The Mother of the Poet Moore, Sir Robert MacLure, and other Distinguished Natives of Wexford

About “Wexford County Guide and Directory,” 1885

George Henry Bassett produced 7 Irish county directories in the 1880s: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Kilkenny, Louth, Tipperary and Wexford. Each provides useful history of the respective counties as well as lists of office holders, farmers, traders, and other residents of the individual cities, towns and villages.

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The directories are naturally an invaluable resource for those tracing family history. However, there are a few points to bear in mind.

  1. This online version of Bassett’s Wexford County Guide and Directory is designed primarily as a genealogical research tool and therefore the numerous advertisements in the original book, many full page, and quite a few illustrated, have been excluded.
  2. The text has been proofed with due care, but with large bodies of text typographical errors are inevitably bound to occur.
  3. Be aware that there were often inconsistencies in spelling surnames in the 19th century and also that many forenames are abbreviated in Bassett’s directories.

With respect to the last point, surnames which today begin with the “Mc” prefix, for example, were often formerly spelt as “M‘,”. For a list of some of the more common forename abbreviations used in the directory, see Forename Abbreviations.

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“HONEST Tom Codd, of Corn Market.” In 1836, when the poet Moore made a visit to Wexford, and was presented with an address by the Slaney Amateur Society, he thus referred to his grandfather:—“It is to me,” said he in reply, “a source of much pleasure and gratification to find that so many of the good people of Wexford are present to witness the proud triumph of the grandson of honest Tom Codd, of Corn Market.” The house in which Moore’s mother was born is now, and has been for many years devoted to the dispensation of ardent spirits, under a publican’s license. Its interior arrangements are quaint in all the degrees of quaintness. The rooms with corner fire-places, are used for storage of goods, and the narrow staircase leading to them is almost as difficult to climb as that of an ancient round tower. The shop was originally about ten feet long, ten feet wide, and eight feet high, and has in its ceiling two oak beams of considerable size. In its career as a tavern it has changed landlords very frequently. At one time under the title of “The Ark,” it had been a favorite resort for nocturnal oyster eaters. Prices ranged at eightpence and tenpence per hundred. Wexford was not then so much devoted to temperance principles as it now is, and it was considered no discredit to be a “sixteen tumbler man,” and a member of the Cape Club.

To mark the house in which the poet’s mother was born Mr. S. C. Hall and Alderman Greene, J.P., had a tablet placed over the door, which bears the following inscription:—“In this house was born, and lived to within a few weeks of the birth of her illustrious son, Anastasia Codd, the wife of John Moore, and mother of the poet, Thomas Moore, and to this house, on the 26th August, 1836, came the poet in the zenith of his imperishable fame, to render homage to the memory of the mother he venerated and loved. These are his words, ‘One of the noblest-minded, as well as most warm-hearted of all God’s creatures was born under that lowly roof.’ Erected December 27, 1864, John Greene, J.P., Mayor of Wexford.”

Mr. Wheelock’s house, next to White’s Hotel, in North Main Street, was the birth-place, 1807, of the famous Arctic explorer, and discoverer of the North-West Passage, Sir Robert MacLure. Having spent three winters in the Arctic regions, on board the Investigator, he was about to arrange for a fourth, when he was relieved and brought home by Captain Kellett of the Resolute. As a reward for the discovery of the North-West Passage, he received the Commission of Post Captain, dated back to the time of the discovery, and was Knighted by Queen Victoria. His officers and crew received a reward of £10,000. The house in which he was born was then the rectory, and his mother was the daughter of the Rector, Archdeacon Elgee.

Lady Wilde, mother of Oscar Wilde, herself well known in literature as “Speranza,” was also born in Wexford, and was a member of the Elgee family. Francis Danby, A.R.A., painter of the “Sunset at Sea, after a Storm,” and other famous works, was born in the vicinity of Wexford, 1793. He was an exhibitor at the Royal Academy of England, from 1821 to 1830, and died in 1861. Many men distinguished in the military and civic annals, of the United States, were likewise natives of Wexford.

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