The Irish Bomfords

Chapter XI

Children of Stephen the Elder 1760 - 1780


11.1  Lease - Rahinstown & Baconstown

11.2  Lease – Castletownbellew  13th March 1761

11.2.1  Lease – Bellewstown, Red Mountain, Dunfierth and Mylerstown  18th July 1761

11.2.2  Lease - Lands in the Barony of Carbery   16th October 1761

11.2.3  Lease - Dunfierth, Mucklin & Mulgeeth  3rd November 1770

11.2.4  The Lands of Dunfierth Parish

11.3  Lease - Carlingford  19th March 1762

11.3.1  Lease – Carlingford  29th September 1775

11.3.2  The Stannus Family

11.4  The Bomford Family  1762

11.4.1  Changes in the Bomford Estates since 1740  1762

11.4.2  The Bomford Estates   1762

11.5  Journey by Arthur Young   June 1776

11.6  Lease – Dublin Houses  2nd February 1760

11.6 1  Lease – Dublin Houses  21st July 1760

11.6.2  Lease – Dublin Houses  24th December 1765

11.6.3  Lease – Limerick Houses  27th July 1773

11.7  Request to David Bomford  20th January 1768

11.8  David Bomford, Merchant of Dublin  1770 - 1788

11.9  David’s Illegitimate Son, Stephen  1754/55 - 1782

11.10  Will of Rev. Samuel Partridge  17th January 1774

11.10.1  Stephen the Younger’s Children  1774

11.11  Death of Rev John Bomford  6th February 1776

11.11.1  Lease - Gallow  23rd August 1777

11.12  Lease – Dublin House  15th August 1769

11.13  Mortgage Given  6th December 1779

11.14  Isaac Bomford Attorney  1770 - 1790

11.15  Georgian Dublin


11.1  Lease - Rahinstown & Baconstown

We already know much about the children of Stephen the elder who were the grandchildren of Colonel Laurence (see 5.8 for a summary at 1740). This chapter contains more about the land and consolidates Stephen’s branch of the family. A simplified family tree is shown below; a fuller statement of 1762 of the whole family and their property follows in paragraph 11.4.

11.2  Lease – Castletownbellew  13th March 1761

Provided John, Lord Bellew, die without issue, then the Right Hon Frederick, Lord Viscount Boyne, will lease to Stephen Bomford of Rahinstown for £300, on the death of Lord Bellow the lands of:

1.  Castletown, alias Castletownbellew Tateitragh, and the mill of Castletown, containing 205 plantation acres (332 statute) without the ‘bogg’, in the Barony of Dundalk at £114 a year.

2.  Tateitragh  at  £93.6.10

(Book 207 Page 593 No 138483)

These lands have not been investigated, but they are most likely to be just outside Dundalk to the northwest. If Tateitragh were not the bog mentioned above, then it would contain about 270 statute acres calculated at the same rate as Castletown

11.2.1  Lease – Bellewstown, Red Mountain, Dunfierth and Mylerstown  18th July 1761

For £400 the Right Honourable Frederick, Lord Viscount Boyne, gave fee farm to Stephen Bomford of Rahinstown, because of the death of John, Lord Bellew, the town and lands of:

Bellewstown in the Barony of Duleek containing 982 plantation acres (1591 statute) at a rent of £380

Red Mountain in the Barony of Duleek containing 60 plantation acres (97 statute) at a rent of £15

Dunfierth in the Barony of Carbery  containing 476 plantation acres (771  statute) at a rent of £184.10.0

Mylerstown in the Baron of Carbery containing 298 plantation acres (483 statute) at a rent of £145

(Book 208 Page 556 No 139786)

Bellewstown in 1654 contained 1184 plantation acres of which 300 were “Barren Mountayn”. “There being on the premises one castle, divers outhouses and Cabbines and a Tuck Mill”. In 1640 “Sir Christopher Bellew of Bellewstowne, Irish Papist,” was living there, one assumes in the castle. The land is one mile east of Duleek and south of the River Nanny.

Red Mountain takes its name from Redmountayne meaning a water-mill and the 1836 survey records “a very fine and very old water Mill” still in operation on the River Nanny. The place lies just south of the River Nanny and to the east of Bellewstown. In 1640 it was owned by Sir Christopher Bellew. It is a very small townland and this lease takes in all of it. Modern maps show another Red Mountain two miles north of Duleek in the parish of Donore: this one is in the wrong parish and has a much larger acreage. The 1836 survey records no Bomfords in either Bellewstown or Red Mountain so this lease must have been given up by then.

11.2.2  Lease - Lands in the Barony of Carbery   16th October 1761

For £150 Frederick, Lord Boyne gave fee farm to Stephen Bomford of Rahinstown, because of the death of Lord Bellew without any male heirs, the lands of Dunfierth  (subject of the last lease) Killyan, Kilshanroe, Mulgeeth, Gurley Mill, Mucklin, Ballynemallagh, Kilmurry and Clonkeran, all totalling 2028 plantation acres (3285 statute) and all in the Barony of Carbery, Co Kildare, at a rent of £789.6.0.  (Book 214 Page 100 No 140443)

Sir John Bellew was the 4th Baronet of Barmeath, Co Louth; when he died in 1750 the title finally went to his brother Patrick.

Frederick, 3rd Viscount Boyne, must have been the executor of the will of Sir John. His mother, Dorothea, was the only daughter of Richard, the first Lord Bellew. Lord Boyne died in 1772 without children and Frederick Hamilton of Dunfierth claimed the title, but the title went to Lord Boyne’s brother. Frederick Hamilton died in 1803 (probate) and his son, another Frederick of Dunfierth, appears in later documents of 1817 and 1821 (20.9).

Caroline Mullan (email 11 Nov 2020) explains that the First Lord Bellew, Richard, had a daughter Dorothea who inherited land. She married Gustavus Hamilton, second son of the first Viscount Boyne, and had issue, Frederick Hamilton, who became the 3rd Viscount Boyne following the death of his cousin, the 2nd Viscount. He, Frederick the 3rd Viscount, married Elizabeth Hadley when he was 19. He later tried to set this marriage aside, but did not succeed, and was still married to Elizabeth Hadley when he went on to marry Bridget Mooney, who was known as Lady Boyne. The 3rd Viscount, Frederick, and Bridget Mooney had children, including another Frederick. When the 3rd Viscount Boyne died, this son Frederick initially styled himself Lord Boyne, 4th Viscount, as in the deed. But when his father's marriage to Elizabeth Hadley came to light again, the marriage to Bridget Mooney was declared null and void, and the children, including the son Frederick (of the deed) were illegitimatised and he lost the title; but he did inherit Bellew property from his grandmother, Dorothea. This illegitimate Frederick Hamilton married Delphina Smyth and had issue. As the 3rd Viscount Boyne had no children from his Hadley marriage, and the children from the second marriage were declared illegitimate, the title passed to the 3rd Viscount's brother, the 4th Viscount, Richard Hamilton, and on to succeeding generations.


11.2.3  Lease - Dunfierth, Mucklin & Mulgeeth  3rd November 1770

Lord Boyne leases to Stephen Bomford of Rahinstown part of Dunfierth, Mucklin and Mulgeeth in the Barony of Carbery, Co Kildare, at a rent of £404 yearly for three lives renewable for ever.

This lease was extracted from the list of documents of 15th May 1772, which were sent to Mr Sibthorpe and which concerned the mortgages of Thomas Bomford the elder, (6.10.6). It has nothing to do with Thomas’ mortgages and it was not registered in the Registry of Deeds.

11.2.4  The Lands of Dunfierth Parish

For a rent of £934 Stephen leased from Lord Bellew 3,768 statute acres in the Parish of Dunfierth, Co Kildare. Around 5/- (25p) an acre sounds a good bargain but over half the acreage is raised bog forming part of the northern end of the huge Bog of Allen.

The Civil Survey of 1654 states that the whole Parish is the property of “John Bermingham of Dunferth, Irish Papist”, and consisted of “Arable 500, Meadow 40, Pasture 800, Shrubby Wood 60, Red Bogg 2000. Totalling 3,400 Plantation acres” (5,440 statute). In 1840 the townland of Dunfierth contained 651 statute acres valued at £580.11.6 including Dunfierth House. In 1821 the place was sold by Frederick Hamilton whose family had been living in Dunfierth House since before 1710. It was bought by Sir Francis MacDonnell (20.9) who also lived there.

However although John Bermingham, ‘the Irish Papist’, of 1654 must have left, some of the Bermingham family (8.5.3) lived on at Mylerstown, also called “Moylerstown”. This townland of 640 plantation acres (1,024 statute) included Moylerstown Castle, which “is valued to be worth fourty pounds”: a sum, which indicates that it was habitable in 1654. Well into the next century the Bermingham family were still living at Mylerstown where there were three largish houses, the Castle, Mylerstown House and Bermingham House. In 1772 Walter Bermingham made his will in one of these houses.

Walter is a possible relation of Thomas Bermingham who between 1758 and 1766 married Lucy Bomford, youngest daughter of Edward Bomford of Hightown (10.4).

The parish is served by two roads; that from Enfield to Timahoe feeds Dunfierth, Killyan, Mulgeeth, Mucklin and Clonagh; and that from Enfield to Carbury feeds Mylerstown, Kilmurry, Kilshanroe, Ballynemallagh, Clonagh and Clonkeran. Moving clockwise from Dunfierth in the northeast to Mylerstown five miles away in the west, the remaining townlands are:

1. Clonagh is recorded only in the deed of 1811 (20.9.1). It appears to be detached; one parcel south of Dunfierth and the other west of Kilshanroe with three to four miles between the two.

2. Killyan, southwest of Dunfierth, 151 statute acres, is about 1/3rd bog.

3. Mucklin, south of Killyan and Clonagh is mostly bog, particularly that portion south of Clonagh. In 1853 it contained 739 statute acres valued at £347.5.4

4. Mulgeeth lies south of Mucklin. In 1838 Mulgeeth House was occupied by Mr E Ruthven, MP. Fifteen years later the townland consisted of 835 statute acres valued at £121.6.3 with Mulgeeth House valued at £20.

5. Ballynemallagh is northwest of Mulgeeth on the Enfield - Carbury road.

6. Kilmurry is mostly bog drained by the Fear English River. It contains Hermitage House and lies between Ballynemallagh and Dunfierth on both sides of the Enfield to Carbury road.

7. Clonkeran northwest of Ballynemallagh also straddles this road.

8. Kilshanroe (Kilshanchoe) is on the west side of the Enfield to Carbury road, northeast of Clonkeeran. Now it contains a school and a chapel.

9. Mylerstown lies west of Clonkeeran with the second portion of Clonagh to the north.

10. Two other places are mentioned, Gurley Mill and Doegery. The latter has not been located but Gurley Mill must be, as the 1654 Survey states, the “Mill of Gurtin on the streame wch runneth directly to the Blackwater”. This ‘streame’ is in Dunfierth townland and must be the delightfully named Fear English River.

11.3  Lease - Carlingford  19th March 1762

Ephraim Stannus of Carlingford, Co Louth re-leases to Stephen Bomford of Rahinstown the land for which Stephen Sibthorpe of Dunany, Co Louth, paid £2,500. The land of:

Monksland, Crosslany

The Mill of Grange

Stannus Hill of Lemonee

Part of Carlingford called North Common and the Mountain

Part of Carlingford called McLaughlin’s Commons

Part of Carlingford called the Rocks

Part of Carlingford called Mountain Park

containing 60 plantation acres (97 statute) for 31 years.  (Book 216 Page 129 No 142069)

11.3.1  Lease – Carlingford  29th September 1775

Stephen Bomford of Rahinstown and Robert Sibthorpe of Newtown, Co Louth, lease to the Right Honourable James Fortescue of Ravensdale, the lands of:

Monksland, Cross...?? (Crosselsony?)

The Mill of Grange,

Stamun Hill and Lemonee,

Town of Carlingford, 50 plantation acres (81 statute).

Witnessed William Rogers of Grangegeeth, Co Meath (died 1799).  (Book 315 Page 118 No 208944)

This last deed is very difficult to decipher and the lands have not been investigated but, in spite of the minor differences in the place names and acreage, it is thought that the two deeds concern the same places. They are all in the Parish of Carlingford, which gives its name to Carlingford Lough to the north. Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary records that in 1404 Carlingford was called Irish-Grange, and in 1838 he records that two of the major houses were “Grange, residence of T. Gernon” and “Monksland House of R de Vernon”. The two hills, Stannus or Stamun, and Lemonee have not been identified.

Stephen Sibthorpe of Dunany was Elizabeth’s father. In April 1745 Elizabeth married Stephen Bomford and it is thought that perhaps Sibthorpe bought the lease and handed it over to Stephen Bomford as part of Elizabeth’s dowry, but there is no mention of this in the marriage settlement. Alternatively, and more likely, the lands might have formed a trust set up for the children of Elizabeth and Stephen. The land is not mentioned again so the lease terminated in 1793, by which date all the children were of age, and Robert Sibthorpe of the second deed, Elizabeth’s brother, was one of the trustees for the children in the marriage settlement.

The Right Honourable James Fortescue, to whom Stephen Bomford leased the Carlingford lands in 1775, was a son of Lord Carlingford and died in 1782. His cousin Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of William Fortescue of Newrath, Co Louth, married John Foster of Dunleer in 1704 (8.2.1). Ravensdale, his house, predated the famous Ravensdale Park, a huge early Victorian mansion that was burnt down in the early 1920s.

11.3.2  The Stannus Family

The Stannus family, formerly named Stanehouse, of Carbolzie in Scotland, were the Head Landlords of the Carlingford estates granted to them on the plantation of Ulster by King James I.

William Stannus of Carlingford married a sister of Ephraim Dawson who bought Clonfad, Hightown etc (see 2.3), and died in 1717. They had a number of children amongst whom were:

1. James Stannus, 1686-1721, inherited the Carlingford estate which then passed to his brother

2. William Stannus, 1695-1732, who had one son:

a. Ephraim who married Margaret, daughter of Stephen Sibthorpe and sister to Elizabeth Bomford. They had one son:

i. Ephraim who married a sister of John Foster of Dunleer, and died without children. The Carlingford estates then passed to William’s fourth son.

4. Trevor, 1700 - 1771, married in 1728 Jane, daughter of Robert Sibthorpe who was probably an uncle of Elizabeth Bomford.

Ephraim Stannus of the 1762 deed witnessed the marriage settlement of Stephen and Elizabeth Sibthorpe, appears to be a relative of both the Sibthorpes and the Fosters, and so through marriage to Stephen Bomford (8.2). However it would seem that the two Ephraims above are recorded back to front in Burke; the younger one married a sister of John Foster, a woman two generations older than Margaret Sibthorpe, and Margaret married the older Ephraim, the younger one’s father; unfortunately no dates are recorded but surely the marriages should be reversed.

11.4  The Bomford Family  1762

All Colonel Laurence’s children (1.6) are now dead, so the ‘older generation’ consists of his grandchildren (5.8), and the ‘younger generation’ are his great-grandchildren.

Oliver’s Branch (7.1.1)

Thomas died in 1757 (7.18) but his wife Jane Shinton (3.4) lives on until 1785. Their children are covered in Chapters 13 and 14 (summary at 14.0):

William now aged about 30 married Charity Ryder in 1754 (7.17) and they are living at Cushenstown. Most of their six children will have been born by this date. However their second son, whose name is not known, died as a child and may be already dead. See Chapter 13 for more on William, his marriages and his children.

Thomas born 1739, is now 23 and not yet married. His apprenticeship in Dublin has a few years to run so he may not yet have come into Clounstown where, no doubt his mother is living with the younger girls.

John is also an apprentice in Dublin with his brother who is about the same age, so born c 1739.

Anne is about 29 now. She married her cousin, Wilson Bomford, in 1759 (see below).

Elizabeth is about 27. It is doubtful if she ever marries and she dies sometime between 1764 and 1783, and drops out of the picture.

Frances married Robert Madden in 1753 and is living at Meadsbrook with her three young children. She dies sometime between 1761 and 1764 at the early age of about 25.

Emilia, Jane and Christian and are not yet married and probably living at Clounstown with their mother.

Arthur of Rathfeigh now aged about 53 died before 1765 and is thought to be dead at this date. His wife Mary (Tarleton) (7.15) is living with her three young daughters. They had been living in Dublin since around 1753.

John is a trustee of his two apprentice nephews, Thomas and John (7.18.1), so he is alive but nothing more is known about him and he drops out of the picture.

Oliver is about 47 and farming Rathfeigh. It is thought that he never married.

Elinor (Mrs Cathcart) and Margaret (Mrs Echlin) have dropped out of the picture and maybe have died.

Andrew died sometime before 1743

Laurence died perhaps around 1755.

Laurence’s Branch (7.1.2)

Laurence, the eldest son of Laurence of Killeglan, died in August 1761 (Will 9th August, proved 29th August). His wife Jane (Smith) is alive. Killeglan has been given up and in 1754 they were living at Dunsink, Co Dublin.

Jane may still be living there with her three teenage children, Laurence, William and, Susanna, or else in Dublin (.

Isabella, Ellinor and Mary would be in their 40s at this date but nothing is known about them.

Wilson is now about 44. In January 1759 he married his cousin Anne so the oldest of his three children would have been born at this date. Later he is recorded as a brewer and distiller in Dublin and I expect that he is doing that now.

Edward’s Branch (10.4)

Edward himself died in 1756, but his wife Margaret is alive. She lives on for another year or two; her will was dated 5th November 1763. The marriages of their three daughters are covered in Chapter 8.

Catherine died after 1759 and may be dead now. Her husband Antony Hamilton died in 1755. They had five children and the eldest, James Edward Hamilton, would be about 20 now.

Ann is probably alive but it is not known when she died. Her first husband Owen Daly is dead and her only child by that marriage, Edward Daly, is about 16. In 1755 Ann married John Molloy of Clonbela who does not die until 1803, and their eldest son, Laurence Bomford Molloy, is about two.

Lucy and her husband Thomas Birmingham are both alive but they had no children as far as is known.

Stephen’s Branch (5.8)

Stephen himself died in 1759, but his wife Anne (Smith) did not die until December 1765. Probably living with her son John at Gallow. Marriages of several of the children are covered in Chapter 8.

Thomas died in 1741.

Stephen the younger is aged about 44 and living at Rahinstown with his wife Elizabeth (Sibthorpe). Many of their 11 children have been born and the oldest, Thomas, would be about 13 at this date.  They are the subject of Chapter 18.

Ann, now about 42, married Samuel L’Estrange in 1750, but Samuel died in 1757 leaving Ann at Clowestown with four boys, the youngest being about 7.

Dorcas, now about 40, married Edward Williams of Trim about 1745. They are both alive and their only known child, Thomas William would be about 10 or a bit older.

Mary, now about 38, married William Coates of Abbeyshrule in 1750. They are both alive and their only known child, Anne Jane Coates, would be about 10. At this date they are living at Clonee on the County Meath-Dublin border. William appears to have something to do with the law, perhaps an attorney or a lawyer. He is not listed in later Dublin Almanacks as an attorney so he may have given that up when he inherits Abbeyshrule in 1777.

John, the 35-year-old farming Rector of Roddanstown is living at Gallow with his wife Ann (Forster). They have no children.

David aged 32 married Sarah (Burtchaell) in 1756. Their eldest child has just been born and they are living in Dublin; a bit later he is recorded as a ‘Grocer of Cooke Street’. We must not forget David’s son Stephen now aged about 7. It is probable that he is illegitimate, and we know very little about him. See 11.9 for a  later entry.

Isaac also aged 32, is now an attorney. He married Sarah (Matthews) in 1756 and their only daughter, Anne Trevor, has just been born. Isaac and David may be twins; they both married in 1756 but more importantly David was born in 1730 and Isaac ‘about 1730’, also their brother John bequeaths his land to them both.

Esther now about 30, married John Kelly of Galway in 1756. He is now a merchant in Dublin. All that we know about them is that Esther was alive in 1761 and John was alive in 1768. They had no known children and drop out of the picture.

The next summary of Stephen's Branch is at 15.1.

The next summary of the whole family, as at 1800, is at 16.9.

11.4.1  Changes in the Bomford Estates since 1740  1762

There have been so many changes since 1740 (5.9) that these changes have been produced in two parts. The individual properties of 1740 are taken first and the changes noted, and then the properties are shown under the heading of the owner in 1762. As usual all acres are statute.

Thomas the Elder of Rahinstown, died 1740:

 Land Acres Notes


642 }



821 }

Assigned to Thomas the younger and on his death to his father, then passed to Stephen the younger.

Oldtown (Meath)

254 }


Little Ardrurns

41  }

Passed to Thomas the younger and so to his father, Stephen the elder. They are not mentioned and the assumption is that the lease was not renewed in about 1745.

Boycetown }





Willed to Patrick Sandys by Thomas the elder.


365 }



274 }



306 }

All north of Ballivor, Co Westmeath. They are not mentioned again and it is assumed that these places were all sold to defray Thomas the elder’s debts.


747 }



189 }



527 }



Edward of Hightown died 1756. In 1762 his lands were in the hands of his wife Margaret who died c1764.

 Land Acres Notes

Hightown or Balloughter


Sold to Mark Whyte to pay Thomas’ debts. He then released 897 acres to Edward who bequeathed it to his daughter Catherine Hamilton.

Enniscoffey Oldtown (W-M)


Probably bequeathed to his daughter Ann Molloy.


460 }



567 }

Bequeathed to Stephen the younger.

Little Ardrums


Have assumed the lease was not renewed in about 1745.


Stephen the Elder of Gallow died 1759

 Land Acres Notes



Passed to Stephen the younger and then to the Rev John.  Acreage increased to 421.


429 }


901 }


734 }


193 }

Passed to Reverend John.


347 }


572 }


128 }






Passed to Stephen the younger.  Dirpatrick acreage increased to 967.


Thomas of Clounstown died 1757

 Land Acres Notes






Passed to Thomas, the 2nd son, of Clounstown.


875 }


112 }


373 }


162 }

Passed to William, the eldest son, of Cushenstown.


214 }


263 }


78  }



Irishtown      }




Lease was returned in 1761 but 99 acres of Kilmoon were kept and have been added to Cushenstown.

Smithstown   }



Thomastown }

350 }



399 }

Not mentioned again and have been omitted.


307 }



Arthur of Rathfeigh died before 1765

 Land Acres Notes



Passed to his younger brother, Oliver.


Laurence of Killeglan died 1761

 Land Acres Notes



This branch of the family appears to have stopped farming on Laurence’s death, so the land has been omitted.




11.4.2  The Bomford Estates   1762

 Property of 1740


 Recent leases


Stephen the Younger of Rahinstown









Castletownbellew Teteitragh




Bellewstown (Duleek)




Red Mountain











 Total  3,582

Killyan          }



Mucklin        }




Mulgeeth      }




Kilmurry       }




Kilshanroe     }




Gurley Mill     }








Clonkeran       }






Total of Stephen: 9,737 acres



Total  6,155





Reverend John of Gallow






Recent leases - Nil
























Total of John: 3,725 acres

Total 3,725






William of Cushenstown















203 }




130 }(see 13.2)




 Total 463








 Total of William: 2,540 acres

Total 2,077





Thomas of Clounstown










 Total of Thomas: 668 acres

Total 668






Oliver of Rathfeigh





Kilbrew (part)


 Total of Oliver: 1,427 acres





Overall Total Acreage


From 1740


New leases



Making a grand total in 1762 of 18,097 statute acres.


The steady climb in acreage to 1740 indicates the healthy state of the Bomford affairs, and the family as a whole has been successful even for the last 20 years. Only Thomas the elder had problems and mismanaged his affairs to such an extent that about 2,500 acres had to be sold on his death. This caused a set back that lasted about 15 years, but when Stephen the elder died his son, Stephen the younger, took over and invested in another 6,100 acres in 1761.

The land is in the four counties of Meath, Westmeath, Kildare and Louth. Naturally the outlying lands in Westmeath, Kildare and Louth were leased, as were some of the properties in Meath. The majority of the income came from rents but the ‘home’ farms also produced cattle. If we said that the average net income was about £1 an acre, then the family income would be of the order of £18,000 shared between the five Bomford families, not much at present day standards but well above average for the 1700s.

This period of success and stability remained until about 1790 and so the next summary is dated 1800 (16.9.2).

11.5  Journey by Arthur Young   June 1776

Although the following takes place a dozen or so years later, Arthur Young gives a very fine idea of rural life in the Bomford country.  Young was a respected commentator on Ireland and his account of his journeys has recently been reprinted. One of these journeys took him from Dolanstown, near Kilcock, where he had been staying with Roger Jones. Roger was a neighbour of the Bomfords and leased Gallow to the Rev John (8.7), and was a party to the marriage settlements of both Stephen and Thomas of Rahinstown. The next night Young stayed at Summerhill having driven his carriage past John Bomford’s Church at Rodanstown and through the lands of Ferrans, Gallow and Drumlargan. From Summerhill he visited Dangan Castle.

On another excursion he drove from Dunboyne to Kilbrew and on to the Foster’s at Collon. The road may have taken him through Thomas Bomford’s land at Clounstown, but it certainly took him through William Bomford’s land at Cushenstown. At Collon he stayed a number of days with Elizabeth Bomford’s uncle Antony Foster, the Lord Chief Baron, whose views on contemporary Ireland Young extensively quoted. Since these ideas give a good understanding of the times they have been included in part.

“28th June 1776. Breakfasted with Mr Jones of ‘Dolleston’ (Dolanstown). From hence took the road to Summerhill the seat of the Right Hon H(ercules) L(angford) Rowley. The country is cheerful and rich, and if the Irish cabins continue like what I have hitherto seen, shall not hesitate to pronounce their inhabitants as well off as most English cottagers. They are built of mud walls 18 inches or 2 feet thick and well thatched, which are far warmer than the thin clay walls in England. Here are few cottiers without a cow, and some of them two.  (The next day he remarks) The cattle in the road have their forelegs all tied together with straw to keep them from breaking into the fields; even sheep, pigs and goats, are all in the same bondage. (Returning to the 28th, few cottiers without) a bellyfull invariably of potatoes, and generally turf for fuel from a bog. It is true they have not always chimneys to their cabins, the door serving for that and windows too. If their eyes are not affected with the smoke, it may be an advantage in warmth. Every cottage swarms with poultry and most of them have pigs. The plantations and ornamental grounds at Summerhill are extensive and form a very fine environ, spreading over the hills and having a noble appearance. The house is large and handsome, with an elegant hall, a cube of 30 feet and many very good and convenient apartments.

Went in the evening to Lord Mornington’s at Dangan, who is making many improvements, which he showed me. (Garret Wesley, or Wellesley, was created Viscount Wellesley and Earl of Mornington in 1760. He was the father of the great Duke of Wellington who was then aged seven and no doubt at home.) His plantations are extensive, and he has formed a large water, having five or six islands much varied, and promontories of high land shoot so far into it as to form almost distinct lakes; the effect pleasing. There are above 100 acres under water, and his Lordship has planned a considerable addition to it. Returned to Summerhill.”

Another less happy excursion was on July 18th. “... From Celbridge to Maynooth is a line of very fine corn. Passed Dunboyne, from thence to Kilbrew. Mr Lowther to whom I had a letter, not being at home I was forced to take refuge in a cabin, called at an inn at Ratoath. Preserve me Fates from such another!”

On 20th July Young writes “….Took the road to Collon where the Lord Chief Baron Foster received me in the most obliging manner…. He has made the greatest improvements I have anywhere met with.  The whole country twenty-two years ago (1754) was a waste sheep-walk, covered chiefly with heath, with some dwarf furze and fern. The cabins and people as miserable as can be conceived; not a Protestant in the country, not a road passable for a carriage. In a word, perfectly resembling other mountainous tracts, and the whole yielding a rent of not more than from 3s. to 4s. an acre. Mr Foster could not bear so barren a property, and determined to attempt the improvement of an estate of 5,000 acres till then deemed irreclaimable.

He encouraged the tenants by every species of persuasion and expense but they had so ill an opinion of the land that he was forced to begin with 2,000 or 3,000 acres in his own hands. He did not however turn the people out but kept them in to see the effects of his operations. These were of a magnitude I have never heard before. He had for several years 27 lime kilns burning stone….  while this vast business of liming was going forwards, roads were also making, and the whole tract enclosed in fields. In order to create a new race of tenants, he fixed upon the most active and industrious labourers, bought them cows etc and advanced money to begin with little farms, leaving them to pay as they could. These men he nursed up …. and some of them are now good farmers with £400 or £500 each in their pockets, …. and he never had a demand for a shilling loss….. After the liming, he fallowed the land for rye, and after the rye took two crops of oats. His great object was to show the tenantry as soon as he could, what these improvements would do in corn, in order to set them to work themselves. He sold them the corn crops on the ground at 40s an acre. The three crops paid him certainly the expense of the liming; at the same time they were profitable bargains to the tenantry. With the third crop the land was laid down to grass. Upon this operation after manuring, ditching and draining, the old tenants very readily hired themselves…..   This change of their sentiment induced him to new farm houses, of which he has erected above thirty, all of lime and stone, at the expense of above £40 a house. The farms are in general about 80 acres each… The country is now a sheet of corn. A greater improvement I have not heard of.”

Of course Foster had the capital to carry out his improvements, but in a small way the Bomfords, and in particular Edward in Westmeath, had done the same thing; as also had many other resident landlords in Leinster.

Foster, through Young, has other pertinent observations, which are included.

“Respecting the thieving disposition of the common people, which I (Young) had heard of, the Chief Baron was of an entire different opinion.  From his own experience he judged them to be remarkably honest.  In working his improvements he has lived in his house without shutters, bolts or bars, and with it half full of Spalpeens, yet never lost the least trifle, nor has he met with any depredations among his fences or plantations.”

“Raising rents he (Foster) considers as one of the greatest causes of the improvement of Ireland; he has found that … it has universally quickened their industry, … and made them in every respect better farmers.  But this holds only to a certain point; if carried too far, it deadens, instead of animating industry.  He has always preferred his old tenants, and never let a farm by advertisement to receive proposals.  That the system of letting farms to be re-let to lower tenants was going out very much; it is principally upon the estates of absentees, whose agents think only of the most rent from the most solvent tenant.

In conversation upon the Popery Laws, I (Young) expressed my surprise at their severity. He said they were severe in the letter, but were never executed. … There were severe penalties on carrying arms or reading Mass, but the first is never executed for poaching and as to the other, mass houses are to be seen everywhere.  There is one in his own town (Collon).  His Lordship did justice to the merits of the Roman Catholics by observing that they were in general a very sober, honest and industrious people.”

Later Young includes this on the cost of living, “To show the general expenses of living, I was told of a person’s keeping a carriage, four horses, three men, three maids, a good table, a wife, three children and a nurse, and all for £500 a year”.

11.6  Lease – Dublin Houses  2nd February 1760

These next few items concern David Bomford, Stephen’s fourth son.

David Bomford, Merchant of the City of Dublin, made over to Mr David Burtchell, of Newbridge, Co Kildare, his house and furniture on Ormond Quay, Dublin, and another house on Blind Quay occupied by Michael Hanlon, Auctioneer.  (Book 202, Page 482, No 134878)

David Bomford married Sarah Burtchaell in December 1756 (8.11). She was the daughter of David Burtchaell of Brownstown House just outside Newbridge and the deed reads as though David was leasing his own house and furniture to his father-in-law. Ormond Quay is on the north side of the Liffey and runs for a short distance on either side of what was then known as Essex Bridge, now called Capel Street Bridge.

In 1757 the Wide Streets Commission started work on widening the main Dublin streets, and their first operation was to widen Parliament Street from the Castle, to widen Essex Bridge, and the road west along the north side of the Liffey to the Four Courts. This operation included Upper Ormond Quay, which was widened from about 20 feet to 54 feet; this meant that the houses had to be pulled down and rebuilt further back. David’s house must therefore have been on the east of the Essex Bridge, opposite the old Custom’s House, on what is now known as Lower Ormond Quay and which was not widened at this time.

David had no land and was a merchant in Dublin. Since he was now aged 30, he probably had been a merchant for some years. He must have been fairly successful and, as this and the other deeds state, he invested the profits in houses not only in Dublin but in Limerick as well. In 1770 we know from the Dublin Almanacks that he was a ‘Grocer of Cooke Street’. Before the time of the Wide Streets commission, and to a more limited extent later, the merchants tended to operate from the same area, thus fish was sold in Fishamble Street, bread in Cooke Street, wine and ale in Winetavern Street and so on.  Ormonde Quay was the area given over to the butchers and similar trades. I suspect that David first tried his hand on Ormonde Quay as a butcher or something similar, gave this up and so leased his house to David Burtchaell, and then moved to the grocery business in Cooke Street.

Blind Quay, the site of the other house, led from the Liffey to the Castle, but the waterway had been filled in when Essex Bridge was built.  During the late 1200s the Poddle River had been channelled to run outside the Castle wall for the defences of the City and entered the Liffey at what was later to become Blind Quay. However, even though there was water, the name continued as the name for a narrow alley, which ran along the site of the original quay. Later the Liffey end of the alley was built over, and so disappeared, but about 40 yards of the southern end is still in existence and runs into Cork Hill.

The next lease records a house on the north side or Blind Quay. The only north side of the alley is on a bend close to the Liffey.

11.6 1  Lease – Dublin Houses  21st July 1760

David Bomford, of Ormond Key in the City of Dublin, leased to Richard Cullen, carpenter of Blind Key Dublin, a house on the north side of Blind Key next door to the house of William Partridge, for 14 years at a rent of £18.  (Book 221 Page 314 No 147959)

11.6.2  Lease – Dublin Houses  24th December 1765

David Bomford, Gentleman of the City of Dublin, leases to John Fry and Michael Cox, gentlemen of the City of Dublin, the house on Ormond Quay between the houses of Mr Thomas Finlay and Thomas Towers. The rent and the duration as in the previous lease. (Missing).  (Book 254 Page 210 No 163688)

11.6.3  Lease – Limerick Houses  27th July 1773

David Bomford, merchant of the City of Dublin, leases to Peter Sargent of the City of Limerick, alderman, two tenements in St John’s Street, Limerick, in one of which Peter Sargent is living, with the rent etc as before.  (Book 293 Page 511 No 197081)

11.7  Request to David Bomford  20th January 1768


John Smith, late of Anville, Co Westmeath, Esq., late uncle of David Bomford, did in his will of 15th February 1763 give to David Bomford £1,000 and he appointed his wife Ann Smith and Charles Lyons executors.

Ann Smith is now the wife of Thomas Walpole.

Now David Bomford, Merchant of the City of Dublin, grants £100 to John Kelly, Merchant of the City of Dublin.  (Book 260 Page 294 No 168989)

John Kelly is almost certainly the husband of Esther, David’s sister. Burke records John Kelly ‘of Galway’, I have found no evidence of this but now we do know that he is a merchant in Dublin.

Charles Lyons is most likely the nephew of Ann Smith and so a cousin of David.

11.8  David Bomford, Merchant of Dublin  1770 - 1788

In Watson’s and Wilson’s Almanack there are two entries for David Bomford under the heading ‘Merchants and Traders’.

For the years 1770 to 1782 “David Bomford, Grocer, of Cooke Street”. The 1774 issue shows that he has moved, - “now of King Street”.

For the years 1776 to 1782 “David Bomford, of the General Post Office at 16 Fishamble Street”. The 1778 issue adds – “Now of 64 Camden St”.

He was still of the General Post Office, 64 Camden St in the Thoms 1786 directory.

The 1787 edition showed no David Bomford listed. However The Establishment of Ireland Part VII records

“19th Jan 1788  Penny Post Office  Second Clerk, David Bomford  £35”

From this I understand that David Bomford was made second clerk at the Penny Post Office on 19th January 1788 at the princely salary of £35. I have found no other entry about David in this volume but he was obviously in Dublin in 1788 at least.

Deeds concerning David have shown him in Dublin from 1760 ‘of Ormond Street’ to May 1786 ‘of Camden Street’. There is then a gap and he next appears in 1795 ‘of Gallow’.

The Almanack entries fall into this Dublin period, and the Post Office entry and the deed of 1786 (16.3.1) both place him in Camden Street.  Thus it is safe to assume that this David is David of Gallow, and that all the entries are about the same man; we may also assume that the grocer shop was kept on as an investment when he was at the Post Office and at Camden Street. A summary of his movements would be -

1760  Ormond Quay, Dublin

1770 - 1773  Cooke Street, Dublin, Grocer’s shop

1774 - 1775  King Street, Dublin, Grocer’s shop

1776 - 1777  16 Fishamble Street, Dublin

1778 - 1786  64 Camden Street, Dublin

1787  Not listed in Dublin in the Almanacks,

1788  Second Clerk, Penny Post Office, Dublin

1795  At Gallow, where he remained until his death.

David’s story and that of his family is continued in Chapter 16.  David is mentioned in leases at 11.11.1 and following.  David's Dublin is described in 11.15.

11.9  David’s Illegitimate Son, Stephen  1754/55 - 1782?

Extracted from the Register of Students from Trinity College, Dublin, edited by Thomas Ulick Sadleir in 1924:

“Bomford, Stephen Pensioner Mr Drought [previously taught by] 10th July, 1773 aged 18 son of David, Mercator [Merchant] born Dublin.”

So Stephen Bomford was born in 1754 or 1755, entered Trinity in 1773 aged 18, but did not get a degree. His father was David, a merchant. All this matches very well with our David, but David did not marry until December 1756 (8.11), which makes Stephen illegitimate, like so many in those days. It is of course just possible that there was another merchant in Dublin named David Bomford, but this is unlikely. The bequest to David’s eldest son (unnamed) in the next entry, the will of Samuel Partridge, to my mind clinches the argument that Stephen is the eldest son of our David Bomford. The deed at 16.3.1, his sister Anne's marriage settlement, records and recognises Stephen as eldest son of David Bomford.

It had been thought that the following was a reference to this Stephen: ‘Officers of the Bengal Army, 1758 – 1834’ by Major V.C.P. Hodson: “Stephen Bomford, Lieut Infantry, Cadet 1778, Ensign 1778, Lieut 13th Sept 1779, buried Madras 1st Feb 1782.”  However, Stephen eldest son of David Bomford was still alive in 1786 to be a party to the deed at 16.3.1.  So this must be another Stephen, quite possibly not from Ireland.

The Parliamentary Register: Or, History of the Proceedings and Debates of the House of Commons, by Great Britain, Parliament (text available on line through Google Books), reports, starting on page 447, a dispute between the Supreme Court in Calcutta, the East India Company and the Governor and Council.  According to that report,  three months after his promotion to Lieutenant, Stephen Bomford was stationed at Midnapore under the command of  LieutenantColonel Ahmuty (14.9.4).  To quote the Proceedings at page 450, "... in obedience to the orders received from the Governor General and Council, Lieutenant Colonel Ahmuty detached from the camp at Midnapore two companies of Sepoys, under the command of Lieutenant Bomford; who, on the morning of 3d of December [1779], seized the sheriff's officer, and those acting under them ... amounting to 30 sepoys, about 10 peons, and 8 Europeans.  In the afternoon of the same day they seized six more Europeans." Unfortunately, the Council of Four was split; the arrests by Lt Stephen Bomford were argued for and against in the Parliamentary debate.  This was the problem which Warren Hastings, the first Governor General of India, 1773-85, always had, and he was thwarted by having to act with his Council of Four,  some of whom opposed him.

At this stage (2009), it is not clear who this Stephen Bomford who died in India in 1782 was, nor what happened to Stephen Bomford, eldest son of David, after his participation in the deed of 16.3.1 in 1876.  He probably died unmarried and without children before 1807, when David left all his real property to his son Isaac and made no mention of Stephen (19.6).

11.10  Will of Rev. Samuel Partridge  17th January 1774

The following will gives much contemporary information about the family. The will is mentioned by Betham but he simply says “No relations mentioned,” which implies the death of a bachelor clergyman.

There are a number of bequests in the will; only those relevant to the Bomfords are listed. The Stephen mentioned is Stephen the younger (8.2, 11.10.1, Chapter 18).

1. “To Chichester, son of Stephen, £l00 by the note of Robert Sibthorpe; if Chichester should die before the age of 21, then it goes to his sister, Frances.” Ephraim, the 7th son, was born in 1761 and Chichester was Stephen’s 8th and youngest son so he would be about 10 at this date. Frances Jane was born about 1763 so would be about 11.

2. “Mrs Bomford of Rahinstown, £200 due to me by John Foster, and, Cato’s letters in four volumes.” Mrs Bomford is Elizabeth (Sibthorpe), the wife of Stephen the younger who apparently enjoyed reading and was well read. John Foster was Elizabeth’s first cousin who at this time was member of Parliament for County Louth, later he became the last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons (1785-1800) and was created Lord Oriel in 1821.

3. “Stephen Bomford, £160 by the bond of William Coates. The remainder of this bond goes to William Coates”. William Coates was Stephen’s brother-in-law, husband of his sister Mary.

4. “Stephen Bomford, £140 the bond of the Rev Gerard Macklin.”

5. “Stephen Bomford, £300 the bond of Milo Bagots Esq.”  (See 16.4.2)

6. “David Bomford’s eldest son, my box of books and Portmantua at Alexander Barrington’s, and my gown Cossack and bands in my Chest in Dublin, also two volumes of Clerk’s Sermons.” According to Burke, David only had one son, Isaac, who was baptised in 1766 so would now be 8 or 9. This seems to be an extraordinary bequest to a 9 year old, or even a 12 year old. I feel that this bequest gives credence to the previous entry concerning Stephen, the illegitimate son of David, who is now at Trinity (11.9).

7. “£100 to Robert Bomford, £100 to Mariana Bomford, and £50 to Stephen Bomford Junior, being three of the children of the said Stephen Bomford.” Robert was Stephen’s second son, now aged 23. Stephen Bomford Junior was Stephen’s third son, now aged about 19 or 20.

For some reason Burke misses out all Stephen’s daughters. These documents mention three daughters though there may be others. The three are:

Margaret, who is not mentioned in this will but is well documented later.  She would be aged about 21 now.

Frances Jane mentioned above as just Frances but mentioned in the deeds later. She would be about 11 now.

Mariana who is mentioned in this will but in no other document. I have placed her as the youngest child so she is about 8 now. She is not mentioned in her father’s will (18.1) and since all the other children were mentioned she probably died before 1804.  Indeed she may have died soon after Partridge’s will, maybe in her early teens

8. “Reverend John Bomford, Ten Guineas due to me by his I.O.U.”

9. “Thomas Bomford, eldest son of Stephen, ‘my escrutore’.”

10. Samuel Partridge left £60 for the repair of Kilmore Church, £10 to the poor of the Parish, and he asked that he be buried in Kilmore Churchyard. There is no definite clue as to which Kilmore he is talking about. It may well be the Kilmore just east of Drumlargan, and indeed this would explain how he got to know Stephen’s family so well; on the other hand, according to Healy’s History of the Diocese of Meath and Canon Leslie’s Succession Lists, no Partridge was a Church of Ireland clergyman in any Diocese in Ireland. Where he came from and what his connection was with the family remains a mystery. However the will does mention property ‘Freehold in Stradbally in the Queen’s County’ and he may have come from there. His ties with the Bomfords must be strong for him to leave £1,160 plus oddments to the family.

11.10.1  Stephen the Younger’s Children  1774

Having just mentioned so many of Stephen’s children it is appropriate that a family tree is produced as at 1774.

Stephen the younger of Rahinstown, born c1722, married 18th April 1745 (8.2) and died 24th May 1806. His wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Stephen Sibthorpe and Margaret Foster, died 1807.

Their children were:

1.  Thomas, born c1750, dies (18.1.2) before his father, unmarried.

2.  Robert, born 1751, marries later.

3.  Margaret, born c1753, marries c1779.

4.   Stephen, born c1755, dies before his father, unmarried.

5.  Anthony, born c1757, dies before his father, unmarried.

6.  George, born 1759, marries later.

7.  Trevor, born 1760, marries later.

8.  Ephraim, born 1761, becomes a Major in the Royal Marines, unmarried.

9.   Frances Jane, born c1763, marries 1800.

10.  Chichester, born c1764, Captain in Waterford Militia, unmarried, died 1824.

11.  Mariana, born c1766, dies before her father.

Stephen's children are the subject of Chapter 15 and are summarised as at 1800 at 16.9.

To complete this chapter there are a few paragraphs concerning the Reverend John and then a few for Isaac.

11.11  Death of Rev John Bomford  6th February 1776

Concerning John’s earlier life and marriage, see paragraph 8.7.

Extract from Ramsay’s Waterford Chronicle of 1776 as reported in the Irish Genealogist, Volume 5:

6th February 1776 Died. The Rev John Bomford of Gallo, Co Meath, rector of Radanstown.

Both Archdeacon Healy and Canon Leslie record that John died in office in 1776. Leslie also records an extract from ‘F.D. Journal of February 3-6 1776’, which reads:

At Galle, his seat in Co Meath died Rev John Bomford, rector of Radinstown and a gentleman universally regretted by all his acquaintance.

Jack, as he was known to the family and friends, was only 49 when he died, so his wife Ann (Forster) may have out lived him. They had no children. According to Betham he died intestate and the Administration was granted to ‘the Bomford brother’ Stephen on 2nd March 1776.

By studying later documents, particularly his brother David’s will, it becomes clear that his land was divided between his two younger brothers, David and Isaac. Certainly the lands of Tyrrellstown, Gallow, Ferrans and Gurteen were shared; the future of John’s other properties is not so clear but, since they are not mentioned in future wills, it is assumed that they were shared as well but that their leases were not renewed; these lands were, Weatherstown (lease up c1787), Gainstown (lease up in 1790), and Woodtown (lease. up c1800). The rather unwieldy business of sharing property may be evidence that David and Isaac were twins (11.4), however the matter was sorted out in 1793 when Isaac died. Isaac left his share to David’s son, Isaac, and since Isaac the younger also received his father’s half share, he ended up with what remained of the Rev John’s property.

Summary of John Bomford’s life

The entry in Burke just reads “John (Rev).” Now we know much more -

John, Rev, of Gallow, BA 1748, MA (TCD) 1752, Curate of Kilmore 1752, Rector of Rodanstown 1755-1776, born at Gallow 1727, married 7th April 1753 (ML), Ann Forster of St Peter’s Place Dublin, (possibly) daughter of William Forster of Dublin; died 6th February 1776, aged 49, no children.

There is a range of spellings of Rodanstown: this is the modern spelling.

11.11.1  Lease - Gallow  23rd August 1777


The lease of 2nd October 1759 (9.6.1) by which the Rev John Bomford of Gallow, deceased, leased at a rent of £42 part of Gallow to Thomas Dames for three lives.

Now Thomas Dames of Rathmoyle, King’s Co, surrenders to David Bomford of Dublin the above land called Newtown Gallow containing 61 plantation acres (99 statute) formerly in the possession of Laurence Monaghan, deceased.

Signed:  David Bomford

Witnessed:  William Johnston of the General Post Office, Dublin; and Westerna (?) Cross

(Book 338, Page 247, No 227404)

For the time being David remained in Dublin. He did not move to Gallow until sometime between 1789 and 1795. However he does not appear to have leased the house so he or his family may have stayed there off and on. In 1777, the year of this lease, he was working at the General Post Office so his witness, William Johnston, was a colleague. The other witness, Westerna Cross, may be a cousin through the Tew family (9.3.7 Note b).

11.12  Lease – Dublin House  15th August 1769

Isaac Bomford of the City of Dublin leases a house in Bachelor’s Walk, Dublin, to Garret Archbold for 31 years.  (Book 276, Page 217 No 177106)

Bachelor’s Walk is on the North side of the Liffey and runs between Ormond Quay and O’Connell Street Bridge, but there was no bridge there in 1769. In fact there were only three bridges at this time and the high masted sailing ships tied up along the quays right up to the bridge now known as Capel Street Bridge.

11.13  Mortgage Given  6th December 1779


1. Charles Walker of the City of Dublin, Master of the High Court of Chancery

2. Thomas Rankin of Bellaghy, Co Londonderry

3. David and Isaac Bomford, both of the City of Dublin

4. Samuel Graves of the Royal Navy (later Admiral Graves, died 1803)

David and Isaac Bomford give a mortgage to Samuel Graves of £1, 215.

A most involved deed concerning land in Antrim, Derry and in the City of Dublin.  (Book 333 Page 28 No 221858)

11.14  Isaac Bomford Attorney  1770 - 1790

The Wilson and Watson Almanacks of Dublin started in 1730, but the first Bomford entry is not until 1770 when David and his brother Isaac are both mentioned.

Isaac, the fifth son of Stephen of Gallow, was an “Attorney and Law Agent” as early as 1762 when he is mentioned as such in the Oldtown and Enniscoffey brief. We do not know when he was born but it must have been about 1730, and in 1756 he married Sarah (Mathews) (8.10). It is therefore probable that he became an attorney in the 1750s.

The Almanacks mention Isaac in the editions of 1770 to 1790 in which he is recorded as being:

The Exchequer Pleas Office was in Fishamble Street but Isaac’s office was in Great Chancery Lane, and from about 1788 he was living at No 27 Brunswick Street. However as Commissioner of Affidavits in County Meath he would have travelled considerably in that County.

Isaac is not mentioned in many of the deeds. He is first mentioned in December 1750 when he was ‘of Dublin’ and his last mention is in August 1791 when he was still ‘of Dublin’. The Meath Freeholders list of some date between 1775 and 1780 lists both Isaac and David of Gallow so although he worked in Dublin his roots must have remained in Gallow. No doubt he, like David, visited Gallow periodically.

The American Library of Congress has records of correspondence between George Washington and a Mrs Sarah Bomford covering the period 1772 to 1792.  In one letter Sarah gives her address as Fish Amble Street, Dublin, and another covering letter asks Isaac Bomford to pass a letter to Sarah Bomford, his Lady.  There is enough coincidence here to be sure that the Isaac of the correspondence is this Isaac Bomford and the Sarah is Sarah Mathews, his wife.

11.15  Georgian Dublin

Both David and Isaac Bomford lived in a Dublin that saw considerable changes. The walled city of Queen Elizabeth’s time had long since expanded beyond its walls in all directions, but the development of the town, as we now know it, was largely due to three sources, two property developers and the Wide Streets Commission, of the 1700s.

Luke Gardiner was the Park Ranger of Phoenix Park where he built himself a fine mansion, now the Ordnance Survey Offices. He tried to appropriate for himself part of Phoenix Park but the outcry forced him to resign. Meanwhile he had been buying land on the outskirts of North Dublin and he was helped in this by his wife’s inheritance from the Mountjoy family. All this land he covered with houses, many of which are still in existence. He was responsible for Sackville Street, later renamed O’Connell Street, Henrietta Street, Mountjoy Square, Henry Street, Gardiner’s Street and all in that area. Early on Luke Gardiner realised that landed country folk no longer had to squat in their stone towers ever ready to defend their property against raids and that these magnates were now free to come to Dublin with their families to enjoy the social life of the Castle and other pleasures. It was for these moneyed people that he built, and not for the local and poorer Dubliners. His first experiment was Henrietta Street, which turned out to be a glorious success. His idea of a street of large houses suitable for entertaining with a back-up of elaborate kitchens and stabling turned out to be just what was needed. Henrietta Street soon became known as Primates Hill from the number of Bishops whose town houses were there; it was Dublin’s Park Lane with every other house occupied by a Peer of the Realm. His next success was his plan for the 150 feet wide Sackville (O’Connell) Street. He had no difficulty in selling those large houses with an outlook onto a 50 feet wide tree-lined walk which ran down the centre of the street and became known as Gardiner’s Mall.

There was now a demand for another bridge and the Wide Streets Commission planned and put up Carlisle (O’Connell) Bridge together with the quays to control the flooding of the Liffey. This bridge and the new Sackville Street changed the whole focus of Dublin; there was now an important new north-south thoroughfare that stretched right across the city from Stephen’s Green to the Rotunda. In turn the Commission laid out the new North and South Circular Roads, and the terminus for the Royal Canal on the north side and the Grand Canal on the south side.

The other property developer was the Fitzwilliam family of Merrion who owned land on the south of the Liffey stretching from Trinity and Stephen’s Green out to Blackrock and Kilmacud. The Liffey used to flood much of this ground but once the Wide Streets Commission had completed the South Wall along the Liffey, the Fitzwilliams started to develop. They did to South Dublin what Luke Gardiner had done to the north side of the river.

Meanwhile new public buildings appeared, the Four Courts, Custom’s House, and other buildings were enlarged, Parliament House, (now the Bank of Ireland), and Trinity to name but a few. Wealthy peers built magnificent private mansions like Belvedere, Moira, Clonmell, Powerscourt, Aldborough and Charlemont Houses.

All this was not done without a considerable outcry from the merchants and the poorer people, because the new Dublin had moved the centre and business area further east out of the old Dublin, and the new bridge and Custom’s House had moved the focus of the port from the old quays to the new quays further east. However the Wide Streets Commission had the strength to force it all through and their ideas, although in many cases tough on the locals, were years ahead of their time. By the late l700s Dublin had become one of the leading and most elegant cities of Europe.

After 200 years many of these fine buildings and houses have been allowed to decay into overcrowded flats and tenements. It is a sorry State that has not the vision to conserve, but rather allows ugly glass and concrete boxes to arise in their stead.

Next Chapter: Chapter 12

Back to Table of Contents