A Society Wedding, 1905


With thanks to Dave Barry for sending this over a few months ago. The following report, of a society wedding, appeared in the Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News, Saturday 03 June 1905.  The bride, Margaret McCarey, was from the McCarey pawnbroking family in Holytown and she was niece of Hugh Fegan, the noted pawnbroker of Blantyre; Hugh’s daughter Agnes was a bridesmaid.  The groom was Patrick Farrell, a prosperous mineral water manufacturer from County Down in what is now Northern Ireland.  The wedding party included guests from Holytown, Blantyre, other neighbouring locations, and from Ireland.

In contrast with current trends, there were some rather quaint customs and formalities in the ceremony and reception, as diligently noted by the reporter.  Three characters supporting the wedding were David Carey (mistakenly reported – understandably –  as McCarey), the noted Motherwell pianist of that era; Mirrlees Chassels, well-known proprietor of the Clyde Hotel in Bothwell; and one Professor Lynch, whose Larkhall band backed the formal quadrille dancing that was fashionable then.

A touching wedding, but…… there was a considerable sting in the tail.  The then happy couple produced a son, Francis Farrell, in 1908.  Unfortunately, within as little as two years, Patrick disappeared from Lanarkshire.  Although the couple remained married, their lives took completely separate paths.  He returned to Ireland, lost his business, eventually had another son, and died in 1949, a retired cook.  Margaret eventually took over the pawnbrokerage in Holytown, and passed away in 1958.  Their son moved to Glasgow. A glamorous start to married life, but one that soon lost its shine.

Here is the newspaper report. 


A very interesting wedding look place at Bothwell on Thursday, the contracting parties being Miss Margaret McCarey, Holytown, and Mr Patrick Francis Farrell, Banbridge, County Down, Ireland.

In the forenoon the wedding party drove in landaus to the Holy Family R.C. Church, Mossend, where the marriage was solemnised.  The party reached the sacred edifice at noon, when they were admitted by the Rev. Father Scannell and his three assistants, Fathers Griffin, O’Kenneally, and Czubarkis.  The church was crowded in every part, and the streets were lined with people, eager to obtain a view of the bride and bridegroom.  The chancel was tastefully and elaborately decorated with a large and rich profusion of flowers and palms, the gift of the bride

At twelve o’clock, to the strains of the Bridal March from “Lohengrin,” played on the organ by Mr David McCarey, Motherwell, the bride, leaning on the arm of her brother, Mr Henry McCarey, came up to the church, followed a moment later by the bridegroom.  Father Scannell, who was waiting in the sanctuary, then performed the marriage ceremony, which, from a Catholic standpoint, proved of quite exceptional interest.  The service was fully choral.  The bride, who was given away by Mr Henry Carey, her brother, was attended by three bridesmaids, viz., Misses Isabella Moore, Agnes Fegan, and Cissie Hughes, while Mr John Fegan, cousin of the bride, discharged the onerous and responsible duties of groomsman.

The bride was charmingly attired in a gown of beautiful white silk, covered with white lace chiffon, and lace sleeves.  She wore a white picture hat with white feather and chiffon trimming, and carried a lovely trailing bouquet of white lilies-of-the-valley and white roses.  On her wrist she wore a handsome gold bangle, the gift of the bridegroom.  The bride’s going-away costume was of cream serge, with cream picture hat.

Miss Isabella Moore, the chief bridesmaid, was charmingly gowned in white silk with blue silk and white lace trimming.  She wore a blue hat, and carried a bouquet of blue and white flowers.  Miss Moore also wore a pendant brooch, the gift of the bridegroom.  Miss Agnes Fegan, another bridesmaid, looked pretty in a gown of blue voile with lace yoke and cream insertion.  She wore a champagne-coloured picture hat, and carried a bouquet of white and blue flowers.  Miss Cissie Hughes, the third bridesmaid, was gowned in white voile, with white and pink hat, and carried a bouquet of white flowers.  She alas wore a beautiful gold bangle, the gift at the bridegroom.

After the register had been signed, the wedding party left the church to the strains of Mendelssohn’s famous Wedding March, rendered on the organ by Mr David McCarey.  The contracting parties, accompanied by about forty guests, afterwards drove in landaus to the Clyde Hotel, Bothwell, where the auspicious occasion was celebrated in a thoroughly becoming manner.  At the dinner which followed the Rev. Father Scannell occupied the chair, and amongst those present were:—Mrs McCarey, mother of the bride; Mr and Mrs Henry McCarey; Mr Hugh McCarey, brother of the bride; Mr John Farrell, Banbridge, County Down, brother of the bridegroom; Master Henry McCarey; Mr John Fegan, cousin of the bride; Miss Isabella Moore, Miss Agnes Fegan; Mrs and Miss Cissie Hughes, Portadown; and Mrs Hugh McLinden; Parish Councillor and Mrs Alex. McCann, Bellshill; Messrs Hamilton and Paterson, Holytown; Miss Imrie, Holytown; Mr McKay, Banbridge, Co. Down; Mr Byrne, Belfast; Mr MacConville, Portadown; Mr Ruddock, Banbridge; Mr and Mrs John P. McCaffrie, Blantyre; Miss Cissie McCaffrie, Blantyre; Miss Burns, Blantyre; Miss Curran, Killarney; and Mr James Smith, Blantyre.

After an excellent repast, purveyed by “mine host,” Mr Mirrlees Chassels, in his usual high-class style, had been partaken of, the Chairman introduced the toast-list by proposing the health of the Pope, which was cordially pledged.   Mr John Farrell, brother of the bridegroom, thereafter gave the toast of “His Grace the Archbishop and Clergy,” to which the Rev. Father Griffin suitably replied.  The toast of the evening, the health of the bride and bridegroom, was enthusiastically pledged on the call of the Chairman, and was feelingly acknowledged by the bridegroom.  The Rev. Ben. O’Kenneally proposed the health of the bride’s mother, for whom Mr Henry McCarey replied.  “The Bridesmaids” were heartily toasted in response to a racy and characteristic speech by Parish-Councillor Alex. McCann, while Mr John Fegan, the “best man,” replied on behalf of the three ladies.  The health of the grooms-man was proposed in felicitous terms by the bridegroom, and suitably acknowledged by Mr Fegan.  The last toast on the list, that of “The Visitors,” was proposed by the Rev. Father Scannell, and acknowledged by Mr John Farrell.

At the conclusion of the function dancing was engaged in by the company to spirited music supplied by Professor Lynch’s talented quadrille band from Larkhall.  Shortly before nine o’clock the happy couple, on leaving for the honeymoon, were escorted to the C.R. Station by a number of the guests, and the train passed out of the station amidst a deafening cannonade of fogsignals and the lusty cheers of the large crowd, which had assembled to see them off.  In the Hotel dancing, interspersed with songs, was kept up with spirit till ten o’clock, when the company dispersed.

Pictured between 1906 and 1912 is a group of Blantyre pawnbrokers, the profession I think lending itself to being ‘quite comfortable lifestyles’.

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