Turtle Bunbury

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Thomas Bunbury of Kill (1705-1774)


Thomas Bunbury of Kill, the second surviving son of William Bunbury I of Lisnavagh, was father of William Bunbury, MP, of Lisnavagh, as well as Benjamin Bunbury of Killerig, George Bunbury, MP for Gowran and Letitia Gough. As such, he was also grandfather of Jane Bunbury who married John McClintock of Drumcar, from whom the McClintock Bunbury family descend, and of Field Marshal Viscount Gough.

Orphaned at the age of five, Thomas emerged as the great hope of the Bunbury family in Co Carlow in the 1750s when many other branches seem to have been struggling to survive. By the time of his death in 1774, he had secured ownership of Lisnavagh, Kill, Moyle, Fryarstown, Rathmore and Killerig for his sons. In 1735 he married Catherine Campbell, daughter of a prosperous Leitrim family with connections right into the Princess of Wales' bedchamber. She gave him ten children; only four survived childhood. In 1758, two years after Catherine's death, Thomas married Susana Priscilla Isaac of Hollywood House, Co. Down, whose brother was killed at Fontenoy. At least one more son and a daughter followed.

In 2007, I discovered a small brown notebook that transpired to be a simple journal which Thomas - my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather - kept between 1754 and 1774. [2] The diary is exceptionally legible and mainly chronicles fiscal affairs and land purchases. As such, we see him purchase the Manor of Rheban outside Athy, the Fryarstown estate of his cousin Harry Bunbury, the Phrumpestown estate near Castledermot and, perhaps most importantly, the Harman estate in Longford and at Moyle in Co. Carlow. The latter was to become a major Bunbury stronghold through until the last years of the 19th century. We also gain an insight into his many trips from the family headquarters at Kill, or Killmagarvogue, to Dublin, often with his second wife Susanna and her sisters, the Misses Isaac, or his sons and daughters. There are no accounts of outside politics and nor does he appear to leave Ireland. I welcome any comments, corrections, clarifications or additions.

Immediate Forbears

Thomas Bunbury was apparently born in 1705 and christened in Tullow on St Patrick's Day 1708. He was the fourth son of the first William Bunbury (1674-1710) of Lisnavagh, Rathvilly, Co Carlow, by his marriage to Elizabeth Pendred.[1] Thomas’s grandfather Benjamin Bunbury (1642–1707), a grandson of Sir Henry Bunbury of Stanney, had been amongst the first of the family to settle in Ireland, establishing his base by the old Knights Templar castle at Killerig, Co. Carlow, and leasing land at Tobinstown from 1669. Thomas’s father William, the third of Benjamin’s five sons, was was most likely raised between Killerig and a townhouse in Dublin. In 1696, William was married at St Audeon’s, Dublin, to Elizabeth Pendred, daughter of William Pendred of Sywell, Northamptonshire and his wife, Catherine (nee Eustace of Broughillstown, Carlow). That same year, the Bunburys seem to have completed the building of a new house at Lisnavagh which is said to have been in the Pigeon Park. As such, some of Thomas's earliest years may well have been spent at Lisnavagh.


Thomas’s childhood cannot have been an easy one. In 1710, both his mother and father died, presumably leaving the 5-year-old boy and his surviving siblings to be raised by kindly uncles elsewhere in the land. Their uncle Joseph Bunbury of Johnstown seems to have taken a particular interest in purchasing the fee farm grants around Lisnavagh; perhaps he was the favoured uncle. Another contender was their mother's brother, William Pendred, who helped Joseph purchase the fee farm for Tobinstown from the Earl of Arran in 1723. [1a]

It seems almost certain that he was educated at John Garnet’s Latin School in Athy in 1717-1718. In the Autobiography of Pole Cosby of Stradbally, Queens County, he names ‘Billy and Tom Bunbury of y County Carlow and Harry Bunbury who married Miss Pinsent’ as being ‘the chief of my schoolfellows’, albeit alongside almost fifty other names. Bill would have been William Bunbury of Lisnavagh (below), while Harry succeeded to Johnstown. [Thomas U. Sadleir, 'Loveday's tour in Kildare in 1732', Kildare Archaeological Society Journal 7 (1912–14) 168–177.]

William Bunbury II (1704-1755)

Thomas's eldest brother William Bunbury II was the elder son of William and Elizabeth, and thus the heir to Lisnavagh. He was probably born in 1704 and baptised in Tullow on 2nd June that year. Little is yet know of him save that he was educated at Kilkenny School, never married and died on 26th February 1755. He was buried at St Mary’s, Rathvilly, which church he commissioned. He made his last will on the 3rd July 1754, and by his death his brother 'the said Thomas Bunbury became seized and possessed of a considerable real and personal estate and, among the rest, of the lands of Lisnavagh and his said brother's moiety of the said lands of Tobinstown in fee and from this extract it appears that Mr Bunbury is seized in fee simple of the whole lands of Lisnavagh and Ballybitt and of one moiety of Tobinstown and is seized for life only with remainder to William Bunbury, his son and heir apparent, of the other moiety of the said lands of Tobinstown and of all the impropriate tythes and glebes of the rectory of Graney and of the one sixth part undivided of the lands of Mortarstown'.

Elizabeth Lockwood

In 1716, Thomas’s sister Elizabeth (d. 1787) married Richard Lockwood (1693-1777), a wealthy farmer and brewer from Castlelake, Co. Tipperary, who was much involved in the development of Cashel. He lived close to the Bunbury’s cousins at Kilfeacle which suggests that, as a child, Elizabeth may have been raised in Tipperary. Certainly relations between the various branches of the Bunbury family were close during the early 18th century. See William Bunbury I for more.

The Acquisition of Kill (1716)

Kill – or Killmagarvogue, as it is more properly known – lies on a modest undulating hill about midway between Lisnavagh and Killerig just off the Tullow road in County Carlow. Rathmore, later another Bunbury property, is just to the north, and the primeval woodlands and ruins of Coppenagh Castle to the south. Like most of this part of the country, the land is chiefly limestone gravel. My understanding is that these lands were leased from a gentleman by name of Lorenso Hodson on 5 January 1716 to a certain Thomas Bunbury. What confuses me is that Thomas was then only 11 years old but perhaps the lease was taken out on his behalf by a kindly uncle? The Lisnavagh archives also hold an assignment, dated 26 April 1733 from Philip Bernard to Thomas Bunbury of Killmagarvogue.



Much of this context comes courtesy of the excellent Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland website.

6 May 1728 – Act of Parliament removes the right to vote from Catholics.

12 June 1731 – The Revenue Commissioners report the robbery of the Golden Lyon’s cargo at Ballyheige. One of the robbers is caught and turns king’s evidence; the Danish Asiatic Company offers a reward of 10 per cent of the value of the cargo for its recovery. The robbery allegedly took place on 4 June.

7 Oct 1731 - A complaint is made to the House of Commons ‘that Mr Anthony Tenison did, in a violent and notorious manner, assault John Bourke, Esq., a Member of this House, by presenting a pistol to his breast, and threatening to shoot him, on the thirtieth of December last’.

5 Oct 1731 – Parliament meets at the new parliament house in College Green for the first time.

4 Oct 1733 - Henry Boyle, the future Earl of Shannon, is unanimously elected Speaker of the Irish parliament. He will serve till 1756 – the longest-serving Speaker of the 1692-1800 parliaments.

12 June 1741 – At the Athy by-election following the death of Sir Walter Dixon Borrowes on 12 June, Lord Ophaly (later 1st Duke of Leinster) is returned. In the course of the election there has been a duel between William Paul Warren and Jack Hardy, which leads to Hardy’s right hand and arm being shattered; it is thought that it would have to be amputated.

1741 - The first summit level canal in Britain or Ireland was the 18-mile Newry Canal, which opened in 1741. From the bustling port of Newry, it rose through nine locks to Poyntzpass, 25 metres above sea level, and then dropped through another six locks to meet the River Bann at Portadown, from where it was directly connected to Lough Neagh and, by extension, to the coal reserves at Coalisland, County Tyrone. The ‘summit level’ technology of the Newry Canal became a blueprint for the future design of canals. The Newry Canal was sponsored by the owners of the Tyrone coalfields who were eager to create an express link to the coal-hungry citizens of Dublin.

1745 - Death of Jonathan Swift.

1747 - Founding of St Patrick’s University Hospital, a psychiatric facility near Kilmainham and the Phoenix Park. with money bequeathed by Jonathan Swift. It opens formally in 1757.





On 1st May 1732, the New England Weekly Journal published the following grim tale about a servant of James Hamilton of Carlow:

Carlow, Ireland, Feb. 26. On Tuesday last, the following Accident happened near this Town, viz. One Tho Oliver, a Servant to Esq; Hamilton, living in this Place, was coming from Dublin with a Car loaden with Wine, Sugar &c for his Said Master's Use; when he was overtaken by a Man near Timolin, with whom falling into Doscourse, they contracted an Acquaintance, and lay together that Night. The next Morning, they travelled in Company towards this Place, till about Ten O'Clock, when without the least Provocation, the strange Person knock'd Oliver down with a Lathing Hammer, and broke his Skull, and Oliver being unable to resist, the barbarous Villain cut off his Nose, pull'd out his Eyes, stript off his Breeches, and took off from the Car two Bottles of Wine, and a Sugar Loaf, with which he made off. All this was done in a few Minutes in the High Road. Strict search is making after the unhuman Murderer; and it is expected that will soon be taken, & bro't to condign Punishment.

Three weeks later, the New England Weekly Journal (29 May 1732) informed readers that by March 25, 'the Person who lately murdered on the Road Thomas Oliver, Servant of James Hamilton of Carlow, Esq' had been 'convicted of the same at Naas Assizes and is to be hung in Chains'. (With thanks to Sue Clement)

The Marriage to Catherine Campbell (1735)

In 1735, the 30-year-old achieved a useful double when he was appointed High Sheriff of Carlow and married Catherine Campbell, third daughter of the late Colonel Josias Campbell, variously described as 'of Drumsna, Annaduff, Co. Leitrim' and 'of Aunnaluce, Co. Monaghan'. The marriage took place on March 2nd at St. Michans of Dublin "in the presence of her parents". This was the church where the Bunbury's sons Cam and Willy would go to school twenty years later. A more detailed look at the Campbells of Drumsna is available on this link. In short, it seems they were an affluent clan, secure in their Mount Campbell demesne on the banks of the River Shannon. Catherine’s niece Sophia Campbell was Governess to the Princess of Wales and married Edward Southwell, 20th Lord de Clifford. Her brother George Campbell was killed at the Battle of Dettigen in 1743. Her cousins, the Martin brothers, were keenly involved with the tobacco industry in Virginia. The Campbells were also closely related to the Rowley family, a prominent naval dynasty perhaps best known for Admiral Sir Josias Rowley, Sweeper of the Seas. Three of Thomas and Catherine’s children would be given names pertaining to this Campbell-Rowley link: Josiah, Campbell, Letitia.

The marriage came a day after a Lease and Release land transferred the tenancy of non-tenanted property (unsure where) to the Bunbury’s by a release (relinquishment) of the Camblells interest in the property. The deed reveals that Colonel Josiah Campbell was dead at this time, and that his wife Letitia was thus a widow. Thomas’s father William was also deceased at the time. Downings and Killmagarvoge seem to have been Thomas Bunbury’s addresses at the time. Also named in the document were Richard Butler, Ear of Arran; Benjamin Johnston (Notary Public of City of Dublin), John Martin (Johnston’s clerk), the Rev William Henry (clerk), Jane Pea (a widow), Lorenzo Hodson and Philip Bernard. (Registry of Deeds Index Project Memorial No: 58227. See abstract by Susie Warren). (Thanks to Rohan Boyle)


On 2nd July 1739 Thomas took a lease on the lands of Downings from Mrs Elizabeth Browne of Ballymurphy.


A Memorial of an Assignment by way of an Indorsement made on the back of a deed
Dated 1st April 1740
Between Bartholomew Newton Esquire of Bushertown in county Carlow of the one part and Thomas Bumbary Esquire of Kill of county Carlow of the other part the assignment bears date 4th December 1764 whereby the said Thomas Bumbary in consideration of two hundred and eleven pounds sterling to him in hand by the said Lorenza Nickson Esquire of Coolkenno in the county of Wicklow did grant the town and lands of Downings, Ballybricken and Ballymurphy county Carlow.
Witnessed by Oliver Moore Gent city of Dublin, John Beckes Farmer of Coolkinno county Wicklow and Thomas Bunbury.
John Beckett maketh oath.
Registered 7th October 1764

(With thanks to Susie Warren. Downings was at one time in the hands of the Disney family who were connect to the Warrens. Ballmurphy was supposedly the home of the Warren's from around 1735 to the 1820s. William Nicholson (or Nixon / Nickson) married Jane Warren in 1700s).


Deed Allen & Hull to Bunbury. County Carlow. An Indenture, made 5 March 1744, between Margaret, Lady Viscountess Dowager Allen, & John, Lord Viscount Allen, only son and heir of Joshua, late Viscount Allen, of the first part; Richard Hull of Dublin, Esq, of the second part; and Thomas Bunbury of Kill, County Carlow Esq of the third part, whereby, for the sum of £5016, paid to Lady Allan, and £10 [?] a piece to Lord Allen & Hull, they sold to said Bunbury
The towns and lands of Ballivit als Dalhuit als Ballybit, & Tuckenin, als Tuckinin, als Tuckamine, alias Anokenin, alias Aucknina, parcels of the Lordship & Manor of Rathvill, alias Rathvilly - 450 [acres].
Inrolled 6 March 1744
John Lodge, Records of the Rolls, vol. 14

The Lisnavagh Archives [K/1/3] contain 'a map and survey of the lands of Ballybitt and Tucomin containing 448 acres one perch, by Terence Lyons, August 9th 1746 ...' with the comment 'Who I take to be a very bad surveyor and knows nothing of the matter, J.B.'


Deeds Allen & Hull to Bunbury
B. Rathvilly C. Carlow
An Indenture, made 2 June 1750, whereby Margaret, Lady Viscountess Dowager Allen, her daughters Elizabeth & Francis Allen, and Richard Hull Esq, for the sum of £4800, paid to her Ladyship, and £10 [?] a piece to the rest, sold to William Bunbury of Lisnevagh, & Thomas Bunbury of Kill, County Carlow Esquire, the Town & Lands of Rathmore, cont by including 15? of Ballyhackett - 490 [acres].
Inrolled 9 June 1750
John Lodge, Records of the Rolls, vol. 14


The above-named Margaret Allen was the daughter of Samuel du Pass, an East Indies merchant, of Epsom, Surrey, and his wife, Dorothy Ellis, whose father had held the purse for Charles II in exile. Margaret married Joshua, 2nd Viscount Allen in 1707. Her father-in-law, the first Viscount, who died in 1726, had been an influential politician, serving three terms as MP for Dublin County (1692-93, 1703-13 and 1715-17) plus terms as MP for County Carlow (1795-1803) and Wicklow (1713-1715). According to Sir John Thomas Gilbert (A History of the City of Dublin, Volume 1, p. 352), the Stillorgan-based Joshua was ‘a weak and dissipated man, who was trepanned by Lionel, Duke of Dorset into a marriage with Margaret , daughter of Samuel Du Pass, first clerk in the Secretary of State' s Office [until he quit under James II and joined William of Orange], whom he subsequently refused to acknowledge as his wife … "But the lady, after living some time in close retirement, caused an advertisement to be inserted in the papers, stating the death of a brother in the East Indies, by which Miss Margaret Du Pass had succeeded to a large fortune. Accordingly, she put on mourning, and assumed an equipage conforming to her supposed change of fortune. Lord Allen's affairs being very much deranged, he became now as anxious to prove the marriage with the wealthy heiress as he had formerly been to disown the unportioned damsel; and succeeded, after such opposition as the lady judged necessary to give colour to the farce. Before the deceit was discovered, Lady Allen, by her good sense and talents, had obtained such ascendance over her husband, that they ever afterwards lived in great harmony.’ Joshua Allen was satirized under the name of Traulus by Swift, whom he had offended.

Margaret and Joshua had seven children, most of whom died young, before Joshua himself died on 5 December 1742. Their only surviving son John, named here, succeeded as 3rd Viscount Allen and is best known for his role in having his land at Stillorgan cleared of rock by the poor during the hard frost of 1739, the rocks being reshaped into the famous Stillorgan obelisk. The 3rd Viscount was apparently Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Ireland but this needs to be confirmed. According to The Gentleman's and London Magazine of 1788, disaster struck for the Allens on 26 April 1745 when the 3rd Viscount ‘having the misfortune to be insulted in Eustace-Street [Dublin] by three dragoons… received a wound on his hand by one of them, with his broad sword, which threw him into a fever, and was the cause of his death, the 25th of May following.' He was unmarried so the viscounty passed to a cousin and the Allen estates came up for grabs. The 3rd Viscount had two sisters, named in the Rathmore deed, aka Elizabeth (who was married in 1750 to the Whig politician John Proby, 1st Baron Carysfort, who went on to become Lord of the Admiralty) and Frances (who was married in 1758 to the Lisbon-based merchant (Sir) William Mayne, 1st Baron Newhaven, of the firm Mayne & Barn).


The Political Context

In 1740, £100 was raised for rebuilding the church of Tullow. At vestry on 8th June 1743 Thomas Bunbury Esq and Mr James Mottly, churchwardens, made up their accounts, one item of which was £205 paid to John Johnson for building the church. [The History and Antiquities of the County of Carlow by John RYAN (M.R.S.L.), p. 385]

The winter of 1740 brought devastation to Ireland in the form of a famine that wiped out between 16 - 20% of the population. During a two month long ice cold spell, the potatoes froze in the ground, then rotted. In Carlow, the Vigors of Old Leighlin played a key role in alleviating distress as evidenced by this story published in the American Weekly Mercury (Thursday April 30 to Thursday April 30, 1741):

'Dublin, February 10. We hear from Old Leighlin in the County of Carlow, that the melancholy Condition the Country in general is in, is most deplorable, Numbers die of the Flux, which rages every where thereabouts, and many would Perish but for the Charity of the Rev. Mr. Vigors, of Old Leighlin, who besides his private Charities and daily feeding Numbers at his House gave last Week 14 l. to be laid out in Oat-Meal to provide two Meals in the Week for the Poor of that Town, of whom 105 are now Fed by that Charity.'

Some people lived longer than others, such as George Austin who apparently died aged 120 Years and was buried in August or September 1740. 'He had been Clerk to the Parish of Carlow eighty years, had his Senses to
the last Hour, and till within these twelve Months could walk without a stick.' (Boston Evening Post, 15 Dec 1740 - with thanks to Sue Clement).

A new age of philanthropy followed, spear-headed by Bartholomew Mosse who founded the Rotunda, the world's first purpose-built maternity hospital two years later. It was in this charitable spirit that Handel came to Dublin to premiere The Messiah in Fishamble Street, prompting Bartholomew Mosse to found the Rotunda. Messiah was performed for the first time on 13 April 1742, conducted by Handel himself, at Mr. Neale’s Great Music Hall, Fishamble Street, Dublin, before a lucky audience of 700.

In 1745, the War of the Austrian Succession brought Britain down a peg following their catastrophic defeat at Fontenoy by the French (supported by the Irish brigade). The Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, then raised a rebellion on British soil which collapsed in the face of Cumberland's canon balls at the battle of Culloden in 1746. Ireland did not rise in support of Charlie, largely due to the efforts of the charismatic new Viceroy, the Earl of Chesterfield, who did much to pacify Catholic dissent in the country.

13 June 1748: Sir Robert King, MP for Boyle, Co Roscommon, was created Baron Kingsborough.

29 October 1748. Pue’s Occurrences of 1-5 November 1748 reported: 'Last Week the Lady of Sir Warren Crosbie was unfortunately drowned, as she was crossing the River Slany near Enniscorthy in her Coach, occasioned by a great Flood that was in the River. Sir Warren Crosbie and some other Gentlemen who were in the Coach, happily saved their Lives by swimming to Shore; two of the Coach Horses were also drowned.’ (Paul Gorry speculates that the scene of the tragedy may have been Lady’s Ford, between Holdenstown Lower and Slaney Park, which was apparently named for a lady who drowned there. In the 1740s, Slaney Park was called Crosbie Park and was the home of Sir Warren Crosbie and his wife Dorothy Howard from Northumberland. Their grandson, the balloonist Richard Crosbie, Ireland’s first aviator, is believed to have been born at Crosbie Park.

1 April 1749: Samuel Boyse, MP for Bannow, died as a result of a duel at the age of 33.

On 19 December 1751, the Irish Parliament authorised the application of a revenue surplus to the reduction of the national debt, causing a dispute between the House of Commons and the Government.

24 June 1754 – Death of Robin Downes. Thomas Waite writes: ‘Yesterday morning Robin Downes, member for Kildare, was found in his parlour in his house in Dawson Street with a sword run through his body. There are hopes of his recovery. He himself says … that he received the wound in a fair duel … but the general opinion seems to be that he transfixed himself, though no one pretends to assign the reason. My Lord Kildare is come to town in vast agitation at this accident’.


The Children of Thomas & Catherine Bunbury

Thomas and Catherine enjoyed 19 years of marriage before her death in 1754. During this time, they were most likely based at Thomas’s house of Kill, midway between Lisnavagh and Killerig, in Co. Carlow. They had eight sons and two daughters. Only four of the sons and one daughter survived childhood. One of those sons who did survive died aged 19. Their names are recorded on a piece of paper contained in a journal belonging to Thomas, discovered in 2007.[2]

Their firstborn child William was born on 2nd January 1736 but died within six weeks.

The second son Josiah, born on 2nd June 1738, and entered Kilkenny School, aged 10, on July 5th 1748. He would have thus been at school with the young Barry Yelverton, Viscount Avonmore. However, he took ill at Kilkenny School and died on 11th March 1748. (1)

A third son William, born 30th January 1740, died at the age of 8, just two months after Josiah on 16th May 1748.

Their fourth son, Campbell Bunbury (Cammy), was born on 8th February 1741 and presumably named for his maternal grandfather. Cammy features prominently in his fathers diaries but alas, he died on 31st August 1760 aged 19.

The fifth son, another William Bunbury (Willy), was born on 2nd May 1744 and, although killed in a horse fall at the age of 34, he had the fortune to leave behind some offspring from which my siblings and I descend.

Thomas Bunbury, the sixth son, was born 5th Jan 1745 but died in his cot on 21st September 1746.

George Bunbury, the seventh son, was born on 24th November 1747, lived at Rathmore, became MP for Gowran and died in May 1820.

Benjamin Bunbury, the eighth and youngest son, was born on 11th July 1751 and died on 10th Oct 1823 having played a prominent role in maintaining order in Co Carlow during the 1798 Rebellion.

As to the daughters, Letitia (Letty) was born on 16th March 1749 and later married George Gough while Elizabeth (Betty) was born ‘23rd 1754’ (no month) and died aged 4 on 4th October 1758.


1. I am aware these dates seem confused. His date of entrance to Kilkenny appears in 'The Register of Kilkenny School' (1685-1800), T. U. Sadleir ( The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Sixth Series, Vol. 14, No. 1). And yet his date of death is recorded as stated in his father's journal.

NB: In England and Wales, Ireland and the British colonies, the change of the start of the year and the change over from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian occurred in 1752 with the passage of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750. The legal start of the year now became 1 January rather than 25 March. That can throw a lot of people when trying to make sense of dates and years prior to 1752 because, eg, March 1722 is actually 10 months after May 1722.

The Death of Catherine Bunbury (1754)

Catherine Bunbury passed away on 24th November 1754. Her husband had left for Dublin to bring her home to Kill just eleven days earlier, along with their ‘young daughter Betty’. The implication is that Catherine was carried away not long after delivering her tenth child and second daughter, Elizabeth (Betty). At her death she left 12-year-old Cammy, 11-year-old Willy, 6-year-old George, 4-year-old Letty, 2-year-old Ben and baby Betty. Nurse Murphy who may have overseen the latter moments was paid £2-10-11 (approx. £246 in 2007) cash on the 24th.

The Journal of Thomas Bunbury

It was at this point that Thomas Bunbury of Kill commenced his journal, a small brown leather diary discovered at Lisnavagh in 2007. A complete transcript can be found here but in the coming pages is a précis of its contents. It starts in 1754 and continues sporadically until his death twenty years later. It commences on November 13th 1754 with the following words: ‘Left Kill to bring home my wife and young daughter Betty from Dublin. My wife died 24th ins’. The frank nature of these remarks sets the tone for much of what follows over the next 20 years. The Journal is entirely devoid of either emotion or humour. For the most part it is a chronicle of his incomes and outgoings, a handy pocket book for writing down who owed him what, all to be entered into some other bigger, neater ledger when time allowed. But there are glimpses of the kind of life he led, the joys and frustrations, and one can make guesses as to what sort of a man he might have been.

It is curious to note that there is not one mention of him leaving the island of Ireland during this entire time. Perhaps he did leave but never wrote it down. The journeys he makes are, by and large, from Kill to Dublin with occasional excursions to look at his properties in Kildare and Longford. If he left early in the morning, he could complete the journey in one day. If he set off late ort the weather was poor or he was accompanied by women and children, he tended to break the journey by staying the night at Ballymore Eustace or Kilcullen.

In Dublin, he generally stayed with his wife’s’ family, the Isaacs, who had a house on Fade Street off South Great George's Street. Sometimes I find myself coming to a halt when i walk down Fade Street these days and I think of him and wonder am I walking on the very same spot where he once walked.

The Lockwood family, into which his sister Elizabeth had married, may have had a home on Eustace Street where he stayed before he met Miss Isaac. [2a] When he went to Dublin in the winter of 1757, he says that he spent a few weeks lodged at what looks like ‘Widow Duany’s’, possibly on Eustace St, but I cannot work these words out properly. Perhaps he had occasion to pop in to Dick’s Coffee-house in Skinner’s Row (near where Jury’s Inn Christchurch stands today) which offered ‘the best coffee in Dublin’. Its owner Richard Pue also published one of the earliest Irish newspapers, Pue’s Occurrences. Dick’s Coffee-house had closed by the time of Irish legislative independence in 1782.

Nor was he far away from the General Post Office which moved in 1755 from Sycamore Alley in Temple Bar (where it had been since 1709) to Bardin’s Chocolate House on Fownes’ Court, the site now occupied by the Central Bank. The Post Office moved again to College Green in 1783.

Fiscal Matters

I will not pretend to understand what all the financial transactions listed in his diary mean. I can however suggest what these amounts might be equivalent to in today’s terms using the Retail Price Index devised by Lawrence H. Officer, "Purchasing Power of British Pounds from 1264 to 2007." For instance, he commences the diary by stating that he has entered £425.9.3 into his account at Messrs Kane & Co’s Account. Using the RPI, that amounts to about £38,000 in 2007. One figure that stands out is his computation that his son and heir’s bride Katherine Kane is worth £40,000 which £3,870,530.72 using the retail price index. Thomas banked around the corner from Fade Street on College Green with Messrs Kane, La Touche & Co’s, the forerunner of the Bank of Ireland. He wrote checks on their account, and took out bonds with them.[3] By the 1740s, the banks clients included most of the Irish nobility, gentry and statesmen. In 1774, Thomas’s son William would marry Katherine Kane, a kinswoman of this banking, clothier and cloth finishing family. Her father Redmond Kane was a prominent Dubliner of mixed repute and excellent contacts.

Some of the Cast

In his diary, Thomas refers to a number of people with whom he has financial dealings. Some of these wee tenants, others employees and others perhaps just acquaintances. Among the names he mentions are: Ta. Chritchly, Fran. Harvey, Pat Whelan, Jemy Cloy, Sam Baxter, Maurice Baxter, Thomas Fleming, Mrs Jane Pierse, John Kelly, Mr Martin, Robert Snow, Jack Nowland, Murtagh Naile, Thomas Kennedy, Dunoghue, James Reilly, James Kenney , Mrs Shrigley, Rev Mr Enraght, Johnny Clery, Geo Dunbar, Lucas Jackson, Frank Thornhill, Robbin Jones, Jemmy Byrne, James Card, Samuel Card, John Hutchinson, Geo Wallace, Mr Nicholas Roche, Rich Brough, John Drumgold and Murtagh Neale (almost certainly a tenant as, in 1757, he paid ‘on account of his last Michelmas rent £61-16 & a half-penny’).


On October 18th 1754, he ‘lent Simon Mercer by payment this day to Billy Lockwood for which Simons Mercer gave me his note the 16th ins – £30’ (£2900 in 2007).[4] Mercer was a fellow patron of the new bridge over the Slaney in Tullow and his name appears on several occasions in the early part of the journal. He may have been a kinsman of John Mercer, founder of Mercer's Dock in the Dublin Docklands. Billy Lockwood was probably Thomas’s nephew, William Lockwood, the son of Richard Lockwood and Elizabeth Bunbury. He was born in Cashel in 1722, married Mary Lowe (daughter of Hamilton Lowe of Rose Green, Tipperary) in 1761 and died at Ballyclerahan, Cashel, in 1792. He seems to have 'failed' in Dublin, being recalled to his father's home in Tipperary in 1787.


1) 1750 4th March lease of land on Co. Dublin between William Lockwood, Henry Bunbury, Johnstown, Robert Bunbury son Paul Minchin, Justus? witnesses William Lockwood City of Dublin, Henry Bunbury of Johnstown, Robert Bunbury son, Paul Minchin and William Lockwood.

2) 1758 ref 197/48 129570 Deeds of Conveyance? between Nicholas Mansergh of Grenane, Tipperary and Elizabeth his wife (Lockwood daughter of Richard Lockwood and Elizabeth Bunbury) in part and William Lockwood of Dublin (They would be brother and sister) agreed fine and recovery should be levied on land called Grenane.

3) 1761 21 November marriage agreement William Lockwood of Dublin and Mary Lowe daughter of Hamilton Lowe of Rose Green, Tipperary. Refers to land at Ballyclerahan, Tipperary. Witnesses Richard Lockwood, Thomas Lockwood and Matthew Pennyfather.

4) Landed Estates Database at NUI Galway notes that Richard Lockwood was declared insolvent in June 1865 and that all his houses and premises in Cashel were advertised for sale. (Thanks to Roger Carden Depper).


In his diary, Thomas refers to a number of people in his employ. On November 21st 1754, he paid his servant Harry 12 shillings (£58 in 2007). On 12th September 1755, he paid Thomas Clark as part of his wages 2 Guineas (nearly £200 in 2007). The following day Thomas Clark gave Thomas Bunbury £1-2-1 (£106 in 2007) ‘for Simons Mercer’s old mare’. Another employee was Matty Sharp who may have been a woman. On February 18th 1756, Thomas ‘gave Thom Clery for to buy 2 Hatts for Matty Sharp & Katty Nowlan at ½ Guinea £1-2-9 which is to be charged to each of their accounts when I go home’. On December 7th 1759, around about the time Arthur Guinness was pouring his first pint, Thomas ‘paid Thom Clery for part of his wages £1-2-9’ while ‘Nelly the maid’ got £2-5-6.


Only occasionally does Thomas refer to his own health. On September 10th 1755, for instance, he states that he ‘left home for Dublin to be cut for a Fistula in Anno'. This surprisingly open remark refers to Anorectal fistula (or fistula-in-ano), an operation to cut out an abnormality somewhere between the anal glands and the anal sphincters. Prior to this, poor Tom would have experienced ‘an abnormal discharge through an opening other than the anus’. This cut would have cured the fistula but left behind a scar, perhaps causing problems with incontinence. When his wife miscarried some years later, their doctor advised she spent three months in the salt baths in Dublin. Thomas himself spent three months in Dublin in the spring of 1768 recovering from ‘a Gravely Complaint’. Five years later, his last diary entry would be that he had ‘brought home so violent a Cold’ that he ‘kept my house for above a month afterwards in which time I had very severe fits of the Gout, Gravel & Rheumatism’.


There are no clues as to what Thomas liked doing in his spare time. The closest I can get is an entry, on 20th October 1754, saying he had written to Jack Drought requesting him to pay Mr Will Waringmy subscription for Bagenalstown races’ which was £1-2-9.


1 November 1755: A nine minute earthquake in Lisbon, estimated to have been between 8.5 and 9.0 on the Richter scale, sends high waves roaring up coast of Spain and Portugal to Ireland where the tsunami is said to have created the beaches and sand dunes at Barley Cove, Rosscarbery and Long Strand, as well as Aughinish island in the Shannon. One wonders if it also changed the shape of the landscape around the O’Mahoney castle at Three Castle Head near Crookhaven, which might lend some logic to that extraordinarily location. As many as 50,000 may have died because of the earthquake, including some in West Cork. At least five more earthquakes were felt in Ireland between the end of 1755 and the beginning of 1762. On March 30th, 1761, a minute-long earthquake was felt in Cork city and again followed by a small tsunami. For more, see here.

the Farmer

Thomas Bunbury farmed his lands. On 25th June 1756, he ‘received from Frank Bulger a sum of £ 3-19-1 as part payment of ‘10 Barrels of Oates sold him for my Stew[ard?]’. Seven months earlier, on November 18th 1755, he ‘left home for Dublin to sell and slaughter my bullocks’. He returned to Kill eleven days later having ‘slaughtered but 10 of my Bullocks - Steph. Nowlan having sold the remainder at home to Mr Snow’. The suggestion here is that Robert Snow purchased the remainder of his herd. He was doing considerable business with Robert Snow at the time through the banks of Messrs August Boyd & Co. and Messrs Boyd & Meredyth. The go-between appears to have been Jack Drought, a kinsman of the Whigsboro family, who may have been Thomas’s agent. He was certainly posting checks to Thomas from other people and paying his subscription fee to the Bagenalstown races.

Stephen Nowlan & the Lisnevagh Taxes

Stephen Nowlan’s name also begins to emerge more frequently here and he may have been a farm manager or steward of some description. It is noted that the Nolan family were said to have farmed cattle around Tullow before the Normans arrived and thus Stephen was perhaps simply following in the family footsteps. (In a later generation, we have a Lawrence Nolan high up on the Lisnavagh hierarchy and may well have been a kinsman). The Lisnavagh Archives include an incomplete draft lease showing that, in 1754, Thomas's brother William Bunbury was leasing Stephen Nowlan at least part of the lands of Lisnavagh. On February 21st 1757, Thomas noted that he must reimburse Nowlan who had paid the Petty Constable some of the taxes (£1 and thruppence, or £97 in 2007) due on ‘Lisnevagh’ (6/5) and Tobinstown (13/10). Curiously, this is the only mention of Lisnavagh in this Journal; his brother William who is said to have lived there died just three years earlier. As to other lands around Lisnavagh, Thomas notes that on November 14th 1764 he ‘left home early this morning for Dublin where I was this day decreed to pay Jno Baily Esqr the Exchequer £850 for the profit rent of Williamstown for 5 years& half which sum is to be paid in 3 months’.

Stephen Nowlan may have come from Tullowmagimma, more specifically the Ballyloo townland, just south of Tinryland, where the Nowlans were leasing land for farming in the mid to late 1700s. Stephen is thought to have been the father of Mat Nowlan of Ballitore and grandfather of Stephen and Philip. The younger Stephen Nolan went to Newfoundland and returned to become a baker in Carlow; three of his children, James (c1798-1810), Stephen (c1800-1813) and Matthew (c1805-1819), are buried in the Tinryland cemetery.

The Lockwood-Carden Marriage

In 1756, Thomas was one of the signatories to a marriage settlement between his nephew, Richard Lockwood Jnr, and Miss Elizabeth Carden, daughter of John Carden and Rebecca Minchin who were married circa 1717. Minchin Carden (1722-1785) of Fishmoyne was her brother. See William Bunbury I for more.

In the back hall at Lisnavagh, there's 'A map of part of the lands of Lisnavagh and part of the lands of Ballyoliver, belonging to Thomas Bunbury Esq. and now in the tenure of Mr Mort. Neal ..., surveyed in June 1756 by Daniel O'Brien …’. The Lockwoods were also at Ballyoliver so I assume this is somehow linked ...

Cam & Willy go to the Reverend Darby

On January 30th 1756, Thomas left Kill for Dublin with his two eldest sons Cam and Willy, wending their way up through the gorse bushes and soft marshes of the west Wicklow mountains. The following day, he put the two boys into School with the Rev. William Darby, Curate of St. Michan's parish in Christchurch. The cost of their education would be 20 Guineas a year each ‘for Dyet, Lodgings & tuition’ and a further two Guineas each for their 'entrance’. [5] Here the two boys must have gazed upon the organ at St Michan's upon which the great Handel had played during his visit to Dublin fourteen years earlier. They may have also been fascinated by the mummified remains of a nun, a crusader and other corpses kept in the vaults beneath. The Rev. William Darby was a son of William Darby, gentleman, and may well have been a grandson of the pewterer (and 'Butterer') John Darby of Darby Square, St Werburgh's. Born in Dublin in 1717, the Rev William was educated by a Dr Young and entered Trinity College on 17 August 1735 aged 17. He became a scholar in 1738, received his BA in 1740 and an MA in 1743. He joined the Church of Ireland, being ordained deacon in 1743, and priest in 1744, for the diocese of Kildare. He became a Doctor of Divinity at Trinity in 1746, upon which he was appointed Curate of St Michan's. He held the Curacy for an impressive twenty years. From 1760, he was also chaplain of Forenaughts (a Wolfe stronghold) and Hainstown in Kildare. He is recorded as running a school at Ballygall, Co Dublin, so it is possible that this is the school where the Bunbury boys were educated. His family included a son Anthony (who later received a TCD BA) and a son William. *

* John Darby was parish constable of St. Werburgh's from as early as 1677 and laid out the twelve houses that constituted Darby-Square, just west of St Werburgh's Street, until demolished in the 1990s to make way for the Jury's Hotel development. During the early part of the eighteenth century many eminent lawyers resided in Darby -square, in which were kept the Examiner's Office of the Court of Chancery, and the office of the Masters in Chancery, 1738-1743. John Darby's son son James married Jane Edgeworth of Edgeworthstown and their daughter Ambrosia Edgeworth Darby inherited the Darby Sq. property on her mother's death. John Darby's daughter Dorothy married Rev. William Fulton. After John Darby's death, his widow married Thomas Connor, who died in 1729. They were presumably related to the Darby family who lived at the appropriately spooky Leap Castle in County Offaly, including Vice-Admiral George Darby (c.1720 – 1790) who commanded the Channel Fleet in 1780, a time of particular danger to Britain. Also of note is John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), an influential figure among the original Plymouth Brethren, considered to be the father of modern Dispensationalism, and brother-in-law to Chief Justice Edward Pennefather. Note also Mathew Bunbury of Kilfeacle knew Priscilla Darby ... With thanks to Maureen Robertson.

There is no further mention of the Bunbury boys until June 10th 1756 when Thomas ‘left home this day for Dublin to see my sons Cam & Willy, who were very well’. On July 3rd, he returned to Kill ‘with my sons Cammy & Willy’. And there he remained until November 17th 1756 when he once again ‘left home for Dublin to spend my Winter there.’ On December 18th, the father and his two sons ‘got safe home’ to Kill where they spent Christmas, returning to Dublin on January 18th 1757. He was back at Kill from March 22nd 1757 until June 1st, when he made his way to Dublin ‘to see my son Cam who is ill there.’ There is no further indication of Cam’s health but his father returned to Kill on June 10th. The boys received another visitation from their father when he returned to Dublin, spending ‘a few weeks there lodged at widow Duany’s’ [sic]. The father and his two sons returned to Kill on December 18th and spent over three weeks there before the journey back to Dublin on January 11th 1758. What did they do all that time? Fish? Shoot? Read? Sleep? Flirt with the buxom housemaids? I am open to any suggestions.

image title

Above: Extract from a map showing 202-1-0 acres of Lisnavagh and 74-3-3 acres at Ballyoliver belonging to Thomas Bunbury, Esq, and in the tenure
of Mort. Neal, Lisnavagh, as surveyed in June 1756 by Daniel O’Brien, certified surveyor. The original house at Lisnavagh would have been just below /
west of the “Mr” of “Mr Sam’l Card’s Farm” but it is a curiosity indeed that the house is not shown. The ‘grove’ is now the site of the steel tank and
brick barn, as well as the proposed site of the 1778 house. The 'Broad Avenue' is (roughly) the present-day Lime Walk while 'Drours Lane’ is what
became known as the Green Lane. The late Bob Murphy, who grew up in the Green Lane Cottage, suggested that Lime Walk and the Green Lane
were both once part of a route from Carlow to Hacketstown mainly for driving (driver = drour?) cattle to market.


A map of Lisnavagh from 1756 shows the land to the south in the ownership of Samuel Card. It is also notable that the Card family feature twice in Thomas Bunbury’s journal, both in 1757. The first record from 7 March refers to the receipt 'from Mr James Card by Thomas Fleming £19-19-3 due last Sep’r for which I must give his act credit.’ The second, dated 21st November, says 'Rec’d this day £40-10 p post Mr Samuel Card’s Draft on Jno Hutchinson dated 15th inst 6 days after date my favour for to be credited.’ The Cards were a Quaker family who traded in property and wine. A man by name of Samuel Card was buried on 23 May 1754 and he may be the man whose library was sold by William Ross, a book auctioneer employed by Richard Pue, from Dick’s auction room (where Corkagh was bought by the Finlay family) in 1755. There are various deeds linking Samuel to the Shaw, Atkinson, Jackson and Poole families (eg Deed No. 21/506/12291, dated 26 Nov 1718, relating to the Crooked Staff, with the house built by Henry LITTON, builder, plus other properties on S side of Upper Combe in the Liberties Thomas Court & Donore, Co Dublin). Another deed by Mary Peel, wife of Joseph Peel, carpenter, relating to lands in Temple Bar notes her 'Trusty friends Mr. Samuel Card and his son Mr. Ralph Card, Dublin, merchants, trustees and exors. Ormond Markett, city of Dublin.’ Another by John Edwards, a clerk, city of Dublin, also connected to the Crooked Staff and the Jackson family refers to Jeremiah Vickers and ‘his brother Samuel Card.’ There is also a record of a sale of part of the estate of Edward Geoghegan to Samuel Card of Dublin; the latter claimed that he bought the lands in trust for Arthur Judge of Mosstowne. James Card may have been a wine cooper on Aungier Street.

TULLOW IN 1756-1757

Here is a link to two pages of a church record from the Parish of Tullow dated 1757 & 1758 courtesy of IGP Carlow Rootsweb.



This part of Thomas Bunbury's life should be examined against the backdrop of the Seven Years War, a war that I am only just beginning to make sense of as I write in June 2017. The following notes are a vague sumary of some of the main moments of the war. In May 1756 France invaded Menorca, thus ending months of skirmishing warfare between Britain and France by up-scaling into a formal war between the two powers. Prussia, Britain's chief ally on the continent at this time, had been ruled by Frederick the Great since 1740 but Frederick had already alienated himself from most other European powers, particularly Austria and Poland, following his seizure of Silesia from the Austrians, and as well as the Polish corridor between east and west Prussia. On 6 May 1757 Frederick overstretched himself somewhat during his conquest of Prague which, although declared a triumph, ultimately proved a costly failure when his army suffered its first defeat in the battle of Koln on 18 June 1757.

Both Russia and Poland seized the opportunity to invade Prussia and, despite some stirring victories over France and Austria, things were looking pretty dubious for Frederick by the close of 1757. Added to this was British indignation that the Prussians had failed to prevent the French from seizing and occupying Hanover, the ancestral home of the British monarch. Britain also spent much of 1757 suffering in its war against France in the 13 colonies of North America.

A bright light flickered for Britain on 23 June 1757 when Clive of India secured control of Bengal (and its extensive reserves of saltpetre) at the battle of Plassey, a victory that propelled the Duke of Newcastle, the Prime Minister, to form an alliance with Pitt the Elder. The coalition duly decided to change its policy from focusing only on British interests in North America to seizure of French colonies all around the world. The British also offered their full support, financial as well as military, to Frederick the Great. The stage was now set for a proper world war. In 1758 George II also pitched a large number of British soldiers into what was ultimately a re-conquest of Hanover.

Frederick hoped to start 1758 with a bang by invading Moravia but it didn't pan out and, following the retreat of his army back into Prussia, he would spend the rest of the war defending his own kingdom rather than invading others. On June 23, 1758 a combined British-Hanoverian army defeated the French at the battle of Krefeld, with the British fielding 9000 troops into the battle. This British intervention, which occupied so much of the French army’s time, did much to free up Frederick from having to fight a battle on too many fronts simultaneously.

On 25th August 1758 Frederick scored a welcome victory at the battle of Zorndorf, thus preventing the Austrian and Russian armies from linking up, but he was soon also dealing with a Swedish invasion of Prussia in September 1758! Maria Theresa's dream of clobbering Frederick were going very nicely, especially after the battle of Hochkirk on 14 October when the Prussians were badly defeated by the Austrians who nabbed most of their field artillery even though the Prussian army itsself retreated in reasonably good order.

Frederick badly needed a decisive victory in 1759 but things went from bad to worse and on 12 August, he suffered the worst defeat of his reign when the Russians trounced him at the battle of Kunersdorf. He might have been hoping for British assistance at this time, especially as the British were riding high on the zenith of their prestige, having crushed a French attempt to invade Britain by knocking the French Navy out of the war and confirming British naval superiority. However, Britain's main forces were committed to Hanover and unable to help Frederick. Harried by invaders and with no other option to break the cycle, Frederick marched his entire army out to meet the Russians at Kunersdorf, not realising that the Russians had since been joined by 19,000 Austrians. Frederick’s tactics in this battle proved too predictable; only 3,000 of his original 48,000 strong army were still mobile after the battle; his cavalry were wiped out and Frederick nearly committed suicide. It was the biggest defeat in Prussian history although Frederick was certain that the ‘consequences’ of this ‘cruel failure’ would be ‘worse than the battle itself’. It seemed highly unlikely Prussia could survive such a catastrophe. And yet it did!


The Martin FAMILY

In 1757, he had considerable dealings with his wife's uncle Colonel John Martin, JP (d.1760) and his three sons, George Martin (a merchant operating between Bristol and Dublin), Samuel Martin (a tobacco merchant) and Lewis Burwell Martin (later Assistant Judge of the Jamaica Supreme Court), but I am none too sure what these concerned. Colonel Martin was Burgess for Caroline County, Virginia 1730-34 and 1738-40, where he had an estate of 2,700 acres. One of his daughters was married to Edmond Sexton Pery, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. Another married a son of the Earl of Shannon. For more on this family, see Martin of Virginia.
One such sum, dated March 14th 1757, amounted to £964-16-2, or £95,000 in 2007, so these figures were certainly impressive. He was still engaged in financial wheeling with George Martin in February 1767. I won’t pretend to understand what all this was about but it looks like ‘Brother George Martin’ had failed to pay a bond for £2000, possibly to the Collector of Dublin. Thomas and a merchant called Thomas Hawshaw had guaranteed this bond, with George’s brother Lewis Burwell Martin and another Martin kinsman James Agar of Gowran as security. Thomas went to Dublin to address the matter on February 6th 1767. He returned on 21st February having done ‘very little relative to Brother Martin failure & more than enter Judgment against him’. The business saw him back to Dublin again on April 30th, ‘where I arrived about 3 of Clock to settle matters with Mr Agar’. He stayed six weeks but finally managed to 'settle with the Commissioners relative to Mr Martin’s failure viz to pay £100 for each of the £2000 Mr Thomas Hawshaw & I were bound for, each of us, the Crown, & £300 for 3 years to Mr James Agar’. Thomas said he had already paid his £100 but Hawshaw has not paid his share yet.
This might have been James Agar of Ringwood, County Kilkenny, who was killed in a duel with the great Patriot orator Henry Flood in 1769. However, it is more likely to be James Agar of Gowran Castle, second husband to the Martin brother’s sister Lucy. Lucy was previously married to the Hon. Henry Boyle Walsingham, son of the Earl of Shannon. James Agar was a son of Henry Agar, M.P., by his wife Anne, only dau of Rt Rev Welbore Ellis, Bishop of Meath. On 27 July 1776, James Agar was created Baron Clifden. On 9 Oct 1781, he was further elevated as Viscount Clifden. He died on 1 January 1789. His wife, Lucy, died aged 70 at Lady Mendip’s house, Twickenham. Lucy and James Agar had three sons and a daughter.

Lemuel Schouldham & Poley Molyneux

By 1757, he seems to have taken out a bond for £200 in the name of two well-christened characters, Lemuel Schouldham Esq and Poley Molyneux. The £12 annual interest comes in pretty much on time every time. I note that there was a family called Shuldham based in Dunmanaway, Co Cork, at this time who also used the first name of Lemuel so I assume these were one and the same clan. Poley Molyneaux was almost certainly part of the Molineaux of Castle Dillon clan into which the Shuldhams were married.

Rev. Gibson Raymond

On February 3rd 1758, Thomas ‘went out of town to the Queen’s County to see [his brother-in-law] Gibby Raymond who was ill of a dropsy’. The Rev Gibson Raymond was married to Thomas’s sister, Mary Bunbury. Thomas stayed there a week, returning to Dublin on the 11th. It is not clear whether the Gibsons had any children but the Rev. Gibson Raymond left his house to a nephew, the Rev. John Gibson, who was born in 1732, attended Trinity College Dublin and became Rector of Clonmore in 1777. John, who died in Drogheda in 1794, was a son of the Rev. Samuel Gibson. In 1777, he married Charity Graham of Drogheda. John was author of 'Hints for Providing Residences for the Parochial Clergy' (Charles Evans, Drogheda, 4to, 50 pp.)

(Another sister Sarah Bunbury is recoded as a spinster in Cashel in 1754 - see here).

The Powdering of Wigs

On April 8th 1758, he ‘paid Purcell for Powdering my wiggs from the 11th January to this day 6-6’, or £30 in 2007 prices. I have often wondered where he would have had his white flowing wigs made? Perhaps he also sometimes availed of Richard Phelan, a Protestant perukemaker based in Carlow who, in September 1739, married of Carlow Mary Carpenter of Durrow Spinster. (The Irish Genealogist, Vol 8, #1, p.123) As Tom La Porte noted, perukemakers cannot have been all that common away from the bigger cities although Carlow probably supported a couple. Tom could not find a single reference for one in Carlow before Phelan. His ancestor John Bowles was a perukemaker based in Ballickmoyler from the 1740's. With maybe 5 customers in that area who would not need his services all that often it couldn't have been a very lucrative business and a couple of years later he is listed as a shoemaker.

The Marriage to Susanna Pricilla Isaac (1758)

On 20th April 1758, Thomas was married secondly to Susanna Priscilla Isaac. The wedding was reported in Pue's Occurrences - Saturday 22 April 1758, which noted that the new Mrs Bunbury hailed from St Bridget’s Parish. Thomas makes no mention of the courtship in his diary, nor the marriage itself. He merely states that they ‘left Dublin for Kill directly after the ceremony where we got safe next day’. Susanna enjoyed both spring and summer at Kill before her husband took her – and Miss Kitty Isaac, perhaps her sister? – back to Dublin on August 10th ‘to see their friends there’. Thomas adds that it is also his intention ‘to pay for the [new] Coach I bespoke from Jones, George’s Lane’.

The New Coachman

Along with a new Coach, Thomas required a new Coachman and so, on August 19th, he hired Cornelius Kelty [sic] at £8 (or £774 in 2007) a year ‘besides Clothes & Boots’. Whether Cornelius was any good or not is unknown. By January 31st 1759, Thomas was referring to a new coachman, George Mackey. However, on March 19th 1759, a new man named James Conolly was in the driver's seat at £8 a year and ‘clothes without Boots’. As for George Mackey, it seems that he was henceforth employed as a Coachman by Thomas’s nephew Billy Lockwood, but not before Thomas settled his wages on 20th March for four months at ‘£1-10-7 exclusive of the 9/9 he rec’d from Lockwood'. Connolly was still Coachman in June 22nd when paid ‘as part of his Wages two Guineas’ and on April 21st 1760 he was paid ‘2-8 ½ as part of wages’. The coach they drove was probably not unlike the coach and four depicted on four prints on the wall of the flagstone corridor between the Smoking Room and the Bake House at Lisnavagh House. On those prints, it is notable that the horses are blinkered which presumably ensured they could go a steady pace in the dark. In 2011, an elderly farmer called Din Lane from Glin, County Limerick showed me an ancient candlelit headlamp he once fitted to a horse and cart. It was strapped on with a piece of leather and had a spring device that kept pushing the candle up.

Death of Betty; Birth of Jenny

With Cornelius Kelty driving the new Coach, Thomas escorted his now pregnant wife and her sister, Miss Isaac, back to Kill on Saturday September 9th 1758. As the autumn set in, so too came a grim reminder of the mortality that stalks us all. On 4th October 1758, Thomas’s youngest daughter Betty by his first wife Catherine passed away in her fourth year. On December 26th, Thomas , Susanna, Kitty and 6-year-old Ben removed to Miss Isaac’s in Fade Street so that Thomas and his wife could ‘lye in there together’. Just over three weeks later, on 19th January 1759, Susanna bore him another daughter. She was christened Jane and known by her father as ‘Jenny’. Lady Mount Alexander and Lady Ann Burton were her godmothers. Her uncle Simon Isaac stood as godfather. The Countess of Mount Alexander, nee Manoah Delacherois and formerly Vicountess Montgomery, was the widow of Thomas Montgomery, 5th and last Earl of Mount Alexander. She lived at Donaghadee in Co Down and must have been a friend of the Isaac family. Lady Ann was a Ponsonby, a daughter of the 1st Earl of Bessborough and wife of Benjamin Burton of Burton Hall, Co. Carlow; Gainsborough painted her.

To-ing & Fro-ing

On March 28th 1759, Thomas returned to Kill ‘with my wife, daughter Letty, son Ben & got safe home 29th’. He remained there until June 16th when he escorted Miss Montgomery Isaac back to Dublin, stayed a week in the City and then escorted Miss Isaac back to Kill. He seems to have been rather partial to escorting Miss Isaac around for sure enough, he brought her back to Dublin on November 24th, along with ‘my wife, and daughter Letty, where we arrived safe the 25th’. Susanna was pregnant again.

Campbell Prepares for College

Cam had now finished his education with the Rev. Derby and when the family returned to Kill on December 9th 1759, he was dispatched in a hackney cab to his new tutor, Mr Bond, on the Tullow Hill Road. Mr Bond appears to have spent the ensuing five weeks teaching Cam everything he would need to know to pass his college examinations, presumably for Trinity College Dublin. On January 20th 1760, Thomas escorted both Cam and Mr Bond back to Dublin where they were ‘to answer their college examinations the 23rd instant’. The results are unknown but, on January 28th, Thomas ‘sent my son Cam & his private tutor Mr Bond out of town in a hackney chair to Kill’. Thomas, Cam and Mr Bond returned to Dublin on April 20th for further examinations. When the trio journeyed back to Kill on May 2nd, they were joined by Thomas’s sister-in-law, Miss Kitty Isaac.

The Manor of Rheban

In January 1760, having dispatched his son Cam back to Kill with Mr Bond, Thomas was now free to home in on a property that had lately come up for sale called the Manor of Rheban two miles north Athy. First it may be useful to consider the remarks of Ger Dooley in his excellent account of 'Colonel Ned Despard - Coolrain Patriot', where he writes: ' In 1759, Irish cattle were allowed to be exported to Britain. Seeing the opportunity to flourish, wealthy landowners and landlords began to enclose common land and turn arable land into pasture. It was around this time that much of the hedgerows that criss-cross rural Ireland today were originally planted. Their initial purpose was to act as a means of enclosure and was later legislated for by the British authorities. The hedgerow became a symbol for the disaffected natives of everything that was wrong with the ‘improvements’ being made to the landscape. Bands of Ribbonmen, secret rural societies, were set up around Camross to vent their fury against their neighbours, whom they viewed as being responsible for the destruction of their agrarian way of life. Nocturnal bands of scores of people, dressed in flowing white sheets with white badges, pulled down the fences and hedgerows enclosing the commons."

The Manor of Rheban estate had formerly belonged to John Gore and included a castle, believed to be a burial place of the O’Moore chieftains. When the Normans arrived, lordship of the barony of Rheban was granted to Richard de St. Michael, who is credited with building the first castle there to act as a guard for the ford. During the Confederate Wars of the 1640s, the castle change ownership many times and became a ruin. The Grand Canal would plough through this very estate later in the century. The castle was presumably ruined and overgrown when Thomas arrived at Rheban on January 30th 1760 with his friend, Thomas Wolfe.[6] He stayed with Thomas Wolfe and his wife Margaret (nee Lombard) at Blackhall between Naas and Clane until Monday February 4th when he returned to Dublin. Thomas was clearly impressed with what he saw. On March 8th 1760, he made his way from Kill to Dublin where he purchased John Gore’s estate of the Manor of Rheban in conjunction with two barristers Theobald Wolfe and Chichester Bolton, who was presumably a forbear of the Victorian barrister Francis Chichester Bolton, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin. The ‘Purchase money of Rheban’ was £5788.11.9 (over £800,000 in 2007) and the deal was completed in May of the same year. Theobald Wolfe (1710 – 1784), was a younger brother of Thomas Wolfe of Blackhall. He had been made a Freeman of Dublin in 1749. Hus first wife Eliza Charlton was deceased by this time and , in 1745, he had married secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Surgeon General William Dobbs. It seems probable that most of his four daughters were born at this stage.[7] Theobald and Elizabeth’s sons Theobald (1761–1770) and William (1765–1771) were born subsequent to the Rheban purchase; neither survived childhood.

Young William

On September 1st 1758, Thomas wrote in his diary that he had ‘this day bargained with my son Willy to give him four guineas a year to find himself in Hatts, shoes, Buckles, Garters, wigs, handkerchiefs & Stockings & Buttons having gave him a stock of them to begin with’. Willy was now facing his last term at the Rev Darby’s school with Cam who was soon to be dispatched to Mr Bond, the tutor on Tullow Hill Road, in advance of sitting his college examinations for Trinity. He was certainly still lodging with Darby when his father collected him ‘from Mr La Touche’s & Sons Bank’ and took him back down to Kill on February 15th 1760.

The Birth of Thomas Bunbury-Isaac

On July 4th 1760, Thomas left kill with his wife, Miss Kitty Isaac and daughter Letty ‘& got safe there next day the 5th’. Their destination was Dublin ‘where my wife is to lye in’. Thomas left Susana at her sisters’ house on Fade Street and returned to Kill five days later. Letty was instructed to stay with her mother. Fade Street is where the Market Bar is situated today, close to the Georges Street Arcade. Bartholomew Mosse’s first lying-in spot was on the corner of Fade Street at 26-27 South Great George's Street. I guess that having already fathered eleven children, Thomas was in no rush to see the newborn baby boy – his ninth - who arrived in Dublin on 10th August 1760. Perhaps he was already concerned for the health of his eldest surviving son, Cam. Eleven days passed before Thomas left Kill to visit his wife and baby in Dublin. The child was baptized on the 27th and christened Thomas Bunbury.[8] His aunt, Miss Montgomery Isaac stood as Godmother while Theobald Wolfe and Chichester Bolton, Thomas’s colleagues from the Rheban purchase, were godfathers. The following day he returned to Kill and ‘sent my son Thom to his nurse’s in a Chair’. Thom would go on to be scion of the Bunbury-Isaac family.

The Death of Campbell Bunbury

The joy of this occasion must have been greatly tempered by the death of Thomas’s eldest son, 19-year-old Cammy, five days later on 31st August 1760. Thomas does not refer to the event in his diary but it must have been a considerable blow to both the father and Mr Bond who had invested so much of his time in educating the boy. Mr Bond traveled with Thomas when he returned to Dublin to collect his wife and Letty on September 6th ; they were back at Kill by the 17th. I did not realize Campbell had died at this time until I found a note about Thomas’s children inserted into his diary. I had frequently wondered what became of Cammy in later life. To discover that he had simply died aged 19 left me feeling rather empty. Thomas’s diary fell silent for over a year during which time George III ascended the throne as King of Great Britian and Ireland. On February 19th 1762, he took up his pen again to announce that he had ‘left home this day with my wife and daughter Letty for Dublin where we arrived 20th & lay at the Miss Isaacs’s in Fade Street’. They stayed in Dublin until March 26th. The only other note from this year refers to the receipt of £12 on March 4th from Lemuel Schouldham Esq for a years interest’.


During the Tullow Fair which was held on 29th October 1761, a man called James Bradell of Copna, Carlow, approached Weaver Best of Ardiston, County Carlow ‘and asked him why he impounded Patrick Dolan's Cattle for rent which had already being paid.’ The talk turned into a scuffle which prompted two yeomen to join in, namely Patrick Lynch of Tullow and John Best of Carlow. Lynch whacked Bradell across the head with his Cudgel and knocked him down. As Bradell lay on the ground, John Best drew a four-inch Hanger and slashed him across his thigh ‘by which he Lost much blood’. The slash was so forceful that ‘a Guinea he had in his pocket was almost cut through.’ Bradell’s servant William Swain lifted him off the Ground and held him in his arms. Bradell asked if they ‘had a mind to murder him’. Weaver Best responded by presenting ‘Cocked Pistol to his face and Swore he would blow out his Brains or shoot out one of his eyes. This put Bradell in fear and peril of his Life.’ In short, they ‘did beat, wound and ill treat [him], so that his Life was greatly dispaired of.’ While Thomas Bunbury was certainly involved with the case in April 1762, it was initially examined by the Rev. Francis Hopkins, Justice of the Peace. In March 1762, Thomas Bunbury was also musing on a further incident at the Tullow Fair when Weaver Best of ‘with Swords, Sticks, and so forth, at Tullow did contemptuously, unjustly and unlawfully insult menace and threaten the Reverend Francis Hopkins, Clerk’, on 13th March, presumably for finding against him in the case of James Bradell. (With thanks to Michael Purcell)


True transcription of documents from the Pat Purcell Papers.

The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their Oath say and present, That Weaver Best of Ardiston in the County of Carlow, Esquire, Patrick Lynch of Tullow in the County of Carlow, Yeoman, and John Best of Carlow in the County of Carlow, Yeoman, on the 29th Day on October in the Second 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 Tullow in the County of Carlow aforesaid in and upon one James Bradell, a true and faithful Subject of our said Lord King, in the Peace of God, and of our said Lord the King, then and there, being, did make an assault and him did and there did beat, wound and ill treat, so that his Life was greatly dispaired of and other Wrongs to him then and there did, contrary to the Peace of our said Lord the King, his Crown and Dignity.
6th April, 1762.
(signed by -Thomas Bunbury )

The Examination of James Bradell of Copna, Carlow.
Sayth that he was at the Fair of Tullow when he went to Weaver Best of Ardiston and asked him why he impounded Patrick Dolan's Cattle for rent which had already being paid.
While Bradell and Best were talking, Bradell was knocked down with a belt from Cudgel on his head, while he was down on the Ground he got a wound on his thigh from a Hanger, by which he Lost much blood, a Guinea he had in his pocket was almost cut through.
His servant William Swain of Copna, Carlow took him off the Ground and held him in his Arms, Bradell asked them if they had a mind to murder him, then Weaver Best presented a Cocked Pistol to his face and Swore he would blow out his Brains or shoot out one of his eyes ~~
This put Bradell in fear and peril of his Life.
(signed ) James Bradell ~~~
Sworn before me this 30th day of October, 1761. (signed) Fran Hopkins.

The Examination of Edward Doolin of Copna, Carlow.
He was on Lawfull occasion in Tullow Fair, he saw Weaver Best and James Bradell both Grapple at Each Other as if intending to fight at which time he saw Patrick Lynch of Tullow knock Bradell down with a Stroke of a Cudgell on the head.
While Bradell was Down he then and there, saw John Best of Carlow with a drawn hanger assault Bradell and wound him desperately on the thigh with a Stroke of the hanger about four inches long, and almost cut a Guinea through, which Bradell had then in his Britches pocket and fears Bradell will loose the use of his thigh by said wound.
All without the Least provocation and further Saith not, (signed with his mark ) Edmond - X - Doolin.
Sworn before me this 30th day of October 1761. (signed Fran Hopkins).
Also has Examination of William Swain who was attending his Master, James Bradell, in the Fair of Tullow, his account reads the same as Bradell and Doolin.

County of Carlow.
The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their Oath say and present ~~
That Weaver Best of Ardiston in the County of Carlow , Esquire ~~ on the 13th Day of March in the Second 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 Tullow did contemptuously, unjustly and unlawfully insult menace and threaten the Reverend Francis Hopkins, Clerk, one of the Justices of our said Lord the King, appointed to keep the Peace in and for Carlow because he the said Francis Hopkins had before that -?- as a Justice taken Examination against Weaver Best for assaulting James Bradell in Contempt of the Laws of our said Lord the King to the evil Example of all others in the like case offending and contrary to the Peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity. Proved by the annexed Examination. A True Bill.
( signed) Thomas Bunbury.
County of Carlow ~~~~

The Examination of Edmond Wall of [ ? ] Carlow taken before Henry Colclough, Esquire ~
Edmond Wall Saith that for a Considerable time past he has had several of his Sheep plucked and the Wool barley taken of the skin and has sustained a Considerable loss thereby. He Saith that he went in search of this Wool in the House of William Doyle of Knockandrane and on he seizing the Wool, Mary Doyle wife of William confessed the Wool to be the property of the aforesaid Edmond Wall but told him that the Wool was brought into the house by one of her daughters who she sayd was young and foolish. Edmond Wall Saith he hath for these several years past lost a Considerable Quanity of Wool by having his sheep plucked and further Saith he verily believes his sheep has been so Plucked and the Wool disposed of by William and Mary Doyle and their children by their Directions and further Saith not ~~~ (signed) Edmond, hisXmark, Wall.
Edmond Wall bound in £20 [approx STG£1,500 in 2012] to Prosecute at the next assizes for the County of Carlow.
Sworn before me this 10th day of March 1762. (signed) Henry Colclough

[Ron Medulison asked why Edmond Wall had to put up a bond of £20 if he was the one bringing the charges against the Doyles? Michael Purcell responded: 'It was required at the time (and up to recent times ) that when people made allegations via Statements / Informations they had to post a bond to guarantee that they would pursue the charges in open court. If Edmond Wall decides not to show up in court to prove his case he could forfeit the £20. This method also ensured that the time of the Magistrate / Justice / Clerk or the Court was not wasted. It also acted as a safeguard to protect people from others making false allegations against them.']

The Purchase of Fryarstown

The recurrent harvest failures of the 1750s were followed by a further bad decade for grain growers during the 1760s.

6 May 1763: Mary Molesworth, widow of Richard, 3rd Viscount Molesworth, MP for Swords (1715-26), and her daughters Melosina and Mary die in a fire at their London house.

1763 was also the year in which Browne's Hill was built outside Carlow for William Browne. This apparently set in motion a vogue among the local gentry to build mansions.

On January 24th 1763, Thomas and his sister-in-law Miss Montgomery Isaac made their way from Kill to Dublin. Thomas now had his sights set on ‘part of Friarstown Estate belonging to Henry Bunbury’ located slap bang in the middle of Killerig and Johnstown in County Carlow. As an indicator of where Friarstown is, Google maps suggests in 2012 that it is right beside the pumping station and the sign for Flynn's Garage on the Carlow-Hackketstown road. These lands were ‘to be sold by publik sale’. In 1907, the Royal Irish Academy maintained some of the remains of the original Knights Templar preceptory of Killerig were to be found at Friarstown (or Fryarstown). It is unclear why Harry Bunbury (as he is later referred to) was obliged to sell the land but it has something to do with paying Sir Richard Wolsley’s demand of £8600’. Thomas explains that ‘the Purchase is off an act [sic] of Sir Rich Wolsley the Mortgagee not making Harry Bunbury, a party to his Bill of foreclosure’ but this is gobbledygook to me. Thomas describes Harry as ‘a minor, grandson to Henry & son to his son Joseph’ of the Johnstown branch.[9] Thomas Bunbury seems to have had a hand in his cousin Henry’s financial affairs since at least February 17th 1756, when he notes a payment of £25-5-6 (£2445 in 2007) to William Justus and Jack Brewster on Henry’s behalf. (Jack Brewster’s driver was called Denis Morgan). Sir Richard Wolsley, Bt. of Mount Arran, Co Carlow, was the third son of a Williamite officer who served at the Boyne. He succeeded to his father’s Irish estates and was created a Baronet of Ireland on 19th January 1744. In May 1727, he married Alice fourth daughter of Sir Thomas Molyneux of Castle Dillon, Co. Armagh, and widow of William, younger son of Sir John Rogerson, knt. He died in 1788 and was succeeded by his eldest son, also Sir Richard. At any rate, Thomas spent ‘near 2 months’ in Dublin attending the Sale of Harry’s estates of Fryerstown. On March 17th 1763 he purchased part of the estate ‘viz that part held by Thos Whelan. He paid £6000 for the property, swiftly depositing a quarter – or £1500 - in the Exchequer office.

On June 29th 1768 Thomas attended the sale of further parts of Fryarstown at the Exchequer office on Kennedy’s Lane, Dublin. However he ultimately backed out of the purchase, citing that ‘the parts sold were too dear’ – ‘viz Thomas Whelan’s lease for £5800, Diddoge [sic] for £380, Lawlifstown [sic] for £1500 & Jno Brewster lease Abbey Park £1820’. All these lands were purchased instead by Jonas Ducket and thus the Ducketts of Ducketts Grove came into being. [10] Thomas returned to Kill on 1st July. It was not an entirely wasted trip for it was that same week that he entered his son George into Trinity College as a Fellow Commoner.

Thomas was amongst those named as Carlow trustees to oversee the implementation of a new parliamentary act 'for altering, amending, and making more effectual the laws for the repair of the road leading from the city of Dublin through the towns of Kilcullen and Carlow to the city of Kilkenny. Henry Bunbury, another Thomas Bunbury and William Bunbury were also named.


Rathdaniel & Straboe

On April 8th 1764, Thomas set out from Kill for Dublin ‘with a design to Purchase the lands of Rathdaniel which with Straboe & other lands are to be sold on Thursday the 12th inst by Decree of the high court of Chancery’. These townlands are both located in County Carlow - Straboe just west of Kill and Rathdaniel to the north - and may have been something to the Bunburys of Johnstown. However, Thomas did not manage to purchase either property, returning to Kill on April 13th. He was evidently disappointed, stating that he had ‘offered £6400 for Straboe & £9300 for Rathdaniel’ which he felt was ‘more than value for them’. In the end the properties were purchased by Sir William Mayne (1722 – 1794) ‘who has part of the Allen Estate by his marrying one of Lady Allen’s daughters’. Sir William was the eldest son (by his second wife) of William Mayne esq of Powis Lodge in Clackmannanshire. He was created a Baronet on 22nd April 1763, just a year before the Rathdaniel and Straboe sales, as Sir William Mayne of Marston-Mortain in the county of Bedford. On 15th July 1758, he had indeed married the Hon. Frances Allen (d. 4/3/1801), second daughter of Joshua, 2nd Viscount Allen, and co heir of her brother John Allen, 3rd Viscount.[11]

The Croker Estates

On May 9th 1764, Thomas broke his journey to Dublin with a visit to the Estate of Mr Thomas Croker in County Kildare. The lands, located on and near the turnpike road, were called Skerries, Ballymoney, Mullycash and Flemingstown. For reasons unknown, Croker was obliged to sell these lands. Thomas seriously considered the purchase but ultimately, on May 17th, decided not to ‘as it was scatter’d & undivided’. And so he returned to Kill ‘& brought Billy Lockwood home with me’. Billy was probably his nephew, son of Richard and Elizabeth Lockwood.

Remedy for a Miscarriage

In June 1763, Susanna Bunbury miscarried. On June 3rd she went to Dublin ‘to bathe in the salt water for pains in her back’. This was the ‘advice of Doctor Johnston’ who recommended she stay close to the baths for a month. Thomas set out to join her four days later and found her ‘bathing in the Salt Waters’. He undoubtedly gave her his attention but it might not have been full. In the back of his mind was a new plan – the purchase of the Harman estates Estate viz Moyle.

Moyle & the Harman Estates

As well as attending to his wife at the salt baths, Thomas Bunbury came to Dublin on June 7th 1764 ‘ in order to purchase some part of the Harman estate’ in Co. Carlow. He had presumably seen an advertisement such as that which appeared in The Dublin Journal and read as follows:

‘TO be speedily sold, the Town and Lands of Moyle, and several other Lands in the County of Carlow, the Town and Lands of Bawn, and several other Lands in the County of Longford, and the Black Bull Inn in the County of Meath, the Estates of the late Wesley Harman, Esq; deceased. For further Particulars enquire of the Rev. Charles Doyne, in Molesworth-street, John Kelly, Attorney, in Aungier-street, Dublin, David Gorman at Moyle, near Carlow, and Robert Jenkins at Trillick near Longford, to any of whom Proposals can be made.’

Moyle is situated some 6 miles south west of Lisnavagh; perhaps 3 miles south of Kill. This sale arose following the death of Wentworth Harman II on 6 April 1758, not long after the death of his only son, Wesley Harman. Wentworth’s wife Lucy Mervyn was a daughter of Audley Mervyn of Trillick, County Tyrone, another property that subsequently passed to Thomas Bunbury of Kill.[12]

However, the journey was to be a false start as ‘the Decree for the Sale of said Estates was not ready tho’ advertised which disappointed several Gentlemen, both from County Longford & Carlow'. On July 16th following, Thomas set off for Dublin again, leaving early to ensure he arrived in time because the Harman estate had been ‘fresh advertised for to be sold this evening at 6’ clock’. On July 24th he returned home victorious, having purchased ‘most of the Harman Estate in the County Carlow’. He then lists the properties purchased – ‘viz Moyle Demesne, 109 acres; Little Moyle, Jno Pain tenant, 100 acres; Part of Moyle, Wm Dillon tenant, 42 acres; Part of Moyle, Widow McEvoy tenant, 35 acres; Part of Do [Ditto?] Anth. Murray tenant 20 acres; Rathedon Court [sic] Stewart tenant; Labenesy [sic] Harry Brewster tenant; & Gormenagh [sic] James Dillon’. The total cost of these lands amounted to £11,200. He put down a 25% deposit of £2800 on this immediately, returning to Dublin on February 2nd 1765 to ‘expedite the [remainder of] Purchase’ through ‘the direction of Mark Whyte my attorney’.[13] The Lisnavagh Archives include several maps of Moyle as surveyed by Daniel O'Brien (1765, 1766 and 1770), Christopher McCarthy (1777 and 1778), Patrick Kelly (1791), Benjamin Butler (1793), Philip Butler (1794) and Laurence Nowlan (1805). An O.S. map (possibly of c.1920) is endorsed with the information that Moyle was 'Sold to Rathoe Co-operative Land Society in March 1921 for £16,000'.

It is to be noted that Moyle is also the stated birthplace of John Hood (1720-c.1783), author of 'Tables of Difference of Latitude and Departure for Navigators, Land Surveyors, &c.' (Dublin, 1772), in which he recommends that, in surveying, the bearing of objects should be taken from the meridian of the place. The tables printed in the book are the natural sines of all the angles, in degrees and quarter degrees, to different radii, the latter ranging from 1 to 100, as being best adapted to Gunter's chain. Hood also gives an account of the diurnal variation of the magnetic needle and its correction, and a description of a new surveying instrument. This invention is elsewhere called Hood's compass theodolite, and is described as the basis of the theodolite now used in England and America. He is also said to have anticipated the invention of Hadley's quadrant, but took out no patents. Thanks to Michael Brennan. See here for more.


Moyle & Lady Parsons

Thomas had to fight for Moyle. A rival claimant was Lady Anne Parsons, only daughter of Sir Wentworth Harman and sister of Wentworth Harman II. She was a lady not without influence. Her mother, Frances Harman, was a sister and heir of Anthony Sheppard of Newcastle, Co. Longford. She was a niece of the Rev. Cutts Harman, Dean of Waterford. And in 1742 she married (as his 2nd wife) Sir Laurence Parsons, 3rd Bart, of Birr Castle. By this marriage, Lady Anne was mother to Lawrence, 1st Earl of Rosse.[14] Sir Laurence had died in 1757 and was succeeded at Birr by Sir William Parsons, his eldest son by his first wife. Thus Lady Anne may have been left slightly out in the cold. On July 31st 1764, he left Kill at the crack of dawn for Dublin ‘to oppose Lady Anne Parson’s motion’ in the High Court of Chancery. Lady Anne seems to have bid £100 more ‘for the House & Demesne of Moyle’ than the £3000 which Thomas had bid. Thomas was suitably indignant for he had been ‘declared the highest bidder for at the Sale on the 16th inst'. If Lady Parsons did not ‘lay aside her offer’, then Thomas threatened to ‘open for Sale all the Purchases I bid for’. On August 10th, he returned home from Dublin ‘with my wife and [newborn] daughter Jenny [Jane, later Mrs Benedict Arthure]’.

image title



It is not known when the house known as Little Moyle was built. The Gentleman's Sale at Bonham's on January 15th 2008 included the above oil on canvas measuring 62 x 75cm (24 7/16 x 29 1/2in) attributed to the Irish Primitive School and dated to the mid 18th Century. It is entitled 'Little Moyle, Co. Carlow, home of the Kane-Smith family'. It's a fine work and I'm a little disappointed I didn't get it myself. I tried to get Carlow Museum interested but they didn't have the budget. As it happens, it didn't sell. The Kane-Smith's were almost certainly descended from the unmarried Colonel Kane Bunbury of Moyle and Rathmore, grandson of Thomas Bunbury of Kill. Little Moyle is to be distinguished from the charred ruins of Moyle House where the Carlow Hunt met in the 1960s and 1970s. The site of Moyle House was later owned by the O'Connell family and was purchased by the Howards in 1981.


The Longford Estates

In July 1764, the same week he purchased the Moyle estates in Carlow, Thomas Bunbury simultaneously invested £2960 on the leases of two former Harman estates in County Longford – one at Glasgloone [sic] & Trillickatemple (£33.7.6 paid), and the other Clumkeen [sic] & Cordevon [sic] (£37.18.6 paid). On November 14th 1764, Thomas went to Dublin ‘to make a deposit of £740 being the 4th part of the County Longford purchase money which I paid 19th instant’. This money was due to be handed over to John Tunnadine, the Master in Chancery.[15]

Completing the Purchase

Completing the purchase of Moyle and the Harman estate was a time-consuming business. His journey to Dublin on November 14th was a wasted one because ‘the Rev Mr Doyne [now married to Wesley Harman’s widow] & others’ did not have ‘their title Deeds ready to lay before my lawyers & attorney’.[16] Unwilling to wait for them to sort it all out, Thomas returned to Kill with Kitty Isaac on the 24th. Much to his consternation Dean Doyne and his agent John Kelly still did not have the paperwork in order when he returned to Dublin on February 21st. Advised by his barrister Theobald Wolfe, Thomas returned to Kill. Over a year later, on March 28th1765, he received word from Mark Whyte that everything was in order to settle the remaining £10,620 and so Thomas returned to Dublin. He must have been somewhat exasperated by the time he left two days later because Mr Tunnadine was nowhere to be found and so, yet again, the payment was stalled. Finally, on 3rd May 1765, he managed to offload the £10,620 payment on the Carlow and Longford lands. When he returned to Kill the next day, he carried an injunction to the Sherriff of County Carlow ‘to put me into Possession’ of those lands in Carlow. He also posted an injunction to Mr Robert Jenkins of Trillick near Longford, ‘with my letter of attorney’, giving Jenkins the go ahead ‘to take Possession for me of the lands therein’. On July 13th he ventured out from Dublin to visit his new Longford estates in ‘a post chaise with [my son?] Thom Bunbury’.

Thomas's great-grandson, Colonel Kane Bunbury was listed as an Inmmediate Lessor at Cloonkeen (Ballymacormick Civil Parish) and at Trillickatemple Townlands in the 1854 GPV index book for County Longford.

The Marriage of Coun’l Isaac

On July 8th 1765, Thomas left Kill with Susana and baby Jenny ‘to pay a complememt to Coun'l Isaac, my wife’s brother, on his marriage to Mrs Mary Bristow the 28th May last’.

Letty’s Clothes

On July 25th 1765, Thomas returned to Kill from Dublin with his wife and two daughters, Letty and Jenny. Letty had been in Dublin for the past six weeks, staying with her aunt, Miss Isaac’s, on Fade Street while ‘getting cloathes bought & made for her’.

To Dublin & Back (1765)

On the morning of July 26th 1766 [check], Thomas left home for Dublin ‘to bring home my wife & 2 daughters & son Thom who have been there above a fortnight past’. The journey was speedy for he ‘got safe ½ an hour past one’. He stayed in Dublin for 5 days before returning to Kill on August 2nd with his wife, two daughters, son and Miss Isaac in tow. He makes no mention of what will be a particularly severe harvest in 1765 - the potato crop failed through the country, as did the spring corn, leading the government to pass an act stopping the distilleries and preventing the exportation of corn. In England there were crop failures every year from 1766 to 1774, except 1768 and 1769, which were of normal size. I assume things were similar in Ireland at this time.


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. The Lisnavagh archives hold a number of references to tree planting in the time of Thomas of Kill and Benjamin of Moyle that should be read in this context.


On 1 March 1766, four pirates were tried in the Dublin Admiralty Court and found guilty of murdering on the high seas Captain Cochrane, Captain Glass and others; also of plundering and scuttling the good ship Lord Sandwich. On the following Monday they were executed in St Stephen’s Green. As the court, had ordered that after the sentence was executed their bodies should be ‘hanged in chains,’ two of the corpses were gibbeted on ‘the Piles below the Blockhouse in Poolbeg,’ and the other two on ‘the New (South) Wall, below McCarrell’s Wharf.’ The latter two, however, proved a disagreeable sight to the Dublin citizens who ‘walked there for amusement and health,’ and they called for the removal of ‘this eyesore.’ Their request was granted, and on All Fool’s Day the offending bodies were removed to Dalkey Island, where they were fixed in “new irons.”(The Irish Times, 31 January 1930.)

1766 – First publication of The Vicar Of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith. It was one of the most popular and widely read 18th-century novels among Victorians.



In August 2018, Michael Purcell kindly posted me the original signed copies of William’s appointment as a Justice of the Peace for County Carlow, found in the Pat Purcell Papers, as well as the Oaths of Allegiance and Abhorrence that follow below.

George the third By the grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King Defender of the faith and so forth. To our Trusty and well beloved Thomas Bunbury Esq. and William Brereton Esq. Greeting.

WHEREAS By our Letters patent under our Great Seal of Ireland We have Appointed our well beloved William Bunbury Esquire a Justice and Keeper of the peace in our County of Catherlogu.

KNOW ye that We have given unto you or any one of you full power and authority by these presents to call before you or any one of you the said William Bunbury. And to administer to him the annexed Oaths which he is to Swear upon the Holy Evangelists. As also to cause him distinctly and openly to Make Repeat and Subscribe the annexed Declaration . And what You or any one of you shall do in the premises. You or one of You shall Certify the same into our High Court of Chancery in our said Kingdom of Ireland on the Twentyeth day of May next ensuing whatsoever … shall then be together with this our Commission.

Witness our Justices General and General Governors of our said Kingdom of Ireland at Dublin the Twentyeth day of April in the Seventh Year of our Reign 1767.

( signed ) William Brereton ( signed) Thomas Bunbury ...... Domville

The document was signed by Sir Compton Domvile, 2nd Baronet, Clerk of the Crown and Hanaper from 1721-1768. Aside from a brief lull during James II’s Patriot Parliament, the Domvilles had held this office since 1666 when William Domville, Attorney General for Ireland, secured it for his son William. Sir Compton was MP for Dublin for forty-four years. He was also uncle and heir to the 4th and last Lord Santry, the infamous Hellfire Club member who was sentenced to death for murdering a barman only to be reprieved by George III. Legend holds that Sir Compton negotiated the reprieve by threatening to alter the course of the River Dodder, a vital water supply for Dublin, which flowed through his estate at Templeogue. [O'Flanagan, J. Roderick The Irish Bar Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington London 1879 p.13]

In order to become a Justice of the Peace, William had to swear the following oaths.

The Oath of Allegiance

I, William Bunbury, do sincerely Promise and Swear, That I will be Faithful, and bear True Allegiance to His Majesty King George the Third.

So help me God.

The Oath of Abhorrence

I, William Bunbury, do Swear, That I do from my heart abhor, detest, and Abjure, as Impious and Heretical, that Damnable Doctrine and Position, That Princes Excommunicated or Deprived by the Pope, or any Authority of the See of Rome, may be Deposed or Murdered by their Subjects, or any other whatsoever.

And I do Declare, That no Foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, State, or Potentate, hath, or ought to have any Jurisdiction, Power, Superiority, Pre-eminence, or Authority Ecclesiastical or Spiritual within this Realm.

So help me God.


It has been estimated that Ireland possesses some 25,000 masonry arch bridges of over 6 feet span. Many of them like the one at Tullow were erected with grants for the Grand Juries. There has been a bridge over the Slaney in Tullow at least since 1680 when William Crutchley, JP, tenant of the castle, was observed by Dineley to have lately repaired it. In 1767, Thomas Bunbury combined forces with Sir Richard Butler, Robert Eustace, Robert Lecky and John Brewster to oversee the construction of a new bridge by Mr. Thomas Nowlan of Rathvaran, a farmer. Three years later, Thomas was again to the fore when the Grand Jury for County Carlow gave thanks to John Semple at their Summer Assizes in 1770. These thanks were due for Semple's drawing a plan and estimate for a new bridge over the Slaney in Tullow, which they deemed a 'very strong and handsome' design and also cheaper than anticipated. Names of Grand Jurors appended included, in order, C. Wolseley (Sheriff), Richard Butler, William Burton, Thomas Bunbury, Robert Browne, B. Burton Doyne, Richard Mercer, Robert Eustace, William Paul Butler, Theophilus Perkins, John Perkins, Thomas Gurly, James Butler, Simon Mercer, Thomas Whelan, William Bernard, William Bunbury, William Vicars, and Bartholomew Newton. See: Ask About Ireland.


CATTLE TROUBLE, 1767 [From Pat Purcell Papers.]

The Examination of John Farranan of Tomard Harud [ ? ] taken before one of his Majestys Justices of the Peace for Carlow. Who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists and Saith that on the first day on June 1767 by virtue of a letter of an attorney from Thomas Bunbury of the City of Dublin, Esquire, he did enter the lands of Cranevonan to drive for Rent and arrear of Rent due to Thomas Bunbury, and pursuant to his said Power John Farranan did seize and drive five cows the property of Edmond Headen and then and there one Edmond Walsh, a Servant to James Fitzpatrick of Cranevonan, who at the same time Pelted and threw stones at John Farranan and upon [ ? ] ... Edmond Headen, the older, Edmond Headen, the younger, Winefred Headen and Margaret Headen assembled together and aided and assisted by Edmond Walsh and there rescued and forceably tooke the cows from John Farranan and put him in some danger for that Walsh, Edmond Headen, the older and Edmond Headen, the younger Declared that they would loose their lives before John Farranan should take any of the cows at which John Farranan was in Dread and obliged to make off in Dread tho the Distress made by John Farranan before was on the Parole by the said Thomas Bunbury untill some time after as the Rent should be paid but the Distress to do so Still in the Power of John Farranan to Dispose of in failure of Payment of said Rent.
(signed) John Farranan.
Sworn before me the 22nd Day of June 1767. (signed) William Vigors Burdett.

[Note added 2012. this Examination ( Statement ) gets a bit jumbled at the end but the transcription appears accurate - Pat Purcell Papers]

Transcribed by Michael Purcell, July 2011.
Pat Purcell Papers.
16th July 1767.
The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their Oath say and present that Edmond Walsh of Cranavonan in the County of Carlow, Yeoman - Edmond Headen, Yeoman, Edmond Headen, Junior, Yeoman, Winifred Headen, Margaret Headen all of Cranavonan on the first day of June in the Seventh 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 with force and Arms that is to say with Swords Sticks Stones and soforth at Cranavonan in Carlow upon one John Farranan a True and faithful Subject of our said Lord the King in the Peace of God and Contrary to the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity did make an assault and Two Cows which he the said John Farranan had Seized and had in his custody by Virtue of a Letter of Attorney Under the hand and Seal of Thomas Bunbury of the City of Dublin, Esquire, for Rent and Arrears of Rent of part of the Lands of Cranavanan from and out of the Custody of him, the said John Farranan, did then and there take Rescue and drive away the Cattle Contrary to the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.
Guilty . Edmond Walsh and Edmond Headen - 7 Years Transportation. --
Objects of Mercy -- Edmond Headen, Junior, 2 Years on Treadmill, Winifred and Margaret Headen, 2 years imprisonment.
(signed ) Franks Bernard ?. Benjamin Burton Doyne,
Members of the Jury sitting this day - William Browne, the Elder, Hon John Stratford, Beauchamp Bagenal, Thomas Butler, Simon Mercer, Pilsworth Whelan, William Stuart, Arundal Best, John Drought, John Echlin, Theophilus Perkins.

[Note from Michael Purcell, May 2013 - 'In the PPP there are at least 5 versions of this case recorded, all in a different hand. Short of having a photocopier it appears there may have been several clerks recording the proceedings, with slight variations on each copy.
It appears that Walsh and Headen were sentenced to be transported but on a document dated the same day they were declared "Objects of Mercy" by members of The Grand Jury and the Transportation Order was rescinded.']

The Trillick Disputes

For reasons unclear, some of Thomas Bunbury’s new tenants at Trillickatemple ‘in ye County of Longford’ appear to have refused to pay him rent. The dispute obliged Thomas to travel to Dublin on June 26th 1767, just days after the Farranan-Walsh dispute was heard in Carlow, to see his attorney, John Carroll. One name that appears frequently in this matter is John Waters. On June 19th, Thomas headed out to his Longford estates to make some personal enquiries, returning to Dublin 8 days later on 7th July. On July 12th, he returned from Dublin to Kill with his sister-in-law, Kitty Isaac, and stayed there until August 21st. He and Kitty then returned to Dublin while, on Monday August 24th, Thomas headed north for the Longford Assizes where he now had an appointment. However, he was first advised to call into Samuel Simpson in Athlone where he secured a subpoena against Thomas Walker of Cappagh in the County of Galway near Aghrim [Aughrim]. I’m not clear what this was about but Thomas did just that, laying the night ‘at Ballynahan 26th inst. & got to Longford 27th’. [17] He left Longford on 2nd September 1767 for Dublin ‘where I withdrew the Record relative to Trillickatemple ejectment as the Waters’s had evidence enough to serve anything against me’. During the next 10 weeks, which he spent at Kill, he must have mused as to what to do next. On November 16th he returned to Dublin ‘to File a Bill against my Longford tenants of Trillick’. His brother-in-law Mr Isaac suggested they consider this matter carefully and so he had not actually filed the bill by the time he returned to Kill on the 25th, breaking the journey with an overnight stop at Ballymore.

Thomas tried again the following summer. He seems to have been increasingly agitated by the business. His diary has the words ‘trumpt up’ crossed out and there is a suggestion of a deceit ‘viz John Waters of Castlerea instead of John Waters of Aghrim who died 24th October 1766’. On August 15th 1768, he set forth for Longford ‘to try the Record there’. He left seven days later feeling rather blue because ‘tho’ the case was made very clear to the jury, yet there were 10 against me & 2 for me’. Thomas was thus ‘obliged by Consent of both sides to withdraw a Juror so that I must try it by a Special Jury of the County of Longford in the Exchequer Dublin’. On November 9th, he went to Dublin ‘in order to get a Tryal at Bar with my tenants at Trillickatemple’. There is no further mention of the business until 4th March 1769 when he left Kill for Dublin ‘in my road to Longford Assizes, which are the 11th inst, to try the old Record, against Trillickatemple tenants’. He was to be disappointed once again for the Jury ‘gave a Verdict against me … tho’ I made as plain a Case as could be’. Rather bitterly he added, ‘I believe the Jury would have done the same be the case ever so plain’. By the time he and his Coachman ‘old Mick Byrne’ got back to Kill on the 19th March, he said they were both feeling ‘much tyred & fatigued’.

The Lisnavagh Archives contains three pictorial surveys by Barnaby Roddy, dated October 1767, showing Thomas Bunbury's estate in Co. Longford - Clonkeen, Cordevin and Trillickatemple; together with a receipt from Thomas Bunbury for an earlier survey of 1695, with various calculations at the foot of it.

A Parliamentary Seat?

On 20th October 1767, the Rt Hon. Benjamin Burton, MP, of Burton Hall died. Benjamin’s wife Lady Ann Burton was godmother to Thomas’s daughter Jenny. At the bye-election in Carlow that followed, Thomas addressed the electors but declined a contest with John Hyde, the Burton's son-in-law. Hyde was duly elected MP for Carlow alongside Thomas Butler of Ballintemple. The timing of this possible bye-election is of interest. Until the Octennial Act 1768, Parliament only had to be called on the death of the sovereign. For instance, the accession of George III triggered the 1761 election. The electorate was restricted to £2 freeholders who subscribed to the established church, were resident in the constituency, were not married to 'papists' and had sworn not to bring up their children in the Roman Catholic Church. Although the 1729 Act legislated against bribery and corrupt practice, the electors were mainly the tenants of the landlord families and bribery, corruption and undue influence continued to be an open part of the system, with objections registered promiscuously by both sides against individual voters. The voters were "produced" by the candidates in front of the sheriff in the courthouse, swore the necessary oaths and declared for the candidate in question. The details were recorded and open to inspection, allowing for objections to be registered. The whole process proceeded over 2/3 weeks, the elector staying in the town, eating and mainly drinking at his candidate's expense. Rioting, with the disenfranchised Catholic tenentry joining in, was common place. (Thanks to Adams.ie)

[In 1768, Edward King, 1st Viscount Kingston, was created Earl of Kingston is a title in the Peerage of Ireland.]

Gravely Complaint

Perhaps the stress of the Trillick business played with Thomas’s health. On January 30th 1768, Thomas ‘left home with my wife & Daughters for Dublin to see Doctors & Surgeons about a Gravely Complaint I have had on me this month past’. They ‘got safe’ the following day and stayed in the City until Monday 9th May 1768 when they returned ‘safe to Kill & thank God, very much recovered of the Gravely Complaint for which I went there where I continued about three months’.

Young George Bunbury

On June 27th 1768 Thomas took the Post-Chaise to Dublin ‘to put my son George into the College’. For the journey, he was accompanied by both George and the Rev Mr Benjamin Hobart ( ‘my son George’s schoolmaster of Carlow').[18] George was entered into the College as a Fellow Commoner on 28th June 1768. The following day, Thomas attended the sale of lands at Fryarstown but was outbid by Jonas Duckett.

On 25 August 1769, Henry Flood, MP for Callan, kills James Agar, MP for Tulsk, in a duel. My sister-in-law Gilly Fogg and her husband Larry moved into Flood's house at Falrmeigh in 2017. The Flood and Agar families had disputed the representation of Callan for many years. Young George Bunbury would later become very familiar with this story.

The Cardingstown Sale

The winter of 1769 was spent trying to obtain justice for the non-payment of rent at his Longford estates. On a more positive note, he received £1680 on 10th November from Robert Waller for the lands of Cardingstown [sic], Co. Kildare, ‘which I sold him about 13th day of October last’. He stayed in Dublin for a fortnight ‘with my son Ben |the Cornet| & my daughter Jenny’. During this time he says he ‘did no business’ so one wonders just how did these gentlemen occupy their time!

There must have been a good deal of talk about his neighbours at Mount Wolseley. My thanks to Susi Warren for unearthing this extract from the Freeman's Journal of Sep 26, 1769:

'A few nights ago, a Fire broke out in the House at Mount Wolseley, near Tullow in the County of Carlow, formerly the Seat of Sir Richard Wolseley, Bart. And wherein Robert Doyne, Esq, lived, which entirely consumed the same: It was owing to the Carelessness of a Maid Servant, who had brought some Fire from the Kitchen in order to put in the Parlour Grate, but her Master desiring her not to mind it, for that he would go to Bed, she left it under a Table in the Hall, and going about some other Business forgot it and went to bed: Mr Doyne, his Housekeeper, and a little Boy that lay with her, narrowly escaped being burned, by jumping out of a Two Pair of Stairs Window on a Feather Bed; but the Woman is so terribly hurt that her Life is despaired of. Mrs Doyne happened to be in Town.'

William Bunbury, High Sheriff

In 1769, Thomas's 25-year-old son William Bunbury of Lisnavagh was appointed high sheriff for Co. Carlow but there is no mention of this in Thomas's journal.

Wine Robbery & New Wheels

By March 19th 1769 Thomas was back at Kill, very much ‘tyred & fatigued’ by his failure to win over the Jury in the case against his Longford tenants. Indeed, so ‘tyred’ was he that he didn’t enter anything further in his diary until 26th February 1771 when he ‘left Kill for Dublin with my wife, Son George & my 2 Daughters Letty & Jenny’. The purpose of the visit was two-fold. Firstly, he wished to get his family ‘new rig’d’. And secondly he wanted to alter his will.

On 4 March 1771, John Ponsonby resigned as Speaker of the Irish parliament; Edmond Sexton Pery was elected to replace him.

On 20th March, Thomas took his sons William and George down to the Carlow Assizes in a Coach & 4 ‘for the 23rd instant to prosecute Michael Carty for robbing my Wine Cellar these 11or 12 years past, who is in Carlow jail’. It is unclear whether Carty had been robbing wine for twelve years or twelve years ago. Nor do I know what fate befell him. The Lent Assizes commenced on 23rd March. Carlow's Grand Jury consisted of most of the gentry of that age, including Thomas Bunbury, young William Bunbury, their cousin Thomas Bunbury of Cranavonane, Sir Richard Butler, Sir Paul Crosbie, the Hon Barry Maxwell and Hardy Eustace. (The complete list of those present is available from the Carlow Rootsweb). Thomas and his sons stayed at Kill until 7th April when they returned to find Susanna, Letty and Jenny at Miss Isaac’s on Fade Street. The whole Bunbury family spent five weeks in the City before they headed home on 14th May in a brand new Coachhaving changed my old one with Messrs. Jno & Francis Jones, George’s Lane, Dublin, for £80’. They were in no rush to get home and so they ‘lay at Kilcullenbridge & got safe home 15th’.

7 Nov 1771 – Funeral of Charles Lucas in Dublin attracts ‘the most numerous crowds of people ever known in this Kingdom’.


1772 was a quiet year for Thomas. On 14th June he left Kill for Dublin with Susanna and Jenny, pausing for a night at Ballymore Eustace on the way. Susanna went off to buy clothes for young Jenny and to fetch her sister Miss Montgomery Isaac to Kill. Thomas and the three women all returned to Kill on July 9th ‘& got safe home to Kill that evening’. One wonders what they made of the following story, published in the Essex Gazette (Tuesday January 5 to Tuesday January 12, 1773) about an incident which took place in Carlow the previous autumn:

'A man in this town [Carlow], for the trifling wager of a quart of ale, undertook to swallow a live frog, which he performed with the greatest difficulty, by thrusting it down his throat with his finger. He lies at present so dangerously ill, that there is but little hopes of his recovery.'

Or indeed of this one which appeared in the Carlow Journal in the summer of 1773:

'However incredible the following may appear, we are told by gentlemen of undoubted veracity, who have seen it, that it is absolutely fact: --- A few days ago a Duck laid an egg, at the feat of George Nuttal, Esq; at Kildavin,
in this county, which had this inscription on it, And as ye go, preach the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. The inscription is as plain as print, and may be seen at the house of Luke Roach. [published in Connecticut Journal, 5 Nov 1773, thanks to Sue Clement].

Or what of George Barrington, the notorious ‘Prince of Pick-Pockets’ was caught red-handed trying to pilfer an aristocrat’s pockets during the 1772 races at Ballybar, County Carlow; the lord let him off without pressing charges.

4 May 1773: The Dublin Journal of 4-6 May reports that Thomas Burton (former MP for Ennis) ‘met with the melancholy accident of being overturned in his chaise, by which he was killed on the spot, on his return home, in company with a gentleman who was to have been married to his daughter the following day’.

The Purchase of Phrumplestown (1773)

On 14th June 1773, Thomas left Kill home for Dublin ‘with wife, Daughter Jenny & Sons Willy & Ben’. The mission was two-fold. Firstly, they were to collect and ‘bring home my Daughter Letty who has been at her Uncle Deane’s since last January’. Secondly, he wished ‘to settle & pay for the purchase of Phrumplestown from Mr Ed Wall & co’. Whether he was successful in getting Letty home is unclear – she was not with him when he left Dublin on 4th August 1773 ‘with my wife, son Ben & Daughter Jenny’. He certainly did not finish the purchase of Phrumplestown in Co. Carlow ‘tho’ everything settled’ because ‘Mr Wall could not get Major Brereton the mortgagee to come to town to receive his money’. On December 17th, he finally managed to pay Mr Wall the £9667 he was due and so Thomas became owner of Phrumplestown.

The Kane Marriage

On 8 September 1773, Thomas, Susanna and Jenny set forth for Dublin ‘to settle my son William’s Marriage Articles with Miss Kane, only child of Redmond Kane, with whom he will get £40,000 which marriage I expect to see Solemnised before I return’. Sure enough, three weeks later, on 28 September, Thomas attended the marriage of William Bunbury and Miss Katherine Kane at Mantua near Swords. As the Freeman’s Journal of 30/9- 2/10/1773 noted: ‘Married: A few days ago at Swords, Wm Bunbury of the county Carlow, Esq to Miss Kane, daughter of Redmond Kane, Esq.’

Thomas describes Katherine as the ‘only child to Redmond Kane Esq’r, Bolton Street, Dublin’; I believe she had a brother who died in a carriage accident in 1765. Thomas rather excitedlly wrote in his book: ‘I compute her fortune to be above £40,000’ which, working on the RPI mentioned above, works out at nearly STG£4 million. The following day Thomas left Dublin for Kill with ‘my wife, Willy & his wife, Miss Pegy Gossan [sic] & my Daughters Letty & Jenny'. He was thus presumably in rather good spirits when he returned to Dublin at the end of November to complete the purchase of Phrumplestown. These events coincided with the death on 18 November 1773 of James Fitzgerald, the 1st Duke of Leinster.

23 Jan 1774 – Dudley Cosby (Baron Sydney), former MP for Carrick, commits suicide.

4 April 1774 - Death of Oliver Goldsmith.

The Death of Thomas Bunbury of Kill

While in the City, Thomas also levied a fine ‘in consequence of my son William’s Marriage Articles’ and made some alterations to his Will. Perhaps he knew his days were numbered. He returned home with Susanna, Jenny and Thomas on 18th December. ‘I brought home so violent a Cold on me that I kept my house for above a month afterwards in which time I had very severe fits of the Gout, Gravel & Rheumatism’. Those were to be his last written words. A slip of paper inserted in the diary states: ‘Thomas Bunbury Esq, Father of the above Children Departed this life at Kill the 13th day of July 1774 about half after two o’clock’. I like to think that Thomas deceased himself happy in the knowledge that his son and heir had married the heiress of Redmond Kane and that nothing else mattered. His death at Kill on July 20th was noted in 'The Hibernian magazine, or, Compendium of entertaining knowledge' (Volume 4 , p. 494). The Freeman's Journal of 18-21 July 1774 also noted: 'Died: at his seat at Kill, in the County of Carlow, Thomas Bunbury Esq.'


The house and demesne of Kill were leased out shortly after Thomas's death. On December 10th 1775, Finn's Leinster Journal carried the following: 'SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 1774, to WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4, 1775. TO BE SET from the 25th of March next, for 31 Years, or a longer Term if agreed upon, either in the Whole or in Parcels, the House and Demesne of KILL, in the County of Carlow, lately held by THOMAS BUNBURY, Esq; containing 218A. 10P mostly Meadowing. Proposals to be received (in Writing) by LORENZO NICKSON, Efq; Manny, near Carlow ; ABRAHAM STEWARD, Esq; Kilkenny ; JOHN WHELAN, Esq; Ballyconnel, near Carlow, and MR. Richard Waller, Custom-House, Dublin. Said Lands are situate within 2 Miles of Tullow, 6 of Carlow, and 30 of Dublin. Proposals kept secret if required'.

The Fate of his Family

Thomas's widow, Susanna Priscilla Bunbury, died on the 23 April 1797. * He was succeeded at Lisnavagh by his eldest surviving son William. His second surviving son George succeeded to Rathmore and the third, Ben, to Moyle and Killerig. Thomas’s daughter Letty married Colonel George Gough and was mother to Field Marshal Sir Hugh Gough. In 1796, his son Thom by his second wife Susanna succeeded his uncle Simon Isaac to the Isaac family home of Hollywood House outside Belfast, on condition that he change his name to Bunbury-Isaac.[19]

Thom’s sister, Jane (Jenny) married the Rev. Benedict Arthur (1755-1796) in 1776 and settled at Seafield House in Malahide. The marriage was reported in the Freeman's Journal of 10-13 Aug 1776 as follows - 'Married: The rev Benedict Arthur of Seafield to Miss Jane Bunbury, of Kill, co Carlow.'

* An article about the Isaac family in the Belfast Morning News on 11 March 1867 claimed that, after Thomas Bunbury’s death, Susannah was married secondly on 21 June 1814 to Harloe Phibbs. This does not add up, not least if Susannah died in 1797. And yet there must be fire beneath the smoke as, for instance, Harloe Phibbs' wife was named as Susannah in an 1824 court case referring to the townlands of Drumfinn, Carrigansallagh, Lissanybeg, Burvish, Knockrowen, Lissanymore (Rathmullen) in the Barony of Corran in the County of Sligo. (Dublin Evening Mail, 5 May 1824, p. 1, Harloe Phibbs and Susannah, his wife; William H Phibbs and others, defendants.





I have reason to believe Kill House became known as Kyle House and that it belonged to the Smith family from at least 1855 to at least 1868. Curiously there is no house marked at this site on Sir Robert Murchison's 1856 Survey of Ireland.

December 12. at St Mary’s Church, the Rev. W. C. Moore rector of Carnew, county Wicklow, Samuel Smith, Kyle House, county Carlow, second son of the late Edward Smith. Esq., of Buckstown House, County Wexford, to Catherine, daughter of David Trotter, Esq, M.D., of Summerhill, county Meath. (Carlow Post - Saturday 15 December 1855)

Smith—January 29, at Kyle House, Tullow, Carlow, after a long and painful illness, in the prime of life, Catherine, the dearly beloved wife of Samuel Smith, Esq. (Irish Times - Saturday 04 February 1860)

He was married again: June 17, at St. George’s Church, Samuel Smith, Esq., Kyle House, Tullow, county Carlow, second son of the late Edward Smith, Esq., Buckstown House, county Wexford, to Mary George, youngest daughter of the late Julius B. Evans, Esq., M.D., Cork. (Carlow Post - Saturday 21 June 1862)

In the Matter of Samuel Smith, late of Kyle House in the County Carlow, Gentleman, an Insolvent
THE ASSIGNEES are prepared to receive enders for all the estate and interest of the said Insolvent and his Assignees in and to the several lands and premises following, as the same were formerly held and enjoyed by said Insolvent, that is to say —All that and those, that part of the town and lands of Kilmagarvogue, lately In the possession of the said Insolvent, formerly the occupation of Thomas Disney, and afterwards held by Edward Smith, deceased, containing by admeasurement 181 a 1r 30p late Irish plantation measure or thereabouts, be the same more or less, situate in the parish of Tullow, barony of Rathvilly, and county of Carlow, held under lease bearing date 9th June, 1862, for the life and lives of their Royal Highnesses Albert Edward Prince of Wales, Victoria Adelaide, the Princess Royal, and Alice Maud Mary, the 3 eldest children of her Majesty Queen Victoria, and the survivor of them, or for 81 years, from the 25th day of March, 1862, whichever should longest last, subject to the yearly rent of £450, payable half yearly to be reduced to the yearly rent of 17s 6d, upon the terms in said lease mentioned, subject also to the payment of the two several premiums of £l4 18s and £7 0s 6d, payable respectively on foot of two policies of Insurance, effected on the life of the said Insolvent, for the respective sums of £500 and £200.
And also subject to a yearly rent charge of £50, payable to the Wife of the said Insolvent, during her life, in case she shall survive him.
The lands are situate within a short distance of the town of Tullow.
Sealed Tenders endorsed "Tenders for Lands re S Smith," and addressed to Lucius H. Deering, Esq., 33 Upper Ormond quay, Dublin,
Will be received up to 12 o’clock, noon, Thursday, the 7th day of May next, at which time and place they will be opened in the presence of the parties tendering or their representatives, and the purchaser declared, subject to the approval of the Court.
Dated 22nd day of April, 1868.
For further particulars as to title and conditions of sale apply to
Molloy and Watson, Solicitors for the Assignees, 18, Eustace street, Dublin.
Samuel Dowse, Esq., Friarstown, Carlow.
Carlow Post - Saturday 02 May 1868


Kill House (Kilmagarvogue) later passed to Edward Murphy, a nationalist, who was elected to the first Carlow County Council in 1899 but died of pneumonia soon afterwards. He was one of eleven children (eight sons) of William Murphy (1819-1882), the founder of William Murphy and Son, a butcher, grocer, ironmonger and wine merchant on the town square in Tullow, who was married in 1846 to Marian Lacy, of Dublin Street, Carlow. Edward and his wife Mary lwere the parents of William Joseph (Captain Bill Murphy) and his sister Tess (later Mrs Bernard O’Connor). Bill emigrated to Australia sometime later but was back visiting his family in Carlow when the war broke out. He initially joined the Leinster Regiment, later transferring to the 9th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Bill died alongside Tom Kettle at the battle of Ginchy on 9 September 1916; his body was last seen crumpled in a trench.
The spirit of Bill Murphy evidently remains strong in Tullow where his owned numerous buildings on the Square, including, I think, the building in which my office was situated at the time I was writing about Bill and Tom Kettle and Emmet Dalton for The Glorious Madness. Laz Murphy the butcher is convinced Bill was a kinsman andtells me there’s a story that after the war a battle-weary British Army troop limped into Tullow and paid their respects to Bill Murphy’s hometown, rather lovely if it is so An oil portrait of Bill Murphy’s hangs in Tullow Museum; they kindly permitted me to publish it as a full page image in my book, 'The Glorious Madness.’

I emailed Sebastian Barry this development; he had been gallant enough to launch my book and the title of his own 'Secret Scripture' was based on a Tom Kettle poem. 'Very curious how these webs stretch across time,’ he replied. ‘Did He who made the lamb make these?'

In 1926 Captain Murphy’s devastated mother Mary gifted a house and garden to the people of the parish in his memory, now known as the Captain Murphy Memorial Hall. The Catholic Church are believed to be the trustees. On 9 September 2016 I attended a charming centenary commemoration of Captain Murphy’s life in this very building, at which John O’Donovan spoke of Bill Murphy’s life, Robin Harvey read a poem and joint prayers were held by Archdeacon Andrew Orr of the Church of Ireland and the Very Rev. Andy Leahy of the Roman Catholic Church. The event was organised by William Paton.

Six months before that, on 14 June 2016, I gave a talk in Christ Church Cathedral in which I spoke briefly of the Somme and Ginchy and concluded by saying how my office turned out to be in a building formerly owned by the Murphy family. The very next day, I had a letter from a man by name of Martin Murphy, Bill Murphy’s descendant, with further details on the Murphy family.

He confirmed what was then a growing awareness in me that the Murphy family - Bill's family - lived at Kill House. As it happens we pass Kill House often because it is on a series of dangerous bends on the main road between my family home and Carlow town. I drive it regularly as my daughters are at school in Carlow. I had never been there and nor had I ever seen any activity at the house until one lazy Sunday afternoon when I was driving home from Carlow with time to spare. I espied a white-haired man in a gateway with a quad bike. I waved at him. He waved back. I negotiated the next three bends and yanked up onto a spot of safe ground where they used to stash sugar beet in bygone days. I then exited the car and began running back around those three bends - in part because that is a perilous stretch of road to be a pedestrian so I wished to reduce my time upon it; and in part because I did not wish to miss the white haired old man. [As it happened, a friendly car espied me running, slowed down and said: ‘Are yaz alright turtle? Would you like a lift?!’ I’m still not entirely sure who it was but I thanked him and said no and luckily his slowness slowed all other traffic down.]

I reached the gateway and there stood the old man with a face one could happily put on the cover of a new edition of ‘Vanishing Ireland’. We introduced ourselves with a handshake; we’d both heard of one another. His name is Tom Bolger and he owns Kill House today. He was aware of the Bunbury connection so I told him about the diary. And then our conversation turned to the Murphys because Tom Bolger’s grandfather and namesake - a Cumann na nGaedheal TD in the 4th Irish Dáil (1925-27) - bought it with circa 300 acres from them in the 1920s. Tom had heard the tale of Captain Murphy’s death but, even as we were talking, that rumbly feeling was in my blood because it was September 9th, and that, almost needles to say, that was the day Captain Murphy and Tom Kettle went over the top and returned to their makers.

Later that afternoon I went to collect my daughter from my brother William’s house.
‘You know Kill House?’ I said, by way of an opener.
‘Well it’s funny you should mention that,’ he replied, ‘because I was coming back from Carlow this morning and I very nearly pulled in there.’
‘Really?’ I said, no longer surprised.
‘Yes,’ he continued. ‘I was thinking I’ve never been there and I’ve passed the place a million times. I had some time to spare and I very nearly just turned into the driveway to see what I could find. Why do you ask?’

The rumble blood feeling was no longer in me alone.

And guess who I was going to see giving a talk that very night? Sebastian Barry.

What does this all mean? Am I Captain Murphy? Is Sebastian Tom Kettle? Who is Emmet Dalton … and stand well clear of him because standing by him wasn't great for the health of Michael Collins or Tom Kettle!


[Tom and Rita Bolger's daughter Celia married John Dawson, the Tullow auctioneer. John advised me that, while the farm residence is to the good but, and it is of a period style, the house 'does not take on the full Georgian features'.]





[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'.

[1a] In an earlier report, I had recorded that six of William and Elizabeth Bunbury's children had died between 1700 and 1705, which led me to lament their passing and wonder what had killed them. I speculated about the endless possibilities - disease, pneumonia, typhoid, polio, measles - and how there was nothing anyone could do to prevent death, no matter how much money one had. Queen Anne experienced 17 pregnancies between 1683 and 1700. Only five children were born alive and only one, a son, outlived infancy, but he did not survive to inherit the throne. However, all this now seems irrelevant because I performed a search via the excellent www.irishgenealogy.ie/index.html in March 2011 and discovered that the children did not die on those dates. The dates in fact referred to their christenings. Such are the hazards of genealogy.

[2] This diary consists of a small brown leather diary and starts shortly after the death of Thomas’s first wife Catherine Campbell on 24th November 1754. It concludes shortly before Thomas’s death. Four pieces of paper were sealed into one side and contain the names of Thomas’s wives and children. The complete trascript can be found here.

‘Thos Bunbury married to Catherine Cample [curious spelling – TB] Mar 2nd 1735.

· Wm Bunbury eldest son born 2nd June 1736 who died in six weeks.

· Josiah Bunbury second son born 2 June 1738, Died 11th March 1748 at Kilkenny School.

· Wm Bunbury third son born 30th January 1740, Died 16th May 1748.

· Campbell Bunbury fourth son born 8th February 1741; Died 31st August 1760.

· Wm Bunbury fifth son born the 2nd May 1744, died the 17th April 1778 very much regretted.

· Thos Bunbury sixth son born 5th Jan 1745, died 21st Sept 1746.

· George Bunbury, seventh son born the 24th Nov 1747; Died May 1820.

· Letitia Bunbury, first daughter, born 16th March 1749.

· Benjamin Bunbury eighth son born 11th July 1751, died 10th Oct 1823.

· Elizabeth Bunbury, second daughter born 23rd 1754; Died 4th Oct 1758.

The Mother of the above children died the 24th Nov 1754.

Thomas Bunbury the 2nd time married Susanna Priscilla Isaac the 20th April 1758.

Jane Bunbury born 19th January 1759 Lady Mount Alexander and Lady Ann Burton Godmothers and Simon Isaac Esqr Godfather.

Thomas Bunbury born the 10th Aug 1760. Miss Montgomery Isaac Godmother, Coun’r Theo. Wolfe & Chichester Bolton godfathers.

Thomas Bunbury Esq, Father of the above Children Departed this life at Kill the 13th day of July 1774 about half after two o’clock. Susanna Priscilla the mother of the above children died the 23rd of April 1797’.

[2a] Sean Murphy in 'A Short History of Dublin’s Temple Bar’ (Centre for Irish Genealogical and Historical Studies, 1994-2002) writes: 'Eustace Street was named after Sir Maurice Eustace, Speaker of the House of Commons and Lord Chancellor, who died in 1665 and whose house and gardens stood on the site of this street. The Quaker (Religious Society of Friends) Meeting House in Eustace Street has been converted into the Irish Film Centre, and the old Presbyterian Meeting House has been refurbished as The Ark, a children's cultural centre. A well rediscovered in the course of roadworks, said to be dedicated to St Winifred, can also be seen in Eustace Street. Temple Bar Properties' headquarters, and the Temple Bar Information Centre, are to be found in the restored number 18 Eustace Street. Taverns in Eustace Street included the 'Punch Bowl', the 'Three Stags' Heads', and the famous 'Eagle Tavern', near the present Irish Film Centre, frequented by Freemasons, Masonic Templars and Irish Volunteers. The inaugural meeting in1791 of the Dublin Society of United Irishmen was also held in the 'Eagle', with Simon Butler as chairman and Napper Tandy as secretary.'

[3] La Touche & Sons was founded by David Digues La Touche, a Huguenot refugee from the Loire Valley who served under William of Orange and later prospered in Dublin selling rich silk poplins and cambric’s, and lending money. In 1703, he united with three other master-weavers from the Liberties – Nathaniel Kane, Richard Norton and Thomas Hone – to set up a private bank on Castle Street. By 1726, only Kane remained on board. In 1734, Nathaniel Kane of the banking alliance found his tenure as Lord Mayor of Dublin somewhat sullied by accusations that he had misappropriated funds by the radical politician, Charles Lucas. He managed to vindicate himself but died in 1735. Kane was Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1734 but died the following year. When his son Nathaniel Kane, the younger, died in 1758, the firm became ‘D. La Touche & Son’, being now in sole ownership of the family.

[4] Simon Mercer was a fellow patron of the new Tullow Bridge – see http://www.askaboutireland.ie/show_narrative_page.do?page_id=3146

[5] Possibly Rector of Durweston?

[6] This was almost certainly Thomas’s direct contemporary Thomas Wolfe (1705 – 1787) of Blackhall, Co. Kildare, whom I have written about in ‘The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of Co. Kildare’. He was made a Freeman of Dublin in 1733, the same year he married Margaret Lombard. His great-grandfather, Richard Wolfe, was a Royalist officer from Durham who moved to Ireland in 1658 and was buried at Oughterard outside Naas, Co. Kildare in 1678. Richard’s daughters and granddaughters had all married into Kildare landowning families – Banner of Punchestown, Brunton of Bishopscourt, Page of Barbinstown, Fletcher of Rathmore, Blood of Ladycastle and Burgoyne. In 1698, Thomas’s grandfather John Wolfe was appointed one of the Commissioners charged with raising some £120,000 in Land Tax which Co. Kildare was to pay the Government. Thomas’s father, Richard Wolfe (1673 – 1732) was made a Freeman of Dublin in 1706. Over the next 55 years no less than ten of his sons and grandsons were accorded the same honour. Richard’s wife Lydia Page was a granddaughter of Sir William Sandys, one of England’s pioneering canal builders, specifically on Shakespeare’ River Avon. Richard succeeded to the family estate at Forenaghts and died in 1732. His son eldest John inherited Forenaghts, a younger son Richard inherited Baronrath, Theibald was a barrister and friend of Thomas Bunbury, and the aforementioned Thomas Wolfe inherited Blackhall. Thomas’s son, another Theobald Wolfe, is said to have been the father of Theoblad Wolfe Tone. Thomas’s nephew Arthur, Lord Kilwarden, became Chief Justice of Ireland in 1796 but was murdered by rebels during Robert Emmet’s rebellion of 1803.

[7] Theobald and Elizabeth Wolfe’s daughters were Mary (who married Cuthbert Fetherston of Mossown, Co. Westmeath), Lydia (who married Rev James Jones, son of Rev. Theophilus Jones), Charlotte (who married her cousin Colonel John Wolfe of Forenaghts) and Margaret (who married Sir Robert Synge, 1st Bart).

[8] This was Thomas Bunbury-Isaac.

[9] This was almost certainly Henry Bunbury (1753 - 1819) of Bunbury Lodge, Russelltown, Co. Carlow who was indeed a minor at this time. Henry – or Harry - never married but had five sons by his lover, Margery Walsh. There are several Dublin Deeds relating to this de facto arrangement. Peter Bunbury has managed to identify these sons. The youngest was Abraham Bunbury of Castledermot. See Bunburys of Johnstown.

[10] The Ducketts were a well-to-do English family with lands at Filingham in Lincolnshire, Grayrigg, Heversham and Morland in Westmorland, Flintham in Notts, Hartham in Wiltshire, Royden In Essex, Newtown in Co Kildare and Duckett’s Grove in Co Carlow. Their common ancestor was Richard Duckett, lord of the manor of Fillingham is 1205, who was judge of the counties of Bedford, Buckingham, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Norfolk, Northampton and Rutland during the reign of Henry III. In 1695, Thomas Duckett settled in Ireland and purchased estates in the county of Carlow from Thomas Crosthwaite, Esq, of Cockcrmouth. His mother Elizabeth was a daughter of Christopher Walker Esq. His wife Judith de la Poer was a niece if Richard 1st Earl of Tyrone. Their only son Thomas Duckett (d. 1735) – Jonas’s grandfather - purchased Philipstown from the Earl of Ormond. Thomas’s son, John Duckett of Philipsitown and Newtown, married Jane Devonsher and had dour sons and three daughters. Jonas was the fourth son. His will, dated 7th July 1796, was proved 11th December 1797. He married Hannah, dau of William Alloway Esq of Dublin. In the next generation there was a connection with Samuel Madden and the Dawsons. From ‘A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland’ by Bernard Burke.

[11] When the 3rd Viscount Allen died unmarried on 25th May 1745 Frances and her sister Elizabeth (wife of John Proby, 1st Lord Carysfort) acquired a considerable estate. The Maynes became owner of both Carrickmines and Stillorgan. They had one son who died in infancy. In March 1766, he was sworn into the Irish privy council and, in 1776, was created a peer of Ireland as Baron Newhaven. In 1774, he bought the Manors of Gatton and Upper Gatton, a notorious rotten borough in Surrey, and therefore took control of both seats. His lordship died in 1794, when his honours including the Baronetage, expired. ‘A genealogical and heraldic history of the extinct and dormant baronetcies of England’, by John Burke & John Bernard Burke.

[12] There is the possibility of a family connection here. Sir Wentworth Harman I of Newcastle, County Longford, and Moyle, Co Carlow, son of Sir Thomas Harman, MP for Carlow, and Anne Jones, was married secondly to Frances Sheppard, daughter of a Colonel Sheppard and sister & heir of Anthony Sheppard of Newcastle, Co Louth. Thomas Bunbury of Kill’s grandmother Mary Bunbury was born Mary Sheppard. In 1714, Sir Wentworth Harman, MP for Lanesborough, ‘coming in a dark night from Chapel-Izod, his coach overturning, tumbled down a precipice, and he dies in consequence of the wounds and bruises he received’.

[13] Mark Whyte (or White) was the son of another attorney Mark Whyte and very active in land deals at this time.

[14] When the 1st Earl of Rosse died without male issue, the Earldom thus passed to his step-nephew, Sir William Parsons (1731 – 1791), son and heir of Sir Laurence Parsons, 3rd Bart, by his first marriage to Mary Sprigge.

[15] John Tunnadine was also MP for Askeaton. His wife Anne was a daughter of Richard Maunsell (d. 1773) and Margaret Twigge, and aunt of the Maunsells who founded the prominent Limerick bank.

[16] The Very Rev Charles Doyne (1711 – 1777), later Dean of Leighlin, was the third son of Philip Doyne of Wells. He had three sons by his first wife, Anna Maria Bury, who died in 1762. On 7th March 1763, he married Wesley Harman’s widow, Mary, daughter of Rev. Nicholas Milley, DD.

[17] To be SOLD for Payment of DEBTS, either in the Whole or in Parcels as may be agreed on, the Lands of Aghrim situate, lying and being in the County of Galway, within 2 Miles of Athunry and 7 of Galway, Part of the Estate of Patrick Blake, Esq; The said Land are now Set to upwards of £500 a Year, and as they are very improvable will rise considerably at the expiration of the Leases. Proposals will be received by the said Mr. Blake, and by Mr. Edmond Burke of Tentrim, with whom a Rent Roll of said Lands may be seen. April 15, 1760.

[18] It seems likely that Benjamin Hobart was the man who married Sophia, daughter of Humphry Minchin by his wife Rebeccca, daughter of Joshua Paul of Bough, Rathvilly, Co. Carlow. Sophia's brother Paul Minchin married Henrietta Bunbury, daughter of Joseph of the Johnstown Bunburys. Accoding to Alumni Dublinenses [1st edition, 1924], "Schools in Ireland, circa 1740 -60", there were four Schools/School Masters in Carlow at that time (run by Rev. John Bettson, Richard Brough, Rev. George Crump and Rev. Benjamin Hobart) and one in Tullow (Dr. Mills). Richard Brough of Carlow later became Rev. Richard Brough of Rathvilly and married [widow] Ellinor Ryan.

One of George’s contemporaries at Hobart's was James Johnston, ‘formerly a scholar of Trinity College, and expelled at the late election; a young gentleman of the most amiable temper and disposition and promising abilities’. Johnston had also been educated by the Rev. Benjamin Hobart, entering Trinity in 1764 and becoming a scholar in 1767. However, in 1770, Finns Leinster Journal ( No. 41. Sat. 19—Wed. 23 May Dublin. 21 May) reported that Johnston had ‘died of a lingering illness at his father's house in Carlow’. (The Irish Genealogist, Vol 8, #1, p.70).

[19] Hollywood House built by the late Simon Isaac Esq then proprietor of the Hollywood estate - 'a gentleman whose memory is much revered by the inhabitants. The external appearance of this mansion is formal and old fashioned but great attention and expense have been bestowed on it. It is at present the property of William Kennedy Esq, now resident in the East Indies, who has a considerable property on this district of the shore. This seat is about four miles distant from Belfast. From ‘Ireland Exhibited to England In a Political and Moral Survey of Her Population, and in a Statistical and Scenographic Tour of Certain Districts; Comprehending Specimens of Her Colonisation, Natural History and Antiquities, Arts, Sciences, and Commerce ... With a Letter to the Members of His Majesty's Government on the State of Ireland” (1823) by A. Atkinson.

With thanks to Susie Warren, Michael Purcell, Tom Le Porte, Roger Nowlan, John & Cella Dawson, Michael Brennan, Roger Carden Depper, JJ Woods, Barry Howard and others.

Also to Dr Susan Hood, Assistant Librarian and Archivist / Publications Officer, Church of Ireland, RCB Library, Braemor Park, Churchtown, Dublin 14. Tel: +353-1-4923979