Monday, 9 July 2018

Welcome to ‘Comerford Family History’

Welcome to the story of the Comerford, Comberford and Quemerford families

Some words of welcome from Patrick Comerford:

Welcome to my blog on the Comerford Family History, looking at the history of the Comerford family in Ireland, especially in Co Kilkenny, Co Wexford and Dublin, and the history of the Quemerford family in Wiltshire and the Comberford family in Staffordshire.

The essays on this blog are divided into three parts.

The first part looks at the Comerford families of Ireland. There is an introduction to genealogy and the Comerford family. I then go on to trace the origins of the Comerford family in Quemerford, near Calne, Wiltshire, and trace the main branches of the family in Callan, Ballybur, Danganmore, Ballymack, Callan and Castleinch, in Co Kilkenny, Bunclody (Newtownbarry), Clohamon and Templeshanbo, in Co Wexford (with some diversions to Argentina and to Illinois in the United States) and their descendants in Dublin, Horetown, Newbawn and Fethard, Co Wexford, and Wexford Town, and the Comerfords of Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, who had strong connections with north Co Wexford.

In addition, there are shorter essays on other branches of the Comerford family that may have roots in Co Kilkenny or Co Wexford, including Comerfords who lived in Cork, Dundalk, Hampshire, Somerset and Skerries.

The appendices include a critique of the bizarre pedigree registered by Joseph Comerford in 1725, claiming descnt from the Comberfords of Staffordshire for the Comerfords of Ireland.

Because of the lasting tradition that the Comerfords of Ireland were descended from the Comberford family from Comberford, between Lichfield and Tamworth, Part 3 is a collection of historical essays on the Comberford family, its various branches and their homes, houses and heraldry.

Follow the links below and return to this welcome page to find new essays and chapters, or use the index to essays on the index bar on the left of this page to find your way through the blog.

Please excuse some of the formatting, but careful downloading will allow you as the reader to reformat these essays and work your way through these family stories generation-by-generation.

In compliance with legislation on data protection, no personal details are given of living people unless they have given me their express permission.

I have tried to give full documentation and references for every detail in each essay. In some instances, these references are missing. But this is a work in progress that first began in 1969-1970, when I started collecting family information in Bunclody, Wexford, Kilkenny, Lichfield and Tamworth. And I warmly welcome comments, corrections, additions, updates and new sources and ideas.

I plan to update these essays over time, and to add essays on various aspects of our shared story. For example, in April 2012, I completely overhauled the essay on the Comerfords of Ballybur, adding new family information and new photographs. After a visit to Quemerford in Wiltshire in July 2009, I added some new details and some additional photographs to the introductory essay, 2: Quemerford and Comerford family origins .

Recently I have added:

● An extensive account of the history of the Beaumont families, who brought considerable wealth to the Comberford family of Tamworth: Comberford Appendix 1: The Beaumont family of Wednesbury, added in June 2013.
● a critique of Joseph Comerford’s bizarre pedigree.
● a photograph of Francis Law, born in Dublin in 1829, added in January 2015.
● an archival photograph of Desart Court, built by the Cuffe family on the site of Castleinch, Co Kilkenny, added in December 2014.
● photographs from Bunclody, Kilmyshall, Templeshanbo and Wexford in April 2010.
● photographs from Rathmines and Terenure in Dublin, in May 2010.
● photographs from Lichfield, Staffordshire, in July 2010, March and August 2011, and July 2012.
● new photographs from Fethard-on-Sea and Bunclody, Co Wexford, from Coolgreany, Co Kilkenny, from Athlone, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, and from Quemerford, Wiltshire, in February and March 2011, and from Kells, Co Kilkenny, The Rower, Co Kilkenny, and Monasterevin, Co Kildare, added in April 2012.
● Photographs of Máire Comerford in August 2010 and January 2016, a photograph of her nephew Joe Comerford in 2016, and photographs from Courtown, Co Wexford, in January 2012.
● a profile of the Cork-born actor Chris Comerford.
● a collection of profiles in December 2010 of emminent Comerford surgeons, Comerford war dead, and some Comerford missionaries.
● a profile of the late Dr Joe Comerford.
● a profile of Marie Comerford, mother of the Warrington bomb victim Johnathan Ball, who died of a broken heart in 2009, added in September 2011.
● photographs of members of the Comerford family of Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, added in November 2011.
● more photographs and biographical information about Comerford missionaries, added in November and December 2011.
● more photographs and biographical and genealogical information about the Langton family, direct descendants and heirs of the Comerford family of Danganmore, Co Kilkenny, added in January 2012.
● more details on the Comerford family of Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, and Galway, added in February 2012.
● photographs of the ruins of Danganmore Castle, Co Kilkenny, a photograph of the ruined churchyard in Danganmore, a photograph of the gates of Borris House, Co Carlow, photographs from Ballinakill, Co Laois, and a photograph from an archaeological dig in Wednesbury, in April 2012.
● more biographical details of Bishop Michael Comerford, including his role in building the parish church in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, and his friendship with the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.
● more photographs from Saint Bride’s Church, Fleet Street,with some additional information on the Revd Edwards Comerford Hawkins, in August 2012.
● more recent photographs from Quemerford and Calne in Wiltshire in August and September 2012.
● more photographs from the Moat House, Tamworth.
● more details about Comerford families in Victorian Dublin, added in July 2013 and June 2014, including a photograph from one of their houses in Kenilworth Square, Rathgar, although I have yet to identify their connections with other branches of the family, and need to format the footnotes.
● more details about Comerford families in Galway and Balbriggan, Co Dublin, including more photographs.
● further details of Dr Joe Comerford, his family background and his education, including a photograph of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.

Other recent updates include:

● photographs from Skerries and Balbriggan.
● further information about previous owners of the Moat House in Tamworth, Staffordshire, and about the opening of Comberford’s Restaurant in the Moat House.
● further information about the Comerford family of Dundalk, Co Louth.
● more information and about Comerford Hall in New South Wales.
● photographs from Bunclody and Templeshanbo, Co Wexford, Ranelagh and Rathmines, Dublin, and Comberford, Staffordshire in April 2011.
● photographs from Westland Row, Redmond’s Hill and Ranelagh in Dublin.
● a photograph from Norbury in Derbyshire, in May 2011, along with old photographs from Mancetter in Warwickshire and Anglure in France.
● a photograph of Judge James Comerford at his last Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York in 1988.
● a photograph of Father James Comerford OMI.
● a photograph of the Irish film-maker Joe Comerford.
● photographs from Saint Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, Ballybur Castle, Danganmore Castle, Coolgreany House in Co Kilkenny, the Hole in the Wall, Kilkenny, Saint Mary’s Church, Callan, Kells, Kilree, and The Rower, Co Kilkenny, from Saint Stephen’s Green, Dublin, and from Pipe Hall, near Lichfield.
● details of the Comerford Greene family of Cork and Dublin.

● In September 2010, I added details of the extraordinary story of Mary Comerford, Countess de Créquy, who was born in Athy, Co Kildare. She is said to have poisoned her husband in France shortly before the French Revolution, escaped to England, and lived for another ten years as an aristocratic widow in London, where she had an amazing pedigree drawn up for her in the College of Arms, claiming descent from the Comberford family of Comberford in Staffordshire.

More recent updates include:

● More information on the Comerfords of Bunclody and Dublin, added in November 2010.
● Further details on the Comerford families of Skerries, Co Dublin, and their descendants, added in February 2015.
● A profile of the Cork-born actor Paddy Comerford, following his death in November 2010.
● A profile of Pierce Comerford of Coolgreany House, Co Kilkenny, added in March 2011.
● additional information on the descendants of the Comerford family in Skerries, Co Dublin, added in March 2011.
● further information on the Comerfords of Galway.
● further details on Comerford Law family of Killaloe and their descendants in England and the US, including three recently found photographs, and the descent of the English actor and playwright Arthur Law (January 2013).
● information and illustrations about the Comerford bookshop in Portsmouth in the mid-19th century.
● an old photograph of Wednesbury Manor, added in April 2011.
● further information on the Comerford-Green family of Leeson Street, Dublin, updated in May 2011, March 2012 and February 2013.
● Photographs of James Comerford’s pub in Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny, March 2013.
● A photograph from Kilcash Churchyard, Co Tipperary.
● Photographs from Callan, Co Kilkenny, and from Florence in April 2013.
● In June 2011, I rewrote the story of the Comerford families in Argentina and added new photographs of their descendants.
● In July 2011, I added additional photographs from Bedford Square, London, Carlow Cathedral and Bagenalstown, Co Carlow.
● In August 2011, I added additional photographs from Lichfield.
● In September 2011, I added a profile of James Comerford, 2nd Duke of Ormond, who occasionally used the name Comerfort during his time as a Jacobite exile in France in the early 18th century.
● In October 2011, I added further genealogical details on the Comerfords of Cork, including biographical details of Mary (Comerford) Boddington, the Cork-born Victorian poet, and a photograph of the former Newcomen Bank in Dublin.
● In November 2011, I added a photograph of Father Pierce Michael Comerford, a 19th century missionary from Kilkenny who worked in Berkeley, California.
● Updated photographs from Lichfield in May 2012.
● More images of portraits by the miniaturist John Comerford.
● Details of the letting of Quemerford House, which was on the market in July 2012 for £2,500 a month.
● In July and August 2012, updated details, including descriptions, floor plans and new photographs, of Comberford Hall, which was on the market with offers being invited in the region of £950,000.
● In May 2013, I added photographs of a portrait of Basil Brooke, who was a child when he inherited the Madeley estate in Shropshire from his father, Captain Comberford Brooke. Basil was aged 19 and still a minor when he died in 1727. The photographs come courtesy of Paul and Kathy Schaefer, Fairfield, Iowa, who inherited the portrait.
● In November 2013, I added a photograph of William Fenton Peel, who was living at Comberford Hall when my great-grandfather visitied in the early 1900s.
● In February 2014, I updated the page on the Moat House, Tamworth, with reports of its impending sale.
● In February 2014, I updated the page on Comberford Hall, correcting some genealogical details about the family of William Fenton Peel.
● In March 2014, I updated the page on Comberford Hall, adding three portraits of people who had lived there in the past: Arthur Chichester (1739-1799), 1st Marquess of Donegall; his son, Lord Spencer Stanley Chichester; and Richard Howard (1733-1819), who became the proprietor of Comberford Hall in 1808.
● In April 2014, I added a Victorian print of Oxley, where a branch of the Comberford family lived briefly in the early 17th century.
● In June 2014, I added a photograph of the Ancient High House in Stafford, where Colonel William Comberford briefly had his headquarters during the English Civil War in the 17th century.
● In August 2014, I added biographical details of the Revd Philip Comerford (died 2006), who was born in Dublin and spent much of his life as a missionary in Paraguay and as an Anglican priest in Canada.

● In September 2014, I added a new biography of Major James Comerford, who commanded the Dublin Fire Brigade during World War II.

● In April 2015, I added a new biography of Charles Blake-Forster (1851-1874), genealogist and heir to the Comerford family of Co Galway.

● In November 2015, I added more details about the Comerford families in Galway and their descendants in Australia, and a photograph of the Danganmore Wayside Cross by Liam O’Sullivan of Kells, Co Kilkenny.

● In July 2016, I added a new posting on Comberford village today, with photographs.
● In July 2016, I updated the details of the ownership of the Moat House and added new photographs of the Moat House and other buildings in Lichfield Street, Tamworth.
● In May 2017, I added an image from the Down Survey naming Comerford family lands in Co Kilkenny as Comberford’s Grange.

I hope this collection of essays helps all who are interested in the history of the Comerford and the Comberford family, the history of Co Wexford, Co Kilkenny, Lichfield and Tamworth, and especially members of my own (extended and long-tailed) family.

Recently, I have been particularly grateful to:

Mrs Valerie Coltman, formerly of Comberford Hall, who has shared personal memories in very generous and kind ways;
the staff of the National Library of Ireland, Dublin;
the staff of the Representative Church Body Library, Dublin;
the staff of the Lichfield Record Office;
the staff at local libraries in Lichfield, Tamworth and Calne;
the volunteers at the Calne Heritage Centre and Saint Mary’s Church, Calne;
Frank Gray and his family for their regular welcomes at Ballybur Castle;
Dick Forristal of Danganmore Castle, Co Kilkenny;
Joe Kennedy of Callan for enabling access to photograph the Comerford monuments in Saint Mary’s Church, Callan;
Simon Street, Tim Harris and Jill Sanders for additional information and photographs for the chapter on the Comerford family of Somerset, Rathgar and Monmouth;
Tony Hawkins of Shaftesbury, Dorset, for additional information and photographs for the chapter on the Comerford, Comerford-Casey and Hawkins families;
Trevor Stuart and Suzanne Maitland-Wood, for information on the Comerford family of Hampshire;
Roibeárd de Paor for his photograph of the Revd James Comerford OMI;
Nick Roddis for details about his family’s ownership of the Moat House, Tamworth;
Ray Comerford of Bray, Co Wicklow, for information about the Comerfords of Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, including two missionaries in his family;
Paul Beflord for his photograph from the archaeological dig at the Comberford forge and ironworks in Wednesbury;
Gill Jones, formerly of The Close, Lichfield, Johann Popp, formerly of Saint John’s House, Lichfield, Pauline Duval of Dam Street, Lichfield, Ruth McLaren and the staff of the Moat House, Tamworth, and all at the George, Lichfield, the Hedgehog, Lichfield, the White Hart, Calne, and the Talbot, Quemerford, for their warm welcome and hospitality.
Clive Daggett, Hawley Cricket Club Treasurer and Researcher, for information about William Felton Peel and his family, who lived at Comberford Hall (1900-1902) where he was visited by James Comerford.

Patrick Comerford,
Dublin, 2 May 2017


Welcome to ‘Comerford Family History’

1: Opening the door into family history

2: Quemerford and Comerford family origins

3: From Calne to Callan: the first members of the Quemerford and Comerford families

4: Comerford of Ballybur Castle and Kilkenny City

5: The Comerfords of Danganmore

6: Comerford of Ballymack and Callan

7: The Comerfords of Castleinch and Waterford

8: Comerford of Bunclody and Dublin

9: Sinnott y Comerford and Kelly y Comerford of Wexford and Argentina

10: Comerford of Co Wexford and Minooka, Illinois

11: Comerford of Horetown, Newbawn, &c., Co Wexford

12: Comerford of Wexford Town

13: Comerford of Ballinakill, Rathdrum and Courtown

14: Comerford of Wexford and Cork and Comerford-Casey of Cork

15: Comerford of Dundalk

16: Comerford of Wexford and Hampshire

17: Comerford of Galway

18: Comerford of Somerset, Monmouth and Rathgar

19: Comerford of Balbriggan and Skerries, Co Dublin

20: Comerford, Marquis d’Anglure

21: The Comerford family: Coats of Arms and Heraldry


1: Edmund Comerford (d. 1509): the last pre-Reformation Bishop of Ferns

2: William Comerford (ca. 1486-ca. 1539): the Reformation Dean of Ossory

3: Revd Dr Nicholas Comerford, SJ (c. 1541/5–c. 1599), Jesuit theologian

4: Justice Garret Comerford (ca 1558-1604), judge and politician

5: Patrick Comerford (1586-1652), Bishop of Waterford and Lismore

6: Nicholas Comberford (ca 1600-1673), 17th-century cartographer

7: Edward Comerford (ca 1600-ca 1660), MP for Callan

8: Nicholas Commerford (1652-post 1667), deported to Barbados

9: Joseph Comerford (d. 1729), Marquis d’Anglure

10: the Most Revd Dr Edward Comerford (ca 1644-1710), Archbishop of Cashel

11: Maria Theresa Comerford, Duchess of Wharton

12: James Comerford (1775-1825) and witnesses to the 1798 Rising

13: John Comerford (1770-1832), artist

14: James Comerford (ca 1720-1808)

15: George Comerford (ca 1814-1838), early Australian bushranger

16: Bishop Michael Comerford (1831-1895), bishop and historian

17: James Comerford, JP, FSA (1807-1881): antiquarian and book collector

18: James Comerford (1817-1902), Victorian stucco artist and architect

19: Stephen Edward Comerford (1867-1921), stuccodore and trade unionist

20: the Revd Edwards Comerford Hawkins (1827-1906) and ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’

21: Máire Comerford (1893-1982), republican activist and journalist

22: Judge James J. Comerford (1901-1988), leader of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

23: Princess Kathleen Comerford Scherbatow (1914-1999)

24: Joe Comerford, film-maker

25: Andy Comerford, Kilkenny hurler

26: Martin Comerford, Kilkenny hurler

27: Cristeta Comerford, White House Chef

28: Jane Comerford, singer, songwriter

29: Paddy Comerford and Ignatius Comerford, Cork theatre cousins

30: Michael E Comerford (1865- ), cinema proprietor

31: Jim Comerford (1913-2006), Australian trade unionist

32: Ashlee Comerford, Canadian artist

33: Chris Comerford, Irish businessman

34: Some Comerford surgeons in war and peace

35: Comerford war dead

36: Some Comerford missionaries

37: Dr Joe Comerford, UN development expert in Africa

38: Pierce Comerford (1944-2010), maintaining a tradition at Coolgreany

39: Marie Comerford (1956-2009), mother of a bomb victim, she died of a broken heart

40: James Butler (1665-1745), 2nd Duke of Ormond, a Jacobite who used the name Comerford in exile

41: Major James J Comerford (1899-1950), reorganised the Dublin fire service

42: Charles Blake-Forster (1851-1874), genealogist and heir to the Comerford family of Co Galway


1: Comerford and some other placenames

2: Comerford shopfronts and signs

3: The bizarre pedigree of Joseph Comerford (1724)


1: The Comberford Family of Comberford, Staffordshire, an introduction

2: Comerford and Comberford, ties of kinship and affection

3: The early Comberford family

4: Comberford wealth from Wednesbury

5: Recusants, royal guests and civil war

6: ‘A family brought low …’

7: The Quaker Comberfords of Bradley, Staffordshire

8: Comberford Hall

9: Comberford Village today.

10: The Moat House, Tamworth

11: Wednesbury and the Comberford family

12: Comberford coats of arms and heraldry

13: The Comberford Family in Lichfield.


Comberford Appendix 1: The Beaumont family of Wednesbury

Photographs of various houses, homes and monuments linked to these families, including Ballybur Castle, Co Kilkenny, Comberford Hall and the Moat House, Tamworth, Staffordshire, and Quemerford village in Wiltshire can be accessed at:

I am a member of The Guild of One-Name Studies, and the following one-name studies have been registered with the guild: Comerford, Comberford, Commerford, Quemerford and Comerton.

Last up-dated: 29 June 2018, 7 July 2018.