Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Raymond Saville Connolly De Montmorency Lecky Browne- Lecky

This gentleman's name was not his only colourful feature. I think that it would be fair to say that he lived a life which reflected or even surpassed his baptismal name. Born into the landed gentry he was the only son of Connolly William Lecky Browne-Lecky and Anna (Annie) Henrietta Eccles of Fintimara, Warrenpoint and 9 Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin. He was born in Dublin on 17th May 1881 and was baptised at St. Peter's, Dublin on the 31st of that month. At that time St Peter's was the largest Church of Ireland parish in Dublin. The church closed in 1950 and was demolished in 1983. Reverend R. W. Buckley officiated at the baptism.

His mother's brother and his wife both died at a relatively young age and it seems that Raymond's parents brought up the three young Eccles girls. Subsequently Amy Eccles would sell Ecclesville demesne near Fintona and certain other lands to Raymond. Prior to the Land Acts the Ecclesville Estate extended to some 9227 acres.

He was known as, "Tibby," to his friends and close acquaintances and had a penchant for dressing in mauve and lavender colours. He was a keen amateur actor and musician and was also known as a female impersonator.

"Tibby," died on 11th November 1961 at Tyrone County Hospital in Omagh aged eighty. His sister had predeceased him in 1956. Probate of his will issued forth from the Principal Registry of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland on the 16th January 1963. He left various effects to the Dean and Chapter of St. Columb's Cathedral Londonderry including a china box which was reputedly the former property of Napoleon. Monies were left to Fintona Parish Church and for the benefit of the poor of that parish. The Church of Ireland Trustees received the sum of £1500 of which £300 was to be expended on the provision of a bell for Fintona Parish Church with the balance to be applied towards the erection of a tower or spire for the said church. He also left monies for the benefit of the local British Legion Hall. He left his house and lands to the Government of Northern Ireland or such other public body as the Government might desire subject to various conditions including relief from death duties on the said property and the annual Horse Show in the grounds of Ecclesville being allowed to continue so long as might be practicable.

The residue of his estate was left to his Trustees upon trust for the benefit of the Actors Charitable Trust and the Musicians Benevolent Trust in equal shares. Included in the residue was the ownership of certain ground rents in Londonderry which in 2011/12 BBC News reported had not been paid by the entity responsible for the payment thereof although a subsequent article revealed that the arrears had been discharged.

The name of Montmorency always brings to my mind the clipped tones of Noel Coward and his rendition of, " Could you please oblige us with a Bren Gun." I suspect that Tibby would have fitted into Coward's set very well.


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