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Benares House Gallery
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Title: Coat of Arms - Magrath Family
Identifier: 2005.4.47
Donor: Barbara Larson
Item Date: c. 1920
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2005
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A piece of card on which is pasted a painted coat of arms design in brown and beige colours. The shield has 3 lions in the top left quarter, a hand holding a cross in the top right quarter, a hand holding a hatchet in the bottom left quarter, and finally a deer in the bottom right quarter. Beneath the shield, the motto reads: Fortiter Gerit Crucem. Above the shield, there is a knight in armour holding a shield with a cross painted on it and a spear.

History: The motto underneath the coat-of-arms reads in Latin: FORTITER GERIT CRUCEM. Translated into English, this reads: Bravely He Carries the Cross. This is the family coat of Arms for the Magrath Family.

Reverend James Magrath (1769-1851) was the first rector of St. Peterís Anglican Church in Erindale. He emigrated from Shankhill, Ireland, to Canada in 1827. Reverend James Magrath (1766-1851) was from a family with a long tradition of producing Irish Protestant ministers. During the Reformation, Mile Magrath left the Catholic Church to become the Archbishop of Cashel, appointed by Queen Elizabeth I. James Magrath would follow in this tradition and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in 1790. Reverend Magrath, at the age of 58, immigrated to Upper Canada from Shankhill, Ireland (1827). He would become the first rector of St. Peterís Anglican Church also know as the Toronto Mission. Reverend Magrath found his new parish in a "deplorable state" upon his arrival in the village then called Springfield-on-the-Credit. He was said to have commented that his parish was "bounded by the Rocky Mountains to the west and by the North Pole". Reverend Magrath had settled on land north of Dundas Street which he named "Erindale". Later the village of Springfield would become Erindale named after the Magrath property. Magrath lived with his wife, Mary (she died in 1839), and his four sons and one daughter. Despite the hardships, Reverend Magrath was known to be popular with both the upper and lower classes. He served at St. Peter's Church until his death in 1851 at the age of 82.

Items donated by Barbara Sayers Larson. Barbara Larson is the daughter of Annie Harris (1882-1986) and Beverly Sayers (1883-1976) and granddaughter of Arthur (1843-1932) and Mary (1859-1954) Harris. Barbara was born January 27, 1920 and was the youngest of three children. Barbara and her siblings, Geoffrey Sayers (1907-1997) and Dora Sayers Caro (1915-2004) donated Benares to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1968 after inheriting it from their aunt, Naomi Harris (1883-1968). Many of the items donated by Barbara originally belonged to her mother or Aunt Naomi and came from Benares. Barbara lived in a log cabin originally given to her mother by her grandparents at 1723 Birchwood Drive. She still maintains a close tie with Benares and is now living in Kelowna, British Columbia, with her daughter.
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