Skip Navigation Links

Clergymen of the Parish

Father Richard Seymour

A brieft biography

The Early Years

Believed to be the only known image of Father Seymour held at the Convent

Sadly, little is currently known of Richard Seymour early life who was born circa 1799, Rossacon, Kanturk the son of Felix and Anne who were of a mixed faith marriage; his birth derived at based upon his age stated as 86 at his death of 1885. Other than Johanna, no other siblings have so far been identified.

Felix, a Protestant, appeared to have been of reasonable wealth, leasing 77 acres in Rossacon according to the Tithe Applotment records of 1825. Then in 1847 this land with others within the immediate vicinity became the subject of a court case in 1847 between landowner Rev. Robert Atkins Nash and his agent George Smith, where Richard Seymour confirms he was paying the rent of Rossacon to Mr Smith. The Southern Reporter reported on the case included a passage which mentioned Richard's brother, John, of whom we previously knew nothing of.

“…. Mr. John Seymour coroberated the evidence given by his brother, the Rev. Mr. Seymour, respecting the manner which the defendant officiated as agent of the property in question. Identified a letter dated 6th Oct., 1842, as signed by George Smith, and forwarded by witness to his brother (Rev. R. Seymour); witness paid Mr. George Smith rent at that time; identified a notice of distress served on his brother.”

After that no further reference has so far been found of Felix, who, at some point converted to Catholicism before Richard’s death.

Valuation Books of 1840s, or the Griffith’s valuation of 1852 do not show any Seymour family members at Rassacon.

Maynooth College

Richard’s obituary suggests he received primary educated at a local Protestant school, then enter Maynooth College at the age of sixteen, where his Seminary education and training took place. Maynooth College archivist advises no reference could be found of Richard Seymour as many valuable documents were destroyed as a consequence of two fires; one in 1878 and another in 1940. However, she was able to tells us; “we have an index of students and from this I can say that Richard Seymour of the diocese of Cloyne matriculated into the Humanity class on 20 October, 1817. He was ordained in the college on 24 May, 1823 by Archbishop Daniel Murray of Dublin.”

Politics

As early as 1828, Reverend Richard Seymour was an enthusiastic participant of the liberal political reforms of the Catholic Association, holding the position Chairman in 1829 while serving as parish curate of united parishes of Glanworth and Ballendangen, Mitchelstown.

Priestly Life

The Diocese of Ross comprises eleven parishes along the coastline, stretching from Timoleague, (where, from 1843 we find Richard Seymour as Parish Priest) to Aughadown, and west of Skibbereen. This diocese held complete independence, when, on 3rd February 1851, it regained its own diocesan bishop, having been united with the Diocese of Cloyne since 1748. This was William Keane, former Parish Priest of Midleton, who was Consecration Bishop by Archbishop Michael Slattery at his parish Church. His friend, Richard Seymour was also in attendance. Bishop Keane transferred to Cloyne and Ross in 1857, and laid the foundation stone of Richard's Church.

In 1958 the diocese was united with Cork, becoming the Diocese of Cork and Ross.

At the Consecration of Timothy Murphy, Sunday, 16th September 1849, as Bishop of Cloyne and Ross at Fermoy; Richard was Chaplain to Nicholas Foran, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore; while William Keane was Chaplain to Michael Slattery, Archbishop of Cashel & Emly.

Richard Seymour, who was appointed Parish Priest arrived at the village 1849, always had the welfare of his parishioners foremost in his heart. He firstly fed and clothed the parish cholera victims of that year, built the village’s first National School in 1856, then his St. Mary’s Church (consecrated 1872). Two years later he invited Mother Magdalen’s Poor Servants Sisters to Carrigtwohill, who established their Order in the village in 1875.

This charitable and zealous priest was keen to help as best he could, the poor and suffering more generally. So much so, that in November 1854, at the height of the Crimean War, he was appointed Chairman of his parish’s "Patriotic Fund" at a meeting he called and held in his Church Yard. This fund was established to offer some much-needed financial support for the widows and orphans this campaign.

Death of a charitable man

1885, at his modest Main Street home, which today bears a plaque dedicated his dear beloved saintly, Mother Magdalen Taylor, and where his own mother passed away, Richard Seymour went to meet his Lord. His spinster sister, Johanna, also lived out her last days in Richard's Main St House, but died in the Convent while being nursed by the Sisters.

All Material © 2020