There was a very large audience at the April meeting of the Bellaghy Historical Society to hear Dr Bob Foy speak on Bumper Squire and family of Moneyglass. Dr Foy is a well known Local Historian from Antrim who has done a great deal of research about the Toome area.
He traced the origins of the family from Plantation times, when the Morris family lived in Co. Tyrone and explained that when a daughter of the Morris family married a Jones in the early 1 800s, her father had chosen a site on the other side of Lough Neagh to build her a mansion at Moneyglass, employing one of the best known architects of the time, John Lanyon. Bumper Squire Jones was well known for his taste for liquor which gave rise to a very tuneful song being written about him, a recording of which Dr. Foy brought with him. The fondness for alcohol seemed to follow each generation so that the estate finally fell into ruins in the 1930s leaving Mrs Hannah Jones, a local girl who had married the heir and whose husband left a very complicated will, in no position to salvage it.
Dr Foy showed several excellent slides of the estate and house both in its heyday and in its present state.
Mrs Mary Breslin, Chairperson, thanking Dr Foy for his most interesting talk reminded members that next months meeting (when Mr Cormac Bourke from the Ulster Museum will speak on Aspects of the Book of Kells) will take place on the third Tuesday 30th May, when there will also be a short A.G.M. and names will be taken of members who wish to go in June on the outing to the Folk Museum at Cultra.
The Secretary also reported that the Societys book Life in the Past – recollections of Bellaghy as it used to be had been reprinted and could be obtained at the following outlets: Grahams and Muldoons shops and The Bawn in Bellaghy, and in Magherafelt at Andrews, OBriens and The Bridewell.
Guest speaker at the April meeting, Dr Bob Foy who gave a talk on Bumper Squire Jones and family of Moneyglass.