UNIQUE decorations found in Timoleague’s Protestant church will come under the microscope at a History Day in Waterford devoted to Ireland-India links on Sunday September 3rd.
The church is famous for its unusual mosaic decorations which were paid for by Indian prince, the Maharajah of Gwalior
Dromana House, near Cappoquin, is noted for its lively, informal history conferences.
Owner, Barbara Grubb, describes the event: ‘We have four speakers telling us about Ireland and India, through architecture, gardening and painting.
I was very keen to include Timoleague’s fascinating Church of the Ascension in the programme. Its mosaics were begun in 1894, as a memorial to the Travers family, who lived locally.
‘The project was completed by the Cork architect William Henry Hill, at the expense of the Maharaja, and in memory of Aylmer Martin Crofts who was born in Cork in 1854, and studied medicine at UCC, then called Queen’s College.’
Barbara continued: ‘Ireland trained excellent doctors, but many of them had to go abroad to find work. Aylmer joined the Indian Medical Service. In 1886, he was appointed resident surgeon at Gwalior, one of India’s princely states.
The Maharajah was a small boy. Crofts became his tutor. In later years, when Maharajah Madho Rao Scindia grew up, got married and children of his own, the medical skills of Surgeon Crofts saved his son’s life.
‘It’s really no surprise that Maharajah Madho Rao Scindia wanted to honour the Irish gentleman who was his mentor and benefactor, although it’s a surprise to encounter the memorial to their friendship in a quiet place like Timoleague.