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County Kilkenny Ireland History


The Blanchville Family
Early Documented History


Rev. Carrigan in his "History" published in 1905 describes the Blanchvilles of Blanchvillestown on pages 414-417 of Volume III.
The connection of the Blanchvilles, or Blanchfields, with Kilkenny, dates from soon after the Norman invasion. History throws little light on the faimly for some centuries after their settlement in this country; little though it be, however, it suffices to show that during that period they held a very prominent place among the nobility of Co. Kilkenny. According to Archdall, one of the Blanchvilles founded the Priory of Fertagh, in the 13th century. Nicholas Blanchville was seneschal of Kilkenny, in 1303; and in 1312, Richard Blanchville appears in public records as executor of the Nicholas Blanchville, then lately deceased. Sir John de Blanchville, and other knights, were summoned to attend John Darcy, the Justiciary, with arms and horses from Ireland, in his expedition to Scotland, in 1355. John fitz Richard Blanchville held part (i.e. the Bennetsbridge part) of the lands of Treadingstown, or Balyredden, and died shortly before 1377, leaving a son and heir not of age. David Blanchville of Blanchvillestown was sheriff of Kilkenny in 1447, 1448 and 1450. Gilbert Blanchville, his son, lord of Kilmodymog, made a deposition in 1516, in reference to the Earldom of Ormond. In 1526 and thence to 1552, or later, "Edmond Blanchvvylle of Blanchvvyllesstown," was head of the family. His wife Margaret, daughter of John fitz James Butler, younger brother of Pierce the Red, Earl of Ormond.

About the year 1560, "Gerald Blanchville and his bretheren's landes houlden of the Mannour of Gawran," were valued at 100 marks. Gerald is described as of Blanchvillestown in many documents of the latter half of the 16th century. He was Sheriff of Co. Kilkenny, in 1565, and M.P. (Member of Parliament) of same in 1585-6. He died at the castle of Blanchvillestown, April 6th, 1594, leaving his (second ?) wife, Elinor, daughter of Richard, 1st Viscount Mountgarret, two sons, viz., Edmund, his heir; and Leonard.

Edmund Blanchville, was but nine years old at the time of his father's death, so that he was born in 1585. Grant of his wardship and marriage was made to Thomas Ashe, gent., May 10th, 1597. He had livery of seisin on attaining his majority, July 14th, 1606. On the 23rd Oct., 1623, he received the honour of knighthood from Viscount Falkland, Lord Deputy. For their part in the manslaughter of Edmund Purcell, of Ballyfoyle castle, in 1625, Sir Edmund and his brother, Leonard Blanchville, succeeded after considerable trouble, in having a royal pardon, Dec. 12th, 1629.

Sir Edmund appears to have been a lunatic for a considerable time before his death, which occurred subsequent to the year 1647. By his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Butler, of the Old Abbey (an illegitimate son of Thomas the Black, Earl of Ormond), he had a son, Garret, or Gerald Blanchville, who took a prominent part in the Catholic Confederate Movement of 1641, &c., died Feb. 21st, 1646-47, and is buried in St. Canice's Cathedral. The family estates, consisting of the townlands of Blanchfieldstown, Blanchfieldskill (with "the ruinous walls of a church"), Smithstown, Maddockstown, Church Claragh, Sheverstown (or Ballintevery) and Carine, Bennetsbridge and Killmodimoge, were forfeited, in the name of Sir Edmund, in 1653, though probably he was himself dead at that date. In the month of March, 1653-54, a certificate for Transplantation to Connaught was signed for his wife (or widow), "Lady Elizabeth Blanchbill of Blanchvillstown." She was living in Carhine in 1664, as appears from the Hearth Money Roll of Co. Kilkenny for that year.

Garret Blanchville, son and heir apparent of Sir Edmund, left, at his death, in 1647, a son, Edmund, a daughter, Ellen, and other children. After the Restoration "Edmond Blanchfield, son of Garret, son of Edmund (mad)" instituted proceedings to recover his ancestral property already declared forfeited. The case was heard in the Court of Claims, April 4th, 1663. Garret was decreed nocent, but the claimant as well as his grandfather, Sir Edmund, was decreed innocent, and he was accordingly restored to his estates.

Having thrown in his lot with the vast majority of his co-religionists, in support of the Jacobite cause, he was made to suffer the loss of all his property at the hands of the victorious partisans of William of Orange. As "Edward Blanchville of Blanchvillestown, gent.," he was outlawed, at Kilkenny, on the 21st April, 1691; and, on the same day and year, "James Blanchville fitz Edward of Blanchvillestown, Esq.," was outlawed at the same place.

He married, in 1676, Ursula, widow of John Bryan, of Bawnmore, and daughter of Walter Walsh of Castlehale, and by her had three daughters: (1) "Margaret, married De Courcy Ireland of the Queen's Co., and died in 1706, leaving a son, De Courcy Ireland, called to the Bar in 1731, and died without issue in 1739, and a daughter Judith, married George Bathorne of Durrow. (2) Anne, married Walter Kelly or Kealy, one of the Fellows of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, founded by James II. in Kilkenny, M.P. for Gowran in 1689, and who died in 1718 leaving an only daughter, Mariana, who married Nicholas Shee. (3) Grace." [source: Kilkenny in 1641-3, Burtchaell]. Besides these daughters, Edmund Blanchville does certainly seem to have left other issue, perhaps by an earlier marriage. "James Blanchville fitz Edward of Blanchvillestown, Esq.," who was outlawed, at Kilkenny, on the same day with himself, April 21st, 1691, was, in all likelihood, his eldest son and heir-apparent. According to Father Healy's History of Kilkenny, he had also a second son, Edmund Blanchville or Blanchfield, from whom descended the late Messrs. Blanchfield of Clifden and Blanchville's Park, and the Blanchfields of Coon, now represented by Mr. John Blanchfield.

According to the inscription on his monument in the old churchyard of Muckalee, this Edmund Blanchfield died at the age of 70 years; his wife having been Margaret Brenan, who died in 1760 aged 60 years. Their children were: (1) William, of Coolcullen, who died in 1764 aged 50, leaving his wfie Mary, two sons and three daughters, viz.: James, the elder son, Edmund, Nelly, Margaret and Joan. (2) Peter, of Muckalee, who died in 1758, aged 40; his wife Winifred Brenan, by whom he had a son Patrick, of Muckalee, father of Nicholas, of Coon, father of John, now of Coon. (3) Richard, who held all Coolcullen, 2,000 Irish acres, as tenant, and died in 1782, aged 65, having had the following issue by his wife, Ellen Kavanagh, daughter of Edmund Kavanagh of Clonbrock: (a) Patrick of Gragara, married Johanna Nowlan, of Huntingtower, Gowran, in 1782, and was father of Richard, John, James, and Ellen, which last married Nicholas Lalor of Ballyragget; (b) Edmund; (c) William; (d) Pierce of Flagmount, who married Anne, daughter of William Purcell of Clougharinka, and had, with other issue, Daniel Blanchfield, of Blanchvillespark, who died, unmarried, in 1892, aged 75 years; (e) James, of Huntingtower, married Johanna White, and was father of Patrick Blanchfield, of Clifden, who died unmarried a few years ago; and (f) John, who died in 1788. (4) Elinor, who married Mathias Divoy.

The castle of the Blanchvilles, at Blanchvillestown, described as "a large castle in repair," in 1655, stood close to the public road, in the lawn of Kearney Castle, Blanchville Demesne, but it has been long razed to the ground.

Rathgarvan castle (still in fair preservation), with the townlands of Rathgarvan (now Clifden) and Rathcash, belonged of old to a family of Blanchvilles, who branched off from the parent stock of Blanchvillestown, probably in the 16th century. In an inquisition held at the manor of Balligawran, January, 1601, Redmund Blanchvild of Rathgarvan, along with Edmund Blanchvild of Balligawran, are noted as jurors [Ormond Deeds, V. p.117]. Richard Blanchville, their representative in Cromwell's time, forfeited the family property, and, with his wife and six infant children, was transplanted to Connaught in 1654. Ellis Blanchville, daughter of Peter, who married Charles Agar, of Gowran, about 1660, and mother of James Agar, ancestor of the Clifden family, is sometimes stated to have belonged to the Blanchvilles of Rathgarvan castle; but, the turth is, she cannot be at all satisfactorily connected with any of the old branches of the family.

A Leonard Blanchevilde of Dunmore is mentioned in documents dating between 1549 and 1556, where in the latter year Sir Thomas Butler of Ormond granted the [rent of the] manor of Donmore, county Kilkenny, to Leonard [Ormond Deeds, Vol V., p.150-51]. Leonard's son Piers Blanchvild affixed his seal to the latter indenture and confirmation of grant dated April 5, 1565. Piers Blanchvilde fitz Leonarde, was also a witness in September 1570 of grants made by Thomas, Earl of Ormond [Ormond Deeds, Vol V., p.202-05]. In July, 1572, a Piers Blanchvilde, of Jenkinstown, is granted from Sir Thomas Butler, the towns or villages of Gynkinstown and Mayne with the castle, meases, lands, etc., belonging thereto... [Ormond Deeds, Vol V., p.233].


Extracts from the Calendar of Ormond Deeds, Vol. I & II, Curtis, 1932-33.

Soon after 1252, Master Jordan Blancheville and Maurice de Blaunchvile were among the witnesses of a confirmation by the chapter of Leighlin of the grant of the church of St. Patrick's in Kellistown in Forth O'Nolan to the Priory of Kells in Ossory. [Vol I. p.27]

Circa 1270, John de Blaunchevill quit-claims to Sir Theobald le Botiller and his heirs land which Thomas de Blaunchvill his late brother had of the gift of the said Sir Theobald at Kyllernesse (Killarney, barony of Gowran) and which descended to him in hereditary right by the death of said Thomas. [Vol I. p.72]

Between 1284 and 1294, John de Blanchevil, knight, along with Walter de Blaunchevile, and others, were witnesses of a grant to Warin le Deveneys, burgess of Kilkenny, of 47 acres in Villa Trenedyn (Ballyreddini, Bally-Tredyn, parish of Treadingstown) in the tenement of Kyllarran (Killarney, barony of Gowran), etc. [Vol I. p.106]

In April, 1294, Nicholas de Blaunchevile, among others, was a witness of a grant to Roger de Penbrok, knight, of 33 acres in Lavistown, parish of St. Martin's, barony of Gowran. [Vol I. p.129]

On July 8, 1297, was a Mandate by John Pippard to Sir Nicholas Dunheved and his free tenants of Rathdowney to be intentive to Master Maurice de Blaunchevyll, whom he has appointed his senschal and attorney in Rathdowny. Given at Dublin. On July 16, 1297, was a letter of attorney from John Pippard to Master Maurice de Blaunchevyll, his seneschal of Rathdowney, to place Sir Theobald le Botiller, in seisin of Rathdowney. Given at Gowran. [Vol I. p.135].

In February, 1303 (N.S.), Nicholas de Blauncheuille, knight, among others, witnessed a grant by Hugh son of Geoffrey Tyrel to Edmund son of Theobald le Botiller and hi heirs, all his right in the manor of Moyaluy. Given at Dublin. [Vol I. p.146].

On April 30, 1311, Nicholas de Blaunchevile, knight, was among the witnesses of an exchange to land between John son fo Richard Cadel and Edmund Walter, Butler of Ireland, where Edmund received John's right and claim in the manor of Clonleynan in the county of Carlow (except a piece of land called 'le Strynelond'), and John received the land of Smetheston in the barony of Balygaveran (Gowran). [Vol I. p.179].

During October, 1312, Nicholas de Blauncheville, knight, was among the witnesses of grants and releases that lead to Edmund le Botiller receiving the castle manor of Knocktopher. [Vol I. p.182-89].

John de Blauncheville, knight, was among the witnesses of another release and quit-claim to Edmund le Botiller in the manor and barony of Knocktopher, dated February 28, 1314. [Vol I. p.195].

On March 14, 1319, Nicholas de Blancheville, knight, and Edmund Blanchevyll were among the witnesses of the letters patent of Roger fitz Milo, baron of Overk, by which he grantd and quitclaims for ever to Edmund Butler and his heirs all his right in the lordship of the free tenants and others in the baonry of Overk, etc. Nicholas was also there in a similar transaction date March 29, 1319. [Vol I. p.223-225].

John de Blauncheuile, knight, witnessed, among others, a grants from William St. Leger, senior, to William, son of Peter de Bermingham, knight, of all his lands of Shanboth. Dated January, 1328. N.S. [Vol I. p.256].

On November 2, 1331, John Blancheuyle, knight, witnessed, with Fulco de la ffreyne and Raymond Lercedekne (Archdeacon) a grant from Roger de Pembrok, knight, to Nicholas de Clyen and Margaret his wife, Roger's daughter, and their heirs, common pasture in all his lands of Capagh, Balybrenanand Balysynun and elsewhere in Stilylkyr (Shillelogher?). [Vol I. p.269].

In October, 1338, John de Blauncheuyle, knight, as well as Nicholas son of John de Blauncheuyle, witnessed, among others, a grant from John son of Simon of Rathcasse to John son of Fulc de Fraxineto (Freyne), of a messuage and half a carucate of land, meadow and moor in Rathcasse. Given at the vill of Rathcasse. [Vol I. p.304].

On May 28, 1340, John de Blauncheuyle, knight, was among the witnesses of a grant by John, son of Robert de Pembrok, to John, son of Fulc de la ffreyne of land in Lowyseston (Lavistown) in the tenement of Ioelston. [Vol I. p.316].

In November, 1348, John de Blaunchevill, knight, witnessed, among others, a grant to Patrick son of Fulc de la Fregne, knight, of land in Rathcradok in the tenement of Kildreynagh. [Vol I. p.341].

John son of Thomas Blaunchevill was among the witnesses, on October 20, 1375, of a notarial, to the effect that in the church of the B.V.M. at Kilkenny, in the presence of the notary and witnesses subscribed, ... [torn] daughter of David Dobyn, wife of Thomas Halseley, appearing in person of her own free will etc., took corporal oath on the Holy Gospels that she never challenged, nor did anyone in her name, any right in a moiety of forty acres of arable land, three of meadow, two of moor, four of gardens, one of orchard, as also a messuage in the tenement of Killerne (Kilkieran) in county Kilkenny, but did give all her right and claim in the same to Thomas Payne, chaplain, and others... [Vol II. p.145].

John son of John de Blanchevyll quit-claims to the Abbot and convent of Jerpoint and theie successors all his right and claim in a half acre of land in the great field near the park which is called 'le Nywemede' near the road which leads towards Blanchevyllistoun together with the advowson of the church of the same. Dated March 6, 1388. [Vol II. p.206].

In an extent of the baronies of co. Kilkenny, dated perhaps in the early 15th century, under the barony of Baligaveran (Gowran), is listed David Blanchvile in Racaysh, as well as separate listings for Blanchevileston, and for the Lands of Blanchevile in Fenell. [Vol II. p.353].


Information compiled and contributed by Dennis Walsh.


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