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County Kilkenny Ireland History


The Freyne Family
Early Documented History


Early Reference to de Fraxineto (de la Freyne)

Geoffrey de Fraxino [de la Freyne] held a 1/4 knight's fee at Kilmenan [barony of Fassadinin] in 1247, formerly held by Walter Purcell. Geoffrey had possibly married Mabel Purcel and inherited the fee through her. Geoffrey de Fraxineto [de Freyne, Freigne, Freney, &c.] held also in 1247 1/2 knight's fee for the land of Cumesethy, apparently his own inheritance, which may perhaps be identified with Foulksrath in Coolcraheen, barony of Fassadinin, which belonged to the de la Freynes.

In 1306 Odo de Fraxineto [Freyne] held 1 1/2 knight's fees in Dromercher [Kilmadum] of the Butler barony of Gowran (source: Red Book of Ormond, p.35). And in the 1324 feodary Odo de la Freyne held Kilmenan. He is probably identical with Odo son of Geoffrey de Fraxineto who occurs in co. Cork in 1307, holding there the manor of Moyle (source: Cal. Just. Rolls, ii. 362, 392), and was probably the father of Fulk, whom Carrigan calls son of Fulk de la Freyne and who had succeeded Odo (his uncle?) by 1339, when Fulk de la Freyne had a lawsuit with the Prior of St. John's Kilkenny for the advowson of the church of Drumhrythyr (source: Carrigan, iii. 251, 466, quoting Archdall, Monast. Hibern., p.368). This Fulk was sheriff of Kilkenny in 1327 (source: Ormond Deeds, i. 590), seneschal in 1331 (source: Ibid., i. 635), and occurs up to 1340 (source: Ibid., i. 741), and indeed was alive in 1345, when he is called Fulk senior (source: Ibid., i. 774).

It is difficult to be sure of the various Fulks. But if Carrigan is correct in calling the owner of Drumhyrthyr in 1339 Fulk son of Fulk, his father must have been Fulk and perhaps the Fulk de la Freyne who was seneschal of Kilkenny 1302-03 (source: Cal. Pat. and Close Rolls, Ireland, 4b.) and in 1305-06 (source: Pipe Roll, 33 Ed. I.), and occurs in 1309 (source: Cal. Pat. and Close Rolls, Ireland, 13b.), 1317 (source: Ibid., 22b.). The second Fulk may be identified with Fulk, son of Fulk of 1320 (source: Ibid., 28b.), 1324 as a witness of a deed concerning Dunmore (source: Ormond Deeds, i. 574), and 1331 as grantee of lands in Fathely (source: Ibid., i. 630), and the Fulk of 1334, 1343, 1345, and 1346 (source: Cal. Pat. and Close Rolls, Ireland, 40, 47b., 48, 53b.). He is Fulk senior in 1345 (above) but there is no need to suppose that he had a son Fulk III. Fulk junior may be identical with Fulk son of Patrick (below).

Roger de la Freyne, who was found to be patron of the church of Coolcraheen at his death and left a son and heir who was under age in 1356 (source: Carrigan, ii. 197, quoting Cal, Pat. and Close Rolls, Ireland, 58), must have succeeded him. He is presumably the Roger who was sheriff of Kilkenny in 1346, and died a young man in 1347 (source: Clyn's Annals, 33, 34). He was perhaps the eldest son of Fulk, who is known to have had sons; Oliver son of Fulk in 1320 (source: Cal. Pat. and Close Rolls, Ireland 27) who was a father of Robert, who seems to have been the Robert who founded the line of Dunmore and Listerlin; and John son of Fulk, who was granted lands in Rathcash, parish of Tiscoffin, wherein is the townland of Freneystown (source: Ormond Deeds, i. 716, 767, 771) as well as land in Lavistown (Ibid.) and in Caston (Ibid.); and Patrick son of Fulk. Certainly Roger's son Geoffrey recognized Patrick son of Fulk as a close relation, for in 1362 Geoffrey son of Roger de la Freigne granted to Patrick son of Fulk de la Freigne the manor of Kilmanan with the advowson of the church (source: Ormond Deeds, ii. 85). The deed passed at Kilkenny. Here Kilmanan must be Kilmenan; the mention of the advowson making the identification certain, for there is no other parish in Kilkenny which could be identified with it.

By the pedigree suggested above, Patrick son of Fulk was uncle of Geoffrey son of Roger. The witnesses to the deed of Kilmanan included Robert son of Oliver de la Freigne, seneschal of Kilkenny; John son of Fulk de la Freigne, sheriff of Kilkenny; and Maurice Purcel. On the same assumptions, Robert FitzOliver was Geoffrey's first cousin; John FitzFulk was his uncle; while Maurice Purcel was probably his brother-in-law (below).

Presumably Geoffrey FitzRoger had no children, for besides endowing Patrick FitzFulk with Kilmenan, he proceeded 33 years later to grant to Thomas son of Maurice Purcell all the lands which the grantor, Geoffrey, held in Drumhirthir, with the woods of Clonmore and Kilbeg (source: Cal. Pat. and Close Rolls, Ireland, Hy. VIII - Eliz., p.114). It appears that Thomas Purcell's mother was Katherine de Fraxineto (source: Ormond Deeds, i. 798); she was probably Geoffrey's sister. Henceforth Drumhirthir descended in the line of the Purcells of Fennell and Ballyfoyle. It seems likely that Collcraheen, including Foulksrath, was also given to the Thomas FitzMaurice Purcell. It too descended to the Purcells, but the decent was different, and it is probable that the Purcells of Ballyfoyle enfeoffed a younger son of Collcraheen (source: Carrigan, ii, 97; cites the Purcells of Coolcraheen as a possible branch of those of the Ballyfoyle family).

Patrick son of Fulk de la Frene was therefore possessed of Kilmenan in 1362. In 1348 he had been granted lands in Rathcradock [Craddockstown] in Kildreynagh [Kildrinagh, parish of Rubbirdbrittain] (source: Ormond Deeds, i. 808-10). He was then married to Joan ___, and had sons Odo, Fulk and Thomas. Another son of Patrick son of Fulk was named Lionel, for in 1382 when Robert de la Freyne, son of Oliver (above), settled his manors of Dunmore and Listerlin, he named in remainder after his own son and his brother James, two sons of Patrick de la Freyne: Lionel [aka Leonard?] and Fulk (source: Ormond Deeds, ii. 258).

The heirs of Patrick son of Fulk de la Freyne in the early sixteenth century were two coheiresses, of whom on married to Richard Comerford (source: Inquisitions co. Kilkenny, no. 4 of Eliz.), and the other apparently married a Fanning (source: Ibid., no. 47 of Jas. I). From the son of Lionel, James, appears to have descended the de la Frenes of Clone (source: Ormond Deeds, iv. 212; and Journ., R.S.A.I., 1935, p.84, ff).


The 1247 feodary (The de Valence Purparty) was taken from "Chancery Miscellanea", P.R.O., London (File 88/4, no. 70), collated with a list in the Calendar Patent Rolls.

The 1324 feodary was printed in the Calendar of Inquisitions post mortem, representing the inquisition on the Irish estate of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke and taken at Wexford on July 16, 1324.

Source: extracts from the book Knights' Fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny, Irish Manuscripts Commission, with commentary by Eric St. John Brooks, Dublin Stationery Office, 1950.


The De Fraynes of Ballyreddy

Rev. Carrigan's History of the Diocese of Ossory" published in 1905 describes The De Fraynes of Ballyreddy.

The Anglo-Norman De Fraynes, or Freneys, appear prominently in the history of Co. Kilkenny from the beginning of the 13th century. Their property may mostly in the north of the country, in the Catholic parishes of Muckalee, Conahy, Clara, and St. John's. During the 14th century they acquired the manor of Listerlin, which was a dependency on the manor of Grannagh, and comprised thier estate in the civil parishes of Dysertmoon and Listerlin.

On the 12th May, 1382, Sir Robert de la ffreynge, Knt., being seized of the manors of Dunmore and Lesterlyng, with the advowson of the church of Lesterlyng, and the lands of Mercersrath, &c., enfeoffed of same, with a view to executing a deed of entailment, one Robert Logh, chpalin, who, on the 6th of the following August, re-enfeoffed of the same the said Sir Robert de la ffreynge and Katherine his wife, for their natural lives; remainder to Peter the son and heir of the aforesaid Robert, and his heirs male; remainder to James, son of the aforesaid Robert, and his heirs male; remainder to James de la ffreynge, son of Oliver, and his heirs male; remainder to John, son of Robert de la ffreynge, Knt., and his heirs male; remainder to Robert, son of Robert de la ffreynge, Knt., and his heirs male; remainder to Leonell, son of Peter de al ffreynge, and his heirs male; remainder to ffulk, son of Peter de la ffreynge and his heirs male; remainder to the right heirs of the said Robert de la ffreynge, Knt.

The Listerlin property descended in the 16th century to James de ffreny of Ballyreddy, whose lands "houlden of the Mannour of Grannagh," about 1560, were valued at the then large sum of 60 pounds. As "James Freny of Ballyredye, gent.," he is mentioned among those who received royal pardons, Dec. 28th, 1571. His grandson, Robert Freny fitz Thomas, of Ballyreddy, dying without male issue, Dec. 28th, 1611, was succeeded by the next male heir of the said James, viz., Oliver Freny fitz Edmund, who was then 50 years of age. Oliver died Feb. 10th, 1613-14, leaving Robert his son and heir, then only 12 years old. Robert lived in the ancestral castle of Ballyreddy, and on arriving at man's estate married Eleanor Fitzgerald, daughter of David Fitzgerald, Baron of Brownsford. A list of the proprietors of the Co. Kilkenny, from the Book of Tenures of the Province of Leinster, in the year 1641, specifies his property as follows: --

Certain lands in Rahtnuskie (now Rathaniska, part of Ballyreddy), Ballyan, Kilmartin (part of Guilcagh), Ballidonine, Ballindicke, and Knockdrome, held of the King in capite; the lands of Kilberaghane (Kilbraghan), held by the same tenure; Ballycurrin; Ballyready; Rathlury (i.e. Rathora), and Ballybrabason (now Barbstown); Ballyaloge (Ballalog); Disertmon, Tynekillie, the mill of Dysartmoon, Ballyneale, Ardclone, Ballybrawny (now Brownstown), and Ballyfoil; Ballyknuck, Ballyquin and Glantiroe, and the lakes of Cloghbane and Killcorry (now Kyleachuirra).

He died, as appears from his monument in Ballyneill church, on the 17th May, 1643, soon after the establishment of the Confederation of Kilkenny. In an account of the De Frayne family written by John Drienye on the 16th May, 1714, and carried on by others to about 1760, he is said to have left two sons, James, the elder, who died young and unmarried, and Thomas, in whose name all the family estates were forfeited in 1653. Said Thomas married Ellen, daughter of Edmund Forrestall of Carrignaglowneeny (now Carrickloney), gent., by Ellise, daughter of Pierce Butler, of Dangan, and had an only son, James Frayne, of Brownstown.

The said James Frayne, of Brownstown, married Ellice, daughter of Nicholas Aylward, of Aylwardstown, and sister of Pierce Aylward, of Shankill, by whom he had (1) Thomas, a Lieutenant in Queen Anne's service, in which he died; (2) Robert, of whom presently; (3) John, who was a Lieutenant on board the Antelope man-of-war, and of whom nothing further is known; (4) Edmund, who died young; (5) Pierce, a ship captain; (6) George, a merchant of Dublin, whose daughter Ellis was married to Mr. Charles Farrell of said city. merchant; (7) Nicholas, who died young; (8) Charles, a student of Physic at Monpelier, where he died; and (9) Ellinor, wife of Mr. Nicholas Den, of Garrandarragh, by whom she had Laurence, Elizabeth, Nanny, and Ellice.

Mr. James Frayne's will made at Brownstown, August 29th, 1724, and witnessed by Father Francis Galbery and others, is preserved in the Public Records Office, Dublin.

Robert Frayne of Brownstown, son of James, met with reverses, lost his farm and was reduced to s condition of extreme poverty. Bu his wife, Mary, eldest daughter of Mr. Richard Kelly, of Blanchville's Park, he had four daughters: (1) Bridget, whose daughter, Mrs. Bergin, died in Dublin, in 1847, and whose grand-daughter, Miss Anne Bergin, of Dublin, handed over the Frayne family papers to Canon Moore, P.P. Johnstown, in 1872; (2), (3), (4) Joan, Mary and Anne, who died unmarried; and two sons, Thomas who died issueless, and Richard, a ship captain, who was father of Mrs. Bridget O'Dwyer, otherwise Frayne, living in Dublin in 1851. On the death of Thaoms and Richard Frayne, the male line of the De Fraynes of Ballreddy is believed o have become extinct.

The head of the family was called, and is still traditionally remembered as, An Riddhizha Fzanyg-a, i.e Knight De Frayne. The castle of Ballyreddy was last occupied by one Francis White. It was thrown down, for the most part, about 1770; its foundations were uprooted about 1840. ... In Irish, Ballyreddy is called Bollee-zheeadha, that is O'Ready's Town.


Under a separate article under Donmore, in Volume III. p. 271-72, Rev. Carrigan cites that on Feb. 10th 1432-3, Ellen, daughter and heir of Robert ffreyng, Knight, granted for 30 years, to Nicholas Croker, burgess of Kilkenny, his heirs and assigns, all her part of the river Neor, viz. from the vill of Dunmore to the end of the inch (insule), opposite the weir of Donore, and from the land of the aforesadi Ellen to the middle of the aforsaid river, for the purpose of erecting weirs and fishing [Municipal Documents, Tholsel, Kilkenny].

The fee simple of the parishes of Dunmore and Mayne passed from the De la Frenes, on the 12th June 1452, when Patrick fitz fulco de la ffreyng granted to Edmund fitz Richard Butler, grandfather of Pierce Ruadh Butler, Earl of Ormond, the manors, messuages, rents, tenements, and all the rights which he had "in le Grage (now Gragara) in parochia de Mayne, in comitatu Kilkenny, in Kylbyston, Tullaghglass, Bronnesplan . . . . . Mayne, Castledogh, Brekelyeston, & in tota parichia de Donmoyr. "

Further reference: see the The Purcells of Ballyfoyle, for mention of an early lordship of the de la Freynes, or Freneys.


Information compiled and contributed by Dennis Walsh.


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