Our maternal 5 x great grandparents were Rev. John Pennefather (1756- 1839) and his first, unrecorded wife, who he probably married in Cork. They had the one son, Edward Pennefather, from whom we descend.
John was the son of Kingsmill Pennefather, MP for Cashel, and Mary Lysaght the daughter of Lord Lisle of Mountnorth.
John Pennefather was educated by Mr.Tisdall who I think must be Rev. Michael Tisdall of Kilmaloda parish near Clonakilty - in 1778 Tisdall was the Vicar Choral of Cork and became the Archdeacon of Ross in 1781.
John Pennefather entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1774, aged 16, and graduated in 1779 with a BA, got an MA in 1811, and an LLB and an LLD in 1827.
He was recorded as a clergyman in Cork by 3rd November 1782, and it was about this time that he married and had his first son Edward. He was then ‘collated to Vicarage Kilmolog and licenced to Castle Ellis 1784’, (Castle Ellis and Kilmolg form part of a parish situated between Wexford and Gorey), became the Treasurer of Cashel (1786 - 9), but spent the greater part of his life as the Rector of St.John’s, Newport, Tipperary, from 1789 until his death in 1839.
(A deed of 1st May 1786, ie, 394-531-261117, between Richard Pennefather of Newpark and William Ryan of Holycross, Tippeary, whereby Richard Pennefather leased Cloneyharp to Ryan, was witnessed by Rev. John Pennefather who was of the Parish of Ballymurreen near Cashel.)
He lived at a house named ‘Lacklands’ which was sometimes called the Glebe House. The Tithe Applotments mention him at Craggwhite (modern name Cragg), Kilcummin in 1826 which is about a mile north of the town of Newport, Tipperary. In 1833, the Tithe Applotment Books mention him at Kilvellane in the townland of Glebe.
In 1821, Rev. John Pennefather was paid £24 15s. 10d. for having kept in repair, for two and a half years, 170 perches of the road from Limerick to Newport.
Griffiths Land Valuation of 1854 show several people in the Limerick town of Kilmallock leasing houses from the representatives of Rev. John Pennefather, this being 15 years after his death.
In 1792, John Pennefather had leased land outside Cashel from his brother Richard. This was put up for sale on 18th November 1851 as an encumbered estate. The encumbered estates acts of 1848 and 1849 allowed for the sale of estates which were heavily burdened by debt due to the Great Famine and to the mass emigration which followed it. The Rev. John Pennefather had leased 19 acres from his brother Richard in the townlands of Lisheenbeg and Knocktoyle. In 1851, the tenant was Avery Jones who was the representative of Rev.John Pennefather - the yearly rent was £65. Under ‘Tenure’ is: ‘By lease dated 1792, from Richard Pennefather to John Pennefather, for three lives, all of which are still living, viz; Eliza Pennefather, wife of said John Pennefather, the lessee; Nicholas Mansergh, eldest son of Daniel Mansergh, then of the city of Cashel; and Kingsmill Pennefather, eldest son of the lessee. All this tenure is by the Ordnance Survey called Lisheen.’
Rev. John Pennefather was an Alderman of Cashel Council, which his brother, Richard Pennefather, had filled entirely with members of his own family. In 1833 it was established in the course of a public enquiry that Richard Pennefather of Newpark had not only appointed his brother, John, to the Board of Aldermen, but also his other brother, William Pennefather of Cork. Other appointees were his sons, Mathew Pennefather, and William Pennefather of Lakefield; his son-in-law, Ambrose Going; his son-in-law, Owen Lloyd; his grandson William Lloyd; his nephew, Kingsmill Pennefather (the son of Rev. John Pennefather); his nephew, Nicholas Mansergh; his nephews Daniel and Richard Connor; his cousins, William Pennefather of Annesfort ,Thomas Pennefather and Edward Pennefather; his wife’s cousin, Matthew Jacob, and the husband of his niece, Thomas Bourke.
Despite their political dominance, the Pennefather family did little by way of civic improvement in Cashel - visitors to the town in the mid-eighteenth century were struck by the depressing poverty of the place.
From ‘The Citizen’, Issue 13 of November 1840:
‘We find in the city of Cashel, one of the richest cases of appropriation that the report presents, arising of course from the ruinous patronage of a neighbouring proprietor. Truly may we say, of the patrons of the old Corporations, that their "embrace has been fatal'' to their proteges.
"In Cashel, since 1777, the patron seems to have enjoyed exclusively the power of procuring the election of the aldermen, and of the several officers of the Corporation—of procuring the election of freemen, and of disposing of the corporate property as he pleased. The patron's influence is supposed still to exist, and it has been generally exercised for the advantage of himself and his friends, and little regard has for many years been paid to the interest of the city or the public. The exclusion of the inhabitants of Cashel from all share in the management of their own affairs, and the system of secrecy, go far to account for the total disregard of the public interests, and the very general dissatisfaction that prevails….A witness, who was a medical man, was in the summer of 1832 Secretary to the Board of Health in Cashel, and it became his duty to visit the habitations of the poor; and lie staled, that on that occasion, he ascertained that there were five hundred families in Cashel, without a blanket to cover them. Cashel suffers much from the want of a supply of water. A sufficient supply would be a great relief to all classes of the people, and particularly to the poor, who, in the summer, are frequently exposed to extreme inconvenience from the want of water. It was stated as the opinion of an eminent engineer, that a sufficient supply of water for the accommodation of the inhabitants, could be procured for £500; and that a supply of water for manufacturing purposes could be brought to Cashel for £2000 or £3000, which, if done, would probably be the means of promoting the wealth, industry, and comfort of the inhabitants. The town is not lighted, and the streets are dirty and in bad repair.’
The Reform Bills of the 1840s eventually wrestled power away from the Pennefather family by the extension of the franchise.
The second wife of Rev. John Pennefather was Elizabeth Percival (1765 - 1851) - the couple married on 19th December 1789 in St.John’s, Newport. Elizabeth Percival was the daughter of William Percival and Anne Waller.
Anne was the daughter of Richard Waller of Castle Waller in Newport.
Elizabeth Percival's father, William Percival, was the grandson of Robert Percival, MP of Knightsbrooke, Meath. On 13th June 1717, Robert Percival married Jane Westby, the only daughter of Nicholas Westby of High Park, Wicklow. This is the origin of the names ‘Percival’ and ‘Westby’ which would filter down through subsequent generations of our line of the Pennefather family.
Robert and Jane Percival had five children - the heir Robert Percival, William, Martha, Mary and Jane.
William Percival, the father of Elizabeth, was a captain in the 103rd Foot in 1783. Elizabeth’s siblings were Robert Percival of the West Indies who was a major in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment; Westby Percival of the Royal Navy who married Margaret Lysaght, daughter of Thomas Lysaght; William Percival, a colonel in the Rifle Brigade who married Charlotte Alice Palmer of Castle Lackin, Mayo; Jane who married Captain John Robert Bourke; Ann who married a Delany.
Elizabeth Percival's brother, Captain Westby Percival/Perceval of 128 Baggot Street, Dublin, made out his extensive and generous will on 10th June 1835 - this was lodged in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, He named his wife as Margaret Lysaght, daughter of Thomas Lysaght, a brother-in-law was Richard Lysaght, son of the late Thomas Lysaght, and two nieces, Charlotte and Elizabeth Lysaght, daughter of the late Thomas Lysaght. Westby's brother was William Percival Esq., late Lieutenant Colonel of the 14th Regiment of Foot who had a daughter named in the will as Alice Percival, a late brother was Major Robert Percival of the 18th Royal Irish Regiment of Foot whose widow was Antoinette Percival and whose children, also named, were John, James, Elizabeth and Emily Percival. He named an Emma Evans, daughter of what seems to be Thomas and Clara Evans, although this was difficult to decipher. His sister and her husband were, of course, Elizabeth Pennefather and Rev. John Pennefather of The Glebe, Newport. Westby's sisters were Jane Bourke and Ann Delaney of Limerick who had two daughters, not named in the will but provided for. Two nieces were what seems to be Charlotte and Margaret Hunter, but the family name eluded me here. Westby Percival also left money to his brother-in-law Henry Vansittart, to his dear friend Captain Philip Percival of the Grenadier Guards, and to his doctor and housemaid.
Rev. John Pennefather was buried at the Rock of Cashel.
His wife, Elizabeth Pennefather, died at Lower Mount Street, Dublin, in late June 1851.