“he was an affectionate husband and tender father, in friendship steady and sincere; to all beneath him courteous, truly just and therefore universally esteemed and beloved. He lived under the influence of religion and died cheerfully supported by it ” – the grave of Jeffry Prendergast, buried in 1713 by his 99 year old father who would live to 111

Readers may note I am partial to the wisdom of gravestones , or even just a striking epitaph. . Trying to find out more about the holy well I came across in Newcastle (Tipperary) I naturally looked at the ever wonderful Pilgrimage in Medieval Ireland. I found this post from 2012 on graveyard recording in Newcastle. I was struck especially by this passage – the epitaph itself, and the singular facts of Thomas Prendergast’s longevity (so atypical of the time, or is it our perception of the time? and I am of course aware of the issues around reliable dates of birth from those times) and having the melancholy duty of burying his son:

The interior of the church is packed with approximately 60 burials. At the east end are three unusual burials. A chest tomb sits in the NE corner of the church. The inscription of the tomb is worn away and impossible to read. O’ Hallian in his book Tales from the Deise gives the following account of the inscription

Here lyeth the body of Jeffry Prendergast of Mullough in the county of Tipperary who served in Flanders as Captain under the Great Duke of Marlbourugh, from whom he had the honour of reciting public thanks for his services at the siege of Ayr in 1710. Died 1713. he was an affectionate husband and tender father, in friendship steady and sincere; to all beneath him courteous, truly just and therefore universally esteemed and beloved. He lived under the influence of religion and died cheerfully supported by it the 27th day of March in the 64th year of his life.

John Burke’s A Genealogical and Heraldic History of Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies….. records that Jeffrey’s father Thomas Prendergast, esq was born in 1614 and married Elinor the sister of Walter the 11th Earl of Ormond. The text also says Thomas died in 1725, aged 111 years ‘as appears on his tombstone at Newcastle, near Clonmel’. Once the survey is complete if the tombstone commemorating Thomas survives I am sure the volunteers will uncover it. I would wonder if he was not interred with his son Jeffery.

There is more on the Prendergasts on the NUI Galway Landed Estates page.

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