History Series #4
County Kilkenny: New English Families
The Cromwellian Protestant Settlement (1650-1690)
The arrival of Oliver Cromwell's army in Kilkenny by 1650, dealt a
devastating blow to the Old English (Anglo-Norman Catholic) landed gentry.
Following defeat, many families remained on as the tenantry of the county,
while others transplanted themselves into Connacht. Of the families which
are said to have moved in the 1650's included those of Redmund and Peter
Archdeacon, Nicholas Aylward, Richard Blanchfield, Richard Bourke, John
Briscoe, Peter Bulger, Edward Butler (Lord Viscount Galmoy), James and
Richard and Pierce Butler, John Comerford, James Cowley, Walter and
Edmund Dalton, Patrick and Thomas and William Denn, Nicholas and William
Dobbin, Giles Fannyng, Nicholas and John Fitzgerald, Edmond and Pierce and
Robert Forstall, Thomas Freeny, Edmond Grace, Margaret and Edmond Grant,
Capt. Anthony Harison, Thomas and William Kelly, Richard Merry, Thomas and
Redmund Purcell, John Rochford, Sir Robert and Edward Roth, William Rourke,
George and William St. Leger, Richard and Robert and William and John Shee,
Thomas and Leonard and Nicholas Shortall, Peter Strange, David Tobin,
Anstace Woodlock, William and Margaret Walsh (wife of Col. Pierce Walsh).
Just prior to 1641, the majority of landed proprietors in County Kilkenny
were Catholics of Anglo-Norman descent. See 1640
. By the end of the seventeenth century
this class had largely been replaced by New English Protestant landlords,
many of whom were Cromwellian officers, soldiers and supporters whose pay had been
satisfied by land grants. Still a large part of Kilkenny was controlled by
the Duke of Ormond and other Butler lands. Among the more prominent New English landed
gentry were Colonel John Ponsonby, Colonel William Warden, Captain James
Stopford, Lord Arthur Ranelagh, Sir Algernon May, John Peck, Thomas Hewetson,
Captain Joseph Cuffe, the Countess of Mountrath, Colonel Daniel Redmond,
Thomas Lestrange, Sir Charles Meredith, Lt. Arthur St. George, Sir Christopher
Wandesforde, Lord Vaux, Captain William Halsey, and the Duke of York.
Other Cromwellian landholders included Captain Charles Gore, Lt. Christopher
Mathews, Sir George Askew, Sir Henry Pierce, Captain Thomas Tomlins,
Theophilus Eaton, Colonel Oliver Wheeler, Sir Charles Wheeler, Sir John
Temple, Captain John Jones, Charles Hewetson, Sir Francis Gore, Captain
Isaac Jackson, Oliver Tallent, Captain Anthony Stampe, Allen Tench, John
Jessop, Colonel Francis Willoughby, Captain Thomas Evans, Captain Henry
Webb, Major Joseph Deane, Captain Bryan Mansergh, John Hurd, Maudlin Fisher,
Major Thomas Adams, Captain George Bishop, Robert Mihill, Nathaniel
Cooper, Christopher Render, Sir George Hamilton, Christopher Lovett, John
Ashburnham, Sir William Petty, Captain William Shore, among others.
The Williamite Ascendancy (1691-1703)
By the late 1600's, the Williamite victory in Ireland was followed by the
confiscation of most 'Jacobite' estates. Forfeited estates of Kilkenny
Jacobites in 1702 included those of Henry Archer, Edmund Blanchfield,
Walter Bryan, James Bolger, Edward Fitzgerald, Viscount Piers Galmoy,
John Grace, Richard Grace, Robert Grace Jr., John Larkan, Walter Lawless,
Charles Ryan, and Robert Walsh.
The list of the Williamite base of the landed
ascendancy in Kilkenny included James Agar (Gowran), Rev Arthur Anderson,
James Anderson (Dublin), Arthur Bush (Dublin), Col. George Carpenter (Oxford),
Dr. Marmaduke Coghill, Sir Richard Cox, Thomas Crawford (Kilkenny), Griffith
Drisdall (Kilkenny), Lewis Dubay (Dublin), John Eaton (Mt. Eaton), Capt.
Ralph Gore (Kilkenny), John Hartstronge (Bishop of Ossory), Joseph Kelly
(Kellymount), John Kent (Waterford), John Langrishe (Knocktopher), William
Mainwaring (Dublin), Jeremiah Marsh (Dean of Killmore), Col. William
Ponsonby (Bessborough), Abraham Roth (Lower Grange), Richard St. George
(Dublin), Philip Savage (Court of Exchequer), Stephen Sweet (Kilkenny),
Rev. Thomas Way, William Wilkinson (Tinture, King's County), Edward Worth (Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin),
as well as close to 18,000 acres acquired by the Hollow Sword Blade Company
This new landed gentry bore little resemblance to the Ireland envisioned by
the Cromwellian land commissioners. The old Catholic order had been destroyed
but it had been replaced, not with Protestant yeomanry, but by a handful of
powerful Protestant landowners, many of whom were non-residents. Kilkenny's
tenantry remained Catholic, largely Old Irish, as it had been before 1641,
but it was augmented by many former Old English proprietors. The Cromwellian
commissioners had not intended to lay the basis of a narrow gentry class,
but the failure of the majority of Kilkenny's grantees to take possesion or
take up residence upon their lands, allowed a small number of enterprising
men to gain possession of vast amounts of land.
* Excerpts from Kilkenny History and Society
Next Article: Old English Families
Contents and maps compiled by Dennis Walsh (copyright 2002).
(the first in this series)
Medieval County Kilkenny
(the second in this series)
The Old English Families
(the third in this series)
Timeline of County Kilkenny History
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