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Hugh Carleton Tierney 1842-1920

Like so many others, Hugh Carleton Tierney was a stranger who delved into the history of a new domicile chosen for him by fate and of which he could hardly have been aware in his youth and early manhood. He was born in Enniskillen, the small county town of Fermanagh, Ulster and was educated at Queen's University, Belfast. While still a young man he came to Carmarthen in 1874 to work as a journalist, first with the Carmarthen Journal and later with The Welshman, which latter he served as reporter and sub-editor for nine years before becoming its editor, a position he held with distinction for twenty-seven years.

The obituary in The Welshman, which he served so long and faithfully, described him as a 'capable journalist of the old school' and 'a gentleman of high literary attainment'. During the forty-six years he lived in Carmarthen he played a worthy part in the social and public life of the town, becoming a member of the Borough Council which he served for several years, and later of the Borough Education Committee.

An ardent Roman Catholic, he was one of the leading representatives of that faith in the town, where he was among the foremost in promoting the activities of St. Mary's Church. Yet he could readily co-operate with those of other faiths, particularly in the field of music, for he was a knowledgeable musician, who was enthusiastic in his support of Baxter Brookes, the organist of Christ Church, the new Anglican church in the west of the town, in organising chamber concerts to the delight of many townspeople.

He has been described as a man of dignified bearing, kind and courteous, yet genial and good humoured, all of which was accompanied by scholarly aptitudes which nowhere better revealed themselves than through his facile pen, whether at work or at leisure. He wrote countless articles for The Welshman, many of them relating to the history and archaeology of the town and county, which were prime among his leisure interests.

He was one of the founder-members of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society and Field Club and for many years was a regular contributor to the society's Transactions. He also contributed to Archaeologia Cambrensis, and although almost nothing appeared in book form, his written work on West Wales history and lore was extensive. His acknowledged authority in antiquarian matters ensured his election to honorary membership of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society, a jealously guarded privilege which was sparingly awarded.

Hugh Tierney retired from the editorship of The Welshman, at the end of 1915 and returned, now a widower, to his native town, where he rented a small cottage, which seems to have pleased him well enough, but, perhaps compelled by advancing years, he went to live with his only child, Miss Constance Tierney, who, having inherited her father's talent for music, was the organist at the Roman Catholic Church at Oban in Scotland; later he moved with his daughter to Southport, Lancashire, where Constance established herself as a music teacher.

Hugh Tierney died at Southport on 7th April 1920, aged 78, and was buried at St. Mary's R.C. Churchyard, Carmarthen, where his wife, a Carmarthen lady, is also buried. After his death, his daughter deposited a collection of her father's papers with the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society, which is now in the keeping of the Carmarthen Record Office (CRO Museum 264).

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