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Bunbury of Cloghna, Cranavonane & Marlston

Marlston House, Berkshire, was home to a branch of the Bunbury family from 1817 to 1886, and then passed to the Verstume Bunburys. It is now the Brockhurst and Marlston House School.

Descended from a younger son of Benjamin Bunbury of Killerrig, this branch settled in the region of the River Barrow in County Carlow. One ran The Bear Inn in Carlow. Another was a wine merchant on Bow Street, Dublin, who intermarried with the Mill family, wine merchants of Exeter. This marriage brought them to Marlston House, Berkshire. Family members include a leading diplomat in New Zealand, a Governor of St Lucia and a Privy Chamberlain to Pope Pius XI, as well as the ancestors of the Versturme Bunburys, Jamaica and Guyana branches.




The Bunbury family have been connected to Ireland at least since Elizabethan times when Thomas Bunbury was appointed one of the executors of Lismore in 1585. Thomas’s grandson, Sir Henry Bunbury, was stripped of his title and lands for supporting the Royalist cause during Cromwell’s dictatorship in the 1650s. While his sons remained in England, Sir Henry’s nephews followed a growing trend and emigrated. One made it to Virginia and became a prosperous tobacco baron. Another, Benjamin Bunbury (1642-1707), moved to County Carlow, Ireland, where, in 1669, he married Mary Sheppard, daughter of Philip Shepherd, Esq., of Killerrig. Mary appears to have lived to a considerable age – according to Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland 1912, her will was proven in 1741.

Mary bore Benjamin at least five sons and a daughter. The eldest son, Joseph Bunbury, settled at Johnstown, two miles east of Carlow town. The second son, Thomas Bunbury, secured land at Cloghna (near Milford on the east of the Barrow) and Cranavonane (sometimes spelled Cranavona, on the west of the Barrow) in County Carlow. The third son William Bunbury established the family seat at Lisnavagh in Co. Carlow. The fourth son Matthew Bunbury moved to Kilfeakle, Co. Tipperary. The youngest son, also Benjamin Bunbury, inherited Killerig. The daughter, Diana, married Thomas Barnes, one of the Duke of Ormonde’s soldiers from Kilkenny.

Memorandum re: Walter Stephens and Thomas Bunbury, 1710, 1771.



Benjamin Bunbury (1642-1707), Thomas’s father, was the first of the family to settle in County Carlow. Courtesy of Camilla Corrie of Leighton Hall, Shropshire, England.

Thomas Bunbury of Cloghna and Cranavonane was born in 1673. In 1697, the year in which the first Lisnavagh House was built, he married Rose Jackson. She may have been a daughter of William Jackson (d. 1688) of Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, by his wife Susan Beresford. [1]

The Bunburys were already well established in County Carlow – Thomas’s father had been High Sheriff of the county in 1695. At some point, Thomas acquired a property south of Carlow town at Cloghna, or Cloughna, just off the N9, close to Tinryland. Benjamin and Thomas Bunbury both appear to have benefited from the seizure of tithes from Thomas Cooper, a Quaker who lived at Clody, next to Cloghna, in 1695. [2]

On 10 August 1706, Thomas Bunbury of Cloughna, Co. Carlow (as he was described) secured a lease from James Butler of Garryhunden, Co. Carlow on ‘the lands of Cranovonan [sic] containing 461 acres 1 P.M. for three lives renewable’. [3] The townland of Cranavonane lies on the southern slopes of the ridge outside Carlow Town, about midway between Ballinabrannagh and Old Leighlin.

In 1710, described as Thomas Bunbury of Killerick [sic], he was party to a deed concerning various lands including Clogna and Waltertown (also Ballywalter), as well as a Mansion House at Littlecott.[4] This followed the expiration of an earlier lease f 1696 with Thomas’s father, Benjamin Bunbury, took off Sir Richard Stephens, ‘late of Lincolns Inn.’ Also involved was Walter Stephens while the witnesses were Richard Jackson, Thomas Jackson, John Shaw and Roger Gaugh. [5] Sir Richard may have been Sir Richard Stephens (c.1630–1692), a Wexford-born barrister and protege of Lord Shaftesbury, who prospered amid the rampant anti-Catholicism that followed the Popish Plot. Stephens acquired Ballinakill Castle, Roscrea, which he sold onwards in 1680 to Col. Charles Minchin, a former Cromwellian soldier. He was appointed a justice of the Court of King’s Bench (Ireland) in 1690 but died two years later. However, his death occurred 4 years before he sighed the lease with Benjamin so how does that work!!?

I suspect this was the Thomas Bunbury who owned a pub called The Bear Inn at 54 Dublin Street, Carlow. All that remains of it today is its finely cut and mullioned archway. I think this may now be the site of the present-day Post Office, but I’d need to confirm that. In 2010, Michael Purcell advised that he held a document showing that Thomas Bunbury bought the Bear Inn and other property in about 1723 from his ancestor, Theo Purcell. Michael also observes that the same plot was owned in 1870 by his maternal great-grandfather Val Farrell. “The original premises were destroyed by fire in about 1860 and then rebuilt. In 1920 it passed to Val’s nephew, Frank Slater. The pub doubled as a temporary barracks for yeomen during the time of the 1798 Rebellion. Two years later, James Carter lodged here when he was sent to Carlow by Mr. Waddy, Solicitor for the Post Office, to spy on Arthur Wallace, Apothecary, “being a person employed in business relating to the Post Office who feloniously did secrete and embezzle a packet sent by the post.” [6]

A deed of 26 November 1722 indicates that Thomas was already putting things in order for his wife Rose (née Jackson) and their son Thomas of Cloghna, and suggests that some of the Jackson fortune was headed the way of young Thomas. [7]

Thomas made a will in 1737 in which he named his wife Rose and his son Thomas, as well as an Edmund Bunbury who may have been his son. The younger Thomas was living at Clownings, County Kildare, which I suspect may have been Downings. [8]

Rose Bunbury died at Cranavonane in February 1738 and Thomas followed in 1743. They left two surviving sons – Thomas and Benjamin. They may also have been the parents of two daughters – Susanna Bunbury, who was married in about 1727 to Franks Bernard 9c. 1708-1782), and Diana Bunbury. Diana is described as the youngest daughter of Thomas Bunbury on a deed between Franks Bernard and Thomas Bunbury. See here for Hilary Jarvis’s research on Franks Bernard.

There is a holy well at Cranavane [sic], closely associated with the early medieval Barragh church, the ruins of which lie some 400 metres to the west.  This church was linked with St. Finian who was born in Myshall. (See here).


Map of north-west County Carlow showing Cranavonane with red arrow. Cloghna is also referenced, spelled Cloughna, just north east of Cranavonane.



In July 1743, shortly after he succeeded to Cloghna , the younger Thomas made a will in which he also named his cousin Henry Bunbury of Johnstown as well as Theophilus Desbrisay, a Huguenot who, as it happens, was living at Corkagh in south Dublin at this time. The family appear to have had 140 acres at Moygany (Maganey?) near Kilkea, County Kildare, which Desbrisay was leasing for £45 a year and a barrel of wheat each Christmas. [9] His cousin William Bunbury also witnessed a deed connected to this land, as did Charles Meares, gentleman. [10]

We know very little about Thomas. Nearly three decades later, on 25 April 1770, Thomas Bunbury of Dublin leased 168 acres of land at Cranvornan [sic] in County Carlow to William Bernard for three lives or 99 years. These lands were bound on the east by Rathornan and on the south by Coolenekishe. [11] In a deed dated 1775 from Bunbury to Ward, the holding of William Bernard is mentioned as a boundary to Ward’s farm.

He may also have been the ‘Thomas Bunbury of the City of Dublin, Esquire’ referenced in 1767 when Edmond Walsh of Cranavonan and Edmond Headen, yeoman, were sentenced to 7 Years Transportation for beating up a man named John Farranan and stealing two cows that appear to have belonged to Thomas Bunbury. At the same trial, Edmond Headen, Junior, was sentenced to two years on Treadmill while Winifred and Margaret Headen were each given two years imprisonment.(See here).

Thomas died at Cloghna on 9 August 1781 and was buried in Tullow churchyard three days later. Burkes 1912 Gentry claims he left no children but another source I have temporarily mislaid says he was buried with his wife Ann and four children so a trip to Tullow church is in order. I have no further record of this branch but presumably if he did have sons, they predeceased him, for the Cloghna property ultimately passed to his brother Benjamin. The lease on Cranvonane with William Bernard appears to have been renegotiated on 24th February 1781, just months before Thomas died. [12] In 1821, William Bernard leased these lands to Garrett Cullen of Cranavonane.

Given that his mother was a Jackson, he was presumably the Thomas Bunbury who was a signatory to the will of Richard Jackson in 1776. The aforementioned Rose Jackson, daughter of William, would have been a great-aunt of the Richard Jackson of Forkhill, Co. Armagh, who died in 1787.




Thomas’s brother Benjamin, who succeeded to Cranavonane, married Rose Mervyn, daughter of Dean Mervyn of County Carlow. They had a son, Thomas, and daughter, name unknown, who married a Mr. Norris.

There is also a record of a marriage on 17 June 1751 between ‘Mr Daniel Allen, Merchant’ and ‘Anne, daughter of the late Ben Bunbury, Kilfoyd, Co Carlow, Esq.’ which may be relevant.

Rose Bunbury (née Mervyn) died at Cranavonane on 20 October 1761. Her death was recorded in ‘The Gentleman’s and London magazine’ of that year, which named her as ‘Mrs Rose Bunbury, mother of Thomas Bunbury, Esq, high sheriff of the co of Carlow’.



Cardinal Paul Cullen (1803-1878) - Find A Grave Memorial

Cardinal Paul Cullen (1803-1878) whose family interacted with the Bunburys in early 18th century.

In about 1751, the townland of Craan, a few miles south-east of Cranavonane,  became home to a young man called Edmund Cullen (1717-1819), who is said to have descended from a Jacobite soldier. His wife Alice Kinsella (1741-Aug 1793) was a daughter of Dan Kinsella of Kilballyhugh. Edmund and Alice Cullen, both buried at Nurney, had eight children, of whom the eldest son Hugh was father of Cardinal Paul Cullen (1803-1878), Bishop of Armagh (1849), Archbishop of Dublin (1852), and Ireland’s first Cardinal (1866). [See also link to Edmund Cullen under Bunbury of Johnstown.]

The fourth son, Lieutenant Paul Cullen was one of four cousins executed in Leighlin on 21 May 1798. He was apparently court-martialled for refusing to hand his valuable horse over to Sir Richard Butler in return for the £5 a papist’s horse was normally deemed to be worth.

According to Peadar Mac Suibhne:

“Lieutenant Philip Brenan of the Bagenalstown Corps was the only Catholic officer in the yeomanry of County Carlow in 1798. Shortly before the outbreak of hostilities, Catholic members of the yeomanry in almost every case became United Irishmen. Most of these resigned from the yeomanry, and owing to the partial training they had received, they became leaders of the insurgents. After resignation they became marked man, and after the outbreak of hostilities they received no quarter from the enemy.” [13]

Among those executed were Paul Cullen of CraanJack Brennan (possibly a son of the above Philip), Jack Hughes and Michael Carroll, who had been members of Sir Richard Butler’s Garyhundon cavalry corps.

A history of the Cullen family by Fr William Cullen states that Paul Cullen:

‘… had the misfortune to be possessed of a very fine horse, worth at that time £100. Sir Richard Butler, one of the gentry of County Carlow, coveted the horse and offered a small sum for him; I suppose £5 the legal price for a papist’s horse. Paul refused to sell, but Sir Richard was determined to have the horse. One day a party of troopers rode up to Craan and asked was Paul within. ‘We want him down to Leighton for a while,’ they said; ‘he will be back with you again bye and bye.’ His sister Margaret (Mrs O’Toole) was in the house at the time, and often recounted the fact afterwards. Paul came out, and with a bound sprang up behind one of the troopers on the horse, and away they went to the town. Paul’s father had great misgivings; so he mounted his horse and rode down after them. A court-martial was sitting at the time; Paul was hurried before it, accused of being a rebel and condemned to be shot.’ Mary Leadbetter adds: ‘ … Paul, a fine young man, had been condemned by a court martial a little while before. His father attended the trial; when he returned, the family anxiously inquired, “What news?” “Good news”, replied the parent sadly. “My child is to die, and he is willing to die!”

Executed at the age of 24, Paul Cullen was the great-uncle of the Roman Catholic Primate of Ireland

Cullen family lore records that when Sir Richard later sent a couple of puppies to Mrs Brennan to be reared, as was the custom in County Carlow, she sent them back dead in a basket with a message that read ‘That was the way you treated my poor brother.’ Another story records how Sir Richard turned up at Craan to seek the vote of Paul Cullen’s father. ‘The old man made no answer, but going to the hall-door, he called aloud: ‘Paul, Paul’ and then turning to Sir Richard, he said; ‘the man who would give you his vote is lying cold in Nurney.’




Benjamin Bunbury’s son Thomas Bunbury of Cranavonane was a captain in the British Army. In 1758 he married Mary Mill. Baptised on 20 November 1738, Mary was the youngest of five children born to a successful Exeter merchant called Hugh Mill and his wife, Elizabeth. [14] Exeter had been a wealthy city for many hundreds of years and one of the visible signs of this was the number of parishes, each with its own stone-built church. By the 18th century, Exeter was a prosperous trading centre, primarily cloth; Exeter blue serge was especially in demand in Holland. There were also markets for the cloth in Spain and Portugal and consequently Exeter was also a major importer of wine, which was assuredly relevant. Undyed serge was also produced, and this was sent mainly to markets in London. The city itself developed mainly within the existing city walls which meant Exeter became increasingly overcrowded as the century progressed. There may also have been help at hand from Huguenot kinsmen as the Huguenots were closely involved with the wine trade at this time.

Born in 1697, Hugh Mill served his apprenticeship as a grocer before becoming a Freeman in 1722. In 1733 he married Elizabeth Gird, the 19-year-old daughter of another grocer, Henry Grid, of St Mary’s Arches, and granddaughter of wealthy fuller miller, Christopher Gird. Hugh and Elizabeth probably lived in the parish of St. Stephen’s Church which is where Mary was baptised. Hugh Mill’s sister Ann was married to John Trevethick, a grocer and Freeman of Exeter who became Sheriff of the City and County of the City of Exeter in 1741. Mary Bunbury (née Mill) appears to have been particularly close to her unmarried sister Deborah Mill who lived in the thriving port of Topsham, a few miles south of Exeter. In 1781, Deborah inherited Marlston House, Bucklebury, following the death of her friend and cousin Mary Wyld, the daughter of John Wightwick and Mary Gird. Deborah died within a few months of inheriting Marlston. She left the house and all her estates in Berkshire to her unmarried friend, Sarah Ouchterlony, on the understanding that after Sarah’s death, they should pass to one of Thomas and Mary Bunbury’s children. The choice of which child was left to Sarah’s discretion. That it was Benjamin who was to inherit seems to have been decided many years before her death as he was to develop his association with the area over many years before finally inheriting the estate in 1817. (See Appendix 1).

In 1761, both Thomas and Mary lost their mothers. That same year Thomas Bunbury of Cranavonane was appointed High Sheriff for County Carlow.[15]

In 1772, Thomas, described as a wine merchant in the city of Dublin, leased a malthouse at Loughboy on present-day Bow Street, Dublin, to Robert Birch of the City of Dublin; the malthouse had formerly been in the possession of John Crosby. [16] Is this Mrs Bunbury of Frederick Street, Dublin, in 1775 connected? It does mention the word wine merchant.

Sold Price: Der junge Bäcker - Der junge Weinhändler - March 3, 0118 2:00 PM CET | Century, Painting, Ancient art

Transporting wine in the 18th century.

Captain Thomas Bunbury sold his wine interest in 1783, as per this notice in Saunders’s News-Letter of Tuesday 11 March 1783:

CAPT. THOMAS BUNBURY will sell his Interest in the House he now dwells in, No. 3, Bow-street, for a long Term of Years, as he intends to retire from Business; the Concerns and Vaults are spacious„ convenient, and in good Repair, fit for the Wine, or any extensive trade, will also dispose of his present Stock, consisting of a large Quantity, and great Variety of old Wine, in Wood and Bottle, that will be engaged the first Quality. N. B. The Concerns may be viewed on Wednesdays and Fridays, from eleven to three ; and Mr. Bunbury solicits such as are indebted to him, to settle their Accounts, and all Persons that have Demands against him are requested to send for them.

It did not sell straightaway as he advertised it again in Saunders’s News-Letter on 29 November 1785:

A FINE CONCERN TO BE SET OR SOLD. A LARGE and fashionable House, in thorough Repair, the Vaults and Warehouses commodious and excellent, a neat Garden, and every other Conveniency, fit for a Merchant extensive in the Import and Export Trade, No. 3, Bow-street. There has been upwards of £800 well laid out on it, but will be disposed of on reasonable Terms, as the Owner is retiring to the Country.

He may have still been trying to offload it in 1789, a year before his death, as per this report. Thomas died at the age of 61 on 11 December 1790. He was buried at St. Mary’s in Dublin where a monument on the wall erected by his younger son Hugh Mill Bunbury states that he lived in Clontarf. [17] His widow survived him by 36 years, passing away at Lyncombe in Somerset in March 1826. She was buried at Buckleberry near Chieveley in Berkshire.

Thomas Bunbury’s memorial at the old St Michan’s on Church Street, Dublin. Thanks to The Lion and the Shamrock.

At least some of the land at Clontarf appears to have stayed in Thomas’s name after his death as per this article in Saunders’s News-Letter of Thursday 22 March 1787:

BURNETT thinks it his Duty to acquaint the Nobility and Gentry, that on Thursday next, the 22nd instant, at one o’Clock (if the Day happens to fair) may be seen, Mr. Cook’s new Drill Machine at Work, in a Field of Thomas Bunbury, Esq. at this Side the Sheds of Clontarf, adjoining the Strand, when Gentlemen will have an Opportunity of forming a proper Idea of its Utility and Importance to Agriculture.

I suspect this notice of death from Saunders’s News-Letter of 29 April 1797 refers to Mary:

‘At her house in Gloucester, Mrs. Bunbury, relict of Thomas Bunbury, Efq.’

Thomas and Mary had at least six sons, namely:

  1. Major Benjamin Bunbury (1760-1827) the eldest son.
  2. Harrison Charles Bunbury (1764-1803), served as 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Navy on HMS Sceptre, died unmarried. Probate: 12-5-1803, Granted GRO ref: PROB 11/1
  3. Hugh Mill Bunbury (1766-1838), Plantation Owner of Guyana, whose family is explored here. Died in Wandsworth on 2nd November 1838.
  4. Colonel Hamilton Welch Bunbury (1772-1833), 3rd Buffs, father of Mary Bunbury who married her cousin Hugh Mill Bunbury and is mentioned below.
  5. John Monseer Bunbury (1775-1798), also served in the Royal Navy but died without issue aged 23 in 1798.
  6. General Thomas Bunbury (1787-1857), Governor of St Lucia.




Thomas Bunbury circa 1861. A natural son of Benjamin Bunbury, he was one of the key players in the early days of New Zealand’s colonisation. See here.

Born. in 1769, Thomas and Mary’s eldest son was probably the Benjamin Bunbury, ‘son of Thomas, born in Dublin,’ who went to Trinity College Dublin aged 17 on 3 June 1776. [18] He may well be the same Benjamin Bunbury admitted to the Hon. Soc. of the Middle Temple on 9 March 1780. However, if this is the case, he then abandoned the law in pursuit of the army because in 1781, Benjamin Bunbury, gent, was promoted to Ensign in the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot in place of Sweetman. [19] Benjamin became a Lieutenant in the 66th on 25 February 1782, later rising to Major.  In April 1785 the regiment embarked for the West Indies and was garrisoned at Saint Vincent before leaving for Gibraltar in January 1793

In 1791, shortly after his father’s death, the bachelor Benjamin had an illegitimate son. As Major Thomas Bunbury (1791-1861), this boy grew up to be one of the key envoys behind the Maori peace settlement in New Zealand during the 1840s.

On 10 August 1797, Benjamin married Anne Cowling, daughter and co-heiress of Henry Cowling of Richmond, Yorkshire. She bore him a son and heir, Henry Mill Bunbury (1809-1886), and a daughter, Anne Elizabeth Bunbury (1803- 1896), ancestress of the Verstrume-Bunbury family.

Anne Bunbury (née Cowling) died in the autumn of 1811 and was buried on 25 November at Enborne, St Michael &All Angels, Berks. Major Benjamin Bunbury was married secondly to Eliza Susannah (or Elizabeth Susan), widow of Colonel Taubman (or Tautman).  Eliza had grown up in a villa on Sir Francis Walsingham’s old estate at Foot’s Cray Place in Kent, which her father Benjamin Harenc purchased in 1772. In 1822, her brother, also Benjamin, founder of the Bromely Savings Bank, sold the Foot’s Cray estate to Nicholas Vansittart, Lord Bexley, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer. Major Bunbury had no further children by this second marriage.

St. Mary’s Church, Marlston, Berkshire, where many of this line of the Bunbury family were laid to rest.

In 1817 he became the first of the family to reside at Marlston House, Newbury, Berkshire, when he inherited the property upon the death of Sarah Ouchterlony, from his aunt Deborah Mill. (See here). According to the National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868), Marlstone was ‘a tything and chapelry in the parish of Bucklebury, hundred of Reading, county Berks, 4 miles N.E. of Newbury. The village is inconsiderable, and chiefly agricultural. The chapel-of-ease is an ancient edifice. The principal residence is Marlstone House.’  [20]

In 1826, the will of Benjamin’s mother’s will of 1826 urged him to purchase one third of Marlston farm from a Mrs Lawson so that Marlston farm can be amalgamated with Benjamin’s estate.

In August 1827, the Major and his only legitimate son, 18-year-old Henry Mill Bunbury were taking air in a pony chaise some 3 miles from Marlstone House when something spooked their horse resulting in the vehicle being overturned. The two Bunburys were trapped beneath the chaise and subjected to three hours of kicking by the horse before a passer-by came to their rescue. The elder Bunbury lingered speechless for several days, then passed away. He was buried at St Mary’s Church, Buckleberry, Berkshire, on 4 September 1827. [21]




Memorial to W.H. Bunbury

When Thomas Bunbury died in 1790, he was succeeded at Cranavonane by his fourth son, 19-year-old Hamilton Welch Bunbury (1772-1833), sometimes Welsh Hamilton Bunbury, a soldier who rose to become a Colonel in the 3rd Buffs. It is not clear why none of the older brothers – Benjamin, Harrison or Hugh – succeeded. He joined the army as ‘Welch Hamilton Bunbury’, being appointed an Ensign in the 60th Foot on 24 October 1787, the eve of the French Revolution. He was promoted Lieutenant in the same regiment four years later on 29 March 1791.

On Christmas Eve 1794 he transferred to the 128th Foot as a ‘Captain-Lieutenant without purchase’. For reasons unknown he was registered as ‘William Henry Bunbury’ when transferred to be Captain-Lieutenant of the 35th Foot on 1 September 1795. He became a Captain without purchase in the same regiment on 13 August 1799. His promotions continued into the new century – Brevet Major (1 January 1805), Major without purchase, 35th Foot (30 April 1805) and Lieutenant Colonel, 3rd East Kent Regiment of Foot, aka The Buffs (31 December 1806).

He served in the Peninsula from September 1808 to February 1810, commanding the 1st Battalion of Detachments from February to September 1809. He again fought in the Peninsula from June 1812 to December 1813, seeing action at the Douro, Talavera, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, Nivelle, and Nive. He received the Gold Medal for Talavera. He does not seem to have covered himself in glory at the battle of St Pierre when, in command of the 3rd Old Buffs, he withdrew his men at an inopportune moment. Fought on the last day of the crossing of the River Nive by Wellington’s army, on 13 December 1813, the battle was described by those who were there as amongst the fiercest fighting of the Peninsular War. Nonetheless, Sir Rowland Hill’s Corps defeated an attack by Marshal Soult’s divisions and drove the French back into Bayonne. Colonel Bunbury retired and sold his commission on 16 May 1814, five weeks after the abdication of Emperor Napoleon.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was a cousin of Colonel Hamilton Bunbury’s wife.

In 1810, the Colonel married Mary Russell, daughter of William Russell of Brancepeth Castle, Durham, and (I think) sister of the Durham coal baron Matthew Russell, MP for Saltash, who was reputedly the richest commoner in England for a time. In 1817, Matthew instigated the virtual rebuilding of Brancepeth Castle, which his wealthy father had purchased from the Tempests 20 years earlier. Matthew is said to have spent £80,000 a year for several years on the restoration, which took place under the guidance of a Scottish architect called Patterson. Matthew’s wife Elizabeth Tennyson was an aunt of the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) who reputedly composed “Come into the Garden Maude” during a visit to Brancepeth. Once again, the Bunbury name seems to be absent from the annals and I can only find reference to Mary’s (presumably elder) sister Emma who married Gustavus Hamilton-Russell, 7th Viscount Boyne, and ultimately succeeded to Brancepeth (I think) on the death, without issue, of their brother William Russell. [22]

Colonel Hamilton and Mary Bunbury had just one child, a daughter born in Bath in 1811 and christened Mary Diana Bunbury. In 1833, she married her first cousin, Henry Mill Bunbury. The marriage was evidently an unpopular one with her father and there is a letter, dated 20th November 1832, in which the Colonel wrote to his niece Lydia Jane Bunbury de Vigny from Dover, stating his strong objections to Mary’s marriage. He urged Lydia to intervene in the matter via her father, Hugh Mill Bunbury of Guyana, whom the young Mary has asked to be her guardian. As Mary’s father was still alive, it is curious indeed that she should appoint his brother as her guardian. The “malheureux père”, as the Colonel calls himself, alludes to “secrets” that were passed on to his wife Mary concerning the young Henry Mill Bunbury. [23] In any event, it may not be coincidence that Colonel Hamilton Bunbury died on 30 April 1833, eight weeks after Mary married Henry Mill Bunbury. The Colonel was buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s Parish Church, Buckleberry, Bucks on 8th May 1833. Cranavonane duly passed to his daughter Mary. [24]

Colonel Bunbury famously received a glass of wine in his face from his nephew, Thomas Bunbury, while having dinner with his brother Benjamin and sister-in-law Anne Bunbury at Marlstone House.

Wolfe Tone’s brother-in-law Edward Witherington married a natural daughter of Colonel Hamilton Bunbury, 3rd Buffs.

During the 1820s, the colonel became friendly with Colonel Edward Witherington (1765–1832), brother-in-law of both Wolfe Tone and Tom Reynolds of Kilkea Castle. It was Edward who introduced Tone to his sister Martha; Tone then gave her the name ‘Matilda’ and married her at St Ann’s church, Dublin, on 21 July 1785.

(As it happens, Matilda Tone is buried in the same cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, as Lola Montez.)

According to Thomas Reynolds, Witherington had arrived in to Paris:

‘… commenced the same practice of petty gambling on the Stock Exchange as he had followed in London, and which he continued to the last, attending daily on the Bourse, like a broker, from two until four o clock. Colonel Bunbury of the Buffs resided with his family in Paris and was also a constant attendant on the Exchange The similarity of their situation and habits soon brought about an intimacy.

About this time, Colonel Witherington’s mistress died, and he became a very frequent guest at Colonel Bunbury’s table. He there met a Miss Childe, a natural daughter of Colonel Bunbury, whose personal attractions soon caused him to forget the disparity of years, and, though he was then sixty-seven years of age, and Miss Childe only twenty-two [ie: born c. 1803], he offered her his hand and was accepted: this was in 1825. Mrs Witherington was very extravagant and, as is too often the case when men make such very unequal matches, Colonel Witherington lived just long enough to see all his property dissipated In the autumn of 1831. He lest Paris and went to Dublin where, in the spring of 1832, he died of the cholera morbus which was then raging.’

As to Miss Childe, see under ‘Marriage Possibility: Miss Chiles’  on the page for Colonel Bunbury’s brother Hugh Mills Bunbury here.




Memorial to Henry Mill Bunbury at St. Mary’s Church, Marlston.

Born on 23 January 1809, Henry Mill Bunbury was the only son of Major Benjamin Bunbury (1760-1827) by his first wife Anne Cowling. Henry was only 18 years old when, after his father’s awful death, he succeeded to Marlstone House. In 1831 he graduated from Oxford with a BA. Two years later, on 27 Feb 1833, he controversially (see above) married his first cousin Mary Diana Bunbury (1811-1864) at St. James in Dover. [25] She was the only child of his uncle Colonel Hamilton Bunbury. When the Colonel died that same year, Mary succeeded to the family seat of Cranavonane in Co Carlow.

In 1842, Henry Mill Bunbury was appointed High Sheriff of Berkshire. On 19 March 1842, The Windsor and Eton Express noted:

Among the addresses of congratulation on the birth of a Prince of Wales presented to her Majesty at the levee, was one from the County of Berks, presented by J.J. Bulkeley, Esq. (late High Sheriff), who was accompanied by Mr. Pusey, M.P., Mr. R. Palmer, M.P., the Rev. Mr. Hitching; and Mr. C. Lane. Henry Mill Bunbury, Esq., the present High Sheriff of the county, was prevented attending the levee by having met with an accident‘.

Fortunately, Henry survived. According to a brass plaque at St. Mary’s Church, Marlston, he paid for the restoration of the church, which was cased in flint, in 1855. [26] In 1855 he also had had Marlston House remodelled by Mr. W. Butterfield.




Mary Bunbury (née Bunbury) died aged 53 in February 1864 and was buried at St. Mary’s Church in Buckleberry on 1st March. Two years later, on 13 February 1866, her widowed husband Henry Mill Bunbury kept the Tennyson connection going strong when he was married, secondly, at St George’s, Hanover Square, London. His new bride was Ellen Elizabeth d’Eyncourt, a first cousin of Alfred, the aforementioned bard who had been Poet Laureate since 1850.

Ellen’s father was the Rt. Hon. Charles Tennyson d’Eyncourt (1784-1861), MP for Lambeth, an eccentric character, eager to establish his family as one of aristocratic proportions. As such, he Normanized the name of his family home in Lincolnshire from Beacon Manor to Bayons Manor and even stretched back through the ages to find a surname (d’Eyncourt) that would make his own sound more highbrow. He also substantially altered the manor into an elaborate neo-Gothic castle and had a famous fall out with his poetic cousin.

Henry paid for the restoration of St. Mary’s Church, Marlston, in 1855.

On 1 January 1808, Charles Tennyson married Ellen’s mother, Frances Mary Hutton, at the Parish Church of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. She was the daughter and heiress of the Rev. John Hutton of Morton, Lincs. Charles died in 1861 and Frances in January 1878.

Ellen Elizabeth was baptised on 7 July 1817 at St Nicholas, Brighton, Sussex. Her eldest brother Edwin Tennyson d’Eyncourt (1813-1903) became an Admiral and married Lady Henrietta Pelham-Clinton, daughter of the 4th Duke of Newcastle. Ellen’s second brother (Louis) Charles Tennyson (1814-1896) was a Metropolitan Police Magistrate and married Sophia, daughter and co-heiress of John Ashton Yates of Dinglehead, MP. [27]

No children were born to Henry and Ellen. Henry was still serving as a magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant for Berkshire when he died at Marlstone aged 77 on 27 December 1886. He was buried the following New Year’s Day at St. Mary’s Church, Marlston. [28]  His widow survived hum by fourteen years, dying on 12 February 1900 at 60, Euston Square, London. She was buried alongside him on 17 February 1900, the same day a distant cousin, Billy Bunbury of Lisnavagh, was killed in the Boer War.



Pope Pius XI (1857-1939), for whom Hamilton Bunbury was Privy Chamberlain.


As Henry Mill Bunbury left no children, Cranavonane passed to his young cousin, Hamilton Joseph Bunbury (1866-1949), son of Captain Philip Peter Mill Bunbury and his wife Georgina (née MacEvoy). Hamilton was born on 14th February 1866 and educated at Downside. He served as a Captain in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment and later as a Major in the 4th Battalion HLI.

In 1915 Captain Bunbury became embroiled in a legal dispute with the formidable Rev. Fr. Hugh Cullen, parish priest of Carlow-Graigue, who would earn his immortality when the name Cullen was added to Graigue following his death to create the name ‘Graiguecullen.’ Fr. Cullen’s brother, Edmond, had died and his lands at Craan duly passed to his widow, Ellen Genevieve Cullen. However, the administration of the house and lands ended up in Fr Cullen’s hands. When Captain Bunbury’s agents – Townshends of 15 Molesworth Street, Dublin – sought payment from Mrs Cullen of a rent (albeit a reduced one), Fr Cullen quickly leapt into the fray.

‘Impossible,’ he advised his own solicitor Jack Duggan. ‘The Holy Catholic Church, Apostolic and Roman forbids PPs to involve themselves in any swindle legal or otherwise beyond a hundred pounds.’

In a subsequent letter to Jack Duggan, he wrote: ‘Remember me to Townshends, tell them if I ever catch one of them in the townland of Crann, Barony of Idrone West and County of Carlow that they would be safer on the Aubers Ridge or in the Main Street of Ypres’. [29]

Major Bunbury became a Knight of the Sovereign Order of Malta and, in 1923, served as Privy Chamberlain of the Sword and Cape to His Holiness Pope Pius XI.

Hamilton J Bunbury was also one of the chaps who went around scribbling down names from graves for the Association of The Memorials of the Dead, founded by Colonel Philip Vigors, along with Lord Walter Fitzgerald.

He died unmarried at Ballygate Cottage, Beccles, Suffolk, on 13 May 1949, and was buried in the local Catholic Church. His only sibling, Mary Alicia Bunbury, became a Nun of the Order of the Good Shepherds and died aged 86 on 12 March 1953.




Marlstone House, courtesy of Paddy McCall.

Meanwhile, Marlstone House passed to Henry’s nephew, Louis Hutton Verstrume, son of his only sister Anne Elizabeth Bunbury, on the condition that he and his heirs take the name of Bunbury. Hence the advent of the Versturme-Bunburys.

Henry and Anne’s illegitimate half-brother, Major Thomas Bunbury, the Peninsula War veteran, received £500 in this will and is mentioned as being the son of Benjamin Bunbury.

In 1829, 26-year-old Anne Elizabeth Bunbury married Captain Louis Versturme, son of Sir Louis Versturme, Inspector General of Hospitals. Anne died at Newton Hall, Whittington, Lancashire, on the 24 February 1896 aged 92, leaving a daughter and two sons. By her son Adolphus Verstrume, Anne was ancestress of the Verstrume-Bunbuy family who settled in Kenya in the early 20th century.

Marlstone was seemingly sold in 1896 to Mr. G. Palmer of Reading, father of the Rt. Hon. George W. Palmer. Today, Marlston House is a day and boarding school for girls aged 3-13, while Brockhurst, a boys boarding school, is located on the same estate. (See here)




The Pitons of St Lucia, where Thomas Bunbury was Governor.

Thomas and Mary Bunbury’s youngest son Thomas was born at Cranavonane, Co. Carlow, in March 1783. He joined the army at 17 and rose to become a Lieutenant General in the British Army and Colonel of the 60th Rifles. He started as an Ensign in the 8th West India Regiment, transferring to the 54th by exchange in 1808, by which time he had become a Captain. He served in the West Indies from 1804, and then returned to help defeat Napoleon in the continent. In April 1814 he was promoted to Major in the Glengarry Fencibles and dispatched to America where he remained until October 1815.

In January 1827 he was sent to Portugal for 16 months. In his later life he served as Governor or Administrator of British Guyana, where his brother Hugh Mill Bunbury had large sugar plantations, and as a temporary Governor of St Lucia.

His term was a controversial one, as James John Graham relays in this extract from ‘Military Ends and Moral Means’ (Smith, Elder and Company, 1864), p. 406:

“During the time Colonel Bunbury administered the affairs of St . Lucia, he became embroiled with some of the local authorities. Their dissensions became the subject of mutual representations to the Colonial Office, and it is believed that the Governor’s administration of affairs was not altogether approved of by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and that despatches were transmitted from Downing Street to Government House at Barbadoes, of such a tenour as to leave no doubt that the removal of Colonel Bunbury to the temporary government of Demerara would not be acquiesced in by the Minister for the Colonial Department. The Captain General and Governor of the Windward and Leeward Islands, Sir Evan McGregor, then consulted with the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces as to the withdrawal of Colonel Bunbury from Demerara, and a despatch was immediately transmitted to him, offering him leave of absence (which on a former occasion he had applied for) and directing him to hand over the government of the colony to Colonel Everard, C.B., who proceeded to Demerara for the purpose of assuming the office to which he was thus designated.
Colonel Bunbury declined the leave of absence, and notwithstanding repeated orders directing him to hand over the government to Colonel Everard, he remained in the colony, and continued himself in the administration of its affairs as Governor. Whether Colonel Bunbury justified this resistance of the orders transmitted to him from Barbadoes, on the plea that having been sworn in as acting governor, his civil “status” exempted him from that obedience to his military superiors which might otherwise have been exacted from him, or whether he justified himself on any other grounds, – his conduct on this occasion did not interfere with his further employment in an official capacity, as he served subsequently for several years as major general in command of the troops in Jamaica.”

This portrait of Colonel Thomas Bunbury, KH, is above the fire place in the Mess of the Abercorn Barracks, Ballykinler, Northern Ireland. The inscription below it states that he was with the 60th Duke of York’s Own Rifle Corps, and that he was Colonel Commandant of the 60th King’s Royal Rifle Corps from 1842-1856. I am not certain this is the same man as the Governor of St Lucia. The portrait was in the possession of Mr Hamilton Bunbury.

Further insights appear in ‘St. Lucia: Historical, Statistical, and Descriptive’ by Henry Hegart Breen, published in 1844 by Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans:

‘Towards the close of Sir Dudley Hill‘s administration, which terminated in April 1837, one of those political squalls so peculiar to the St Lucia atmosphere had been gathering for some time, but it did not completely burst until the end of that year during the temporary command of Colonel Bunbury.
Actuated by the same honesty of purpose which characterised the administration of Sir Dudley Hill, Colonel Bunbury did not exhibit the same tact and experience in the conduct of affairs. The rough “pioneering” system, which he introduced, was but ill calculated to allay the mighty elements of opposition that had been stirred up against him on every side.
At length, goaded to desperation by the difficulties of his position, the Colonel resolved to make a general onslaught upon his opponents. The Chief Justice was suspended; the First Puisne Judge was sent to prison; the members of the Bar, refusing to plead before the new Judges, were suspended en masse; and, to crown all, the French language was abolished by beat of drum.
The clamour raised against these proceedings soon found an echo in the Mother Country. As usual, the Colonial Office was besieged by complaints and recriminations from both parties; and deputations and doleance-mongers were not wanting to represent the sentiments of the community.
According to one faction the Governor was the sole evil doer. As things stood, the colonists were at the mercy of the first military officer who chanced to have the command of the troops, and who being but a novice himself was compelled to make St Lucia the theatre of his experiments in “the art of governing”, thereby perpetually encroaching either on the powers of the Court or the prerogatives of the Crown. In the opinion of the opposite party the Chief Justice was the cause of all the mischief …’.

The story of Mary Seacole, including her potential relationship with Thomas Bunbury, is told in Helen Rappaport’s book ‘In Search of Mary Seacole: The Making of a Cultural Icon (Simon & Schuster UK, 2022)

From St Lucia he went to Guyana, where he presumably enjoyed his wealthy brothers’ hospitality. Having stirred more trouble in Guyana he returned to Britain in 1839 and promptly landed himself in court in a dispute over a debt of honour. (There was an incident like this earlier in his career.)

Having served with the army in Ireland during the 1840s, he returned to Kingston, Jamaica, circa 1849 on the staff of the administration, with his son Captain Bunbury as ADC. He is assumed to have been in Jamaica when his wife Jane died in London in 1850. He wrote his own will in London in 1851 and does not seem to have gone back to Jamaica after that. He retired as a Major-General.

A colourful character, he was reputedly so corpulent that when he mounted a horse, the poor thing collapsed in the middle. By some accounts, he weighed as much as 27 stone or 378 lbs.  On one occasion, he was apparently unable to climb the steps to the Newcastle Barracks so ended up watching parades from his carriage.

He died aged 74 on 13 April 1857 at 4 Lower James Street, Golden Square, London. He was buried in the Roman Catholic section of Kensal Green on 30 July. I wonder why it took so long to bury him?

There is talk of a liaison and an illegitimate child in the West Indies. One prominent legend is that he fathered a daughter called Sally (Sarah) by Mary Seacole, the famous Jamaican nurse who became Florence Nightingale’s rival in the Crimea. In an issue of the Daily News in May 1856, a correspondent mentioned in passing that Mary Seacole “was at one time in General Bunbury’s employ”. The most learned intelligence in 2020 suggests Sally was born in St Lucia circa 1837/8. Sally was with Mrs Seacole in the Crimea in the summer of 1856. See here. The story of Mary Seacole was originally highlighted for me by Audrey Dewjee in 2011. However, I am given to understand it is unlikely that Colonel Bunbury was Sally’s father. There is no record of her in his will. It is far more likely that Mrs Seacole simply helped look after the general when he was unwell.

On 3 February 1811, Thomas was married at St. James’s, Westminster, to Jane Pearse, daughter of John Pearse of Standon House in Wiltshire who bore him three sons and a daughter.

Their eldest son Thomas Charles Bunbury (1812-1894) was born in Cork, joined the 60th Rifles as a lieutenant in 1832, retired in 1843 and died unmarried in 1894. I suspect he was the Thomas Charles Bunbury of Pembroke House, Milbrook Road, Southampton, who died on 22 July 1894 with a personal estate valued at over £23,000. He bequeathed £100 each to the Discharged Prisoners’ Aid Society (Charing Cross) and the Soldiers’ Daughters Home (Hampstead).[30]

Their second son Lt. Col. Stonehouse George Bunbury (1818-1880), was also born in Cork, joined the 60th Rifles in 1833. On 25 May 1850 he was serving with the 67th when he was married in St. Catharine’s Cathedral, Spanish Town, Jamaica, to Georgina Dunston Vidal. The wedding was officiated by the Rev. Dr Musson. Georgina’s father, who died of cholera six months after the wedding was John Gale Vidal, a prominent solicitor in Jamiaca where he was Clerk of the Honourable House of Assembly. Her brother John James Vidal (1820-1869) was also a prominent attorney and later Sergeant at Arms of Jamaica. Stonehouse and Georgina’s son George Thomas Frederick Bunbury was born at St Helier, Jersey, on 15 May 1853. Tragically, Georgina died three years later, on 18 May 1853, aged 30. Lt. Col. Bunbury died in 1880, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. [31]

Their third son Harry Bunbury (b. 1819) also served with the 60th Rifles and is reported not to have married. However, it seems he married Susannah Blewitt Tonkin (or Carter) on 21 August 1849, with whom he had a daughter, Florence Angelina Bunbury, born in Sydney on 18th August 1850. Florence was baptised on 20th June 1852 (Church of England) but died of scarlet fever at Glebe, Sydney, in 1858.

The daughter Catherine Bunbury was born in 1815 but her death, aged 23, was reported in the Guiana Chronicle of 9 July 1838 (Vol 7, p. 188) as follows: ‘July 21 Died. At the house of her father on 29 inst. Lost after a long illness, Catherine, only daughter of Colonel Bunbury, commanding H M Troops in this Colony.’




In 1846, General Bunbury (then a Lieut. Col) came before the Court of Common Plea charged with failing to repay a loan to a Miss. Caroline Howard who appears to have been his mistress. The Times reported on the case as follows:

‘Sir T. Wilde, Mr. Serjeant Talfourd, and Mr. Peacock, appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. Serjeant Manning for the defendant. The plaintiff in this case is a plasterer and respectable tradesman, and brought this action as the executor of a deceased sister, a Miss Caroline Howard, and in that capacity sought to recover £1,000, money alleged to have been sent by her to the defendant, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Bunbury, of the 60th Rifles.
The defendant pleaded that he did not owe the money, and the Statute of Limitations.
It appeared, from the opening speech of Sir Thomas Wilde, that considerable intimacy had formerly existed between the deceased, Miss Howard, and the defendant at Nottingham; and that in the course of that intimacy, in 1827, he persuaded her to transfer to him £1,000 stock, for which she then received four per cent interest, he agreeing to pay her five per cent. For some years that amount of interest was paid to her in advance; afterwards only on its becoming due, every quarter, until her death in 1843. Shortly before her death she wished to obtain some security for her money and with that object wrote to the defendant, and sent an attorney to call upon him. The defendant agreed to do what was necessary, and upbraided Miss Howard for subjecting him to such an annoyance.
Subsequently to her death her brother, the present plaintiff, wrote to the defendant, informing him of Miss Howard’s death, and as her executor requesting payment of the £1,000. The defendant in reply to this letter wrote that at the earnest request of Miss Howard he had procured for her a life annuity of £50 per annum, which now ceased, and that if any part of the annuity was due before her death, his army-agents, Cox and Company, would pay it, and declining to answer any further letters. Search had been made for the enrolment of such an annuity deed, and none could be found.
Probate of the deceased’s will having been proved, Mr. Edward Beard, of the house of Cox and Company, proved the payment of £12. 10s. quarterly to Miss Howard from August, 1827, to March, 1843. At first this was paid in advance, but subsequently when due, by Colonel Bunbury’s orders. On his cross-examination, the witness said his impression was, that it was an “allowance” to Miss Howard, and he had made out a receipt for her to sign in 1838, with that phrase in it, when he gave her quarterly payment. (This receipt was put in as evidence by the defendant’s counsel.) The transfer of the stock from Miss Howard’s name to Colonel Bunbury’s was proved, and that subsequently the stock was sold out by the defendant. It was also proved that no annuity whatever had been enrolled. For the defence it was contended that Miss Howard, being dissatisfied with the interest of £40 a year, had made an arrangement with the defendant that be should pay her £50 a year during her life for the £1,000, on the plan of a life- annuity, she sinking the principal.
The learned Judge, in summing up, left it to the jury to determine whether they thought such an arrangement was made for 5 per cent., and whether the quarterly payment had been paid as interest, in order to meet the plea of the Statute of Limitations. The Jury, without turning round in their box, found a verdict for the plaintiff.
Damages, £1,030, with interest since the last quarterly payment; and that the quarterly payment was paid as interest for money borrowed.’ [32]




Thanks to Janette McLeman Carnie, Ann Stancombe, Peter Bunbury, Anthony Bunbury, Ken Baker, Victoria Tindal, Gill Miller, Sharon Oddie Brown, Cefyn Grafton, Mick Purcell, Bob Burnham (editor, The Napoleon Series), Rachel Harper (Marlstone School), Paddy McCall (who emailed me several useful images in September 2017), Susann Anderson, Hazel Ogilvie, Rachel Finnegan, Martin Nevin, Hilary Jarvis and many others.




Hugh Mill was the third of at least four children born to Thomas Mill. It is probable that he was born and lived in the parish of St Mary’s Arches, one of the smallest in Exeter, but none of the records that relate to Thomas or Hugh and his family give any addresses. The parish was largely destroyed by a combination of the Baedekker raids of World War II and 20th century town planners; most of the area is now a car park. Hugh was baptised at St Mary’s Arches Church on 9th January 1697. His eldest sister Margaret was baptised on 22nd January 1694, followed by Ann on 16th February 1695, then Hugh and finally Elizabeth on 18th August 1700. The parish registers do not give their mother’s name.

Thomas Mill was sufficiently wealthy to ensure his son Hugh was apprenticed to Thomas Copplestone, a grocer, and, on February 26th 1722, Hugh’s name was added to the Roll of Exeter Freemen. The guild system was still in operation in cities throughout England in the 18th century and worked to ensure favourable trading conditions for local merchants, as opposed to ‘foreigners’, who would be defined as anyone who was not a Freeman. The Mayor and Corporation, who effectively governed the civic affairs of Exeter, were elected by the freemen and came from their ranks. It was a necessary status to achieve if you wanted to be successful. There does not seem to be an entry on the Roll of Freemen for Thomas Mills.

Hugh married Elizabeth Gird on August 13th, 1733. The Gird family was another successful merchant family in Exeter. Christopher Gird was a fuller and his will, (available to download at, cost £3.50), gives a vivid picture of the man and his lifestyle. Christopher had an area of land to the north of the city, next to St. David’s Church, where he kept his wagons. The family lived in this developing area. It was where most of the fulling mills were located and it was here too that the tenter grounds were sited on sheltered slopes, facing south-west. By his wife Elizabeth, Christopher had six children who survived into adulthood. The eldest was another Christopher who was apprenticed to his father and became a Freeman in 1695. Henry was apprenticed to Isaac Gibbs, a grocer, becoming a Freeman in 1699. Nicholas and George had already begun their apprenticeships when their father died, but it appears from the Roll of Freemen that their indentures were then transferred to their eldest brother, Christopher. Both became fullers and Freemen of Exeter in 1708. There was another son, William, who has not yet been traced. Christopher also had two daughters, Elizabeth and Ursula, both of whom married. More than anything else, the size of his family is a clear indication of Christopher’s wealth. In his will he was able to leave over £900 to his family, together with the tenement where he lived and the land next to the church.

Mary Mills’ mother, Elizabeth Gird was one of the daughters of Henry Gird, the grocer son of Christopher the fuller. Henry had married Deborah Cornish on 16th March 1697 at St. David’s Church. Like the Mills family, Henry and Deborah seem to have lived in the parish of St Mary’s Arches as all their children were baptised there. Their eldest was Deborah, (baptised 23rd August 1702), then Christopher, (14May 1704). He was followed by Anna, (2nd May 1711), Elizabeth (9th March 1714), Mary (27th June 1716), and lastly Rebekah, (18th September 1721).

Hugh Mills and Elizabeth had five children. They were baptised at St Stephen’s Church, Exeter, which implies that Hugh and Elizabeth lived in this part of Exeter. Their eldest daughter was called Anna Elizabeth, (baptised 24th November 1734). She had been followed by another daughter, Margaret, (22nd October 1735), a son Thomas, (7 September 1736), Deborah, (19th December 1737) and Mary (20th November 1738).

Mary seems to have been particularly close to her unmarried sister Deborah, but the Gird women in general seem to have been close. Marlston House was owned by John Wightwick and he married Mary Gird. This Mary was the daughter of Christopher Gird, eldest son of Christopher. Mary was therefore Elizabeth Mills’ first cousin. Mary Gird and John Wightwick appear to have only had one daughter, another Mary, who married a London grocer called George Wyld. George died after only a few years of marriage and the couple had no children. Instead of leaving her estate to a male Wightwick cousin, which had clearly been her intention at some point, Mary Wyld left it to her cousin, Deborah Mills. Sadly Deborah Mills died just a few months after Mary Wyld and she left all her estates in Berkshire to an unmarried friend, Sarah Ouchterlony. She directed that Sarah should have a lifetime interest in the estates, but that on her death they should pass to one of Mary Bunbury’s children. The choice of which child was left to Sarah’s discretion. That it was Benjamin who was to inherit seems to have been decided many years before her death as he was to develop his association with the area over many years before finally inheriting the estate in 1817.

In her will of 1781, Deborah Mills, who described herself as being ‘of Topsham’, (a thriving port a few miles south of Exeter), left £100 to her nephew Hugh Mills Bunbury.

The wills of Deborah Mills, Sarah Ouchterlony and Christopher Gird (the elder), are all available online.

We do not yet have a record for the deaths of either Hugh or Elizabeth Mills. Elizabeth is described as a widow in a cousin’s will dated 1778. Elizabeth herself outlived her daughter Deborah who died in 1781, referring to her mother as ‘dearly beloved’ in her will.

With thanks to Ann Stancomb.




Before Mrs Ann Stancombe made contact, it was erroneously believed that Mary Mill who married Thomas Bunbury in 1758 was Mary Milles, the daughter of Dr Jeremiah and Edith Milles. As I have done the research, I may as well include it here as an Appendix as it may be of help to someone else. Dr Jeremiah Milles (1714-1784) was a well-connected man. His father, also Jeremiah, was a fellow and tutor of Balliol College, Oxford, and 42 years the Vicar of Duloe in Cornwall. Perhaps more importantly Dr Milles was the nephew and heir of Dr Thomas Milles, Bishop of Waterford & Lismore, who died in 1740. He was also a first cousin of the Right Rev. Dr. Richard Pococke, Bishop of Meath. In later life, Dr Milles was elected President of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He collected a large number of books and manuscripts, many of which are now with the British Museum.

On 29th May 1745, Dr Milles, then 31, married Edith Potter, the ‘amiable, affectionate, and truly pious‘ 19-year-old youngest daughter of Dr John Potter DD. [33] From 1737 until his death in October 1747, Dr Potter was Archbishop of Canterbury. In his earlier life, this son of a Yorkshire linen draper had been chaplain to Queen Anne. Though dignified and firm in his belief, Dr Potter was not always the most stimulating of companions. The Latin translation of the coronation sermon he preached on the accession of George II was reputedly one of the standard punishments given at Corpus Christi College as late as 1893. [34] Dr Potter’s father-in-law, Colonel Venner, was a grandson of the infamous Thomas Venner hung, drawn and quartered in 1661 for organizing a rising against the new central government of Charles II. Dr Potter’s dashing third son Thomas Potter, was a prominent MP, fashionable dandy and well known member of the Hellfire Club who died young of venereal disease in 1759 shortly after Mary Milles (Mill) married Thomas Bunbury. Edith’s eldest sister Elizabeth married Rev. Thomas Tenison, later Prebendary of Canterbury, but died in childbirth in 1728. Her next sister Martha married George Sayer, later Archdeacon of Canterbury, and a lover of Lady Baltimore. [35] The third sister married Rev. Thomas Tanner, sometime Prebendary and Canon of Canterbury and Rector of Hadleigh and Monks Eleigh, Suffolk. Edith Milles died aged 35 in 1761. The following summer, Jeremiah was appointed Dean of Exeter, a position he held until his death at London’s Harley Street on 13th February 1784. He was buried at the church of St. Edmund-the-King, Lombard Street, London, where an elegant monument by Bacon is inscribed to his memory.

The Potter family website mentions three sons (Jeremiah, Richard, Thomas) and two daughters (Charlotte, Harriet) born to Jeremiah and Edith, most of whom seem to have been christened at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Exeter. The eldest son Jeremiah Milles (1751-1797) was Lord of the Manor of Pishobury and married Rose Gardiner (1757-1835), sole daughter and heiress of Edward Gardiner.


End Notes


[1] William Jackson’s father the Rev. Richard Jackson was born in Kirby Lonsdale in 1602, the son of William Jackson, mercer. He matriculated from Christ’s Colllege, Cambridge, in July 1619, picking up a BA in 1622 and an MA in 1626. He became Vicar of Halton in 1634 and then succeeded the Rev. Meyre to become Rector of Whittington, Yorkshire on July 26th 1641. He remained at Whittington until 1680, a member of the Presbyterian classis (ie: the higher assembly) but conformed at the Restoration. The Rev. Richard Jackson is said to have sired 15 children by 1645. William Jackson is thought to have been born on 4 September 1628, the eldest of four sons born to Richard and his first wife Dorothy Otway (who he married in Kirby Lonsdale on 27 Nov 1627; the other brothers were Thomas (born 1629), John (born 1630) and Samuel (born 1631). Rev. Richard was married secondly in 1647 to 29-year-old Jane Carter, daughter of John Carter and his wife Ann Newton (1580-1666). Richard and Jane had a son, the Rev. Leonard Jackson (c. 1650-1726) and five daughters, Abigail, Vigesima (1657-1234, ancestress of the Peart Robinson and McClintock Bunbury families), Jennet (d. 1729), Marie (b. 1653) and the short-lived Jane (buried 1648).

A piece of trivia that diehard Bunbury genealogists might enjoy … Elizabeth Dawson (née Bouch), another granddaughter of the Rev Richard Jackson, was ancestress of the Peart Robinson family from whom the present-day McClintock Bunburys descend. She was a daughter of the Rev. Jackson’s daughter Vigesima (by his later wife Jane Carter) and her curate husband Thomas Bouch. Thanks to Tom Robinson for this.

[2] For more, see under Benjamin Bunbury. (Thanks to Tom LaPorte)

[3] Deed 23-128.83195.

[4] A deed of 22 January / 23 November 1710 (Bk8-Pg59-Deed 1771): STEPHENS-BUNBURY. In the presence of Richard JACKSON and Thomas JACKSON of the City of Dublin Esq. And John Shaw and Roger GAUGH of the said City Gents made between Walter STEPHENS of the City of Dublin Esq. And Thomas BUNBURY of Killerick in the County of Catherlough Esq…. demise of lands … Mansion House at Littlecott… lands of Clogna…at Waltertown als Ballywalter… more lands… for 41 years to commence after the expiration of a lease made by Sir Richard STEPHENS late of Lincolns Inn Kinght Dec?d to Benjamin BUNBURY late of Killerick in the County of Catherlough Esq. Dec?d bearing date the 8th day of June 1696… signed in presence of Thomas JACKSON & Thomas WICKSED.

JACKSON, Thomas City of Dublin. Lease of properties in By & Co Carlow, 41 years after the termination of the lease dated 8 Jun 1696 from Sir Richard STEPHENS late of Lincolns Inn to Benjamin BUNBURY late of Killerick, Co. Carlow, which will be 25 Mar 1716, £200 pa. Mention of Richard JACKSON. Will. ANNECHAMNEY

[5] TGF Pattersons papers held at the Armagh County Museum – which he compiled based on Crossle transcripts: Notebook # 5 Page 21 – Per will made 9 June 1697; proved 5 Sept 1697. W. Jackson of Dublin, Merchant; wife Rose – On front – 18 Sept 1688 of Commission to swear Susanna JACKSON widow & executrix of will of W. JACKSON of Coleraine esq in trust for his minor children William, Richard, Beresford, John, Thomas, Otway, Rose & Jane directed to Richard LYNAM, Patrick GORDAN & Henry ARKWRIGHT – all of Coleraine.

[6] ‘Carlow’s Old Inns & Taverns’ from Carloviana 1959 , quoted in Carloviana, December 2005, no. 54, p. 58.

[7] 1722 Deed of Thomas Bunbury – Jackson, Bernard The following deed, dated November 26, 1722, indicates that he was putting things in order for his wife a Rose Jackson and his eldest son, also Thomas. Thomas BUNBURY, Esq. of Choghner, CATHERLOGH [Carlow] & Thomas BUNBURY the younger, son & heir to Thomas JACKSON, Esq. of Dublin City, trustee & Franks BERNARD, Gent of Clonmuske, CATHERLOGH £800 in trust. Thomas JACKSON & Frank BERNARD to invest to satisfy Thomas BUNBURY jr. during life of Thomas BUNBURY sr., such sums as lands of Cranavolan, Idrone, (Bar) Cath are insufficient to make up yrly rent charge of £100. Remaining interest to be pd to Thomas BUNBURY sr. and on his death to Rose BUNBURY & on her death the £800 + inter due to Thomas BUNBURY j. for life. For better securing rent charge, Thomas BUNBURY sr. to Thomas BUNBURY jr. of sd rent charge out of sd lands during life of Thomas BUNBURY sr., with clause of distress in charge unpaid. REGISTRAR: Bruen WORTHINGTON. WITNESSES: James REILLY, Gent of Dublin City & Henry DIM, taylor of Dublin City. (36-245-22166) – Notes thanks to Michael Stewart and Sharon Oddie Brown.

[8] 1737 Will of Thomas Bunbury: (63146 88 420 Lease & Release 8 &9 Feb 1737)
Thomas Bunbury snr, City of Dublin, & Rose, his wife, Thomas Bunbury jnr, Clownings, Co Kildare, his eldest son & heir apparent (1) Edward Folie, City of Dublin (2). Sale of Clownings, Co Kildare, & Cranevonan, psh Tullow, By Idrone, Co Carlow, for lives of Thomas Bunbury the yr, Edmond Bunbury & Thomas Bunbury, renewable. Bunburys to suffer a common recovery. Wit Den Doran, John Selling Alien, & Thomas Moore, yeoman, all Dublin. Reg 22 Mar 1737

[9] 1743 Will of Thomas Bunbury
(77934 110 363 Lease & Release 22 & 23 Jul 1743)
Thomas Bunbury, City of Dublin, eldest son & heir of Thomas Bunbury, late said City, dcd (1) Rose Bunbury ors Jackson, mother of \s Thomas & widow of Thomas dcd (2) Henry Bunbury, Johnstown, Co Carlow (3) Edward Foley, City of Dublin (4) Thomas Fitzgerald (5) Theophilus Debrisay, said City (6). Debrisay paying Thomas £668:4s & Rose, Henry & Foley 10s each for 140a at Morganey, By Kilkea & Moone, Co Kildare. £45 pa & a barrel of wheat each Christmas to Rose for life. Reg 9 Dec 1743″

[10]deed of relevance from 22 July 1743 (Bk110/Pg363/Deed77934): BUNBURY to DESBRISAY Book Index 1730-1745: Lease btw Thomas BUNBURY of City of Dublin Esq eldest son and heir of Thomas BUNBURY late of same City dec?d Rose BUNBURY otherwise JACKSON mother of said Thomas & widow & relict of Thomas BUNBURY dec?s Henry BUNBURY of Johnstown in Co. Carlow Esq. & Edward FOLEY of City of Dublin Gent. Of 1 pt & Thephilus DEBRISAY of said City of other part… lease & release in consid of 608 pounds…to DEBRISAY town and lands of Moygany otherwise Morgany otherwise Moygna cont. By est 140 acres in Barony of Kilkea and Moone in Co. Kildare… in presence of William BUNBURY of Lisnevagh in Co Carlow Esq. & Charles MEARES of Dublin Gent … thanks to Sharon Browne.

[11] Deed 295.273. 196066.

[12] Reportorium. II. I. 188.

[13] Peadar Mac Suibhne, ‘Paul Cullen and his Contemporaries with their Letters from 1820 to 1902, Volume I’ (Rep Nov II I 185- 202 and Old Carloviana pp 23-30.: My thanks to Justin Brophy for these further details.

[14] In 2011, Ann Stancombe advised me she was researching the history of Marlston House, through which she had discovered Mary Mill’s background.

[15] Dublin Courier – Wednesday 11 February 1761.

[16] Deed of likely relevance from 28 November 1772 [293-390-196067] between Robert BIRCH of City of Dublin Esq. of 1 pt & Thomas BUNBURY of City of Dublin Wine Merchant of other pt. BIRCH set to BUNBURY the Malthouse on East side of Loughboy in Parish St. Michans, Dublin formerly in possession of Mr. John CROSBY … description of boundaries – Loughboy aka Bow-street … term of 36 years … [With thanks to Sharon Browne]

[17] In the wall of either St. Mary’s Church or St Michan’s [St Michan’s may be more likely – but perhaps he was buried in Sr Mary’s?] in Dublin, is a monument which states: “Sacred to the memory of Thomas Bunbury Esqre of Clontarf who departed this life the 11th December 1790 aged 61 years. This monument is erected at the desire of his son Hugh Mill Bunbury Esqre on a visit to this country after an absence of 28 years, 12th February 1816.” Published in “Journal of the Association for the Preservation of Monuments”, 6 volumes (1888-1909). See also: IGP Archives Dublin. Journal of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead in Ireland, 1894. FHL# 1279252

[18] Trinity Alumni register.

[19] Edward Tyrrell was promoted to Ensign in the same regiment on the same day, in place of Geale. (Dublin Evening Post, 12 July 1781).

[20] The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868), transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003.

[21] The incident was recorded in the London Times on Thursday August 30, 1827.

[22] To go full circle, note that the 5th and 6th Viscount Boyne were connected to the Bunburys of Killerig.

[23] The letter is in translation, the original version in English being currently housed in the Sangnier Archives, Paris.

[24] Correspondance d’Alfred de Vigny, tome 2, août 1830 – Septembre 1835, p. 489, PUF, 1991.

[25] Recorded in A.J. Wills “Canterbury Marriage Licences 1810-37” (1971).

[26] With thanks to Paddy McCall.

[27] Charles and Sophia Tennyson’s eldest son was Edmund Charles Tennyson D’Eyncourt. In 1892, he married Charlotte Ruth Godson, daughter of the barrister Sir Augustus Frederick Godson nd Jane Charlotte Boughton, and a granddaughter of Septimus Holmes Godson and Susannah Courtoy. A more detailed family tree can be found at The Plantagenet Roll.

[28] The Times, Tuesday, Dec 28, 1886; pg. 7; Issue 31954; col F

[29] Craan And Cullen Deeds + Brennan Notes, Michael Purcell, 20 Oct 2012.

[30] Kilrush Herald and Kilkee Gazette – Saturday 15 December 1894.

[31] See Vidal Family –

[32] The Times, 27 February 1846, p. 8

[33] Pettigrew, Thomas Joseph F.R.S., F.S.A. “Chronicles of the Tombs: A select collection of Epitaphs preceded by an essay on epitaphs and other monumental inscriptions, with incidental observations on sepulchral antiquities.” Published 1864.  Photograph – Archbishop Potter of Canterbury by James Harris, from a Courtauld Institute photo held by Christopher Harris of an original oil painting by Thomas Gibson 1737 in Lambeth Palace, London.

[34] Dr Potter was buried at Croydon Parish Church, St John the Baptist, with the following inscription: “Here lieth the body of the most Reverend John Potter, D.D., Archbishop of Canterbury, who died Oct. 10th, 1747, in the 74th year of his age”. (Wakefield Celebrities: John Potter). An “aternative epitaph” was recorded in a letter from Mr. Martyn to a Dr. Birch: “Alack and well-a-day, Potter himself is turned to clay.” (NOTES AND QUERIES , NO. 31 Saturday, June 1, 1850 Project Gutenberg Etext). See also: FOWLER, Thomas “The History of Corpus Christi College” 1893

[35] The Sayers of Croft, Yorkshire