Turtle Bunbury

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William Bunbury (c. 1674-1710) of Lisnavagh, Co. Carlow



Born in about 1674, William Bunbury was the third of five sons born to Benjamin Bunbury (1642-1707) of Killerig, Co. Carlow, the first of the family to settle in Ireand, by his wife Mary. (1a) The Bunbury family have been connected to Ireland at least since Elizabethan times when Thomas Bunbury was appointed one of the executors of Sir Walter Raleigh's Lismore estate in 1585. Several of William's aunts and uncles may have been living in Ireland at this point.

In 1669, Benjamin Bunbury took a lease on the lands at Killerig and Tobinstown in Co Carlow from the the Earl of Arran, youngest son of the Great Duke of Ormonde. The Tobinstown lands amounted to 512 acres, and were leased for the lifetime of himself and his family at £68 per year. On 16 June 1683 he leased Tobinstown to a Catholic soldier named John Baggott, who was later attainted for serving the Catholic King James II.

Benjmain appears to have take up the land at Lisnavagh in 1676, again from Lord Arran. On 20 December 1695, he assigned the Lisnavagh lease to his son, William. On 21 December 1695 - the Winter Solstice - Benjamin also assigned the lease of his Tobinstown lands to William. William was not yet 25 years old.

When the Butlers ran into financial difficulty, particularly after the Jacobite Rising of 1715, the Bunburys may have better placed to buy the property.



William's eldest brother, Joseph Bunbury (d. 1731), settled at Johnstown, just outside Carlow town, married Hannah Hinton and was ancestor to the Bunburys of Johnstown.

His second brother Thomas Bunbury (d. 1743) married Rose Jackson and was ancestor to the Bunburys of Cloghna & Cranavonane.

His younger brother Matthew Bunbury (d. 1733) moved to Tipperary and was ancestor to the Bunburys of Kilfeacle, including Lord Roberts.

His youngest brother Benjamin Bunbury inherited Killerig and married Hester Huband of Dublin.

His sister Diana Bunbury (d. 1728) married Captain Thomas Barnes (d. 1710), said to have been one of the Duke of Ormonde's officers, and lived at Grange, Co. Kilkenny.

Benjamin Bunbury Senior died aged 64 on April 4 1707 and was buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard in Carlow.


The Marriage to Elizabeth Pendred

On 16 January 1696, 22-year-old William Bunbury was married at St Andrew's Church, Dublin. His bride was Elizabeth (Mary) Pendred, the 24-year-old daughter of Isaac Pendred (1630-1682), a yeoman farmer from Sywell, Northamptonshire, by his second wife, Sarah Beech. Isaac was one of the younger grandsons of Francis Pendred (1550-1616), husbandman, of Overstone in the parish of Sywell. Elizabeth's only brother William Pendred (1665-1736) married Catherine Eustace, heiress of Broughillstown House, Rathvilly, Co. Carlow. When Catherine died in 1701, Broughillstown passed to William Pendred. He succeeded to the Irish farms of his maternal uncle, George Beech, who died in 1703. William and Catherine Pendred had a son, Captain George Pendred (1696-1741), who married Cordelia, daughter of Morley Saunders, LLD, MP for Enniscorthy, of Saunders Grove, by his wife Frances Goodwin. Captain Pendred's son Morley Pendred-Saunders married Lady Martha Stratford, daughter of the 1st Earl of Aldborough.



William and Elizabeth Bunbury enjoyed just fourteen years of married life before their deaths in 1710, Elizabeth on 28th February and William, aged 36, on 13th October. He was buried in Tullow on the 17th. Little is known of their life but it cannot have been a happy one. The Church of Ireland in Tullow records the baptism of six of their children between November 1700 and March 1705. These were Sarah Bunbury (born 21.11.1700), Benjamin Bunbury (born 28.6.1702), William Bunbury II (born 12.6.1704, who succeeded), Joseph Bunbury (born 1705), Thomas Bunbury of Kill (born March 1706, father of William Bunbury III of Lisnavagh) and Mary Bunbury (born 26.3.1705, married the Rev. Gibson Raymond). (6) There was also a daughter Elizabeth Bunbury who, it seems likely, married Richard Lockwood.


1690 – John Churchill (later Earl of Marlborough) captures Cork for the Williamites.

1693 - Switch of papal support in 1693 from William III to exiled James II leads to tightening of anti-Catholic laws.

27 August 1695 - The second Irish parliament of William III is called in Dublin; Robert Rochfort is unanimously elected Speaker.

7 Sept 1695 - Some of the first Penal Laws were passed, restricting the rights of Catholics to have an education, to bear arms, or to possess a horse worth more than five pounds. A bill to outlaw Catholic clergy was also submitted to the Irish Parliament in 1695; it was passed in 1697.

28 Sept 1703 – Francis Annesley is expelled from the Irish Commons when he is found to have ‘scandalously and maliciously misrepresented and traduced the Protestant Freeholders of this Kingdom and thereby endeavoured to create a misunderstanding and jealousy between the people of England and the Protestants of this Kingdom’.


According to an inscription above the main staircase of Lisnavagh House (apparently etched on a relict of the original house), the first Lisnavagh House was built in 1696 - midway through the reign of William of Orange and presumably in response to William Bunbury's recent marriage and his aquisition of Lisnavagh the previous year. According to Rolf Loeber’s book, '‘Irish Houses and Castles, 1400 to 1700’ (Fourcourts Press, 2020), an estimated 160 new country houses were built in Ireland between 1691 and circa 1740. We do not know what the original Lisnavagh looked like. It may not have been built to last. William's grandson, William Bunbury III, MP, was certainly planning to build a new house at Lisnavagh when killed in a horse fall in 1778. The original house seems to have been felled in its entirety by the time work commenced on the New House in 1847.

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

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

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

Bob Murphy once said that the route running along the green lane, up the lime walk and on eastwards past the house and somehow to a Ford over the river Darren was part of a drovers route between Carlow and Hacketstown. At some stage after 1840 this was replaced by what is now the R727 - the "new" Carlow to Hacketstown road. You will see on the 1840 map that there was no road running between the Beehive (where you turn off for the Sykese) and the N81, where the R727 runs now. Given the substantial movement of rebels between Carlow and Hacketstown during the 1798 rebellion, its a wonder they did not torch the place if as they marched right past the original house!? i.e. Up the Lime Walk, across the present day front lawn and pleasure grounds...


My father also tells me that when they first ploughed Whelan's Bank, the line of a North-South road down that line of trees was very clear. This line of trees is also evident on the 1840 map. Is this connected to the Sunk Fence that ran all the way from Whelan‘s Bank to Monavoth ... it may run as far south as Knocknagan bridge.

The Geohive website has the 1840 map on it, which can be transposed to current map easily.



The fee farm grant of Lisnavagh by the Duke of Ormonde was dated 22nd February 1708 with Benjamin named as the grantee; the annual rent was £105.5s.4d. I believe it was granted to William Bunbury I and his heirs in fee farm indentures of lease and release dated 21st and 28th February 1708 respectively. On 20th December 1723, Joseph Bunbury and William Pendred purchased the fee farm for Tobinstown from the Earl of Arran for £2600 and 64 shillings.

1/20 31 Aug. 1773 Abstract of the title of Thomas Bunbury Esq. to the lands of Lisnavagh, Tobinstown, Ballybitt, etc, in the county of Carlow.

'James Duke of Ormonde and his trustees being empowered by several acts of parliament to make fee farm grants, by deeds of leases and release, dated the 21st and 22nd February 1708, did grant ... unto William Bunbury Esq., deceased, the townland of Lisnavagh, containing 666 acres more or less, part of the manor of Rathvilly in the barony of Rathvilly and county of Carlow, to hold to the said William Bunbury his heirs and assignees forever ... - see this deed which was registered the 23rd November 1709.

By virtue of which conveyance the said William Bunbury became seized and held and enjoyed during his life and upon his decease the said lands became vested in fee in his eldest son, William Bunbury Esq., since deceased. That Charles, Lord Baron Weston in England and Earl of Arran in Ireland being seized in fee of the lands of Tobinstown in the said county of Carlow, containing 512 acres more or less, by deeds of lease and release dated the 23rd and 24th December 1723 ... did grant release and confirm unto William Pendred and Joseph Bunbury, executors of William Bunbury and guardians of his sons, William and Thomas Bunbury, all the said lands except the mill and lands thereto belonging to hold to them their heirs and assignees forever ... - see these deeds which were enrolled in Chancery and registered 18 March 1723.

That by other deeds of lease and release dated 20th and 21st June 1726 the said William Pendred and Joseph Bunbury ... did grant release and confirm unto William Bunbury and Thomas Bunbury the said lands ... by virtue of which deeds the said William and Thomas Bunbury became seized and tenants in common ... .



A nunnery was founded at Graney, near Castledermot, in about 1200 by Walter de Riddlesford, a senior Knight Templar. Sometime before 1207, the nunnery was granted the tithes of both St Mullins and Dunleckny by William de Carew, a nephew of Raymond le Gros, who held both manors. The nunnery was granted by Henry VIII to Sir Anthony St. Leger of Grangemellon at the time of the Reformation. He sold it to the Aylmers of Lyons and Donadea who, in turn, parted with it to the Bunburys. On 24 April 1700, Joseph Bunbury officially conveyed the rectory and tithes of Graney to his younger brother William Bunbury. The Duke of Ormonde’s release to William is dated 20th April 1703. The Bunburys seem to have still held the rectory at the time of Samuel Lewis’s Topographical Dictioanry of 1837 although I think they sold their interest to Sir Richard Steele, Bart, at about that time.


The Act of Resumption

In 1702, William Bunbury and his brothers Joseph, Thomas and Benjamin, were among the Carlow elite who signed the Petition from Protestants of the County of Carlow on the Act of Resumption 1702. My limited understanding of this Act is that, following the Jacobite Wars, William of Orange had tended to reward his favourites with vast tracts of land forfeited by his enemies, much as Queen Elizabeth and James I had done two generations earlier. He was particularly generous to non-English retainers like the Earl of Galway and his mistress Elizabeth Villiers. In 1699, the Commission of Irish Forfeitures Report estimated that a staggering 1,600,000 Irish acres had been forfeited by Irish Jacobites, many of whom had since fled to France and America. The Act of Resumption was tacked onto a land tax bill which few dared oppose. 'It cleared and placed all estates into the hands of a seven-member commission, nominated by the Commons. Each case was judged on its own merits and if declared null and void - as was the case with Galway's forfeiture - it would revert to the Trustees for Forfeited Estates to be auctioned'. (5)


16 April 1701 – Some MPs and gentlemen of Co Carlow petition against the return and residence of Mark Baggot, ‘a violent Papist’, in that county, of which he was ‘titular High Sheriff’ in 1689.

26 November 1703 - The Great Storm of killed an estimated 8,000 people in southern England. It also blew ships hundreds of miles, blew down more than 400 windmills, demolished more than 2,000 large chimneys in London alone and destroyed the Eddystone Lighthouse. Queen Anne described it as "a Calamity so Dreadful and Astonishing, that the like hath not been Seen or Felt, in the Memory of any Person Living in this Our Kingdom." Daniel Defoe produced his full-length book The Storm (July 1704) in response to the calamity, calling it "the tempest that destroyed woods and forests all over England". He wrote: "No pen could describe it, nor tongue express it, nor thought conceive it unless by one in the extremity of it."

7 June 1705 - Francis Flood, grandfather of Henry Flood, is expelled from the House of Commons for abuses against Agmondisham Cuffe MP, Cuffe’s tenants and others in Co Kilkenny.

19 May 1710: John Forster is unanimously elected Speaker of the House of Commons, replacing Alan Brodrick.

20 June 1715 – There is a general election. The first session of the Irish parliament of George I commences on 12 November, and will continue till 20 June 1716. There will be six sessions of this parliament.


Sir Henry Bunbury, Commissioner of the Revenue

The Bunburys in Ireland presumably benefited from the appointment of their cousin Sir Henry Bunbury, head of the English branch, to be Commissioner of the Revenue for Ireland during the reign of Queen Anne. Sir Henry was a close colleague of the Duke of Ormonde, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with whom he shared great apprehension at the prospect of the German House of Hanover occupying the British throne once Queen Anne had died. Like many of their contemporaries, they gave their support to the cause of the Old Pretender; like so many other Jacobites they discovered they had backed the wrong horse, and both men were summarily dismissed from their posts. The Bunbury allegiance to the Ormondes stood through until 1715 when, following the failure of the Jacobite Rebellion, the 2nd Duke fled into permanaent exile in France. As such, I presume Sir Harry enjoyed making the toast across the water, whereby, after standing, persons would wave their drink over a glass or jug of water on the table. This symbolised "the king over the water", which is a reference to the Pretender and a sign of solidarity with the Jacobite cause and against theHanoverian succession.

In August 2015, I emailed Daniel Szechi, Professor of Early Modern History at The University of Manchester, to seek his recommendations on books / essays / sources where I could find a good summary of how Ireland responded in 1715, and why there wasn't much of a showdown over here? He very kindly replied: 'Absolutely the best book on Jacobitism in Ireland (and it has a section on Ireland around 1715) is Éamonn Ó Ciardha, Ireland and the Jacobite Cause, 1685-1766 (Dublin, 2002). The fact that not much happened in Ireland is deceptive: the army of Ireland overseas, a.k.a. the Irish Brigade in French service - at that point still overwhelmingly 1st generation exiles and military migrants (i.e. young men who left Ireland specifically in order to join the French army) - was very active in helping obtain covert French support for the rising, and in its final days there were something like 600 Irish officers and men in Calais alone waiting for the ice to clear so they could embark for Scotland. At that time the Irish soldiers in French service still took a dual oath of loyalty when they enlisted, one to the king of France and one to King James, and by privately going to Calais and other Channel ports to take ship for Scotland after the Regent had forbidden them to do so they were in effect potentially throwing up their French careers, so this betokens a serious commitment on their parts. The great majority of them subsequently silently rejoined their regiments in the Irish Brigade and the French government turned a blind eye to what had happened (it was not about to eviscerate one of its best units by dismissing them), but even after that the Irish brigade played a major role in supporting the Scots exiles of 1715 on the continent by quietly allowing some to enlist in the ranks of the brigade (despite the fact they were Protestants) and unofficially allowing the Scots access to their military messes when they were garrisoned in the provinces. This made the difference between abject poverty and minimal decency for not a few of the exiles.

There is not a great deal of official interest in the anniversary of the '15 in the UK. Partly it is because of competition with other 'safer' anniversaries (i.e. anniversaries that fit in better with national mythistory and historical orthodoxies) such as Agincourt, Magna Carta, Waterloo and Gallipolli, and partly because the '15 was an incipient civil war with some very ugly episodes that in and of itself implicitly gives the lie to the great myth of British political stability after 1688. There is going to be a one-day conference on the battle of Preston in November, and the Records of Scotland and the National Library of Scotland have/will be doing exhibitions on the subject, but that is about it. Even in Scotland the SNP are not comfortable with the whole Jacobite phenomenon (being an implicitly republican - small 'r' - party) and tend to pass over it as quickly as possible to get to the modern era.




1. (a) There is a record of Benjamin and his twin brother Joseph being christened/baptised on 13.9.1642 at Stanney - this according to Ormerod.

1 (b) The name of John Bunbury's wife is unknown; they had two sons, Henry and Thomas. The elder son, Henry Bunbury, died unmarried in Dublin in 1682. The younger son, Thomas Bunbury (1628 – 1682) lived at Ballyseskin. In 1668, Thomas married Anne Codd, daughter of Nicholas Codd of Castletown. The marriage produced at least six sons. The eldest, John Bunbury, died unmarried. The third son Thomas married and had a daughter, Anne, who married Colonel Philip Savage of Kilgibbon. The sixth son, Henry Bunbury was father to Lettice Bunbury (who married Henry Archer of Ballyhoge), Anne Bunbury (who married Cadwallader Edwards of Ballyhire) and Sarah Bunbury (who married Benjamin Hughes of Hilltown). The names Hughes and Archer return again in the last paragraph below relating to the Lockwood marriage.

1 (d) As to John and Sir Henry's other sisters, Mary Bunbury married Thomas Draper of Walton and Martha Bunbury died in 1664.

2d. "Journals for the Preservation of the Memorials for the Dead", Vol, Issue 1916, CARLOW, page 18. According to John Ryan's "History & Antiquities of the County of Carlow" - Page 331, their memorial reads: ' IN : HOPE : OF : A : BLESSED : RESURRECTION : HERE : LIETH : THE : BODIES : OF : BENJAMIN : BUNBURY : THE : FATHER : AND : BENJAMIN : BUNBURY : THE : SON : BOTH : OF : KILLERIG : ESQRS : THE : FORMER : DEPARTED : THIS : LIFE : APRIL : YE : 4TH : 1707 : AGED : 44 : YEARS : THE : LATER : JANY : YE : 3 : 1715 - 16 : AGED : 39.'

3b. D.W Hayton, Dependence, Clientage & Afiinity in ‘The Dukes of Ormonde

5. 'Ireland's Huguenots and Their Refuge, 1662-1745: An Unlikely Haven', Raymond Hylton, p. 106, Sussex Academic Press, 2005.

6. In an earlier report, I had recorded that the above six children had all died on those dates, 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.

With thanks to Peter Bunbury, Hilary Jarvis, Roger Carden-Depper, Gill Miller, Susie Warren, Arthur Carden, George Thompson, Jane Paterson, Michael Brennan, William Minchin, Michael Purcell, Roger Nowlan and the Carlow Rootsweb.