The following extract was included in a short sketch of County Kerry written in 1898 and published in serialised form in a local newspaper. The sketch was the work of Miss Anne Margaret Rowan, daughter of Archdeacon (and author) Arthur Blennerhassett Rowan of Tralee. Miss Rowan, who was born in Tralee in 1832, was also the author of Norah Moriarty; or, Revelations of Modern Irish Life (1886) and Life in the Cut (1888). Her Memories of Old Tralee, written in 1895, was reproduced, with short introduction, in 2016.
Some spellings, passages and dates may be queried, and it is impossible to know if transcription errors occurred during publication in 1898. Miss Rowan complained of this problem herself to the editor of the newspaper:
You do not give me an opportunity of correcting for the press; consequently errors in words, and punctuation which alter meanings, and which it is hopeless to try to correct in a letter, occur in each article. Correspondents who are interested in these articles write to me, pointing out some evident mistakes, and asking questions as to points made obscure by typographical errors.
The extract relates to an 1814 report of the Farming Society of Ireland. This organisation was founded in 1800 by the Marquis of Sligo and the Rt Hon John Foster, under the patronage of the Dublin Society, its objective to improve the agriculture and livestock ‘of this kingdom’:
Gold medals and premiums of twenty, ten, and five pounds, according to the different classes, shall be given to those who produce the finest bulls, cows, and heiffers, of any kind, at a shew of black cattle and sheep to be holden at Ballinasloe on Wednesday the 8th day of October next and also at a like show on the first Thursday in November next at Smithfield market, Dublin.
It evidently ceased to exist in about 1828 when its activities were taken over by the Dublin Society.
Miss Rowan’s sketch in full follows the extract.
Extract from Report of the Farming Society of Ireland, 1814 Truaghnacmy – Mr Meredith of Dicksgrove works his land well and has fine crops. He uses a Hereford plough drawn by well-trained bullocks and is most anxious to encourage his neighbours to improve their methods. Mr Harnett has some fine ground, so has Mr Powell at Castleisland. This Mr Powell, who is Mr Herbert’s land steward, holds under Mr Herbert of Muckross. It is the model farm of the neighbourhood. In 1806, he took 140 acres at £200 per annum. He has inclosed it, partly with a wall five feet high, divided it into fields, built a nice house, started an orchard, well cropped and stocked his land, his South Down ram lambs fetching five guineas each. The town of Castleisland is unimproved, and there are six hundred acres close to the town in a state of nature. This is part of Lord Powis’s estate which remains undivided, therefore unworked, as one of the six proprietors is generally a minor, so that no leases can be legally made; the tenants, therefore, have no security. William John Crosbie is now the minor. Lord Powis’s head rent is £1,800 per annum. The present lettings bring in £18,000 per annum ground letting here at £5 or £6 per acre per annum as dairy land and dairys are the principle method here. Mr Hussey has a dairy here of 36 cows. This is managed by one man, one woman and two girls. The butter, which is excellent, is made in a shabby mud house, without windows, because glass is supposed to be bad for butter. This butter is packed in firkins and sent in loads of 14 to Cork which is forty miles away.
A Short Sketch of Co Kerry by Miss A M Rowan
Ardfert and Aghadoe
From very early times the Sees of Ardfert and Aghadoe were united, each possessing their own cathedral.
The vicissitudes of these cathedrals were various, both of them being destroyed and rebuilt several times. The Annals of Innisfallen mention that Aodh (McConnor McAuliffe Mor) O’Donoghue, King of Loch Lein, was buried AD 1231 in his ancient Abbey of Aghadoe.
The supposed date of this cathedral was the sixth century; the rude form of the structure betokens this antiquity, as there is no sign in the ruins of that more educated ornamentation usually to be found in more modern edifices; also, the fact that the monks of Innisfallen, which was then an old Abbey in 1213, describe Aghadoe as ancient in the 13th century, betokens that Aghadoe was as old, if not older, than Innisfallen.
Ardfert Cathedral was destroyed many times by internecine wars. The Annals of Innisfallen describe its being ‘plundered by the McCarthys AD 1160, who brought much prey with them and killed many people even in the churchyard.’ The last and most important rebuilding of Ardfert Cathedral was undertaken by the Fitzmaurices in or about the 14th century, its final ruin being in 1641, when ‘the Irish army destroyed and wasted the cathedral and all the adjoining district.’
There was no attempt made to repair Ardfert after 1641, but until late in the last century [18th], a few monks clung to their ruined church. During the early part of this century [19th] one of the aisles of Ardfert Cathedral was roofed in and used as the parish church until the present pretty one was erected.
Those who were consecrated to this old See as Bishops of Ardfert and Aghadoe were as follows:
494 Saint Brendan – 494 to 577, born at Fenit, and a disciple of Jarleth of Tuam, is said to have created this diocese and named it (well as Clonfert) after his spiritual father Ert, Bishop of Slane. It is well to remark that there were three different Brendans, Bishops of Ardfert and Aghadoe. 1075 Dermot Mac Miol Brennan, written Mal Brendan 1152 Magrath O’Ronain, attended Synod of Kells, 1152, as Bishop of Ardfert Next appears Ziolla Mac Aiblan O Hanmada 1193 Donald O Connap, called Bishop of Munster, 1193 Next appears David (?) O Deribthitpib 1215 John, the first of whom we have the assured date is John, an English Benedictine monk, consecrated 1215. He was deprived of his See in 1221 and retired to the Abbey of St Albans, where he died 25 years after 1225 Gilbert, consecrated 1225, resigned 1237 1237 Brendan 1252 Christian 1264 John 1285 Nicholas 1288 Nicholas. He was called bishop of Kerry and died at a great age, AD 1336 1336 Man O Hathern. Pope Benedict XII, in 1341, appointed Edmund de Carmarthen to this See but as the See was thus occupied this nomination had no effect 1348 John de Valle, nominated by Pope Clement VII, 1348 1372 Cornelius O Tizernach, nominated by Gregory VII 1379 William Bule 1410 Nicholas Fitzmaurice, son of 7th Lord Kerry, 1410-1431 1462 Maurice, provided by the Pope, died 1462 1480 John Stack, provided by Pius II, neglected his duty and was superseded but again appointed by Sextus IV. He attended the Synod of Fethard 1480 and was buried at Ardfert 1488 1488 Philip, a secular priest, who had previously superseded John Stack, was again appointed to Ardfert by Innocent VII in 1488 1495 John de Geraldyn, provided by Alexander VI, 1495 1555 James Fitzmaurice, Bishop 1555-1583. There were two Fitzmaurices bishops 1588 Nicholas Kenan, died at Limerick 1599 1600 John Crosby, a graduate in the schools of the English race, and yet is skilled in the Irish tongue. This bishop was of the race Mac y Crossane, who was hereditary Chief Rhymer of the O’Moores of Lex. He died 1621, and was buried at Ardfert 1622 John Steere, Bishop of Fenabore, or Kilfenora, consecrated Bishop of Ardfert 1622 1628 William Steere, brother of late bishop 1641 Thomas Fullar, alias Fulwar. Note there were two Fullers bishops 1660 Edward Synge, consecrated Bishop of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe being held in commendam therewith. Since 1660 the Sees have been so united – Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe Next appears William Fuller DD, of Cambridge and Oxon, 1663, afterwards Archbishop of Cashel. Woods Fasti Oxon AD 1660, August 2, Doctor of Law. William Fuller, sometime of St Edmund’s Hall. He was afterwards Bishop of Limerick, and at length of Lincoln 1667 Francis Marsh, of Kilmore and Ardagh, 1672 1672 John Vesey, Archbishop Tuam 1678 1678 Simon Digby, Elphin 1691 1690 Nathaniel Wilson from Worcestershire recommended to Ireland, where he became chaplain to Duke of Ormond – a great preacher 1695 Thomas Smith, Dublin University 1725 William Burscough 1725 James Leslie, son of Dean Leslie, who obtained Seignory of Tarbert for his services to William III, and who died with the King’s letter in his pocket, with his promotion to a Bishopric 1755 John Averal 1772 William Gore, translated to Elphin 1772 1772 William Cecil Perry 1784 or 1794 Thomas Barnard, died 1806. Of him Goldsmith wrote, ‘Here lies the good Dean reduced to earth,/Who mixed reason with pleasure, and wisdom with mirth;/If he had any faults, he has left us in doubt –/At least in six weeks I could not find them out.’ 1806 Charles Mongan Warburton, translated to Cloyne 1820 1820 Thomas Elrington, Provost Trinity College Dublin, translated Ferns 1822 1822 John Jebb, died 1833 1834 Edmond Knox 1849 William Higgin, translated to Derry 1853 Henry Griffin 1866 Charles Graves
The dignitaries of the Diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe were apportioned as follows:
To the Deanery was attached the Rectory of Ratass, the Rectorial tythes of Killanecar, with [?] acres of Glebe in Rathass, and 37 acres of glebe in Ardfert parish. The Dean at one time had also one fifth of the tythes of Ardfert parish but these afterwards fell to the Ecclesiastical Commission for Ireland. The Precentor had the vicarial tythes of Kilfeighney and Ballyconry parishes, and one-fifth of the tythe of Ardfert parish; Glebe in Kilfeighney, and 71 acres of glebe in Ardfert parish. The Chancellor had the tythes of Kilmalchedar and the Rectorial tythes of Fenit, with one-fifth of the tythes of Ardfert parish, which reverted to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The Treasurer. To this was attached the rectory of Kilconly, the vicarage of Kilclinty, with glebes in each parish, and one-fifth the tythe of Ardfert parish. The Archdeaconry. To this belonged the Rectory of Ballinvoher, one fifth of the tythe of Ardfert, and 15 acres of glebe in said parish.
An old manuscript in Rolls House, London, styled ‘Steer’s Memorial’ dated 1692 is written by Major Steer, probably a near relative of the Bishop Steer, who was called ‘the grand informer of Kerry’ and who supplied government with much information as to ecclesiastical matters in the diocese. He advises that the diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe be separated. Smith’s History of Kerry written in 1754 gives a detailed account of the then wretched condition of the diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe where there were only sixteen churches in any kind of repair, all others being in ruins, the Cathedral Church of Aghadoe in ruins, ‘time out of mind.’
In Camden’s day, ‘Ardarte’ was a wretchedly poor diocese. It is thus described, ‘The bishops called of Ardfert a poor one, God wot hath his poore See.’
Generation after generation this diocese was further reduced, lands being alienated, until 1660, when seemingly shorn of worldly goods, the bishopric was annexed to that of Limerick, to which it as present belongs. Smith says the diocese was at one time styled the Bishopric of Kerry but the only bishop we find actually consecrated Bishop of Kerry was Nicholas (the Cistercian) Abbot of O’Dorney who was elected Bishop of Kerry AD 1288. A remarkable suit was brought against this bishop and four of his clergy.
They are said to have forcibly taken the corpse of one Cantil (probably present Cantillon) and beaten some of the Friars of the Franciscan Abbey at Ardfert.
This See, in an old taxation book, is charged £12 13s 4d sterling for First Fruits; the Deanery and Archdeaconry £3 each; the Chantor, Chancellor, and Treasurer, £2 each, and the Archdeacon of Aghadoe, £1 10s sterling. In the registration book there is no distinction made between the parishes in Ardfert and Aghadoe, the former being described as North Kerry, the latter as Desmond district of the diocese.
Major Steer recommended that the county at large should be charged with the repairs of the cathedral churches of Ardfert and Aghadoe and that account should be rendered of the £200 already paid for that purpose. He says an able Dean is much needed for Ardfert and Aghadoe, there being a dispute between Dr Bladen and Dean Richardson, ‘who are of no use here. Dr Bladen resides in Dublin, where he is well beneficed, and Dean Richardson in London, where he has £300 per annum. The Dean of Limerick is also Archdeacon of Aghadoe, for which he has £120 per annum though he resides on his Limerick Deanery, where he has £300 per annum.’
Ecclesiastical history of this country demonstrates that from early in the 15th to close of the 18th century the churches in Ireland were in a sorry condition. In 1576, Sir Henry Sidney said there were ‘few resident parsons or vicars, in most places a very sorry curate … on the face of the earth, where Christ is professed, there is not a church in so miserable case.’
A little later Spenser, later again, Stafford, tell the same story, mentioning amongst other causes that ‘the possessions of the church being to a great proportion in lay hands’ causes much evil.
In the middle of the eighteenth century, there were but 16 churches in use in Kerry; ninety years later there were 38, of which I give a list. The late Archdeacon Rowan collected exhaustive details of the diocese in 1841 when he contemplated writing a history of Kerry; from these I extract the followings items. The population is from the census of that year.
Aghadoe – Patron, the bishop, census 4,897; rent charge £279 13s 9d; glebe land valued at £49. In 1754 this parish had only a ruined church and each of the dignitaries paid 10s proxy fees. Aghavallin – Patron Staughtons; was in good repair in 1754; in 1841 joined to Listowel. Aglish – Patron Earl of Cork; census 1,939; rent charge £18 10s 2d; glebe land £29 10s. Ardfert – The bishop, patron; census 5,334; rent charge £142 8s 5d; glebe land £18 9s 2d. Ballinacourty, with Minard and Stradbally – Patron [?], census 1,412 – 1,666 – 1,202; rent charge £63 11s 3d – £57 6s 11d – £40. Ballinahaglish (part of Ardfert) – Patron Sir E Denny; census 2,147; rent charge £121 3s 1d; glebe land £55 7s 8d. This church is now closed (1898). To it was united St Anna and Clogherbrien, part of Tralee. In 1754 both these churches were in ruins. 10s each were then paid in proxies. Ballinvoher – Patron, the bishop; census 3,579; rent charge £152 6s 5d; glebe £4 12s 3d. Ballycushlane (part of Castleisland) – census 5,701; rent charge £345 9s 5d. In 1754 this church was in ruins, and the patron was the Earl of Powis, alias Lord Herbert; proxy 10s. Ballymacelligott – Patron, Crosbie of Ardfert (?), alternate with others; census 4,056; rent charge £252 13s 10d. In 1754 this parish was in gift of Sir M Crosbie, one of the alternate patrons. There were then six acres of glebe and two-thirds of the great tithes of that part of the parish of Currens north of the Mang attached to the rectory. The church was in good repair and the proxy was 10s (Nohoval and part of Currens attached). Ballyseedy (part of Ballymacelligott) – Patron, Blennerhassett; census 1,472; rent charge £45. There was no church until the present pretty one was built in 1878. Ballyduff – Patron, Earl of Cork; census 488. Ballyheigue – Patron, the bishop; census 4,725; rent charge £218 1s 6d; glebe £40. In 1754 this church was in ruins; proxy 10s. Brosna – Patron, the bishop; census 2,871; rent charge £131 5s; glebe £5 5s. In 1754 church in ruins; proxy 10s. Caherciveen – Patron, the Crown; census 6,315; rent charge £170 5s 10d; glebe £98 14s. Attached are Glanbegh and Killinane. Castleisland – Four (six?) alternate patrons; census 7.967; rent charge £479 3s 11d; glebe £52. In 1754 this church was in good repair, and the patron was Earl Powis. Clahane (part of Castlegregory) – patron, the bishop; census 2,994; rent charge £138 9s 2d. Currens – Joined to BallymacElligott and Kiltallagh – census 2,067. With Currens in 1754 was Cullen, the King was then patron, and both rectories and churches were in ruins. Dingle – Patron, Lord Ventry; census 6,206; rent charge none. Drishane (part of Knocknacappul) – Patron, the bishop; rent charge £236 5s; glebe £50; joined to it is Nohoval-daly; rent charge £107 10s. Dromod – Prior – Patron, the Crown; census 5,247 and 3,323; rent charge £169 10s – £90. Drumtariff – Killineen – Cullen – Patron, the bishop; census not given; rent charge £150; with glebe £30 – £92 10s and £112 10s. Duagh – Kilcarra – Patron, Rev Robert Hickson; census 5,065 and 1,250; rent charge £1015s and £72 10s; glebe £47 10s and £42. Dunurlin – Patron, the bishop; census 2,125; rent charge £112 10s. Garfinny (part of Dingle) – Patron, the bishop; census 914; rent charge £34 12s 4d. Kenmare – Patron, the Crown; census 5,839; rent charge £159 8s 5d. Tuosist was joined to this; census 7,485; rent charge £170 0s 2d; glebes to both value £6 and £4 4s. Kilcolman – Patron, Crosbie, Ardfert; census 3,902; rent charge £34 12s 4d, glebe £20. Kilcrohane and Templenoe – Patron, Crown; census 10,776 and 4,189; rent charge £193 18s 2d and £91 14s 7d; glebes £30 and £40; were united to Kilcoleman. Kilmoily – Patron, the Crown; census 4,459; rent charge £150. Kildrum (part of Dingle) – Patron, the bishop; census 1,217; rent charge £27 18s 10d; glebe £3. Kilfeighney and Ballyconry – Patron, the bishop; census 2,388 and 417; rent charge £83 11s 6d and £13 10s; glebe £12 10s. Kilflynn with Kiltomey, Killaghin, Kilshanin – Patron, Earl of Cork; census 1,081 – 2,043 – 1,876 – 2,271; rent charge £31 18s 3d – £45 – £31 10s – £56 3s 2d, and glebe £4 10s. Kilgarvan – Patron, the bishop; census 3,988; rent charge £83 1s 6d; glebe £34 10s; united to Killaha; census 2,660; rent charge £90. Kilgobbin (with part of Killanene) – Patron, the bishop; census 2,384 and 1,745; rent charge £316 10s; glebe £40 and rent charge £69 4s 7d. Killarney (part of Kilcummin) – Patron, the Crown (by disqualification of the Earl of Kenmare); census 10,476 and 7,360; rent charge £180 and glebe £120; rent charge £166 3s 1d and glebe £68 5s respectively. Kiclinty, and part Kilconly – Patron, the bishop; census 2,728 and 2,210; rent charge £76 3s 1d and £62 6s 2d; with glebe, £60 and £6 6s respectively. Killiney – Patron, the bishop; census 3,481; rent charge £324 (sic) 13s 10d; glebe £13 16s 11d. Killeentierna and Dysert – Patron, the bishop; census 3,106 and 1,529; rent charge £212 10s 5d and £130 4s 6d; with glebe £42 18s 4d. Killorglin – Patron, the Crown; census 8,574; rent charge £300; glebe £22. Killury – Patron, Crosbie of Ardfert; census 6,480; rent charge £294 4s 8d; glebe £15. Kilmalchedar and Fenit – Patron, the bishop; census 2,333 and 315 respectively; rent charge £52 10s with £5 glebe, and £75. Kilquane – Census 1,760; rent charge £77 12 6d, with £8 glebe. Kiltallagh, Kilgarrylander and part Currens – Patron, the Crown; census 1,303 – 2,889 for the two first, with rent charge £124 12s 4d – £162 13s 10d, and glebes £15 and £20; the population of Currens not given; rent charge £78 with £10 10s glebe. Kinnard (part of Dingle) – Patron, the bishop; census 1,286; rent charge £62 6s 2d; glebe £6 15s. Knockane – Census 5,191; rent charge £196; glebe £45 2s. Listowel, to which are united Aghavallin, Lisselton, Galey, Kilohiny, Murlin, Kilnaughtin, Dysert, Finuge, Knockenure – all in gift of Staughton of Ballyhorgan; census Listowel 5,934; respectively: 6,606, 2,221, 3,041, 3,050, 3,293, 5,102, 1,296, 1,545, 1,358. Marhyn and Dunquin – Patron, Lord Ventry; census 973 and 1,394; rent charge £28 2s 6d and £28 2s 6d. Molahiffe – Patron, Crosbie of Ardfert; census 3,635; rent charge £120; joined to this Kilcredan and Kilbonane, in same gift, with census 754 and 3,666 respectively, glebes being £27 13s 10d and £138 9s. O’Brennan – Census 992; rent charge £51 18s 5d. O’Dorney – Census 3,142; rent charge none; glebe none. Rathass – Killanear (appertains to Deanery of Ardfert) – Patron, the Crown; census 2,836 and 1,746; rent charge £252 13s 10d and £69 4s 7d. Rattoo – Census 3,654; rent charge, none; glebe none. Tralee – Patron, Sir Edward Denny; census 12,534; rent charge £304 5s 9d with £46 glebe. Valentia – Patron, the Crown; census 2,920; rent charge £112 10s with glebe £50. Ventry – Patron, Crosbie of Ardfert; census 2,426; rent charge £90 with £1 10s glebe.
Total rent charge of diocese £10,920 10s; glebes £1,347 4s 8d. There are four parishes where census is not given. The census of the dioceses, as given in the list, is 276,522, about 50,000 more than the census of 1891. The population of five or six small parishes is omitted to be given which, for 1841, makes it almost a wide margin – about ten more thousand persons, so that the shrinkage of population in the last fifty years has not been so great as is generally supposed.
The following list of the population of Kerry for the last two hundred years is interesting. In the year 1692 population was 10,635; in 1754, 56,628; in 1841, 293,880; in 1851, 238,241; in 1891, 225,565.
The County Kerry
‘The coming of the English into Ireland’ AD 1172 is commonly but somewhat inaccurately called the conquest of Ireland by the English. For one or more centuries the inhabitants of these two neighbouring islands, sparse though they were in number, constantly raided one on the other. When an English, Welsh, Scotch or Irish prince suffered loss he immediately claimed aid from some neighbouring warrior to repair his injuries, offering as a reward for such help an opportunity to this assistant prince of ‘preying’ upon other adjacent districts. Prisoners were often taken. Irish and other princesses thus carried off were oftentimes married to and settled with their conquerors.
In the year AD 913, Irish from the south raided into Wales and carried off much prey. In 925, the Saxons landed and ravaged in Ireland. Edgar, King of England, then claimed Ireland as his. Again, in 966, the Irish took revenge in Wales. The Earl of Chester being deposed sought aid in Ireland, and led the Irish successfully in a great raid which reinstated him with increased power in Chester.
During the eleventh century, raids and reprisals were periodical events, notable raids of Irish in England taking place at the following dates, when the country was devastated and laid waste from the sea-shore to Chester in the north and Hereford in the south: AD 1041, 1049, 1054, 1070, 1087 and 1148. Thus, when Dermod Mac Murrogh, being banished from his Kingdom of Leicester, sought aid in England, he was but following the habit of the age and giving his allies an opportunity of revenging their wrongs on those who had previously preyed on them.
Strongbow’s advent, AD 1172, was but another raid into Ireland. He, with ‘strong hand’ took, and with ‘strong hand’ kept, his conquest for the period of his lifetime. In 1172, Ardfert was known as Cair-rei, and Aghadoe as Desmond district. I have before me a quaint manuscript, written in 1830 by Dr Maurice O’Connor, giving his family pedigree from ancient writings. It is headed O’Connor-Kerry. The pedigree of all the branches of the old clan from Fergus Prince of Ulster, cousin to Connor-Kerry of that province (Ulster) in the first century of our Redemption.
It is stated in this manuscript that the name O, or descendant of Connor, was assigned on the first adoption of ‘sirnames’ in the reign of Brian, Monarch of Ireland. Cier, son of Fergus, by Maude, Queen of Connaught, gave his name, Cier-rei, to this district, where he ruled. There are 55 O’Connors named as Kings of Kerry, ending with Shane O’Caha – John of the Battles – whose chieftain’s power was broken, tempo Elizabeth. The family territories were not entirely sequestered until Charles II, who bestowed the O’Connor’s estate in Irraghticonnor on Trinity College Dublin.
The exterminating of old dynasties is always sad reading but the wear and tear of time destroys old families as it does other mundane matters, leaving nothing but the memory of what has been as an inheritance to later ages.
The McCarthy More, who had once reigned supreme in Desmond, where from the 14th century the Earl of Desmond had completely superseded him, was at this period, as well as the Earl of Desmond, outlawed, and their estates confiscated. At ‘the coming of the English’ AD 1172, besides O’Connor-Kerry and McCarthy More, the other great Kerry families were the sept of O’Donoghue Ross and O’Donoghue of the Glen, The O’Sullivan More, who had migrated from county Tipperary, possibly driven out from that richer district to the wilds of Iveragh, and the Moriartys of the same sept who settled about Dingle.
When Strongbow restored MacMurrogh in Leinster, Henry FitzEmpress, alias Henry II, landed at Waterford to claim allegiance from his subjects (the settlers) in Ireland. The first Irish prince who came to meet him at Waterford was Dermod, the McCarthy More, King of Cork and Desmond. Dermod submitted to him, did homage to him as king over all Ireland, and yielded up the keys of Cork to Henry the II.
Five years later, Giraldus Cambrensis, chronicler of the events of that ‘coming of the English,’ writes thus of the arrangements made between McCarthy and the king, ‘Therefore Dermod of Desmond, ie the McCarthy More, being brought to terms, and other powerful men of those parts, FitzStephen and Milo divided seven Cantreds (in Kerry) between them.’
When Strongbow came to Ireland, he was accompanied by a large party of his kinsfolk. These were Henry Miles and Robert FitzHenry, his own brothers, Robert FitzStephen, and Maurice FitzGerald, his two step brothers, all sons of his mother Nesta, who was the daughter of an Irish princess. Besides these brothers there were Raymond FitzWilliam, known as Le Grosse, the son of another brother, also Miles and Richard de Cogan, sons of their sister, and a nephew of Strongbow, named Harvey de Mont Marisco, who was married to a daughter of Maurice FitzGerald’s.
The settlement of this large family party in Ireland was a strong measure, which planted ‘the English’ or, more correctly, the Norman conquerors of England, in Ireland, which step henceforward considerably altered the conditions of life in this country.
A third member of these newcomers came to Kerry on the invitation of Dermod McCarthy, to aid him in suppressing a family rebellion. Maurice, son of Raymond FitzWilliam, was with his father at Limerick when Dermod sought his assistance. He crossed Slieve Luchra, re-established Dermod’s authority, who, as reward, bestowed upon him a tract of country henceforward known as Clanmaurice.
Maurice FitzWilliam, married his cousin, Johannah FitzHenry, and with her received the estate of Rathoo, Kilury and Ballyheigh. Later on King John added to Fitzmaurice’s country 10 knights’ fees in Iveforma and Iferba, in Kerry, reaching from Beale-tra to Grahan (Beale to Scrahan?).
In time, the descendants of these settlers fell out with those who first gave them lands in Kerry. Nicholas FitzMaurice, 4th Lord Kerry, oppressed the McCarthy More. In the year 1325 Lord Kerry killed McCarthy More’s son and heir, Dermod, in the presence of the Judge of Assize, at Traly. For this murder, Lord Kerry was attained by parliament and forfeited all the estates granted to his ancestors by Richard the 1st.
The 5th Lord Kerry was ‘restored to title and part of the estate.’ In 1581, Thomas, 16th Lord Kerry, rebelled against his sovereign, and lost his estate, a portion of which was restored to his son. Other generations also rebelled, estates were confiscated, and in reduced quantities restored to the succeeding Lords of Kerry, those who quelled their rebellions being generally rewarded with a slice of the confiscated estate.
Early in the present century [19th], the last Lord Kerry, having no son, sold the estate remaining in Clanmaurice. I believe the old tomb at Lixnaw is the one piece of property in Clanmaurice remaining to the Fitzmaurice family. Some fifty-five years ago, my father, Archdeacon Rowan, called the late Lord Lansdowne’s attention to the dilapidation of this tomb, to which he replied:
You are perhaps aware that this ancient Kerry property has long passed out of my family, the late Lord Kerry having agreed to part with it to other proprietors at an early period of his life, which may account for no attention having been paid to its preservation. I shall write to Mr Trench, and request him to have it put into a decent state, though from the many demands upon me from the other property which I possess in Kerry, and which absorbs the whole of the receipts from it, I should do no more at present.
This tomb is now merely a shelter for cattle!
At Lord Kerry’s death, his title merged in that of a junior branch of the Fitzmaurice family. Lord Lansdowne descended from the Honourable John FitzMaurice, younger son of Lord Kerry, whose sister was married to Lord Shelburne. On Lord Shelburne’s death, he having no son, his estate – the Petty estate at Kenmare – was willed to his wife’s nephew, the Honble John Fitzmaurice. With these greater lords there came to Kerry, in the 13th century, gentlemen of the following names: Le Broun, or Brown, Ferriter, Cantillon, Moore, Rice, Trant, Walsh, Haore, Hussey.
The Fitzgeralds, Lords of Desmond, whose reign in Kerry was a striking episode, came over with Strongbow but settled at first in Offaly and Naas, Maurice Fitzgerald’s great grandson, Thomas ‘The Great’ being the first of that name to settle in Kerry. He came at the close of the 13th century. Thomas married Ellinor de Marisco and with her received ‘estates in Kiery.’
Their son, known as John of Callan, married Margery FitzAnthony, and with her had estates in Decies (Waterford) and Desmond. Another son of Thomas’s named Maurice, who was also killed at Callan, married Julianna Cogan, heiress of Lord Cogan, and with her had the territory given by Henry the II to Milo de Cogan. Thus the Fitzgeralds’ power and wealth increased rapidly in Desmond. In the original grants of the Desmond estates to the Fitzgeralds they are thus described, ‘reaching over the kingdom of Cork, towards Cape Brandon, on the sea coast (Kerry) and thither towards Limerick and other parts, as far as the water near Lismore (Waterford) which runs between Lismore and Cork and falls into the sea.’
With the Fitzgeralds the following gentlemen came to Kerry: the Stackpoles, Laundrys, Crispyns, Lodyns, Flemynges, Ambroses, Cradocs, Harveys and Rannels. In the rebellions of following centuries, many of these lost their hold on Kerry and moved elsewhere.
In the rebellion of 1588, the Desmond, who had been two hundred years a power in Kerry, forfeited all his estates which were distributed amongst those who helped to quell his rebellion.
The New Settlers
After the confiscation of the Earl of Desmond, the McCarthy More and the O’Connor-Kerry properties, at close of the 16th century, a new group of settlers were planted in Kerry. Curious to know, this group of newcomers, like Strongbow’s party, were near relatives. Lords Grey and Walsingham, who were the Queen’s authorities in Ireland, were closely connected, and it was in Kerry that they helped their relatives, all of whom had aided in quelling the Desmond’s rebellion, to estates.
Those so placed were Sir Walter Raleigh, Ned Denny, two Chapmans and two Greys, all close cousins. Besides these there were Valentine Brown, also a connection from Crofts, in Lincolnshire, to whom, besides his grant of 6,560 acres, Donald MacCarthy, Earl of Glencar, alienated and sold a portion of his possessions which are remaining til today in this same family (Lord Kenmare). Last, but not least renowned, Edmund Spenser, the poet and statesman, who knew Ireland well and Irish character better than any man who has come to Ireland since.
Edmund Spenser was secretary to Lord Grey; he marched with him and his army of 800 men over Slieve Luchra into Kerry and has left an invaluable record of the Ireland of that day in his ‘Vue of Ireland.’
Within twenty years Sir Walter Raleigh’s spirit of adventure calling him elsewhere, he, Edmund Spenser, and one of the Chapmans, sold their Kerry lands to Sir Richard Boyle, Clerk of the Council of Munster, who was afterwards first, and the great, Lord Cork. Some of these Kerry estates were willed by the 1st Lord Cork to his second son, and are today in the hands of his descendant, the present Lord Cork.
Portion of these were, however, vested in the eldest son, the second Lord Cork, but this branch, being extinct in the male line, those estates, which were unentailed, passed by marriage in the female line and are now held by the Duke of Devonshire.
The Blennerhassetts, ,Conways, Herberts and John Stone, John Harding, and the Countess of Mountrath, in right of her husband, who died before he was ‘rewarded,’ all were settled on those confiscated estates. John Stone was married to the daughter of his cousin, John Chapman. She was co-heiress with her two sisters, to each of whom John Chapman promised a £5,000 fortune. The sisters all died childless but the sons-in-law, especially Stone, insisted on getting the promised fortunes so it was that, to satisfy their demands, James I, John Chapman, was compelled to sell his Kerry estate which he did, to Lord Cork, for £24,000. John Chapman died shortly afterwards at Youghal.
The second brother, William Chapman, had a son, who sold his share between Mr Bateman and John Holly, afterwards migrating to county Meath, where he became ancestor of the present baronet of that name. There were 4,422 acres in this grant, some of which is today in Mr F Bateman’s hands, part of it having been sold some forty years ago to the late Maurice Sandes, is now in possession of his nephew, Faulkner Collis-Sandes, who took the latter name on becoming his uncle’s heir. John Holly’s family have long since disappeared from Kerry.
To the list of English settlers at the beginning of the 17th century may be added Springs, Chutes, Raymonds, Morrises, Guns, and Staughtons, all of whom were planted in Kerry in the reign of Elizabeth.
Queen Elizabeth’s settlement of Munster, date 27 June 1586, was on the following lines: ‘The forfeited lands were divided into Seignories to contain 12,000, 8,000, 6,000 or 4,000 acres each, exclusive of bog and mountain, to yield to the Crown for first-class plot £66 12s 4d and so proportionately the lesser ones. This rent to be abated to half for the first six years, during which time undertakers were to be permitted to import all the commodities they needed from England duty free. No man (excepting by special license) was to have more land granted to him than 12,000 acres, nor to marry mere Irish.
The last rebellion was said to have been caused by these intermarriages, hence this restriction. This order was a mistaken policy. We should have thought such intermarriages would have had a contrary effect. The grantees were ordered to people their place (now waste) with English, keeping on first class grant 2,100 acres for demesne, and so in lesser proportion for smaller grants. All arrangements were to be on a scale to correspond proportionally. Six farmers were to have lots of 400 acres each on the larger estates, six freeholders 100 acres each, and 36 families to have lesser portions – from 50 to 10 acres severally – on the lands of those who had received 12,000 acres.
Every freeholder was bound to furnish, for the Queen’s service, a horse and horseman fully armed; every grantee of 12,000 acres three horse and six footmen fully armed, each copyholder one armed footman. These men were bound to serve out of Munster, after seven years, at the Queen’s expense.
The descendants of the original lessees under this settlement still possessing the lands then granted are not many in Kerry. The terms of this Elizabethan settlement were never entirely carried out. These settlers followed the habit of their predecessors and intermarried with the Irish; moreover, they were friendly with those Irish who still survived, planting them as tenants under themselves on territories where the Irish had previously held powerful sway.
Again and again, disputes arose between the old and the new owners, these disputes being henceforward much intensified by the religious differences which were much accentuated by the many legal disqualifications which these continued uprisings entailed.
In due course, there was the rebellion of 1641, followed by a series of outbreaks, a shuffling and re-shuffling of estates, until ultimately a new settlement of the country was made at the close of the 17th century.
It is apparent from old manuscripts that, generally speaking, up to the 17th century, Irish chieftains held full sway in their own districts. Certainly in McCarthy More’s district, his power was great, the ‘paramount power’ conferred upon the Earl of Desmond by the Crown being seldom exercised over him.
It is, however, evident that the ministers of the day astutely used the antagonistic interests – envy and jealousy of these potentates – to further the interests of the Crown in Ireland. Thus we find that in 1565, when Desmond’s power was becoming dangerous to the Crown, the McCarthy More, previously in disfavour, was forgiven by Elizabeth, created Earl of Glencare, and encouraged to watch and thwart the Earl of Desmond.
At the same time, the Earl of Glencare was kept in check by a new Crown settlement of his estates when evidently, under regal or legal persuasion, and probably pressed for money, he in 1588 alienated and sold some of his estate to a family recently come from England, namely, the Brownes, of Crofts, Leicestershire. This sale undoubtedly weakened the political power of the McCarthy More, and therefore reduced his importance as a friend to the Crown.
In the Carew MS, Lambeth Palace, there is a paper headed McCarthy More’s Right and Dues as Follows. This paper is said to be an inventory taken on the death of the Earl of Glencare. It shows how this property then stood. Here is a summary of its contents:
His Demean – Part he died possessed of; part in Florence McCarthy’s possession (Florence was married to his daughter and heiress); part mortgaged to Sir Valentine Browne, Kt; part disposed of to his (base) son, Donnel McCartie; part mortgaged to Mr Denny and Mr Hombuston; part disposed of to his base brother, Donogh McCartie. His Fisheries – fisheries belonging to Pallice, in Logh Lein, the Laune, in Loch Cara; those belonging to the Countess of Glencare; fishings belonging to the Castle of the Lough; fishings of the Castle of Carberry, via, in Valentia, possessed by Mr Denny and Humbustons; in Beginnis, in Nicholas Browne’s possession; in the Golen and Fartagh; the fishery in the Currane and the Ware, possessed by one James Meanye (Meagh, alias Meade) of Cork, merchant, by virtue of mortgage from the Earl of Glancare. Lands paying tribute to McCartie More (these were the freeholders, descended from the house of McCartie. All their lands lie in the Barony of Magunihy. They were bound to draw with garrons (ponies) the Earl of Clancarty’s wine from the Abbey of Killaha to the Garnduff in Palice. They were also bound to thatch the Earl’s house in the Garnduff but nowhere else), McFinneen’s lands, Clandonnell funs lands, Sloght More Cuddries lands, in Iveragh; Sloght Donnel alias Mac Teigue in Tough’s lands, being Glanleam, in Valencia; Slought Cormac, of Dounguilla lands, Iveragh; Clandermod’s lands, in Bantry; Clan Donnel Roe’s lands, Bantry; Sloght Owen More’s lands, Coshmange; O’Donoghue More’s lands, in Magunehy; O’Donoghue, Glanfleske lands (note, there are excellent ashen trees for pikes in this land); O’Sullivan More’s lands (note, these are the sept of the O’Sullivans, and were commonlie at warre with the Earl, and sought his weakening); McGillicuddie’s lands; McCrehon’s lands; O’Sullivan Beare’s lands; McFinneen Duff’s lands; Clan Laura’s lands (the Clan Laura sept were bound to guard the Earl of Clancartie’s carriages when he went upon anie excursion, and for that the eldest of the sept had of the best dish of meat that was set before the Earl when he was at meat during the journey). The Friary of Ballinskellig paid a sorren, or five marks of half faced money, at the Prior’s choice, value £4 8s 8d; the Priory of Innisvallen paid a cuddehy, or the like sum; the Archdeacon of Aghadoe paid a cuddehy, or the like sum; the Abbey of Killaha the same; the Abbey of Abemore the same. The sorrens of Dowhallo were paid by the MacDonagh, O’Kallahan, MacAulifee and O’Keeffe (note, AMR Dowhallow is in Cork, therefore these may be taken as Corkmen). Summa totals omnium Redittan execution es repra dida emmet Lcclsvij v x.
This summary shows how the Earl of Glencare had disposed of his property during his lifetime. It would be interesting to trace all the present possessors of these lands, but space only permits of a brief statement as to some portions thereof.
As has been stated, in 1588, the Earl of Glencare sold a portion of his estate to Sir Valentine Browne. At the earl’s death more of his estate was mortgaged to Sir Valentine and Colonel Nicholas Browne (his son). These were the Brownes from Crofts, Leicestershire, who came to Ireland in the middle of the 16th century. They should not be confused with the Brownes who came in the 13th century, who already possessed estates in Kerry, and with whom the newly-arrived Brownes very soon became matrimonially allied.
Sir Valentine Browne of Crofts was a much trusted ‘civil servant’ of Ed VI, also of Phillip and Mary. He ‘served his Sovereign in all parts of the Empire’ and in 1555, the last-named sovereigns sent him to Ireland as ‘Auditor-General.’ Sir Valentine died at his post AD 1567. He was succeeded by his son, also Sir Valentine, who was made ‘Commissioner for escheated lands in Ireland.’
This second Sir Valentine Browne was ‘occupied’ principally in Munster. His employment there gave him an opportunity of studying the capabilities of the country, and he wrote a masterly treatise, making useful suggestions to the Crown for the development of the county Kerry. Some of these suggestions are only now being carried out by the Congested Districts Board.
Sir Valentine Browne was a member of the Privy Council, AD 1585, but it does not appear that he ever resided on his Kerry estates as it recorded that, by permission of Sir Valentine Browne, Sir Edward Denny exercised all his privileges over his Kerry estate. When, however, Sir Valentine secured Lord Glencare’s estate in 1688, Queen Elizabeth ‘ordered’ Sir Valentine Browne to reclaim his privilege from Sir Edward Denny and henceforward to maintain his own armed force.
Sir Valentine’s eldest son, Thomas, married Mary Apsley, co-heiress with Joan (who married as first wife the first Earl of Cork), daughter of Annabel Browne and William Apsley. This Annabel Browne was daughter of John Browne, commonly called ‘the Master of Awney’ to whom belonged the Hospital Estates. This John Browne was one of the older 13th century settlers, his ‘Hospital Estate’ dating from 1226, when Geoffrey de Marisco founded the Hospital of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem – Knights Templars – at Awney in Limerick.
The lands belonging to this Hospital estate are noted – Patent Rolls, 2 James 1st, LXII-22, as ‘grants from the King to Thomas Brown Esq in Limerick’ and contain, with the ‘Entire Manor and Lordship, and preceptor or Hospital of Awney, amongst other properties, lands and castles in several counties, some in Kerry, namely ‘Ardarterie, otherwise Rattoo, Dingle, Bullin, Carrantabber and Knockgraffan, Minarde, etc,’ all these being ‘parcel of the estate of the late Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.’
Sir Nicholas, second son of Sir Valentine and Tomasina Bacon, brother of this Thomas Brown, had ‘his portion in Kerry’ of the lands purchased from the Earl of Glencare by his father. He married an Irish wife, Julia, daughter of O’Sullivan Beare. Sir Nicholas died in 1606, and left a large family. The eldest son, Valentine, being a minor, and (Patent Roll, 4 James I, 54) a grant was made to ‘Sir Geoffrey Fenton, Kt, of the wardship of this Valentine Browne, son and heir of Sir Nicholas Browne, late of Molahiffe, in Kerry Co, Kt, for a fine of £13 6s 8d ster, and an annual rent of £10 ster, retaining £3 6s 8d thereof for his maintenance and education in the English religion and habits, and in Trinity College, Dublin, from the 12th to the 18th year of his age: 30 Oct, 4th Regio,’
In 1611, this Sir Valentine applied for a remission of excessive Crown Rent (£113 6s 8d) reserved out of his estate. He obtained a reduction to £53 18s 6 3/4 d, and a confirmation of his grant on 28th May 1618 ‘for good and acceptable services performed to the Crown by the father and grandfather of the said Sir Valentine.’
Again, in 1637, his son, the second baronet, had a further patent for the better settling of his estate. But, notwithstanding all these settlements during the convulsion which ensued in 1641 and onward, these Browne estates had some curious transformations. We should remember that Sir Valentine, the 1st Baronet, had married first a daughter of the last Earl of Desmond, a portion of whose confiscated estate he had received from the Crown; secondly, a daughter of McCarthy, Lord of Muskerry, thus connecting himself with the two previous then deposed Kerry potentates. He appears to have ‘enjoyed his estate’ until his death in 1635.
His son had a more uneasy time and died in 1640. This son had married a sister of his father’s second wife, a daughter of McCarthy, Lord of Muskerry. Dying in 1640, just previous to the outbreak of 1641, his son, being an infant, took no part in public life so the estate was not forfeited. Thirty years later, 1670, this infant come to man’s estate, claimed and received from the Crown a remission of quit rent – unpayable during the disturbances.
This Sir Valentine was in high favour with James II who, in the last days of his power, 1689, created him Baron Castlerosse and Earl of Kenmare. The title then conferred remained for some time in abeyance as on the deposition of James II, Sir Valentine and his son, Colonel Nicholas Browne, were attainted for their allegiance to the king. The father, Sir Valentine’s estate, was confiscated, but Colonel Nicholas Browne, not being esteemed so guilty, a grant of £400 per annum was made from his estate for his wife and family. The title, however, conferred by King James, was not officially recognised in England until George III ‘recognised’ rather than created Valentine, reinstated as 5th Viscount and Earl of Kenmare. This nobleman is described as ‘having distinguished himself under trying circumstances.’
During the attainder of Colonel Nicholas Browne aforesaid, these estates had a curious transfer. Jane Browne, daughter of Col Nicholas (2nd Viscount) married a stranger from London. This stranger was a clever lawyer, who came to Ireland to ‘push his fortune.’ He was named John Asgill, was officially employed in the Court of Claims (where he could take a general view of all confiscated estates), and immediately married Miss Browne. He was elected MP, and as ‘trustee’ purchased many of the confiscated estates, amongst others the Kenmare estate, ostensibly in trust for his young brother-in-law, Valentine Browne.
John Asgill is thus described (in 15 Report, Records of Ireland, page 332):
18 April 1703, John Asgill of Dublin Esq, of the Manor of Rosse, with many other lands etc, in the County Kerry etc, the estate of Valentine Browne and Nicholas Browne, Viscount Kenmare attainted, to hold as in the deed limitted.
John Asgill appears to have ignored the ‘limittations’ and at once to have assumed the rights of complete ownership, as we find on October 30 1703 that ‘Anthony Hammond, as guardian of Valentine Browne, petitioned the House (Irish parliament) setting forth that John Asgill, as Counsel, and Murtagh Griffin, as Agent, had purchased these estates from the trustees for said Valentine Browne, and, in breach of the trust reposed in them, do now refuse to convey the same.’
Evidently, John Asgill fought hard to keep possession, as, on November 10 1703, the parliament refused this petition, thus leaving him in possession of the estates which he would probably have hereafter ‘enjoyed’ but for the following curious incident. Previous to coming to Ireland John Asgill had written a book in which he published some very legally argued but absurd religious views. It is said that the book created a great sensation and that to escape the penalty then in force of trial for blasphemy, John Asgill came to Ireland where his undoubted ability procured employment. Be that as it may, it being now important to humble John Asgill, a copy of the book was obtained and transmitted to Ireland. In the Irish parliament, John Asgill, as author of this dangerous book, was tried and convicted of blasphemy, principally on the following extract:
Having pursued that command, seek first the Kingdom of God, I yet expect the performance of that promise, to receive in this life an hundred -fold, and in the world to come life everlasting. I have a great deal of business yet in this world, without doing of which Heaven itself would be uneasy to me … but when that is done, I know no business I have with the dead! and therefore do as much depend that I shall not go hence by returning to the dust, which is the sentence of that law from which I claim a discharge but that I shall make my exit by way of translation which I claim as a dignity belonging to that degree in the science of Eternal Life, of which I profess myself a graduate … if after this I die like other men, I declare myself to die of no Religion!
Being found guilty of blasphemy, John Asgill was expelled from the house and outlawed. Thereupon the 3rd Viscount Kenmare, having been an infant when his father and grandfather were attainted, his friends claimed, and he was allowed to plead himself ‘innocent’ whereupon the estates now confiscated from Asgill were ‘settled’ upon him by the Trustees of Forfeited Estates. Since then those estates, some of them dating so far back as the 13th century, are held by the Earls of Kenmare.
Herbert of Castleisland
Charles Herbert, a gentleman from Wales, received 3,768 acres at a Crown rent of £62 15s 4d per annum in the neighbourhood of Castleisland. This Charles was succeeded by his son, Giles Herbert, who had a re-grant of these lands on similar terms (10 James I) as was in the original grant of Elizabeth to his father, Charles.
Giles Herbert sold his lands to Blennerhassett of Ballyseedy, and died childless. Sir William Herbert of St Gillian’s in Monmouth (a different branch of the family to which Charles Herbert belonged) had 13,276 acres in Kerry at a Crown rent of £221 5s 4d per annum. Sir William does not appear ever to have attempted to settle in Kerry. He, too, died without male issue. This Sir William Herbert was the second son of William, Earl of Pembroke. He had a daughter who married the famous Lord Herbert of Cherbury who was her cousin. This branch of the family were afterwards represented by the Earl of Powis.
Sir William Herbert, of St Gillian, had a brother, Sir Richard Herbert of Colebroke, from whom descended Lord Herbert of Castleisland. In AD 1656 came Thomas Herbert of Kilcow, who was the first of his name settled in Kerry. He, too, descended from Sir Richard Herbert of Colebroke and was sent over and largely enfeoffed with portions of the lands originally granted by Elizabeth to Sir William Herbert by his brother or cousin, Lord Herbert of Castleisland, who had inherited from the original grantee. Part of the lands appertaining to the original grant to Sir William Herbert passed to his daughter, Lady Herbert of Cherbury. This portion was later on demised by fee farm grant by Lord Powis to six lessees, known as ‘the six gentlemen.’
The representatives of these ‘six gentlemen’ or their assigns, hold those territories today unless such portion as have been sold under recent Land Purchase Acts to the occupying tenant.
The ‘six gentlemen’ originally were granted this fee farm in common; but in the early part of this century these lands were divided by Act of Parliament in shares between the representatives of those ‘six gentlemen’ to whom Lord Powis had originally demised those lands. The divisions made by Act of Parliament were to the following gentlemen: Herbert of Muckross, the collateral descendant of original lessee had first portion, Blennerhassett of Ballyseedy had second portion, which portion was willed by Mr Blennerhassett to his daughter, Lady Headley. This portion therefore appertains to the Wynne estate. The third portion was given to Crosbie of Ardfert who assigned his share to Mullins (Lord Ventry) retaining to himself the right of advowson. The fourth portion went to Crosbie of Tubrid, whose daughters, co-heiresses, were married, one to Colonel Berkley Drummond, and the other to Major Charles Fairfield. Both of these ladies died childless. Mrs Drummond, the surviving sister, willed this property to her husband’s nephew, Mr Drummond, whose son is the present owner of Mounteagle. The fifth portion went to Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry, who assigned his share to Chute of Tulligarron (Chute Hall) willing the advowson to Mr Townsend, of Castletownsend in the county Cork. The sixth portion rests with Mr Meredyth of Dicksgrove, who descends from the original lessee – a lessee brought forward to the five above-named potentates, when the Earl of Powis, having agreed with them, desired to vest the remaining portion in ‘a good and true man.’
A share of the Powis estate in Castleisland was sold to pay the expense of this Bill of partition. John Markham Marshall purchased this share, intending thereupon to carry out certain useful public works. Mr Marshall died in the prime of life before he had time to carry out his good intentions. He endeavoured to secure a resident owner, as by his will the possessor of this estate is bound to reside in Kerry for three months each year on pain of forfeiture. Mr Marshall bequeathed his purchase to his aunt, the wife of Sir John Franks, Kt, for her life, with remainder to his brother-in-law, the Honble Mr Leeson, whose grandson, John Markham Leeson Marshall, now holds this portion of the lands originally granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir William Herbert of St Gillians.
Sir Edward Denny
Another of the Elizabethan settlers was ‘Ned Denny.’ He obtained his grant as a reward; in other words, as payment for arduous military service in Ireland. As Fuller, the historian, puts it, by ‘God’s grace, the Queen’s favour, and his own merit, Edward Denny achieved a fair estate in Ireland’ namely, ‘the seignory of Denny vale with the Castle of Tralee, stated as being the principal seat of the Earl of Desmond in those parts.’
The grant of Elizabeth to ‘Ned Denny’ was 6,000 acres which included the shire town of the county together with the advowsons of the parishes belonging to the suppressed abbey of Tralee. By inquisitions afterwards taken the possessions of the Dennys were shown to be largely increased by grants of Lord Kerry’s land, forfeited in or about 1600. The Sir Edward Denny who was granted these estates by Elizabeth did not settle in Kerry. Times were disturbed. He was one of the Council of Munster, a trusted soldier and adviser to the Lord President. When the fear of invasion obliged Sir Thomas Howard to strengthen his fleet on the south coast of Ireland, the ships sent to help him sailed ‘under the instructions of Sir Edward Denny.’ Sir Edward died and was buried in England. He lies beneath a stately monument erected in Waltham Abbey, Essex, by his widow, Margaret Edgecombe. Waltham had been purchased from King Edward the VI for £3,000 by Sir Edward Denny’s mother, Joan, daughter of Sir Philip Champernowne of Modbury in Devonshire. Inscribed on the tomb is the following:
The Right Worthy Sir Edward Denny, Kt,
Son of the Right Honble. Sir Anthony Denny,
Counsullor of State and Executor to King Henry the Eight,
and of Joan Champernowne, his wife, who, being of
Queen Elizabeth’s Privy Chamber and one of the Council of Munster in Ireland,
was Governor of Kerry and Desmond, and Colonel of certain Irish forces.
He departed this life, about the 52 year of his age, on the 21 of Feb 1599.
Learn, Curious reader, ere you pass,
What once Sir Edward Denny was,
A courtier of the chamber,
A soldier of the field;
Whose tongue could never flatter,
Whose heart could never yield.
There is also a long history of Sir Edward’s work and virtues inscribed on this tomb, which is in fair preservation. In this same church was buried the body of King Harold, who was the founder of Waltham Abbey.
Dame Margaret Denny lived a widow for 48 years, dying 28th April 1648 aged 88. She was buried at Bishop Stortford Church, Herts. Sir Edward was succeeded by his son Arthur, who lived at Cahernafeely (near Chute Hall). Sir Arthur lived in troubled times. He had great difficulties in ‘settling’ his country from which he got no returns so that he could not pay his Crown rent. In the Rolls Office, there is a King’s letter remitting all arrears of Crown rent due by Arthur Denny or his father leviable off his Kerry lands. There is also an order that Arthur Denny surrender all lands not seignory lands and have a new grant of the same. This is dated 30th December to James I.
On the 20th September 1604, Sir Arthur Denny had a remittance of all Crown rent from the date of Michaelmas 1598. A like remittance was given in 1609. Another trying incident in this Sir Arthur’s career, the documentary evidence of which remains, was the claims of Mr Randall (widow) against Cahernafeely made after Sir Arthur had expended £500 in ‘making there a house.’ Sir Arthur was then too ill to defend his interests so he petitioned the Council to give him time to defend his right, and his petition was backed by the following influential names: G Cant (Archbishop of Canterbury), E Worcester, James Hay, Edmonds T Suffolke, G Carew, W Wallingford and Ralph Winwood. There is an inquisition, 13th April 1613, which finds Sir Arthur Denny seized in fee of six ploughlands of Tawlaght, the Abbey of Tralee, held under letters patent to his father, Sir E Denny, by Elizabeth. It is found that the friary of Ardfert (Ardart) and certain lands in county Kerry were then in possession of Edward Grey Esq (cousin of Denny’s) and his assignees who held the same under the title of the said Arthur Denny Esq and Sir Edward Denny Kt, his father, being parcel of the seignory of Denny Vale. Sir Thomas Harris (who afterwards married Arthur Denny’s widow) held Ballyvoylan and the Rectory of Ballinhagillsie (Ballinhaglish) as tenant under a grant to Edward Denny (27th September, 29 Elizabeth).
In the Chief Remembrancers Office there are some curious facts recorded of those early times. Amongst them we find that at Easter term 1628 the Crown had a case against Sir Edward Denny for holding a ‘manor court and fair at Tralee.’ In defence Sir Edward pleaded his patent (25th June, 6 Charles I). In Hilary term, 1638, the Crown again had informations against Sir Edward Denny and also against the Borough Corporation of Tralee for receipt of the four and twentieth part of a gallon full out of every Bristol band barrel of grain sold in Tralee market. Again, Sir Edward pleaded the above-mentioned patent, which is still preserved in the Rolls Office. In the year 1632, James Ware and Gerald White conveyed the lands and fishing of Ballyvoylan to Sir E Denny (these lands and fishing must have been underlet by Sir T Harrison to these two, probably when he married and went to reside at Cahernafeely with Sir Edward’s mother).
In the war of 1641, this Sir Edward Denny, grandson of Elizabeth’s grantee, took active part under the President of Munster, the first Lord Cork, and was a heavy loser. His new castle at Tralee, defended by his stepfather, Sir Thomas Harris, was besieged, taken and wrecked by the Irish.
Sir Edward’s wife and family fled for refuge to England where they were reduced to great distress. In those days many ‘distressed Irish ladies’ existed. Amongst others are given the names of Lady Ranelagh, Lady Kildare, Lady Blaney, and Lady Denny, all of whom were ‘ordered’ relief by parliament. Apparently, this relief was not always paid as parliamentary records show that on the 14th January 1650, it was ordered by parliament ‘that the Commissioners are to pay Lady Denny the arrears of weekly allowance granted by former order of the House on 25th December 1646.’ Again, in 1662, we find ‘Dame Ruth Denny, wife (widow?) of Sir Edward Denny, Kt, who hath lost her husband and whole estate in Ireland, and who hath a charge of many children ready to perish, to have £100 for her present support and relief.’
In this same year, 1662, the following Kerry names appear amongst the surviving ’49 officers’ who received help, Sir Arthur Dennie (Denny, son of the above Dame Ruth), Major Wm Crosbie, William Crosbie and Arthur Blennerhassett. At the ‘settlement’ of 1688 the Denny family was amongst those found ‘attainted’ by James the Second’s parliament; they were reinstated.
In the Commons Journal (Ireland) 27th October 1698, we find the following entry – ‘Motion of behalf of Edward Denny, a member of this House, praying that he may be relieved against Sir James Cotter, who had done him several injuries in the late troubles, whereby he (Edward Denny) had suffered to the value of £6,000.’
Order was made, ‘That a committee do examine and report on the same.’ On 28th November 1698, ‘Report of Committee – Agreed that Sir Edward Denny’s mansion at Tralee was maliciously burned by Sir James Cotter on the 24th August 1691; that Sir James Cotter being adjudged within the articles of Limerick, there is no other way to relieve the said Edward Denny but by Bill.’
Ordered, ‘That a Bill be prepared by the said Committee accordingly.’ On the 2nd December 1698, Sir John Broderick, on part of said committee, reported the heads of a Bill for the relief of Edward Denny.’
In the middle of the 18th century, the Denny family divided into two important branches, one in this county, the other at Castle Lyons, Co Cork – two brothers marrying the Ladies Ellen and Catherine Barry, daughters of the 1st Earl of Barrymore.
After about three generations, the two branches were again united when Sir Barry Denny, 1st Baronet, created 1782, married his cousin Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Denny, KT, who died without male issue. Sir Barry’s next brother, Edward Denny, married Miss Rynd of Co Fermanagh, an heiress, and went to reside in that county where the family remained and multiplied for generations.
The following letters written by Mrs Blennerhassett from Bath to Jane, Lady Denny, are amusing, and throw a light upon the fashion of the day which is interesting:
November 17, 1770
My Dear Denny
Tickets kept up so high ever since that Atty (her husband) would not buy until today, which, being the last day before the drawing, made it necessary to obey your orders, and accordingly he purchased two (tickets) at £14 10s each. The numbers are 14328 and 2247 – oh, that once in our lives we may be lucky to you! Next Monday, the 19th, they begin drawing, and should fortune smile you shall soon hear from me … The tickets being bought I would not omit writing, but time will only allow me to add our love, and that I am, dear sister, affectionately yours,
November 24, 1770
My Dear Denny
I have wrote to you twice so lately you will, I fear, grow tired of receiving my letters. However, perhaps you’ll pass this one trouble by, and indulge your old Misis who dearly loves corresponding with you, and particularly when she can pick up anything amusing or interesting to impart. Nobody alive should have wrote to you today but myself – no, not even my beloved Rat (her husband). No, sir, I won’t let you take the pen from me. I wish my friends as well as you can, and if there is a lucky event in the family why should I not tell it them. Now you think Jenny (her daughter) is going to be married; not a bit of it; but to be sure you’ll think it a good thing. In short, you have got twenty thousand pounds. Yes, my dear sister, it came up yesterday – 14328, and I will be the happy channel to convey this pleasing news. I only wrote the foregoing page to prepare you to hear this glorious event, which has really near turned my head for joy. I got up and danced about the room, very near broke all the breakfast china, frightened Rat, who harmlessly read in the papers that such a ticket was drawn yesterday. Words are far too short to express what I feel on this occasion. We will not mention a word until we hear from you, as it would cause us infinite trouble – drums, boys coming for money, clerks from the office, etc. We beg by return of post a letter signed by all who may be concerned in this dear ticket, with orders what to do, as there are necessary expenses always upon these occasions. A friend of ours, Member of Parliament, had such a prize last year. From him we might know the customary forms, as I daresay the sisterhood will wish to do what is right – and I hope to God it comes to you or them, tell me your share in the ticket. The ticket is not registered, so no one can know where it is, and the secret lies between us and our children, who are running wild for joy; that you may live to enjoy it in health and happiness for many years is our sincere wish; and that it should be a means of bringing you once more to England would be the greatest satisfaction to my dear Denny – Your most affectionate,
Our love and congratulations to the sisters – duty to our good father. We have examined at the State Office before we send you this good account. We think it would be very prudent to keep the contents of this letter a secret, as many inconveniences must arise from divulging it.
This letter is addressed ‘to Lady Denny, at Listrim, near Tralee, County of Kerry, Ireland.’ It will be evident from this brief outline that the Dennys ‘settled’ in Kerry by Queen Elizabeth, had a chequered career. Nevertheless, despite losses, attainders, the fortunes of war, and many ups and downs, their property in Kerry remained in the possession of that family for three hundred years.
The late baronet, Sir Edward Denny, never married; he lived for many years in London where he recently died, aged 90. He was succeeded by his nephew, the present baronet, on whose succession the Denny vale estate was sold under Land Purchase Act to the tenants. During the time the Dennys were in possession of the estate, the shire town, Tralee, grew from a group of mud cabins to the handsome town we see today and the county generally evolved out of vast empty waste, described as ‘devoid of man or beast,’ to a fairly well populated district.
In Elizabeth’s reign a change came which henceforward made a decided cleavage in religious matters. It was then ordered by law that in future the service of the Reformed Church of England should be the religion of the State, and the State endeavoured to stamp out the Church of Rome by legal enactment, all men being ordered under penalties to conform to the State Church. When parliament and English law was established in Ireland, those laws were only ordered for ‘the English in Ireland,’ the English then mainly living within ‘the Pale’ which was principally in Leinster, all outside ‘the Pale’ remained under Irish custom. As the English spread through the country they brought their laws with them, using English law or Irish custom in their dealings with the Irish, as best suited their individual purpose.
This diversity of system created immense confusion in the country and much suspicion and jealousy in the minds of the people. The outcome of this complex and contradictory proceeding was much injustice. Elizabeth added to the difficulties by the introduction of this religious grievance, which henceforward accentuated and embittered every difference.
The great lords thought more of securing their own position than of improving the country. Improvements to men of the middle classes, meaning an increase to their individual wealth, power or importance, without any consideration of how their proceedings affected the rights or feelings of others. Selfish human nature eagerly accepted and fomented the religious difference as a means whereby they could secure some individual or party benefit.
Ill-will between contending parties presently culminated in the rebellion of 1641, when the older settlers, grown more Irish than the Irish themselves, played upon the passions of the people, and rose to repudiate the newcomers with their customs, laws and religion. The idea of these men appear to have been to secure undisturbed possession or the country for their individual aggrandisement.
Together they fought, Settler and Celt, to oust the Elizabethans, and thus secure to themselves the lands and possessions which the newcomers had obtained. Then came Cromwell. Cromwell was on the side of those whom Elizabeth had planted. There was another conquest and redistribution of estates amongst the conquerors. When this rebellion of 1641 broke out an Act of Parliament was passed (17) Charles I, declaring ‘the lands of all those engaged in rebellion should be forfeited to the King without the formality of an inquisition.’ It is computed that two million and a half of acres were so seized and assigned by Charles’s parliament to those who advanced money or adventured themselves in the ‘Reduction of Ireland.’
The following list thus made of lands seized and valued, is instructive:
Land in Ulster, portioned to yield £200, at 1d quit rent per acre
Land in Connaught, portioned to yield £300, at 1 and a half d quit rent per acres
Land in Munster, portioned to yield £450, at 2 and a half d quit rent per acres
Land in Leinster, portioned to yield £600, at 3d quit rent per acre.
When Cromwell’s army was disbanded in 1653, this Act of Charles I, as well as the following one of Cromwell’s, was utilised to pay the army, all of whom had been without pay since 1641. Commissioners sat at Athlone and Loughrea to administer the laws of settlement, Cromwell’s addenda to Charles’s Act being to the following effect:
First – All persons guilty of overt act of rebellion and who had not ‘submitted’ within 28 days, with all priests and Jesuites, to be excepted from pardon in life or estate.
Second – Those who had commanded in the rebellion were to relinquish two-third of their estate, their wives or children to be given an equivalent grant of one third in whatsoever place parliament appoints.
Third – All Romanists who had not shown ‘good affection’ to parliament were to forfeit one-third of their estate, and to receive two thirds wheresoever parliament shall appoint.
Fourth – All persons who had not, as occasion offered, manifested ‘good affection’ to the parliament were to forfeit one-fifth of their estate. These terms may fairly be called penalised regrants. Most of the disaffected were portioned in Connaught where they were cut off from the outer world by what was termed ‘the mile line.’ That is to say, no grant was to be within a mile of the sea or the Shannon because intercourse with others was easy by water. Hence the origin of the old saying, ‘Cromwell’s choice – to Hell or Connaught.’
Staughton and Raymond
Amongst the Elizabethan settlers in Kerry were Anthony and John Staughton, ‘Keepers of the Castle or Star Chamber’ (tempo 4, James I). Anthony married a daughter of the Earl of Thomod, sat as MP for Askeaton 1613, and received lands in Kerry in the following somewhat roundabout fashion.
Upon the first suppression of the Abbey of Rattoo the lands were leased to John Chapman, with reversion to the Crown (31 Elizabeth). Long before this lease expired, namely, 39 Elizabeth, 24th January 1597, we find these lands given by the Crown to George Isham, of Bryanstown, Co Waterford. Yet, again, six months after, namely, 28 June 1597, the Crown bestowed these same lands on the ‘Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin.’
Five years later, these same lands were granted by the Crown, in 1604, to Sir James Fullerton who passed them to Anthony Staughton in whose possession they were when he died in 1626. They are still in the hands of the representative of the Staughton family.
In connection with the Staughtons came the Raymonds. Samuel Raymond was a clerk of the Star Chamber. By patent (15 James I) 1617, he was made Comptroller of Customs in Limerick, Youghal, Dungarvan, Kinsale and Dingle-y-coussa. In Dingle was his first possession. They he leased Ballyloughran, which was afterwards purchased in fee by his descendant. Among the estimates for Civil Service in Ireland, AD 1636, in the MS Report, Birmingham Tower, Dublin Castle, there is an entry, ‘Samuel Raymond, Comptroller of the Port of Dingle – his fee to Michaelmas, £17 15s 6 (.75) d.’
This Samuel Raymond, in 1613, was complained to the House of Commons (Ireland) by Robert Blennerhassett MP for serving him with a ‘process of the Star Chamber’ at the suit of ‘one Gray.’ Raymond was punished, apparently for infringing on the principle of parliamentary inviobility by a nominal fine.
Samuel Raymond’s son, Anthony, was a close friend of Lord Kingston, who left his guardian to his sons. It is said by some of Lord Kingston’s descendants that Anthony Raymond made use of his position to unfairly secure some of the ‘minor’s’ Kingston estates. Be that as it may, several portions in Kerry patented to Lord Kingston under the Act of Settlement did pass to Anthony Raymond from whom descended the Raymonds of Dromin, Ballyloughran, and Riversdale, all of which estates are now much reduced, being leased in perpetuity at low rents to other families. The Morris family were closely connected with the Raymonds. They held together leaseholds of the possessions of ‘brave Maurice Stack’ who was basely murdered by order of Lady Kerry.
Walter Talbot, Maurice Stack’s brother-in-law, took charge of the infant, Joan Stack, and her estate. He, on behalf of his niece, rented part of Stack’s estate to the Raymonds and Morrises. Later on Joan Stack married Brian, brother of Bishop Crosbie, and her descendant, Walter Crosbie, sold the fee simple of the estate to the occupying tenants – Raymond and Morris.
In 1688, Mr Morris and his family were obliged to fly to England, whereby he had heavy losses. General Ginkle mentions the loss of real estate to Mr Morris at £500 a year. When times quieted Mr Morris wrote to his relative, Sir Robert Southwell, asking to be made Sheriff of Kerry. He says, ‘I am informed no one has it yet, as I suppose you do not question but I shall serve the King faithfully, so I hope you will be of so considerable an advantage to me as to make me some amends for the great damage I have sustained in the Revoliution.’
Mr Morris was married to a sister of Lord Southwell’s, who was head of the Irish branch of the family. Between 1598 and 1641 – also between 1641 and 1660 – there was an influx of new people to Kerry. Some were called ‘adventurers’ – those who advanced money, or aided in the war, and were paid by some of the confiscated land ‘the forty-nine officers’ being those Protestant officers who had served the king before 1649 but who were not serving with Cromwell or rewarded by him. The claims for pay and losses of these forty-nine officers was a very serious item, amounting to £1,800,000.
Amongst those who took arms for the king in 1641 and forfeited are six MacCarthys – Daniel of Carrigprehane, Florence, alias Sugane (Sugane being a title to designate the prince succeeding the last Sugane Earl of Desmond), MacCarthy of Ardtully, Killowen, Tiernagoose (Dicksgrove), and Drumavally. There was also O’Sullivan More with his uncles, Colonel Dermod and Philip O’Sullivan. The O’Sullivan More, secure in the fastness of Glenbeigh and Ballybog, continued to hold out after others had ‘come in’ and settled. Another distinguished Kerryman who took an active part in this war, whose estates have vanished, was Colonel McElligott, who held Cork against the parliament army. Besides these there was Pierce Ferriter, of Castle Sybil; Walter Hussey of Castlegregory; Garrett Fitzgerald of Ballymacdaniel; The O’Donoghue More of Glenflesk; and the McGillycuddy of the Reeks. All these forfeited their estates for ‘having taken arms for the King’s prerogative against the King’s Government.’
This strange indictment shows what a curious state of affairs conduced to that rebellion. Many of these men were reinstated to a portion of their estates. Another remarkable feature of the rebellion of 1641 is the fact that families were divided – one for ‘the king’ the other for ‘the government.’ Lord Kerry was Governor of the County which he held for the government.’
Some of his brothers, nephews, and cousins were for ‘the king.’ This brought Lord Kerry into some difficulties. The arms provided by ‘the government’ and entrusted to him for the defence of the county were abstracted from his charge and used for ‘the king’s’ service. It is evident the conduct of his relatives irritated his lordship, who writes thus of his half brother, Edmund Fitzmaurice, of Tubrid: ‘I do not expect any good end of that broode – they have showed themselves the most con-natural that have ever been heard of, and they will have such a reward as I do not wish them. They have I believe enriched themselves on mine and others spoyles and will all flee the country with Taaffe’ (the commander of the king’s troops).
On the 30th November 1660, Charles II’s Act of Settlement was passed. It was then described as ‘Magna Charta Hibernie’ and may now be termed the ‘Title Deed of Ireland’ inasmuch as it passes as the ultimo ratio of all enquiry into title.
When Cromwell made his settlement, commissioners sat at Athlone and Loughrea for the purpose of carrying out his arrangements. The Roman Catholics were naturally slow in obeying his order to ‘come in’ and relinquish their estates and take their allotments in Connaught. Thus it came that when Charles II was restored and enacted his settlement, many Roman Catholics had not responded to Cromwell’s edict.
A misfortune fell upon them which was not anticipated by those who prepared the Act of Settlement. Their estates were confiscated by Charles the First’s Act of 1642; they had not got fresh status under Cromwell’s settlement and were therefore deprived of all estate, their old ones being vested in the Crown.
Between 1642-1653 and 1660, there were three resettlements of land in Kerry, rights and claims being in a chaos of confusion out of which it was impossible to secure full justice to all. The O’Sullivan-More’s estate in Dunkerron was divided into lots, all of which ultimately were purchased by Sir William Petty who, with grants and purchase, secured a very large estate which he immediately set about developing.
His iron works and other industries were a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, they had not an uninterrupted progress, as this part of the country was reduced to chaos in 1688. Robert Reading and his wife, the Countess of Mountrath, received large grants of land in Corkaguiny, which appear to have been immediately transferred by them to Colonel Mullins (Lord Ventry’s ancestor) whose name does not appear in the Roll of the Act of Settlement, though there are proofs he was in possession of those grants a few years later.
Amongst the landed proprietors who came to Kerry at this time were the following: Annesly (now Earl of Anglesea) who had a grant near Tralee and Inch Island. He does not appear to have enjoyed the Tralee land, but Inch was still in the family a few years ago when, I believe, it was sold to the tenants. Thomas Amory, son-in-law of Lord Kerry, received 3,000 acres. This family became extinct on the death of the grantee’s son, Sir Thomas Amory, and the lands were dispersed amongst other people. George Dillon was planted at Glaneroughty which he passed under special reservations by lease for ever to the Orpen family, his rights in fee passing by the marriage of an heiress to the Crokers of Quarterstown, Co Cork. Carrique of Glandine had 3,000 acres forfeited by Hussey. These in the third generation became united (by will) with the Ponsonby estate, and were sold in this century [19th].
Chidley Coote, brother of the Earl of Mountrath, had very large grants both in Corkaguiny and Clanmaurice. The Earl of Cork, son of the 1st Earl, who had heavy losses in 1641, was given additional land in Kerry at the settlement, amongst them Ballydaly which he afterwards sold to Sir William Sandes who passed it on to the Yeildings, with whom it remained.
John Godfrey had 3,000 acres at the south side of Slieve Mish range, including the village of Milltown and Killagh, or Kilcoleman Abbey demesne, which still remains in possession of his descendant, Sir John Godfrey.
Captain Ponsonby was planted at Crotto, his brother, Sir John, having grant in same barony which, however, he never enjoyed because of a ‘saving claim’ in the grant in favour of Colonel David Crosbie, whose claim over-reached his.
Colonel Hierome Sankey does not appear ever to have settled in Kerry. He was a trusted Cromwellian, and had grants in several places, all of which he ‘passed’ to others (possibly friends for whom he claimed). Col Sankey had a bitter enmity against Sir William Petty whose ‘settlement’ in O’Sullivan-More’s country was a wonderful development of the resources of the country.
Sir William Petty’s son was made Lord Shelburn; he died childless; so did his brother and successor, who willed his estate to his sister’s son, John Fitzmaurice, second son of Lord Kerry, in whose person the peerage of Shelburne was revived, to which title was afterwards added the Marquisate of Lansdowne. The Marquis of Lansdowne holds these estates today.
War of Religion
The manifesto of Bishop McMahon, calling upon the people to rise in October 1641, is headed ‘The War of Religion.’ The hottest strife was in Ulster, and there appears to have been some hesitation amongst the notable men of Munster before they took up arms.
Purcell, Baron of Loghmoe, who took Mrs Barbara Browne prisoner, told her he had been excommunicated twice before he was persuaded to lead in rebellion. This Barbara Browne was sister of Lady Kenmare, daughter of the last Browne of Hospital, and granddaughter of Boyle, Bishop of Cork.
Once the war started, the passion of hate grew apace, mad fanaticism and wild fear causing both sides to commit terrible atrocities. Amongst those who were most violent in Munster were the sons of Donald McCarthy, gent, of Kerry and Desmond (as it was still called, though after the suppression of the Earl of Desmond Kerry and part of Desmond were united (1613) and named the County of Kerry).
Donald was the illegitimate son of the Earl of Glencare, whose only daughter married Florence McCarthy. To counterbalance the ambition of Florence, Queen Elizabeth took Donald into favour, and to secure his goodwill to the Crown in 1614 (10 James I) the king, by letters patent, largely endowed Donald with McCarthy estates.
He had ‘7 ploughlands with the Castle Lough, Drumhompin, Terelaghbeg, Drumturk, Gortmabrien, Cooleclogher, Ballyrusheen, Listinnorroghen, Ardagh and Cahernane; in Carrick-ne-prehane, in Killbeg, 2 ploughlands; in Carhin 4 ploughlands; in Termonarthered 2 ploughlands and a salmon weir in the river Currane; in Ballinchanig 5 ploughlands, called Ballycallah, alias Bevolimallagh, Ballybrack, Faha, Ballinulane and Coolbane; in Canfaned 3 ploughlands; in Anoghelye 1 ploughland; in Coaglanomogh 6 ploughlands, called Shean, Ballyahir, Cloneydonegan, Knockalvert, alias Knocknagort, Kilcredan, Cardean, alias Caherdena; in Logcanownamanagh, alias Ballybeamye, 2 ploughlands; in Gorthnaclohie 1 ploughland. Rent, £8 15s 0d, viz, £1 0s 0d for every quarter of land, to hold for the fourth part of a knight’s fee for life, with remainder to Donald McCarthy, his reputed son, and the heirs male of his body; the reversion to the Crown, for a fine of £10 Irish.’
This was a noble provision, but despite this grant settled by the Crown Donald McCarthy’s two sons were prominent in rising against the Elizabethan settlers in 1641, so that within thirty years these lands were again forfeited to the Crown.
Amongst the Elizabethan settlers in Kerry were the Crosbies, who are said to be of the O’Moore clan in Offaly, Irishmen who, on adopting English fashion, took the name of Crosbie. Patrick Crosbie was the confidential agent between secretary Cecil (Lord Salisbury’s ancestor) and Sir George Carew, Lord President of Munster. He was ‘rewarded’ in Kerry where also his younger brother, Dr John Crosbie, was promoted to be Bishop of Ardfert.
Patrick’s only son was Sir Piers Crosbie, a distinguished soldier, who met with many misfortunes, and died childless. Bishop Crosbie’s eldest son was also made a baronet. He was Sir Walter Crosbie, who married Mabel, daughter of Sir Nicholas Browne. Both Sir Walter and his brother David, who built Ardfert mansion, were prominent figures in the war of 1641. Sir Walter’s son John, married to Ellys Fitzgerald, of Kildare, was also tainted with rebellion, and lost estates in 1688, since when the baronets of the family have not been in Kerry, but that branch is today represented by Sir Edward Crosbie.
David Crosbie, Bishop Crosbie’s second son, ancestor of Ardfert branch, was endowed by his father with long leases of church lands; also with lands purchased from debenture holders. He married Sara, daughter of Bishop Steere, of Ardfert, and had a son, Sir Thomas, Kt, who married Bridget Tynte. David had also, with other children, a daughter Margaret, who married Sheul. Sir Thomas married, secondly, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, widow of Ralph Wilson, and thirdly, Elizabeth (or Jane?) Hamilton, widow of __ Johnson. By his third wife there was a son, Thomas, ancestor of Ballyheigue branch; also Pierce of Rusheen and Charles, who settled in England.
David, eldest son of Sir Thomas Crosbie by his first wife, married Jane Hamilton, co-heiress with his father’s third wife. His son was Maurice, who married Lady Anne Fitzmaurice, and became Baron Brandon.
The male branch of this family ended with William, fourth Baron Brandon and Earl of Glandore, who died 22nd October 1815, having sold a large portion of his estates, some of which were purchased by Peter Thompson, who came to Kerry, 1800, on marrying Anne Blennerhassett. Anne, daughter of the second Lord Brandon, married Talbot of Mount Talbot. Her second son, Rev John Talbot, by the will of the last Earl of Glandore, took the name of Crosbie and the Ardfert estate, which is now represented by his son, William Talbot-Crosbie. There is no doubt the Crosbies added largely to their estates in the 17th century. For instance, by ‘The Act of Settlement’ Ballyheigue was vested in Captain Robert Denny from whom Sir Thomas Crosbie purchased it. Many debentures were so purchased. For example, the following is the title to a Denny holding:
Whereas there is one debenture given forth to Anthony Banks for service time, 1649, amounting to seventeene shillings and eleven pence; and also one other debenture to Richard Chandlor for his service time, 1649, amounting to seventeen shillings and eleven pence, in the whole thirty-five shillings and ten pence which sayd debentures are assigned unto Arthur Denny Esq, the 5-7ths thereof to bee satisfied amount to one pound five shillings and sixpence ¼ (the soldiers even were not paid in full), I do hereby certify that the Commissioners for setting out lands to the army have assigned and sett out, in satisfaction for the said one pound five shillings and sixpence ¼ unto said Arthur Denny, his heirs and assignees, for ever the lands called East and West Gortnekillyees and Ubbernoe contayning two acres two roods, lying in the Borrough and parish of Traly, Barony of Trugbenackmy, and County of Kerry, which, at nine shillings per acre, pays one pound two shillings and sixpence, soe that there remains due yett, unsatisfied ye, 1-5-7 the land, of three shillings. The said Debenters being brought in and cancelled before the said Commissioners. Hereof all persons concerned are to take notice. Dated at Dublin this first day of March 1657. Entered and examined – A true copy. John Pettie
Neither Banks nor Chandlor, to whom these lands were given for pay, ever had their land, their debenture being bought by Arthur Denny, probably the remaining 3s worth was never apportioned. There is even a more curious land case, 1. James I, Oct 28, AD 1603. There is a patent as follows:
A King’s letter for a pardon to Thomas Fitz-Morrish Gerald, Baron of Lixnawe, who had been in rebellion against Elizabeth and whose pardonand restitution had hitherto been stayed – also to accept his surrender of the lands which his father, Patrick Baron Lixnaw, had been seized, and to make him a re-grant of the same.
Passing on, we find another order, S, James I, 25th April 1612:
A King’s letter to accept a surrender from Thomas Fitz-Morris Gerald, Baron of Lixnawe, of all his possessions, and to regrant same to him without any fine, by the same tenure by which said lands have been heretofore held, with courts, Leet fairs, markets, etc, to hold the cattle of Lixnawe only in free and common soccage, as of the cattle of Limerick. The King’s letter of 28 Oct, I, James I, to accept the surrender of the said Baron of Lixnawe, and to pass him his lands by letters patent, not having taken effect, by reason that the most part of his lands were formerly granted to Patrick Crosbie. The King now requires that the said Crosbie be commanded to surrender the same; also, to release the said Baron of Lixnawe from the payment of the rent of £160 and 120 cows, formerly paid to the Crown.
This £160 and these 120 cows were a tribute which the Earl of Desmond claimed from the Baron of Lixnawe, which tribute had, when the Earl forfeited, vested in the Crown. In 1613, the Baron of Kerry was formally and legally reinstated in these lands and henceforward released from the above tribute. Possession, however, is nine points of the law, and despite this patent, the Crosbies seem to have still held some of those lands.
Another curious paper connected with grants, confusion of land, and confusion with occupiers, in the 17th century, is the following:
Crosbie MS. In the year 1685 Rose Ponsonby, widow of Henry Ponsonby, sought the protection of the Superior Court against Chidley Coote, Sir Philip Coote, and Sir Thomas Crosbie, who claimed rent of 1,010 acres in Stack’s Mountain from the late Henry Ponsonby. Her case was that in 1655 Chidley Coote, the father, had a grant of 8,000 acres in Kerry, 1,010 of which was in Stack’s Mountain, alias Kilflynn. Henry Ponsonby had also a debenture setting out to him 1,010 acres in Stack’s Mountain, where there are 2,020 acres. Chidley Coote let all his land in Kerry for 21 years to Henry Ponsonby, Hugh Massey, and Richard Grice, at 4d per acre in common between them all. In 1668, he, Chidley Coote, made them take out a lease, which lease was made between Hugh Massey and a Samuel Grice. This Chidley Coote died October 1668. Massey had perfected his lease but Grice had not done so. In this lease Henry Ponsonby’s 1010 acres were set out, of which he had returned (reclaimed) 132 acres. Henry Ponsonby’s health failing, he did not enter upon his portion of Chidley Coote’s land, assigning his portion to Sir Thomas Crosbie for ‘a consideration of £6.’
Sir Thomas undertook to indemnify him with the Cootes.
Massey refused to pay, pleading he had never had 1010 acres in Stack’s Mountin, and other portions detained from him by the late Henry Ponsonby. The Ponsonby estate was then proceeded against for these arrears. Rose Ponsonby, widow, pleaded Henry Ponsonby never had enjoyed lands in Stack’s Mountain, excepting 1010 he received in debenture, as soldier’s pay after the war (1641). Mrs Ponsonby said Sir Thomas Crosbie had taken over Henry Ponsonby’s share of Chidley Coote’s land, and had the papers of agreement. Sir Thomas Crosbie now repudiated this agreement, and combined with the Cootes to ruin her.
There was a series of trials. Much swearing and cross-swearing of witnesses on both sides. Finally, the Surveyor-General (Taylor) decided in favour of Ponsonby’s claim. David, son of Sir Thomas Crosbie, appealed against this decision, and finally, to save legal expenses, a division of the lands was made by arbitration.
In the troubles of 1688, the Crosbie family, who were matrimonially allied with both sides, were ‘suspected’ and two of Sir Thomas’s sons were attained, David, the elder, being ‘more circumspect in behaviour though bad at heart as they were,’ saved his estate through the intercession of Protestant connections who attested his ‘innocency.’ His son, Sir Maurice Crosbie, married Lady Anne Fitzmaurice, daughter of the first Earl of Kerry, descended from that Baron of Lixnaw, part of whose estate was granted to and held by Patrick Crosbie. David Crosbie, and Elizabeth Hamilton, his wife, added much to the Crosbie estate after the rebellion of 1641, by acting as ‘Discoverers.’
The following is from Crosbie’s MS:
The petition and discovery of Dame Elizabeth Crosbie, and David Crosbie Esq. (in the pedigree the name of David’s wife is given as Elizabeth Hamilton. This must be a clerical error, as in all documents David’s wife is name as Jane. As a matter of fact, the father and son were married on the same day, and with the one deed of settlement for the double marriage, to the two sisters, which itself is excuse for an error of this kind. This Deed is dated 1680). To the Honorable the trustees for putting into execution certain powers and authorities to them granted by Act of Parliament lately made in England, entitled an Act for granting an ayd to his Majesty by sale of the forfeited and other estates and interests in Ireland and by a land tax in England for the several purposes therein mentioned. Sheweth – That Sir Thomas Crosbie, Kt, died in or about August 1689, mortgaged several parcels of land, in the barony of Clanmorris, unto Sir Patrick Trant, Bart, for the sum of £450j or £500, ster; the petitioners hitherto know not the names of the said lands or value but believe … by reason of the rebellion, the lands are for the most part waste, yielding nothing from 1689 to 1693. That David’s grandfather died in 1657 having entailed and settled his estate on the said Sir Thomas. Upon David’s marriage with the said Elizabeth, Sir Thomas settled all this estate in such manner that he only was tenant for life, after which he made (as we are informed) the said mortgage to Sir Patrick Trant. The petitioners are in doubt if the said Sir Thomas could mortgage ye said lands longer than his own life. That said Sir Patrick is outlawed by said Rebellion, whereby his estate in this promise (if good after the death of Sir Thomas) is vested in your Honours to the uses of the Act. That your petitioners are in possession of the said lands so mortgaged, and pray, you will receive this Discovery, and if it shall appear upon hearing that the lands are lyable to the said mortgage that you will please to allow the benefit of this Discovery to the petitioners as by the said Act is directed. And they will pray.
Crosbie MD, Thursday 6th Nov 1701. At Chichester House, Present, among others, the following names connected with Kerry: Francis Annesley, Henry Langford with 7 other commissioners, when Dame Elizabeth Crosbie’s petition, No 2918, was heard (this note concerned another estate mortgaged to George Gould, also ‘outlawed’ which the Crosbies were allowed to redeem. In this case John Asgill Esq was council for Mr and Mrs Crosbie, and John Isham (also connected with Kerry) was one of the Commissioners).
In reply to the Trant Mortgage (No 229) it was found the lands mortgaged were Ballyhenry, Laghanrock, Penecree, Dunmountain, and Ballybroman, all inClanmorris, the sum lent being £283. Interest due to Sir Patrick Trant, for which another mortgage was given, £364, and that the lands were bound to pay the same. At no period in Ireland was there greater greed for land, or more confusion in land titles, than in the 17th century. Determined efforts were made to secure land, ‘Honestly if you can, my son, but any way secure it.’
Eighteenth Century Correspondence
The following letters are interesting. The first is one from Lord Kerry to Lady Anne Crosbie, his daughter, who was married to Sir Maurice Crosbie AD 1712. This letter was addressed to Ardfert.
Dublin, March ye 12, 1727-8
I am much obliged to my dear child for ye trouble you have given yourself about the enquiry concerning ye management of my corne at Lerigg. How to remedy it I am at a loss, but am in hopes by your advice and assistance, which I hope soon to demand in person. To get things on a better foot for the future than they have been hitherto. My Lady Kerry showed me a letter wherein you say Sir Maurice is about a purchase, and that you say you believe he may have occasion for £500 to compleat his sum which he would borrow from me and pay me interest for. The latter part I take unkindly of you to think I would demand. As for ye £500 you may command it when you please, and since you say it is to be paid the latter end of this month, for fear of any disappointment, I desire you may draw on me for that sum and it shall be answered. Let your bill be under cover to Lady Kerry least I should not be in town. Hoping soon to see you, shall say noe more, but that I am a very sincere friend to you and yours, and soe I conclude. Kerry
The next letter is from Lady Anne’s brother, and written three years later. It relates to Mr Fitzmaurice’s desire to represent Dingle in the House of Commons, about which there was some difference in the family. It was addressed to The Right Honourable Lady Anne Crosbie, Ardfert.
Dear Sister – I have much reason to be convinced, not only of your readiness, but even of your watchfulness, to promote my interest as makes me doubt whether you may take in good part the notice I give you of the opportunity that now presents itself of doing me the greatest favour. I should sooner have addressed myself to you had I not been always as confident, as still I am, that you would not let go unimproved even a less occasion than this for my service, nor desire your good offices till application had been made to you, and tho’ satisfied as I am of that, yet I think myself bound to ask your favour as it is an acknowledgement of the power you have to oblige me, and as a promise of my greatest gratitude, which is the only return I can make.
The Knight of Kerry having complimented Sir Maurice with the disposal of the seat in parliament vacant by the death of Mr Crosbie made me flatter myself that I should succeed in the request I make of having the honour to be a representative of the borough of Dingle, for I sought what was absolutely in the gift of my brother, and what I had once the pleasure of being assured he endeavoured to obtain for me. If my success in this affair shall be owing to Lady Anne’s goodwill I shall think her more happily rewarded than by my ability would be possible, in having convinced the world of the regard that Sir Maurice has for her recommendation, of which no greater proof can be than the little merit of, dear sister, your sincerely affectionate, John Fitzmaurice, Dublin, February 16th, 1730-1.
The next letter is from the elder brother, Lord Fitzmaurice (apparently written from Lixnawe):
Dear Sister – I received yours by Mr Pierce, and am sorry the situation of affairs are so I can’t see you. I hope when I say were you ill, or Sir Maurice, I should see you (to be sayd by way of taking it unkindly). No, I assure you, for since you don’t see Lord Kerry, either to send or to see me in this place would be wrong; but what I mean by it is, were it for your or his service, any further than mere ceremonie, Ardfert should be no less a stranger to me than it has been. From your affection (for brother and sister you and I are) I am convinced it must be very foul play can make us at distance, our friendship being from our infancy so united, and of a devotion you care not to hear, that no faster tye can be, except that where the marriage sword runs through the friendly knot, which nothing but foul play can disunite. Sir Maurice, I think, knows me well enough to ne convinced I can’t say one thing and mean another between man and man. As to what he may suspect when man and woman’s in the case, or to a peticoute, let him think at liberty and I shall be easy. But if stories should be brought about to sow jealously between him and me, it must be his fault, because the authors that medle between him and me should maintain their assertions, or stand the bastinado from one or both. My sincere service to (torn off). When Lord Kenmare comes I may then chance to see him at Ross Castle. My love to the maidens of your house. I am, dear sister, your affectionate brother – Fitzmaurice. My pain has been severe, and makes life a burthen; but, yet, my mind bears a greater indisposition, and it has a contrary effect, for it makes me wish for life.
The next letter is from John Fitzmaurice to Lady Anne Crosbie. She must have been a clever woman, and appears to have been much beloved by her family. Lord Kerry’s illness was serious. He died 1741. This letter apologises (some of which I omit) very elaborately for his not writing oftener. It is addressed to Lady Crosbie, Stroakestown, near Elphin.
Dear Sister – I have never a minute to employ as I like. My Lord suffers himself to be seen by none but those in the house. Even Sir Maurice and Billy (Sir Maurice’s son) he has seen but once, so that Henry and I have no one to help us to amuse him, or to be an excuse for our absence, and it is impossible for me to write in his presence … Sir Maurice and Billy, both in town, were they not as well acquainted (by their constant enquiries) of my Lord’s condition as I have been myself, and were they not both under your absolute command, as all good husbands and sons are … so that, as to matters of information, I know you had no reason to complain … I can assure you, with great sincerity, that I have not omitted to represent your enquiries and anxiety in the same light to my Lord, as I could wish my own to be on the like occasion, and if I have done this as I ought, and with good effect, you ought to be more pleased than if I had been more punctual in correspondence. This is the 25th day of my Lord’s cure, and we find this evening the lipp in the fairest way of doing well that can be imagined. I am now thoroughly convinced that there will be a thorough and competent cure, and that both the warts, together with their roots, will drop off in a day or two. I have hitherto been in pain about one of them, and was afraid that we should have the same cure to try over again to bring it away, but now, I thank God, everything appears as well as we can wish, and a little care in his way of living, I hope, will establish a long health … I am, dear sister, your most sincere and affectionate, John Fitzmaurice.
The next letter is one of enquiry for Lady Anne Crosbie’s health.
Dear Sister – My Lord having heard of your being ill, this is by his Lordship’s commands to desire to know how you are; and to let you know that he has met with a disappointment in the fishing nets from Andrew Sheehan, which are all broke, and prevents his intention of meeting you and Mrs Ponsonby. On the strand of Bannagh. My sister Fitzmaurice (Lady Gertrude Lambert, wife of Lord Fitzmaurice) and I desire you and Sir Maurice to accept of our best service with assurance of our concern for your indisposition which we hope to hear was only a false report. I am, dear sister, your most affectionate. Charlotte Fitzmaurice (after Lady Colthurst). Give our finest compliments to our uncles and aunts. Lixnaw, March ye 9th, 1738.
Here again is another request from John Fitzmaurice to his brother-in-law, Sir Maurice Crosbie, Ardfert:
Dublin, August 21st 1742
Dear Sir – Since it is with the approbation of my brother that I seek the honour of succeeding my brother Denny (Lady Arabella Fitzmaurice was married in 1725 to Arthur Denny, elected MP Kerry 1727. He died of apoplexy 10th August 1742), in parliament, I hope I am not too late in my application to you, though I may be to others, for your vote and interest on this occasion. Your compliance, I know, will engage my nephew and all your friends in my interest, whom for that occasion I shall not trouble with letters. Lady Arabella and my wife join in their best service to you – I am, dear sir, your most obedient humble servant, John Fitzmaurice.
The next is to the point. It notifies Wm Crosbie’s marriage with Lady Theodosia Bligh, which marriage took place in Lord Kerry’s house in Dublin 26th March 1745. This was addressed to Lady Crosbie at Ardfert:
Dublin, 26th March 1745
Dear Fan (pet name) – By God your son was marryd this day at my house; it was to your husband’s approbation and to mine. I think Billy and I have performed our promise but I hope you will keep the secret till your hear further intelligence – I am, dear Fan, your most humble servant, etc, Kerry.
The country was then much disturbed; there was not much intercourse between town and country and evidently, marriages were not easily carried out.
The following letter is from Lady Anne Crosbie to this son, ‘Billy,’ who evidently is expected with his bride at Ardfert, and apparently anxious that all things there should look well in her eyes.
Ardfert, January ye 18, 1745-6
I should have answered my dear William’s two letters sooner but that I am really constantly employed in some kind of writing, and my eyes are but very indifferent of late. But I hope they will last to see you and our new friend, which pleasure I long much for. I had last post a letter from your father desiring a remittance of money to be sent him, for that he had but £40 in Latouche’s hands, after leaving £100 for your use and liveries. But I find by your letter that there are many more draws back on that sum I could wish it were any way in my power to assist you, but Heaven knows it is not. I am to send him £200 next week, in which I hope you will equally share. I am surprised that the Leinster tenants did not supply him with a (more) considerable sum but I believe they are (like all) others who are looth to part with any (torn) till ye present times wear a better (torn). I have a weary life to collect ye (torn) money (with a fine of £77 to Mur Purcell for lease of Stradbally) out of (I’m sure) three times more due of last March gale, but as all the tenants on the estate has ever had a bad custom, it is noe wonder that they should now continue it, tho’ I hope Tom Staughton will soon bring them to deal like other people, by taking a proper method in the beginning, which was never in my power, tho’ I have long felt the evil sustained that way. I am but too sensible of the many calls you will have on the now occasion, and I shall not omit to inforce the argument when assistance may be expected. I shall take your advice about the girls and have only a wigg for Dora. Inclosed is the measure you directed, with a lock of her hairs. I shall write to my sister Denny about some cloathinge for them as soon as I know what money will be allowed for that purpose. I should not desire anything farther than plain and decent apparell, as finery can well be excused from their allwaies (living) in the country. I told Scholes (torn) you would soon write to him but did not (men)tion ye little warmth you seemed (torn) in your former letter, because I thought it greatly resembled my own temper and in consequence will as (quickly) be forgot. He is now in great trouble for the death of his child. Colonel Hassett and his daughter, Jack and his wife, are all to live at Trallee next May. They have taken the house that belonged to Black Thom Hassett. I believe such a family never was. This is the sixth removal in my memory. Lanty Crosbie’s afffaire is not yet made known to Lady Margaret, though, I’m sure she, in her own mind, is noe stranger to it. The young couple have a sweet prospect before them till such time as the father and uncle dyes. The latter is thought to be in a faire way towards it, for everybody says so; his desease is the same of the late Colonel, but I hope this news won’t damp your spirritts. I have now told you all the stuff (torn) affords, and am, my dear William, your most affectionate mother, Anne Crosbie. I am in noe small delight at the (torn) of a harpcicorde; pray mention in your next something of the aunts, and how you are getting on with them, as I (torn off).
These family letters show the close connection of the Elizabethan settlers, Denny, Blennerhassett and Crosbie, with the earlier Norman arrivals the Fitzmaurices and through them with the Irish inhabitants of Kerry. The ‘family party’ superseded the previous settlers, and were at this time the motive power of all that was done in Kerry.
In 1760, Billy Crosbie being anxious to enter parliament where his father had represented Kerry from 1713 to 1758, wrote to consult Lord Shelburne (his uncle) on the matter. His Lordship’s reply is not encouraging.
London, Nov 29, 1760
My Dear Sir
I have received your letter of the 15th inst. You do me much honour to ask my counsel, and if you do it seriously, you shall have it frankly. I am sorry to hear from other hands as well as yours, of the bad state of Lord Brandon’s health (Maurice Crosbie, 1st Baron). Your concern on that account may make you think with less attention of what relates to yourself, but I am persuaded that all your friends will join in opinion with me that, circumstanced as you are, you should avoid the trouble and expense of an election, let the probability of success be eer so great. As to any influence that I may have in the county Kerry, things considered as they are, it is such as is scarcely worth anybody’s seeking for I can by no means call upon friends living in a country where I do not (reside) to depart from what their inclinations or interests may lead to, in cases where the family of Lixnaw is not a principal object. Tenderness for those who do me the honour to retain any friendship for me, obliges me to hold, as long as I can, an absolute neutrality. Nevertheless, I pray you to be assured that nobody has more sincerely at heart your happiness than, dear sir, your most affectionate and faithful humble servant. Shelburne. Lady Shelburne and Miss Hort join with me in our sincerest respects to Lady Theo, and in our affectionate compliments to your young folk.
The following letter is written on the same subject by Lord Kerry, cousin to the aspirant for parliamentary preferment. This Lord Kerry was Francis Thomas, 23rd Lord Kerry and 3rd Earl of Glandore, first cousin of ‘Billy’ Crosbie:
Saturday, ye 13th Dec, 1760
I yesterday received your letter and the order for £500 which came not before it was wanted I assure you. As I never could suspect your friendship or attention to my interest, I must therefore be frank and explicit enough with you (for one can’t be too much soe with a friend) to declare to you that I have heard in many different places in this town that the county of Kerry affairs were settled upon such conditions as I think make them appear in a different light to me from that in which your letter represents them. The conditions were these – that Colonel Hassett exchanged his scheme and put in his son-in-law in the place of his own son, with a proviso that on your going into the House of Peers Mr John Hassett should be returned for your Borough of Ardfert. If that be so, I should imagine we appear in the estimation of parliamentary politicians as cyphers in our county, if our strength is so inconsiderable that they (Blennerhassetts) can oblige us to come into any terms rather than expose our own weakness. This would be appearing in a light in which your friendship and regard for me would (I believe) not chuse I should ever appear, and this I own does a little stir me, because I am determined always to have my share in the choice of a representative for that county. And, though I should not of myself be strong enough to effect the whole, I would chuse to exchange my right for a seat in some Borough, though I were obliged to back it at some expense. Lady Arabella (Denny, his sister) has been talking to me on this head, and has mentioned to me the taking Lord Fitzmaurice to set up, and support my interest at this juncture, and thinks it strange he was never thought of. Tis very true his connection, fortune and shining character would point him out to me as a most proper person (this was William, his son, who was created Lord Lansdowne). But while you, my dear Billy, are able, and as ready as you have always professed yourself to be to assist me, I could never bring myself to prefer another. I beg, therefore, you will be assured that I am your most affectionate and faithful friend. Kerry.
The next letter is dated 1764, and is from the High Sheriff of Kerry to Lord Kerry who showed it to his cousin ‘Billy’ now second Lord Brandon:
Tralee 19th August 1764
My Lord – I prayed leave to acquaint your Lordship with the arrival of a party of the army by a late letter, for which so necessary assistance I am entirely obliged to your Lordship. As to any return for the next year’s sherivalty I suspended to think of, till I should have the pleasure of seeing your Lordship for your approbation. But as you are pleased to desire my present thoughts I mention to you the persons I can now recollect to be fitt for that office but shall submitt it to your Lordship. If you think of any others which I shall be governed by. My Lord, I am, with the greatest respect, your Lordship’s most obedient and most obliged humble servant. John Gun.
Francis Crosbie, of Rusheen, Esqr
Samuel Morris, of Littletown, Esqr
Pierse Crosbie, of Ballyheigue, Esqr
Or George Gun, of Carrickfoyle, Esqr
This letter was enclosed by Lord Kerry with the following note to Lord Brandon:
I intended to have called on you this morning with the enclosed, but could not. As Pierse Crosbie is not yet of age do you not think it would be well to have Frank Crosbie, James Raymond and George Gun named. I’ll see you tomorrow. Kerry.
The above is addressed to The Right Honourable Lord Brandon, Dawson Street, so that these two were then in Dublin, most probably attending on parliament. Nothing is more striking in letters of this date than what we may call the awful ceremony with which great personages were addressed and the respectful humility professed by all who desired favours, towards those whose goodwill they endeavoured to obtain.
Colonel Maurice Hussey
No family in Kerry has had greater vicissitudes than the Husseys. Of their coming into Kerry there is no reliable account, but they have been here for close on 700 years, and were attainted at each disturbance during the 17th century. There are some interesting letters amongst the Crosbie MS from Colonel Maurice Hussey, who was amongst those who took a leading part in the closing wars of the 17th century, and who endeavoured to save his estates by passing them to friends. An idea of these sort of transfers may be gathered from the following, which is a Chancery Bill, copied from the Public Record Office, Dublin, July 1636:
Humbly complaining, sheweth into your Lordship, Peter Hussey, of Culmollen, within the County of Meath, gent, son and heir of Martin Hussey, deceased; John Hussey, of Glenbeh, within the County of Kerry, gent, another of the sons of the said Martin Hussey, and Thomas Bermingham and Elizabeth, his wife, the relict of Christopher Hussey, deceased, another of the sons of the said Martin Hussey, in behalf of themselves and Peter Hussey, the younger son and heir of the said Christopher, an infant of three years of age – that, whereas the said Martin Hussey in his lifetime was lawfully seized to him and his heirs amongst other things of the 14 plowlands of Glanbeh, within the County of Kerry, the which 14 plowlands he stated (sic) upon your suppliants, the said Peter and John and the said Christopher, deceased; now, so it is … that one Filim MacFinney Carty exhibited a bill of complaint unto the presiding Court of Munster… setting forth that John Hussey, by lease poll in 1630, had leased the property to him for 21 years.
Possibly it was such leases as this that were used to save forfeitures, and this would explain why and how the following land dispute arose between Colonel Maurice Hussey and Mr Willoe, who apparently held land from MacCarthy More which Colonel Hussey claimed as his property. During this dispute with Willoe he seems to have enjoyed the land for some years without paying rent to either of them.
It is well to remember the close connection between Kerry families. Rose Ponsonby, whose land case against the Crosbies was mentioned earlier, had a second daughter, Rose, who married John Carrique, of Glandine, son of John Carrique, a settler of 1666, who had married Ellen, daughter of Sir Arthur Denny, Kt, and his wife, Lady Ellen Barry. This Ellen Denny married secondly a Willoe, her daughter, Ellen Carrique, also marrying a Willoe, who was probably the ‘Tom Willoe’ with whom Colonel Maurice Hussey had the dispute. William Carrique, this Ellen Denny’s son, by the will of his cousin, Richard Ponsonby, who died without family, succeeded to the Crotto estate and took the name of Ponsonby.
This William Carrique Ponsonby married first Anne, daughter of Lady Margaret Crosbie; secondly Margaret, daughter of Arthur Crosbie of Tubrid. Thus in the dispute in question Colonel Maurice Hussey had those he calls ‘the mighty family of Desmond’ or ‘the Royal Family’ – ie, the Dennys – against him, as well as the Ponsonbys, then in high favour with the government, and a large body of Crosbie cousins.
Colonel Maurice Hussey’s first letter is written when things had settled down after the rising of 1641 and Charles II was endeavouring to ‘settle’ Ireland. It is addressed to Sir Thomas Crosbie at Ardfert:
London, ye 26th 8ber, 1674.
Deare Cossen – Though the neglect of writing to one’s friends be not very excusable, yet I have this to say for myself, that, as I never used my friends to it, so I hope my fault will appear much less than otherwise it would. Another comfort I have, which is my hope that you believe me (notwithstanding all my omissions) as a true friend and servant to you as any relation you have alive. If you do not continue this opinion I am sure you do me a great injustice. When I was last in Ireland I often told you of the desire I had of spending the remainder of my life in my native country and your conversation. And in order to (do) this you were pleased to assign me a place of settlement near yourself, which I always aimed at. I ordered my servant to take possession in May last, with an intent ot have the castle immediately repaired and made fit for my dwelling. But all in vain. My cousin Shewell (Mrs Shewell was a sister of Sir Thomas Crosbie’s) would hear of no such thing, and for me to go into a country having no certain place to fix in, without being uneasy to others, were a folly I would not be guilty of. Now, cossen, let this letter begin answer from you, that I may be satisfied whether you continue your kind resolution or no. If you do, pray deal frankly with your sister about it and take the thing into your hands immediately, and give John (Colonel Hussey’s servant) possession that I may order speedy reparation of it and have it made fit for my coming there next spring. If not, be so kind as to send me word frankly, and I will never mention it hereafter, but accept of my Lord’s conditions and go along with him to Yorkshire and so bid Ireland farewell. For to tell you the real truth of things, I would not have so uneasy a business to do after my going to Ireland as to contest with my cossen Shewell and go to law with her and put her out of possession, have her clamours and be subject to the lash of her tongue for twice the value of the farm. One thing I know, and that is, if you be resolved in the business you may very easily do it without any noise, for she cannot take it ill of you to set your land to the best advantage you can, and to one that will improve it for your posterity, and certainly as I will, if I have it out of hand. And the only way will be to tell her son ‘ingenuously’ and not to depend upon it any longer if your intention be so. My most humble respects to my Lady and to all your children and the rest of my friends. My cousin Fitzgerald remembers himself kindly to you all. He will be in Dublin before this letter comes to your hands. Pray send for John wherever he be, and let him have the enclosed. My wife presents her humble service to yourself and lady – I remain your most affectionate kinsman and humble servant, Maurice Hussey.
From the letters which follow it appears that though Colonel Maurice Hussey returned to Kerry he did not settle near his cousin Crosbie but at Killarney. He was, when there, evidently on good terms with the government, as we find him treating with Rogor, Lord Orrery, a trusted councillor of Charles II, in Munster, for a renewal of a ‘lost Deed.’ That this Deed was a serious loss to Colonel Hussey is evident from the number of years during which he endeavoured to come by his own. The next letter is endorsed – ‘Colonel Hussey’s statement on Willoe’s business’ and address ‘For David Crosbie Esq, and Mr John Pierce, at Ardart, or to either of them. These ___ .’
Fleskbridge, the 4th 7ber, 1694.
Gentlemen. You have that before which is of consequence both to Mr Willoe and to me, to be determined as you think fit. The case is really heard of both sides. Mr Willoe has been at very considerable expense in recovering this estate which I designed a very great bargain for him, and this by his own default entirely in losing my Lord of Orrery’s Deed which occasioned all the subsequent expense that attended the cause. And, on the other hand, I am out of my money to this hour. True, I have borrowed several sums from Captain Willoe, which I have been forced to give my Bonds for, which was laid out in this suit, and (in) waiting on my Lord Orrery to get 2nd Deeds from him, and all this because I durst not disoblige Tom Willoe (Captain Willoe’s son) in telling the accident that happened (him) to his father. For I had no more to do with the case, but that of laying the fault at their own door, and demanding my money, which all law and equity would allow me; but that Sir Thomas Crosbie and Mr Bateman, at the instance of Tom Willoe, begged of me not to say a word to Kitt (Captain Willoe) for my life, and that I would be considered, and that everything would be well as soon I could get a lease and re-lease from my Lord Orrery (son of the first Lord Cork). And that foolish, weak, easy fop, Maurice (himself) acquiesced. That all this is literally true I will prove to you if you make the least question on it. But I am sure the honesty of Tom Willoe will make him own what I say. The letters are to be produced. I send you the copy of one of them. After all this past various (vexatious?) cases he made me a re-lease of this land, and of all other matters whatsoever from the beginning of the world for … £100 in brass money before the Boyne, worth then 18s (in the) pound. I had Reprisals for this land from King James’s Commissioners … of Barrow, which Willoe was obliged to pay £40 a year for by his lease from Denny. This he held from me two years and a half, and he knows, though I have paid the King above 20 pounds rent myself for that land, subsidy, etc, he (Willoe) never paid me a sue. This is the rough draft of my case. It is in your hands. I am sure you will have no great difficulty in making an end of it. Despatchit and crown it speedily with a just and equitable judgment. You will oblige [illeg] Willoe in it and me, who are extremely in the [illeg] by all these matters. All that I ever got in this case is loss of time, expense, disappointments of what was due to me and an irreconcilable war with the mighty family of Desmond. I will add no more but that of my being your most affectionate, Maurice Hussey.
Enclosed was the following ‘words of Mr Willoe’s letter, August, 1680.’
Mr Hussey – I am actually undone for the Deed you gave us, which my Lord made to you, of the land in Desmond, is lost. I cannot for my life find it; so as there can be no trial this Assizes, I am utterly ruined for ever. I leave all to your breast. You must find out some excuse to put off my father and satisfy him for this Assizes, or I must be gone out of the Kingdom. God knows what will become on it. I hope my Lord will make you another Deed, and I rest yours to serve you. Tho. Willoe.
It would appear from this statement that Captain Willoe, a Cromwellian soldier, had rented this land from McCarthy, who had had a lease of it from Hussey. In due course, the lease had expired. Meantime the land had been forfeited to the Crown by McCarthy – probably also by Hussey – as it had fallen into the hands of Lord Orrery, as the King’s (Charles II), agent in Munster. Lord Orrery had re-leased or re-granted this land to Hussey, who had intended to pass on this Deed to the occupier, Captain Willoe. Young Tom Willoe lost that Deed, so that Hussey had no ‘rights’ to pass on. The land then fell to Denny (who probably had had a right to the head rent from the forfeitures of 1589), from Denny, Willoe took a lease, thus ousting Hussey from his claim. Yet, through Charles II, James II, William and Mary, and into Queen Anne’s reign, Colonel Maurice Hussey endeavoured to oblige his right from first Captain, and later on from Tom Willoe.
Again, four years later, Colonel Hussey writes to his cousin, David Crosbie:
Cahirnane, October ye 25, 1698
My Dear Cousin – I count it a very great misfortune that we could not have more time we could call our own at our last meeting. I remember you spoke to me on the road about Tom Willoe’s concerns, and lest you may think that I was either positive or self-interested in the case, I will refer what I am to do to 2 Council at Law, provided they are men of known honesty, and this to be done as soon as I go to Dublin. If he pleases – if he thinks it better to have it done in the country – I am satisfied to refer it to one council, to be feed by both. I am told Councillor Keeffe will be in this country till after the fair of Killarney, so let him (Willoe) choose his own time as to that. If you will have me say more in this case you must direct me. I never got one shilling (this is for your private satisfaction) by this estate, but on the contrary it cost me a good deal of money in charges to and fro to my Lord of Orrery’s drawing of the papers over and over to satisfy Captain Willoe’s fagaries. The short and the truth of the case you have here. I was to pay my Lord of Orrery £100 for the land, which was done. Willoe was to pay me £200 for it. One he gave me in hand, and the other (I was to be paid) when he was possessed. I went to my Lord Orrery, and desired he would possess Kitt Willoe of this land. He told me he (Willoe) was already in possession, and had it (the land) under McCarthy-More’s hand and seal, and his brother, Mr Willoe’s, hands. When I came I … the land and carried away the tenants distresses to Castlemaine. They followed me, paid me an acknowledgment, some small rent, and turned tenants to me. Within a day ro two I went to Captain Willoe and offered him possession of his land. He whistled and made sawes (faces?) at me, told me he would have no dog-possession, but would have it by due course of law, and a great deal of that. To humour him I ejected; and the assizes following the trial came down, council feed, everything ready. Tom Willoe loses themain deed, and so it went off. This we concealed from Captain Willoe at Tom’s intercession, as it appears at large under his hand, and a great deal more. Then there must be money to follow the suit, and this in my name to keep Kitt still in the dark. Who is in fault in all this? Still I remained out of my hundred pounds out of good nature to Tom, and got the ill-will of the Royal family here, for my truth in that affair, and for their sakes. In King James’s time I desired to have my £100, or else I would give him his £100. Tho’ McCarthy was a great man, etc, etc, he took a rent charge from me upon the Kerries for this money, and gave me a re-lease of all his title, etc, etc. I paid him the most part of his money in brass before the Boyne, when it was as good as silver, nay – I was satisfied if King William became conqueror he should enjoy it (the land) and I gave you my reason for it, in telling you if the Prince of Orange had the better of the King I must expect to have no land anywhere, and I would rather he (Willoe) had it than a stranger. I was then of that opinion, and I will never eat my words, so as during the reign (William) he need not apprehend any disturbance from me or anybody under me. I do take Mr Willoe to be a very honest gentleman – yet, let me tell you, he is not half so generous a man as his father was. Pray, who stood by him, or has done more for him than I have done, as far as lay in my power? I will not make any repetitions in this matter, but ‘tis known I have sufficiently suffered by sticking to him against Barry Denny (MP Tralee 1697). Why, then, at my going I made him tender of my interest in this estate, and of a release for half value, because I was then in straits, and, truly, he had so little regard for his future interest and my present condition as to reject it. I hope he and all men besides will give me leave by turns to be a little hummersome too, for now, I thank God, I am not so very hard put to it as to part with a considerable interest, or a good child’s portion where it falls, for a song. But ot make an end of this affair, both for his interest and satisfaction, they tell me he has an old woman, a Quartermaster’s wife, in his house that he maintains, who has a patent or certificate of Muckruss, Irilaghbeg, Drowingruark, and Droumhumper (part of the lands King James I gave to Donald MacCarthy which he forfeited in 1541). I suppose he (Willoe) may buy her interest for half a score cows, a house and garden, if she has any such. If he gets her right, and assigns it over to Mr Waller, provided it be a sound title, I will release the interest of Crocane, etc, to him … Land that I mention this side of Flesk yields, besides the quit rent, £15 now and no more, nay – it owes the King an arrear of half the value of it. It is now in Mr Waller’s hands, and does not yield him near the interest of his money – that is £220 principal debt due before forty-one (1641) to one Hamilton, a Protestant, which (this) land must be still subject to. Besides (there is on this land) my Lord of Cork’s judgement of £300, which he can lay upon what part of the estate he pleases, so as this woman, or anybody diriving from or under her, can (not) expect a farthing by it, though they have, or may have, a patent. However, to make the title undisputable everyway hereafter, I will persuade Mr Waller to satisfy me in this condescention. There is a new expedient for Mr Willoe, but because it is for his advantage, and to make him a clear estate, and his son after him, it is ten to one, but he’ll reject it. My meaning in this case is that we have no further misunderstanding, to have this woman’s assignment to Mr Waller of this estate in your hands, and my release likewise, till we make enquiry in Dublin. Whether she has the right title to it, and whether or no her husband was otherwise reprised, or had assigned it to any other after this woman’s decease. This is a very long paper, which I ask your pardon for. Sir Ralph Dutton gives your lady and you his faithful service, and talks much of your kind reception and good entertainment. I wish you would get your man to house my colt for a month or so and ride him for me, and I will reward him; and, pray, order it so, as that my mare and her filly may not be worked this winter, and I will rid you of the trouble of them next spring, and make you a return, in letting so many of yours run with mine and the best horse in England. My wife bids me tell you she will own you an unalterable friend, and gives my cousin Crosbie and you her humble service. She will visit you if she possibly can after I am gone. Adieu, my dearest cousin – I am, your most affectionate kinsman and most humble servant. Maurice Hussey.
The enclosed is a letter to be sent the Sheriff, or left for him at the Post Office, as you shall think fit. Nobody, nor Jack Lylesse himself, does not know where my Protection is. Though Jack Hussey offered him one to enter, he must ask where it was. I would be glad to have an answer from the Sheriff.
That Mr Thomas Willoe, who owned to losing Colonel Hussey’s Deed in 1680, took another tone in 1703 is evident; also, that during all those years he had clung to this land, had kept Colonel Hussey out of his £100 and other rights, and finally was still in possession when, owing to the Penal Code, Colonel Hussey had to leave the country, is shown by the following letters:
For David Crosbie Esq, These – 1703.
Dear Sir – Three weeks or more since I lent my iron bar to your servant, and cannot have it upon any account. My mill has been in danger this week past for want of raising it. Besides I have drawn what stones I had digged, and my plow stands still. Pray order that I may have my bar, for I cannot, it seems, have it without your order. I hear you are going to Killarney, where, I am sure, you will see Colonel Hussey. You were the person that made the bargain with me for my interest in that land in Desmond during King James’s present reign, and as soon as the Protestant interest was up, or our laws in request, I was to have my land again in the same condition as if there (was) not a word of that bargain. You know that Colonel Husey did not desire no further interest than he could enjoy the reprisal he expected for it. No doubt I gave the discharge you saw, on his word and honour on his conscience to make no more use of it than to show it to Charles MacCarthy More and the Commissioners that then were expected. I hear some of his saying, which makes me trouble you with this. I am willing to come to an account and what is believed, if any, to pay it honestly. Colonel Hussey ought to think of the value my father had for his word and actions. When here he (Colonel Hussey) called me 20 names before your uncle Crosby for desiring security, and that he would be very just to me and do me more than I could expect. Sir, I do not any way ______ your justice to me, although Colonel Hussey is your relation. All that I desire is honesty (which) I hope to live by while I have breath – Sir, yours to command, Thomas Willoe.
Now we come to the last letter of Colonel Maurice Hussey. He does not say very much, but throughout the whole letter there runs a vein of sadness, as if he was weary of fighting against fate:
To David Crosbie Esq at Ardart. This –
Fleskbridge January 18th 1703-4.
Dear Cousin – I had your short letter from Traly, promising to be here before my going away. If you desing being as good as your word, which I hope you will, you must be here by Saturday or Sunday next night at furthest that I may embrace you before we part. I write the enclosed to Am Moore, and have it to open for you to peruse, which I hope you sent himon receipt. You desired me in your last letter, but one to inform you who are those inyour parts that intend to make a jest at me and of my interest in this carry. I am assured to tell you, because they are my own relations as well as yours. They allow me, it seems my jest, but I will have my estate, or at least [illeg] get it, if I am rightly informed, and my information comes from a very honest and understanding [illeg]. However, seeing is believing all the world over, and a man may see a great deal through a millstone. I won’t keep you long in suspense. My cousin, Will Crosbie, of Tubrid, who would believe it? And my cousin Chute are the men named to me to be the candidates to purchase Crokane and Keamiryley and that (I am told_ unknown one to the other. I hope it is not true, as the poor woman said, when she was told of our Saviour’s sufferings. Her well-meant incredulity I hope saved her. But, be it true, or otherwise, neither of them, in all probability, will be possessed of the fee simple of that land. So they may set their hearts at rest if they take my word. In short, I will never make over the title of that land to anybody whatever, but upon a very sound consideration in land and as I am ordered by Referees, or obliged by law or equity. By law I know I can’t and I am fully sure equity will never oblige me to do half so much for Mr Willoe as I would be fairly persuaded to do myself in my private conscience. But bustling and talking nonsense won’t do with me. He’ll bring me upon oath? He may do so when he pleases if the Referees do not strike a stroke; and, as God is my judge, all that I can swear is: that if the Prince of orange, as we called him then, prevailed, he should have the benefit of the land, meaning during the Usurpation – as well as our foolish party called it then – Why, what if King James and his son had come in, in two or three years, did he expect to have the land? Vain fancy indeed. If he had given me but 30 guineas I would have promised him he should have all the interest I met in Kerry, but, as before, during King William’s reign, for I did not expect to stay a day in the Kingdom in that case. When I gave him a letter of attorney to recover this land in my name – after the capitulation of Limerick – is it not in the body of the very letter that I should not dispose of that land without giving Mr Willoe a preference? When I was run down to rags in this country, and had not a groat to bless myself, after all the justice and kindness I showed him and his family in our days – in his – he shoued me as if I lived in a Pest House, and never came to see me once, or to offer me the least civility. If then he had given me £50 in gold I would have released this land to him. I was so ‘shroudly pinst’(sorely pinched?) till I went to England, where God Almighty helped me. No – he would give me but £26 and the rest in lambs! What would I do with lambs, unless it were to be taken away next morning? I have tired you, and will say no more upon this unsettled subject, which I hope will not be long so. My hearty service and my wife’s to all your good family, and make good your promise to, Sir, your most affectionate kinsman and servant. Maurice Hussey.
It was Mary, daughter of this Colonel Maurice Hussey, owner of Cahernane and Flesk Bridge, who married Robert, sixth son of Christopher Conway and his wife Joan Roche. When leaving Ireland under pressure of the Penal Code, Colonel Maurice Hussey sold Cahernane to the Herberts, where is still to be seen the remains of a handsome mortuary chapel of the Husseys.
Colonel Maurice Hussey left Killarney in 1703 owing to the strengthening of the Penal Code.
A New Era
Amongst those who came into Kerry at this period were the Shiercliffes, a soldier of that name securing lands at Castlegregory. These were the lands of that Maurice Hussey who so bravely defended and lost his life at Minard Castle. His lands were forfeited and granted by the Crown to ‘Thomas Welsted and his wife Mary’ from whom Shiercliffe either received the land as portion with his wife or by purchase.
These lands descended to Shiercliffe’s grandson who married Sara Rowan, daughter of George Rowan, first settler in Kerry, and his wife Mary, who was the daughter of Arthur Blennerhassettt and his wife, Ruth Blennerhassett. George Rowan was a member of a Derry family who had been amongst those who held Kerry against King James. When the siege was raised Captain George Rowan marched with William’s army to the South, came to Kerry, married Mary Blennerhassett and remained in the county.
Sara Rowan had a sister Mary, who married William Mullins. Mr Shiercliffe died without issue when, for certain considerations in his marriage settlement, viz £400 fortune and the payment of certain debts – his Castlegregory estate reverted to his father-in-law, George Rowan. The lands which thus reverted were Glantanassig, Martrimane and Tullig, where George Rowan resided, and where the eldest sons continued to reside, until John Rowan, the great grandson of George Rowan, sold this estate to his relative, Lord Ventry, in or about the year 1800. In the year of the famine – 1847 – this property was said to be value for £2 0 0 per annum. Mr Shiercliffe also possessed, of Maurice Hussey’s forfeited land, Ballygarrett, Tonakilly and Kilteenbane, which he sold to the Crumpe Blands, and which they re-sold in 1857, when the late Archdeacon Rowan, who descended from George, second son of George Rowan, first Kerry settler, purchased Kilteenbane, which is now in possession of his son, Lieut-Colonel William Rowan.
This George, second son of the first George Rowan, married Miss Chute. Their second son William married Letitia Denny, whose son was Archdeacon Arthur Blennerhassett Rowan, who married Alice Thompson. In the last century young men desirous of good education betook themselves to England. My grandfather went to Oxford. While there he was intimate with his North of Ireland cousins, the elder branch of which was represented by Mrs Hamilton Rowan.
She was the only child of William Rowan (of the elder branch, who, for services and losses in Derry, received Royal pensions). She (Sydney Rowan) was an heiress, and took for her second husband Gawain Hamilton, of Killalea Castle, County Down, who took the name of Rowan. Their son was Archibald Hamilton Rowan, who was prominent in the rising of 1798.
In 1853, I met his only daughter, Mrs Fletcher, a grand looking old lady, and was much impressed by the tale, then told, of her having, when a lovely young girl, begged her father’s life of the King when he was condemned for his conduct in 1798. Archibald Hamilton Rowan died in 1834, leaving no male issue.
To return to my grandfather, William Rowan. Mrs Hamilton Rowan, of whom her children were much in awe, had a daughter Sydney, to whom my grandfather was engaged. Sydney’s letters (of which I possess a bundle) were amusing, but not elegant or worthy of printing. They principally arranged meetings, known and unknown to her mother. At one time she writes, by her mother’s orders, desiring her lover to come up from Oxford for an entertainment at their house in London. She advises him to bring his best clothes, adding her mother has a great respect for his sense and judgement, and that to strengthen this good opinion he must show that he is not backward in the manners or appearance of a gentleman.
Mr Rowan did not come as invited, Sydney’s next letter lamenting that the ‘laundress should have been so culpably negligent in not preparing your good shirt, thereby you lost a good opportunity of ingratiating yourself with the old dragon!’ She consoles herself for her disappointment in not seeing him by directing him to meet her on a certain day at an inn in Oxford Street when he may wear his student’s dress.
Shortly after this, the ‘old dragon’ discovered and disapproved of her daughter’s engagement to a poor younger son. At a moment’s notice (as she described in her last letter) Sydney was ‘packed off to my brother Archibald in Paris.’ In Paris, later on, Archibald Hamilton Rowan married his sister to his great friend, Mr Beresford.
My grandfather took his degree at Oxford in 1787, after which there are no letters from his cousin. Mrs Hamilton Rowan died in 1793, and in 1798 my grandfather Rowan married his wife, Letitia Denny. Amongst others who came to Kerry after 1688 was a strong Cork contingent of Brewsters, Sealys and Babbington. William Sealy married Mildred Mullins. Uriah Babbington settled at Maglass; his brother Percy at Drummartin. Uriah’s son William died intestate and issueless, so the estates went to his sisters, Alice being the elder, and married to Samuel, son of William Sealy, and his wife, Mildred Mullins, had Maglass, which his great grandson, John Sealy, sold in 1826 to Mr Sedman.
Mrs Scott, of Cahircon; Mrs Meredyth, of Castleisland; Mrs Leslie, of Tarbert, and Mrs Supple, the other sisters were portioned with valuable leaseholds, held under the Raymonds. Mr Brewster came as a Commissioner of forfeited estates, whereby he had opportunity of making good purchases, and married Arabella Herbert of Kilcow. This family afterwards intermarried with other settlers, especially with the Blands (from Bland’s Hill, Yorkshire), the first of whom to settle in Kerry was Dean Bland, who came as Rector of Killarney; he married Lucy Brewster, and died at Killarney, 1709.
The two succeeding rectors of Killarney were Dean Bland’s son and grandson. His grandson, Thomas Bland, who was a colonel in the army, was son of James Francis Bland and Charity Orpen. This Thomas married Mrs Martin, a widow, with a large fortune, in Worcestershire, who spent £10,000 purchasing land in Kerry for his brother, Nathaniel Bland, who married Agnes Herbert of Muckross.
Dean Bland, and Lucy Brewster his wife, had a second son, Nathaniel, who married two heiresses (neither of them Kerry women), with their money. Nat Bland purchased a large tract of land in Ballybog, held in chief at a small rent from Lord Courtown. Here for several generations the Blands held sway, and intermarried with the older settlers. The elder line of this branch merged into the Crumpe Blands, a Bland heiress marrying Nathaniel Crumpe, who took the name of Bland.
The heiress was Dorothea, daughter of Francis (son of Nathaniel Bland who bought Ballybog and his second wife, Lucy Heaton), by his wife, Catherine Mahony of the Point, Killarney. Their Kerry property (as before mentioned) was sold by their grandson in 1857.
The Rev James Bland of Ballyheigue and Brosna was the second son of Nathaniel Bland, and his first wife. The Rev James Bland married Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev Christopher Julian (who came to Kerry as chaplain, and remained as agent to Lord Kerry). The Rev James Bland’s son married Elizabeth Herbert of Brewsterfield, his son James marrying Emma Taylor of Dunkerron Castle. Their eldest son was Christopher Bland, married to Jane Hamilton. He, under pressure of recent times, sold this estate, Derryquin Castle, to the present owners, the Wardens.
The Batemans came after 1688, the first grantee of that name being an officer of Sir Hierome Sankeys, who had his lot (for pay) in Kerry, where he also purchased the various lots awarded to his troop. Mr Bateman immediately settled at Killeen, but three generations were there before the head of that family married in Kerry, then Rowland Bateman married Lethia, daughter of Sir Thomas Denny.
In 1727 Rowland Bateman was MP for Kerry. The last of the elder branch of this family who lived at Killeen (Oak Park) was married to Frances, daughter of Crumpe Bland. Their only child, Rowland, was killed at Lucknow in 1853, after which the greatest part of this estate was sold, and mostly purchased by the late Maurice Sandes – himself a Kerryman – brother of Thomas Sandes, of Sallow Glen, from whom it passed by will to his sister’s son, Falkiner Sandes Collis, who took the name of Sandes, and now resides at Oak Park.
During the 18th century, there was much unrest, which culminated in the rebellion of 1798, after which there was no general forfeitures for upheaval of estates in Kerry though there were changes, and an influx of new families.
Amongst those who migrated to Kerry in 1800 was my grandfather, Peter Thompson, who for many years was Treasurer of the County Kerry. Peter Thompson was a Treasury clerk in Dublin where, in 1798, he met my grandmother, Anne, only daughter of Thomas Blennerhassett, of Annadale, with his wife Alice, nee O’Brien, who was then in Dublin visiting her cousin, Mrs Forbes. They were married in 1799.
In 1800 Mrs Blennerhassett died, so the young people soon came to reside in Kerry with ‘Treasurer Tom’ Blennerhassett who then resided in the house now known as the Inland Revenue Office, Strand Street. From 1800 to his death in 1849, Peter Thompson, who came from County Meath, was a leading spirit in Kerry. He bought land, reclaimed land, built houses in Tralee, and did much to improve this neighbourhood. The last of his five sons was William Thompson who died a few years since. There remains none of his family and name in this county.
The Days, the Stokes, the Hilliards, with many others, came to the front and were amongst those who took a prominent part in the public business of Kerry in the early part of this century [19th].
Farming Society of Ireland
It was in this century [19th] that the first organised effort to improve agriculture by scientific farming was attempted in Ireland. A farming society for the country was formed, and very searching enquiries were made all over Ireland as to the methods adopted in each county. I have the very able report of this society for the year 1814 on my desk. From this report I cull particulars as to Kerry and Kerrymen, which if compared with Dr Smith’s account of the county in 1756, will give a fair idea of the improvements and changes between those dates.
In Kerry nature seems to prohibit intercourse between even its own baronies. The principal towns are Tralee, Killarney, Dingle, Kenmare, Castleisland, Lixnaw, Listowel and Tarbert. Crops – There are no green crops excepting in very few places. No grass seed is sown anywhere. The crops sown are potatoes, wheat, barley and oats. There is no regular agricultural course of crop. In many parts they commence, proceed and terminate with potatoes. Implements are most primitive and very few, consisting of ill-constructed ploughs and, in most places, the loy, or spade, alone is used. Most of the labour is manual; some few gentlemen only work with horses or bullocks. Hay is left lying out under the wet. Some of the gentlemen have, however, imported improved breeds of cattle. These are Leicester, Hereford, Aulderneas, and Devon. The original Kerry cow, so beautiful in their symmetry, so valuable for the pail, so easily fattened to the best quality of fine grained meat, are deteriorating, owing to the neglect of the farmers, who fancy good ground is thrown away unless they feed stock of large size. Thus Kerry breeders are losing the most valuable kind of cattle in the world – a breed which possessed all the useful properties, owing to their own short-sightedness. The price of these beautiful little cattle is only 30s to 50s. The Kerry sheep are good, being a cross with the Spanish merino; but, considering the county abounds in fine mountain pasture, most suitable for sheep, the number of flocks is very few. The reason of this is said to be that there is no sale for the wool. Kerry ponies, once famous because of their Moorish blood, are now dwindled and degenerate, unfit for any but light saddle work. There is only one gentleman in the county who attends to breeding horses. Of manufactures there are actually none excepting some coarse linen made in one barony, a little wool and coarse flannel in another; but every house manufactures for home use. Glanerought – The Bunnanes. Here the Marquis of Lansdowne’s estate abounds in fiorin grass, a most valuable feeding crop, growing here naturally, which should be but it’s not, cultivated in the county generally. Here three-year-old wethers sell for 10s or 12s each. Lord Lansdowne is much improving his estate. He allows 20 per cent of the rent to be expended on roads, fencing or planting or limeing by his tenants who, however, are too indolent to carry on this work though they often make claim for imaginary improvements which, upon examination and enquiry, are proved not to exist. His Lordship also allows £20 per mile in aid of all presentment roads made through his property. ‘One of his tenants holding a large extent of land, the lineal descendant of an Irish chief, is the least improving of his tenants. This tenant had eleven cows and three pigs at his door besides having a good profit rent from several under tenants; yet he lives in a two-storey house, every window of which is broken, and complains of great poverty though his rent is only £26 per annum and his landlord allows for every improvement even for those made for the personal convenience or comfort of the tenant.’ The fiorin grass would grow well and be a great advantage here, yet no tenant on this part of the estate will plant it, even though the best manure for it abounds at their very door. Mr Spread, Lord Lansdowne’s agent, is keen on improving the condition of the country, so is Mr Irwin, the forester, who is busy cultivating trees which he gladly gives to any of the tenants who will plant them. All trees planted here are raised from seed. Between 1799 and 1812 one million one hundred and eighty-three thousand eight hundred and seventy-six trees have been reared and planted out on this estate by Mr Irwin. Dunkerron – In this barony the land is good, and lets at 40s an acre. There are two gentlemen of respectability and intelligence named Mahony who have good estates. One of them has introduced the Scotch cart, which is a great novelty and ‘an agreeable circumstance.’ Mr Richard Mahony has 400 sheep on a wet mountain. He gives them salt, which preserves them from rot. All his methods of farming are good. Mr Bland, of Derryquin, has much taste; is also skilful and persevering, having in a few years converted swamp and rock into verdant pasture, though his land of ‘red flow bog’ is the most disheartening sort for improvement. This year he has commenced a flock of sheep. He holds on a lease for ever from Lord Courtown, at a small rent, 21 square miles of country. He lets to tenants from 5 to 20 acres on the following terms: seven years free, seven years at half the rent arranged, and seven at the full rent agreed upon. The tenants are bound to build a two-roomed house. Each room must be at least 12 feet squre, and the hall or porch must be five feet square. The landlord (Mr Bland) supplies all lime required; also window frames and doors, the tenant raising bog timber (the best) for roofing. Many of his tenants finding after three or four years the value of the land, come to the landlord and ask for a 21 year lease and one life from the then date, expecting to make well on such a lease. Mr Hartop’s land (late the estate of Lord Carberry) is very stony, so is Lord Cork’s estate, but abundance of potatoes are grown, and in the scarce year (1812) the people in this district had enough, and to spare, so they sold largely to their less fortunate neighbours in other parts. Every house here has a dairy, each cow yielding half-hundred weight of butter. At Derrynane there is a considerable population, and here they all farm carefully. Mr Segerson is an improving landlord. Major Mahony of Dunloe Castle is also an improving landlord. He is doing away with all joint tenures, and arranging for his tenants to have single holdings, at which they are much pleased. Iveragh – The first point of attraction here is Mr Butler’s farm at Waterville. He has made good land out of what was very bad, reclaiming 55 acres from surface rock, at an expenditure of 30 (?) men to each acre. Rate of wages paid here is 6½ a day with house, garden, potato ground, and grass for a cow. Mr Nimmo, the engineer employed by the Bog Commissioners, is bury planning roads and a canal to open up this district. The University of Dublin and Mr Magill have wide tracts of land. All the gentry here are working hard to get roads made. The only farm implement in this district is the loy or spade. Valentia – a most fertile island. There are 1,000 cattle and 3,000 sheep here. Linen is manufactured. In 1795 1½ hogsheads of flax was sown – now 35 hogsheads are planted annually and flax is exported to Dingle where yarn is spun and linen cloth made of it. The Knight of Kerry is the landlord. He interests himself much in his tenants, importing cattle and farming implements for their use. Mr Spotswood, on the island, and Mr Mahony at Portmagee have greatly improved the breed of sheep in this part. Mr Daniel O’Connell and Mr Sughero are doing the same in their districts. Magunihy and Trughenacmy – These are the more fertile baronies. In Magunihy, Mr Cronin of the Park has a large property. He allows dairymen the run of the farm for £5 each cow. The yield of each cow is ½ cwt of butter per annum and £1 per cow for sour milk, four calves being reared to every twelve cows. Mr Cronin holds 1700 acres in his own hands. He has reclaimed a good deal which he then let off. He keeps ten horses, eight bullocks, and two excellent thrashing machines constantly at work. His farming is excellent, his farm implements good, his land of rich quality, well worth £10 per annum per acres, being near Killarney. A farm surrendered to Mr Cronin in 1792, rent £40 per annum, was improved by him then re-let in 1796 at a rent of £105 per annum. Mr Cronin’s thrashing machines are the only ones in Kerry. Mr Chambers, his thresher, is a very clever gentleman. He turns out 20 barrels of oats per day. All the country round here is good dairy land. Lord Kenmare has fine limestone quarries which he works. He too has a large nursery in which is grown seedling beech, ash, holly, firs, elm, lime, mountain ash, lilac, birch, sycamore, laurel, willow, privet, oak, etc, etc of which 1,204, 5?0 are now ready to plant out. Lord Kenmare’s woods are most extensive. They were valued in 1798 at £100,000. The timber at Glenna was sold in 1802 for £16,000 and it is now again well grown. Captain Butcher has land near here, which he is also improving. The Herberts of Muckross and Cahirnane are improving the country specially the former, who has imported a good breed of cattle and horses. He, too, has some fine planting. Lord Headley, Mr Mahony of Rathane, and Mr Hyde, are all useful men, much improving Killarney. The first flour mill in Kerry was built in Killarney in 1789 by Mr Galway. It is a small one. In the same year Mr Blennerhassett, Elmgrove, Tralee, built a mill. These two are still (1815) the largest mills in Kerry. Mr Galway has now built a second mill in Killarney which grinds 6,000 bags of wheat – 20 stone each bag – per annum. Tralee has now four mills, while there are two in Dingle, capable of dressing 8000 bags. Kerry has four breweries – two in Tralee, one in Dingle, and one in Killarney. These supply local wants and export to Limerick. Mr Purcell carries on wool combing in Killarney. He purchases the raw wool in Tipperary and sells in Cork at 1s 7d per lb. This wool is spun by hand at 6d a ball, being two days work for a woman. Mr Sheehy is ‘engaged in cotton.’ He has invented an improved candle wick. Truaghnacmy – Mr Meredith of Dicksgrove works his land well and has fine crops. He uses a Hereford plough drawn by well-trained bullocks and is most anxious to encourage his neighbours to improve their methods. Mr Harnett has some fine ground, so has Mr Powell at Castleisland. This Mr Powell, who is Mr Herbert’s land steward, holds under Mr Herbert of Muckross. It is the model farm of the neighbourhood. In 1806, he took 140 acres at £200 per annum. He has inclosed it, partly with a wall five feet high, divided it into fields, built a nice house, started an orchard, well cropped and stocked his land, his South Down ram lambs fetching five guineas each. The town of Castleisland is unimproved, and there are six hundred acres close to the town in a state of nature. This is part of Lord Powis’s estate which remains undivided, therefore unworked, as one of the six proprietors is generally a minor, so that no leases can be legally made; the tenants, therefore, have no security. William John Crosbie is now the minor. Lord Powis’s head rent is £1,800 per annum. The present lettings bring in £18,000 per annum ground letting here at £5 or £6 per acre per annum as dairy land and dairys are the principle method here. Mr Hussey has a dairy here of 36 cows. This is managed by one man, one woman and two girls. The butter, which is excellent, is made in a shabby mud house, without windows, because glass is supposed to be bad for butter. This butter is packed in firkins and sent in loads of 14 to Cork which is forty miles away. Tillage appears at Ballymacelligott, the property of Mr Blennerhassett where Palatines are established. Unfortunately they have lost their good farming methods and good habits by intermarrying with natives. Still, their houses are neater than elsewhere throughout the country. Mr Rowan of Arabella supplies Tralee market with early potatoes to the amount of £32 out of half an acre of land between 10th of June and 20th of August. He earths them twice with a double mould plough which he works with bulls. Mr Rowan has an excellent wheelwright who makes good ploughs and carts. Arabella was originally improved by Mr Rowan’s grandfather, who also improved Flinby. These lands are worked in a most excellent manner.
In 1814, Mr Rowland Bateman, son of Rowland and his wife, Letitia Denny, and himself, married to his cousin, Arabella Denny, was living at Oak Park. In the Report of the Farming Society of Ireland, Oak Park is described as a fine demesne, in which there are grand old trees, some being specially handsome sweet chestnuts, one of which is of extraordinary large proportions. The stem of this tree is twenty-six feet one and a half inches in circumference; it is fifty feet high, and the first branch strikes off at fifteen feet from the ground; one branch would make an ordinary tree. Mr Bateman has imported good cattle and farm implements, and his ploughman cleverly works the plough with horses, guided with reins.
Mr George Rowan of Rathanny, and Mr Barry Denny at Church-hill, are both excellent farmers. Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, who resides at Blennerville, has built a windmill. This he has let to Mr McMahon at a rent of £130 per annum who has turned out 1,000 barrels per annum for the last four years. The export from Blennerville this year was large – 2,000 barrels of wheat – 20 stone to the barrel; barley, 4,000 barrels, 16 stone to the barrel; oats, 1,000 barrels, 14 stone to the barrel. Most of this barley came from Coole and Feenaght (Fenit); the wheat from the Maharees and the oats from Castlemaine. Colonel Godfrey, Mr Walker and Mr Wren are improving landlords who give every encouragement to their tenants. Lord Ventry has a famous salmon fishery at Killorglin which he lets at £300 a year. Puck is the principal fair here at which the price of cattle varies from £2 to £12. Three fourths of the Barony of Corkaguiny belongs to Lord Ventry. He resides at home, and has identified the interests of landlord and tenant so that his rents are paid to the day. The farms are from one to one hundred acres, and the population is now increasing so rapidly that the landlord has been obliged to limit the number of those on each farm as ‘otherwise the people would eat up all the produce of the land leaving nothing for the rent.’
Mr Jeffcott has so improved his land that the value of produce has increased during the last three years from 2s 6d to 40s per acre. William Barry, of Ballymoreagh, is another improving tenant. The Hon Richard Mullins is a very encouraging landlord. He makes a liberal allowance to those tenants who properly manure their lands with sand. Dingle possesses a fleet of 100 fishing boats, from four to five ton each, and manned by six or seven men each boat. These fishermen do good trade, supplying Limerick, Cork and Kerry with fresh fish.
Dingle is an enterprising place. Mr Eagan’s (possibly the name should be Eagar) has both a brewery and a mill at work while Mr McKenna makes very good salt. Flax is grown and linen made here; ‘box and trip’ being a local name for a much valued speciality for sheeting which is sold at 1s at yard. Three hundred looms are used in Dingle making ‘box and trip’ while five hundred looms are employed in making a coarser sort of linen, which sells for 10½ d a yard.
Mr Moriarty and Mr Hickson also live in Dingle. The road over Connor Hill to Dingle was made in 1759 under the direction of Mr Mullins. It is cut in precipitous rocks, up which laden horses travel with difficulty. Here, in the midst of this wilderness, lives a remarkable old man – a dairyman named Daniel Feenaghty (Finnerty?) who is learned in Latin, has dwelt here for sixty years, grown very wealthy, and regularly pays his rent. The estate of Mr Rowan, of Tulliree, shows ‘the hand of an artist,’ and is a model for others. Sir Edward Denny has built a good mill at Kilballylahive, while Mr Donovan of Cork has taken land from Lord Ventry and is building a mill at Bunnow. ‘Tenants near here, at Coomduffe, pay their rent in flannel, which is home-made of wool off their mountain sheep. This sells in Tralee at 1s a yard.’
In the baronies of Clanmorris and Irraghticonnor the following gentry are remarkable for industry and improvements: Mr Hilliard at Ballyhorgan, makes the best ‘Kacakagough’ cyder. The trees on which this famous apple grows are miserable, unhealthy-looking ones, but their produce of cyder is unrivalled. Mr Hilliard also uses a ‘speckled moss’ apple, which is good, but not so fine as ‘Kacakagough’ for cyder. Lord Ennismore has done much to improve Listowel. The Knight of Kerry has a fine place and beautifully cultivated lands at Ballinruddery where he uses an improved Scotch plough. From Ballylongford much turf is exported to Limerick which gives the tenants large profits out of their land. Mr Sandes of Sallowglen has a fine dairy farm. He lets his land at 50s an acre and has some very good and improving tenants.
Sir Edward and Captain Leslie have fine marble quarries on their lands. In their neighbourhood calcareous sand abounds, but the tenants do not use it, excusing themselves on the plea ‘they have no encouragement to improve land of which they have but a lease of 21 years.’ In fact these tenants merely work so as to gather a bare subsistence out of their farms. In one case with which I am acquainted the landlord offered to allow each tenant fairly for every barrel of sand he put upon his land. In order to secure this allowance this tenant, who had a small plot near the shore, heaped the sand on this spot and then claimed for a large number of barrels put on the land for improvement.
Colonel Crosbie of Ballyheigue is a very improving landlord. He has good land, and possesses a Sctch cart, plough, harrow, and also a double mould plough, quite a large stock of implements. Lieutenant Fraker, who lives at the signal tower at Kerryhead, has shown a good example to his neighbours, having produced a curious and most fertile garden in this spot and situation, where cultivation could scarcely be expected. Mr Crumpe, Lord Ennismore, and Lord Glandore have a large tract of god land between Bannah and Ardfert. ‘Lord Glandore’s part has been hitherto much neglected but young Mr Talbot is now very busy and working in in a most creditable manner.’
So much for the condition of Kerry in 1814 – compare this account with that of Dr Smith’s history in 1757 and a vast improvement is seen.
The names of those known for working ‘improvements’ are given at each date. Many of these who so were the ‘makers of Kerry’ have ceased to be represented in the county. Taken generally, in 1757, Killarney, Castleisland and Lixnaw appear to have been the best worked and inhabited districts.
At that time, the ‘six gentlemen’ who had farmed Castleisland had the education of the people at heart. It would be interesting if someone would now tell us what has become of the ‘charter working school’ which they then started and endowed. This school, and the one at Ardfert for ‘spinning’ are the only schools mentioned as worthy of note in Kerry at that time.
In 1757, the population of Corkaguiny is said to be sparse, miserable, but hard working. Hard work brought success, as in 1814 Dingle is described as a busy manufacturing place, and the population increasing so rapidly in the district that the landlord had to take measures to limit the number permitted to reside on each farm.
In 1757, Sir Maurice Crosbie had the largest extent of land of any in Kerry under tillage, and the best farmed land in the county. In 1814 his successor, Lord Glandore, is described as having ‘heretofore’ neglected his land. In 1757 Dr Smith describes Mr Mullins of Burnham as living in so bleak a spot ‘trees cannot grow to any height.’
I remember in Dingle in 1840, when it was still thought ‘too bleak’ to plant trees. Probably it was this bleakness which, preventing Mr Mullins improving, by planting, directed his energies to making ‘a way’ to Dingle over Connor Hill.
This he did, 1759, by cutting steps through the great boulders, which enabled horses with loads to reach Dingle from the northern districts. When my grandmother, Mrs Peter Thompson, was a bride, she was carried in a ‘sedan’ chair over the pass to pay a wedding visit to Burnham. In connection with these ‘ways’ to Dingle, it is worthy of note that in 1598 a government official made a report to parliament that the first step towards improving and pacifying Kerry was ‘to mend the way’ and so ‘open up roads for traffic’ through Corkaguiny. This advice to government was repeated in 1688 but until 1767, no ‘way’ was opened; then, the new road from Castlemaine to Dingle was made and in 1759, the pass over Connor Hill, but both these were made not by government but by the enterprise of local gentry.
Corkaguiny – the fertile country – was, because of this isolation, not as fully developed as it should have been. In the early part of this century, Mr Nimmo ‘the Engineer of the Bog Company’ made the mail road to Dingle; at the instigation of the owners of the district. In our day, after vain attempts to induce government to ‘mend the ways into Kerry’ local effort started and completed the Dingle Light Railway which, to those who remember the difficulties of the journey a few years since, is a wonderful improvement.
After three hundred years of advice to various governments, it remained for Mr Arthur Balfour to oblige government to assist in making two ‘ways’ in Kerry, namely, the Kenmare and Valentia railways. The appreciation which marked this work of Mr Arthur Balfour’s, the benefits derived from them, prove that those who advised opening the way in the past were those who best understood what is the ground work upon which improvements can be built in a country.
An Improving County
Comparing 1757 with 1814 we find Kerry a much more prosperous county at the later date, but even then our agricultural position was primitive, our ‘ways’ into the country few, and our modern civilisation and education only commencing. There were no banks, no post office, and hardly a school. Financial arrangements were mere private individual accounts between man and man, all public monies lying in the hands of the County Treasurer.
At the beginning of this century [19th] the population increased rapidly, many of those who had failed to ‘make a living’ in England crossing the sea to ‘better themselves’ in the El Dorado, Ireland. Then, as now, political strife was keen. Kerry was a hospitable county. Many families crippled themselves with election expenses; others in leading positions made lavish displays, while there were ‘young bloods’ (and old fools) amongst us who were recklessly extravagant.
Gambling was the fashion, so were contested elections. These fashions swamped many an estate even in this out of the world County of Kerry. Thus it came that some names identified with the making of Kerry in the past century dropped out of their positions in this. In no history so much as in the history of Kerry do we find this truth illustrated that ‘once a man;s work is done his place knows him no more.’
In the 11th century the O’Connor Kerry and the McCarthys were the leaders and powers of this county. They won by the sword and held by the sword, finally inviting the Fitzmaurices, strangers from across the sea, to help them in their internecine wars. Later on the Fitzmaurices coalesced with the Fitzgeralds, the latter carving an historic name in Desmond, and between them these newcomers ‘eat up’ the previous possessors of the country.
In the sixteenth century, the mutinous conduct of these ‘English in Ireland’ constrained the parent government of that day to use ‘the strong hand.’ Then these English in Ireland evoked the aid of foreign countries against their lawful sovereign. As a matter of self-preservation, England was compelled to re-conquer her rebellious children. She did so. Then it was decreed that the great princes who had ruled in Ireland had abused their power – that they had been avaricious and unjust, the weaker people suffering at their hands. Therefore it was declared that henceforward injustice would be rendered impossible, as all disputes would in future be settled, without subjects taking the law into their own hands, and that all rights should be protected by ‘due process of law.’
This euphemism was adopted early in the seventeenth century as a suasive expression likely to convince distrustful persons of the wisdom of the proposed measures. It was with this odium that the Constitutional Government introduced the Penal Laws. It was thus ‘the settlement’ of Ireland, in the days of the 1st and 2d Charles, Cromwell, and James the II, were introduced. It was by ‘due process of law’ that the Union was accomplished, thus Irish financial arrangements were fixed, the Poor Law Unions Created, the Encumbered Estate Courts started, the Irish Church disestablished and disendowed, and Irish Land Bills passed. It is doubtful if those who suffered by Penal Laws felt any satisfaction in the fact that they were not effaced by fire and sword, but by ‘due process of law.’
In the financial condition of Ireland today small comfort is drawn from the official assurance that Irish deficits cannot be rectified as they are the result of ‘due process of law’ not caused by the injustice or tyranny of an enemy. By ‘due process of law’ estates were confiscated in the 17th century; by the same process the Encumbered Estate Courts were established in the 19th century which enriched lawyer at the expense of landowners, tenants and creditors. Neither the sufferers in the past or the present century [18th and 19th] were comforted, under their losses, by the knowledge that they were deprived of their estates by ‘due process of law.’
It is no comfort to ratepayers to know that the growing expenditure, even the jobbery and maladministration of Poor Law, or other public boards, are all sheltered by ‘due process of law.’ Neither is there any satisfaction in knowing that the money once expended in their respective parishes by the clergy of the Church of Ireland is now ‘by due process of law’ paid into the Imperial Exchequer thus withdrawing annually three-quarters of a million of Irish money from local circulation in Ireland. This annual income paid by Ireland to the Imperial Exchequer is called the Irish Church Fund from which fund most loans to Ireland for public works are made by the Imperial Parliament. These loans are made at a certain percentage for a certain number of years thus Ireland pays the Imperial Exchequer for the use of her money, which has been withdrawn from local circulation in each parish. This fund eases the Consolidated Fund which otherwise would be bound to supply the money needed for these public works in Ireland. By ‘due process of law’ Irish Land Bills have been passed, which Bills have taken from one man to enrich another, thus creating litigation, so that lawyers and an army of officials have made the most out of the transaction.
Notwithstanding all this, Kerry has risen from the primitive condition of Anti-English days, from the undeveloped state of 1800 to the very civilised position which we hold today.
In the old days, it was a hand to hand fight until one was driven to the walls; from the 17th century the obnoxious have been effaced – those who have done their work in the country have been squeezed out ‘by due process of law.’
In old days, the man in power helped himself to all he needed without thought for the suffering of others. Later on, the man placed in power did his best to make his surroundings comfortable; thus, it came that the resident gentlemen of Kerry endeavoured to develop their natural surroundings; that they ‘opened up ways’ and used their time and talents in improving the country that was their home.
From 1575 onward, various official reports were made to diverse governments advising the ‘opening of the way into Kerry’ as a means of improving and pacifying the people … made by the pluck and energy of the gentry of this country. To the gentry also is due the credit of past agricultural improvements; also of all past commercial efforts. Everything in fact that was done to improve Kerry up to very recent times was done under the auspices of the gentry of this county.
With a desire of understanding our position now and then – say 800 years ago and now – we must deduce our civilisation today from very primitive almost entirely savage conditions. Eight hundred years ago this country was people with wandering bodies of people belonging to different families or septs. They were an aggregate of crowds; they were of various races, with no cohesion amongst them. Each one at variance with the other, moving through the country, and placing themselves wherever strength of arms permitted. Now we are a vast body of people widely different in thoughts, habits and personal objects, employed in different occupations, but all bound together by a mutual dependence, one upon the other, with places of fixed residence and living under a Constitutional form of government.
In old days, every man and woman provided out of their own immediate surroundings all that sufficed for their requirements. As people multiplied, personal aptitude divided them into different occupations, trades and positions, until we lost the power of being self-sufficing, and became dependent one upon another and so became a civilised people with ever-increasing businesses, ambitions and powers. No man, no power of princes has brought about this condition of things. It was the inequalities of human nature which produced social inequalities. As men evolved from primitive warlike instincts, when self-preservation set every man’s hand against his neighbour, individual aptitudes directed men’s actions; thus it came that the necessities of each decade placed those in power who were best fitted for the exigencies of their day. Thus it was that the existing social and constitutional State was built up.
The leading men of each generation, we must believe, were those best qualified to bear the burden of the times in which they lived. The great men of Kerry in the twelfth century, McCarthy and O’Connor, could no more fill the places occupied by Lords Kenmare and Lansdowne in the 19th century than those men would the needs of the earlier date.
Now, at the close of the nineteenth century, a local government Bill has been passed for Ireland by ‘due process of law.’ Thus a social revolution is brought about. Those who are to be, by this Bill, what we may call deposed, have heretofore ably performed the duties of their position. It is not because of inaptitude on their part that this new order of things is inaugurated. The change in the order of administration is the outcome of evolution, the natural result of our fast advancing civilisation.
As an illustration of the situation, consider that in the beginning of this century only one in twenty of the population had any education; that in an aggregate of twenty twenties there was but one person in a sufficiently independent position to enable him to undertake honorary public work. Now everyone is, or believes himself to be, sufficiently educated and independent to manage local affairs. Diplomacy therefore believes that political economy requires that this increased number of educated persons should have an opportunity of taking part in the public work of the country. Hence the Local Government Bill for Ireland. No English or Scotch measure of local government has been planned on so broad a basis or is so far-reaching in its action as this Local Government Bill for Ireland.
Local Government Bill for Ireland
Though I am not yet a centenary, I can remember Tralee very different from what it is today. I recollect the making of the canal road and the canal, at which time all the land now lying between that road and the upper Blennerville road was slob, over which every tide flowed. Then Blennerville bridge was the breakwater to the tide, as Fenit Pier now is, and I have seen piles of wreck in and on that bridge when ships lying at Blennerville quay were driven by the storm from their anchorage.
Twelve wrecked vessels closed that road one winter’s morning. Then Princes Quay, Barrack Lane and Nelson Street, from Church Street up to the railway, was an open river. There was no Listowel road, no Milltown road, no Fenit road, no road from the poorhouse to Ballymullen; no bog road, no poorhouse; no railways; no gas light; no schools, excepting the Parochial School, Church St, and a small Methodist School in Strand Street, the higher education of Tralee being conducted by capable scholars, Mr John Higgins, Nelson Street; later on by Mr John Chute, The Square, while ‘figures and writing’ were taught by Mr John Collins, Strand Street, who was my instructor in those branches of learning .
There were then only three posts a week. Compare them to now and you will have some idea of the rapid strides which civilisation and education has made amongst us, and the great changes in Kerry during the last half century.
This being so, we are like children who have outgrown our clothes and need something different. Our ‘things’ are out of date; and so it comes, that those responsible for keeping the country in decent order have, by ‘due process of law,’ put us in possession of a brand new suit described as the Local Government Bill (Ireland).
This Bill may prove a misfit; it may not wear well; but it is what we have got to use, so it behoves us to do our best to make it suit. By the Local Government Bill County Councils are created. The old order of things passes away. The Grand Jury – the gentry of the county who have done so well in the past – give place to County Councillors who are given full administrative but limited financial powers. These councillors will be elected by the ratepayers and occupiers (lodgers included) of the district for which they are chosen in which they must themselves reside and be ratepayers.
When elected, County Councillors will hold office for three years; and every electoral division, which divisions are arranged (by Local Government Board) with a view of securing so nearly as possible an equal number of electors in each division, returns one or more representatives. No person may be elected as County Councillor excepting such men as are qualified Local Government electors. Every voter, male or female, can only vote in one division and can only give one vote to the one or more persons entitled to sit for that division.
When the County Council is elected, they may select two additional members of their council from the qualified electors of the county. The chairman of the district councils (there are six in Kerry) will be ex-officio members of the County Council. The Grand Jury may at next Spring Assizes nominate three Grand Jurors to be councillors of the first County Council.
To the councils thus elected are transferred the duties hitherto belonging to the Grand Jury with regard to presentments and other county business; to them also is transferred some of the duties previously carried by Poor Law Boards, amongst them being the levying of poor rate, the Diseases of Animals Act, etc. They will also transact the business of Justices at Petty Sessions. County Councils will have the power of rating for and inaugurating local technical instruction.
To the County Council also is transferred the management of lunatic asylums, hospitals and infirmaries, with all powers hitherto exercised therein by governors, directors and committees of same, subject only to the approval of the Lord Lieutenant and Privy Council. Thus this popularly elected body will have full control of the public works in the county, and of making all financial arrangements for the same, be it collected for such purposes as county cess or as poor rate hitherto has been. Criminal business, those matters relating to compensation for criminal injuries, the police, and those questions hitherto carried out by Grand Jury, with the judges’ flat, are now transferred to the Judge of the County Court.
District Councils will, broadly speaking, take the place of recent Poor Law Guardians, to whom is relegated what used to be the business of Baronial Presentment Sessions – the maintenance of roads within their district which are not chargeable to the county at large. To them also is confided the business previously transacted by Dispensary Committees, sanitary matters under Public Health Act, power to lease or purchase land, with borrowing powers under Labourers’ Act 1883, amended 1897 for the latter purpose.
A Rural District Council is the Board of Guardians. They may appoint local and dispensary committees, composed of their own members, or of persons resident in, and who are interested in the work, who need not be members of the Board. To committees so appointed, the District Council may give authority to institute proceedings, or to do any act which they themselves have power to do, excepting the power to raise money, or expend money beyond the limit which such dispensary or other committee is authorised to expend by the said District Council.
These dispensary committees may not remove any dispensary officer, neither can they alter their salaries; but the District Council can give authority to such committees to expend money under the Public Health Act if such expenditure is specially levied off their dispensary area.
These two councils – the county and district councils – have full power over local business in the county and they are elected to their positions of trust by the following very wide franchise, who are called the Local Government registered electors, and described under the following headings:
Inhabitant Householders – (1) Those who occupy a room, or rooms, in a house where the landlord does not reside. (2) Service franchise – Those who occupy a separate room in an employer’s premises, if the employer does not reside on the premises (this applies to both men and women and no rating qualification whatsoever is needed).
Rated Occupiers – (1) Those men and women who are rated at £10 and upwards. Two persons may vote out of a rating of £20. (2) Leaseholders, men or women, who, if non-resident, receive a profit rent of £10; or those (3) freeholders who have a profit of £20 or upwards.
Lodgers – Those men or women who livein rooms rented at 4s weekly (£10 yearly) that are unfurnished, or who pay 5s weekly for furnished apartments. This is, indeed, a very wide franchise. Now for the first time Irish women are placed on a level with – indeed above the position hitherto held by men or women under English or Scotch Local Government Acts. By this Irish Act any man or woman who has resided for a twelve months in a district may be, without any other qualification whatsoever, elected to a seat on the Borough Councils, District Councils, both Urban and Rural, and as Poor Law Guardians. This fact is specially interesting and of great importance to Irish women, inasmuch as this residential clause will enable married women who are suitable persons, but from the fact of being married would otherwise be debarred from taking their place on these councils to be elected.
Voting is to be by ballot. This residential clause, which enables persons (ie married women) to sit on councils, does not give them the power to vote for members in the district unless they are otherwise qualified. All qualified persons, be they men or women, whose names are on the list of Local Government electors, can vote, giving one vote only for each one to be elected for each council – both for the county and district – but persons may only vote in one division of the county.
This Bill is a striking proof of the advance of civilisation amongst us. In savage times, even in savage countries today, women were, and are, supposed to have no souls. They were, are, treated as little better than beasts of burden – creatures who might fetch and carry, cook and cater for the comfort of the lords of creation! Civilised men think differently. They admit the principle that women are fitting assistants even in the management of public affairs, the goad conduct of which vitally touches our social state, in which women, as well as men, are interested.
There are many women in Ireland capable of giving able assistance in local matters; their time is less occupied, therefore they can devote themselves more fully to details; so it remains with them to prove to the men who accept their aid that they are competent to organise work, to make useful suggestions, and that their presence is an influence raising public life in Ireland to a higher level than it has yet reached.
Arguing from the fact that only a year and a half has elapsed since Irish women were legally admitted to sit as Poor Law Guardians, and that seventeen women have been already elected, whose services have been appreciated by the Boards on which they sit, we believe they are useful, so hope that other women may now come forward and offer their valuable services for this local work. Ex officio guardians are abolished by the Bill, two guardians being now directed to be elected for each district, where one was previously elected. This change gives an opportunity for women to be nominated in places where ratepayers might hesitate to propose women who would be displacing men.
The ways of diplomatists are various. Their duty is to devise ‘measures to meet the exigencies of their time.’ As the population of the country increases, so do their difficulties – there are more mouths to feed, more interests to reconcile; therefore, how to meet the requirements of all has and ever will be an increasing anxiety on those who are held responsible for the wellbeing of the county.
I have seen a letter, written to the best of my collection in the middle of the 16th century, by the Prime Minister, to a confidential friend, which is to the following effect:
Thank God for the threatened war, it will enable us to provide for the multitude of young men, whose clamours for preferment is embarrassing, and for whom the State would otherwise be unable to provide.
There was another difficulty to be overcome in Elizabeth’s reign when an Act of Parliament was passed for England, directing ‘Because that the increase of men is greater than the increase of beevies, it is necessary for the public weal that we save the beevies, which are the food of the people, therefore fish meat only is to be used on Wednesdays and Fridays, also for forty days in Lent. Those who, because of sickness, must have meat, to have a dispensation to eat meat from the Archbishop of Canterbury, for which indulgence they are to pay according to their means.’
Both of these medieval methods of diplomatically meeting a difficulty seem strangely crude and short-sighted in these our more enlightened times. Possibly, in days to come, it may be said that the Irish Local Government Bill was an equally crude or short-sighted way of meeting the demands of our day. Be that as it may, and though many curious measures have been passed, never before has there been so complete a revolution of our social system carried out by ‘due process of law’ as that directed by the Irish Local Government Bill.
Considering its revolutionary principle, it seems strange to many that the measure was not opposed by those who will suffer from this transfer of power. But, though many fear that people in Ireland are not yet sufficiently educated for public business, and that mischiefs may and will probably arise, it was realised by all thoughtful minds that some such was the natural sequence of the trend of public opinion, the result of the National education, which has raised our people from being mere howers of wood and drawers of water to a higher level of ambition.
In Ireland we may still be children in public work, so our just efforts to walk alone may bring us into trouble. When infants first walk they have many a fall; but they are picked up, encouraged, and it is astonishing how soon they learn to run, how quickly they become active and independent. So we hope the new responsibilities put upon us by the Local Government Bill will teach us to work together and so prove worthy of the trust confided to us. But, if we are to secure for Ireland the desired benefit it is essential the people of Ireland turn over a new leaf. Party spirit, class intersects, church jealousies must be laid aside, that each one may vie with the other in trying to work this measure, so as to secure the largest share of prosperity to the county we all love.
Surely it is time, at the close of the 19th century, that we living in a Christian country, should cultivate that greatest of Christian graces, charity, that we cease to quarrel amongst ourselves, to hate each other for the love of God and country, that we learn to see thevirtues in our neighbours, and are all content to join in working for the good of our country. Then, indeed, will be writ with a pen of light the great historic fact of 1898, that on this auspicious date, when the people of this country were given the power, all parties, creeds and classes laid aside old prejudices that they might unite in serving Ireland.
_______________________  The articles were published during the period June to November 1898 in the Kerry Evening Post. The series was entitled ‘Ardfert and Aghadoe Diocese’ but as the content strays widely from this subject, it is presented here under a more encompassing title.  https://www.lulu.com/shop/j-murphy/memories-of-old-tralee-by-miss-a-m-rowan/paperback/product-24116492.html?page=1&pageSize=4  Kerry Evening Post, 9 July 1898.  Freeman’s Journal, 31 July 1800.  Belfast Telegraph, 10 December 1959.  ‘As at the times of Disestablishment the incomes of the Irish Church were handed over to the Imperial Exchequer, it has now become a matter of antiquarian interest tracing the position of and recording what were the properties of the different parishes.’  ‘Ardfert. The diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe were originally separate Sees, but their union is lost in the mists of antiquity. Ardfert, however, appeared to have been called the See of Kerry, as the united Sees are termed at the present day. St Brendan founded a monastery here in the sixth century and was the Bishop of the diocese. The ancient Cathedral was dedicated to the saint and occupied an eminence on the south side of the town. The cathedral was richly endowed by the Fitzmaurices, and it is said that the See of Kerry was established there through their patronage and influence. In one of the niches in the choir there is a figure supposed to be that of St Brendan. He is represented holding a crozier in his left hand and the other is raised in the act of blessing. This statue is very old, and probably had its place in the original cathedral’ (‘Diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe,’ Kerryman, 22 May 1920).  Further reference, Aghadoe Church A Celtic Christian History (c1997) by Mark Garavan. Aghadoe. The south of Kerry is essentially under the patronage of St Finian Lobhar, or the Leper, who founded the monastery of Innisfallen in the 6th century and also established the original cathedral at Aghadoe. The ruins of Aghadoe, famed in song and story, consist at present of the remains of a round tower, a castle, and the church. The church is about the same date as that of Ardfert and possesses traces of excellent sculpture. The castle stands on the hillside and owing to its circular construction is known as ‘the Bishop’s Chair’ or ‘the pulpit,’ A subterranean passage is said to have formerly existed between this church and the monastery of Innisfallen’ (‘Diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe’ Kerryman, 22 May 1920). ‘The Annals of Innisfallen AD 1215 has the following entry, which shows how mixed up the new and old residents of Kerry were even on the first settling of the English. ‘A great war arose between Dermod Duna Dronan, son of Donald More ny Carra, and his own brother, Cormac Fion, son of Donal More, and the English helping them on both sides, insomuch that the Englishmen by degrees acquired great possessions in Desmond through all parts of it to the see. During the war they made great conquests of lands, and became very powerful, and built castles and strong forts for themselves against the Irish as follows: A castle by MacCuidighthe, at Munster Bara (surely this is an Irishman building this castle?)’ ‘A castle at Dunmambare, at Ardtully, at Dunciaran, on the borders of the river Kenmare, and another at Cospnacoise (Cappanacoss) these built by Carew. Maurice McThomas M’Gerald built a castle at Dunlow, at Kilforgia (Killorglin) at Mainge (Castlemain) at Molahiff, and at Calanafercie’ (Kerry Evening Post, 22 June 1898).  ‘Ardfert. Here it is admitted that, after James Fitzmaurice died, 1583, the Crown collated Nicholas Kennan to Ardfert with Aghadoe in 1588 (Calendar, ii, 162) but that the Pope only in 1591, tried to intrude Michael Fitzwalter. After, on October 2 1600, the Queen’s letter, reciting that ‘bishoprick of Kerry is void by the death of the late incumbent’ collates John Crosby and directs ‘such writs and other process for his consecration as are needful, and in like cases accustomed’ (Calendar, ii, 560). Thus again, in this remote place, the titular line was ousted’ (Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette, 20 October 1866).  The list ended here. Biographies of Bishops of Limerick, from the above named Thomas Barnard (1784 or 1794) to Trevor Williams (2013), are contained in The Church of Ireland in Co Limerick a record of church and clergy in the nineteenth century (2013) by Janet Murphy and Eileen Chamberlain, pp482-489.  Kerry Evening Post, 1 June 1898. End of part I. Miss Rowan here gives a list of minor dignities of the diocese in her possession from 1619 on. See issue or refer to J B Leslie’s Ardfert and Aghadoe Clergy and Parishes (1940).  William Camden (1551-1623), quoted from Ireland and the Smaller Ilands in the British Ocean.  See Rotula, Ed II, Office of Remembrance.  See Miss Mary Agnes Hickson’s letter about the name Cantillon (Ballyheigue) in Kerry Evening Post, 13 July 1898.  ‘I give the census, rent charge and glebe lands paid to the clergy of the United Church of England and Ireland in 1841, which church income is now paid yearly to the Imperial Exchequer and known as ‘The Irish Church Fund.’ From that Church Fund grants are frequently made by parliament for Irish purposes, for which purposes money would have to be provided by the Consolidated Fund, if the Irish church money had not been diverted from Irish circulation in this way. The value and population of benefices in the united dioceses of Ardfert and Aghadoe are as they stood in the year 1841’ (Kerry Evening Post, 11 June 1898).  Kerry Evening Post, 11 June 1898. End of Part II.  ‘As the diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe in old days comprehended the districts called Cair-rie, the country over which O’Connor-Kerry ruled, as well as Desmond, which are now known as the County Kerry, I take that title for these notes on old times’ (Kerry Evening Post, 15 June 1898)..  The Annals of Innisfallen AD 1215 has the following entry, which shows how mixed up the new and old residents of Kerry even at the first settling of the English. ‘A great war arose between Dermod Duna Dronan, son of Donald More ny Carra, and his own brother, Cormac Fion, son of Donal More, and the English helping them on both sides, insomuch that the Englishmen by degrees acquired great possessions in Desmond, through all parts of it to the sea. During the war they made great conquests of lands, and became very powerful, and built castles and strong forts for themselves again the Irish as follows: ‘A castle by MacCuidighthe, at Munster Bara (surely this is an Irishman building this castle?), a castle at Dunmanbare, at Ardtully, at Dunciaran, on the borders of the river Kenmare, and another at Coapnacoise (Cappanacoss) – these built by Carew. Maurice McThomas McGerald built a castle at Dunlow, at Kilforgla (Killorglin), at Mainge (Castlemain), at Molahiff, and at Calanafercie.’  It has since been demolished. See ‘The Battle of Lixnaw’ on the website of Castleisland District Heritage http://www.odonohoearchive.com/the-battle-of-lixnaw/. Further reference to Trench family in ‘John Townsend Trench: Land Agent and Preacher’ published in Bulletin of the Methodist Historical Society of Ireland 2012 (Vol 17, No 33).  Kerry Evening Post, 15 June 1898. End of Part III.  Kerry Evening Post, 22 June 1898. End of Part IV. Part V (Kerry Evening Post, 29 June 1898) was given to habits and customs and is not reproduced.  An Argument Proving that according to the Covenant of Eternal Life revealed in the Scriptures, Man may be translated from hence into that Eternal Life, without passing through Death, altho the Human Nature of Christ himself could not be thus translated till he had passed through Death (1715) by John Asgill, pp77-78.  Kerry Evening Post, 6 July 1898. End of Part VI.  Kerry Evening Post, 3 September 1898. End of Part VII.  Kerry Evening Post, 7 September 1898. End of part VIII. ‘Sir, in Miss Rowan’s interesting communication which appears in your issue of 7th inst, it seems to me that she has failed to indicate clearly the true position of the Church of Ireland. The relative positions of the Church of Ireland and Church of Rome in Ireland are, I submit, briefly these: Believers in Christ were to be found in Ireland before the middle of the 5th century. In that century the work of St Patrick extended the church over the whole land. The church of St Patrick long resisted and never officially accepted Roman supremacy till 1172. In 1539, her reformation was actively urged from England, and the Roman supremacy was abrogated. Her bishops, received their succession partly from the ancient Irish and party from the English church, accepted the new liturgy and articles; and after Queen Mary’s reign, during which Romanism again prevailed for a brief five years, all the bishops except two accepted the reformation and took part in handing down to us the succession of ancient Irish order. The present bishops of the Church of Ireland are therefore in unbroken succession to the bishops of the 5th century and of St Patrick while the orders of the Church of Rome in Ireland date back to their introduction about the year 1620. The Church of Ireland is suffering in fewness of numbers owing partly to the coldness of her rulers and members in the past, partly to the massacres of 1641, when some 50,000 Protestants perished, but she is a living and a growing branch of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and as in God’s providence she was founded to be the national church of this land so most surely will she fulfil her high calling, and become the fold for all Irish Christians in God’s own time. Layman’ (Kerry Evening Post, 14 September 1898).  Kerry Evening Post, 17 September 1898. End of Part IX.  ‘Query [Miss Rowan], was this Lady Susannah Grice married to Thomas, son of Henry Ponsonby, or Anne, daughter of Lady Margaret Crosbie, who married Carrique Ponsonby?’  ‘Lanty Crosbie, of Tubrid, had at this time married privately Harriet, daughter of Lady Margaret Crosbie, daughter of Lord Barrymore. He afterwards married Elizabeth, daughter of Lady Anne Crosbie, the writer of this letter, and by her was father of John Gustavus Crosbie, of Tubrid, MP for Kerry 1794. As a third wife, Lanty Crosbie married Mary, daughter of John Blennerhassett and Jane Denny, his wife.’  Kerry Evening Post, 21 September 1898. End of part X.  ‘To the Editor, Kerry Evening Post, Sir – Miss M A Hickson has called my attention to a mistake in last Wednesday’s Kerry Evening Post, Lord Kerry (1760) was the nephew, not brother, of Lady Arabella Denny. She also draws attention to an interesting fact, namely – that none of the gentlemen proposed by John Gun, or Lord Kerry, was High Sheriff in 1765. George Hickson of Woodville, great great grandfather of the present George Hickson of Woodville, and of herself, having acted as High Sheriff for that year. Again, she says that after the early part of 16th century, Desmond consisted of Glaneraght, Magonihy, Iveragh and Dunkerron, which ‘by due process of law’ was made one with Kerry in 1613. Miss A M Rowan’ (Kerry Evening Post, 5 October 1898). ‘To the Editor of the Kerry Evening Post, Sir – There is a slight error in Miss Rowan’s letter in your paper of the 5th October. What I mentioned to her was that none of the gentlemen mentioned in the letter from Mr John Gun became High Sheriff of Kerry in 1765 but that, according to her father, Archdeacon Rowan’s list of Kerry High Sheriffs in the Kerry Magazine of 1855, James (not, as she writes, George) Hickson was High Sheriff in 1765. Archdeacon Rowan’s list was compiled from the Public Records which I saw in the Record Tower in Dublin in 1871. This James Hickson was not my great great grandfather; he was my great granduncle, my great grandfather, John Hickson, being his youngest brother. The two daughters of this James married, respectively, Arthur Blennerhassett, of Fortfield, near Killorglin, and Robert Christopher Hickson of Fermoyle (her cousin german), and from those marriages descend Sir Roland Blennerhassett, Bart, and George Hickson, now of Woodville and Fermoyle. The eldest brother of this James Hickson, the High Sheriff of 1765, and of my great grandfather, John Hickson, and of George Hickon (ancestor of the Hickson Fagans, distinguished officers in the army between 1800 and 1870) was Christopher Hickson, who died in 1757, having by his wife, Elizabeth Conway, sister of General Count Conway in the service of France before the Revolution, the son above mentioned, Robert Christopher, married to his cousin-german, daughter of James Hickson. This Robert Christopher Hickson was High Sheriff of Kerry in 1778 and his son and grandson filled the same office in 1811 and 1855 … I believe the Robert Hickson in Archdeacon Rowan’s list of Kerry High Sheriffs who filled that office in 1794 was the grandfather of Dr George Hickson of Killarney. He came from Cork or Limerick in or about 1781 and seems to have been the maternal uncle of Lady Denny Floyd. Miss Mary Agnes Hickson’ (Kerry Evening Post, 8 October 1898).  Kerry Evening Post, 28 September 1898. End of Part XI. ‘With these letters we end for the present our history of the Crosbie family who came into Kerry with the early Elizabethan settlers. Through rough and through smooth times they have continued with us; still hold their lands in Kerry, where they have ever been ready to aid in public life. The Ardfert branch is represented by William Talbot-Crosbie who has done much to improve Kerry stock; the Ballyheigue branch by James Dayrolles Crosbie, who, though young in years, has already shown an interest in the country, and a capability for taking his place amongst our leading men.’  ‘Miss Rowan’s notes are extremely interesting and valuable to Kerry people. She would do well to reprint the sixth chapter of her father, Archdeacon Rowan’s, Lake Lore in your columns with the supplementary matter she has about Colonel Maurice Hussey and Mr Willoe of 1690-1720. The learned Archdeacon knew that the ‘royal family of Desmond’ of Colonel Hussey’s letter was that of MacCarthy Mor – not by any means the Dennys, as Miss Rowan supposes. The Dennys had no grant of estate in Desmond, which was popularly looked on as a separate county from Kerry until 1755 (see Kerry Records, vol 2, pages 129 and 130) but the MacCarthys, though often sufferers by confiscation, retained someof their estates in Dunkerron, Magunihy, Glanaroght, and Iveragh (the County of Desmond between 1581 and 1606) until 1770, when the last acknowledged MacCarthy Mor, a Protestant, died in London, leaving his lands ot his mother’s family, the Herberts, to the exclusion of his aunts, Mrs Conway and Madam O’Donoghue and his cousins. Yours truly, Miss Mary Agnes Hickson’ (Kerry Evening Post, 8 October 1898). ‘My friend, Miss M A Hickson, referred me to page 133 of Lake Lore for details of Colonel Maurice Hussey of Cahirnane … I had had not access to Lake Lore at the time … I now give a few additional particulars taken from this chapter …’ (Kerry Evening Post, 26 October 1898). See issue quoted for the transcription. The following issue, 5 November 1898, compares the condition of Kerry in the eighteenth and nineteenth century with extracts from Smith’s History, which is not transcribed.  Kerry Evening Post, 1 October 1898. End of Part XII.  Kerry Evening Post, 12 October 1898. End of part XIII. The mortuary chapel is located at Killegy churchyard. A plaque to the memory of Maurice Hussey is erected inside. The inscription is given in In Search of Sarah Reynolds A Tale of Muckross House (2016) by Janet Murphy and Eileen Chamberlain, p17.  Kerry Evening Post, 19 October 1898. End of Part XIV.  ‘As an interlude, I may remark that in the opposite house, where Mr O’Reardon now lives, Councillor Rowan, my other grandfather, and his wife, Letitia Denny, then resided. My father and mother were both born in 1800, and so, from this close proximity, they must have had a life long acquaintance with each other.’  Kerry Evening Post, 9 November 1898). End of Part XVII. ‘Arabella was held on long lease under Mr Blennerhassett by Mr Rowan. His son, Archdeacon Rowan, afterwards let it to Mr Peet. On Mr Peet’s death, his son took the lands and when later on Archdeacon Rowan relinquished this lease to Mr Jennett Browne (who inherited through his Blennerhassett grandmother) Mr Peet took Arabella from Mr Browne …The condition of Kerry immediately after the Union is so interesting and important it induces one to go into details. Therefore this paper, beginning with the name of one, and ending with an account of my other grandfather, is unfairly long.’  ‘I can remember this flannel selling on a Saturday in The Square, Tralee when ‘good managers’ laid in a stock, buying flannel from the cart load brought in for sale.’  Kerry Evening Post, 12 November 1898. End of Part XVIII.  Kerry Evening Post, 16 November 1898. End of Part XIX.  Kerry Evening Post, 23 November 1898. End of Part XX.