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 Landowner Map. By the end of the seventeenth century this class had largely been replaced by New English Protestant landlords, many of whom were Cromwellian officers, soldiers and supporters whose pay had been satisfied by land grants.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 of London.

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).

Further Articles:
Ancient Ossory (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
Administrative Divisions

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