FITZGERALD, John Purcell

1803 - 1879

Born John Purcell at the White House, Bredfield, Suffolk in 1803, eldest son of John Purcell (1775-1852) and his wife Mary Francis, daughter of John FitzGerald, he was brother to Edward FitzGerald [q.v.]. Educated at Bury grammar school and Trinity College, Cambridge graduating BA in 1826 proceeding MA in 1829 ‘of Little Island, Waterford.’ A member of the Ipswich Society of Professional & Amateur Artists from 1834, where he was probably tutored by Henry Davy [q.v.]. Although he studied for the church, but was not ordained, but preached in several dissenting chapels and was extremely eccentric, local shopkeepers never asked his wants as he wandered round their shops saying “I’ll take that” never asking the price and would invite friends to meet him the next day, but on arriving at Boulge only to be told that he had gone out for the day. He would call at The Bull Hotel on the Market Place, Woodbridge, ordering a fly to take him home telling the ostler that he would walk on, but when the carriage reached him he would enquire “are you going to the Hall?”. On the death of his mother in 1855 he inherited the family estates and maintained Boulge as his seat, which he occupied for some years until his death. In 1858 he resumed using the name of Purcell and for many years also occupied Wherstead Lodge, near Ipswich. He married firstly on 18 November 1832, Augusta Jane Lisle, daughter of Charles March Phillipps, MP, of Garendon Park, Leicestershire, she died at Ryde, Isle of Wight on 30 July 1837, leaving issue Olivia, who died young, Maurice and Gerald Charles; and secondly in 1844 Hester, daughter of William Haddon. He died at Boulge Hall on 4 May 1879 and is buried in Boulge churchyard. The Boulge Hall estate was sold by his executors in 1890 to Robert Holmes White. A full-length portrait of FitzGerald is to be found in his former home of Waterford Castle, Ireland. The author of several books under both his names of Purcell and FitzGerald.