For the Fourth Generation takes its title from a family memoir by Eva O’Malley written in 1954. In it she vividly captured the characters of earlier and contemporary members of her family, and recalled her own childhood at Denton House in Oxfordshire. Her father, Sir Edward O’Malley, who had a distinguished career as a colonial judge, had married Winifred Hardcastle, one of the four daughters of Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, a brewer and politician.
The second part of For the Fourth Generation contains eight other items on family members and houses. Joseph Alfred Hardcastle MP (1815-1899), born in extraordinary circumstances, in 1840 married a brewing heiress from Writtle worth £180,000 and managed to spend almost all of it. Peter Frederic O’Malley (1804-1874), born in Mayo, was the founder of the family in England. He made a highly successful career as a barrister in East Anglia, though a less successful one as a politician. His son, Sir Edward, wrote a poignant account of his own childhood, shared with his brother George, in the 1850s; while Winifred O’Malley wrote a short biography of the most talented artist in the family, her brother-in-law St Clair. The book ends with portraits of two houses, Monkswell House, on Chelsea Embankment, the home of another of Joseph Alfred Hardcastle’s daughters, Mary, Lady Monkswell, a prolific and mordant diarist; and Denton, where Eva O’Malley and her brother, the diplomat Sir Owen O’Malley, grew up together.
Both the Hardcastle and O’Malley families left extensive and revealing personal records, including letters, diaries, memoirs and photographs, published and unpublished books, houses and paintings. These allow the lives and personalities of members of both families to come to life with remarkable immediacy.
All those who are descended from Joseph Alfred Hardcastle or Peter Frederic O’Malley will find this book compelling.