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County Kilkenny Ireland History


The Gaul Family
Early Documented History


The Family of Gall Burke, of Gallstown, in the County of Kilkenny
By John O'Donovan, Esq., LL,D., M.R.I.A., Corresponding Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Berlin.

Bruodin, in his account of the families of the county of Kilkenny, given in his "Propugnaculum," published at Prague, 1668, states, p.1001, that this illustrious family deduces its descent from Walter de Burgo, commonly called the Red Earl. Somewhat of similar assertion is found in an epitaph on a broken tomb in the old chapel of Gallskill, to Walter de Burgo, who died in the year 1642, in the sixty-seventh year of his age, It is stated that he was ---

"Descended of the Right Honorable . . . . . . . . . called the Read Earl . . . . . . . . . . and Sir William of the Castle and Manor of Ballindowlin and of other Mannors, Townes and Landes of Connaght, all which are called the Fry . . . . . . . . . . Kildromenericke which lies above . . . . . . . . . to . . . . . . . and from the Town of Galway in the said province of Connaght -- and was also Lord of Castles, Mannors, Townes, Landes, and Tenements in the county of Kilkenny and Waterford."
"This Sir William was Vice-Chamberlain to King Edward the Third, John Fitz Walter to Edward the First, in the County of Kilkenny in Gawlestown."

It will have been observed that the Christian or baptismal name of the Red Earl is not given in this broken epitaph, which is clearly only a family tradition. The name Walterus de Burgo, given as the name of the "Comes Ruffus" (the Red Earl) by Bruodin, is unquestionably incorrect, for no Earl of this family bore the soubriquet of Rufus (Red) except one, namely Richard de Burgo, second Earl of his family; this nobleman, who was educated at the court of King Henry III., and was esteemed, from his great possessions, the most powerful subject in Ireland, died in 1326; but, according to the Peerages, he himself became extinct in the male line in his grandson, William de Burgo, third Earl of Ulster of this family, who was murdered in the year 1333, near the Ford of Belfast, on his way to Carrickfergus. The wife of this William, the Lady Maud Plantagenet, daughter of Henry Earl of Lancaster, grandson of Henry III., and his only daughter and heir, returned immediately to England. The great heiress of this last Earl, the Lady Elizabeth de Burgo, espoused Lionel Duke of Clarence (third son of Edward III.), who became fourth Earl of Ulster and Lord of Connaught, and this took away the Earldom of Ulster from the family of de Burgo for ever.

Other facts mentioned in the epitaph at Gallskill, viz., -- that Sir William de Burgo, of Ballindowlin, who was Vice-Chamberlain to Edward III., and John Fitz Walter, who was Vice-Chamberlain to Edward I., lived at Gallstown, in the county of Kilkenny, and had possessions in the counties of Kilkenny and Waterford, -- llok very like traditional family vauntings; but nothing has yet been discovered to disprove them, or show the exact period at which the Gall de Burgo family settled at Gallstown.

The notice of the possessions of the Red Earl in Ireland are given in several old English and Irish writers, too numerous to be here quoted. The celebrated Duald Mac Firbis has transcribed some of them into his genealogical book (Lord Roden's copy, p.798), where he gives the original of the following in the Irish language: -

"The country of the Clan William Burcke [extended] from the Forbach near the sea in Iar-Connacht to Baile-Mec-Sgalnnlain, near Dundalk, in the east of Erin, and from Luchuid in Thomond to Ballyshanny [now Ballyshannon] near the Erne, (and this country is one hundred miles in extent) and from the city of Limerick to Waterford, and from the sea at Waterford at the south side of Erin to the sea of Tonn Tuaidhe, which is called Eas Ruaidh mic Badbairn. And the Red Earl had four counties, called in English shires, as his inheritance, besides the counties of Kilkenny and Tipperary."

"This account." he adds. "does not exactly agree with the following in the English language. Either of them must be incorrect:"

"The Red Earle was Lord in memaune and sarvice, for the more parte from Bealgh-Lughyd in Tuamond to Bailieshany, which is an hundred miles, and from the Norbagh by the sea-side to Bailie-mac-Skanlane, by Dundalke; and also, from Limbricke to Waterford, besides all his Lands in four shires, and in the counties of Killkenny and Tipperary."

Here Mac Firbus adds in Irish: "Have thye choice of these accounts, O reader!"

That the De Burgos, who were at one period the most powerful of all the English families in Ireland, had possessions in the county of Tipperary as early as 1199, appears from the fact that Ardmayle on the Suir was conveyed to Richard de Burgo to Theobald Walter, the first of the Butlers who came to Ireland. The original document is preserved in Lord Ormonde's Muniment Room, and is a grant by Richard de Burgo to Theobald Walter, in free marriage with his daughter Margery, of the manor of Ardmayle, to hold to him and his heirs begotten of the said Margery.

"His testibus: Dominus G. Limorensis Episcop.; Maur. Fitzgerald; Ric. de Cogan; Odo de Barry; Petrus de Bermingham: Hugo Purcell; Milo de Cogan; Ric . . . . . Ino. de Cogan: Rich [. . . . .] Hamond Irit.; Johan, de Hakesfordm cleric; Andr, de Mandeville, . . Philip [. . . . . .] Geoffrey de Authon; Hugo de Sandford, cleric; et multis aliis."

The date is evidently about 1199.

Tighe, in his "Statistical Account of the County of Kilkenny," p. 637, states that it would appear from a monument in the church of Gaulskill that Gaulstown in that parish belonged to a branch of the De Burgos, and he writes in a note : --

This inscription concludes thus -- Hic tumulantur corpora Walteri de Burgo Armigeri de Gawlestown statis sue . . . uxorisuqe ejus Alfsee Den."

"The monument," he adds, "recites his descent from Sir William de Burgo, Vice Chamberlain to King Edward III., whose estates are mentioned, and his relationship to the Red Earl, but it is mutilated."

Mr. Tighe should have known that this fact appears not only from the broken monument, but also from the Inquisitions, from the Down Survet, and other public records.

That Bruodin is right in his statement that this family is descended from the Red Earl, though he gives him the name of Walter instead of Richard by mere inadvertence, is sufficiently evident from the Irish genealogists. Duald Mac Firbis, who drew his account of the family of De Burgo from various ancient and modern Irish MSS., has the following notice, p. 804: --

"There are other septs of the Burkes descended from the Red Earl aforesaid, who are said to have sprung from him not in course of marriage, viz., the Clan William of the C0 of Limerick and of Cois-Siuire, and the Mac Davids of Clann-Connmhaigh, whose pedigree you will find further on."

The following genealogical table will show where the different branches of the family branch off. It is compiled from the genealogical work of Duald Mc Firbis, p. 804-809, and from O'Clery's, p.268, and from the "Historia familae de Burgo:" --

1. William Fitz Adelm de Burgo, d. 1204
        |
2. Rickard Mor, who struck off the arm of King Roderic O'Conor at Dublin; d. 1243
        |
3. Walter, first Earl of Ulster of this family, d. 1304.
        |
4. Richard, the Red Earl, d. 1326. 
        |
       ______________________________________________________________
        |                                                  |
5. Walter de Burgo, son and heir, d. 1304.              5.  Edmond.
        |                                                  |
6. William de Burgo, last Earl of Ulster                6.  Richard.
     (murdered 1333, male line extinct)                    |      
                                           _______________________________________________________
                                           |                        |                            |
                                      7. Walter.          7. William, ancestor          7. Ulich carrach 
                                                             of Gall de Burgo
                                                             of Gallstown?
The first chief of this family of Gall De Burgo, of Gallstown, or Gaulstown, whose name I find on record, is Walterus Gall, who was one of the knights of Parliament elected to represent the county of Kilkenny in the year 1560. (See "Statute of Kilkenny," edited by Hardiman for the Irish Archaeological Society, p.136) From him the pedigree of the family is pretty clear down to Cromwell's time, when they forfeited all their lands. See the Transactions of the Kilkenny Archaeologial Society for 1850, "Tribes and Territories of Ancient Ossory," p. 10.

1. Walter Gall de Burgo, M.P., A.D. 1560
            |
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    |                           |                      |                         |                           |                           |                 
2. Walter Gall            William Gall               James                    Patrick                      David                       Thomas
   de Burgo of            de Burgo                  slain at Torgau     in the service of Spain      slain at Leipsig, 1631            living, 1636, 
   Gallstown, d. 1642     Count Gall Von Bourckh                                                                                       in the Austrian Service.
   m. Elisse Denn         of the German Empire                                                                                           |
    |                     d. 1655                                                                                                        |
    ____________________________________________________________                                                                         |
    |                               |                          |                                                                         |
3. Richard Gall           3. William Gall de Burgo          3. Robert Gall, of                                                3. William Walter Gall de Burgo, 
   of Rathnesmolagh,         slain at Ballinvegga              Killepsy, near                                                    Count Gall Von Bourckh of 
   son and heir,             March 18 1642/3                   Waterford, living 1641                                            Gerstorf & Holstein, extinct 
   living 1634                      |
                          4. Catherine Gall, married Edmond O'Donovan
                                    | 
                          descent to 9. John O'Donovan, author
Information contributed by George Bates. Source: "The Family of Gaul Burke of Gallstown in the County of Kilkenny", Journal of the Kilkenny Archealogical Society III (new series), 1860, pp. 97-120. Excerpts from pages 97-101 are included here.

The Gauls of Gaulstown

The Gauls, or Burkes, of Gaulstown in the parish of Kilmacow, were descended from William de Burgo, son of Richard, son of Edmond, son of Richard, the Red Earl of Ulster (died 1326); and settled down in Gaulstown, otherwise Carcoman, Carenchoman, &c., most probably in the 15th century. An inscription on a broken 17th century slab at Gaulstown, recorded by John O'Donovan, seems to bear this out. Their name in Irish signifies a stranger, and was, presumably, given thie ancestor, at the time of his settlement in South Kilkenny, by the old inhabitants of the district. Once in a 16th century records, and once more in a document of the 17th century, some Irish members of the family are called "Gall, otherwise Burke ;" but in all other documents of the last four centuries the latter name is dropped altogether, and Gall or Gaul alone retained.

"Walter Gall alias Bourke of Carrenchoman, gent.," was pardoned, March 27th, 1549. During the next 30 years he gets frequent mention in Government records under the name Gall alone, and is described indiscriminately as of Gaulstown and as of Carrincoman. He was M.P. of Co. Kilkenny in 1559, and Sheriff of same in 1572-3-4. About 1565 his "landes houlden of the mannour of Grannagh," were valued at 30 pounds. He appears for the last time, Nov. 6th, 1578. Piers Gall of Galleston, gent., probably his son and successor, was pardoned, in 1585, and was Constable of the Barony of Ida, Igrine and Ibercon, in 1608.

Walter Gall fitz Piers of Gaulstown, gent., was pardoned Sept. 22nd, 1600. He died in 1642, and was buried, together with his wife Ellise Den, beneath their monument in Gaulskill church. Of his issue nothing is known for certain, except that he had a "sonne and heire apparent," Richard Gall of Rathnesmolagh, who was living in the year 1632, and who seems to have died issueless in his father's lifetime. He probably also had a daughter Catherine Gall, wife of Edmond O'Donovan of Bawnlahan, from whom descended the great Irish scholar, John O'Donovan, LL.D. But, besides Richard and Catherine, there is good reason to suppose that he was father, also, of the five following soldier brothers : William Gall, of whom presently ; David, who entered the service of the Emperor of Austria, and was killed at Leipsic in 1631 ; James in the same service, killed at Torgau ; Patrick in the service of the King of Spain ; and Thomas, also in the service of the Emperor of Austria.

William Gall, above, entered the service of Ferdinand II, Emperor of Austria, and had a very distinguished military career. In reward of his service he was created Count of the Holy Roman Empire, by Ferdinand III. in 1637. He purchased the castle and Barony of Holstein and Lemberg, where his closing years were spent and where he died August 9th, 1655. On his monument in the Convent chapel at Grissau he is called "Dominus de Ballmontin et Gallstown," i.e. lord, or proprietor, of Ballymountain and Gaulstown ; which shows, that previsou to his death he had succeeded, as next heir, to the family estates in Ireland. These estates consisted of the townlands of Gaulstowne, Gaulskille and Lickettstowne (now Aughnalicca), Rathsmulloge (now Rathnasmoolagh), Bellaghoomoge (now Ballyhomuck), Farnoge and Ballymontin [source: Down Survey] ; and were forfeited in the name of William Gaule in 1653. The records of the time show that William Gaule took no part whatever, at least in Ireland, in the stormy events of the Irish Confederate Period (1642-1650). The explanation clearly is, that he was in the Austrian service all the time, and that he left to others the management of the Gaulstown property, to which he had succeeded as eldest surviving son and heir of Walter, his father. In 1642 he was appointed Agent to the Emperor by the Irish Confederate Assembly. Having no issue he beqeuathed his Austrian property to the son of his brother, Thomas, viz., William Walter, Count Gall von Bourck, who also died without issue in 1680.

The Gaul family is still represented, but not numerously, in South Kilkenny. Gaulstown castle was taken down about the year 1800 ; its site, close to Aughnalicca bridge, is marked on the Ordnance Map.

Source: Rev. William Carrigan's History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory, Vol. 4, pp. 141-42.


Edmund Curtis' Calendar of Ormond Deeds makes reference to the name Gall.

May 30, 1401 - David Galde ("Gall") de Burgo was among the witnesses of a marriage treaty between James, third Earl of Ormond, and Theobald fitz Walter de Burgo, given at Kilkenny.
August 6, 1462 - Peter son of William Gall is bailiff for John Dene of Thomastown placing Theobald Butler in seisin of the lordship of Kilcron.
June 21, 1487 - William de Burgo was among the jurors in a grant of the town of Carrick-on-Suir.
August 18, 1555 - Walter Gall appears as a witness to land grants in Kilmacow, co. Kilekenny.
September 20, 1555 - Walter Gall appears as a witness to land grants in the Little Island within the haven of the city of Waterford.
February 28, 1556 - Walter Gall appears as a witness to land grants in the territory of Achamicthomas and the castle of Balyartyla.
August 31, 1557 - Walter Gall appears as a witness to a grant of the manors of Portegharree and Ballymackegan.

February 2, 1557/8 - Walter Gall of Garrycoman, county Kilkenny is noted in a Bond by Edmund Butler, Baron of Cahir, and others.
February 23, 1560 - Walter Gall was witness to a grant of a messuage and garden at Carrick-on-Suir.
March 1, 1561 - James Gall of Ardcolme appears in the copy of fines and amercements at Clonmel, co. Tipperary.
November 3, 1569 - Walter Gall is mentioned among those listed on the services of Thomas, Earl of Ormond.

June 28, 1571 - Walter Gall was among the witnesses where Barnabas Fitz Patrick, Baron of Upper Ossory, grants his estates to Thomas, Earl of Ormond.
September 30, 1571 - Walter Gall was a witness of a grant of the manor of Durro, Gorteclare and Leoaghe to Thomas, Earl of Ormond.
July 4, 1574 - Walter Gall was a witness of an indenture by Sir Thomas Butler granting all prize wines in Waterford to between James Walshe.
October 9, 1574 - Nicholas Gall was a witness to a grant of a messuage at Carrick-on-Suir.
June 8, 1575 - Roland Gall witnessed a Bond made at Waterford city.
September 30, 1577 - Margaret Gall of Kilgregan, co. Kilkenny is granted the castle there and maintenance of John fitz William Walsh of Kilgregan, minor.
December 21, 1592 - Miles Gall witnessed a grant of land about Roscrey in the country then called O'Carroll's country.


Information compiled and contributed by Dennis Walsh.


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