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Monday, 31 October 2011

More On The Lysaght Family of Mountnorth

The old Irish name for Mountnorth was Ardihoig.

Under the Act of Settlement of 1666 - 1668, Cornet John Lysaght received about 500 acres of land in the townlands of Ardehoige, Ballynalty and Garryduffe.

The Act of Settlement was part of the land grab which was put into action following the defeat of the 1641 Rebellion, whereby the Catholic population was punished for their support of Charles I by being thrown off their land and banished to the west of the country. Following the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, a reversal of these confiscations was expected; however, in reality, only a minority of Catholics got their old properties back.

In 1750, Smith wrote - ‘Mount North, within three miles of Mallow, is an elegant seat of John Lysaght, Esq. The house is a square building, with two wings. There are fine plantations to the north of ash, oak and fir, with large groves, beautiful avenues, and pleasant gardens. Fronting the house is a noble canal well stocked with fish. The adjacent demesne is also finely planted, and well laid out into beautiful meadows and pasture grounds.’

In 1777 and 1806, Lord Lisle was noted as owning Mountnorth.
In 1801, Nicholas Lysaght and Edward Lysaght, both of Mountnorth, were members of the Duhallow hunt.
Mountnorth was unoccupied by 1814.

In 1905, the Honorable Horace George Lysaght wrote that there was an inscribed stone built into the wall of a farmyard close to Mountnorth, which stated that the Mountnorth obelisk, which stood on a hill then known as ‘Steeple Hill’, had been built by John Lysaght (Lord Lisle of Mountnorth) to commemmorate the Battle of the Boyne in which his father, Nicholas Lysaght, had fought.

The will of Nicholas Lysaght was dated 1724 and part of it reads: ‘…I leave and bequeath to the poor of Ballyclough £4 yearly forever, and I further leave to the poor of the said parish, £4 to be paid in one month’s time after my decease. Item, I leave and bequeath to the poor of the parish of Kilmallock, £4 yearly forever, and a further sum of £4 to be paid in one month’s time after my decease.
…I order and direct that when my son Nicholas shall marry, that he shall hold for the time of 11 years, Ardehoige, als. Mountnorth, and Curraghilehane, at the yearly rent of £80, payably to my son John.
…Item, I order that my son Arthur shall hold for the term of 11 years from the time of his marriage, the ploughland of Clareen at the yearly rent of £40, payable to my son John, in order that he may have a dwelling place as well as my son Nicholas.’

The heir of Nicholas Lysaght, mentioned in the above will, was John Lysaght, 1st Lord Lisle, whose will was dated 1781: ‘…I leave and bequeath to my son James the lands of Ardvullen in the County of Limerick, and I leave and bequeath to my wife a lease of 99 years, part of the lands of Borders Town and Blackrock, Co. Dublin, and and all my furniture in my house called Fort Lisle in same lands. Also my house lately purchased in Molesworth Street, Dublin, and all furniture in said house, or in my house in Dawson Street, except plate; also the rings and jewells (sic) I purchased from W. Southwell, except the earrings valued at £500...’

In 1778, there was a dispute in court between Lord Lisle and Mr. Purcell over the disputed right of way through lands at Crumlin. This was land that must have passed into the ownership of the Lysaght family when Lord Lisle married Catherine Deane, the daughter of Joseph Deane of Crumlin. It is known that Lord Lisle used Joseph Deane’s house in Crumlin as his country residence, but later abandoned it to live at Fort Lisle, his house in Blackrock in south Dublin.

 'A History of The County Dublin' by Francis Elrington Ball (1902) makes mention of Fort Lisle which stood on the site of the present park in Blackrock:  'Fort Lisle, which stood where the upper bank of the People's Park now lies, was then the residence of John, first Lord Lisle, whose penurious habits gave great opportunity to the satirists of his time.  After his death in 1781  the house was occupied by his widow, whose brother, Admiral Matthew Moore, died in 1787 in Blackrock, ordering his body to be interred at low watermark in the strand, and by his son-in-law, Mr John Travers.  In 1793 the house and grounds were turned into a place of public recreation under the name of Vauxhall Gardens, which were said, in the language of that period, to have crowned "the fascinating vicinity of Blackrock with a resistless charm." '

And from 'Brief Sketches of the Parishes of Booterstown and Donnybrook': 
'...1793. The following advertisement appeared in the Dub. Chron. 29th June: - "Vauxhall-Gardens, Blackrock (built and) formerly occupied by Lord Lisle. The proprietors of the above place respectfully inform the nobility and gentry residing at, and visiting the Rock, that they have engaged a complete Military Band to attend on Tuesday next, and every Tuesday and Thursday, from 5 to 9 o'clock each evening. They humbly solicit public patronage and support, which they will anxiously endeavour to deserve....The house is laid out in a style of elegance, as a hotel and tavern, and provided with every accommodation equal to any house in England or Ireland."  In the same newspaper, 6th July, it is stated that "Vauxhall-Gardens were crowded as usual, on Thursday last, with a most brilliant and fashionable assemblage, with increased reputation...The house is furnished with everything in season; bowers, grottoes &c, interspersed through the dark shady walks, make the gardens truly romantic:  and the effect the music has on the sea, which flows at the foot of the garden, can better be imagined than expressed."  ....It was for sale in 1804 (Saunders's News-Letter 29th October); and for some years past has been a boarding-house.'

From the same book:  '1783: "Married, July 25th, by Consistorial Licence,  John Travers, Esq., to the Honorable Grace Licet (Lysaght, second daughter of John, first Lord Lisle), by the Revd Mr. Ryan, Chaplain to the Right Honorable Lady Lisle."  - Visitation-return, Consist. Court, Dublin.'

And also:  '1787: "It is a singularity in the will (made 15th May, and proved 8th September, 1787) of Admiral (Matthew) Moore,  (second son of Edward Moore, Esq., of Mooresfort in the county of Tipperary..., and brother of Elizabeth, m. in the year 1746 John, first Lord Lisle), who died a few days ago near the Blackrock, that he ordered his body to buried at low-water mark. He was a man of opulence, and so attached has he been to a marine character, that from the turret of his garden the different naval flags of England were always seen flying, and in particular a flag for Sunday. The influence of his friends should be exerted to rescue his remains from the various revolutions of the tides, and deposit them in peace on the better security of terra firma." - Dub. Chron. 5th July; and Gent. Mag. 1787." '

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Lord Lisle of Mountnorth and his wife Catherine Deane

Our seven times great grandparents on our mothers’ side were John Lysaght, Lord Lisle and his wife, Catherine Deane. (Explanation: their daughter was Mary Lysaght who married Kingsmill Pennefather. They had the Rev. John Pennefather who was the father of Edward Pennefather who was the father of John Pennefather. He had Isabella Pennefather who married Charles Jones. Their daughter was Tennie who married Joseph Edwards Dickson - one of their daughters was our maternal grandmother, Vera Dickson.)

Lord Lisle descended from the ancient house of O’Brien of Clare - his surname, Lysaght, was a derivation of the Irish ‘Giolla-Iosa’ meaning ‘hired men’, and was conferred upon one of the early members of his family on account of his prowess displayed in the Irish provincial wars, in other words, he supported the winning Protestant side.

Lord Lisle’s grandfather was the earlier John Lysaght of Mountnorth, Co. Cork, who was active in the suppression of the 1641 rebellion when the Irish Catholic gentry tried to seize control of the country and to force concessions for Catholics living under English rule. The rising was prompted by Catholic fears of an impending invasion of Ireland by the anti-Catholic forces of the English Parliament who were defying the authority of the King, Charles I. The ensuing suspected alliance between the Irish rebels and King Charles I helped to spark the English Civil War of the 1640’s. The Irish rebellion broke out in 1641 and continued on until the 1650s when Oliver Cromwell - a figure much despised in Irish history, yet considered a hero in England - decisively defeated the Irish Catholics and Royalists, and re-conquered the country.

John Lysaght was a cornet of horse under the command of Lord Inchiquin and distinguished himself at the Battle of Knockinoss, near Mallow in Co. Cork. The battle took place on 13th November 1647. The English forces, under Lord Inchiquin routed the greater Irish forces who were under the command of Lord Taaffe and the Scot Alasdair McDonnell. As a reward, Lord Inchiquin who was a member of the O’Brien family, was given a reward by the English parliament of £1000.

One of John Lysaght’s sons, James Lysaght, entered into the service of the Protestant William of Orange and was killed at the Battle of Steenkerque, on August 3rd 1692, in southern Holland. This battle, which the French army won, formed part of the Nine Years War on continental Europe when France attempted to extend its influence and found itself pitted against a joint English-Scottish-Dutch-German alliance under the command of Prince William of Orange.

John Lysaght’s eldest son was Nicholas Lysaght who commanded a troop of dragoons in the King’s own regiment in many parts of Flanders, England, Scotland and Ireland and fought at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. This battle was the culmination of the struggle for the English throne between the Catholic James II and the Protestant William of Orange. William’s victory cemented Protestant administrative supremacy in Ireland and laid the foundations for centuries of sectarian mistrust between the two traditions in Ireland.
Nicholas Lysaght married Grace, the daughter of Colonel Thomas Holmes of Kilmallock; their son, John Lysaght, was created Lord Lisle of Mountnorth on August 22nd 1758.

From ‘Irish and Scottish-Irish Ancestral Research’ by Margaret Dickson Falley:

The said John on the Happy Accession of his present Majesty was chosen Member of Parliament for the Borough of Charleville, and in 1725 Married Catherine, the third daughter and Co-Heiress, of Joseph Deane of Crumlin, Lord Chief Baron of His Majesty’s Exchequer in Ireland, by Margaret, Sister to the Earl of Shannon, and by the said Catherine, hath issue, John, who is Member of Parliament for Castlemartyr, Joseph and James, both of the Inner Temple, Margaret unmarried, and Mary Married Kingsmill, the Son of Colonel Richard Pennefather, both Members of Parliament for the City of Cashel, who, by her, hath three sons, Richard, John and Kingsmill and one Daughter.’

The principal seats of the Lysaght family were Mountnorth and Curraglass near Mallow in Cork, Lisle near Cork Harbour, Brickfield near Kilmallock on the Limerick/Cork border, and Crumlin in south Dublin. Later, our 4 times great-grandfather, Edward Pennefather, lived at Wellington in Templeogue/Crumlin, and I wonder did he inherit land there from his grandparents who were Lord Lisle and his wife Catherine Deane of Crumlin?

From ‘A Topographical History of Ireland’, 1840, under the heading for Ballyclough Parish north of Mallow :
‘The church…was erected in 1830, partly by subscription, towards which the late Lord Lisle contributed £100...A bequest of £4 per ann.late currency, from Nicholas Lysaght, Esq., is regularly paid by Lord Lisle and distributed among the poor…Mount North, a fine old mansion of the Lysaght family, has been deserted for many years, and is now in a very dilapidated state. Near the high road was an obelisk, erected on four arches by the first Lord Lisle, which was destroyed by lightning in the winter of 1834, and the stones were thrown to a great distance…the churchyard is the burial-place of the family of Lysaght, ennobled in the person of John, created Baron Lisle of Mount North, Sept.18th 1758, and also of the Longfields of Longueville.’

And from ‘Ireland and Its Rulers, since 1829’, published in 1844:

‘About four miles to the north-west of Mallow there stands an enormous, desolate house, which none of the present generation remembers to have been inhabited. It is built in the style of an old Italian Palace, in front is a large courtyard, enclosed by the wings of the mansion. Before the gates are the vestiges of a large oval pond, without water, and to the right of the house lies a long canal, intended for ornament, now choked up by weeds and dirt. The house was so placed that every wind except the South could play upon it…The very birds as they approach it seem to whirl away instinctively from its neighbourhood. There is the appearance of supernatural wretchedness stamped on the whole house. In the sultriest day of July, it wuld chill you to look at its crumbling roofs, its huge, tottering chimneys, and its black melancholy walls…
…Yet it is the misery of magnificence in decay for the house itself must have been one of the most superb edifices in Ireland. Between the middle and end of the last century, an Italian artist of great ability erected in the south of Ireland five or six edifices of much architectural beauty, and Mount North was the finest of them…
….In the middle of the last century (and later) the family of Lysaght possessed some parliamentary influence. They had an estate with a good rent-roll - were very ambitious and not unskilful courtiers. They got a Peerage by their politics - and determined to build a mansion suitable to their new dignity.’
The writer goes on to describe the squalor of the neighbouring village of Ballyclough - this was written one or two years before the onset of the Great Famine and ominously describes the appalling poverty of the Irish population at the time:

‘…Ballyclough begins exactly where Mount North ends on the west…at each side of the road, which is ridiculously wide, are groups of the smuttiest of imaginable urchins - some of them with their hands in their mouth, and most of them with their hands in the mud, many of them sprawling about on their half naked little bellies…There was something poetical about the wretchedness of Mount North in which noone resides, but in Ballyclough there is a swarming population of a neglected and forlorn peasantry that makes one miserable to think of…’

‘..And here, standing on this rising ground over Mount North, we see the history of the country depicted in dismantled castles, in ruined religious edifices, in deserted parks, and the dilapidated residences of an absentee, and alien aristocracy. Nor is that all: we see depicted in poetical symbols, the follies, miseries, and horrors of civil wars, and the futile fury of all the Irish factions that have during six centuries risen against the British power…’

Monday, 17 October 2011

More on Rev. David Hill Creighton, father of Geraldine O'Moore Creighton

In 'An Evangelical Saga' by Justice C. Anderson and Justice Anderson, we can see mention of David Hill Creighton's voyage to Uruguay:
    'Uruguay was one of the first countries of the Southern Cone of South America to receive an evangelical foreign missionary appointed by a European society.  The British invasion of Buenos Aires of July 25th, 1806, which caused great expectations in London, awakened the evangelical concern of the recently organized London Missionary Society.  The LMS, a predominantly Congregationalist society which later sent out such outstanding missionaries as Moffat, Livingstone, and Morrison, had received word that the inhabitants of the River Plate "were of Roman Catholic origin, but they were not fanatics,and they are open to persons of other orientations, especially the English."  Therefore, it decided to adopt the Argentine/Uruguayan coast as one of its mission fields, counting on the British occupation as its umbrella and base.
     The LMS immediately appointed David Hill Creighton to initiate the River Plate Mission. Even before the invasion, Hill had been preparing for the endeavor. He parted for Montevideo in 1806, with instructions to work prudently with the nationals, but to minister primarily to the English soldiers.  He came with a knowledge of Spanish, a supply of 600 New Testaments, and a large number of gospel tracts.  He arrived in Montevideo, still occupied by the British, in February of 1807. But due to the failure of the invasion, Creighton returned to England in July of the same year. The English troops had been driven out by the Argentines.  He left the Testaments with w friend, who immediately sold them "because there was great interest in the sacred book on the part of several priests and persons who came a long way to purchase them." '

In the early 1800s he was the assistant secretary to the Hibernian Sunday School Society - the secretary was James Digges La Touche whose family were involved with banking in Dublin. Interestingly, the Huguenot LaTouche family had their origins in Castle Street in Dublin, the street where Richard Williams, goldsmith, also lived before his later move to Grafton Street.

Later, in 1835, he was involved with the administration of the Juvenile Association for Promoting the Education of the Deaf and Dumb Poor of Ireland.  The annual reports published by this association show up the Williams family of 38 Dame Street on their list of subscribers. Matthew Barrington and his wife, of 13 Lower Fitzwilliams Street, appear - this family intermarried with the children of Richard Williams of Dame Street. 
Isaac Butt of College Green also appears on the list. Despite beginning his career as a Unionist and supporter of the Orange movement, he later represented the Fenians in court, and, following his experiences during the Famine of the 1840s, was one of the founding members of the Irish Home Rule movement.
Also present on the list of subscribers were the Quaker Bewley family of Dublin and the Guinness family of James' Gate.
The La Touche family reappear and the Queen, St. James' Palace, London,  makes a donation of £10 to the Society.  Ebeneezer Shackleton of Ballitore, the grandfather of Antartica explorer, Ernest Shackleton, can be also be seen.

Rev. David Hill Creighton's involvement with missionary work and a variety of Irish charities, serves to illustrate the proselytizing nature of Protestant thinking of the time. There was the strongly held belief that the Protestant faith was the one true religion, and that all other belief systems were immoral and unacceptable.
Thus the Claremont Intitute, founded to care for the deaf and dumb children of the country, used the Bible as the cornerstone of its educational system there, in much the same way that the Jesuits would gain control of their pupils' thinking through control of the school system later.  This is not to take away from the invaluable work done by the Claremont Institute in caring for and educating the deaf community of Ireland.
In their annual reports, The Juvenile Association regularly published their deaf pupils' letters home, and these make poignant reading!  I've transcribed a few of my favourites here:

   'Claremont, September 15th, 1830.
    My Dear Mrs. - I hope you are in very good health. I am very sorry you did not come to see me, I have been four years here, I did not see you in this Institution, I hope you will come to see me soon, I will be very much delighted to see you.  I am very much delighted that I came here...I am very glad I can read and write. The Deaf and Dumb girls get up at six o'clock, and they sweep their rooms,  and they clean their faces and hair - the girls play in the yard and then they go for breakfast;  we eat stirabout and milk at eight o'clock, every morning, and we play after in the yard, we come into school at ten o'clock.  The girls learn about many things, we dine at two o'clock every day,  and we eat broth and potatoes every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday,  and meat, cabbage and potatoes, every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, at two o'clock.  We play in the yard, and then go to work, until seven o'clock every evening in summer, and then play in the yard every evening. We go to supper, we eat bread and milk at eight o'clock every evening, and afterwards go to bed at nine o'clock....The Deaf and Dumb children were very much delighted to see the Siamese Youths last Monday evening, the Siamese Youths and Captain Coffin, were very happy to see the Deaf and Dumb children - the Deaf and Dumb children were much amazed to see the Siamese twin brothers, I was very much surprised that their faces were very yellow, and their lips were thick; and their faces were the same;  the Deaf and Dumb children saw them;  the Siamese twin brothers were dressed in dark green stuff coats, and green trowsers, and fine shirts, they were very nicely dressed,  and they were dressed alike.  I am very glad that the Siamese twin brothers are always  happy, and I hope they are very good young men.  The gentleman told the schoolmistress to explain to the Deaf and Dumb children that the Siamese twin brothers are nineteen years old;  the schoolmistress told us that Captain Coffin brought the Siamese twin brothers from Siam, in Asia;  I hope Captain Coffin is a very good man, he is very kind to them;  I was very much surprised that the Siamese twin brothers can walk, and run, and swim fast;  I saw that their hair is not like the English and Irishmen;  the gentleman told me that their names are Chang and Eng, and they came from Siam; the gentleman told me that the Siamese twin brothers often saw the elephants, they said, there are a great number of elephants in Siam.  The Siamese Youths and Captain Coffin went to Liverpool last Sunday,
                                                                                      I remain your affectionate friend,
                                                                                                                 Eliza Apjohn.'

   'Claremont August 25th 1831.
     My Dear Father. - I hope you are very well. I saw a bad man, he struck an iron bar on a man's head, it made the blood flow, a police man took the two men; they were taken, put into prison. I saw a man putting bag of corn into a cart. I saw man reaping corn,  a woman was binding corn; I saw the boys gleaning the corn;  I saw a boy rattling a rattle in the oat field,  I saw two boys clapping their hands, which cause them to make a noise;  a man was sitting on coals' cart at night,  a boy was playing with burning wood.  I saw boys stealing fruits in the garden at Roscommon,  I saw a gentleman beat them, they ran away from him;  I saw the boys climbing up trees in the garden;  I saw men drinking whiskey until they quarrel.  I saw a cart filled with coals, horses drew it very hard, and fell down. I saw men whipping mules,
                                                                                           Laughlin Gilleran.'

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Portarlington 1798

I culled the following information from a publication by John S. Powell  called 'Portarlington & 1798'.

The Society of United Irishmen was founded in 1791 by an urban group of liberal Protestants in Dublin and Belfast who sought to bring about reform of the Irish Parliament and to lessen the influence of the English establishment over Irish affairs. Spurred on by the events in France and America, the Irish movement rapidly gained the support of the rural Catholic population. By 1798, when almost the entire country descended into complete revolt, the aims of the United Irishmen had evolved to include the demand for a complete severance of the Irish link with Britain.
The rural areas of the country had been in a volatile state for decades before 1798 - the Catholic farming population rightfully resented the control of their affairs by a small Protestant elite; there was fierce competition for farm lettings and land tenancies amongst the impoverished farming population. The rural Catholics  fought back against the injustice of landlordism and the tithe system by forming secret societies such as the Whiteboys or the Defenders, who sought to ‘punish all obnoxious persons who advanced the value of land, or hired farms over their heads.’
It was from the ranks of these secret societies that the United Irishmen would receive much of their support in 1798.
In the days before the existence of a police force, much of the country in the late 18th century began to form their own military groups by way of self-defence - in Portarlington town, even the pupils of Thomas Willis’s school had their own colours and imitation muskets.
Under threat of revolution, full martial law was declared on 30th March 1798 and the government demanded the surrender of all arms, threatening to send the army to live at free-quarters in suspect areas.
The rebel attack on Portarlington occurred on 25th May 1798. Following a failed attempt to capture the neighbouring town of Monasterevin, the surviving rebels, who were ill-organised, advanced on Portarlington. They were met by the 5th Dragoon Guards and the yeomen who killed some of them and dispersed the rest.
In 1824, the schoolmaster, Thomas Willis, wrote a report about the attack on Portarlington but limited his account to the fact that many of his privileged pupils had been taken away under escort for their own safety. His daughter-in-law, Deborah Charlotte, daughter of the Rev. Benjamin Newcombe and granddaughter of David d’Ully, Vicomte de Laval, gave better details, which she recounted to her daughter, Frances Willis, in the 1850s.
She told how the schoolboys took to drilling in imitation of the military, and that John Wilson Croker, a fellow pupil, “procured for them wooden muskets, not broom handles such as the Kerry millitia are learning their drill with.” A semblance of uniforms was acquired. “So perfect did they become in drill that they have been seen on parade by officers and soldiers of the line….but though they paid such regard to their colour they placed no faith in their muskets, when from the proximity of the rebels the boys were expecting to be called on to act, but every night upon retiring to rest they took care to have their pockets full of stones, then as now the most efficient weapon schoolboys can handle.
“Nor was Portarlington at the first much better defended than it would have been by these youthful warriors for when the rebels were pressing along scarcely a mile from the town, the gentry assembled in the market square armed as best they could with pitchforks, pokers and such like firearms, there not being a round of ammunition among them, nor any military in the town…in this extremity providentially the rebels got word that the town was well armed and they did not feel disposed to test the accuracy of the information. Had they come in they would have found at the large schools in the town the sons of gentlemen of high standing in the country, to prevent whom from falling into the hands of the rebels and being kept by them, as hostages, the government immediately sent down coaches under military escort to convey them to Dublin.”
Deborah Charlotte recalled that about 100 boys in this convoy were pupils at Thomas Willis’s school.
“…the following were of their number, the sons of Sir Matthew Blackstone, of Commissioner Beresford of the Customhouse, of Sir John Blaquiere, of Mr. Worthington of the Customhouse, of Mr. Needham of Merrion Square, of Mr. Conyers of Castletown Conyers, and of Mr. Massy of Glenville both in the County of Limerick, of Mr. Studdert, Killishen House County Clare. There were also the present Marquis of Westmeath, and his brother since dead…John Wilson Croker, 2 Sheridans relatives of R. B. Sheridan, Chas Lyons connected with Sir Levinge of Westmeath….”    (Letter from Frances de Laval Willis to Sir Erasmus Borrowes, 23 April 1854/5/6. Private Collection.)
(In October 1798, Mary Philips wrote a letter home from Portarlington to her mother, Mrs. Philips of Mount Philips, Newport, Tipperary, in which she mentioned that the town was quiet; she also made mention of the Miss Penefathers (sic) who were very well and who sent their love to their aunt.)
Following the failed attack on Portarlington, the yeomanry and the English militia rounded up the insurgents and put them into the stocks in the town square. Four local men were tortured on the rack before being made to walk along a plank projecting from the second floor of the Market House with a rope around their necks; once dropped, the victims were disembowelled by the butcher. The four men who died were Darby Hyland, Robert Foster, Costello and Dempsey. Three others were executed in Dublin - Charles Fennell, Peter and John Bannon. Retribution by the English militia following the rebellion in the area was harsh and unforgiving, the innocent being executed along with the guilty. For many years afterwards, the country was still in a feverish and volatile state.
In 1804, Thomas Rawson, Captain of the Athy Light Infantry, wrote to Alexander Marsden, the government under-secretary in Dublin Castle:
“My youngest boy who is at school in Portarlington writes to me that one of the school…is constantly dropping expressions looking to rebellion. He lately returned after a week’s absence, appears in high spirits and has let fall, ‘that in nine days after the camp breaks up at the Curragh, the Roman Catholics will see the dawn of freedom’. I should not trouble with the expressions of a boy, but that I am convinced something desperate is meditated. Under this impression, I feel it my duty to communicate.”    (National Archives, 3 Sept 1804.)

Following the events of 1798, Portarlington’s fortunes began to wane. Following the Act of Union in 1800, which did away with the Irish Parliament in Dublin, Portarlington lost one of its M.P.s. Thomas Willis recorded that many of his 500 pupils failed to return to the school following the rebellion. Once these wealthy children deserted Portarlington, the town lost its prestige and status and began to decline economically.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Other Williams Families of Dublin City

Known facts about our maternal ancestor Richard Williams of 17 Eden Quay and Dundrum:
His father was John Williams, a gentleman, who died before Richard’s second marriage to Geraldine O’Moore Creighton in 1846. Richard’s social circle seemed to revolve around his wife’s family, rather than his own. Family word of mouth suggests that his family originated in Wales. I’ve had no luck discovering any of Richard’s close family relations - unless he is, as I suspect, related to the family which descends directly from Thomas Williams of the Bank of Ireland. The lack of immediate family seems to suggest that Richard Williams was born outside of Ireland.
In early adult life, two of Richard’s sons, David Creighton Williams and Willis Creighton Williams (our maternal great-grandfather) spent time in Bangor, North Wales and in Liverpool, both areas with strong associations to the family of Thomas Williams and his son Charles Wye Williams, the founder of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company. Our great-great grandfather, Richard Williams, spent his early adult life living at the Eden Quay headquarters of the CDSPCo before heading south to the suburbs of Dublin with his young family. The family of Thomas Williams and Charles Wye Williams was associated with the profession of finance as was the family of our Richard Williams. Richard himself was the bookkeeper for the CDSPCo. His son, Willis Creighton Williams was also a book keeper while four of Willis’ sons worked in the bank, one of these four being our grandfather Richard Williams.
This post is an investigation into other Williams families of Dublin, in the hope that I’ll eventually stumble across some meaningful information about our brick wall ancestor, John Williams. I’ll add to it as I discover more information.

The 1815 Treble Almanack:
J.D. Williams & Co, Wh.Woollen-drapers, 12 Merchants Quay.
J.D.Williams, Linen-Factor and Linen Merchant, 12 Merchants Quay. This was John Dignam Williams, who was an early shareholder in the CDSPCo - in 1827 he held £300 of stock in the company; by 1827 his address was 25 Eustace Street behind Dame Street. In 1832 he was noted as a director of The Royal Irish Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts; John D. Williams of Eustace Street was one of the Protestants of Dublin who signed the petition of 1829, published in ‘Historical Sketch of the late Catholic Association of Ireland’ which called upon the British Government to bring about the immediate emancipation of the Catholic population.
I’ve had no luck yet discovering previous family for John D. Williams so am unsure whether we’re related to him or not. He may be related to John Williams of 14 Cumberland Street.

1815 Treble Almanack, under ‘Merchants’:
William T. Linen-Draper, Flannel & Blanket-merchant, 30 Lower Sackville Street. This was Thomas Williams, who later lived at 50 Lower Sackville Street. He, too, held shares - £200 - in the CDSPCo in 1827. It seems that Thomas Williams originated in Killucan, Co. Westmeath - two of his children married into the De Courcy family of Westmeath. On Griffiths Valuation of 1854, there is a Dr. John Williams leasing a house and land in Killucan; the Medical Bibliography of 1877 also shows up another doctor of this family, Dr.Thomas J. De Courcy Williams of Killucan. Thomas Williams, 50 Lower Sackville Street, wrote a letter of complaint to the House of Commons in 1823 to highlight the unfair taxation of certain foreign goods imported from Great Britain into Ireland. (House of Commons Papers, Vol.18) By 1850, Thomas Williams was still working at 50 Lower Sackville Street but was living in the southern suburbs at 3 Belvidere Terrace, Sandymount Strand.

1815 Treble Almanack, under ‘Gentry’:
Edward Williams, Drumcondra
George Williams, 47 Baggot Street
John Williams, 14 Cumberland Street. This John Williams died in 1853, aged 60 years. His death was registered by a James F.Williams. In 1835, a John D. Williams of 14 Cumberland Street was noted as a member of The British Association for the Advancement of Science which had a branch in Dublin. This was the first time the letter ‘D’ is mentioned in the name ‘John Williams’ and I wonder was this John Dignam Williams and was he the son of John Williams of Cumberland Street?
Thomas Williams, 2 Belvedere Place (This was Thomas Williams of the Bank of Ireland.)
T. Williams, 3 Fitzwilliam Square West.

1815 Treble Almanack, under ‘Attornies’:
E. 1778 Williams (C.S.) KCT, 65 Stephens Street (This is Christopher Stone Williams, son of Henry Williams.)
T. 1812 Williams (C.W.), 2 Belvedere Place (This is Charles Wye Williams of CDSPCo)

1815 Treble Almanack, under ‘Dublin Society’ ie: the RDS:
Williams, C.S esq (Christopher Stone Williams.)
Williams James esq. (Of Kilmacud and 4 Lower Bridge Street; joined RDS in 1801.)
Williams, C. Wye esq. (Charles Wye Williams.)

1815 Treble Almanack, under ‘Attornies, Advocates and Proctors’:
Williams (Bart), 17 Mary Street.
Williams (J.), 8 Chancery Lane
Williams (John), 90 Bride Street
Williams (M), Buckingham Street
Williams R. 2 Summerhill. (This may be Richard Williams, brother of Charles Wye Williams.)

The two John Williams in the above list, one of Bride Street and the other of Chancery Lane, were of interest to me, (the father of Richard Williams of 17 Eden Quay being John Williams) so needed to be investigated.
Chancery Lane and Bride Street are behind Dame Street, in the area adjacent to Dublin Castle. A William Williams of Chancery Lane was admitted to the Freemen of Dublin in March 1847; he was the son of another Freeman, Griffiths Williams, who had been admitted in 1804. Griffith Williams was a woollen merchant who operated at 2 Darby Square in the same Chancery Lane area; in 1815 he was working with a nephew at 9 Crampton Court; by 1832 he was ‘Griffith Williams (& Sons), woollen-merchant & Manchester warehouse. Crampton Court.’ (Treble Almanack, 1832.)

The family of the Dublin goldsmith, Richard Williams, is associated with Castle Street at the top end of Dame Street and with the parish of St. Werburghs Church. Richard Williams was apprenticed to John Wilme of the same parish in 1743. He operated at 6 Castle Street from 1764 to 1788, before moving to 17 Grafton Street where he did business from 1788 till 1795. He was succeeded at the same address by his goldsmith son, Robert Williams, who can be traced through the street directories from 1799 till 1833.  Interestingly, it is recorded that the English poet, Shelley, lived at 17 Grafton Street in 1812, during his brief sojourn in Dublin.
Other Williams of late 18th century Castle Street include William Williams, a public notary and brother of Richard Williams, Adam Williams, Charles Williams, an apothecary (who later operated at Charlemont St) and James Williams, a bookseller.
From ‘The Land Index, Vol. 90’ as transcribed by Jane Williams in 1983 in The King’s Inns:
‘5.1.1785: Richard Williams of the City of Dublin, Goldsmith
John Williams of sd.City, Notary Public
Deborah Williams of sd. City, Widow
Executors of the last will of William Williams of the sd. City of Dublin, Notary Public, Deceas’d of the one part & wide street Commissioners of the second part.
Jury awarded £981-17-10 to Richard, John & Deborah Williams for 3 several houses & premises which the Commissioners took.
Humphrey Adams - witness.’
‘19.12.1783, registered 22.12.1783:
A memorial of that part of an indented deed bearing date 19.12.1783 which relates to part of the lands of Newtown (ie Coolock), hereinafter particularly made between Richard Williams goldsmith, Deborah Williams, widow of William Williams, late of the city of Dublin, Public Notary, Dec’d, John Williams, Public Notary & eldest son of the said William Williams, all of the City of Dublin, Executors of the last will and Testam.t of the said William Williams, & which said John Williams is also Heir at Law of the said William Williams.’

This family of Castle Street was well-recorded in the registers of St. Werburghs. On April 16th 1754 Richard Williams married Mary Wilme; his brother, William, married Deborah Wilme on May 25th 1758.

The historical painter, Solomon Williams, was born to Richard and Mary in 1758 - in one text he was described as a Welsh painter; later he lived at Molesworth Street and was associated with the Feinaglian Institute, an early 19th century school with which the family of Thomas Williams of the Bank of Ireland was involved.  Solomon Williams died in Molesworth Street in 1824 - his children were Richard, Mary, Deborah, Ellen and Charlotte and Emily. (And the names Charlotte and Emily mirror the names of the daughters of our Richard Williams of 17 Eden Quay.) 

From 'Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers':
   'Williams, Solomon, an Irish portrait painter, born in Dublin about the middle of the 18th century. He was a pupil of the Dublin Academy but spent several years in Italy. While there, he made many good copies of Titian's pictures, and was elected a member of the Bologna Academy.  On his return he practised in Dublin, with the exception of a few years in London, where his works occasionally appeared at the Royal Academy and the British Institution.  On the establishment of the Royal Hibernian Academy, he was elected one of the original members.  He died August 2nd 1824. There are by him:
          Dublin:  Royal Dublin Society -  Portrait of General Vallancey
                       Royal Dublin Society - Portrait of Mr. Pleasant.'
1769 saw the birth in Castle Street of Solomon’s cousin, a second Solomon Williams, born to William and Deborah Williams. This individual was a lawyer who was called to the English bar in 1793. He was associated with the city of Chester which sits on the border of North Wales and England, close to Liverpool. He had an older brother, John Williams, who had been born to William and Deborah in Castle Street in 1761 - this John Williams lived later at Palace Street off Dame Street and operated as a notary:
'McKane & wife to Williams 1789. McKane & wife demise & set to John Williams of the said city publick notary all that dwelling house No 2 situate in Palace Street otherwise called Castle Lane in the City of Dublin formerly in the possession of Mr. John Nott deceased together with the yard and back house behind the same...Yearly rent of £80 and a peppercorn....Witnesses: Solomon Williams, Brother of said John Williams, & Richard Morgan, Clerk to said John Williams.'

In 1793, The Anthologia Hibernica recorded the marriage of Major Charles Martin of Chester Castle to Miss Williams of Palace Street. (Yet another association with Chester.) Miss Williams was actually Elizabeth Williams, the daughter of Solomon Williams, which suggests that both Solomon and John lived together in the same premises. Charles Martin was the son of Joseph Martin, esq., banker of Lombard Street, London, and MP for Tewkesbury.

No. 2, Palace Street

 ‘Deed dated 6.8.1812: Soloman Williams of the City of Chester, only Brother, Heir at law of John Williams late of Palace Street in the City of Dublin Publick Notary Dec’d….£2140 - 11 -10½ realised by sale. Several other premises had been sold by Solomon since the death of John Williams for payment of debts of John Williams.’

 On 10th January 1802, 70 year old child  Mrs. Williams of Palace Street was buried at St. Werburghs.

A William Williams of Castle Street was buried in St. Werbergh's on 8th September 1783.
Although, following his death, John's brother, Solomon, sold the house in Palace Street to pay off John's debts, a 6-month-old infant named Edward Williams of Palace Street was buried in 1828 in the church of St. Nicholas Without - I wonder did Solomon sell the property on to another member of the Williams family, or even buy it himself?   I can find no evidence to support the fact that John Williams of Palace Streethad ever married, which seems to rule him out as our great-great-great grandfather.
In the 1850s, 2 Palace Street was purchased by the charity, The Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers' Society.

Other children of Williams and Deborah Williams were James, Deborah, Elizabeth, although James must have died young - in John William's will it is mentioned that Solomon was his only brother.

Re: The Dublin/Chester connection. There had been strong trade links between the two cities from the 11th century onwards.  Charles I ordered that ships should voyage weekly between both Chester and Dublin, and between Milford Haven and Waterford, to ensure the quick transmission of news between the English government and Dublin Castle, the seat of British administration in Ireland.  The parish church of St. Werburghs, next to Dublin Castle, is named after the patron saint of Chester.  Jonathon Swift, the Dean of St. Patrick's who had been baptised in the church of St. Werburghs in 1667, commented on the profusion in Dublin of beggars from Chester city:
        'It seems the justices of the peace, and parish-officers in the western coasts of England, have a good while followed the trade of exporting hither their supernumerary beggars, in order (sic) advance the English protestant interest among us;  and these they are so kind to send over gratis, and duty-free.  I have had the honour, more than once, to attend large cargos of them from Chester to Dublin:  and I was then so ignorant as to give my opinion, that our city should receive them into Bridewell;  and, after a month's residence, having been well-whipp'd twice a-day, fed with bran and water,  and put to hard labour, they should be returned honestly back, with thanks, as cheap as they came:  or, if that were not approved of, I proposed, that, whereas one Englishman is allowed to be of equal intrinsic value with twelve born in Ireland, we should, in justice, return them a dozen for one, to dispose of as they pleased.'

Another notable Williams family of Dublin is the family of glassmakers, William, Thomas and Isaac Williams, who came to Ireland from Chepstow, England. They operated from the 1770s to the 1820s at Marlborough Street and Potters Alley. Later names associated with this family were Richard and James Williams. They had businesses at the North Lotts (the area around Connolly Station) and at Richmond in Coolock. They can be seen in Wilson’s Dublin Directory of 1801:
‘Williams, Richard, son & Co., Glass Manufacturer, Potter’s Alley.
Williams, Richard, jun., Glass Manufacturer, 35 Ormond Quay.
Williams, William, Glass maker, Richmond.’

I stumbled across the 1783 will of a John Wilton of Westmeath and Dublin who seems to have been in partnership with the above glassmakers.   John Wilton, late of Westmeath but now of Potters Alley, Dublin, named as his trustees, John Williams and his father William Williams of the Strand, Dublin. John Wilton states that he had entered into a copartnership with William Williams in 1776 to manufacture flint and green glass, and that he was entitled to five twelfths of the profits accordingly. He was named in the documents, however, as John Preston rather than John Wilton, but the will makes no explanation for why this would be so.  A William Cooper was also involved.   John Wilton had six children by a Bridget Neary who he had lived with for 30 years, namely Thomas, John, George, Elizabeth, Rose and Mary.  He also had an elderly unmarried brother, Henry Wilton, and an elderly unmarried sister named Rose Wilton.  His properties in Westmeath were named as Clonmoyle (currently tenanted by a John Jones), Gortunloe, Stonestown and Edmondstown or Redmondstown;  he also owned a property, White Cliff, in Hull, Yorkshire.  Rev. William Clarke of Baldonnel was to take responsibility of the rearing and educating of his children.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Family of Thomas Willis of Portarlington

Thomas Willis of Portarlington, Co. Laois, was the grandfather of our maternal geat-great-grandmother, Geraldine O'Moore Creighton.  He had been born circa 1748 at the family estate of Mount Eagle in Ballyroan townland, midway between the towns of Portlaoise and Abbeyleix in County Laois/Queen's County.

His father was Rev. Thomas Willis, who was reputed to have been chaplain to the forces of William of Orange, although I can find no record of him as such. What is recorded is that, from about 1691, Rev. Thomas Willis was leasing Ballyroan from the Bishop of either Waterford or Wexford.  He died at Ballyroan in 1760, aged over 100 years old, and it is said, that at the age of 90, he ran a race with his own sons and beat them.

A current English descendant of the Willis family, Graham Willis, has kindly shared his Willis research with me, which shows a highly plausible link between his own English Willis family and the above Rev. Thomas Willis, who settled in Ballyroan in about 1691.   As can be seen  from the photo below of the Thomas Willis memorial window in Portarlington, the Irish Willis family carried the same, or similar, coat of arms (seen on the left of the window) as was used by the Cambridgeshire/Warwickshire Willis families.

As the Rev. Thomas Willis of Ballyroan was a cleric, he would have had to have attended either Oxford or Cambridge, and the university records reveal a likely link.  A Thomas Willis matriculated from Pembroke College, Oxford, on 1st July 1674, aged 14, and received an M.A. in 1683 from Clare College, Cambridge.  The same records name him as possibly the rector of St. Dominick, Cornwall, in 1684, and also possibly of Bishopton, Glamorgan in 1685, or vicar of Weston-upon-Avon in 1689, but there is no further record of him in England beyond this, which would tally with a possible move to Ballyroan, Ireland, by 1691.

This Rev. Thomas Willis was noted as the son of an earlier cleric, Thomas Willis, who had been born in Isleworth or Thistleworth in Middlesex, to a celebrated schoolmaster, Thomas Willis.  The family of the schoolmaster, Thomas Willis, spent a few years in Lynn, Massachusetts, before returning home to Isleworth in 1641 at the time of the English Civil War, where the younger man, Rev. Thomas Willis, served as chaplain to the parliamentary forces.  He served as vicar of Twickenham until 1660, the time of the Restoration, when his parishioners had him removed.  By 1670, however, he had been appointed as Chaplain in Ordinary to Charles II - if Rev. Thomas Willis of Ballyroan was indeed the son of this Rev. Thomas Willis of Middlesex, has a form of genealogical Chinese whispers crept into our Irish family genealogy here?  Thomas of Ballyroan was, as noted earlier, reputed to have been Chaplain to the forces of William of Orange in the 1690s prior to settling in Portarlington, however I've found no reference to him in the official records of the campaign.  Are we confusing him with his father who had, indeed, served as chaplain to royalty, ie, Charles II?   This elder Rev. Thomas Willis was afterwards appointed vicar of Kingston-upon Thames in 1671, dying there in 1692.

The father of the elder Rev. Thomas Willis was, as already mentioned, the schoolmaster Thomas Willis of Isleworth, Middlesex, who had been born in Fenny Compton, Warwickshirem and who matriculated from St. John's College on 11th June 1602 aged 19.  The son of Richard Willis of Fenny Compton, he served as schoolmaster at Isleworth/Thistleworth for fifty years.
The Willis family of Fenny Compton, Warwickshire, are well-documented, both in England and in Massachusetts where a branch of the family settled, and can be traced back to a Thomas Wylles of Compton Magna in 1330.

Thomas Willis,  son of Rev. Thomas Willis of Ballyroan, was the master of one of 16 celebrated schools which operated in the Huguenot colony of Portarlington in the 18th and 19th centuries. These schools, which taught their pupils for the most part through French, gained huge popularity during the Anglo-French wars when the aristocracy were unable to send their children abroad for a sophisticated European education.
Portrait of Thomas Willis, Schoolmaster, kindly  supplied by Jo Carter

Thomas Willis trained at the school of Mr. Hood in Lower Patrick Street, before opening his own establishment, along with hisfirst wife, Betty Foster, in April 1783.  The 'Dublin Evening POst' of 12th April 1783 announced that a french school would be opening on the 1st of August 1783 for young gentlemen, no more than 25 of them, and would be run by Mr. and Mrs. Willis who had previously been assistants in the Portarlington school of Mr. Hood.  Mr. Willis had worked there for the previous thirteen years, while his wife had worked there for five.

(The only Hood of Portarlington I can trace, apart from the schoolmaster, is a possible daughter, Albertine Sarah Hood, who married Rev. Richard Roe of Springhill, Queen's County, in September 1790;  she would die in Cullenswood Avenue, Rathmines, Co. Dublin, in April 1829.  A Rev. Richard Roe was the minister of St. Peter's, Dublin, at one time a Huguenot/French Church.)

Amongst others, Thomas Willis educated the brothers of the Duke of Wellington, the Duke himself going to school in his hometown of Trim, Co. Meath.  The register of the French Church records the death of one of Thomas's pupils - on 21st November 1802, George Perry, a pupil of Thomas Willis, died aged 12. 

Thomas Willis kept his school in an old house by the bridge, a house which had been built in the early days of the colony by Daniel Le Grand du Petit Bosc.  The school was known as Arlington House.

In February 1810, Mr. Willis of Portarlington was letting, for 2 lives or for 26 years, 26 acres of land close to the town, and known as Inn Concerns in Ballyrone/Ballyroan. ('Dublin Evening Post', 13th February 1810.)

Later 'The Dublin Evening Post' of 19th September 1818 announced that the son of Thomas Willis, Rev. William Willis MD, was increasing the annual fees at his Portarlington school to 40 guineas.

 The Journal of the Irish Memorials Association, formerly the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead in Ireland, published in 1926 the Willis family Bible which had earlier been preserved at Portarlington.
I’ll transcribe it here:

Feby 13th - Married to my dear Betty Foster. (This is our many-times great grandmother who had worked alongside Thomas Willis in Mr. Hood's French School in Portarlington.)
Nov. 16 - Geo; my first child born and
Novr. 19 - He died

Decr. 27 - Eliza born. (This is our Eliza Willis who later married Rev. David Hill Creighton in 1810.)

Novr. 1 - William born.  (Rev. William Willis who would later marry Frances Grattan.)

May 21 - Gilbert Thos. Born.
June 4 - My dear Betty died.

July 24 - Married to my dear Matty Beauchamp. (This name has a variety of different spellings.)

Octr. 16 - Samuel born and
Octr. 21 - He died.
Octr. 26 - My darling Matty died.

May 14 - Married to my dear Mary Anne Newcombe.
1795: Benjamin born and

1796: He died.
Feby. 8 - Louisa Henrietta (actually spelled Hen.ra) Eliza born at four in the evening.

Feby - Newcombe born
Died June 9 1801 at Seapoint.

Sept. 20 - Henry born at 3½ o’clock afternoon.

June 20 - My dear Mary Anne (ie: Newcombe) died at about 3 O’Clock in the Morning aged 41 years.

The Register of the French Church records both the burial of Matty (Beauchamp) Willis, Thomas' second wife, and the death of another daughter:
'Oct. 28th 1788 - Martha Willis, 26 Oct - wife of schoolmaster Thomas Willis, aged 34 years. Buried in the churchyard by Dr. Pierre Hamon.'
'Willis, 16th August 1800, a daughter of Thos. Willis aged 9 months.'

So, the surviving children of Thomas Willis were our 3xgreat grandmother, Eliza Willis, and her siblings, William Willis, Gilbert Thomas Willis (who was actually called Thomas Gilbert Willis)  and Louisa Henrietta Louisa Willis.

Happily, the registers of the French Church at Portarlington also survive. I’ll transcribe them in English here:

This is probably the mother of Mary Anne Newcombe, who was Thomas Willis’ third wife: ‘1780, July 13th. Francoise Newcombe - on the 11th day of this month, Francoise Newcombe (née Laval), died with the Lord, aged 40 years, and was buried in the cemetery of this church today, the 13th of July 1780, by me, V. Desvoeux, Pastor.’

‘The burial of Mrs. Foster - on the second of August 1815, Mrs. Foster, née Harte, the mother-in-law of Thomas Willis, was buried.’  (Thomas's mother-in-law was Sarah Foster born to James and Jane Hart.)

This is most likely the baptism of Matty Beauchamp, Thomas Willis’ second wife; she would have been 33 at the time of their marriage, and 34 when she died the following year in 1789.
‘1755. Baptism. Marthe Beauchamp - On Thursday 7th of August, 1755, a daughter was born to Mr. Samuel Beauchamp; she was baptised on Friday 29th of the same month, and has been named Marthe; godfather Mr. Joseph Rigail; godmothers the Misses Elizabeth Condé and Marie Beauchamp, the sister of the child. G. Caillard, Pastor.’

‘Burial. Mrs. Willis. On Wednesday the 20th of June 1804, the wife of Thomas Willis, schoolmaster, Mrs. Mary Anne Willis, died; she has been interred in our cemetery by Mr. Richard Clarke, the minister of the English Chapel of Portarlington, on Friday the 22nd of the same month, John Vignolles, Pastor.’

The Beauchamp family feature heavily in the Register. The first of the family to settle in Ireland was Jaques Beauchant, a retired corporal in Galway's Regiment of Horse, who was noted as a prominent shopkeeper/merchant in Portarlington by 1714, and who died on 8th January 1712/1713. (The early records in the register of the French Church in Portarlington give the two dates side by side.)

Jaques was married to a woman named Marie who would died in Portarlington on 20th May 1756.

The son of Jacques Beauchant/Beauchamp was the merchant of Portarlington, Samuel Beauchamp, who had close ties to the Willis/Laval families.  (Although some records name the father of Samuel Beauchamp as an older Samuel Beauchant, a lawyer of the French parliament in Paris - perhaps the Parisian lawyer was the father of Jaques, and grandfather of Samuel??)

Samuel Beauchant of Lea, Portarlington, son of Jaques and Marie Beauchant, married Mary Anne de Levenges in St. Peter's, Dublin, on 20th January 1741, and had the following children...

1) Madeleine-Marie Beauchamp, born 11th April 1743, was baptised by Mr. Arthur Champagné, the minister of Mosteroris Parish near Edenderry;  her grandmother was named as Marie Beauchant.
2) Henriette Beauchamp, born 28th April 1744 - she was baptised at home and her godfather was Jaques Beauchant, most likely an uncle, the brother of her father Samuel Beauchant.
3) Jaques Marc Beauchant born 21st July 1745; a merchant of Portarlington, he died, aged 41, on 23rd May 1788.
4) Marianne Beauchamp born 2nd September 1746.
5) Elisabet Beauchamp born 12th April 1748.
6) Samuel Paul Beauchant, born 9th September 1749 - his mother was erroneously named as Henriette.

7) Theophile Beauchamp born 14th November 1750, he was later mentioned in several family deeds.
8) Susane Bauchant born 10th November 1751.
9) Bonne Louise Beauchant  - born on 18th November 1752, she was presented for baptism by Mademoiselle Henrietta de Laval   - she was later known as the simpler Louise and married a Major Hall of Dublin.
10) Marthe (ie Matty) Beauchamp, who married Thomas Willis as his second wife, was born 7th August 1755. Her godmother was her older sister, Marie Beauchant.  Her mother, Marianne Beauchant, died three weeks after her birth on 26th October 1789.  ‘Burial. Madame Marianne Beauchamp - on Sunday 31st of August 1755, Madame Marianne Beauchamp, wife of Samuel Beauchamp, died with the Lord and was buried in our cemetery on the following Wednesday, the 3rd of September. G.Caillard, Pastor.’

Samuel Beauchamp was a godfather in 1730, 1732, 1733 and 1734; he was in hot demand in the church in 1737, witnessing two marriages, five burials and two baptisms.

‘1776, November 13th. Mr. Samuel Beauchamp - On the 11th day of this month, Mr. Samuel Beauchamp, merchant, died with the Lord, aged about 69 years; he was buried in the cemetery of this church on this day, the 13th of November 1776 by me, V.Desvoeux, Pastor.’

The tombstone inscription of Samuel and Marianne was recorded by the Journal of the Irish Memorials Association, although the dates don't entirely match the church registers:
‘Here lyeth the body of Samuel Beauchant, Merchant, who departed this life at Portarlington, the 10th day of November 1776 / Aged 68 years / And also the Body of Mrs. MaryAnn Beauchant his Wife who departed this life the 10th day of Octr. 1755 Aged 42 years.’

A child, Francoise, died on 20th October 1755, aged 14 months, but her birth was not recorded - she was either the daughter of Jaques Beauchant, the possible brother of Samuel Beauchant, or another daughter of Samuel and Marianne Beauchant.

It seems that Thomas Willis's daughter, Eliza, attended the French Church. Her marriage to the Presbyterian minister, Rev. David Hill Creighton,  in 1810 was recorded in the register, as was the death of a daughter two years later:
  '1812  Louise Creighton, 25th Dec., 1 years old.'

Thomas Willis was commemorated with a stained glass window in the French Church in Portarlington:
‘In memory of Thomas Willis of Portarlington who departed this life March 18th 1825, also his children:
Thomas Gilbert Willis died Jany 11th 1837,
William Willis died May 8th 1845,
Eliza Creighton died March 15th 1866,
Louisa Proctor died Dec. 14th 1866.
Erected by his grandchildren George and Louisa Proctor.’

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Jacques Dubourdieu - A Red Herring!

The sister of the pastor of Lisburn, Charles de la Valade, had been married to Jacques Dubourdieu who was killed in France at the time of the Revocation. This was the woman who had escaped from France disguised as a peasant carrying her infant son, Jean, with her.

I've repeatedly said that this Jacques Dubourdieu had been living in Blaye north of Bordeaux at the time of his death but I think William J. Dubourdieu, who wrote the definitive book on the Dubourdieu family, may have been mistaken here.  He was using information from the Ulster Journal of 1854, which had wrongly interpreted information from the 3rd Synod of Charenton, reading Jacques' parish church incorrectly as, firstly 'Blangar', then, secondly, as 'Blangee', neither of which actually exist. William Dubourdieu then surmised that this was actually a reference to 'Blaye'.

However, thanks to the internet, the original information is now online. I scrolled through 'Tous Les Synodes Nationaux de l'Eglise Réformée de France, Volume 2' to take a good look at the entry for the Third Synod of Charenton (which took place in 1644) and this is the entry which caused all the confusion....
    'Pour la Province de Bas Languedoc, les Sieurs Jean de Croi, Pasteur de l'Eglise de Beziers;  Abraham de Lare, Pasteur de l'Eglise de Canvisson;  Messire Marc Dardouin, Seigneur de la Calmette, Ancien de l'Eglise de Nimes; & Messire Jacques de Brueis, Seigneur de Bourdie, Ancien de l'Eglise de Blanzac.'

Furthermore, although Jacques de Brueis, seigneur de Bourdie sounds as if it's an archaic spelling of Jacques Dubourdieu, it seems that this is a completely different individual altogether!

I browsed through 'Dictionnaire de la Noblesse' by Aubert de la Chesnaye-Desbois and Francois Alexandre, 1699 - 1784,  and read the following:
  'Jean de Banne, seigneur de Montgros, sole heir if his mother in 1632, and of his father in 1636. He made his will on 18th February 1654, wished to be buried in the Protestant cemetery, and died at BLAUZAC on the 24th of February 1654.  He married, firstly, Suzanne de Rosel, who died without children; and, secondly, on the 14th of August 1649, Gabrielle de Chabas, the daughter of the nobleman, Daniel, and of his wife, Diane de Brueis.'

Blauzac can be found just north of the Provencal town of Nimes, and the records show the name 'de Brueis' to be plentiful there.
The genealogy of the de Brueis family can be seen in 'Pieces Fugitives Pour Servir a l'Histoire de France' which also shines a spotlight on Jacques de Brueis himself.
   'Denis de Brueis, Sgr de BOURDIC, married Alexandrine Borde, and they had Jacques de Brueis, Seigneur de Bourdic.'

The town of Bourdic - which had been misspelled as 'Bourdie' in the synod records - is 3kms away from Blauzac,  the town which had caused so much confusion.

I also stumbled across the same Jacques de Brueis, along with one of the de Chievres de la Valade family, living in Holland and participating in one of the Protestant Walloon churches there following the Revocation of 1685.   Did I write down the name of the book I discovered this information in?  Eh, no....

Sadly, this all means that there is no reference to our Jacques Dubourdieu, nor to the area he was living in at the time of his death in the 1680s.
We do, however, know a lot about his sister, Andree le Valet, who had been born circa 1622 to Isaac Duboudieu and his first wide,  and who married Jean Boybellaud (or Boisbellaud) on 7th August 1672 in the Temple of Charenton, the same town near Paris where the Protestants had held several of their synods.   The marriage promises had been made a few months earlier on 14th June 1672,  by the couple at La Rochelle. 
Following their wedding, the couple returned to Jean Boybellaud's property at Ozillac north of Bordeaux, where Jean had to borrow money to tide them over.  Andree's first husband, Jean Vachon, sieur de la Barauderie, had been a bankrupt, so she had no dowry to bring to the marriage.  Jean Boybellaud had also experienced severe financial problems following the drainage of bog on his lands.

Interesting, both the name 'Le Valet' and the town of La Berauderie which was associated with Andree's first husband, Jean Vachon, are found in Normandy.  Was Isaac Dubourdieu's first wife a member of the Le Valet family of Normandy, and did they raise their granddaughter following the death of their daughter?  Anyone any ideas on this one?

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Lavallade family of Nerac and Bordeaux

I received an email from a member of the Lavallade family of the Angouleme/Limousin region of France, Bertrand de Lavallade, who believes that the Lavallade family of Lisburn descends from (the much earlier!) Bertrand de Lavallade of Nerac.
He told me that this family is always known as 'De Lavallade' or as 'De Lavalade' (or variations of the same) and never has a prefix such as Truffin or Chievres or St-Georges etc. etc. This rules out most of the de Lavallade families of the south-east, even the Brun de La Valade family which I had suspected Bertrand de La Vallade to be related to.   In one text, Bertrand of Nerac is referred to as Bertrand Brun de La Vallade, Sieur de Laumon - I discovered a Laumont in the district around Brive-la-Gaillard which is the area associated with the Brun de la Vallade family.  Yesterday, however, I discovered the REAL Laumond which is a townland just north of Nerac. This makes much more sense.
Moreover, Bertrand (the modern one) told me that the father of Bertrand de Lavallade was called Pierre (and not Jean as I had thought) and that this Pierre de Lavallade was also a maitre de comptes in Nerac, just like his son later.
Members of the Lavallade family of Nerac moved to live in Bordeaux;  some of these descendants were still there in the 18th century.  When I re-read the Chronicle written by Isaac Peres of Nerac in the late 16th and early 17th century, I noticed that the town of Bordeaux was endlessly mentioned, meaning that there was significant traffic between both places.   Bertrand's daughter, Catherine de Lavallade, died in Bordeaux in 1597, the year after her marriage to Jan Pinole in Nerac.   Much later, a sister of Charles de la Valade married Jacques Dubourdieu who was an elder in the church of Blaye, just north of Bordeaux, and this area is where I would expect to find the Lavallade family just prior to the Revocation.

Bertrand tells me that the Lavallade family of Nerac originated in the Languedoc - I knew that they had followed the Princes of Condé there, but was unsure of their district of origin.   He suspects that the title of Count may well have been a courtesy title, rather than an authentic title - although I personally came across a reference to 'letters of nobillity' for Bertrand de Lavallade which I will have to track down online.  Bertrand thinks that the pastor of Fontenoy-le-Comte may not have been related to Bertrand of Nerac, but several books link them together.  It is known that Pierre de La Vallade also originated in the Languedoc.

Bertrand himself descends, as I've already mentioned, from the Angoumois area, and several of his family fled France also, settling in Canterbury.  He thinks that both his family, and the family of Nerac, may have shared a common ancestry.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Le Comte de la Valade??

Anyone reading my ongoing research into the origins of our La Valade family will have no doubt noticed that everything so far is pure conjecture and that I seem to be going round in circles. This post is more of the same!
From the 14th Century on, the French King began to create titles, issuing a written act called lettres patentes, which had to be registered by the court (parlement) of the region within which the individual lived, and by the Chambre des Comptes, a sort of fiscal auditing department, before the title could be validated.
French titles are a type of fief within the feudal system. which was abolished by the French Revolution.
All titles were attached to a piece of land; if a lord lost or sold a property, therefore, he also lost the title that went with it. The sale of land, and the title which went with the property, was widespread in 16th and 17th century France.
French titles were borne by one person at a time - unlike other north European countries where the title is born by the entire family and is not attached to land ownership. A French family might own several titles at one time and could distribute them amongst his heirs or sell them as he saw fit.
An ecuyer (or esquire) was not a title, but a rank within the nobility - all ecuyers were noblemen, no matter how recently the nobility had been conferred upon them.
Seigneurs were not noblemen nor were they titled - the term, which translates as ‘lord’ merely signified the owner of a certain type of property within the feudal system.
Our Huguenot ancestor, Charles de la Valade, was supposedly the son of the Comte de la Valade, a title which would have gone hand in hand with a territory named La Valade/Lavalade/La Vallade. (The French term ‘comte’ translates as ‘earl’.)
Because there is so little information about Charles de la Valade, I’ve been hunting instead for his father, a Comte de la Valade, who would have been alive in 1670, or thereabouts, when Charles de la Valade would have been born.
In his book ‘Baby on her Back’, William Dubourdieu suggested that the La Valade family originated in the townland of Lavalade, 23 miles south-east of Bergerac, a town strongly associated with the Dubourdieu family.
This particular Lavalade is located just outside the bastide town of Montpazier and was associated with the Pourquery de la Bogotie family. One of their members was named Louis de Pourquery de la Bigotie, Sieur de Roussille, qualifié ecuyer, vicomte de la Valade, comte de la Roque, former captain of the regiment of the Duke de Montauzier, colonel general of the French army, created a chevalier by order of the King, and promoted by the French Minister for War, Louvois.
Louis was present at the marriage of his nephew, Jean Francois de Pourquery, to Marguerite de Vassal in 1658 which would make him conceivably the correct age to have a son in 1670. Unlike other members of this family, no other information is given about this Vicomte de la Valade.
Louis was the only member of his family (which is well-document in ‘Nobiliare de Guienne et Gascogne’) to bear the title of Vicomte de la Valade but there are several reasons why I believe this to be the incorrect family, the first being the fact that the title of vicomte is far superior to that of comte and our ancestor was supposedly a mere comte.
Secondly, this vicomte of La Valade was promoted by Louvois, the man who authorised the use of the Dragonnades to terrorise the Protestant population in 1685 following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. It seems, therefore, unlikely that this family would have Huguenot sons and daughters.
Thirdly, the members of this particular family seemed to use ‘Pourquery de la Bigotie’ or ‘Pourquery’ as their nom de famille, and our ancestors used ‘Lavalade’ or ‘La Valade’ as their surname in the surviving records.

Another possibility is the Lavalade family of Saint Georges-Des-Coteaux, near Saintes midway between the Huguenot hotbed of La Rochelle and Bordeaux. This family has several things going for it - the use of ‘Lavalade’ as a nom-de-famille, the recurrence of the name ‘Charles’ and a ‘Comte, Sr. de Lavalade’ present in the genealogy at the end of the 17th century.

From ‘Bulletin de la Societe des Archives Historiques de la Saintonge at d’Aunis’: 1702: ‘Une transaction passee entre Jacques La Vallade, Seigneur de Saint-Georges, comte de La Vallade, Charles de La Vallade, seigneur de la Dorinne, Artus de La Vallade, Noeman de La Vallade, damoiselle Jeanne Tullerand de Grignaud, Francois-Charles de Saint-Martin, Charles de Brilhac, marys de Suzanne et Clere de La Tour, recu le 2 mai 1665 par Tourneur, notaire royale a Saintes.’Some of the published genealogies omit the ‘Comte’ altogether which raises some doubt.
Also, the Comte in this instant actually seems to be a name rather than a title.
The family seems to have baptised most of their recorded children in the parish church which I presume would make them Catholic - Protestants worshipped in temples, rather than churches, at that time. There are no records of any relative fleeing the country in the 1680s, although few of the genealogies mention exiled relations, preferring to brush all memory of them under the historical carpet.
There was, however, a Protestant temple in the nearby town of Marennes with a substantial congregation of 13,000 to 14,000. In the late 1680s the pastor there was Marc Boisbellaud whose uncle, Jean Boybellaud, married Andrée le Valet in Charenton in 1672. Andree le Valet was the daughter of Isaac Dubourdieu and his first wife; her brother, Jacques Dubourdieu was married to the sister of our ancestor, Charles de la Valade.
Is this significant or mere coincidence?
I will add any other ‘Comte de la Valades’ to this list as I find them.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

John Williams 1892/93 - 1918

John Williams was born in Sandymount, Dublin to Willis Creighton Williams and his wife Kate O'Neill in either 1892 or 1893.
He was our paternal great-uncle, the brother of our paternal grandfather, Richard Williams.

John Williams is the blonde baby sitting on his mother's lap.

John Williams must have either worked for the bank or been an accountant because, at some stage following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, he joined the 26th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. This battalion was known as 'The Bankers' Battalion and was one of 47 battalions raised by the Royal Fusiliers. The Bankers' Battalion had been formed on the 17th July 1915 in London by the Lord Mayor and City of London, and was composed mainly by former bank clerks and accountants.
The 26th Battalion was attached to the 41st Division of the 124th Brigade in November 1915, and landed in France on 4th May 1915. They were moved to Italy in November 1917 before returned to France in March 1918 which was where John was killed on August 10th.

I found John William's military records on He enlisted in Dublin and died in France/Flanders; he was a private in the Machine Gun Corps, No. 70469. He had formerly been with the Royal Fusiliers, No. 19507.
He was also mentioned in 'Ireland's Memorial Records 1914 - 1918:
'Williams, John. Reg No 70469. Rank: Private, Machine Gun Corps, 55th Batt; killed in action, France, August 10th 1918; born Sandymount, Co. Dublin.'

The 55th Battalion Machine Gun Corps had been formed on 7th March 1918 and became part of the 55th West Lancashire Division. In August 1918, they were based near Lille in Northern France.

We have two letters sent by John's colleague, second-lieutenant Sidney Johnston, in a small black-edged envelope to our grandfather, Richard Williams, stamped 'Field Post Office 16 Sp 18' and sent to our grandfather at the Royal Bank of Ireland, Foster Place (College Green), Dublin. The envelope is also stamped 'Passed by Censor No. 47.'

"Dear Mr. Williams,
Yours of 5th to hand. I regret to say that your brother spoke no word after being hit as death was almost instantaneous.
Although his body is not with us, the memory of his verve and energy remains to inspire us, helping to make us crush the Bosche with all speed.
Perhaps you will kindly communicate any information I have sent to your brother Gerald as he has written me also.
Many thanks to Mrs. Williams for her kind invitation to call,
yours sincerely,
Sidney Johnston 2/Lt.

"Dear Sir,
I am answering your letter of 22 Aug addressed to O.C. Coy (?) as I was your brother's section officer. He was killed almost instantaneously by light shell on Saturday 10th August between 11.15 am and midday.
About half an hour previously 3 others had been wounded in cookhouse and after helping to dress them, he volunteered with another man to get a stretcher from Ard (?) Post half a mile away although the route was being shelled. On his way back he was killed with (sic) 50 yards of the cookhouse. It was all during a daily strafe and not going over the top. We were very very unlucky having 3 killed and 2 wounded in his section.
Hoping the above is what you require and that I have not perchance used casual expressions which (?) in a matter so grave,
Believe me,
Yours sincerely,
S. Johnston 2/Lt
PS: Particulars of grave will be sent later."

Both the above letters were headed in pencil with the initials 'B.E.J.'.