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Brabazon Disney – A Mostly Clerical Family

St Patrick’s (Church of Ireland) in Slane was a stronghold of the Disney clergymen.

Looking at the life of an Irish clerical family whose best known members include John Disney, sometime Mayor of Galway, and Catherine Disney (1800-1853), a sort of paramour of the mathematician and astronomer Sir William Rowan Hamilton.



Origin of the Brabazons


During the Tudor period, Sir William Brabazon prospered on the back of the Reformation and rose to become one of the most powerful men in the Kingdom of Ireland. (See Brabazon, Earls of Meath). Sir William’s son Edward Brabazon was an intimate friend of Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, Secretary of State under Queen Elizabeth and King James. Knighted in 1595, Edward was further elevated to the peerage as Lord Brabazon, Baron of Ardee, Co. Louth by King James in 1616. His wife Mary was a daughter of Thomas Smyth of Mitcham, Surrey, who, as Clerk of the Green Cloth, organized some of Queen Elizabeth phenomenally expensive Royal Tours. Lord Brabazon’s eldest son William became the 1st Earl of Meath in 1627.


The Brabazons of Tullaghstown

Sir Anthony Brabazon, the third son of 1st Earl of Meath, lived at Tullaghstown, thought to be the townland located between Athboy and Navan in Co Meath. He was knighted, most probably by Charles I. He married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Christopher Hovendon of Chinor, Oxford. Their eldest son Edward Brabazon married Lady Rose Lambert and died in 1666. Sir Anthony and Lady Margrate’s second son, Captain James Brabazon was married in Drogheda to Alice Bates of North Wales (in 1676?) but killed that same year by Cornet Charles King. [1] James and Alice were Jane’s paternal grandparents. Their eldest son William Brabazon (1658-1714) lived at Rath House, County Louth, where the family lived until the early 20th century.

James Brabazon & the Colley Connection


Carbery Castle, County Kildare, was home to Mary Brabazon’s forebears.

Captain James Brabazon’s second son, James Brabazon, was born on 8 March 1661. On 12 December 1686, aged 25, he married Mary Colley,  daughter of Dudley Colley (1621-1674) of Castle Carberry, who had been MP for Philipstown, Co Offaly, in the first Parliament after the Restoration. Mary’s mother Anna was a daughter of Henry Warren of Grangebegg and a sister of John Warren, MP for Carlow in 1689, attainted for supporting the Jacobite cause.

Mary descended from the Colleys of Castle Carberry who also prospered in Ireland in Elizabethan times. Her grandfather Sir Henry Colley was knighted in 1613 and was MP for Monaghan. Mary’s brother Henry Colley was father of the 1st Baron Mornington, grandfather of the 1st Earl of Mornington and great-grandfather to the Iron Duke of Wellington. Before she married James Brabazon, Mary Colley was married to William Ashe of Ashefield, County Meath, with whom she may have had one son, Dudley Ashe. James and Mary settled at Carstown, County Louth. During the War of the Two Kings, James served in William III’s army and was wounded at the battle of Aughrim in 1691. James and Mary Brabazon were survived by three sons and four daughters.

  1. Jane, their eldest child, who married John Disney, see below.
  2. James Disney, born in 1682, Rector of Castlecarberry, died unmarried.
  3. Henry, born in December 1686 – we know no more.
  4. Anthony Brabazon (16 Dec 1698 – 6 July 1771), who was married on 24 Nov 1732 to Mary, daughter of ____ Donogh and left eleven children. [2]
  5. Rose married Sir Henry O Neill, Bart.
  6. Arabella married Brabazon Eccleston of Drumshallon, Co Louth.
  7. Mary – we know no more.

John Disney (c. 1662-1749), Mayor of Galway, and Jane Brabazon (d. 1764)


Born on 20 September 1687, Jane Brabazon was the eldest child of James and Mary Brabazon of Termonfeckin, County Louth. As Hugh Disney remarked, she ‘was quite some way down the pecking order [from the Earl of Meath] because she was the eldest daughter of the sixth son of the second son of the brother of the Earl!’, She was 16 years old when she was married on 26 February 1703 to John Disney (c. 1662-1749), Esq., of the parish of Belfast and, later, a Burgess of Galway. [3] He was the third son of  William Disney junior of Stabannon. His grandfather Captain William Disney, who died in about 1692, is said to have descended from Lambert de Isney. They were connected to Walt Disney’s ancestor Robert Disney. John’s mother Elizabeth Disney was a daughter of Thomas Fowles of Dublin. [4] As Hugh Disney observed, the earliest record of John has him as a Gauger on the staff of the Excise, checking the amount of ale sold by the 40 alehouses in Dundalk between 3-24 June 1683.

‘The population of Dundalk at that time was about 2,000 and the beer brewed was 900 gallons in those three weeks. The duty, imposed by Parliament in 1662, was two shillings and sixpence per 32 gallons of strong beer or sixpence for the same amount of small beer. John was also concerned with the List for the District of Atherdee for the period 25th December 1682 until 8th January 1683 and these lists are probably the oldest still surviving.’

In June 1709, he was listed as a surveyor’ in the Irish Revenue Establishment at Dublin Port. On 24 December 1719, he was appointed Collector, or chief Customs Officer and Tax Collector, Co. Galway. Reverting to Hugh Disney again:

‘At this period, the population of County Galway was overwhelmingly Catholic and the Government in Dublin was constantly anxious about the security of this important port. In 1708 the mayor reported to the Privy Council, ‘I have pursuant to order of last night’s post, turned all the popish inhabitants out of the town and garrison and have also committed the several popish priests to the gaol.’ Shortly afterwards, however, the governor received directions ‘to admit the popish inhabitants of Galway to return to their dwellings. Three years later the mayor, in a dispatch from the Secretary of State, was ordered to cause the popish priests in Galway to be secured. Then in 1716 the mayor reported, ‘turned all papists out of the town, except about 20 merchants, from whom I took security, and quartered the two compares of Brigadier Harrison’s Regiment in the two waste houses where the nuns formerly resided.’ Nevertheless, by 1717 the Protestants sent a petition to Parliament protesting about the increased influence and numbers of papists in the town through the connivance of the Common Council and its Officers. Two years later John was one of those Officers, as Collector.’ ‘So, here was John, responsible for the collection of taxes and the customs and harbour dues in one of Ireland’s most important ports with many imports from France. The local Administration, as already described, was chaotic; bribery and corruption were rife, smuggling and contraband trade was widespread as a contemporary report explains: “Out of every thousand deal boards imported, the mayor, without any authority, exacted 10 as a perquisite, the water bailiffs 10, and the warden 3 (which were used, in Catholic times, to make coffins for the poor) and that out of every cargo of salt, 6 bushels went to the mayor, 6 to the sheriffs, 3 to the recorder, 6 to the water bailiffs and 6 to the warden. Also that 4d a ton was taken for kelp, which was then the principal export of the town.”

On 18 February 1731, John was mentioned in the Minutes of the Common Council of Galway as Collector when nominated to a Committee to review the Town Charter and “also to examine what proceedings have been formerly had relating to the Charter Dutys granted to the Corporation.’ Among other things, the merchants, mostly Catholics, maintained that the charter duties were raised for application to the public use in paving the town and keeping the town walls in repair, which the recent review had shown had not been done. On 9 June 1732, John received a letter from the Surveyor General of His Majesty’s Works in Dublin instructing him to repair the town walls. 25 years later the work was not completed. Hugh Disney continues:

‘Later that year, John appeared at a meeting of the Common Council as a Burgess, and later as an Alderman when, with others, he was voted £10 ‘for putting up gates at the Quay Gate next the County Gaol and supplying the Officers Guard Room with what is necessary therein as also the Main Guard Room.’ Finally, on 2nd October that year, The Charter Dutys were ‘sett’ for the ensuing year to Mr James Disney [John’s son] at the rent of £97 sterling’. The opportunities for extortion were so lucrative that this appointment was put up for auction annually.’ ‘Over the years John was active in the deliberations of the Common Council and three of his six sons supported him, James directly in the collection of taxes, Thomas, who succeeded him as Collector in 1745 and William as a regular attender at Council Meetings as a Burgess then Alderman for some 12 years until the end of 1750. The latter two both died intestate in the early 1750s and almost certainly unmarried. The attendance list at the Council Meeting held on 30th September 1739 is illustrated showing three Disneys present. John’s other three sons did not live in Galway … Who could blame them if the conditions described at this time were recurrent. In winter 1739 the river was frozen over right through the town which was followed by famine and pestilence in which multitudes of the poor perished. Then, two years later, an epidemic fever raged violently in the town.’

On 29 September 1742, John Disney was sworn in as Mayor of the Town and County of Galway as follows:

‘At a Publick Assembly held in the Tholsell (Town Hall) in Galway, 29th September 1742, John Disney Esq, Burgess, was sworn Mayor of the Town and County of the Town of Galway for ye ensuing year’.

Hugh Disney takes up the tale again:

‘However, during his tenure of office he allowed his son James, on several occasions apparently, to act as Deputy Mayor and John asked for the Corporation Books in order to have entered the proceedings when James acted for him. This was refused and the Council then voted “That the acts or pretended acts of Council on 18th, 25th and 27th of September last, (1742) in the time of the acting of James Disney as deputy to John Disney, being conceived in an arbitrary illegal and unprecedented manner and contrary to constant usages and customs, be made null and void.” Shortly afterwards, John’s successor as Mayor, Thomas Shaw, demanded at a subsequent Meeting that John return the Regalia of the Corporation which he still held. John replied that he would do so when he had been handed the Council Books to revise the proceedings of his time as Mayor and to enter the acts made in the time of the Deputy Mayor acting in his absence. It was then complained that Thomas Shaw had not been regularly sworn Mayor and John Disney was asked whether he would act as Mayor but he refused. In fact, in the ensuing years, much of the business of the Council was taken up with dealing with various forms of skulduggery perpetrated by members which merely reflected the sorry state of affairs outside the Town Hall. John remained active right up to his death at the end of 1749; in fact his last attendance at the Common Council was on 1st August that year. He either remained Collector until he died or he handed over to his son Thomas sometime after 1744.’

John’s brother William Disney was Surveyor of Excise in 1799, and ancestor of the Disneys of Churchtown, County Waterford. (See below). John Disney’s other siblings were Benjamin and Catherine. John and Jane had a daughter Catherine, who married William Eccleston Esq, and six sons:

  1. Thomas (1698-1728, born in Stabannon), assistant to his father.
  2. Brabazon (see below)
  3. James of Galway
  4. William
  5. George
  6. Theobald Disney, D.D., Vicar of Clane, co. Kildare. (see below)

John died in 1749. Jane survived him by 15 years and was buried in Drogheda, probably amongst her Brabazon family. Her will was dated 14 September 1764 and was proved just 4 months later, by which time only two of her six sons were still alive – both were clergymen who had spent most of their lives in Dublin. The following details below are extracted from Hugh Disney’s privately published 1995 book, ‘Disneys of Stabannon.’


William Disney of Churchtown


William Disney, brother of John, was Surveyor of Excise in 1799, at the same time John was Collector. William was ancestor of the Disneys of Churchtown, County Waterford. Moore Disney, Counsellor-at-Law, of Churchtown, County Waterford, died in Stephen Street in early 1773. [5] His widow survived him until November 1825 when she died at Chester in her 81st year. [6]

Their son was Lieut-General Sir Moore Disney, K.C.B, who was commissioned an Ensign on 17 April 1783 and rose through the ranks as follows –   lieutenant and captain 3 June 1791; captain and lieutenant colonel, 12 June 1795; Colonel 29 April 1802;  major general, 25 October 1809; lieutenant general, June 1811;  and general 10 Jan 1837. He was appointed to the colency of the 15th Regiment of Foot (Yorkshire) in July, 1814, the annual value which was ‘upwards of £l300.’ He was created Knight Commander of Order of the Bath in 1815. General Disney died at Upper Brook Street, London, in 1846, aged 81, having been in the army for 63 years.


Rev. Brabazon Disney (1711-1790), Regius Professor & Chancellor of Armagh Cathedral


The Front Square, or Parliament Square, at Trinity College Dublin, where the Rev Brabazon Disney was Regius Professor of Divinity in the 1770s.

John and Jane’s second son, the Rev. Brabazon Disney, DD, was born in Stabannon, County Louth, in 1711. Educated at Trinity College Dublin, he was Regius Professor of Divinity at the college from 1769 until 1776, a time when the 1st Duke of Gloucester was the College’s Chancellor.

Brabazon Disney was later rector of Kilmore in the diocese of Armagh, and was appointed Chancellor of Armagh Cathedral in 1780. The Rev. Brabazon Disney died in 1790.

His wife Patience was a daughter of Henry Meade Ogle Esq, MP for Drogheda, and bore him five sons including William (of Somerset, Co Dublin), the Rev Brabazon Disney, and Thomas.


Rev. Brabazon Disney (1764-1831), Rector of Slane


The Rev. Brabazon Disney’s second son and namesake seems to have enjoyed a steady rise through the Church of Ireland hierarchy being variously Rector of Killary (1788 to 1797), Vicar of Staholmock & Cruicetown (1788-1830) and Rector of Syddan (1788-1823). When Staholmock, Cruicetown and Syddan were united in 1823, his eldest son, Brabazon William Disney, succeeded as Vicar.

In 1815, Brabazon Disney succeeded Moore Smith to become Rector of Slane. [7] One of his final acts was to enlarge and rebuild the original Church of St Patrick (built 1712) in Slane, completed in 1830. The Rev Brabazon Disney was married in 1793 to Eliza, daughter of John MacMollon, Esq, KC. Upon his death on 31 May 1831, Brabazon Disney was succeeded at Slane by his son John James Disney.


Rev. Brabazon William Disney (1797-1874), Dean of Armagh

The Rev. Brabazon William Disney, BD, was the eldest son of the Rev. Brabazon Disney by his wife Eliza. Born on 13 July 1797, possibly 1791, he became Rector of Syddan in 1829, retaining the living through the disestablishment of the church until 1872. The Church of Syddan (St David) was built by a bequest of Elizabeth Ball. He was also variously Rector of Stackallen in the Union of Paynestown; Archdeacon of Raphoe; and Rector of Innismot which existed until 1833, despite the fact it had no church and only five Protestant parishioners. In 1845 he became Dean of Armagh. [8] He quickly settled down to complete an eight volume ‘Occasional and Practical Sermons’, published in 1847. [9]

On 9 October 1827, B.W. Disney married Anne Margaretta Beauman, scion of a Bohemian soldier who served with Ginkel and settled in Wexford in 1691. Her father William Beauman lived at Rutland Square in Dublin while her uncle C. J.  Beauman lived at Hyde Park in County Wexford. In 1796, her father married her mother Charity, widow of Tennison Edwards of Old Court in Wicklow, and daughter of John Barrington. Anne’s brother John Beauman was in Holy Orders and was Vicar Choral of St Patrick’s Cathedral and Vicar of Julianstown, County Meath, and died unmarried on 15 April 1828, just six months after Anne and B.W. Disney married. Anne’s only sister Maria was married in 1819 to Sir John Kennedy of Johnstown-Kennedy. She died on 7 November 1828, thirteen months after Anne’s wedding, leaving five sons and a daughter.

Anna Disney died in London on 25 February 1869. Brabazon William Disney died in 1874.

Their [only?] daughter Jane Disney (1816-1854), married Richard Halloran (1806-1869), merchant and shipowner of Glenarm, son of George Halloran who died in Culfreightrim in 1846. (See below.)

Rev. John James Disney (1805-1865), Rector of Slane


Born in 1805, John James Disney was the second son of the Rev Brabazon Disney by his wife Eliza. In 1831, he succeeded his father as Rector of Slane, co Meath. In 1829, he married his cousin Anne Eliza, daughter of Thomas Disney Esq.

Rev. Brabazon Thomas Disney (1831-1902), Rector of Abbeyleix


Farahy Church near Kildorrery, County Cork, where Brabazon Thomas Disney was based from about 1858 until 1871.

The Rev. John James Disney and his wife Anne Eliza had a solitary child, the Rev. Brabazon Thomas Disney was born 11 November 1831. Hugh Disney’s “Disneys of Stabannon” (privately published in 1995) states:

‘He was the fourth consecutive generation to be named Brabazon. His uncle was Brabazon, Dean of Armagh, his grandfather was Brabazon, Rector of Slane and his great grandfather Brabazon, Professor of Trinity College – all of them clergymen. Educated at St Columba’s College at Stackallan, only four miles from Slane, before entering Trinity College as a pensioner, aged 18 on 1 July 1850. After three years at Trinity he walked out and an indulgent father bought him a commission in the 67th Regiment of Foot which ended within a year as a result of a romantic episode with a senior officer’s wife. He then returned to Trinity where he graduated BA within a year and became curate at the parish church of Farahy [Cloyne in Kildorrey] Co Cork on 30 May 1858. Within 7 months of his arrival he had wooed the eldest daughter of the big house and on 8 January 1859 married 20 year old Sarah Cole Bowen.’

His wife was the eldest daughter of Henry Cole Bowen of Bowen’s Court, County Cork and a sister of Robert Bowen of Bowens Court. She was thus a great-aunt of the celebrated author Elizabeth Bowen who writes about them in her works.

‘BTD then moved back home to Slane to be curate to his father for 5 years. His next move in 1865 was his appointment as Rector of Farahy across the fields from Bowen’s Court (Sarah’s childhood home). After 6 years they moved closer to Cork when BTD became Rector of Monkstown. In 1877, he was next sent to Abbeyleix as a mere curate (possibly as a result of an amorous indiscretion) and had to wait four years before he was made up to rector in 1880.’

‘Like his uncle Brabazon, BTD was made chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant. He and Sarah spent over 20 years as Rector of Abbeyleix before he retired in 1898. At the time of the 1901 census, he and his wife were listed at St. Anne’s Hill Hydro in Kilnamucky, Blarney, Co. Cork.’

‘BTD died the following year on 2 November 1902 aged 71 at Claycastle, Youghal, Co Cork and in accordance with his wishes was buried at Abbeyleix. Mary survived until Nov 1918. Both are buried in the Church of Ireland graveyard in Abbeyleix.’ [10]

In January 2020, Michael O’Connell purchased some copies of The Graphic, an illustrated weekly English newspaper, from 1882, with a little blue ink stamp that read “Revd Brabazon T. Disney Abbey Leix.”


Thomas Disney (d. 1851), Auditor and Land Agent

Catherine Disney (1800-1853), daughter of Thomas Disney of Rock Lodge, from Hugh Disney’s book, ‘Disneys of Stabannon.’ Sir William Rowan Hamilton fell in love with her as a student. Anne van Weerden adds: ‘The idea of an ever-lasting love for Catherine was derived in 1980 by Hankins from Hamilton’s distress when he learned about her utter unhappiness. Yet although she was very important, Hamilton was happily married.’

The Rev. Brabazon Disney’s third son Thomas Disney Esq of Rock Lodge co Meath, was an officer in the army. He was married in 1791 to Anne Eliza, only daughter of William John Purdon Esq, by Jane Coote his wife of the Mountrath family. He retired from the army before 1797; in that year he handled the will of his deceased youngest brother Edward Ogle Disney, a merchant.

Between at least 1797 and 1805, Thomas and his family lived at Kilmainham Hospital, then a home for aged and maimed soldiers, where he was Auditor and Registrar. During those years he became an estate or land agent, and worked on cases for Lord Darnley. After 1805 he had various offices in Dublin. His son Lambert was baptised in Glasnevin, where Thomas’ brother Robert Disney was a reverend. Robert was married to Jane Brabazon. [10b] Thomas and his family appear to have lived with Robert in Glasnevin until some time before 1812 when they moved to Furry Park House, Killester.

In 1822, they moved to Westland-Row, Dublin, which was his official address in 1825, when his daughter Catherine married. Apparently thereafter he bought Rock Lodge, near Trim, County Meath. He died in January 1851, at the Newtownhamilton rectory of his son Edward Ogle. (See here).  Anne Disney survived him by seven years, dying in 1858 in Warrenpoint Co Down. He died in 1851 having had fifteen children, or eight sons and seven daughters, viz:

  1. Jane Disney (1792/1793-1865) was married in 1813 to John Barlow Esq of County Dublin. Her son son James Thomas Barlow was married in 1851 to Maria Dorathea Bushe, a daughter of Thomas Bushe who lived in Furry Park House Killester from 1835-1874.  (See here)
  2. Lieutenant-Colonel Brabazon Disney (1794-1833), formerly of the 7th fusiliers, dsp.
  3. Patience (1795-1795).
  4. William John Disney (1796-1813), born and baptised in the parish of Glasnevin in Dublin and died at sea just after his 17th birthday, while serving as a midshipman in the Royal Navy on board HMS La Hogue on 23 March 1813. In 1838, his father remarked in a letter: “I had also a son in the Navy who was killed in a horrible manner, the tiller of a seventy-four, Lahogue, (I think under Hon. J.B. Capel,) having caught his head, and, oh God, smashed it!” The ship was La Hogue (here), commanded by Thomas Bladen Capel (here). Details here. With thanks to Anne van Weerden.
  5. Anna Eliza Disney (1797-1839) married the Rev John James Disney (1805-1865) of Slane.
  6. Thomas Disney (1799-1889), barrister-at-law of Beneavin, Fingal, County Dublin, married in 1847 Dora Evans (1823-1896), daughter of the Rev. Edward J Evans. Her full name was Dorathea (not Dorothea!) Jane Evans. Thomas and Dora had two sons William (b 1848) and Henry Robert Evans (b 1855). Dora’s brothers included Edward Kentish Evans and Rev. John Evans.
  7. Sir William Rowan Hamilton etches his famous formula. Illustration: Derry Dillon.

    Catherine Disney (1800-1853), with whom the brilliant mathematician and astronomer Sir William Rowan Hamilton fell in love as a student. Catherine was instead coerced into marriage in 1825 with the Rev William Barlow (1792-1871), sometime Vicar of Carlingford and Rector of Creggan, a man eight years her senior. Weakened by her suicide attempt in 1848, on her deathbed she told Hamilton that she had also wanted to marry him, but was forced to marry Barlow by her family. Her fuller story is told by Anne van Weerden of Utrecht here. Click here for the extraordinary tale of Hamilton and his bridge graffiti. Anne also questioned the accuracy of Hamilton’s sad and alcoholic reputation; her essay can be found here.

  8. Robert Anthony Disney (1802-1885) of Dublin, married in 1840 to Caroline Disney (1810-1855), daughter of the late Rev R Disney and had two sons and six daughters.
  9. Edward Ogle Disney (1804-1882), in holy orders, rector of Killeshil, County Tyrone, married in 1854 to Matilda  Miller (ca 1816-1881), daughter of Rev George Miller DD and had issue Edward Henry (b. 1856) and George William (b 1859)
  10. Henry Purdon Disney (1806-1854), in holy orders. In 1847, Henry became Rector of the Parish of Killochonnigan based in the Church of St Kineth, which was consecrated in 1823. He died unmarried.
  11. James Disney (1807-1896),, in holy orders, married in 1851 Susan, daughter of W Paton Esq and had one son and one daughter.
  12. Captain Lambert Disney (1808-1867), 2nd Lane militia, baptised in Glasnevin, married in 1835 Anna Henrietta, daughter of William Battersby Esq, & had issue Thomas William (b. 1836), Lambert John (b. 1841) and Caroline Frances. He took his own life in 1867, as per here.
  13. Caroline Disney (1809/1810-1839), died unmarried.
  14. Louisa (1811-1890) m. 1839 the Rev. Henry Theophilus Hobson (1802/1803- 1847), m. 1850 Alexander Orr Reid (ca 1809-1886).
  15. Sarah (1813-1878).


Rev. Theobald Disney (c. 1721-1785), D.D., Vicar of Clane, co. Kildare.

Theobald was the sixth and youngest son of John Disney, sometime Mayor of Galway, and his wife Jane (née Brabazon). He was born in Drogheda in about 1721, perhaps as his mother’s home as his father was Collector of Customs in Galway at the time. Educated at Trinity College, he was ordained a Deacon at Ardglassan, County Meath, in 1746, where he remained until 1748 when he moved to Athlone, where he stayed for sixteen years. He was conferred with an honorary doctorate in divinity on 9 September 1760 when the Duke of Bedford was installed as Chancellor of the University.[11]

In 1761, Theobald married Catherine Travers. In 1779, he became Rector of Balscadden, Dublin, as well as becoming a curate in Glasnevin and, later, Vicar of Clane. He died in Dublin in 1785 and is buried in St Paul’s graveyard.  His daughter Frances died at Cullenswood Avenue, Dublin, on 4 October 1841.[12] His son was Garrett Disney, Surveyor of Excise for County Antrim. Another son William Disney was in the 60th Foot.


Garret Disney, Surveyor of Excise at Larne


Bassano’s portrait of William Henry Davison, 1st Baron Broughshane, KBE, FSA, JP, DL (1872– 1953), who was Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Kensington South for twenty-four years. He descended from Garrett Disney of Larne.

The dates of birth and death for the Rev Theobald Disney’s son Garrett Disney are unknown but he was probably born in the 1760s, 1770s or early 1780s given that he was recorded as a Surveyor of Excise in Larne, County Antrim, in 1804.[13] In 1806 he was living in Antrim town, when he was one of over forty inhabitants to sign a letter of thanks to Lord Muskerry and the County Limerick Militia for maintaining peace during their time in the town.[14] In 1807 his first wife died ‘after a few day’s illness’. The Belfast Commercial Chronicle opined that she was ‘possessed of an amiable dispositions. When living was deservedly esteemed, and now universally lamented.’[15]

In May 1809 Garrett was married, secondly, to a Miss McCulloch in Glenarm, near Larne.[16] He was a Surveyor of Excise at Coleraine in 1815.[17] He died prior to his daughter Jane’s marriage to Richard Halloran in 1834.

Garrett’s eldest son Brabazon Disney, Esq, died aged 51 at Edenville, Merrion Avenue, Dublin, on 23 March 1853, and was buried in St Paul’s parish. [18] His age means he was a child by Garrett’s first wife.

Garrett’s daughter, Katharine (or Catherine) Disney, died aged sixty in the Larne district on 11 December 1864 and is thus also deemed to be a child by his first wife.[19] She was buried in St Paul’s parish, Dublin, on 17 December.

Frances Disney, who died at Glenarm aged 82, on 2 November 1877, was another daughter by his first wife.[20] She was buried alongside her older brother and sister at St Paul’s.

When Jane Disney married Richard Halloran in 1834, she was described in the newspapers of the time as Garrett’s ‘fourth daughter’. Confusingly, Anne Disney, who married Alexander Davison, was also named as his ‘fourth daughter’.  Anne married Alexander Davison of Knockboy, Ballymena, County Antrim, in Monkstown Church on 11 January 1837, three years after Jane married Richard Halloran in the same church.[21] Given that Anne was 82 when she died in 1897, she was born in 1815, so perhaps the implication is that she was his fourth daughter by his second marriage? Alexander Davison owned a bleach works and flax spinning mill at Knockboy. The Davison’s son William Henry died in 1862, aged 21, while they also lost a son, Alexander, and a daughter, Margaret Caroline, as infants.[22] The sole survivor was their son Richard Davison (1846-1929, who was father to Sir William Davison, aka Lord Broughshane, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Kensington between 1919 and 1945. Further details can be found in ‘The Davisons of Knockboy, Broughshane, County Antrim’ by Alexander Davison (Black Eagle Press, 1995).

Garrett also had a daughter Margaret Disney of Lawnview, Ballymena, who died in 1905 aged 87, which would make her a daughter of Miss McCulloch. There was a Margaret Disney who served as a nurse in the Crimean War that fits her age profile, but I have not found proof that this was her. Probate of Margaret’s will was granted to her nephew Richard Davison.


The Halloran Marriage


Marriage of Richard Halloran and Jane Disney, Northern Whig, 16 June 1834.

On 2 June 1834, Jane Disney (1816-1854), the fourth daughter of the late Garrett (or Garret) Disney of Ballymena, County Antrim, was married at Monkstown Church in Dublin to the merchant and shipowner Richard Halloran Esq. (1806-1869), of Saint Michaels.[23] Richard was the second son of George Halloran, who  died in Culfreightrim in 1846, and his wife Eleanor.[24] The wedding was officiated by the Rev Mr Grant. Notice of the marriage appeared in the Belfast Newsletter of 13 June 1834 and the Northern Whig of 16 June 1834.[25]

The Halloran family had dropped the ‘O’ from the name after the 1798 troubles but resumed its usage when they moved to the Colonies. Richard and Jane had ten children before her untimely demise at the age of 38 in Glenarm in 1854. She is buried in St Patricks Church of Ireland, Glenarm. Her children include George Stewart O’Halloran (1845-1910), great-grandfather to Alan Martin, who commissioned this piece, and Brabazon Disney O’Halloran (1850-1901), Chief Postmaster for Whangarei.  


Garret Rufus Disney (1795-1875)


It is also worth keeping an eye on Garret Rufus Disney, who was a nephew of Garrett Disney and a first cousin of Jane Halloran (if Hugh Disney’s speculation on p. 122 is correct.) He was a son of William Disney who was seemingly a son of Theobald Disney. On 24 February 1829,  Garret Rufus Taylor Disney, bachelor, of Bathwick, married Caroline Hayward, spinster, at St Mary’s Church, Bathwick, near Bath, who was a minor. He may have been the Captain Garret Disney, RN, living at 1 Argyle Building, Bath, in the 1837 Bath Directory.

On 5 February 1857, the widower was married, secondly, to Maria Anne Lawrell at St Mary’s Church, Marylebone, London, but within twelve months, for whatever reason, she had rewritten her will and he was not mentioned. Commander G. R. T. Disney, RN, died at Dunedin Villa, Holly Walk, Leamington, Warwickshire, with the informant being ‘M. M. Disney, widow of deceased,’ suggesting he had married a third time.


Further Reading


  • Hugh Disney, ‘Disneys of Stabannon: a review of an Anglo-Irish family from the time of Cromwell’ (1995)
  • Hugh Disney, ‘Disneys of Norton Disney 1150-1461’ (2002)
  • Anne van Weerden, ‘A Victorian Marriage – Sir William Rowan Hamilton,’ here.
  • Anne van Weerden, ‘Catherine Disney – A Biographical Sketch’ (J. Fransje van Weerden 2018) here.





With thanks to Anne van Weerden, Alan Martin, Susie Warren, Tom La Porte, Anne van Weerden, Roger Nowlan, Matthew Fowler, Sarah McKearney, Katie Morris, John Mitchell, James Waddell, Ron Law, Deidre McEvoy, Maria O’Brien and others.



[1] See Archdall’s Lodge’s Peerage, Vol 5, p. 274. See also ‘Brabazon of Mornington’ in ‘A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the landed gentry of Great Britain and Ireland’ by Bernard Burke. [2] Following their marriage in 1732, Anthony and Mary Disney had eleven children, namely:

  1. James Disney of Mornington, b 15 June 1736, m Mattilda, dau and heir of Thomas Edwards of Ravagh co Tyrone and dsp
  2. Philip Disney, Anthony’s heir, born 22 Nov 1738, m 28 May 1772, Elizabeth, daughter of George Adams of co Meath and by her (who d 6 July 1793), left at decease (5 Jan 1828), a son William-Philip Brabazon of Mornington.
  3. Anthony Disney, b13 Dec 1739, died young.
  4. Colley Disney, b 15 Feb 1740
  5. Anthony Disney, b 28 March 1842 dsp.
  6. John Disney, b 24 Oct 1747
  7. Wesley Disney, b. 14 Sept 1752
  8. Jane Disney m 1st to George Disney and 2ndly Harry Brabazon of Drogheda. She died at Rath 10 Nov 1778.
  9. Mary Disney.
  10. Lawrence Disney, d young.
  11. Katharine Frances Disney married in July 1768 to William Brabazon Esq and died 20 Feb 1796.

[3]Always remember’, urged Walt Disney, ‘that this whole thing started with a dream and a mouse’. From another perspective, it started with Hughes d’Isigny, a French soldier from Calvados who settled in England in 1066. At the time of the Restoration, a branch of the Disney family from Norton Disney in Lincolnshire were established in Ireland. [4] Marriage Licence dated 26 Feb 1703. On 22 November 1666, a patent granted land in Counties Waterford, Louth and Westmeath to John’s father, William Disney, of Stabannon, County Louth, Esq, and William Disney jun, Esq. [5] ‘Died In Stephen-ftreet, Moore Disney, Efq ; Counfellor at Law.’ (Hibernian Journal, 15th Feb 1773). [6] DIED. At Chester, in her 81st year, Mrs. Disney, relict of Moore Disney, of Churchtown, County Waterford, Esq. and mother of Lieut-General Moore Disney, K.C.B. (Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial, 24 November 1825) [7] Slane is an 18th century union consisting of Slane, Fennor, Grangegeeth and Monknewtown. [8] Patent dated Sept 20, instituted Oct 11, 1845. [9] See: Fasti Ecclesiae Hibernicae (1851) By Henry Cotton [10] With thanks to Richard Reid. [10b] There is some romance between Jane and Robert Disney here, which refers to Jane in two sections: Section Grace and Favour + Betrothal and Denial. [11] Freeman’s Journal – Thursday 23 June 1881, p. 2. [12] Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail – Saturday 16 October 1841, p. 7. [13] The Treble Almanack for the Year 1804, p. 92 – Collectors Surveyors Landwaiters & c, Galway. [14] Belfast Commercial Chronicle, 2 July 1806, p. 3. [15] ‘On the 24th [February] in Antrim, after a few day’s illness, Mrs Disney, wife of Garret Disney, Esq., Surveyor of Excise. She was possessed of an amiable dispositions. When living was deservedly esteemed, and now universally lamented by all her ac***.’  Belfast Commercial Chronicle, 4 March 1807, p. 3. [16] ‘Disneys of Stabbannon,’ p. 122. [17] Gentleman’s and Citizen’s Almanack, 1815, p. 162. [18] Deaths – March 23, at Edenville, Merrion-avenue, Dublin, Brabazon Disney, Esq., eldest son of the late Garrett Disney, Esq., of Ballymena, co. Antrim, and grandson of late Theobald Disney, D.D., incumbent of Clane, co. Kildare, and Glasnevin, &c. (Armagh Guardian – Friday 01 April 1853.) [19] Deaths – Disney—Dec. 11. Katharine, daughter of the late Garrett Disney, Esq . of Ballymena, county of Antrim, grand-daughter of the late Rev. Theobald Disney, D.D., Vicar of Clane, county of Kildare, and Incumbent of Glasnevin, &c., &c.  (Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail – Saturday 7 January 1865.) [20] Belfast News-Letter, 5 November 1877, p. 1. [21] On the 11th instant, at Monkstown Church, Kingstown, County of Dublin, by the Rev. Mr. Grant, Alex. Davison, of Knockboy, County of Antrim. Esq., to Anne, fourth daughter of the late Garrett Disney, Esq. the 15th Inst. Northern Whig, 24 January 1837. Their eldest son died in 1862: February 9, at Knockboy, Wm. Henry, eldest son of Alex. Davison, Esq., aged 21 years. February [22] Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette – Wednesday 22 November 1871, p. 13. Also linked to this family: DAVISON—May 22, at Ardmore Terrace. Holywood, Jane Davison, daughter of the late Alexander Davison, Esq., of Knockboy, County Antrim, aged 80 years. Belfast Telegraph – Monday 23 May 1881 [23] In my initial report, I erroneously stated that Jane Disney (1816-1854) was a  daughter of the Rev. Brabazon William Disney (1797-1874), Dean of Armagh. [24] The Halloran family had dropped the ‘O’ from the name after the 1798 troubles but resumed its usage when they moved to the Colonies. [25] MARRIED, On the 2d inst., in Monkstown Church, near Dublin, by the Rev. Mr Grant, Richard Halloran, Esq ,of St. Michael’s, to Jane, fourth daughter of the late Garret Disney, Esq.  Northern Whig – Monday 16 June 1834