Barker

Ponsonby Barker

When Captain Chambré Ponsonby brought his wife back to Kilcooley in 1873 the happy couple were greeted with illuminations and a triumphal arch in the neighbouring town and a bonfire at the entrance to the demesne. Cheering tenants pulled their carriage and there was music and dancing all night.

Whiskey and beer were provided for all comers by the bridegroom’s uncle, Sir William Ponsonby-Barker, the then owner of Kilcooley. Though a stern Evangelical he did not object to the country people enjoying themselves.

This was the same William Ponsonby-Barker who, on occasion, took a maidservant to bed with him as a human hot water bottle. He justified himself on the spiritual precedent of the Biblical King David. It seems that after family prayers he would line up the maids to make his choice.[1] Bence Jones goes on to say that on one occasion the maid of his choice ‘offended his olfactory sensibilities, so he sprinkled her liberally from a bottle which he took in the dark to contain eau de cologne but which in fact contained ink!’

[1] Bence-Jones – The Twilight of the Ascendancy

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