Mrs Margaret Gregory

Coole Park, Gort

Margaret Gregory was the widowed daughter-in-law of Lady Gregory of Coole Park. Lady Augusta Gregory married Sir William Henry Gregory, a widower with an estate at Coole Park, near Gort, County Galway, on 4 March 1880, at St Matthias church in Dublin. Sir William, who was 35 years older than his bride, had just retired from his position of Governor of Ceylon, having previously served several terms as Member of Parliament for Galway County. He was a well-educated man with many literary and artistic interests, and the house at Coole Park housed a large library and extensive art collection, both of which his bride was eager to explore. He also had a house in London, and the couple spent a considerable amount of time there holding a weekly salon which was frequented by many of the leading literary and artistic figures of the day, including Robert Browning, Lord Tennyson, John Everett Millais and Henry James. Their only child, Robert Gregory, was born in 1881. He married Margaret in 1907. He was killed while serving as a pilot during the First World War, an event that inspired Yeats's poems "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death," "In Memory of Major Robert Gregory," and "Shepherd and Goatherd."

Margaret Gregory (nee Parry) (1884-1979) Lily Margaret Graham Parry studied in London at the Slade School of Art, where she met Robert Gregory, son of Lady Gregory. Margaret illustrated three of her mother-in-law's books: The Kiltartan Wonder Book (Maunsel, Dublin, 1910), The Blessed Trinity (Bucks., 1985) and The Golden Apple (Murray, London, 1907) and it has been noted that Lady Gregory cherished all of Margaret's illustrations. These drawings were only published posthumously in 1985. The National Library of Ireland holds other examples of the collaborative work between Lady Gregory and her daughter-in-law, Margaret

1884 Dec 10. born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, as Lily Graham Parry, the daughter of Graham Graham Parry (later of of Cobham Virginia, USA and Cheltenham)

1891 census shows her as a pupil at St Stephens College , Clewer, Berks with two other sisters.,

1901 census. Still a student at St Stephens College , Clewer, Berks with one other sister, Ruth G Parry.

1907 Sep 26. Married to William Robert Gregory in Paddington, London. Her name on marriage is Lily Margaret Graham Parry. They had three children

Margaret and Robert spent their summer holidays, often accompanied by Bohemian artist friends, at the Gregory home ‘Mount Vernon’, New Quay, the Burren. But their children, who adored their grandmother, spent their childhood years at Coole.

1911 Census Robert and Margaret Gregory are living at Coole

1918 Jan 23. Robert Gregory, her husband, was shot down over Padua, Italy in World War I. It was attributed to "friendly fire", as he was shot down by an Italian aircraft. WB Yeats poem is written about Robert Gregory

An Irish Airman Forsees His Death' by W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

Robert Gregory and Yeats were not especially close. Robert Gregory became annoyed by the way 'Willie' Yeats used his mother's house at Coole - drinking only the best wine, sleeping only in the best rooms. Yeats felt that Robert Gregory failed to make the most of his talents and would only work if forced to for money. Politically there were differences: Gregory was 'Imperialistic' - the poet, a self-proclaimed Irish patriot.

William Robert Gregory, born 20 May 1881, had been educated at Harrow, New College Oxford and the Slade School of Art, he excelled at boxing, horse-riding and cricket. At the outbreak of WW1 he enlisted in the 4th Connaught Rangers before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps, gaining his 'wings', being awarded the Military Cross (and Chevalier de Legion d'Honneur) and leading his squadron in France and Italy. On January 23rd, 1918, he was shot down and killed, seemingly by an allied (Italian) pilot.

In a postscript to a letter dated 2nd February, Lady Gregory wrote to Yeats 'if you feel like it some time - write something down that we may keep - you understand him better than many'. Soon after she added an appeal from Robert's wife, Margaret, with whom Yeats had a sometimes difficult relationship.

One of her water colours done about this time

1921 May 15 Sole survivor of the Ballyturin Ambush . Oddly this is never mentioned in any of the Gregory history - and there is a lot written about the Gregorys because of Lady Gregory's connection with W B Yeats.

1928 Sep 8. Margaret Gregory remarried to Guy Vincent Hugh Gough of Lough Cutra, their neighbours at Coole. In the 1920s the family moved out of the the main house Lough Cutra Castle as they could not afford the running costs. Some of the stables in the Courtyards were converted into a residence for them. The Castle was effectively closed up for the next forty years, although during WWII the Irish army was billeted within the Castle and on the Estate.It is now available for rent

Lough Cutra

1934 Dec 10. Her husband is heir presumptive to title of Viscount Gough, but never succeeded to the title

1949 Mar. Lilian Margaret Graham Gough bought Earlscliffe, Baily, Co. Dublin, at auction for £10,100. Lily Gough's address on the Earlscliffe deeds is stated as Lough Cutra Castle, Gort, Galway.The story was she never occupied Earlscliffe and instead put it up for sale in 1950 when it was bought by Brigadier Arthur Christopher Lancelot ("Kit") Stanley-Clarke for his wife Olive.

1959 Her husband died in Bramley, Surrey

1979 Nov 27. Margaret died in Exeter, Devonshire, England


Ballyturin Ambush