During a clear out of our store rooms in Dromod we came across a beautiful old church chair. The chair was adorned with a brass plate engraved with the name “Augusta Caroline- Lady Clonbrock”.With little information on where the chair came from originally, we set out researching the name.
Augusta Caroline Crofton, later Lady Clonbrock (wife of 4th Baron Clonbrock, Luke Gerald Dillon) was born at Mote Park, Roscommon, Ireland in 1839 and died in 1928. She was a pioneering photographer, and many of her photographs along with those of her family are in the National Library of Ireland. Lady Clonbrock worked with Irish Women’s Association to help Irish POW’s during the first world war.
Having followed Paul Conoll, author of the “Landed Estates of Roscommon”, a beautiful book which examines the Landed Estates of County Roscommon with images in full colour throughout, many from private family collections, we made contact with him. It was our hope that we could return the chair to either family members or to the local community. Paul very kindly put us in contact with the church warden at St Catherine’s Church, Ahascragh, Co. Galway. They were very excited about our find as St. Catherine’s church had been damaged by fire in 1922 and so it was believed that all the original furniture was damaged or destroyed. This chair seemed to have been saved and then possibly auctioned off when the contents of the house were sold in the 1960’s.
Last week as part of the harvest service in St Catherine’s Church the chair, along with a prayer book belonging to Lady Clonbrock were re-dedicated. For us here in ICS, a church furniture company more used to restoring furniture back to its former glory- we were only delighted to restore this chair back to its home in Co. Galway.
Photo Credit: Paul Connoll