Turtle Bunbury

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Bunbury of Johnstown, Co. Carlow

A Potted Background

For much of what follows below, I am indebted to Michael Brennan, Michael Purcell (of the Pat Purcell Papers, aka PPP), Gill Miller, Johnny Couchman, the late Peter Bunbury and the manifold contributors to the Carlow IGP Website.

The Bunburys of Johnstown descend from the Baron de St. Pierre, a Norman soldier granted lands at 'Bunbury' in Cheshire in 1066. Almost five hundred years later, during the English Civil War, the Baron's descendent Sir Henry Benjamin Bunbury was stripped of his lands and imprisoned for his support of King Charles I. It seems as if Sir Henry's half-brother Thomas Bunbury was a clergyman who was simultaneously hounded out of his vicarage in Reading by Presbyterian's. In time, Thomas was granted a license to preach the word of God under the public seal of the University of Oxford. Thomas's second wife Eleanor came from the Birkenhead family, of whom Henry Birkenhead founded the Oxford Chair of Poetry. Eleanor's sister Bridget Birkenhead was married to John Chetwode who was, I believe, a pal of Jonathan Swift, while another sister Mary Birkenhead married William Downes of Shrigley and Worth.

Thomas's so Benjamin moved to Ireland and set himself up at Killerig during the 1660s. In the coming decades, his son Joseph Bunbury served as High Sheriff of County Carlow and established his residence at Johnstown.

As the threat of French invasion rose in the 1770s, so Major Henry Bunbury - believed to be Joseph's son - co-founded the Irish Volunteers in Carlow. The Major fathered several children, including Henry Bunbury of Bunbury Lodge, a Carlow magistrate who found himself at the centre of several violent episodes in the course of his life. Another son, Colonel Robert Bunbury served in the Napoleonic Wars and married a granddaughter of a former Primate and Chancellor of Ireland. The Colonel was succeeded at Johnstown by his eldest son, the Rev. Henry Bunbury who remodeled Johnstown House and sired an impressive fifteen children, including Robert, Vicar of Swansea, who married a first cousin of Charles Darwin; Selina who became a well-known travel writer; and Clara, who married a wealthy Liverpudlian hemp and flax merchant. Also of this branch was British Post Office hero Sir Henry Noel Bunbury, KCB (1876-1968). Bankrupt by 1819, the Rev. Bunbury sold Johnstown to John Campion and moved with his family to Liverpool, although the Bunbury connection to Johnstown survived until at least 1937.

The Bunbury Children
Thomas and Eleanor Bunbury had five sons and six daughters. Their eldest son, Thomas Bunbury of Virginia, was born in 1634 and subsequently made his career as a tobacco baron in Virginia where he became ancestor to the Bumbreys, one of the largest and oldest black families in the United States today. Of the next five children, only Dulcibella survived childhood, passing away in July 1686 at the age of 48. (1) The twins Benjamin Bunbury and Joseph Bunbury were baptized at Stanney on 13th September 1642. Their youngest sister Diana was born on 23rd September 1644 and married their first cousin Richard Bunbury. (2) The elder twin, Joseph Bunbury stayed in England and had a son, Robert, who left no children. Following up on an Irish connection dating back to his grandfather's time, Benjamin Bunbury moved to Ireland and settled near the old Knight Templar castle at Killerig in County Carlow.
Footnote 1: Dulcibella left her signet ring to her brother Benjamin Bunbury, later of Killerig, ancestor of the Bunbury family in Ireland. There is a memorial in Stoke Church, Cheshire which reads:- 'Here lyeth the body of Dulcibella Bunbury eldest daughter to Thomas Bunbury of Stanney, Gent by Eleanor his second wife who was fifth daughter to Henry Berkenhead of Backford Esq: She died the 5th July MDCLXXXVI (1686) aged XLVIII years . The Will of Dulcibella Bunbury, which names a large number of relations and friends, was dated 13th June 1686 and proved at Chester by her sister Diana, the widow of Richard Bunbury, on the 28th August following. She desires to be buried 'at Stoke in the chancell as nigh to my father as possible. I cann & doe hereby humbly request Sir Henry Bunbury that he be pleased to let me lye there & not doubting that he will grant my desire herein I leave unto my cozen [first cousin twice removed] Henry Bunbury his sonn and heire one eleven shillings piece of old gold'.
Footnote 2: Diana Bunbury is also buried in Stoke Church.
Exodus to Ireland

Benjamin Bunbury of Killerig was the father of the Bunbury family in Ireland. Born in 1643, he moved to Ireland shortly after the death of his father in 1668 with his wife, five sons and daughter. Burke's Peerage proposes that Benjamin first obtained Killerig from the Earl of Arran in 1669, the year he married Mary. [Details of her background here] There are also some deeds, dated 1702, to suggest he started out as a tenant of the Duke of Ormonde. In 1695 he served as High Sheriff for County Carlow. He died on 3rd April 1707, aged 63, and is buried in St. Mary's of Carlow.

The Five Sons & Daughter of Benjamin of Killerig

Of his five sons, the eldest son, Joseph Bunbury, settled at Johnstown, near Benekerry, two miles east of Carlow town.The second son was Thomas Bunbury of Cloghna & Cranavonane in Co.Carlow. The third son William Bunbury established the family seat at Lisnavagh , Co.Carlow. The fourth son Matthew Bunbury moved to Kilfeakle, Co. Tipperary. The youngest son, also Benjamin Bunbury, inherited Killerig. A daughter, Diana, married Thomas Barnes, said to have been one of the Duke of Ormonde's soldiers from Kilkenny.


Johnstown (parish of Urglin, Carlow) has been home to humanity since ancient times being only a mile or so from the Brown’s Hill dolmen and boasting its own bullaun stone. It is said that Johnstown is named for the Knights of St John who ran a hostel here in the 12th century. This was probably during the age when William Marshall, the ‘Great Earl’ of Pembroke who ruled over much of these lands at the time.

In 1393-4, Sir Geoffrey de Valle, Sheriff of Carlow, was seised of Johnstown and other lands in the county. Geoffrey is credited with the killing in 1375 of Donnchadh MacMurrough (MicMhurcchadha), the sixth clan leader to be so killed since 1354. Curiously, Urglin may derive its name from the O'Lyn or Leyn family; Lisnavagh was associated with Redmond Leyn in 1606. The de Valles (or Wall) pitched a castle and lived at Johnstown for nearly 300 years. As adherents to the Catholic faith, they were dispossessed in the wake of Cromwell’s conquest and relocated to Galway.[1]

The Construction of Johnstown

In about 1725, Joseph built a house at Johnstown which architectural historians have described as 'a detached four-bay two-storey double-pile house with dormer attic on an asymmetrical plan with projecting chimney breasts'. Bence-Jones claims that the house was built on the site of a monastery (Bence-Jones 1978, p.161). The two recorded archaeological sites at this immediate location are the castle site and a graveyard. No archaeological remains of a monastery site per se have yet been identified at this location or in the immediate vicinity.

Johnstown (spelled Johnston) is one of the few places outside Carlow Town listed on Visser’s 1690 map of Ireland (de Wit).The Couchmans who live at Johnstown today believe the house to be the oldest continually occupied building in Carlow; they suggest the foundations date back to the time of the de Valles.

That said, Johnny Couchman counsels that it's impossible to pin a date on it: "The earlier part of the house is really a mystery as there seems no particular logic to its former construction. An expert on ancient houses was utterly foxed by the whole setup; all his presumptions about old houses were knocked on the head! The cellars start halfway across the hall. The " loggia" outside the present house has a bricked up cellar underneath it. There are all sorts of oddities too - when we were putting in a waterpipe to our new house, we came across the foundations of another building in front of the present front door which was at right angles to same! The old front door was at the back of the present house and the old avenue, a very wide road with huge verges, drove straight towards it. In the yard I was digging a hole some years ago for a pit and found, about five feet down, a corner wall with big well-cut stones, again at right angles to the existing farm buildings. The house has two Ley lines running through it.'

There is also the remains of a graveyard at Johnstown, of which Johnny writes: "The graveyard on the present avenue has no famine stones and no gravestones or anything apart from a ruin of wall down one side. The explanation for the graveyard came to light when a local man with a metal detector discovered a MASS of lead bullets across the front field. His machine only works to about three inches down, and I remember that field being ploughed fifty years ago, so clearly there was a serious battle there - thus the graveyard. The bullets looked like 15th century. There is a monument on said graveyard which we had to move as it was being broken up by the lime tree roots underneath it; when we dug the foundation for the rebuilding some twenty feet away we found, only about six inches down, a mass of human bones!"


[1] . It is noted that John O’Neill, son of one of the Earl of Athlone’s officers who went to France with the Irish Brigade, is described as ‘of Johnstown, Co. Carlow’ in Burke’s 1863. Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, Sir Bernard Burke (Harrison, 1863).
Joseph Bunbury & the Carlow Leases

Joseph Bunbury who settled at Johnstown, was married on July 1st 1713 to Hannah Hinton, a daughter of the Venerable Archdeacon Dr. Edward Hinton, Dean of Ossory. (3a) In November of that same year, Joseph,a former High Sheriff of County Carlow, and his brother Benjamin, the then High Sheriff, were drawn into a controversy over an apparent fixing of a result in the election of that year. (3b) Joseph began to make an increasing impact in Carlow at this time, purchasing a substantial interest in the town itself.

The Dublin Land office contains a memorial of a mortgage dated March 12th 1713 between John Green 'of the town of Catherlogh, Gent' and 'Joseph Bunbury of Johnstown'. Having had a lifelong fear of land law ever since I purchased Wylie's magnum opus, I do not understand the actual linguistics of the memorial. However, it seems that, for £165 pounds, Joseph purchased the estate right, title and interest on 'all that tenement and plot of ground situated in Dublin Street in the Town of Catherlogh', as well as a tenement and plot 'in Southcott Lane in the town of Catherlogh along the River Barron'. Among the witnesses was his younger brother, Thomas Bunbury. (4a)

Another deed, dated June 5th & 6th 1717, concerns a memorial of mortgage 'by way of lease and release between Hugh Fagan of Kilewick, co. Carlow, gent of the one part and Joseph Bunbury of Johnstown, co. Carlow Esq. of the other part'. By this deed, Fagan 'conveyed unto Joseph Bunbury part of the lands of Rathdean, co. Carlow, lately Wentworth Harman’s part containing 130 acres profitable land'. The lease also covered 'the lease for three lives renewable for ever made to the premises by Wentworth Harman to Richard Butler, Gent who assigned the same to Hugh Fagan to hold unto Joseph Bunbury, his heirs and assigns during the three lives in the lease'. Once again, Thomas Bunbury of Cloghna was a witness, as was John Smith, Publick Notary in the City of Dublin. (4b)

And a Memorial (78.216.54765) from Burton to Jones dated 12th April 1719 reads as follows: 'Benjamin Burton of Burton Hall Co Carlow to James Jones of Killmacart Co Carlow The Warren lands of Killmacart - 88 acres Barony of Rathvilly [Lop] ??? of Clonmore county of Carlow deed dated 25th March 1718 for the lives of said James Jones, Hanah Jones, wife and Mary his daughter… with £13.6d provided … received fees plus 4 capons at Christmas or 5/- in lieu of. [Capon is a French word for castrated male chicken or fat male chicken] Joseph Bunbury of Johnstown county of Carlow deceased. Witnessed by John Whelan, John Russell of Rutlands. John Whelan and Francis Robinson, Francis Hardy.' (Thanks to Susie Warren).


3a: Also check: Congreve's Irish Friend, Joseph Keally , Kathleen M. Lynch, PMLA, Vol. 53, No. 4 (Dec., 1938), pp. 1076-1087.

3b: 'Thomas Burdett Esq: the Case of Thomas Burdett'; occasioned by a printed paper entitled 'The Case of Joseph Bunbury, Esq, late High Sheriff of the Counbty of Catherlogh' [complaining of Bunbury's conduct with regard to the election in Co. Carlow]. This may refer to an incident in November 1713 ( 'The History and Antiquities of the County of Carlow', John Ryan, 1833 page 261) where Burdett challenged the results of the election, claiming 'that Benjamin Bunbury Esq., high sheriff of said county, having been guilty of partial ,undue and illegal practices at said election, in favour of Jeffery Paul Esq., did return the said Jeffery Paul as knight of the shire for said county'. Benjamin was accused of interfering in in the election process in 'a zealous and most industrious manner', menacing, managing, seducing, and creating freeholders. A further reference on page 16 of 'The Carlow Parliamentary Roll' by Robert Malcolmson, M.A.T.C.D., states 'that Benjamin Bunbury Esq. high sheriff of the said county' had been found guilty of the above charges. The complaint was referred to the Committee of Privileges and Election but nothing seems to have come of this. Perhaps the challenge was lost amid the events surrounding the death of Queen Anne and the Hanoverian Succession in August 1714.

4: The memorial can be found at #9230 vol. 18 p. June 6, 1717 John Green to Joseph Bunbury in the Grantor Indexes to the Deed Memorials at the Dublin Land office. The indexes are also recorded by the Church of Latter Day Saints in their Family History Libraries. Tom La Porte kindly made the following notes on the memorial although, as he said, ' this isn't anything like a transcription, it's just some words selected here and there to get the flavour of the people and the land involved'. His notes read: 'Memorial of a mortgage bearing date Mar. 12, 1713 between John Green of the town of Catherlogh Gent. of the one part and Joseph Bunbury of Johnstown, in the said county Esq. of the other part whereby Green in consideration of 165 pounds paid to him by Joseph Bunbury has sold to Joseph Bunbury his Estate Right Title and Interest in and to One Fee Farm deed of lease dated Sept. 26, in the 11th year of the reign of the late Queen Anne made by the Right Hon. Henry Earl of Thomond to John Green of all that tenement and plot of ground situated in Dublin Street in the Town of Catherlogh (followed by land description) also a tenement and plot in Southcott Lane in the town of Catherlogh along the River Barron (further land description) to hold to the said John Green to have and to hold the said One Fee Farm lease and premises unto Joseph Bunbury under the yearly rent of 12 pounds. Followed by a further provision for buying out the mortgage'.

4b: #9238 vol. 18 June 5 & 6, 1717 Fagan to Bunbury, Grantor Indexes to the Deed Memorials.



Joseph died on 14th January 1730 and was buried in Urglin two days later. Hannah followed him on 19th December 1738. They left at least one son, Henry Bunbury, dealt with below, and a daughter, Henrietta Bunbury (1708-1761). Henrietta married Paul Minchin, variously described as of Ballynakill and of Bogh (or Bough), just outside Rathvilly. He was the the grandson of Charles Minchin, born about 1628. By this marriage, Henrietta had a son and two daughters. She was grandmother to Minchin Carden of Fishmoyle. For further details, see page on William Bunbury I of Lisnavah.

Henry Bunbury (1716-1785) of Johnstown & THE JACOBITE THREAT

Joseph's son, Henry Bunbury of Johnstown was born in 1716 and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, from which he graduated with an M.A. in 1736.

Henry appears to have become directly involved with the Jacobite Rising of Bonnie Prince Charlie which erupted in 1744 and concluded with the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden in April 1746. This came to light with the discovery of a document relating to the trial and execution of Philip Nowlan of Ballykealy in the Pat Purcell Papers which read as follows:

November 1744 - Hear Ye. By Virtue of a Warrant under the hand and Seal of Jacob Peppard Warren Esquire. High Sherriff of Carlow upon a Writ issued forth of his Majesties Court in Ireland bearing to Peter Nowlan of BallyKeeley now a Prisoner in the Gaol of Carlow under a Warrant of Henry Bunbury Esq. for Treason whenever he shall be brought for Trial. Witnessed : Beauchamp Bagenel Esq.~ Thomas Gurly Esq.-Beaumont Astle Esq.~ Harcourt Pilsworth Lightburne Esq.~Hardy Eustace Esq. (PPP).

Nowlan was subsequently hanged in Clonmel in 1745 for "high-treason" for his support of the Jacobite cause. This was almost certainly Peter Nowlan (or Nolan), the last chief of the Nowlans of Ballykealy and a descendent of the 16th century chieftain, Cahir O'Nolan of Ballykealey. He may have been caught recruiting Irishmen for service in the Irish Brigades in France. Recruitment for the Irish Brigades was still very much ongoing in 1744. For instance, William O'Shaughnessy (1674-1744), was colonel of Clare's regiment in the Irish Brigade and attained the rank of marshal after almost fifty years of active service in France, a period which began when he served in King James's army at the Boyne. According to the 1744 document, an unusually large turn out of sixteen Magistrates, Justices of the Peace, Sheriff's and members of the gentry of county Carlow became involved in the case, underlining the seriousness of the charge.

The High Sherriff for Carlow in 1744 was Jacob Peppard Warren [from the Nurney]. Maurice Warren, his father, had supported William III yet Jacob’s grandfather John Warren, MP for the borough of Carlow 1689, supported James II and served as a Captain in the Jacobite army under Sir Maurice Eustace. John Warren was attained, lost considerable lands in Carlow and his will was proved in 1701. It is not known whether he died of natural causes or was hanged but he reputedly had a large family, including Maurice, most of whom lived in County Carlow. [1]


Henry may be the Henry Bunbury referred to in the following document which is an abbreviated transcription from a long account of property transaction on faded parchment in the Pat Purcell Papers and is provivded courtesy of Michael Purcell. It is to be noted that the present-day location of the property is the offices of Carlow County Council.

Indenture 1762.
This Indenture made the fourteenth day of July in the Second Year of the Reign of our Sovereign and Chief Lord, George, King, and so Forth, of the Kingdom of Ireland, between the Honourable Arthur Dawson, of Athy Street in the County of Catherlough, and the Court of the Exchequer in Ireland, Dublin, Esquire, one of the Barons of our Lord the King of the one part and Henry Bunbury, of the same, Esquire, one of our Justices of the Peace of our Lord the King, of the other part.
Witnessed here that in consideration of the yearly Rent and Covenants herein mentioned to lett the house, outoffices and garden adjoining, situate on Athy Street, in the Town and County of Catherlough, bounded on the West by the River Barrow walk, on the East by Athy Street, on the North by Gurley's Plotts and on the South by Dobbyn's and Proctor's Holding.
ALL THAT TO HAVE AND TO HOLD ALL THAT herein mentioned for and during the Reign of our said Lord the King, by the said Henry Bunbury, his Executors, Administrators, and Assigns, the said House and the Ground adjoining commencing the twentyfirst day of July in the Second Year of the Reign of our said Lord the King.
(signed) George Dawson, Bart. Henry Bunbury, Esquire, J.P.
Witnessed this the Fourteenth Day of July in the Second Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord the King, (signed) Walter Carmichael, Clerk for Catherlough, James Jackson, Assistant Clerk.

On 14th July 1767 Henry Bunbury presided over the case of Sarah Conners of Hacketstown who claimed to have been attackedthree days earlier by a man called Hugh Conneron who had come to her house 'in a very Gross Manner ... a Razor open in his hand and made Several Attempts with said Razor to cut [her] Throat [and] verily Believes he would Murder her on the spot' were it not for the intervention of bystanders. The fate of Sarah Conners and her intended terminator is unknown. [2]

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In September 1779, Major Henry Bunbury and Colonel J. Rochford co-founded the Carlow Legion, a unit of the Irish Volunteers. In April 2012, Adams auctioned 'an early and rare County Carlow Legion Banner embroidered on silk depicting Hibernia leaning on a Harp, holding a staff and flag in the left hand and a leafy sprig in the right hand. The Motto 'be true to yourself' is inside a border of shamrocks. The Banner is oval (71 x 66cm).' Up until the church underwent a substantial renovation in 1975, this banner hung from a bracket on the wall in St. Mary's Church, Castle Hill, Carlow, alongside three other Militia-type banners. But which Henry was this?! I always assumed Major Henry Bunbury who co-founded the Irish Volunteers in Carlow was a son of Joseph of Johnstown but there do seem to have been several Henry Bunburys in operation at that time so now I am less sure ... Any thoughts?

He is presumably the same man as this fellow named in the Freeman's Journal of 20-23 May 1780. (Thanks to Bob Fitzsimons)

' Carlow May 17: Early on Tuesday morning a detachment of the Palatine Town Volunteers commanded by Captain Henry Bunbury marched to Cranny[?] in the County Kildare, and after some resistance, apprehended one Murtagh Darcy, a notorious rioter....for an assault committed on one of the Volunteers of said company, and brought him before Sir Charles Burton, Bart, who committed him to gaol.

And he is also probably the man mentioned in this report from Walkers Hibernian Magazine:

"Carlow July 12, 1785. This day the volunteers of this County, with some corps from the Queen's County, and county of Kildare, were reviewed on the field of Pollarton; at twelve o'clock, Sir Charles Burton, the reviewing general, came to the field, attended by Lieutenant Colonel Doyne, Majors Bunbury and Dillon. There were present most of the principal gentlemen of the county; the troops went through their evolutions and firings to the perfect satisfaction of the general, and the numerous spectators. The day was remarkably fine; the review ended at half past three o'clock; several of the distant corps were hospitably entertained by the general, in tents pitched in his lawn."

Henry served on the Carlow Council in 1768.


Henry Bunbury's wife, Henrietta Pysint [sic], a daughter of Captain Robert Pysint, was sister and sole heiress of Sir Robert Pysint. She was also apparently 17 years older than him but nonetheless bore him at least two sons, Joseph and Robert, and two daughters who were christened in Urglin at this time - J. Edith Bunbury of Johnstown on 25th August 1733 and Henrietta Bunbury of Johnstown on 23rd July 1735. Edith died on 12th January 1739. It is to be noted that a Benjamin Bunbury of Killerig was baptised in Urglin on 2nd August 1736.

Henry and Henrietta may also have been parents of Harriot Bunbury who was married at Johnstown in June 1770 to James Archibald Hamilton. [3] And James may have been the gentleman who leased Hamilton's Brewery in Carlow town to Constantine Brough, mentioned below.

There is also a possibility that Henry and Henrietta were the forbears of a branch of the family who were established at Ardnehue, near Johnstown, as well as in Livepool, England. For more of this, see Bunbury of Ardnehue and Liverpool.

On Wednesday, March 4th, 1772, Finns Leinster Journal noted that Colonel Henry Bunbury had died at Johnstown the previous Thursday morning and that ‘by his death, an estate of 900l. per annum devolves to his son, Rev. Joseph Bunbury’. [4]


1. Thanks to Michael Purcell, Roger Nowland and Susie Warren. For more, see http://nolanfamilies.org and "The Early Cullen Family" page 188.

2. County of Catherl [sic] to wit // The examination of Sarrah Conners of Hacketstown in said County. Who being Duly Sworn and Examined Saith that on Saturday the Eleventh Day of July Instant as this Examn.'t was Sitting at her own Door in Hacketstown aforesaid when then and there Hugh Conneron of the aforesaid Town and County came to this Examn.t's door as aforesaid and in a very Gross Manner abused this Examn.'t. said Hugh Conneron had at same a Razor open in his hand and made Several Attempts with said Razor to cut this Examn.'s Throat, and this Examn.'t verily Believes he would Murder her on the spot but that this Examn't. Trough [sic] her self on the Ground and he Being Prevented from doing the same by some Standards by ( bystanders )and further this Examn't. Deposseth that she is affraid of her life of the aforesaid Hugh Conneron James Conneron Patrick Conneron and Myles Conneron all of the aforesaid Town and County they being people of an Ill repute in the Country and further this Examn.'t Saith not. Sworn before me this 14th day of July 1767 (signed) Hen. Bunbury R.M. 67. her Sarrah X Conners mark ..... Sarrah Conners bound in the sum of ten pounds Sterling. to prosecute at the Next Generall Quarter Session of the peace to be held at Carlow in and for said County and not to Depart the Court without Liscence. Acknowledged as aforesaid. (signed) Hen. Bunbury R.M. 67. [PPP]

3. MARRIED. At Johnstown, County Carlow, James Archibald Hamilton, Esq; to Miss Harriot Bunbury. Freemans Journal (5-7 June 1770). Thanks to Bob Fitzsimons.

4. He is this not to be confused with another Henry Bunbury who represented the parish of Fennor as a prebendary in Cashel from his collation on May 14th 1781, and who died in 1785 and was buried in Tipperary.



Rev. Joseph Bunbury, Rector of Urglin

The eldest son of Henry and Henrietta Bunbury was the Rev. Joseph Bunbury, Rector of Urglin, or Rutland, 2¼ miles from Carlow. The church where the families of Duckett, Burton, Denys, Crosbie and Bunbury gathered to pray in the 18th and 19th centuries was located a few fields away from Johnstown. Initially built by the Tighe family circa 1760s, this would have been the closest church to Killerig (2 ½ m). The present church was erected in 1821 and is just as Lewis described it in 1837 - 'a neat plain building with a spire'. Its construction was paid for 'by aid of a loan of £700 from the late Board of First Fruits'. Joseph's name can be seen on a weather-beaten slab above the front door along with the names Tighe, who presumably repaired the church, as well as the Rev Brooke. The fields of Johnstown occupy the foreground, with new roads and bridges in the distance, and the fairy tale towers of Duckett's Grove on the eastern horizon. Framed by his fellow peers,Sir Edward Crosbie, the so-called 'head' of the 1798 rebels in Carlow also has a prominent connection to the church.

Joseph Bunbury married Elizabeth Nixon, a daughter of Abraham Nixon (or Nickson) of Munny House, County Carlow. She may well have been a sister of Rachel Nickson who, in December 1765, married the Rev. Christopher Harvey of the Bargy Castle family in Co. Wexford. (5) They had two sons Henry and Benjamin. Benjamin died aged 4 on the 7th December 1758. Henry who was baptised 20th May 1753 went on to live in Bunbury Lodge and lived with with Margery Walsh who bore him 5 sons all of whom were illigitimate.


Footnote 5: Educated at Trinity College Dublin, the Rev. Christopher Harvey was an eminent churchman in the hey-day of the Church of Ireland, being variously Rector of Kyle, Incumbent of Rathdowney and Rosscarbery, and Prebendary of Edermine. He became a key player in the Volunteer movement of the late 1700's, openly speaking out against England's neglect and misrule of Ireland. He gave a sermon of thanks for the Volunteers, a portion of which ran: "To our public misfortune was added every distress of a private nature, the small remnant of trade dealt out with a niggard hand to us...Manufacturers were pining in our streets for lack of bread and the labourers and useful peasant - one of the glories and support of empire- forced by distress to flee from their families and native homes." This reference to the crippling trade laws imposed by England became the hallmark of his persona. In his last years he tried to create an apolitical society for the betterment of agriculture.



Henry Bunbury (1753-1819) of Bunbury Lodge - AN AGREEABLE ODDITY?

The Rev. Joseph and Elizabeth Bunbury's only surviving son was Henry - or Harry - Bunbury of Bunbury Lodge, Russelltown, Co. Carlow, and Athy Street, Carlow. A contemporary called Henriette Steuart recalled him as 'an agreeable oddity'. Henry never married but had five sons by his lover, Margery Walsh, and the Roman Catholic branch of the Bunbury family in Carlow would appear to descend from this union. There are several Dublin Deeds relating to Harry and Margery's de facto arrangement.

Harry Bunbury was Sheriff of Carlow in 1789, as well as a magistrate and Justice of the Peace. As the late family historian Peter Bunbury put it, 'he evidently did not conform with the rules of the times and even created registered deeds which stated that his defacto's income (ie Margery) would continue provided she remained his partner.' As such it is little surprise that he was referred to by one contemporary as 'an agreeable oddity'. (See Appendix 1). He would also appear to have been the magistrate who was referred to in the 1809 report of the theft of silver by Robert Bunbury of Ardnehue. Harry Bunbury died in 1819.

Harry and Margery Bunburys five sons were:

1). Thomas Charles Bunbury - According to his father's will extract, he was under 25 in 1819, suggesting he was the eldest son. He was married young to a Sarah Rodwell. According to Urglin Parish records he was buried 25 February 1852. Thomas and Sarah had issue:
a) Henry Bunbury, who was born 7th September 1811 in Sandgate, Kent, and attended TCD (1837) before becoming a barrister (listed as member of King's Inn in 1840). He sold Bunbury Lodge, at Johnstown and, a the time of the 1881 census, he was living at Charterhouse. By 1891, he was a boarder in Camberwell. He died unmarried the following year, aged 84, in June 1892. (GRO cert: 1d 458).
b) Benjamin Bunbury.
c) John Bunbury - educated at Carlow and a member of King's Inn 1835. He is listed in the records of King's Inn as the 3rd son of Thomas Charles Bunbury and Sarah Rodwell, and was over 16 on affidavit from his mother.
d) Elizabeth Bunbury.
A report from 4th April 1835 states that 'Thomas C. Bunbury of Russelstown, Gentleman' had a Freehold in Russelstown 'of the clear Yearly Value of Twenty Pounds at the least' signed to him on 27th May 1819 by Henry Bunbury of Russelstown. It was certified that Thomas C. Bunbury was 'duly registered as a voter in Carlow on above date'. (Pat Purcell Papers).

On Wednesday June 5th 1850, the Ballina Chronicle reported that 'Mr. Thomas Bunbury, of Russelstown, is committed to Carlow gaol and his son, Mr. Henry Bunbury, is admitted to bail, both for threatening the life of a sheriff's bailiff and discharging a gun at him.' It is not known who the sheriff's baliff was or why they were shooting at him. The High Sheriff was Beauchamp Bartholomew Newton (1798-1850) of Rathwade, the son of Colonel Philip Newton and Sarah Westrop. Mr. Newton was married to Isabella Forbes, daughter of Lt.-Col. Arthur Forbes, but had no children. He held the office of High Sheriff in 1850. Whether the Bunbury's shooting made any impact on this or not, Mr. Newton died on 21 August 1850 at age 51.

2. Robert Bunbury. Mentioned in his father's will that he was an Ensign in the military but Regiment not known. It is plausible - although peter thinks it unlikely - that this was Robert Bunbury of Ardnehue.

3. George Bunbury, born 1786. According to the Will extract from his father's will he was a Lieutenant in the military in 1819.

4. William Henry Bunbury, born 1887. Mentioned as deceased in the will extract of his father. Also that he had a wife Martha and a daughter, Frances Bunbury.

5. Abraham Bunbury, the youngest illegitimate son, was born in 1790 (or 1792?) and lived variously at Castledermot and Russellstown. On 13th October 1819, the year of his father's death, he married Margaret Leonard in St Anne's. There may have been a daughter who married a Lieutenant Horwood in India but further evidence is needed for this. In October 1810, Abraham Bunbury was living at Russelstown in the Parish of Killerrig in the Barony of Carlow when he swore before Fishbourne that he had been assaulted by Michael Dwyer and others. By 1st March 1815, Abraham was stating that he lived on the Pollerton Road outside Carlow and maintained himself 'by his Income arising out of Tythes', suggesting that he was closely connected to the Church of Ireland. In 1821, Abraham Bunbury, Householder and Farmer, and John McGuinnes, Cabinet Maker, were recorded as going bond for Richard Walsh of Johnstown who was in trouble with the Excise Officer, Edward Waters. (PPP) Richard was perhaps Abraham's cousin on his mothers side. In September 1822, the Carlow Morning Post reported that Abraham Bunbury of Castledermot was lying dangerously ill following a gunpowder explosion. (PPP) He presumably bounced back from this as, on 28th April 1823, Abraham Bunbury of Grangford, Co. Carlow, was appointed executor to the will of his brother-in-law George Leonard of Castledermot, along with George’s sisters Margaret and Elizabeth. [2] Abraham died in January 1828 and was buried in Urglin, County Carlow, although apparnetly not until 6th June 1828. Margaret died in 1827.

The late Dick Corrigan told me that one of the Russellstown Bunbury girls married a Burgess. In August 2018, Julie Flynn Coleman kindly forwarded me a record from the Church of Ireland registers in Ballon which confirmed the marriage of William Burgess of Tullow to Martha Bunbury of Russellstown in the parish of Aghade on 21 August 1831. I assume Martha was a daughter of Harry and Margery.

Russellstown House was knocked by the Land Commission in the 1950s. Dick called it a travesty and still recalls seeing all the paneled mahogany doors being left out on the lawn before the sale. He says the house was bigger than Rathmore; it considered one of the most elegant buildings in Ireland. The late Seamus Magrath likewise condemned the ‘scandalous behaviour’ of the Land Commission. ‘It was a beautiful house, decorated to the last’, recalled Seamus who sold many a box of apples to Russellstown’s last owner, Colonel Steuart Phillpotts. The Land Commission attempted to sell the house to the Patrician Brothers but, when that plan fell through, they knocked the house down. ‘They were vandals, that was all,’ said Seamus. ‘The house was in perfect condition.’ Meanwhile, Colonel Phillpotts, an Anglo-Irish gentleman famed for giving away fully laden hampers from Harrods of London to those with whom he stayed, had moved to London and become a taxi driver.


1. This came from a message from Ken Baker indicating that a Janine Jol of Australia was descended from a daughter of this Abraham.

2. 780.518.528453. George Leonard’s Will of Castledermot in the county of Kildare. Registered 28th April 1823 appoints Abraham Bunbury of Grangford in the county of Carlow. Margaret Leonard wife to the said Abraham Bunbury. George’s sisters Margaret and Elizabeth.

William Warren married Mary Disney daughter of Thomas Disney and Elizabeth [daughter of Samuel Leonard] of Garryhundon which of course was held by the Butler's who were cousins of the Warren's through John Warren MP for the borough of Carlow 1689 through his wife Arrabella Butler sister to Sir Thomas Butler 3rd Bart, Knight, of Garryhunden who represented the county of Carlow in parliament, 1692.

Deed 493 301 322763 dated 20.12.1795. Henry Bunbury of Johnstown, Co: Carlow to Margaret Walsh, of Johnstown Field near Tullow. approx: 5 1/2 acres also a plot of ground and houses at Templeowen (Tullow) for the lives of George Bunbury, 3rd natural son of said Margaret, now abt 8, William Henry Bunbury, 4th natural son, abt 7, and Abraham Bunbury 5th son. 40 pounds p.a. Margaret marked [could not write].

Deed 494 6 319091 dated 14.10.1795. Henry Bunbury, of Johnstown, to Margaret Walsh, Templedon, Co: Carlow. Property for the life of Margaret Walsh if Henry's interest continues that long. Head lease from Dr Stephenson's Hospital, Dublin. Registered 28.11.1795.

Deed 639 403 442910 dated 21.12.1795. Henry Bunbury, Bunbury Lodge, Co: Carlow, to Margery Walsh Johnstown, Co: Carlow, Henry granting Margery an annuity of 26 pounds p.a. chargeable on Lower Mortarstown, so long as she remains unmarried. Margery not to sell or pledge the annuity. Registered 4.2.1812.

Deed 682 170 469315 dated 1.5.1812 Henry Bunbury, Bunbury Lodge, Co: Carlow to Joshua Nunn. City of Dublin, gent: - Henry selling lease of 1/6 Lower Mortarstown, granted to him by Joseph Bunbury, of Ballyracon, Co: Tipperary, except the rights of commonage, for the lives of said Henry Bunbury and Thomas Bunbury eldest son of William Bunbury, late of Lisnevagh. Registered 26.11.1814.

Deed 682 171 469316 dated 20.3.1811 - Amendment - Parties as above. Registered 26.11.1814.
Deed 682 171 469317 dated 1.5.1813 - Amendment - Parties as above. 1/6 of Lower Mortarstown leased to Henry by Matthew Bunbury of Exton, Hants England. Registered 26.11.1814.


The Fight with Thomas Byrne, 1785

Henry's name frequently appears in the Pat Purcell Papers. The trouble is that there appears to have been several different Henry Bunburys in this time frame, all closely involved with the Grand Jury and magistracy and, as one renowned local historian puts it, ‘getting into scraps with the Byrnes etc.’ One of the Henry’s has a particularly fine flourish of a signature

On 11th April 1785, 'Henry Bunbury of Rathdaniel' and Johnstown claimed he had been attacked by Thomas Byrne, farmer, also from Rathdaniel, who did 'wickedly and unlawfully endeavour to provoke and excite the said Henry Bunbury to fight a duel against him, the said Thomas Byrne, with Pistols to the evil example of all others'. Byrne apparently gave Henry a lash of his whip 'with violent oaths' taunting that if Henry did not take up the challenge to 'battle', Byrne would 'publickly horsewhip' Henry 'in every place he should meet him'. Henry duly ran into the townhouse of one John Burrowes on Carlow's Dublin Street where he was chased from room to room and 'in a most abusive and violent manner, both in gestures and in language, abused' and called 'a rascal and a scoundrel and challenged this informant to battle'. In a paper document relating to this event, Henry gives his address as Johnstown). For reasons unclear, the case against Byrne was subsequently quashed. (Pat Purcell Papers). However, this apears to have been followed by a second incident, outlined below, which occurred in August 1785. And this time, the court found Byrne guilty although we do not yet know what happened to him. The allegation came up for auction on 9 September 2017.

From Pat Purcell Papers.
Verdict delivered 29th March 1787.
County of Carlow ~~to wit.
The Jurors for our Lord the King, upon their Oath say and present, that Thomas Byrne of Rathdaniel in the County of Carlow, Farmer, on the Nineteenth Day of August in the Twenty fifth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third [ie: 1785], by the Grace of God of Great-Britian, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, and so forth, with Force and Arms, That is to say, with Swords, Sticks, and so forth, at Carlow ~~ in the said County of Carlow in and upon Henry Bunbury, Esquire, a true and faithful Subject of our Lord the King in the peace of God and of our said Lord the King, then and there being did make an assault and him then and there did ill treat and other wrongs to him then and there did Contrary to the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity and the Jurors aforesaid upon their Oath aforesaid do further Say and present that Thomas Byrne of Rathdaniel in the County of Carlow, Farmer, on the Nineteenth day of August in the Twenty fifth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third by the Grace of God of Great Britian, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith and soforth, with force and Arms that is to say with Swords Sticks and soforth at Carlow in the County of Carlow wickedly and unlawfully did Endeavour to provoke and Incite Henry Bunbury, Esquire, to fight A Duel against him the said Thomas Byrne with Pistolls with Intent to kill and murder the said Henry Bunbury to the Evil Example of all others in the like offending and against the peace of our Said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity ~~
True Bill. (signed) - ? - foreman and fellows.

The Theft of the Johnstown Timbers, 1800

Another document of interest relating to timber theft in June 1800. It would seem that Johnstown House had been abandoned, probably since the 1798 Rising, and that 'the Joice Floors Doors Windows, Door and Window Cases Boards Rafters Lentals and other Timber and valuable Articles' had since been 'feloniously stolen at different times and carried away'. Henry set off at the head of a party of the Tullow Yeoman Infantry, then quartered at Grangeford, searched several houses and found a good deal of the missing timber in 'the dwellings' of Michael Wall and Lawrence Dempsey, both of Johnstown. (Pat Purcell Papers)


In 1800, James Malone [perhaps the man who was later at Rathmore] and William Hickey declared that they would act as Bondsmen for Hugh Murphy, Farmer, of Rutland who was ordered "to keep the peace towards all his Majesty's Liege Subjects and especially towards John Brennan of Johnstown and Patrick Dobbyn of Ardnehue for the space of Seven years.' The document in the Pat Purcell Papers runs as follows:

'Hugh Murphy maketh Oath that he usually resides at Johnstown in the Townland of Johnstown in the Parish of Rutland in the Barony of Carlow in the County of Carlow, Farmer.
James Malone maketh Oath that he is a Householder and actually resides at Templeowen in the Townland of Templeowen in the Parish of Killerick in the Barony of Carlow in the County of Carlow and that he is worth the sum of Twenty pounds Sterling over and above all his just Debts.
William Hickey maketh Oath that he is a Householder and lives at Johnstown in the Townland of Johnstown in the Parish of Rutland in the Barony of Carlow in the County of Carlow and that he is worth the sum of Twenty pounds Sterling over and above all his just Debts.
( signed ) Hugh Murphy, James Malone, William Hickey.
Sworn respectively before me this 10th Day of November 1800.
( signed ) Hen Bunbury.'


As directed by the Act of the 36 George 3.
Entitled an Act more effectually to suppress INSURRECTIONS, and prevent the Disturbances of the PUBLICK PEACE.~~~ County of CARLOW,
to Wit ~~ I Bryan Shortall of Kilmurry in the Parish of Ballon in the Barony of Forth in the Town-land of Kilmurray do hereby give NOTICE that I keep ARMS, and that the place where the same are usually kept is at my dwelling house at Kilmurray and that the number of said arms is one muskett 4 brace balls and one sword.
I Byran Shortall do SWEAR that the above NOTIFICATION is TRUE, and that I am by LAW entitled to keep ARMS.
(signed) Bryan Shortall.
Sworn before me at Tullow Sessions 16th January 1802.
(signed) Hen Bunbury, E. Eustace, C -- Brough (Constantine Brough) [1]
(Pat Purcell Papers)

[1] Susie Warren alerted me to some memorial deeds (465.280.297311) from March 1793 between and in which James Hamilton of Sheephill, Co. Dublin, had leased Hamilton's Brewery in Carlow town to Constantine Brough, and naming his sons John Brough and Redmond William Brough on the same lease. The lease was witnessed by Henry Hamilton of Elm Green, Co. Dublin, and Francis Hamilton, Attorney at Law, of Dublin City. However, Constantine did not keep the brewery for long. In May 1799, another memorial (524.57.342274) shows that the brewery had been leased to Matthew Redmond & John Farrell.


As directed by the Act of the 47. George. 3.
Entitled an Act to prevent improper Persons from having Arms and Gunpowder in Ireland.
County of Carlow.
I James Clowry of Ballybreen in the Parish of Myshall in the Barony of Forth in the Town-Land of Ballybreen in the County of Carlow Do hereby give Notice that I Keep Arms, and that the place where the same are usually kept, is at my Dwelling-House at Ballybreen in Carlow and the Number and Description of said Arms are one sword, one blunderbuss ~ 1150
I James Clowry do swear that the above Notification is True and that I believe I am by Law entitled to Keep Arms ~~
(signed) James Clowry.
Sworn before me at a Special Sessions held at Carlow this 20th Day of June 1804 [ ? ].
(signed) Hen Bunbury.


A list of Magistrates for the County Carlow raised a subscription for a reward in finding those responsible for the murder of Patrick Nowlan of [?] Ullard, and for the houghing of cattle and burning corn, includes the name of Henry Bunbury, who subscribed £10. (Freemans Journal, 1905. With thanks to Bob Fitzsimons).

A THEFT FROM BURTON HALL (1805) [via Pat Purcell Papers].

The Information of Jane Smyth wife of James Smyth, Soldier in the City of Cork Regiment of Militia, taken before Henry Bunbury, Esquire, ~ appointed by our Lord, George the Third, King of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith and so forth ~ as one of his Majestys Justices of the Peace for the County of Carlow.
Jane Smyth who being Duly Sworn on the Holy Evangelists and Saith, that on Monday the 21st Day of January 1805, Hannah Connelly of Burton Hall in Carlow left a parcel with Jane Smyth wrapped up in an old white dimity petticoat which contained one white muslin Gown and Petty Coat of the same material, one plaid Calico Gown, one old white Cotton Gown, one White dimity petticoat, one Brown steep Petticoat, two shifts, two white Handkerchiefs, one new Yellow silk handkerchief, one White Muslin Cloak, three pair of White Cotton Stockings, ten Caps, and one pair of Spanish Leather Shoes, which Bundle and Property Jane Smyth put under her Bed for Security.
Jane Smyth saith that in her absence from her lodgings the said Bundle Containing the aforesaid articles together with three pair of Cotton Stockings the property of Jane Smyth were feloniously Stolen from her said Lodgings on the Morning of Tuesday the twenty second Day of January 1805.
And further Saith not. (signed ) Jane Smith.[i]
Sworn before me this 24th day of January 1805. (signed) Henry Bunbury.


[i] Throughout his report, Henry Bunbury spells her name as Jane Smyth and yet, at the end, she signs her name as Jane Smith. Michael Purcell makes the following valid points about the spelling of names: “Regarding the spelling of names it depended on who was clerk / justice / magistrate / teacher / doctor / constable / rector / priest / priest's housekeeper / (for many times it was the priest's maid or housekeeper who made the entry in the Registers ) - most times they spelt the surname as it sounded to them, very unlikely they would ask one "how do you spell your name" ? And there was no way one would attempt to correct any of the above "professions", besides the majority of people could not read or write.” The recent posting of Jane Smith is a good example ... In Carlow Cathedral register the name Keane is spelt five different ways, “but they are all from the one family unit.” Likewise Nolan, Knowland, Nowlan and Nowland are all the one family. And “for several generations O'Neill was recorded as Nail for baptisms and marriages in the church registers in Carlow”.

The Case of Matthew Byrne, 1807 (PPP)

On 14th November 1807, Henry Bunbury of Bunbury Lodge, Justice of the Peace, appeared as a witness in a sitting before Hardy Eustace Esq. another of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace. He gave the following account of a violent assault the previous day. At 'about four o'clock in the afternoon of Friday the 13th of November', Henry was walking down Tullow Street in Carlow town when he came upon 'a mob or crowd assembled a ring formed at a standing or standings of fruit and other things usually there upset and tossed about the centre of Market Cross'. Henry asked James Smyth, a saddler watching from the steps of his nearby shop what was going on. Smyth told him the racket was being caused by a man called Mathew Byrne, 'a fellow of very bad character and ill behaviour, who lived in a neighbouring cellar and who had been beating his wife' - along with other violent public outrages - 'and was continually doing so, even within a day or two of her lying in, raising riots in the street and a nuisance to the neighbourhood'. Smyth observed 'it would be a very proper act or words to that effect' for Henry 'to interfere and prevent further riot and mischief'.

'Conceiving himself in some degree called upon', Henry felt it his 'undoubted Duty as a Magistrate to interfere'. Smyth pointed out Byrne upon which Henry approached the villain and commanded him 'to go home about his business and desist from such outrageous and violent conduct'. Byrne 'positively refused to comply' and 'used some very impertinent and abusive language'. Finding himself 'so disobeyed and insulted in the execution of his duty as a Magistrate', Henry endeavoured 'by force' to take Byrne to the stocks. Byrne 'violently resisted', struck out at Henry and 'seized or collared' him 'with such rage and violence' that had it not been for a silk handkerchief Henry was sporting about his neck, and which came away in Byrne's grip, Henry 'verily believes said Matthew Byrne would have strangled or choked this Deponent'.

As it was, Byrne tore Henry's shirt and great coat in several places. Henry 'made every effort to extricate himself' from this situation 'and got said Matthew Byrne down, yet he would not let his grip go', until Smyth with Sergeant Dobbs of the Carlow Militia and some others came to Henry's assistance. 'With extreme difficulty [they] unloosed said Mr Byrne's hold' and managed to drag him away, with Byrne kicking and gouging all the way. Dobbs got Byrne into Smyth's cellar and sent out for Colonel Phare of the Wexford Militia who swiftly sent a guard to apprehended Byrne and chuck him in the county gaol. Byrne continued to resist, 'striking two officers of said Regiment by seizing one private's bayonet and assaulting several of them and attempting to draw one officers sword' but, eventually, 'with much difficulty and great exertion after much struggle and time', Byrne was lodged in the gaol 'and further saith not'. [Pat Purcell Papers - Case of Mathew Byrne - 1807].

It seems likely Matthew Byrne was a close kinsman of the Thomas Byrne found guilty of attempting to murder Henry Bunbury 20 years earlier.



Before Henry Bunbury, Esquire, one of his Majesties Justices of the Peace for Carlow.
The Information of Robert Bunbury of Ardnehue, Carlow, Esquire, Sworn Saith that on 15th March last he was told by his servant Peter Wring that a Silver Bowl and Large Silver Ladle inheirited from his fathers family of high Sterling value was missing for some days past from the Library Room at Ardnehue, the Bowl has engraving of twisted rope designed along the rim the Silver Ladle has the Letter "B" craved on the handle, the week before the Bowl and Ladle was noted gone a kitchen maid by the name of Ann Fowler departed from service at Ardnehue and has not been sighted since, Robert Bunbury and servant Peter Wring verily believe she has absconded to London and that she has brought the Bowl and Ladle with her in the hope that she would make contact with a dealer and thus in this manner raise the fare required for passage to America where some of her family have settled, Robert Bunbury craves justice and further saith not. (signed) Robert Bunbury.
Sworn before me this 17th day of March 1809 (signed) Hen. Bunbury.
(From Pat Purcell Papers).
At end of Robert's Statement it is noted: 'The Bowl has Head of Loin & stamp ~MW~ of Silver-Smith maker under the base' suggetsing the hallmark of Dublin silversmith Michael West.

MICHAEL DONAHOE THE WEREWOLF (From the Pat Purcell Papers).

The Information of John Donahue of Copenagh, Carlow, taken before Henry Bunbury, Esquire, One of His Majestys Justices of the peace for Carlow. John Donahue being duly Sworn on the Holy Evangelists and Examined Saith that on Tuesday [ ? ] the 24th day of Feb 1809 as John Donahue was going on the high road at Rathlyan, Carlow, he met with Michael Donahoe working at Labouring work on the side of the road - John Donahoe told him it was time for him to do that and in reply Michael Donahoe made answer and told John Donahoe - that he was the man that would take his life - John Donahoe Saith that at Several other times and places the said Michael Donahoe has Expressed himself in the Strongest terms that he would have Michael Donahoe's life either by day or night as also his Mothers and also declared that he would in one night or other destroy or Consume John Donahoe's Property and from such threats on the 24th as also at Several other times - he is in Dread and fear of Michael Donahoe ~ as he is Generally deranged in his mind and a lunatick at the full of moon and becomes Outrageous ~ (signed) John Donahoe. Sworn before me this 30th of March 1809 (signed) Hen. Bunbury.

Later Court Appearances

In April 1809, there is reference to Henry Bunbury of Bunbury Lodge looking for recovery of 12 pounds 14 shillings 9pence 1/2 penny from John Murphy. Seven years later, on 17th May 1816, Henry Bunbury's name was back in court when his servant John Walsh pressed violent assault charges against Anne Lacey, one of Henry's former servants. Walsh claimed that, two mornings earlier, he had been quietly herding some of Henry's cattle across Russellstown and had dropped in to visit Widow Cullen at her house in the Deer Park. Here he encountered Miss Lacey who, without apparent provocation, hurled a 'a Large Sauce Pan with long handle at him' and 'swore vehemently that She would have the Old Thief's Life'. 'The said Anne Lacey [also] said in the presence of several men then in the House that Examt's [ie: Walsh's] whole Tune was Croppy Lie Down in about the House alluding to Bunbury Lodge'. (Pat Purcell Papers)


The Information of Catherine Daly of Burton Hall, Carlow, the wife of Jeremiah Daly, Coachman to William Burton, Esquire, of Burton Hall, Carlow.
Sworn on the Holy Evangelists saith that on the night of Tuesday the 12th December 1815 Catherine Daly being in bed with her two children, a rap came to the Door with someone calling her by her name and requested she would get up and give them the loan of some candles to light over one McGrath who lived in the neighbourhood , claiming that McGrath had just died.
Catherine having no person in the house except for her two children objected to opening the Door at so late an hour of the night which she judged to be about twelve or one O'Clock. Catherine told them she had no candles and that she would not get up or open the Door when the persons outside insisted on this, Catherine ordered her Daughter, a little Girl to get up and open the Door.
Then three men entered and Called for the Candles which was handed to them by the Daughter. They immediately struck up fire Light with the Candles, her Daughter saw their faces were covered and they were armed with pistols, she ran and told her mother that she believed they were Robbers and made an effort to get
out to Alarm the neighbours ----- when she was stopped outside the Door by an other man whose face was also
covered together with a number of others who compelled her to return in again ----
when the three men proceeded to the room where Catherine lay and Demanded her money.
Catherine handed them her pockets and said all the money she had was therein contained which amounted to about two shillings. They then proceeded to Rifle the House and take amongst other things the following articles ----- Soap, Tobacco, Candles, Bread, Herrings, a table Cloth, night Gown, Seven Silver Tea Spoons, Copper Kettle, Brass Candlesticks, a pair of Shoes and pair of Pumps with Several other articles amounting in the whole as Catherine verily believes to the sum of two Guineas.
And further Saith she does not know any of the persons who so Robed her they being disguised by their faces being Covered as aforesaid.
Sworn before me this 30th day of December 1815, ( signed ) Henry Bunbury.
(signed) Cathy Daly


7th March 1818. (could be 1810 ?) Edward Burton of Pollerton, Carlow, who is Bonded by William Burton of BuRton Hall, in the Parish of Urglin and Joseph Fishbourne of Strawhall, Carlow, must appear in Carlow Sessions to answer all such Matters and Things, as shall be objected against him (Edward Burton) on behalf of our Said Lord the King by Henry and Ebenezer Bunbury. (signed) William Fishbourne. Magistrate. (PPP)


Colonel Robert Bunbury (1734-1790) & the WALSH family

Robert John Bunbury, second son of Henry and Henrietta Bunbury of Johnstown, was a Colonel in the 12th (Prince of Wales) Light Dragoons. He was born in 1734 at Portarlington, a Huguenot settlement on the banks of the River Barrow straddling the border of the King's and Queen's Counties (now Offaly and Laois).

On 29th October 1762, he married Jane Walsh, the sister of one of his fellow officers in the 12th, Major Philip Walsh. The Walsh's father, also Philip, was a prominent barrister in Georgian Dublin, graduating from Trinity College to become a Bencher at the King's Inn and a senior counselor before his death in 1745. Jane's grandfather, the Rev. Philip Walsh (1655-1740), rose from his position as Chaplain to Archbishop Michael Boyle to become Primate and Chancellor of Ireland. Jane's uncles were all clergymen - the Rev. John Walsh (d. 1756), Rector of Kilcoole, Co. Tipperary, Rev. Jeremiah Walsh (d. 1789), Rector of Killiah, Co. Meath and the Rev. William Walsh (d. 1781), Vicar of Blessington and Rector of Ardnurcher, Co. Meath, and Kill and Lyons, Co. Kildare. The latter is a forbear to Lesley Fennell (nee Walsh) of Burtown House, Athy, Co. Kildare. The Registry

1 WALSH, WILLIAM, Esq. 25 Oct. 1783. Full tf> p. 14 Feb. 1785. Brother and heir of Philip Walsh, deceased, late a Major of Dragoons. My brother's and my debts to be paid and thereafter my real, freehold and personal estate to my brother-in-law Robert Bunbury, Esq., exor. Witnesses to will and memorial: Peter McDermott, city of Dublin, Edwd. Hunter, city of Dublin, Jno. Carroll, Golden Lane, attorney. 363,421,244985 Robt. Bunbury (seal). For more see http://www.irishmanuscripts.ie/digital/Registry%20Of%20Deeds%20Abstracts%20Of%20Wills%20Vol%20III%201785-1832/data/search.xml

Robert is believed to be the member of the Coulter Club listed below, although I do not know what the Coulter Club was.

Leighlinbridge, August 2, 1773. The Members of the COULTER CLUB, having a just abhorance to the violent and wicked outrage committed lately on Mr John Gorman, by setting fire to a large parcel of hay belonging to him, in the deerpark at Garryhunden, in the county of Carlow, and entirely consuming the same; and being desirous of bringing to condign punishment the person or persons guilty of the villainous and atrocious a crime, do hereby offer a reward of ONE HUNDRED POUNDS Sterl. for the discovering and prosecuting to conviction at any time, the the person or persons guilty of the said crime. The said reward to be paid immediately on conviction by THOMAS GURLY, Esq. [signed by] William Steuart, Ben Roche, Wm. Paul Butler, James Butler, Richer Mercer, Wm. Dawson, Simon Mercer, Robert Bunbury, Thomas Gurly, Thomas Bennett, Matt Humphrey, Owen Whelan, John Gorman, Richard Pack, Edward Vigors, John Humphrey, Amyas Thomas. (PPP)

Colonel Robert Bunbury died in 1790. His Will is dated 30th November 1790 and he left his estate to his brother in law William Walsh (solicitor). His son Henry had married Henrietta Shirly just 10 days earlier.

Rev. Henry Bunbury & Eleanora Shirley

Colonel Robert Bunbury's eldest son Henry was born in c. 1768, Henry followed family tradition, holding various Church of Ireland posts and, later in life when the family had moved to England, posts in the Church of England. On 20th November 1790, shortly before his father died, the Rev. Henry Bunbury married (Henrietta) Eleanora Shirley, the 18-year-old Bath-born daughter of the Hon. Rev. Walter Shirley. The marriage took place at married at Annadale in County Dublin. A deed dated 29th November 1790 - and which is probably a marriage settlement refers to "Revnd Henry Bunbury eldest son & heir at law of Robert John Bunbury of Borlanlinstone, Queen's Co; & Henrietta Eleonora Shirley spinster & Hon: Henrietta Maria Shirley widow and guardian of said Henrietta Eleonora both of Annadale, Dublin." (Deed 426 532 278682 dated 29.11.1790).

The couple had an impressive fifteen children of whom James Hamilton Bunbury is treated next, Robert Bunbury married a first cousin of Charles Darwin, Selina Bunbury became a well-known travel writer and Clarissa Bunbury married a wealthy hemp and flax merchant by name of Robert Jones. Among Henry and Eleanora's other children were their eldest daughter Harriet Jane Bunbury (born c 1792, died unmarried at Liverpool in 1854), their third daughter Frances Bunbury (born 1801, died unmarried at Liverpool in 1855) and Augusta Bunbury (born 1816, of whom little is known exceptshe was living in Liverpool with her mother Henrietta Eleanora and sister Harriet in 1841). There were also four who did not survive childhood - their second daughter Maryanne Bunbury (c. 1795 - 1801, died at Kilsaran), a son Henry Bunbury (c. 1800 - 1801, died at Kilsaran), another son Henry Bunbury who died aged 12 and of whom little is known, and a younger daughter, Louisa Bunbury, born c. 1809 and died c. 1817 of whom little is known. When Selina was born in 1802, her father was based at Kilsaran House in County Louth. Henry appears to have gone bankrupt in 1814 and may have sold Johnstown House as early as 1814.

The registered papers of the Office of Chief Secretary of Ireland from 1818 to 1852 include a letter from Reverend Henry Bunbury, then a Church of Ireland curate of Drummaul, County Antrim, to the Chief Secretary’s Office at Dublin Castle and dated 10th August 1821. In the letter, he complaining of his reduced circumstances and debt. He enclosed a memorial requesting relief and claimed that ‘the entire of his Landed property in the hands of a Receiver under the Court and owing to frauds having been committed against his property he has been obliged to seek redress by engaging in a very weighty Chancery suit’. He also included a certificate from Captain Thomas Martin, indicating that Henry was both the representative and heir of Colonel Philip Walsh of 12th Regiment of Dragoons, ‘a most excellent officer’. Does this refer to Philip Walsh, his grandfather? (NAI REFERENCE: CSO/RP/1820/250)

Eleanora moved to Dublin with the family and from there to Liverpool where she died in 1841. Henry died in 1845.

NB: There is also mention of a Rev. Henry Bunbury of Rochestown, Co. Tipperary, living at this time.

James Bunbury, the Ketterwells & THE BUNBURYS OF CUBA

The Rev Henry Bunbury's eldest son, James Hamilton Bunbury (1792/93-1873) was married in 1840 to the considerably younger Johanna (or Anna) Kettlewell (1822-1906), daughter of Col. J.W. Kettlewell, R.A., of Hammondsville, Co. Waterford. They had a son Henry Shirley Bunbury (b. 1843) and a daughter Harriet (b. 1840) who married William Johnson (1835-72), with whom she had a daughter Isabel in 1867. Harriet later became a nun. [NB: The Lisnavagh agent William Johnson was still alive in 1874 so seemingly not the same man!]

In 1839, James Bunbury, late of Raheen, Co. Carlow, and described as a Yeoman, is charged with theft on 5th July. His crime was to 'feloniously' steal, take, and carry away 'against the Peace of our Lady the Queen, her Crown and Dignity', one Frieze Coat, value one shilling, 'of the goods and chattels of one Thomas Watson of Ballydarton'. (Pat Purcell Papers). At this time, Thomas Watson was Master of the Hunt, a position he held for 62 years from 1807-1869. He was grandfather of Myra Bunbury, who married Jack Bunbury, and ancestor of the present Chairman of the Augusta Golf Club, Joe T. Watson). This 'James Bunbury' could feasibly have been Henry and Eleanora's son. He appears in Griffiths Valuations as owning considerable amounts of property and there are several Dublin Deeds relating to his failure to pay his sister Selina Bunbury her due inheritance. But does this James really fit the yeoman description?

The author Selina Bunbury was particularly fond of young Henry Shirley Bunbury, James's son, who went on to marry his cousin Clara Augusta Jones, daughter of Robert Henry Jones and his wife Clarissa Bunbury (see below), HSB's father’s sister. Henry and Clare appear to have developed a strong link to Cuba and had four children - Walter H. H. Bunbury (born 1881), Molesworth Charles Bunbury (1883-1941), Cecil James Bunbury (born 1886) and Eleanora Shirley Bunbury (born 1888). in August 2017, I was contacted by Ignacio Fiterre of Miami, Florida, who told me that his mother Clara Teresa Bunbury was born in Cuba in 1916 and was a daughter of Molesworth Charles Bunbury who died in Cuba four years before Ignacio’s birth in 1945. Ignacio added: 'I knew my great uncle, Cecil Bunbury and great aunt Nora Bunbury. Both passed away in Cuba in the mid 1950's. Their older brother, Walter Bunbury was a Commercial Intelligence Officer at the British legation in Havana until 1939 when he retired and went to live in Plymouth. The remaining Bunburys in Cuba fled to the United States in 1960. All I have are copies of letters from my great uncle Walter Bunbury to his cousin, Sir Henry Bunbury and a family tree.'

In September 2017, I was contatced by Ignacio's first cousin Susan Bunbury, daughter of Charles Bunbury (1913-2008), who was a brother of Clara and thus a son of Molesworth Charles Bunbury. Susan, a graphic designer, was born in 1955 in Havana, Cuba. She has a sister, Elizabeth (1943) in Jacksonville, Fl, and a brother, Richard (1956) who lives near her in the Boston area. She was too young to meet her grandfather and his siblings but she also has copies of the aforesaid letters and tree.

Molesworth Bunbury

The Rev Henry and Eleanora's (second?) son Molesworth Bunbury was born about 1797 and died on Army service in America in 1815.

Selina Bunbury the Writer (1802 - 1882)

The Rev Henry and Eleanora's third surviving daughter Selina Bunbury was a well known early Victorian travel writer and novelist. Henry Boylan's Dictionary of Irish Biography states that she was born in Kilsaran, County Louth, in 1802. She was a twin of the Rev. Robert Bunbury, Vicar of Swansea (see below). Selina's mother moved to Dublin with the children shortly after her father went bankrupt in 1819. Selina took up a job as a primary school teacher and began to write books about pre-famine Ireland, such as A Visit to my Birthplace (1820, 12 editions in her lifetime), Cabin Conversations and Castle Scenes (1829) and Tales of my Country (1833). In 'Cabin Conversations', she slammed both the 'evils of Popery' and the proselytising efforts in the west of Ireland. Her most successful work was Coombe Alley (Dublin: Curry 1844), a Guy Fawkes narrative set in the reign of James I. Another hit was the two-volume Sir Guy D’Esterre (London: Routledge 1858), following the adventures of an English soldier in the train of Sir Henry Sidney who is captured in Ireland -'the cursedest of all lands', falls in love and meets Hugh O’Neill.

In Liverpool, she wrote many popular novels while keeping house for her twin brother, Robert. After Robert's marriage to Adele Galton in 1845, she visited most of the countries of Europe and published a number of travel books, such as The Pyrenees (1845), Summer in Northern Europe (1856) and Russia After the War (1857). She visited every country of Europe except Greece and Portugal. Her output was very large but hardly reached the 'Hundred Titles' mark sometimes attributed to her. Selina moved frequently between Ireland and England and was very fond of her nephew Henry Shirley Bunbury and her niece Clara (Clare) Augusta Jones, to whom she provided support. These two cousins eventually married and it was at their home in Cheltenham that Selina died in 1882. (8) See more here or a detailed account from Orlando here or another one showing her book covers here and also here. (Thanks to Victoria House)

Footnote 8: Brian McKenna, Irish Literature, 1800-1875: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1978) McKenna (Irish Lit., 1974) summarises, ‘freshness and humour distinguish the best of her work, including her early novels on Irish themes.’ See also Irish Book Lover, Vols. 1 & 3; and ibid., Vol. 7 (1916) pp.105-07. According to the Mormon database, Selina Bunbury was born in 1807, daughter of Henry Bunbury of Tynan, Armagh, and Henrietta Eleanor Shirley. Other sources date her birth to 1806.

Rev. Robert Bunbury, Vicar of Swansea & the Galtons

The Rev Henry Bunbury's (third?) son, Robert, was born in about 1802 and was twin brother to Selina. In 1845, he married (Millicent) Adèle Galton who was born at Ladywood, Birmingham, on 21st July 1810. She was a first cousin to Charles Darwin (through her mother Frances Ann Violetta Darwin) and a brother of Sir Francis Galton, the remarkable man who pioneer of eugenics, who coined the term 'eugenics' as well as the phrase "nature versus nurture". [Sir Francis married Louisa Jane Butler (1822–1897) on 1 August 1853; the union of 43 years proved childless.] In March 1846, Robert and Adele had a daughter, Millicent but, just weeks later, tragedy struck when Robert died of gastric fever. The last service he performed was christening his own child. He was much mourned as the popular Vicar of Swansea. His death is described in the memoir's of Adèle's sister Elizabeth Ann Galton, extracts of which follow below with kind thanks to Yvonne ____.

......'I mentioned that Adèle had been upset in her donkey carriage and her face cut and plastered up. The day after my Mother and I went to St. Leonards and Adèle was left alone, Mr Robert Bunbury called to see her. He had been curate to Mr Craig at the Parish Church for some time and knew Adèle, seeing her at the school and at Dr Marsh's. He left Leamington and soon after got a living in Lancashire, and immediately came to Leamington to propose to her, saying that he had long been attached to her, but had not means to marry her till then. Adèle, with her patched face, told him that she must think about it and talk it over with her family before she could give him an answer. When she joined us, she told me what had happened, and we both agreed nothing could be said or done while my Father was so ill. Adèle wrote to tell him she could not think about it under the circumstances. He however was very persevering and, soon after we returned home, he told my Mother and came to Leamington and was soon after accepted. He was an excellent clergyman, much liked and respected wherever he had been. His Mother was a Shirley, his Uncle and Aunt a good old couple in Derbyshire, respected and liked by everyone.'

........ 'On 24th January (1845) I returned home, Mr Bunbury came to Leamington and called every day, and was finally accepted by my sister. His cousin became Bishop of St. Asaph, and a curious thing happened. Mr Shirley, to escape legacy duty, made over all his money to his son the Bishop, who however died before his father, so that he had to pay all the expenses to get his own money back!....

.......'On 13th May, my sister Adèle was married to Robert Bunbury at St. Mary's Church. As we were all in deep mourning, the wedding was perfectly quiet: Darwin, Mary, James and Lucy, Erasmus, Francis, Mr Thomas Bunbury, Emma and I went to Church. Darwin gave her away, and Archdeacon Shirley (afterwards Bishop of St Asaph) married them. Dr Marsh and Mrs Chandos Pole came to breakfast with us and, soon after, Adèle and her husband set off to the Isle of Man. We were de­lighted with Archdeacon Shirley, so truly religious a man, without any cant. Religion seemed to pervade everything he said, and we were sorry when he went.'.....

......'About this time Robert Bunbury had the living of Swansea given to him, the value about £860 a year, and he and my sister were glad to leave St. Helens and remove there. Swansea was a large place, and many of the inhabitants were Uni­tarians, but Robert gradually made friends with them by conciliating manners, and was much liked by all the Protestants. He preached excellent practical sermons, and he and my sister did much good during the short time they were there."....

.......'My sister Adèle Bunbury was getting near her confinement and, as I was so near, it was settled we should go to Swansea that I might be with her. We therefore left Cross, after a pleasant visit, went by post to Ilfracombe, and the next day went in a small sailing packet across the Bristol Channel, being assured we should soon get across. All went well till we were half way, when the wind fell and there was a dead calm, and not an inch could we move. The cabin was a small place one could not move in, and no room to lie down in, and we began to think we should be all night. The sailors whistled for a wind, and after not moving for an hour at so, one exclaimed "She's coming," and soon after, a breeze came on and we landed at six o'clock at the Mumbles, not far from Swansea. A large omnibus, capable of carrying sixteen people inside, was just starting, and we went in it to Swansea. There was no one but ourselves in the vehicle, and we were consequently jolted all the way. We were received very kindly by Adèle and her husband in their comfortable house, and we found her pretty well. The next day we took a lodging near her, which was fortunate, for I was laid up for some days and not able to leave the house.'......

.......'I have said before that many of the principal families and others in Swansea were Unitarians, and soon after Mr Bunbury came, they challenged him to prove they were wrong in their belief. Mr Bunbury wished to decline controversy, but they insisted. In consequence, he preached a sermon, a copy of which I have, which created a great sensation in Swansea. It was delivered a Sunday or two before we arrived, and everyone was talking about it and praising it. The Church was crammed to hear it - many Unitarians present. A young officer, Mr Wills, told me the interest was so great, you might have heard a pin drop, as the saying is; though the service lasted three hours, everyone was sorry when it was over. As soon as I was well, I spent most of the day with my sister, who was confined on 13th March of a little girl, Millicent. She made a good recovery, and we stayed in Swansea till 26th March. It was a large town and not well kept. The pipes which carried the water down from the tops of the houses did not go down into a drain, but stopped about a foot from the ground, and consequently the water ran upon the footpath after rain. Many lobsters were caught in curious baskets; the bay was covered with these baskets.'.......

......'On 5th May we went to stay at Claverdon and saw a letter come from Adèle, saying that Robert Bunbury was dangerously ill of gastric fever, which was just then very prevalent in Swansea; nearly every house suffered more or less. At one time the account of Robert was better, and we quite hoped he would recover.'.........

........'In the meantime, Adèle was in constant anxiety about her husband and sent her baby and its nurse to my Mother, for fear it should take the fever, and she and Robert would follow as soon as he was well enough, but on 25th May he had a relapse and became worse every day till the 28th, on which day he died. My poor sister had gone through much trouble, the two doctors disagreeing about his treatment and quarrelling by his bedside. Robert Bunbury was only forty-two years old'.

'It was agreed among us that Edward and I should go at once to Adèle, and we set off on the 30th, as far as Bristol, where we slept, and the next day we went on in the Swansea mail, a long day's journey. Being Sunday, there were scarcely any passengers but ourselves. An intensely hot day, and the dust covering everything, I was alone inside, and vary glad when Edward recommended me to come out­side with him. We arrived very late and slept at the hotel. I went to see my sister as soon as I arrived and found the house full. I was with Adèle all day, and we urged her to return with us after the funeral, for sickness and fever were raging in the town.

'On 3rd June the funeral took place. Mr Thomas Bunbury, my Husband, three clergymen, and three doctors attended, and this scarcely a month after I had left them so happy with their child. The last service Robert Bunbury performed was christening his own child. The day after, the Bunburys left, and we began packing away everything in the house safely till she returned. Great sorrow was expressed by all at Swansea at the loss of their Vicar, and Mr Warner preached a very good sermon on the occasion.'.....

Adele & Millicent Bunbury

Robert's widow, Adele Bunbury, died on 31st December 1883 at Edymead House, Launceston, Cornwall. Her daughter, Millicent Galton Bunbury, married John Christopher, Baron Lethbridge of Tregeare, had nine children, and died 29 July 1942.

Rev. Thomas Henry Bunbury & Sir Henry Noel Bunbury

The Rev Henry Bunbury's third surviving son, the Rev. Thomas Henry Bunbury, Vicar of Great Warley, Essex, was born at Kilsarana House in 1805. Educated at Trinity College Dublin, he married Mary Ball from Nottingham (born 1805) on 28th September 1837 at St Nicholas Church, Nottingham.

The marriage produced four sons - Thomas Henry Bunbury (father of British Post Office hero Sir Henry Noel Bunbury, KCB (1876-1968), Shirley Bunbury (born 16th May 1841, ancestor of Frederick Molesworth Bunbury), Robert John Bunbury (born 1842), and Walter Francis Bunbury - and two daughters Dorothea Bunbury (born 1838) and Mary Henrietta Eleanora Bunbury (born 1846). He was presumably the man who attended his brother Robert's funeral in 1846. Mary died on 19th January 1869 at Great Warley. Mary Bunbury died aged 64 in 1869. Thomas died on 2nd January 1888 and was buried at Great Warley.

Sir Henry Noel's granddaughter Kathryn Riss (daughter of his daughter Janet) established email contact with me in October 2015. In 1953, Sir Henry's daughter Rachel married Tom Bridges, a son of Robert Bridges, Poet Laureate, who later became Lord Bridges of Headley and died aged 89. His cousin was another Tom Bridges who, while serving as a Major in the Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, was involved in the very first engagement in 1914 during the retreat from Mons. Hes was also involved in a famous incident in St Quentin 2 days later. [Thanks to Rory Dicker]

NB: In June 1849, a Thomas Bunbury of Johnstown brought Peter McDonald of Killerig to court for recovery of 20 pounds 6 shillings 11pence.

Clara Bunbury & Robert Jones

The Rev Henry Bunbury's youngest daughter, Clara (Clarissa) Bunbury, was born in Drogheda in 1823. In 1850, the 27 year old was married in Liverpool to Robert Henry Jones. Born in Lancashire in 1824, he was a a Flax and Hemp Merchant in Liverpool. His father John Jones started the business in the 1820s, ultimately bequeathing it to his two sons Alfred and Robert in the 1840s. In the mid- 1840's, Alfred Jones & Co., Flax and Hemp Merchants, had their base at 17 Goree Piazzas. The family resided on the Wirral.

By the time of the 1851 census, Robert Henry Jones had married Clarissa Bunbury. Robert and Clarissa Jones moved to London circa 1856 where he continued the Flax and Hemp Business and became a Commission Agent. By 1871 they had returned to the Wirral. It is not known what happened to Clarissa or her husband Robert Henry Jones post 1871 or where they died. The family's hemp and flax business appears to have dwindled during the early 1860's.(9)

Robert and Clarissa had four children. Their eldest son Robert Shirley Jones was born in 1851, later changed his name to Robert Bunbury Jones and went to New Zealand in the early 1870’s where, in 1875, he married Hannah Elizabeth Bennett at Dunedin. They had eight children, all born in New Zealand. A complex character, Robert Bunbury Jones died in 1901 at Bygalorie, Australia, under the assumed name of 'Alan Forbes'. His wife Hannah Elizabeth Bennett remarried and died at Auckland in 1930. Robert and Clara's second son Alfred Henry Jones was born at Tranmere, Cheshire, in 1853 but nothing else is known of him. Robert and Clara's eldest daughter, Henrietta Louisa Jones, was born in Liverpool in 1856 but died in London just three years later. Robert and Clare's youngest daughter Clara (Clare) Augusta Jones was born in London in 1858. A favourite of her novelist aunt Selina Bunbury, Clare married her cousin Robert Shirley Bunbury in 1879 and then emigrated to Cuba and Jamaica (SEE ABOVE, under James Bunbury). Clare died in 1826.

Footnote 9: Directory listings for the 1850's show Alfred living at Grove Road, Wallesey. It is suspected that the family had residences on the Wirral, but little is known about them.

End of the Johnstown Line

When the family left Johnstown is as yet unclear. (10) It has been suggested that the Rev Henry Bunbury went bankrupt and sold it to a John Campion in 1814. His sisters or daughters moved to a cottage on Johnstown Lane and were still living there when Mary Moore of Gragecon was a young girl. Johnny Couchman believes the last of the Johnstown Bunburys died in about 1937. Bun's Bog exists today nearby.


The late Peter Bunbury was on the hunt for Thomas Bunbury who married Mary Nolan or "Noulan". His information says Thomas was born in Amehue House, Johnstown, abt 1765 to parents Patrick and Ann Bunbury and died about 1827. He and Mary may have produced three sons, James Patrick Bunbury (b. 17.3.1819), Edward Bunbury (b. 29 July 1818, or possibly 1821), and Matthew Bunbury (b. 1820, or possibly 1826), all 3 boys were born in Johnstown, and are recorded as arriving in New York aboard the vessel "Republic" on August 3rd 1838. Their ages tie in. Peter knew what happened to them after their arrival in the U.S. but was trying to establish who their parents and grandparents were, and how these tie in to the Killerig originator, or do they stem from the Wicklow tribe, which were thought to have died out around 1760.
Roger Nowlan proposes two solutions:
(1) Mary may have been related to a prominent Nowlan family of Co. Carlow. A Nowlan-Bunbury family link may have come about as a result of socializing between Powerscourt Demesne and the Fassaroe big house, the latter lying nearby in a NNW direction going towards Bray which lies along the Wicklow coast south of Dublin. The latter Fassaroe house had a link to the Warren and Nowlan families of Co. Carlow, both of which owned land in the Ballon area (see genealogy at end of this note for more details). The Ballon area is where is found the Ballykealey townland home to the last known historic Nolan chief, namely a Cahir O'Nolan who was "captain of his nation" in 1518 or, according to a more recent finding, a Peter Nowlan of Ballykealy who was arrested in 1744 and hanged for high-treason at Clonmel in 1745 and identified as the last Nolan Chief.
(2) Mary Nowlan may have been a sister of the Martin Nowland. In the early 1800s, a Martin Nowland married to a Bridget Young lived on the Rathsallagh townland, Co. Wicklow. Generally speaking this townland lies between the Wicklow Hills (where the Powerscourt Demesne is) and Co. Carlow. It is about halfway between Naas and Tullow. [RN: Note the Nowland-Young family link] Martin and Bridget's sons Matthew and John went to Australia in 1841. Matthew settled in the Hawkesbury region, and John at Palmers Island, in northern New South Wales. Another brother (Edward) arrived later. (Ref: Reference: 1999 - Cecily Ryan - cecilyr@comcen.com.au ; most likely a discontinued Email address).
(3) Mary may have been a sister to a Matthew Nolan of Co. Carlow who settled in Trooperstown, Co. Wicklow, after his marriage in the early 1820s to a Marcella Byrne. See what Roger has written up at his website on this family here. Owen Nolan, a son of the above Matthew Nolan, emigrated to Australia in 1853 and settled in the area of Sydney. Here is a link to the early settlement story for Owen Nolan in Australia:
Amongst the Bunbury graves in Bennekerry Old Cemetery is one for a Patrick Bunbury dating back to 1827. (Thanks to James Doyle).
A story from another source, a Matthew Bunbury who lives in Madison, Wisconsin runs like this:-
"A Thomas Henry Bunbury was born Jan 4, 1827 to Patrick and Mary in County Wicklow. Mary fell ill and passed away shortly afterward. Patrick wanted to make a better life for his 3 children, so he left his children with his brother John. In 1835 Patrick arrived in Pennsylvania. It was not long until he headed west and claimed some land in Kalamazoo. He then sent for his kids. Thomas was 10 and he had a older brother named Henry, I do not know anything about the other sibling. Thomas next shows up in the census reports in Mineral Point, Wisconsin."
"This could well be the origins of some of the Wisconsin Bunburys, as Donna Atto lined me up with them after I sent her a rough pedigree of the said Matthew". Peter believed the 3 young Bunburys who arrived on the "Republic" in 1838 are different from Matthew's story as a Jackie Dubois descends from the eldest boy James Patrick who died in Waterloo Iowa in 1860, and Donna Atto descends from the youngest one Matthew, both of them from the distaff side of things.

10a). One well known character in Benekerry during the 1960s was John 'Cowboy' Whelan. Last heard of he was in He owned some land near Johnstown. He always wore cowboy boots and a cowboy hat and frequently went to the Coliseum cinema in Carlow. He used to ride in on a horse, tie it up outside the Guard's barracks and go to cowboy films. He always sat at the back where he had to pay for two seats as he liked to put up his feet on the seat in front. He was subsequently moved to St. Dympna's Hospitial, Carlow, after he was seen burning money in bonfires. His land is now farmed by Hailstone Byrne. I include Cowboy in this piece simply beause I don't know where else he should go!

Johnstown House

Johnstown House was substantially renovated in the 1840s, with Tudor Revival façade enrichments added, including stepped gable, crenellations, turrest finials and paired chimney stacks. By 1837, John Campion had sold the house to a Thomas Elliot. In 1867, Mr Elliot's eldest son, Nicholas G Elliot, was married in Dublin to Anna, eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Ross of Castletown, Co. Carlow. (The Gentleman's Magazine, 1867, p. 809). In 1870, it was registered as belonging to Robert Tighe with Mr Elliot as agent, and had 1,652 acres. From Elliot it went to Arthur Fitzmaurice, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquarians.

The house was rented in 1913 and then purchased in 1918 by Corry Langrishe Connellan. His daughter, Phyllida, married Admiral Sir Walter Couchman, KCB, CVO, DSO, OBE, a former Vice-Chief of Naval Staff. At the Coronation Naval Review in 1953, he led the Fleet Air Arm Fly Past in a Vampire jet. The Admiral died in 1981. Johnstown is now the home of the Admiral's son John, his wife Mary and their family. Mary Couchman is godmother to this author, and a damned good one too.


The following notes are provided by Bill Webster via Carlow Rootsweb.

From Irish Genealogy Carlow COI records, Thomas and Anne Elliott had the following children baptised -

1825 Mary Elliott at Aghold Parish
1828 Mary Anne Elliott of Johnstown House at Urglin Parish
1830 Thomas Bookay Elliott of Johnstown House at Urglin Parish
1833 Nicholas Goselin Elliott of Johnston House at Urglin Parish
1835 Elizabeth Elliott at Painestown Parish
1838 Charles Simeon Elliott at Painestown Parish
In 1870 Thomas Gosselin Elliott, son of Nicholas and Anna was baptised at Urglin Parish.

Freeman's Journal, November 5, 1840; On the 30th ult. the Rev. Charles Elliott, of Ballintubber, in the Queens County, son of the late Thomas Elliott, Esq., Racrogue, County Carlow, to Sophia, daughter of the Rev. Samuel Downing, rector of Fennagh, County Carlow

Dublin Evening Mail. "Marriages" "Elliott and Courtenay" August 13, 1861, at St. Anne's Church by the Rev. Charles Elliott, rector of Ballintubber, Queens County, Laois, uncle to the bridegroom, and the Rev. Alexander Pollock, Nicholas G. Elliott, late Lieutenant 62 Regiment, eldest son of Thomas Elliott, Esq., of Johnston House, County Carlow, to Jane Adelaide, second daughter of Edward Henry Courtenay, Esq., of St. Stephens Green.

Charles Elliott, 2 Nov 1818 aged 16 [b.c. 1802] son of Thomas, generosus. Born in Carlow. BA Vern. 1823 MA Nov 1832. From Griffiths to at least 1867, Rev Charles Elliott is recorded at Ballintubbert co Laois.

Elliott did another wedding for his brother's youngest daughter, Elizabeth, in 1857.

Elliott was rector of Ballintubbert between 1831 and 1879 after which Ballintubbert was joined to Stradbally. So, the Thomas Elliott having children above in the 1830s was a brother of Charles, sons of Thomas.

Charles Elliott Cairns of Monkstown dying while skating in Moritz, Switzerland.


In October 2009, I received an email from Maurice O’Neill who told me he had spent over 55 years living on Bunbury's bog. ‘As a small boy we [would] play in the old whitetorn grove (shelter for stock) in the upper part of the bog, pick wild mushrooms (so tasty when cooked in the ashes of the fire with a pinch of salt to raise the juice) peep down the old well shaft beside the ruins of the old house at the corner of the disused old road. Glynn's old Grey Fordson TVO tractor and their Ransome's of Ipswitch thresher (mill) humming away on barley in the upper part of the now reclaimed Bunbury’s bog. Mr Benny Lawler on his little Fergie drawing the full sacks grain. Fond, happy childhood memory's of a vanished Eire. Mr Willie (Buttermilk) Bunbury, as he was then known, and Mrs Bunbury lived and farmed on Johnstown Lane, where the Lawler Family live now. As a child, my Mother and the other local children would often pick potatoes for old Willie. His motto was ‘load the basket lightly and go often to the horse cart.’ It is thought that the Bunburys purchased the bog from Captain Connelan, Johnny Couchman’s forbears, in the early 1900s.

‘Miss Bunbury taught my late Father and Mother in the old Bennekerry schoolhouse,’ continued Maurice. ‘The school is now long gone. As a child, my father would light the old pot belly stove with turf for Miss Bunbury to warm the one room school on winter mornings.’ Mary Moore of Moore's pub in Grangecon once told me she was taught by two sisters, both Bunburys, somewhere near Johnstown so I presume this was the same school. I'm still unclear as to who these gals were. Maurice O’Neill says that the large hedge or dike that divides Bunbury's Bog from the townsland of Busherstown is also called the Landlord’s ditch in memory of the Bunburys.

(Busherstown House was home to relatives of Captain Myles Keogh who commanded the 1st Troop in General J.A. Custer's ill-fated 7th Cavalry at famous battle of the Little Big Horn River in Montana).



From Pat Purcell Papers.
Notfication of Keeping Arms.
As directed by the Act of the 47. Geo. 3. Entitled an Act.
To prevent improper Persons from having Arms in Ireland.
I Robert Bunbury of Ardnyhue in the Parish of Killerig in the Barony of Carlow in the Townland of Ardnyhue Do hereby give Notice that I keep Arms, and that the place where the same are usually kept, is at my Dwelling-House at Ardnyhue in said County - and the Number and Description of said Arms are ~ one pistol.
I Robert Bunbury do swear that the above Notification is True and that I believe I am by Law entitled to Keep Arms.
(signed) Robert Bunbury.
Sworn before me at a Sessions held in Carlow this 9th Day of January 1810
(signed) Hen. Bunbury , [ ? ] Bennet.

With thanks to Peter R Bunbury, Ken Baker, Gill Miller, Michael Purcell, Anne Marie Kalishoek, Bill Webster, Tom La Porte, Ron Medulison, John Couchman, Michael Brennan (Carlow Rootsweb), Ignacio Fiterre, William Minchin, Maurice O'Neill, Susie Warren and Yvonne _____.


APPENDIX 1 - Reflections Past from 1862

This article from the Pat Purcell Papers gives some added insight into the family history at this point. It is based on a letter sent to Pat in May 1931 which was 52, double sided hand-written pages in length, and which has been kindly edited, transcribed and abbreviated by Michael Purcell. The letter of 1931 was sent by J. Hallam [?] of Threadneedle Street, London, and sought 'information on the present ownership and standing of Steuart's Lodge situated in Leighlinbridge, County Carlow.' Mr. Hallam enclosed the following chronicle compiled by his Carlow-born grandmother, the wife of Rev. William Hickey of County Cork. He reckoned 'she commenced writing this on her 49th wedding anniversary in 1862'. She lived to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of her wedding day - they were married in 1813, her husband died in 1875, she died in 1877.

December 11th 1862.

Family motto ;
Today is the anniversary of my marriage, 49 years ago !.
How like a dream does that period seem to me now !.
I can scarcely identify myself with the then blooming bride of twenty-one summers, and alas ! what changes have passed upon those who witnessed my wedding ; many of them have entered into eternity, and upon those that remain Time has laid a heavy blighting hand.
But I must not sentimentalise.
I have been asked by my children to note down my personal recollections, and also the traditional accounts of my ancestors, and of those connected with me by ties of blood ; in short to write a family chronicle, and I shall endeavour to do so, although the task will be a sad and difficult journey into the Golden days of past.
I was born on the 24th May 1792, at Steuarts Lodge, in the County of Carlow. My father, John Steuart, was the proprietor of a small estate which had been in his family for only two generations. His grandfather, the Honourable John Steuart, was a younger son of the third Earl of Galloway. He left Scotland to serve as Colonel of a British Regiment, and was in 1707 Brigadier General at the Battle of Almanza in Spain during the War of succession. He was left for dead on the battlefield of Almanza, but was rescued by the servants of a Spanish lady who resided near the field of battle, and who despatched her servants to help the wounded. Upon his recovery he was received by Queen Anne, who, as a mark of her favour, bestowed upon him a magnificent diamond ring, and also it is said gave him the white satin quilt and pillow case all now in my possession. He sold his Army commission and bought an estate and house in County Carlow. He moved to Carlow and at the age of 60 married Bridget, sister to Admiral Pocklington.
They had two children, a daughter, Henrietta, who married Anthony Weldon, Esquire, of Kilmarony, and a son, William who married twice, first to Anne Eliza Butler, daughter of Sir Richard Butler, of Ballintemple, Carlow and secondly Miss Swift.
My father's step-mother, Miss Swift was a woman of extravagant habits, is said to have indulged in a new pair of gloves every day, and a new pair of stays every week, and as her other tastes corresponded to these small items, she found it necessary to raise money in order to gratify them, therefore, following my grandfather's death, she sold the Diamond ring which had been presented to my ancestor, the Honourable John Steuart by Queen Anne. She also sold a silver shield which had been an heirloom in the Steuart family of the ROYAL STUARTS of which the Galloway family were the elder Branch.
By his first marriage to Anne Butler, he had a son John (my father) and five daughters viz., Bridget, Henrietta, Anne, Mary and Hannah,
by his second marriage to Miss Swift he had a son, William, and three daughters, viz., Emily, Catherine, and Sophia.
[The letter then names in great length and detail who the children married. Here are some of the marriages that may be of interest to our readers - Michael Purcell]
Anne married Thomas Whelan, Esquire. [related to Pilsworth Whelan ].
Mary married Edward Dillon, Esquire. and had a numerous family.
Hannah married Mr Ward, and had no family.
Of the children by the second marriage, William became Colonel of the 3rd Bombay Infantry.
Emily married Mr Medlycott.
Catherine married Mr Keegan.
Sophia married first, Mr Boyce and secondly, Mr Snow, an Englishman.
Henrietta married twice, first to Captain Obins, ( her son Hamlet, Colonel Obins married Miss Keogh of Killbride, Carlow. )
Henrietta's second marriage to Rev. Joseph Miller, produced three daughters, Henrietta (Mrs Le Hunte of Artramont ) Mary Ann (Mrs Jacob), Ellen, (Mrs Bayly).
I must now speak of my great grandmother Lady Butler.
I remember as a child sitting upon her great bed. I was about 4 years old when she died. She was formerly Miss Percy, of the Northumberland House. Her husband was Sir Richard Butler, she was early left a widow when her husband, Sir Richard, died on a visit at Kilkenny Castle. to visit his cousin, Lord Ormonde, having been accidentally suffocated by the sulphur of Kilkenny coal in his bedroom.
Her eldest son was killed by a fall from his horse when out hunting ;
Her second son, Pierce, emigrated to America, and served under General Washington in the American Army. ( his grandson, Pierce Mease Butler married Miss Fanny Kemble in 1834 , the noted British actress and writer. )
Her third son, William, married Harriet Nickson.
Her eldest daughter, Anne Eliza, married my grandfather William Steuart.
Her second daughter was Henrietta, Mrs Eustace, from whom is descended the present Countess of Howth.
Her third daughter, Jane, married the Hon. Mr French, brother to the Earl of Clancarty. (Her son was Captain Nicolas French, Inspector of Constabulary. ).
Her fourth daughter, Miss Butler, married Mr Gordon of Belmount.
Her fifth daughter, Fanny, died unmarried.
It is a rather singular circumstance that for several generations there have been three Ladies Butler living at the same time, owing to the premature death of their husbands.
As my grandfather's first wife died early in life, and my grandfather married again, Lady Butler took my father and his five sisters to live with her at Ballintemple. Her daughter, Mrs Eustace also died young and my grandmother also took her children into her care at Ballintemple. At one point thirty of her descendants resided at one time beneath her roof. Her only income was £1,000 per annum, what would the present generation think of so many being supported by such a sum ? However, she had several acres of land in her own possession and tended a very productive garden that supplied all of the necessary dietary needs for her extensive extended family. She attained a great age, and her death was a heavy loss to many of her descendants.
Having given the foregoing account of my paternal relatives, I must proceed to that of my maternal ones.
My mother was the only daughter of a Carlow gentleman of the name of Whelan, who by his first marriage had a son who married my father's sister Ann Steuart, whose children, of whom, I shall speak presently, were thus doubly connected with myself, as in the case of the Butlers of Broonville.
My grandfather Whelan must I think have been dead at the time of my birth in 1792 or soon after, as I have no remembrance of him, but my earliest childish reminiscences are connected with my venerable grandmother, Anna Maria Whelan, formerly Nickson, who always lived with us till her death, which took place at the advanced age of eighty-five.
She was one of a very large family, her sisters being of the classic number of the muses, and as they all but one married and had families, my connection is necessarily a very large one ; indeed my daughters sometimes jokingly say it must extend over half Ireland.
I have said that this is to be the family chronicle, so I am bound to give the names of my great aunts, and of some of their descendants. Their name was Nickson, (1) Elizabeth, (2) Rachel, (3) Christiana, (4) Anna Maria (my grandmother, Mrs Whelan), (5) Lydia, (6) Hester, (7) Mary, (8) Letitia, (9) Harriet, (10) Francis.
My eldest great aunt, Elizabeth, married Mr. Bunbury, a gentleman of landed property in the County of Carlow. ( of whom more anon ). She had but one child, a son, Harry Bunbury, whom I remember as an agreeable oddity; he died unmarried.
(2) Rachel married the Reverend Christopher Harvey, D.D., of Kyle, in the County Wexford. She had one son, the late William Harvey, and two daughters, Mrs Freke (mother of the present Lord Carberry, and of the Honourable Mrs Charles Bernard), and Mrs Randall, whose only child is now Mrs Hastings Parker. My great aunt Rachel Harvey lived to the age of ninety-one. She used to pay an annual visit to Steuart's Lodge, where her coming was always a matter of rejoicing, and her daughters were two of the most fascinating creatures I ever knew.
(3) My great aunt Christina was named after her great aunt and godmother, Mrs Hutchinson, the wife of her great uncle, Richard Hutchinson, a gentleman of large property, and the possessor of Knocklofty, near Clonmell, County Tipperary. She, Christina, was adopted by the Hutchinsons, as they had no children, and became their heiress. She married a barrister of the name of Hely, who added the name of Hutchinson to his own name when he succeeded to the estates. He was afterwards Provost of Trinity College, and Secretary of State. He was offered a peerage, which he
declined for himself but accepted for his wife, who thus became Baroness of Donoughmore. The title was raised to that of Earl, in the person of her eldest son, Richard, and he dying unmarried, her second son, John Hely-Hutchinson, became Earl of Donoughmore. Previous to his accession to his brother's earldom he had received the title of Lord Hutchinson for his services in Egypt, where he commanded the army after the death of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, and achieved those brilliant victories which wrested Egypt from the French. I have seen two beautiful boxes given by the Sultan to two brothers of Lord Hutchinson, who had been sent to an Embassy to Constantinople ; one was a blood stone with a crescent of diamonds on the lid, the other of purple enamel with a star of diamonds ; they were lined with gold.
This second Earl of Donoughmore was succeeded by his nephew, also named John, who had first distinguished himself in the retreat of Corunna, and afterwards acted a conspicuous part in aiding the escape of General Lavalette. John was a personal acquaintance of mine, as after his return from Spain he came to visit my mother, who was a favourite cousin of the Hutchinsons.
This John was father of the present Earl ( 1862 ).
My great aunt, Christina, the first Lady Donoughmore, besides the two earls I have mentioned here, had three sons, viz., Abraham, Christopher and Lorenzo. And also three daughters, Honourable Mary, married to a Mr. Smith, Honourable Margaret, and Prudence. The two latter died unmarried. They were great friends of Hannah More, and in order to enjoy her society took a place near Barley Wood, where during their latter years they always resided.
My fourth great aunt (5) Lydia married John Nunn, Esquire, ...........