History of the House / 1922 to 1924 - CT Ovenden
Earlscliffe was purchased in 1922 from Rachel Mary Mahaffy by the Very Rev. Charles Thomas Ovenden, the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. 
Very Rev. Charles Thomas Ovenden
Charles Thomas Ovenden was born at Carleton House, in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh on September 11th 1846. He was the eldest of the two sons of Dr. William Chambers Ovenden, M.D. and his wife, Isabella Parkinson. The other son, William Henry, became a doctor and moved to New Zealand. Dr. William and Isabella also had a daughter called Mary.
Charles Thomas Ovenden was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, Mannheim, Germany, and at Trinity College, Dublin.
He was ordained in 1870, and was appointed curate of St. Anne's Church, Belfast. He became Rector of Dunluce, Co. Antrim, two years later, and remained there until 1879, when he was appointed Succentor of St, Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, and Warden of the Cathedral Grammar School.
After various posts as Rector of Ballywillan, Co. Antrim, Chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant and Precentor of Clogher, Dean of Clogher, Enniskillen, and Rural Dean, Ovenden succeeded the then Provost of Trinity College as Dean of St. Patrick's in 1911. 
Ovenden was married on Feb. 7, 1871, in St. Stephen's Church, Dublin, to Isabella Mary, eldest daughter of John Robinson, of Wilton Place, Dublin. 
They had two daughters; Isabella Gertrude Amy and Florence Irene Harriet.
A man of many talents
Charles Thomas was a true Renaissance man, boasting an impressive array of talents. Not only was he a respected clergyman, but he also dabbled in the realms of literature, music, and art, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire.
As an author, he penned and meticulously edited numerous religious books, with one of his notable works being the esteemed first edition of the Cathedral Anthem Book of Words. His hymns, such as "I will give thanks" and "For the rain cometh down," must have stirred the hearts of worshippers, and his processional anthem, "The Son of God goes forth to war," became a soul-stirring melody that probably resonated within the hearts of many. 
His creativity was not confined to the written word alone; Ovenden was also a prolific artist. The walls of the Royal Hibernian Academy proudly displayed his art, and the Dublin Amateur Sketching Club hosted his annual exhibitions of oil paintings. 
His self-portrait currently hangs in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 
Caring for his niece
Charles Thomas had one brother, William Henry, who was married to Edith Gertrude Lamb on the 26th of September 1876 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
On 28th October 1877, in Kaiapoi, Waimakariri District, Canterbury, New Zealand, William and Edith had twin daughters. One was christened Amy Idalia, and the other was christened with the same name as Charles Thomas' daughter; Isabella Gertrude Ovenden.
Sadly Amy died on May 14th 1878. 
The couple tried for another child, and on the 23rd Dec 1879, Sidney Lucy Ovenden was born. Sadly, she only lived four weeks and died on the 18th January 1880. 
By 1884, William and Edith were having marital problems and their remaining daughter, Isabella, was sent from New Zealand to stay in the care of William's brother, Charles Thomas Ovenden, and his sister, Mary E. Ovenden, in the North of Ireland.
In 1886, William and Edith were divorced with the agreement that Edith would
have access to her daughter at
all reasonable and proper times, and for two weeks, three times in each year she should have the care
and custody of the child.  
In November 1890, Edith went to Ireland and requested permission to see her daughter.
Charles Ovenden would not allow this as he felt threatened that Edith might not return the child to him, Also, he was concerned about the effect this whole episode was having on his own two children. In the end, he decided that this wasn't working out too well for the young daughter of his brothers, and sent her back to New Zealand with his sister, Mary Ovenden. Mary returned Isabella to her father, William Ovenden.
Once Isabella was back with William Ovenden, William then refused to allow Edith to see her daughter.
In 1891, Edith took William to court for access to her daughter.
The court case reports makes for sad reading as it is full of accusations on both sides as each tries to make out the other is not fit as a parent.
The result of the court case was that Edith lost her petition to be allowed access to her daughter, and the courts decided that the daughter should be sent back to be under the guardianship of Charles Ovenden and Mary Ovenden.
We are not exactly certain what happened to their daughter, Isabella Gertrude, after the case was completed, but we assume that she went back to Ireland and lived with Charles Ovenden and his two daughters.
However, we do know that on the 2nd Dec 1897, Isabella was back in New Zealand and was married to James Cecil Palmer at St. Michael and All Angels, Christchurch.  She went on to live until she was 83 and died on the 5th June 1961 and is buried in New Zealand in Wakapuaka Cemetery. 
Move to Earlscliffe
On October 25th 1922, at the age of 78, the Very Rev Charles Thomas Ovenden, now Dean of St. Patrick's, purchased Earlscliffe from Rachel Mahaffy. It was to be his summer residence.  He moved in not long after with his wife, Isabella Mary. 
Although we believe that only the two of them moved in, we do know that the deeds for Earlscliffe were made jointly between the Very Rev and his youngest daughter, Florence. 
Florence Irene Harriet Wynne-Finch
Florence Irene Harriet was the youngest daughter of C. T. Ovenden and was born on the 11th July 1886.
During the first world war, Florence was a V.A.D. (Voluntary Aid Detachment) for Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) and was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. 
During the war period, she married Lieutenant Horas Tristram Kennedy, of the Royal Scots Fusiliers on Nov 29 1916. They went on to have a son, Horas Tristram, named after his father, who was born in Eton, Buckinghamshire in England on 29th May 1917.
We assume that Florence continued to live in England. Although she had been married in Dublin in 1916, her child was born in England, so it is assumed that is where she lived, even after her parents died in 1924.
In the meantime, we believe that in 1924 (or early 1925) she rented out Earlscliffe to Robert Rooney. Learn more about Robert Rooney's life and time in Earlscliffe here:
She died on the 11th Dec 1978 at Beech House, Carlton, Cleveland, Middleborough, Yorkshire. 
Isabella (Ella) Gertrude Amy Webb
Isabella Gertrude Amy was the eldest daughter of C. T. Ovenden. She was born 16th Oct 1877 and was educated at Alexandra School, Dublin, Queen’s College, London, and at Göttingen in Germany.
She would later live in Earlscliffe and her full story can be found here:
List of Earlscliffe Residents
-  Title deeds and other legal documents that are currently in the possession of Karen Foley. The size of the lands were stated in the deeds as five acres, one rood and thirty five perches!
-  Taken from "Clogher clergy and parishes [microform] : being an account of the clergy of the Church of Ireland in the Diocese of Clogher, from the earliest period, with historical notices of the several parishes, churches, etc. Seen on the web http://www.archive.org/stream/MN5034ucmf_0/MN5034ucmf_0_djvu.txt on 2nd November 2021
-  See https://irishartindex.wordpress.com/o/ as seen 2nd November 2021
-  Irish Times, August 11, 1924, page 8
-  As mentioned in thePeerage.com, a genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe. http://www.thepeerage.com/p5765.htm
-  See the entry in http://www.thepeerage.com/p5764.htm#i57636
-  "Funerals", Irish Times August 28 1946, page 5
-  "The History of The Royal Scots Fusiliers (1678 —1918)" by John Buchan, as seen on the web http://uchebana5.ru/cont/3995188.html on the 24th Sept 2015
-  Obituary, Irish Times July 10th 1924.
-  See https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/170675181/isabella-gertrude-palmer and New Zealand Herald, Volume XV, Issue 5157, 28 May 1878, Page 2
-  Star (Christchurch), Issue 7202, 29 June 1891, Page 3, Supreme Court - Civil Sittings. https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TS18910629.2.32
-  Ashburton Guardian, 3rd July 1891 page 2 https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18910703.2.7
-  Lyttelton Times, Volume XCVIII, Issue 11444, 6 December 1897, Page 1. https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/LT1897122.214.171.124
-  Globe, Volume XXII, Issue 184, 20 January 1880, Page 2. Also see https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/146238053/william-henry-ovenden
-  Star (Christchurch), Issue 5522, 21 January 1886, Page 2
-  See https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/64949843/person/270194762959/facts
-  Taken from the UK, World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
This page was last updated on 27-Jul-2023 .