The Duhallow Ancestry group, a working group of IRD Duhallow, launched their first exhibition ‘The Aldworth Family of Newmarket’ in October 2014.
This exhibition which aptly explored the history of the Aldworth Family who lived in Newmarket Court, which is now the James O’Keeffe Institute, from 1615-1926. The group through IRD Duhallow support researched and compiled the information on display. The group of trained and dedicated volunteers worked tirelessly over a period of 12 months to collect this information and present their first exhibition.
The Aldworth family held ownership of Newmarket demesne, including the James O’ Keeffe Institute, formerly Newmarket Court from c. 1700 to 1927. They arrived in Ireland in the late 17th century, firstly settling at Short Castle in Mallow and later were designated lands at Newmarket in the late 1690s / early 1700s. The original house was replaced with Newmarket Court upon the marriage of Richard Aldworth with Elizabeth St. Leger of Doneraile Court in 1725.
With the support of the Duhallow Ancestry Group, The James O’Keeffe Foundation was extremely fortunate acquire the documentary records from the descendents of the Aldworth family in the UK. Collections on display were kindly donated to the James O’Keeffe Institute by the late Mrs. Jane Stocks and family and the Cochrane family, descendents of Major John Charles Oliver Aldworth, last Aldworth owner of Newmarket Court.
The records in question provide a valuable primary source of historical information and fact into the development of Newmarket town and surrounding areas which made up the past Demesne and present fabric of the locality. The exhibition gave the local people an opportunity to visit the house and see the original documents such as old manuscripts on parchment, deeds, rent books, various letters and photos displayed in their original setting.
The exhibition explored the influence of the Alworth family and their contribution to life in Duhallow and beyond. The exhibition also addressed themes around the local landed society in Duhallow, with a focus on the history and genealogical network of the Aldworth family from their arrival in Ireland in the early 17th century to their departure during the War of Independence in the 1920s. It also highlighted both well and little known information on the Aldworths’, fascinating history as well as the everyday life of the local community in the days of the Big Houses.
The event was launched by two of Major John Charles Oliver Aldworths’ granddaughters- Ms. Stephanie Tiley and Mrs. Elizabeth Cochrane along with extended family members.
A large number of people attended the launch including descendants of the Aldworth family along with a large number of people from the local region and further afield. This exhibition provided the community in Duhallow with a greater understanding of one of the dominant families and provided a greater sense of awareness and appreciation of the history and genealogy of the Duhallow region in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Many people viewed the exhibition during its duration, some on numerous occasions due to the amount of material presented. Five local schools also visited, interpreted and engaged with the exhibition. The exhibition was a great credit to IRD Duhallow’s working group Duhallow Ancestry who researched and prepared the exhibition. The finished catalogue and scanned copies of original documents are available to view at IRD Duhallow for research purposes on appointment.
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