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Beatles Irish Heritage

Ringo Starr

INGO STARR was born on the 7th July 1940 at 9 Madryn Street, Liverpool, as Richard son of Richard Starkey. His parents, Richard Henry Parkin Starkey, a confectioner of 59 Madryn Street, and Elsie Gleave, were mated at St. Silas parish church, Toxteth, on the 24th October 1936. Elsie was born at 4 Hurry Street, Toxteth Park, on the 19th October 1914 when her father John Gleave was a bombardier working as a labourer in the tin-works at the garrison of the 8th Battalion Royal Lancashire Artillery. In civil life, he was a boiler-maker and lived at 3 Loxdale Street. He married Catherine Martha Johnson of 18 Tavistock Street at St. Matthew’s church, Toxteth Park, on the 12th April 1914.

Catherine was born at 34 Gaskell Street, on the 21 St April 1891, the daughter of a merchant seaman. Her father Andrew was the son of another Liverpool sailor, Peter Johnson; her mother Mary Elizabeth was the daughter of a gardener called James Cunningham also from Liverpool. Andrew and Mary were married at St. Thomas’s parish church in Liverpool on the 14th April 1875.

John Gleave, born at 11 Moville Street, Toxteth Park, onthe l1th April 1891, was the son of William Gleave and grandson of another William Gleave, boiler-makers of Fair View Place, Toxteth. His mother, Mary Kate, daughter of engine-driver William Con-roy of Byles Street, Toxteth, married William Gleave on the 10th June 1889 at St. Michael’s parish church, Walton on the Hill.

Richard Henry Parkin Starkey was the son of John Alfred Parkin (other-wise John George) Starkey, boilermaker, son of Henry Parkin Starkey, a driller of 31 Robinson Street, by Annie, daughter of a tinsmith, Alfred Bower of 26 Northumberland Street. Richard Henry was born at 68 Toxteth Street on the 1st October 1913. His parents were married at St. Matthew’s parish church there on the 31st July 1910.

Annie Bower, born at 14 Goring Street on the 22nd December 1889, was daughter and grand-daughter of tin-smiths. Her parents were married at St. Michael’s, Walton on the Hill, on the 10th November 1873. Her mother was Margaret Ellen, daughter of Joseph Parr of Haliburton Street. Her father, Alfred Bower, was the son ofajoiner, David Bower.

As one can expect, the lives of the two more famous Beatles have been better chronicled than those of George Harrison and Ringo Starr, so their possible Irish heritage is harder to pin down. Some press reports in England at the height of Beatlemania said that Ringo, whose real name is, of course, Richard Starkey, claimed some Irish heritage. However, in the first ever work exclusively done on Ringo, Alan Clayson's 1992 biography Ringo Starr (Straight Man or Joker?) the author describes Ringo as the only Beatle not having any Irish blood'.

From the Old English word meaning stiff, dry, severe or unyielding, Starkey is hardly the right surname for Ringo. It is one that is found in Cheshire records as early as the 1260’s. Parkin is a surname derived from the diminutive of the Christian name Peter, as Parr may be; although this has locative origins in Lancashire.

Cunningham also is a place name from Ayrshire. It is said to derive from an obscure Celtic name but probably comes from the Old Norse meaning the royal village.

Conroy is an anglicised form of the name of several Irish septs, of Galway, Leix and Dublin. Sellers of bows became known as bowers or bowyers and this is a surname of ancient origin.

Gleave from the Old French for a lance or spear, is similarly found as an early surname in England.

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