The corpse: Ralph Westropp Brereton

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, Features, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2012), Volume 20

Clonroad House, where Ralph Westropp Brereton died on Tuesday 23 March 1858. This picture was taken c. 1885; the group in the foreground are believed to be members of a subsequent owner’s family, the O’Neills.

Clonroad House, where Ralph Westropp Brereton died on Tuesday 23 March 1858. This picture was taken c. 1885; the group in the foreground are believed to be members of a subsequent owner’s family, the O’Neills.

Ralph Westropp Brereton had died on Tuesday 23 March 1858, at the age of 60, in Clonroad House, Ennis. Born into a family with a small estate at Ballyadams, Co. Laois, Brereton had served in the navy from 1813 to 1818, retiring after inheriting his father’s estate upon his elder brother’s death. In 1826 he married Ellen Marie Geary, the daughter of a well-known Limerick doctor, and settled in Clare. After bearing Brereton six children in just six years, Ellen died in 1832. Fourteen years later, in 1846, Brereton married his second wife, Dilliana Barry, co-heiress to a small estate at Rockstown, Co. Limerick. By 1858 she had borne some eight children, several of whom died in infancy.

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