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Arabin of Corkagh & Moyglare

The Sun King, Louis XIV of France, whose ill-advised Revocation of the Edict of Nantes dispatched the Arabins and thousands of other Protestant Huguenots to Ireland.

The tale of a French gentry family who fled their homeland, prospered as officers in William of Orange’s army and ran the gunpowder mills at Corkagh near Clondalkin, Co. Dublin, for almost 40 years, with cameos by a disgraced Lord Mayor, a cuckolded husband and a Commander-in-Chief of India.


Following Daniel Chenevix’s premature death, the High Sheriff of Dublin hosted an auction at the Corkagh Powder Mills in Clondalkin, County Dublin, at which ‘all the Utensils belonging to the said Mills’ were to be sold.’ [i] The mills may have been worked for a short period by a Huguenot family called Pinneau but they were fated to be resurrected one last time by Daniel’s nephew, Henry Arabin.

The D’Arabien or Arabin family were French gentry of the Huguenot faith who had arrived into Ireland in consequence of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in the late seventeenth century. [ii] Henry’s great-grandfather Bartélémy (or Bartholomew) Arabin de Barcelle was the son of an influential merchant from Riez in the present-day Alpes-de-Haute region of Provence. He had served in the Duke of Schomberg’s French Horse at the battle of the Boyne, as well as participating in the conquest of Athlone and the siege of Carrickfergus. As aide-de-camp to the Earl of Galway, he also served in Flanders and Piedmont-Sardinia. Barthélémy, who was closely connected to the Huguenot community in Portarlington, died in 1713 and was succeeded by his son John.


Barthélémy and Jeanne Arabin’s son John Arabin de Barcelle, sometimes known as Jean, was born in 1703. Dark haired and and dark eyed, he received his first commission as a cornet in the 1st Regiment of Carabiniers on 2 September 1717..[iii] In 1726 he married Jeanne Marie (Jane Mary) Bertin, the daughter of Louis Bertin, a bourgeois merchant from Castelmoron-sur-Lot, Guyenne, in Aquitaine.[iv] The elder Bertin had settled in County Meath where he became a Freeman of Dublin and married Marie Perronet (or Perrauld). The marriage to Bertin’s daughter brought John Arabin a substantial dowry.

John may have operated as a solicitor in Dublin during the 1720s, maintaining contact with a wide network of clients and contacts, including his St Julien and de Ravenell cousins in South Carolina and Brigadier de Blanzac at The Hague. From 1728 to 1737 he served on the Grand Jury of County Westmeath, indicating that he was perhaps resident on the Moyvoughley estate in Westmeath that his father purchased in 1703. On 11 June 1733, he was promoted captain-lieutenant in the 1st Carabiniers, then commanded by Lord Cathcart, with whom he served in Ireland until 1740 when he was promoted. [v] Philip Chenevix was a captain in the same regiment, as was Lord George Sackville, a future Grand Master of the Irish Grand Lodge of Freemasons.[vi] It was thus no coincidence that both John Arabin and Philip Chenevix were also freemasons. In 1736 and 1737 Captain Arabin served as Grand Treasurer of the Irish Grand Lodge. [vii] One assumes it was mere coincidence that the following year he expended £10,729 8s 8d on the purchase of the Moyglare demesne near Maynooth from the politician and diarist Sir William Yonge and his wife Lady Ann, daughter and co-heiress of Lord Howard of Effingham.

John Adlercron, husband of Elizabeth Arabin.

1737 was also the year in which John Arabin’s twenty-five-year-old sister Elizabeth married their first cousin John Adlercron Trapaud, a cavalry officer rising rapidly through the ranks. Captain Arabin promptly sold some of his lands at Moyglare to his new brother-in-law.[viii] In 2001 Sotheby’s of New York sold a portrait of Elizabeth Adlercron attributed to James Nathan (Continental).

In 1740, Lord Cathcart was selected to command an expedition against the Spanish possessions in the Americas but died on the voyage over. That same year, John Arabin was promoted captain in the place of Lord George Sackville who was sent to take command of Colonel Philip Bragg’s 28th Foot. Perhaps he was there when they buried Lord Cathcart on the beach of Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica. Two years later John transferred from Bowle’s Horse (aka the Carabinier’s) to become a major in Colonel Whitchet’s Foot (8th Dragoons).[ix]

In June 1745, John Arabin was appointed lieutenant-colonel of St. George’s (8th Dragoons), taking command on the eve of the Jacobite Rising orchestrated by Charles Edward Stuart, aka ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’. He duly marched his men north to join Marshal Wade’s army at Newcastle but was then sent to intercept the rebels in Scotland. After marching along roads ‘choked with ice and snow, in most inclement weather’, Arabin’s force reached Preston — a distance of a hundred miles — in three days. They served with distinction during the remainder of this campaign, participating in the battle of Clifton Moor, the capture of Carlisle and the relief of Blair Castle. [x] A story was later told that Colonel Arabin presented the Duke of Cumberland with a prisoner who claimed to be Prince Charlie. It transpired the man was making this claim in order to buy the vanquished prince some extra time to escape; Cumberland had the loyal Jacobite hanged on the spot.[xi] In April 1749 John Arabin was transferred from the 8th to serve in Ireland as lieutenant colonel of Major-General Bligh’s 2nd Regiment of Horse (5th Dragoon Guards). [xii]

In 1754 his brother-in-law John Adlercron was sent to India as Commanding Officer of the 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot. Assigned to protect the interests of the East India Company, Adlercron became Commander-in-Chief, India later that same year. On 27 December 1755 Lieutenant Colonel John Arabin was transferred from the 2nd Horse to become Colonel of the 57th Regiment of Foot, one of eleven newly raised infantry regiments. The following January, he was authorized to seek new recruits anywhere in Great Britain. He made his first headquarters at Manchester where two companies – one from the 3rd Foot (The Buffs) and one from the 20th Foot (later the Lancashire Fusiliers) – were posted to become the nucleus of his regiment. By March he was actively recruiting in Gloucester and Somerset and by the end of April he had sufficient men to complete seven companies.[xiii]

Although it is entirely plausible that they were familiar with Corkagh since the days of Lewis Chaigneau, the Arabins first known direct link to Corkagh came in October 1756 when the colonel’s daughter Elizabeth married Daniel Chenevix, the son of his brother-officer Colonel Philip Chenevix. By this time the Chenevixes had been running the Corkagh mills for at least thirteen years and it was presumably useful for Colonel Arabin to know he had a gunpowder mill in the family, particularly given that Britain had declared war with France five months before the wedding.

An abbreviated version of this story appears in ‘CORKAGH – The Life & Times of a South Dublin Demesne 1650-1960’ by Turtle Bunbury. Published by South Dublin County Council in May 2018, the books is available via the Local Studies Collection at the County Library in Tallaght, so people can either visit the Library or contact them at 01 4597834.

With the Seven Years War underway, the Mediterranean was to become the scene for much of the action. Colonel Arabin and the 57th sailed for the Rock of Gibraltar. However, the fifty-four-old commander died ‘suddenly’ on 16 February 1757, presumably by accident or disease. His colonelcy officially terminated on 22nd March when Sir David Cunynghame succeeded to the post. [xiv] His brother officers subsequently erected a marble monument to his memory in the King’s Chapel on the Rock. One wonders if this explains why a 22-acre townland in the parish of Clondalkin was called Gibraltar. That said, the townland of Gibraltar, comprising three fields, on the east side of Corkagh, was apparently referred to in an attestation from 1749: ‘Parcel of lands of Rathbrand commonly called Gibralter’  (Dr. Conchubhar Ó Crualaoich).

By his wife Jeanne Marie, Colonel Arabin had four sons, including John (see below) and William John, and three daughters, including Elizabeth (who married Daniel Chenevix) and Sarah (who was born in 1739, married Francis De St. Leon and passed away in 1840, at the age of 101). Their baptisms are recorded in La Touche’s Register of the French Conformed Churches in Dublin.[xv] Jeanne Marie Arabin outlived her husband by twenty-three years. When she died in London aged 66 in 1780, she was buried in St James, Piccadilly.[xvi]


John-Daniel Arabin junior, the father of Henry Arabin of the Corkagh powder mills, was born in 1727 and baptised in the French Conformed Church. He was the first Arabin to attend Trinity College Dublin, after which he followed his father and grandfather into the army, initially as a cornet in Lieutenant-General St. George’s Dragoons in 1748 and then as a lieutenant in Hargrave’s Regiment from 1750. [xvii] This would appear to be the Ordnance Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant General William Hargrave, Governor of Gibraltar from 1740 until 1749. Following Hargrave’s death in 1751, the regiment became the 7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers) in a nod to the flintlock fusils they used when escorting open-topped barrels of gunpowder. Most regiments were equipped with matchlock muskets at that time and matchlocks carried a distinct risk of igniting the gunpowder. This could be relevant given that the gunpowder mills at Corkagh were then under lease to Colonel Philip Chenevix, father-in-law of John’s sister Elizabeth. That said, John Arabin appears to have been commissioned as a captain in the 14th Irish Dragoons in 1751.

In October 1750 John Arabin married their heiress Judith Daniell, a niece of Major-General Henry De Grangues, a favourite of George II, who was leasing the mansion at Corkagh at that time. [xviii] The general was an executor to the marriage settlement, as well as to the will of Judith’s father, his brother Samuel, who had died on active service with the 15th Foot in Havana..[xix]

When General De Grangues died in 1754, Judith became his unexpectedly lucky heiress, inheriting £8000 despite her seemingly dubious relationship with her uncle. The general was thought to have been about to change his will when he died so that, as one writer put it, ‘Captain Arabin and his lady had a lucky escape.’ Judith also inherited the estate of Kilmacud in the Dublin suburb of Dundrum from her paternal grandmother Ann Daniell de Granges, as well as land on Jervis Quay, or Bachelor’s Walk, in Dublin City from her maternal grandfather Francis d’Apremont.

In 1756, Captain Arabin stood as executor when his sister Elizabeth married his brother-officer Daniel Chenevix.[xx] Following his father’s death in Gibraltar in February 1757, he succeeded to the family property at Moyvoughly in County Westmeath, as well as to an interest through mortgages in the estate at Kilmacud. At this time, it is thought that he and Judith were living on French Street in central Dublin, where their five children were born. [xxi]

In late 1756 John Arabin and Daniel Chenevix were recorded as captains in the Carabiniers under the command of Major-General Dejean. For reasons unclear, Captain Arabin died in 1757 or 1758 at the age of twenty-nine, leaving two small sons, Henry and John Daniel, and three daughters. He was reputedly buried in a vault at Moyglare. His will named his executors as his widow Judith, his mother Jeanne, his uncle Colonel John Adlercron and his father’s friend Colonel Philip Chenevix. Judith outlived her husband by over forty years, dying at the Corkagh Powder Mills on 1st March 1802. [xxii]

William Arabin was to be immortalized in the painting ‘Major Arabin as Sir Bashful Constant’ by John Downman in 1787.

Captain Arabin’s younger brother was Lieutenant-General William John Arabin, Colonel of the 2nd Life Guards.[xxiii] In 1777 William was married in Dublin to Henrietta Molyneux, daughter of Sir Capel Molyneux, but within two years she had embarked on a scandalous affair with Thomas Sutton. Major Arabin, as he was then, sued for divorce in 1786. The subsequent trial provided much juice for gossip-mongers, not least when witnesses recalled observing Mrs Arabin and her lover walking ‘arm-in-arm’ into a shrubbery near the Sutton’s home in Surrey, from which she emerged sometime later, ‘her hair tumbled, and her dress very much rumpled and disordered, though when she went out she was particularly neat and well dressed’. William was to be immortalized in the painting ‘Major Arabin as Sir Bashful Constant’ by John Downman in 1787. When Sir Capel died in 1797 he left his errant daughter a solitary shilling. By then she had apparently gone abroad and married a Mr St George. The Arabin’s only daughter Mary Elizabeth was baptised at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1777 and died unmarried age 70 in May 1847. The Arabins also had a son William St Julien Arabin, sometime serjeant-at-law, who died in 1842 and whose incoherent ramblings are said to have provided the inspiration for Serjeant Snubbins in Charles Dickens’ ‘Pickwick Papers’.[xxiv]

HENRY ARABIN (1752-1841)

Henry Arabin, John and Judith’s older son, was born in 1752 and named for his mother’s elderly uncle, General Henry de Grangues. He was just two years old when his parents succeeded to the bulk of the general’s fortune but not yet eight when his father died. In July 1758 his father’s executors were embroiled in a legal case they took on Henry’s behalf against a fast-living buck called William Grave over various properties in Counties Kildare and Offaly. [xxv]

In July 1766 Henry’s uncle and long-term mentor General Adlercron died of ‘an apoplectic fit after eating a hearty dinner’ at his home at Blackrock in Dublin.[xxvi] Henry lost another uncle with the death of Colonel Daniel Chenevix in 1776 while the following year he attended his uncle William Arabin’s fateful wedding at St. Michan’s to Henrietta Molyneaux.

Perhaps the legal wrangling’s he heard whispers of in his younger years led him to read law at Trinity College Dublin. He matriculated in 1769 and entered Magdalen College, Oxford, in October 1770, the same month he was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn, London.[xxvii] In 1781, while the newly assembled Volunteers corps were marching all across Ireland, Henry married Ann Faviere Grant. Her family hailed from Ballindalloch Castle on the banks of the River Spey in northern Scotland.[xxviii] Her father Captain George Grant of the Royal Scots Regiment had died during the capture of Havana in 1763.[xxix] She was a kinswoman of Major General James Grant, Governor of East Florida from 1763 to 1771 and commander of the 55th Regiment of Foot during the American War of Independence. After the death of both her parents, she had been brought up in St. Anne’s parish, Dublin, by Mrs Hugh Crofton who may have been from another Huguenot family named D’Absac. Ann was probably an intelligent woman because in 1784 she owned a copy of Voltaire’s ‘Romans et contes philosophiques’ (London 1776).[xxx]

Moyglare Manor is located near Maynooth on the borders of Counties Meath and Kildare. John Arabin bought it in 1738 from the politician and diarist Sir William Yonge and his wife Lady Ann, daughter and co-heiress of Lord Howard of Effingham.

Records indicate that Henry was living at Moyglare, the Adlercron home, at the time of his marriage while his bride was living with the Croftons.[xxxi] Henry and Ann raised nine strapping sons, four of whom devoted their lives to military and naval service. Captain George Arabin, the eldest, served with the 54th Regiment. Captain Septimus Arabin enjoyed a distinguished naval career during the Napoleonic Wars and died in Paris in 1826.[xxxii] Augustus Arabin was a lieutenant in the Navy while Captain Frederick Arabin of the Royal Artillery married a daughter of Bishop Mountain of Quebec.[xxxiii]

Shortly after their marriage Henry and Ann Arabin moved to Corkagh. It seems likely that they lived at ‘Little Corkagh’, otherwise known as Kilmatead House, although it is possible that they struck a deal with the Finlays and lived at Corkagh House, where Henry’s great uncle, the general, had lived. The Arabin house was reputedly ‘a scene of considerable gaiety, and the rendezvous of frequent hunting parties in the season.’[xxxiv] Henry became closely involved with the goings on in Clondalkin, as churchwarden from 1785 and as a subscriber to the new St. John’s Church that opened in 1789.

As a young man Henry had worked alongside his uncle Daniel Chenevix at the Corkagh gunpowder mills and he duly took over the running of the mills. This may have been in the wake of the explosion at the Pinneau mill in the early 1780s, or perhaps he spotted a gap in the market when William Caldbeck’s mill likewise blasted into orbit in 1787. Maybe he just needed a distraction after the embarrassment of his uncle William’s divorce trial in 1786. Or maybe he was responding to a request from his only brother John Daniell Arabin (1755-1838), an unmarried officer in the Royal Irish Artillery. That was a regiment with a considerable need for gunpowder and John was rising rapidly through its ranks.[xxxv] It could have been a sentimental attachment to a family-run business or maybe he had an eye on supplying blasting powder to the Royal Canal Company, to which he subscribed £600 in 1786.[xxxvi]

Saltpetre, one of the three core ingredients of gunpowder.

Arabin’s mill was certainly in operation by the summer of 1794. At the close of July, glum news arrived from London where the East India Company’s Saltpetre Warehouse had been destroyed by fire. This was effectively the entire British supply of saltpetre at a time when the demand for it had never been greater. The potential consequences were so serious that the Duke of Richmond, Master-General of the Ordnance, ordered a halt to the firing of all gun salutes in order to preserve gunpowder supplies. When the Irish government appealed to the Duke for a thousand barrels of powder that August, he replied, ‘I fear we cannot spare whole of the Small Grained sort, which is fittest for Musquets’, and all he could send was ‘the Long Grained sort’ of powder which was only usable in weapons long considered obsolete.[xxxvii]

This presumably caused a considerable rumpus down in County Cork where Charles Henry Leslie had established a new powder mills at Ballincollig on the River Lee in 1794. In any event Henry Arabin had little option but to put up the price of gunpowder. On 25th August 1794 Saunders Newsletter explained that ‘the late misfortune in London having raised the price of saltpetre most considerably, the proprietor of the mills at Corkagh is sorry he is under the necessity, for the present, of charging for gunpowder’, and listed new prices of between £8 and £9-18s per barrel, presumably depending on quality.

However, his finances must have come good as he is said to have built another mill in about 1796. At some point he teamed up with his younger cousin Richard Chenevix (1774-1830), the chemist and mineralogist, to improve his gunpowder manufacturer business. Richard, who was Daniel and Elizabeth Chenevix’s second son, became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1801. Richard was a companion of the Cornish inventor Sir Humphrey Davy and author of ‘Remarks upon Chemical Nomenclature’, ‘Observations on Systems of Mineralogy’ and other papers, as well as of two plays, ‘The Mantuan Rivals’ and ‘Henry VII’.

During the rebellion of 1798 Messrs. Arabin and Chenevix paid their workers a bonus to successfully ‘prevent them from mischief.’ [xxxviii] In the summer of 1799 they may have availed of the sale of some of the utensils and machinery from Caldbeck’s gunpowder mills, which included ‘four sets of runners and bedstones, graining machine and stove, with every necessary for refining petre and sulphur and charring coal, with magazines, large stores, and sheds, in the completest order.’

In December 1800 Henry Arabin unhappily wrote to the Collector of Customs of Liverpool explaining that ‘in both capacities of Landholder, and Manufacturer, I was induced not to oppose the measure of a Union upon a presumption that it would be beneficial to me in each’. The ‘promoters of this measure’ had assured him that the produce of both his mills and his lands could be exported to England, without duty, after the Union but such assurances had proven empty. Arabin and Chenevix still had to pay the same duty they paid before the union, particularly on the huge quantity of saltpetre they purchased from the East India Company. Saltpetre formed 80% of the gunpowder’s ingredient, with Irish-brimstone making up another 10%. [xxxix]

Henry appealed to Lord Castlereagh, complaining that the duty charged on importing gunpowder into England was prohibitive. Castlereagh urged him to contact the Chief Secretary’s office in Dublin to which Henry duly submitted a return of sales going back twenty years, showing that he had only ever sold gunpowder to people ‘who had a licence to deal in the substance’. Meanwhile, the Collector of Customs of Liverpool warned him that any gunpowder imported into Liverpool would be seized, putting an end to Henry’s plans to sell gunpowder to African merchants. When he was also denied permission to export to Portugal, he applied to the Privy Council for permission to export to the West Indies or North America. In his application, he stated that he had no wish to ‘turn lose a parcel of starving manufacturers, unused and unable to get their bread by agricultural labour’.[xl] His application was again unsuccessful.

Having been admitted to Lincoln’s Inn thirty years earlier, Henry was finally called to the bar in Trinity term 1803. [xli] He may have been inclined to complete his legal studies to resolve the calamitous situation over the import duty charged on gunpowder. After several years of writing to various cabinet members and Treasury lords, he reminded them how Article 6 of the Act of Union stated:

‘After 1st January, 1801, all prohibitions and bounties on the export of articles, the produce or manufacture of either country to the other shall cease, and they shall henceforth be so exported without duties or bounties on export.’

Such definitive missives were to no avail. Perhaps he had hopes that the Board of Ordnance would step in and buy his mills, as they did in Cork in 1804 when the Ballincollig mills became the Royal Gunpowder Mills. However, even the Ballincollig mills became dilapidated after the Napoleonic wars and they were eventually sold to a Liverpool businessman in 1832.[xlii] Faced with no other option, he took out an advertisement in Saunders’s News-Letter on 3rd February 1803, stating: ‘TO be sold, the interest in the lease of the Gunpowder Mills of Corkagh, with every requisite for the manufactory, and a house, offices, and excellent garden, and 94 acres of land, five miles from Dublin, on the great southern road. Application (post-paid) to be made to Hugh Tuite, Esq., Sonna, Mullingar. Mr. John Gibson attends at the Powder mills, to show the premises.’

In 1817 Henry may have at least been able to off-load some blasting powder to the contractors when he, Colonel John Finlay of Corkagh and William Dowling were given the go-ahead by the Grand Jury ‘to build a bridge across a new road, lately made by presentment from Dublin to Newcastle, through Corraghan [sic], near the corner of Sally Park, to carry off a river course which runs across the road at the place.’[xliii] In 1837 Samuel Lewis stated that ‘in the demesne of Little Corkagh are some gunpowder-mills, established a century since, but not used since 1815.’ One of the mills, he added, had been ‘converted into a thrashing and cleaning mill, capable of preparing 100 barrels daily.’ The following year the historian and barrister John D’Alton claimed that ‘Mr. Arabin established nine powder mills’ at Corkagh but stated that ‘they are all, however, out-marketed by the English works’.[xliv]

Perhaps some of the mills were not working by 1815 but others were operational up until at least Christmas 1821 when Henry wrote from 12 Clare Street, Dublin, to William Gregory, the Under Secretary at Dublin Castle. His letter expressed his concern at the fate of the poor whom he employed in his mills should production cease. He declared his willingness to submit to any government regulations ‘to prevent gunpowder from falling into improper hands.’ [xlv] He was still listed as a gunpowder manufacturer on a list of merchants in the early 1820s, operating from 12 Clare Street, with an office at 5 Pembroke Quay.[xlvi] By 1822 Henry had completely ceased manufacturing and found employment as an agent for a new Scottish explosives company called Curtis’s & Harvey.[xlvii]

Henry Arabin was a key figure in the Royal Dublin Society, serving on the committees in charge of the library, the nummarium (coin collection) and the purchase of Leinster House from the Duke of Leinster in 1814.

In 1839, perhaps inspired by the demise of Finlay’s Bank, Henry Arabin ‘of Corka’ [sic] launched a remarkably forward-thinking campaign to rework the concept of paper money. His essay, ‘A plan for extending the paper currency, on the security of the nation’, was printed by J. G. & F. Rivington in London. It was not until 1855 that Britain saw the appearance of the first fully printed bank notes that did not require the name of the payee and the cashier’s signature.

A liberal at heart, Henry Arabin supported Catholic Emancipation and in 1829 he served as a secretary to the committee who organised a major gathering of landed gentry and aristocracy at the Rotunda in Dublin to debate its merits. He was also a member of the Anti-Tory Association from 1834. Two years later he presided over a meeting in the Courthouse at Kilmainham petitioning for municipal reform and the abolition of the tithes that the Catholic populace were obliged to pay to the Established Church. He was also a supporter of O’Connell’s campaign to repeal the Union which had clearly failed him in its grand promises, terminating the Corkagh gunpowder mills.

Ann Arabin died in 1839 and Henry Arabin followed her two years later in May 1841; the father of nine sons died a day after his ninetieth birthday. He was still described as ‘of Corkagh’ in 1839 although he also appears to have lived at Moyglare and the Dublin townhouse on Clare Street. One of his last experiences was to be toasted during a banquet held in Mullingar to celebrate a visit from Daniel O’Connell. While the rest of the Westmeath gentry boycotted the occasion, two of Henry’s sons Charles and John Ladaveze Arabin also came out in his favour of O’Connell. Charles actually sat next to O’Connell during the banquet, at the conclusion of which the Catholic Emancipator toasted the health of both him and his father.


John Ladaveze Arabin, the youngest of Henry and Ann Arabin’s nine sons, lived at Corkagh from 1831 to 1851, although he also had a residence at Kilmacud in Dundrum during the 1840s. Born in 1794, he studied at Trinity College Dublin from 1811 to 1816 while several of his older brothers were caught up in the final throes of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1839 he consented to the sale of the Moyglare estate (assigned to him by his father) to his cousin, Henry Morgan Tuite.

A supporter of the Repeal Association, he organised a National Banquet in support of the campaign in 1844. He served on a Special Jury panel for County Dublin in 1842 and 1843, and became Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1845 and moved into the Mansion House. In that capacity he attended the funeral of Thomas Davis, the Protestant poet and co-founder of The Nation in 1845. He was subsequently chair of Dublin Corporation and a trustee of the Royal Exchange.

He appears to have lived in Kilmatead House, beside the Powder Mills, although he is also recorded at 12 Clare Street, as well as Woodley in Taney parish. A grim scandal came into his life in 1846 when the then unmarried man was fined £1000 after his mistress Mary Carroll claimed he had seduced their own daughter Mary Ann. They also had a son John and a second daughter Elizabeth. Perhaps to pay his legal fees, his house at Corkagh went under the auctioneer’s hammer, along with the mill and substantial lands at Corkagh, Priestown, Baldonnell and Kimateed [sic], on 28th February 1850.[xi.a] Nearly thirty gentlemen showed up for the auction but there were no bidders.[xi.b] The property was back up for sale through the Encumbered Estates Court a little over three years later, viz.


In the Matter of the Estate of Christopher Hume Lawler, Assignee, to John Ladaveze Arabin, Owner; Exparte Charles Lewis, petitioner.

The Commissioners of Incumbered Estates in Ireland will, on Tuesday the 12th of July, 1853, at the hour of Twelve o’clock, noon, at their Court, No. 14, Henrietta Street, in the City of Dublin.

SELL BY PUBLIC AUCTION in one Lot, the following Estate and Property, all situate in the Baronies of Newcastle and Uppercross, in the County of Dublin, vis. the Town and Lands of Baldonnel Upper, otherwise Big Baldonnell or Ballydonnell, Balldonnell Lower; otherwise Old Baldonnell, or Ballydonnell; and Flock Meadow or part of College Land, containing 415A 3R 6P statute measure, which are held in fee simple, and are estimated by Dr. Whitty, C.E., at the annual value of £647 5s, and subject to £2 17s 6 1/4d quit rent and fees.

Also the Townland of Little Baldonnell, or Ballydonnell, containing 28A 1R 38P statute measure, held under lease for lives renewable for ever, subject to a yearly head rent of £42, and are of the estimated annual value of £50 9s 6d.

Also part of the Townland called Rainbow Park, Sally Park Meadow, Mill Park and Garden, and part of the Rough Park, all being sub-denominations of Corkagh, containing 23A OR 6P statute measure, held under lease for lives renewable forever, subject to a yearly head rent of £24 6s 11d, and a renewal fine of 10s 6d Irish on fall of each life.

Also New Orchard, being a sub-denomination of Corkagh, containing 2A Sn 13P statute measure, held under a fee farm grant subject to a yearly head rent of 11 7s 8d.

Also the Lands of Kilmateed, being a sub denomination of Corkagh, containing 46A 3R 19P statue measure, held under fee-farm grant from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and subject to the yearly head rent of £43 11s 10d, and a yearly rent of £5 12s 11d, as in rental mentioned.

Also part of the Lands of Kilmateed, or Carraghan, also sub denomination of Corkagh, containing 8A 3R l0P statute measure, held under a fee-farm grant, subject to a yearly head rent of £10 1s.

The entire of the foregoing Lands of Rainbow Park, New Orchard, Kilmateed, and part of Kilmateed, or Carraghan, are of the estimated annual value of £174 10s 6d. The entire of this Estate, which is now untenanted, is situate on the high road to Naas, about six miles of the City of Dublin, one mile from Rathcoole and Saggard, the whole lying within a ring fence, with the exception of the Flock Meadow.

Dated the 11th day of June, 1853

For Rentals and further particulars apply at the Court of the Commissioners, or to,

CHARLES LEWIS, Esq., Secretary, West of England Insurance Office, Exeter;
ROBERT DYMOND AND SONS, Surveyors, No. 10 Bedford Circus, Oxford. Messrs.
SCOTT AND SYMES, 7, Furnival’s-Inn, London;
SAMUEL PAGE, Esq., 39, Dame-street, Dublin;
JOHN IRVINE WHITTY, LL.D., Civil Engineer and Valuator, 1 and 16, Henrietta-street, Dublin;
WILLIAM HICKIE, Esq., Janemount, Glanmire, Cork.
Messrs. FITZGERALD, 2 Fleet-street, Dublin.
THOMAS JOHN BEASLEY, Esq., 11, Stephen’s-green North; or to
FRANCIS GREEN TINKLER, Solicitor, having carriage of the Sale, 16, Upper Gloucester-street, Dublin.

The lands did not sell at the July auction but a second attempt on 13th December 1853 found a buyer for most of the lands in the form of his neighbour Philip Grierson of Baldonnell House.[xi.c] John Ladaveze Arabin died of an asthma attack in 1863, aged 68.


With special thanks to Shirley Arabin, author of ‘No Petty People – The Arabin Family’ (Moyglare, 2012).



[i] Saunders Newsletter, Monday 29 April 1776.
[ii] Much of this detail was obtained from the Upton Collection held by the Royal Irish Academy and catalogued by Martin Fagan in April 2012.
[iii] ‘History of the Fifty-seventh (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot 1755-1881’ (R. Bentley and Son, 1893) p. 364.
[iv] Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 2008, p. 68-70.
[v] ‘History of the Fifty-seventh (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot 1755-1881’ (R. Bentley and Son, 1893) p. 364.
[vi] ‘A List of the Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels, Majors, Captains, Lieutenants, and Ensigns of His Majesty’s Forces on the British Establishment (T. Cox, 1740), p. 64.
[vii] John Heron Lepper and Philip Crossle, History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, vol. I (Dublin: Lodge of Research, 1925), p. 211. See also: Ric Berman, Schism: The Battle That Forged Freemasonry, p. 37, p. 179.

Sir Capel Molyneaux

[viii] Elizabeth married her first cousin Lt.-Gen. Jean Adlercron Trapaud, son of Jean Trapaud and her aunt Aimee de St. Julien. Their children were Elizabeth Adlercron, William Hargrave Adlercron and the barrister John Ladaveze Adlercron (1738-1782) of Moyglare House. In 1766 Elizabeth Adlercron married Rt. Hon. Sir Capel Molyneux, 3rd Bt., M.P. for the University of Dublin, son of Sir Thomas Molyneux, 1st Bt. of Castle Dillon, co. Armagh, and Catherine Howard. Their children included Lt.-Gen. Sir Thomas Molyneux, 5th Bt. (1766-1841) and John Molyneux (1769-1832).
[ix] The Scots Magazine, Volume 4, p. 439.
[x] ‘History of the Fifty-seventh (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot 1755-1881’ (R. Bentley and Son, 1893) p. 364.
[xi] Shirley Arabin, ‘No Petty People – The Arabin Family’ (Moyglare, 2012), p. 33-34.
[xii] John Arabin succeeded as lieutenant-colonel from the late Daniel Paul. The Scots Magazine, Volume 11, p. 207.
[xiii] Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, Volumes 96-99, 1979, p. 60-61.
[xiv] ‘History of the Fifty-seventh (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot 1755-1881’ (R. Bentley and Son, 1893) p. 18. John Arabin’s death recorded in many journals of the time, such as The Gentleman’s and London Magazine. Index Prerogative Wills of Ireland by Sir Arthur Vicars. Contributed by Vynette Sage.
[xv] History of the Grand Lodge of Ireland – Vol. I, p. 161.
[xvi] Her death was announced St James Chronicle 1 February 1780 / 1781.
[xvii] The General Index as to Twenty-seven Volumes of the London, Volume 19, p. 429.
[xviii] ‘History of the Grand Lodge of Ireland’, Vol. I, p. 161. Huguenot Archives: A Further Catalogue of Material Held in the Huguenot Library, Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 2008, p. 28.
[xix] Under the terms of the marriage settlement, Judith somehow inherited a £2000 mortgage from Thomas Bomford of Clownstown, County Meath. The lands were in Meath (at Clonfad and Rattin, Baconstown and Rahinstown) and Westmeath (Inniscoffy and Oldtown). This connects to an estate of nearly 2000 acres that belonged to the Bomford family in Counties Meath and Westmeath.
[xx] This marriage was relevant to the Bomford lands in Meath and Westmeath. The Arabin family also had land at Kilmacud in Dublin
[xxi] Shirley Arabin, ‘No Petty People – The Arabin Family’ (Moyglare Publishing, 2012), p. 41.
[xxii] Saunders Newsletter, 9 March 1802. See also ‘1536-1810: Index Prerogative Wills of Ireland’ by Sir Arthur Vicars, contributed by Vynette Sage.
[xxiii] The Royal Military Calendar, Or Army Service and Commission Book, Volume 2
edited by John Philippart, p. 11.
[xxiv] John Venn, ‘Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students’, Volume 2, p. 65.
[xxv] Pues Occurrences, Tues 4 July 1758. For reasons as yet unclear, the Bomford lands in Meath and Westmeath that Henry’s mother Judith acquired upon her marriage in 1750 appear to have been handed on to the Sibthorpe family in 1764.
[xxvi] Pue’s Occurrences, 29 July 1766.
[xxvii] Shirley Arabin, ‘No Petty People,’ p. 44.
[xxviii] The Ballindalloch connection is given by John Marshall in ‘Royal Naval Biography’ (Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1831).
[xxix] Thanks to Shirley Arabin.
[xxx] Máire Kennedy, French books in eighteenth-century Ireland (Voltaire Foundation, 2001), p. 61.
[xxxi] The 57th Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, Ireland, Parts 1929-1930 (Stationery Office, 1936), p. 176.
[xxxii] Septimus Arabin’s story is told in detail in John Marshall, Royal Naval Biography (Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1831). Could Henry have been sending gunpowder to the navy via his brothers? He married a daughter of the late Sir George Berriman Rumbold, Bart, formerly British Consul General at Hamburgh, whose widow was afterwards united to Sir W Sidney Smith. Septimus died at Paris in May 1826.
[xxxiii] A branch of the Arabin family were still at Moyvoughly in the Parish of Ballymore in 1838 when ‘C. Arabin’ was living there.
[xxxiv] Weston St. John Joyce, ‘”The Neighbourhood of Dublin: its topography, antiquities and historical associations’, (M. H. Gill & Son, 1921), p. 221.
[xxxv] John Daniell Arabin (1755-1838) became a lieutenant-general in the Royal Irish Artillery in 1814. His will is held by the National Archives in London.
[xxxvi] The Charter of the Royal Canal Company, to which is prefixed a list of the subscribers. (Dublin, 1789).
[xxxvii] ‘Peninsular – Preparation the Reform of the British Army’, p. 64.
[xxxviii] Shirley Arabin, ‘No Petty People’, p. 48.
[xxxix] Ibid.
[xl] Shirley Arabin, ‘No Petty People’, p. 49.
[xli] Ibid, p. 44.
[xlii] Sir Thomas Tobin renovated and expanded the Ballincollig mills, employing some 500 people in 1856. The factory supplied the market in Ireland and also had a large business in export powder for Africa, which was shipped from Liverpool. From: ‘Rise and progress of the British explosives industry’, edited by E A B Hodgetts (Whittaker, 1909), p. 363-4.
[xliii] Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (1944), Volume 74, Part 4, p. 206.
[xliv] John D’Alton, The History of the County of Dublin, p. 719.
[xlv] CSO/RP/SC/1821/77 – Letter from Henry Arabin, Dublin, concerning fears for fate of his gunpowder manufactory. Also draft copy of letter of reply from Gregory to Arabin, January 1822.
[xlvi] Shirley Arabin, ‘No Petty People’, p. 50.
[xlvii] Kelleher, B, 1996 The Royal Gunpowder Mills, Ballincollig, County Cork, in Buchanan (ed) 1996, 359-75; Kelleher, G, 1993 Gunpowder to guided missiles: Ireland’s war industries (Inniscarra, J F Kelleher).
[xi.a] Dublin Weekly Register, 26 January 1850, p. 1.
[xi.b] Dublin Evening Mail, 1 March 1850, p. 4.
[xi.c] Lyons, Mary C. ”Illustrated Incumbered Estates, Ireland, 1850-1905.” Whitegate, county Clare: Ballinakella Press, 1993.