Samuel Murray Hussey

Nineteenth century land agent, Samuel Murray Hussey (1824-1913), finds a place in the collection.  Michael O’Donohoe studied Hussey’s memoir, Reminiscences of an Irish Land Agent and created his own index to the work.1


Michael made notes on the book and on Hussey genealogy, including Clarissa Hussey of Dingle, ‘a most beautiful benefactress to the religious and charitable institutions of her native town’ and one for whom ‘High Mass would be celebrated annually on August 18 for the repose of her soul’.2


St Mary’s Church Dingle in 2011. Miss Clarissa Hussey supported the building fund


In his early years, Samuel Murray Hussey planned to earn his living by farming:


He adopted farming as a profession after his school days; he learned farming in Scotland and returned to Kerry with the intention of farming on the scientific method he had learned. He found the land in Kerry so subdivided that it was impossible to obtain a farm of sufficient extent and so migrated to Cork to become assistant land agent to his brother-in-law, the Knight of Kerry, agent to Sir George Colthurst. This became the business of his life, he at one time received the rents of one-fifth of the whole county of Kerry.3


Hussey chose farming as a profession in his early years


Hussey was described as ‘the outward and visible sign of the distant or absentee landlords’ for which ‘he obtained the greater share of the hatred felt for the latter’.  An example of this feeling was an attempt to blow up his house at Edenburn, Tralee in 1884.


Rear of Edenburn in 1884 showing effects of the explosion


In 1925, Castleisland’s T M Donovan, in his Rambling Reminiscences, recalled how he often saw Hussey ‘passing along the Tralee road with an armed policeman balancing him on the opposite side of the car and four policemen with rifles at the ready on a sidecar behind him.  Out of those deep-set eyes he looked at one like a hunted animal.’


Family of Samuel Murray Hussey


Samuel Murray Hussey, a descendant of Hubert Hussey of Castle Gregory, was the son of Peter Bodkin Hussey, ‘a very droll, sarcastic and amusing debater [who] dealt almost exclusively in irony … he had a very rubicund and caustic countenance that was surmounted with a profusion of red hair and from his manner and aspect he was not unhappily designated as ‘red precipitate’.4


Memorial in St James Church of Ireland Dingle in memory of Samuel’s brother Edward and Edward’s sons Peter, Captain Royal Horse Artillery and Edward Robert, Colonel in the Royal Engineers


Samuel’s mother was Mary, daughter of Robert Hickson, JP, DL of The Grove, Dingle.  Samuel was one of nine children: John (drowned at St Malo); James, an officer in the 13th and 11th dragoons; Edward (1816-1882) a much respected magistrate in Dingle5; Robert (died in India); Mary (died at Bath when Samuel was born); Samuel Murray; Ellen (married Robert, brother of the Knight of Kerry and secondly to Col T A Tennant); Anna (died 7 August 1883 aged 69 buried at Mount Jerome); Julia, married Sir Peter George Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry.


Samuel married his first cousin, Julia Agnes Hickson (daughter of his mother’s eldest brother John) at St James Church of Ireland, Dingle in August 1853 at which time his residence was in Cork.6  The couple had two sons and five daughters.7


Samuel Murray Hussey in 1884, when his home was dynamited


The eldest son, John Edward Hussey (1856-1905) JP and High Sheriff of Kerry married Gladys Marianne Child Buckley (1877-1922) of Carmarthen and had Hubert Murray, who was killed in action in 19188 and Eileen Merlyn, who married Major Edward William Polson Newman in 1923.9  John Edward Hussey died as a result of an accident in July 1905:


On Sunday evening Mr John Edward Hussey JP of Edenburn House, Gortatlea, Co Kerry and son of Mr Samuel Murray Hussey, DL, the famous Kerry land agent, met with an accident which subsequently proved fatal.  It appears that deceased, who was staying with his wife and family at Inch Strand, near Annascaul (Kerry) was walking along the edge of a cliff which overlooks the strand and sea … he suddenly lost his balance and toppled over the cliff, landing on the top of his head on the hard road, fracturing his skull … The funeral will leave Inch at 11 am on Thursday for the family burial place at Dingle.


Busy: Inch Strand in 2010. It was the scene of tragedy for the Hussey family in 1905


John Edward’s widow was found dead in her flat some years later:


The deceased was the widow of John Edward Hussey, a land agent in Ireland, who died in 1905 and she had an income of over £700 … deceased had been living with a man named Thomas … Mrs Hussey made a will last year leaving £3000 to Thomas and the rest of her property to her daughter … pronouncing a verdict of death from syncope due to alcoholism the coroner made some scathing comments on the conduct of the two brothers whom he described as parasites.   He said that an educated, delicately brought up woman was found lying dead with bottles all over her place.10


Memorial to John Edward Hussey in the Church of Ireland, Dingle


Samuel’s second son, Maurice Fitzgerald Hussey, JP (1858-1917) married Mabel Meux-Smith and had issue Maurice Henry Murray (1896-1964) and John Edward (born 1902).  Maurice senior acted as agent over the estates of Lord Dillon in Co Mayo.  He was also a well-known figure on Irish racecourses.  He died after a short illness at Adare, Limerick on 14 February 1917:


Mr M F Hussey was better known to the previous generation than the present one … some twenty years ago he had several horses in training at the Curragh, Michael Dennehy and D Shanahan in turn training for him, while latterly he has been acting as manager of Lord Dunraven’s stud at Fort Union, Limerick. Last season he won a race with Ashworth at Tralee … In his younger days Mr Hussey was in the front rank of amateur riders and amongst other races he won the National Hunt Cup at Punchestown on his own horse, Lord Hugh.  Other useful animals he owned from time to time were Wise Chief, Ambition gelding, Clear the Way, and Deliverer … A fellow county man, in Michael Dennehy, trained a number for him including the wonderful pony Welcome, whose name is still perpetuated by the Welcome Plate at the Curragh.11


Maurice Fitzgerald Hussey was a well known figure on Irish racecourses


Samuel’s eldest daughter Mary (1856-1896) married in 1883, at Ballymacelligott Church, James Ormsby Sherrard (1845-1884), Captain 86th Regiment (and later Major 1st Staffordshire Regiment) son of Rev W N Sherrard of Kilcullen, Co Kildare and Kilbogget, Co Dublin. The couple had one son, James Ormsby (1884-1960) born in the year of his father’s death from fever, at Assouan, on 9 September 1884.  Mary married secondly at Simla (Shimla) on 1 June 1894 to the author of Diary of a Journey Across Tibet, Captain Hamilton Bower of the 17th Regiment of Bengal Cavalry (later Major General), son of Admiral James Paterson Bower. Mary died at Shimla two years later, 13 November 1896.12


Edenburn House near Tralee in 1884 and below in 2011



Second daughter Charlotte, born in 1864, was the first secretary and editor of Kerry Archaeological Society.  She died in 1956:  ‘Miss Charlotte Hussey of 61 St George’s Square, London formerly of Babington Road, London who died on April 20th last, daughter of the late Samuel Murray Hussey JP of Edenburn, Co Kerry left £1,381 gross, £1,296 nett’.  Probate was granted to her nephew, Edward Newton Trotman-Dickenson of Kennets Beech, Beauworth, near Alresford, Hants, ‘the sole executor’.


Eileen Margaret (1865-1921), Samuel’s third daughter, was described as ‘the pretty young lady who represented Kerry in the Beauty Map of Ireland’.  The ‘Beauty Map’ was part of a quest to find ‘the prettiest thirty-two ladies in Ireland’.  The map, engraved with portraits of ‘the lady belonging to each county’ was issued as a supplement to the Christmas issue of The Lady of the House magazine in 1892 by a process ‘only worked in Ireland, a fact which adds not a little to its interest’.  Eileen Margaret died in London on Christmas Day 1921 at which time her address was 18 Elvaston Place.


The Lady of the House magazine in which Eileen Margaret Hussey featured in 1892


Fourth daughter, Florence Barbara (1869-1945) married Donald Nicoll (1858-1943) in Dublin on 17 December 1891.  The bride, who ‘looked charming in a dress of richest white velentine, made en Princesse, with trimming of old Brussels lace, tulle veil, fastened with diamond stars, and coronet of orange blossoms’, was given away by her father:


The bride was attended by Master Sherrard, in page’s costume of the time of Charles I.  The best man was Mr John Nicoll, brother of the bridegroom. After the ceremony a reception was held at Maple’s Hotel, limited to the immediate relatives of the bride and bridegroom owing to a recent death in the family’.13


In 1898 Mrs Nicoll hosted a meeting at 44 Hyde Park Gate to further the cause of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.  Mrs Nicoll died at Winchester on 17 March 1945; her husband died on 15 February 1943.


Given away by her father: Depiction of Samuel Murray Hussey from his Reminiscences of 1904


Samuel’s youngest daughter, Julia Agnes (1871-1945) appears to have worked as a British Red Cross nurse during the First World War.  She died unmarried on 29 Nov 1945; probate was granted to Major David Patrick Nicoll.


Samuel Murray Hussey died at Aghadoe House on 8 November 1913:


The deceased gentleman, who was in his 89th year, was the oldest magistrate in Kerry and the best known of Irish land agents. Among a number of landed proprietors whom he represented were the Earl of Kenmare, Lord Headley, Sir George Colthurst and Sir Edward Denny. The late Mr Hussey may be said to have borne a charmed life. Few men in Ireland have been made the recipients of so many threatening letters, and fewer still perhaps, have had so many attempts made upon their lives … How little effect these repeated threats and the many attempts made to give practical effect to them have had upon him is shown by the fact that he has died peacefully in his bed. 14


Aghadoe House, Killarney where Samuel died peacefully in his sleep in 1913


Hussey’s remains were taken by train from Killarney railway station to Dingle railway station via Tralee. The station at Dingle ‘was crowded with local people who joined the procession to the church; a large concourse of mourners assembled at the different towns through which the remains were taken’. The service was celebrated by the Bishop of Limerick and Ardfert following which the coffin was taken to the family vault for interment.


St James Church of Ireland in 2011


A summary of Samuel’s will was published in the Kerryman, 24 January 1914:


Mr Samuel Murray Hussey JP DL left personal estate in the United Kingdom valued at £23,000 3s 1d and probate of his will dated 14th February 1913 has been granted to Mr Francis McGillicuddy Denny of 17 Denny St, Tralee, Co Kerry and Mr Peter David Fitzgerald of Mondellihy, Adare, Co Limerick. The testator left £200 to the Representative Church Body of Ireland for the Sustentation Fund of the parish of Ballymacelligott, £200 to the said body for the Sustentation fund of the Parish of Dingle, £200 to the Protestant Orphan Society, £50 to his butler John Wallace, £500 to his wife, Mrs Julia Hussey, £1,600 to his daughter Charlotte, £1,600 to his daughter Eileen, £1,800 to his daughter Julia, £500 from settled funds, and a further £500 to his daughter Florence, £1,500 charged on his real estate, a further sum of £1,000 for her education upon trust for his grand-daughter, Eileen Merlyn Hussey, £1,000 to his daughter-in-law, Mrs Mabel Hussey, £500 towards the education of his grandson, Hubert Hussey, and the residue of his estate subject to a few other bequests, he left to his son Maurice Fitzgerald Hussey.


Samuel Murray Hussey’s widow survived him by less than two years:


We regret to announce the death of Mrs Hussey, widow of the late Mr Samuel Murray Hussey, which took place on Monday last at Southampton.  The deceased lady who had reached an advanced age was daughter of the late Mr John Hickson, DL, of the Grove, Dingle.15


St James Church Dingle in 2011


Special thanks to Eileen Chamberlain for assistance in additional research of above.


1 IE MOD/70/70.2.
2 IE MOD-70-70.5.  Clarissa Hussey was Samuel's aunt.
3 The Obituary Book (2013).
4 The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, 1828 Pt II, p398. A brass memorial tablet was erected in Dingle Church of Ireland to the memory of Peter Bodkin Hussey of Farranakilla, Dingle, brother of Miss Clarissa Hussey. Hussey ancestry in Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland (1912), 'Hussey of Edenburn', p338: 'Hubert Hussey of Castle Gregory, Co Kerry, died, according to a post-mortem inquisition, 3 February 1610, seised of several lands near Dingle in that county.  His eldest son, Nicholas Hussey of Castle Gregory married Katherine Gerald, and was father of Meiler Hussey of Castle Gregory, born 1583, who was found by the inquisition to be aged 27 at his grandfather's death; he married Frances, daughter of Capt Thomas Spring, the first of that name who settled at Kerry, by Annabella his wife, daughter of John Brown, the 'Master of Awney' and had issue ...Walter ... Walter garrisoned Minard Castle against Oliver Cromwell's forces and was blown up with all his men ...'.
5 Samuel Murray Hussey erected a memorial tablet in St James Church of Ireland, Dingle to his brother Edward and Edward's sons Peter and Edward Robert. Edward married Julia, daughter of Rev Robert Hickson of Duagh and Honoria Hewson. Julia Hussey died at Duagh Glebe, Inchymagilleragh West, Co Kerry in 1853.
6 Samuel had a number of addresses there including Inchbeg, Ardum, Cloghroe House, Inniscarra, former residence of Joseph Capel Fitzgerald Esq and Rathpeacon. His addresses in Kerry included Dingle, Thursillagh/Tursillagh, Aghadoe and his 'seat', Edenburn, where he took up residence in early 1866.
7 The deaths of youngest daughter Barbara at Rathpeacon on 16 April 1862 and a third son at the same place on 23 December 1866 were also recorded.
8 'Second-Lieut Hubert Murray Hussey, MC, South Staffordshire Regt who received his commission on May Day 1917 has been killed in action.  He was educated at Dean Close School and Sandhurst' (Gloucestershire Echo, 23 August 1918).
9 Eileen Merlyn was the first British woman to fly over Abyssinia.  Major Newman (1887-1967) editor of Oxford University Press 1945-52, was author of The New Abyssinia (1938).
10 Western Daily Press, 14 January 1922.
11 Kerry Evening Post, 21 February 1917. 'The remains of the late Mr Maurice FitzGerald Hussey were laid to rest in the Adare Churchyard on Saturday last, 17th inst.  The chief mourners were Mr M H M Hussey (son, who married Noella Edwardes) and Mr Donald Nicoll and Mr P Purcell Gilpin (brothers-in-law)'.  Among those who sent wreaths were employees of Mondellihy Stud and House (see Limerick Chronicle, 24 February 1917).  M F Hussey left estate of £13,525 to his wife.
12 Major Hamilton Bower, later Sir Hamilton Bower, who remarried to Miss Maud Edith Ainslie, died at Edinburgh on 5 March 1940 leaving three daughters.
13 Kerry Weekly Reporter, 26 December 1891. The death of the bridegroom's father, Henry John Nicoll, merchant tailor, of Brightling Park, Hawkhurst and 44 Hyde Park Gate had occurred on 13 March 1891. The couple had issue Donald Alexander (1893-1941), Mary Barbara (1894-1986) Violet Murray (1897-1989) David Patrick (1903-1964) Margaret Florence (1905-1994). Donald Alexander of Oxney House, Wittersham married Agnes Mary Clare Andoe in 1918; Mary Barbara married Brigadier Arthur Foulkes Baglietto Cottrell, DSO, OBE; their son, Donald William Foulkes Cottrell, RAF, was a casualty of the Second World War (see Mast High over Rotterdam by Lionel Russell); Violet Murray, who married Edward Newton Trotman-Dickenson, was mother of Sir Aubrey Fiennes Trotman-Dickenson; Margaret Florence married Raymond Alister Trustram Eve, 60th Rifles, third son of Sir Herbert Trustram Eve; David Patrick died at Edenburn Nursing Home, Jamaica in December 1964.  Probate to Denis Mortimer Mountain.
14 The Obituary Book (2013).  A tablet inscribed to Samuel Murray Hussey and his son John Edward Hussey who died in 1905 erected in St James Church of Ireland, Dingle.  Hussey's Reminiscences can be read online at  It has been reproduced and is widely available.
15 Killarney Echo, 31 July 1915.