History of Kinsalebeg
Houses of Kinsalebeg
The following is an overview of some of the interesting historical buildings in the Kinsalebeg area together with some details of the known main occupants. Some of this information is also covered elsewhere under the histories of families such as the the Walshs, Rochs, Bernards and Fishers and there will be some duplication of information between the different chapters. Pilltown Castle and the Manor of Pilltown are largely associated with the Walshs of Pilltown; Woodbine Hill is mainly associated with the Roch family; the Ronaynes were the main occupants of D’Loughtane House; the Smyths were the early residents of Monatray House. Prospect Hall has a chequered history with many different residents down through the years. This overview is by no means complete and there are also other houses and buildings which merit inclusion but this is the available information at the time of “going to press”. Additional information, corrections or comments will be gratefully accepted and where applicable will be used to update the history.
The Smyths of Headborough had a residence in Monatray in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century. The residence was called Snugborough or Snugboro at that time but the name has no local historical significance and we assume was just a name given to it by the Bernards or the Smyths. The 1777 Taylor & Skinner map below indicates that the Smyths (Smith Esq) were resident in the location of Monatray House (Snugboro) in 1777. A land registry deed1 dated the 14th March 1788 indicates that James Bernard leased land in Monatray to Richard Barrett on that date. The tenants on the land prior to Richard Barrett were David Flynn, John Collins (or Colbert) and Walter Croker. Richard Barrett was stated to be living in Snugborough aka Snugboro in 1788 when the above deed was signed so we assume he was also leasing the house from the Smyths. The following is a brief excerpt from the above mentioned lease1:
“A memorial of an indented deed bearing the date of 14th March 1788 whereby James Bernard of Windsor in Cork did demise and set unto Richard Barrett of Snugborough all that & those the lands of Moneatra [Monatray] situate lying and nearby near the Ferry Point opposite Youghal and then tenanted by David Flynn & John Collins or Colbert [name unclear] & Walter Croker etc …”.
Notes: The above map of Kinsalebeg is taken from Taylor & Skinner’s Roads of Ireland Surveyed 1777. It shows the presence of a “Nobleman & Gentleman’s Seat” in Snugboro (Smith Esq) and also at Prospect Hall. Snugboro is the location of the present day Monatray House which is in the townland of Monatray West. The location named Snugboro or Snugborough has no historical significance and there is no record of it in the placename history of Kinsalebeg. It would appear to be a type of “pet name” introduced mostly likely by the Bernard family who owned the land in this area from 1720 onwards. The 1777 map shows the presence of a Smith Esq in Snugborough which would indicate that the Smiths [Smyths] had a residence here before they purchased most of the land in Kinsalebeg from the Bernards in 1825. The name Prospect Hall was described by Power in the Placenames of the Decies3 as a “Fancy name of the usual meaningless character with no Irish form to correspond” and Snugborough would probably fit into the same category. The map also shows the old Kinsalebeg Church near Ferrypoint as well as the presence of a building in Piltown where the mill/castle was located.
At the time of the 1798 rebellion it was reported that there was a United Irishmen plan to kill a number of landowners and country house owners in Waterford including Richard Barrett of Snugborough. Thomas Christopher of Abbeyside gathered a force of 800 United Irishmen at Cuscham close to Dungarvan. They planned to remove cannon from a ship called “The Vulture” which was moored in the harbour of Dungarvan. The plan was to use the cannon to blow up country houses in the Waterford area including the residence of George de la Poer Beresford the 1st Marquess of Waterford at Curraghmore. It was also their plan to kill a number of people including Richard Power of Clashmore, Richard Barrett of Snugborough, Captain Henry St. George Cole of Annestown, Colonel Robert Uniacke of Woodhouse, John Musgrave of Ballyin, Roger Dalton (attorney) and Jabez Henry (vicar) both of Dungarvan. The plan was thwarted as the authorities were informed of the proposed events before they were due to be carried out. In 1792 Richard Barrett of Snugborough was advertising for a tenant or tenants for fifty acres of land at Monatray which was available from 1st May 1793 onwards.
In 1825 the Earl of Bandon sold his interests in the Kinsalebeg area to Rev Percy Scott Smyth. This included the towns and lands of Monatray in which Monatray House or Snugboro was located. It is understood that Percy Scott Smyth either rebuilt or refurbished Monatray House in the period around 1830 as elements of the present day structure seem to come from that later period. The house was subsequently called Monatray and not referred to as Snugborough any longer. The following entry in the landed estates database2 confirms the Smyth ownership of Monatray in 1851:
“In 1851 Pierce S. Smith [Smyth), a minor, held Monatray in fee when it was valued at £35. It is still extant and occupied”
The Smyths were resident in Monatray House for long periods until the death of Percy & Mary Smyth in 1910. However they leased out the property or part of the property to various individuals during that period and the following are some of the people who resided in Monatray.
Around 1851 the Rev Arthur Travers was leasing Monatray House from Catherine Smith nee Odell (Smyths of Headborough). She was the widow of the Rev Percy Scott Smyth who had died in 1846. Rev Arthur Travers was curate in Kinsalebeg Church in 1851 in succession to the Rev Percy Scott Smyth. Arthur Burrough’s daughter, Charlotte Theodore Burroughs of Monatray House, married Valentine Lawlor Frenor (Surgeon) in Kinsalebeg Church on 20th Dec 1854.
In 1860 the Rev William Shaw was leasing Monatray House from Catherine Smith. Rev William Elliot Shaw was vicar of Kinsalebeg Church from 1854 onwards. He married Mary Moody, widow of James Farrell of Blandford Square London, in October 1858. Rev William Shaw was educated at Trinity College, Dublin commencing on 3rd July 1837 but there is no record of him completing his degree course even though he went on serve as a church minister. He ministered in Canada around 1849, Dungarvan in 1850 and Kilgobinet in 1853 before becoming vicar of Kinsalebeg in 1854.
In 1892 Monatray House was being advertised as available for lease. The property for lease consisted of eight bedrooms, four sitting rooms, three servants’ apartments and land of fifteen acres. In 1894 Melian Sheppard was leasing Monatray House & land from Percy Smyth.
In the period around 1899 William A Lamb was residing in Monatray House. The property of Monatray House was described as being owned by William Lamb in the 1901 census but it was still in Smyth ownership at that time so William Lamb was leasing it from the Smyths. William Lamb was aged 76 at time of 1901 census and was described as a retired gentleman of COI religion who was born in Co Cork. He lived in Monatray House with Mary Keeffe (aged 60, a domestic servant of RC religion).
In 1911 Matthew Coyle and his family were residing in Monatray House according to the census of that year. The property was still in the ownership of Percy Smyth of Headborough and Monatray. Matthew Coyle was aged 55 in 1911 and described as a retired government official. His lived with his wife Gertrude Coyle (aged 34) and two children Moira (aged 2) and Mathias (aged 7 months) and a domestic servant Catherine Hickey (aged 17).
Monatray House was run as a hotel by the Donovans in the period between 1934 and 1945. The house was initially being leased by Elizabeth Donovan from the representatives of the estate of Percy Smyth who was then deceased. On 9th May 1945 Monatray House was put up for sale as a going concern having gone into administration.
Monatray House was purchased by Susan Emerson in 1946 who continued to run it as a hotel. The running of the hotel was taken over by her son William P Emerson in 1947 but it was back on the market for sale in 1948. My parents, Dan Lehane and Kathleen O’Sullivan, met and married while working in Monatray House when it was a hotel in the 1940s.
Monatray House became a private house in 1948 when it was purchased by the North Presentation Sisters of Cork. Over the next fifteen years it was used primarily as a summer holiday retreat for the Presentation nuns. My father, Dan Lehane, was caretaker cum gardener in Monatray House throughout this period. The Lehane family lived in the house known as “The Hollies” which is adjacent to Monatray House. This was an idyllic location to grow up in as Monatray was surrounded by woodland & wildlife on the south and east, large garden to the north and Youghal Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. The summer months were dominated by the arrival of the nuns from Cork for their summer holidays. The Presentation Sisters bought another summer residence in Ballycotton Co Cork in 1963 and this brought to an end their association with Monatray House.
In the period from 1967 onwards Monatray House returned to its former life as a hotel under the auspices of George & Mary Roch-Perks of Woodbine Hill. It was subsequently sold and again returned to becoming a private residence.
The name Prospect Hall refers to an actual house but is also the name of the townland in which the house resides. It is not always clear in historical references whether the author is referring to the townland or to the residence itself. If a record indicates that the subject was living in Prospect Hall then we generally make the assumption that this is a reference to the house and not the general townland. It is of course possible that the subject may have been living elsewhere in Prospect Hall which covers an area of a few hundred acres. The land in the townland of Prospect Hall was the property of the Walshs of Pilltown from around 1600 to 1720 but the land itself was normally included under the townland of Monatray at that time.
The Bernards of Bandon were landowners of Prospect Hall from 1720 to 1825 and then it came into ownership of the Smyths of Headborough & Monatray from 1825 onwards. The residence of Prospect Hall appears in some records relating to the Walshs of Pilltown but references to the townland of Prospect Hall first seem to commence when the Bernards purchased most of Kinsalebeg from the Walshs after 1720. Anne Bernard nee Foulkes inherited part of Monatray on the death of her brother Francis Bernard in 1731. This part of Monatray was subsequently known as the townland of Prospect Hall even though most of the residents of the area rarely used the name. The name Prospect Hall was described by Power in the Placenames of the Decies3 as a “Fancy name of the usual meaningless character with no Irish form to correspond”. In some historical records and maps the name Mayfield or Mayfield House is indicated as being the name of the Prospect Hall residence. It would appear that Prospect Hall and Mayfield refer to the same house. Locally Mayfield is more usually associated with the location of the old Keane residence on the road from Kinsalebeg Church to Woodbine Hill but the rear entrance to Prospect Hall was actually a short distance from the old Keane residence. On some of these older maps it would appear that the road from Ferrypoint to Whiting Bay and Ardmore actually passed within a few yards of Prospect Hall, past Mayfield and onwards towards Woodbine Hill and then towards Whiting Bay and Ardmore. The Whiting Bay part of this road no longer exists due to the incursion of the sea.
Major Richard FitzGerald stated in his testimony at the famous James Annesley court case of 1743 that he was living in Prospect Hall in the period 1714-1715. He was presumably leasing Prospect Hall from the Walshs of Pilltown at that time. The court case was primarily concerned with establishing whether James Annesley was the legitimate son of the late Lord & Lady Altham and therefore the heir to the Lord Altham titles and property. Lord Altham, whose family name was Arthur Annesley, lived in Dunmaine Wexford. James Annesley, son of Lord & Lady Altham, was born around 1714 but his father later abandoned him and he finished up sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin. When his father died James Annesley would have been considered the heir to his estate but Richard Annesley, a brother of Arthur Annesley and uncle of James Annesley, claimed the estate in the absence of James. In order to solidify his claim to the Altham estate Richard Annesley apparently arranged the kidnapping of his twelve year old destitue nephew James Annesley from the streets of Dublin. James Annesley was transported to America as child slave labour in 1728. He spent the following twelve years as a slave on a plantation in Delaware before he eventually escaped and travelled to Jamaica where he signed up as an able seaman on the HMS Falmouth. He served in the Cartagena military campaign but was not involved in any military action and was eventually discharged from the navy in 1741.
James Annesley returned to Ireland in 1741 and put in a claim for what he believed was his rightful inheritance of the Altham estate. This of course did not sit well with his uncle, Richard Annesley, who had in the meantime taken over the Altham estate. Richard Annesley had developed an extravagent lifestyle which he was unwilling to give up. He tried to have James murdered a couple of times and indeed attempted to do it himself by running him down with his horse carriage at a race meeting. In 1742 James Annesley accidentally shot a poacher while he was out shooting and Richard Annesley tried to have him convicted of murder. James Annesly was acquitted of the murder charge. You might ask what any of this has to do with Prospect Hall and Kinsalebeg but hopefully the following will clarify.
James Annesley’s claim for the Altham inheritance eventually arrived before the courts in 1743. Richard Annesley disputed his nephew’s claim to the estate on the basis that his nephew was illegitimate. He claimed that Lady Altham was not the mother of James and that James Annesley’s wet nurse was the real mother of James Annesley. The wet nurse in question was a Joan Landy who was more commonly known as Juggy Landy or Jugs Landy which seems a very appropriate name for a wet nurse! Major Richard FitzGerald was called as a witness for James Annesley. At the time of the court case in 1743 Major FitzGerald was an officer in the Queen of Hungary’s troops. He was stationed in the Rhine at that time and had been there for twenty eight years. He stated in evidence that he was acquainted with Lord & Lady Altham, the supposed parents of James Annesley, when he lived at Prospect Hall Co Waterford in the period around 1714-1715. Richard FitzGerald stated that he had visited the country seat of Lord & Lady Altham in Dunmain Wexford in the period around the birth of their son James and that he had no doubt that he was their legitimate son. He had indeed wet the baby’s head and he stated that Lord Altham was delighted to have a son and heir. The Annesley case went on to become one of the longest and most notorious cases in British & Irish legal history. The story had all the ingredients of a high action thriller involving illegitimacy, disownment, kidnapping, slavery, murder and attempted murder. We will not go into the details but James Annesley eventually won the case and his estates and title of Lord Altham were given back to him. He unfortunately died a short period afterwards, as indeed did his uncle Richard, but Major Richard FitzGerald of Prospect Hall had played his part in ensuring that justice was done. The story of James Annesley was reputed to be the basis of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous adventure novel Kidnapped. It was also made into a film in 1971 starring Trevor Howard, Michael Caine, Jack Hawkins and Donal Pleasence. Dan Cruickshank narrated a TV documentary called Kidnapped: A Georgian Adventure which was produced by the BBC in 2011 and traces the amazing journey of James Annesley.
Notes: The above portrait of James Annesley originally appeared in one of the published Court of Exchequer trial transcripts in the Annesley case. The stern window on ship on the left shows an infant being held aloft which is presumably a reference to the original kidnapping of James Annesley in Dublin and his forced deportation to America. The right of the drawing shows an American scene with a semi-naked youth with a hunting horn, a couple of hounds and what appear to be beavers which is presumably a reference to the time James Annesley spent as a slave in America. This drawing of James Annesley is by George Bickham the Younger and is based on a Kings line engraving of 1744. The original portrait is in the National Portrait Gallery of London.
Thomas Walsh of Pilltown was recorded as living in Prospect Hall from around 1718 onwards according to various deeds. It coincides with his probable marriage in 1718 to a Katherine FitzGerald in Youghal. However the reference to Prospect Hall may be to the townland rather than the house so it is possible that he was living elsewhere in the townland of Prospect Hall. Major Richard FitzGerald, the previous resident in Prospect Hall, had also been married to a Katherine FitzGerald, a sister of John FitzGerald the 1st Earl Grandison, as we have outlined above. Major Richard FitzGerald apparently departed for overseas service in the Rhine about 1716 and remained there for approximately twenty eight years so it is conceivable that Thomas Walsh took up residency there in this period. The Walshs were also residing in Pilltown Manor in this period.
Judge Francis Bernard had purchased most of the land of Kinsalebeg from the Walshs in 1724 including the townland and residence of Prospect Hall. Anne Foulkes nee Bernard, a sister of Francis Bernard, later inherited the Prospect Hall part of the Bernard estate in Kinsalebeg from her brother Francis who died in 1731. Anne Bernard was married to Robert Foulkes of Youghal. She died in 1754 and her nephew Stephen Bernard, son of her brother Francis, inherited most of her estate including Prospect Hall. Stephen Bernard was born in 1701 and became a barrister. He was elected to represent Bandon as an MP in 1727 and was appointed recorder of Kinsale in 1734. The house at Prospect Hall was refurbished when Stephen Bernard inherited it in 1754. Unfortunately Stephen Bernard did not have long to enjoy his stay in Prospect Hall as he died unmarried in Tarbes France three years later in 1757.
Arthur Bernard, a brother of Stephen, appeared to take up residence in Prospect Hall after the death of his brother until his own death in 1767. His will was dated 6th August 1767 and it appears that he left the Prospect Hall properties to his brother Francis “Squire” Bernard and left other goods to his brother William Bernard including furniture, goods and out houses at Prospect Hall. The will of Arthur Bernard also appears to indicate that whatever goods were left to William Bernard in the will should be passed on subsequently to his nephew James Bernard Esq. The will also stated that he wished to be interred in the nearby Church of Kinsalebeg. He also willed the “sum of £300 to the poor of Kinsalebeg in County of Waterford” and indicated that “no distinction to be made between protestant and papist poor”.
It would appear that the land and the residence of Prospect Hall merged back into the larger Bernard estate in Kinsalebeg after the death of Arthur Bernard. This part of Kinsalebeg was now owned by the flamboyant and eccentric Francis “Squire” Bernard who was a brother of Stephen and Arthur. “Squire” Bernard had inherited the massive Bernard estate in Bandon when his father Francis Bernard died in 1731 and at the same time had inherited the land in Kinsalebeg with the exception of Prospect Hall which was inherited by Anne Foulkes nee Bernard. By 1767 the entire Bernard land holding in Kinsalebeg was under the single ownership of Francis “Squire” Bernard. He had obtained the nickname of “Squire” from the “costliness of his habiliments, for the lustre of the rubies and garnets which glowed on the hilt of his rapier, and for the size and brilliance of the diamonds which glistened on his fingers and on his shirt-front and shoe-buckles” according to a history of Bandon by George Bennett. He would have cut a fine sight strolling around the Ferrypoint and up the hill of Monatray but in truth he probably spent very little, if any, time in Kinsalebeg. He spent most of his life in England after a falling out with his neighbours in Bandon over some trees he had planted in common ground. He departed for England in a fit of pique and never returned. He died unmarried at his home of Spring Gardens in England in 1783 at the age of eighty five. Francis “Squire” Bernard had no offspring and his Irish estates, including Bandon & Kinsalebeg, were inherited by his nephew James Bernard who was a son of his brother Major North Ludlow Bernard.
Charles Smith’s 1774 book, titled Ancient and Present State of County & City of Waterford6, states that:
“Near the ferry point of Youghal, is Prospect-hall, a handsome seat, with good improvements, made by the late Stephen Bernard Esq”.
The 1777 Taylor & Skinner map shows the presence of a “Nobleman & Gentleman’s Seat” at Prospect Hall which indicates that a big house existed in this location in 1777. James Bernard was the new landlord of Prospect Hall from 1783 until his death in 1790. He was married to Esther aka Hester Smyth, widow of Major Robert Gookin. James Bernard was an MP for Bandon in 1783 and 1790. He died in Dublin in 1790 and was buried in Ballymodan Church in Bandon Co Cork. The following notes on his death were recorded in A Memoir of James Bernard5 which gives details of the funeral from Dublin to Bandon:
"His body was brought from Dublin, and interred in Ballymodan Church. The account of the expenses is still extant which was furnished for supplying fresh horses at the various stages on the way down, and of the payments made to "keeners", fresh relays of whom met the funeral at specified places, and took the "keen" from the previous lot, who returned to their homes; and in this way the lamentation was kept up unceasingly, day and night, from the moment the coffin was brought out of the house where Mr. Bernard died, until it was entombed in Bandon, a period which in those days, and under the circumstances, must have at least occupied a week, if not more".
Francis Bernard, son of James Bernard, inherited the Bernard estates on the death of his father in 1790. He was therefore landlord of Propect Hall from that date until he sold the Kinsalebeg part of the estate to the Smyths of Headborough in 1825. Francis Bernard was born in 1755 and represented both Ennis (1777-1783) and Bandon (1783) as an M.P. He married Catherine Henrietta Boyle, who was a daughter of Richard Boyle 2nd Earl of Shannon and Catherine Ponsonby. Francis Bernard was created Baron Bandon in 1783 and became Earl of Bandon in 1800. He sat in the House of Lords from 1801 to 1830. Francis Bernard sold the Kinsalebeg part of the Bernard estate to Percy Scott Smyth of Headborough in 1825 for the sum of £26,527. The Smyths already had a residence in Monatray before this time in the location of the present Monatray House.
Michael FitzGerald aka Michael the Elder was buried in Kinsalebeg Church on the 2nd August 1810 with Prospect Hall given as his stated address at the time of his death. It is possible of course that his resident address of Prospect Hall was a reference to the townland of Prospect Hall rather than the house itself. In either case Michael FitzGerald would have probably been leasing the property from the Bernards. Michael FitzGerald the Elder was firstly married to Mary Maher daughter of a Waterford ship owner who traded between Cadiz and Cork. He secondly married a Catherine Cunningham. Michael FitzGerald was a son of the famous 18th century poet Piaras Mac Gearailt who was a Jacobite and Deiseach poet probably best known for his war song Rosc Catha na Mumhan. Piaras Mac Gearailt was born in Ballykenneally (Ballykinealy) in Ballymacoda but lived for a large period of his life in the KIlmaloo/Lackendarra area of Kinsalebeg until his death in Lackendarra in 1791. His son, Michael FitzGerald the Elder, inherited his father’s land and property in Ballykenneally and this land was the subject of a bitter and protracted dispute between the FitzGeralds and the Roch/Welsh family of Woodbine Hill & Killongford which went on for over ten years until it was settled in favour of the FitzGeralds in 1815. The dispute originated as a result of a 1765 land lease arrangement for the lands of Ballykenneally which was entered into by Piaras Mac Gearailt on the one hand and James Roch of Woodbine Hill & Thomas Welsh of Killongford on the other part. This lease arrangement was entered into in during the troublesome penal laws period when land inheritance was a major obstacle to Catholic land owners. However the descendants of the FitzGeralds and the Roch/Welsh families fell into a dispute over the lease and the protracted legal wrangling went on until 1815 at which point the Ballykenneally lands had passed on to Michael FitzGerald the Younger, son of the above Michael the Elder and grandson of Piaras Mac Gearailt.
Prospect Hall was in the ownership of the Smyth family of Headborough and Monatray from 1825 until the early part of the 20th century. There are no records of the Smyths ever residing in Prospect Hall itself which is not surprising as they had a residence at the nearby Monatray House aka Snugborough as well as their main residence in Headborough. As the Smyths were major landowners in the Kinsalebeg area from 1825 onwards it follows that they were landlords of quite a few of the larger residences in the area such as Prospect Hall, Monatray House, Woodbine Hill etc. The Smyths did lease out the Prospect Hall residence to a number of individuals from 1825 onwards. The first landlord of Kinsalebeg incorporating Prospect Hall was Rev Percy Scott Smyth of Headborough who originally bought the property in 1825. He was married to Sarah Kingston and one of their daughters, Ester Scott Smyth, married James Bernard of the Bernards of Bandon who were earlier landlords in Kinsalebeg. Rev Percy Scott Smyth was vicar in Kinsalebeg for a period before he died in 1826 and was buried in Kinsalebeg Church. He was succeeded by his son, also Rev Percy Scott Smyth, who was a vicar in Kinsalebeg from 1819 to 1844. He married Catherine Odell who was a daughter of John Odell of Carriglea and Catherine Young. Catherine Young was a daughter of Matthew Young who was the Bishop of Clonfert.
Percy Smyth, son of Percy Scott Smyth and Catherine Odell, inherited his father’s estate when his father died in 1846. He was still a minor when he inherited and the stewardship of the estates was jointly run by himself and his mother Catherine for a period after 1846. Percy Smyth had dropped the Scott part of his father’s name at this point and later married Mary Perceval Maxwell, daughter of Robert Perceval Maxwell and Helena Anne Moore. Percy & Mary Smyth were the last Smyth owners of Prospect Hall. They both died within a few days of each other in March 1910 and are both buried in Kinsalebeg Church. Mary Smyth nee Maxwell died on the 6th March 1910 and her husband died on the 9th March as he made his way home from her funeral in Kinsalebeg Church.
In Lewis’s 1837 topological dictionary of Ireland it records the principal seats of Kinsalebeg as:
“Monatrea (Rev Percy Smyth), Mayfield (J. Gee Esq), Woodbine Hill (G. Roch), Springfield (Mrs Fitzgerald), Bayview (M. Keane Esq), Rock Lodge (R. Bailey Esq), Harbour View (C. Ronayne Esq), Ring (Dominick Ronayne), D’Laughtane House (R. Power Ronayne Esq)”.
There is no mention of Prospect Hall but it is assumed that Mayfield and Prospect Hall are one and the same. In 1837 a Mr J Gee (James ?) was leasing Prospect Hall/Mayfield from the Smyths and at the time the property consisted of a house, an orchard and about 35 acres.
In 1851 Thomas P. Carew was leasing Mayfield/Prospect Hall from the Smyths. The Landed Estates database2 lists this house as Mayfield House with a photograph of Prospect Hall and the following entry:
“In 1851 Thomas P. Carew was leasing this property from the Smyth estate when it was valued at over £20. A house labelled Mayfield appears at this location on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map. In 1837 Lewis noted it as the seat of J. Gee. It is still extant and occupied”.
The Rev Richard Woods was a resident in Prospect Hall for a number of years in the period after 1850 when he leased the house from Catherine & Percy Smyth. He was a vicar in Grange in 1851 and subsequently Clashmore from about 1864. He was also a curate in the local Kinsalebeg Church in 1873 which is about 200 yards from Prospect Hall. There is a record of a Frederick Evans as a resident in Prospect Hall around 1879.
Prospect Hall was destroyed by fire in 1883 in the period when the Rev John Shiells was a resident. The damage was extensive and the house was never subsequently restored to its original size. The above drawing by Spencer Welsh is an artistic impression of how Prospect Hall may have looked before the 1883 fire. The rateable valuation of the building was reduced after the fire from £20 per annum to £4 per annum which reflects the fact that the building was effectively “destroyed” as indicated in the land registry records. It would still have been in ownership of Percy Smith at this point but was leased out to Rev John Shiells who did not appear to be a pastor in Kinsalebeg at any stage. An old woodcut drawing of Ferrypoint in 1850 from W G Field shows the house as it was before the fire and the outline of the larger building is still evident today. The Field drawing shows a three storey building in the centre with two smaller two storey buildings attached at either side with a total of twenty one windows facing to the front. It also showed Kinsalebeg Church in the centre of the drawing with “The Turret” building about two hundred yards to the front in the direction of Ferrypoint. The “Turret” consisted of just the turret at that point in 1850 with no building attached.
In 1884 it was recorded that a Rev John Shiells (or Shields) was still a resident of the house but this needs to be verified as house was burned down the previous year – it is possible that part of the house was still habitable after the fire. Percy Smith was still owner/leesor of Prospect Hall in 1899 it was indicated in valuation office records that he was occupying the house in 1899 but this is unlikely. It is not clear when the house was rebuilt after the fire but there were no occupants recorded for the house in the 1901 or 1911 census.
William Halloran of Rath, Kinsalebeg purchased Prospect Hall and associated land in the early part of the 20th century and the property has remained in Halloran ownership to the present day. William Halloran was born around 1874 and was a son of Thomas Halloran (died 1885) and Mary Byrne of Rath, Kinsalebeg. He was a brother of Edward Halloran (born c 1869) and John Halloran (born c 1872). William Halloran was a bachelor and when he died Prospect Hall was inherited by John Halloran, son of the above named Edward. However it was Thomas (Tommo) Halloran, a brother of John, who moved from Rath to take up residence in Prospect Hall. The Halloran brothers, Tommo and John, were great Waterford hurling supporters and we were very grateful for their hospitality and transport to Deise matches in our youth. We were frequent car passengers on the summer pilgrimages to the hurling Meccas of Munster in the 50s and early 60s and the routine followed the same pattern. An early morning start was followed by Mass on arrival in Limerick or Thurles, tea and sandwiches, a quick pint and then off to the match. The Cork trip was slightly different with Mass in Pilltown, the short trip to Cork, a pint in Handlebars and then the ferry across the Lee to the Cork pitch. This was a trip that I also made on many occasions with another neighbour Tommy Roche when we would take the train from Youghal to Cork for the big hurling matches. The ferry trip across the river to the pitch in Cork was precarious to say the least with generally overloaded boats and an amount of alcohol consumed by many of the passengers. This was a period when the Deise had a strong hurling team which included many of our early sporting heroes including Philly Grimes, Seamus Power, Frankie Walsh, Austin Flynn, Mick Flannery, Ned Power, Martin Og Morrissey and of course the barrel chested Tom Cheasty. This particular Waterford team won a number of Munster championships and played in three All-Ireland hurling finals betwen 1957 and 1963, winning in 1959 and losing the other two. The return trip to Monatray with the Hallorans after the matches in Limerick & Ennis was a much more leisurely affair with frequent pit stops along the way. The trip usually culminated in a final extended stop in Millstreet Co. Waterford where Mary Walsh nee Halloran, a sister of the Halloran brothers, ran Walshs pub. Large bottles and red lemonade were consumed in great quantities and the match was dissected in great detail.
Erasmus Smith’s School
In the period from 1840 onwards this building was described as a school primarily for Church of Ireland residents of the parish. The Griffith’s Primary Valuation (1848-1864) records that the building was being leased from Percy Scott Smyth by the Erasmus Smith School at that time. Griffiths also coincidentally shows the presence of another Erasmus Smith School in the nearby townland of Mortgage in this period but there are no further indications of the existence of this second school. There are surprisingly no records of an Erasmus Smith School anywhere in Kinsalebeg in Erasmus Smith School archives.
Erasmus Smith (1611-1691) was a wealthy English born Protestant merchant and philanthropist whose family had extensive estates in Leicestershire. He became a supplier of food to the armies of Oliver Cromwell particularly during Cromwell’s ruthless military campaign in Ireland during the 1641-1649 rebellion. Erasmus Smith gained extensive landholdings in Ireland as a result of his support of the Cromwellian armies. The political and religious climate changed when Charles II returned to the throne after the death of Cromwell. Erasmus Smith decided to protect the land holdings he had obtained in Ireland and at the same time to promote his Protestant religious ethos. He set up a form of trust which was financed by the revenue from his Irish properties. The trust was used to establish schools and to provide education for Protestant children. Scholarships were provided for the most talented children to enable them to continue their education in third level institutions particularly Trinity College Dublin. The Erasmus Smith School in Prospect Hall was apparently one of these schools even though it is not recorded in their archive records – there was an Erasmus Smith School in nearby Tallow (1820-1849) under the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire who was associated with Kinsalebeg Church. The Erasmus Smith Trust itself has survived the intervening 400 years and still exists in present times.
The property and land in this area of Prospect Hall was owned by the Smyths of Headborough & Monatray in the period from 1825 onwards. Some change to the status of the property occurred around 1876 – these changes were linked to changes in nearby properties of James Keane and Richard Hammond. The ownership of the property had also passed from Percy Smyth to George Roche. The house had been discontinued as a school sometime on or before 1884. In 1884 James Lincoln was residing there with George Roche as lessor. In 1899 Michael Doherty lived there and the 1901 census indicated that it was now occuped by Michael Doherty (aged 50, agricultural labourer), his wife Margaret (aged 49) and their son James Doherty (aged 24, agricultural labourer). At the time of the 1911 census Thomas Hallahan (aged 45, labourer) lived there with his wife Mary (aged 34), mother in law Elizabeth Lynch (widow, aged 64) and three children namely Thomas (aged 7), Bartholomew (aged 6) and Patrick (aged 2). In 1946 Mary Hallahan resided there after the death of her husband Thomas and Bert Hallahan became primary resident from around 1952 onwards. At this stage the property had passed from the Roche family to Waterford County Council under the auspices of the Board of Health.
Prospect Villa/The Turret
In the 1850 Field woodcutting the only part of this building that existed was the part known locally as “the turret” which is the tower like structure to the left of the main building. The original turret had much smaller windows than those on the current buiding and with its thick walls it appears that this was originally built as some sort of defensive military outpost. This was most likely built to protect Youghal from the “rebels” on the Waterford side of the harbour in the days when only our innate modesty prevented Waterford from taking on the title of “the rebel county”! The turret seemed to serve on occasions as a kind of customs point or border crossing for people and goods going to/from Youghal on the nearby ferry. The word “turret” itself derives from the Latin turris (tower) and turrets were generally defensive military structures attached to castles or buildings.
The turret and adjacent land was owned by the Smyths in the 19th century as was most of the land/property in this area. The main residence adjoining the turret was built at some point before 1884, probably around 1870, and was sometimes known as Prospect Villa. Patrick Gorman, a coal merchant from Youghal, resided there in 1884 and the Gormans were in residence here until 1911 at least. In the 1901 census Ellie J O’Gorman (coal merchant, aged 29, single) lived here with Bridget Hayes (domestic servant, aged 43). They were both still living in the house in 1911 even though both had aged considerably in the intervening years. Ellie O’Gorman (aged 47, single) had aged 18 years in the ten year period and Bridget Hayes (aged 64, single) had aged an impressive 21 years in the ten year period. It would appear that the pressures of living in Kinsalebeg may have borne heavily on their shoulders! However the introduction of the non-contributory old age pension in 1908 for those aged 70 or over was a more likely reason for the apparent rapid aging of many individuals between 1901 and 1911. Many women, and indeed some men, decided to take a more realistic acceptance of their real age and abandoned vanity in the face of a more comfortable existence. My father Dan was a member of the local voluntary pensions committee in the 1960s and part of their brief was to inform parishioners in Kinsalebeg & Clashmore when they were approaching pension age so that the appropriate paperwork could be completed. On more than one occasion he arrived home in a state of mild shock with “a flea in his ear” having cycled to the far end of the parish to inform a lady parishioner of the good news that she would be entitled to a pension within the year when she reached her 70th birthday. The news was not always received with the expected welcome and on a few occasions he was told in no uncertain terms by a female parishioner that they were way off the mark regarding the calculation of her age. It was highly insulting and degrading that anyone would even suggest that she was nearly 70 – sure wasn’t she cycling the round trip to Youghal every Saturday for the shopping and could still do a lively Siege of Ennis at the céilí in the old Pilltown School!
In later years a Margaret Kennedy resided in the house and in 1949 Patrick Joseph Mulcahy was recorded as the resident. The house was in the ownership of the Keanes of Mayfield at this point with Callaghan (Cal) Keane stated as owner in 1954 even though he did not live there at any stage. Cal Keane was a brother of Jamesy & Hannah Keane from Mayfield and was a top class Gaelic footballer who won county championships with Clashmore Kinsalebeg in the 1920s. He died at a relatively young age in the 1950s and Hannah Keane was the owner of the property until the 1960s when it was purchased by the Bell family who ran a boat repair and storage business at the rear of the premises.
The following entry for Prospect Villa appears in the Landed Estates database2:
“Prospect Villa (Kinsalebeg) (H4373)
Prospect Villa seems to have been built in the later nineteenth century, close by an earlier house known as Mayfield. A house at Prospect Hall is described by Smith as "a handsome seat with good improvements made by the late Stephen Bernard" There is still an extant building at the site.”
Woodbine Hill is located in the townland of Prospect Hall in the parish of Kinsalebeg. Historically this would have been considered part of the nine hundred acre townland of Monatray. The Walshs of Pilltown were the landowners of Monatray and most of the rest of Kinsalebeg from around 1600 until around 1720. The Bernards of Bandon became the owners of Monatray incorporating Prospect Hall and Woodbine Hill from 1720 until 1825. The Smyths of Headborough & Monatray took over ownership of the land in this area from the Bernards in 1825 and continued as the main landlords until the end of the 19th century. The history of the area for the three hundred years from 1600 onwards is therefore intrinsically linked to the three families of Walsh, Bernard and Smyth. The history of these three families is covered elsewhere and we will not cover them in detail here but it is important to note that many of the land leases and deeds of transfer during the period were sub-leases whereby the ultimate landowner may have been a member of one of the above families and might not even be mentioned in the deed. The history of the Rochs of Woodbine Hill is covered in greater detail elsewhere and some of the following information is duplicated in the Roch history.
The Roch family connection with Woodbine Hill commenced around 1782 and has remained in the family to current generations. The spelling of the surname has generally been Roche in historical records and it is in more recent history that the abbreviated spelling of Roch is more regularly used. The following overview is mostly confined to residents of Woodbine Hill house itself and the overall Roche/Roch history is covered in greater detail elsewhere in this publication. We start the overview however with details of some Roch ancestors prior to Woodbine Hill and for clarity we will use titles such as James 1st Roch to distinguish those with the same first name. The following Roch genealogy is derived from various historical sources and contains references to a Roch presence in Woodbine Hill before 1782. However 1782 is the earliest date that the Roch family resided in Woodbine Hill according to any official records that we have been able to locate.
Descendants of James 1st “The Swimmer” Roch:
..... 1 Colonel James 1st The Swimmer Roch (1657 - 1722) b: 29 Sep 1657 in Kinsale, Co Cork, d: 22 Dec 1722 in Dungarvan, Co Waterford
..... + Susan (Elizabeth) Gough
........... 2 William Roch (1695 - 1723) b: Abt. 1695 in Glynn Castle, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Waterford, d: 29 Jul 1723 in Glynn Castle, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Waterford
................. 3 James 3rd Roch (1722 - 1723) b: Abt. Nov 1722 in Glynn Castle, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Waterford, d: 30 Jul 1723
........... 2 Mary Roch (1694 - ) b: 10 Oct 1694
........... + Benjamin Greene b: Kilmanahan family, m: 17 Nov 1709
..... + Elizabeth Hamerton ( - 1731) m: 20 Jul 1700, d: 01 Mar 1731
........... 2 James 2nd Roch (1702 - 1741) b: Abt. 1702 in Glynn Castle, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Waterford, d: 28 Jan 1741 in Dungarvan, Co Waterford
........... + Anna Maria Hamerton ( - 1725) d: 09 Jul 1725
................. 3 James 4th Roch (1722–c.1790) b: Abt. 1722 in Glin Castle, Waterford, d: 02 Dec 1792 in Woodbine Hill Co Waterford
................. + Isabella Odell b: Carriglea, Co Waterford,
m: 21 Oct 1747 in Woodbine Hill, Waterford
....................... 4 James 5th Roch (1750 - ) b: Abt. 1750 in Woodbine Hill
....................... + Wife James Roch
............................. 5 Melian Roch (1775 - ) b: Abt. 1775 in Woodbine Hill Waterford
............................. 5 Isabella Roch (1774 - ) b: Abt. 1774 in Woodbine Hill Waterford
....................... 4 Melian Roch (1757 - 1837) b: Abt. 1757 in Woodbine Hill Waterford,
d: 21 Sep 1837
....................... + Sampson Towgood Roch (1759 - 1847) b: Abt. 1759 in Lehard, Cork, m: 29 May 1787 in Youghal, Co Cork, d: 20 Feb 1847 in Woodbine Hill Waterford
....................... 4 John Roch (1752 - ) b: Abt. 1752 in Woodbine Hill Waterford
....................... 4 Boy6 Roch (1756 - ) b: Abt. 1756 in Odell Lodge Waterford
....................... 4 Luke Roch (1752 - ) b: Abt. 1752 in Odell Lodge Waterford
................. + Mary Cotter (1745 - 1825) b: Abt. 1745 in Cullenagh, Co Cork, m: 1781,
d: 12 May 1825 in Woodbine Hill Co Waterford, m: Abt. 1766
....................... 4 George Butler Roch (1784 - 1859) b: 23 May 1784 in Woodbine Hill
d: Abt. Jun 1859
....................... + Jane Wilkinson (1798 - 1870) b: Abt. 1798, m: 23 Oct 1813,
d: 07 Jan 1870 in Woodbine Hill Co Waterford
............................. 5 Melian Roch (1816 - 1891) b: 08 Apr 1816 in Woodbine Hill, Kinsalebeg, Co Waterford, d: 01 Nov 1891
............................. + Henry Downes Sheppard (1810 - 1883) b: 24 Jan 1810, m: 01 Jan 1842, d: 25 Feb 1883
............................. 5 George Roch (1819 - ) b: 15 Apr 1819 in Woodbine Hill Waterford
............................. + Harriet St Leger Purcell (1825 - 1911) b: Abt. 1825, m: 18 Jul 1874, d: Abt. May 1911
............................. 5 James 6th Roch (1822 - 1859) b: 12 Sep 1822 in Woodbine Hill Co Waterford, d: 1859
............................. + Mary Jane Melen (1827 - ) b: Abt. 1827 in Chalford, Gloucestershire, England, m: 24 Feb 1851
............................. 5 Mary Roch (1825 - 1892) b: Abt. 1825 in Woodbine Hill Co Waterford, d: 19 Jan 1892 in Woodbine Hill Co Waterford
............................. 5 Sampson "Deputy Surgeon-General" Roch (1829 - 1906)
b: 29 Jun 1829 in Woodbine Hill Waterford, d: 09 Nov 1906
............................. + Agnes Brown (1848 - 1922) b: Abt. 1848, m: 21 Oct 1869 in St John The Evangelist, Notting Hill, London, d: 02 Apr 1922
................................... 6 George Butler Roch (1871 - 1905) b: 02 Aug 1871 in Chukrata, Bengal, India, d: 30 Mar 1905 in Totland Bay, Isle of Wight
................................... 6 Henry Leslie Roch (1873 - 1936) b: 18 Mar 1873 in Bengal, India, d: 16 Mar 1936
................................... 6 Horace Sampson "Colonel" Roch (1876 - 1960) b: 13 Aug 1876 in Kilkenny, Ireland, d: 23 May 1960
................................... + Emily Helena Crone (1909 - 1989) b: Abt. 1909 in Kinsalebeg or Templemichael, Co Waterford, m: 17 Nov 1931,
d: 18 Mar 1989 in Woodbine Hill Co Waterford
................................... + Marjorie Power (1900 - 1919) b: Abt. 1900 in Cliff House Ardmore, m: 15 Feb 1919, d: 09 May 1919
............................. 5 Sarah Roch (1830 - ) b: Abt. 1830
............................. 5 Jane Roch (1833 - 1905) b: Abt. 1833 in Woodbine Hill, Kinsalebeg, Co Waterford, d: 22 Oct 1905
............................. + Henry Peard b: Carrigeen Hall near Tallow Co Waterford,
m: 30 Jun 1849 in Kinsalebeg Church Co Waterford
............................. 5 Selina Roch (1835 - 1892) b: Abt. 1835 in Woodbine Hill, Kinsalebeg, Co Waterford, d: 23 Jan 1892 in Woodbine Hill
............................. + John Sheppard ( - 1888) m: Abt. 1855, d: Bef. 1888
............................. + John Sheppard (1815 - ) b: Bet. 1815–1825, m: Abt. 1855
........... + Melian Holmes Pomeroy (1711 - 1755) b: Abt. 1711 in Kilmallock, Co Limerick, m: 03 Mar 1731, d: 28 Jan 1755
................. 3 Melian Roch (1732 - ) b: Abt. 1732 in Glynn Castle, Waterford
................. + Colonel Beverly Ussher b: Canty, Co Waterford
....................... 4 John Ussher (1751 - 1809) b: Abt. 1751, d: Abt. 1809
....................... 4 Melian Ussher
....................... + George Boate b: Duckspool, Co Waterford
................. 3 William Roch (1732 - ) b: Abt. 1732 in Lehard, Co Cork, d: Lehard, Cork
................. + Mary Lane (1740 - ) b: Abt. 1740 in Tipperary
....................... 4 Sampson Towgood Roch (1759 - 1847) b: Abt. 1759 in Lehard, Cork, d: 20 Feb 1847 in Woodbine Hill, Kinsalebeg, Co Waterford
....................... + Melian Roch (1757 - 1837) b: Abt. 1757 in Woodbine Hill, Co Waterford, m: 29 May 1787 in Youghal, Co Cork, d: 21 Sep 1837
....................... 4 Luke Roch (1760 - ) b: Abt. 1760 in Lehard, Cork
....................... 4 William Roch (1763 - ) b: Abt. 1763 in Lehard, Cork
....................... 4 Ambrose Roch (1764 - 1829) b: Abt. 1764 in Lehard, Cork, d: Abt. 1829
....................... + Regina Maria Dalton (1769 - 1845) b: 05 Aug 1769 in Waterford, m: 1792 in Rathkyran, Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny, d: 18 Mar 1845 in Mall, Waterford
....................... 4 Elizabeth Roch (1765 - ) b: Abt. 1765 in Lehard, Cork
....................... + Mr Thomas
....................... + Mr Wogan
....................... 4 Johanna Roch (1766 - ) b: Abt. 1766 in Lehard, Cork
....................... 4 Audriah Roch (1767 - ) b: Abt. 1767 in Lehard, Cork
................. 3 Luke Roch (1734 - 1781) b: Abt. 1734 in Glynn Castle, Carrick-on-Suir
................. + Elizabeth Waring
................. 3 Audriah Roch (1739 - 1819) b: Abt. 1739 in Woodbine Hill, Kinsalebeg, Co Waterford, d: 26 Feb 1819 in Youghal, Co Cork (Woodbine Hill ?)
................. + Edward Matthew Jones m: May 1757
....................... 4 Melian Jones (1763 - 1835) b: Abt. 1763, d: 25 Feb 1835
....................... + Samuel Hayman (1752 - 1834) b: Abt. 1752 in South Abbey, Youghal,
m: 16 Nov 1782, d: 20 Mar 1834
............................. 5 Matthew Hayman (1791 - ) b: Abt. 1791 in South Abbey, Youghal.
............................. + Helen Hill ( - 1850) m: Abt. 1818, d: Abt. 1850
................................... 6 Elizabeth Hayman ( - 1841) d: 03 Feb 1841
................................... 6 Melian Jones Hayman (1822 - 1902) b: Abt. 1822, d: 12 Feb 1902
................................... + Alexander Durdin m: Aft. 1851 in Huntington Castle, Carlow
....................... 4 Maria Jones ( - 1791) d: 31 Oct 1791
....................... 4 Susannah Jones
James 1st “The Swimmer” Roch (1659-1722):
James 1st “The Swimmer” Roch was the only son of George 1st Roch of Glynn and Tourin and was born in 1659 at Kinsale. He was born into the Catholic gentry Roch family but later converted to Protestantism due to the unfair treatment he believed the Roch family received when Charles II was restored to the throne after the death of Cromwell. He was a soldier in the Williamite forces of General Kirke which arrived in Derry in 1689 to relieve the siege of the city by the Catholic Jacobites during the 1689-1691 Williamite-Jacobite war. His exploits in getting through the Jacobite forces and swimming down the Foyle to Derry in order to exchange despatches between Kirke and the governor of Derry earned him wide acclaim for bravery during the siege. The Siege of Derry became one of the enduring Loyalist historic events which is still celebrated in modern times.
James Roch was subsequently known as “The Swimmer” and received rewards of estates and ferries in Ireland from King William aka William of Orange. The granting of the ferries was somewhat of a poisoned chalice as they were dispersed throughout the country and it was difficult to collect revenues. The rewards for his bravery therefore did not materialise to the extent envisaged at the time and James Roch spent considerable time attempting to recover his financial losses in submissions to the parliament in England. He was eventually granted the 1425 acre Glynn (Glen) estate in Waterford in a 1696 patent and this subsequently became the Roch family home. The Glynn estate had been confiscated from James Everard. James 1st Roch attained the rank of Colonel in the army and in 1693 he married Susan Gough who was the granddaughter of Francis Gough, Bishop of Limerick from 1624 to 1634. Their two children William 1st (died 1723 aged 28) and Mary were sponsored by and named after the king and queen of England. Colonel James 1st Roch later married a widow Elizabeth Hanbury nee Hamerton on 20th July 1700 and they had one son, also called James 2nd Roch, who succeeded him as his first son William 1st died in July 1723. Colonel James 1st “The Swimmer” Roch was the high sheriff of Waterford in 1714 and died at Glin Castle on 12th December 1722.
Colonel James 1st Roch was a hero to the Protestant Williamites and was undoubtedly a very courageous soldier. He was however considered a traitor to his Catholic ancestry by the Catholic Jacobites. Folklore12 has it that this Catholic hostility manifested itself at James Roch’s burial in Churchtown graveyard in Dysert Waterford in 1722. James Power of Graignagower in Ballymacarbry, better known as Séamus na Sróna (James of the Nose), was apparently requested to give the gravestone oration. Séamus na Sróna was a Gaelic poet who had also converted to Protestantism. It was felt that he would be the an ideal funeral orator for James Roch in view of the similarity of their journeys from Catholicism to Protestantism. In the event Séamus na Srón had nothing good to say about James Roch and gave a scathing “eulogy” in Irish which of course was not understood by any of the Williamite sympathisers in the graveyard. Legend has it that the tombstone over the grave split in two as a result of the invective and bitter satire in the graveside oration of Séamus na Sróna.
William 1st Roch (1695-1723):
William 1st Roch was the first son of James 1st “The Swimmer” Roch by his marriage to Susan Gough, granddaughter of the Bishop of Limerick. He died at the age of 28 on 29th July 1723 and his son, James 3rd Roch, died the following day on 30th July 1723 when he was around 9 months of age. James 2nd Roche succeeded his father. He was son of the marriage of James 1st Roche “The Swimmer” and his second wife Elizabeth Hamerton, widow of John Hanbury. He was born about 1702 in Glynn Castle and died in Dungarvan on 28th Jan 1741. James 2nd Roch married firstly Anna Maria Hamerton and they had one son James 4th Roch who was born about 1722 in Glynn Castle and died around 1790 in Woodbine Hill. James 2nd Roch secondly married Melian Pomeroy, daughter of Thomas Pomeroy and Audriah Towgood. There were five children of this marriage namely Melian born about 1732 in Glynn Castle, William born about 1732 in Lehard Cork, Luke born about 1734 in Glynn and Audriah born about 1739 in Woodbine Hill, Kinsalebeg, Co Waterford. The birth of Audriah Roch in Woodbine Hill in 1739 is the first reference to Woodbine Hill in the Roch ancestry. This reference however conflicts with later information which indicates that it was around 1782 when the Roch family first took up residence in Woodbine Hill and that George Butler Roch was the first member of the family actually born in Woodbine Hill. James 2nd Roch, son of James The Swimmer, is historically associated with a number of locations including Glynn, Odell and Woodbine Lodge as well as Woodbine Hill which adds to the confusion.
Luke Roch was a Lieutenant in the army and married Elizabeth Waring. Subsequent to his army career he became a collector of taxes in Kilkenny City. Melian Roch married Beverley Ussher and her sister Audriah married Edward Matthew Jones who was a collector of taxes in Youghal. William 3rd Roch married Mary Lane. One of the children of William 3rd Roch and Mary Lane was Sampson Towgood Roch who was born in Lehard Cork in 1759. He married his cousin Melian Roch, daughter of James 4th Roch & Isabella Odell, in May 1787. Sampson Towgood Roch became a renowned miniature painter in both Ireland and the UK and his miniature paintings are now located in a number of national, international and private galleries. He returned to the family home in Woodbine Hill in 1822 and continued to paint portraits as well as scenes of everyday rural life in Ireland until his death in 1847 in Woodbine Hill. Many of these paintings depict people and scenes in the area around Woodbine Hill and elsewhere in Kinsalebeg. Ambrose Roch, who was another son of William 3rd Roch & Mary Lane, married Regina Maria Dalton from Mooncoin. She went on to become a highly popular novelist of the late 18th century. She specialised in what was known as Gothic fiction which combined aspects of romance and horror. She wrote numerous novels including The Children of the Abbey and A Nocturnal Visit. The lives of miniaturist Sampson Towgood Roch and novelist Regina Maria Roch nee Dalton are covered in greater detail in the chapter on the Roch family elsewhere in this history.
James 4th Roch (1722-c.1790) & Mary Cotter nee Welsh:
James 4th Roch of Odell Lodge and Thomas Welsh of Killongford were business partners who were involved in a number of land and property transactions in the West Waterford and East Cork area in the latter part of the 18th century. The history of the poet Piaras Mac Gearailt of Ballykenneally and Kilmaloo outlines for example that James Roch & Thomas Welsh took out a lease on the Mac Gearailt Ballykenneally land in 1765. This particular branch of the Welsh family were resident in the Killongford, Woodstock and Canty area of West Waterford and had possible family links to the Walshs of Pilltown even though the precise relationship has not yet been established. The above Thomas Welsh of Killongford was married to a Mary Cotter, a daughter of Edmond Cotter of Cullena (Cullenagh) Co Cork. They had eight children namely Robert (born c 1761), Thomas (Born c 1762), James (born c 1765), Pierce (born c 1770), Charles Luke, Edmund, Helen (born c 1769) and Mary (born c 1776). Thomas Welsh died in 1776 and in 1782 his widow Mary Welsh nee Cotter married her deceased husband’s business partner, James 4th Roch of Odell Lodge Co Waterford who was a grandson of the famous Colonel James 1st “The Swimmer” Roch. In later years James 4th Roch of Odell Lodge was invited by the then Corporation of Londonderry to visit their city as a mark of respect to his grandfather. He was entertained at a public dinner and received the freedom of the city in a gold box valued 40 guineas.
James 4th Roch of Odell Lodge was born in Glin Castle about 1722 and was firstly married to Isabella Odell, daughter of John Osborne Odell. James & Isabella Roch had at least four children namely James 5th (born circa 1750), John (Born c 1752), Luke (born c 1752) and Melian (born c 1757). The three sons James, John and Luke Roch joined the army and all apparently died while on military service overseas. When Isabella Roch nee Odell died her husband James 4th Roch married Mary Welsh nee Cotter as outlined earlier. After their marriage in 1782 James 4th & Mary Roch nee Welsh nee Cotter took up residence in the old house in Woodbine Hill. The house appeared to be in the possession of the Welsh family at that time. James & Mary Roch had one son, George Butler Roch, who was born in Woodbine Hill on the 23rd May 1784. James 4th Roch died around 1790 and a few years later the lease of the Woodbine Hill home was transferred from the Welsh family to his widow Mary Roch. Thomas, James and Charles Luke Welsh, who were three of the sons of Mary Roch from her earlier marriage to Thomas Welsh, transferred their interest in the old Woodbine Hill house to their mother Mary Roch in deeds drawn up in 1792/1793. The following is a summary of some of the key land transactions involving the Roch family in the 1780-1800 period.
Land Transactions in Woodbine Hill in period 1780 to 1800:
There were a number of land transactions in the period 1780 to 1800 which involved Woodbine Hill, Prospect Hall and the families of Roch and Welsh. These transactions are quite complicated as they typically involve a combination of leases, sub-leases, grants, declarations of trust and sales. Most of the transactions are leases and sub-leases as there is generally a main landlord at a higher level who may not even be mentioned in the deed document. The Walshs of Pilltown were the main landlords in Monatray incorporating Prospect Hall/Woodbine Hill area up until about 1725. The Bernards of Bandon were main landlords in Monatray for the next century from 1725 until 1825 at which point the Smyths of Headborough & Monatray became the main landlords until the latter end of the 19th century. The following is a brief synopsis of some of the key transactions involving Woodbine Hill in the period from 1780 to 1800 as it was in this period that the Roch family finally established a permanent home in Woodbine Hill:
(1) In 1788 deed1 James Bernard of Bandon leases the land of Monatray to Richard Barrett of Snugborough (Monatray).
(2) In a 1790 document9 William Henry Coghlan of Ferrypoint, a nephew of Henry Coghlan, leased lands in Moneteroe [Monatray] otherwise Woodbine Hill to James Welsh of Dublin (Attorney). James Welsh was one of the sons of Mary Roch nee Walsh nee Cotter from her first marriage to Thomas Welsh of Killongford. The lease of Woodbine Hill included the dwelling house, out offices and twenty acres of land. The deed indicates that the same lands were originally demised or leased by James Bernard Esq to Henry Coghlan (uncle of Henry) and that James Roche Esq was deceased at that time (2nd husband of Mary Cotter).
(3) In another 1790 declaration of trust document10, of the same date as above, James Welsh declared that the land and property of Woodbine Hill, as outlined in earlier deeds, was being granted in trust for the sole use and benefit of his mother Mary Roch of Woodbine Hill - widow of James 4th Roch.
(4) Various 1792/1793 deeds confirmed that James, Luke & John Welsh, the three sons of Mary Roch from her 1st marriage to Thomas Welsh, had demised or granted the house and land of Woodbine Hill to their mother Mary Roch. The land involved was earlier demised to James Welsh by William Henry Coghlan.
(5) In a 1793 deed11 Richard Barrett leased part of the land of Monatray to Mary Roch. The total amount of land involved was 292 acres, the consideration was £250 sterling and the yearly rent was specified as £360 pound sterling. A house included in the lease was previously occupied by Edmond Flynn. The land was previously being leased by Richard Barrett to a number of individuals as outlined in the following excerpt from the deed:
“A memorial of an indenture of lease hereby dated 4th day of June, 1793 made between Richard Barrett of Snugborough and Mary Roche of Woodbine Hill … consideration of £250 pounds … part of the land of Monoeatoro [Monatray] and late of the possession of James Welsh, Edmond Flynn, John Flaherty & Edward Carthy, James Murray, Maurice? Ahern & Michael Keane & Walter Wall bounded on the East by Croker & Hearn & on the West by the lands of James Colbert, Matthew FitzGerald? & Edward Gorman & Edward Murray & on the North by the road leading from the Ferrypoint to Whiting Bay & in the South by the sea, situate in the Barony of Decies within Drum consisting of 292 acres, 3 roods and 20 perches by Survey etc..”
The witnesses to the above 1793 deed included “George Roche Jun son to James Roche late of Odell Lodge and George Roderick son to James Roderick of Summerhill.” It also mentions a Patrick Lawler of Lackendarra and James Welsh of Dublin Apothecary. The George Roche Jun mentioned in the lease was George Butler Roch, only son of James & Mary Roch, who built the present Woodbine Hill house in later years. The Bernards were still the main landlords of the land and house of Woodbine Hill when the above land transactions were completed. Their ownership continued until 1825 when the Bernards sold out to the Smyths. The drawing below is an artistic impression of the old Woodbine Hill by Spencer Welsh.
George Butler Roch (1784-1959):
George Butler Roch (1784-1859) was the next member of the Roch family to take over in Woodbine Hill. He was the only son of James 4th Roch and Mary Walsh nee Cotter and was born on the 23rd May 1784 in Woodbine Hill. He married Jane Wilkinson (1798-1870), daughter of William Wilkinson, on the 23rd October 1813. They had eight children namely Melian (born 1816), George (born 1819), James 6th (born 1822), Mary (born 1825), Sampson (born 1829), Sarah (born c 1830), Jane (born c 1833) and Selina (born c 1835). Mary Roch, mother of George Butler, died on the 12th May 1825 in the old Woodbine Hill residence. George Butler Roch was responsible for the building of the new main residence in Woodbine Hill around 1832. The new house was built about 100 metres from the old residence which was retained. Some historical records indicate that the new house was not built until as late as 1846 but the 1832 date would appear to be correct according to Roch archive records. Burkes Guide to Country Houses has an entry which states:
“Woodbine Hill: A plain late-Georgian house built in 1846 by George Roch, replacing an earlier house on a lower site which was ‘spared for old affection’s sake”
According to the landed estates records2 George Roch held this Woodbine Hill property from the Smyth family in 1851:
“George Roche held this property from the Smyth estate in 1851 when it was valued at over £26. Local sources suggest it was built by him earlier in the nineteenth century. It is still extant and occupied.”
The following elaborate description of the above gates to Woodbine Hill was recorded in the Buildings of Ireland database (www.buildingsofireland.ie).
“Description: Gateway, c.1850, comprising pair of painted rendered polygonal piers with moulded capping having urn finials, wrought iron double gates having Fleur-de-Lys finials, pair of painted rendered piers to left (east) having wrought iron turnstile pedestrian gate with decorative iron work over, and random rubble stone flanking boundary wall to perimeter of site with rendered coping. Road fronted at entrance to grounds of Woodbine Hill (House).
Appraisal: An attractive gateway making a pleasant visual impression in the landscape. Fine detailing, including urn finials to the piers, decorative wrought iron gates, and the ornate iron work to the pedestrian gate, all serve to enhance the artistic design quality of the composition.”
The post Griffith (1847-1864) land registration indicates that approximately 24 acres of land and buildings were leased by George Roche from Catherine Smyth and another 18 acres were in fee. George Roch also held other properties and land mostly in the Monatray Middle area during this period. The Smyths of Headborough and Monatray were significant landlords in the Kinsalebeg area in the 19th century and most of the land/property in Prospect Hall, Moord, Mortgage, Rath etc was ultimately being leased from the Smyths.
Woodbine Hill c 1850: The very faint figures on the above Woodbine Hill picture are L-R: Mary (cook), Jane Butler Roch nee Wilkinson (wife of George Butler Roch Snr), children Mary, Selina, Jane and George Roch Jun.
Children of George Butler Roch & Jane Wilkinson:
The following is a brief summary of the children of George Butler Roch and Jane Wilkinson who married in 1813:
(1) Melian Roch was born on the 8th April 1816 at Woodbine Hill. She married Henry Downes Sheppard who was a son of Anthony Robinson Sheppard and Audriah Downes. Henry Downes Sheppard was a captain in the 19th Madras Native Infantry at the time of his marriage to Melian Roch on the 1st Jan 1842 at Kinsalebeg Church. Melian Sheppard nee Roch died on 1st Nov 1891 and her husband died on 25th February 1883. They are both buried in Kinsalebeg Church, Co Waterford and the grave is located on the back right hand side of the church.
(2) George Roch was born in Woodbine Hill on the 15th April 1819. He succeeded his father George Butler Roch when his father died in 1859. George Roch married Harriet St Leger Purcell on the 18th July 1874. He died without issue on the 3rd July 1894 and was succeeded by his brother Sampson Roch.
(4) Mary Roch was born about 1825 in Woodbine Hill and died in Woodbine Hill on the 19th Jan 1892.
(5) Sampson Roch born in Woodbine Hill on the 29th June 1829. He married Agnes Brown on the 21st Oct 1869 and died on the 9th Nov 1906. He succeeded his brother George Roch who died without issue.
(6) Sarah Roch was born in Woodbine Hill about 1833 but died young.
(7) Jane Roch was born in Woodbine Hill about 1833 and married Henry Peard of Carrigeen Hall Co Cork. She died on the 22nd October 1905.
(8) Selina Roch was born in Woodbine Hill about 1835 and married John Sheppard Comm Indian Navy about 1855. John Sheppard was a brother of Henry Downes Sheppard who married Melian Roch, a sister of Selina. Selina Sheppard nee Roch died on the 23rd January 1892.
George Roch (1819-1894) & Harriet St Leger Purcell:
George Roch J.P & D.L of Woodbine Hill was a son of George Butler Roch and Jane Wilkinson and was born on 15th April 1819. His father died in 1859 and George Roch succeeded him. George Roch married Harriett St Leger of Rochestown Wood Co Cork on the 18th July 1874. She was a daughter of Richard Harris Purcell of Annabella & Burnfort Park Cork. George Roch died without issue on 3rd July 1894 and was succeeded by his brother Sampson Roch. George’s wife, Harriet St Leger Roch nee Purcell, died around 1911 in Rochestown, Douglas Cork. She lived there with her sisters, Nellie Purcell and Elizabeth Fuller, after the death of her husband.
Sampson Roch (1829-1906) & Agnes Brown:
Sampson Roch of Woodbine Hill was son of George Butler Roch and Jane Wilkinson and was born 29th June 1829 in Woodbine Hill. He married Agnes Brown in St John The Evangelist, Notting Hill London on 21st October 1869. She was a daughter of Bartholomew John Brown of Moorham’s Hall Essex.He received his medical training in Trinity College and served in the army medical area from 1854 to 1882 and saw active service in Sebastopol, Mamelon, Bengal, Mauritius, Madagascar and Abyssinia. After the army he became Medical Officer for Health in Cheltenham and retired to Woodbine Hill in 1892 and remained there until his death on the 15th Dec 1906. His wife Agnes died on the 2nd April 1922. They had three sons George Butler, Henry Leslie and Horace Sampson Roch. George Butler Roch was born on the 2nd August 1871 in Chukrata, Bengal in India and died unmarried 30th March 1905. Henry Leslie Roch was also born in Bengal India on the 18th March 1874 and died unmarried on the 16th March 1936. Horace Sampson was born in Kilkenny on the 13th August 1876 and died on the 23rd May 1960.
According to Valuation Office4 records Woodbine Hill was “House furnished & is occasionally let in summer months. Mr Roche resides in Cork”. This seems to relate to the period from 1884 onwards and various occupiers are listed in this period including Letitia Townshend, J.G.R Lindsay (1891) and Henry Lingard (1893). In the 1901 census Sampson Roch (aged 72) resided in Woodbine Hill with his son Henry Leslie (aged 28) and servants Ellen Whelan and Bridget Shanahan. There were no records of any occupants in Woodbine Hill at the actual date of the 1911 census and Henry Leslie Roch was living in Youghal at that time.
Horace Sampson Roch (1876-1960):
Col. Horace Sampson Roch was son of Sampson Roch and Jane Wilkinson. He was born in Woodbine Hill Co Waterford on the 13th August 1876 and having received a medical education he joined the army in a medical capacity like his father. He was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) and a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians (LRCP). He married firstly Marjorie Power, eldest daughter of Robert Power, on 15th February 1919 but she died a short time afterwards on the 9th May 1919. He subsequently married Emily Helena Crone, daughter of the Rev Alexander Crone of Newry Co Down, on the 17th November 1931. Rev Alexander Crone was a curate in Clashmore in 1901 and also served as a curate in Kinsalebeg Church in 1904. Kinsalebeg was joined with Templemichael in 1911 and Kinsalebeg Church itself became derelict in the following decades. Horace Sampson Roch salvaged some of the interior fittings of the church. The wall panelling was removed and installed in the dining room at Woodbine Hill where it is still present.
Horace Sampson Roch served in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and became Assistant Director of Medical Services (ADMS) in India 1927-30. He served in the South African Boer War of 1899-1902, in the Great War 1915-1918, in the British Military Mission to Russia of 1919-1920 and he also served for a period in Kurdistan in 1923. He also served as Assistant Director of Medical Services (ADMS) in India from 1927 to 1930. His spent the 1st World War with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). The RAMC was a specialist corps in the British Army which was responsible for providing medical services to army personnel and their families in both peace time and war time. Lieutenant Colonel Horace Sampson Roch received the military medals of the French Croix de Guerre and Order of St Anne (2nd class) of Russia. He received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) award in the New Years Honours List of 1917. He was awarded the Companion or Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1919. In 1920 he also received the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Horace Sampson Roch and Emily Helena Crone had one daughter Mary Alexandra Roch who was born on the 17th May 1933.
Once a year, just before Christmas, Col. Roch and his family invited the children of the parish to a party in Woodbine Hill. The focus of the party was an expansive meal complete with all the trimmings and no shortage of paper hats and crackers. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the party piece of old Colonel Roch which was a boisterous rendering of Percy French’s “Phil the Fluter’s Ball” accompanied by an energetic jig during the chorus. The song itself runs to about twelve verses and we include just the first three to jog the memory:
Phil the Fluter’s Ball:
Have you heard of Phil the Fluter
From the town of Ballymuck
The times was going hard for him
In fact the man was broke
So he sent an invitation
To his neighbours one and all
As how he'd like their company
That evening at a ball
And when writing out
He was careful to suggest to them
That if they found a hat of his
Convenient to the door
The more they put in
Whenever he requested them
The better would the music be
For battering the floor
With a toot on the flute
And a twiddle on the fiddle-oh
Hopping in the middle
Like a herrin' on the griddle-oh
Up, down, hands around
And crossing to the wall
Sure hadn't we the gaiety
At Phil the Fluter's ball”
Phil the Fluter’s Ball Lyrics:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9UVVXPKRyU (Ronnie Drew of Dubliners)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnsV4CvBBhQ (Brendan O’Dowda)
Mary Alexandra Roch married William George Perks on the 4th July 1957 and they continued to live in the Roch family home in Woodbine Hill until present times.
Newtown House is located in the townland of Newtown in the parish of Kinsalebeg Co Waterford. This house was apparently built after the 1st Ordnance survey of 1824. In the 19th century the house and land was being leased from the Smyths of Headborough & Monatray.
Michael Kennedy was leasing the property from the Smyth estate in 1851. In the 1901 census James Kennedy (aged 57, farmer and magistrate) lived here with his wife Bridget (aged 46). They had seven children in 1901 namely: Declan (aged 16), Kathleen (aged 20), Willie (aged 18), Anne (aged 17), James (aged 13), Michael (aged 11), John (aged 3). Mary FitzGerald (aged 31, domestic servant) also lived in the house. In the 1911 census the residents of the house were James Kennedy (aged 67, widower) and the following children: Declan (aged 27), Anna (aged 26), Maud (aged 23), Michael (aged 21) and John (aged 14). Patrick Foley (aged 18, farm servant) was also resident in the house. Michael Joseph Kennedy, son of James & Bridget Kennedy, took over the house and farm in 1926. Michael Joseph & Mary Ellen Kennedy and their family were owners of Newtown House until the latter half of the 20th century when it was taken over by their son James Kennedy.
We spent many a day in the good company of Jim Kennedy and Tommy Roche in the beet fields of Newtown. Beet growing was still an important farm activity in Ireland in the 1960s but it was very labour intensive before full mechanisation arrived in later years. We grew beet on our own small farm in Monatray and as the only boy in the family you were expected to contribute to all phases of this activity. The cycle started in the spring with ploughing, harrowing, spreading of fertiliser (usually seaweed) of the land and then the creation of drills to plant the beet seedlings. These early phases were usually done with the aid of our resident farm horse Paddy. Paddy was in generally a patient hard-working animal but was subject to the odd piece of mischief. This sometimes manifested itself in periods of apparent deafness where he choose to ignore key commands like “whoa” or “stop” and would merrily carry on walking until he reached the juicy grass on the headland. The second phase of the beet season was the planting of the beet seedlings which was done with a machine usually pulled in our case by Tommy Roche’s donkey, Neddy. Neddy was very neat between the drills and like many donkeys had very nimble feet which were ideal for stepping between the beet drills. The third phase of beet growing was the “thinning” of the beet when the seedlings grew into plants. This meant leaving a beet plant every 20cm or so and removing the superfluous plants. The thinning was carried out by crawling down the drills on your hands and knees hand or alternatively by using a hoe to separate the plants – if you were doing it by hand then you generally tied old corn sacks tied around your legs to give some protection. The last phase of the beet growing season was the Autumn & early Winter harvesting. The beet was pulled by hand from the soil and then stacked for drying. A few days later the beet was “crowned” when the head & leaves of the beet were cut off using beet knives which resembled meat cleavers. Any lack of concentration at this stage could have serious implications particularly on a frosty morning when your fingers were frozen to the bone – a hidden stone in the head of the beet or a mistimed stroke with the beet knife could easily leave you a few digits short of a full hand. The crowned beet was then forked into a Paddy drawn cart and stacked on the side of the road ready for pickup by the beet trucks from Mallow or Carlow. The pay and conditions for working on the home farm were pretty grim – the no pay clause in the contract was particularly restrictive when you were trying to pull together a few bob to go to the “pictures” in Horgan’s on a Saturday night with maybe a bottle of red lemonade and chips as a bonus afterwards. We used to supplement our meagre income with stints on the local farms ranging from thinning beet at Jim Kennedys, cattle droving with Dan & Tom Leahy or drawing the hay at Jamesy Keanes with Eddie McCarthy and Pat Seward. The reason beet and Newtown comes to mind now is that Jim Kennedy definitely had the longest beet drills in the parish – the drills started in Newtown but I am convinced they finished in another parish completely as they seemed to stretch off into the distance.
The Landed Estates2 database has the following entry for Newtown House:
“Newtown House (Kinsalebeg) (H4370)
Built after the first Ordnance Survey, Michael Kennedy was leasing this property from the Smyth estate in 1851 when it was valued at £13 10s. It is noted on the 25-inch Ordnance Survey Map as Newtown House. There is still an extant house at the site.”
The present D’Loughtane House was built for a reputed £3500 in 1840 by the Ronayne family who had a residence in D’Loughtane for many centuries before this. At the time of Griffith’s Valuation (1853-1863) the property was in the ownership of Robert P. Ronayne. The nearby ruins of Ardsallagh House was on the estate of Villiers Stuart de Decies but was also associated with the Ronayne family who were leasing it from the estate of Lord Stuart de Decies at the time of Griffith’s Valuation (1853-1863). The Ronayne family were resident in D’Loughtane for at least 400 years in the period from around 1450 to 1858. The Ronaynes, who were Catholics, were forced to leave their house and land during the religious persecution of Catholic landowners in the late 16th and early 17th century. The family remained in the area and eventually came back into leased possession of the D’Loughtane land after John Ronayne married Catherine Bluett in 1603. The actual date that the land came back into Ronayne hands would appear to have been around 1628 according to a lease document which stated;
"By lease the 23 of July 1623, from Nicholas Welsh & al, to Theobold Bluett, who assigned to Thomas Ronayne, in the year 1628, who died intestate in the year 1634, and Administration granted to the Claimant [Thomas Ronayne] in Sept. 1662."
The lands referenced in the above lease were "The Town and Lands of Dlaughtane". The above lease document was referred to in a claim made by Thomas Ronayne Jun, son of Thomas Ronayne Snr and grandson of John Ronayne & Catherine Bluett. The claim also indicated that the proprietor of the D’Loughtane land at the time was John Welsh who was the son & heir of Thomas Walsh & Ellen Power of Pilltown and grandson of Sir Nicholas Welsh Senior of the original lease. It would appear therefore that Sir Nicholas Walsh Senior of Pilltown had obtained the D’Loughtane lands when they were initially confiscated from the Ronaynes in the late 16th or early part of 17th century. Sir Nicholas Walsh Junior, son of Nicholas Walsh, leased the land to Theobold Bluett in 1623 and Theobold Bluett in turn assigned the D’Loughtane lease to Thomas Ronayne, son of John Ronayne and Catherine Bluett, in 1628. The Ronaynes were subsequently to again lose their D’Loughtane properties in the forfeitures that took place after the 1641 rebellion and the Cromwellian campaign. They presented a petition to the Court of Claims for the restoration of their estates in Cork & Waterford including those in the town of Youghal and D'Loughtane. Their properties were returned to them as "innocent papists".
D’Loughtane House was a refuge for “outlawed” Catholic priests when the Penal Laws were introduced into Ireland in the early part of the 17th century. The coercive penal laws were introduced in the reign of King James who became King of England in 1603 and the harsh anti-Catholic laws were subsequently described by statesman Edmund Burke as:
“a machine of wise and elaborate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”
The “Gunpowder Plot” of 1605 gave a further trigger to the introduction of severe laws against Catholics when a plan was made to blow up the House of Lords. The plan was conceived by a number of English Catholics, led by Robert Catesby, and was due to be carried out by a group led by a soldier named Guy Fawkes. The plot was leaked to the authorities by an anonymous letter and resulted in a search of the House of Lords about midnight on the 4th November 1605. During the search Guy Fawkes was discovered guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder which was sufficient to reduce the House of Lords and the vicinity to rubble. Guy Fawkes was unable to come up with a reasonable explanation for his presence in the House of Lords with cartloads of gunpowder and was sentenced to be “hung, drawn and quartered”. He escaped from the more severe parts of the sentence when he jumped from the scaffold on the day of his execution and died after breaking his neck.
The Ronayne family remained Catholic despite the extreme difficulties for Catholic landowners during the 17th century which resulted in many evictions and forfeitures of land particularly in the period after the Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland in 1649. A gold chalice, inscribed “Thomas Ronayne 1637” was kept hidden in the house where it remained for around 200 years until the last of the D’Loughtane Ronaynes moved to Youghal in 1854. At this stage the Ronayne Chalice came into the possession the nearby Ardsallagh Ronaynes who were cousins of the D’Loughtane family of Ronaynes. Following the death in 1963 of the last member of the Ardsallagh Ronaynes, Miss Gwendolyn Ronayne, the Ronayne Chalice was donated to Dean Christopher Sheehan of Youghal. The chalice was reconsecrated and is still used in the celebration of Mass in St Mary’s Parish Church Youghal. The D’Loughtane Ronayne family had close links with Youghal over the centuries and indeed provided many mayors to the town from the time of Philip Ronayne who was Mayor of Youghal in 1558. According to the Council Book of Youghal there were Ronayne mayors elected in the years 1558 (Philip), 1590, 1591 (Richard), 1599, 1619 (Richard), 1634 (James) and 1637 (James). This list covers only the period from 1558 to 1637.
We have included details of a number of duels in the Kinsalebeg area elsewhere in this history but we include one specific duel here as it involved one of the Ronaynes of D’Loughtane. This duel took place in 1798 at a place called Study’s Inn which was at the north side of the Market Square in Youghal – more commonly known in recent times as the Moby Dick. Colonel Cleghorne, who was commander of an English regiment in the town, made some insulting remarks about the Irish. The remarks were overheard by Richard Ronayne of D’Loughtane who was a son of Robert Ronayne and Elizabeth McCarthy. Words were exchanged between Richard Ronayne and Cleghorne which led to a challenge of a duel being issued. The resulting duel took place on the premises itself rather than in the more usual locations such as Ferrypoint on the outskirts of the town. Seconds were appointed and the combatants were placed in opposite corners of the tavern. The signal was given and both men fired but Cleghorne’s shot missed the target. Ronayne’s shot hit Cleghorne in the hip and he was crippled for the rest of his life. Colonel Cleghorne was obviously a relative newcomer to Youghal but should have known that a Kinsalebeg man was not going to stand back from a fight when someone insulted his countrymen! We can only assume that Richard Ronayne and Colonel Cleghorne were subsequently barred from Study’s Inn for disorderly behavior.
Richard Ronayne’s mother, Elizabeth Ronayne nee McCarthy, was the last of the Ronaynes from D’Lloughtane to be buried in St. Marys Youghal. The burial was preceded by a torchlit boat procession down the Blackwater as the body was removed from D’Loughtane to Youghal. This was apparently quite a regular funeral procedure in the days before a bridge was built linking Youghal to the Kinsalebeg side of the river. Robert Ronayne, aged 74, and husband of the above Elizabeth had been buried in St. Marys Youghal on the 12th March 1794. Elizabeth McCarthy was a daughter of Myles McCarthy of Ballyannon House Co. Cork and a direct descendant of the McCarthy Mor clan. She was a grand-niece of Major General Justin McCarthy who was a son of Donogh McCarthy 1st Earl of Clancarty and his wife Eleanor Butler, daughter of Tom Butler of the Ormonde dynasty. The McCarthy family had lost their land under Cromwell but it was restored later. Justin McCarthy was born around 1643 and became a professional soldier even though he was hindered by poor eyesight all his life.
The above inscription was written on the back of the drawing of Elizabeth Ronayne and is as follows:
“Elizabeth, Wife of Robert Ronayne of D’Loughtane, Co. Waterford. Circa 1775. Daughter of Myles McCarthy of Ballygannon House, Co. Cork, a lineal descendant of The McCarthy More, and grand-niece of General Justin Charles McCarthy, Earl of Mountcashel, who died of wounds, Battle of Barège, France 1694. Elizabeth McCarthy was the last Ronayne buried in St. Marys, from D’Loughtane, with the usual torchlight procession down to the river Blackwater to Youghal. Her husband Robert, buried St. Marys March 12th 1794 aged 74.”
The following memorial of an indenture of release between Charles Kennedy and Richard Power Ronayne in December 1824 indicates the apparent transfer of certain lands in D’Loughtane from Charles Edward Kennedy to Richard Power Ronayne:
Date: 22nd December 1824
Land Registry Ref: 798/356/539091
Document type: Memorial of an indenture of release
Parties: Charles Edward Kennedy of Kilbride Wicklow and Richard Power Ronayne of D’Loughtane
Details: The memorial commences with the following:
“Memorial of an Indenture of Release bearing date 22nd December 1824 between Charles Edward Kennedy of Kilbride Co Wicklow and Richard Power Ronayne of D’Loughtane in Waterford. In consideration for sum of £150 by the said Richard Power Ronayne to the said Charles Edward Kennedy in the hand being the consideration for the complete purchase of the absolute estate of Inheritance in fee simple & in the townland etc ...... the town & lands of D’Loughtane being a sub-denomination of the Manor of Piltown the estate of the said Charles Edward Kennedy.”
This above transaction seems to indicate the transfer of some of Charles Kennedy’s Manor of Piltown estate to Richard Ronayne. It refers specifically to D’Loughtane as being a part of or sub-denomination of the Manor of Piltown but there is no indication as to the size of the land involved in the transaction. We would have assumed that the land in D’Loughtane was already in Ronayne ownership at this point. However this transaction seems to throw some doubt on this unless it is referring to a smaller portion of land than would be indicated by the document reference to “the town and lands of D’Loughtane”.
When the last of the Ronaynes left D’Loughtane in 1854 the estate was sold in 1856 to a Samuel Allen through the Encumbered Estates Commission which was set up after the famine to handle the sale of distressed estates. Samuel Allen developed a bank and drainage system along the bank of the Blackwater and Licky rivers which bounded the estate. He also gave his name to the new Allen’s Quay on the Blackwater River. After a short period of ownership Samuel Allen sold the estate to John Pedder Furlong of Fermoy who had a keen interest in modernising dairy farming and was also a magistrate for Cork & Waterford area. John Pedder Furlong was married to Geraldine FitzGerald, who was related to the FitzGerald family of Aglish and Kilmolash. The FitzGeralds were responsible for the building of Ballinaparka House in Kilmolash which was reputed to be modelled on D’Loughtane House.
At the time of the 1901 census there were nine people living in D’Loughtane House namely John Pedder Furlong (COI, aged 54, magistrate, born Co Cork), his wife Geraldine (COI, aged 41, born Dublin) and two children namely Edith (COI, aged 14) and Gerald (COI, aged 10). The other residents in the house at the time of the 1901 census were Annie Emerson (COI, aged 27, governess, born Lancashire), Mary Bootman (COI, aged 46, nurse, born Essex), Anne Cullinane (RC, aged 21, servant, born Co Cork), Margaret Buckley (RC, aged 22, servant, born Co Cork) and Mary Smiddy (RC, aged 22, servant, born Co Cork). All of the above were single with the exception of John Pedder and Geraldine Furlong. In the 1911 census there were four people in D’Loughtane House namely John Pedder and Geraldine Furlong, Ellen Mullins (RC, aged 47, servant) and Hannah Green (RC, aged 18, servant).
John Pedder Furlong had relinquished part of the estate to the Irish Land Commission in 1910 but retained the house and surrounding lands as a dairy farm which he then sold to Sir Edward Browne and his French born wife Gwendoline. Sir Edward Browne was a barrister at the Court of St. James in London and together with his wife and daughter they lived in and renovated D’Loughtane House for almost twelve years until they sold it to William Pope Good of Bandon in 1922. In 1924 the Pope Goods relocated back to Bandon and the estate came into the ownership of Roger McGrath of Ballyheeny. It was inherited in 1934 by Mary Ellen McGrath, daughter of Roger McGrath, and her husband Michael Norris. Mary Ellen Norris nee McGrath maintained the property with great attention despite the loss of her husband and eventually passed it on to her daughter Cora Norris who together with her husband Dominic Smiddy continued to develope the house. In 2012 D’Loughtane House is in the ownership of Edel Smiddy, daughter of Cora and Dominic Smiddy, and her family.
The explanations for the origins of the rather unusual townland name D’Loughtane are varied and differ enormously. The Placenames Database8 of Ireland lists a number of variations in the name of this townland over the centuries including Dlontham (circa 1302), Droghton (c. 1566), Dloghtane (c. 1606) and Dloughtane (c. 1654, 1841). Canon Power in his Placenames of the Decies8 states D’Loughtane or Lochtán means “An Eminence” or a distinguished person. Dr O’Foley says “that the proper word is Dlochtán- “A Strainer,” derived from wattles or palisade erected at mouth of tributary stream.” Yet another explanation is that D’Loughtane is made up of two separate elements combined into a single name over time with the first part Loughtane (Clochtane) referring to the little lake in the area known as the Broad of Clashmore. The second element, the D at the start of the name, was thought to refer to the Ronayne family who were historically linked to the area over the centuries and who were sometimes referred to in old manuscripts as Ronayne De (of) Loughtane. The two elements were later combined and abbreviated to form D’Loughtane. We have therefore three or four separate explanations for the origins of the townland name D’Loughtane and we are in no position to decide which, if any, of the explanations are correct.
The Ronayne family have historically always been linked to Youghal as they contributed significantly to the business and political life of Youghal over the centuries. However they are very much a Kinsalebeg family with their main residences in D’Loughtane and Ardsallagh. They retained their Catholic religion throughout some of the most difficult times in Irish history. Their land and property was confiscated on a number of occasions down through the centuries but in true Kinsalebeg style they never backed down and usually bounced back from their setbacks.
Pilltown Castle was part of the vast Desmond aka Geraldines empire in Munster from the early part of the 15th century but there are no records to indicate when the original castle was built. It may well have been built at an earlier period but there are no references to a castle in Pilltown when the De Badlesmeres and De Clares were landlords in this area in the 13th and 14th century. Kinsalebeg was part of the Manor of Inchiquin in this period and whereas there were many references to Inchiquin Castle there were no known references to Pilltown Castle. Pilltown Castle would have been part of the defenses of the Desmonds from the time of James FitzGerald 6th Earl of Desmond (1422-1463) up to that of Gerald FitzJames FitzGerald (1533-1583). The defeat of the Desmonds in the last major Desmond rebellion in 1583 heralded the breakup of the Desmond estates.
Kinsalebeg incorporating and Pilltown Castle came into the ownership of Sir Nicholas Walsh Senior after the break up of the Desmond estates at the latter end of the 16th century. The land to the west of Kinsalebeg, in the area from Youghal to Lismore, came into possession of the mercenary Walter Raleigh in this period. The known history of Pilltown Castle is mostly associated with the Walshs of Pilltown from the time of Sir Nicholas Walsh Senior (1540-1615) onwards. Walsh leased Pilltown Castle and the nearby Manor of Pilltown, together with about 900 acres of land, to Captain Sir John Dowdall. Dowdall was a leading English military leader who was involved in a number of military campaigns in the Munster area during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He was the military commander in Youghal for a period and later became commander of Duncannon Fort. Dowdall mainly resided in the Manor of Pilltown and there are are no references to his use of Pilltown Castle in any of his military campaigns. The Dowdall lease of Pilltown continued on until 1620 when Dowdall’s son, Sir John Dowdall Junior, sold the Pilltown lease to Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork. The land was still in the ownership of the Walshs of Pilltown and the passing of the Pilltown lease to the Boyle family would not have gone down well in Walsh family circles. The Earl of Cork is not a tenant they would have wished to have on their doorstep in Kinsalebeg in the period leading up to the 1641 rebellion.
The strategic location of Pilltown Castle between West Waterford and East Cork resulted in a lot of military activity in this area during the 1641-1649 rebellion. The rebellion was between the predominantly Irish Catholic Confederate forces and the Parliamentary forces which had revolved against King Charles I of England. Pilltown Castle was captured and re-captured a number of times during the rebellion as we have outlined elswhere in the history of the Walshs of Pilltown. We will summarise the main events here but these are covered in greater detail in the Walsh history.
Pilltown Castle was in Irish Confederate hands in February 1641. This is recorded in a letter written by a James Gibbes dated 25th February 1641. Gibbes was a member of the besieged forces in Youghal at that time and he refers to the activities of the Irish rebel forces as follows:
“They have taken the Castle of Piltowne, and come in multitudes every day, to the Ferry Banke, which is within Musket-shot of the Towne, on the other side of the water; and since the revolt of Waterford they have gotten three Peeces of Ordnance, which they have planted on Piltowne land, to block up the harbour, so as Sir Charles Vavasor got in with much adoe.”
The mention of Ferry Banke is a reference to Ferrypoint where the Confederates had placed a number of guns which were used in the siege of Youghal. The guns were used to fire on Youghal and on any ships entering the harbour to relieve the town. The Confederate forces were using Pilltown Castle as a defensive base in this period. Later in 1641 or early in 1642 Pilltown Castle was captured by the Parliamentary forces. Sir Nicholas Walsh Junior and about four hundred armed rebels tried to re-capture the castle but the attempt failed and the castle remained under the control of the Earl of Cork and his sons. The event is referred to in a deposition of a William Beale of Kinsalebeg who described it as follows:
“... and further he deposeth not Aboute the nynth of Jan 1641 Sir Nicholas Welsh of Ballykeroyn in the County knight & his son James Welsh of the same Esquire John fitz Gerrald of ffarnane in the said County gen Bran Welsh & divers others with at least to the number three or foure hundred armed men in company with them came to besiedge the said Castle of Piltowne in the said County; & continued siedge to the same till the begining of Aprill following...”.
Youghal was under siege from the Irish Confederate forces in 1645. The Cofederate forces were led by Castlehaven aka James Tuchet, 3rd Earl of Castlehaven. Castlehaven had some heavy artillery on the Ferrypoint side of the harbour which he used to blow up the Duncannon frigate of Admiral Penn. Castlehaven was using Pilltown Castle as a base for Confederate attacks in the area. Padraig Linehan describes Pilltown Castle as follows in his book titled Confederate Catholics of Ireland at War 1641-164913:
“The ‘strong outwork of earth’ which Castlehaven built around Pilltown castle, facing Youghal across the Blackwater estuary, had a 20 foot deep ditch and double ramparts, 12 foot high. However it seems to have been a simple rectangular structure.”
Image: The above artistic drawing of Pilltown Castle by Spencer Welsh is a visualisation of how Pilltown Castle might have looked.
Sir Nicholas Walsh Junior was killed during the capture of Dungarvan Castle in 1643 so Pilltown Castle was now effectively in the ownership of his eldest son, Thomas Walsh Senior. The next major reference to Pilltown Castle came in 1646 when the castle was in Irish Confederate hands and yet again came under siege from Parliamentary forces. The siege of Pilltown Castle is recorded in the Egmont manuscripts14 which are historical records of John Perceval 1st Earl of Egmont. Perceval was a great grandson of Sir Philip Perceval whose name appears in various pieces of correspondence concerning Pilltown in 1646. Sir Percy Smyth, Deputy Governor of Youghal, wrote to Sir Philip Perceval on 18th August 1646 and in the letter he outlines that Pilltown Castle was under siege from the Parliamentary forces. He states that there were three thousand soldiers in the attacking Parliamentary army of the Earl of Inchiquin.
Details of the 1646 siege of Pilltown Castle are described in detail in a letter from Major General William Jephson to Sir Philip Perceval in 1646. The letter is again covered in the Egmons MSS manuscrips14. It describes the siege and massacre of the Confederate forces in Pilltown Castle on the 19th August 1646. The attack was carried out by the Earl of Inchiquin, with a Parliamentary army of around three thousand men between cavalry and foot soldiers. The Earl of Inchiquin was otherwise known as Murrough O’Brien who was a son of Dermod O’Brien 5th Baron of Inchiquin. Inchiquin was an Irishman who started the 1641 rebellion as a loyalist supporter on the Irish Confederate side of the conflict. He changed his support to the Parliamentary side and ran a brutal military campaign against the predominantly Catholic Irish Confederate forces. His “scorched earth” military strategy earned him the nickname of “Murrough the Burner” (Murchadh na dTóiteán) as he rampaged his way through Munster showing no mercy to anyone who confronted him.
Major General William Jephson was the second in command to Inchiquin when the attack on Pilltown Castle took place in 1646. His description of the attack starts off with a description of the castle itself and it is one of the few records giving a picture of the layout of Pilltown Castle at the time. He describes Pilltown Castle as “a very strong place” and gives the description of the castle:
- The outer wall or earthworks was twenty foot high from the base of the surrounding moat to the top of the wall.
- Inside the outer earthworks there was a stone courtyard with a twelve foot wall.
- Inside this was another courtyard also with a twelve foot wall.
- Inside the last wall was the actual castle entrance itself.
The Parliamentary forces eventually broke through the surrounding defensive structures with “the loss of some men and wounding of about twenty”. When they reached the castle walls they were initially unable to gain entry to the castle and were subject to a barrage of stones from the top of the battlements which resulted in many injuries. The attacking forces eventually broke into the lower level of the castle but were unable to get up to the higher levels of the castle as:
“the rogues still defended it, and broke down the stone stairs to prevent our men from getting up to them.”
The attacking army decided that it was going to be virtually impossible to capture Pilltown Castle and decided that they would destroy it instead. This would have been an unusual course of action at the time as castles were valuable defences. Castles were generally captured so they could then be used subsequently by the capturing forces. The brave Pilltown Castle Confederate garrison refused to surrender despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered by a three thousand man army. They would have been acutely aware that they could expect no mercy when captured particularly against an army led by the infamous “Murrough the Burner”. The attacking army were also enraged by the stubborn resistance and bravery of the Pilltown defenders. The following is Jephson’s chilling account of the last stages of the attack on Pilltown Castle:
“We therefore, finding that without much mischief it was impossible to get them down, were forced to lay powder below, and blow them and the castle up together, which we did last night. My Lord President at his first summons thereof promised them fair quarter if they would surrender it before he discharged three pieces of ordnance against it, which they refusing, were by that means afterwards (the soldiers being also incensed) deprived of all their lives, it being taken by storm; only the women and children were turned out by the rebels of their own accord.”
There is no indication of the number of Confederates killed in the defence of Pilltown on the 19th August 1646 but it is probable that the numbers were in the hundreds. We do not know if any members of the Walsh family of Pilltown were in the castle at the time. Most of the defending “rebel” garrison were probably from the greater Kinsalebeg and West Waterford areas. Pilltown Castle itself was destroyed in the above attack and there are no remaining ruins of the original castle. The following is the full Major General William Jephson excerpt from the Egmont manuscripts14 which describes the attack:
The last entry in the Egmont manuscrips14 concerning the last siege of Pilltown Castle was a letter which Sir Percy Smyth sent to Sir Philip Perceval on the 7th September 1646. Smyth describes the siege of Pilltown Castle and the killing of all those who defended the castle. Smyth states that all the defenders of Pilltown Castle with the exception of seven people. The seven people were possibly the women and children which Jephson said were spared in the massacre.
“in which time we took Piltowne by storm, put all to the sword except seven persons”
This concludes the all too brief history of Pilltown Castle. The Walshs of Pilltown never rebuilt the castle and the Manor of Pilltown became their primary residence after 1646.
Manor of Pilltown
The Manor of Pilltown first came to prominence around 1590 at which point it was being leased by Sir John Dowdall Senior from Sir Nicholas Walsh Senior of Pilltown. Pilltown was part of the Kinsalebeg land which came into possession of the Walsh family after the 1583 failed Desmond rebellion. There is little or no information indicating if Pilltown Manor was in existence when the Walsh family took over Pilltown but it would appear that it was in existence in some shape or form before the Walshs arrived. There are some references to the Manor of Pilltown in Richard Boyle’s Lismore papers15 in which he indicates that there were tenants in the Manor of Pilltown before the Dowdalls took up residence there around 1590. He indicates that earlier tenants included Mannsfeyld [Mansfield] followed by Bluett and then a Reilly [Reyly] family and these three families probably resided there before the Walshs. The Reilly family passed the lease on to the Dowdalls. The following is the 1622 entry in the Lismore papers15:
Date: 7th April 1622: ”I received from Sir John Dowdall, the deeds of Monodross rout 8 acres in the mannor of piltown, from Mannsfeyld to Bluett, from Bluett to Reyly, from Reyly to ould John Dowdall, which yong Sir John conveighed to me, and my heires forever.”
The following note by the Rev. Alexander Grosart, in his 1886 review of the Lismore Papers15, confirms the presence of Sir John Dowdall in Pilltown around 1591:
“Sir John Dowdall: His company of foot-bands garrisoned Youghal in 1588. In 1591 he was residing in the castle of Pilltown in co. of Waterford, on the Waterford side of Youghal harbour. In 1608-9 11 Jan. He wrote to Lord Salisbury from “Pilltown near Youghal” stating that he was “seventie years old” and asked for a pension or grant of land, as he had received no reward for his military services (H.M.S.P.O.).”
The Manor of Pilltown was quite a large structure in the Dowdall period and there was a defensive wall around the manor which was built along military lines. It is probable that the Dowdalls built or extended the defensive aspect of the manor in order to provide protection for their extended family. The Dowdalls would not have been a very popular family in the Kinsalebeg neighbourhood and had plenty of enemies resulting from the military campaigns of Captain John Dowdall, later to become Sir John Dowdall Snr. The following is an artistic impression by Spencer Welsh which gives some indication as to how The Manor of Pilltown may have looked like in this period.
Sir John Dowdall Snr was born in Shirwell, Devonshire about 1545 and became a soldier in the army of Elizabeth I in Ireland. He spent over forty years in military service in Ireland from around 1560 onwards. A more detailed overview of the Dowdalls of Pilltown is covered elsewhere in this history and we duplicate some of these details here for convenience.
Sir John Dowdall Snr was a military commander in Youghal for a period and was allegedly responsible for the torture and execution of the Franciscan priest Fr. O’Neilan OSF in Youghal around 1580. We have covered this incident in the Dowdall history and the brutal nature of the execution would have ensured that Dowdall would have been considered an enemy of the Catholic population. He had a grudging admiration of the Irish which he summarises in a letter to William Cecil, chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, on the 9th March 1595. He describes the Irish as follows:
“they are a nation bred idly and in looseness of life, men full of agility and strength; they can endure hardness of diet, they care neither for good lodging, cold, nor wet, the most of them can swim, both men and women, they were fit to be made soldiers if they were faithful, but yet have always been rebellious, and hate to be governed by civil laws …”.
Sir John Dowdall Snr spent a considerable amount of time away from his Manor of Pilltown residence due to his military activities and his position as commander of Duncannon Fort. It would appear that his extended family in Pilltown were subject to a lot of distress in his absence. He stated in correspondence that his family in Pilltown consisted of fifty to sixty people in total and that he had twenty four children in total. He outlined in one occasion that his family in Pilltown had reported to him that:
“there had been sundry persons murdered near his house”.
Sir John Dowdall Senior had his family residence in the Manor of Pilltown up until his death in 1606 after which the lease passed to his son, Sir John Dowdall Junior. The Dowdall lease of Pilltown continued on until 1620 when Dowdall’s son, Sir John Dowdall Jnr, sold the Pilltown lease to Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork. The landlords were still the Walshs of Pilltown but the sale of the lease to the Boyles was to the source of many difficulties for the Walshs in the decades ahead. The following entry in the Lismore papers15 records the Dowdall sale of the lease of the Manor of Pilltown, Pilltown Castle and ten ploughlands of land to Richard Boyle Earl of Cork in 1620.
The above lease of the Manor of Pilltown and Pilltown Castle to the Boyles for over thirty years from 1620 onwards explains why the property and land was stated to be in the ownership of Sir Nicholas Walsh but “in the possession of the Earl of Cork” in historical documents in this period including the Civil Survey of 1654. Pilltown Castle, due to its strategic position, was the subject of a number of attacks from all sides during the 1641-49 rebellion and the subject of leases and ownership took a back seat in the ferocious fighting around Kinsalebeg.
The Walshs of Pilltown came back in control of the Manor of Pilltown in the period after the 1641 rebellion. It seemed to become their main residence in Pilltown from that time until they eventually sold their Kinsalebeg land and property to the Bernards of Bandon and the Earl of Grandison from 1720 onwards. On the 15th May 1720 Thomas Walsh, stated to be of Prospect Hall, concluded a lease agreement with Nicholas Power of Pilltown for the dwelling house of Pilltown [Manor of Pilltown], the orchard, gardens and townlands of Bannelag and Ringa etc. Thomas Walsh Jnr was the inheritor of the Walsh estate in Kinsalebeg at this time and it is interesting to note that his address was given as Prospect Hall which would indicate that the Walshs had already moved out of Pilltown at this time. Later in the year, in July 1720, Thomas Walsh commeneced proceedings to dispose of their Kinsalebeg land to the Bernards and the Earl of Grandison.
The Bernards became the primary landlords in Kinsalebeg, including Pilltown, from 1720 until 1825 and would have had ownership of the Manor of Pilltown. The rest of the Kinsalebeg Walsh land was sold to the Earl of Grandison. The history and details of this period is covered under the history of the Walshs and land ownership.
The Bernards sold their interest in Kinsalebeg, including Pilltown, to the Smyths of Ballynatray and Monatray in 1825 and the Smyths would have continued in ownership until the break up of the big estates towards the end of the 19th century. There are very few references to the Manor of Pilltown during the period when the landlords were the Bernards and the Smyths and it is probably reasonable to assume that the land and property was being sub-leased.
The Manor of Pilltown or Pilltown House was part of the Kennedy Estate at the time of Griffiths Valuation around 1850 but it was being leased by Declan Tracy from the representatives of Sir J. Kennedy, Bart. In 1850 this particular property consisted of a large house, around 13 out offices, an orchard and 166 acres of land. The buildings had a rateable valuation of £12 10s and the land had a rateable valuation of £135. Apparently a large bell at the Tracy farmhouse was used to call in farm workers for meals etc. Declan Tracy was also sub-leasing owner a substantial number of other houses and land in the townland of Pilltown around 1850. He was leasing about 25 houses and around 100 acres of land to a variety of tenants in Pilltown and the property included Pilltown R.C. Church and graveyard. The Tracy family were leasing the above land and property from the estate of Sir J. Kennedy and then sub-leasing to various occupiers. There are no photographs or drawings of Pilltown House from this period. It was a two storey house, contained 7-9 rooms and had ten windows on the front of the house according to the 1901 census. There does not appear to have been any members of the Tracy family living in Pilltown after the death of Declan Tracy Jun in 1886. A number of the family are buried in Pilltown Church graveyard and the following family members are commemorated on the headstone:
“Declan Tracy died 29th March 1865 aged 76 and his wife Ellen died 3rd Feb 1878 aged 88.
Mary Tracy died 26th April 1843 aged 39.
Anne Josephine Tracy died June 1873 aged 35.
Declan Tracy Jun died 2nd Oct 1886 aged 53.
Rev John Tracy DD died 1st July 1874 aged 55.
Rev Patrick Tracy died 20th Nov 1885 aged 73. Doctor Mathew Tracy died 27th Oct 1862 aged 29.
Maurice C. Tracy late Surgeon S Hussars died 10th April 1873 aged 34.”
Following the death of Declan Tracy the house and land was leased by a Michael Tracy from a William Anderson or Anderton up until around 1894. Richard Farrell occupied the house and land in 1894 and also appeared to be the actual owner.
From 1899 onwards the house and land was occupied by Maurice Doyle and his family. In the 1901 census the Doyle family consisted of Maurice Doyle (aged 49, farmer), his wife Mary (aged 45) and eleven children namely Richard (aged 19, cattle dealer), John (17), Ellen (16), Kate (15), Michael (14), William (13), Maurice (11), Bridget (10), Denis (8), Joseph (4) and Mary Doyle (10 months). William Doyle went on to run the farm after the death of his father. He joined the Piltown Company of the 3rd Battalion, Waterford Brigade, 1st Southern Division of the IRA in 1917. He went on to become a Vice Battalion Commandant and was a leading member of the Active Service Unit (ASU). The Waterford III Brigade, 1st Southern Division consisted of seven battallions and one Active Service Unit. Piltown was the largest of the eight companies of the 3rd Battalion of the IRA with up to 72 members in 1922.
The Manor of Pilltown aka Pilltown Manor aka Pilltown House is no longer in existence. It was blown up by the Land Commission around 1952 presumably due to its poor condition. The demolition required the placing of quantities of explosives to blow up the thick walls of what was, in its early years, a strongly fortified residence. The piers of the entrance gate are still visible on the right hand side of the road as you travel from Pilltown Church towards Pilltown Cross (about 200 yards from Pilltown Church).
Land Registry Ref: 482/193/306229
5 ^ A Memoir of James Bernard M.P. and his son, The First Earl of Bandon.
Author James Francis Bernard, published 1876. NLI Ref 10A 2929
6 ^ The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Waterford by Charles Smith. Published 1774.
7 Land Registry lease deed Barrett/Roch dated 4th June 1793.
Land Registry Ref: 482/193/306269
9 ^ Deed dated 30th October 1790 (not registered)
10 ^ Land Registry declaration of trust between Welsh/Roch dated 30th Oct 1790.
Land Registry ref: 304763
11 ^ Land Registry deed of Richard Barrett/Mary Roch dated 4th June 1793.
Land Registry Ref: 482/193/306269
12 ^ Journal of the Waterford & South-East of Ireland Arch. Soc; Vol XII.
Vol XII (pp 57-58) published 1909.
13 ^ Confederate Catholics at War 1641-49 by Padraig Linehan 2001
Published by Historical Manuscripts Commission in 1905
Compiled by Rev. Alexander Grosart. Published 1886.
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