The Metges were a Huguenot family who fled France to escape religious persecution after the Edict of Nantes in 1685. They eventually settled in Navan in the early 18th century, and made their mark on the town.

The minute book of Navan Corporation from 1739 to 1808 was held by the Metge family for many years. It is now in the National Archives of Ireland. The Preston family  had an almost monopoly of the office of Portreeve or Mayor during these years, but the Metge family held the position in 1746, 1752, 1754, 1760, 1762, 1764 and 1768, a total of 7 times. 1

The Corporation's silver seal, with the inscription "Restaurato Carolo Secundo Respiramus", bearing the date 1661, and a pair of silver maces (1680) made in Dublin by Andrew Gregory, were sold by Metges to the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, and were subsequently donated by this family to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2

Due to representations made by John Bruton and the late John Teahan, they have been returned to Ireland, and are now on display in the National Museum in Collins Barracks. 3

Peter Metge was elected Portreeve of Navan in 1754. He was named Bencher (Judge) of the King's Inn Law Society in 1782, and held the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1784 to 1801. He died in May 1803 and is buried in Athlumney Graveyard.

 

RH Metge

 

R.H. Metge, pictured left, was the  nationalist (Parnellite) M.P for Meath at the end of the 19th century.

His son Capt. R.C. Metge was commissioned in the 5th Leinsters during World War 1, and was invalided home possibly suffering from shell shock.

He died in 1919.

In his obituary, the Meath Chronicle

on 11th Oct. 1919, described him as "broad minded and tolerant to the  last degree, Capt. Metge was the

worthy son of a worthy father."

 

The family lived in Athlumney House near Kilcarn, pictured below.

Metge's Lane off Market Sq. Navan and Metge Road, which passes close by Athlumney Housecommemorates the Metge family.

The Times, 13rd April 1880: The new Members of Parliament

Metge R.H. (County Meath)

Mr. Robert Henry Metge, of Athlumney near Navan, County Meath, elected as a Home Ruler, and a follower of Mr. Parnell, in the place of Mr. Nicholas Ennis, is the third son of the late Mr. John Charles Metge, of Dardistown, County Westmeath, by his marriage with Eliza, daughter of the late Mr. Henry Cole, of Twickenham, Middlesex. He was born in the year 1850, and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin where he graduated L.L.B. He is a magistrate for County Meath, and married in 1874, Miss Fanny Lambart, daughter of the Rev. Charles Lambart.

 

 

Robert Henry (R.H.) Metge

Louisa Charlotte Metge married Richard W. Everard in 1904. She was the daughter of Robert Henry Metge who was the second largest tobacco grower in Co. Meath after Sir Nugent Everard.  He was the executor of the Everard Estate in Randlestown in 1929.

athlumney house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lillian metge

Lillian Metge , pictured left,  was married to Robert Metge, son of R.H. Metge above. In 1914, she is a widow, who, along with her 2 young daughters, is living back in Lisburn Co. Antrim, the county in which she was born.

She was  wealthy and well educated, but as a woman, had no right to vote. She was deeply influenced by the Pankhursts in London and Hannah Sheehy Skeffington in Dublin.

She was originally content to contribute to the Suffragette newspaper The Irish Citizen, but became increasingly radicalised over time, eventually becoming a militant suffragette.

On 31st July 1914,  along with another prominent suffragette  Dorothy Evans, and 2 others, she was involved in the bombing of Lisburn Cathedral using dynamite. A 300 year old window was blown out. A quantity of suffragette literature was recovered.

The Suffragettes were remanded in prison, eventually being released on bail sureties of £100 each. The outbreak of WW1 meant that ultimately no charges were pressed. After the war had ended, women over 30 who had a university degree, or who were either a member of, or married to, someone on the Local Government Register, were allowed to vote, but it wasn't until 1928 that women in the UK were granted the right to vote on equal terms with men. Women in the Irish Free State could vote from 1922.

Sources for Lillian Metge:

Barbara Collins  BBC Radio Ulster Lecture 24th Feb. 2011

Irish Independent Aug. 3rd 1914

Photo Lillian Metge courtesy Dr. Ciarán Toal  - Irish Linen Centre Lisburn Museum

~~~

Below are several notices from The London Times relating to the Metge Family:


The Times, 13rd April 1880: The new Members of Parliament

Metge R.H. (County Meath)

Mr. Robert Henry Metge, of Athlumney near Navan, County Meath, elected as a Home Ruler, and a follower of Mr. Parnell, in the place of Mr. Nicholas Ennis, is the third son of the late Mr. John Charles Metge, of Dardistown, County Westmeath, by his marriage with Eliza, daughter of the late Mr. Henry Cole, of Twickenham, Middlesex. He was born in the year 1850, and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin where he graduated L.L.B. He is a magistrate for County Meath, and married in 1874, Miss Fanny Lambart, daughter of the Rev. Charles Lambart.

The Times, 22nd April 1920 : Death Notice
On the 12th April 1920, suddenly at Victoria Hospital, Belfast, Lilian Margaret ("Gwenn") Cole, daughter of the late Robert Henry Metge, L.L.D, Athlumney, Navan and Lilian Margaret Metge, Lisburn, Co. Antrim aged 25 years.

The Times, 24th April 1924:  Marriage Announcement
On the 23rd April at St. Margarets, Westminister- Frederick Julius Irvine, Vicar of Luddington, Leicester, to Dorothy Elise Cole, youngest daughter of the late Robert Henry Metge L.L.D., M.P., Athlumney, Navan and Mrs. Metge.

The Times, 19th June 1943
Death-Metge-on June 5, 1943, at Guilford, Francis Charles Metge, Captain, Royal Artillery, sixth son of the late R.H. Metge, Athlumney, Navan, Co. Meath.

The Times, 10th Jan 1951
Death- Metge- on Jan.8th 1951, very peacefully, Lady Clementine Ivy Metge of 26 Lowndes St., London, widow of Captain Rudolph Cole Metge, Athlumney, Navan. Funeral private. No flowers.
Metge Family History.
Athlumney House, dates from the eighteenth century and sits on the east bank of the Boyne, just south of Navan. The Metge family were Huguenot refugees fleeing the persecution of Catholics in France. Peter de la Metgee was the first of the family to arrive in Ireland. Settling at Athlumney he married Joyce Hatch and had four daughters and a son. He died aged 70 in 1735 and was succeeded by his son Peter. Peter held lands at Athlumney and Warrenstown, Dunboyne. Peter was married to Ann Lyon, a family from which a Queen Mother in England was to descend. On the staircase of Athlumney there were some carved oak ornaments brought over from Glamis Castle by Janet Lyon. They had four sons and eight daughters. Peter Metge died in 1774. Two of his sons served as MPs in the Irish House of Parliament. Peter Merge, eldest son of Peter Metge of Athlumney, was MP for Ratoath 1783-4 and also served as magistrate and portreeve (Mayor) of Navan. Peter was a lawyer. He served as M.P. for Boyle and became Baron of the Exchequer. Baron Metge was a local commissioner appointed to supervise the Boyne Canal in 1787. John Metge, second son of Peter Metge of Athlumney, was MP for Ratoath 1784-90. A captain in the 4th Dragoons he acted as Henry Grattan‟s second in his famous duel with Corry in 1800. Peter became deputy auditor general of the Irish Treasury. John later went on to represent Dundalk in the parliament in Westminister on three separate occasions. He served as a seatwarmer for the Earl of Roden who was patron of Dundalk. John also acted as a representative for Lord Roden and signed deeds on his behalf. John inherited Athlumney on the death of his brother, Peter and he was succeeded by his son, Peter Ponsonby.
In 1830s Athlumney was home to Peter Ponsonby Metge and was described as “beautifully situated on the banks of the Boyne, commanding some pleasing views and the demesne is well planted and tastefully embellished.” In the 1800s an underground passage, a souterrain, was discovered at Athlumney and featured in many learned books of the era. In 1876 Peter Ponsonby Metge of Athlumney held 788 acres in county Meath. Peter‟s brother, John Charles, settled at Sion and in 1876 J. C. Metge of Sion, Navan held 968 acres in Westmeath. Peter Ponsonby died in 1873 and was succeeded by his nephew, Robert Henry Metge.
Robert Henry Metge was M.P for Meath from 1880 to 1884. He married Frances Lambart, daughter of Rev. Charles Lambert, rector of Navan and grand-daughter of Gustavus Lambert of Beauparc. Robert Henry died in 1900 and was succeeded by his son, Robert Henry. Another son Captain Rudolph Cole Metge died as a results of wounds suffered during the first World War. Robert Henry was born in 1875 and married Mary Galway Creagh of Mallow in 1914. Major Robert Henry Metge, fought in the Boer War and was a survivor of the siege of Ladysmith. He served as a captain in the Welsh regiment and was major in the Leinster regiment. When he returned to Athlumney he fished regularly in the Boyne. In 1930 he wrote a letter to the Irish Times complaining of the decline in the fishing stock in the Boyne and its tributaries. Major Metge came into possession of the seal of the corporation of Navan. He lent it to the National Museum but it was later acquired by Randolph Hearst. Metge supported the efforts of Sir Nugent Everard in promoting the growing of tobacco in the county. He also bred pedigree British Berkshire pigs. Major Metge was a member of the Navan branch of the British Legion. His wife died in May 1939. In the early 1900s Athlumney was leased to a Mr. Collier, owner of Collier‟s Weekly and New York magazine. The Duc d‟Orleans visited Mr. Collier there. The Duke was the pretender to the throne of France. Some of the Metge Estate was purchased under the 1923 Land Act. Later the house was occupied by the McEntegart and Farrell families. Metge‟s Lane in the centre of Navan and Metge Road, Athlumney commemorates the family today.
Copied from meath-roots.com

 

Sources:

1   The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 1893 p.53

2.  The Waters of the Boyne and Blackwater Cyril Ellison 1983 Blackwater Press

3.  Treasures of the Boyne Valley p.50 Peter Harbison Gill & McMillan 2003

4.  The Tobacco Fields of Meath Liam Nevin 2010

Meath Chronicle Archives

Navan by the Boyne, Noel E. French 1986

Navan Town Council (plaque in Metge's Lane)