Last Sunday, 2nd October, the guest preacher at the 11.15am Choral Eucharist in Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral was Rev. Canon Dr. Peter Babington, priest-in-charge of St Mary le Strand, London. His great-grandfather, Richard Babington was Dean of Cork from 1914 to 1951 and therefore ministered at Saint Fin Barre’s during tumultuous times in terms of both local and world history.
The Deans’ Chapel in the south transept was furnished in his memory and it is where past Deans names are inscribed on the marble walls. Canon Babington told the congregation that whilst family records and memories are scant, it is known that his great-grandfather was known as “Richie’ and that he used to write children’s stories, none of which have survived. It was also known that he was a boxer in his youth!
By sheer coincidence, while tidying up some Cathedral records later in the week, a silver medal was found bearing the following inscriptions:
On one side inscribed around part of the diocesan crest, ‘Where Fin Barre taught let the praise of Christ be sung‘; on the other side, the words of Psalm 87: 1 ‘His foundation is upon the holy hills’ and the Royal School of Church Music motto, ‘I will sing with the Spirit and I will sing with the understanding also‘; and inscribed on the very thin edge of the medal, ‘Ex dono Richardi Babington, Decani Corcaciensis A.C. MCMXXII‘ – Donated by Richard Babington, Dean of Cork, 1922 AD.
It remains unknown what is the exact purpose of the medal or who was supposed to wear it. An initial theory is that it was given for the newly appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers, the renowned Jock Horne, who held the office from 1922-1977. Further research is currently being conducted.