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Ben Bunbury, Carlow magistrate, who managed
Lisnavagh for nearly half a century.


BENJAMIN BUNBURY (1751-1823) of Moyle & Killerig



Benjamin Bunbury was the eighth (and third surviving) son of Thomas Bunbury of Kill, a prominent magistrate and sometime High Sheriff of County Carlow, by his first wife, Catherine Campbell. (1) Born on 11 July 1751, he lost his mother when he was just two years old. Benjamin was most probably raised at Kill where his siblings included William Bunbury, MP for Carlow, George Bunbury, MP for Thomastown and Letitia Gough, mother of Field Marshal Viscount Gough.

In 1758, his father was married secondly, at St Bridget's Church on Bride Street, Dublin. [The church, a very plain building, situated in the street to which it gives name, was erected in 1684]. Ben's new stepmother was Susanna Priscilla Isaac, daughter of the late barrister Simon Isaac and heiress of Hollywood House, near Hillsborough, Co. Down. (2) He managed Lisnavagh from the premature death of his eldest brother William in 1778 until his own death on 10 October 1823. He was married and had several children. It was thought that none had have survived into adulthood but, prompted by an email I recieved in February 2020, it appears that Ben had a daughter Harriett who was married in 1798 to Thomas Golfin Young, a former lieutenant in the Royal Tyrone Militia.

NB: Click here to view detailed Lisnavagh Rentals & Rent Account courtesy of Carlow IGP. Indeed, for much of what follows below, I am indebted to Michael Brennan, Michael Purcell (of the Pat Purcell Papers, aka PPP) and the manifold contributors to the Carlow IGP Website.

For a possible connection to Margaret Tyrrell, Edward Bunbury Foster and the Dee family, follow this link & scroll down.


The Lisnavgh archives contains all of Benj's regimental commissions, personally signed by King George III. On 24 November 1768, his father referred to him in his Journal as 'Ben |the Cornet', returning home to Kill with Ben and his sister, Jenny.

[NB: There is a suggestion that he was the Benjamin Bunbury mentioned in the Freeman's Journal as inheriting £1000 from a Mrs Bunbury who died in October 1772, at which time he was promoted from Cornet to Lieutenant. However, the late Peter Bunbury, a family historian based in West Australia, was confident that this Benjamin Bunbury was a son of Thomas Bunbury of Shronel, Co. Tipeprary, and his wife Grace Chadwick. See Bunbury of Kilfeacle].

On 14th June 1773 Ben accompanied his father, stepmother, sister Jenny & brother Willy on a journey to Dublin where their father was settling the purchase of Phrumplestown (near Castledermot) from Mr Ed Wall; they also collected Ben's sister Letty, mother of Sir Hugh Gough, who had been at her Uncle Deane’s since the previous January.

For reasons unknown, Ben did not accompany the regiment to American in 1775. His father had died at Kill in July 1774, just ten months after his older brother William Bunbury of Lisnavagh married Catherine Kane. He sold his commission in May 1776, the same month William was elected MP for Carlow in Grattan's famous Parliament . It has been suggested that Benjamin either 'did not fancy serving in North America, or else was opposed to the war for political reasons'.

One wonders whether Ben was the Lieutenant Bunbury referred to in this exciting tale from The Monthly Chronologer of April 1773. 'On the night of the 14th instant a number of armed men, headed by Michael Motly of Leighlinbridge, attacked the house of Robert Lalor, near the said town, when having broken the windows and fired several shots through them at Lalor and his family, they broke open the door, which was defended by Lalor and his brother with great resolution, till at lengih the former was obliged to retire to an inner room where he defended himself with a pitchfork, and wounded several which obliged them to retreat for upwards of half an hour, as is presumed to remove the wounded. They again returned, and having broken and destroyed many articles of Lalor's furniture, they forcibly touk his daughter to Castlecomer in the county of Kilkenny. The next morning, eight of the light horse commanded by Capt Bishop and Lieut Bunbury pursued them and took Motley and the girl in the mill of Castlecomer from whence, after returning the girl to her parents, they escorted Motley [sic] to the gaol of Carlow. This is the fourth girl carried away within a short space of time in the same manner'.


One of the major confusions is that there are quite a few different Benjamin Bunburys in this time period. As well as our friend, born in 1751, the St Mary's church registers list another Benjamin Bunbury who was baptised in 1761 and another who married Jane Johnson in 1808, who could feasibly be the same as the man above. The Freeman’s Journal of 22-24 Feb 1774 notes a Benjamin Bunbury whose unnamed wife died ‘a few days ago at Carlow’. There is also a Benjamin Bunbury who died in 1810 and another Benjamin Bunbury died in 1836, aged 76, which suggests he was the chap baptised in 1761. There may even be others.

So who then was the Benjamin Bunbury who, in 1772, informed the Grand Jury of Carlow that “the recently restored bridge has sagged and has deteriorated to such an extent that it poses a danger to life and limb and is weak to heavy loads”? Could it have been the then 21-year-old future Magistrate? This is believed to be a reference to the Burren Bridge. A bridge has crossed this point since at least 1550. That bridge collapsed in 1603 and was replaced by a new timber one soon afterwards. In 1666, at about the time the first Benjamin Bunbury of Killerig arrived in the area, Carlow’s Grand Jury set aside some funds to build a new bridge.

Michael Purcell explains that on Horner’s Map of 1703 the river Burren was mapped as a small lake adjacent to the Water Lane area embracing Goose Island (later Perry's Cash & Carry, Curran's Video shop area). In the Marlborough Clarke Douglas papers it is stated that ‘the land in this section of Burren Street – Water Lane was banked up and the Burren River straightened to form two river banks in close proximity to each other’. This was ‘to accommodate a new bridge at the junction where the long span wooden bridge stood in medieval times’. A metal bridge was erected at Burrin Street in 1863 – see photograph # 55 in "Carlow in old picture postcards". In 1932, the bridge was reconstructed in reinforced concrete under the supervision of J. P. Punch, County Surveyor. (Thanks to Carlow Rootsweb for this information).


These events are contemporaneous in terms of European affairs with the rise of Johann Struensee, a German doctor who became royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark and lover of the King's wife Queen Caroline Mathilde, sister of George III, with whom he had a affair. In December 1770, he appointed himself maître des requêtes (privy counsellor), consolidating his power and starting the 16-month period generally referred to as the "Time of Struensee". During this time he issued no fewer than 1069 cabinet orders, guided by Enlightenment principles, and set Denmark. It culminated in the 34-year-old Struensee's arrest and execution in April 1772. The events were dramatized in the 2012 film A Royal Affair (Danish: En kongelig affære) directed by Nikolaj Arcel, starring Mads Mikkelsen, Alicia Vikander and Mikkel Følsgaard.


It is possible that, aged 21, he was the Benjamin Bunbury mentioned in the Dublin Gazette (15–20 May 1773): 'To be sold the lodge of Benjamin Bunbury Esq. in the town of Kildare, opposite the Coffee House, application to be made to Ambrose Lane Esq. in Peter Street Dublin. A servant attends to show the house.'


At some point, Benjamin succeeded to the Bunbury estate at Killerig, County Carlow, where his great-grandfather and namesake had settled in the reign of Charles II. His father died on 13th July 1774, ten months after Benjamin's brother William married the wealthy Dublin heiress Katherine Kane. Perhaps this is when Benjamin succeeded to Killerig. However, he also seems to have had an address at Moyle which property his father purchased in the 1760s. (3)

His sister Letitia meanwhile married George Gough as per '17-19 Jan 1775. Married: A few days ago, Lieut George Gough, of the 44th regiment of horse, to Miss Bunbury, dau of the late Thomas Bunbury of Carlow, Esq.' [Freeman's Journal] Their son Hugh Gough would go on to become Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in India.

NB: Freeman's Journal (21-23 Aug 1777) reports: Sunday last [amongst others] Sir Charles Bunbury, Bart, arrived in the Le Despencer packet, Boyd, from Holyhead.

the lisnavagh protectors

When William was killed in a horsefall in 1778, Benjamin and his elder brother George Bunbury (1747-1820) of Rathmore & Moyle took a prominent role in looking after Lisnavagh. (4) In 1782, George Bunbury, based at Granby Row, Dublin, placed an advertisment offering Lisnavagh up for a 14-year lease from 1st May with 230 acres of 'choice Feeding and Meadow Ground''.

Meanwhile, William's widow Katherine (nee Kane), deduced that north County Carlow was no place for a wealthy heiress and her small children to be and relocated to Bath with young Thomas, Kane and Jane. Benjamin's nephew Sir Hugh Gough later became Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in India.



Bad harvests again occurred in Ireland in 1782 and 1783, reflecting the very unfavourable harvests which occurred in England in those same years. The subsistence crisis of 1782/84 was caused by a series of severe climate conditions which caused harvest failures and consequent grain shortages. The reduction in the assize of bread and the simultaneous increase in prices led to social unrest in many centres of population. The duke of Leinster sold 'a large quantity of plate‘ ito obtain cash for the relief 'of several thousand‘ in County Kildare. [James Kelly, Scarcity and poor relief in eighteenth-century Ireland‘, p. 59]. A particularly poor 1789 harvest facilitates the new corn laws of 1791.

The Lisnavagh Archives contain four books (P-1/2) with details of farm accounts and wages from 1781-1821, in addition to rental information. These reveal that the typical wages paid were:

Charles Healy, steward and gardener, 1785-1789, 10 guineas;
Judith Brohoe, nurse to Thomas and George [Bunbury], 1785-1790, 7 guineas;
Elizabeth Goggin, cook, 1786-1806, 6 guineas;
Patrick Bryan and Darby Bryan, herds, 1789-1807, £4.11s. each;
Patrick Cavenna, house servant, 1792-1819, 13 guineas;
John Whelan, stable boy, 1796-1797, 5 guineas;
Margaret Murphy, kitchenmaid, 1810-1817, 4 to 6 guineas; and
Bridget Murphy, housemaid, 1813-1818, 7 guineas.

In 1788 cows were bought for £3.15s. and £5.13s.9d. and sold for £6 to £8; bullocks were bought for £4.11s. to £7 and sold for £5 to £7. (Prices in the two years following were almost identical.) In 1811 the profit on horned cattle was £220, 3.7% (£129.17s.9d. in 1814); and on sheep, lambs and wool £91.7s.10d. (£113.5s.11d. in 1814).

In the years 1799-1801 the Bunbury family estate included the townlands of Ballybitt, Knocknegan, Lisnavagh, Maudlinsfield, Mortarstown and Tobinstown.


"On 24 February 1782 General Conway brought a motion in the House of Commons to end the war. It's defeat by a single vote effectively ended Lord North's reign as prime minister. On 20 March the government fell, destroyed by years of relentless opposition at home and by prolonged failure abroad. Lord Shelburn speedily took up office but peace came much more slowly, with the British and French fighting over the rich islands of the Caribbean right up until the moment of formal ceasefire." (Stella Tillyard, Lord Edward FitzGerald).


Benjamin Bunbury was evidently a Magistrate by April 1782 as the following statement reveals. Carlow historian Michael Purcell believes that Benjamin actually 'advised on the wording of such statements and on what might be admissible or acceptable to the Magistrates of the time', basically converting drafts into legal documents. Mr. Purcell also points out that Benjamin always gives the title of King George in full. The implication is that Benjamin had some form of legal training.

The Examinations of Mary Kersy of Tullow in the County of Carlow Servant to Mr. John Brough of Tullow aforesaid taken before Carbery Hendley Esquire one of his Majesty's Justice of the Peace for said County.

The said Examinant being only sworn on the Holy Evangelists and Examinant say that on or about the Twenty seventh day of April last - Examinant being called up by Hannah Jackson on the morning of said day in her said Masters House in Tullow aforesaid she found Walter Magee and two other men whose names she has since heard are Henry Whaley and Daniel Horahan and in sometime afterwards James Nowland and James Gillespy joined said Magee in her said Masters House and the said Henry Whaley demanded the Key of the Parlour door of said House from this Examinant which Examinant gave the said Whaley whom opened the Parlour door and the said Henry Whaley and said other Persons went into said parlour and remained the for sometime. This Examinant sayth the said Magee told Examinant that he the said Henry Whaley had been for sometime that morning in an Outhouse waiting for an opportunity of getting into her said masters House and that as soon as Hannah Jackson who was then a Servant of the said John Brough's, had opened the door, he the said Walter Magee put a cocked Pistole to the said Hannah Jackson's Breast and then he and said other persons got into said dwelling House and forcibly kept possession thereof fore sometime and threatened to take possession of the Remainder of part of said House until said Master who was above stairs with his family in bed made his appearance.

Mary X Kersey

Sworn before me this 6th day of July 1782. Carbery Hendley

(Said Examinant is bound to our Sovereign Lord George King and Soforth in £20 conditionally to appear and prosecute at next General Assizes to be held in Carlow for said County) (signed) Benjamin Bunbury.

A second very descriptive statement was issued the next day and ran as follows:

The Examination of Hannah Jackson of Tullow, Carlow.

Sworn on the Holy Evangelist Hannah Jackson Deposeth that on the Twenty Seventh day of April last in the morning on opening the Back door of her Master Mr John Broughs Dwelling House in Tullow and on her going out of said house some small distance she saw Walter Magee and Henry Whaley run out of a Back House of her Masters armed with Pistols in their Hands making towards the Back door of the the said Dwelling House where she endeavoured to prevent their getting in, the said Walter Magee presented a pistol at her and Swore he would Shoot her if she attempted to hinder him from getting into said Dwelling House, which put her in very great Terror Dread and Fear of her Life and obliged her not to give the said Walter Magee or said Henry Whaley the least opposition, whereupon the said Walter Magee and Henry Whaley forcibly rushed thro the said Back Door into her Masters Dwelling House he being then and there in Bed, upon which she asked them what they were about to do, but they made her no Answer, and and immediately after their entrance two Men more followed them into said House and continued all in the Kitchen and Half of the House for some time, and remained until she alarmed her Master and called him up ~
Sworn before me the 7th day of July 1782. (signed) Carbery Hendley. (signed her mark) X Hannah Jackson.

Hannah Jackson bound to our Sovereign Lord George King and so Forth in the sum of Twenty pounds on condition she appear and prosecute at the next General Assizes to be held at Carlow and not to depart the Court without
Licence.. Taken and Acknowledged before me the day and year above mentioned
~ ( signed) Benjamin Bunbury, Carbery Hendley.

Both the above documents were transcribed by Jean Casey from the 'Bunbury Papers' in the Pat Purcell Papers.


In October 1782, Benjamin, his brother George and their cousin Benjamin Bunbury of Carlow were among over 100 Freeholders of the County who signed a note expressing their 'utmost remorse' to Beauchamp Bagenal that he was stepping down as their representative in the Irish Parliament in Dublin and urging him to rethink his position. (Dublin Evening Post, 1782. Thanks to Tom Marnell). Bagenal was the eccentric scion of an old Carlow family. At the age of four, he inherited an estate which, by 1760, was valued at £6,000-£7,000 p.a. According to Jonah Barrington, on his Grand Tour, Bagenal had 'fought a prince, jilted a princess, intoxicated the Doge of Venice, carried off a duchess from Madrid, scaled the walls of a convent in Lisbon and fought a duel in Paris’. As Robert Malcolmson remarks, Bagenal ‘was a noted duellist with a penchant for fighting duels in graveyards, where he could steady himself against the gravestones.' By 1768 he had fought the Butlers and frightened the Burtons into submission to his dominance. He was duly returned at the 1768 election along with William Henry Burton, a brother-in-law of Speaker Ponsonby.’ After William Bunbury was killed in the horsefall near Leighlinbridge in 1778, Bagenal had returned to Parliament to fill his vacated seat so the signatures of the Bunbury brothers must have been taken as a particularly good thing. In 1782, Henry Grattan cannily steered the Irish Parliament into regaining control of much of its power to control its own parliamentary agenda and to legislate. In May 1783, Bagenal stood up in what became known as Grattan’s Parliament and declared: ‘I will beg leave to congratulate this country. We have at last got the freedom, which all the world should have - it is our birth right; but in our meridian there is no life without it. Our existence now begins, and will depend upon what use we make of the population and wealth that will result from the advantages of a free constitution.’ [Ryan, p. 301.] However, Bagenal nonetheless stepped down and in August 1783, 22-year-old Sir Richard Butler of Ballintemple was elected MP for Carlow in his stead.


An unusual entry from Register of St. Mary's Church of Ireland, Castle Street, Carlow, sent by Michael Purcell reads as follows: '2nd May 1783 - Mr. Henry Woddle, Merchant of this town, who acquired a large fortune by his dealing, which he bequeathed to several Dublin Hospitals. When he was being buried, in Carlow Graveyard, his remains were several times insulted by an enraged mob on the way to the place of internment, on account of his not considering the poor of this parish where he made so much of his money. His coffin was laid down on the street several times, as the cortege approached the graveyard.


On 26th November 1785, Benjamin Bunbury presided over the trial of Michael Brennan who murdered Judge Patrick McDarby by smacking him across the back of a head with a hurl in a field near Graigue. The evidence of Richard Roney, labourer, can be found here. And also of Thomas Deegan here.

20 Jan 1785 – Richard Crosbie of Baltinglass became the first person to make a manned flight in Ireland. His brother Sir Edward Crosbie of Carlow was executed in Carlow town for his role in the United Irishmen Rising of 1798.


marriage to margaret gowan

Benjamin was married to Margaret Gowan, daughter of the Rev. George Gowan. I was formerly of the view that they had three children, none of whom had any issue, namely:

1) Thomas Bunbury, who was born in 1785 but died aged 17 in 1802 and is buried at St Mary's in Rathvilly.

2) George Bunbury was born in 1787 and died unmarried. He is presumably the unfortunate 17-year-old 'George Bunbury efq of Ireland' who is recorded in The Gentleman's magazine, Volume 75 (1805), Part 1, as dying on 23rd January 1805 ‘of a decline, at his lodgings in Exmouth, Devon'.

3) Katherine Bunbury, who was born in 1789 also died unmarried. (5).

However, in February 2020, correspondence with Ginny Owen revealed the existence of a fourth child, Harriett Bunbury, who married Thomas Golfin Young in September 1798. (At least, I think I have the right Benjamin here, but there were a lot of Benjamin Bunburys tied up with Killerrig in the 18th century, see here.) Two lists of militia officers from 1809 and 1825 include the name Thomas Young as a lieutenant in the Tyrone Militia (Caledon), as per notice below, and reveal that he joined on 1 March 1806. I think they may have lived in Enniskerry and they were later intermarried with the Bond family. It seems they had a daughter, or granddaughter, by name of Harriot Bunbury Sinclair (c. 1821-1886) who was born 'in the south of Ireland' married Dr John Hartley Sinclair (1804-1874), a Staff-Surgeon with the Army Medical Department, and died in Bayswater in 1887. Dr Sinclair had one known brother, while his only known nephew who Sir Edward Burrowes Sinclair, bart, who died in 1882.

A notice posted in the Irish Times of 1 December 1888 reads:

WANTED the Relatives in any degree of THOMAS GOLFIN YOUNG, formerly of Dublin, who, in September, 1798, was married to Harriett Bunbury, Daughter of Benjamin Bunbury, of Kilerrrig, County Carlow. Parties who can prove their relationship will probably hear something to their advantage by applying to William S Collis, Solicitor, 3 Westmoreland Street, Dublin.

Four years later, the Dublin Daily Express of 18 May 1892 carried this update:

TRIALS BY JURY— May 17. (Before Mr Justice O’Brien Special Jury.)
Young v Bunbury. This action was brought to establish the plaintiffs title to the Kilierick estate, situated in the county Carlow. The last proprietor was Mr Sinclair, who died in London in 1883 without heirs. The plaintiff claimed through the paternal side from Thomas Golfin Young, formerly lieutenant in the Royal Tyrone Militia, who was married to Harriet Bunbury in 1798. The defendant claims through the maternal side. The case is at hearing.

When Dr John Hartley Sinclair died in Brighton in 1874, it is thought had no surviving children so one wonders who Mr SInclair who died in 1883 might have been? There was a polo-playing Mr Sinclair in Carlow in the 1880s.

[And who was Thomas Bunbury of Killerrig who was offering the services of the sire Baronet in 1861? (Carlow Post, 16 March 1861).



“On Thursday last, a pitched battle was fought at Rathvilly, in the county of Carlow, between a weaver and a shoemaker, for a sweepstake of ten guineas, subscribed by a number of persons, lovers ancient and noble Broughtonian science, and desirous of introducing it, among other improvements, into this kingdom. The contest lasted twenty minutes, when the shoemaker was obliged to acknowledge the superior strength and agility of his antagonist, on receiving a blow in the stomach, which almost brought him to the ground, and he declared himself unable to proceed. The bets were six to four against the weaver; considerable sums were lost, and the knowing ones very much taken in.' (Saunders's News-Letter, Thursday 1 June 1786)

NB: Jack Broughton (1704-1789) was a bare-knuckle boxer, considered the best boxer of his day. Definition taken from The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, originally by Francis Grose. His seven rules of how boxing would be conducted at his amphitheatre (the largest and most influential at that time) evolved later into the London Prize Ring rules which are widely regarded as the foundation stone of the sport that would become boxing, prior to the development of the Marquess of Queensberry rules in the 1860s



Information via Pat Purcell Papers at this link.

Note added 2011. Extract from the Benjamin D' Israeli Inquest Papers.
One of 8 pages relating to an Inquisition on the death of Henry Lawler held at the house of Michael Cashin at Rathmore, Carlow. Henry Lawler died on Friday the 31st March 1786 after "Languishing with great pain in the back of his head for six days" at the home of John Lawler of Ratmore. Other names mentioned are Gregory Lisk of Rathvilly, Laurence Byrne of Rathvilly, Francis Lucas, Thomas Hingston, Mathew Lucas, John Lucas, Beaumont Ryan, Thomas Deerin, John Sewill, John Shaw, William Davis, Darby Neil, Daniel Neale, James O' Toole, William Stephens.

William Nowlan of Bough, Carlow, Blacksmith, Sayth that on the night of the 25th March 1786 he had some altercation with Fergus Cummins [1] in the Street of Rathvilly and shortly after Henry Lawler, since deceased, came up and struck the said Fergus Cummins whereon William Nowlan brought Henry Lawler into the house of James Doyle where informant saw James Dempsey of Patrickswell, Miles Dempsey and Elizabeth Doyle wife of the said James Doyle of Rathvilly sitting at the Fire and as soon as Henry Lawler came into the house James Dempsey asked him was he one of the Cushes who answered he was on which reply James Dempsey said he would strike him which he did with a Stick on the head and then James Dempsey and Henry Lawler were pushed into the Forge that adjoins the Room where William Nowlan heard many strokes given and says it was the said James Dempsey who struck Henry Lawler in the Forge where he was severely beat.
Sworn before me this 2nd Day of April 1786. (signed) James Byrne, Gentleman, Coroner.
William - his X mark - Nowlan.

[1] Fergus Cummins was from Ballon parish - Sue Clements.



On Tuesday 28th March 1786, Benjamin Bunbury, magistrate, had to muse upon a case where a group of seven men from Co. Carlow (Ballon, Myshall and Tinryland) and Patrick Lennon, a farmer from Clough, Co. Wicklow, had turned up at the Rathvilly Fair two days earlier, Sunday 26th March, armed with ‘Swords, Sticks and so forth … intending craftily, falsely, deceitfully, unjustly and unlawfully to cheat, deceive, and defraud our said Lord the King, and his People of his said Kingdom of Ireland, Eight pieces of Pewter, Copper, Brass and other base mixt Metals, of the Likeness and Similitude of the good, lawful, and current Money, and Coin of our said Lord the King’. As Michael Purcell put it, ‘to use a modern-day saying, the boys were coining it’. (PPP).[i]

The men were specifically attempting to forge a half-guinea coin, fobbing one off on a farmer from Crane, Co. Wicklow, called John St. Leger. However, St. Leger was a wily fellow and realised these coins were ‘uncommonly light’. He knew Lennon and tracked him down to a pub in Rathvilly belonging to the Paye, or Pue, family. When St. Leger threatened to expose him, Lennon paid him ‘good money for the same’. However, when St. Leger placed the ‘Base Coin’ on the table, James Paye, the publican’s son, seized them, saying he was going to hand them in to either Thomas Drought or Benjamin Bunbury, the local magistrates, ‘with the intent to bring Patrick Lennon to Justice’. It seems he found Drought first. I am unsure what the outcome

From the Pat Purcell Papers on parchment, one of seven Statements (then called Informations or Examinations, 1786.
~~~ Denis Nowlan of Ballon, Patrick Nowlan of Ballykeely Ballon, Thomas Nowlan of Temple Ballon, Francis Kavanagh of Myshal, Michael Ryan of Tinryeland, John Kinsells otherwise Kinsellagh of Tinryeland, George Comyings of Tinryeland, in the County of Carlow, and Patrick Lennon in the County of Wicklow, Yeomen, on the 26th Day of March in the 26th Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, and so forth, with Force and Arms, that is to say, with Swords, Sticks and so forth, at the Fair of Rathville in Carlow , intending craftily, falsely, deceitfully, unjustly and unlawfully to cheat, deceive, and defraud our said Lord the King, and his People of his said Kingdom of Ireland, Eight pieces of Pewter, Copper, Brass and other base mixt Metals, of the Likeness and Similitude of the good, lawful, and current Money, and Coin of our said Lord the King, of his said Kingdom of Ireland, called half Guineas did then and there falsely, fraudulently, deceitfully, unjustly, and unlawfully expose, utter, and give in Payment to one John St. Leger and Loyal Subjects of our said Lord the King for, as the true, lawful and current Money and Coin of our said Lord the King, of his said Kingdom of Ireland, called half Guineas they the said Denis Nowland, Patrick Nowlan, Thomas Nowlan, Patrick Lennon, Francis Kavanagh, Michael Ryan, John Kinsells otherwise Kinsellagh, George Comyings they then and there well and perfectly knowing the said Pieces of Pewter, Copper, Brass, and other base and mixt Metals, to be Forged and Counterfeited, and not to be true, lawful, and current Money and Coin of our said Lord the King, of his said Kingdom of Ireland, contrary to the Peace of our said Lord the King, His Crown and Dignity, Sworn before me on the Holy Evangelists this 28th day of March 1786, ( signed) Thomas Drought , this the 11th April 1786. ( signed with his mark ) John - X - St Leger, and Trulely read over by James Pue to John St. Leger before placing His Mark on this Information.
John St. Leger of Crane in the County of Wicklow, Farmer, at Several times having Dealings with Patrick Lennon in the nature of Gold Specie found they were uncommonly light, he did not attempt to pass them suspecting them to be Base Coin, when questioned Patrick Lennon told John St Leger to make the best he could of them and any that he could not pass to others he could apply at anytime to change them. John St Leger met Patrick Lennon at the Fair of Rathville whereupon Patrick Lennon gave him good money for the same without any trouble or any application to a Magistrate tho not without John St. Leger threatening to bring him to Justice and further Sayth not, Acknowledged before me this 22nd Day of March 1786. ( signed)
Benjamin Bunbury.

From the Pat Purcell Papers:
Examination of James Paye of Rathvilly, in the County of Carlow.
On Sunday the 26th of March 1786 John St Leger of Crane in the County of Carlow and Patrick Lennon of Clogh in the County of Wicklow, Farmers, were drinking in the house of James Paye's father and James Paye heard John St Leger charging Patrick Lennon with Passing him half Guineas of Base Coin and threatening to bring Lennon before a Magistrate if he did not give him good money upon which Lennon gave him other money.
John St. Leger threw down the money and James Paye took it up knowing it to be bad with the intent to bring Patrick Lennon to Justice and further Sayth that Lennon brought Several Person to his father's house to prevail on James Paye to give up the bad coins but he refused to do so and told him he would
never part with them until he gave it to Mr. Drought, Esquire or Mr. Bunbury, Esquire and further Sayth that the money he gave to Thomas Drought was the very money which he took up from John St. Leger and further Sayth not. Sworn before me this day 28th day of March, 1786. (signed) Thomas
Drought (signed) James Paye.


On Friday 7th April 1786, Benjamin Bunbury registered the following statement from Michael Hughes, a farmer from Real, Co. Carlow. Mr. Hughes told how he had been robbed at 10 o’clock in the morning the previous Tuesday by four men who ‘entered the House Armed with a Blunderbuss, Gunn Pistols and a Pitchfork and all Masqud ( masked ) with White Cloths’. Hughes said he was ‘immediately knocked down twice running’, and that the men ‘also beat Margaret Hughes, Michael's Wife after a cruel and unmerciful manner Cut and deeply wounded her to the great Effusion of her Blood’.

The Hughes, ‘together with two Servant Men and two Servant maids were all tied by their Hands and feet by said offenders, all of whom immediately Plundered the House, broke open two Deale Boxes and one Tea Chest , out of which Chest they Feloniously took Six Guineas and also feloniously took out of one of said Deale Chests or Boxes the Sum of twenty Nine Guineas and Eight Shillings and three half pence Sterling. and also took away half a Dozen Shirts , value one Pound Eighteen Shillings Sterling : likewise one Gold Ring, value Nine Shillings Sterling : one pair of Plate Shoe Buckles value Sixteen Shillings Sterling: and one pair of Silver Beads value thirteen Shillings Sterling : and also one Plate Cream Eever value two pounds five shillings Sterling: three Silver TableSpoons value two pounds five Shillings and Sixpence Sterling : three Plate TeaSpoons value Nine Shillings Sterling: and one Silk Handkerchief value four Shillings Sterling together with Sundry other Articles the property of Michael Hughes all which have been Feloniously taken away by said Robbers’.

Hughes also explained how ‘four Shotts [were] fired in his House one of which wounded the Rev. Patrick Connor in the Belly who lay in Hughes's house on said Night and Robbed him of his Watch and Sundry Articles and another Shott was also fired at the Servant Maid Namely, Bridget Byrne, by which she was wounded in the Right Arm’.

Hughes declared that he was now ‘in a bad State of health and confined to his Bed thro' means of the aforesaid Gross and inhuman treatment he has received from said Robbers on said Night’.

He finally told how ‘one Michael Bryan a Strolling Vagabond’ had been ‘taken up by Mr Benjamin Bunbury upon Suspicion and on Strict Examination … Bryan could give no account whatsoever to Mr Bunbury where he had been on the Night of the said Robbery and that on his being brought before one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County from his Dress and other Strong Circumstances Mr Bunbury verily believes to the best of his Knowledge that said Michael Bryan is one of said Robbers who broke into and Robbed Michael Hughes's House on said Night and Michael Hughes further Saith Nought.'

From The Bunbury Papers in the PPP. (Transcribed in 2006)

Between November 1793 and March 1794, 30,000 Irishmen enlisted with the British Army. In the Militia, there were over 16,000 men.



Kilkenny. Nov. 17. On Thursday a meeting of the Mayor, Aldermen, and principal inhabitants was held at the Tholsel, for the purpose of considering of such measures as might be necessary to relieve the distresses of the many unfortunate inhabitants who suffered by the inundation on Monday last ; when it was resolved to contribute (from the city revenues) one hundred guineas to the general subscription opened by the Mayor on Tuesday last; which subscription is still to remain open for the donations of all charitable and humane persons ; and committees were appointed to inquire into and ascertain the damages sustained by each individual in their different districts, in order to enable the Mayor and general committee to proportion the dividends of the subscription to the general and individual losses. It was also resolved to erect a temporary bridge over the mill-stream in John-street, in place of the one carried off by the violence of the water on Monday lad.

Of the bridges which are carried away, or greatly damaged, so as to be rendered impassable, the following have already come to our knowledge, viz. Thurles, Freshford, Ballyragget, Portarlington, Ballylinch, Bunclody, Dinan, Thomastown, and Bennet’s-bridge.

One side of Leighlin-bridge, is also carried away, but the other side is still passable, not only for foot passengers but also for carriages.

On Thursday the corpse of Miss Welch was found in the mill-stream, about half mile distant from the place where she had fell in, as mentioned lately.

Dublin Evening Post - Saturday 24 November 1787

In 1787 George Bunbury esquire and Benjamin Bunbury’s esq were among the Commissioners appointed by Act of Parliament, for the purpose of forming a Barrow Navigation Company, to manage, direct, improve repairing and govern the navigation from the bridge ofAthy to the city of Waterford.


In 1787 by Colonel Colclough, a celebrated sportsman and close friend of the Prince of Wales, arranged for a team of hurlers to play a team from County Carlow. Colclough's triumphant men, who included Edward and Patrick O’Connor of Ballybanogue, wore yellow kerchiefs around their waists, giving rise to the name “Yellow Bellies”, which Wexford hurlers retain to this day. Edward’s wife Anne lived to be 102 and died in 1867. [The Wexford People, Saturday 21st December 1867]. Following a major downturn in his father’s finances, Caesar Colclough went to France in 1792. In 1804 his brother John persuaded him to come home to stand for election in the ‘popular’ Catholic interest but, as he prepared to depart France, he was arrested on Napoleon’s orders. He remained a prisoner until 1814. Meanwhile, his brother John stood for election in his place and was killed in one of the last pistol duels in Ireland. It took place in 1807 on the grounds of Wilton Castle where William Alcock, a former friend but now rival election candidate, shot John Coclough through the heart. William was cleared of murder but his mind was so badly affected that he spent the rest of his days in an insane asylum. In 1814, Caesar Colclough demolished the old village at Tintern to establish the present village of Saltmills which, by 1831, contained 29 houses and cottages, ‘all neatly white-washed, and several of them painted and ornamented in front with small gardens.’



Land Transaction in the Pat Purcell Papers.
Indenture made on 28th May 1789 between Ann Binns, Widow, Andrew Moller, Merchant, William Pike, Plummer and James Jackson, China, Delph and Glass Wareseller of one part and Michael Lennon of the County of Dublin, Farmer, of the other part.
Hath let Farm to Michael Lennon situated on the east side of the road leading from Dublin to Kilmashoge bounded on the East by land belonging to the Right Honourable David Latouche and on the North by the United Bretherns Burying Ground for the term of Six years. ( signed with Seals attached ), Ann Binns, Andrew Moller, William Pike, James Jackson, Michael Linen. Signed, Sealed and Delivered in the presence of David Donaldson and James D [ ? ].


On Thursday, January 6th 1791, the Freeman's Journal (p.3) reported that 'last Saturday morning inhabitants of Carlow experienced the greatest hurricane remembered by the oldest inhabitants. Houses in the vicinity were unroofed, chimnies blown down and trees torn up by the roots, but we hear of no personal injury received by the inhabitants'. There was better news that same year when the Grand Canal reached the Barrow at Athy, thus opening the waterway from Dublin to Carlow, New Ross and Waterford via the Barrow navigation. Considerable quantities of com, ground at the local mills (and turf from the surrounding bogs) could now be transported easily to Dublin and to the south east.


'Mr. Knaresburgh, the gentleman some time since convicted of a rape at Carlow, in Ireland, and for which he received sentence, has, we hear, by the interference of his friends, got his punishment of death commuted for a voyage to Botany Bay.' (The Times, August 31, 1791, p. 3). Up until 1828, the punishment for rape generally seems to have been either death or transportation for life (perhaps commuted to 14 yrs). However, the death sentence for Rape did not always apply – certainly, and rather ironically, with Lord Norbury, the notorious “Hanging Judge” who, during the 1814-1815 sessions tended to sentence rapists to prison, while handing down the death sentence to anyone caught horse stealing, haughing, house burning, robbery or ‘taking a girl against her will’. (See Calendar for Carlow reproduced in Volume 3 of "Carlow in old picture postcards'). The death penalty for rape was abolished by the Substitution of Punishments for Death Act 1841, when 'transportation for life'. And when transportation was abolished by the Penal Servitude Act 1857, the penalty became 'penal servitude for life'.


WE Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire and David Latouche, Junior, Esquires. JUSTICES of our Lord the King Assigned to keep the Peace in and throughout Carlow ; and also to hear and determine diverse Riots, Routs, Assaults, Tresspasses and other Offences committed in the said County ; To the Sheriff of the county of CARLOW,
GREETING, WE on behalf of our said Lord the King command you, that you omit not for by reason of any Liberty in your Bailiwick, but that you cause to come before us, or other Fellow Justices, of our said Lord the King, assigned to keep the Peace in Carlow ; AND also to hear and determine diverse Riots, Routs, Assaults, Tresspasses, and other offences committed in Carlow ; at CARLOW in and for said county, on Thursday the first day of April next ~ ~
AS well Twenty-four good and lawful Men of the Body of your County, as other Twenty-four good and lawful Men of every Barony in your County, as well within Liberties as without ; each of whom to have Freeholds in Carlow of the clear Yearly value of Forty Shillings at the least, to Enquire, Present, do and Perform all and singular such Matters and Things, which on the part and behalf of our said Lord the King, and the Body of the said County shall be then and there enjoined them :
PUBLICLY also cause to be PROCLAIMED, throughout your County, in Fairs, Markets and all other public places, that the General Quarter-Sessions of the Peace will be held, at the time and place aforesaid.
GIVE NOTICE ALSO to all Justices of the Peace, Sovereigns, Portrives, Coroners, Seneschalls of Leets and Liberty's, High, Petty, Constables and Sub-Constables, and Bailiffs of every Hundred and Liberty, and other Officers within your County. that they be then and there present, with their Rolls, Records, Dominicles, and all other Remembrances, to do those things, which to their respective offices, in that behalf appertain to be done ;
AND be you also then and there present, in your proper person, with your under Sheriff, together with your Bailiffs and other of your Ministers, to do those things, which to your and their Offices, in that behalf appertain to be done ;
AND have you then and there the names of the said Justices of the Peace, Coroners, Seneschalls, Sovereign's Portrives, Constables, Sub-Constables, Bailiffs, and other Officers, and of the Jurors to whom you shall give notice, and of those by whom you shall cause them to be summoned ; and also this precept.
DATED and SEALED, this 2nd day of March in the thirty fifth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third by the Grace of God King, Defender of the Faith and soforth.
Examined by Samuel Carmichael, Clerk of the Peace. [1]
(signed) Hardy Eustace, Esquire.
[Accurate transcription of parchment from the Pat Purcell Papers.]

[1] Samuel Christmas Carmichael born 25th December 1789. Baptised at St. Mary's Church of Ireland, 6th January 1790. Father, Samuel Carmichael, Clerk. Burrin Street, Carlow. Mother, Milley Carmichael. From PPP.



[From a 4-page brochure in the PPP, among the papers bearing the stamp T.C. Crawford. The printer of this Pamphlet was George Cooke, Carlow, dated 1796. Printed for Distribution to the Family and Friends of the late Colonel Henry Bruen. Oak Park Estate, Carlow.]

1741 - 1795.
Soldier - Officer - Gentleman. Member of Parliament. Magistrate. Governor and Custos Rotulorum for County of Carlow.

ON Saturday, 19th December 1795 the funeral procession took place from his house at Oak Park Estate to his new town of Nurney of the late Colonel Henry Bruen. The Carlow Militia quartered at Waterford, paraded for the purpose of doing military honors to the memory of their deceased Commandant. The whole regiment were in mourning ; and the late Colonel's sword, sash, gorget, spurs, etc. were bound with crape and borne by an officer. Arms were then ordered to be reversed, and the regiment were put in march by Captain Wolsey, the band playing a Dead March. In this order the regiment proceeded to the review-field, opposite Oak Park House where they formed a line, rested on reversed arms, and gave room for the officer carrying the late Colonel's sword etc. to pass through, the band playing and drums beating a Dead March. The commanding officer, claimed the attention of the Regiment, and with much pathos addressed them.

Address by CAPTAIN WOLSEY [ abbreviated ].
" SOLDIERS - BY the grief which I observe in the countenance of this Corps, I am, convinced that it joins heartily with me in the high opinion I had formed of its much lamented late Colonel ; and I shall try to suppress my feelings while I endeavour to explain to you your loss. HE was the soldiers steadfast friend ; as a soldier, he was high indeed in the estimation of veterans, he knew and was known to them all ; and by all was respected. At a very early time of life, as a volunteer, he carried arms on actual
service ; soon distinguished himself - and was promoted. From this period, his military career was a continued train of honourable, intrepid and generous actions ; raised during the late WAR in America, to one of the highest and most important posts in the army, he acted with great gallantry, pushing himself forward in every enterprize of danger. HIS diligence, his generosity, his hospitality, had no bounds; helping his fellow officers in their promotion ; and furnishing an open, a princely table for the whole army -- an army of ABOVE TWENTY THOUSAND MEN ; not
merely confining himself to officers of high rank, but embracing the whole of every corps, the navy as well as the army.
THE name of - BRUEN AND ABUNDANCE - went hand in hand, were echoed and re-echoed by the unanimous voice of an approving and GRATEFUL ARMY.
SUCH were the outlines of his military life ! ---
SEE him in the calm retreats of peace !.
VIEW him as a citizen, establishing manufactures ; rewarding industry, and rendering by his liberality, a thinly-inhabited and sterile part of Oak Park into a populous and fruitful area.
VIEW him as a magistrate ; you recollect the disturbed state of the Collieries in the neighbourhood Carlow in 1793, and their threats against the Inhabitants of Carlow ; you were witness as to how the late Colonel brought these lawless people to a proper sense of their duty and restored confidence to the well-affected and loyal.
YOU saw him, in person, apprehend several men in your own County of Carlow, of the most desperate characters ; men who were a pest to society, were in possession of arms, were the terror of their neighbourhood, and had set all law at defiance.
In a word you saw him one of the most active magistrates in Carlow.
BUT, how shall I talk of him in private life ? -
He was the most happy, the most indulgent of husbands, the best of fathers, and a warm and faithful friend.
AND, soldiers ! let me not forget on the Solemn occasion, and as the moment of his interment draws near, to remind you, above all, of his acts as a moral man and as a Christian. HE FED THE HUNGRY ; HE CLOATHED THE NAKED ; -
HE GAVE PRINCELY SUPPORT TO THE NECESSITOUS ; he built a sanctuary to his God ! -
Within the consecrated walls of the Church of Nurney of which his corpse is now about to be deposited."
[ end of abbreviated version Captain Wolsey's speech ].
An awful silence followed - the regiment leaning on their reversed arms -- when the band commenced solemn music ; a signal was then given, and the regiment fired three volleys with great precision, the band filling up the interval of time required for reloading. Upon the whole we never were witness to a procession and ceremony more solemn and affecting.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT: On the night of the 23 January 1795, a French Hussar regiment surprised a Dutch fleet frozen at anchor between the port of Den Helder and the Frisian island of Texel. After an extraordinary charge across the frozen Zuiderzee, the French cavalry captured 14 Dutch ships and 850 guns.


On 23 April 1796, according to the Lisnavagh Archives [B6/18] power of attorney was granted by Thomas Bunbury of Lisnavagh to Benjamin Bunbury of Moyle.


TO BE LET, from the 25th day of March next, for 3 lives or 31 years—the following lands, part of the east of Thomas Bunbury, Esq. viz. LISNEVAGH, containing 680A.— TOBINSTOWN, containing 519A.—and BALLYBIT, containing 468A. —Said lands are situated between the towns of Tullow and Baltinglass, in the barony of Rathvilly, and county of Carlow. Michael Bryan, of Lisnavagh, will shew the grounds and the divisions they will be set/let in. Likewise to be LET, from said time, 5A. of ground contiguous to the town of Castledermot, commonly called Maudlin's-fields. Also, the Rectorial Tithes of the Parish of Greny; with the Glebe of Knocknacree, containing 4A. in the county Kildare. Proposals in writing will be received by Benj Bunbury, Esq. Moyle, Carlow. N.B. No preference promised to any person. Sept, 20th, 1796. This to be continued one month only.

The above was published in the Dublin Evening Post on 27 September 1796 but appeared on other dates and in other publications such as Finns Leinster Journal, 19 October 1796, p. 4. Note that this was dated 20th September, the same day that Benjamin was given the go-ahead to raise a private militia (see below). Knocknacree is located close to the O'Gorman Meats Abbatoir.

THE 1796 kallendar

Another gem from the Pat Purcell Papers:

Carlow General Quarter Sessions held at Carlow Court House, Burrin Street on the 6th day of October 1796.
A Kallender of Prisoners left in the custody of Philip Newton, Esquire.
High Sheriff of Carlow County until they perform the Rules and pay the fees respectively annexed to their names.
Edward Byrne who was found guilty at the last Sessions on two Indictments fined two marks and to give Security to keep the Peace for seven years. 1pound, 15shillings and 3pence.
The said Edward Byrne for the 2nd Indictment 1pound, 12 shilling and 9pence.
John Rourke who was found guilty of an assault fined one mark and to be discharged, he having performed the other part of the Rule against him. 13shillings and 4pence.
Thomas Deer who was found guilty of two assaults to be imprisoned for a fortnight, fined six pence and to give Security before a Magistrate to be of the Peace. 1pound. 7shillings and 9pence.
Received a true Copy of this Kallender, ( signed ) John [ ? ], Gaoler at Carlow Gaol. [Jailer at Carlow Jail ]
(signed) Benjamin Bunbury, One of the Magistrates of the Peace for Carlow County appointed by our Majesty Lord George, King, Defender of the Faith and so Forth.


The Barony of Rathvilly Yeomanry was formed under Whelan and Eustace on 29 October 1796. This came in direct response to the increasingly vocal whispers of rebellion across Ireland. For more, see https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000435/17961108/013/0003

One of the finest accounts of the 1798 Rebellion is '98 and Carlow, A Look at the Historians" by Pádraig Ó Sondaigh c.1979. As the Carlow Rootsweb website observes, 'this is an extremely important book for anyone who is researching this period of Carlow History as it provides us with a lot of names of people of that period.' Other useful books include the late Robert Duffy's account of Hackestown and 1798, and Sir Richard Musgrave's biased but informative history. Thomas Pakenham has also penned a very readable history of the rebellion. For Carlow, the autobiography of William Farrell is the main source, while Peadar MacSuibhne's 1974 booklet “Carlow in ‘98” is also good. For West Wicklow, Chris Lawlor’s books about Dwyer and Dunlavin Green is highly recommended while for Wicklow generally, see Ruan O’Donnell’s two books. Useful books on County Wexford include Miles Byrne’s memoirs; “The People’s Rising” by Daniel Gahan and “Trials of County Wexford” by William Sweetman. With thanks to the 1798 Rebellion Casualty Database.

In 1796 the British Administration in Ireland made a concentrated effort to break up the "illegal, seditious and evil-disposed organisation known as the United Irishmen" with the passage of two bills in Parliament, namely "The Indemnity Bill" and "The Insurrection Act". These increased the powers of the local magistrates. Also in 1796 power was given to arrest suspected persons and to imprison them for an unlimited period without charge. Under the Insurrection Act the lord lieutenant, Lord Camden, was empowered to proclaim any county to be 'in a state of disturbance'. In May 1797 the country was placed under Martial Law and parts of Leinster, including Carlow, were proclaimed as being in a disturbed state. The magistrates now had power to order searches, torture, curfew and to sentence "idle and disorderly persons" to serve in the fleet. Information was sought on illegal assemblies, literature, posters and arms. Strangers seen in any area were to be reported. It was said that the rebel leader Wolfe Tone was an illegitimate son of Theobald Wolfe, firstborn son of Thomas Wolfe of Blackhall, an old friend of Ben’s late father, Thomas Bunbury of Kill. An example of an informant's confession from the Bunbury papers can be found in footnotes below at 5a.


Benjamin Bunbury of Moyle sent his sons to Kilkenny School where his uncle William and his brother Josiah had schooled. Benjamin’s eldest son Thomas entered aged 12 on 8 June 1797, while George Bunbury entered on 3 September 1798 aged 10 ½ yrs. In the 1780s, a new College was built on the site of the original school overlooking the river Nore on John St.

The Oath of Allegiance

In Carlow the magistrates decided to administer an Oath of Allegiance to George III as "a Test" under an Act which had been passed in 1774. The original Oath read as follows:

'I, A.B. do Take Almighty God and his only Son Jesus Christ my Redeemer to Witness that I will be Faithful and Bear True Allegiance to our most
Gracious Sovereign Lord King George the Third and him will Defend to the utmost of my power against all Conspiracies and attempts whatever that shall be made against his Person Crown & Dignity and I will to my utmost Endeavours to disclose and make Known to his Majesty & his Heirs all Treasons and Traitorous Conspiracies which may formed against him or Them and I do Faithfully promise to Maintain Support and Defend to the Utmost of my power the Succession of the Crown in his Majesty's family against any person or Persons Whatsoever. So help me God'.

However, Carlow magistrate Benjamin Bunbury took it upon himself to cut the original Oath (nearly 400 words long) down to a mere 27 words. This administration of the oath appears to have been peculiar to County Carlow. The Pat Purcell Papers contain a note dated November 1797 from Benjamin Bunbury to his fellow magistrates in Carlow describing how 'after consideration of the present needs' he extracted the first twelve lines of a 1774 Oath of Allegiance to George III, originally sworn by those who were 'desirous to express public affection and goodwill to our Glorious Majesty' (according to Bunbury's note ). However, Michael Purcell believes the real reason for administering the 1774 oath was to deny allegiance to 'any other person claiming or pretending a right to the crown of these realms' ie: the Stuart claimant 'who is said to have assumed the style and title of king of Great Britain and Ireland by the name of Charles the Third', aka Bonnie Prince Charlie (1720 - 1788).

Benjamin Bunbury duly travelled about the County Carlow from the 21st November to the 27th November 1797, collecting the "marks" and signatures of 97 "able bodied" men in an attempt to commit them under sacred Oath to be loyal to King George III and the Laws of his Kingdom. As such, he was among the most active magistrates in Ireland, making his presence felt throughout the Tullow, Rathvilly and Ballon townlands, attempting to save lives in a time of great fear. He certainly collected more marks and signatures than any other magistrate in Carlow. Thanks to the combined efforts of Michael Purcell and Grace Bunbury, the name of the names and signatures collected by Messrs. Cornwall and
Bunbury from 1797 were published in the Carlow IGP Rootsweb website in April 2013, marking an invaluable contribution to our knowledge of that year. The lists were part of the Pat Purcell Papers.

In one extract from the Pat Purcell Papers and viewable on the CarlowIGP site, Benjamin Bunbury writes:

"I send you enclosed a list of thirty seven men who took the oath of allegiance. I would not have sent it until Thursday morning only the paper was filled up. You will be so good to let me know what time it will be necessary for me to send you in the next list or may I keep it until all the people in this neighbourhood have signed the Oath. I am Sincerely, your most obedient servant, B. Bunbury".


Thanks to Michael Purcell. The Unthank family were associated with the Society of Friends (Quakers). Abel Unthank is recorded in the Pat Purcell Papers living in Carlow in 1797. Thebious [ ? ] Unthank witnessed the purchase of land in Fenagh by Samuel Watson in 1656. Unthank had come to Ireland under the command of Robert Browne as a soldier in Cromwell's Army, some of the soldiers were granted land in Ireland in lieu of pay. Samuel Watson and two of his brothers bought some of the "granted land" from soldiers who wished to return to England as did Robert Browne also bought land from the soldiers and he later settled in the Pollerton area, renaming the acquired land "Brownes Hill". Browne also purchased property in Tullow Street, Cuckoo Lane (now Browne Street) in Carlow town and land in Graigue (now Graiguecullen ) and Sleaty.

There was certainly activity by United Irishmen in the area of Moanmore and Ballybrommell. The Unthanks became involved with the Watson family of nearby Kilconnor, Carlow, in the Milling business and farming interests. I think they are also recorded as witnesses to some Watson marriages. The Quaker meeting house was at Kilconnor and at "New Gardens" on the Athy Road, adjoining Bestfield, alongside present-day Oak Park.

In the Pat Purcell Papers it is recorded that Abel Unthank gave a declaration before Benjamin Bunbury on 24th November, 1797, with Unthank refusing to swear on the Holy Evangelists because he was a "member of the Sect commonly called Quakers", but he "Declared" information regarding-"persons not having the love and fear of God before their eyes assembling nightly in a Evil and riotous manner in the vicinity of New Gardens, Carlow, which Informant truly believes and Declares to be a Party of Rebels under the influence of France in readiness for War against the Crown and Dignity of his Sovereign Lord George, King, Defender of the Faith and so forth and His Majesties Forces in His Kingdom of Ireland" -. Bunbury noted that despite the fact that Unthank was reluctant to swear under Oath his "examination should be presented as a true Testament before the Magistrates sitting in Carlow." The Carlow family later established a branch in Ballyfin, Queen's County.

THE Duplicators of '98

In 2007, a very important document relating to Benjamin Bunbury and the 1798 Rising in Carlow was released by Michael Purcell from the 'Pat Purcell Papers'. The document, entitled 'Disturbed Carlow Duplicators in 1798', concerns a letter, written by Benjamin Bunbury from Moyle and dated 20th November 1797. It reads as follows:

"I send you enclosed a list of thirty seven men who took & s___ the oath of allegiance. I would not have sent it until Thursday morning only the paper was filled up. You will be so good to let me know what time it will necessary for me to send you in the nxt list or may I keep it until all the people in this neighbourhood have signed the Oath. I am SY, your most obed't serv't, B. Bunbury".

Most of the men recorded on Bunbury's List claimed to be unable to write. Mr. Purcell suggests this may have been a ploy with the same reasoning that de Valera adopted 130 years later when, in 1927, he declared the Oath of Allegiance to George V an "empty political formula" because he refused to read it before signing? Many of those who subscribed to Bunbury's List were , almost certainly, already sworn members of the United Irishmen . It was said that many took the Oath to the United Irishman with one hand and the "oath" to the King with the other. They became known as "The Duplicators" but the reality for many was that their true loyalty was to the United Irishmen. 'We know this', explains Purcell, 'because out of over twelve hundred names listed many of those named died during the 1798 Rising or were executed or deported in its aftermath'.

image title

Above: The late Teal Bunbury in the Pleasure Grounds at Lisnavagh.
It's possible this tree stood on the avenue to the original house of
1697 which Benjamin Bunbury's grandfather built.

'We can see from the Lists that Bunbury called to various farmers on successive days', writes Purcell. 'And it appears that the farmer lined up the men to take the Oath. Many would have been coerced into signing under the terms of the recently passed Acts of Parliament. If they refused they could be arrested and imprisoned without trial . The zealous Magistrate Bunbury collected over 400 names altogether between 21st. November and 29th December 1797.' On 16th December 1797 a French Fleet with 15,000 troops sailed for Ireland but due to bad weather the mission was abandoned.

Some commentators have noted that only three of the names he collected use the Irish form and suggest this was clearly Bunbury's over-zealous handywork. They claim these would have all been Irish speakers at this date. (The Mac / Ó form had been made illegal in 1608). Mr. Purcell challenges this as 'misguided to say the least', arguing that 'there is no evidence to suggest that any of those named on the Oath of Allegiance list knew or spoke Irish. The Oath of Loyalty to the United Irishmen was also in English and names were recorded by the administrators in the same form as the Bunbury Oath. Far from Bunbury refusing to use the Irish form it appears he wrote down the names as they were pronounced. Many of them match records in the Catholic registers of the period'. Mr. Purcell is gradually publishing more of the Lists, as they are an excellent census substitute for researchers and a tangible reminder of "disturbed" times in Ireland. (6) A typical signatory was 'William Nowlan' of Kellistown who signed his own name as did most of the farmers on the list. Otherwise the names were recorded in the hand of Bunbury (the magistrate) and their "marks" added by the men themselves; all had their own style of X or mark. Nolan was a common name in the area, but William was probably father or grandfather to Peter Nowlan(d) who emigrated to the "Colonies" in 1818 (then aged 22), settling and obtaining land in the Buctouche area of New Brunswick, Canada. Peter's father James Nowlan(d) was married in 1793 in the Ballon-Rathoe parish. (Pat Purcell Papers)



In the spring of 1798, Benjamin Bunbury played a key role in the trial of United Irishmen Patrick Hore and his gang, namely John Currin, Oliver Carey, Christopher Beaghan, John Howlett and James Muldoon. The gang was first ‘committed’, or taken into custody, by Philip Newton on 14th March 1798. They were charged with ‘being evil disposed and Designing persons’ who, on 10th March, had gathered at Mount Neal, Carlow, and ‘wickedly’ conspired 'with certain other persons' to ‘Willfully and of Malice [prepare] to Kill and Murder the Honorable and Reverend Francis Paul Stratford [brother of the Earl of Aldborough] against the peace of [the] King’. The six men were simultaneously charged with stealing three trees from Mount Neal that same day, specifically an oak (valued at 10 shillings), a deal (5 shillings) and an ash (3 shillings).
On 26th March, they appeared before the for the General Assizes and General Gaol Delivery held at Carlow, where ‘upon Information [ie: a statement] taken by Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire’ revealed that these six men had met earlier in the year at Garristown where they ‘contemptuously maliciously and feloniousy did Administer an Unlawful Oath and Solemn Engagement upon a Book to Mathew Brennan of the import following that is to say "Damnation to the King and All the Royal Family and all his heirs and forces by Sea and Land " and that he should be United with them’. It was further suggested that the day after they met at Mount Neale (ie: 11th March), they were planning to ‘Wickedly Unlawfully Maliciously and feloniousy did Compere Confederate and agree together and to and with each other … to Kill and Murder Luke Lyons against the peace’.
The six men were found guilty and sentenced to be ‘hanged by the neck till dead, execution to be done on Monday the fifth day of April next’.

From documents transcribed from the Browne-Clayton Papers by Jean Casey and Michael Purcell.

From the PPP: A Kallender of Prisoners left in the Custody of Edward Eustace, Esquire, Sherriff of the County of Carlow at a General Assizes and General Gaol Delivery held at Carlow on the 26th day of March 1798 and in the 38th year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith and Soforth.
Before The Honourable Robert Day, fourth Justice of his Majesties Court of Chief place in Ireland and The Honourable John Toler [later Lord Norbury] his Majesties Solicitor General in Ireland.
JUSTICES and COMMISSIONERS of our said Lord the King aforesaid by the Letters Patent of our said Lord the King to take all the Assizes, Juries, Recognitions and Certificates before any Justices whatsoever taken.
AND ALSO assigned from time to time to deliver the Gaol of our said Lord the King of the said County of Carlow of All the Prisoners and Malefactors therein being.
AND further assigned to hear Examine discuss and determine of All and Singular Treasons Murders Manslaughters Burnings Felonies Unlawful Assembles Extortions Oppressions and All Crimes Contempts evil doings and Offences whatsoever Committed or to be Committed in the said County of Carlow.
BY VIRTUE of a Commission of our said Lord the King, Under the Great Seal of his said Kingdom of Ireland bearing Date at Dublin the Third Day of March in the 38th year of the Reign of our said Lord the King.
The names of the Jurors of the Grand Inquisition :
William Burton, Esquire.
Sir Richard Butler, Bart.
David Latouche, Esquire.
John Rochfort, Esquire.
John Staunton Rochfort, Esquire.
Sir Charles Burton, Bart.
Walter Kavanagh, Esquire.
William Browne, Esquire.
Philip Newton, Esquire.
Hardy Eustace, Esquire.
John Steuart, Esquire.
William Paul Butler, Esquire.
Nicholas (?) Alward Vigors, Esquire.
Arundel Caulfield Best, Esquire.
William Henry Burton, Esquire.
James Eustace, Esquire.
Robert Eustace, Esquire.
Henry Rudkin, Esquire.
Robert Cornwall, Esquire.
Robert Bayly, Esquire.
Samuel Carpenter, Esquire.
Thomas Bernard, Esquire.
James Butler, Esquire.
( signed ) Edward Eustace, Esquire, Sherriff.

From the PPP.
A Kallender of Prisoners left in the Custody of Edward Eustace, Esquire, Sherriff of the County of Carlow at a General Assizes and General Gaol Delivery held at Carlow on the 26th day of March 1798 until they perform
the Rules and pay the fees to their names respectively annexed.
Patrick Collins to be hanged pursuant to Warrant Delivered.
James Mitchell to be burned on the hand and Imprisoned for the Space of one year and then to be discharged paying fees.
Pat Fluskey, Bryan Sharkey and John Doyle to be hanged pursuant to Warrant Delivered.
James Cullen to remain under judgement of Death pronounced upon him, No day appointed for his Execution.
Thomas Reynolds to remain until he gives Security before John Stewart, Esquire, a Justice of the Peace for Carlow, himself £400 ~ and two sureties in £200 ~ each Conditional to be of the peace for 7 years then to be discharged paying fees.
Timothy Nowlan to be Transported for Life pursuant to the Statute.
Tobias Byrne to be Transported for Life pursuant to the Statute.
John Curran, Oliver Carey, Patrick Hore, John Howlet and James Muldoon to be hanged pursuant to Warrant Delivered.


While reading this section on 1798, might I suggest you listen to this song, 'In That Moment They Were Free’ by Paddy Cullivan?

[Pursuant to the sentence of a Court Martial held at the county Court-house, Kilkenny, four men and a woman were hanged in the coal market last Thursday, opposite to the county gaol, having been convicted on the clearest testimony of aiding and assisting in the horrid murder of a policeman near Graigue. They acknowledged the justice of their sentence, and met their fate with much resignation. - probably Dublin Journal, Oct 23 1798, sent via T. K. Marnell, May 2017. This is seperate to the above but of interest nonetheless.]

On 12 March 1798, those arrested at Oliver Bond's house included Carlow’ United Irish delegates Peter Ivers (who was sent to the service of the King of Prussia) and Laurence Griffin of Tullow (who died from poor treatment in Kilmainham Gaol).

On 30 March 1798, the Privy Council proclaimed Ireland in state of rebellion and imposed martial law.


When the United Irishmen Rising erupted in May 1798, County Carlow was swiftly caught up in the mayhem. General Charles Asgill was sent to maintain order in the county. By the end of the month, the Carlow rebels had lost some 350 men in battles at Hacketstown and Baltinglass, while Carlow Town itself witnessed a further 'four hundred of the misguided wretches slain'. (Norwich Packet, Aug 14, 1798).

In his memoirs, Miles Byrne wrote: 'As we had heard during the night from the country people that Rathvilly was attacked and also the town of Carlow, we hoped to meet the Insurgents somewhere or other in force, but, unfortunately, we were again cruelly disappointed. Passing at Rathvilly we saw a great number of men lying dead on the roadside, where they had been killed the day before by the military who were quartered there.'

Dublin Castle May 26 - 1798
Extract of a letter from the Rev James McGee, Vicar of Clonmore:
Hackestown, 3 o’clock pm, May 25 1798. 'In consequence of an information received this morning, that a large body of rebels were marching to attack the town, Lieut Gardner [a possible kinsman of Bunbury / McClintock], with the men under his command, and a party of Yeomanry commanded by Captain Hardy, went out to meet them. Having reconnoitred their force which amounted to between three and four thousand, they took their post on the hill under the church, and, when the rebels came tolerably near the officers and men made a feint, and retreated into the barracks, where they prepared to repel them in case of an attack. On the rebels seeing the military retreat they came on with a great shout imagining the day to be their own. In a few minutes Captain Hume came up with about thirty of his yeomanry troop and instantly charged them on which the rebels retreated and a general pursuit took place and I have the satisfaction to inform you that above three hundred of the miscreants lie dead on the field of battle. To say that the Antrim regiment behaved well is not any thing new to you, but the yeomen under Captain Hume's command behaved astonishingly.’

There is a monument to an insurgent by name of Kane at Williamstown. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Hacketstown but which of the two two battles of Hacketstown was this? One was fought on 25 May; t'other on 25 June.

Michael and Edward Dargan of Ardristan, both members of the Tullow Cavalry, were shot dead for being United Irishmen on May 30th. They were buried in the Croppy Plot in Graiguecullen. William Kelly of the same cavalry was executed on 2 June 1798.

It is not yet known how the original house at Lisnavagh fared during the rebellion but an account published in 1806 stated that:

'All the protestant houfes from Baltinglafs [sic] to Hacketftown, from there to Rathdrum, and from there to Blessington, were burnt by the rebels; they alfo burnt a great number of houfes in the road between Rathvilly and Hacketstown: yet the general officers resufed to assist the magistrates, with troops to prevent a continuance of fuch atrocious outrages.'
(History of the rebellion in Ireland, in the year 1798, with an account of the insurrection in Dublin, in the year 1803, published 1806).

There is an excellent (but blurry) map of County Carlow from either 1798 or 1824 by William Allen.

Carrying a pike became a serious crime. Pikes were steel or iron spearheads, mounted on a shaft resembling a lance, produced by local blacksmiths. And if you read some accounts of 1798 it makes out that there was a pike-making blacksmith at every crossroad in the county. The pike’s hook could be used to unseat a cavalryman, or to sever a horse's bridle. (See illustrations). In the weeks that followed the rebellion, many of those who applied for protection from Prosecution in accordance with the Proclamation drawn up by Magistrate Benjamin Bunbury, were men who had been spotted carrying pikes on May 24th, the day Carlow was attacked. In other instances, the pikes were found during searches of their homes and farmsteads. To support their defense, they provided their own affidavits or affidavits from other upstanding citizens.

For instance, these extracts from the "Protections" Journal of Dudley Hill, under-Sheriff for Carlow:

1. Michael Brennan, of Arles, Labourer, had a Pike. Was to be a Captain. Did not go to the Battle of Carlow. Sworn by Michael Headon at Cockpit Lane in Carlow.[i]

2. John Brennan, of Killeshin, Labourer, had a pike. Sworn by Mathew Cummins, a Cooper, Ballon.

3. Seeking Protection, June 1798. Larance Nolan (sic) of Ballon, Labourer, had a pike. James Nolan, of Ballon, Labourer, had a pike.

4. In at least one instance, the one accused was obliged to state who acted as Captain of his group. Laurence Nowland, of Ballycroge, Labourer, Sworn a United Irishman by a Man at Rathvilly, Michael Keefe to be Captain.[ii]

By the 20th June, the outlook for the rebels across South East Ireland was increasingly hopeless. British Redcoats and loyalist militia groups cornered them in Wexford and then crushed them. Benjamin Bunbury does not seem to have been implicated in the court martial and effective murder of Sir Edward Crosbie but it is not yet known how much he supported the Burton family.

There is still a question mark over the reason why Father Murphy decided to break away from the insurgents in the midst of the battle of Kilcumney. Legend states that he was trying to get to Bishop Delaney in Tullow but some vicious sectarianism occurred at Kellymount and around Castlecomer in the days beforehand. Details of the Kilucumney Massacre here.

On 29th June, at General Asgill's request, Benjamin Bunbury drew up a Proclamation offering pardon to all who surrendered their arms and came into the King's peace. The full text read as follows:

A Proclamation
Whereas It is in the power of his Majesties Generals, and of the Forces under their Command, entirely to destroy all those who have risen in Rebellion against their Sovereign and his Laws, yet it is nevertheless the Wish of Government that those persons who, by traitorous machinations have been seduced or by Acts of Intimidation have been forced from their Allegiance should be received into his Majesties peace and pardon, Major General Charles Asgill commanding in the County of Carlow specially Authorised thereto, does hereby Invite all persons who may be now Assembled in any part of the said County against his Majesties peace to Surrender themselves and their arms, and to Desert the Leaders who have seduced them, and for the Acceptance of such Surrender and Submission the Space of Fourteen day's from the date hereby is allowed, and the Towns of Carlow, Leighlin Bridge, Gores Bridge, Borris, Myshall, Clonegal and Tullow, and something specified, at each of which places one of his Majesties Officers, and a Justice of the peace, will attend, and upon their entering their names, Acknowledging their Guilt, and promising good behaviour for the future, and taking the Oath of Allegiance, and at the same time abjuring all other Ingagements contrary thereto, they will receive Certificates which will Intitle them to protection so long as the demean themselves as becomes good Subjects.
And in order to render such acts of Submission easy and secure, It is the Generals pleasure that persons who are now with any portion of Rebels in Arms and Willing to Surrender themselves do send to him or to Lieutenant Col Mahon 9th Dragoons commanding at Carlow any number from each Body of Rebels not exceeding Ten with whom the General or Col Mahon will decide the manner in which they may repair to the above towns, so that no alarm maybe excited and no Injury to their persons to be offered
29th June 1798

Among the veterans of the Battle of Carlow who sought amnesty under the June 1798 Proclamation issued by Magistrate Benjamin Bunbury was "James Tool of Hacketstown , Labourer, Seeking a Protection. Tool saith that he was Sworn a United Irishman by John Keerevan of Moyle and further saith that Michael Hayden was to be Captain. Tool was at the Battle of Carlow, had a pike and threw it away in the Street of Carlow and ran away." 'Clonegal in 1798', James O'Toole of Hackestown is also mentioned on page 22 of 'Clonegal in 1798' as one one of three rebels in a segment 'Kildavin in 1798'.

On July 26th 1798, Henry Hinch killed two Militiamen, David Mackay (Londonderry Militia) and Thomas Quinn (Antrim Militia) on Kilsha Hill, near Baltinglass, in an incident involving a horse. He was tried but strangely the trial transcripts don’t mention a sentence (Rebellion Papers NAI 620/4/52)



[i] Note added 2010 by Michael Purcell. Michael Brennan may have been part of the large group from Queen's County who intended to take part in the Battle but when they saw that Graigue Bridge was manned by the Durham Fencibles, armed with Grapeshot, they were ordered to retreat. The group then advanced on Ballickmoyler.

[ii] According to Michael Purcell, it appears that virtually all the Nolans or Nowlans recorded by Dudley Hill in June 1798 were spelled as ‘Nowland’. Roger Nolan believes that the "Nowland" spelling was first used in the mid-to-late 1600s and suggests it had something to do with the social status of owning or leasing "land". For example, in the late 1660s, "Garrett Nowland" was leasing land on the Ballykealey estate and, in the late 1700s, there were still "Nowland" families leasing in the Ballon area. In the late 1700s the Nowlan form seems to have been most prevalent with the general population, but the ‘d’ was dropped in the 19th century. By 1851, two-thirds of Nolan leaseholders in Co. Carlow were using the Nolan spelling. The other third used the Nowlan spelling.

O'Brien of Lisnavagh

Michael O’Brien and Helen Dempsey (of Marshalstown, near Castledermot) were married in April 1798. They settled at Lisnavagh and the family archives record two entries for Michael Bryan (often used instead of O’Brien) for rent for 29 acres 3 roods at Lisnavagh for Pounds 44-12-6, the details being repeated for years 1801 and 1802. Their children whom included Francis (probably their second son as Helen’s father was named Francis), Martha, Ann and Mary. Ann married Garret Nolan; Mary married James Hoey. n Francis married Mary Ann O’Toole in about 1828, and then settled on a large farm which they leased at Woodlands West Townland, Castledermot, Co. Kildare. They had 4 sons and one daughter of which Michael, Francis, and Nicholas emigrated to New Zealand beginning in 1859 with Michael. Francis and Nicholas followed within a few years, and their sister, Ann, followed about 1882. The three brothers were pioneer settlers in the area they went to. John O’Brien, brother to Michael, Francis, and Nicholas, did not come to New Zealand, and no information regarding his life has been found. For more on this clan, contact me and I will aim to put you in touch with Michael O'Brien.


In the old chapel at Tinneclash is a monument which reads: 'Here lieth the body of Rev. Daniel Murphy, Parish Priest of Rathvilly 52 years, who departed this life the 5th of December 1798 aged 102 years, RIP’.


The rebellion may have petered out across most of Ireland by the autumn of 1798 but it continued to be profoundly dangerous to live in the area of Baltinglass, Tullow and Rathvilly, through until the spring of 1800. By now living in Bath, the minds of the McClintock’s and the Bunbury’s must have spun when they read this news item in the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette of Thursday 18 October 1798:

‘The counties of Carlow and Wexford are again in arms; and almost the entire of that formerly beautiful country between the Barrow and Slaney, comprising the vicarage of Timolin, Castle-Dermot, Carlow, Leighlin Bridge, Gore's Bridge, Tullow, Carnew, Hacketsown, Tinekely [sic] and Baltinglass, is again infested by the rebels.’

I had not realised that the whole place took off again in the autumn. When I consulted the 1798 Rebellion Casualty Database about this, they explained:

'They would’ve been the large groupings hiding east and north of Knockananna, Imaal and even the woodlands west of Enniscorthy, who were known to penetrate into Kilkenny for raids. Dwyer’s men penetrated into much of eastern Carlow and southern Kildare looking for arms and in some cases, revenge. The winter of 1798-99 heavily diminished the ranks in these groups and we were left with bands of a dozen under Michael Dwyer and James Corcoran.’

Miles Byrne mentions coming across many people who had been killed along the roads near Rathvilly. There is a memorial in Williamstown for an insurgent named Kane, but his background is presently unknown. It is hard to find detail of casualties from around Rathvilly or Clonmore but the east of County Carlow experienced considerable turmoil from Dwyer’s men through into 1799. Michael O’Keefe was killed at a relations house at Bough, Rathvilly. Henry Jackson and William Jones were both killed at the house of Mary Barker at Coolmanagh on 12 September 1798. They also attacked Thomas Codd of Hacketstown, a yeoman, which was also believed to be an act of vengeance. According to Richard Musgrave, 'Ephraim Singleton, farmer, and of the protestant religion, was murdered by the said rebels at Coolroe, near Clonegal’.

On 2 November 1798, the Kentish Gazette was among the papers who reported: 'An account of a most barbarous massacre of a whole family of 13 Protestants, in one house in the County of Carlow, has been prevalent in this City for the last two days; we have been informed of the circumstances, but not from authority sufficient to warrant us in the publication of them.’ I have found no further evidence of this but this may have been connected to McNabb, the Tullow Yeoman who captured Fr. Murphy, see below.

Other reports of these dark times follow below:

DUBLIN - November 30
The many horrible acts of barbarity and murder committed by the rebels in the neighbourhood of Rathvilly, in the county Carlow, have obliged the gentlemen of that county to apply to Government (through the General commanding that district) for a party of the army to be stationed in Rathvilly town. The following outrages have been continued in that neighbourhood within a few days past:
One McNabb, a poor industrious Protestant (the principal in taking Father Murphy, in the month of June last, who was hanged and beheaded in Tullow) was returning home between three and four o'clock in the day from the fair of Rathville, and before he had got half a mile from the town, was attacked by several fellows, who fired at him, and lodged two balls in him, one in his neck, that it is supposed will prove mortal. [The 1798 Rebellion Casualty Database thinks he actually survived].
George GILTRAP, an industrious Protestant farmer [apparently based in Ballybit beside Rathvilly] was attacked in the night, dragged out of bed, and put on his knees to be shot, when one of the party intervened and saved his life. The villains then got his wife and daughter, and were going to put them on a fire they had prepared for the purpose, when one of the fellows proposed to save the family if the daughter would submit to his desires; the girl resolutely refused, but in the struggle received a ball that went through her breast and arm: she now lies dangerously ill, and without hopes of recovery. What makes this poor man's case more pitiable is, that this was the fifth time he has been attacked— at the first, the villains killed his eldest son, a lad near 20 years old.
A serjeant of the 89th regiment, quartered in Baltinglass, was on his way on Sunday the 11th to Rathvilly, to the Parish Priest there, to be married to a young woman; he was stopped on the road and dragged into the fields, and barbarously murdered.
A Mr Ryan, a loyalist, being obliged to quit his house between Rathvilly and Baltinglass, to go and live in Tullow where a party of the army are stationed, sent to his herd to send him score of sheep last Wednesday to the fair of that town; the herd was preparing to send the sheep, when he was attacked by a number of rebels, who swore that if he attempted to drive a single sheep off the ground to his bloody Orange master, that they would pike him to death.”
We are sorry to learn, that in the county of Kildare robberies have for the last three nights increased to an alarming degree, several houses in the northern parts of the county having been in that space of time attacked and plundered by well-armed parties.
Caledonian Mercury - Thursday 6 December 1798 (from Saunders News Letter etc)

"We hare received from a Gentleman of the first rank, a sad detail of robberies which have occurred in the last week in the county of Wicklow, particularly between Tullow and Baltinglass. This Gentleman complains grievously of the state of that district, exposed as it is to the outrages of protected rebels, who have the audacity to parade in open day, avowing the plunders of the night before; while such is the connivance or the fear of the country people, that no possibility exists of tracing these disturbers, with so much certainty as to bring them to justice.
Nor is this spirit of depredation the worst evil which that unhappy district groans under: the most horrible murders are nightly perpetrated.
On the 18th ult. (December) a poor man named Edward Tuddy, near Baltinglass, was assailed in his own house by an armed party, and dragged to his door, where he was deliberately shot : some of his murderers have been taken, but it is feared that justice cannot be done upon them.
On the 26th, William Heaney of Coolamadra, was murdered by three men; the poor fellow had not been home for six weeks before from fear of violence; two shots fired at him were heard by a guard stationed in the neighbourhood.
Another person, named Thornton, of Rathvilly, has been missing for some time, and being a protestant, is supposed to have have been murdered. " The houses and offices of persons obnextious [sic] to the rebels, are continually set on fire. There is a long list of and other outrages, which exhibit a dreadful picture of that wretched county which was so lately the pride of Ireland for ever combined beauty of nature and cultivation."
Gloucester Journal - Monday 14 January 1799

DUBIN, Feb. 19 Saturday morning, a party of the rebels were attacked by a patrole of the Glengarry Fencibles, near Rathvilly; the new rebel leader Dwyer was one of the party: Six rebels were killed, sixteen taken, eleven musquetsand several pistols, swords and bayonets. A corporal of the Glengarry was killed, and two privates wounded. The prisoners were sent to be tried at Baltinglass.
Aberdeen Press and Journal, Monday 4 March 1799

Dublin, March 5. We learn that eight ruffians of Dwyer’s gang, taken prisoners at Rathvilly, were executed on Thursday last in the town Baltinglass; a ninth, when the halter was tied round his neck, begged his life, and offered if he were taken down to discover the murderers of the late Surgeon Armstrong of the Clare Militia. He gave such information as enabled Captain Saunders and part of the Dumfries to seize the persons accused, who were a man and woman, servants of Mr. Green in that neighbourhood; a gold watch of Surgeon Armstrong’s, and some of his clothes, were found upon those persons, and the man (whose name was Byrne) was tried and hanged on Saturday in Baltinglass.
The manner of Mr. Armstrong’s murder was disclosed the course of this trial. It appears that after that Gentleman had parted from his servant he was met by Byrne, who offered to show him a marsh in which were plenty of snipes: Mr. Armstrong incautiously followed him, and having discharged his fowling-piece at some game, was crossing a drain in order to take up what he had killed ; Byrne knocked him into the drain, leaped upon and strangled him as he lay with his own cravat. This story was not only proved by persons to whom Byrne had boasted of it, but by his own confession on his trial.
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 12 March 1799

[This seems to have been the famous siege of Derrynamuck, where the Dwyer/McAllister cottage stands).

The Belfast Newsletter of May 1799 names 5 insurgents executed on Vinegar Hill for horrific crimes against loyalist prisoners.

‘Dublin, March 13. We are sorry to learn from various parts of the country that a renewed disposition to outrage has displayed itself, connected, we doubt not, with the report of the Brest fleet sailing. Government has issued two proclamations; one for the apprehension of the persons concerned in a violent attack on the persons of James Hancen, servant to the rev. Richard Coxe, rector to the parish Chirconlish, county of Limerick, and who threatened him with instant death if he did not discover where his master's tythe books and notes were, and upon promising so to do he escaped from them; the other for the apprehension of the persons concerned in the following barbarous murders and outrages: John Nowlan, (lately permanent serjeant to Sir R. Butler's corps of yeomanry) and his wife, were shot in their bed, at their house in the country of Carlow; Darby Clowny [sic, probably Clowry], of said county, farmer, who was shot dead, and his man servant severely wounded; John Watton and Thomas Roach, inhabitants of the county, were also shot dead near to their houses; Owen Delyons, a man who voluntarily made discoveries to a magistrate of many robberies in which he, with many others, were concerned, was murdered at the house of his mother, situate in the barony of Carberry, Kildare; and at a small distance from the house the mother was found murdered, the house in which they resided burned down, and it was with difficulty his three sisters, the eldest not 12 years of age, escaped the flames, one of whom received a bayonet wound in her body. On the night of the 1st inst. the chapel of Newtown, county Carlow, was set on fire by some person or persons unknown. Government have, in each proclamation, offered a reward of 100l. for the discovery of all or any of the persons concerned in the above murder ad outrages.’
Georgia Gazette, 12 June 1800 (courtesy of Sue Clements)

The Jacksons & Philip Germaine

Of interest here is a paper from the Pat Purcell Collection pertaining to 'the examinations of Mary Jackson of Lisnava ... Wife of John Jackson'. having been 'examined and duly sworn upon the holy Evangelists', Mary described how on Sunday 11th May 1800, 'she went with a Quarter of Veal before Sunset to the House of Philip Germaine of said Lisnava a farmer and saw there a man and woman decently dressed , whom she does not know'. The following day, she 'heard from several people in the Town of Tullow that a party of Rebels had been on said Sunday the 11th of May at the House of said Philip Germaine'. That was all she would reveal to the magistrate Edward Whitty who was 'bound in ten pounds to his Majesty to prosecute said Philip Germaine at next assizes to be held for the County of Carlow'. Whether Philip was harbouring rebels or not is unclear. He seems to have survived the examinations intact for in 1800, the Magistrate Bunbury’s account books for Lisnavagh indicate that he was to be paid for the airing (heatng?) of the house at Lisnavagh, as well as for supplying turf, harrowing and improving the estate. The Widow Germaine was simultaneously paid £5-2 for ‘repairing’ Lisnavagh that year. But was Philip paid again in 1801 or was he in disgrace by then? It is worth noting that in the Lisnavagh rent books, the Germaine surname is also spelt Germans, Jermyns and Jermaine. One wonders whether the name O’Gorman might also derive from this.


Carlow Inquest 1800 (Pat Purcell Papers).
An Inquisition Indented taken for our Most Gracious Sovereign Lord the King, Defender of the Faith and so forth at Lorum in the County of Carlow the 15th day of May 1800 before James Byrne, Coroner, on view of the body of Garret Brennan late of Carrigbeg, Carlow, Farmer, then and there lying dead upon the Oath of John Doyle, William Eagan, Pat Tierney, Dan McGrath, John Rogers, Alexander McAdams, Richard Murphy, Pat McGrath, James Semple, Laurence Geghan, Andrew Tierney, James Farrell, and James Brennan, Good and Lawful men of Carlow duly Sworn and charged to inquire for our Sovereign Lord the King when, how, and by what means did Garret Brennan come to his death, - do state that a person unknown did on the 11th of May with force in the parish of Dunleckney feloniously wilfully and of malice aforethought make an assault and that this unknown man with a blunderbuss or gun charged and loaded with gunpowder and leaden bullets held in his hands and against the right side of Garret Brennan did shoot off and discharge and give one mortal wound penetrating the body of Garret Brennan to kill and murder Garret Brennan.
(signed) John Doyle, Foreman for self and fellows, (Jurors) James Byrne, Coroner


August 16th 1800 (Saturday). Arthur Wallace, Postmaster of Carlow, was executed at the front of the new tow gaol, ‘pursuant to his sentence at the last assizes, for embezzling bank notes, &c.’ According to the Oracle of Dauphin (Pennsylvania) which reported on the event on 10 November 1800, ‘this unhappy culprit, as we are credibly informed, requested Mr. Knot, high sherif of the county of Carlow, to delay his execution till the arrival of the Dublin Mail Coach, expecting a respite; that gentleman, with his usual humanity, acquiesced with his desire. The coach arrived about three o'clock, when Mr. Knot went personally and had the different bags carefully searched : no respite arrived; orders were consequently given for his immediate execution. Between three and four o'clock in the afternoon, he was escorted by a strong military guard, in a sedan chair, attended by Dr. Hubbert, from the old gaol in Bridewell lane, to the new gaol in Barrack street, having a white cap hiding his face; he appeared much dejected, and almost senseless of his approaching fate, when he arrived there he remained about three quarters of an hour praying; at length he grew so weak and feeble, he was obliged to be assisted on the scaffold by two men and the gaoler, when he was launched into eternity. He has bequested his wife the interest of 2000l. during life, in case she remains a widow, and to his two children 5000l. each.’ Wallace was convicted before Lord Kilwarden (who was destined to be piked to death during the Robert Emmet Rebellion of 1803) and defended by John Philpot Curran, whose daughter Sarah happened to be Robert Emmet's lover. The execution site overlooked Gallipot Lane (now Little Barrack Street), which he had actually purchased from the Browne-Clayton family of Browne's Hill House in 1797. Thus it was said "Wallace was dispatched overlooking his ill-gotten gains". ( The Trial of Arthur Wallace by John Rea 1800. This account by Bernard O'Neill was published in Carloviana, in the 1949 edition. With thanks to Sue Clements and Michael Purcell).

image title

Above: Benjamin's nephew Thomas Bunbury
who succeeded to Lisnavagh aged three,
when his father was killed in a horsefall.
Benjamin managed Lisnavagh
through until the 1820s. Thomas later
served as MP for Carlow. A bachelor, he was
succeeded by his nephew,
Captain William McClintock Bunbury.


William Hannon of Little Scotland, Carlow, came before us this day and made Oath on the Holy Evanagelists that Richard Hannon the Elder and Richard Hannon the younger and John Hannon all of Little Scotland and Darby Hannon of Hacketstown have forcibly and contrary to Law taken possession of and received by force the Tolls and Customs of Hacketstown fair, which said Tolls and Customs are the property of the aforenamed William Hannon of Little Scotland by virtue of a Lease and Warrant from the Honourable Lord Wicklow.
(signed) William Hannon.
Sworn before us this 4th February 1802. (signed) Benjamin Bunbury, and William Hoare Hume.
William Hannon of Little Scotland Bound in £20 to appear and prosecute the above foresaid Hannons in open Court at Carlow.
(From the Pat Purcell Papers).


By Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire, one of his Majesties Justices of the Peace for Carlow.
The Information of James Bartle, Sub Constable, Stationed at Rathvilly, Carlow, who being duly Sworn and Examined on the Holy Evangelist Desposith and Saith that on the fourth Day of March 1802 the Informant heard Owen Cloven of Rathvilly declare on the Publick Street situate in the town of Rathvilly in most reproachful language - he did not give a farth for the King or his bledly Crown or any / here uttering a Tremendous oath / Proclamation of the bledly King - whilst thus Shouting Loudly Owen Cloven was pulling at a Notice from the Gate of the Roman Catholick place of worship for the parish of Rathvilly on which was posted a Reward for Information Notice that would lead to the apprehension of a gang of notorious robbers at the time believed to be in hiding in the townland of Rathvilly and Baltinglass. James Bartle verily believes the the said Owen Cloven is a dangerous idle lunatick and should be further Examined by the Magistrates of the County as a Person uttering falsehoods and against the Peace of the Liege Subjects of his Majesty the King, and the Peace, Crown and Dignity of our Sovereign Lord, George, King, Defender of the Faith and so Forth, and James Bartle further Saith not. (signed) James Bartle.
Sworn before me this 5th Day of March 1802. (signed) Benjamin Bunbury.
Deponent is Bound * in the Sum of £5 Sterling to Prosecute the aforesaid Owen Cloven at the next General Sessions of The Peace to be held at Carlow in the said County of Carlow and attend from Day to Day and from Sessions to Sessions until Discharged by the Court ~
Taken and Acknowledged before me at Rathvilly this 5th Day of March 1802.
(Pat Purcell Papers)

* This was a common practise up to recent times which ensured that any charges made would be pressed via the courts by the informant / deponent, regardless of pressures, second thoughts, change of heart, threats etc. Otherwise the Bond was forfeited by informant for wasting the magistrate's / court's time.

As Michael Purcell points out, given Benjamin's absolute adherence to "our Sovereign Lord and his dignity" etc, Cloven's remarks about not giving "a farth for the King' would, in Benjamin's eyes, have been tantamount to Treason.


It would seem that the Magistrate ran Lisnavagh as agent to his nephew Thomas Bunbury for much of the 1790s and early 1800s. Much of the estate accounts are kept in neat and concise rent books dated from 1797 to 1813 and held in the Lisnavagh archives. Some of these rent books were state-of-the-art manuscripts, with blotting paper between each page to compliment his hand-written comments. There are endless references to bonds, remittances and monies due, invitations to electoral dinners and who owed him what. The sums of rent monies he was receiving from La Touche’s bank and Rochforts were substantial, although curiously he was still paying £105-5 rent on Lisnavagh to Lord Ormonde’s agent in June 1800. (This was probably the ground rent for a certain area).

In 1797, he paid a modest £1 in hearth money for the house, implying that there were actually very few chimneys on the original house. There would also have been taxes on every carriage and dog on the property.

In 1798 he paid cash to a surveyor for a new road built to Lisnavagh house and some work at Cubin’s and Germaine’s gardens. John Germaine was also paid cash for bringing turf to the house and for airing it over two years, implying it was unoccupied. Philip Germaine, mentioned above, was paid for the same task in 1800.

In 1799, the Magistrate paid local farmer Michael Bryan for looking after the timber. In 1800, he rewarded Mr Bryan further money ‘for trying all in his power to preserve the timber at Lisnavagh’ but from what it needed preservation we do not know ... perhaps from the rebel forces of 1798?

In 1800, Benjamin gave £11-6 to the Rev. Mr. Nolan, the Catholic priest in Rathvilly, to distribute to the poor of the parish. Family historian Roger Nowlan believes the Rev. Nolan may have been Dr. Nicholas Nolan, a kinsman of the Nolan family of Kilgraney, Kilmaglush and Bagenalstown, who was parish priest for Ballon-Rathoe in the mid-1780s. This family are alluded to in the following inscription found on a tombstone in the old Ballon cemetery:

"Here lieth the body of JAMES NOLAN late of Kilgraney who departed aged 86 yrs. Here are likewise deposited the remains of his son JAMES NOLAN of Kilglaus who dep'd May 12th 1821 aged 66 yrs. And also MARY daughter to the latter James Nolan who died young. Also PATRICK NOLAN brother [to the above named] James Nolan who died April 1812 aged 71 yrs and MARY wife to Patrick who dep'd April 1 1817 aged 71 yrs. Here lie the remains of MURTHA NOLAN, late of Cranaha, son to the above PATRICK and MARY Nolan who died at Carlow January 21st 1831 aged 66 yrs. This also to perpetuate the memory of Rev. JAMES NOLAN son of the latter James who died at Bagenalstown June 15th 1839 in the 37th year of his age and 13th of his ministry. His remains are deposited in the Chapel of Bagenalstown where a superior monument, a mark of the esteem in which
he was held by PP and parishioners, is erected to his memory. Here also the remains of NICHOLAS NOLAN of Bagenalstown who died June 5th 1816 aged 10 yrs. "

Benjamin also paid an annual subscription to the Treasurer of the Carlow Club and a one-off subscription of £22-15 to be a Governor for life of the County Carlow Infirmary.

The Magistrate refers to a Miss Brien who paid a half-year's rent in 1799.

He was sending an allowance to Thomas’s mother, Katherine Bunbury, in Bath through La Touche’s bank.

I gather that the harvets failed in 1801 prompting a signifciant downturn in the economy.

The Lisnavagh Archives [F1/9] include a draft will, dated 27 Feb. 1804, of Benjamin Bunbury, approved by George Ponsonby.

The Widow Kinshelagh and her son Dennis were still borrowing money from Benjamin in 1821.

In 1813, or thereabouts, Benjamin said he let S. Griffith of Lisnavagh off a years rent when it transpired that a relative had ‘used him in a shameful manner’ and taken forcible possession of the farm and kept it for four months and looked after the place poorly.

"Petition to Benjamin Bunbury "

In 1802, the case of Ann Dunn came before Benjamin and the Carlow court as follows: 'The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their oath Say and present that Ann Dunn of the Town of Carlow Married Woman being a person of a turbulent tumultuous infamous and violent disposition, of dangerous and Scandalous Conversation and a terror to her neighbours on the twelfth day of July in the Forty second year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third by the grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King Defender of the faith and soforth --------at Carlow in the County of Carlow aforesaid and at divers other times and places as well before as after in the County aforesaid was and yet is a common Scold and Brawler a common Defamer and vexer of the Kings Subjects then and there and at Divers other times and places aforesaid wrangling and Quarreling among her neighbours or other of the Kings Subjects a nuisance of all the liege Subjects of our said Lord the King and Against his peace his Crown and Dignity'. (PPP)


Information received on Oath from Michael Whit, Esquire of Tullow, Gentleman, that on Monday the 15th August 1803 he met with a man who gave himself the name of Robert James, on his way from Dublin to Clonegal, and that after some conversation Robert James asked him " was he up " Michael Whit answered no, after which conversation Robert James declared that he "was up" and on meeting a detachment of Military Soldiers Robert James turned to Michael Whit and told him there is some of the Bloody Yeomen, Damn them all and Damn the King and all his Heirs on Land and at Sea.
Sworn before me this 16th day August 1803. (signed) John Sewill.
That Robert James ( believed by me Benjamin Bunbury to reside in Ballon on the land of Thomas Nowlan ) be brought before the Magistrates of his Lord the King at Carlow to answer to the above charge to the example of all others of Evil mind offending against the Peace of our Most Gracious Lord the King, his Crown and Dignity. ( signed ) Benjamin Bunbury, 17th August 1803.
[PPP. As Michael Purcell notes, the term "are you up" was used by the United Irishmen to identify fellow travellers.]

Laurence NOLAN the Surveyor

The Lisnavagh Archives contain several maps and surveys from this period relating to lands owned by the Bunbury family and presumably managed by Benjamin. These include survey of Lower Mortarstown [K-1/8] and Moyle [B/6/31], dated 1803 and 1805 respectively, by Laurence Nowlan. It is believed this Laurence Nowlan was a respected farmer, land surveyor and bachelor who lived in Ballinacarrig. According to '98 in Carlow" by Peadar MacSuibhne (page 174, published by the Nationalist in 1974), Laurence belonged to Sir Richard Butler's cavalry yeomen and was highly esteemed by the gentlemen of the country. He may have been a son of Edmond Nowlan (1761-1800) of Ballinacarrig, son of Mathias Nowlan (1715-1793) of Kilconnor, son of Lawrence Nowlan (c1670-c1746) of Shangarry & Lisgarvan, the latter having reputedly served in the British Army in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1704. It seems Laurence the Surveyor narrowly escaped death in 1798 because 'William Farrell and he gave up their room and bed in Carlow jail to Fr. Travers PP, Baltinglass who had been brought to prison' but this needs greater investigation. (Info courtesy of Roger Nowlan. See also William Farrell's 'Carlow in '98', p. 170)

In the old graveyard by St Fiacc’s church in Sleatty, County Carlow, I found the grave of Lawrence Nolan, a nineteen-year-old private with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who ‘died of wounds’ in a London hospital on the last day of 1916. His father was also called Lawrence. Was he connected to the Laurence / Lawrence Nolan’s of Lisnavagh or was it simply a common family name? The last name on the Sleatty headstone commemorates Daddy Joe Nolan of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, who died aged 95 in 1988.


In 1803, Henry Edward Fox became the commander in chief in Ireland. The third son of Henry Fox, Lord Holland, his account of 'the insurrection in Dublin' is a comprehensive description of the actions taken to suppress Robert Emmet's rebellion in 1803 (E18/840/1). Lt General Fox's eldest daughter married General Sir Henry Bunbury whose family held large estates in Suffolk at Mildenhall and Great Barton.


January 23: Death of brewer and the founder of the Guinness brewery, Arthur Guinness, in Dublin.

Feb 21; Execution of Ned Despard. Poldark fans may recall Ned Despard, who was convicted of high treason, hanged and beheaded in London in 1803. Born in County Laois in 1751, Ned’s liberal views were apparent when, as a boy, he forged an unlikely friendship with his poor neighbours in the Slieve Blooms. He joined the British Army, fought in the American War of Independence and saved the life of young Horatio Nelson. He was appointed Superintendent of the Bay of Honduras (now Belize) and told to settle it with the best men. He did exactly that, with total colour blindness, and was subsequently dismissed for defending the rights of the colony’s black slaves. He returned home with a black wife, Kitty, and apparently became an early abolitionist. He also united with the radical United Irishmen but was imprisoned in 1798 for plotting an uprising in England to coincide with the landing of the French fleet in Ireland. In 1802 he was arrested again for a plot to assassinate King George III. Despite Admiral Nelson making a stand in his defence, he was sentenced to death. As well as featuring in the TV series Poldark, Ned Despard is the subject of a book "Red Round Globe Hot Burning" by Peter Linebaugh. (Thanks to John Colclough).

April: Arranged by ‘Big’ Arthur Devlin and James Hope, Wicklow outlaw Michael O'Dwyer meet Robert Emmet in Rathfarnham.

July 23: Emmet rebellion.

August 25: Emmet captured.

Dec 14: Michael Dwyer accepts terms of surrender brokered by William Hoare Hume MP. He surrendered to William Jackson, aka Billy the Rock. It is not clear where Jackson was from. He may have been from a family of Jackson’s that resided in Coolkenno but he is more likely to have been a kinsman of Richard Jackson of Humewood, Kiltegan. He is believed to William Jackson of Brusselstown (son of Alexander Jackson) who married Esther Wilson, Donoughmore. A deed of 6 March 1801 (869-38-578038) reads: 'Btw William JACKSON of Brusselstown, Co. Wicklow, farmer of 1st pt; William Hoare HUME of Humewood, Co. Wicklow of 2nd pt & John JACKSON son of said William JACKSON and Catherine JACKSON otherwise STRINGER his wife of the said John of the 3rd pt. After making a provision for John JACKSON and Catherine his wife, in consideration … lands of Brusselstown owse Brickwellstown known by the name of the Castle Quarter containing 110a 2r 16p in Barony of Talbotstown Co. Wicklow.' Willaim and Ester's daughter Hannah Jackson married Henry Hinch. (3x gr.grandparents of Maura Gibson). Their son Henry married Mary Jane Eager. In 1726 Hinch's held over 500 acres at Rathcoyle so the Humes were close neighbours. See also Jacksons of Woodfield and Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow. The deeds also have a record of John Jackson and Joseph Jackson of Killmurry, Co Wicklow, while Also of note is this from Betham's Abstracts: '1795 Elizabeth RHAMES of Exchange Street Dublin widow 9 April 1795 proved 10 Dec 1795. Daughters Hannah JACKSON and Sophia HUME – daughter Esther – husband Benjamine RHAMES deceased – daughter & son Henrietta & Frederick RHAMES son-in-law Richard JACKSON – John COURTNEY husband of said daughter Catherine – Maurice HIME husband of daughter Sophia.'


11 Feb: Death of 34-year-old James Corcoran, a farmer from Ballindaggin, Co Wexford, who led a party of rebels at the battle of New Ross during the Great Rebellion of 1798. He went on to be leader of the last band of guerrillas to surrender, holding out until 1804 when a £500 reward prompted an informer to betray his location at his old base at Killaughrim woods outside Enniscorthy. After fierce resistance all of the unit were killed or captured. Corcoran died of his wounds shortly afterwards. The bodies of him and his comrades were brought to Wexford and hung outside the town gaol where they were left on display for a time.


From PPP.
THE Examination of Samuel Tierny of the town of Carlow, Butcher, taken before John Whitty, Esquire, one of his Majesties Justices of the Peace for Carlow.
Samuel Tierny being duly Sworn on the Holy Evangelists, and examined -- Saith that on Monday morning last about the hour of ten O' Clock he was peaceably attending his business at the Meat Market at the Market Cross in the town of Carlow when Patrick Holland of Carlow, Cobbler, came up to him and asked in an angry manner what is the reason his (Samuel Tierny's) mother did not pay her Rent -- Samuel Tierny asked him was he the Landlord or his Agent - Patrick Holland then desired him to ask his Arse, and at the same time gave Samuel Tierny a Stroke on the Mouth with his Hand which made him bleed, Without any lawful Provocation.
(signed ) Samuel Tierny .
Sworn before me this 9th day of February 1804.
(signed) John Whitty.
Printed by William Moore, Printer, Tullow Street, Carlow, opposite the Collector's.

MURDER OF PATRICK NOWLAN, 1805 (Pat Purcell Papers)

The Disraeli Papers of January 1805 contain the following ‘INQUISITION’: Alexander Johnson of the town of Carlow, Surgeon, Saith that he attended this day at Garryhill, Carlow at the Dwelling house of Patrick Nowlan, Deceased, as Alexander Johnson has been informed and believes and Saith that this man having carefully examined the Body found four wounds on his right Arm, four on the Right Side of his Belly and one on the breast made by small balls and Saith the said Gun Shot wounds in the Belly were the Cause of his death as he found they had wounded his intestines. Sworn before me this 13th day of January, 1805. (signed) Alexander Johnson, James Byrne, Coroner.

THE KING against MICHAEL PAUL NOWLAN in the 46th year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third by the Grace of God King. Defender of the faith and Soforth. [i]
PETITION under the hand of Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire, on behalf of Michael Paul Nowlan who is known to the aforesaid Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire.
TO ~
The Right Honourable William Downes.[ii]
Michael Paul Nowlan the prisoner in this case maketh Oath that on the 18th July 1806 he was Committed to the Gaol of Carlow by a Warrant under the hand of John Staunton Rochfort, Esquire, charging him with several robberies alleged to have been committed by him in the County of Carlow. Michael Paul Nowlan Saith that in consequence of the Committal Warrant not stating any specific offence it was impossible for him to prepare for his trial. He further Saith that on the 22nd day of July 1806 only five days before the present Assizes another Warrant was lodged on him by Francis Dillon, Esquire, charging him with have been concerned in aiding and assisting at the burning of Ullard house [?] and the murder of Patrick Nowlan on the night of the 11th of January 1805.
Michael Paul Nowlan Saith that from the time of the last Warrant of Committal was lodged he has endeavoured to be ready to abide his trial for alleged burning and murder. He further Saith from the shortness of time between his Committal and the present Assizes he hath not been able to be fully prepared for his trial. Michael Paul Nowlan further Saith that -- O'Grady, and -- Maguire whose Christian names he doth not know, but who are Sergeants in his Majesty’s One Hundred and First Regiment quartered at Newry nearly One hundred miles from the town of Carlow, are necessary and material witnesses for him at his trial and without the benefit of whose testimony he cannot with safety abide his trial.
Michael Paul Nowlan further Saith it was not until yesterday in preparing for his defence that he discovered the necessity he was under to procure the attendance of O'Grady and Maguire at the present Assizes. Michael Paul Nowlan further Saith he hopes and expects and will use his best endeavours to procure the attendance of the said persons.[iii]
AND THEREFORE Michael Paul Nolwan humbly prays his trial to be postponed, he does not make this application for the purpose of giving any unnecessary delay to his trial. He further Saith that since he hath been in custody and the Impressions against him on the public mind from the seriousness of the offences with which he is charged making it particularly necessary for him to be fully prepared for making his defence and thereby proving his innocence.
(signed) Michael Nowlan.
Submitted this 29th day of January 1806 under the hand of Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire.
(signed) Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire
Sworn before me in open Court this 29th day of July 1806 (signed) W. Downes. (Petition granted )


[i] “Michael Paul” is believed to have been the son/grandson of Paul Nowlan, a younger brother of Laurence Nowlan of Lisgarvan; both Paul and Laurence are mentioned in their father Laurence’s will (Laurence Nowlan of Shangarry who died circa 1746).

[ii] William Downes, later Baron Downes. In 1806, he was Treasurer of the King's Inns and Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin. In this case he was presiding as Judge William Downes at Carlow Assizes.

[iii] Michael Purcell sagely suggests that ‘Michael Paul Nowlan is going to try pin the murder on Sergeants' O'Grady and Maguire, the wounds as described at the Inquest look to be caused by bayonets and guns.’



The Rev. Edward Wakefield evidently had a lousy time when he came to Carlow. According to his 'Statistical and Political Account of Ireland' (1806): ‘Kilkenny, Carlow and the western side of the Barrow, south of the Queen's county, abound with country squires of a character peculiar to Ireland. They are distinguished by a taste for fox-hunting, cock-fighting, horse-racing, gambling and extravagant amusement, in the pursuit of which they expend more than their incomes; they are ignorant and conceited and, having never devoted any of their time to the acquisition of knowledge, are fit to associate only with persons like themselves.'


PIG TALES, 1806 (from the PPP)

24th day of February 1806.
Information of Sub-Constable Pierce Brerton before James Butler, Esquire, Sovereign of the Town of Carlow.
States that on Saturday the 22nd of February Instant, being in the Habit of taking up pigs as Nuisances in the Town of Carlow, by Act of Parliament, that on passing down Tullow Street met (?) a pig Rambling through said
Street which Informant was driving in order to Impound for a fine boyed (?) on Such Nuisance. When he was followed by William Stratan of Carlow, Cabinet Maker, Who forcibly rescued said pig and when Informant followed said pig to said Stratens gate he was stopped by him, who took up a Square Piece of Timber of which he made a trust of at Informant Swearing a Tremendous Oath that if Informant did not Immediately Withdraw he would Knock his teeth down his throat by which Informant was put in dread and fear and was Obliged to make away. (signed) Pierce Brerton.
(signed) James Butler. 24th day of February 1806.

21st day of March 1806.
Information of Sub-Constable Patrick Wire taken before James Butler, Esquire, Sovereign of the Town of Carlow.
On Thursday the twentyeth day of March Instant as he stood in the Pig Market in the Town of Carlow in order to Cant a pig (which was Seized in the Street of Carlow as a Nuisance) for a fine According to Act of Parliament by order of James Butler, Esquire. Sovereign of said Town when James Burbridge of Carlow, Victualler, Came up to where Patrick Wire was and being Armed with a Knife Cut the Cord by which held said pig and by force rescued Said pig. (signed) Patrick Wire.
(signed) James Butler. 21st day of March 1806.


'The Rev. John Whitty maketh oath that he has been for some days affected with a violent irruption on his face and was advised not to expose himself to the open air during the present severe weather, Saith he has travelled from Baltinglass to Carlow this day in great pain and is very much indisposed to attend the Honourable Court to give evidence in favour of Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire, in the case of the feloniously stealing of a Horse and Saddle against one James otherwise Patrick Germaine the property of the above named Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire whilst he was at Prayer in Church on Sunday last.
March 4th 1807. (signed) John Whitty.
Sworn before me at Carlow 4th April 1807. (signed) JP.'


In 1807 Benjamin Bunbury, William Browne, Robert Rochfort and Francis Murphy, were paid £10 to cover the costs of building a wall joining the workhouse in Carlow. Along with Thomas Elliott and John Donohue, Benjamin also received £13-5-10 to repair 55 perches of road between Tobinstown bridge and William McKenna's house lands of Ballybit. Was this the Green Lane? (Source)


1807 (Feb 1): Daniel Delany, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin invites six women to form a religious community in Tullow, Co Carlow. He named them the Sisters of Saint Brigid, after the great 5th century Saint of Kildare. A year later, 1808, he founds a community of men and named them the Brothers of St Patrick or Patricians.


All corn distilling was stopped in 1809 and again in 1812 to the end of 1813.


On 26 April 1808, Benjamin Burton, son of William Burton (former MP for Gowran and Co Carlow) fractured his skull in a fall from his horse while hunting. Having apparently recovered, he went out again with the hounds and died from ‘brain fever’.


The two-storey courthouse was built on the Market Square in Baltinglass in about 1810, with seating for over 50 persons, plus gaol cells.


The Information of Elizabeth Dunn taken before Edward Eustace, Esquire, one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for Carlow. WHO Being Duly Sworn on the Holy Evangelists and examined Deposeth and Saith that on the Afternoon of Wednesday the 17th Day of January 1810 she was on her Lawful Business Going Towards the Rev. Mr Kelly's House in the Town of Tullow when and where she was met by Matthew Young an apprentice to James Ralph, Shoemaker and James McNally, Junior, Each of Tullow they had a rope in their hands and drew the rope across Elizabeth Dunn's Legs and threw her on her Face on the Pavement of the street and Dragged her by which means she was Cut and Bruised in Different parts of her Body so that the Blood Flowed from her mouth and Ear in Abundance to the Great hurt and Damage of Elizabeth Dunns Health and All without any manner of provocation whatsoever. Sworn before me this 24th Day of January 1810. (signed) Edward Eustace, Justice of the Peace, (signed) Elizabeth, her, X mark, Dunn, having first being truly read to her by Edward Eustace. (Pat Purcell Papers).


Thomas Kitson of Hacketstown, Carlow came before me this day and made oath on the Holy Evangelists that there have been several fowls of different kinds stolen from his place in Hacketstown. That about the 12th March 1813 a Game Hen worth at least ten shillings was stolen from him by Michael Bryan of Ballysallagh, Carlow, (signed) Thomas Kitson. Sworn before me this 3rd day of July 1813. (signed) Benjamin Bunbury. (Pat Purcell Papers)

24 May 1813: A Catholic Relief Bill is introduced by Henry Grattan in the House of Commons in London. It is narrowly defeated 251 to 247.



In 1814, Benjamin noted 'that I have caused the lands of Mortarstown [90 acres out by Dolmen hotel, later rented to Thomas Coffey?] to be planted' with 52 beech and 13 sycamores. He was acting ‘as immediate agent’ for his nephew Thomas Bunbury Esq. He planned to register these trees at the next general sessions of Carlow in order to avail of the grants. Corruption was clearly to the fore in local politics back then as it was claimed some 8 million trees were planted in Carlow during this decade, which would have made the county one big forest.

"By the end of the 17th century a great deal of Ireland's natural woodland had been cut down and timber was beginning to be in short supply. Sir William Petty suggested that two million trees should be planted. It would appear that over 200,000 trees were "planted" in Carlow between 1770 and 1890. In 1698, the first of seventeen Acts was applied to Ireland to enforce, or at least to encourage, the planting of trees. The provisions of the 1765 Act, stated that, on the expiration of his lease, a tenant could claim for the value of the trees that he had planted, provided that he certified this planting and then lodged the certificate with the clerk of the peace for the county. This exercise resulted in the Register of Trees which have survived for various counties in Ireland. The registrations were recorded at the quarter sessions and published in The Dublin Gazette. Subsequently this information was entered in the ledger entitled Register of Trees into which, depending on the diligence of the Justice of the Peace, the original
affidavits were copied out in full or in summary form. This information can be useful to genealogists interested in a particular family who had long-established roots in a particular townland or county. Michael Purcell believes that many of the trees claimed for during this period were not planted, the application was a means of availing of the grant, all one needed was a friendly Justice of the Peace or a fellow Magistrate to witness your signature on claiming the grant.'
Sources: Crown and Peace Records, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland,
Pat Purcell Papers, Browne-Clayton Archive.


See Carlow Castle


The Information of Thomas Hurly Cummins, Farmer, of Tinryland, Barony of Idrone East, Carlow taken before Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire, one of his Majestys Justices of the Peace for Carlow, who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists saith that on the tenth day of April last he received information from Gardiner Homer Wilkinson, Esquire, Horse Dealer and animal Healer of Carlow town, that Moses Clear, Stone Clever, of Ballon, Carlow and Thomas Date, Farmer, of Rathvindon, Leighlinbridge, Carlow, and George Ugan, Huxter, of Carlow Town had afore information of the robbery of a mare feloniously stolen on the ninth day of April 1815 from the lands of Thomas Hurley Cummins at Tinryland and that Moses Clear and Thomas Date and George Ugan have knowledge of the present whereabouts of said mare.
Thomas Hurley Cummins asks for a petition to be placed before the next Assizes at Carlow for justice to be done[ ? ] by calling Moses Clear and Thomas Date and George Ugan before the next Assizes to be held in Carlow in order that they may swear on the Holy Evangelists of what knowledge they are in possession of concerning the mare, Thomas Hurly Cummins further saith nought. (Signed ) Thomas Hurley Cummins.
Informant acknowledges himself indebted to Our Sovereign Lord, George the Third, King, Defender of the Faith, and so Forth in the sum of Ten Pounds Sterling Conditioned to attend at the next Assizes to be held at Carlow.
Sworn before me this 12th Day of April 1815. (signed) Benjamin Bunbury.
[The following comment is recorded in a different hand] Gardiner Wilkinson is considered by the Gentlemen of this County to be a person of evil repute, Clear, Date and Ugan are considered of bad character, it is my belief that Perjury and not true information may be laid before the Court. (signed) B.B.
(Transcribed from the Pat Purcell Papers).


It was actions such as this which, on 25 July 1816, inspired Robert Peel, then Chief Secretary for Ireland, to establish the Peace Preservation Force to counter rural unrest. This rudimentary paramilitary police force was designed to replace the earlier system of watchmen, baronial constables, revenue officers and military forces.


In February 1817, there was an attempted robbery on Father Conran, parish priest of Ballon. In March 1817, another armed gang led by a Patrick Donahoe set off from Tullow to attack Mr Bunbury. Donahoe had been released from Carlow Gaol some days earlier. He met with William Townshend and promised that a gang of 'Men with plenty of fire arms' would come to assist them. Their intent was 'to commit a Robbery on Mr Bunbury ... who had a quantity of money'. Whether this was Benjamin or not is unclear. However, the rest of the gang failed to show so Donahoe and Townshend struck off on their own. They changed plan and, now joined by a John Dalton, decided to rob 'another House belonging to an Old Priest that had plenty of money belonging to the Farmers'. They met by the Slaney outside Tullow - 'Donahoe produced a long Butchers knife with a penny cord, and Dalton produced a large flesh fork with another cord'. When Donahue complained that these were 'bad arms to commit a Robbery', Dalton replied that he 'would Rob the house without any Arms'.

At length they stole through the fields until they came to the Rev. Mr. Conran's house near Ballon and lay waiting in the haggard. When Conran came home, they approached the door, knocked and, as it was opened, burst in. Donahoe hurled 'a Coat over the Boys head in the Kitchen' and Townshend tied him up. Donahue and Dalton then went into the priest's room and held him down with the fork. While searching through the Conran's desk, some money fell on the floor and a struggle broke out between the Priest, Dalton and Townshend. Donahoe ran away and the others fled towards Tullow. Townshend was later arrested and brought before William Fishbourne on 14th July 1817.

3rd May 1817: Timothy Maher of Castlemore, Carlow declares before William Fishbourne that John Clowery came to him and asked him for a Gun or Pistol, sometime in February last, as he wanted to rob the Rev. Mr. Cummins (his Uncle ) of Clonegal. Timothy replied and said he had no arms and also advised him against robbing the Priest. Clowry told him that there was another Man from Straboe, Carlow to go with him to commit the Robbery. In about two weeks after this conversation Clowery called to Timothy Maher again and told him he could not get at the money as his Uncle's Housekeeper watched him so close that he could not effect his purpose. He had now changed his mind as to him and said he would now Rob the Rev. Mr. Conran's house, (Parish Priest of Ballon), he having more money and a man near his place had set his house for Clowry and that he the aforesaid John Clowry was determined either to have his Life or his Money, Sworn before me this 3rd May 1817 at Carlow . (signed) Timothy Maher, (signed) William Fishbourne.
Submitted by Pat. O' Reagan, Genealogy Course, 11th Sept. 2008.

15th April 1817: John Dalton now a Prisoner in the Gaol of Carlow saith that Patrick Donahoe (now a Prisoner) and Laurence Mooney of Tullow with William Townshend of Bray in the County of Wicklow went to the Reverend [ W or M ? ] Conran Dwelling house near Ballon on Thursday night the 3rd April 1817 when they entered the said Conran house, when on Dalton entering the kitchen he saw the Servant Girl, and Servant Boy, the former he suspected knew him, on which he returned out and the said Patrick Donahue, Laurence Mooney and William Townshend remained in the House, and robbed Rev. W. Conran's Desk of Twenty eight Guineas and a half with which they retreated to the Town of Tullow. Patrick Donahoe several times applyed to John Dalton to join the party to Commit the Robbery. John Dalton Saith that they were soon pursued that they had not time to divide the money but hid it in the thatch of Michael Lawler's stable.
(signed) John, hisXmark, Dalton. Having first being truly read to him.
Sworn before me this 15th day of April 1817. (signed) William Fishbourne.

(Thanks to Grace Bunbury & the Carlow Rootsweb).

14th July 1817: The confession of William Townshend now a prisoner in the Gaol of Carlow, Saith that on his return from the Assizes of Carlow on the evening of the 29th March last, he met Patrick Donahoe of Tullow, who had been discharged from Carlow Gaol that day going on the road. Said Donahoe applyed to William Townshend to know would he meet him on Sunday night to which he replyed he would, and on Sunday night said Donahoe called on Townshend, and asked him to join him to commit a Robbery on Mr. Bunbury in this county who had a quantity of money and that more help of Men with plenty of Fire arms were to join them. On Thursday he called ....?.... that the help were not coming in, and that he would wait no longer, and that they would go rob another House belonging to an Old Priest that had plenty of money belonging to the Farmers. That on same time Patrick Donahoe desired him to meet himself and John Dalton on the river side that night outside the Town of Tullow, that on Townshend going to the place appointed he met there John Dalton, and Patrick Donohoe soon joined them , they showed what arms they had, Donahoe produced a long Butchers knife with a penny cord, and Dalton produced a large flesh fork with another cord, on Donahoe making an observation that they were bad arms to commit a Robbery, Dalton made answer that he would Rob the house without any Arms. That then they proceeded towards the house mostly keeping to the fields, until they came to the Rev. Mr. Conran's house near Ballon in this County, after coming to the house they passed it by and went into the Haggard where they remained until the Rev. Mr. Conran came home and after remaining some time they went to the door and rapped at the door which being opened they all rushed in , when said Donahoe threw a Coat over the Boys head in the Kitchen of said House and desired Townshend to tye said boy with one of the cords, which he did, then followed Dalton into the Priest's room, who gave him the Fork to guard the Priest in the bed while Dalton should rob the desk, while Dalton was robbing the desk some money fell from him on the floor, and a struggle took place between the Priest, Dalton and Townshend on which Donahoe ran away and they extricated themselves from the Priest and made off towards Tullow. Taken before me this 14th day of July 1817. (signed) William (his) X (mark) Townshend (signed) William Fishbourne. First being truly read.
Submitted by Pat. O' Reagan, Genealogy Course, Sept. 2008. Transcribed as written. Copies of documents are available.


October 15th 1817.
We the undersigned Magistrates of the County of Carlow do hereby require you to hold a Special Sessions of the Peace at Tullow for the Division of the County of Carlow on Monday the 20th Day of this Month to take into Consideration the State of the Barony of Rathvilly.
(signed) Benjamin Bunbury, James Bessonnet, E.Eustace, Robert Eustace, James Eustace, William Carter, (?) St. George.
(From the PPP).


Exile, New York, 4 October 1817: Bench assassination in Ireland was avenging British rule, for the enormities committed by the starving multitude on corn stores during the spring and summer. The tyger, Norbury, left 13 unfortunate beings for execution after the assizes at Carlow, which commenced on the 21st of July. (Thanks to Sue Clement).

BALLYELLEN – TWO TALES, BOTH VIOLENT, 1817/1818 (courtesy of the Pat Purcell papers)

By Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire, one of His Majesties Justices of the Peace for Carlow.

THE Examination of Edward Murphy of Ballyellen, Farmer, who being this day Duly Sworn on the Holy Evangelists Deposeth and Saith that on the 17th April 1817 he was desired by Peter Doyle of Ballyellen, Carpenter, to collect Threatening Notice papers to the effect that persons should not rent or lease the farm of David Barron, Farmer, of Ballyellen, then out of Lease and for renewal of which lands Walter Blakney, Esquire, of Ballyellen House [i] was Landlord, Peter Doyle expressed his desire to have the Threatening Papers attached to the Chapel Gates in the area and at the Cross Roads threatening Death to any person who would take the Lease of the aforesaid lands.

That about four days after meeting Peter Doyle, he was sought out again by Doyle who then and there gave him a Crown Sterling and desired him to go to Saint Mullins to meet with some men to bring to Ballyellen, the names of which were Thomas Kavanagh, Michael Kavanagh, Miley Kavanagh, Patrick Doran, Hugh Nail, James Byrne and James Nowlan[ii] all of the Barony of Saint Mullins, [iii] Farmers, for the intention of attacking Ballyellen House and by fire consume the property, Peter Doyle told Edward Murphy that each man would be paid a Crown Sterling and whatever Chattles and Yokes they could remove from the House and out-Buildings could be divided among themselves.

That they should approach the House at ten of the Clock after sunset at which time Walter Blakney would be in the Palour as was his custom to be so there and that Peter Doyle had a Pistol and a tin of Gunpowder which he would give to Edward Murphy with encouragement that he was to shoot the Bastard Blakney dead as he sat in the Palour and Burn the House, following which no man would then take the Lands at Ballyellen and the Lands of right belong from father to son of the Doyles for over one hundred years before taken from them by David Barron a common rascal of low order and the aforesaid Lands would be restored to the Doyles once Blakney was in the Pit of Hell.

Edward Murphy Saith that he heard out Peter Doyle in order to know his Wicked intent in order that he would Swear Information before the Magistrates in Open Court against a dangerous Lunatic and Evil man such as Peter Doyle amongst the Subjects of our most Sovereign Lord, George the Third, King and so Forth.

And Edward Murphy further Saith Naught ~(signed) Edward Murphy.

Sworn before me this 10th Day of August 1818 (signed) Benjamin Bunbury.

Taken and Acknowledged by Benjamin Bunbury, Esquire, One of His Majesties Justices of the Peace, before the Clerk of the Peace at the Court House at Carlow Town and conveyed to Walter Blakney, Esquire, by immediate dispatch.

However, if that makes sense to you, prepare to be derailed because, as Mick Purcell noted, there then followed four pages of legal jargon contradict every line of Benjamin Bunbury’s Examination of Edward Murphy at Carlow Court House in August 1818. As Mick says, ‘this case caused great confusion among the Justices of the Peace, with Benjamin Bunbury believing and defending the "Sworn Information" he had obtained from Peter Doyle, the Reverend James Mcgrath was equally adamant that Edmund (spelt Edward on Bunbury's sheet) Murphy was telling the truth, several other Justices became involved. Several members of the Kavanagh clan were examined and swore they knew nothing about the plot or payment of money, Doran swore likewise. James Byrne swore that he was approached by Nowlan to burn down Ballyellen Lodge but he heard nothing about shooting any person, he told Benjamin Bunbury that Nowlan and Hugh Nail had left the townland in January 1818 and had not been seen in the area since. It was decided that Edward Murphy and Peter Doyle should be held in Carlow Jail and that the matter should be settled by Lord Norbury (the Hanging Judge himself!). One of the men had lied after swearing on the Holy Evangelists to tell the truth on examination before a Justice of the Peace for Carlow. Perjury was considered to be a very serious matter to be treated on the same level as murder or horse stealing. Perjury cases in Lord Norbury's court often carried the "death-by-hanging" sentence. Horse Pistols were long pistols that could be held in holsters attached to a horse saddle they were usually carried in pairs, one on each side.’ - PPP]

The Information of Peter Doyle of Ballyellan, Carlow, Carpenter, taken before the Reverend James Mcgrath one of His Majestys Justices for the Peace for Carlow.

Peter Doyle being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists and examined, Deposeth and Saith that about the month of April 1817 - he was applied to by Edmund Murphy of Ballyellan, Farmer, to put up some threatening notices at the Cross roads of Ballyellan, near Patrick Fenlon's house, for the purpose of preventing any person from taking the farm of Denis Barron, adjoining the Cross roads, then at the time out of Lease, and which Walter Blakeney, Esquire, of Ballyellan Lodge was the Landlord.

That Peter Doyle did not put up any papers of that description, but wrote one of a threatening nature which he gave to the said Edmund Murphy. In the course of a few days afterwards Edmund Murphy gave Peter Doyle a Crown and desired him to go to the Barony of St. Mullins, and to collect some men to bring with him, for the purpose of burning Ballyellen Lodge.

That Peter Doyle went part of the way with the plot, and pretended to the said Edmund Murphy that he had provided a party, but that it would be necessary to send a good deal of money to them.

That said Murphy then sayth that it would not be advisable to burn Ballyellen Lodge, as it would bring a tax on the townland, but that it would be better to fire a shot into the house at the said Walter Blakeny, and the said Murphy did then tell Peter Doyle, that he had been in the Parlour with Walter Blakeney, the Evening before and did describe to Peter Doyle the place Walter Blakeney usually sat in, in his parlour, and described the spot.

That Edmund Murphy did then tell Peter Doyle the place he should stand in outside the window and the direction in which he should fire.

That Edmund Murphy did then give Peter Doyle a Horse Pistol with about half a pound of Gunpowder and about a pound of Swan Drops, desiring him to load the Pistol with them, and to put a bullet or ball in along with them, strictly charging Peter Doyle to fire at the said Walter Blakeney, Esquire, stating that if the shot even missed Mr Blakeney, it would have the effect of frightening Mrs Blakeney and that then Mr Walter Blakeney, would never return to Ballyellan, and by that means no one would dare take any of the lands.

And that he the said Edmund Murphy would then get the lands -- Peter Doyle Saith that all through this business He appeared to agree with the said Murphy, for the purpose of knowing what his intentions were, and as soon as he found out they were of a bloody nature, He told the said Murphy, that he would have nothing to do in the business, and if anything happened to Mr Blakeney he would swear against him.

Peter Doyle Saith, that he told his brother Patrick Doyle, and several others of the intentions and plots of said Murphy, particularly Patrick Doyle according as the different plots were going on. Patrick Doyle advised him to seem to agree to the plots, until he knew the full extent of Edmund Murphys intentions.

That the said Murphy having asked Peter Doyle in some days after giving him the Pistol and ammunition as aforesaid, why he had not done the job, he said it was sugar instead of Gunpowder he had given him and that the said Murphy did give him another paper of Gunpowder, about a quarter a half a pound and that on Peter Doyle reproaching him with his bloody intentions, the said Edmund Murphy demanded the return of the Pistol, which Peter Doyle kept for four of five months before he returned it to Edmund Murphy.

(signed) Peter Doyle.

Sworn before me this 8th day of August 1818. (signed) James Magrath

[In February 2018, I had a look in some of contemporary newspapers on the British News Achive but nothing of relevance jumped out which is confusing as presumably it was quite a massive event at the time. I am trying to help Jean Doyle-Fultz find out more. Jean's great-great-grandfather Michael Doyle (a probable kinsman of Peter and Patrick) was married in Ballyellin in 1842 to Bridget O'Brien, the daughter of William O'Brien and Margaret Hendricks. In a letter she wrote long ago, Bridget stated that her father was the gate house keeper for Walter Blackney and listed Walter Blackney's children (including some not generally listed in his line who may have died young) such as Hugh Blackney (who she says had his hand cut off though she doesn't say how or why) and Charlie Blackney (who burned to death as a baby). She also states that her brother Michael O'Brien and Tom Blackney killed a rabbit and were to be fined. Tom's fate is unknown but Mike and his sister moved to America to avoid paying the fine. Walter Blackney died of a heart attack at Ballyellin in 1842.]

[i] Ballyellin House, later home to the Cullens and Patrick Maher, lies in St. Mullins, across the river from Goresbridge. There is another Ballyellin or Ballyellen near Ballon (Killane and Raheenkillane townlands area).

[ii] Roger Nowlan believes the James Nowlan mentioned was the teenaged James Nolan (c1800-1846) who married Mary Kelly and was living in Goresbridge at the time of his death. In the early 1800s his family was leasing land in the Ballyellin-Tomdarragh townland area, just south of the "Crossroads". Roger met a Nolan family from the Goresbridge area in 2011, which traces its ancestry in the early 1800s to the Ballyellin area. Roger has further details of the Ballyellin family. Roger suggests the Kavanaghs mentioned in this account may have been from the Borris area, although Dee Ring mentioned a Michael Kavanagh of St Mullins who may be connected.

[iii] Roger Nowlan proposes that while Peter Doyle was offered money to fetch the Kavanaghs and James Nowlan from St. Mullins, it may be that St. Mullins was simply the ‘point of assembly’ rather than the place were they were from.


(Extracted from the Pat Purcell Papers).

TREMENDOUS OATHS: The information of Edward Farrell, Junior, of the Town of Carlow who being duly Sworn and Examined Saith that on Thursday the 26th Feb. 1818 being at Tullow Street in the town of Carlow he met Timothy Timmon of Rutland in this County coming into the market of Carlow with a load of Corn.
Edward Farrell as Collector of the Customs for his father demanded the Custom Thereon, when Timothy Timmons struck him and tore his Clothes saying ~~ loudly and aggressively ~~ bad cess to you and your fathers people you can shove your (here uttering a tremendous oath ) customs up the King's royal arse and Damn him (meaning his Majesty the now King) and his lackey Magistrates throughout the (here uttering a tremendous oath) Kingdom and the curse of the widow Doran be upon all their (here uttering a tremendous oath) heads all of the foregoing was said in a loud manner in the presence of Ladys and the young going about their Lawful business in a Peaceful manner on the aforesaid Tullow Street . And Edward Farrell, Junior, further Saith not.
(signed) Edward Farrell.
Sworn before us this 26th day of February 1818. (signed) Robert Jackson, William Fishbourne, E. Eustace, Jas Hozier. Edward Box.
Timothy Timmon to be held in hard custody without recognizance to await the next sitting of the General Quarter Sessions to answer all such matters on behalf of our Most Sovereign Lord George the Third by the Grace of God our King and Defender of the Faith and so forth.

COVERED CARS, Between DUBLIN and TULLOW, every day, (Sundays excepted) START from No. 8, Mark's Alley, Francis-street at Eight o'Clock, and Arrive in Tullow before Six; - returning, they leave Tullow, at Seven and arrive in Dublin before Five. [This is presumably one way for Benjamin Bunbury to travel to Dublin, and took him ten hours].

JOSEPH LEONARD, Proprietor, returns his unfeigned Thanks to the Inhabitants of Carlow and its Vicinity, for the Preference heretofore given to his Establishment; and begs leave to inform them that he has fitted up above House as a HOTEL and LIVERY STABLES. He trusts from his unremitting Attention that those who may favour him with a Preference, will find such Accommodation as will merit a continuance of their Support. LEONARD will Let, or Sell the Interest in his House, (known by the Sign of the Royal Oak), in Dublin-street, in the Town of Carlow, formerly occupied by Mr. J. Rochfort. The House is in thorough repair – a considerable sum having been expended in newly Roofing, Papering and Painting, fitting up the Out-offices, etc. Application to be made to Mr JOHN HOPE, Bridewell-lane, Carlow.

COAL WARS: In 1818, Rossmore Colliers bringing coal to sell in the Coal Market, Carlow, were required to pay a Toll to allow them to cross Graigue Bridge. In March 1818, one "countryman collier" refused to pay the deputy collector, Dick Byrne, and a battle ensued between the two men and their families. 'The affair now became general :--- The battle raged ---coats, belts, hats, caps, and wigs, flew about , in all directions ! Mr. Jackson, one of the Magistrates, having heard of the row, went immediately together with some constables, to the scene of the action; but was violently resisted, and assaulted, by Byrne the elder ---whom , at length, not without considerable difficulty , he succeeded in lodging in the Gaol safely for the night. It appears that Byrne was full of SPIRITS on this occasion. On this same memorable evening Mr. Farrell, the head collector, made a violent attack upon Benedict Hamilton, Esquire, Lord of the Manor of Carlow, at his own house, who was obliged to exhibit articles of the peace [a pistol] against said Farrell.'

MURDERERS TO BE HANGED: Carlow Morning Post, 1818. Wexford Assizes. ''Thomas Call of Mucklow, and Thomas Call of Tomcoyle, were indicted for the murder at Little Limerick, of Nicholas Fanning and Edward Lennon, steward and labourer in the employment of Rev. Dr. Quinn. The prisoners were both young men, the eldest not more that twenty years of age. They were found guilty and sentenced to be hanged on Monday, and their bodies to be given to the Surgeon for dissection.' (PPP)

POTATO THEFT IN TOBINSTOWN (1818 - abbreviated).
The Information of William Shepard now of Copnagh, County Carlow, Gentleman, taken before me William Carter, Esquire, one of his Majestys Justices of the Peace for Carlow, who being duly sworn and examined saith that on the 21st day of April last he received information that Robert Shepard late of Tobinstown, County Carlow, Gentleman, with whom the aforesiad William Shepard was joint Lessee in different Leases, had gone away from his place of residence in order to go to America,
William went to the Land and Dwelling House of Robert Shepard and then and there seized and distrained the whole of the movable property found on the Lands of Tobinstown and Knocknegan consisting of a quantity of Potatoes, Pigs, Timber and other articles and immediately placed a Keeper to protect the property.
But later that day William Shepard received information that the property would be taken from him and that his life was in danger. He went to the Barony Constables to assist him and while he was away upwards of 20 barrels of Potatoes was conveyed away from Tobinstown land by John Moore of Paulville, Carlow, Gentleman,
William Shepard received further information that John Moore would remove
the remainder of the Potatoes that same night, he went to Tullow and returned to Tobinstown and Knocknegan accompanied by two Bailiffs and then and there about 12 oc at night the said John Moore , well armed in a most menacing and threatening manner declared he would take the remainder of the Potatoes and that he would run William Shepard and his Bailiffs off the Premises in ten minutes, but having met with more determined resistance than he expected he went off.
The following day a Ladder pole and a door and a door case which had been torn out of the Dwelling House of Robert Shepard and a Gate taken off the Hinges all the property of Robert Shepard were found in the possession of the said John Moore. (signed) William Shepard.
Sworn before me this 8th day of May 1818. (signed) William Carter.

(From PPP.)


One wonders was Benjamin the same man who was robbed in London in 1819. On 1st December 1819, a man called John Lomer was indicted at the Old Bailey in London ‘for stealing, on the 23d of November , one pocket-book, value 6 d., and one handkerchief, value 3 s., the goods of Benjamin Bunbury , from his person.’ Benjamin stated that at about one o'clock that afternoon, ‘as the Prince Regent was going to the Parliament House, I was in the Park, and was hustled; as soon as I came out of the crowd a gentleman said he thought I had had my pocket picked, I felt - I missed my handkerchief and memorandum-book. I do not know who took them.’ A witness called Thomas Thompson said ‘I was in the Park, and saw the prisoner, in company with several other suspicious characters; I watched them, and saw them surround the prosecutor just as the Prince was coming, one of them made a snatch at his watch; as the gentleman turned round to see the procession, they all hustled him together, a moment after that I saw the prisoner come running from the prosecutor with something concealed under his waistcoat - I stopped him, and found this small book and silk handkerchief under his waistcoat. I could not find the prosecutor then, but a direction in the book enabled me to find him.’ Charles Read, an officer, who was also in the park also ‘saw the prisoner with several more hustle the gentleman; in about five minutes the prisoner ran from him with something tucked under his waistcoat. It was a silk handkerchief and a book.’ The prisoner defended himself by claiming ‘I picked them up under the peoples' feet. The pocket-book was in the handkerchief. I never looked at it. I asked several gentlemen if they had lost it.’ And for reasons I can’t quite fathom, the jury found him not guilty. (Proceedings of the Old Bailey - Reference Number: t18191201-15).


Pat Purcell Papers.
February 1819.
The Joint and Several Information of John Mcgrath of Tullowland, Carlow, Weaver and Farmer and of Joanna Magrath, his Daughter, both in the Parish of Tullow, Barony of Rathvilly. Sworn before Edward Eustace and William Carter, Esquires, two of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for Carlow.
John Mcgrath saith that on the evening of the third of February 1819 about the hour of seven o'Clock his house was entered, the door being open, by a number of Armed men, ten as Joanna thinks and five as John thinks, all armed with Pistols and Swords with their faces blackened and pipe stoppers
in their mouths to disguise their speech, the persons seemed to know John and Joanna well, Calling them by their names and when John and Joanna observed some of the raiding party they were struck with the end of the Pistols and their faces covered with cloths to prevent them seeing more.
John saith he was robbed of a five pound Bank of Ireland Note, twenty four Pounds in small notes including some Silver and upwards of thirty pounds in Silver which his wife had. The party also Robbed Joanna of the following articles of Wearing apparel namely two red stripe Calies gowns, another of a red pattern, a black beaver hat, a new Scarlet rug mantle and hook a gift from her brother Michael, a new dark frize great Coat, a pair of grey wollen stockings and a Cravat-.
John and Joanna saith they do not know nor have they any suspicion of who any of the persons are who Committed said Robbery.
(signed) "his mark, +" John Mcgrath -"her mark, +" Joanna Mcgrath, being first truly read to both of them.
Sworn before us this 5th day of February 1819. (signed) Edward Eustace, William Carter.
[*Another statement on the same page*]
The Information of Catherine Cahill now of Tullowland, Carlow, Spinster. Saith that on the evening of the third February she happened to be in John Mcgrath's house when the party entered and saith she verily believes and is pretty Sure and Certain that Silvester Eustace of Castlemore and Joseph Eustace of Castlemore were two of the men who entered the house having known them before and was well acquainted with them, that Silvester Eustace was the second man who came in and that he and the said Joseph were only partly blackened and she had full opportunity of seeing them.
(signed) "her mark +" Catherine Cahill. being first truly read to her.
Sworn before us this 5th day of February 1819. (signed) Edward Eustace, William Carter.


In May 1820, Benjamin presided over the inquest into the death of Richard White. This unfortunate soul had been ‘riding in a Gig drawn by a certain Gelding on the trackway of the River Barrow’ on 19th May when ‘the Gelding took fright and flung Richard White on the ground’, badly fracturing his left leg. This required a hasty and rather grim operation that evening, initially by Dr. William Ryan, a Carlow surgeon, and then by Dr. Reede. Appalled by the job the surgeon had done, Mr. White’s wife Mary recruited a bonesetter from John Street called Sylvestor Deegan who arrived at their house in at 8pm on the evening of the 20th. He was accompanied by four men - James Reddy, John Hendrick, Mark Deer and Thomas Murphy - whose job was to hold him down while he opened the fracture and set it. ‘Amongst those who watched Mr. Deegan operate was Patrick McQuirk, a Carlow publican, who later deposed how he watched Mr. Deegan set the leg while Mr. White ‘was Roaring and Bawling with pain.’ Bernard Murphy of Castle Hill administered a pot of homemade strong Spirits brewed by Henry Nowlan of Bridewell Lane, to have Richard drink in order to deaden the pain.’ Mr. Deegan applied four wooded splints to the leg, bound them up and left. However, just an hour later, the leg swelled ‘in an alarming manner’. Mary White sent for Mary Doyle, ‘a Handy Woman of repute from Bridewell Lane to bleed the leg and head, and place Leeches on the several wounds opened by Mary Doyle’. ‘Such was the pain and inconvenience [Richard White] suffered and caused by the fracture that he could be heard roaring out on the road [and he] drank the remainder of the homemade Spirits supplied by Henry Nowlan.’ When Dr. Ryan called around and discovered Deegan and Mary Doyle had interfered with his work, he was furious. He demanded five shillings for payment; Mrs. White said she could only pay him three shillings and four pence, half-penny. When Richard White then pleaded with Dr. Reede to take his leg off, the doctor refused, saying ‘he could not undo the work of a Renegade so called bonesetter and [he] would have to be buried with his leg intact.’ And so, when the leg continued to swell to several times its original size, Mrs. White called on Sylvestor Deegan and his team to come back, break the fracture and reset it. Patrick McQuirke gave the poor man some more ‘bonded spirits’ to drink, while Henry Nowlan ‘brought an extra pot of homemade Spirits and administered same’. Richard White languished in great pain and died on 23rd May, leaving a poor widow with seven young children. Mary White then told Robert Fishbourne, one of his Majesty’s Magistrates for the Peace, that she believed Nowlan’s homemade spirits were ‘an illegal brew’. And so, seemingly with a wave of Benjamin Bunbury’s hand, Nowlan was taken into custody and held in the Jail of Carlow until the next assizes of Carlow to stand trial for the brewing of illegal Black Pot Whiskey. As one contemporary commentator put it, it looks like the ‘well intentioned Henry Nowlan was made the scape-goat’.

Carlow town, Inquest 1820.
An Inquisition Indented taken on behalf of our Gracious Sovereign Lord the King at the house of Richard White in the Town of Carlow this 24th day of May before James Ryan, Coroner, on view of the body of the said Richard White then and there lying dead upon the Oath of the Jurors : Richard King, William Galbraith, Joseph Bowles, Edward Kennedy, Michael Connolly, Stanley Johnson, John Bowers, William O' Brien, John Burbridge, Edward Keating, Edward Giltenan, Hamilton Gardiner and John Brennan, good and Lawful men.
The said Richard White came to his death on the 19th May he being riding in a Gig drawn by a certain Gelding on the trackway of the River Barrow, it so happened that the Gelding took fright and flung Richard White on the ground by means whereof Richard White received one Compound fracture of the left leg and that by the improper treatment and management of the fracture by a person by the name of Sylvester Duigan and other improper treatment Richard White did languish until the 23rd day of May at his dwelling house in the Town of Carlow and did then and there die and the above named Jurors upon their Oath do say that the death of Richard White was occasioned by the means aforesaid,
( signed ) James Ryan, Coroner for Carlow.

Statement of William Ryan of the Town of Carlow, Surgeon and Doctor of Physic.
Saith that on the evening of Friday the 19th of May 1820 he was called to attend Richard White at his house in the Town of Carlow. He found that Richard White's leg was fractured with a considerable projection of the upper bone over the lower bone of the leg, William Ryan got assistance and brought the bones in opposition to each other for a short time but in consequence of the contraction of the muscles they over lapped to a considerable degree and finding it impossible to keep them in their proper situation he was obliged to remove a small portion of the upper bone and finding it still impossible to keep them in their proper situation he made a small incision to bring the bones to a proper situation when Doctor Reede of the Town of Carlow came in and was told by William Ryan of all he had done - Doctor Reede sanctioned all he had done and Doctor Reede placed the leg in the most easy position and then bandaged the fractured part lightly.
On the following day William Ryan was told by Doctor Reede that a man by the name of Sylvestor Deegan had been at Richard White's house for the purpose of setting the leg, William Ryan then called to White's house to ascertain the fact where he was informed by Richard White that Slyvestor Deegan was contacted by White's wife and that Deegan had set the leg. Patrick McQuirk of the Town of Carlow, Publican saith that on Saturday the 20th of May about the hour of eight o'clock in the forenoon he met Slyvestor Deegan at the door of Richard White's house and went into the house when he saw Deegan and others directed by Deegan strip and open the bandages on Richard White's leg, White was Roaring and Bawling with pain, he saw Slivestor Deegan set White's leg and heard White say he was more free from pain than before - he then saw Deegan apply four wooden splints to Whites leg and then he bandaged then up. Richard White died three days later.

Examination of Mary White, widow of Richard White, deceased, sayith that on the 20th day of May 1820 her husband Richard White was Roaring and Bawling in great pain all night and day, having been attended by William Ryan, Surgeon, and Dr Reede of the Town of Carlow. Mary White was told by Sally Keegan of Bridewell Lane to call Sylvestor Deegan, of John Street, Carlow, a bonesetter of repute to set her husband's leg in the proper fashion, as it was apparent to the aforesaid Sally Keegan that William Ryan, Surgeon, had made a hames of doing so the previous day. Sylvester Deegan came to the house with others, namely, James Reddy, John Hendrick, Mark Deer and Thomas Murphy to hold down her husband Richard
White while Sylvester Deegan made to open the fracture and set it. Bernard Murphy of Castle Hill administered a pot of homemade strong Spirits brewed by Henry Nowlan of Bridewell Lane, to have Richard drink in order to deaden the pain.
Sylvester Deegan left her husband in some ease and the pain stopped for only a little time, within the hour the leg swelled in an alarming manner. Mary White was told to send for Mary Doyle, a Handy Woman of repute of Bridewell Lane to bleed the leg and head and place Leeches on the several wounds opened by Mary Doyle thereby to bleed the leg and head. Such was the pain and inconvenience her husband suffered and caused by the fracture that he could be heard roaring out on the road, her husband drank the remainder of the homemade Spirits supplied by Henry Nowlan. On that same day William Ryan, Surgeon, called to the house and expressed his displeasure at his good work being interfered with and told her not to call on him again in any circumstances, he then demanded five shillings for payment, she could only render him three shillings and four pence, half-penny, he then told her that as Richard White was in this situation as it now manifested itself so he would die (roaring). Several hours later Richard White was calling loudly for Doctor Reede to have his leg taken off, she called on Doctor Reede who informed her that he could not undo the work of a Renegade so called bonesetter and said her
husband would have to be buried with his leg intact. The leg was many times its normal size, on the 22nd day of May she called again on Sylvester Deegan who came to the house and broke the fracture again and set it again, and cutting some bone in doing so that it would set in a natural position, during this procedure Richard White was held down by several neighbours. Patrick McQuirke, Publican, of Potato Market, gave Richard some Bonded Spirits to drink, Henry Nowlan brought an extra pot of homemade Spirits and administered same to her husband, she will now testify that it is her belief that the homemade Spirits was illegal brew. Mary Doyle then cut more incisions to stop the swelling and placed Leeches on the open wounds. Richard White languished in great pain and died within three days, she is now left a poor widow with seven young children and further sayth not, Sworn before me this 24th day of May 1820, (signed) Robert Fishbourne, one of his Majestys Magistrates for the Peace in Carlow. It be advised that Henry Nowlan of Bridewell Lane be taken into custody and held in the Jail of Carlow until the next assizes of Carlow to stand trial for the brewing of illegal Black Pot Whiskey. (signed) Benjamin Bunbury, one of his Majestys Magistrates for the Peace in Carlow.


The end of the Napoleonic Wars inspired a major recession across Ireland. Was the following sale connected to that?

Auction Notice in the PPP.
DECEMBER 2, 1821.
TO BE LET, For Three Lives, or Thirty-one Years, at the option of the Tenant.
The HOUSE and DEMESNE of PHRUMPLESTOWN, Co. Kildare, containing ONE HUNDRED AND ONE ACRES, part of the ESTATE of Benjamin Bunbury, Esq. situate within a Quarter of a Mile of the Turnpike Road leading from Castledermot to Carlow, one mile from the former and three from the latter.
POSSESSION will be given as soon as value is offered.
PROPOSALS will be received by Mr Timothy Gorman, Busherstown, Carlow at THE COURT HOUSE Carlow on DECEMBER 2, 1821.
Patrick Farrell, who lives on the premises will shew the Demesnse.



1821 (12 Aug): George IV begins his visit to Ireland; he is received enthusiastically by O’Connell and others.

1822 (12 Aug): Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, commits suicide by cutting his throat with a penknife.

1822 was a year of scarcity in Ireland. Many local organisations were set up to distribute relief and to provide employment for the people.


THE MOLL DOYLES (1820-1823)

Carlow Gaol (now a shopping centre) was substantially extended in 1824. This appears to have been prompted by a new wave of rural unrest at this time. According to Donal McCartney in "The Dawning of Democracy 1800 - 1870" (p. 93), a violent new secret society called the "Moll Doyles" emerged in the Rathvilly area in the early 1820s and began ‘attacking the houses of tenants who had offended against their agrarian code.’ The Dublin Evening Post countered that the Moll Doyles were 'burglars, robbers and murderers but not rebels'. Mr. McCartney records how ‘a gang of thirty or forty had burned a house in King's County, shot a man, driven a bayonet in the eye of a woman and tried to cut out her tongue - she died the next day from her injuries and her mother died a few days later from shock.’ Here follows one such incident which arose at he Spring Assizes of 1820 and was transcribed from the Pat Purcell Papers:

The King against John Neill, Pat Neill, Philip Neill, Philip Barron, James Bryan, and Robert Holmes. (Spring Assizes 1820.)
The Information of Anne McGrath of Drumphea in Carlow, Spinster.
Who being duly sworn and examined saith that between the hours of two and three o'clock on Sunday morning, last, the 20th February 1820, the dwelling house of her father / John McGrath / at Drumphea was attacked by a party of men who commenced by forcing the stones out of the lower gable end wall. Anne McGrath got up out of bed, went to the kitchen and lit a candle; shortly afterwards a break was made in the house and John Neill and Patrick Neill [sons of Michael Neill], Philip Neill [son to the widow Neill], Philip Barron, James Bryan and Robert Holmes all of Drumphea, entered the house and approached to where Anne McGrath stood; Philip Neill and James Bryan with hand pikes and Philip Barron with an iron crow bar; Anne McGrath entreated of them to spare her and her mother's life / her father was away from home / and the answer she received was a general huzza for Moll Doyle.
They drove Anne back into the bed room by throwing stones and a ribbing which had formed part of the roof of the house, at her; where she took shelter under the bed, bringing with her a child that her mother had been nursing for her; and her mother sought protection in a cupboard in the wall of the room, the attacking party then proceeded from the outside of the house to throw in the adjoining gable end wall and cast the stones of five feet of the upper part of it into the room, for the purpose as Anne McGrath believes, of burying her and her mother under the ruins and when they considered that they had sufficiently effected their object, the attacking party departed [page torn]. Anne McGrath and her mother got permission to shelter themselves in the house of Patrick Doyle contiguous to their own house and early on Monday morning when Anne McGrath got up she saw the dwelling house she had been obliged to desert, in flames nearly consumed which must have been maliciously set on fire as she had on the evening before carefully removed from it every vestige of fire ~~ (signed) Ann McGrath.
Sworn before me this 22nd February 1820 (signed) Frances Dillon.
[Transcribed and checked by Lisa Shaw, June 2012.]

Michael Purcell alerted me to a letter written on 18th April 1821 by Carlow magistrate John Staunton Rochfort to William Gregory, Under Secretary, at Dublin Castle, enclosing a letter from Robert Eustace of Newtown, Co. Carlow, which told of a 'formidable' armed banditti with 'blacked faces' who were causing a disturbance in Rathvilly and posting threatening notices from 'Moll Doyles'. Another letter from John Thomas Whelan of Clonmore Lodge, Clonmore, dated 16 April 1821, proposed holding a meeting of loyal inhabitants of the area to take control of the situation.

In May 1820, the Chief magistrates at the Head Office of Police in Dublin issued warrants for the ‘capture of persons alleged to have taken part in outrage in County Carlow’. This followed depositions by Edward Daly, carpenter, and Patrick Daly, turner, both of 27 Garden Lane, Dublin, who stated that ‘on the night of Sunday 23rd April their house at Rathmore, County Carlow, came under attack by a gang of men’, some of whom declared ‘We are the Boys that will Moll Doyle you’. The Dalys were warned ‘that if they and their families did not leave their house before morning it would be burned about them’. In their depositions, the Dalys implicated a number of local men including Thomas Neill, Thomas Donahue, Patrick Finnegan, Mathew Finnegan, Hal [Lanten] and Richard Boyce. It is to be noted that the gang included two Finnegans and that there was another gang in operation at this time called the Finnegans.

A document from 1823, also reproduced in the Pat Purcell Papers, suggests that one of the "Moll Doyles" had turned informer. James Coogan of Killilish, Co. Wicklow, testified that in February 1820 he had been present when James Gorman of Woodfield, Co. Wicklow, ‘broke open a house on the lands of Tankardstown’ and stole a keg of whiskey. He took the whiskey ‘to the house of Laurence Kavanagh of Rathdaniel where said party drank part of same and at which period James Gorman Swore James Kavanagh of Rathdaniel to be true to Moll Doyle.’ He then recorded how Gorman and party had proceeded to the house of John Fenlon of Tankardstown ‘which they broke open in Search of Arms’ and ‘afterwards went to the house of Laurence Toole of Tankardstown orwise Ballybit and took a Gun therefrom.’ This statement was signed by James Coogan and sworn before magistrate Edward Box on 20th March 1823.

Thanks to Michael Purcell, Andy Goss, Trevor Clowry & Sue Clements.

Letter from Thomas Stratford Dennis, Fort Granite, Baltinglass, County Wicklow, magistrate, to William Gregory, Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, 1821, reporting that a 'notorious robber', James Feris [Faris], who was previously sentenced at County Carlow assizes to transportation, has escaped and returned to Ireland, to seek revenge. (National Archives of Ireland. Ref: CSO/RP/SC/1821/432).

Letter from John Fitzmaurice, Carlow, County Carlow, to Chief Secretary's Office, Dublin Castle, 1821, suggesting measures to be adopted across all the disturbed counties, including the suppression of the sale of gunpowder. (National Archives of Ireland. Ref: CSO/RP/SC/1821/582).

Letter from Reverend Samuel Roberts, Coolcullen Glebe, Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, to Chief Secretary’s Office, Dublin Castle, 1822, expressing discontent at delay in response to application for aid to help local starving poor by construction of road through Coolcullen mountains: emphasises extent of need of those in locality, many of whom ‘are assembling about my door since six o’clock crying out for food’; in addition he observes ‘now Disease is added to distress – no less than five died in one House with Typhus fever in the course of a few days’. (National Archives of Ireland. Ref: CSO/RP/1822/836)

Attack on the Reverend Trench

On 24th January 1822, the tranquillity of Carlow society was rocked by an attempt on the life of the Rev. Frederick Eyre Trench, the 53-year-old Church of Ireland Rector of Kellistown. The Rector and his family were travelling in their carriage along the road from Castletown to Kellystown (ie: Kellistown) when a Rathvilly gang known as the Finnegans struck. It was apparently close to midnight when the shots were fired and one of the Rector’s horses was killed. The Rector and his family took refuge in the School House at Kellystown until the following morning, before alerting the police. Many months later, it transpired that the Finnegan Gang were actually on their way to raid Benjamin Bunbury at Lisnavagh (or possibly Moyle or Killerig) when diverted by the Rev. Trench's carriage. The Reverend Trench (1769–1848) would have been familiar with the Bunburys of Lisnavagh. Lady Elizabeth Trench, daughter of his first cousin, the Earl of Clancarty, had married John McClintock, widowed husband of Jane Bunbury of Lisnavagh. John and Jane’s second son William McClintock Bunbury, 21 years old at the time of the attack, would go on to succeed to Lisnavagh.[1]

The Freeman's Journal reported on the attach as follows:

DESPERATE ATTACK ON THE REV. LE POER TRENCH. On Thursday night, the rev. gentleman, his lady, and two other members of his family, were proceeding to the rectory, near Carlow, when, within a mile and a half of that town, they were attacked by a numerous armed banditti, who fired into their carriage, and whose intent was, manifestly, more than plunder. The reverend gentleman fled from the carriage with his family, to a school-house near the soot, where they secured themselves, though in extreme alarm, until morn-ing, when they proceeded on their way home.-Patriot.

The Reward

Seemingly unaware he was the intended victim, the elderly Benjamin Bunbury nonetheless initiated a subscription to offer a reward for the ‘Discovery of the Perpetrators of the Various Outrages’.[2] As well as calling for an increase in ‘Extraordinary Police’ presence in Kellystown and other parts of Carlow, he requested that his fellow Magistrates obtain his Majesty's Pardon for anyone willing to come forward with ‘private information’. The £50 Sterling that Benjamin pledged to the reward was matched by £50 from Henry Bruen of Oak Park. Benjamin's nephew, Thomas Bunbury of Lisnavagh, added a further £20. According to the Carlow Morning Post, the gentry raised £700 within a week.


In February 1822, just after the attack on the Rev. Le Poer Trench, two threatening handbills were served up by Captain Rock and addressed to the “Heretic Landlords of Carlow” and naming nine landlords, including Benjamin Bunbury. The handbills distributed by “The Rockites” stated that “all heretics” (ie: Protestants) would be eliminated in Ireland “before the dawning of 1826”, as prophesied by “Signor Pastorini”. The massacre of the heretics was set to begin on 25th December 1824.
In June 2012, Michael Purcell published some of Michael Brophy’s research notes from the PPP which revealed how the secret society of "Captain Rock" was trying to convince the people that the prophecies of Pastorini had special significance for Ireland. These prophecies refer to Prince Alexander of Hohenlohe (1771-1849), a Bavarian royal and Roman Catholic priest renowned throughout Europe as a miracle worker who was visiting Ireland at about this time. He preformed many of his "miracles" by appointment, telling believers to pray at a certain time on a certain date in order to have their affliction cured.
In his book "The Dawning of Democracy: Ireland 1800 -1870" (p. 101), Donal McCartney tells how ‘one woman was said to have recovered her speech’ and that both Bishop Doyle of Kildare & Leighlin and Archbishop Murray of Dublin both threw their support behind the German priest. ‘Thanksgivings were offered in the churches, and at Ennis a high mass was celebrated. Reports of the miraculous cures seemed to confirm the truth of the Pastorini prophecies’. Michael Purcell notes that ‘Pastorini translated from Italian as "the little pastor" was sometimes referred to by the authorities in Ireland as "the little bastard".’

The Finnegan Gang

In April 1822 Rev. Fr. Martin Doyle P.P. Clonegal informed the authorities that he had information that would lead to the arrest of the Gang. In a letter to Captain Brown, (whom he described as ‘Governor’) Father Doyle described the Finnegans as ‘a Gang of Robbers, resident in the Barony of Rathvilly, men, some of whom have grown grey in their inveterate habits and have trained up their youth in villainous practices, to wit, taking up arms, robbing etc. etc. till at length they attempted to rob the Rev Mr. Trench’. They were regarded as a gang of thugs who had been terrorizing the inhabitants of the county of Carlow and surrounding counties for many years. Michael Finnegan, the head of the Gang, reportedly owned 50 acres of land, 30 cows and a well-appointed set of farming implements. Father Doyle explained that he had ‘received information from one of the party whom I have moved to repentance and even to prosecute the entire Gang to conviction, But on certain conditions, I could not prevail on him to prosecute if their lives were in danger’.

A Legal Deceit

Given the size of the reward on offer, it is unsurprising that many ‘informers’ came forward with false and misleading information, confusing those in charge of payment. Father Doyle must have been looking forward to his share of the reward money. Only the previous summer his parishioners expressed their wish to subscribe to the building of a new Roman Catholic Church in the parish of Clonegal. However, he was to be disappointed. The Authorities advised him that the Reward was only payable if the Gang were convicted of the attack on the Rev. Trench. Whether shrewd tactics were at play or not is unknown but the Finnegans were in fact convicted for another attack. As such, the Authorities never had to make good on the promise of a reward and the £700 does not seem to have ever been collected.

The Sentence

The Finnegans were duly arrested and brought to trial before the famous 'Hanging Judge' Lord Norbury (John Toler, a Tipperary man). Prosecution was unable to prove they Gang had attacked Trench. Evidence from informers was simply not legitimate as too many scoundrels were trying to settle scores, or claim rewards, and thus sending phony reports to the authorities. The Finnegans were charged with a raid on another man's house instead. On Thursday July 25th 1822, Lord Norbury pronounced 'with tears in his eyes' the following Sentence:
To be hanged at Carlow Gaol on Tuesday 6th August 1822. Michael, Timothy and Hue Finnegan, William Nowlan and William Walsh.
To be hanged on Saturday the 10th of August 1822, Andrew and Armstrong Anderson, Nicholas and Thomas Troy and Christopher Dooley.
Charging the Jury, his Lordship recapitulated the entire of the evidence and paid a high compliment to the Rev. Mr. Doyle, Parish Priest of Clonegal, for the 'admirable line of conduct which he had observed in bringing about the means by which the offenders had been delivered into the hands of justice'. Addressing the prisoners he stated that 'it was melancholy to reflect that neither youth nor age could protect them - Some of you are too old to have been found in so degrading and distressing a situation , while if the parents of the others had done their duty and paid proper attention to their children, some of you ought now to be under chastisement in school instead of standing forward to await the penality of the law, sufficient time for preparation will be afforded to each of you , provided you made a good use of it'. Hue Finnegan was just 12 years old, which may have been the cause of his Lordship's emotions or maybe it was the effect of sentencing 10 men to death in one day. Other members of the gang were transported.

The Execution

On August 22nd 1822, The Carlow Morning Post carried a story under the heading ‘Public Executions in Carlow’. It ran as follows: ‘Michael Finnegan, Hugh Finnegan (father and son) and William Nolan were launched into eternity at about 3.30 p.m. on August 20th. The execution took place in front of the Carlow Gaol where the unfortunate gentlemen were attended by Rev. W. Fitzgerald. They acknowledged the justice of their sentences and were apparently resigned to their fate. The sheriff having postponed the execution until after the arrival of the Dublin Coach. Not less than 20,000 persons assembled to witness the execution - more than half were of the fair sex- and there remained in town several hundreds of both sexes who returned home to their respective dwellings in a state of drunkenness. They and the other members of the gang had been convicted of burglary and robbery from the house of Patrick Farrell, Grangeford on April 18th 1822’. Michael Finnegan's parents were among those present and witnessed their son and grandson hanged. These were the last public executions held in Carlow.

[1] Born in 1769, Frederick Trench was the eldest son of Eyre Trench by his marriage (1768) to Charlotte O'Hara, daughter of Kean O'Hara of Dublin and granddaughter of Kean O’Hara of Annaghmore, Co. Sligo. Eyre Trench was a younger brother of Richard Trench of Garbally (1710 – 1768) and thus uncle to the 1st Earl of Clancarty. In 1795, the Rev FE Trench married Catherine Head, daughter of Michael Head of Derry Castle. The Bunbury connection to the Trenches comes through the April 1805 marriage of Lady Elizabeth Trench, daughter of the 1st Earl of Clancarty, to John McClintock of Drumcar. McClintock’s first wife was Benjamin's niece, Jane Bunbury of Lisnavagh. Jane was killed in a horse-fall in 1801, leaving two sons, the first Lord Rathdonnell and the aforementioned William McClintock Bunbury, and a daughter, Catherine.After the attack, he lived on until 1848 and was survived by two sons. His eldest son, John Eyre Trench (1798 - 02.1864), lived at Clonfert, married (1834) Grace Burdett (dau of Rev. John Burdett of Banagher and Ballygarth) and had issue. His second son, William Eyre Trench (1800 - 1861), was a direct contemporary of William McClintock Bunbury (1800 – 1866) and died unmarried.

[2] The Pat Purcell Papers contains the following statement by Benjamin: 'OUTRAGE. January 1822. The Rev. Mr. Trench and family were attacked on the 24th January in his Carriage on the road at Kellystown, Carlow. Several shots were fired at his Carriage and the School House in Kellystown where Rev. Trench and his family took refuge. One of the horses was killed. I believe the same gang have committed several Outrages in Carlow. I propose that a Subscription be open to offer a reward for the Discovery of the Perpetrators of the Various Outrages. I request the Magistrates of Carlow to reach Agreement that any Persons concerned in the Outrages who will give Information that will convict any of the other Persons concerned therein will obtain his Majesty's Pardon. I also request the Magistrates of Carlow to make application to the Lord Lieutenant to extend Extraordinary Police to Kellystown and other parts of Carlow which may require it. I the undersigned Benjamin Bunbury Subscribe £50 Sterling to Reward Private Information of the Perpetrators'. ( signed ) B. Bunbury


It would appear the Moll Doyles were no more by the summer of 1823. The Times carried a short piece on July 28, 1823 (p. 2) called 'LORD NORBURY AND THE IRISH MIRACLE' which ran as follows:
'At the opening of the Queen's County Assizes, Lord Norbury, in charging the Grand Jury, alluded to the recent miracle of Prince Hohenloe (see above) performed in that county. " If," said his Lordship, " a female has been brought to the recovery of her speech in this county, God be praised but as great a miracle has been performed in another county (Carlow), where Moll Doyle has been made perfectly silent !" (Shouts of laughter.) He was glad to see even the humblest men in the community laugh when he talked of " the miracle!"'

'The Landholders of the Barony of Rathvilly, County Carlow, are to meet on the 21st inst.. to memorial the Lord Lieutenant to reduce the number of the Police establishment in that Barony.’ Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette - Saturday 19 October 1822

COUNTY OF CARLOW- NEW POLICE.-On Tuesday, the 10th instant, a meeting of Magistrates took place in this town, according to adjournment, for the purpose of appointing the new constables - Colonel Rochfort in the Chair : seventeen Magistrates present. Major Tandy attended with the list of those who had been selected, which met the general approbation of the Magistrates and the business of the day terminated to the satisfaction of the meeting. There have been seventy-two constables appointed for the county at large, fourteen to each barony, and divided as follows :-Carlow 8; Hacketstown, 6; Rathvilly, 6; Tullow, 6; Myshall, 5; Black-lion, 5; the Ridge, 6; Bagenalstown, 8; Borris, 8; St. Mullins, 10 ; Nurney, 4. This town is of course to be head-quarters, where we are to have a resident chief constable (not yet named), who is to keep up a regular communication with the other chief constables, to be stationed at Tullow and Borris. So that the entire body may be brought to act in any one part of the county at a few hours' notice. Major Tandy is to have the command of the whole district, and we are very willing to acknowledge that the establishment could not be under better surveillance.-Carlow Morning Post. (Quoted in The Times, December 17, 1822 , p. 2)

MOST MELANCHOLY OCCURRENCE: -A Roman Catholic clergyman of the name of Donovan who officiated, we understand, at Blessington, learned in the course of his vocation some circumstance tending to remove the imputation of guilt, if not to prove the innocence, of two unfortunate men sentenced to death at Carlow a day or two back. Such was this excellent man's anxiety to turn this information to the advantage of the unhappy accused, that though near 70 years of age, he rode on Saturday upwards of 60 miles on this praise-worthy business, and reached the Vice-Regal Lodge at the Park on Saturday evening last (12th inst.) too late to see the Lord Lieutenant. The reverend gentleman was promised an audience on the following morning at 10. He put up at the Queen's Head Hotel, in Bride's-street (Dempster's) for the night and rose at half-past seven yesterday morning (Sunday ), 13th inst., though still labouring under all the efforts of his great exertions, and dressed himself. Wearied with anxiety and exhaustion, he just sat down to wait the proper moment for starting, in order to be at his destination in time and, melancholy to relate, without evincing the most trifling struggle, and as he sat, yielded up his pure spirit. Every exertion was made to reanimate him, both by the family and Surgeon Wright, who instantly attended but we regret to say, without t effect. Exhausted nature could bear no more than he had endured on this mission of mercy. –Dublin Evening Mail. (Quoted in The Times, July 19, 1823, p. 3).

‘But the barley of Carlow is excellent; according to Mr Young, the best in Ireland. At the time of his tour it was the only interior county which produced it; and at present more is grown here than in any other part of the kingdom. It is principally consumed by the illicit distilleries in the north of Ireland, being carried to Dublin by the canal; by the breweries and distilleries at Cork; or by the malting houses at Wexford. … The potatoes grown in Carlow are excellent. There is little or no flax. The county is tolerably wooded. In the vicinity of Carlow, a great many onions are grown which are sold all over Ireland. Carlow is not distinguished as a manufacturing county. At Leighlinbridge is one of the largest corn mills in Ireland [ie Alexanders of Milford] capable of grinding more than 15,000 barrels a year. In Carlow, coarse cloth, reaping hooks, scythes, shears &c are, however, made. [Carlow: Supplement to the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. With Preliminary Dissertations on the History of the Sciences. Illustrated by Engravings. A. Constable, Edinburgh; and [London], 1824



The Lisnavagh Archives refer to lease of 15 June 1820 by John Nowlan Esq. on part of lands of Lisnavagh & Tobinstown. Roger Nowlan believes that this was probably John Nowlan (1792-1824), son of James Nowlan (& Mary Moore) of Tullow and brother to Bishop Edward Nolan of Tullow. This John Nowlan is known to have married Catherine Walsh sometime around 1820, the time he leased land at Lisnavagh, so presumably the newlyweds settled there. They had three children: James (who became a priest), John and a daughter (whose first name is unknown and who is believed to have married a Kehoe of Carrig). John, the second son, is believed to have married a Mary Connor and, later in life, after his wife's death sometime around 1866, joined his son (also John) in Herkimer County, New York, in 1885.


Perhaps exhausted by the Finnegan episode, Captain Benjamin Bunbury of Moyle died on 10th October 1823. He was 72 years old. He may have been ill for sometime; it has been noted that his signature on the 1822 reward subscription was very weak. His portrait hangs today in the library at Lisnavagh House. He left no surviving heir. At least, none that were legitimate.

The Lisnavagh archives (F 1/14) contain a draft and five copies of his will, dated 10th September 1820, giving genealogical particulars of the different members of his family to whom he was making bequests: 'I, Benjamin Bunbury of Moyle in the county of Carlow ... give and bequeath unto George Gough the elder of Ardsallagh in the county of Tipperary and George Gough the younger of Woodsdown in the liberties of the City of Limerick ... upon trust to ... my nephew Thomas Bunbury of Lisnavagh in the said county of Carlow, eldest son of my late brother William Bunbury Esq., deceased ... my nephew, Kane Bunbury Esq., second son of my said brother William Bunbury ..., my nephew, Sir Hugh Gough, the fourth son of my sister, Letitia Gough, ... William McClintock, the second son of my niece, Jane McClintock, the late wife of John McClintock of Drumcar in the county of Louth ..., my nephew, Major William Gough, ... my niece, Jane Lloyd, the widow of the late Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd of His Majesty's 84th Regiment of Foot ..., my niece, Elizabeth Frend, the wife of Benjamin Frend Esq. ..., Benjamin Bunbury Frend, eldest son of my said niece Elizabeth Frend ..., my sister-in-law, Catherine Bunbury, the widow of my said late brother, William Bunbury ... my nephew, Thomas Bunbury of Labanasigh [Ballymoon] in the county of Carlow ...', etc, etc. There are also (F 1/17) executorship papers dated to 1823-24 which deal with his legacy to Benjamin Bunbury Frend, a minor.

(NB: The architect James Gandon also died in 1823).

14 Sept 1824: Sir Frederick Falkiner, impoverished former MP for Athy, Co Dublin and Co Carlow commits suicide in Naples.

With thanks to Peter R Bunbury, Michael Purcell, Roger Nowlan, JJ Woods, Brendan Morrissey, Jean Little, Jenny Grant (nee Street), Patricia O'Reagan, Meredith Downes, Noel Walsh, Anne Buckley and David Penney FBHI (antiquarian horologist & horological consultant).


1. Thomas is variously described as 'of Lisnavagh, Moyle and Kill', all in County Carlow. For the most part, he seems to have been known as 'Thomas Bunbury of Kill'.

2. For more on this branch, see The Bunbury-Isaac Family).

3. I have yet to properly study the will of Thomas Bunbury, Kill, 1781, Will & Grant LC 639, Box 344 & LC 2024, Box 1236.

4. William fell from his horse and died during the Duke of Buckingham's Lord Lieutenancy. This was an age in which the feud between the Ponsonby (Bessborough) and Boyle (Shannon) clans was still bubbling. Lord Townsend, the previous Lord Lieutenant, had grown so bored of the in-fighting that he brought an end to both family's control and closed the "undertaker" system which had previously given the Irish elite control of affairs. From the late 1760s, the assumption of direct vice regal power from England encouraged the Opposition to roar out increasingly elaborate rhetoric against the "pernicious English influence". That said, it was the aim of most Viceroys to keep Ireland's legislative program to the highest degree possible consistent with the interests of Irish landlords as well as the broader empire. See pp. 17 - 18 of 'Grattan's Failure', Mansergh, for a useful background of Irish Parliament during the age of William Bunbury III and John McClintock III, MPs.

5. There are records of another Benjamin Bunbury, only son of Benjamin, late of Killerig, admitted to Honourable Society of the Middle Temple on 16th June 1763. And Burtchaell's Trinity Alumni register lists a Benjamin Bunbury, son of Thomas, born in Dublin, who went to TCD aged 17 on June 3rd 1776. He may well be the same Benjamin Bunbury admitted to the Hon. Soc. of the Middle Temple on March 9th 1780.

5a. The following is abbreviated transcription of 1797 Document. Confessionalist (Informer), William Kelly makes a Statement in October, 1797, before Robert Cornwall of Myshall, Carlow. The Document is from the Bunbury Papers in the Pat Purcell Papers. It is believed the original is preserved in The National Archives in Dublin. A copy of this Statement was published in 1998 by the "Myshall 1798 Committee" in a booklet commemorating the Rising of 1798.
*County of Carlow* *to wit ~~~~~~* - *The Voluntary Confession on Oath of William Kelly of Templepeter in said County, Carman, taken before Robert Cornwall Esq. one of his Majesty's
Justices of the Peace.~~~~~~*
*Saith that in the months of June and July last, he was first applied to, to become an United Irishman by Daniel Doyle of Tullow, Jobber.*
*Saith he refused to join, but said Doyle thereupon took a solemn Oath that if he did not join he would meet destruction to himself and property, that under such threats the Confessionalist was induced to agree to accept the Oath of Secrecy to the United men, which was thereupon administered to him on the highway at Ballynunnery at about four of the clock in the afternoon by said Daniel Doyle. *
*Saith that about the beginning of September last he was ordered to attend a meeting of United Irishmen by Patrick Halligan pursuant to orders from the Committee at the house of said Patrick Halligan on the lands of Kellistown --the he accordingly attended said meeting --*
*that there were present several persons as Committee men for Several Districts, amongst which number he recollects that Patrick Fenlon residing near Myshall attended as a Committee man from that neighbourhood --that Darby Reddy also attended --that a person of the name of ---- Nowlan of Connyberry attend as a Committee man from Ballon and Ahade -- that a man of the name of Murphy or Byrne -- a young man about 18 years of age, of a florid complexion, rather fat and a member of the Borris Cavalry attended as a Committee from the district of Borris and acted as secretary to said meeting -- That Owen Cummins of Moanmore and several other persons were present --- that Confessionalist not having taken the United Oath, he was not permitted to act at said meeting, but heard the said person who acted as secretary propose several rules and orders for the regulating of said meeting and the future conduct to be observed by the United Men -- which rules and orders were proposed by the said secretary and a Question put on each and agreed to --- That about the hour of Ten O' Clock at night said meeting adjourned and appointed to meet again at Carlow -- that the reckoning was paid by said Committee.*
*That being on his return from Dublin about six weeks ago he was met on the high road near Dumbohall in the County of Wicklow by a person who said his name was Donovan and lived in Dublin at the Coal Quay Bridge, (by trade as he behaves a Carpenter ) who asked the Confessionalist if he was up --- to which he replied he was ---said Donovan then asked how long ---and was answered by Confessionalist ---since morning ---which was the usual ( secret ) answer for distinguishing United men --- that said Donovan then informed Confessionalist that he was an United Man and a delegate from them , employed to distribute papers etc. for them in the Counties of Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford and Carlow, except about Myshall, where he was afraid to appear, being in dread of Cornwall who was so great a hunter of United Men. Further saith that said Donovan and Confessionalist stopped that night at
the house of one Doyle, a publican at Dumbohall, where they drank very freely -- that said Donovan mentioned that Cornwall's name was well known through all the Kingdom as a persecutor of the United Men but that he should soon be put out of the way for that a reward of £20 had been offered by the United men, to be paid out of their Treasury in Dublin to any person who should kill Cornwall --that they found it impossible to get at him in the country, but that two men on the Blind Quay, Dublin, had undertaken to do the business in Dublin, with an assassinating tool in the streets, or under the pretence of seeking advice on Law, to get into Cornwall's office in Dublin where they would instantly dispatch him, turn the key in the door and make off --- Donovan then asked the Confessionalist if Cornwall was still at Myshall, and was answered that he was --that Donovan had a large bundle of papers to distribute throughout the Country and was on his way to Kilkenny for that purpose but would not go to Myshall for fear of Cornwall. Donovan then asked Confessionalist if he knew John Feltus of Hollybrook --to which he answered that he did --- That said Donovan read a letter which he said was from Lord Edward Fitzgerald, which mentioned that as soon as the nights grew long and dark the French would be here, and that most of the Army and Militia were already members of the United Men and that Pansai the Coiner was a principal of the party in Dublin and had been at Blare's camp on business. That he had known of several meetings that Peter Ivers, a Rush-Mat maker, from the Quarries in Carlow is one of the leaders and a distributor of papers. and Henry Heydon of Tullow Street is another leader at whose house Confessionalist has heard that several nightly Committees are held of said men --- that --- Wright of Tullow Street acts as Treasurer for the Barony of Carlow, that Dooley, a Blacksmith who lives in Rathoe has been engaged to make pikes and that he is to be furnished with Iron and Steel from Carlow. Donovan got himself much intoxicated and went to bed
---Confessionalist and Donovan slept in the same room together that night -- - Donovan had a large purse filled with gold and silver, which he said he had got from the United Treasury in Dublin. That Confessionalist, before the day got up , took one of the said papers out of the pocket of Donovan, which is now in his possession and then left said house and returned home. That he knows of a number of persons who have taken the Oath to the United Men and among others ; John Eustace of Boherduff, Ciaran Eustace, his son. James Garrett, Esq. Edward Eustace Esq, one of his Majesty's justices of the Peace, Silvester Coghlan and Edward Coghlan both of Rathoe, the Kelly's of Ballymurphy and several others whose names Confessionalist does not now recollect -- Saith the last return of the number of United men in this County made to the General Committee in Dublin amounted to 2,800 --Saith he makes this Confession from a motive of public Justice without any reward or promise of any reward or other gratuity ---Sworn before me this 3rd day of October 1797 . ( signed) William Kelly. (signed) Robert Cornwall.*

6. The names of some of the United Irishmen in the Carlow area for 1798 period were compiled by Father Peader Mc Swayne and Father Hickey, as well as Pat Purcell in the early years of the 20th century. Others were gleamed from various sources such as William Farrell's book, 'Carlow in 1798', court records, published reports and oral tradition collected from numerous families throughout the county. Nobody cane be sure how accurate the results were especially when dealing with family claims of relationship to those involved . Out of the approx. 1,200 names listed as subscribed to the King's Oath they claimed to identify 120 men who had taken the "Double Oath", one to King George and the other to the United Irishmen who were actively involved in events prior to and including the rising as members of the United Irishmen. For example, in the United Irishmen / supporters list, there is mention of a John Lawler of Carlow town who threatened William Cole of Bagenalstown , Co. Carlow on 2nd November 1797, with death if said William Cole did not take the Oath of Loyalty to the United Irishmen. William Cole was subsequently piked to death "in the interests of the rebellion" in November 1797, when his house was raided by the United Irishmen. Patrick Cole was charged with the murder but acquitted due to lack of evidence at a court martial held in Carlow in June 1799. He attempted to put the blame for the murder on Lawler. Lawler was never charged but one Dennis Hanlon was charged in June 1799 and ordered to be deported but this sentence was dropped when the Lord Lieutenant declared that there was no proof in civic law that Hanlon had committed the murder. The case was never solved. Father Peader Swayne noted that the record for the court martial is in the Public Record Office (now the National Archives in Dublin).