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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Browne-Clayton of Browne's Hill,

Co. Carlow


Browne-Clayton of Browne's Hill, Co. Carlow

Motto: Fortiter ed fideliter.

Browne’s Hill mansion occupies the site of an ancient religious establishment called St. Kieran's Abbey. The Browne family moved from Essex and quickly became one of the most influential families in County Carlow. Built in 1763, Browne’s Hill is one of the few surviving Georgian mansions in the county and should thus be considered as a work of considerable historical value. It was probably designed by the Georgian landscape architect, Matthhew Peters. This fine house originally comprised a detached six-bay three-storey over-basement structure, built in the Neo-Classical style with a granite ashlar façade. the house 'quickly became the flagship seat in the county and the property which all others tried to emulate or outbuild'. (It was renovated by Thomas Cobden in the 1830s, with a pedimented central breakfront on the front and a full-height canted bay extended to the rear. The park wall and nearby house at Viewmount were built using material from the original quondam abbey, while the high wall around the estate was built as part of a Famine Relief project in the 1840s. [1a]

In October 2009, the Department of Manuscripts in the National Library of Ireland stumbled upon several boxes of maps, drafts, surveys and correspondence relating to the Browne-Clayton family, which were acquired by the NLI in 1982.

Origins The Browne’s of Carlow originally came from the West Country of England with Cromwell in August 1649. Robert Browne, second son of Sir William Browne of Abbas Roding in Essex, is said to have come to Ireland with Cromwell. He married Jane Feltham of Gray’s Inn, London and died on 10 Feb 1677. [1b] His eldest son, John Browne of Carlow was married circa 1680 to Mary, daughter of Robert Jennings of Kilkea Castle, Co. Kildare. As late as 1717-1723, Benjamin Burton's leases of Feltham's concerns listed John Browne as lesse of three properties in Carlow Town. John's younger brother was Robert Browne. An account of this Robert's early days in Carlow found recently by Michael Purcell among the family papers reads: 'When King James II came to the throne of England in 1685, Mr Browne suffered great hardships and loss, his house was occupied by his enemies and his family imprisoned. His land and stock sequestered and plundered and still worse might have happened only for the intervention of a worthy and respectable Roman Catholic gentleman of the name of Allen from Pollerton near Carlow town. Upon their release Robert built a roomy Mansion close to the Tullow Gate in Carlow town'. The "roomy Mansion" referred to is now Lennon's Pub and adjoining house, (120/121 Tullow Street, Carlow).

Read more about this family at

Source: Turtle Bunbury website

Robert Browne of Browneshill

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