Series 37 - Birr Castle Prisoner of War Relief Scheme

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Birr Castle Prisoner of War Relief Scheme


  • 1915-1919 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

c.800 items

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Name of creator


Biographical history

William Edward Parsons, 5th Earl of Rosse, Baron of Oxmantown, 8th Baronet of Birr Castle, was born 14 June 1873 to Laurence Parsons, 4th Earl of Rosse, and Lady Frances Cassandra Hawke. Before inheriting the earldom, Lord Oxmantown was commissioned into a militia battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment in 1896, and was swiftly promoted to Lieutenant. A year later, he was commissioned as a regular officer in the Coldstream Guards, and later transferred to the Irish Guards on its formation in 1900, and promoted to Captain. On 19 October 1905 he married Lady Frances Lois Lister-Kaye, daughter of Sir Cecil Lister-Kaye, 4th Baronet and Lady Beatrice Adeline Pelham-Clinton. Upon the death of his father, William Parsons became the 5th Earl of Rosse and head of the Parsons family. He was promoted to Major in 1906 and resigned in 1908. In 1911 he was elected a Representative Peer. Lord Rosse returned to military service to fight in the First World War, was wounded in action, and died on 10 June 1918.

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Biographical history

Daughter of Sir Cecil Lister-Kaye, 4th Baronet, and Beatrice Adeline Lister-Kaye, she married William, 5th Earl of Rosse in 1905, with whom she had three children, Michael, Bridget and Desmond. Following Lord Rosse's death from injuries sustained in the Great War, she subsequently married Major de Vesci of Abbeyleix. During the war years at Birr Castle she organised a prisoner of war parcel service, mainly for soldiers from the Irish Guards, her husband's regiment.

Archival history

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Scope and content

Administrative correspondence relating to the prisoner of war relief scheme set up at Birr Castle under the patronage of Lady Rosse; postcards and letters of thanks from the prisoners of war from Irish regiments (but predominantly the Irish Guards) interned in Germany; and acknowledgment postcards of parcels received from same.

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System of arrangement

Original arrangement retained. Postcards and letters of thanks from prisoners were filed according to date received. Administrative correspondence relating to ordering supplies and notifications of the locations of prisoners have been separated into a separate file for clarity. Acknowledgement postcards were originally filed separately from letters of thanks and this was retained.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

By confirmed appointment only.
[email protected]

Conditions governing reproduction

Supplied for personal research and study only in accordance with the Copyright and Related Rights Act (2000).
Strictly no reproduction online, in print or broadcast without express permission of Birr Castle Archives.

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