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Saturday, 17 March 2012

Dr. Richard Grattan, Drummin House, Kildare

Our maternal 3-times great-grandparents were Eliza Willis of Portarlington and Rev. David Hill Creighton of Blandford Forum, England.
Eliza Willis was the eldest child of the schoolmaster, Thomas Willis, and his first wife, Betty Foster. She was born on December 27th 1781, and died  15th March 1866.
Eliza married David Hill Creighton on 31st January 1810 in the French Church in Portarlington.

Her brother, William Willis, was born to Thomas Willis and Betty Foster in Portarlington on November 1st 1783 and died 8th May 1848. He entered holy orders as did so many of this family, after studying at Trinity College, Dublin.
William Willis was married to Frances Grattan (1805 - 1866), the daughter of Richard Grattan., JP., of Drummin House, Kildare.  They were married on 31st May 1826 in Limerick by, I presume, William’s brother, named in the Freeman’s Journal as the ‘Rev. Doctor Willis’.

The Grattan Family of Drummin/Drummond, Kildare - Frances Willis, née Grattan, was the third daughter of  Richard Grattan JP and Elizabeth Biddulph of Drummin House, Kildare.

The Grattans of Clonmeen (who I'm still trying to decipher....):
The Grattans of Drummin descend from the Grattans of Clonmeen who were noted there from about the end of the 17th century...
A  Symon/Simon Grattan of Rinaghan, Carbery, Kildare, died there in 1697.  He also owned or leased property in James St, Dublin, but I can find no further reference to Simon Grattan.
A John Grattan of Clonmeen died in 1741;  a second John Grattan of Clonmeen died there in 1754.

These Clonmeen Grattans were buried in Carbery.  An early headstone there reads: 'Here lieth the body of Mary daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Grattan who departed this life the 26th (?) 1721 aged 17yrs. Also Robert Grattan who departed this life December 7th 1748 aged 77. And Elizabeth Grattan who departed this life December 6th 1758 aged 73.'

John E.Grattan (1696 - 1740) of Clonmeen:
'This stone was placed by Martha Grattan in memory of her husband John E. Grattan who departed this life June 1740 in ye 44th year of his age...'
Also:  'On April 17th 1756 Olivia Grattan daughter of John E. and Martha Grattan of Clonmeen appoints this stone to be erected in memory of her said parents whose remains lye in the body of this church but their descendants have chosen this place on the northerly side for their internment. Here lye Ann and Elizabeth Whitterig, granddaughters to John E. and Martha Grattan. Here lyes the body of Miss Martha Whitterig who died October 1763 in the 16th year of her age. Here also lyeth the body of the mentioned Olivia Grattan who departed this life ye 15th October 1786 in the 66th year of her age.'

(NB: John Grattan, son of Dr. James Grattan and Elizabeth Tyrrell, was married to Martha Mason, but it's unclear if these were the John and Martha Grattan of Clonmeen mentioned above). One of their daughters, Anne Grattan, who died on August 6th 1748, married the wealthy merchant, William Lunell of Dublin, while a second daughter, Mary Grattan, married William Whitmore and had a daughter, Olivia Whitmore, who married Arthur Guinness of Beaumont.
John Grattan and Martha Mason  also had a son, Rev. William Grattan, which confuses the issue still further, given that there are so many Rev. William Grattans in this genealogy!

 Rev. William Grattan (1715 - 1761) of Carbery married Catherine, the daughter of  Counsellor Sherlock, and was recorded as dying at Sherlockstown, Kildare, in July 1761.   His headstone in Carbery reads: 'Here lyeth the body of Rev. William Grattan of Drummin who departed this life July 1st 1761 in the 46th year of his age. This is the appointed burial place of his widow and children.'
This Rev. William Grattan of Drummin was the grandfather of Dr. Richard Grattan of Drummin House, and the father of Richard Grattan JP of Drummin.

Betham's Extracts records the will, dated 2nd July 1791, of Richard Sherlock of Dublin, wherein he named his wife as Anne Martin, and his nephews as Richard Grattan (JP) of Drummin and Rev. William Grattan. This Rev. William Grattan must be the son, as was Richard Grattan JP, of Rev. William Grattan and Catherine Sherlock.  Also named in Richard Sherlock's will was his niece, Ellinor Sherlock of Marlboro Street and her son William Sherlock.

Deed 132-331-89496, dated  February 1745, details an arrangement between John Grattan  of Clonmeen, Kildare, and his son and heir, Rev. William Grattan, whereby it was agreed that, during his life, John Grattan should hold land known as Demesne - still called that today - and that he would pay £6 8s. 6d. per annum to the heirs and assigns of Robert Grattan.  His son and heir, Rev. William Grattan was to get half of Clonmeen, somewhere indecipherable such as Derenany as well as a windmill in the same townland, Ballyshannon, Knockballyboy, Phillipstown and Killaderry.  Most of these places are close to Carbery, Drummin/Drummond and Edenderry.   Clonmeen was two miles north of Edenderry.

The Grattans of Drummin:

Rev. William Grattan, who the father of  Richard Grattan JP, took out a lease on approximately 580 acres of land at Drummond, Kildare, in 1746. This lease was renewed by his grandson, Richard Grattan MD, in 1840 for the lives of himself and his two sons, Richard and William Grattan. Also mentioned in the lease was Nicholas Biddulph, brother-in-law of Richard Grattan MD.
In June 1850, the estate of Hercules Robinson, ie, Drummond, Kildare, was up for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court.  The estate was held by Richard Grattan MD under two leases, one a renewal of one originally made on 17th February 1846 to William Grattan for three lives, not mentioned in the sales details, and renewed on 4th February 1840.  A second lease was dated 1840, made out to Richard Grattan MD, for three lives, ie, himself, Nicholas Biddulph (his brother-in-law) and William Grattan, all still alive in 1850 at the time of the sale.   Yet another lease was made out to the same Richard Grattan MD for three lives, himself and his two sons, Richard and William.

Rev. William Grattan of Drummin died on 1st July 1761 - 'Here lyeth the body of Rev. William Grattan of Drummin who departed this life July 1st 1761 in the 46th year of his age. This is the appointed burial place of his widow and children.'

In October 1781, Mrs. Grattan, the wife of the late Rev. William Grattan, died at Drummin, Kildare.

Rev. William Grattan was the father of Richard Grattan the Elder, who married, in 1788, Elizabeth Biddulph, the daughter of Francis Biddulph and Eliza Harrison of Vicarstown, Queen's County.

I also read through Deed 634 - 515 - 438150, dated July 1811, between Richard Grattan the Elder, William Scott of Fishertown, Queen's County, Francis Harrison Biddulph of Dublin, Rev. Richard Clarke, and Richard Grattan, eldest son and heir apparent to Richard Grattan the Elder, the younger Richard being Dr. Richard Grattan of Drummin.    This deed recited an earlier marriage settlement of 18th February 1788, which had been drawn up at the time of the older Richard's marriage to Elizabeth Biddulph;  at the time of this marriage, Richard Grattan granted to William Scott and Francis Biddulph 355 acres of land in Kildare, including Drummin, to be was held in trust.  The current deed of 1811 was to legalise the release of this land to the younger Richard Grattan, possibly at the time of his first marriage, although this wasn't mentioned in this deed.

The children of Richard Grattan Senior, who was buried in Carbery on 26th September 1839, and Eliza Biddulph were:

1) Their first child, a son, died in infancy - an old family tradition had it that the firstborn son would never live at Drummond.

2) Richard Grattan MD of Drummin was born on 23rd January 1790.  

3) Possibly John Grattan, apothecary of Cornmarket, Belfast, born circa 1801 in the Dublin region, died 24th April 1871 in Belfast.   This has yet to be confirmed.

4) Frances Grattan, born circa 1805, married  William Willis.

5) Nicholas Grattan, dentist of Killeagh, Co. Cork, born 23rd March 1808, died in Cork in 1869.

6) Catherine Grattan, who married a Colonel Hamilton of Toronto.

7)  Ellen Grattan, named in her brother's will - ie: the will of John Grattan, apothecary of Belfast, and also named in a letter home by Catherine Grattan Hamilton of Toronto.

 8) Anne Grattan, daughter of the late Richard Grattan JP of Drummin, Kildare, married in Dublin on 12th September 1850, George Cooke, the son of Randal Cooke. The wedding in St. George's was witnessed by Richard and John Grattan. At the time, Anne Grattan's address was 22 Pembroke Place, Dublin, and George Cooke's was 4 Drumcondra Terrace, where the couple's son, George Grattan Cooke, was born on 9th April 1852.  George Grattan Cooke followed his grandfather into the medical profession, first with the Royal Navy, then taking up a post in 1877 as the district medical officer for the Mandeville area of Jamaica, where he married Henrietta Emma Calder.  This couple had Kathleen Isabelle Cooke, born 21st February 1885, who married Arthur Guy Robinson in Jamaica on 19th June 1907.

A first cousin of the above children was the poet and novelist, Biddulph Warner, who must have been the son of Elizabeth Biddulph's sister.  Biddulph Warner was the son of Patience Biddulph and Henry T. Warner of Marvelstown, Meath.  Both Patience Biddulph and Elizabeth Biddulph were the daughters of Francis Biddulph of Vicarstown, Queen's County. Francis was the son of John Biddulph of Stradbally, Queen's County.

The Grattans of Drummin House, Edenderry, Kildare, were known to be related to the Irish orator and nationalist MP, Henry Grattan, but I've been unable to decipher how correctly - both Grattan families had their origins in Kildare, however.  In his book 'Considerations on the Human Mind', Richard Grattan MD mentions his relative, the writer, T.C. Grattan - this was Thomas Colley Grattan of Kildare, who descended from Rev. Patrick Grattan of Belcamp, Santry, as did Henry Grattan, the great Irish policitian.

Richard Grattan, Frances Willis's brother or perhaps her father, was an old schoolfriend of Feargus O'Connor - they had both been educated by Thomas Willis at his school in Portarlington.  Feargus, it is said, tried to elope with one of Thomas's daughters, possibly Eliza Willis, our 3 x great grandmother.  Her brother, William Willis, would go on to marry Frances Grattan.

Dr. Richard Grattan of Drummin House, brother of Frances Willis:

A prolific writer, I gleaned much of the following information from his own works.  He was born on 23rd January 1790 and recalled that his father was 'a zealous cleric and a benevolent doctor'.

Dr. Richard Grattan later attended Trinity, Dublin : 'Grattan, Richard. Pen. (Mr. Leney) November 14th 1805, aged 16. Son of Richard, Generosus; born Queen's County; B.A. Vern 1810; (M.D. Edinburgh)'

He married Rosetta Alathea/Esther Haigh in 1829.  Rosetta Grattan, of York St., Dublin, and Edenderry, Kildare, who was the daughter of Rev. Dr. Martin of Dublin, vicar of St. Patrick's Cathedral, died 13rd August 1834 and was buried in St. Patrick's.   Rosetta Alathea Martin had previously been married to William Haigh of Westfield House, Doncaster, who died, aged 63, on 12th May 1828.  He had been a civil magistrate in Ireland, and was the agent of Earl Fitzwilliam's estates there.  Rosetta's sister, Jane Haigh, married Thomas Alexander of Frowick House, Essex, and of Buncrana, Donegal, in 1836.

 Richard himself referred to the death by cholera of his wife, Rosetta, in his book 'Considerations on the Human Mind' -
    'My wife died (of cholera) after a few hours' illness, on Wednesday, the 13th of August, (1834), a little before sunrise - having throughout her illness expressed the most anxious wishes to see me, and continuously desired me to be sent for. At the time of her death I was travelling in the mail, and asleep, when I was suddenly awakened by a rush of something which startled me, and caused me, at the instant, to think it was my wife.  Again, in travelling, also in the mail,  on the night of the same day,  about ten o'clock, having fallen asleep, I was startled as before, with the same feeling, but stronger, as if a handkerchief had been thrown in my face by my wife to waken me. (She was "buried by torchlight" that night.)......
......'When conversing with my wife's family on the subject of her death, one of them, her brother, exclaimed , "Oh, but did you hear what happened in your house in the country?"  "No; what was it?" 
"The strangest thing in the world - sure, Rosetta appeared to your children the night she was buried." 
"Nonsense," I said, "that is too ridiculous; they must have been dreaming, as I was when I was in the coach, and thought she wakened me."  "It is perfectly true," he replied, and then he told me what I tell you.
....Three children, one five, another three, and the third not quite two years old, were put to bed in their nursery at their usual hour. They were all asleep, when, about ten o' clock, on the night of the day when their mother died, and before any person in the house had been informed of her death, the children ALL suddenly awoke, screaming under the influence of fright, the two elder exclaiming "There's mamma! there's mamma!'

The same publication mentions two older children, daughters aged nine and ten, at the time of Rosetta's death in 1834.
The baptismal register of Carbery church notes that a daughter, Elizabeth Grattan, was born to Richard and Rosetta Althea Grattan of Drummin on 10th January 1833, and was baptised there on 13th February 1833.

In December 1845, Dr. Richard Grattan of Drummin lost a hand between the rollers of a threshing machine.  The Quaker nationalist, Alfred Webb, recalled that Dr. Grattan of Carbury had lost an arm in a threshing machine.

Following the death of his first wife, Rosetta Althea Martin in 1834, Richard Grattan married a second time.
'Saunders Newsletter' of 13th October 1836:  'Married on the 12th instant, at St, Thomas's Church, Richard Grattan of Drummin House, Kildare, to Grace Nixon, third daughter of William Gillespie of Lower Gardiner Street.'

The baptismal register of Carbery Church noted that a son, William, was baptised by Richard and Grace Grattan of Drummin on 5th November 1837. His date of birth was also noted but was illegible. Oddly, a later entry in the same register noted the date of baptism as 8th October 1837.

A second son of Richard and Grace Grattan of Drummin was baptised as Christopher Hutchinson Grattan on 22nd January 1838, and this was the man who proved his mother's will when she died at Drummin House on 28th April 1881.

At the beginning of the Great Famine, Richard Grattan wrote a letter detailing the first major failure of the potato crop, both on his own farm and in Co. Kildare in general, in October 1845, to John William Gillespie of 93 Lower Gardiner Street, and this man must surely be a relation of his wife, Grace Nixon Gillespie of Lower Gardiner Street.  A Christopher Gillespie was a wine merchant of Lower Gardiner Street.

The Kildare Lent Assizes for 1847:
In 1847, at the height of the Famine, Jane Maher and Garret Lynam were accused of poisoning, with arsenic, Richard Grattan Junior (1831 - 1846), aged 15, the son of Richard Grattan MD and Rosetta Haigh of Drummin House, Kildare.  Richard Grattan had attempted to alleviate the distress of his tenantry by purchasing a large quantity of Indian corn. Indian corn was deeply unpopular, being difficult both to prepare and digest.  It arrived in Drummin on the 14th or 15th of August 1846- when the servants refused to touch it, Richard Grattan ordered that it be served to his own family as breakfast porridge, or stirabout, on the mornings of the 17th and 18th August.  The servants still refused to eat it, and gave the leftovers to four calves which subsequently died.

At the time of the trial, Grattan testified that he was living at Drummin with his wife, five children (only three were named during the trial - Anne, William and the young victim, Richard, but the remaining two were mentioned as sisters to Anne) and five servants, two of whom were the suspects in the poisoning case - the cook, Jane Maher, and the steward, Garret Lynam.  Grattan helped Jane Lynam to prepare the porridge in the kitchen;  shortly after breakfast on the 18th, Grattan's family fell ill, and his son, Richard Junior, died about a day later.
The burial register of Carbery Church noted that Master Richard Grattan of Drummin was buried on 21st August 1846 aged 15.
The trial failed to find enough evidence to convict the two defendants, and the pair were released.
In the course of the trial, a Mr. John Grattan, possibly John Grattan of Belfast, was also mentioned.
The poisoned child, Richard Grattan, died aged 15, on 18th August 1846.

On December 17th 1859,  William Grattan, aged 22, eldest son of Richard Grattan M.D., died at Drummin House, Kildare - the death of this beloved son seems to have prompted the writing of 'Considerations on the Human Mind' as much of the book is devoted to his memory, and to the memory of his lately departed cousin, Biddulph Warner.
William and his father were buried in Carbery graveyard - 'William son of Richard Grattan Esqr. MD, Drummin House. Born October 1837, died December 1857.  "Farewell, dear William, for a time, Farewell ere longue both shall surely meet again, till then - child of my findest hopes, Farewell."  Richard Grattan, born January 1790. Died May 25th 1886.'

The 1901 census shows two unmarried sisters living in a 15-room house in Drummin, Kildare - Anne Grattan who had been born in Dublin in 1834, and her sister, Elizabeth Grattan, who had been born in Kildare in 1837.  (I had originally confused this Anne Grattan with her paternal aunt, Anne Grattan who had married George Cooke in 1850, but a newspaper announcement of 1850 clearly stated that the older Anne was the daughter of the LATE Richard Grattan of Drummin,)
From 'Walford's County Families' of 1901, it is stated that Anne Grattan of Drummin House was indeed the eldest daughter of Richard Grattan and of Rosetta Alathea who was herself the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin of Dublin.  Anne Grattan's sister, Elizabeth Grattan, who was also living at Drummin in 1901, was born in 1837 according to the census, so would have been born three years after the death of Rosetta Alathea Grattan, who was Anne's mother.
Anne Grattan died at Drummin House, Carbery, Co. Kildare, on 20th November 1915, and her will was granted to Robert Cecil Grattan de Courcy Wheeler, of Drummin, who also erected the sisters' gravestone in Carbery -
   'In memory of Anne Grattan who died 20th November 1915 aged 87 years, eldest daughter of Richard Grattan MD of Drummin House and of her sister, Elizabeth Grattan, who died 29th january 1922 aged 90 years. Erected in their memory by Robert Cecil Grattan De Courcy Wheeler of Drummin.'

 The register entry for the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland has the following for Richard Grattan: 'Grattan, Richard - L, 17th Sept 1814;  F, 14th April 1817;  C., 1817 - 1822;  MD, Edin;  BA, Dublin. Drummin House, Carberry, Enfield, county Kildare.'
In the Dublin directory of 1818, Dr. Richard Grattan was mentioned as a Censor of The King's and Queen's College of Physicians;  he was also one of the Inspectors of Apothecaries Shops, appointed by Act of Parliament.
In 1818, his Dublin address was 32 Peter Street, and, in 1829, 23 York Street.
In 1848, Dr. Richard Grattan, who had strong nationalist sympathies, signed the William Smith O'Brien petition.

Dr. Richard Grattan, Drummin House, was vehemently patriotic, and was the author of ‘Vox Hiberniae e Deserto Clamantis: or, Ireland, her Grievances and their Remedies’, which was published in 1870.
On his kinsman, Henry Grattan:  ‘...Henry Grattan, returned as a representative through the patronage of the Earl of Charlemont, by his eloquence and liberal views soon became a leader in the Irish parliament. He was a strenuous advocate for Catholic emancipation.  He claimed and obtained free trade for Ireland.  Supported by the Irish Volunteers, he set the English minister at defiance, and compelled England, terrified by her ignominious defeat in the war with the United States, to ratify his resolution that no power on earth has the authority to make laws for Ireland, except the King, Lords, and Commons of efforts, however feeble, have always been in accord with the principles of Henry Grattan...I have devoted my attention chiefly to the improvement of the hard-working and industrious classes....I have no faith in the wisdom, no confidence in the justice of an English Parliament in its dealings with Ireland...’

On being Protestant in Ireland:  ‘In this hatred of oppression no men have been more prominent than Protestants...Born in Ireland, dwelling in Ireland, Irish in feeling and bound to their fellow countrymen by the strong ties of a common nationality and of mutual interest, there never have been wanting amongst them brave hearts and strong minds to resist aggression, from whatever quarter it might come.’

On the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland:  ‘The greatest triumph of modern advancement has been that of the total separation of the Church and State in Ireland.  The disestablishment of the Irish branch of the English Church is indeed a great gain...the English parliament...has profited by the example of America, and is gradually adopting the democratic principles of the younger country, which has sprung from herself, speaks her language, and...can never forget or cease to be proud of her English origin.
   ‘...And why should it not be so with Ireland?  Ireland wishes to be connected to England by the golden link of the crown, but will no longer submit to be her slave. England and Ireland may and ought to move together in their foreign relations, but as regards the internal affairs of Ireland these must be managed by Ireland for her own benefit, and without English interference.’

‘I am the Senior Fellow of the College of Physicians - the father of the profession in Ireland...But I am not a mere doctor. Many years ago I retired from the laborious practice of the profession.  I preferred to reside on my own land, the greater part of which I inherit, and for which I pay no rent.  For more, I pay a small chief rent, and for the rest, all of which I hold in perpetuity, I pay the fair value.  Altogether I have as much as I want, a surface of nearly two thousand acres, much of which is waste. I have set some in farms to tenants;  I give leases of three lives or thirty-one years, whichever shall longest last.  I keep about three hundred acres in my own hands, and intend that so much shall always be attached to the family residence.  I set some of this for grazing by the year. I do not allow any house to be erected on it; whatever improvements are required I make myself. I have drained a large surface of land, and planted a good deal,  so that I have given an improved character to the entire country in my immediate vicinity.  I live on good terms with my tenants.  I do not wish to exterminate the labourers, of whom I employ a good many.  They are all Catholics, decent, hardworking people - orderly and obedient. I respect their creed, and they never think of finding fault with mine....I disapprove of the distribution of tracts offensive to Roman Catholics. I do not subscribe to the Bible Society.  My principles are rationalistic - that is, they are those of Protestantism carried to their legitimate extent, according to the strict rules of logical ratiocination.’

On his associations with Daniel O’Connell, the great Irish statesman: ‘The last time I stood by his side in public was when he seconded my resolution that we would never pay one shilling of tithes...We had resolved to disendow and disestablish the church altogether. Under the flag of civil and religious equality we had banded ourselves together...when without our knowledge a compromise was entered into by O’Connell and the Ministry. By means of this arrangement the tithes were converted into a permanent rent charge, payable by the landlords. The tithes no doubt were abolished, but the money charge was continued, and the Church was better off than ever.
   ‘...O’Connell acted his part well and nobly. Who but O’Connell could have thundered at the door of the English Commons, and bursting it in, stand proudly and alone in the midst of the elect of the British empire, bearding and defying them?...A giant, he possessed a giant’s strength, and he used it...O’Connell had to pull down before he could build. He had to undermine the strong towers and breach in the embattled walls of Protestant ascendancy, strengthened and consolidated as it was by the crushing exercise of penal laws and arbitrary power. He left the ground cumbered with rubbish, but the work was done by him, supported as he was by the liberal Protestant party. Since then the Established Church has fallen, and the rubbish has been removed.’

‘The case of Ireland is one of peculiar hardship. With the exception of the linen trade of the North, we do not possess a single manufacture.  During the long and calamitous period of the last forty-seven years, since the Union with England was forced upon this country, the jealous policy of the stronger nation has been perseveringly directed to destroy the trade and manufactures...added to this, the unceasing drain from Ireland by remittances to absentees - the fraudulent and repeated changes in the value of the currency - the destructive monopoly of the Bank of Ireland...have deprived this country both of capital and of credit.
   ‘England, by means of the Union, have placed us at her mercy, and deprived us of a resident legislature, the only safeguard of our national rights, now that we are famine-worn and fever-stricken, tells us that we are a nation of mendicants - that our country is not our own - that the produce of our cornfields and of our rich pastures is theirs, the property of English monopolists, and must be feed the English mechanic, even though two millions of the people of Ireland shall perish from want of food. And again and again she repeats that of money, even of our own money which we have paid into the English Treasury, not a guinea will be advanced to us, to relieve us in our present great distress.’


  1. Alison, how can I contact you in relation to Dr Richard Grattan of Drummin?

  2. Hi Ciaran,
    Feel free to email me at
    Looking forward to hearing from you,

  3. Daniel O'Connell was my great great grand-uncle. I grew up in Lisdoonvarna in North Clare but now am married in to Carbury, I am delighted to learn of the association with the O'Connells and Carbury ! Courtesy of the Grattans of Drummin House. Home from home!!!