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George Walker (1645-1690)

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GeorgeWalker

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This article appeared in the Newry Telegraph on 30 October 1838. fide Payne Walker, http://www.home.earthlink.net/~chrisgosnell/geneal/walker1.html#GEOR3

Discovery and Re-Interment

OF

THE REMAINS OF THE REV. GEORGE WALKER,

RECTOR OF DONAGHMORE AND GOVERNOR OF LONDONDERRY.

____________

From the NEWRY TELEGRAPH, 30th October, 1838

"Thrice honored shade of Walker wise, To Derry's cause so true Oh! could you from the starry skies Our sad condition view -

How would your wounded spirit feel, The dark day to behold, When all our fathers won by steel, Their sons betrayed for gold." - GRAHAM

______________________________________________

On Tuesday the 16th of October, the Church of Donaghmore, at Castlecaulfield, being in the process of repair by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, it was found necessary to lower and level the floor of it.

In that part of the Chancel immediately under the monument of Governor Walker, the workmen discovered a full-sized oak coffin containing the remains of his widow, who in 1703, caused his bones to be brought there from the banks of the Boyne, where his body had been interred and had lain for thirteen years. They were this day found in a small oak box, in which this "widow indeed," full of endearing recollections of happier days, had deposited them.

This worthy Lady was the mother of four sons of the renowned Walker, who, at his death, were serving in King William's army and each of whom, in justice to their immortal father's service and their own, ought to have inherited one of the forfeited estates. John Walker, the eldest son, on a petition to the House of Commons, obtained a pension of £200 a year, which he enjoyed until the beginning of the reign of George I. when he was deprived of it by the parsimony of the triumphant Whigs. Of the other sons there is no record, save that the daughter of one of them was the mother of the late Mrs. Caldbeck, of Lisburn.

The Walkers were a Yorkshire family. The father of the Governor of Derry was the Rev. George Walker, sen., Rector of Cappagh, County of Tyrone, the friend and confidential adviser of Dr. Bramhall, Bishop of Derry, when this Prelate was nobly using his private means and public influence in regaining the alienated property of the Church of Ireland, and purchasing the advowsons of the impropriated Rectories, which he added to the Vicarages throughout the Diocese. He sent his son and namesake to Glasgow College for education; and on the young man's return, soon after the restoration of King Charles II, he was presented to the Rectories of Donaghmore and Errigal Keerogue, in the County of Tyrone. Walker was in the sear and yellow leaf of life when he went to Derry in 1689, being then, according to credible tradition 71 years of age. His sister Anne married William Maxwell, Esq. of Falkland, High Sheriff of the County of Monaghan, in the year 1691, and who was great great grand-father of the present representative of his renowned ancestor - namely, the Rev. Thomas Carpendale, Rector of Donaghmore.

Mr. Carpendale, with Edwd. Evans, Esq. son of the Rev. Geo. Evans, who had been upwards of 30 years Rector of Donaghmore, Alexander Mackenzie Esq. and a few others naturally regardful of the remains of this great and good man, caused them to be taken carefully from the decayed box in which they were found, and putting them and those of his widow into smaller boxes, enclosed both, with suitable inscriptions, into a leaden coffin, which being laid in one of deal plank, was solemnly deopsited in the hero's grave, by his Rev. descendant and successor, assisted by the Rev. John Graham, Author of the History of the Siege of Derry, and also by one of the oldest Apprentice Boys of the Maiden City.

In the case with Governer Wlaker's remains was placed a flint glass bottle, hermetically sealed, containing the following writing on parchment:- "Be it recorded, that whilst this Church was undergoing repair in the year 1838, search was made beneath the Monument of the Rev. Geo. Walker, immediately opposite to the Communion Table, at the Eastern end of the Church, and South side of the Aisle, to ascertain whether his bones were deposited there, agreeable to the inscription on the Monument, erected by his widow (illegible)

"We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, having assembled in said Church, on Tuesday, 16th October 1838, and having made search immediately beneath said Monument fixed in the wall, have found, in a full-sized oak coffin, the remains of his widow; and in a small oaken case adjoining, were deposited bones which had not the appearance of regular interment in a coffin, but corresponding with the words on the monument, 'Ossa reconduntur,' &c. &c.

"Now to testify our veneration and respect for the memory of the illustrious Walker, we herein carefully replace the bones, and restore them to their former position, together with this Record. "THOMAS CARPENDALE, Rector of the Parish of Donaghmore. "ROBERT FRASER, Curate of said Parish. "EDWARD EVANS, Esq., of Dungannon, son of the Rev. GEORGE EVANS, formerly Rector of said Parish. "EDWARD EVANS, jun., Esq., of Armagh, son of the said Edward. "HENRY POLE, Esq., J.P., Dungannon. Previous to the re-interment of the bones, a cast was taken of the skull, which was perfectly sound, and in which the organs of intelligence and firmness were remarkably developed.

Walker afforded an instance of the value of a classical education and habits of literary composition to a military man; proving that the hero, capable of recording actions in which he has been concerned, with modesty and without exaggeration, is more likely to get full credit for his own merits, than the illiterate warrior who requires another man's pen to do justice to him.

____________

The following extract from the preface to the "History of the Siege of Londonderry" may not be unsuitable in this place:-

"The applause which immediately followed the publiccation of Walker's Diary, in London, was unbounded. The heroic author basked in the sunshine of royal and polular favour, seldom beaming on the head of any one man at the same time, however great his worth or important his services. King William's munificent bounty to him was a matter of policy as well as gratitude, scarce less beneficial to the giver than to the receiver of it. The Whigs who were even then ready enough to be troublesome to their deliverer, and soon afterwards made him weary of his crown and his life together, hailed it as an act which reflected equal honour upon both; and the celebrated Tillotson, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, thus re-echoed the voice of the public upon Walker's promotion to the See of Derry, in his letter to Lady Russell, of the 19th of Sept. 1689:

" 'The King, besides his first bounty to Mr. Walker, (£5000) whose modesty is equal to his merit, hath made him Bishop of Londonderry, one of the best bishopries in Ireland. It is incredible how much every body is pleased with what his Majesty hath done in this matter, and it is no small joy to me to see that God directs him so wisely.'

"On the 19th of November, in the same year, he received the thanks of the House of Commons; and on the 26th of February following, the University of Oxford, with that regard to the Protestant interest which still characterizes it, conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. Sir Godfrey Kneller, at the king's command, drew his picture; and copperplates struck off from it were dispersed through the Three Kingdoms. In some of the prints he is drawn with a Bible open at the 20th chapter of Exodus, in one hand, and a drawn sword in the other. His garment of a purple color, and a large old-fashioned band, form a strong contrast to the military sash appearing in crimson folds about his waist. A copy of this curious print hung for half-a-century over the parlor fire-place of a tavern in Londonderry."

Another copy, said to be a more correct likeness, is in possession of his descendent, William Caldbeck, Esq. of Lisburn, Sub-Sheriff of the County Down.

_________________________________________________________________________________

  • The Inscription on the Monument runs thus:-

P.M.S. Hic juxta, Lector Reverendi Georgii Walker, S.T.D., Hujus Parochiæ olim Rectoris, Ossa Reconduntur, Ille, cujus vigilantia et virtute, Londini-Derensis Civitas (illegible) numinis ripam, Pro eadem causa, adversus eosdem hostes, Anno 1690. Occisus cecidit. Cujus reliquiis et memoriæ, Mæstissima adhuc illius vidua, Isabella Walker Hoc monumentum possuit, Anno 1703

Saxo autem erit fama perennoir, Nec futura minus qcam præsentia secula Tam pium militem, tam fortem sacerdotem Mirabuntur. ____________

Of the foregoing we annex a literal translation:-

P.M.S. Near this, Reader, are deposited the remains of the Rev. George Walker, D.D. formerly Rector of this Parish. He, by whose vigilance and valor, Londonderry, in the year 1689, was rescued from the enemies of William and the Faith, fell, mortally wounded, at the Banks of the Boyne, for the same cause, against the same enemies, in the year 1690. To whose remains and memory, his still inconsolable widow, Isabella Walker, has erected this monument, in the year 1703. ____________ But his fame shall be more durable than the rock; nor will future ages, less than the present, admire a Soldier so pious, a Minister so intrepid.

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