Turtle Bunbury

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Above: Above: The barrister Alexander McClintock (1692-1775) bought the Drumcar estate and
would become known as 'the Fairy Godfather' of the McClintock family.


Alexander McClintock, the eldest son of John and Janet McClintock of Trintaugh, Co Donegal, was born on 30 September 1692. He most likely went to Dublin in about 1710 where he read law and became a barrister of note during the early Georgian Age. As Colonel Bob McClintock observed, enabled him to become ‘the fairy godfather to his nephews and nieces’, not least his principal heir, Bumper Jack McClintock of Drumcar.

[28 March 1719 – John Cairnes, son of David Cairnes, former MP for the city of Derry, was killed in a duel in Newcastle, England.]


The Wicklow Papers at the National Library of Ireland [Collection List No. 69] contain a Bond [MS 38,550 (5)] dated 25 July 1732 in which Alexander McClintock and Alexander Nesbitt, attorneys, receive instructions from between William Forward of Castle Forward, Co. Donegal, and Archibald Hamilton to pay £400. The Forwards owned 6,000 acres in the barony of Raphoe, county Donegal, which later passed to the Earls of Wicklow on the marriage in August 1755 of Alice Forward, only daughter of William Forward, M.P. Castle Forward, to Ralph Howard (1726-89). In 1734, Alexander was noted as ‘Attorney, Common Pleas’.


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Above: Portrait of Mary Anne Sampson, sister of Rebecca
McClintock, who married Stratford Eyre of Eyreville,
Governor of Galway. For more Eyre pictures click here.


In 1725, Alexander McClintock married Rebecca Sampson, the 19-year-old daughter of Michael Sampson and his wife Jane (nee McCausland). She came from a prosperous Dublin family but, according to the 1728 McCausland lease (below), her father was dead by 1728. Her brother Michael Sampson was a business associate of the notorious Redmond Kane / Cahan (a key player in the Lisnavagh story), while her sisters included Lettice Hastings and Mary Anne Eyre. [See Jane Sampson's will of 1764 from Betham's Abstracts No. 36.

It is not yet know if Rebecca was related to William Sampson (1764-1835), the Derry-born son of a Presbyterian minister, who, also a lawyer, was imprisoned, disbarred and banished from Ireland for his support of the United Irishmen in 1798.

[To put this into context, this was Jonathan Swift's Dublin and, on 28 November 1727, William Connolly was unanimously re-elected Speaker of the Irish House of Commons.]


Rebecca McClintock’s sister Mary Anne Sampson married Stratford Eyre (d. 1767) of Eyreville, who was to prove a powerful brother-in-law for Alexander McClintock. Stratford Eyre was High Sheriff of Galway in 1731 and served as a Colonel at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. He was appointed Governor of Galway the following year, retaining the office until his death 20 years later, and was also appointed vice-admiral of Connaught in 1761. In his 1874 book 'The English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century’, James Anthony Froude described Eyre as "a man full of violent personal and religious animosities, intolerant of opposition, and much more fit of the command of a regiment than for the difficult task of governing a Catholic town.” Colonel Eyre’s Wikipedia page gives some detail of the challenges he faced, principally from Robert Martin of Dangan (the leader of the Connacht Jacobite, a leading Freemason and father of Humanity Dick). Mary Eyre (nee Sampson), his wife, died at Eyreville, on 13 September 1756. (Pue's Occurrences, 18 September 1756). However, the governor appears to have married again because the Scots Magazine reported his death on 11 December 1767, he died: ‘At Dublin-castle, whither he and his lady had come, in order to be presented to Lady Townshend, suddenly, Stratford Eyre, Esq, Governor of Galway in Ireland.'


On 28-29 November 1728, Rebecca McClintock's maternal grandfather Alexander McCausland of Omagh and her uncle John McCausland signed a deed and release with William Hamilton of Caledon, Co. Tyrone, clerk of the Archdeacon of Armagh, and Oliver McCausland of Rush, Co. Tyrone, which also involved Rebecca's widowed mother Jane Sampson and her sister Ann Sampson. (I think Ann Sampson was married in 1828 to John McCausland, grandson of Alexander McCausland of Omagh Co. Tyrone.) This deed and release concerned ‘those the towns, lands, messuages and premises following, viz: Upper Cloghfinn, Lower Cloghfinn, Crackencor, Upper Drumnakilly, Lower Drumnakilly, the tuck mill thereon, the half town land of Feccary and the corn mill thereon, the half town land of Ballenagelly, Racolpagh, Cullycurragh, Ferneagh, Deerpark, and all the messuage or tenement where ye said Alexander McCausland now dwells in the town of Omagh, formerly known be the name or names of Lamberts Tenement and John Baird's Tenement, together with that park now in the possession of the said Alexander McCausland, known by the name of Hays Park, all situate lying and being in the Co. Tyrone.’ The deeds of Lease and Release were witnessed by “Richard Den and Redmond Cahan, both of the City of Dublin, Gents,” while the memorial was “witnessed by the said Redmond Cahan and Alexander McClintock of the City of Dublin, Gents.” (Lease Alexander McCausland (#17375) – 28 November 1728, Registered 7th December, 1728. Source Merze Marvin Book, No. 18). In 1728, Michael Sampson’s daughter Anne married.


A deed of 1731 shows Alexander McClintock making a land purchase in Tyrone; it was witnessed by his brother John McClintock of Trintagh and the aforementioned Redmond Cahan, clerk, to Robert King of Dublin. [Registry of Deeds in Dublin, Vol. 65, p. 535, no. 46845. Thanks to Laurence Gilmore].

The McClintocks of Drumcar held/owned land in the barony of Omagh, Co. Tyrone, (as did Redmond Kane, although his were held by the Bishop of Clogher): a draft fee farm grant of 1882 relating to Drumconnis and Kildrummin, present in a box of deeds at Lisnavagh ( 7/1-14 ), traces the title of the 2nd Lord Rathdonnell to his McClintock forebears. Cranny was another townland in County Tyrone that the McClintocks and the Kanes had in common; the Rathdonnell Papers include a lease dated 1 Apr. 1761 from Alexander McClintock of Drumcar to Joseph Scott and Robert Wiley of the lands of Curley, alias Cranny, for 14 years.


Box D1 of the Rathdonnell Papers includes what PRONI described as 'an exceedingly complicated deed' of 15 July 1733 relating to Jordanstown, County Antrim, aka an 'Assignment from Mr Ralph Sampson to Mr Michael Sampson of his mortgage on Whitehouse [?lease] in trust for Alexander McClintock’. In July 2019, I was contacted by Chris Hill who advised me that in the Rev. Clarke's book 'Thirty Centuries in South-East Antrim', he refers to "Allexander McClintock" having possession of a rent roll of seven and a half townlands in the parish of Carmoney, near Newtownabbey, circa 1750. Located close to Belfast Lough, the seven townlands are named as Carmony, Croughfern, Dunany, Jordanstown, Whitehouse, Ballycraigy and Ballyveasy, with the half town of Ballyhenry. Chris also directed me to R. M. Young's 'Old Belfast' (page 263) which has an extract from a Donegall deed of 1692 that may cover exactly the same lands: "as also the White house and town lands of Rantollard, Jordanstown, Coole, Dunany, Ballyvesin, Ballycraggy, Caroferney, and the other half town land of Ballyhenry, and the Mill there upon, then lately in the possession of John Davis" [As Chris notes, "Caroferney" is probably "Cloughfern" ("curraghfarney", Currach Fearnaí ); "Coole" is the traditional old name for Carnmoney, "Rantalard" is in Whitehouse and the other half town of Ballyhenry was apparently held by Alexander Colvill.] 'Unfortunately the rent roll itself (no doubt battered) does not seem to be on offer at PRONI, and a quick look at the microfilm MIC 510/2 does not reveal a definite date.'


Box 2/5 of the Rathdonnell Papers includes a Deed of Settlement, dated 10 Feb. 1743, made by Daniel Eccles and Charles Eccles, and involving John McClintock of Trintaugh, Co. Donegal, and Alexander McClintock of Dublin, of Rathmoran (alias Ardmagh), barony of Clankelly, Co. Fermanagh. There is also a Marriage Settlement (2/7), dated 6 Apr. 1753, for Robert Eccles and Ann, his wife, that involves the McClintocks, and several other documents pertaining to the Eccles family of Rathmoran and Killrusky. The Eccles family were very much tied up with the Seskinore branch.

Box 2/9 of the Rathdonnell Papers includes a lease dated 6 May 1760 from Alexander McClintock of Drumcar to James Noble of Clontaverin, Co. Fermanagh, and copy memorial of the same lease.

The McClintock motto is ‘Virtute et labore’
(‘By valour and exertion’).


The Wicklow Papers at the National Library of Ireland [Collection List No. 69] contain a Deed (MS 38,551), dated 1 Nov. 1765, concerning the uses of a fine of lands at Mount Stewart, Coolaghy, Mondooey, Drumbarnet, Monimore, Mill at Killyverry, Mill at Dunduffe, Barony of Raphoe, between William Forward and Isabella Forward [nee Stafford], of Castle Forward, county Donegal, and Alexander McClintock, of Drumcarr, County Louth. There is also an Agreement (MS 38,558), dated 3 Nov. 1766, between Alexander and the Forwards concerning the same lands [aka Mount Stewart: Coolaghy, Mondooey, Drumbarnet, Moneymore, Killyverry, Dunduff] which also refers to the uses of the land.

'The Irish bar was in a state of decline in the 1740s and 1750s, to the extent that the King’s Inns premises were scaled back in order to save money, and barristers ceased to dine there together.' (Helen Barry, 'The Castrato and his Wife', p. 109) However, by this time, Britain also had a settled constitutional monarchy which, Jacobites aside, featured an ostensibly liberal backbone.


A major spate of road building throughout Ireland began in the 1720s when pioneering acts of parliament were passed to establish turnpike roads. One of these was the Dublin-Dunleer Turnpike which dates from 1731 and ran northwards from Dublin via Swords and Balbriggan. These were toll roads that were franchised out to private operators. Two other routes through Fingal to Drogheda were also made into turnpikes – one to the west of the county running via Ashbourne and another through the middle via Naul and Knocksedan.

It was Alexander McClintock who first purchased the Drumcar property in Co Louth in the 1760s. His wife Rebecca died on 3 October 1763, aged 59. He is referred to as Alexander McClintock of Drumcar in the will of his mother-in-law, Jane Sampson (No. 36), which was drawn up on 5 January 1764, so he was presumably living there, or in ownership of the property, at that time. In 1764 there were 12 Protestants and 363 Roman Catholics in the Drumcar parish but no church and no chapel. It is notable that Alexander's nephew John McClintock married a daughter of County Louth's most influential politican just two years later.

Formerly known as Druim-cara, meaning 'the ridge of the weir', the property overlooks the southern bank of the River Dee, slightly upriver from its confluence with the Glyde River at Annagassan. There is assumed to have been a salmon weir here in ancient times while there was also a monastery which was said to have been founded in the 6th century by no less a soul than St Finian. The remains of this monastery stood near the farm at Drumcar and were still visible in the 20th century although I gather there are no traces remaining. Ceallach, son of Muirghis, is mentioned as the Abbot of Drumcar in 816 while there is also record of Erenach of Drumcar in 1065, the year before the Norman invasion of England. When those same Normans reached Ireland a century later, these lands were taken from the Bishop of Louth and granted by Prince John to Peter Pippard circa 1189 as part of the wider barony of Ardee. In about 1220, Ralph de Repentini (now Pentony) granted St Finian’s Church, plus 13 acres and all its appurtenances, to the super wealthy Cistercian abbey of St Mary’s near Abbey Street in Dublin. The abbey also acquired other lands in the area including La Cork, now Corstown. Right up until at least the 1890s, the Dee was regarded as excellent for salmon and trout fishing, particuarly by Drumcar.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1539, Drumcar passed into the hands of the crown. By the time of the Cromwellian land confiscations of 1653-56, Drumcar comprised of 243 acres in the ownership of Thomas Tallon. Its western border was named Cashellstown after Michael Cashell of Dundalk whose wife Ismay was a daughter of local landowner Nicholas Gernon; Nicholas had gifted the Cashells 290 acres following their marriage in 1637 but these lands were also confiscated. There were subsequently granted to Captain Richard Holt, an officer in Cromwell’s army. Despite his involvement in Colonel Blood’s bizarre attempt to assassinate the Duke of Ormonde, Holt had Drumcar reconfirmed to him although Cashellstown was recovered by the Cashell’s son and heir Thomas.

In the early 18th century, Samuel Holt, a descendant of the captain, sold Drumcar to Robert Curtis of Dublin. This may explain a mortgage in Box D1 of the Rathdonnell Papers which is dated 1711 and affects Cashellstown [Drumcar], Co. Louth, but does not yet involve the McClintocks. The 1740 Corn Census for Co Louth lists a Mr McClintock of Cashellstown, Dromcar [sic], Louth & Ardee (265) so Alexander may have been living in the area from as early as 1740.

[Also of note, on 11th August 1711, Archbishop Narcissus Marsh, the Primate of Ireland, purchased a lease of the Rectory and rectorial tithes of Drumcar for 999 years from John Foster of Dunleer for £1800. Foster held the same by lease, dated Dec. 11, 1703, from Stephen Ludlow. Two days later, the Primate demised the same to Foster for 21 years at £100 rent. His Grace simultaneously settled the said rectory and tithes on Dr. Wye and his successors, the Rectors of Drumcar for ever, on condition that they paid £40 annually to the P.C. Moylary.] After Robert Curtis bouht Drumcar, it passed through several owners before Alexander McClintock’s acquisition.


Alexander had a Dublin townhouse at Dominick Street, a wide and fashionable thoroughfare just east of the King's Inns. Most of the houses on the street were built in the late 1750s and 1760s, at the behest of Lady Dominick, the widow of Sir Christopher Dominick, a physician, who built the first marge house here. Other residents of Dominick Stret at this time included Speaker John Foster, the Arthure family (who intermarried with the Bunburys), Sir Richard Steele (who died in 1785) and Colonel Daniel Chenevix (who ran the gunpowder mills at Corkagh, County Dublin, until his passing in March 1776 aged 46). The arms of some of the streets former residents are still emblazoned over some of the pedimented doorways but I don't believe Alexander's house survives today. It was probably demolsihed as part of a slum clearance programme in the 1950s but I am unsure whether his house was on Lower or Upper Dominick Street. The house may have been No. 7 Dominick Street, as per a sale notice for his horses in 1775, or No. 9 Dominick Street, the address given on the death of his nephew John McClintock in 1799.


On Saturday 3rd June 1775, Finns Leinster Journal reported the death of Alexander M’Clintock [sic] ‘on Thursday last, at his house in Dominick Street’. He was buried in Dunleer, 2.5km south of Drumcar. His last will was dated 10 July 1772 and proven on 8 June 1775. As he and Rebecca had no children, he left Drumcar to his nephew John McClintock (Bumper Jack), grandfather of the first Lord Rathdonnell. Indeed, according to the 20th century family historian Colonel Bob McClintock, Alexander ‘left money to many of his nephews and nieces’. On 2 June 1775, Saunders's Newsletter advised that 'a Pair of large, black short tail Coach Horses, the Property of the late Alex. M'Clintock Esq.' were to be sold; 'they are but seven Years old, warranted found in every particular. Inquire at No. 7 Dominick-street.'