Mary Henderson & Family

Holy Trinity Church, Westport
Author's personal photo
Westport House (RTE Archives)
Mall River, Westport, Co. Mayo
Holy Trinity Cemetery , Westport. Co. Mayo
Image by Dympna Joyce.
Westport, Co. Mayo

Teacher / Headmistress

This elegant lady was an inspiration to several hundred children under her care.

Born during 1892 Mary Agnes Henderson (Molly) was daughter of Jones & Josie Ferris (nee McManamon) of Clogher in a rural area of Westport Co. Mayo.  She was sister of Harriet Rose.

Her initial education would have occurred locally.  She received her vocational training in teaching in Dublin.


There was a report from Easter Rising 1916 that she was caught up in the event.  She sought refuge in a building but was detained & questioned.  Her words were ‘her memory stopped functioning.’  She suffered from post-traumatic stress for years.


That traumatic affair ended with the order by Lord Sligo to return her to Westport by train


Mary Henderson frequently visited her sister Harriet Rose at her school at Claremont, Dublin. She was headmistress of Holy Trinity national school on Westport’s Newport road.


She was a Gaelic speaker.  She had a vast knowledge of folklore.


Mary Henderson married Alfred Joseph Henderson (1887-1943) from Ballindine in Co. Mayo.


Mary Henderson’s demise occurred during 1983.  She is interred in Holy Trinity graveyard, Newport Road, Westport.

Have wonderful memories of Mrs. Henderson at various afternoon tea sessions in her house over the years.  Spent delightful hours walking or chatting in the beautiful garden.  She was an excellent hostess with a remarkably interesting humorous intellect.  (NBC)

Alfred Joseph Henderson

His story was interesting.  He left school at sixteen years old & emigrated to England.  By 1911 he resided at Newton by Chester.  He was employed as a forester later obtained a position as a woodsman at Chat Worth House (Seat of the Duke of Devonshire).  He secured a cottage in a nearby village.  When the Duke was posted as Governor General to Canada Henderson secured a post with Lord Sligo of Westport.  Wood Cottage on Newport road was allocated as his accommodation.  Dr. Huddy recalled her father Frank Ferris’s trips as ‘going into the wilderness to look how Uncle Alf’s plantations were going.’  ‘He was possessed by a desire to acquire extensive scientific knowledge concerning the management of large estates.’  ‘He knew how to raise seedlings in the most appropriate geographical locations.’  Also, that ‘sometimes, ‘reject’ plants appeared at the Wood Cottage garden especially the Cedrus Atlantica outside the front door.’ 

Harriet Rose

Harriet Rose (1900-1993) or Haddy (as she preferred to be called) like her mother was an accomplished artist.  She was a polymath, she exceled at various sports.  She was extremely interested in Natural History.

Her story by the author may be read on this link:

Jessie Ferris

Jessie Ferris was an accomplished artist & sculptures with a liberal outlook who moved in bohemian circles.  Jessie recounted her story to Molly of the time she was sent to Canada to assist Lady Pelly; Queen Victoria’s daughter Louise’s Lady in Waiting.  Louise had an accident when a horse drawn carriage overturned.  When she recovered Jessie accompanied the royal party to a hunting lodge.  She surprised the indigenous inhabitants there by her travel in their canoes with her fishing skills.


Information above from Dr. Huddy Mary Alice The Henderson & Ferris Family 2019 in Cathair na Mart Historical Journal no 36 (pages 68-73).  The article includes an image of Mrs. Henderson (by June Bourke) at her cottage also an image of Harriet Rose.


No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.