From down under to Crozier’s front door

Australian visitors Doug and Mary Williams pictured at Crozier's momument with Avonmore House in the background �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1515-22EB
Australian visitors Doug and Mary Williams pictured at Crozier's momument with Avonmore House in the background �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1515-22EB

A Brisbane couple who uncovered a family link to the Banbridge-born polar explorer Crozier, have recently travelled from Australia to visit the monument and birth-home of the naval officer.

Mary Williams shared her story with the Banbridge Leader last month, explaining how a set of candlesticks belonging to her great grandfather along with his curious name - Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier Spaul, eventually led to a genealogy hunt which connected her family to the explorer.

“Seeing the monument was something I thought I had to do and it made me feel very happy and satisfied,” said Mary, whose Great Grandfather Spaul’s own Grandfather - Captain Acheson Johnston Crozier - was the second cousin of the Banbridge explorer.

Mary and her husband Doug also visited Avonmore House, the three-story dwelling built in 1792 where the explorer had lived with his family. They then went on to see Crozier’s commemorative marble plaque in Holy Trinity Parish Church.

“Our experience in Ireland was amazing and the people we met were very friendly and helpful” said Mary.

“We felt very much at home and wished we could have stayed longer.”

Jason Diamond, council Heritage Officer, also helped Mary with her search.

“Jason spent well over an hour with us and was extremely helpful. He gave us some documentation and advice about places to go that were connected with my ancestors. One of these places was a church in Tullylish.

“At Tullylish Church of Ireland, we were walking towards the church when a woman hurried after us, grabbed Doug by the arm and said ‘Hello, you must join us for lunch,’” said Mary.

“It turned out that we’d arrived on the day of their fortnightly free lunch.

“Jim, one of the volunteers, took us to the church and unlocked the vestry so we could take photographs and then we had lunch in the hall.”

Mary also spent time with a woman she met at the new Gilford Castle, as one of Mary ancestor’s hailed from old Gilford Castle.

“We knocked on the door hoping there was someone there and met Christine, who invited us in and we compared my family tree with a version she had in a book.”

Mary also had a phone call from Martin Crozier who gave her additional information. Her search has now moved onto England.

“Today we’re in Kingsbridge in Devon trying to find the grave of one of my direct Crozier ancestors,” said Mary, “as my third great grandfather, Captain Acheson Johnston Crozier, was born in Stramore, Ireland in 1760 and died in Kingsbridge in 1807.”