Upton Papers

Repository: Royal Irish Academy

Identity Statement

TitleUpton Papers
Archive ReferenceIE RIA Upton Papers
Web Link to this Entryhttps://iar.ie/archive/upton-papers
Creation Dates1798-1941
Extent Medium10 boxes, 8 binders


Creator(s): Upton, Henry Arthur Shuckburgh, 1870-1947

  • Administrative History ↴

    Henry Arthur Shuckburgh Upton, FRSAI, MRIA was born in 1870. He was the only son of Arthur Shuckburgh Upton of Coolatore, Moate, Co. Westmeath who died in 1889. His mother was Alice Plunkett Dunne, daughter of the Rev. Robert Hedges Dunne of Brittas, Queen’s County [Co. Laois] who was the Rector of Kilnegarenagh, King’s County [Co. Offaly]. Upton had a keen interest in genealogy and local history. He was an active member of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead (Irish Memorials Association) and following the death of Lord Walter Fitzgerald was appointed editor of the association’s journal, serving from 1923 until 1928. Thomas Sadlier of the Dublin Office of Arms, with whom he regularly corresponded, was the treasurer of the association during the same period. Upton was involved in local politics and served as a magistrate for Co. Westmeath, a Justice of the Peace and High Sherriff of Westmeath in 1897. This may account for his interest and research into High Sheriffs and the publication of his paper on the subject in Kildare Archaeological Society in 1930. He was interested in the landed families of Westmeath and surrounding counties and in particular his maternal ancestors, the Dunnes of Brittas. He had an antiquarian interest in archaeology and was a useful local intermediary between the National Museum and finders of archaeological artefacts in midland bogs. These personal pursuits lead to the publication of articles by him in the Journals of the Kildare Archaeological Society and the Royal Society of Antiquaries. He became a member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland in 1896, became a fellow of that society in 1899 and in the same year was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy. Upton’s letters reveal little about the man himself. On the 1911 census return he noted his occupation as ‘J.P., farmer and motor engineer’. In 1897 he married Victoria Florence Emma Kinloch, daughter of Colonel George Hibbert Kinloch of Kair, Kincardineshire and in the 1911 census it was recorded that they had no children. Upton died at Coolatore on 19th June 1947 and was buried locally following a service at Horseleap Church.
  • Archival History ↴

    Upton bequeathed his personal archive and his library of over 100 items to the Royal Irish Academy and his collection of archaeological artefacts to the National Museum. The Upton Collection was received by the Academy in 1949 and 1950.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Upton, Henry Arthur Shuckburgh, 1870-1947 ↴

    Upton’s genealogical pursuits are well represented in this collection and the collection includes many typewritten transcripts of deeds and pedigrees from the 17th – 19th century, mostly concerning Westmeath, Offaly and Laois families. Upton used these documents to trace the pedigrees of various families, especially the Dunne, Hodson, Geoghegan, Fetherston and Upton families.

    Genealogical information also appears in Upton’s correspondence and particularly that with Thomas Ulick Sadlier, which covers the period 1914 – 1934 and 1941. As Upton kept carbon copies of his outgoing correspondence, copies of letters to Sadlier dated 1915 – 1933 survive. Other correspondents who feature regularly include B. St G. Lefroy, Thomas Redington Roche (architect), Fr. Wallace Clare of the Catholic Presbytery, R.J. Devenish of Denver, Lord Walter Fitzgerald of Kilkea Castle and members of the Hodson and Dunne families.

    Upton’s interest in archaeology is represented by a file of newspaper cuttings and correspondence. Of particular interest are letters relating to the excavations of Ballinderry crannog and Dromore prehistoric tomb and the donation of a bronze cauldron to the National Museum. Correspondents include Dr Adolf Mahr of the National Museum in Ireland and Hugh O’Neill Hencken of Harvard. Upton corresponded with Sadlier on matters arising from the management of the Irish Memorials Association and received correspondence on the subjects of grave inscriptions etc.

    His interest in the history of High Sheriffs can be found in correspondence and a series of information cards listing the names and genealogies of the High Sheriffs of Ireland between the 17th – 20th centuries. The collection includes drafts for his article on the Chichester House Claims and a list of individuals whose lands were confiscated after the rebellion of 1641.

    It also includes minute books of the meetings of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Moate and Leinster dated 1798 – 1852 and a copy of the list of the original subscribers towards the building of the Lying-In Hospital, Dublin.

    His correspondence with Sadleir occasionally touches upon the turbulent political situation in Ireland and events such as the destruction of the Public Records Office in the Four Courts in 1922, the murder of Arthur Vicars, former Ulster King of Arms by the IRA and passing references to hijackings, shootings and house-burnings during the War of Independence. Sundry. His correspondence is peppered with references to motor cars, engines and water-pumps, homemade crystal radio sets and to the management of the estate at Coolatore.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection appears to have arrived at the Academy in unsorted bundles, although certain files of correspondence appear to have been kept in order of date and sender by Upton. The unarranged collection was coded and listed in the 1950s – each bundle being given a separate consecutive number. The collection was re-catalogued in 2012 to substantially expand on the detail contained in the original list. It was decided that the best course of action was to retain the 1950s numbering as a full rearrangement would invalidate all pre-2012 references to the collection. This accounts for the unarranged structure of the collection.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available by appointment to holders of a RIA Reader’s Ticket
Conditions Governing ReproductionContact RIA Library for reproduction information
Creation Dates1798-1941
Extent Medium10 boxes, 8 binders
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids Descriptive List Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials


NoteThe 2012 catalogue supersedes an older list and has been assigned the older list’s number, A008.

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteMartin Fagan
Rules/ConventionsISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd ed., Ottowa, International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions41000