Home -- Surname Histories
County Kilkenny Ireland History


The Howlin Family
Early Documented History


The Howlings, or Holdens, of Kilree &c.

Rev. Carrigan's History of the Diocese of Ossory" published in 1905 describes the The Howlings, or Holdens, of Kilree on pages 47-49 of Volume IV.

The Welsh or Anglo-Norman family of Howling or Holden (called in Irish, Ooleeng), were the old owners or "lords" of Kilree Thomas Howling was lord of 'Kilri' (Kilree) in 1534, as appears from his monument, dated May 11, 1534, in the old church of Kilree. David Howling of Kilrie, gent., was pardoned in 1567, 1571, and 1587. James Howling of Kilry was one of the Constables of the Barony of Kells, in 1608. Nicholas Howling forfeited Kilree, under Cromwell, in 1653. The old residence of the Howlings stood at Mr. Fleming's place in Kilree.

Danganbeg belonged to another branch of this family. Edmund Howling fitz James, of Dangen-begg, was pardoned in 1552, and William Howling, of the same place, in 1571-2. David Howling, of Danganbeg, was Constable of the Barony of Kells, in 1608.

On the 20th Sept. 1639, Edmund Howling, gent., had agrant, in vitue of the Commission from the Remedy of Defective Titles, of half the castles, towns, and land of Howelstown alias Ballyheyle, Coumain, Killenemagine and Corgraig. He forfeited, in 1653, and was transplanted to Connaught the following year.

There are many Howlings still along the Walsh Mountain, and elsewhere in south Kilkenny, but they always call themslves Holden. The tradition among them is that their real name is Walsh, and that they belong to the old Castlehale stock.


Footnote: Brooks in his "Knights' Fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny" makes the following connection of the name Howel to the Walshes of the Mountain.
The family who held 1/2 knight's fee at Carrickbyrne, near Old Ross in Co. Wexford (near the Kilkenny border), shows its Welsh origin in the name Howel. It was known for centuries in the first centuries after the Conquest by a patronymic: Howel son of Stephen, Oliver son of Howel %c. There was evidence that it was later represented by the well-known house of Walsh of the Mountain, for the ancestors of that house were the same Howels of the feodaries (12th, 13th and 14tth centureis), and in Stuart days the Walshes of the Mountain held the fee at Carrickbyrne. Stephen Howel and John son of Stephen Howel occur both in co. Wexford and in co. Kilkenny in the same connexion in 1285 and 1286 [source: C.D.I., iii. pp. 52, 95]. This is of interest as it helps to identify Stephen Howel as the ancestor of the Walshes of the Mountain, whose principal seat was Castlehale (named for the same Howel ancestor as Courthoyle, i.e.at Carrickbyrne).


Early References to Houlyn, Howlin, Howel, etc.
Extracts from the Calendar of Ormond Deeds, Vol. I-VI, Edmund Curtis, 1932-43.

Between 1284-1294 - A Robert Huelyn was among the witnesses of a grant of firty-seven acres in Villa Trenedyn (Ballyreddin, parish of Treadingstown) in the tenement of Kyllarran (Killarney, barony of Gowran), ... two of which lie in the park of Holdewalles. [Vol I. 276]

July 4, 1291 - Oliver Howel was a primary witness of a de Baa (de Bathe) transfer, given at Aghavillar, of a messuage and half a carucate in the tenement of Carmerdyneston. [Vol I. 299]

Circa 1292 - Sir Stephen Howel, knight, was among the witnesses of the transfer of the castle and manor of Knocktopher from Milo le Bret to Sir Walter de la Haye. [Vol I. 302.305]

April 8, 1333 - A William Hulyn was among the witnesses of a grant from Alice Lyckeys to Walter fitz Gilbert of Degnygmor and his heirs one messuage and a garden in Henry Whythiston (Henriwhiteston) in the tenemenent of Degnyngmor between the land of said Walter and the highway. Given at Degnyngmor (Dengenmore). [Vol I. 654]

February 8, 1339 (N.S) - William Downyll grants to James Troy a half acre of arable land, lying in the field called 'le Gortinisly' (le Gortnusk) in the burgagery in Aynstoun (Villa Opayn) in the tenement of Knocktopher, namely between the land of Richard Holying in length on one side and the land of William Whytt on the other and in width between the said Richard Holying's land and a half acre formerly belonging to John Bared on the other. Given at Knocktopher. Among the witnesses was John Walche. [Vol I. 705]

November 1340 - William son of Nicholas Detam quit-claims for-ever to Nicholas son of William Howlyn his heirs and assigns all his right in one messuage with a garden and appurtenances lying in the tenement of Stamacarthy (Stonecarthy, co. Kilkenny). Witnesses: Adam fitz Robert, Stephen fitz David, David fitz Stephen and John son of David fitzz Ralph. Given at Stamacarthy. [Vol I. 743]

July 1344, A Richard Howel was among the witnesses of a grant of lands, &c. which Eustace le Poer, son of Arnold le Poer, has in Dombryn and Grennagh. Given at Grennagh (extreme southern co. Kilkenny). [Vol I. 770]

May 4, 1346 - An Oliver Howel is again a witness of a de Bath grant (to David Morduk) of one messuage and a half carucate in the tenement of Carmerdyneston. Given at Aghavilllar. [Vol I. 788]

December 2, 1356 - At an Inquisition taken at Kilkenny before Thomas de Rokeby, Justiciar of Ireland, among the jurors included Richard Houlyn of Knocktopher, as well as Matthew Walshe and others. The case dealt with one messuage and thirteen acres in Knocktopher. [Vol I. 862]

November 2, 1379 - John son of Nicholas Howlyn quit-claims to Walter son of Robert Proute all his right in six acres lying in the field and in the gardens which formerly were John Whyt's, in the tenement of Knocktopher. [Vol II. 241]

July 20, 1402 - This indenture made between John Houlyn of Dengynbeg (? near Danganmore) and Patrick son of Walter Coterell witnesses that John has demised and to farm let to Patrick all that land called 'le Mortimerslond' near 'le Olton' for the term of forty years.. paying each year to the above-said John for eight years 6s. 8d., and after that each year 20s. during the rest of the lease. [Vol II. 367]

September 21, 1410 - John Howlyn quit-claims to Patrick Coterell all his right in a carucate and a half which is called Mortimerslond, to him and his heirs for ever. Witnesses: Andrew Godyn, William Kep, Walter Waddyn, John Stakbol. [Vol II. 408]

Circa 1411 (?) - Listed among the Rental of free tenants of the Barony of Knocktopher includes "From William Houlyn for Coulenayn per annum at Easter," and "From William Houlyn for Hagbalywrenyn at Easter," and "From William Houlyn for his lands near the mill at Easter," and "From Thomas Houlyn for the lands which belonged to Geoffrey fitz Ralph near the Burg per annum," and "From Thomas Houlyn for the lands of 'Hiche the Miller' per annum", as well as "From Thomas Houlyn for the lands of Matthew Rys per annum." [Vol II. p.303]

November 1411 - At an inquisition concerning the Rental of James Le Botiller, Earl of Ormond, included are jurors William Holyn and John Howell. [Vol II. 414, p.298]

April, 1412 - From the list of the Rental of the Earl of Ormond of the barony of Knocktopher includes "From William Holyn for Culmayne at Easter," and "From Thomas Holyn for his lands which were Geoffrey fitz Richards'," and "From Thomas Holyn for the lands of Hicethe at lease," and "From Thomas Holyn for Matthew Rys' lands," and "From Janyn Holun and William Holyn for Baligeragh," as well as "John Holyn for his lands at Easter." [Vol II. p.307]

Circa 1413 - From a list of royal service due to the Lord of Balligaveran (Gowran) is listed "From Barnchurch by hand of Janyng Howlyng." This was apparently close to Aghavillar as it appears close to this reference. Also listed is "From Barnechurch by the hand of Thomas Grass." [Vol II. 577, p.319]

January 5, 1418 - Depositions taken before James Howling de Monte, clerk of Ossory diocese, concerning land at Nywhous sold to Richard Archedekyn, captain of his nation, among the witnesses were Thomas Howling and Nicholas Howling. [Vol III. 25]

Early 15th century (?) - In the extent of the baronies of Kilkenny, included with lands in Knocktopher, is listed "Richard Houline in Batherath." Listed after this entry (in the list) is Henriwhiteston. [Vol II. p.357]

May 8, 1432 - John son of Nicholas Houlyn gives and grants to Nicholas fitz Pers (i.e. son of Peter) Houlyn his brother, two messuages and a half carucate of land lying withn the town and in the lordship of Kells in Ossory, which formerly belonged to Peter, grantor's brother. [Vol III. 96]

1433-1434 - From the annual rent due to James, Earl of Ormond, from John son of Nicholas Howlyng on the 3rd day of September in the 12th year of Henry VI. These lands lie in Balybregane, Letothy, Kilnew, Mowreny, Ragulby, Carrigmokelagh, etc. Total 3l. 13s. 4d. [Vol III. 110, p.104]

October 24, 1474 - An assize of recognition whether Thomas Howlyn, gentleman, unlawfully and without judgment disseised David Howlyn, gentleman, of his free tenement of Ballygeragh post primam, etc.; of which he complains that he disseised him of a messuage and three carucates of land in Ballygeragh. On which day both said David and Thomas, solemnly called, came, etc. And defendant asks for a day to reply with counsel up to Monday next after the Octave of St. Michael, and the day is given to the plaintiff and a jury of assize ordered. But on said day the plaintiff solemnly summoned, did not come. So his default is recorded and he is in mercy because not present. [Vol III. 239, p.215]


Information compiled and contributed by Dennis Walsh.


Web site coordinator      


Page last modified Sunday, 17-Nov-2002 21:07:37 MST
You are the 6258 visitor.
A Special Thanks to Rootsweb for this web space.