Turtle Bunbury

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Above: Rev. Alexander 'Alick' McClintock, Rector of Castlebelligham (1804), by Woodhouse.
Portrait courtesy of Sylvia Wright (nee McClintock).

On 26th January 1797, Jack and Patience's son Alexander McClintock, known as Alick, was installed as Rector of Kilsaran by his Patron (and father) 'Bumper Jack' M'Clintock, of Drumcar, M.P. It is to be noted that Drumcar had come into the ownership of the Foster family in 1711 and that perhaps the appointment had as much to do with the family of Alick's mother, Patience Foster. Slightly confusingly his portrait alongside this text claims he was also Rector of Castlebellingham in 1804.

Alick was born in 1775 and became Curate of Kilsaran in 1796, so that, maintains Leslie, “if the former date is correct, he must have been ordained under the canonical age.” He resigned the Kilsaran parish in 1810, and afterwards became Rector of St. Mary's, Newtownbarry, Co. Wexford (1810-36), Rector of Ballymartle, Cork (1815-24, home turf of the Meade family); Rector of Glenbarrahan (or Castlehaven) in Ross, West Cork (1824-8) and Rector of Clonegal, Ferns (1828-36). He may also have been Rector of St. Paul's, Kildavin, County Carlow, at this time.

A 21st century genealogist advised me that the Rev. Alick McClintock was a poor record keeper. In 1831, he became deeply embroiled in the Tithe Wars when fourteen people were killed during a riot in Newtownbarry (now Bunclody) known as the Battle of the Pound. (See below)

Alexander’s wife Anne (or Nancy) was one of ten children born to Mervyn Pratt of Cabra, Co. Cavan, the man who laid out the town of Kingscourt. Anne was also a niece of the Rev. Joseph Pratt, Rector of Dromiskin, Co. Louth (1766-1831). The Pratt marriage was undoubtedly tied up with Alexander’s mothers’ family, the Fosters of Dunleer, Co. Louth, who owned the land where the present Cabra Castle stands today. Patience McClintock’s first cousin John Thomas Foster, the owner of this land, was the husband of the sexually charged ‘Lady Bess’ who reputedly enjoyed lesbian love with Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire. After John Thomas Foster’s premature death in 1796, another cousin Henry Foster became trustee of the Cabra lands. However, Henry appears to have gone bankrupt over the next 18 years and, in 1813, Nancy McClintock’s first cousin Colonel Joseph Pratt (a son of the Rev. Joseph of Dromiskin) bought the Foster’s castle with about 400 acres from Augustus Foster (a son of John Thomas and Lady Bess).

Incidentally, Colonel Joseph Pratt’s younger brother was Major Harvey de Montmorency Pratt who, through his marriage to Rose Kearney, daughter of Bishop Joseph Kearney, became an ancestor to one of President Barack Obama’s most unlikely Irish relatives.

Alexander and Nancy had issue, three sons and six daughters, before Alexander’s death on 6th August 1836. These nine children were first cousins of Captain William McClintock Bunbury and the 1st Lord Rathdonnell.

1) The eldest son the Rev. Henry Fitzalan McClintock, A.M., obtained a BA from Trinity College Dublin. He was Rector of Kilsaran from October 1832 until he resigned the parish on May 5, 1835. [For details of the previous rector William Woolsey, who married Mary Anne Bellingham, see above]. Henry F. McClintock became Prebendary and Vicar of Ballymodan (Bandon) from 1835 to 1846, before settling down as Rector of St. Michael’s Church in Kilmichael & Maclonleigh for 33 years. After he died, unmarried, on 6th October 1879, aged 73, the parishes of Kilmichael & Maclonleigh were joined to Inchigeela. He had two brothers.

2) The second son was the Rev. Lowry Cole McClintock, Prebendary of Kilmeen, Co. Cork, and formerly Rector of Ballincholla near Ballinrobe in the diocese of Tuam. He was also Rector of The Neale, Co. Mayo. He died unmarried in 2nd April 1876.

3) The third was Alexander Edward McClintock who died in 1900. He could feasibly have been the AE (Alexander Edward) McClintock who co-authored ‘The Law Directory of Ireland for 1847 and 1846’ with C. Brady. On 17th June 1862, he married Mary Selina Cottingham, daughter of Major Edward Cottingham, JP, 28th Regiment, Inspector General of Prisons in Ireland. Their only son Captain William Maxwell McClintock was born on 16th July 1868 (and baptised in Leeson Park, Dublin) but died unmarried aged 30 in 1898.

4) The eldest daughter Annette was born in 1799 and lived to be 100, dying on 24th October 1899.

5) The second daughter Francis Hester McClintock died in October 1881.

6) The third daughter Louisa died in 1882.

7) The fourth daughter Elizabeth Chomondelay was married in 1846 to Edward Beaufort, son of Rev. William Lewis Beaufort, LLD, and nephew of Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857), inventor of the Beaufort Scales. Edward’s mother was a daughter of Thomas St. Lawrence, Dean of Cork. Edward and Elizabeth had issue.

8) The fifth daughter Lucy Hester McClintock died unmarried in June 1882.

9) The sixth and youngest daughter Hester McClintock was married on 11th February 1840 – as his second wife – to Walter Hussey de Burgh, JP, of Donore House, Co. Kildare, and Dromkeen House, Co. Limerick. He was a grandson of the celebrated orator Walter Hussey Burgh, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, who had died so unexpectedly young aged 41 in 1783. Hester bore her husband three sons and six daughters, which was precisely the same number of boys and girls that her mother before her had begotten. Hester de Burgh died on 27th June 1858. Walter found time to marry a third wife, Jane Hughes (nee Dighy), and died 19th October 1862.


The Tithe War was essentially a Catholic revolt against paying tithes to Protestant clergy. On 3 March 1831, the 'Tithe War’ heated up when 120 yeomanry moved in to Graiguenamanagh to seize cattle in payment of the tithe from a Roman Catholic priest. With the support of his bishop, he had organised people to resist tithe collection by placing their stock under his ownership prior to sale. A letter written by the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Dr. James Doyle to Thomas Spring Rice provided the main spur for the movement:

“There are many noble traits in the Irish character, mixed with failings which have always raised obstacles to their own well-being; but an innate love of justice, and an indomitable hatred of oppression, is like a gem upon the front of our nation which no darkness can obscure. To this fine quality I trace their hatred of tithes; may it be as lasting as their love of justice!”

In the summer of 1831, the grim realities of the Tithe Wars came to haunt the McClintocks with the so-called Battle of the Pound in Bunclody (then Newtownbarry) in County Wexford which left at least a dozen people dead. The Rev. Alexander (Alick) McClintock, William's uncle and a younger son of Bumper Jack, had been Rector of St. Mary's, Newtownbarry, since 1810. In June 1831, the Rev. McClintock seized three cattle - two belonging to Patrick Doyle of Tombrick and the third that belonged to a Mr. Nowlan. It has been suggested that Mr. McClintock was demanding tithes before they were due. The three cows were to be put up for sale at the town’s pound on 18th June. When the day came, a huge crowd gathered at the pound. However, when Mr. McClintock’s tithe agent said that the sale would now take place at the market square instead, nobody budged. According to a report in the Southern Star from 1912, ‘the people crowded into the village in thousands, and as the cattle were being driven to the place of auction they closed around them and rescued them.’ Captain Graham, commander of the later yeomanry, rode off and soon returned at the head of a force of 190 yeomanry drawn from Wexford and Carlow, and included a contingent from Myshall. ‘All the most rabid Orangemen’, remarked the Southern Star. The Yeomanry, disbanded after 1798, had been re-established in 1831 despite the advice of O'Connell, who described them as "inefficient for good, but ever strong for mischief."

Captain Graham warned the crowd that every musket his men carried was loaded; each yeoman was carrying fifty rounds of ball cartridge. He then ordered the agent to drive the cattle to town, with six policemen in front of the three cows and six more behind, with the yeomanry behind them. The subsequent report suggest that the crowd were pressing too close to the yeomen for comfort an d that some began throwing stones. At length, shades of Bachelors Walk massacre seventy years later, Captain Graham ordered his men to fire upon the unarmed crowd and a volley of shots rang out. As the crowd scrambled in panic, the yeomen reloaded three more times and fired three more volleys. Contrary to later reports, the yeomen did not charge into the crowd with bayonets fixed. However, when the smoke cleared, twelve people [other reports ay 14] lay dead on the streets, with over twenty more badly wounded, including one who was blinded in both eyes. The dead included a married woman, two boys (one the son of a yeoman) and a yeoman who was accidentally shot dead by his comrades. No sale of cattle took place that day but the cattle were later sold, meaning this was a defeat – and a tragic one – for the peasantry.

The action of the Yeomanry was so unjustifiable that the Government ordered a parliamentary inquiry which began on July 10th. Five yeomen were committed for firing ‘shots that took effect’ while warrants were issued against nearly 20 more. Captain Graham was ordered to pay his own bail at £1000, with two sureties of £500. The indictment appeared in Court at the Wexford assizes a week later but owing to the non-attendance of some key witnesses, the trial was postponed to the assizes of March 1832. According to the Freeman’s Journal: ‘Mr. Green having sent to the Grand Jury of Wexford new bills of indictment for murder against Captain Graham and his brother yeomen … the bills were ignored’. As such, ‘the prosecution was abandoned’.

In 'The Life, Times & Contemporaries of Lord Cloncurry', William John Fitzpatrick (p. 426) added the following details on the incident:

'In 1833, the Irish parsons resolved unanimously to make one great and signal effort to recover their lost position. Tithes they should and would have, no matter if a Rubicon of human blood had necessarily to be waded through to clutch them. Accordingly sundry rounds of ball cartridge were distributed amongst the police and yeomanry preparatory to every descent on the habitations of the peasantry. Should the cattle, in the meantime, be removed, potatoes, sheeting, wearing apparel, blanketing, and whatever the house afforded was, in default of better, usually secured. The people, in some instances, stung with rage, offered a something more than mere passive resistance by flinging stones and other missiles at their military intruders. This happened at Newtownbarry, where frightful bloodshed and rapine ensued. Mr. O'Callaghan, speaking of this in his excellent "Green Book," tells us that the cattle of a farmer named Doyle was, on June 23, seized for tithe by the Rev. Mr. M'Clintock, and although the sum claimed did not exceed £2 6s. (which, moreover, was not legally due till November), the cattle were advertised to be sold by auction, in the parson's name, on Saturday 18th June. Being market day, a large crowd assembled to attend the sale. The cattle were "put up," and 190 yeomanry, provided with fifty rounds of ball cartridge each, formed into line adjacent. It has been said that no stones were thrown on this occasion by any except children, and from the credible nature of the authority, we are not disposed to disbelieve it. That stones were thrown is certain, and that the soldiery fired equally so. When the smoke of the volley had cleared away, fourteen individuals were found stretched lifeless on the market place, and twenty-six wounded. Perhaps the most horrible incident in the tragedy was the case of a woman named Da Mulrooney, through whose body, including that of an unborn child, a musket ball tore its way, leaving the bleeding remains of both exposed to the public eye.'

The Tithe Wars would reach into Lisnavagh the following year with the controversial evcition of Philip Germaine. It culminated in the murder of twelve policemen in Kilkenny - attempts to reform collection methods doomed, as source of grievance was actually the tithes themselves.

[Southern Star, Saturday, August 3, 191, p. 6; ‘Battle of the Pound’, Seamus O’Neill, Irish Press, Friday, September 29, 1972, p. 9]