Rector's Musings

Occasional musings of the Rector. 

@ the Rectory: A Former Rector’s Great-Grandson

One of the interesting things about living at the Rectory is that we never know who will show up. Sometimes it is a parishioner (you’re always welcome!), sometimes it is someone from the community. Whoever it is, I generally feel the visit has enlivened the day. 

This past Monday, we had some visitors. We were eating a late breakfast (it being my day off), when I saw a couple coming to the front door. Kirk and I went to greet them, whereupon the man introduced himself as the great-grandson of Lucius O’Brien. 

Have any of you ever heard of Lucius O’Brien? I’ve spent some time this past year looking through the old records of the churches, including the Preacher’s Books. These are books in which the Rector (or whoever leads the service) records the statistics of each service held in the church. I have been interested in making lists of the past Rectors of the churches, so I recognised Lucius O’Brien as one of the past Rectors in Adare. 

As we sat over a cup of tea, I pulled out the old Preacher’s Books. There was Lucius O’Brien’s very neat handwriting and signature, beginning with the service on Easter Sunday, 17th April 1881. (The pages from August 1880 to Easter 1881 are missing, so sometime in that time period, the Rev. O’Brien arrived as the Rector.) He continued as Rector until 1905: a total of 24 years. 

The couple were named John and Barbara Purser. As it turns out, John Purser is a composer and also has written a book on Jack Yeats. Between Kirk’s background in music, and my having worked at the Cuala Press in Dublin for the Yeats family, we found the conversation fascinating and were most grateful that they came to our door that morning.