Piecing together people’s past lives is difficult. The results often have to be speculative and much remains unknown. This post is the fragmented story of ordinary Irish people who have left us only limited evidence. They nevertheless represent in many ways the stresses and opportunities of most 19th century Irish people. The post traces the history of the Reddington family and some of their neighbours from north-east Co. Galway, most of whom were forced out of the area by the Famine and its aftermath. It looks at the environment of the locality where they originated and traces the lives of some after they had settled in Stafford in England and America. In carrying out this task I have been greatly helped by Pam Neary, a researcher in America, and in many ways this post has been a joint effort.[i]
Aghalateeve, Co. Galway
In 1911 Hugh Reddington, a retired bricklayer’s labourer, was living in England with his son’s family in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.[ii] In the Census of that year he said he was 76 years old and was very specific about where he had been born – in the townland of ‘Achalatie’, Co. Galway. His spelling may not have been accurate but he clearly meant Aghalateeve in Kilbegnet parish. In Irish it is Achadh Leataoibh, the field of the half side, meaning land half-way up the hill.[iii]
Aghalateeve townland is in the north-eastern corner of Co. Galway. Today it is a quiet locality where fields, woodland and patches of bog slope gently down the hill in the townland’s name to a small stream that ultimately finds its way into the River Suck. In 2011 only 31 people lived there in a mere 11 houses. That contrasts with the situation in 1841, just before the Famine, when the population was over eight times as great. 253 people then lived there in 49 houses.
Historically Aghalateeve had been within the land owned by the Burke family of Glinsk Castle but around 1730 the townland was in an area sold to Peter Daly of Quansbury whose daughter married into the Bermingham family. By devious descent through that family the land ultimately passed to Elizabeth Sewell who in 1814 married the Rev. Solomon Richards.[iv] The Richardses were a Protestant family from Solsborough near Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. That meant that, from 1814, Aghalateeve’s owner was a typically absentee landlord. Richards also owned land in four other townlands in Kilbegnet parish as well as in Kilcroan and Tuam.[v] He does not seem to have been a very active or ‘improving’ landlord and the holdings in Aghalateeve remained relatively unrationalised into the 1850s.
In the period after 1815 the people of Aghalateeve experienced most of the dire problems afflicting western Ireland and particularly eastern Galway and adjacent parts of Roscommon and Mayo. An army of mostly unemployed male labourers survived partly by occasional casual work or by working their own minute patches of conacre land, but, increasingly, by earning money by going to places like Stafford in England for seasonal work on the farms and building sites there. The 1831 census showed that half the labourers living in Ballymoe Barony, in which Aghalateeve was situated, were out of work. They and their families lived in appalling conditions. In 1841 half the population in Co. Galway – and probably in Aghalateeve – lived in one room windowless mud cabins.[vi] And there were more and more mouths to feed. The population in the area rose by over 40 per cent between 1821 and 1841.[vii] That growth continued at least until the onset of the Famine in 1846 and we can assume that Aghalateeve’s population had reached around 280 by that year.
Land holdings in Aghalateeve
Even in Aghalateeve there was, however, a social hierarchy. At the bottom were the effectively landless but at the other extreme a number of the Rev. Richards’s tenants managed to amass more substantial holdings. The evidence is limited but the Tithe Applotment survey of 1824 shows that seven named individuals in Aghalateeve then controlled, as lone tenants or in partnership, over half the land – 227.5 acres out of 434.[viii] Two members of the Neary family, Darby and William, held 57.5 acres. M. Nolan held 64.8 acres whilst L. Cunniffe and Partners held 43.7 acres. M. Fleming, held 16.2 acres.
Two other plots involved the Reddington family. M. – probably Michael – Reddington was listed with over 25 acres and another Reddington – possibly D. – was the leader of a partnership holding twenty acres. Even so, as there were then around 50 families in the townland, the 43 occupiers not appearing in the Applotment, who probably included other members of the Reddington family, held an average of 4.8 acres each; they were either landless or occupied smallholdings and patches of conacre land for which they bid yearly.
At some point in the 1830s or 1840s M. Reddington’s tenancy may have passed to John and Bridget Reddington. John could have been his son or perhaps some other relative. John Reddington probably had to supplement the family income by seasonal work in England, and it may have been he who began the family connection between Aghalateeve and Stafford. The couple presumably had a number of children but the one we definitely know about is Hugh who was born around 1834.[ix] His parents were middling land occupiers so Hugh may not have experienced the worst of the endemic poverty surrounding the family in Aghalateeve. He was, however, around 12 years old when the Famine struck and it may have been then that his father John died and Bridget was left as the residual tenant of the land. By the early 1850s Hugh, as a teenager, would have been expected to work on his mother’s holding.
The Famine and after: the Nearys and Reddingtons
The impact of the Famine on Aghalateeve was drastic. By 1851 over half the population had disappeared and the mud cabins they had lived in were derelict, demolished or had crumbled away.[x] Those who suffered most were, as in all famines, the already poorest people. It is impossible to say exactly how many died as a direct result of the Famine through starvation, destitution and disease and how many were evicted and forced to emigrate. At this point I do not know whether Solomon Richards forcibly evicted his poorest and most indebted tenants, though the drastic loss of population suggests eviction may have played a role. I have estimated elsewhere that the ratio between death and emigration in this east Galway and Roscommon district may have been around 57:43.[xi] If we assume there were 280 people living in Aghalateeve in 1846 and we know there were only 129 in 1851, it suggests that maybe around 85 had died prematurely in the Famine and 65 had emigrated.
Who was left in Aghalateeve townland? The Griffith Valuation of 1854 shows 35 occupiers still had leases from the Rev. Richards on 27 pieces of land. The map below shows how this land was distributed. Eleven occupiers were members of the Neary family and they now leased over half the land – 56 per cent – either as sole holders, Neary family partnerships or as the dominant holders with others in three rundale partnerships which were partly bog.
Before we examine the Reddington family it is worth saying a bit more about the Neary family. By 1854 they had amassed interests in thirteen plots that were almost all in the eastern half of Aghalateeve (see map). This was possibly the best land that was kept within the family. True rundale communal farming involving others in the community was limited to pieces of more marginal land. By the 1840s and 1850s the Nearys were therefore the dominant players in the local economy and society. Thomas Neary’s family, in particular, became very prominent and wealthy, and Pam Neary believes it must have taken some active undermining of his neighbours in the surrounding townlands to get to the wealth he acquired.[xii] In the adjacent Garraunmore townland Thomas rented all the farmable land (235 acres) from the Rev. Richards but he then sub-let nearly 26 acres as a middle man to four other people. He also rented 58 per cent of the land – 248 acres – close by in Curraghrevagh townland. By no means all the Nearys had wealth, however. Others remained poor and some died in the Famine. And many children in the Neary families still had to emigrate to make a living. Some of them went to England. James and Anne Neary escaped to the Potteries around 1847-8 and in 1851 were living in Wolstanton. Living with them was James’s nephew James and also Andrew Neary, another relative described as a ‘lodger’. Although these Nearys seems to have moved back and forth between Galway and Staffordshire for a number of years, in the end they settled in Staffordshire and members of the family remained there for the rest of the century. Most of the Neary emigrants, however, went to America. They mainly settled in the Mid-West, though one branch of the family ended up in New York State. There are very many descendants in the USA today.[xiii] All this emigration reduced the presence of the Nearys in Aghalateeve somewhat in the second half of the nineteenth century but in 1901 there were still ten Neary households living in the townland.[xiv]
The Reddington family, as we have seen, held much less land than the Nearys. Their holding remained stable between the 1820s and the 1850s. In 1854 Michael Reddington was an occupier on plot 11 which he farmed on the communal rundale system with four members of the Neary family. He was probably Bridget’s son and Hugh’s brother. Indeed, it is possible that Bridget Reddington was herself from the Neary family, hence Michael’s occupation of a house and land alongside members of that family. Details of Bridget’s marriage to John Reddington have not been found to substantiate this, however. In the house valuation carried out as part of the general Griffith Valuation two Bridget Reddingtons were recorded, as shown on the map. It is presumed that Bridget (John) who occupied the smaller house was the daughter of John and Bridget Reddington, since such agnomens normally referred to a person’s father to distinguish them from another with the same name. The Bridget in the larger ‘house and office’ is therefore presumed to be John’s widow, but other interpretations are possible.[xv] Bridget (John) does not appear in the published valuation table for Aghalateeve, so she must have either moved in with Bridget in the larger house or died in the intervening period.
Bridget Reddington herself was a rather more substantial occupier. She was the lone tenant of over eighteen acres in two plots (20A and B) of land adjacent to plot 11 and she lived there in a reasonable house valued at ten shillings. She also had a house and the majority holding on over twelve acres of land shared with John Wallace in Ballynahowna townland about three miles south-east of Aghalateeve. The Reddingtons were linked to the Wallaces by marriage.[xvi] So her total interest in land was about thirty acres. Although Bridget Reddington could not compete with the dominance of the Neary family in Aghalateeve, she still qualified as a middling farmer.
It has not proved possible to produce a genealogy of the Reddington family in Aghalateeve from the available data but what we do know cautions against simplistic interpretations of Tithe Applotment and Griffith Valuation data. The Reddingtons were a more extensive family than the description so far has implied. We know from parish register data that from the 1840s to the 1860s there were at least six distinct families in Aghalateeve headed by a male Reddington and six where a Reddington woman was the wife.[xvii] A number of these, perhaps the majority, were probably John and Bridget Reddington’s children but others may have been cousins from ancestors further up the Reddington line. What is clear is that even after the Famine the Reddingtons had a substantial presence in the townland. Nevertheless, their land holdings were not of sufficient size to support or pass on to all their children and in the harsh environment of Post-Famine times that meant most of them had to emigrate.
The results were stark. By 1901 the only person living in Aghalateeve who retained the Reddington name was Bridget Reddington, a 75-year-old spinster described as a ‘cattier’ (presumably cottier). She was probably John and Bridget Reddington’s surviving daughter. She died in 1902.[xviii] The widowed Margaret McDermott née Reddington also remained in that year living with her son James and his family. Apart from them, the Reddington family in Aghalateeve had for practical purposes disappeared, a graphic indication of the long-term destructive impact of the Famine and its aftermath on Irish rural society.
The history of Aghalateeve townland in the fifty years after the Famine was not, however, the typical one of endless population loss. From its low point of 129 in 1851 it had jumped back to 170 in 1861 and remained around that figure until 1881 before falling back to 146 in 1901. What explains the partial recovery during the 1850s? Almost certainly it was the land purchases and consequent misery going on elsewhere through the 1849 Encumbered Estates Act. In 1853 Allan Pollok, a Scottish trader and landowner, and his wife Margaret bought the former Burke estate of over 13,000 acres estate in the surroundings of Aghalateeve. They were aggressive ‘improving landlords’ and they proceeded to evict at least 530 families, 2650 people, from their land. Although most of these people were forced to emigrate immediately, some were able to find shelter nearby.[xix] People in Aghalateeve, probably including relatives, must have taken in around forty people, and five houses had been brought back into use by 1861. Some of these families may well have been granted new tenancies by the Rev. Richards. That may explain why a significant number of families present in 1901 were different from those living in Aghalateeve in the 1850s, though more research would be needed to prove this.
Some of the new arrivals may well have taken over properties formerly rented by the Reddingtons. As we have seen, they had largely disappeared by 1901. The vast majority of these people had almost certainly gone to America but some emigrated to England and we now need to trace Hugh and other Reddingtons who spent time in the Stafford area.
The Reddingtons arrive in Stafford
Some of the Reddington family were forced out of Aghalateeve during the Famine itself. In 1851 a John Reddington (see summary genealogy) was working as a labourer in Stafford and lodging with the Jordan family at No. 1 Earl’s Court.[xx] He may have been John and Bridget’s son or cousin. In the census return he appears to be a lone migrant but he claimed to be married and that was indeed the case. He had married his wife Mary around 1846 in Galway and their first child, Ann, was born there in 1847.[xxi] They must have left Aghalateeve that year, however. In 1851 Mary and her three children Ann, Maria (2) and Jane (1 mo.) were living, not in Stafford, but in a cellar in Back Smith Street, Deansgate, in Manchester. They were four amongst thirteen people crammed into this appalling place. Fellow migrants from Co. Galway had taken them in, though why they were in Manchester at all is unclear because Mary had already lived with her husband in Stafford back in 1849 when Maria was born.[xxii] Their baby Jane was, however, born in Manchester in March 1851. We know the family was reunited in Stafford by the spring of 1852 because poor Jane died there.[xxiii] It is clear that John and Mary Reddington’s arrival and settlement in England was disordered and stressful, typical of the experiences of thousands of others during the Famine. There is no trace of the family in England after 1852 so we must assume they decided they could do better elsewhere and emigrated.
John and Mary were not the only Reddingtons in this part of the Midlands in the early 1850s. In 1851 Thomas Reddington was a 22-year-old errand boy working for Phineas Fowke Hussey, a ‘landed proprietor’ at Wyrley Grove in Norton Canes near Cannock. It is impossible to say how he may have been related to John Reddington but they could have been brothers or cousins. Thomas said he had been born in ‘Lashkannon’, Co. Galway. That may have been a homestead rather than a locality, and no place or anything approximating to that spelling has been located, though it could conceivably be a reference to Corlackan, a townland bordering Aghalateeve. We do know that on 13 December 1852 Thomas arrived at St Austin’s Church in Stafford and married Catherine Higgins, also from Co. Galway and reputedly from Kilkerrin parish to the south-west of Kilbegnet.[xxiv] Thomas had already left Hussey’s employment and moved to Penkridge near Stafford where he was working as a farm labourer. The couple settled in Penkridge and had five children, though two died. Thomas himself died in 1867 but the descendants remained in the Stafford and Mid-Staffs district into the twentieth century.[xxv]
The curious thing is that six months later, on 10 May 1853, an Ellen Reddington married Edmund Gillighan, also at St Austin’s Church. One of their witnesses was Thomas Reddington and the obvious assumption is that Ellen and Thomas were brother and sister. It seems too much of a coincidence that two Reddingtons were married in the same church within six months of each other unless they were related. Ellen was not present in the 1851 Census, so perhaps she had only recently left Co. Galway.[xxvi] No trace of the couple has been found subsequently, so they too probably emigrated.
There is considerable uncertainty about these early Reddingtons in Stafford, but we can be sure about Hugh Reddington. Sometime in the 1850s he left the holding in Aghalateeve and arrived in the town. He had, perhaps, already worked there as a seasonal building worker and knew the place already. The first actual evidence of Hugh’s arrival is in fact his marriage to Bridget Mary Gavagan which took place at St Austin’s on 3 October 1859. She was only nineteen and claimed subsequently she had been born in Ballymoe, though the family have not been traced in the area.[xxvii] One of the witnesses at Hugh and Bridget’s marriage was from the Neary family – Patrick Neary. I have not found him recorded elsewhere in England at that time which suggests Patrick was still living in Galway and that Hugh had only recently emigrated. His connections with Aghalateeve and his possible relatives the Nearys clearly remained close.
Hugh and Mary Reddington’s history in Stafford
The early years of Hugh and Bridget’s married life in Stafford took place in humble circumstances. Hugh worked as a (bricklayer’s) labourer and Bridget as a shoe binder, a low status female occupation in the shoe trade. They both remained in the same jobs for the whole of their working lives. In 1861 they were living at 7 Roger Square, a slum court in the Broad Eye part of Stafford. Nevertheless, all the evidence suggests the Reddingtons were a hard-working couple with a generally steady income who aspired to respectability. They managed to get out of Roger Square and in the 1870s and 1880s lived in somewhat better houses in Cherry Street and the Broad Eye. When they were at No. 30 Cherry Street in 1871 Bridget’s mother Mary Gavagan, then aged 77, was living with them. Also present was Bridget’s 40-year old brother Michael. He was a ‘pensioner discharged from the army’ who had fought in the Crimean War and was one of the thousands of Irishmen who joined up in the 19th century.[xxviii] He would have been inculcated with British army and imperial values which could also have corresponded with Hugh and Bridget’s developing outlook. The Gavagans’ stay with the Reddingtons was temporary and they have not been traced in Britain subsequently. They probably returned to Ireland.[xxix] During the 1880s the Reddingtons themselves moved to Stafford Street, a much better address in the town centre and then in the 1890s to Queen Street, an equally respectable area where they were living in 1901.
Living quiet and respectable lives, the Reddingtons have left only limited traces of events in their existence in Stafford. Hugh was politically aware and in the two parliamentary elections in 1868 and 1869 he voted Liberal each time.[xxx] The key issue in the 1868 election was the disestablishment of the (Protestant) Church of Ireland, proposed by the Liberal Party, so Hugh’s vote was probably conditioned by his Galway Catholic origin. His support for the Liberals was long-standing, however. In 1888 he was one of five Irish and nine Staffordian members who took part in a concert at the (Liberal) Reform Club where they sang Irish songs.[xxxi] To that extent he showed pride in his Irish origins, but it was at the level of sentimental patriotism. There is no evidence that he sympathised with any more potent expressions of Irish identity. There is some indication of a desire to integrate into English society. In 1895 he was working for the builder William Herbert, probably as a long-standing employee. In January of that year his workmen met for a celebratory meal at the Prince Albert Inn and Hugh Reddington was vice-chairman of the proceedings. The activities included loyal toasts to the Queen and to Mr Herbert and his family. Despite his still basic manual job, he was clearly a respected colleague amongst his workmates and the firm’s owners.[xxxii]
In 1881 Hugh nevertheless fell foul of the law for the only known time in his life when he was fined for not sending his children to school, a rather surprising event given the family’s general respectability.[xxxiii] That was an aberration in their lives, perhaps brought on by the need to send one of their children out to work to supplement the family income in a time of stress.
Hugh and Bridget had nine children, though three died as infants. Four of the survivors to adulthood, Hugh (b. 1866), Mary (b. 1871), Sarah (b. 1872) and Margaret (b. 1875), have proved totally elusive and their fates are not known although they probably emigrated. Peter Reddington (b. 1864) worked on the London and North-Western Railway as a locomotive fitter and storekeeper, a steady and reasonably paid job. He moved to Northampton, married and died there in 1925. The couple had two daughters and there may be descendants. The Reddingtons’ final child, Thomas (b. 1881), was a postman and married Laura Sheldon in 1903. They had at least three children and in 1911 were living in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. Thomas died in 1942. There are descendants. Bridget Reddington/Gavagan died in 1910 at the age of 70.[xxxiv] Hugh had obviously retired by then – he was about 75 – and they were poorer. That was why they were now living at 21 Pilgrim Street, a mean and gloomy street close to the River Sow and occasionally subject to flooding. Hugh must have been left bereft by Bridget’s death and it seems his final son Thomas took the old man in, which explains why he was living in Uttoxeter in 1911. Hugh was made of strong stuff, though. He lived on for another ten years and was over 85 when he died in 1921.[xxxv] By that time he was one of the few surviving Irish inhabitants of Stafford who had experienced the Famine at first hand. His mention of Achalateeve in the 1911 census suggests a lingering attachment to the place where he grew up before its community was sundered by death, eviction and emigration. Hugh and Bridget Reddington made the best of their lives in Stafford but in the long term the town was only a staging post in the family’s redistribution to elsewh
[i] Pam Neary from Minnesota and I were successive speakers at the virtual conference Emigrants and Exiles: the East Galway Story which took place on 15 May 2021 and organised by Martin Curley and the East Galway Genealogy and DNA group. Pam is descended from the Neary family of Aghalateeve and has studied it in depth whilst the Reddington family from Aghalateeve emerged in my study of Irish families in Victorian Stafford. It was pure coincidence that our paths crossed at the conference.
[ii] The family name was spelt with two ‘ds’ in the Tithe Applotment, one ‘d’ in the Griffith Valuation and frequently elsewhere but the Stafford Reddingtons seem to have stabilised it with two ‘ds’.
[iii] Even today the Anglicised spelling is not consistent. It is frequently spelt Aghalative but the spelling used here is that adopted by the Irish Ordnance Survey.
[iv] NUI Galway, Landed Estates Database, accessed 16 June 2021 at: landedestates.nuigalway.ie/LandedEstates/jsp/index.jsp
[v] Richards died in 1866 and his estate passed to his representatives. In the 1876 Return of Owners of Land in Ireland Richards’s representatives owned just over 2544 acres in Co. Galway.
[vi] ‘Class 4’ houses in the Census definition.
[vii] The population of Ballymoe half barony, Co. Galway, was 3453 and 1821 and 4873 in 1841.
[viii] National Archives of Ireland (NAI), Tithe Applotment Books, ‘Aughnateen’ (sic), Kilbegnet Parish, 1833, 11/20 film 38. In the Tithe Applotment Books the acreages shown were Irish Planation acres equivalent to the 1.6198 ‘English’ acres used in the Griffith Valuation. The figures shown have been converted to English acres for comparative purposes.
[ix] We know Hugh’s parents were John and Bridget Reddington from the details given in the register when Hugh was married in 1859 (see later). Bridget Reddington was identified as the occupier of the land in the 1854 Griffith Valuation. During his life in Stafford Hugh Reddington gave dates of birth to the census enumerators ranging from 1831 to 1838. The average year was 1834.
[x] The 1851 Census report pointed out that all the houses that disappeared in Ireland between 1841 and 1851 were Class 4 windowless one room cabins, those occupied by the poorest people. All other classes of houses increased in number, although in class 3, the second worst, the increase was small. The Census of Ireland, 1851: Part VI, General Report, p. xxiii.
[xi] John Herson, Divergent Paths: Family Histories of Irish Emigrants in Britain, 1820-1920, (Manchester UP, 2015), p. 39 and endnote 31.
[xii] Pam Neary in correspondence with the author.
[xiii] Information from Pam Neary.
[xiv] In 1901 four of the Neary households were headed by widowed women. Eight out of the ten described themselves as ‘farmers’ including three of the widows. The other widow, 79-year-old Bridget Neary, was entered in the Census return as a ‘cattier’, presumably cottier. 52-year-old Hugh Neary was a boot and shoemaker.
[xv] Bridget (John), in the smaller house, may have been the mother-in law of Bridget – or the other way around. It is possible that the Bridget (John) who disappeared between the House Books and the first book of Griffith’s valuation was older and died between the two records. Then her land would have passed on to the family of her son.
[xvi] Patrick Reddington, probably another of Bridget and John Reddington’s sons, was married to Bridget Wallace. We know this from the Kilbegnet baptism register when their son Hugh was baptised on 25 March 1842. The godparents were Hugh and Ellenora Reddington. https://registers.nli.ie/registers/vtls000633941#page/36/mode/1up
[xvii] From Kilbegnet marriage and baptismal data assembled by Pam Neary.
[xviii] Death, Glenamaddy, Williamstown Registration District, 4 May 1902 Bridget Reddington, spinster, 85, landholder.
[xix] P. Scott, ‘Evictions on the Glinsk Creggs estate of Allan and Margaret Pollok in the 1850s’, PhD Thesis, NUI Galway, 2014, p. CCXIX-CCXXVII.
[xx] For a study of the Jordan family’s history, see my book Divergent Paths, pp. 122-126.
[xxi] The marriage record in Galway, if any, has not been found but the Census Return for the cellar dwelling suggests this chronology. The return has been appallingly damaged and is hard to decipher. It nevertheless appears accurate and is a tribute to the enumerator who collected the information in these appalling conditions and to the residents who supplied it.
[xxii] The Census return for the cellar. The name of Mary Reddington’s landlord is particularly unclear. It looks like ‘Pundigot’ and the family was definitely from Galway but there is no such name elsewhere in the records. Births, Stafford Registration District (RD), April-June 1849, Maria Reddington, 17/163.
[xxiii] Deaths, Stafford RD, January-March 1852, Jane Reddington, 6b/10.
[xxiv] St. Austin’s Church, Stafford, Register of Marriages, 13 December 1852, Thomas Reddington and Catherine Higgins. The register unfortunately does not specify the couple’s parents.
[xxv] Information from Carolyn Leebetter, 2012.
[xxvi] The only Ellen Readington (sic) present in the 1851 Census was an 18-year-old unmarried washerwoman living in Macclesfield, Cheshire. Her brother, the head of household, was also named Thomas but he was clearly not the Thomas who married in Stafford in 1852. The Macclesfield Ellen was noted as ‘dumb’ and she does not seem a likely candidate for the Stafford wedding in 1853.
[xxvii] In the 1871 Census she was noted as having been born in ‘Galway Ballymore’ which was presumably a phonetic transcription of what the enumerator heard in a Galway accent. Gavagan is a surname much more common in Co. Mayo and to a lesser extent Co. Roscommon. None appear in either the Tithe Applotments or Griffith Valuation in the Ballymoe area of Galway but they could well have been a landless labouring family in the area.
[xxviii] Michael Gavagan could be identified as one of two soldiers. One was: UK Military Campaign Medals and Award Rolls, 1793-1949, Pte. Michael Gavgan (sic), 2nd Batt. Rifle Brigade, No. 4352. He had been awarded a campaign medal with clasps for his presence at the battles of Alma and Inkerman. The second was: Pte. Michael Gavagan, discharged as a pensioner from the 11th Regt. of Hussars, No. 407, in 1869. That date would fit Michael’s description in the 1871 Census. The Hussars were a cavalry regiment which also served in the Crimea and took part in the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade. Michael is unlikely to have been a cavalryman but could have been one of the ordinary stabling support soldiers.
[xxix] A Mary Gavigan (sic) died in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, in 1874 whose age roughly fits Bridget Gavagan’s mother but there were other Gavagan families in the county. Ireland Civil Registration Deaths Index, 1864-1958, 8/273.
[xxx] Staffordshire Record Office, D5008/2/7/11/1, Borough of Stafford Poll Book, Elections of 1868 and 1869.
[xxxi] Staffordshire Advertiser (SA), 1 December 1888.
[xxxii] SA, 19 January 1895.
[xxxiii] SA, 17 December 1881.
[xxxiv] Stafford Borough Council registers of burials, 9/5779, 29 January 1910, Bridget M Reddington and SA 29 January 1910.
[xxxv] Hugh Reddington was buried in Stafford on 16 February 1921 (SBC Burial Record 11/9743) but it is uncertain where he died. The address given is ‘Moor House, Broad Lane’ but there is no such address in either Stafford or Uttoxeter. His death was registered in the Warrington RD (8c/192) but his death certificate would need to obtained to identify the circumstances more exactly.