Pill Creek on the banks of the River Avon in Somerset ... generations of Comerford men living in Pill worked on the River Avon and the Bristol Channel as pilots and mariners
A Comerford family from Ireland moved to Somerset in England in the early 19th century. I have long been fascinated by this family. Although I have been unable, to date, to establish which part of Ireland these Comerfords came from, some of them were near-neighbours of my father’s family, and the coincidence of first names, among other factors, contributed to both families believing they were related. In addition, I noticed that they had moved from Ireland to an area of England place close to Quemerford, to which the family traces its roots ... were they ever aware of the connections?
One part of the family returned to Ireland and lived in Rathgar in south Dublin. But they moved back to England again after World War I.
The family flourished in Pill St George, near Bristol, which had a strong association with the sea and where some of the men in the family became pilots and mariners on the River Avon and the Bristol Channel. Other members of the family lived in Wales near Newport, Monmouthshire. One member of the family returned to Ireland a century later, living in Brighton Road, Rathgar, Dublin, in the early 20th century. The only son in the family – Charles Henry Comerford – is named in the War Memorial Hall or Rathfarnham Parish Hall for his part in World War I, and later lived in Surrey. Other descendants of the family continued to live in the Bristol and Monmouth area.
The family is principally associated with Pill St George, near Bristol. In the 19th century, Pill St George was a hamlet and chapelry in the Parish of Easton-in-Gordano and the Hundred of Portbury in Somerset, close to the mouth of the River Avon and five miles north-west of Bristol. At the time the Comerfords lived there, Pill was known as the pilot station for the port of Bristol. It stands on the west bank of River Avon, and is a short distance from the Roman station Ad Sabrinam, on the Via Julia, or Fosse Way, which passes through Pill.
The story of this Comerford family begins with:
JOHN COMERFORD (ca 1786/91-1858), Waterman and Mariner, of Union Row in the hamlet of Pill in the Parish of Easton-in-Gordano or St George’s, Somerset. He may have ben born in Ireland ca 1786, although the 1841 census shows he was born in Ireland in 1791, and aged 50 in 1841, when he was living in Union Row, Pill, with his wife Sarah (then aged 45) and their eight-year-old daughter Emma.
John Comerford, who was born in Ireland ca 1786-1791, and is said to have moved to England in the early 1800s. On Christmas Day, 25 December 1808, he married Sarah Jones (ca 1796-post 1851), daughter of James and Elizabeth Jones, in Holy Trinity Church, Westbury-on-Trym, Gloucestershire. They settled in Pill St George, near Bristol, and had five children who were born between 1818 and 1833. In 1841, they were living in Union Row, Easton in Gordano, Somerset, with their daughter Emma, then aged 8. They were still living in Pill, Somerset, in 1851, when John was 63 and Sarah was 60, although they both gave Pill as their place of birth in 1851.
John died in 1858, and was buried on 7 September 7 1858 in Easton in Gordano (burial no 557); Sarah died in 1870 and was buried on 16 January 1870 in Easton in Gordano (burial no 1165).
John and Sarah Comerford’s seven children were four sons and a daughter:
1, Anna, born ca 1810. She married William Anstice on 31 January 1831 in the Parish Church, Easton in Gordano, Somerset.
2, Lucretia, born ca 1813 in Pill St George, Somerset, she died ca January 1816 in Pill St George, Somerset. She was buried on 4 February 1816 in Easton in Gordano (burial no 120).
3, William Henry Comerford (1818-1864), of whom next.
4, John Comerford (1821- ). He was born in 1821 in Pill, St George, Somerset, and was baptised on 4 February 1821 in Easton in Gordano. He married Horora (or Aurora) ... and they had four children, three daughters and a son:
● 1a, Alice.
● 2a, John Comerford.
● 3a, Catherine.
● 4a, Mary.
5, James Comerford (1824-ca 1910), of St Woollos, Newport, Monmouthshire. He was born in 1824 in Pill St George, Somerset, and was aged 27 in 1851, when he was a Mariner, living in Pill, Somerset. He later moved to Wales. He died ca 1910 in Newport, Monmouthshire. See below.
6, Edward Comerford (ca 1827-1893). He was born in 1827 in Pill St George, Somerset. He died in December 1893 in Pill St George, Somerset. We return to Edward and his family after his brother James.
7, Emma Jane (1833-1861). She was born in 1833 in Pill St George, Somerset, and baptised on 7 January 1833. She was aged eight at the time of the 1841 census, when she was living with her parents. She married Alfred Carey on 16 October 1856 in the Parish Church, Easton-in-Gordano. They lived at 41 Myrtle Hill, Easton-in-Gordano, and they had two daughters. She died on 24 February 1861 in Easton-in-Gordano, Somerset.
The third child and eldest son in this family:
WILLIAM HENRY COMERFORD (1818-1864), Pilot, of Pill, Somerset. He was born in 1818 in Pill St George, Somerset, and was baptised in Easton-in-Gordano parish on 1 November 1818. On 23 March 1840, he married in the parish church in Easton-in-Gordano Anne Rowles (ca 1817-1893), who was born ca 1817 in Pill, Somerset. Anne was the daughter of Joseph Rowles of Portbury, Somerset, and his wife Rachel (née Buck).
Anne Comerford was living in Pill, Somerset, in 1851, when she aged 34, and was listed as a Pilot’s Wife.
William Comerford was a Pilot. He owned pilot boats no 35, Vixen, from 1852 to 1859, and no 11, Perseverence, from 1863 to 1864, and both boats were based at Bristol Station (Pill). He died in 1864 when he was drowned west of Lundy. The Bristol Mercury and Western Counties Advertiser reported on Saturday 3 December 3 1864 that on the night of 17 November 1864 pilot boat no 28 belonging to Bristol Station (Pill) was lost West of Lundy. The owner Charles Porter (Pill pilot), had left to board a ship, leaving his partner John Thomas in charge. He took on board William Comerford pilot, who had just conducted a vessel from Bristol. The crew lost were John Thomas, Stephen Turner and James Shepherd (Westerman); John Smith, a lad, son of a pilot; and William Comerford. Stephen John Comerford Turner was born on 25 October 1839, and was the son of Stephen Turner, a waterman, and Jane (née Beristlore?) Turner.
The 1871 census shows his widow Anne Comerford, then aged 53, living with her married daughter Jane Dyer at 20 Dowry Parade, Clifton, Bristol. She died ca June 1893, in Bristol, Gloucestershire.
Their children included:
1, Jane (1841-post 1871). Born in 1841 in Pill, she was a scholar (i.e., at school) and aged 10 in 1851, living in Pill, Somerset. She married William Dyer, a mariner, in September 1860 in Clifton, Bristol. The 1861 Somerset census shows Jane aged 20 as a visitor to the Gilmore family of Friendly Row, Easton-in-Gordano, Somerset. In 1871, she was 30 and living at Dowry Parade, Clifton, with her 53-year-old widowed mother Ann Comerford.
2, John James Comerford (1842-1900), Mariner Pilot. He was born on 17 October 1842 in Pill St George, Somerset. In 1851, he was aged nine, a Scholar, living in Pill, Somerset. Later he worked as a mariner pilot. He married his first wife Sarah Ann Porter (1845- ), daughter of Edmund Porter and his wife Anne (née Rumney) of Pill, Somerset, on 28 May 1863 in Clifton Parish Church, Bristol; Sarah was born on 15 April 1845 at Pill St George. Two years before John and Sarah married, Sarah’s sister, Harriet Porter, married Stephen John Comerford Turner (1839-1864) on 6 March 1861 in the Parish Church in Easton-in-Gordano(see below). In 1871, Sarah Ann and John James Comerford were living in Underbanks, Pill, Somerset. Sarah appears to have died after the birth of her fourth child, John Porter Comerford, in 1876.
John James Comerford was the father of 14 children.
The first five children, born to John and Sarah, were:
● 1a, William Edward Comerford (1863-post 1925), stabler, of Portbury, Somerset. He was born on 28 September 1863, was baptised in Pill on 1 November 1863, and was living in 1881. William emigrated to New Zealand, where he became a prison officer. He returned to England to visit his family in 1925, arriving at Southamption on board the SS Euripides on 3 February 1925.
● 2a, Ann (Annie) (1868-1929). She was born on 31 October 1868 and was baptised in Pill, Somerset, on 10 January 1869. She married in Kensington, London, in June 1894, Arthur Rowland Wake, of Reading, Berkshire. In 1901, they were living in South Tidworth, Hampshire. In 1911, they had a dairy farm in Tidowrth. When Annie’s brother, James Joseph Comerford, and his family fell on hard times, Arthur Wake let them stay in one of his farm buildings. They had five children. She died on 23 May 1929 in South Tidworth, Hampshire.
● 3a, James Joseph Comerford (1871-1941). He was born on 4 July 1871 in Pill St George, Somerset. He ran away to sea at the age of 13 because he did not get on with his step-mother, Maty Jane. He married on 1 October 1903, in the parish church of North Tidworth, Sarah Elizabeth Witt (1879-1951), daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (nee Green) Witt; Sarah was born in Amesbury, Wiltshire, on 19 January 1879, and died on 30 September 1951. James Joseph Comerford died on 18 December 1941 in Andover, Hampshire. James and Sarah were the parents of two sons:
●● 1b, William Richard Comerford (1909-1958), born in Amport, Andover, Hampshire, on 19 May 1909; he died in Mount Vernon Hospital, Middlesex, on 17 April 1958.
●● 2b, Edward Charles Comerford (1914-2012), born 20 January 1914, died 16 July 2012. He has living descendants.
● 4a, John James Comerford (1874-1874). He was born on 23 May 1874 and died the following month on 24 June 1876.
● 5a, John Porter Comerford (1876-1876). He was born on 20 January 1876 in Ham Green, St George, and died in infancy later that year.
John James Comerford married his second wife, Mary Jane Dennis (born in Combe Martin, Devon, in 1856) on 13 April 1897 in Bedminster Register Office. She was the daughter of James Dennis and Betsy (Squire). In 1881, John and Mary J. Comerford were living at 7 Eirene Terrace, Ham Green, Pill, Somerset with and their one-year-old daughter Alice. In 1891, they were living in Barton, Easton-in-Gardano. He died in June 1900 in Long Ashton, Somerset, west of Bristol. In 1901, his widow was living in Pill. In 1904, she married Joseph Brooks. The 1911 census shows Mary Janes living in Elm Cottage, Lower Fallan with her second husband Joseph Brroks and three children from her marriage to John James Comerford, Arthur, Herbert and Edith. John and Mary Comerford had nine children:
● 6a, Alice J. Comerford (1879-1907), born on 20 June 1879 in Pill St George, Somerset. She married Henry Gray, a milk dairyman, of Stratton Prior, Somerset, in Saint Saviour’s Parish Church, Bath, on 18 September 1899. In 1901, they were living at 8 Hampton View, Bath, Somerset. They had two children, Arthur Gray, who was born in 1901 in Bath, Somerset, and Bertram James Gray, who was born in Bath on 20 December 1904. Alice died on 2 January 1907 at 8 Tyning Terrace, Bath.
● 7a, Mary Jane, born in 1881 in Pill St George. She married Charles Bertie Sheppard in Corston Parish Church, Wiltshire, in 1902, and they had three sons.
● 8a, John James Comerford (1883-post 1910), born about June 1883 in Pill, Somerset. In 1891, he was living in Barton, Easton-in-Gordano. In 1901, he was living in Bath with his sister Alice and her husband Henry Gray. He married Eliza Short in 1910. They had one son:
●● 1b, Alfred Comerford, born ca 1914.
● 9a, Elizabeth (‘Betsy’ or ‘Bessie’) E. (1885-post 1912), born in June 1885 in Pill, Somerset. She married Fred Walker in June 1906 in Long Ashton Parish Church, Somerset, and they had six children.
● 10a, Edward George Comerford (1887-1915), born in September 1887 in Pill, Somerset. He was killed in action in World War I in 1915. On the outbreak of World War I, he enlisted in August 1914 Bristol into the 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment as Private 13491. He arrived on the Western Front on September 1914, and was killed in action in Flanders on 25 September 1915, age 27. He has no known grave, and is named on the Loos Memorial, panel 41. He was a dairy worker before becoming a dock labourer. In 1908, he had married Laura Annie Porter, from Pill, a distant cousin, in June 1909 in Long Ashton, Somerset, and they had five children, a daughter and four sons:
●● 1b, Doris Alice, born in 1909 in Pill St George, Somerset.
●● 2b, Sydney Arthur Comerford, born 1910.
●● 3b, Robert Frank Comerford, born in 1912 in Pill St George, Somerset.
●● 4b, Edward George Comerford, born in 1913 in Pill St George, Somerset.
●● 5b, William Comerford (1914-1915), born 1914, Pill St George, Somerset, died in 1915 in Pill St George, Somerset.
● 11a, Edgar Comerford (1890-1894), born ca June 1890 in Pill, Somerset, he died in November 1894 in Badminster, Somerset, and was buried in Easton-in-Gordano (burial No 636).
● 12a, Arthur Comerford (1893-ca 1915), born on 6 April 1893 in Pill, Somerset, he died ca 1915. He married Helen Gwendoline Collett, and they had a daughter:
●●1b, Vera Comerford, born on 10 December 1919.
● 13a, Herbert Henry (Harry) Comerford (1896-ca 1954), of Old Basing, Hampshire. He was born on 30 April 1896 in Pill, Somerset, and died ca 1954 in Old Basing Hampshire. He married Grace D. Morris on 9 June 1917 in Long Ashton, Somerset. Their children were:
●● 1b, Grace Mary (1918-1987), born on 21 July 1918 in Old Basing, Hampshire; she died on 26 July 1987 in Basingstoke, Hampshire. She married Harold McCleester and they had a son and a daughter. Their son, Clive McCleester, is now a Red Brother at St. Cross, Winchester. He was a Benedictine monk at Alton Abbey, and then was Custos of Winchester Cathedral (1982-2000) until he was installed as Virger of Saint George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on 29 April 2000, a post he held until 2007.
●● 2b, Amy Dorothy (1919-2000), born 19 July 1919 in Old Basing Hampshire; died in 2000 in Southampton General Hospital. She married Charles Wilson, and they had four sons.
●● 3b, Herbert Charles Comerford (1921-1982). He was born on 13 November 1921, and died in 1982. He married Celia Mons Annie Nicholls in Basingstoke, Hampshire, and they had one son.
●● 4b, Jean (1926-1999), born in 1926 in Old Basing Hampshire, died in 1999 in Hampshire. She married Douglas Warsop on 25 August 1947 in Saint Michael’s Church, Basingstoke, Hampshire. They had two sons.
●● 5b, (The Revd) Peter Morris Comerford (1935-1995), a priest in the Church of England. He was born on 8 February 1935 in Basingstoke, Hampshire. He was educated at King’s College, London, and Warminster Theological College, Wiltshire. He was ordained deacon (1962) and priest (1963) by Bishop Mervyn Stockwood of Southwark. He was curate of Catford (1963-1965), Saint Mary the Virgin with Saint Clement, Bournemouth (1965-1966) and Berry Pomeroy with Bridgetown, near Totnes, Devon (1966-1968); Assistant Chaplain at Wormwood Scrubs (1968-1969); Prison Chaplain at Grendon (1969-1974), Feltham (1974-1978), Brixton (1978-1985) and Pentonville (1985-1989); and Rector of Mary Tavy and Peter Tavy, near Tavistock, Devon (1989-1995). He died at at Saint Mary Tavy, in Devon, on 11 February 1995.
● 14a, Edith Emily Comerford (1899-post 1918), born ca September 1899 in Pill, Somerset. She married Edward J. Cosway in March 1918 in Long Ashton, Somerset.
3, William Henry Comerford (1845-ca 1918). He was born in Pill on 21 January 1845, and was aged six in 1851, when he was a Scholar, living in Pill, Somerset. He later worked as a schoolmaster. He married Sarah Jane Barlow (born in 1844, Kington, Hereford) in September 1867 in Kington Parish Church, Hereford; she was the daughter of John Barlow and Anne (Watson). The 1871 census shows he was a schoolmaster and the family was living at The Cottage, Foy, Herefordshire. They emigrated to New Zealand in 1873, sailing on the immigrant ship Mary Shepherd which arrived in Lyttelton, Christchurch, on 20 August 1873, and they livved to Christchurch, New Zealand. He died in New Zealand in 1918.
William and Sarah Comerford were the parents of eleven children:
● 1a, Henry (Harry) Watson Comerford (1869- ), born in 1869 in Foy, Hereford. On 11 April 1894, he married in Saint Mary’s, Waipukurau, Eleanor, eldest daughter of Anthony Stubbs of Waipukurau. He died in New Zealand. They had two children:
●● 1b, Everard Harold Comerford, born in 1898.
●● 2b, Brenhilda, born in 1899.
● 2a, Ann (Annie) (1870-post 1907), born on 20 August 1870 in Foy, Hereford. She married Arthur Edward Michael Young in 1899 in New Zealand, and they had four children. She died in New Zealand.
● 3a, Edgar Comerford (1871-1873). He was born in 1871 in Foy, Herefordshire, and died at sea in 1873 when the family was emigrating to New Zealand.
● 4a, Millicent Mary (ca 1872-ca 1872). She was born ca 1872 and died ca 1962 in New Zealand.
● 5a, Charles Augustine Comerford (1873-post 1908). He was born in New Zealand in 1873. He married Edith Mary Ford in 1906 in New Zealand, and they had one son:
●● 1b, Geoffrey F.E.S. Comerford (1908- ), born in 1908 in New Zealand.
● 6a, Alice May, born ca 1874 in New Zealand. She married Archibald James Wilkin in 1899 in New Zealand, and they had a daughter.
● 7a, Percy Harold Comerford (ca 1878-ca 1897), he was born ca 1878 in New Zealand, and died ca 1897 in New Zealand.
● 8a, Lionel Vivian Comerford (ca 1879-ca 1927). He was born ca 1879 in New Zealand, and died ca 1927 in New Zealand. He married May Julia Millar ca 1912.
● 9a, Florence Louise, born ca 1881 in New Zealand.
● 10a, Edgar Herbert Comerford, born ca 1882 in New Zealand.
● 11a, Winifred Elinor, born ca 1888 in New Zealand.
4, Edward George Comerford (1846-1858). Born in Pill in 1846, he was aged 4 in 1851 and living in Pill, Somerset. He died in 1858 and was buried on 9 May 1858 in Easton in Gordano (burial no 546).
5, James Joseph Comerford (1852- ). He was born in 1852 in Pill.
In addition, Emma Dickens (18), visitor, charwoman, was living with Anne Comerford and her family in 1851.
William Comerford’s next brother:
JAMES COMERFORD (1824-ca 1910), Mariner and Pilot. He was born in 1824 in Pill, Easton-in-Gordano, Somerset, and was baptised on 22 February 1824 in Easton in Gordano. In 1841, he was living in the Rodney Inn, Upper Pill Street, and sharing a dwelling with a female servant, Harriet Wilder. He was aged 27 in 1851, when he was a Mariner, living in Pill, Somerset. He was a Pilot and lived in St Woollos, Newport, Monmouthshire. The cenus returns for 1871, 1891 and 1901 show the family living at 58 Capel Street, Newport. He died ca 1910.
He married Susan (or Susanna) Webb Lewis in St Woollos Parish Church, St Woollos, near Newport, Monmouthshire, on 14 March 1854. They had at least ten children:
1, Sarah A (also Susan Emma) (1856-1881), born in 1856 in Newport, died after 1881.
2, Susan Emma (ca 1857-ca 1859), born ca 1857 in Newport, died in infancy before 1860.
3, Florence E (1858-post 1891). She was born in 1858 in Newport. In June 1881 she married William Critchley, and they had four sons before between 1886 and 1891.
4, Susan Mary (1860-1860), born in 1860 in Newport, she died ca June 1860 in Newport.
5, James Comerford (1862-post 1887). Born in 1862 in Newport, he married in 1887. He was a mariner.
6, Susan Mary (1864-post 1893). Born in 1864 in Newport. She married Frank Disher and they had a daughter, Winifred, born in 1893.
7, Constance Elizabeth (1867-post 1900). Born in 1867 in Newport, she married Philip Allen in 1896 and they had three daughters.
8, Annie Williams (1870- ). Born in 1870 in Newport, she married Thomas David Thomas.
9, Amy (1871- ). Born in 1871 in Newport.
10, William Williams Comerford (1873-post 1902). Born in 1873 in Newport. A bread haulier, he married Mary Ann Hodge, daughter of Richard and Mary Hodge. In 1901, they were living in 15 Daniel Street, Newport. They had three children, a daughter and two sons:
● 1a, Doris, born in 1899.
● 2a, Stanley W. Comerford, born in 1900.
● 3a, Reginald Gordon Comerford (1902-1933). He was born ca 1902 in Newport, Monmouthshire, and died on 31 December 1933 in Newport, Monmouthshire. He married Tabitha Emma Williams in Newport, Monmouthshire. They had two children:
●● 1b, Reginald E.W. Comerford, born in 1927 in Newport, Monmouthshire. He married Alma J. Hine in 1951 in Newport, and they have a son and a daughter.
●● 2b, Audrey Comerford (1929-1999), born on 30 July 1929, Newport, Monmouthshire, died on 28 October 1999 in Cardiff. She married Gordon Leslie Stevens on 1 April 1950 in Newport, and they had seven children.
James Comerford’s next brother:
EDWARD COMERFORD (1827-1893). He was born in 1827, and was baptised on 12 April 1827 in Easton-in-Gordano. He lived in Pill, Somerset, and worked as a pilot on the River Avon from 1860 to 1892. He owned pilot boat 11, Perseverance (1860-1871), pilot boat Emma (1872-1879), and pilot boat Emily (1880-1892). In the 1861 census, the family are living at 15 Myrtle Hill, Easton-in-Gordano. By 1871, the family have moved to 1 Chapel Row, Pill. They were living at Fern Bench House in Pill, Somerset, in 1881, when he was a pilot employing two men. He died in 1893 and was buried on 9 December 1893 in Easton-in-Gordano (burial no 583); his widow Emily was buried there on 15 January 1902 (burial no 949).
Edward Comerford married on 26 April 1859 in Clifton Parish Church, Bristol, Emily Reed, the widow of Henry Reed and daughter of John Griffin and his wife Edith (Pearce). She already had three children:
1, Thomas H. Reed, born in 1854.
2, George Reed, born in 1855.
3, Emily G. Reed, born in 1858.
Edward and Emily Comerford also had four children:
1, Edward John Griffin Comerford (1860-1937), of Pill St George, Somerset, Rathgar, Dublin, and Chorlton-cum-Hardy, near Manchester, of whom next.
2, William Griffin Comerford (1866-1931). He was born on 29 October 1866 in Pill, Somerset. He was a commercial traveller. He lived in Pill, Somerset (1901), at The Quiery, Rochford, Worcestershire (1910, 1911, 1916), where two of his children were born, and at Park View House, Long Ashton, Somerset, where he died on 13 November 1931. He married on 3 September 1900 in Saint Michael’s Parish Church, Rochford, Worcestershire, Edith Knott (born in 1877 in Tenbury, Wiltshire, died 1956), daughter of William Knott and Emma (Rawlings).
William and Edith Comerford had six children:
● 1a, Edith Gwendoline (1901-1930), born 20 August 1901, Long Ashton, Somerset; she died on 31 October 1930.
● 2a, Beatrice Emily (1903-ca1989). She was born on 28 April 1903, and died ca 1989. She married Reginald G. Stevens in 1923 in Long Ashton, Somerset. They had a son Terance Griffins Stevens, born in 1930.
● 3a, Dorothy Blanche (1907-1991), born 12 February 1907, Newbridge Hill, Brislington, Bristol; she died in November 1991 in Soutmead Hospital. She married Arthur Henry Thompson Harris on 11 August 1934 in Backwell Parish Church, Somerset. Their son is Timothy John Harris, born in 1941 in Bristol.
● 4a, Edward William Griffin Comerford (1910-1986). He was born in Rochford, Worcestershire, on 10 August 1910. He died on 2 August 1986 in Bristol. He married Beryl Mills in 1940. They had two sons:
●● 1b, Jeremy Comerford.
●● 2b, Andrew Comerford.
● 5a, Kathleen Mary (1916-1998), born in Rochford on 15 January 1916, alive at the time her father died in 1931, died in Somerset in November 1998.
● 6a, Nancy Doreen (1919-1994), born on 9 May 1919 in Long Ashton, Somerset, she died in September 1994 in Bristol. She married Sidney Catchpole on 25 September 1943 in Worcestershire and they had a son and a daughter.
3, Blanche Edith (1870-1937). She was born in Pill, Somerset, on 22 July 1870 and was baptised in Easton-in-Gordano on 11 September 1870. She died on 16 July 1937 in Wotton Hall, and was buried in Easton-in-Gordano.
4, Thomas Griffin Comerford (1873-1928), born in Pill on 19 May 1873. He was a commercial traveller with wine and spirit merchants. He married in 1910 in Hampstead Registry Office, London, Eleanor Caron (1884-1974), daughter of Pierre or Peter Joseph Caron and Martha (Bentley). Thomas died on 24 January 1928 and Eleanor died on 31 March 1974. They had one daughter:
● 1a, Eleanor, born on 2 November 1910. She married (Francis) Aubrey Roberts (1905-1985), an airline captain with BOAC, on 1 October 1935. The Roberts family lived in Barnes Common, London, and Eleanor and Aubrey had a son and a daughter.
The eldest son:
Edward John Griffin Comerford (1860-1937), in 1920 (Photograph courtesy Simon Street)
EDWARD JOHN GRIFFIN COMERFORD (1860-1937). He was born on 17 January 1860 in Pill St George, Somerset. He was aged 33 when he was married in Christ Church, Pill, on 20 April 1893 to Leah Adelaide Shepherd (1861-1908), then aged 32 and the daughter of Samuel Shepherd and Adelaide (Vowles). She was baptised on 10 February 1861, and died in 1908, when she was buried in Easton in Gordano. In 1901, he was a clerk and living in Easton Villa, Pill St George. They had one son:
1, (Dr) Charles Henry Comerford (1894-post 1951), born in Somerset in 1894, of whom next.
30 Brighton Road, Rathgar, Dublin: the Comerford family home in the first three decades of the 20th century (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2009)
Edward J.G. Comerford was married again, on 12 April 1909, in All Saints’ Church, Wraxall, near Bristol to Mary Elizabeth Winstone (1871-1953), daughter of James and Catherine (Vowles) Winstone of Wraxall, Somerset. The family later moved to Dublin where Edward worked for WD & HO Wills, the Bristol-based tobacco company. At the 1911 census, Edward was a commercial traveller (tobacco), aged 51, living at 30 Brighton Road, Rathgar, with his wife Mary Elizabeth (then aged 40), and his son, Charles Henry Comerford, then aged 17. All three were born in Somerset and were members of the Church of Ireland. Edward and Mary had one daughter:
George Edmund Street (1824-1881), the architect for the restoration of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin ... his descendant, John Edmund Dudley Street, married Noreen Mary Comerford
2, Noreen Mary (1916-1981), born at 89 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, on 11 July 1916. She married on 22 April 1940 John Edmund Dudley Street (1918-2006), a direct descendant of George Edmund Street (1824-1881), the architect whose great works include the restoration of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, along with designing the Royal Courts of Justice (the Law Courts), London, Cuddesdon Theological College, Oxford, East Grinstead Convent, and Saint Philip and Saint James Church, Oxford, which now houses the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. Noreen died on 4 April 1981; Noreen and John Street have descendants living in England.
Edward and Mary Comerford continued to live at 30 Brighton Road until about 1921. Their neighbours included James Walter Beckett, who lived at 32 Brighton Road. He was a builder, Cumann na nGaedhael TD for Dublin South (1927-1937, 1938), and an uncle of the playwright Samuel Beckett. Walter Beckett’s son, the composer Professor Walter Beckett (1914-1996), was organist of Saint Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, conductor of the Dublin Operatic Society, the Dublin Musical Society, Leamington Spa Bach Choral Society, a lecturer in TCD, Professor of Harmony and Counterpoint, the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and music critic of The Irish Times (1946-1952).
Edward and Mary Comerford later moved to Chorlton-cum-Hardy, near Manchester, England, and were living there by 1930. He died there at 11 Harrington Road on 21 September 1937. His widow Mary died on 13 August 1953 in Lisbon, Portugal, where she was living with her daughter and son-in-law.
Edward Comerford’s only son:
(Dr) CHARLES HENRY COMERFORD (1894-post 1951), was born in Pill St George, Somerset, on 16 February 1894. He moved to Dublin with his father and step-mother. He was aged 17 in 1911 and was living with them at 30 Brighton Road, Rathgar. He studied medicine at Trinity College Dublin (MB, BCh, 1916; MD, 1919; DPH, 1920). He enlisted in the army, probably in the Royal Army Meical Corps, during World War I and is named on the War Memorial in the War Memorial Hall (Rathfarnham Parish Hall), Rathfarnham Road, Dublin. He moved to England between 1920 and 1924, and later worked as a medical practitioner in Cane Hill, Coulsdon, Surrey, and at the Mental Hospital in Bexley, Kent (1935-1951).
On 4 October 1924, he married Mary Charity Edith Henderson in the parish church in Portishead, near Bristol. She was the daughter of David Charles Henderson, a captain in the Mercantile Marine.
STEPHEN JOHN COMERFORD TURNER (1839-1864), Mariner, was born on 25 October 1839, and was drowned off Lundy Island on 17 November 1864. In 1861, he married Harriet Porter in Bedminster, Bristol. She was a sister of Sarah Anne Porter who married John James Comerford (1842-1900, see above). Stephen and Harriet had two sons:
1, Stephen John Comerford Turner (1862-1885), born 26 July 1862 in Pill St George, Somerset; he died on 9 April 1885.
2, Alfred John Turner, born in 1865 in Abbot’s Leigh, Somerset, half-way between Pill and Bristol.
Harriet Comerford maried secondly William Rowe on 25 December 1869 in Saint Mary’s Church in Redcliff, Bristol, and had five more children.
Gordon Beavington’s transcripts for Saint George’s, Pill, Somerset, in 1851: http://www.portbury-hundred.co.uk/
The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868).
Patrick Comerford, visits to Bristol; visits to Rathfarnham Parish Hall (Rathfarnham War Memorial Hall), Rathfarnham Road, Dublin (last visited by Patrick Comerford, 25 April 2009).
Births, Marriages and Deaths information on FreeBMD.
Dublin Census returns, Brighton Road, Rathgar, 1911.
Crockford’s Clerical Directory, various editions.
Thom’s Directory, Dublin, various editions.
Hampshire Chronicle, 28 April 2000.
Letter from Simon Street of Harrogate (grandson of E.J.G. Comerford), dated 7.7.2009; email from Simon Street, dated 3.8.2009; conversation with Simon Street in Dublin, 7 September 2009.
Email correspondence with Michael Wilson, grandson of Herbert Harry Comerford, dated 9.9.2009.
Email correspondence with Tim Harris, grandson of William Griffin Comerford, dated 29.1.2010, 30.1.2010 and 19.2.2010.
Email correspondence with Jill Sanders, daughter of Edward Charles Comerford (1914-2012), dated 29.3.2010, 14.5.2010 and 15.5.2010 and 24.8.2012.
Email correspondence with Tom Wilson, dated 4.4.2013.
Facebook message from Andy Miles, 5.8.2014.
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Welcome to ‘Comerford Family History’
© Patrick Comerford 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.
Last revised: 9 February 2009, 3 May 2009, 26 July 2009, 17 August 2009, 6 September 2009, 9 September 2009, 24 September 2009; 30 January 2010; 20 February 2010; 15 May 2010; 24 May 2010; 18 December 2010; 16 June 2011; 5 September 2012; 4 and 5 April 2013; 16 July 2014; 6 August 2014.