Georgian mourning ring, inscribed 1826

$4,160.00

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This splendid Georgian 18-carat gold mourning ring commemorates the captivating life of a poor Irish boy who became a Church of England bishop – by way of the American War of Independence – and his love for a favourite daughter.

Inside it bears hallmarks for London 1824 and two lines of inscription:

Charles, Bishop of Cloyne Ob 9 Aug.t 1826

Selina Warburton Ob 12 Mar 1826

“Of all the officers and men,” says a website dedicated to the study of His Majesty’s 62nd Regiment of Foot, “there is no rags to riches story more compelling.”

It’s talking about Charles Warburton, born Terrence Charles O’Mungan in 1754, the youngest son of a famed blind “poor road-way piper” in County Tyrone.

Destined to follow an older brother into the Catholic priesthood, young Terrence travelled to France to study. There he met a powerful patron in the Earl of Moira, and resolved to take holy orders in the Anglican church instead.

(The Irish harpist Arthur O’Neill offers an entertaining account of Terrence’s conversion as told by his estranged father, Dominic O’Mungan: “He fell in love with a young lady who was a Protestant. She informed him she could not have him as he was a Papist, on which he read his recantation, and then demanded her hand, on which, to his mortification, she scornfully informed him that she would be sorry to marry a turncoat.”)

The young clergyman did marry about this time, the lady recommended to him by his noble patron. She died soon afterwards.

He anglicised his name to Charles Mongan and began serving the 62nd as a chaplain, first in Ireland in 1776 and then Canada.

He was with the regiment when it was forced to surrender at Saratoga after two bloody 1777 battles that proved to be a turning point in the American Revolutionary War, as they convinced France and Spain that an independent United States was viable.

He ministered to men wounded in the Battle of Freeman’s Farm and visited injured prisoners of war held at a rebel camp in Bemis Heights.

Freed due to his non-combatant status, he married Frances Marston in New York in 1779 and went on to serve other British battalions, as well as undertaking a year-long mission to Canada, before returning to his homeland.

The couple had six children: Garnett, Charles, Augustus-Frederick, John, Charlotte Ann and Selina.

There followed a series of increasingly lucrative Irish postings. His sights set on becoming a bishop, Charles adopted the English surname Warburton from a maternal cousin and obtained a doctorate of divinity from Trinity College in Dublin.

He was consecrated bishop of Limerick in 1806 and transferred to Cloyne in 1820.

The family thrived. Two sons joined the army, another the church. One daughter married an archdeacon. And Selina, the youngest, became renowned as a “public benefactress” devoted to helping the poor, according to an obituary written about her father.

It says she “died of a decline, brought on, as it is believed, by a misplaced affection”. It was a tragedy from which the bishop never recovered.

He died five months later in his palace at Cloyne; his last instructions were that he should be laid by his daughter’s side.

Such a story! So much love symbolised by such a little jewel!

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• Handmade in 18-carat yellow gold with black enamel, glass and woven hair, hallmarked London 1824
• Size approximately 8 1/4 or Q – this ring cannot be resized
• Weight is 7.5 grams
• In excellent antique condition – there is minor loss to the enamel around the frame
• Will come in a Karen Deakin gift box (my antique boxes are not for sale)

Please examine the photographs carefully – they form part of the description.

I’d be very happy to send more information and images. Layaway available.

I accept returns within 14 days if you’re not delighted with your purchase.

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