In memory of Judge Walter Berwick and companions

Walter and Elizabeth Berwick were born in Dublin. Their father was Rev Edward Berwick, a classicist, Liberal, vicar of Leixlip, Kildare, and Rector of Clongish, Longford. Walter’s mother, Anne Bermingham, died aged 24. Elizabeth’s mother was probably Edward’s second wife, Rebecca Shuldham.

Photo of Berwick Fountain in CorkWalter became Judge of the Irish Bankruptcy Court in Dublin in 1859, having been chairman of the Quarter Sessions of the East Riding of Cork. On leaving Cork, Walter commissioned Sir John Benson to design a fountain, completed in 1860 and still known as “the Berwick Fountain” – pictured here in the 1960s/70s courtesy of Cork City and County Archives Service.

Its inscription reads: “This fountain was erected in 1860 by Walter Berwick Esq in remembrance of the great kindness shown to him by all classes in the City and County of Cork while presiding amongst them for twelve years as Chairman of Quarter Sessions.”

Walter lived at Upper-Merrion Street, Dublin. As he was unmarried, Elizabeth (also unmarried) presided over the household and accompanied him to social events. Before the train accident they toured the Continent for three months, accompanied by Jane Ingram, Elizabeth’s lady’s maid. Before his return to Dublin, Walter wrote to his brother Edward (president of Queen’s College, Galway) to instruct the servants to prepare the house for their return.

In London they were joined by Louisa Symes, aged 10, daughter of Walter’s friend Arthur Rowley Symes JP and Charlotte Louisa Richardson, of Ballybeg House, Wicklow. Walter and Elizabeth were to escort her home to Ireland.

The group joined the Irish Mail at Chester and from their carriage exchanged friendly words with Harriet, Viscountess Bangor, who had accompanied her brother and sister-in-law, Lord and Lady Farnham, to the station.

Early next morning Edward went to Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) to meet the steamer from Holyhead, but the party were not on it. On hearing of the crash, he left for Abergele. His worst fears were confirmed when he identified a knife with Walter’s name and address on it and buttons belonging to Elizabeth. Meanwhile, luggage bearing the names of Walter, Elizabeth and Louisa arrived at Kingstown.

Walter’s “acts of charity and philanthropy” were recalled and Elizabeth was particularly remembered by the South Dublin Workhouse for her “earnest and practical benevolence”.

Nothing further is currently known about Jane Ingram. None of her relatives were reported to have attended the funeral service at Abergele.

Sources include: David Murphy (Walter Berwick) and James Quinn (Edward Berwick), Dictionary of Irish Biography; National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, Ireland.

Return to train crash grave page