Turtle Bunbury

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Above: Thomas Bunbury succeeded to
Lisnavagh aged three, when his father was
killed in a horsefall in Co. Carlow. His
uncle Benjamin Bunbury 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.




January 18: Thomas's aunt Letitia Bunbury married George Gough and was mother to Field Marshal Sir Hugh Gough, an icon of the Napoleonic, Opium and Sikh Wars who served as Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army in British India during the 1840s.

Birth of Thomas Bunbury, the eldest son of William Bunbury of Lisnavagh, MP for Carlow, and his wife, the Dublin-born heiress Catherine Kane. He served as MP for Co. Carlow.

His grandfathers were Thomas Bunbury of Kill and Redmond Kane of Swords.


Birth of Thomas's brother [Colonel] Kane Bunbury, an army officer who became one of Ireland's foremost cattle breeders during the 1850s and 1860s.


April 18: Thomas's father William Bunbury is killed in a horsefall near Leighlinbridge in Co. Carlow. Three-year-old Thomas inherited Lisnavagh but his father's plan to build a new house at Lisnavagh were abruptly cancelled. The family subsequently relocated to Bath. According to Col. Kane Bunbury’s obituary (The Carlow Sentinel, 1874), “the youthful family, however, enjoyed the blessings of a prudent and loving mother, as well as the counsel and protection of their uncles, Messrs. George and Benjamin Bunbury, and the affectionate solicitude of their aunt, the wife of Colonel Gough, and of other relatives and friends - With such advantages, the sons were well and early trained for the position they were destined to occupy in future life.”

Death of Redmond Kane, his wealthy Dublin-based grandfather. Redmond left his estates to be held in trust by the Hon. Barry Barry, Sir James Nugent and Charles King for the use of Thomas's younger brother Kane (then aged two) and his heirs. if Kane had no heirs, these estates were to pass to Thomas Bunbury and his heirs.

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Above: A miniature portrait of Thomas
Bunbury as a young boy, presumably about
the time of his father's death.

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In 1786, The post-chaise companion: or, Travellers directory through Ireland, by William Wilson (topographer) (1786, 4th ed) recorded: "Two miles and a half beyond Hacketstbwn on the L close to the road and situated in the midst of trees are the ruins of Clonmore castle and two miles farther on the R is Lisnevagh the seat of Mr Germon and about a mile farther Paulville the seat of Mr Moore' . However, the same source also adds this: "Between Clonegall and Ravilly are Keel and Lisnavaugh, the seats of Mr Bunbury; Barnhill, that of Mr Ryan;

Kubekavagh, the seat of Mr Lucas; Bettyville, the seat of Mr Enraght Ballyragget that of Mr O'Reilly and Balycolane that of Mr Vicars". And elsewhere, discussing the road from Ballymore Eustace to Leighlinrbdige, 'Within three miles and a half of Tullow on the R is Keele Mr Bunbury's seat'. (And just to add to the confusion is this one: 'Four miles beyond Baltinglass on the L is Boagh, the seat Mr Minchin, and about half mile farther on the R is Rathdonnel'. Interestingly, Wilson also claims that 'About a quarter of a mile on the R of Swords is Mantua the seat of Mr Bunbury'.


Sept 27: Thomas Bunbury matriculates from Christ Church College, Oxford, matriculating aged 17. [Alumni oxonienses: the members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886, Parker and co., 1888, p. 190]


In 1797, his sister Jane married John McClintock of Drumcar, and she was mother to the 1st Baron Rathdonnell and Captain William McClintock Bunbury of Lisnavagh.


[missing] 28 Sep. 1801 Lease from Thomas Bunbury to George and William Giltrap of part of Ballybitt.



Reference to Thomas Bunbury’s lands at Toberstown [sic], aka Tobisntown.


The Gentleman's magazine, Volume 75 (1805), Part 1, notes the death on 23 Jan ‘Of a decline, at his lodgings in Exmouth, Devon, aged 17 George Bunbury efq of Ireland’. George was Thomas's first cousin.


Freemans Journal, Thursday, January 21, 1808 - Front Page: "STOLEN, on the 18th Inftant, off LISNEVAUGH, in the County of Carlow: ELEVEN BULLOCKS in condition, marked on the horn with the latters L. A. Whoever gives information of the above Cattle that may lead to a difcovery, fhall receive FIVE GUINEAS REWARD and no queftions afked, or TWENTY GUINEAS by profecuting the Thief or Thieves to conviction, by applying to Mr Phillip Germain, of the above place, or Meffrs. Byrne, Byrne and Whelan, Smithfield Dublin. 20th Jan. 1808."

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 but, having apparently recovered, went out again with the hounds and died from ‘brain fever’.


The Affidavit of Mark Kehoe of Ballybit, Carlow, Farmer, taken before James Bessoninet? [or Bissonette, descendant of an early Huguenot settler in Carlow] one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for Carlow. Deponent / Mark Kehoe / being duly Sworn and examined, Saith that he hath planted or caused to be planted since the first day of February last past, on the Lands of Ballybit, being Part of the Estate of Thomas Bunbury, Esquire, in said County Viz:
2200 of Scotch Fir Trees.
170 Larch Trees.
80 Spruce.
30 Chestnut.
290 Ash Trees.
Further Deponent Saith Not. (signed) Mark Keogh.
Sworn before me this [ blank ] Day of January 1817. (signed) James
Read at a Grand General Sessions held at Tullow, January 17th 1817 (signed) Alex Humfrey, Clerk of the Peace.
(Pat Purcell Papers).
(These were probably planted on the back of a government-backed treeplanting grant scheme. However, Michael Purcell sagely suggests 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.'

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Above:The Netflix series 'Bridgerton' begins in 1813, a year in which Tom Bunbury would have been a 38-year-old bachelor.


July 18: Death of the novelist Jane Austen who was almost certainly familiar with Thomas Bunbury's family during their time in Bath.


The Bunburys were by now living at 23 Circus in Bath. This house was connected to the family of Major John André, a ‘handsome and fearless’ British Army officer who was hanged as a spy on 2nd October 1780, during the American War of Independence. André, whose father was a Swiss Huguenot, was executed for attempting to assist Benedict Arnold's attempted surrender of the fort at West Point, New York to the British. Not long after his death, a pension was awarded to his mother and three sisters who lived at 23 Circus, while his brother William André was made a baronet. William André died in Bath aged 1801. As to his sisters, Ann Marguerite André – Miss Seward’s “tuneful Anna” – died unmarried circa 1830 aged about 80; Louisa Katharine André died, on Christmas Day, 1835, aged 81, and Mary Hannah André, the eldest daughter, died on March 3, 1845, aged 93. In 1821, at the behest of the b, Major André’s remains, which had been buried under the gallows, were removed to England and placed among kings and poets in Hero's Corner at Westminster Abbey under a marble monument depicting Britannia mourning alongside a British lion over André's death.

There's another curious connection between John André and an as yet unidentified William Bunbury, both of whom served in the 54th Regiment of Foot (later known as the West Norfolk Regiment). In January 1778, the War Office announced that William Bunbury had been promoted Captain Lieutenant of the 54th in the place of John Bachop, who was promoted captain. About four months later, on 19 May 1778, Captain Lieutenant Bunbury was promoted to captain in the place of Archibald McArthur. [Kentish Gazette, 23 May 1778]. Captain Bunbury retired on 9 Sept 1779 and, five months later, his office was filled by Captain John André, from the 44th Foot. (Caledonian Mercury, 21 February 1780). Six months later, the London Gazette (August 12-15) announced: "Captain John Andre, of 54th Foot, to be Adjutant-General to the Forces serving in North America under Command of Sir Henry Clinton, vice Lord Cathcart." Andre had been made Adjutant General with the rank of Major in 1779, having taken charge of the British Secret Service early that year and was in 1780 negotiating with Benedict Arnold. He was captured, given trial and executed within the two months of this publication.

[On this subject, I am also still seeking to identify a William Bunbury who served as an ensign in the 17th from 1775 to 1777. He became a lieutenant in the 49th in 1777 and served with them until court-martialed and dismissed from the service in the West Indies in 1780. He sent in a memorial in 1787, saying that he was ill at time of his dereliction of duty. The sponsor for the memorial is Sir Charles Bunbury of Suffolk, thus indicating that William was connected with he English branch of the family. However, there is no mention of him in bios of the Suffolk Bunburys. Could he be a distant cousin, an illegitimate son of Sir Charles, which would be a very juicy addition to the plot!?]

23 Circus was was later home to Dr. Percy Roberts Wilde, Physician to the Bath Homoeopathic Hospital.

Thanks to Maribeth Nolan for transcribing the Carlow Summer Assizes of 1825 from the Lisnavagh Archives.



'The drive from Garryhill to Carlow is extremely delightful,and as the traveller approaches this Corinthian Capital of one of the finest Counties in Ireland, he is lost in admiration of the beautiful Villas that in every direction meet his eye. This Town, which is tastefully located on the River Barrow, has, of late years, risen into much celebrity both in trade; and population. The inhabitants, polite and hospitable, possess more of the bon vivant their composition, than perhaps is found in any other Town in the Kingdom. There is here a very fine barrack, capable of accommodating a Regiment of Cavalry. The Castle is a beautiful Gothic structure, built at the instance of King John, and was, a few years ago, in as apparent good repair as it has been as many centuries past …’, at which point he begins to berate Dr Middleton at length for blowing the darned thing sky high a decade earlier! See: 'The medical mentor and new guide to fashionable watering places’ (R. Price, 1822) by F.F. Hayd’n.


In March 1825, Bishop JKL was summoned to the House of Lords to discuss Ireland. Among the peers was the Duke of Wellington who, subsequently asked whether the duke had been examining Dr. Doyle, replied, “No, Dr. Doyle is examining the committee”, the implication being that the House of Lords committee of examiners had met their Waterloo in Dr. Doyle. As Paul Horan has observed, Wellington built Erindale House on the outskirts of the town, overlooking the River Barrow with views westwards towards the Killeshin Hills. It was allegedly built for his Carlow mistress, with whom he fathered a daughter. The bridge over the Barrow in Carlow town, known locally as Graigue or Graiguecullen Bridge, was formerly known as Wellington Bridge while Governey Square, the junction on the approach to the bridge on the Carlow side, was previously called Wellington Square.


TROUBLE AT LISNAVAGH (From Pat Purcell Papers).

I Michael Forans of Lisnavagh, Servant, in the Parish of Rathvilly, Barony of Rathvilly, Carlow do acknowledge myself to be in Debt to our Sovereign Lord the King in the sum of £10 Sterling and Swear that my occupation and place of residence are above Truly Described. (signed) Michael, hisXmark, Forens.
I John Sewell, of Rathvilly, Blacksmith, do Swear that I am a Householder and have a house at Rathvilly on the road to Lisnavagh.
I James Ugan, of Lisnavagh, Mason, do Swear that I am worth £10 Sterling and reside at a place of residence at Lisnavagh.
Michael Forans to answer charges in open Court at Tullow made against him by Elizabeth Morehouse of Lisnavagh, Dairy maid.
Taken before me this 3rd Day of May 1826.
(signed) J. Whitty.

1826 (or 1828)

I Abraham Hopkins of Ballybit, Carlow, Farmer, do swear on the Holy Evangelists that I have planted or caused to be planted within twelve Calender months, last past, on the lands of Ballybit in the Parish of Rathvilly, Barony of Rathvilly, and County of Carlow, lands held by me from Thomas Bunbury, Esquire, the undermentioned Trees, Viz.~~
100 Elm Quicks.
100 Oak.
100 Limes.
100 Poplar.
100 Larch.
50 Ash Plants.
20 Sweet Chestnut.
10 Spurge Laurels.
10 English Elms.
10 Horse Chestnut.
10 Balm of Gitead.
10 Laurestines.
10 Portugal Laurels.
10 Phillyears..
12 Hollys.
10 American Black Spruce.
10 Alder.
10 Dutch Alder.
10 Aspalia Apple.
10 Timber Sallow.
10 Plumb.
10 Pear Trees.
Deponent further saith, that he hath caused a notice in writing to be served on Hugh Graves, Esquire, of the City of Dublin who is Agent or the Receiver of the Rents for the aforesaid Thomas Bunbury, Esquire under whom Deponent holds said Lands, of my intention to register said trees to be advertised in Saunders's News Letter thirty days at the least previous to the date hereoff (signed) Abraham Hopkins.
Sworn before me this 16th day of February 1828 at Carlow. (signed) Adam B.Feltus.
(from Pat Purcell Papers)


I Abraham Hopkins of Ballybit,Carlow, Farmer, do swear that I have planted or caused to be planted within twelve Calender months, last past, on the lands of Ballybit in the Parish of Rathvilly, Barony of Rathvilly, and County of Carlow, lands held by me from Thomas Bunbury, Esquire, the following trees, Viz.
1,335 Larch Deal.
204 Scotch Fir Deal.
261 Birch.
108 Ash.
22 Spruce Fir.
making in the entire 1,930 trees and that I have Given notice to the Person or Persons under whom I immediately Derive on his, her or their Agent of my intention to register the said trees twenty days at the least previous to this Day, and that I have also Given Notice of the same in writing to the Head Landlord, owner and owners of Said Ground or his or their Agent twenty days Previous to the Date hereof (signed) Abraham Hopkins.
Sworn before me this 8th day of January 1827 at Carlow, one of his Majestys Justices of the Peace, in and for Carlow County and I know the Deponent.
(signed) William Fishbourne.
Read at Carlow January 1827 (signed) Alex Humfrey.
(Pat Purcell Papers)


When Charles Kendal Bushe (1767–1843 ), the 61-year-old Lord Chief Justice, arrived in Carlow for the Spring Assizes on March 20th 1828, Thomas Bunbury of Moyle, Esq, was appointed foreman of a 22-strong Grand Jury comprising of Henry Bruen, MP, John Stuaton Rochfort, Sir Thomas Butler, Philip Newton, Robert Doyne, William F. Burton, John Dawson Ducket, William R Stewart, William Ducket, James Butler (Broomville), John Falkiner Cornwall, John Whelan, Robert C. Brown, Walter Newton, Henry Falkiner, Robert Eustace, John Alexander, Thomas Elliott, Pilsworth Whelan, John Watson (Ballydarton), Walter Blackney and William Fishbourne. It was the first time the Grand Jury had met foir eight months but, as the Chef Justice noted, the county had ‘maintained a high character for good conduct and tranquility’ in the meantime. There were only thirty cases to deal with and only two of those were considered 'serious'. The most serious of these concerned the posting of threatening notices, the first such incidence in a long time, and regarded as a serious offence because it so often led to the commission of other crimes. Details of the other 'serious crime' were not divulged. However, in March 2021, Carlow historian Michael Purcell posted me a document from the Carlow Lent Assizes of 1820, in which Tom Bunbury, as foreman of the Grand Jury, recommended transportation as an act of mercy for sheepstealers as per:

County of Carlow Lent 1820
We the Grand Jury of the County of Carlow at the Assizes assembled do you recommend Gareth Kavanagh and John Malone and James Kirwan convicted of stealing sheep as fit objects of mercy and pray that they may be transported pursuant to the statute, also James Kirwan convicted of stealing a heifer.
For self & fellows, Thomas Bunbury

(He sometimes signed himself ‘Thos Bunbury & Co.’) The mundanity of it all is as shocking as anything. The fate of the three men doesn’t seem to have scored a blob of ink in any newspapers. Australia’s excellent Convict Records suggest James Kirwan also went by the name of Kisden, that he was a 48-year-old labourer and ploughman who could neither read not write and that he lived in Carlow with 11 children. Convicted of stealing a heifer, with no previous convictions, he was sentenced to seven years. He sailed on the Governor Ready and was assigned to Mr J Bingle, Hunters River, but apparently died in 1833. I can’t find anything more on John Malone but Garrett Kavanagh was a 40-year-old ploughman and reaper with seven children, and also received seven years for sheep stealing. Among the others transported at the 1828 Assize was Patrick Lyons, a 17-year-old farm boy from Carlow, who could also neither read or write, who was convicted of a stealing clothes and sentenced to 7 years, despite having no prior convictions. He was assigned to Mr T. Greaves, Pitt Town and received his ticket of leave in 1835.


Edmund Butler, a local butcher and tithe collector for the Rev Hans Hamilton, Rector of Knocktopher, as well as Sub-Inspector James Gibbons (a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars), eleven contsables and three others are killed on a boreen in the townland of Carrickshock Commons, between Ballyhale and Hugginstown. The Rev Hamilton's land agent was James Bunbury, probably of Gaulskill, Cappagh, and probably James Hamilton Bunbury (1792-1873) of the Johnstown branch.

John Ryan publishes ‘A Letter to the Protestants of ireland’, after which a number of leading men in Carlow invite him to establish a Conservative journal in Carlow town. This is the Carlow Standard, edited by Ryan and published twice weekly, in competition to the Carlow Sentinel and the Carlow Morning Post.


Thomas Bunbury was almost certainly not living in County Carlow at the time of the Tithe Wars which resulted in the eviction of Philip Germaine from Lisnavagh but he may have been back by the time of the seizure of Thomas Germaine's cattle in 1837. His name is not recorded in a list of 48 magistrates included in the Commissions of the Peace for Ireland on 1st May 1832.[i]

The following link is An Alphabetical List of Persons [of 1832] who have Registered their Votes at a Special Sessions held at Carlow, in and for the Borough of Carlow; pursuant to the Act of the 2d and 3d of William IV cap. 88. (Carlow: Printed At The Sentinel Office, Coal-Market). Digitized from the Lisnavagh Archives by Anice Nolan and Mary Joines, and published courtesy of Lord Rathdonnell.

April: John Ryan resigned as editor of the Carlow Standard and started writing his history of Carlow.

7 August: The Parliamentary Reform Act increases Irish seats from 100 to 105 and introduces £10 franchise in the boroughs: the electorate is increased to 1.2% of the population (county electorate 60,000; borough electorate 30,000). One Irish urban dweller in 26 and one Irish rural dweller in 116 now has the vote, as compared to one in 17 and one in 24 in England.


The Tithe Applotment Books show Thomas Bunbury had 300 acres at Moyle in 1833.

Aug 3: Publication of 'The History and Antiquities of the County of Carlow’ by John RYAN (M.R.S.L.), , a native of Rathvilly, who gave his address as Barnhill, Hacketstown.


August 9: Death in Bath, at her house in the Circus', of Mrs Katherine Bunbury (nee Kane), mother of Thomas, Kane and Jane, 'in her 82nd year'. Her passing was reported in The Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette of 14 August which noted that she was the 'relict of Wm. Bunbury esq; of Lisnevagh, county of Carlow, one of the representatives of that county in the Irish Parliament'. Following her death, Thomas came into possession of the Kane estates under the limitations & conditions of the settlement made on the marriage of his parents.

The Carlow Sentinel of Saturday 9 August 1834 (the same day Mrs Bunbury died) carried the following notice:

COUNTY OF CARLOW. Lessee of Thomas Bunbury a. Edward Nolan,
TO BE LET, for Six Months, pending the Equity of Redemption in this Case, All That and Those, that Part of the Lands of LISNEVAGH, called KNOCKNAGAN. and Part of TOBINSTOWN, containing 235 A. 1R. 20p., plantation measure, more or less, as late in the possession of JOHN NOWLAN, deceased, his Undertenants or Assignee, situate In the Barony of Rathvilly, and County of Carlow. Application (if by letter Post-paid) to ROBERT EUTACE. Esq., Newstown, Tullow ; or Mr. WILLIAM ELLIOTT, Plaintiff's Attorney. Racroge, Carlow. The Tenant will be required to give security for payment of the Rent.

I believe this tallies with maps on the wall of the North-West Passage in Lisnavagh House.


See http://irishcriminology.com/10c.html for the murder trial of John Dempsey and Lucinda Sly, for which both Thomas Bunbury and his nephew Captain McClintock Bunbury sat on the Grand Jury (see Appendix) in 1835.

On Sunday 1 February 1835, Michael Nowlan, farmer, of Rahenndarrah, arrived into the chapel-yard in Rahanna where he was surrounded by a mob who 'commenced jostling him from one to another’. He was then dragged from the yard by Patrick Coleman, of Knocksquire, and beaten up by three others (William Bryan, Edward Leech, and Michael Brennan). When he testified before the magistrate Robert Boyne on 2 March, he said he was told he was being punished 'because his father voted for Messrs. Bruen and Kavanagh at the late Election.’ On 6 February, there was a riot on the chapel yard in Borris, with stones being hurled and a boy called James Roach was beaten up. (Thanks to Cara_Links)

8 April – Death of Jonah Barrington, the Irish Parliament’s leading opponent of the Union with Britain and author of The Rise and Decline of the Irish Nation.


'Along the Carlow bank of the Barrow (with the above exceptions) it is calculated that not less than 200,000 barrels of wheat [for flour] and 100,000 barrels of oats [for oatmeal] are annually manufactured; an amount nearly double that effected by the same power ten years ago. The increase is chiefly owing to the great improvements in milling machinery which have taken place within that time. The provision trade consists chiefly in bacon for the home market. Large quantities of barley are malted by the resident maltsters and distillers. The value of the landed produce of Carlow has been estimated at 1,033.000 per annum.’
Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Volumes 5-6 (C. Knight, 1836)

March: John Ryan publishes his ‘Life of King William III’.


Jan 23: Death in Russia of the composer John Field.

September 5: CARLOW – A BAREFACED ACT OF GOVERNMENT - The Chief Constable of Carlow, Mr. Fitzgibbon, who was found conscientious enough to give honest testimony at Captain Vignolies's trial, received from the Castle, on Monday last, a tolerably plain hint that officials under the control of the Irish Government were not expected to tell truth on all occasions. This hint was a peremptory order to remove to Tullow on the following Wednesday, giving him thus one day for preparation. He left Carlow on the day stated, and is replaced by a son of the ex- pawnboker Fitzgerrald, the busiest and most noisy Radical in that town. This appointment reached Carlow; on Tuesday last, so that things were nicely adjusted by his Excellency.-Leinster Express. (The Times)

'Another Tithe Martyr - Mr. Michael Kinsella, of Ratheaden, in the parish of Dunleckney, county of Carlow - —a rich and independent farmer—has fallen a victim to the nefarious tithe system. He was in his 70th year, and was confined to bed for the last three months. Notwithstanding his age and infirmities he was arrested by party of police from Bagenalstown on Tuesday, the 31st October, placed on car, and conveyed to Carlow, where he was committed to one of the gloomy cells of a prison. Here he languished for seven days. Some arrangement was then entered into—he was conveyed home in a litter, where he expired on Tuesday last, having survived his arrest only fourteen days! Dublin Register.'
London Courier and Evening Gazette - Thursday 23 November 1837

At the general election in 1837 the Liberal candidates, Mr. Vigors and Mr. Ashton Yates, were successful, polling 730 votes, Colonel Bruen and Mr. Bunbury having only 643. Mr. Kavanagh had died in February preceding; but on the death of Mr. Vigors, in December, 1840, Colonel Bruen recovered his seat, defeating the Hon. Frederick Ponsonby with 722 votes to 555.


[Note added 2012, transcribed verbatim, this is the first and only time we have seen "Examinations" or "Informations" referred to as "Statements" in the Pat Purcell Papers dealing with the period 1740 to 1860s ]

The Statements of James Chaney, Servant man to Dr. Edward Heath of Rathvilly~~ he the said James Chaney having been fully and Duly Cautioned Saith ~
I was living in Rathvilly about 6 months ago, I went to the House of Patt Ward in Rathvilly, I cannot tell the day but Bridget Dempsey asked me to go with her one night to Mr Morten of Mount Lucas. She told me she was going to Her Sister Ellen [ crossed out ] who lives at Mr Mortens for some milk -- I went with her and when I went near the House I said I would stop there until until she came out, she pressed me to go forward, I did so.
And I saw her go into the Cow House and heard her milking the Cow into the Tin Can -- When she came out she had about half the Can full of milk. I returned with her to Rathvilly, she wanted me to go in and drink some of the Milk, I refused and went home --.
Not long after that I was in Lowry Fowleys House in Rathvilly when I heard him and Bridget and Ellen Dempsey Ploting to go to Mr Mortens to Steal a Lamb. I cannot tell if they went for the Lamb or not. After the Milking of the Cow I was returning to Baltinglass for my Shirt of a Saturday night when I overtook at a late Hour of the night Bridget and Ellen Dempsey and Lowry Foley towards the Mote of Rathvilly.
Bridget Dempsey told me she was going to her Sister at Mr Mortens who sent for her, she did not tell me for what. I accompanied them to a lane turning down to Mr Mortens they desired me to wait there until they came back. I remained there and when they came back which they did in about half an hour I saw with them a large Silver Spoon and a quanity of Meal Eithen Barley or Bere Meal cannot tell which. There appeared to be about one can [ the following line is missing ] --- on the road to Rathvilly they hid some of the Meal, I did not return in company with them they having gone across the field. I went the road -- they did not bring into Foleys House all the meal I saw with them which makes me say they Hid some of it -- .
When they brought it into Foleys they divided what they had -- I heard them say they broke open the door. I believe Lowry Foley to be a regular night walker. I have frequently seen him returning at late hours of the night with Potatoes -- I never heard what they did with the Silver Spoon -- (signed) James, hisXmark, Chaney.
Declared before me this 18th May 1840 at Baltinglass (signed) Barth Warburton.
Mary Fowley Saith Ellen Connors bought wool and Mutton from Ellen Dempsey
-- Ellen Dempsey, Catherine Murphy.
Received 13th July 1848. (signed) James McDonagh.

The 1840 map indicates that the original house at Lisnavagh stood by the small copse of lime trees in the north corner of the Pigeon Park today, identifiable by a well beneath a granite slab. The hawthorne trees nearby mark a field boundary while the bounary of the original farmstead seems to have been marked by beech trees. The beech at the south east corner of the farmstead is probably the beech tree that came down in 2011 – William counted the rings and it was almost exactly 200 years old. He thinks that the only one of these beech trees that still survives in 2020 is the "truly magnificent and hugely appreciated tree" near the small gate that leads from the Pleasure Grounds to the Farm Walk. The old Carlow-Hacketstown Road is said to have passed right by the origianl house. The original avenue appears to have gone north from the house, up the eastern end of the terraces, along the far eastern edge of the Front Lawn (where there is a pathway in some old photos of the house) and onto the Kitchen Lawn before curving around through the present-day Yew trees, then straight to where the “Grand National” rhododendron grows at the corner of the Mare’s Paddock, and on out into the Mare’s Paddock. It then turned almost due east and out to the present Rathvilly-Tobinstown road. Its entrance and Gate Lodge must have been roughly opposite where the gate goes into the Schoolhouse Field.

As my brother William notes, the 1840 plan also suggests the presence of an ornamental garden or herbaceous borders to the east side of the 1696 farmhouse (covering part of Pegasus Paddock, Cullen’s Dell and the Pigeon Park. To the north of that there appears to be a plantation of some kind which covers the rest of Pegasus Paddock and the main Pleasure Grounds area, roughly speaking. Perhaps this as an orchard? It would also have offered shelter from the cold north easterly winds. To the south of the house, there are buildings – presumably farm buildings and stock yards. There are some softwood trees planted to the south and west, again presumably to offer shelter from prevailing winds.

The 1840 map also shows a road, or lane, running from the Green Lane up to the original house. This includes what is called a gate lodge, mysteriously marked as somewhere just to the south of the Green Lane, just east of the Sunk Fence. There is also what I thought to be the Dairymaids Cottage on the east side of Bowe’s Grove (still just about extant in 2020) although William thinks this is in the wrong location. The Keeper’s Cottage is also on the 1840 mao, although it is a different layout. There is also evidence of houses at the bottom of Kinsellagh’s Hill, which may be part of the Germaine family farm. There are also more buildings SSE of the Farmyard, opposite the Laundry House, which are no longer there. The site is just about discernible on the ground.The rath by Oldfort is called the Tobinstown Rath on the map.




June 16: The Times reports that 'Mr. Thomas Bunbury of Moyle will take the field with Colonel Bruen [1] at the ensuing election'.

July 12: The Times (p. 4) reports: 'Candidates, Messrs. Gisborne and Daniel 0'Connell, jun., Colonel Bruen and Mr. T. Bunbury. The latter gentleman, the Radicals were pleased to say, had fled from the contest; but, as usual, they were at fault in their calculations.'

July 18: The pews and seats [in Castledermot Chapel] belonging to the electors who voted for Colonel Bruen and Mr. Bunbury were broken, and the fragments thrown out of the chapel on the 18th ultimo. [Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail , 14 August 1841].

August 1: RATHTOE CHAPEL—ANOTHER FEARFUL OUTRAGE.—On Sunday, the 1st instant, three men were dragged out of the above chapel, and beaten with sticks in the most brutal manner, for daring to work for Mr. Fenlon, a barony constable, and arespectable Roman Catholic, who voted for Colonel Bruen and Mr. Bunbury. The whole county presents a fearful mass of crime, and the social edifice is all but subverted, as the persecuted people are in dread of their lives to prosecute—although, in most cases, they swear informations. Notices are circulated, acopy of which has been forwarded to us, in which every one - who dares to prosecute is warned to be provided with a coffin! (Dublin Evening Mail, 9 August 1841, p. 2)

At the election of 1841 the result of the poll was as follows :—
Colonel Bruen .... 705
Thomas Bunbury ... 704
John Ashton Yates ... 697
Daniel O'Connell, jun ... 696.



[1] As a public man Colonel Bruen possessed indomitable energy and fearless bearing, coupled with a highly cultivated mind, which commanded the respect of his opponents, and won the esteem and sincere attachment of his friends. He was a consistent Conservative, and voted for agricultural protection in 1846. Colonel Bruen married Anne, eldest daughter of Thomas Kavanagh, esq. of Borris, (long his colleague as county member,) by his first wife Lady Elizabeth Butler, sister to the Marquess of Ormonde, Mrs. Bruen died in Sept. 1830. He is succeeded in his extensive estates by his son, Henry Bruen, esq. [Gentleman’s Magazine]

On the evening of Saturday May 7th 1842, Thomas Bunbury, MP, is amongst 90 guest who attend the Archbishop of Canterbury's fourth and final public dinner for the season, at Lambeth Palace. Prayers were read at half-past 6 o'clock by the Rev. Dr. Mill and the Rev. Benjamin Harrison, his Grace's chaplains. Covers were laid for 90, and there were present-His Excellency Chevalier Bunsen, the Russian Minister; the Duke of Rutland, Marquis of Londonderry, Earls of Sheffield, Cadogan, Manvers, Fortescue, Brownlow, Harrowby, Beverley, Ilchester, and Grosvenor; Viscounts Melbourne, Duncannon, Northland, Marsham, Duncan, and Alford; Bishops of Rochester and Norwich; Lords Sondes, Wharncliffe, Fitzgerald, Lyttelton, Abinger, and Mark Ker; the Right Eon. Sir Edward Knatchbull, the Right Hon. George Dawson, Hon. Colonel Howard, Hon. W. Ashlev, Hon. Charles Ponsonby, Lieutenant-General Sir Howard Douglas, M.P.; Sir Charles Hulse; the Rev. Sir Charles Farnaby, Lieutenant-General Sir Andrew Barnard, Admiral Bowles, the Dean of Salisbury, the Dean of Norwich, Archdeacon Wilberforce, Mr. Serjeant Merewether, Mr. Cotton, Governor of the Bank of England; Mr. J. B. Heath, Deputy-Governor, Mr. Raikes Currie, M P Mr. J. H. Lowther, M.P., Mr. J. I. Yivian, hLP., Mr. Gibson Craig, MP., Mr. H. Baring, MP., Mr. Ormsby Gore, M.P., Mr. H.B. Ferrand, MP, Mr. H. Baillie, M.P., Mr. George Darby, MP, Mr. F. Hodgson, M.P., Mr. H. Broadwood, M.P., Mr. J. Scholefield, MP., Mr. N. Alexander, M.P., Mr. M. Baskerville, M.P., Mr. R. Richards, M.P., Mr. H. Bradley, ALP., Mr. C. Stansfield, ALP., Mr. J. Langston, M.P., Mr. F. H. Dickinson, M.P., Mr. Wilbraham Egerton, Mr. Haldine, &c., the Rev. Dr. Mill, and Rev. Benjamin Harrison, chaplains of the Archbishop. (The Times, May 9, 1842, p. 4.)

The NIGHT POACHING ACT was introduced as follows: 'All the pains, punishments, and forfeitures imposed by the said Act upon persons by night unlawfully taking or destroying any game or rabbits in any land, open or enclosed, as therein set forth, shall be applicable to and imposed upon any person by night unlawfully taking or destroying any game or rabbits on any public road, highway, or path, or the sides thereof, or at the openings, outlets, or gates from any such land into any such public road, highway, or path, in the like manner as upon any such land, open or enclosed; and it shall be lawful for the owner or occupier of any land adjoining either side of that part of such road, highway, or path where the offender shall be, and the gamekeeper or servant of such owner or occupier, and any person assisting such gamekeeper or servant, and for all the persons authorized by the said Act to apprehend any offender against the provisions thereof, to seize and apprehend any person offending against the said Act or this Act; and the said Act, and all the powers, provisions, authorities, and jurisdictions therein or thereby contained or given, shall be as applicable for carrying this Act into execution as if the same had been herein specially set forth.


Carlow historian John Ryan, a native of Rathvilly, who gave his address as Barnhill, Hacketstown, published ‘Popery Unmasked – A Narrative of Twenty Years' Popish Persecution’. His account includes at least two dozen pages that reproduce his diary entries made up of the insults and threats visited upon him, presumably, as Denis Bergin puts it, 'because of his apostasy or espousal of establishment causes and documentation. He may even have been a disenchanted alumnus of Maynooth. It is at least a fascinating insight into local interactions in the mid 19th century and the Trumpian media battles in Carlow in the 1830s.’ His father Beaumont Ryan,a member of the Orange Society in Tullow, lived at Broghillstown, built by William Pendred pre-1750, while his mother was Mary Shepard, daughter of James Shepard of Paulville. John Ryan placed Broghillstown for sale in 1846 and died in Carlow Lunatic Asylum in May 1849.


May 28: Thomas Bunbury dies umarried. He clearly knew he was unwell as he signed his will two days earlier.

June 2: (Tues) The Times notes death of Thomas Bunbury, MP for Carlow, in his 71st year, at his residence, 14 Crawford Street, Portman Square, on 28th. On his death, all his property passed to his brother Kane. Thomas's will, dated 26th May 1846, gave, devised and bequeathed all his estates, freehold and copyhold, as well as his leasehold estates (whether held for lives or years) to trustees therein named upon trust for his brother Kane Bunbury, for life, with remainder to his nephew Captain William McClintock Bunbury and his heirs (who got 2/3) and John McClintock (1st Baron Rathdonnell) (who received 1/3). Captain McClintock Bunbury and William Elliot were executors.
Up until 1891, the Kane estates in all counties were administered separately and estate business was recorded in a separate series of rentals (for no logical reason, since they had merged with the Bunbury estates in 1846 and then merged with the McClintock estates in 1879). In 1891 a reorganization must have taken place (probably following the dismissal of the agent for the Kane estates), and 'Fermanagh, Kane and Louth' came to be administered as one unit, and the Bunbury estates as another.

June 3: 'The death of Mr. Thomas Bunbury, the intelligence of which reached Dublin on Saturday, creates a vacancy in the representation of the county of Carlow. No candidate has yet been named; but sometime since, and on the accession of Mr. [Abraham] Brewster to the office of Solicitor-General [on 2nd Feb 1846], it was rumoured that the late representative was about to retire in order to leave the law officer of the Crown a chance of securing a seat in Parliament; at that time, and even now, a matter of no small convenience to the Minister. Whether Mr. Brewster will offer himself to the electors on the present occasion is rather a moot question.' The Times, June 3, 1846, p. 5.

Tom was buried beneath an urn-topped tomb in the graveyard of St Swithun's Church, Bathford, near Bath, alongside his sister Jane and mother Katharine. His inscription, which follows below theirs, reads:

'Within this vault repose the mortal remains of Thomas BUNBURY Esq., M.P., for the County of Carlow of Moyne and Lisnavagh, in the same county, eldest son of William BUNBURY Esq. of Lisnavagh who also represented the Co. of Carlow and the above named Katharine BUNBURY. He departed this life in London on the 28th of May 1846 aged 71.'

July 7: William Bunbury McClintock returned as MP for Carlow in the room of his late uncle.

July 16: Abraham Brewster steps down as Solicitor General.

The 1846 Parliamentary Gazeteer notes that “the principal height in the parish of Rathvilly are Knockevagh in the north, and a rising- ground in Lisnevagh demesne, with altitudes above sea-level of respectively 593 and 472 feet. The land throughout the parish is, for, the most part, good.’



[i] Magistrates included in the Commissions of the Peace in Ireland


Co Carlow

Sir Thomas Buter –Bart
Sir John Harvey Knt
Edward Eustace
William Browne
John Staunton Rochford
Robert Eustace
Philip Newton
Thomas Kavanagh
Francis Dillon
Henry Faulkiner
Luke Hagart
James Eustace
John F Cornwall
Robert Doyne
William Fishbourne
Henry Waters -Esq
Philsworth Whelan
Walter Balckney
Nicholas Aylward
William Richard Stewart
William Duckett
William Burton
John Archibold Leonard
Thomas Bookey
John Watson
Thomas H Watson
Walter Newton
James Hardy Eustace
Henry Bruen
John Whelan
Samuel Elliott
James Butler Esq.,
David Burtchall Esq
Major Robert Bushe
Robert Durdin
Robert Clayton Browne
William Carey
Horace Rochfort
John Dawson Duckett
Joseph Dawson Duckett
Joseph Greene Esq.
Gerald Fitzgerald
Nicholas Aylward Viagors (Vigors ) Esq.
Captain John Spencer Manning
Lieutenant-col Daniel Toler Osborne
Major Thomas Ryan
Mathew Singelton
Thomas Derenzy Esqr.

These names only show you what they worked at and suggests they were still living in May of 1832. (Transcribed: Cara Links).