Tag Archives: Jockey

Greatconnell church, Newbridge, Co. Kildare ( 3 Grand Nationals! )

I stumbled upon this old church and graveyard on a recent drive across the Wicklow/Kildare countryside and stopped off to have a quick look around it.

photo (1)
entrance gate

It’s in a fairly poor state, mostly overgrown and a large tree has fallen across one side of it. In the centre of the plot there’s an old church remains mostly being held up by the trees and bushes growing in and through it.

Church remains with a grave within an iron railing, and a large yew tree growing in it.
Inside the church ruins

As I wandered around I noticed that there is an unusual number of plots with a railing around them, usually I find that a small number of plots might have a high or low railing, but in this graveyard a large percentage had some type of metal surround. Unfortunately this hasn’t prevented the weeds, briars and bushes from taking them over.

a tall cross headstone with a low metal railing
Another plot with a railing around it
tall & narrow railing surround with a gate at front
trunk of fallen tree

From what I could see this site was used in from the 1800’s to 1900’s, but many of the inscriptions were illegible except for one towards the front of the site and a couple at the back.

one of the later dated graves

When I visit graveyards I always take some photos of inscriptions and then later try to find out a little about some of the people mentioned. It’s not always a successful result!

Here I photographed the relatively simple headstone below dedicated to a Barbara Frances & Thomas Beasley.


I found them fairly quickly in the 1901 Census of Ireland and also on the Irish Genealogy website. They were married in 1892 in St. Annes’s Dublin. As ‘Beasley’ is a well known name in racing circles and he was listed as living at Eyrefield Lodge, Curragh ( a well renowned thoroughbred racing and breeding stable), I began to search further by some general internet searching.

Being a racing fan I wasn’t disappointed with what I found. Thomas (Tommy) was one of the famous Beasley brothers of that time who were successful in many horse racing events across Ireland, England and France.  Thomas rode 3 Aintree Grand National winners in the late 1800’s namely; 1880 Empress, 1881 Woodbrook, 1889 Frigate and he famously beat the legendary Fred Archer in a race at the Curragh. Here’s a link to an article by Damien McElroy in 2007 detailing the exploits of Tommy and his brother Harry.


This is the Marriage Cert records for Thomas and Barbara.


Photo of Thomas
Photo of Thomas

I was unable to find out any more about Tommy or Barbara during my research, it seems they both died reasonably young and had only been married since 1892,  she was 41 and died in 1903 and he was 59 when he died in 1905.

What a shame this graveyard has been neglected so much….this is a recurring theme I’m finding & particularly with non Catholic graveyards.

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