Mourners bid farewell to Lord Carbery

By Louise Roseingrave

THE family crypt at Castlefreke Chapel received the remains of the 11th Baron Carbery on Tuesday August 7th, the first lord to be entombed in the mausoleum in 167 years.


The horse-drawn hearse, carrying the remains of Lord Carbery, arrives at St Michael's Church, Rathbarry. (Photo: Paddy Feen)
The horse-drawn hearse, carrying the remains of Lord Carbery, arrives at St Michael's Church, Rathbarry. (Photo: Paddy Feen)
Lord Peter Evans-Freke was a poet, painter, composer, classicist, and an 'incurable romantic', his second son John told mourners at his funeral mass in Rathbarry Church.


Some 25 members of the Evans-Freke dynasty, who re-acquired Castlefreke in 1999, arrived at their ancestor's home place to bid a final farewell to Lord Carbery, who died last week in Twickenham, England.

A civil engineer by trade, Lord Peter Ralfe Harrington Evans-Freke served behind enemy lines during WWII carrying out operations to destroy Japanese infrastructure and later helped clear the way for allied troops at the infamous Battle of the Tennis Court at Kohima, India in 1944.

Family, his education at Downside School – a prominent public school for Catholic boys – the war, and his mother were listed among the most important influences on Lord Carbery's life. Described as 'an extraordinary classicist' by his son, John Evans-Freke, Lord Carbery was a prolific writer, whose only published work, a book of poetry entitled Love, Life and Laughter, was among the gifts brought to the altar by his children.

His Knights of Malta insignia, which he wore on special occasions, rosary beads and a piece of music he composed were offered at the Mass, a full sung Tridentine Latin Mass celebrated by an abbot of Downside Abbey, Dom Boniface Hill, together with con celebrant Fr Patrick McCarthy (PP) and Dom Phillip Tierney of Glenstal Abbey.

Lord Carbery was remembered as 'a Renaissance man in the true Victorian style,' with a deep devotion to the Catholic Church, his son John told mourners.

He and his late wife Lady Joyzelle Carbery (nee Binny), whom he married in 1941, visited Lourdes regularly during their 64 years together. Both only children, Lord and Lady Carbery were passionate about family and their five children, 14 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren were Lord Carbery's 'greatest achievement' in life, his son said.

He was particularly proud of his son Stephen Evans-Freke’s work restoring Rathbarry Castle and Castlefreke itself, where work is on-going. Following his wife’s death in 2006, Lord Carbery married his second wife, Lady Elisabeth Carbery, to whom John paid tribute for 'looking after him tirelessly.'

‘He was kind to everyone, he had time for everyone, he enjoyed life to the full, enjoyed a good story and was an incurable romantic. His huge infectious laugh will always be remembered. He was enormously talented, gifted with an inquiring mind. Although born into a seemingly conventional family, his upbringing was far from conventional,’ John Evans-Freke said.

Lord Carbery inherited the title from his uncle, John Evans-Freke, the tenth Baron Carbery who succeeded to the title in 1898. He was noted for his three wives and eccentric behaviour, later renouncing his title and relocating to Kenya where he ran a coffee plantation.

John Lane from Clonakilty told how his great-granduncle, James Lane, enjoyed gainful employment as the resident farrier at the Rathbarry Castle estate.

‘They were excellent employers, they brought money into the area and are popular locally, the crowd here today is evidence of that,’ he said.

Following Tuesday's funeral, the 11th Baron Carbery was carried in an original 19th-century horse-drawn hearse for entombment in the family crypt next to the ruined Castlefreke Chapel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at Long Strand. A piper played Nearer my God to Thee as Lord Carbery's remains were shouldered by his sons and grandsons into the mausoleum, as relatives and local people gathered in the churchyard to pay respects.

The 12th Baron Carbery title will be taken up by Lord Carbery's eldest son, Michael.

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