundalk coal vendor, Joseph Farrell (38) was given a ten-year sentence  when he pleaded guilty to participation in the robbery while Brian McCormack, (62) a farmer of Streamstown, Co. Westmeath was sentenced to four years for receiving the stolen goods, and three on each of two offences of firearms possession. The Court heard how a Provisional I.R.A. gang of at least seven men took part in the robbery of paintings, silverware, jewellery and antique furniture on the night of 28 January 1984. The gang ransacked the house and loaded valuable paintings onto the back of a lorry. 

In February 1985 Matthew Henry, a truck driver, Rush, Co. Dublin was charged with the robbery at Oldbridge. Henry had made a verbal confession to the Gardai having been arrested 5 February 1984. He had originally been arrested for question in relation to the murder of Garda Frank Hand at Drumree. Henry was a leading member of Provisional IRA. Henry told Gardai during an interview in Navan  “I appreciate  I have to go for the Coddington job. Make no mistake about it. I’ll have to serve years in Portlaoise for it, but what can I do, I have no option. I have nothing to do with Drumree. You appreciate I cannot make a statement.”

Painting of Schomberg recovered

In 1992 one of the paintings stolen in the 1984 robbery was recovered after the Gardai stopped its sale at a London auction house. The painting was listed for sale by auction house Christies. A dispute followed as the vendor and the Coddington family sought to establish the identity of the painting’s subject and artist.  According to Nicholas Coddington the painting was a portrait of the Duke of Schomberg who had been killed at the battle of the Boyne and the artist was Geoffrey Kneller. Christies had ascribed it to a follower of John Closerman and the subject a “military commander.” The painting, measuring 50 inches by forty inches, was returned to the Coddington family. The painting was sold in 2019.

Sale of Contents 1984

In May 1984 Nicholas Coddington confirmed the forthcoming sale of the house and contents.

Contents auction held in a marquee on the front lawn of the house on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday19, 20 and 21 June at 12 noon each day. The contents of the house were sold over a three-day period and raised £425,000, which was about twice what was expected. Nicholas and Katherine Coddington were reported to be very happy with the results.

The Victorian rocking horse with leather saddle, bridge and stirrups. Standing seven feet high Nicholas admitted he had reservations about selling the horse but the cost of transporting it outweighed his emotions. The spotted white rocking horse “Flying Fox”, which was given to Nicholas for his fourth birthday, was sold at £3,600 to a London dealer. A fine side table with a  carved lion mask was sold for £6,000. A giltwood wall mirror was sold for £3200, £2,500 for a Sheraton sideboard, £5,500 for a breakfront library bookcase and £8,000 for a Worchester dinner service.

Sixteen Regency chairs, upholstered in their original hide, were sold for £6,200 and a pair of  Regency fold-over tables for £5,000.

An Irish Chippendale mahogany sidetable, fetched £3,600 and a Chinese 18th century black and gold lacquer cabinet, ornately decorated with river scenes and pagodas fetched £5,000. The bulk of the items went for prices in the £500 to £1,000 range. Many on the first day of the sale went for around £1,000 to £2,000, while on the second day, some of the items went for as  cheaply as £20.

Dealers from Ireland, the Continent and Africa attended the sale. During the early bidding, a representative of an un-named sheik paid £6,200 for a set of 16 Regency mahogany dining chairs and immediately afterwards  paid £1,200 for a Victorian dining table. The public paid £10 a head to attend the sale. 

As each item was auctioned it appeared on a video screen. Lot 61 was one of the rarest dinner service to ever come before the public for sale in almost half a century. The 18th century Worcester dinner service, decorated with pheasant and sunflower pattern of 57 plates, 16 serving dishes and various other plates, tureens, covers and stands. Bidding began at £3,000, rising in £1,000 bids until it reached £8,000. The buyer was listed as V. Dillon, South Anne Street, Dublin. As soon as the dinner set was auctioned, Nicholas, went straight for the champagne and he and his happy wife posed for photographs. “I’m thrilled with the price we got” he commented.

Auction Catalogue

Sale of House 1984

According to the auctioneer, P.B. Gunne, there were a number of potential buyers from the Continent interested in the estate.

In July 1984 Drogheda Corporation asked that a government body such as Bord Failte, Board of Works, the Minister for Fisheries or other interested parties be asked to purchase Oldbridge House and Estate. Alderman Frank Godfrey proposed the motion said that within a few years he forecast that Oldbridge would be closer to the town of Drogheda and it would be an ideal place for a park. The residence could be turned into a museum.

The auction of Oldbridge House took place on 24th September 1984 at Jury’s Hotel, Dublin. The estate was offered for sale in one or in ten lots. Section A was Oldbridge House and 199 acres. Section B included all the lands bordering the river Boyne. The first lot to be put under the hammer was the entire estate.

The bidding started with a bid of half a million pounds made by Barney Curley. The underbidder was Dundalk building contractor Michael Coburne at £850,000. The winning bid was from Jack Marry, a local farmer involved in the pig industry. Jack Marry’s brother, Dermot, had a substantial agricultural land bank adjoining Oldbridge Estate. Jack Marry said he was prepared to negotiate with the Drogheda Anglers Club with regard to fishing rights.

The £900,000 handshake – Nicholas Coddington shakes hands with the new owner, Jack Marry, watched by auctioneer, Fintan Gunne and Mrs. Katherine Coddington.

Nicholas Coddington said “ Naturally, I’m very sad to be leaving, especially as my family have lived at Oldbridge since 1724. I’ll miss the Drogheda area a great deal. “It’s a big step to take but I suppose it was inevitable after the harrowing experience my wife and I went through last January.” “We have moved out of our castles and now I suppose it’s time to move out of our big houses.” “It is a tangible break from the past.” The 28 year old history graduate said he had thought about the future but had not come to any firm conclusion. “I will probably take a long rest and get to know my wife. Then I will think about buying some land in Canada and create a home for myself and future Coddingtons. But I will not rebuild Oldbridge, you cannot rebuild the past somewhere else.” Katherine said “Although Canada is my home I will be sad to see a piece of history like the Coddington family end at Oldbridge. I will also miss the many friends I have made since coming here in September. The people have been so nice and kind.”

Pig breeder Jack Marry owned 400 acres at Dowth. He had 4,000 pigs  at Dowth and a further 750 animals at a sow unit in Littlegrange. Mr. Marry emerged as something of a surprise buyer. Amid all the speculation prior to the auction over whom might purchase the estate his name did never figured at any stage. He was described by the local newspaper as a “38year-old plain spoken down to earth, no airs man” and told the Drogheda Independent “I had my eye on it, but I must admit I kept it quiet. I did not even tell my father.” He told the paper he would be farming the 500 arable acres, probably to grow grain. He already was a sizeable grain farmer, growing 300 acres at Dowth.  He bought Oldbridge primarily for its farmland value. “It is good land and in my lifetime you will never get the opportunity to buy land like it again. It adjoins my own farm, with just the river Boyne separating them.”

Jack Marry, died suddenly before Christmas 2008. His death had come as a great shock to his family, friends and business associates. He was survived by his wife, Rosemary, three sons Gareth,  Colm and Jonathan and three daughters Shona, Clodagh and Nicole

Nicholas Dixie Coddington married 3 September 1983 Katherine Elizabeth Hoy at Bellville, Ontario, Canada. She had been born 16 October 1958. They had two sons. Thomas Barry Coddingtonborn 13 June 1993 and William Fitzherbert Coddington born 19 May 1988.

Laurence of Arabia Connection

Rose Isabel Chapman, 39 Northumberland Road, Dublin, died 24 May 1962. Rose was the half-sister of Laurence of Arabia. Their father was Sir Thomas Chapman of South Hill, Delvin, Co. Westmeath. Probate to Rose’s will was granted to Edward Joseph Montgomery and Joan Sophia Helen Coddington, value £6391 in England.

When South Hill sold in 1952 sisters,  Rose and Florence, moved to Dublin. Rose died in the early 1960’s and Florence died in 1966. Florence spent the twilight years in care of the Coddington family at Oldbridge, who received £23,000 in her will. Rose would probably have known Joan as both families were neighbours in Westmeath. Mrs Coddington turned away anyone who came for information saying “Florence naturally takes her mother’s side” Florence died aged 86. From Dick Benson-Gyles book “The boy in the mark.” Florence died 26th July 1966 and was buried in Mount Jerome.

US Politician’s Connections

US The 2008 defeated Republican American presidential candidate, John McCain, was a descendant of  Captain Dixie Coddington of Holmpatrick who is said to have fought with William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne. One of McCain’s five times great-grandfathers was Dixie Coddington, born in Holmpatrick, Skerries, Co. Dublin, in 1693, who married Hannah Waller and died in Queen Street, Dublin, in 1776. The family history was researched by William Addams Reitweisner with the assistance of Nicholas Coddington. President Joe Biden is related to Finnegan and Kearney ancestors on the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth. The Kearneys lived on a land-holding known locally as Maranatragh. This holding was a sub-division of Templetown townland. The Kearneys were subtenants on the Townley Hall Estate, owned by landlord Blayney-Balfour. After 1760 they sub-let the salvage rights on this coastal strip. Estate maps show this section of the seashore juts into the sea like a hook and catches seaweed and salvage washed up on the beach.  The Coddingtons may have for a time served as land agents for the Balfour family.