Upton Collection: RIA/Upton Papers/1-29
Special List: A008
by Martin Fagan, April 2012
The Upton Collection consists of the papers of Henry Arthur Shuckburgh Upton of Coolatore, Moate, Co. Westmeath, FRSAI, MRIA, 1870-1947.
Upton had a keen interest in genealogy and local history and was an active member of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead. His genealogical pursuits are well represented in this collection and the collection includes many typewritten transcripts of deeds and pedigrees from the 17th – 19th century, mostly concerning Westmeath, Offaly and Laois families. He used these documents to trace the pedigrees of various families, especially the Dunne, Hodson, Geoghegan, Fetherston and Upton families. Genealogical information also appears in Upton’s correspondence and particularly in correspondence with Thomas Ulick Sadlier which covers the period 1914 – 1934 and 1941. Upton kept carbon copies of his outgoing correspondence and copies of letters to Sadlier dated 1915 – 1933 survive. Other correspondents who feature regularly include B. St G. Lefroy, Thomas Redington Roche (architect), Fr. Wallace Clare of the Catholic Presbytery, R.J. Devenish of Denver, Lord Walter Fitzgerald of Kilkea Castle and members of the Hodson and Dunne families. Upton’s interest in archaeology is represented by a file of newspaper cuttings and correspondence. Of particular interest are letters relating to the excavations of Ballinderry crannog and Dromore prehistoric tomb and the donation of a bronze cauldron to the National Museum. Correspondents include Dr Adolf Mahr of the National Museum in Ireland and Hugh O’Neill Hencken of Harvard.
Upton corresponded with Sadlier on matters arising from the management of the Irish Memorials Association and received correspondence on the subjects of grave inscriptions etc. His interest in the history of High Sheriffs can be found in correspondence and a series of information cards listing the names and genealogies of the High Sheriffs of Ireland between the 17th – 20th centuries. The collection includes drafts for his article on the Chichester House Claims and a list of individuals whose lands were confiscated after the rebellion of 1641. It also includes minute books of the meetings of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Moate and Leinster dated 1798 – 1852 and a copy of the list of the original subscribers towards the building of the Lying-In Hospital, Dublin. His correspondence with Sadleir occasionally touches upon the turbulent political situation in Ireland and events such as the destruction of the Public Records Office in the Four Courts in 1922, the murder of Arthur Vicars, former Ulster King of Arms by the IRA and passing references to hijackings, shootings and house-burnings during the War of Independence. Sundry. His correspondence is peppered with references to motor cars, engines and water-pumps, homemade crystal radio sets and to the management of the estate at Coolatore.
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