Graves, James (DNB00)

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GRAVES, JAMES (1815–1886), archæologist, eldest son of the Rev. Richard Graves, was born in the town of Kilkenny on 11 Oct. 1815. He graduated B.A. at Trinity College, Dublin, and became a clergyman of the protestant episcopalian church in the diocese of Ossory. Through the influence of a relative, J. G. A. Prim, editor and subsequently proprietor of the ‘Kilkenny Moderator,’ Graves became interested in archælogical pursuits, the results of which he published in that journal. Some memoranda, by Graves and Prim, concerning the ancient topography of Kilkenny, were included in a volume of annals of Ireland edited by the Rev. Richard Butler (Dublin, 1849). Graves and Prim helped to establish the Kilkenny Archæological Society for the preservation, examination, and illustration of ancient monuments of Irish history, manners, customs, and arts, especially as connected with the county and city of Kilkenny. The initial meeting of this society was held in May 1849, and its first publication appeared in 1850. In 1857 Graves and Prim issued at Dublin a quarto volume on the history, architecture, and antiquities of the cathedral church of St. Canice, Kilkenny—a portion of a projected work on the history of the diocese of Ossory, which was never completed. In 1863 Graves was presented with the small living of Inisnag, about eight miles from Kilkenny. In 1869 the Kilkenny Archæological Society became the Royal Historical and Archæological Association of Ireland. Graves continued to labour assiduously in its behalf, aided by Prim, who died in 1875. Graves edited in the Rolls Series ‘A Roll of the Proceedings of the King's Council in Ireland for a portion of the Sixteenth Year of the Reign of Richard II, A.D. 1392–3’ (London, 1877). A government pension of 100l. was awarded him. He died at Inisnag on 20 March 1886.

[Unpublished letters and papers of Rev. James Graves; Transactions of the Kilkenny Archæological Society; Journals of the Royal Historical and Archæological Association of Ireland.]

J. T. G.