In search of the tomb of?Sir Christopher Wandesforde, Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1640.

By Christian Hickey


Dear Fellow Grandchildren,

On a crisp November Saturday morning with my grandfather Eoin, we paid a visit to Christ Church?Cathedral in search of the tomb of my great (six times) grandfather, Sir Christopher Wandesforde?(1592-1640). See Dear Grandchildren P.91 and back cover. Christopher built Castlecomber House?where his family lived on until the 1970s. Today, I believe it is Castlecomber Discovery Park.

Granny Elizabeth was my Dad?s grandmother, her grandmother was Clementina Woodhead, and?Clementina?s brother was Thomas Wandsforde Woodhead (1854-1893) named Wandsforde after his?g. g. g. grandfather Sir Christopher and known to his friends (and relations!) as Womby.

We found the Cathedral very interesting and well worth a visit. A very pleasant receptionist,?Ceni, set us on our unguided tour. We scrutinized every plaque, statue and tombstone, including?Strongbow?s, descended into the gargantuan crypt where we watched an excellent video of the?history of the cathedral, but found no sign or mention of Sir Christopher.

As we were leaving, Ceni kindly offered to look up Sir Charles on her computer, to no avail, but then?she said, ?Our archivist, Dr. Stuart Kinsella has just arrived back to the cathedral from Germany.? She?immediately telephoned Stuart who confirmed that Sir Christopher was indeed buried there, but?had succumbed to the 19th?has kindly offered to email us any information he has on Sir Christopher.

Then, as we were about to depart for the second time, a smart young man named David approached?and offered to bring us on a guided tour of the belfry and to allow us to ring the bells. We couldn?t?resist such an offer and off we went to ascend the 102 spiral stone steps to the campanologists??chamber, high in the spire, beneath the bells, where David?s colleague Gale, both volunteers,?greeted us and our two fellow visitors who came from Estonia.

First we were shown the automated clockwork system that chimes the bells every 15 minutes.?They then went through the 19 sallies (ropes) hanging from the ceiling, and explained all the bells??different histories and chimes. Together they told all about 360 degree English bell ringing and how?proud they are of Christ Church?s success in national and international bell ringing competitions.?Traditionally the bell ringers gather on Friday evening?s and twice on Sunday, only having to give up?their bell ringing when they become too infirm to climb the steps!?century reconstruction of the Choir, under which he was buried. Stewart.

Next came our bell ringing opportunity ? to send our chimes to the assembled tourists of ancient?Dublin. The two Estonians and I quickly got into rhythm on three bells and we chimed away happily?for ten minutes. Descending the 102 steps, holding onto the rope, was a little bit easier than going?up, and with much satisfaction, we took our leave of the cathedral.

It was raining; we rushed across the road and took refuge in the Harding Hotel just in time to meet?our cousin, Aine, making her departure. There we enjoyed a soup and a sandwich and noticed the?poster proclaiming the star artist on stage for the following Wednesday night as 8:30pm, none other?than Cathal Hickey.

We await hearing from archivist, Dr. Stuart Kinsella and will keep you updated.


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One thought on “Where’s Womby?

  1. Sounds like it was a very interesting day and well documented here. Please keep us posted on the archivists findings..Christina.

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