Mary Agnes Hickson and the Earls of Desmond

Nineteenth century Kerrywoman, Mary Agnes Hickson (1825-1899), is perhaps best known for her Selections from Old Kerry Records which she compiled from historical manuscripts inherited from her father.1


The volumes served to establish her reputation as a genealogist and historian.  This was underlined in the first volume of her subsequent work, Ireland in the Seventeenth Century, which contained a preface by English historian, James Anthony Froude.2


Froude perceived she was well placed for the work:


Miss Hickson has no English prejudices, she is the descendant of some of the exiled and transplanted Irish and Anglo-Irish of 1649, she is keenly alive to the wrongs which her country has suffered at English hands.3


Besides her books, Hickson also contributed articles to periodicals and wrote numerous letters to journals; her submissions to a local newspaper alone were estimated at 300,000 words. 4


In her writings, Hickson etched her own genealogy which she traced to the Earls of Desmond.5 ‘Briefly stated’, she wrote, ‘this indisputable royal descent is as follows’.  What did follow, less than brief, began with Humphrey De Robun, Earl of Hereford, killed in battle in 1321, from which path she followed her family history down to the Earls of Desmond.6


From there, Hickson turned her attention to Lady Margaret Fitzgerald, daughter of James, 14th Earl of Desmond and brother of Gerald, slain in 1583, through which line she traced her family lineage.


She described how Lady Margaret Fitzgerald, known as ‘Margaret the Fair’, was married to Thomas Fitzmaurice, 16th Lord of Kerry, said to have been the handsomest and strongest man of his time in Ireland. 7   Their son, Patrick Fitzmaurice, 17th Lord Kerry, she wrote,8 had a son, Thomas, 18th Lord Kerry, whose daughter Katherine married John, the Knight of Kerry.


Thus Hickson welded her family’s link to the Earls of Desmond. 9


Kerry Cousins


It was mind boggling work.  Hickson also researched the genealogy of her great grandfather, Cornelius MacGillycuddy, and that family’s link to the Lords of Kerry.10


Moving closer to her own time, she recorded how Margaret MacGillycuddy, her grandmother, married Rev James Day, Rector of Tralee. 11 Margaret and James had four sons and four daughters including her mother, Sarah Day, who in 1809 married into the Hickson family of Hillville. 12


At the time of Hickson’s research, Denis Charles MacGillycuddy (1852-1921) was the reigning ‘The MacGillycuddy of the Reeks’.13 This gentleman, she wrote, and his brother John MacGillycuddy, High Sheriff of Kerry, and their brother and sisters and step-sister, are all of royal descent through their ancestress, Mary, daughter of O’Sullivan Mor and his wife, the daughter of the 17th Lord Kerry.14


Thus Mary Agnes Hickson proved by her own efforts her links to the great houses of Kerry.  It would be difficult to argue with her.


Hickson speaks out on Literary Piracy


In 1885, the genealogy of her parents, John James Hickson of Hillville and Sarah Day, was published in The Royal Lineage of our Noble and Gentle Families, a genealogy researched, it would seem, by herself:15


The royal descent of the late Knight of Kerry and his relatives in Mr Foster’s Royal and Noble Descents published in 1885 were simply all pirated in an unscrupulous fashion from a very large pedigree of those Geraldine families which I drew up at the request of the Rev James Graves, MRIA, editor of the Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland (now the RSIA) in 1874-6.


‘It cost me months of research amongst the wills, deeds and State Papers in Dublin and the family papers of Mr Penrose Fitzgerald, at his solicitor’s in Cork’, she fumed, with no small measure of justification, ‘and was merely reprinted in portions without a word of acknowledgement in Mr Foster’s expensive volumes.  Dr Smith, in his History of Kerry, p31, severely condemns this form of literary piracy.’16


Of her immediate family, Hickson wrote, ‘John James Hickson, my father, son of James Hickson and Mary O’Connell, had by his wife Sarah Day fourteen children of whom four only survived him at his death in 1839’.17


One of the surviving four: Mary Agnes Hickson born 27 November 1825 and privately baptised four days later.  Registered 27 September 1826.


Hickson’s brother, James John Hickson Esq of Hillville, a Justice of the Peace, who married his cousin Deborah Godfrey Day, ‘the beautiful Day’, daughter of Rev Edward Day, rector of Kilgobbin and his wife, Deborah Curry, died on 18 October 1865 at St John’s, Antigua, where he worked as treasurer for the colonial service.18


Hickson published notes on her ancestry in Extracts from the Parish Registers of Tralee wherein she wrote, ‘John Hickson, my father, was subsequently better known as John James Hickson, an attorney, practising for thirty years in the Courts of Chancery and Exchequer, law agent to the Ventry estate, to Lord Brandon and others, senior partner in the firm of Hickson and Stokes at the time of his death in 1839’.19


She explained that her father obtained his second name to distinguish him from his cousin german, John Christopher Hickson, who was imprisoned with Robert Emmet at Kilmainham in 1803.20


Ancestral Hillville


In a letter to the Kerry Evening Post, Hickson also wrote about her ancestral home, Hillville, near Castlegregory which had passed out of her family in the late 1840s.  She explained why, taking the opportunity to impart her observations on the land question and her opinion about the ‘untrustworthy’ Griffith’s Valuation:


On the 25th of October 1783, James Carrique, whose father had assumed the name of Ponsonby, the great grandson of John Carrique, a surveyor of forfeited lands for Cromwell, leased for thirty-five years at a rent of £39 the lands of Hillville, Tierbrin and Kilmurry jointly to my grandfather and my granduncle, George Hickson.21


In 1818, Carrique’s or Carrique Ponsonby’s lease of Hillville, Tierbrin and Kilmurry at £39 to my Roman Catholic grandfather and granduncle expired.  The lands were then owned in fee by old Lord Ventry, great grandfather of the present nobleman, who had purchased them at the close of the last century.


Hickson related how ‘Old Lord Ventry’ raised the rent from £39 to £204, a sum her granduncle, then an old man and deeply attached to the place, consented to pay rather than being turned out as he had earlier been from Fermoyle.22


She continued:


In 1813, or thereabouts, my father, who had succeeded to the place at his uncle’s death, built a small lodge at Hillville and improved the place considerably. In 1839 my eldest brother succeeded my father and throwing down the lodge, built a larger and a very pretty house fit for the residence of any gentleman of moderate fortune, with good out-offices, coach house, dairy, kennel, and planted and drained a large tract around it.  He resided there until 1847 when the famine came, and then for the first time in nearly a hundred years, the rent fell into arrear.


Hickson estimated that at least £3000 was expended between the years 1839 and 1847 improving the place but the extortionate rent meant the family could not hold onto it: ‘In 1849-50 an ejectment was brought for two years and a half arrears of the rack rent, and the land went up to the De Moleyns family’.23


Historic Hillville, which in recent times operated as a hotel, closed about 5 years ago


In her letter about Hillville, Hickson revealed that it had been submitted first to the Kerry Sentinel and criticised the editor of that journal for not publishing it in his paper, citing a number of reasons, and stated:


Mr Harrington is no more the real editor of the journal than is the smallest boy in his office, or on the benches of the schoolroom of his brother, who is the pupil teacher under the monks in the Dominican monastery.  And the same may be said of the editor of every Roman Catholic newspaper in the land.24


She further determined that personal attacks had been made upon her for her renunciation of the Roman Catholic faith, one to which she was determined never to return.


It is clear from her forthright expression that in personality, she was quite fearless.25


Mary Agnes Hickson died at Kingston College, Mitchelstown on Thursday 6 April 1899:


She was daughter of the late Mr John James Hickson of the Fermoyle branch of the family who was in his time the leading solicitor in Tralee.   She was cousin german of the late Mr George Blake Hickson QC and was herself a lady distinguished for her learned writings and her researches into the past history of her native county … The county of Kerry is noted for producing clever men and women but few could exceed the talents of Miss Hickson.  She attained the age of 73 years but was in failing health for some time past.  At her own request she will be interred in the New Cemetery in Tralee, the remains arriving by the 6pm train on Sunday evening.26


Miss Hickson’s grave was restored in 1999 by Tralee Ladies ’99 Probus Club and the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society.


A good account of Miss Hickson is given in the article, ‘Mary Agnes Hickson: Forgotten Kerry Historian’ by Russell McMorran.27


Extracts from the Parish Registers of Tralee Between 1770 and 1802 when the Rev John Blennerhassett was Rector, and from 1805 to 1816 when the Rev James Day was Rector, by Mary Agnes Hickson, published in 1880

The genuine history of a country can never be well understood without a complete and searching analysis of the component parts of the community as well as the country.  Genealogical enquiries and local topography, so far from being unworthy of the attention of the philosophical enquirer, are amongst the best and most valuable materials he can use; and the fortunes and changes of one family, or the events of one township, may explain the darkest and most dubious portions of the annals of a realm

– Sir Francis Palgrave, preface to Parliamentary Writs

Rev John Blennerhassett was the eldest son of Edward Blennerhassett by his wife Mary Fitzgerald, fifth son of Captain John Blennerhassett owner of Killorglin, the Galway prisoner of ’88 and the writer of the book of genealogies, by Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev Dr Crosse.  The Rev John married Louisa, daughter of Lieutenant Goddard, by his wife Miss Mullens of Burnham, and had the children whose names are in theh register and others which do not appear in it.  The original register seems to have been lost, but a tolerably fair copy taken very early in the present century, probably by the Rev John himself, is in a good stage of preservation.  His male line is extinct as is that of his grandfather, Captain John Blennerhassett, of Killorglin, unless any of Harman Blennerhassett’s sons remain in America.  The representation of Captain John Blennerhassett appears now to rest with MacGillycuddy of the Reeks, the direct descendant of his eldest daughter, but his estates were sold to Lord Ventry, the husband of the descendant of his second daughter by her grandnephew, Marman Blennerhassett, when he decided to forsake Ireland for the United States at the close of the last century.


Tryphena, daughter of Charity and Raymond Fitzmaurice, junior, baptised 2 July 1771.  Captain John Blennerhassett and his wife had four daughters, Anne first, married the MacGillycuddy as above mentioned, secondly Francis Herbert; Second Elizabeth married Townshend Gunn of Rattoo and had an only daughter who married Lord Ventry; third was Tryphena who married Ulick Fitzmaurice of Duagh and fourth, Mary, who married Raymond Fitzmaurice, younger brother of said Ulick.  The child whose birth is here registered seems to have been the granddaughter of one or either of these last mentioned marriages.


Arabella, daughter of Ursula and Samuel Morris Esq, baptised 4 July 1771


Catherine, daughter of Cornelius and Catherine Buckley, baptised 9 October 1771


Catherine, daughter of Edmund and Catherine Dowling, baptised 20 October 1771


George, son of John and Anne Plummer, baptised 30 December 1771


Jeremiah, son of Michael and Mary Lawlor, baptised 16 January 1772.  This seems to be the father of Dr William Lawlor and his brothers.


Isaac, son of Enoch and Margaret Benson, baptised 24 January 1772


Elizabeth, daughter of Louisa and the Rev John Blennerhassett, baptised 17 May 1772.  Elizabeth Blennerhassett married Edward Fuller, and from this marriage descends James Franklin Fuller, now of Dublin, author.


Mary, daughter of Uriah and Mary Sealy, baptised 16 August 1772


Patrick, son of John and Elizabeth Leonard, baptised 17 May 1772


John, son of John and Jane Leake, baptised 12 January 1772


Elinor, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Collis, baptised 28 June 1772


Harry (Barry?), son of John and Anne Williams, baptised 3 February 1773


George, son of Ursula and Samuel Morris Esq, baptised 19 March 1773.  This was Sir George Morris, KCB, Usher of the Black Rod at Dublin Castle a few years ago.  His mother was Ursula, daughter of Rev Barry Denny.


Ellen, daughter of Dominick and Elizabeth Hilliard, baptised 2 April 1772


Jane, daughter of John and Jane Leake, baptised 27 August 1773


Joanna, daughter of David and Catherine Connell, baptised 10 December 1773


Louisa, daughter of Louisa and the Rev John Blennerhassett, baptised 30 January 1774.  Louisa Blennerhassett married the Rev Mr Cole of Cork and had no issue.


Elizabeth, daughter of John and Elizabeth Leonard, baptised 6 February 1774


Mary, daughter of Robert and Anne Collis, baptised 15 February 1774


Margaret, daughter of Thomas and Mary Freeman, baptised 16 May 1774


Ellen, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Collis, baptised 17 May 1774


Elinor, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Collins, baptised 29 August 1774


Rowland, son of John and Jane Leake, baptised 7 April 1775


Elizabeth, daughter of Dominick and Elizabeth Hilliard, baptised 29 September 1775


Anne, daughter of John and Anne Williams, baptised 12 October 1775


Sarah, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Collis, baptised 21 October 1775


Conway, son of Louisa and the Rev John Blennerhassett, baptised 10 December 1775.   Conway Blennerhassett married Jane Bateman and had no issue.


John, son of John and Jane Leake, baptised 27 November 1776


Catherine, daughter of Catherine and William Blennerhassett Esq, collector, baptised 6 February 1777.  Catherine Blennerhassett lived to become the wife first of John Gustavius Crosbie of Tubrid, secondly of George Rowan of Ratanny.  Her father, William Blennerhassett, Collector of Customs in Tralee, who married Catherine, daughter of Noble Johnson of Cork, was the second son of William Blennerhassett (by Mary, daughter of Alderman Morley of Cork), younger brother of Colonel John Blennerhassett of Ballyseedy called the ‘Father of the Irish House of Commons’ from his having been MP for Kerry or one of its boroughs from 1709 until 1769.  Colonel John Blennerhassett had by his wife Jane Denny a son who had two sons and a daughter – Frances, wife of the Rev Jemmett Browne, and at his death it seemed very unlikely that the Ballyseedy property would ever pass to the second son of his younger brother William, the fifth son of their father.  But it did so pass.  The direct male line of Colonel John of Ballyseedy ended with his grandson.  A very small share of his property went to his granddaughter Mrs Browne and remains with her descendants.  Ballyseedy and the rest went to the Collector and his son the great grandfather of the present owner.  The will of Colonel John Blennerhassett is a curiosity in its way from the immense number of Blennerhassetts (nearly a hundred if I remember rightly) named in the entail, including all the then members of the Riddlestown branch and persons in different parts of Ireland, very remotely related to the testator although his namesakes.  His grand object seems to have been to prevent Ballyseedy ever going to the descendant of his two daughters, Agnes, who married her cousin, Sir Thomas Denny,, owner in chief of that place, and Mary, wife of Lancelot Crosbie of Tubrid.


Catherine, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Collis, baptised 14 June 1778


Arthur, son of Ursula and Samuel Morris Esq, baptised 24 July 1778


Arabella, daughter of Robert and Anne Collis, baptised 9 August 1778


Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas and Joyce Alton, baptised 12 January 1779


Catherine, daughter of John and Catherine Carrique, baptised 24 January 1779


Michael, son of Christiana and Michael Mulchinock, baptised 17 August 1779


Anne, daughter of John and Jane Leake, baptised 25 September 1779


Goddard, son of Louisa and the Rev John Blennerhassett, baptised 29 September 1779


Catherine and Letitia (twins) daughters of Louisa and the Rev John Blennerhassett, baptised 10 June 1780.  Catherine Blennerhassett married Thomas Finn of Cork and had issue, and her twin sister Letitia married Richard Ponsonby of Crotta and had two daughters, who were both married.


Susanna, daughter of Anne and Walker Connor, baptised 30 September 1780.  Susanna Connor married Dr Sheehy and died s.p.


Margaret, daughter of Thomas and Joyce Alton, baptised 1 March 1781


John, son of Nicholas and Christiana Mulchinock, baptised 2 March 1781.  John Mulchinock became a Roman Catholic in middle life, and died unmarried late in the present century, leaving large sums of money to found the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy and the Monastery of the Christian Brothers in Tralee.


Elinor, daughter of Francis and Catherine Spotswood, baptised 17 April 1781


Walker, son of Walker and Anne Connor, baptised 26 September 1781.  Walker Connor was the Eldest son of Walker Connor by his wife Anne Saunders, and he married a Miss Webb of the County Cork by whom he had issue.


William, son of Christopher and Ellen Hilliard, baptised 31 October 1781


William, son of John and Avice Weeks, baptised 20 April 1782


Richard, son of John and Catherine Busteed, baptised 31 May 1783.  Richard Busteed died unmarried.


William Frances Anne (sic) daughter of Catherine and William Blennerhassett Esq, collector, baptised 30 June 1783.  The William in this entry is a mistake.  The child, whose birth was here registered, was (according to an entry made by her grandfather, William Blennerhassett, in a family bible) Francis or Fanny Blennerhassett, who became the wife of Anthony Denny (son of Edward Denny by Mary Rhind of Fermanagh) and had issue: 1. Edward, an officer in the 3rd regiment who married his first cousin, Georgina Blennerhassett of Balyseedy. 2. William, a colonel in the 71st regiment, married Evaretta, daughter of the Hon J Richardson of Montreal. 3. Mary, married Charles O’Malley QC of Hawthorn Lodge, Co Mayo.  Edward Denny, the husband of Mary Rhind, was the younger brother of Sir Barry Denny, who died in April 1794.


Samuel, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Collis, baptised 14 October 1783


John, son of John and Elizabeth Eagar, baptised 30 October 1783


Rice, son of John and Elizabeth Eagar, baptised 30 October 1783.  Rice Connor was the second son of Walker Connor, sen, by his wife Anne Saunders, before mentioned; and this entry dissipates another of those centenarian fictions against which Mr W J Thoms, the author of Human Longevity, has so long waged war.  William Walker Connor, as he was popularly called, although his real name was, I believe, William Saunders Connor, the third son of Walker and Anne, died in January last, and the newspaper notices of his death all stated that he was a hundred years old or more.  I doubted that he was so old, and my doubts were confirmed by the above entry, showing that his elder brother, Rice Connor was not born until 1784.  But to make assurance doubly sure, I asked a friend to examine the will of Walker Connor, senior, which is in the Dublin Public Record Office, and we found that just as I expected, the testator names Walker and his eldest, Rice as his second and William (Saunders) Connor as his third son.  The latter was probably baptized at Castleisland, where his mother’s family lived, since no registry of his baptism appears in the Tralee books but the fact that Rice Connor, his elder brother, was not born until 1784 proves that he, William Connor, could not have been more than ninety-five years of age at the time of his death in January 1880.


John, son of John and Elizabeth Jeffcott, baptised 30 March 1784


Harriet, daughter of Christopher and Ellen Hilliard, baptised 10 April 1784.  Harriet Hilliard, I believe, lived to be the wife of James Royse Yielding Esq, son of John Yielding, by Miss Royse of Nantenan, in the county Limerick.  John Yielding was son of James Yielding, by his second wife Miss Carrique, daughter of William Carrique, of Glandine, near Kilgobbin, by his wife, Rose Ponsonby, of Crotta.


Robert Hilliard Graves, son of Mary Anne and James Graves, baptised 4 August 1784


James, son of Margaret and the Rev James Day, baptised 4 August 1784.  James Day, my material uncle, was the second son of the Rev James Day by his wife Margaret, daughter of The Mac Gillycuddy of the Reeks, and his wife Catherine, daughter of Richard Chute of Chute Hall.  James Day entered the Indian army at an early age in which he served for thirty-two years and died a Major (retired) in 1837 unmarried.


Mary, daughter of Jane and Edward Armstrong, attorney at law of Dublin, baptised 15 August 1784


Mary, daughter of Anne and John Williams, baptised 26 August 1784


Fitzmaurice, son of Clifford and John Walsh, baptised 14 September 1784


Thomas, son of Ellen and Thomas Prenderville, baptised 14 September 1784


Francis, son of Elizabeth and Francis Eagar, baptised 3 October 1784


Edward, son of Catherine and William Wilson (junior) baptised 8 October 1784


William, son of Catherine and John Busteed, baptised 7 December 1784.  William Busteed married my father’s sister, Maria Hickson, daughter of James Hickson, by Mary O’Connell, and left issue, John William Busteed, MD, now of Castlegregory and several daughters.


Justin, son of Ellen and John Mason, baptised 7 December 1784


Jane, daughter of Dolly and Patrick Sullivan, baptised 16 December 1784


Elizabeth, daughter of Elizabeth and Thomas Collis, baptised 25 December 1784


Mary, daughter of Alice and Robert Barden, baptised 27 December 1784


Charles, son of Letitia and Thomas Hurly, attorney-at-law, baptised 27 December 1784. Charles Hurly was the only son of Thomas Hurly by his wife and cousin german, Letitia  Brown of Ventry near Dingle and he died, I believe, sp.  John Hurly, younger brother of Thomas, was also an attorney.  He married Mary Conway and was by her father of the Rev Robert Conway Hurly, who died unmarried, and of John Hurly (father of the late Robert Conway Hurly and his brother John Hurly of Fenit), and of several daughters, whose names appear on the register.  The Browns of Ventry descend from Whittall Brown, an officer in the Cromwellian army, whose name appears signed to the certificates of the Kerry transplanted in 1653 [v, Kerry records, 2nd series, p33].  There was an old tradition in Kerry that this Whittall Brown derived his peculiar Christian name from the place of his birth in England and the late Mrs West (by birth a Raymond) told me a rather curious circumstance confirmatory of this tradition.  She had resided several years in England and was once, in the early part of the present century, staying in a Staffordshire town, the name of which I cannot remember.  Amongst the persons who called upon her, and showed her some friendly attention, was a lady named Brown.  One day in the course of a morning or afternoon call, the conversation happening to turn to Ireland, this English lady, Miss Brown, said that in the middle of the 17th century, a collateral ancestor of hers, named from the place of his birth, Whittall Brown, had gone over to Ireland with Cromwell and that he there had founded a family, with whom her direct ancestors had for some generations kept up a correspondence; but that in the course of the last century it had ceased, and that she did not know whether any of the Irish branch yet remained.  Mrs West was able to tell her English acquaintance, I believe, that the male line of Whittall Brown of Ventry in 1653-63 was extinct, but that in the female line, the Eagars formerly of Ardrinane in Kerry, the Peppards of Limerick and others in both counties are descended from him.


Barry Denny, son of Sarah and Thomas Collins Esq, baptised 7 September 1784.  Samuel Morris, William Blennerhassett, and Thomas Collins are the only persons who are styled esquires in the register before 1786.  Down to the middle of the last century, the esquire is seldom or never found affixed to the name of any Kerry man who was not the owner of estate held directly from the Crown.  Even the younger sons of chief owners under the Crown were only style gentlemen.  Samuel Morris was an owner n chief, but William Blennerhassett, a fifth son could hardly have been so and unless Thomas Collins was the owner in chief of the little estate of Annagh, near Blennerville (as there is some reason to think he was) it is difficult to account for his being styled esquire I n 1784.  An Isaac Stephenson Collins, and a Mary Francis Jones, were certainly joint owners in chief of Annagh early in the present century although most Kerry people were and are under the impression that the place belonged to St John Mason and Leyne held it only as tenants under long leases or leases for ever, from Mr Isaac Stephenson Collins and Mrs Mary Francis Jones who seem to have been the representatives of a London Alderman, John Covert, to whom it was granted in 1650 under the Cromwellian settlement.  This little estate of Annagh which, in 1622 belonged to the Dennys, has a very curious and interesting history which well illustrates the bigger history of land tenure in Ireland but I cannot at present enter upon it further than to observe that Alderman Covert, like other aldermen who held estates in Kerry, probably never laid his eyes on an acre of them and was like Mr Isaac Collins and Mrs Jones, utterly unknown to the inhabitants of the county in general and that it seems an unquestionable fact that the mysterious Richard Jones, who received a thousand pounds from the government in 1803 for discovering poor Robert Emmett’s hiding place, and whose identification has baffled so many enquirers (including Mr W J Fitzpatrick, LLD author of the Sham Squire) was the chief owner of Annagh, the landlord of the middleman owner St John Mason, who designedly or by accident betrayed the secret to Jones.  If Richard Jones was not the chief owner of Annagh he was, I feel sure, a near relative of his.  Barry Denny Collins, whose birth is registered above, was called after the then owner of Tralee in accordance with a very common old custom (which testifies to the kindly feeling existing between him and his tenants and neighbours) and lived, I believe, to become the husband of one of the daughters of John Hurly, and Mary Conway before mentioned, by whom he was father of the Rev Mr Collins, the late respected rector of Ballyheigue, and other children.


William, son of Charity and George Purdon, baptised 24 October 1784


Catherine, daughter of Ellen and Edmond Swindell, baptised 24 October 1784


Caroline, daughter of Catherine and Francis Spotswood, baptised 6 December 1786


Daniel, son of  Barbara and Daniel Courtney, baptised 1 December 1786


John, son of Mary and James Hickson, baptised 17 December 1786. John Hickson (my father) was subsequently better known as John James Hickson, an attorney, practising for thirty years in the Courts of Chancery and Exchequer, law agent to the Ventry estate, to Lord Brandon and others, senior partner in the firm of Hickson and Stokes, at the time of his death in 1839.  This is one of several instances in the register where one Christian name only is given to persons who were afterwards known by two such names, a custom which had its origin in the following way.  In the 17th and early part of the 18th centuries, Kerrymen were frequently called by a patronymic, placed between their baptismal names and surnames.  Thus Thomas, the son of Dominick Rice, who had a cousin german, Thomas, the son of a Robert Rice, would be popularly known as Thomas FitzDominick Rice (the Fitz being the corruption of the French fils) or else as Thomas MacDominick Rice (the Mac being the Gaelic for son) that is Thomas the son of Dominick Rice, to distinguish him from his cousin Thomas the son of Robert Rice.  Sometimes the popular version of the name would be Thomas Rice FitzDominick.  In the will of Thomas Hussey, proved 1752, the testation is styled Thomas Hussey FitzEdmund.  The Mac which is never found as a prefix to an English surname is only found prefixed to English Christian names before an English surname when the persons so designated had grown more Irish than the Irish themselves.  When the Fitz is found in old documents prefixed to the Saxon Maurice, Thomas or Robert it generally betokens that on the whole, the bearer of the name was loyal to the English government but when the Gaelic Mac is prefixed to these Saxon Christina names, the great probability is that he was decidedly in strong opposition.  Thomas the son of Robert Hickson outlawed for sheltering ‘tories and papists’ in 1710, is styled in his indictment Thomas Mac Robert Hickson, but a namesake of his, who having been led into Roman Catholicism by his wife, and had the grace to return to the Protestant faith of his forefathers in or about the same year, is styled in the certificate of his conformity Robert FitzJoseph Hickson.  In later days, these old Gaelic and Anglo-French prefixes were dropped out and Kerry cousins were still popularly called to distinguish them from one another by the mere addition of the father’s Christian name to their own.  Some distinction of the kind was very necessary in a county where almost everybody was related to everybody from the constant marriages and intermarriages.  The forty thousand cousins of the Emperor of China are all obliged to wear a yellow girdle and a peculiar button but failing these distinctive marks, the forty thousand cousins of a Kerryman had to be marked out by peculiar mixtures of Christian patronymics and surnames.  John James Hickson obtained his second name (not given him  in baptism) to distinguish him from his cousin german, John Christopher Hickson, who was imprisoned with Robert Emmett at Kilmainham in 1803 where, according to Dr Madden’s Lives of the United Irishmen, I regret to say he, the said John Christopher, signalised himself by knocking down a Mr Simpson, their jailer, who was ill-treating the captives.  The two cousins, who were from their infancy members of different churches, and in their after lives wholly different in politics (my father having been educated by his O’Connell mother, a strong Conservative and Protestant), were the grandsons of John Hickson, the younger brother of Christopher Hickson of Fermoyle who died in 1752, the husband of Elizabeth Conway, and the grandfather of the late Robert Conway Hickson of Fermoyle.  Mary O’Connell, the wife of James Hickson, was the daughter of John O’Connell of Kilfinny, county Limerick, by his wife, Avice Hilliard of Listrim, and widow of James Mason Esq of Ballydowny, her cousin german, by whom she had no issue.  James Mason was the uncle of Robert Emmett (Avice his wife, being also Emmett’s cousin german), and of St John Mason, and great uncle of the Viscountess Doneraile.  On James Mason’s death without issue, his estate of Ballydowney, which had been granted to his maternal ancestor, Captain Richard Loughlin, or McLoughlin, an officer in Cromwell’s army, passed to St John Mason, who sold it in the present century to The MacGillycuddy.  This is one of innumerable instances in Ireland where the grant of a Cromwellian officer has passed away into the hands of the descendant of an old Irish or Anglo-Irish landowner, who forfeited under Cromwell.  So that the crazy schemes sometimes broached for undoing the wrongs, real or imaginary, of the Cromwellian settlement by transferring the estates of the present Irish landlords to their tenants would, if it were carried out, just effect the very reverse of what was intended.  It would in numerous instances put the broken down descendant of the Cromwellian grantee of 1650 in the saddle once more, and would reduce the descendants of the forfeiting proprietor of that year, who had, by the thrift and patient industry of two or three generations, recovered something of their lost estates to poverty again.  That such a way for making compensation for the past should ever have been broached by English men like the Rev Malcolm MacColl and others in high class, English periodicals like the Contemporary Review and the Nineteenth Century, is a good proof of the amazing ignorance of Ireland and Irish history that exists amongst clever and cultivated Englishmen. They know much more of Egypt and Bulgaria than they do of Ireland.  Some allowance of course must be made for them, seeing the way in which either through ignorance, thoughtlessness, or a deliberate design to mislead, they are constantly being crammed with falsehoods and fallacies about Ireland by Irishmen themselves.  Mr Butt, for instance, once said in a letter or speech of his, that almost every title to land in Ireland at the present day began with a mention of a grant after its confiscation in 1649 or 1690, and this is constantly quoted, was quoted about three weeks ago, I believe, by an English MP at Westminster, as though it proved that the present landlords of Ireland were all in possession of what had been the rightful property of their present tenants.  Mr Butt’s statement was, if I may coin the phrase, a ‘verbally true’ one as anyone who has ever had to search the quit rent books in the Dublin Record Office knows, but the truth is of that kind, which is often the ‘worst of lies’ a half truth.  Mr Butt could have told his hearers, or they could if it pleased them, have discovered for themselves, the whole truth, which is, that in innumerable cases, the title of the forfeited land is not now vested in the descendant of the grantee of 1649 or 1690, but in the descendant of the forfeiting persons or one of his kinsmen, that the land has by sale or an heiress’s marriage reverted to the old stock.  I have already shown in the Kerry Sentinel by a careful analysis of the Kerry portion of the Irish Domesday Blue Book, that far the greater number of Kerry landowners are the descendants of those who forfeited in 1649.  But to ascertain that this fact is generally true of all Ireland, except a portion of Ulster, patient and close research into the unpublished as well as the published materials of Irish history would be necessary and it is so much pleasanter to the majority to take its notion of history through its ears, rather than through its intellect, to listen to the glib rhetoric of partisan orators like Mr Butt or Lord Clare (Mr MacColl’s authority) instead of laboriously sifting out the grains of truth from the dusty chronicles themselves.  A few months ago when I wrote a letter in the Kerry Sentinel against the proposed application of the church surplus to the endowment of a department of the Roman Catholic Church, and the destruction of the Queen’s Colleges, an anonymous correspondent of that paper, whose initials CC, I was afterwards informed, stood for hisi profession, Catholic Curate, wrote a violently abusive epistle by way of reply to my argument, counselling  me to confine myself to the study of old mss (state papers and such rubbish) which he said I might possibly understand, as I never could, educational or political matters.  This sapient Catholic curate and counsellor, a fair type of his order, and of what ecclesiastical seminaries produce all over the world, evidently belongs to that species of learner I have before described, whose knowledge of history and politics, which are ‘history in the making’ is due to the length of its ears, not the depth of its understanding.  The Rev Baring Gould, in his late work on Germany, compares the education of the Romish seminarists to the education of the industrious fleas, which he ascertained, is conducted on the principle of making the insect jump within a restricted space, in such a manner, that if he ventures to jump (on his private judgment presumptuously) the least bit too high, he knocks his head against a rod or a piece of board held over him by his infallible instructor.  This apt comparison might be fairly extended beyond the seminarists to the Catholic correspondents and even to the editors of not a few of our Catholic newspapers.  Jesting apart, however, it is quite plain that what some of these gentlemen have at heart is not a resettlement of Irish land on the basis of race at all, but on the basis of religion.  With that blindness and incapacity for understanding human nature and politics, which Lord Clarendon, a statesman and historian, has said characterises ecclesiastics, ‘CC’ and his friends are endeavouring to carry out the work which ‘lying Dick Talbot’ began at the instigation of James II and Father Petre just ninety-two years ago.  At that time the viceroy, another Earl of Clarendon, as tolerant as the first, wrote to James II explaining to him that he had been misinformed by Talbot and his friends, who told him that most of the Irish landowners were of Cromwellian descent, the fact being that they were, on the contrary, the descendants of old Irish or Anglo-Irish royalists.  But this by no means satisfied Father Petre and James.  Their object was to transfer all Irish estates to Roman Catholics to make Ireland what certain Catholics – colonisation companies as they are called, are attempting to make certain districts in North America at the present day, wholly Roman Catholic plantations of which not an acre shall be left in heretic hands.  But as this notable priestly project could hardly be proclaimed for Ireland in all its undisguised folly and wickedness in 1880, the question of race is dragged in, and the most absurd falsehoods are circulated about it, the inventors calculating on the ignorance of Englishmen, as regards Ireland, and on the fashionable Anglo-Catholic revival under the successors of Petre, and parsons making their falsehoods and sophistries pass for truth.  Our hope is that the common sense and shrewdness of the Irish Catholic laity to say nothing of their good feeling will, when the hour of excitement is over,  make them remember that a community of creed between landlord and tenant, or master and man, has never been and is not any security against oppression of the Irish farmer, labourer, or workman.  Good Roman Catholic landlords there are in Ireland, but some of the worst cases of rack-renting and oppression have been perpetrated by Roman Catholics bearing old Irish names, and some of the best landlords and employers of Irish Catholic tenants and labourers have been Protestants.  Indeed, ‘CC’ himself has only to look to France, with its Catholic peasant proprietary to teach him if he were capable of understanding politics, that he and his clerical brethren are well off under Protestant landlords and that they may be satisfied ‘to let well alone’.  Under an Irish peasant proprietary the ‘confiscations’ of the Rue de Sevre might be reported in Gardiner-street, Dublin and the fathers sent packing from their comfortable quarters, which no Irish Protestant landlord has shown any disposition to invade.


Lucy, daughter of Sophia and George Chute, baptised 17 October 1787.  Lucy Chute, the daughter of George Chute by his wife Sophia Herbert, daughter of Bastable Herbert of Currens and his wife the daughter of the Knight of Kerry, died unmarried.


William, son of Mary and John Louis Fitzmaurice, baptised 31 October 1787


Mary, daughter of Honora and Francis Benson, baptised 17 December 1787


Anne, daughter of Anne and Walker Connor, baptised 5 January 1788


James, son of Mary and Nicholas Whelan, baptised 10 February 1788


Thomas, son of Elizabeth and James Fuller, baptised 23 March 1788


John, son of Catherine and John Busteed, baptised 11 July 1788. John Busteed married first his cousin german, Miss Ellis, sister of Thomas Ellis, MP for Dublin University and aunt of the late Richard Ellis of Glenasrone, by whom he had no children.  Secondly Miss Mackey, by whom he had three daughters now living.  By his third wife he had no issue.


Charity, daughter of Eusebius and Anne MacGillycuddy, baptised 12 July 1788.  Charity MacGillycuddy married John Blackhall, and died in 1852, leaving issue a son and daughter.


Alice, daughter of Mary and John Hurly Esq baptised 4 August 1788.  Alice Hurly married Alexander Elliott, and left issue two sons and a daughter.


Elizabeth, daughter of Jane and Nathaniel Weekes, baptised 6 January 1789


Jane, daughter of Mary and Thomas Jones, baptised 1 February 1789


Maria, daughter of Mary and John Louis FitzMaurice, baptised 23 April 1789


Jane, daughter of Catherine and William Wilson, attorney, baptised 30 April 1789. Jane Wilson married Harry Gun of Ploverhill and had an only son who died sp.


George Godfrey, son of Honora and George Twiss Esq of Cordal, baptised 31 May 1789


James, son of Elizabeth and Francis Eagar, baptised 3 June 1789


Margaret, daughter of Anne and Eusebius MacGillycuddy, baptised 5 July 1789. Margaret, daughter of Anne and Eusebius MacGillycuddy, married Alexander Eager, Lieutenant in the 57th regiment (and subsequently County Inspector of Constabulary) and had four sons and two daughters.  Eusebius MacGillycuddy, father of Margaret and Charity above-mentioned was the younger son of the MacGillycuddy of the Reeks, The eldest surviving son of this marriage is the present MacGillycuddy Eagar Esq of Carah.


Robert, son of Anne and Thomas Stephens, baptised 30 August 1789


Christian, daughter of Mary and John Hurly Esq, baptised 30 August 1789.  Christian Hurly, third daughter of Thomas Hurly and his wife Mary Conway, married James Magill and had issue sons and daughters.


Alice, daughter of Edward and Mary Sparks, baptised 12 September 1789


Harry, son of Mary and Maurice O’Connor, baptised 20 September 1789.  Harry, son of Maurice O’Connor and Mary his wife (daughter of Thomas FitzGerald, Knight of Glin) died I believe unmarried.  Maurice O’Connor was a relative of Bernard O’Connor MD (one of the notable Kerrymen whom Dr Smith mentions in his history of Kerry, physician to John Sobieski, King of Poland, and author of a history of that country) and of the Rev Maurice O’Connor, rector of Tralee, in the early part of the last century (who married Anne, daughter of Barry Denny Esq of Ballyvelly) and of Thomas O’Connor, whose daughter and heiress married Arthur Cecil Hamilton Esq and had a daughter who married Viscount Southwell.   Thomas, Maurice and Bernard O’Connor were members of a branch of the O’Connor family which owned estates in fee and freeholds in and near Tralee long before 1583 when they forfeited largely with Desmond.  They retained however the fee simple of Ballingowan, and freeholds known as ‘Farran Bryan O’Connor’ ie the portion of Bryan O’Connor between Ballyvelly and Oakpark until 1650.  Oakpark was then taken from Sir Edward Denny and given to Roland Bateman, a Cromwellian officer, but the O’Connors remained at or near Ballyvelly as freeholders under the Dennys who appear to have greatly favoured them.  A John Connor Esq of Fenit assigned the lands of Derrymullen and Clonrusk in the King’s County to Thomas Connor in 1715 and James Connor, Lohercannon and Thomas Connor apparently the assignee of 1715 and the father of Mrs Hamilton above mentioned had favourable leases of Clogherbrien and Ploverhill from the Denny family in the latter part of the seventeenth and beginning of the 18th century.  Thomas Connor had also a lease of Dunmaniheen from the same in 1722.  The following extract from an old rental book of the Denny estate is interesting.  It was made by a steward or agent of Sir Thomas Denny’s in or about 1747 and proves that so far as the neighbourhood of this town was concerned, rents were very low in the old times:


5 August 1743, Thomas Denny Esq to George Gun Esq of Carrigafoyle leases the castle, town and lands of Clogherbrian and Clogherlapwidge (now Ploverhill) containing 206 acres, 8 roods and 3 perches of arable land, and 16 acres, 3 roods and 19 perches of improvable pasture and 52 acres, 17 perches of coarse pasture and 88 acres, 1 rood and 8 perches of arable and pasture; also the town and lands of Ballyroe and Clogher and the town and lands of Banebualbuoy containing 400 acres, 12 roods, and 30 perches of arable land and 36 acres, 2 roods, and 24 perches of improvable pasture and 12 acres, 24 perches of coarse pasture, in all 973 acres, 1 rood and 23 perches plantation measure in as simple a manner as they were enjoyed by Thomas Connor, deceased, and his under tenants, situated in the parish of Clogherbrien, for the lives of William Gun, John Gun and George Gun, the sons of the lessee George Gun senior, at the yearly rent of £140 sterling.  NB: An ejectment being brought for the lands by the above named Thomas Denny Esq, the lessor (after the death of his brother Arthur), George Gun, the lessee, compounded with the said Thomas Denny to double the rent being £70 more than the rent reserved in the lease made by  Colonel Arthur Denny.  This was the first farm on the estate that was ever raised by any of the family above or to the amount of one hundred pounds sterling by the year.


From this entry, it appears that Thomas O’Connor held nearly a thousand acres of good land near Tralee from the Dennys before 1740 at about one shilling and four pence per acre, and that the Guns held the same after that year at about two shillings and four pence an acre.  They were connected by marriage with Archdeacon Thomas Connor (mentioned by Captain Blennerhassett in his book of pedigrees) who died in 1720 but what degree of relationship existed between him and his namesake, the father of Mrs Hamilton, is unknown.  The Guns and O’Connors probably sublet part of the lands, but as their chief rent was so very low even for those early times when one shilling probably could purchase as much of the necessaries of life as seven or eight of our present money purchases nowadays, it is not likely that the sub-rents were very high.  At all events the facts remain that for nearly two hundred years after the estate had been granted to Sir Edward Denny, that is, between 1534 and 1745, there had been no raising of rents, and that the O’Connors, after their nominal forfeiture, paid but a very small rent, and acquired wealth and a good position again, in every sense of the word a more independent position than that they held as freeholders under Desmond, or under chiefs of their own name, whose exactions were practically unlimited.  It is well known at the present day that the rents on the Denny estate are very low and that such disputes as unhappily fill our local courts between contending landlords and tenants are virtually unknown at all.  The majority of the Kerry farmers are fully aware of that and admit it freely in conversation about the land question, yet Dr MacCarthy, the Roman Catholic bishop of Kerry, did not hesitate to make some unfair allusions to the owner of Tralee in a letter to the Cork Examiner last winter.  Mr Hussey wrote an excellent reply, showing the amount of relief and work given on the Denny estate within the last year.   The bishop must know very well that there have been more evictions in one week on the estate of the chief Roman Catholic proprietor at his palace doors than there have been on the estate of Sir Edward Denny for the half century that he has held it, or it would be safe to say for three half centuries, if not three centuries.  I do not mean to judge or misjudge the Roman Catholic nobleman to whom I refer, he may have been compelled to bring those ejectments, all I would venture to observe is that it is passing strange that his bishop writing from the midst of them should seem to ignore them completely while he proceeded to criticise a landlord far away from him, who hardly ever brings an ejectment at all and whose tenants never have a word of complaint to make.  Some other motive than zeal for tenants inspired I fear in this instance the bishop’s pen.  The offence of the owner of Tralee in the Roman Catholic prelate’s eyes is not that he neglected or offended his Roman Catholic tenants, which all Kerry knows well he does not, but that like his great and good ancestors and connections in the sixteenth century, he showed kindness to Protestants, perhaps to some particular Protestants, who had offended the Roman Catholic priesthood, and who were in as much danger from their vengeance (only exercised in a different way) as ever those poor Devonshire men were, of whom Tennyson has told us in his beautiful poem, The Revenge. A Ballad of the Fleet, celebrating the death of Sir Richard Grenville, the connection of Joan Lady Denny, the protectress of Anne Askew:


So Lord Howard passed away with five ships of war that day,
Till he melted like a cloud in the silent summer heaven;
But Sir Richard bore in hand all his sick men from the land
Very carefully and slow;
Men of Bideford, in Devon,
And we laid them on the ballast down below;
For he brought them all aboard,
And they blest him in their pain, that they were not left to Spain.
To the thumbscrew and the stake, for the glory of the Lord.


I may add here for the information of Bishop MacCarthy that there are in the Dublin Record Office, letters from Colonel Edward Denny in or about 1700, soliciting from the government protection and privileges for the Roman Catholic MacCarthys, sons or nephews of the MacCarthy Mor, showing that the kindliest and most friendly feelings existed between the Protestant owner of Tralee and these members of the bishop’s clan.


Richard, son of Catherine and Francis MacGillycuddy, baptised 5 January 1790.  This must have been the late McGillycuddy of the Reeks, the father of the present chief of the name.  Francis MacGillycuddy (my grand uncle) was the third son of the MacGillycuddy of the Reeks by his wife Catherine, daughter of Richard Chute of Chute Hall and his wife Charity Herbert of Currans.  Catherine, the wife of Francis MacGillycuddy, was the daughter of Denis Mahony of Dromore Esq, and widow of D Magill Esq.


Morgan O’Connell, son of Catherine and John Busteed, baptised 12 January 1790.   Morgan O’Connell Busteed lived to be a much respected physician for many years, practising his profession in Kerry.  He seems to have derived his very Celtic-baptismal names from his mother’s nephew, Lieutenant Morgan O’Connell of the 20th regiment, my father’s maternal uncle.  Dr Morgan O’Connell Busteed married my father’s youngest sister, Ellen, but died sp on 27 January 1830.  Mrs Busteed died in Strand Street Tralee on 30 July 1832, a victim of the cholera epidemic.


Honora, daughter of Catherine and Elisha Burnam, baptised 2 May 1790


Margaret, daughter of Margaret and John Carrique, baptised 23 May 1790


Barbara, daughter of Anne and Walker Connor, baptised 5 September 1791.  Barbara Connor died unmarried in 1832.


Anne, daughter of Mary and Robert Hickson Esq, baptised 26 January 1792.  Anne Hickson married John Hilliard of Scrahan Lodge, county Kerry, son of Christopher Hilliard of Listrim, by his wife Mary Hewson and left an only child, Katherine Anne, who married Major Oliver Day Stokes of the Madras army and died, leaving issue sons and daughters.  Anne Hickson, youngest daughter of Robert Conway Hickson of Fermoyle died within a year of her marriage. On the morning on which it took place, as the bridal party were leaving Tralee church, they were met at the gate by a funeral.  According to an old Irish superstition, such a meeting is sure to portend the death of the bride or the bridegroom within a year.  This may have depressed the young bride’s spirits, and may have in that affected her health, which was not strong, but at all events she died a few hours after the birth of her daughter, on the Christmas Eve following her marriage, just a week before the first day of the new year.


Arabella, daughter of Arabella and George Gun Esq, baptised 26 January 1792.  Arabella Gun was the youngest daughter of George Gun Esq of Plover Hill by his wife Arabella, daughter of the Rev Barry Denny by his wife and cousin, Jane O’Connor, daughter of the Rev Maurice O’Connor, mentioned in earlier note.  Arabella Gun married John Watts Esq and had issue.


Maurice, son of Maurice and Mary O’Connor, baptised 23 February 1792


Elizabeth Jane, daughter of Jane and Nathaniel Weeks, baptised 7 March 1792


Ellen, daughter of Ellen and George Davis, baptised 18 March 1792


Sophia, daughter of William and Harriet Twiss, parish Killeentierna, baptised 1 April 1792


John, son of Mary and Thomas Blennerhassett, junior, baptised 10 June 1793. This John must have died young.  His father, Thomas Blennerhassett, was the son of Thomas Blennerhassett of Tralee by his wife, Jane Darby.  Thomas Blennerhassett, junior, married his second cousin Margaret, daughter of Conway Blennerhassett, of Killorglin, by Elizabeth Harman and had, besides the child whose birth is here registered, a son Thomas, who was treasurer of the county Kerry for many years.  His only child married Peter Thompson of Tralee who succeeded his father-in-law in the office of treasurer, and left issue, sons and an only daughter.  Sir Bernard Burke, in his account of the Thompson family in the landed gentry for 1868, totally misrepresents the descent of treasurer Blennerhassett, making him the son of a Conway Blennerhassett, and the grandson of a John Blennerhassett, by Elizabeth Harman, whereas it was the treasurer’s mother who was the daughter of Conway Blennerhassett (by his wife Elizabeth Harman) and the aunt of Harman Blennerhassett, who sold the family estate of Killorglin or Castle Conway.  The legal representative of Captain John Blennerhassett, of Castle Conway in 1688, and of his grandson Harman, rests, I believe, not as I said in a former number of this paper with the MacGillycuddy, the lineal descendant of the Captain’s eldest daughter, but with Lord Kinsale, the lineal descendant of Harman Blennerhassett’s eldest sister.  Harman Blennerhassett’s life and adventures in America have lately been related in Macmillan’s Magazine by a Mr Bradley, an American I believe, who, however, seems very imperfectly acquainted with his subject.  He says that Harman Blennerhassett became attached to and married a young English lady named Agnew), whom he met in England or abroad, the fact being that Miss Agnew was the daughter of his sister, and that the main cause of his leaving Ireland and selling his estates was his determination to marry her.  The marriage of an uncle and niece, although permitted by dispensation in Roman Catholic families, and legal in Switzerland and in a few other countries, was, and is, of course, illegal in Ireland, and the feeling in Ireland against it was particularly strong.  Sir J F Acton, 6th Baronet, married by Papal dispensation, his niece, and had with her a son and heir, father of the present baronet, a younger son, Cardinal Acton, who died in 1847,


Richard, son of Ellen and Richard Thornhill of the town of Tipperary, baptised 12 June 1792


Lucy, daughter of May and John Hurly Esq, baptised 1 July 1792.  Lucy Hurly died unmarried.


John, son of Alice and the Rev John Collis, deceased, baptised 8 July 1792.  This John and Alice Collis are unknown to me and do not appear in Burke’s accounts of any branch of the Collis family.


Robert, son of Alice and Henry Williams, baptised 27 July 1792


Grace, daughter of Elizabeth and Thomas Benner, baptised 6 September 1792


George, son of Agnes and Thomas Morris, parish of Ratass, baptised 2 September 1792


Annie, daughter of Jane and Walter Davis, baptised 16 September 1792


Elizabeth, daughter of Annie and James Pevers, parish of Ballyseedy, baptised 6 January 1793


Pierse Creagh, son of Anne and Dennis O’Keeffe, baptised 14 January 1793


Elizabeth, daughter of Anne and Thomas Grey, baptised 13 February 1793


Catherine, daughter of Catherine and Francis MacGillycuddy, baptised 11 April 1793.  Catherine MacGillycuddy, sister of the late MacGillycuddy, married Montgomery Martin Esq and had issue sons and daughters.


Robert, son of Agnes and William Farmer, parish of Ballyseedy, baptised 30 May 1794


William, son of Arabella and John Howard, baptised 8 June 1794


Louisa, daughter of Mary and Thomas Blennerhassett, baptised 4 July 1794.  This was the rector’s granddaughter.  Her father was his second son, Thomas Blennerhassett, who had married his cousin, Mary Blennerhassett, daughter of Henry Blennerhassett and his wife Mary Poujade, and had issue.  Henry Blennerhassett was the son of Samuel Blennerhassett by his wife, Catherine, daughter of Archdeacon O’Connor, mentioned in earlier note, and the first cousin of Rowland Blennerhassett, created a baronet in 1809.


James, son of Mary and Maurice O’Connor, baptised 16 July 1794. This son of Maurice O’Connor and his wife, the daughter of the Knight of Glin, still lives in Dublin.


Barbara, daughter of Catherine and John Busteed, baptised 12 October 1794


Mary, daughter of Mary and David Benner, baptised 12 October 1794


John, son of Dolly and Patrick O’Sullivan, baptised 19 October 1794


Francis, son of Eusebius and Annie MacGillycuddy, baptised 21 October 1794


Elenor, daughter of Mary and Robert MacClure, baptised 18 November 1794


Georgina, daughter of Sarah and Samuel Morris Esq, baptised 26 November 1795.  Georgina Morris married Captain Lloyd Henry de Ruvigny (1791-1863), 7th Marquis of Ruvigny & Raineval, a scion of the ancient Huguenot family of that name and still lives his widow in England.  She and her husband were perhaps the handsomest bride and bridegroom ever seen in Tralee.  There is in one of the upper rooms of the British Museum where it was placed on its discovery in Greece, about nine years ago, a most remarkable coloured mask or fragment of sculpture, an exquisitely beautiful face, bearing a strong resemblance to Mrs De Ruvigny in her early days.  [Georgina died 8 May 1888 aged 92.  Genealogy at]


Thomas, son of Arabella and John Howard, baptised 27 December 1795


Ellen, daughter of Mary and Daniel Sullivan, baptised 10 February 1796


Nicholas, son of Nicholas and Catherine Gentleman, baptised 3 May 1796


Francis Chute, son of Catherine and Francis MacGillycuddy, baptised 22 May 1796


Denis, son of Margaret and John Mahony Esq of Dromore, baptised 10 June 1796.  This was the late Denis Mahony of Dromore Castle, father to the present respected owner of that place.  Margaret, the wife of John Mahony, was the daughter of Archdeacon Day.


Samuel, son of Anne and Thomas Stephens, baptised 22 May 1797


Robert, son of Rosanna and Robert Blennerhassett, parish of Killorglin, baptised 17 July 1797.  Robert Blennerhassett, whose birth is here registered, was the third son of Robert, afterwards Sir Robert Blennerhassett (eldest son of Sir Rowland, already mentioned) by his wife and first cousin, Rosanna, daughter of Arthur Blennerhassett of Fortfield or Aunagarry and his wife Rosanna, daughter of James Hickson.  Robert Blennerhassett married his cousin, Miss Eagar, and died without issue.  His widow survives.


Thomas Ellis Emmett, son of Catherine and John Busteed, baptised 15 August 1797


Mary Arabella Catherine, daughter of Catherine and John Gustavus Crosbie Esq, deceased, was baptised at Elm Grove, in the parish of Ballyseedy, the 13 September 1797.  This, the only child of John Gustavus Crosbie by his wife Mary, daughter of William Blennerhassett, of Elm Grove (now Ballyseedy) died young.  Mrs Crosbie married secondly George Rowan Essq of Ratanny near Tralee.


Denis Hill, son of Kitty and Francis MacGillycuddy, baptised 12 January 1797.  Denis Hill MacGillycuddy married but died without issue.


Aphra, daughter of Anne and William John Crumpe, baptised 10 March 1798. Aphra Crumpe married Captain Moriarty, RN, son of Admiral Moriarty, and had issue, sons and daughters.  Her second son assumed the name of Crumpe in addition to his own on succeeding to the property of his maternal uncle, Francis Crumpe, MD.


Jane, daughter of Mary and Robert Maclure, baptised 17 March 1798


Jane, daughter of Honora and Edward Hudson, baptised 25 February 1799


Rachel, daughter of Dolly and Samuel King, baptised 3 October 1799


Mary, daughter of Sarah and Jordan Roche, baptised 28 October 1799


John, son of Anne and Henry Hilliard, baptised 30 December 1799


William Henry, son of Elizabeth and James Fitzgerald of Cahervisheen, baptised 19 January 1880


William, son of Ellen and William Carter, baptised 23 February 1800


Zenobia anne, daughter of Zenobia Anne and John Mahony, Lieutenant in the Kerry Militia, baptised 9 March 1800


John William, son of the Hon Charlotte and Richard Pierse Mahony, baptised 3 June 1800.  This child died young, and his father, whose wife was the daughter of Lord Ventry, bequeathed his property to the second son of his sister, Barbara (by John Hickson Esq of the Grove, near Dingle) who assumed the name of Mahony in addition to his own.


Charlotte, daughter of Mary and Thomas Blennerhassett, Captain in the Kerry Militia, baptised 7 October 1801


Thomas, son of Elizabeth and Rickard O’Connell, Lieutenant in the 89th Regiment of Foot, baptised 9 November 1801.


Edward, son of Honora and Edward Hudson, baptised 27 December 1801


Anne, daughter of Jane and David Casey, baptised 31 January 1802


William, son of Lucy and Samuel Sealy, baptised 11 February 1802


Arthur, son of Jane and Richard Chute, junior, baptised 22 May 1802


Samuel Herapath, corporal in the Devonshire Regiment of Fencibles, and Ellen Marley, of the parish of Tralee, were married by publication 16 October 1796


Jordan Roche and Sarah Taylor, both of the parish of Tralee, were married by licence 27 November 1797


Henry Benner, of the parish of Ballymacelligott and Anne Stephens, of the parish of Ballyseedy, were married by licence 20 February 1798


Robert Blennerhassett of the parish of Knockane and Catherine Hickson of the parish of Tralee were married by licence 22 May 1798. Robert Blennerhassett was the only son of Arthur Blennerhassett of Fortfield (or Annagarry) by his wife Rosanna, daughter of James Hickson Esq of Tralee by his wife Rosanna, daughter of Mr John Kane.  Catherine Hickson was the daughter of Robert Christopher Hickson Esq (of Fermoyle after 1802) by his wife, Mary, second daughter of said Jas Hickson of Tralee, by said Rosanna, daughter of Mr John Kane.  Thus this bride and bridegroom were first cousins.  They had no issue.  Arthur Blennerhassett was the younger brother of Rowland Blennerhassett, created a baronet in 1809, and his only daughter, Rosanna, sister of the bridegroom here mentioned, married her first cousin, Sir Robert Blennerhassett, and was by him mother of the late Sir Arthur Blennerhassett.


Richard Blennerhassett, junior, of Blennerville and Agnes Denny of the parish of Tralee were married by licence 31 October 1798.  Richard Blennerhassett whose marriage with the daughter of Sir Barry Denny is here registered, was the second son of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett above mentioned, by his wife, Millicent Yielding, of Belview, county Limerick.  Richard Blennerhassett died sp.


Joseph West, of the parish of Killorglin and Deborah Neil, of the parish of Ballyseedy, were married by licence 25 June 1799


Daniel Casey and Jane Galbraith of the parish of Tralee were married by publication 8th September 1799


William Rowan, Counsellor-at-Law and Letitia Denny were married by licence 23 October 1799. William Rowan was the younger son of George Rowan, by his wife, Mary Gorham, and the great grandson of George Rowan Esq, first settler of his name in Kerry, who married Mary, daughter of Thomas Blennerhassett of Riddlestown by his wife and cousin, Ruth, only daughter of John Blennerhassett of Ballyseedy and his wife Elizabeth Denny, daughter of Sir Edward Denny, by the Honorable Ruth Roper, daughter of Lord Baltinglass.  William Rowan was therefore the relative of his wife, Letitia, daughter of Sir Barry Denny, by whom he had surviving issue, the late highly respected Archdeacon Rowan, DD, and a daughter who married Major Charles Fairfield of the Guards.


James Sheehy Esq MD and Susanna Connor were married by licence 23 February 1800. Dr Sheehy died young and had no issue by his wife, who survived until about 1848.


Rickard O’Connell, Lieutenant in the 89th Regiment, and Elizabeth Tuohy, of the parish of Tralee, were married by licence 15 January 1801.  Rickard O’Connell was the cousin of Daniel O’Connell, MP, of Derrynane, and a Protestant through the influence I suppose of his maternal ancestors, the Blennerhassetts of Killorglin.


Michael Cronin, private in the county Limerick Militia, and Judith Quirk, of Tralee parish, were married by licence 4 February 1802


This is the last entry preserved of the Tralee parish registers in the time of the Rev John Blennerhassett, but some leaves have probably been lost, as I think he held the rectory until 1806, when he was succeeded by my maternal grandfather, the Rev James Day, who had been curate of Tralee in the early part of Mr Blennerhassett’s rectorship and afterwards curate of Kilgobbin for an absentee pluralist, the Rev Mr Stewart, who resided chiefly at Bath or Dublin.  The Harleian Society and the Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica are doing good work in publishing the registers of many parishes in London and the English country districts but unless the editors limit themselves to entries made before the middle of the present century, their task, owing to the universal and pardonable weakness which people have for concealing the number of their years, will make the editorial task as delicate and difficult as one as that of the committee for the Country Ball on the Almack’s Plan sung by Haynes Bayley.  As I have not been permitted by the discreet guardians of the Tralee register to look at a single entry referring to births, deaths or marriages after 1817, I could not if I would offend any reader sensitive on the score of age, and even in publishing the following extracts from my grandfather’s register, I have excluded all entries of births and marriages of persons yet living in the county.  The Rev John Blennerhassett’s register consists merely of a number of sheets of copy paper stitched together and fastened into the front of the large leather bound volume purchased in 1805 on the fly leaf of which are the following entries:


Registry book for christenings, marriages and burials within the united parishes of Tralee and Ratass commencing the 24th of November 1805.  James Day, Rector of Tralee and Curate of Ratass.

Rev Edward Maynard Denny’s registry book for the composition of tythes for the year commencing November 1 1823.


The latter part of the large volume is taken up with the account of those tithes and of the disposal and arrangements of pews and sittings in Tralee Church from time to time, between 1808 and 1850.  The latter have some interest as memorials of the Protestant inhabitants of Tralee for the last sixty or seventy years.




November 24 1805, Elizabeth, daughter of Wm and Martha McWadie, Londonderry Militia, quartered in Tralee, three days old.


December 1 1805, Arabella, daughter of Edward and Theodora Eagar, of the parish of Tralee, ten days old. This daughter of Edward and Theodora Eagar must have died young if her baptismal name is not a misspelling of Annabella.  Edward Eagar was the son of Robert Eagar of Listry (by his wife Avice Hurly, daughter of Denis Hurly and his wife Anne Blennerhassett of Killorglin) by his wife Miss Supple and he married Theodore, daughter of Richard Blennerhassett Esq by his wife, the Hon Elizabeth  de Moleyns, daughter of Lord Ventry.  Edward and Theodore Eagar had with other issue a daughter Annabella, who married Charles Newton and had issue.


December 24 1805, Sally (sic), daughter of Townshend and Amelia Gun, parish of Tralee, six hours old.  Sarah (sic) Gun married Augustus Warren Esq and had issue.  She was the second daughter of Townsend Gun Esq of Rattoo by his wife Amelia Wilson, and the granddaughter of William Townsend Gun of same place by his wife Sarah, eldest daughter of Anthony Stoughton Esq of Ballyhorgan.


January 9 1806, George, son of Daniel and Margaret Supple, parish of Tralee, three days old


23 January 1806, Anne, daughter of Jordan and Sarah Roche, two days old


February 17 1806, Mary, daughter of Richard and Jane Thompson, ten days old


February 23 1806, Arabella Margaret, daughter of William and Letitia Rowan of Tralee, ten days old.  I think that this child died young, and that the second daughter of William Rowan was named Arabella Mary, and lived to be the wife of Major Fairfield, as before mentioned, but her name does not appear on the register.


March 23 1806, Mary, daughter of Nathaniel and Mary Payne, three weeks old


April 18 1806, Matthew, son of John and Elizabeth Galbraith, Tralee, three days old


June 15 1806, Joyce, daughter of Robert and Pierce Topham (sic) fourteen days old


December 3 1806, Anna Maria, daughter of Edward and Theodora Eagar, six days old. Anna Maria, daughter of Edward Eagar by his wife Theodora Blennerhassett married … Mahon Esq and died his widow a few years ago greatly esteemed and lamented.


April 3 1807, Thomas, son of William and Ellen Carter of Tralee, four days old


May 18 1807, Thomas Bolton, son of Rowan and Sophia Purdon of Tralee, three days old


May 10 1807, Robert, son of Ralph and Jane Marshall of Tralee, six days old


On the 8 April 1806, George MacConchy, private in the Londonderry Militia to Elizabeth Ellis of Londonderry, servant to Captain Durie of said regiment commanding in Tralee, by banns.


William Stephens and Alice Sparks of Tralee were married by licence on the 3 February 1807


James Plowman, Lieutenant in the Carlow Militia, quartered in Tralee, and Ellen, daughter of Eusebius and Anne MacGillycuddy were married by licence on 10 February 1807.  Ellen MacGillycuddy was the granddaughter of MacGillycuddy of the Reeks and his wife, Catherine, daughter of Richard Chute of Chute Hall.  She had surviving issue by her husband, Lieutenant Plowman, three sons, Eusebius, James and Richard, who all married and had issue.


Francis Phelan, collector of hearth money, and Maria Fitzmaurice, daughter of John Lewis and Mary Fitzmaurice of Tralee were married by licence on 2 April 1807.  Francis and Maria Phelan were in their latter days Roman Catholics as were all their children.


George Tracy of the County Wicklow and Mary Williams of the town of Tralee were married by licence on 4 April 1807


Thomas McClure and Mary Swindell of the parish of Tralee were married by licence on 18 April 1807


Patrick MacDonnell and Bridget Harris of Tralee were married by banns on 19 April 1807


On 5 September 1807, by the Rev Maynard Denny in the Church of Tralee (by permission of the rector) Barry William Gun Esq or Blennerville in the parish of Annagh to Jane, daughter of William Wilson Esq by licence.  Barry William Gun was the only son of George Gun of Ballybunnion by Arabella, daughter of the Rev Barry Denny of Ballyvelly.  He was drowned by a boat accident in the Cashion river in August 1828, leaving issue by his wife, Miss Wilson, an only son, George, who married Miss Reeves (or Beeves) of Belfort, county Cork, but died sp a few years ago.  The grandfather of Barry William Gun was George Gun, who married in 1747 Elizabeth, daughter of James Raymond of Dromin, grandson of Anthony Raymond of Ballyloughran, county Kerry in 1650-60, ancestor of George Raymond, BL, now of Kilmurry, county Kerry and North Great George’s Street, Dublin.


By licence on 18 November 1807, in the Church of Tralee, by the Rev Edward Day, by permission of the Rector, John Moore Eagar Esq aged thirty-six, to Avice Blennerhassett, widow, aged sixty-five. John Moore Eagar (according to the Genealogical History of the Eagar family by Mr F J Eagar printed in 1861) was the third son of James Eagar of Cottage (a part of Ballymalis) by Catherine, daughter of Francis Spring and his wife Catherine Mason, daughter of John Mason of Ballydowney.  Mr John Moore Eagar, like his not young bride, had been already married, but while she was his second wife, he was her third husband.  The lady was the daughter of Samuel Blennerhassett by Catherine, daughter of Archdeacon Connor, and she married first a Mr Hoare, secondly her cousin, John Blennerhassett, and thirdly, as above, at the mature age of sixty-five, John Moore Eagar, who must have wooed her after the fashion of Charles Stuart Calverley’s hero in Fly Leaves, omitting however the second line as he had been already a Benedict:


Cans’t thou love me lady?
I’ve not learned to woo,
Thou art on the shady
Side of sixty-two:
Wilt thou love me fairest?
Though thou are not fair,
And I think thou wearest
Someone else’s hair;
Still I love thee dearly
Thou hast lands and pelf,
But I love thee merely,
Merely for thy self.


The clergyman who married this oddly assorted couple was I think my uncle, then the very young unmarried curate of his father and of Dean Graves at Ballymacelligott, subsequently for thirty years rector of Kilgobbin near Tralee.  A correspondent of Notes and Queries not long since sent to that paper three or four similar entries from old English parish registers chronicling the marriages of the old to the young.  Such entries are hardly fair, but clergymen are sometimes unable to resist the temptation of making them, and after all, at the worst, they could only afford a little harmless amusement to later generations and may do some good by checking such foolish unions.


On 28 November 1807, by licence, William Fitzgerald of Deelis in the parish of Killury, to Maria O’Brian, of the parish of Tralee


On 13 January 1808 by licence, James Rice and Harriet Fitzgerald, both of Tralee parish


On 18 February 1808, by licence, John Stretton and Mary Stretton both of Tralee parish


On 10 May 1808 by licence, William Hilliard Busteed to Maria Hickson both of Tralee parish.  William Hilliard Busteed was the son of John Busteed by Catherine, daughter of William Hilliard of Listrim and his wife, Barbara, daughter of John Mason of Ballydowney before mentioned, and therefore sister of Mr Francis Spring.  William Hilliard Busteed left issue by Maria Hickson, my father’s sister, several children of whom two survive, John William Busteed MD of Castlegregory and Catherine.


On 14 May 1808 by licence in the Church of Tralee by permission of the rector, by the Hon and Rev Frederick Mullens, Rowland Blennerhassett jun of Blennerville in the parish of Annagh to Lucy, daughter of John Hurly of Tralee. Rowland Blennerhassett was the fourth son of Rowland Blennerhassett, created a baronet in 1809, by his wife, Millicent Agnes Yielding of Belview, county Limerick.  Letitia Hurly was the daughter of John Hurly by his wife, Mary Conway.  Rowland and Letitia Blennerhassett left issue three sons and five daughters, John, who married but died without male issue; Richard, who married Honoria, daughter of Richard Ponsonby of Crotto, and had issue an only child, Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett, now MP for Kerry; Rowland, died young unmarried.  Millicent married John Collis of Barrow, Alice married Charles Chute and Mary, Letitia and Lucy died unmarried.


On 24 May 1808 by licence, Thomas Collis of Tralee to Diana Denny, daughter of the late sir Barry Denny, and Lady Denny of Tralee Castle.  Thomas Collis had by his wife, Diana Denny, a son John, who married as earlier mentioned, Millicent Blennerhassett, and left issue a son (married his cousin, Arabella Collis and has issue, now living with him in New Zealand) and two surviving daughters, Millicent, married Rev M Heffernan, and Diana.


On 12 February 1809 by licence, Peter Taylor of Elmgrove, Ballyseedy parish, to Susan Bayley of Oakpark, parish of Tralee


On 24 April 1809 by licence, in the parish church of Tralee by permission of the rector, by the Rev Samuel Collis, Samuel Sealy of Maglass to Barbara Hilliard of Tralee


On 7 August 1809 by licence, John James Hickson to Sarah, second daughter of the Rev James Day. John James Hickson, my father, son of James Hickson and Mary O’Connell, and grandson of John Hickson of Stradbally and Fermoyle (by his wife Ellen Trant) who was younger brother of Christopher Hickson, husband of Elizabeth Conway, who died at Fermoyle in 1752, had by his wife Sarah Day, fourteen children of whom four only survived him at his death in 1839.


On 5 March 1810 by licence, John Spotswood of Valentia to Catherine Leyne of Tralee.  John Spotswood had by his wife, Catherine, daughter of Maurice Leyne MD (an eminent and highly respected physician) by Agnes, daughter of the MacGillycuddy of the Reeks, sons and daughters.


On 19 April 1810 by licence, William Day to Mary Elliot both of Tralee parish


On 27 August 1810 by licence, Daniel MacGillycuddy to Sophia, daughter of Sir Barry Denny of Tralee Castle.  Daniel MacGillycuddy, younger son of the MacGillycuddy of the Reeks, and brother of my grandfather’s wife and of Mrs Leyne earlier mentioned, left issue by his wife, Sophia Denny, an only son, the present Daniel de Courcy MacGillycuddy, who married Miss Lucinda Murphy and has issue, and two daughters, Arabella, wife of Edward Murphy, and Sophia, married her first cousin, the Rev Henry Denny, younger son of Sir Edward Denny, and has issue.


On 16 October 1810 by licence, Alexander Elliot to Alicia Hurly both of Tralee parish


This is the last entry preserved of marriages by my grandfather but as he lived until 1819 or 1820, many entries must have been destroyed.  The following is the only entry preserved of marriages between the latter year and 1823:


On 11 November 1817 by licence, Henry Bowles, captain in the 81st regiment, to Elizabeth Bridget Stokes of the parish of Tralee.  Registered the 11 of June 1823 by me, Edward Herbert, Curate.28



1 Selections from Old Kerry Records Historical and Genealogical was published in two volumes in 1872 and 1874 at the author’s expense. 

2 Ireland in the Seventeenth Century or The Irish Massacres of 1641-2, two volumes, 1884.

3 He added, ‘She firmly believes many of her countrymen in 1641 committed frightful crimes, she explains better than any previous writer the causes which drove them into fury’. Reference: The Ireland of James Anthony Froude A Nineteenth Century Drama (2010), unpublished thesis.

Tralee historian Russell McMorran, author of ‘Mary Agnes Hickson: Forgotten Kerry Historian’, The Kerry Magazine, No 11 (2000), pp34-37 (reproduced from the Cork Holly Bough, Christmas 1984), who is preparing a third volume of Mary Hickson’s Old Kerry Records from material collected from her newspaper contributions, estimates the work at 300,000 words.

5 In this respect, Hickson contributed an article, ‘Unpublished Geraldine Documents’, to The Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland, Fourth Series, Vol 4, No 31/32 (Jul – Oct 1877), pp299-335.

6 Humphrey De Robun, Earl of Hereford, killed in battle 1321, married Lady Elizabeth, daughter of Edward I, King of England, and had a daughter, Lady Eleanor de Bohun who married James Butler, 1st Earl of Ormond and had James Butler, 2nd Earl of Ormond, who married the daughter of Sir John Darcy, and had Lady Ellen Butler, who married by the king’s command, Gerald, fourth Earl of Desmond and had a son, who, on the death of his elder brothers and their issue, succeeded as James, 7th Earl of  Desmond.  James married Mary, daughter of Ulick De Burgh, Lord of Clanricard and had Thomas, 8th Earl of Desmond, founder of the collegiate church at Youghal.  He married Lady Ellice Barry, daughter of Viscount Buttevant and had a son John, 13th Earl of Desmond (wrongly called by Lodge and others the fourteenth earl).  He married Maud, daughter of Mahon O’Brian, Lord of Carrigagonnell and Pobble O’Brian and dying in Tralee, where he was buried in the Dominican Abbey, left a son, James, 14th Earl of Desmond.  James married Maud, daughter of O’Carroll and had a son, Gerald, last Palatine Earl of Desmond, killed at Glaunageentha, near Tralee in November 1583.

‘This is the Lord Kerry whose old Irish nurse, Joan Harman, voyaged from Dingle to Milan in the year 1551 to call him home to his estates and title, usurped on the death of  his brother by their cousin’ (Kerry Evening Post, 18 April 1891).  ‘He is the hero of the romantic story in Smith’s History illustrating the strength of fosterage ties in old Ireland. He died at Lixnaw Court in 1590 and Captain Zouch, who then commanded the Queen’s troops in Ardfert Abbey, refused to allow him to be buried in its church with his ancestors.  He was therefore buried in the tomb of Bishop Stack in Ardfert Cathedral’  (Kerry Evening Post, 24 May 1893, ‘Genealogical Facts, Fictions and Puzzles’ contains account in full).  ‘From that time no Lord of Kerry has ever been buried in the Abbey founded by their ancestors’ (Kerry Evening Post, 18 April 1891).

8 ‘He was almost all his life in rebellion.  He destroyed his castles of Beaulieu (Beale) and Lixnaw lest the English army should garrison them and is said to have died of grief on seeing the latter castle in their hands … He was buried in Muckross Abbey in the tomb of his aunt’s husband, MacCarthy Mor, Earl of Clancarr’ (Kerry Evening Post, 18 April 1891).

9 Thomas married first the daughter of the Earl of Thomond and by her, who died in 1600, had a son and heir, direct ancestor of the Marquis of Lansdowne and the Earl of Orkney.  By his second wife Julia, daughter of Richard, Lord Poer of Curraghmore, he had with other issue a daughter Katherine, who married John, Knight of Kerry, living in 1641, and had two sons, John, Knight of Kerry who married in about 1670 the daughter of O’Brien, Viscount Clare, owner of Tarbert and other estates and great granddaughter of the above mentioned Gerald, last Earl of Desmond and Patrick Fitzgerald of Gallerus, near Dingle, who married Thomasina Spring. 

Patrick Fitzgerald of Gallerus, in 1650, was thus great great grandson of Thomas, 16th Lord Kerry (buried in Bishop Stack’s tomb in Ardfert Cathedral) and his wife Lady Margaret Fitzgerald ‘the fair’, sister of the last Earl of Desmond killed at Glenageentha by Kelly.  By his wife Thomasina Spring, granddaughter of Captain Thomas Spring of Killagh, near Castlemaine, Patrick Fitzgerald had with other issue three daughters, Catherine, Anne and Lucy.  Catherine Fitzgerald married James Conway of Cloghane, near Tralee and was ancestress of Sir George Ccolthurst; Anne Fitzgerald married Thomas Conway of Glanlough near Castlegregory in 1743 and had a son, General Count Conway in the service of France, and a daughter Elizabeth, who married Christopher Hickson of Fermoyle, my great uncle, and son, according to a questioning or array in Tralee in 1812 stated by Barrister Rice (the presiding judge, a native of Dingle) of John Hickson of Fermoyle by Susan Fitzgerald, daughter of Daniel Fitzgerald, younger son of the before mentioned John, Knight of Kerry and his O’Brien wife.  The late Robert Conway Hickson of Fermoyle was the great grandson of Christopher Hickson and his wife Elizabeth Conway and the great nephew of General Count Conway of the Irish Brigade in the service of France; Lucy Fitzgerald, married to Richard Ferriter of Dingle (Kerry Evening Post, 18 April 1891).

10 Kerry Evening Post, 24 May 1893, ‘Genealogical Facts, Fictions and Puzzles’.  ‘In 1590-5, according to State Papers, The MacGillacuddy, chief of that branch of the O’Sullivan clan, was killed in rebellion, and his estate was forfeited to the Crown.  Sir George Carew, Lord President of Munster for Queen Elizabeth, whose duty it was to keep a close watch on all the marriages amongst the Irish chiefs of the province, in his MSS, now at Lambeth Library (Codex 625) says that Donell, fifth son of O’Sullivan Mor (brother of the O’Sullivan Mor whose name is inscribed on Dunkerron Castle) married the widow of The MacGillacuddy, daughter of Dermot O’Leyne.  In 1618, after the wars were ended, and the Irish chiefs returning to their allegiance to James the First, we find Connor MacGillacuddy of Castle Currig seeking an alliance with the Crosbies of Ardfert and through their influence obtaining grants of the lands forfeited by The MacGillacuddy of Castle Currig 23 years before and leasing some of them to Dermot O’Leyne’s daughter, his widow, who married secondly Donnell, 5th son of O’Sullivan Mor. 

The reasonable inference from all this is that the widow of the deceased rebel chief had, after his death and her second marriage, delivered up her son, Conor MacGillacuddy, to the government and Bishop Crosbie to be educated and that he ultimately married the bishop’s daughter, who, like her O’Lalor mother, was a Roman Catholic.    After this marriage the chieftainship and some portion of the estates including the present Whitefield, were secured to Connor and he secured his mother and her father and husband from confiscations.  The Crosbie marriage was in this way a great service to the MacGillacuddys and the younger brother of O’Sullivan Mor.’  See newspaper for account in full.

11 Margaret was one of the 12 children of Cornelius, otherwise Connor, MacGillycuddy (1720-1787) and his wife Catherine Chute, viz, Denis, Richard, Francis, Daniel, Eusebius, Cornelius, Charity, Mary Anne, Margaret, Ruth, Avis and Agnes Ruth Herbert. 

12 The other three daughters of Rev James Day and Margaret MacGillycuddy died without issue.  Their sons were Rev Edward Day, Rector of Kilgobbin (had issue 12 children), James Leslie Day, Major in the Bengal Army for 30 years, died unmarried; John Sealy Day, captain in the 87th regiment, served in Peninsular and first Burmese wars, died unmarried; and Richard, died unmarried. 

A longer version of her maternal genealogy Hickson gave in her Extracts: The Rev James Day was the son of the Rev Edward Day (uncle of Judge Day) by his wife, Mary Rowan, daughter of John Rowan of Castlegregory by his wife Sarah Leslie, sister of the Rev James Leslie, DD, Bishop of Limerick and Ardfert from 1756 to 1770.  John Rowan was the eldest son of George Rowan by his wife, Mary Blennerhassett, granddaughter of John Blennerhassett of Ballyseedy and his wife Elizabeth Denny, daughter of Sir Edward Denny by the Hon Ruth Roper, daughter of Lord Baltinglass, mentioned in earlier note.  The Rev James Day married Margaret, daughter of the MacGillycuddy of the  Reeks (by his wife, Catherine, daughter of Richard Chute Esq of Chute Hall and his wife, Charity Herbert) and had surviving issue, four sons, viz, Edward, in holy orders, Rector of Kilgobbin near Tralee, for thirty years, married and had issue;  James, already mentioned, a major in the Indian Army for thirty-two years, died unmarried  in 1835; John, a captain in the 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers, served all through the peninsular, Burmese and (illeg) wars and died unmarried; Richard, died unmarried, and four daughters, of whom three died sp and the second was my mother.

13 Cornelius’s nephew Richard (1790-1866), son of Francis MacGillycuddy (1751-1820) and his wife Catherine, daughter of Denis Mahony of Dromore Castle and widow of Darby McGill Esq, succeeded him.  Richard’s son, Denis Charles MacGillycuddy was The MacGillycuddy in 1893, the time of Hickson’s research.  

14 ‘As are Mrs Graham of Cromore, Doneraile and her brothers and sisters.’ 

15 Vol 3, p446. The first volume of Foster's records was published in 1883.

16 Kerry Evening Post, 24 May 1893, ‘Genealogical Facts, Fictions and Puzzles.’

17 Extracts from the Parish Registers of Tralee Between 1770 and 1802 when the Rev John Blennerhassett was Rector (Kerry Evening Post, 2 October 2 1880).  Sarah Hickson died at her lodgings in Denny Street on 30 March 1852 after a long illness, aged about 60.

18  Genealogy recorded by Hickson in her own record published in Kerry Evening Post, 24 May 1893.  Obituary for James J Hickson published in Kerry Evening Post, 22 November 1865.  Deborah Godfrey Hickson died suddenly at 14 Princes Street, Tralee on 26 June 1896.  They had a son and five daughters; see The Royal Lineage of our Great and Noble Families.

Another brother, John, a barrister, is said to have spent the remainder of his life in England. 

There seems to be some confusion over Hickson’s sister.  Lucy Hickson, daughter of John James Hickson solicitor and Sarah Hickson was born on 19 November 1833 and baptised in Tralee Church of Ireland on 24 November 1833.  Sarah Alicia Hickson, daughter of John James Hickson, solicitor and his wife Mary Hickson was baptised in Tralee Church of Ireland on 15 April 1832.  The death of nine year old Sarah Alicia, youngest daughter of the late John James Hickson Esq, was recorded on 18 January 1841. 

It would appear there was more than one John James Hickson, solicitor, in Tralee, as indeed, there was more than one Mary Agnes Hickson.  Miss Hickson herself addressed the Kerry Evening Post of 24 December 1879, to state she was not the Miss M A Hickson who had subscribed to the Tralee coal Fund.  ‘She supposes she is Miss Hickson who resides at Blennerville’.

19 Extracts from the Parish Registers of Tralee Between 1770 and 1802 when the Rev John Blennerhassett was Rector (as transcribed above) was published in six parts in the Kerry Evening Post of 1880 (June 19 & 30, July 24, August 14 & 28, October 2).  

It was John James Hickson who had urged John T O’Flaherty to compose a History of Kerry, as recalled by Mr O’Flaherty in 1846: ‘At the urgent request of the late Mr John James Hickson of Tralee I undertook the weighty task of compiling a History of Kerry – he kindly promising me the free use of all his valuable documents on the subject – with his personal interest, which was great.  Alas! the hand of death soon came on him and I lost a good friend and an able assistant’ (Kerry Evening Post, 24 October 1846).  The history seems never to have been written.

20 ‘The two cousins were from their infancy members of different churches … and wholly different in politics, were the grandsons of John Hickson, the younger brother of Christopher Hickson of Fermoyle, who died in 1752, the husband of Elizabeth Conway and the grandfather of the late Robert Conway Hickson of Fermoyle’ (Extracts, Kerry Evening Post, 24 July 1880).

21 She described George Hickson as eldest son of John Hickson of Stradbally (before 1770) subsequently of Fermoyle, the latter place having been transferred to him in exchange for the former, under a friendly family arrangement, consequent on a trust lease for 99 years, made to his nephew Robert Christopher Hickson, who conformed to Protestantism in 1764. 

22 Hickson described the situation that had occurred at Fermoyle: ‘After his father’s death in 1784, George Hickson resided at Fermoyle, but in 1803, after a six years chancery suit, he was ousted not only from that place but from his father’s original inheritance, Stradbally, by that father’s nephew, the said Robert Christopher Hickson, High Sheriff of Kerry in 1794, who closed on the trust lease, and retained all the lands mentioned in it.  The chancery pleadings in this suit of which I had a formal abstract made in 1874 by a record agent, as well as the somewhat similar ones in the suit of Hurly v Fitzgerald, also in the record office, give curious glimpses into the land system of Kerry in the Penal times and immediately after they had ended, and their results, of which I fear the youngest amongst us today will not see the end.’ 

She added, ‘I agree so little with Mr Harrington and the extreme leaguers as to say that I think that when my granduncle’s lease came to an end in 1819, much as he had suffered in the Penal times, and much as his Protestant landlords, the descendants of Cromwellian colonists, had prospered in those times, that old Lord Ventry having by honourable purchase acquired the lands, he had a perfect right to raise the rent of thirty nine pounds very considerably indeed; even to double it, that is to say to require from my granduncle, and father after him, seventy nine or eighty pounds yearly, and that as years went on supposing the famine of 1847 not to have come upon the land, old Lord Ventry’s heirs might well have required in that year as much as a hundred pounds per annum for the place.  But I think that the exaction of £204 per annum for the lands for 28 years before Griffith valued them in consequence of my father’s and brother’s improvements at £202, was an intolerable grievance and that even after those improvements had taken place entirely at their expense, the rent should not have exceeded a hundred pounds for many years.  Cases like this I feel sure are common throughout the country.’

23 Hickson explained the situation thus: ‘Griffith valued the land at £202 between 1847-50 but I need not say that this valuation was mainly made up of the results of the money expended by my father and my brother between 1837 and 1849.  Indeed between 1839 and 1847 when he left the place, my elder brother had expended at least £3000 on it in building, planting, draining; chiefly, if not entirely, my own money and that of my younger brother to whom he was guardian.  I mention this case to show how entirely fallacious a test Griffith’s Valuation often is of the fair rent. Any one reading his valuation of Hillville, Kilmurry and Terbrin in 1849 when my brother lost the place and the amount of rent he was expected to pay, will naturally enough at first glance say that the lands were not rack-rented.  But when it came to be considered that it was immediately after my brother and father had between 1833 and 1849 built, planted and improved the land that Griffith valued it at £202 and that for 28 years before that time the £204 rent had been paid for it, the whole case assumes a totally different aspect.

Hillville has been associated with a number of names since the occupation of Thomas de Moleyns including Michael and Mary Smith, the latter dying there on 12 March 1887.  In 1899, P and B Mahony, brothers of Mr J Maunsell Mahony, were in residence and in 1926, the estate was reported to be in a poor state of repair. A few years later, however, Captain Richard Paget, ‘a notable figure in Devonshire social circles’ and a relative of racehorse owner, Miss Dorothy Paget, purchased the Ventry estate. During his occupation, 21 year old Edmond Rohan, a farmer’s son residing at Farranakilla, was shot, evidently accidentally, by Garda John E Fitzpatrick, a native of Cavan, during a late night patrol of the river for poachers, for which he was charged with murder.  Captain Paget edited the magazine, The Irish Angler, the first issue of which appeared in 1939.  The 11th Lord Harrington, Viscount Petersham, appears next on record for in 1962, his 17-year-old son, Charles Henry Leicester Stanhope, was charged with assault after playing a prank on John and Sheila Eastwood from Bridport, Dorset, who were camping in the Maharees.  In his defence, Charles claimed it was a prank that went wrong, ‘He decided to let the tent down for a practical joke.  It was dark and he fell over one of the ropes and into the tent.  He heard a man scream.  He did not kick anyone in the tent but he could have knelt on somebody when he fell’.  Justice Johnson remarked that ‘it could have dealt a deadly blow to the tourist industry of this place’.  Other names from this time include Matthew Moloney, Peter Maunsell and Le Marchant.  In late 1969, the property was auctioned and subsequently utilised as a country house hotel by Edward A Crutch, who later sought the management skills of Ron and Sandra MacDonnell. Hillville House Hotel, said to have a resident ghost, was open to the public until about five years ago, when it fell victim to the economic downturn. 

24 Kerry Evening Post, 28 May 1881. 

25 Tralee historian Russell McMorran described Hickson’s temper as ‘ungovernable’.  Further reference, The Kerry Magazine, No 11 (2000), ‘Mary Agnes Hickson: Forgotten Kerry Historian’, pp34-37, by Russell McMorran.  A note on her conversion is contained in this article.

26 Kerry Evening Post, 8 April 1899.  Probate to Francis M’Gillicuddy Denny Esq of Tralee and Isabella M Legge of Kingston College.  Francis McGillycuddy Denny (1843-1914) JP, DL, was the son of Anthony Denny and Catherine Magill.  He was one time officer in the Royal Engineers and a member of the land agency, Hussey, Denny and Huggard which played a prominent part in the land agitation of the 1880s.  He was charitably disposed and a keen lover of music.  He never married, and was the last of the male line of the old family associated with Tralee. 

Hickson, whose grandmother was Margaret MacGillycuddy, gave her genealogical link to the following families in her Extracts:  ‘Francis MacGillycuddy (my grand uncle) was the third son of the MacGillycuddy of the Reeks by his wife Catherine, daughter of Richard Chute of Chute Hall and his wife Charity Herbert of Currans.  Catherine, the wife of Francis MacGillycuddy, was the daughter of Denis Mahony of Dromore Esq, and widow of D Magill Esq.’

27 The Kerry Magazine, No 11 (2000), pp34-37.

28 Extracts was published in six parts in the Kerry Evening Post of 1880 (June 19 & 30, July 24, August 14 & 28, October 2).