The Irish Bomfords
George the Younger comes of age 1832 - 1837
George and his younger brother Samuel were left in the care of the Winters of Agher when their parents died in 1814/5 (20.1). They both went to Trinity (20.7); Samuel left without a degree but George got his BA in the summer of 1832, the year he came of age. That same year, on the 23rd July, he married his cousin Arbella (24.1), the youngest daughter of his guardian John Pratt Winter and his wife Anne Winter (20.4). Arbella was nine months older than George and they had been brought up together at Agher (20.5).
1. George Bomford of Drumlargan
2. Myles O’Reilly of Millcastle, Co Westmeath, and Richard Winter Reynell of Killynon, Co Westmeath (Trustees)
3. George Lucas Nugent of Castle....(? cord), Co Westmeath, and Thomas Barnes of Westland, Co Meath (Trustees of the land)
4. John Pratt Winter of Agher, Co Meath and Arabella (sic: see below) Winter, spinster, daughter of John Pratt Winter.
1. A marriage is about to take place between George Bomford and Arbella Winter. The sum of £2,000, being the marriage portion of Arbella, has been paid by John Pratt Winter to the trustees, Myles O’Reilly and Richard Winter Reynell. This was the amount in the marriage settlement of her parents, John Pratt Winter and Anne Winter, for the younger children of the marriage.
2. George Bomford hands over in trust to the trustees, Myles O’Reilly and Richard Winter Reynell, the lands of:
Drumlargan, otherwise Balldungan or Dunganstown,
Ornelstown or Edenstown, Part of Clonlyon,
Knock or Knockturin, and
Part of Monaloy or Moneloy, all in Co Meath,
Clonfad in Co Westmeath.
All these lands being free from any incumbrances except for £4,000 according to the marriage settlement of George’s father dated 1st March 1809, which is due to the only younger son, Samuel Bomford.
The trust is to produce, on George’s death, an annuity to Arbella of £300.
3. The lands are entailed to the trustees in party three, being George Lucas Nugent and Thomas Barnes, for 300 years to pass to the eldest son (30.2.2); but George has the power to give Clonfad to the second son.
4. The sum of £4,000 is to be set aside and divided between the younger children (see note below).
Witnessed: Rev John Kellett, Rector of Agher; and Francis Savage of Ballymadum, Co Dublin.
(Book 886 Page 358 No 586858)
This deed and others refer to both ‘Arbella’ and ‘Arabella’. However George always spelt his wife’s name ‘Arbella’ and this must be the correct spelling.
The marriage settlement is particularly difficult to follow because not only does this George Bomford marry Arbella Winter but his father George Bomford also married Arbella Winter; as a result there are two pairs of ‘George and Arbella’ and the deed does not make it clear to which pair it is referring. Luckily this deed is partially quoted in later ones and so hopefully it is right with the possible exception of the last paragraph concerning the £4,000 for the younger children. George the elder certainly set aside £4,000 and I think so also did George the younger; in fact, as will be seen later, the younger children got more than £4,000.
In spite of the statement in the marriage settlement concerning Arbella’s £2,000 from her parent’s marriage settlement, it would appear that she did not receive the money until 1867 as the following deed relates.
Settlement on Arbella Bomford 30th December 1867
1. George Bomford, senior, of Oakley Park, and Arbella Bomford, otherwise Winter, his wife.
2. George Bomford, surviving trustee of the marriage settlement of 4th February 1834 (between Arbella’s sister Elizabeth and Rev Thomas Gordon Caulfeild, 20.6)
3. Francis Winter (Arbella’s brother) of 49 Waterloo Street, Brighton, England, late Major in the Bengal Army, sole executor of the late Margaret Winter deceased (another of Arbella’s sisters, 20.6)
4. James Saunderson Winter of Agher (nephew of Arbella who had inherited Agher the previous month).
The marriage settlement of 15th July 1794 (between Arbella’s parent John Pratt Winter and Anne Gore) in which Samuel Winter (Arbella’s grand- father) and John Pratt Winter granted to James King and Robert Reynell (of Edmonton, Westmeath, brother-in-law of Samuel) as trustees the lands of Castletown and Kinnitty in the Barony of Ballybril, King’s County, to raise, £6,000 for the children of the marriage.
Now the settlement has been paid and Arbella Bomford has received £1,834 as her portion.
Witnessed: John Barnes of Stephen’s Green, Dublin, solicitor. (1868 Vol 7 No 227)
The marriage took place at Agher Church and, although the Rector of Agher, John Kellett, would have been there, the actual ceremony was carried out by Arbella’s uncle, the Rev Francis Pratt Winter. Francis was 61, had retired and was then living at Agher.
The Agher Parish Register reads “George Bomford of Drumlargan, Esq., married to Miss Arabella Winter, youngest daughter of John Pratt Winter of Agher, at Agher, 23rd July 1832 by Rev Pratt Winter.”
This must have been a large family wedding, but George’s only immediate relation was his brother Samuel who was surely his ‘best man’. It would have been a Winter orientated wedding because not only were John Pratt and Anne the parents of Arbella but also the foster-parents of George. However there were many Bomford cousins, and those living near-by might include:
- Robert George and Elizabeth of Rahinstown
- Frances Georgina and Richard Bolton of Bective, together with George’s only living aunt, Maria (Massy-Dawson) Bomford, who was living with them at Bective
- Jemima Letitia then engaged to Richard Bolton of Brook Lodge
- Isaac North and Belinda Emily of Ferrans, the other North relations were further away in Westmeath
- The Coates family of Bridestream House near Kilcock, and the Mockler cousins from near Trim.
All these would have an easy carriage ride to Agher, and even those from Westmeath could travel comfortably on the Royal Canal. Some of the Bomford houses were fairly empty, for instance Rahinstown and Ferrans, and these could take guests from further afield, like the Manserghs from Grenane in Tipperary or even the Heskeths and Tollemaches from England or the Martins from Germany. All of these were much the same age as George and Arbella, and most had only recently married so an excuse to visit home again and meet the family might be very welcome.
Of the Winters, those living at Agher included Arbella’s parents, her uncle Francis Pratt who married them and, possibly, her aunt Anna Maria; her brother Samuel and his wife Lucy were living with their four young children at Tullyard near Trim, though her other brothers, John Pratt soon to marry and even Francis of the East India Company, may have been at Agher. Her sister Elizabeth would have been at home, but Anna Maria was living in Co Cavan with her husband, William Humphry of Ballyhaise. Finally there were the children of Frances Rose, George’s cousin, and her husband Samuel Winter, Arbella’s uncle, who had both died late in the previous year; these children were being looked after by their aunt Anna Maria Winter and were living either in Dublin or at Agher; the eldest child, Mary Winter, was 18 and may have been a bridesmaid.
It is likely that the marriage settlement was signed at Agher so those who were party to it would have been at the wedding. They included Richard Winter Reynell whose grandmother was Jane Winter, a great aunt of Arabella; Thomas Barnes married Margaret Reynell, Richard’s aunt; the Rector of Agher was the Rev Kellett who was a brother-in-law to both Thomas Barnes and Richard Winter Reynell, so the Kelletts, the Barnes and the Reynells were all second cousins to Arabella and George. I have not been able to locate George Lucas Nugent, but the Nugents and the Reynells were intermarried a number of times, and even Francis Savage was related to the Nugents. Both the Reynell and the O’Reilly families occur later in this chapter.
The marriage settlement shows ‘George of Drumlargan’ but they did not live in the house. Drumlargan House, then called Bloomfield, was occupied by Mr Purdon and four years later the 1836 survey states that “it is occupied by a herd”. It is uncertain just where they lived after the wedding but it is clear from the next entry, George’s account book, that they were in a house on their own; perhaps there was a spare house on the Agher estate in which they lived until they moved to Oakley Park and it may have been Clarkestown House if it had been repaired after the fire of 1829.
The first entry is dated 17th December 1832 and all receipts and debits for the next two years are included. In December 1834 comes the entry “Closed in December 1834. Re-opened 24th October 1849 at Oakley Park being the 36th year of our reign and the 38th year of our age and having been at Oakley Park 12 years and 19 days. (Signed) Geo Bomford Secondus.” The account book is in the National Library in Dublin. Contact us for photos of entries.
His ‘reign’ started when he was two when his father died, but the most important date we get from this is 5th October 1837 when the family arrived at Oakley Park.
There are no noteworthy entries after October 1849 and very few of them. However various items have been collected together from the two years December 1832 to December 1834 and from these we get a limited but interesting insight into their way of life, and the social life of the time.
George did not have a house in Dublin at this time. The Almanacks mention him occasionally:
- 1834 (only): Agher, Summerhill, Co Meath.
- 1836 - 1844: Drumlargan, Summerhill, Co Meath
- 1842 onwards: Oakley Park, Kells, Co Meath.
- 1847 (only): No 4 Fitzwilliam Square North, Dublin, with a valuation of £125; this is the only mention of a town house and it was during the famine (25.8).
During these two years, 1832 - 1834, Arbella had two children, both born in Dublin, Anne on 13th September 1833 and George Winter on 12th November 1834. George Winter Bomford was baptised from 6 Upper Gardiners St on 14 December 1834 (St George parish records, Dublin). It is not known where Anne was baptised, not at Agher, as were four later children. These two visits to Dublin are not mentioned in the account book although other visits are when they stayed in hotels. It is therefore likely that the children were born in the town house of one of their relations, either Winter or Bomford.
Doctor Trotter of Summerhill (20.10) figures throughout these two years and also, less frequently, Doctor Turner. No doubt Doctor Turner lived in Dublin and had to do with the birth of the children.
Payments were made to Arbella, on average a little less than £5 a week, for housekeeping but there were also entries for vegetables, bread, fowl, eggs, meat, herrings and so on, so the £5 may have been pin-money. All this indicates a house with no garden; milk was bought and even ‘asses milk, £1’, so there were no cows either.
Beer may have been home brewed, ‘beer corks, 3/6’. The only hard liquor mentioned is a ‘bottle of brandy, 4/6’, and this in two years points to medicinal use rather than tippling. George certainly drank for there was an extensive cellar in Oakley Park, but maybe only with guests.
There were at least two servants who went with them to Oakley Park, John Priest who I think of as the coachman, and Warren whose Christian name was never entered and who was perhaps their cook or Arbella’s maid, or even the nurse for the children. Biddy Keeffe was mentioned by name a few times and it was thought at first that she was also a servant, but one entry reads “to Biddy Keeffe for papers, 10/-” so she may have had the local shop. All these received payments for ‘sundries’.
All George’s land was leased. He does not become a serious farmer until he moves to Oakley Park, and at this date he even had to buy hay for the horses.
Myles O’Reilly, George’s solicitor, was still looking after George’s affairs. The largest receipt for £1,300 was ‘from Myles O’Reilly for Mrs Dopping and Brian.’ The Doppings (9.3.6, 24.4) leased Clonfad.
The Rev Francis Winter rented land, probably the same part of Drumlargan which he had when George was a minor; but now the rent has almost doubled, being £226.16.2½ for the half year. However money was also paid ‘to Rev F. P. Winter, 23rd April, £500’ and no reason has been spotted for this large debt, more than the whole year’s rent.
There were other large receipts of rent and interest. One dated 5th May 1834 reads ‘from B P W for Knockturin etc, £515.13.6’. BPW must be George’s brother-in-law, Benjamin Pratt Winter, who later emigrated to Australia and died there in 1844; Benjamin did not lease the land because the tenants of Knockturin (Knockstown) were the same in the 1820s as they were in 1854, but he may have been George’s agent for Knockstown and the other properties in that area.
Surplus money was ‘lodged with French’. No check has been made but French must be a banker, perhaps at Kilcock the nearest market town.
Arbella must have had a flower garden. The back of the account book contains a long pencilled list of flowers and shrubs. These may have been for the start of the Oakley Park flower-knot and shrubbery, but some seed and plants were bought before they moved, for instance ‘Polyanthus 3/-’.
There was also an aviary. There was a parakeet, seeds for Polly -/6, and goldfinches, seeds -/8, and greenfinches, 3 for 1/-, the cages cost £2.18.0. They also had bantams outside.
In the summer of 1834 there was a blitz on bird pests, perhaps because Arbella was having difficulty with her new garden; two scarecrows at 1/- each, nine magpies at 1/- each, two jackdaws and three ravens at 6d each. The most interesting entry concerns hawks, which are now quite scarce; scattered through that summer are a number of hawk entries which total to no less than 26 hawks killed at 5d each. This large number of hawks show that there must have been much more small wildlife about then. One reason to account for the many small mammals was the appalling state of sanitation in those days around the cottages. Any kitchen waste was simply thrown out of the door onto the midden; indeed the manure heap was often across the only door and the Halls comment in their “Tour of Ireland of 1840” that stepping stones were laid so that one climbed up and over the manure heap to get to the door of the cottage. The Halls also complained that the manure seeped onto the floor of the cottage. It was only beginning to be appreciated that this was a health hazard which accounted for much disease and infant mortality, something which had been realized by the Winters who at the beginning of the century had built new stone and slate cottages for their workers and which George was soon to do at Drumlargan.
The age of the horse is well shown. One of George’s horses was aptly named Beelzebub, ‘blisters for Beelzebub, 2/6’, and was sold on “15th December for £13.17.8”. 6d was the normal tip given to the ‘boy for holding horse’; a sixpenny tip was given for the same job in Kells during the 1939 - 1945 war.
There are more than a dozen entries for ‘turnpikes’ ranging from 2d to 5/-, and totalling 19/1; the Maynooth turnpike cost l/1 ½ and the Dublin one 2/1½d. At this time the roads in Ireland compared very favourably with the best roads of England, indeed many contemporary visitors were full of praise for the Irish roads. Other horsey items included, rug for carriage 18/-, horse shoeing 15/-, post boy 2/-, hostler 2/6, postillion 3/- and they got another 6d if the horse was fed.
‘Passage on boat’ at 2/9 with cabin boy 6d occurs four times in 1834. This must be the Royal Canal boat, which could take the family very conveniently, and comfortably into Dublin or Maynooth from Ferrans Lock, or the other way into Westmeath to Killucan Lock which is just north of Clonfad. Lunch cost 1/- on the boat. Most of the canal boats carried goods but in the early 1800s a passenger service was started on boats “about 35 feet long having a raised cabin, its roof forming a deck to walk upon we slipped through the water in the most delightful manner imaginable, at the rate of four miles an hour”, Sir John Carr writing in 1805. Faster boats, named Flyboats, were introduced in the 1830s and carried 46,000 passengers on the Royal Canal in 1836; they took a little under five hours into North Dublin from Ferrans Lock.
On the social side the 17th December 1834 Christmas ‘Ball at Trim’ cost 10/6. These balls were common throughout the country, particularly in the garrison towns like Trim and Kilcock, and gave the opportunity to meet friends from further a field, and George and Arbella had many around Trim and beyond. They were usually held in the ‘Assembly Rooms’ and some like those in Trim were very successful and went on for a number of years. There was a ball each night during the Trim Race Week; Trim was particularly famous for its race meetings which were first promoted in the 1750s by Chichester Fortescue, son-in-law of the 1st Lord Mornington who lived with him at Dangan Castle (1.8.2), and by Lord Hercules Langford Rowley of Summerhill (2.11.2), the importance of the former Trim races, (they ceased in 1915), can be gauged from the places the bloodstock came from, since they were compelled to make the arduous trek on foot to Trim, and they came from all parts of the country including Belfast and Cork.
Arbella made at least two visits in February and July 1834 to Killynon, the home of Richard and Frances Reynell. She also visited Tullaghard a few times where her brother Samuel and Lucy Winter lived. To make these visits worthwhile they probably lasted a few days, and no doubt they were returned though there is no mention of this in the account book. Both these families were about the same age as George and Arbella and they had also started their young families, so there was much in common. .
Three nights in February 1832 were spent in Dublin, hotel and servant 18/-, and again in July for two nights, hotel etc £1.7.l½ these were not shopping trips, there were no other purchases, so they must have been social and it is interesting that even then hotel charges were seasonal. There were no away trips in 1833, although Anne was born in September in Dublin, but in 1834 there was a longer holiday to Dublin and Enniskerry, and back to Dublin again. ‘Porters at Gresham’s 1/-’, the Gresham Hotel had recently been opened and charged £5.7.0 for an unspecified number of nights, plus 6d for a bath. They went to the ‘Zoological’ where the entrance fee was ‘6d for 3’; the Zoo had opened the previous summer. They took horses to Enniskerry which cost 6/- and the hotel there cost £3.19.8. Then they went to somewhere else where they stayed from August 20th to 27th and the hotel cost £17.7.10. They returned to Dublin where the hotel cost £6.2.0. They must have gone to church because the plate got 1/- or 6d each, and they went to the College Museum (1/-) and to the College of Surgeons (1/-). They also bought a chessboard for £1.10.0. In all this holiday cost £36.16.6 and they stayed 13 nights in hotels at something under £3 a day. These Dublin hotels prove that they did not have a town house at this time.
It was not long before George took his place as a county gentleman, and in November 1834 he was created a JP for County Meath and remained so until he died. Much of the Biblical language has been omitted.
“William the Fourth by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith and so forth to our right trusty and right entirely beloved ... (long list of names) ... and George Bomford, of Agher, near Summerhill, Esquire, greetings, know ye, that reposing special Trust and Confidence in your Fidelity, Prudence and Care, have appointed, and by these Presents Do appoint You and every of You jointly and severally our Justices to Keep Our Peace in our County of Meath to Chastise and Punish all Persons offending against all manner of Treasons, Murders, Manslaughters, Burnings, unlawful Assemblies, Felonies, Robberies, Witchcrafts, Inchantments, Sorceries, Magic Arts, Trespasses, Forestallings, Regratings, Engrossings, and Extortions whatsoever (and much more in like vein) ...
Signed for Meath: Richard, Marquis Wellesley
Signed and sealed: George, Earl of Granard, Our Lieutenant General and General Governor of our said Kingdom of Ireland, at Dublin, the seventh day of November in the fourth year of our Reign.”
The long list of JPs has been omitted but they were all major landowners spread throughout the county, and George as the newly appointed JP is listed last. Relations include Robert George Bomford of Rahinstown, George’s first cousin, John Pratt Winter of Agher, George’s father-in-law and ex-guardian, Richard Bolton of Bective Abbey, husband of George’s first cousin Frances, Samuel Winter of Tullaghard, George’s brother-in-law, John Mockler of Trim who might be a son of George’s aunt Margaret (Bomford), and Thomas Barnes of Westland, no relation but a trustee of George’s marriage settlement.
Incidentally, the offences of Forestalling, Regrating and Engrossing all have much the same meaning to the layman, to corner or monopolise the market and so to sell again at a much higher price.
Given the Vote
In 1832, when he came of age, George was given the vote as a land-owner. There were a number of limitations to those who could vote, one being that they had to have a 20-year leasehold. I have not found a list of the Meath voters on which George would be included, but he could vote also in Westmeath and the extract under the Barony of Farbill reads “Bomford, George, Agher, Lands Clonfad, (value £) 50, (and in the remark column) Stand over.” Clonfad was held freehold so there was no entry in the Landlord column.
Grand Jury Member
In 1845 George was made a member of the Meath Grand Jury and appears to have been a member for most, if not all, of the rest of his life. He was probably the last Bomford to be a member of the Grand Jury, since it was replaced by County Councils in Balfords’s Local Government Act of 1898.
In 1841 when he bought Oakley Park he also took over responsibility for the upkeep of the road to the south and west, from the crossroads at Dulane to the back road to Mullagh past the old farmyard up to the border with Maperath. The main road past Oakley Park from Moynalty to Mapes Bridge was the responsibility of Thomas Barnes of Westland. There was a footpath, if not two, all along this main road until comparatively recently when the road was widened.
There is much to be said for maintaining your own local road, at least the potholes would be filled or the neighbours would complain. Gravel had to be spread constantly or they would be cut up by the narrow iron-shod cartwheels. The local supervisor had to find the gravel, which is plentiful in Meath, and would use his own labour; expenses were covered and paid at the Lent Assizes.
Myles’ affairs as a solicitor were being wound up. He was involved with the purchase of Drumlargan and must have been the solicitor to the two Georges for over 40 years. It is not known how old he was but his father, another Myles of Dublin, had died in 1775 and so this Myles must be over 60. However he is still active and indeed the letter says that he is off to Clonfad shortly. Myles hands over George’s affairs to Samuel Arthur Reynell of Archerstown, and this letter starts concerning the transfer of all the deeds and documents. There is a schedule of documents amongst the papers which must be the consequence of this hand over, but Myles refuses to hand the documents direct to Samuel Reynell “for I never deliver deeds etc to any person but the person to whom they belong.” He goes on to say that “there are some of them I must retain until Dopping’s affairs are disposed of”.
The Dopping family first occurs in the papers of October 1757 concerning the lease of Culmullin, and there (9.3.6) will be found their family tree which ends with Samuel Dopping, 1761 - 1821, and the children of his brother Ralph of Erne Head; Ralph’s second son Henry Dopping, 1801 - 1883, married in 1836 Frances Bomford-Jessop a grand-daughter of Thomas Bomford of Clounstown (14.2). In 1794 Samuel Dopping succeeded to his father’s property except for that in Co Longford, Erne Head and Derrycasson, which went to Ralph. Samuel lived at Lowtown, a ‘richly wooded demesne’ in 1836 which was sited between Clonfad and Hightown, which used to belong to Edward Bomford; in 1807 he extended his farmland by leasing 374 acres of Clonfad from George the elder.
It would appear that Samuel’s marital status was suspect; according to Burke he died unmarried but he had a son, Antony John, born in 1791 by a woman named Kenny, and then he formed a connection with Anne Kelly whom he later married; he had several children by her including one named William. William married the second daughter of the Rev Cecil Crampton of Killucan, Jane Crampton, in 1843 and then moved abroad somewhere, perhaps to Australia. Samuel died in 1821 and in his will he left most of his land to his eldest son Antony John but he left the house and land of Lowtown to William. Antony John had been living at the Dopping House, Culmullen House ‘an elegent residence’ east of Summer Hill. However, the will was alleged to have been a forgery and the case came before the Trim Assizes in 1824 when the jury found for Antony John. Meanwhile Antony John married in 1823; sometime after 1838 he too went abroad and died in Australia. Some of the property was sold in 1849 and the rest in 1851. (Source ‘The Grand Juries of Westmeath’)
It was with this background in mind that we can see why Myles O’Reilly wanted to hold onto some of the documents about ‘Dopping’s affairs’ and why some of George’s land at Clonfad was sub-let. Myles says “on reading the lease made to Mr Dopping I find that there is no covenant in against subletting, indeed in dealing with a gentleman of rank and property I did not think it likely that such a covenant should be introduced”. This would be the 1807 lease of Clonfad for 31 years (18.8.1), which will expire in 1838. No more is heard of this matter so no doubt Myles sorted it all out.
Another reason for holding the documents is that “it is right I should inform (you) that there is a question remaining between you and your brother (Samuel) respecting debts paid off by your mother affecting your estate.” There are no other clues concerning this reference, but there are a number of possibilities; the money could be Samuel’s legacy of £4,500 from the case ‘Bomford versus Hamilton’ mentioned in Arbella’s will (18.9.3), or his other legacy of £4,000 from his father’s marriage settlement (18.8.4), or, more likely, the balance of the payment due on Drumlargan which their mother paid just before she died. Whatever the occasion, some of Samuel’s money had been used by his mother Arbella to pay some debt due on what is now George’s property.
Payment to Myles O’Reilly
A thorny point made by Myles is that “Mr Reynell also called upon me to furnish your costs, this induces me to think that you are not satisfied with the proposals I made to you thro Mr Winter nearly a year ago...”. He goes on to say that he will do so but that the work will be ‘very voluminous’ and ‘if I mistake not, will considerably exceed the sum I offered to take’. It is clear in the next letter that the original offer of £1,000 costs was accepted by George.
Clonfad Land Burnt
Possibly as a result of the Dopping problems and the sub-letting of Clonfad, some ‘malcontents’ burned the land which, judging from the date of the letter, included the harvest. Concerning this Myles says: “with, respect to the burning of your land that is severely punishable and the parties guilty are subject to a penalty of £10 for every acre burned and in proportion for a lessor quantity. I have given Mr Reynell instructions what is proper to be done, in the first instance that is to get the burned lots surveyed ascertaining who burned and the exact quantity burned by each person, but in case you determined to prosecute for this offence Mr Reynell will not be able to do it, not being legally bred. I shall be in the country, please God, in two or three days time and remain until near the first of November and if he writes to me I will meet him at Clonfad and see everything properly done and prosecute the parties at Petit Sessions.” There is no further mention of this matter but I detect that Myles as an attorney disapproves of the appointment of Reynell who is not ‘legally bred’ and who queried the matter of Myles’ costs.
This letter from Myles is from “5 Margaret Place, Mt Joy Square”, now called Mountjoy Square.
My Dear George
I have been so tormented with blisters day after day that I had it not in my power to write to thank you for the kind and hansom manner in which you have discharged your costs due to me and now that the transaction is finally closed I assure you that in the offer I made and that you accepted I took care to be under the mark. If you had been my own son I could not be more careful of your interest than I was through the whole course of your minority and since you have come of age and had I not so acted I would have been very ungrateful for your father was my warm and firm friend, no doubt he was nearly related to us but we do not always see relations in the first rank of friends.
I here enclose you my receipt for one thousand pounds bearing date the day I received it. It will always afford me sincere pleasure to find you enjoying peace; health, happiness and prosperity and if I can on occasion assist you by advice or information command me freely.
Present my best reguards to Mrs Bomford and believe me to be ever most truly yours
The letter was folded, sealed and sent to George at Agher. The penny postage was not introduced for another three years and in 1837 the accepted postage was four pence and the figure ‘4’ has been written in ink on the front. The reverse has the O’Reilly wax seal and a red diamond postmark. Inside the diamond is the date “2 My 2” with below ‘1837’ and above ‘4a’ which is the number allocated to one of the Dublin Post Offices: the postmark of the earlier letter is similar but reads “3a - Oc 5 – 35”.
The O’Reilly family trace their ancestors back to AD 435 when St Patrick baptised the twelve sons of Brian, the 4th Milesian King of Connaught. The first O’Reilly of East Breffney appeared about 560 and there are yards of family tree, but I never spotted how Myles fitted in. Myles was a family name from early times being anglicised from the Irish “Maolmordma” in the 1600s However the tree of O’Reilly of Baltrasna, near Oldcastle, Co Meath, includes Thomas O’Reilly (1741-1805), who married Margaret Sibthorpe of Dunany (died 1823), a niece of Stephen Bomford of Rahinstown and daughter of Robert Sibthorpe (8.2.1). Thomas O’Reilly’s sister Mary married James O’Reilly of Millcastle, Co Westmeath. This James may well be the James of Millcastle who witnessed the 1809 marriage settlement of George Bomford and Arbella Winter (18.8.4). Since Myles O’Reilly is recorded ‘of Millcastle’ in the 1832 deed (24.1) it is suggested that Myles and James are closely related, perhaps brothers or even father and son; that James died before 1832 without living children and left Millcastle to Myles.
The next reference about Millcastle in the O’Reilly tree concerns a grandnephew of James of Millcastle; he is Robert John (1813-79) of Millcastle. So it now seems that Myles and Georgina also had no children and willed Millcastle to Robert John. These suppositions also give substance to the contention of Myles O’Reilly that he was ‘nearly related’ to George Bomford the elder.
The Reynell family came to Ireland in the early 1600s. Later Edmond Reynell of Dublin purchased land in Westmeath and in 1720 his son Arthur purchased Ballynegall which he renamed Castle Reynell. In 1720 Arthur married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Cooke of Cookesborough who in 1734 leased land to Laurence Bomford of Rathfeigh. Arthur’s family died out and Ballynegall was sold to and rebuilt by James Gibbons in 1808; he used the stone of the old house; in 1847 the house was passed to a nephew, J.W. M. Berry; in turn he passed it to his cousin Thomas J. Smyth in 1855, and it was sold by the Smyths in 1963. These Smyths are a branch of the Smith family who had many places around Westmeath including Violetstown. It was Anne Smith of Violetstown who married Stephen Bomford the elder of Gallow about 1720 (2.13).
Arthur Reynell had two brothers and a sister. The second brother was Richard with whom I have started the family tree, and about 1720 he married another daughter of Robert Cooke, Dorcas; so two brothers married two sisters. Richard a Captain in the 5th Dragoon Guards, had fourteen children, six of whom inherited property in Westmeath – Reynella, Killynon, Woodfort, Killough, Ballinaleck and Edmonton; two of his sons, Nicholas of Reynella and Edward of Killynon, also married two sisters, Jane and Mary Winter, who were aunts to Arbella the wife of George Bomford the elder. (Winter tree.)
Nicholas Reynell of Reynella married twice and Mary Winter was his second wife; Mary had no children but his first wife, Frances Brush of Kilrush, had two boys and a girl. On the other hand Edward Reynell, a clergyman of Killynon, had five children by Jane Winter and it is this branch in which we are interested. Killynon is on the Mullingar to Kells road, about 6 miles from Mullingar, and Reynella was passed on and eventually ended with Nicolas’ great-grand-daughter Elizabeth who married Townley Balfour of Townley Hall at the site of the Battle of the Boyne. Reynella is described in 1838 by Lewis as an elegant residence situated in a fine demesne adorned with a lake and extensive plantations. Lewis does not comment on Killynon, which Edward used as his rectory for Killynon Church
Edward Reynell’s eldest son Richard (1768 - 1834) of Killynon married his cousin Harriett in 1795; their daughter Margaret married Thomas Barnes of Donover, near Moynalty; their second daughter Jane married William Kellet the Rector of Moynalty; there was another daughter and a son, none of whom married. Jane and William Kellet had a daughter named Jane who married her cousin Thomas, the son of Margaret and Thomas Barnes. It is likely that it was their son, Thomas Barnes the younger, who in 1832 was living at Westland near Moynalty, who was a trustee of Arbella Bomford’s annuity from her marriage settlement of 1832, and who in 1838 leased the north part of Oakley Park from George Bomford.
When Richard Reynell died in 1834, Killynon passed to his eldest son: Richard Winter Reynell, 1804 - 1887. Richard Winter Reynell was a trustee of the marriage settlement of George and Arbella, and Arbella visited them at Killynon a couple of times in 1834; no doubt one of those visits was for the funeral of Richard the elder. Richard Winter Reynell was educated at Trinity, became a Grand Juror and JP for Co Westmeath where he was High Sheriff in 1839. By 1878 his land was scattered all over, 471 acres in Fermanagh, 162 acres in Meath, the 289 acres at Killynon in Westmeath, and 209 acres in Wexford, so he had a total of 1,119 acres with a valuation of £983. In 1830 he married Frances Alexandrina the youngest daughter of James Sanderson of Clover Hall (originally Drumcassidy) near Belturbet in Cavan. Another Sanderson daughter, Lucy, married in 1826 Samuel Winter (20.6) who was Arbella’s brother; Lucy inherited Clover Hill and she passed it on to her third son, Samuel Winter, provided he took the name of Sanderson which he did; however he had no children so Clover Hill was passed to his nephew, John James Purdon, who died in 1933 unmarried. Finally his nephew John Nugent Purdon inherited Clover Hill and sold it about 1958.
Richard’s younger son was Samuel Arthur Reynell, JP, of Archerstown and it is to him that Myles O’Reilly hands over all George’s documents. Samuel Arthur is therefore George’s second cousin; he was born in 1814 so is a couple of years younger than George but they were both at Trinity together. In 1836 he married his cousin, Frances Elizabeth, a daughter of General John Nugent. At his death in 1877 he owned 1,519 acres in Meath and 1,566 acres in Westmeath with a total valuation of £1,961 and this was about the same as George’s property.
According to the Ordnance Survey of 1837 “Archerstown House is hansomely situated in the estate, convenient to which and on the north side is Archerstown Lake, containing a small island with a house on it. Attached to the house are a portion of wood and garden. There is more wood 15 chains west of the house”.
This rather involved history due to the marriage of so many cousins is hopefully made clearer below.
Oakley Park - Before the Bomfords 1640 - 1837
There are a number of deeds concerning Oakley Park dating from 1709, and these will be found in detail later (e.g. 25.2.1). The deeds were given to the National Library of Ireland in 2006.
We can trace the ownership of Oakley Park with fair certainty back to 1640 when Laurencetown, the original name, belonged to Thomas Betagh. The name Betagh was later anglicised to Beatty. The Betaghs were of Anglo-Norman origin, although some claim they were of Norse origin. In the 12th Century the Parish of Dulane, then called Tuilen, was in the possession of the families of Mape, Betagh and Plunkett; and we can assume that Laurencetown at any rate was in the hands of the Betagh from that date. As a christian name Laurence (or Lawrence) occurs often in the Betagh family lists and the original townland name of Laurencetown is derived from some member of the family maybe even as far back as the 12th century.
In 1640 the Down Survey (2.11.3) states that on Laurencetown, then 226 plantation acres (366 statute), were a ruined castle, most likely the former residence of the Betaghs, and some ‘cabbins’. There is no mention of a house but it is likely that some sort of a house was put up between that date and the early 1700s. The castle was in the wood in the upper lawn to the east of the avenue and beside a pond; the last of the ruins were demolished in the 1950s when the land was cleared of timber after the property was sold by Colonel G. W. Bomford. When Oakley Park was remodelled in the 1950s a heavy and long timber roof beam was found with the inscription “P. Kiernan Carpenter 1649” and this inscription indicates that a house was built to replace the castle about 1649 and after the Betaghs had been removed by the Cromwellian settlement.
The Betaghs were Catholic Royalists at the time of Cromwell and after the Cromwellian War the head of the Betagh family, Francis Betagh of Moynalty, was “robbed of his estates by Anglo-Sectarian perjury, and gallantly served in the Irish Brigade”. This statement needed to be investigated and turned out to be true. The report of the Cromwellian Commonwealth Court of Claims, which investigated the case in 1662 states that various people swore Francis “to be in arms and in charge of a foot company plundering and stripping the Protestants in October 1641”. This was enough to have his estates confiscated, and so they were, and so too was Laurencetown. Much later it was discovered that Francis was only two years old, some say nine, in 1641. Thus he was in fact ‘robbed of his estates by Anglo-Sectarian perjury’. Although it was later acknowledged that the testimony was false, yet under the terms of the Act of Settlement there was no redress, and in any case by that date Francis Betagh had left for France and had joined the Irish Brigade. His grandson formed the ‘Regiment De Betagh’ and saw service in the Battle of Fontenoy (1745) when the Irish Brigade turned the battle in favour of the French. Not all the Betaghs went to France, many were transplanted to Connaught. It will be remembered that Colonel Laurence Bomford was [perhaps] the Secretary of the Court of Claims and may have been the secretary when this case was re-investigated.
After the confiscation in 1654, at a lottery held in London, the town of Kells had fallen to the Cromwellian Lieutenant Colonel Richard Stephens, and he became the Head Landlord. One can assume that he got Laurencetown at the same time, but he soon leased it to Captain Spering. In 1660 Colonel Stephens sold his interests in Kells to Thomas Taylor who had come to Ireland in 1653 (2.11.3); thus the Taylor family of Headfort became the Head Landlord of Kells. Captain Spering sold his lease of Laurencetown to the Oakley family before the end of the 1600s. The Oakley family renamed Laurencetown and called the place Oakley Manor, this became Oakley Park, which also became the name of the townland; it is likely that the Oakley family lived in the house on Laurencetown since they went to the trouble of renaming the place and the new name Oakley Manor does suggest a house. The Oakley family had left before the first Bomford document of 1709 at which time it had been leased to Joseph Williams and the townland name had reverted to the old name of Laurencetown. By 1814 the Rev Jason Crawford had revived the name of Oakley Park and this name has been used ever since.
Although Colonel Stephens sold his interest in Kells to Thomas Taylor in 1660 it is probable that he sold his interest in Laurencetown to John Graham of Platten, an alderman of Drogheda, or to his father. At any rate the early Bomford deeds record the Graham family as the Head Landlord. About 1730 Laurencetown came into the hands of Sir Thomas Taylor through his marriage in 1714 with Sarah, one of John Graham’s daughters. Sir Thomas, son of Thomas, was knighted in 1704 and his great-grandson was made the first Marquess of Headfort in 1800. These were the Head Landlords of Laurencetown, receiving £100 a year for the land until sometime before 1886 when the head rent was reduced to £86; around 1900 the Headforts dropped out of the picture and the Bomfords owned the land outright; it was probably John Francis Bomford who purchased the lease from the Headforts.
But to return to the house, Mark Bence-Jones who edited Burke’s Guide to Country Houses saw the drawings, which included the extension and were dated about 1840; he estimated that the original oldest part, the centre of the house, was built between 1710 and 1725. However from the documents we can be more precise. Joseph Williams mortgaged the land a number of times between 1712 and 1717 for £1,285 and I believe that this money was used to build the original house between those years. It was a square one-storey house with a basement. The front faced southwest with three bays. Inside it had a long hall with an apse at its inner end where a doorway led to an inner hall containing a partly curved staircase; the ground floor consisted of four rooms, two on each side, and the first floor had six bedrooms; the basement contained the kitchen scullery etc.
Joseph Williams remained at Laurencetown from about 1700 to 1726 but he could not maintain the mortgages and the land became the property of Lord Tyrawley, and in 1726 of Edward Ford. In 1730 the Crawford family took the lease from the Fords and lived there until 1829 but Ford remained as a middleman until about 1747. This was a century of stability and long enough for the Crawfords to make improvements.
In 1730 a survey was carried out with the long title “A survey and plan of Laurencetown situate in the Parish of Duelaine, Barony of Kelles and County of Meath, which contains arable, meadow, pasture and bogg, four hundred and forty eight acres, one rood and thirty two perches (about 727 statute acres). Surveyed at the request of Edward Foord Esqr in the month October 1730 by me Cornelius Shortte.”
This plan, see below with the original spelling, only shows a symbol for the house, but it does show ‘The Old Grove or Out Lett from ye Backyard’ running north-west or, in present day terms, out through the flower-knot and big garden, and so the house faced south-west as it does now. The only other house shown is that of Thomas Sheiles, but there are four holdings shown which would be leases, those of Thomas Sheiles, Constant Smith, McGrain and Daly. Two fields were called “Captain William’s”, and it may be that he was Joseph Williams or a relation.
At that time the Kells to Moynalty road went over the present avenue bridge, passed the site of the old castle and out beside the back lodge; Kinsella’s house, or Thomas Sheiles’ house in 1730, was then at the side of the road. Later, probably in the 1770s or 1780s, the line of the road was altered to its present position, and the old road became part of the front and back avenues. Later still the two lodges were built. This let much more space to the east of the house and so a formal garden was laid out between the back lodge and the yard pond. The present yard was probably built about 1815 but this date is uncertain. All these improvements were carried out by the Crawfords and are shown in the survey map of 1837.
The course of the river upstream of the avenue bridge deviated into a mass of ditches stretching to beyond the Duckcoy. This whole area was until recently a marsh prone to flooding, and the ditches shown in the 1730 map are still there. My grandfather remembers punting around the ‘Great Bogg’ and lying up in the Duckcoy awaiting the arrival of wild duck. The Red bog must have been dug in an attempt to drain the bottoms sometime after 1730 because it is not shown on that map, and at the same time the course of the river was deepened and certain sections were newly dug. By 1836 all this work had been completed and the survey of that date shows the new course of the river and the Red Bog, and further states that the “Red Bog Lough of 6 acres contains two small islands and is the only Lough in the Parish”. However none of this work was effective in the long run and the Lough silted up; indeed I never remember seeing any open water there, which probably accounts for the word ‘Lough’ being omitted, it was simply known as the ‘Red Bog’. In the 1980s another attempt was made to drain the ‘Great Bogg’ and the river was lowered about ten feet along its whole length to the Blackwater. Time will tell whether this will be a success but unfortunately it caused the collapse of the lovely stone single arched avenue bridge, the old road bridge, which must have been built in the early 1600s, though maybe much earlier; the Kells road bridge over the River Blackwater has recently been dated as c1350 and the Oakley Park stream would have been bridged about that date as well, but whether the avenue bridge was the original one can not be said.
A deed of 1739 states that Laurencetown consisted of 20 cottages gardens and orchards, one dove house, one mill, and 200 acres of meadow, 100 of pasture, 10 wood, 10 moor and 10 of heath and furze. No clue is given as to the site of the mill, but it must have been a windmill and situated on ‘ye Mountain’. The acreage only totals 330 and this only sounds correct if we take out the ‘unprofitable land’ of the Great Bog and such land was often omitted in the deeds of those days.
In 1797 the Rev Jason Crawford married Henrietta Rowley from the neighbouring estate of Maperath, and their eldest son John Maxwell Crawford inherited Oakley Park when his father died in December 1829. John Maxwell Crawford and his wife, another Rowley from Maperath did not live at Oakley Park but leased it to Thomas Rowley from 1829 until 1833 whilst the latter was rebuilding Maperath. Finally for the few years from 1833 until George Bomford moved in on 5th October 1837, Oakley Park was in the hands of Captain William Graham who, according to the 1836 survey “resides in the residence”.
The last non-Bomford deed about Oakley Park follows. In it the land is cleared of all mortgages so that the place can be sold to George Bomford free of any encumbrances.
Reconveyance of Mortgages on Oakley Park, 8th November 1837
1. William Graham of Newtownberry, Co Wexford; and
2. John Downing Nesbitt of Toberdaly, King’s County.
1. On 12th December 1825 William Graham was given a mortgage for £1,000 by various linen merchants of Lisburn and others (they are all named in the deed). The security being the rents of various lands, not named, in Co Meath. (Oakley Park was included but the actual deed is missing),
2. 20th December 1833. William Graham, Colonel of the Meath Militia, died in July 1808 leaving as his executors John Mockler of Trim (15.6.3 son of Margaret, daughter of Stephen Bomford the younger of Rahinstown), and Michael Neligan, surgeon of the Meath Militia. An annuity was left to his wife of £200, and £500 to each of his children, Oliver and John Graham, Mary and Delia Graham. The eldest son, William then a lieutenant (captain in 1836) of the 71st Regiment of Foot (later Highland Light Infantry), inherited and instructed the executors to continue payments. Oliver died in 1825, and Michael Neligan one of the executors died in 1831.
3. The son, William Graham, married Matilda Manning and the marriage settlement brought in more land. Matilda was to be given an annuity of £200 on William’s death.
4. On 18th April 1834 Laurencetown was mortgaged for £13,600. (See the Oakley Park deeds).
Now William Graham has paid John Downing Nesbitt the sum of £15,000, which covers the mortgages of 12th December 1825 (£1,000), 18th April 1834 (£13,600) and the bequests of 20th December 1833. All the lands involved revert to the normal ownership of William Graham.
Signed: J. D. Nesbitt
Witnessed: William Tucker; J. C. Barnes
William Graham of Oakley Park has descendents (Fredda Steeves emails 29 Jun & 4 Jul 2010).
The day after the above document Oakley Park was formally handed over to George Bomford by William Graham, though actually George had moved into the house the previous month (24.2). Unfortunately this document is missing so we do not know the price of the place; however it was probably of the order of the £15,000 paid by William Graham to Nesbitt. If it was this figure then it works out at £20.5.0 an acre, which is much more than was paid for Drumlargan, but the pound had been devalued since then so that is not a fair comparison. It would be better to compare it to the next land purchase of Baltrasna, which works out at £19.4.0 an acre. This confirms the price of land and £15,000 for Oakley Park appears to be a reasonable figure when one considers that Baltrasna had no buildings of note.
It would be nice to think that the ownership of Oakley Park in the early 1700s had gone the full circle, starting with John Graham of Platten and ending with his grandson or great grandson, William Graham of County Wexford. However to date I have been unable to fill the gap in the following tree which has been made purely from the documents.
Fredda Steeves has provided the following lineage for the Graham family (emails 18 & 19 Jul 2011):
1a John Graham m Margaret?, died before 1638 of Co Armagh
2a Robert Graham, b 1620, d 1680 m Mary Bell 1630-1673 and remarried but can't for sure see name: looks like Anna Blundell. These Grahams lived in Ballyheridan, Co Armagh
3a John Graham, b 1655, d 1717 of Platten Co Meath m Charity Newton in 1680
4a Robert Graham, married Cicily Cusack. He was the eldest son, but was passed over as heir to his younger brother William, possibly because Cicily was a Roman Catholic. Robert and Cicily had a son
5a John Graham, m Margaret Godly of Killegar. Their son was
6a John Graham m Catherine Gorges in 1755 (She was of Richard Gorges family). John and Catherine had 5 sons and 2 daughters
7a Gorges Graham d unm
7b Lieut Col Richard Graham
7c John Graham
7d Hamilton Graham
7e Lieut Col William Graham of the Royal Meath Militia of Coolester and Drogheda, who inherited and m Mary Fairclough in 1789, and had issue, 3 sons and 2 unmarried daughters
8a William Graham, Captain, m Matilda Manningin 1814. They had 4 sons and 5 daughters
9a William Francis Graham
9b Gorges Graham
9c Oliver Graham
9d Anthony Graham
9e Margaret Maria Graham
9f Mary Graham
9g Matilda Graham
9h Anna Marie Graham
9i Adelaide Graham
8b Oliver Graham
8c John Graham
8d Mary Graham, unmarried
8e Delia Graham, unmarried
7f Elizabeth Graham
7g Catherine Graham.
4b William Graham, who inherited.
When George took over Oakley Park there remained a middleman; in 1799 he was Hugh Cuming, a public notary of Dublin, and when Hugh died (will January 1830, proved May) his family moved to Shrewsbury in England. In 1837 George’s rent on Oakley Park was £100 to the Marquess of Headfort and £206.15.5 to Robert John Cuming, son of Hugh Cuming.
Both deeds are missing, the conveyance of 13th May 1839 and the indemnity of the next day, but they would show that Robert John Cuming was paid off by George and so George’s only rent from that time was to the Head Landlord, Thomas the 2nd Marquess of Headfort (1787 - 1870) who received £100.
In 1837 George not only bought Oakley Park but Baltrasna as well. The documents include early deeds concerning tenant leases, which were still current. Baltrasna lies just north of the Mullagh crossroads where the Dunshaughlin to Kilcock road crosses the Summerhill to Dunboyne road.
Lease of part of the lands of Baltrasna containing 28 plantation acres (57 statute) in the Parish of Culmullen, Barony of Deece, by John Hussey, Baron Galtrim, to Robert Kerran at a rent of £35.6.3 at £1.5.0 an acre for 41 years or for the natural lives of:
- James Kerran, aged 8, eldest son of Robert Kerran,
- Thomas Kerran, aged 6, second son of Robert Kerran, and
- William Kerran, aged 2, third son of Robert Kerran
“For every tree cut down, two to be planted”.
“The river to be widened and sunk every third year”.
Lease of part of the lands of Baltrasna containing 51 plantation acres (83 statute) by John Hussey, Baron Galtrim, to John Lenaugham at a rent of £61.4.9 at £1.4.0 per acre for the natural lives of
- Walter Lenaugham, aged 9, eldest son of John Lenaugham
- Thomas Lenaugham, aged 7, second son, and
- Peter Lenaugham, aged 1, third son.
“For every tree cut down, two to be planted. On the above date there were 20 ash trees and 5 elms”.
1. Edward Thomas Hussey, JP, and Edward Horatio Hussey, both of Rathkenny, Co Meath. (Rathkenny Castle is 4 miles northwest of Slane with an estate of 1,600 acres.)
2. John Gavagan, farmer, of Baltrasna
Edward Thomas and his eldest son Edward Horatio lease to John Gavagan the lands of Baltrasna formerly in the hands of Simon Gavagan, deceased, containing 55 plantation acres (89 statute) at a rent of £86.17.0 for 41 years or three lives, those of:
- Barry McGusty now aged about 3
- Alexander Delap McGusty now aged about 1 (both sons of George Murray McGusty, solicitor of Dublin); and
- William Gavagan now aged about 4, son of John Gavagan.
1. Edward Thomas Hussey and Edward Horatio Hussey, both of Rathkenny, and
2. James Coffey of North King Street, Dublin, corn and hay factor
The Husseys lease part of the lands of Baltrasna, formerly leased to Michael Coffey, deceased, containing 34 plantation acres (56 statute) for 31 years from 1826 at the rent of £54.14.6.
1. Thomas Popham Luscombe of Gayfield, Co Dublin, and Farmery Redan Epworth Luscombe of Co Dublin.
2. Edward Thomas Hussey of Rathkenny Castle.
Edward Thomas Hussey paid £1,340 to Thomas Popham Luscombe. This cleared the debts on the lands of Rathkenny, Drominstown, Mullaghmore, and Clogher in the Parish of Rathkenny, Barony of Slane; and of Galtrim, Lennenstown, Baltrasna, Galtrim Boystown, and Bogginstown in the Parish of Culmullen, Barony of Deece. (1836 Book 10 No 27)
1. Sir Edmund Bacon of Raveningham Hall, Co Norfolk, (1779 - 1864). Rev Algernon Peyton of Doddington,Cambridge. (Brother-in- Law of Edward Horatio Hussey).
2. Edward Thomas Hussey of St Andrews Place, Regents Park, Middlesex, and of Rathkenny, Co Meath.
3. Edward Horatio Hussey of Rathkenny, eldest son and heir apparent of Edward Thomas Hussey.
4. George Bomford of Agher.
5. Samuel Winter of Tullaghard (George’s brother-in-law who inherited Agher in 1846), and George Murray McGusty, attorney of Blessington Street, Dublin.
George Bomford paid £9,300 to Sir Edmund Bacon and Algernon Peyton for the townland of Baltrasna, alias Baltrasnagh, containing 299 plantation acres (484 statute) being part of the lands of Galtrim.
To clarify previous doubts the balance of the lands of Galtrim, the estates of Edward Thomas Hussey and Edward Horatio Hussey, containing 1,318 plantation acres, were conveyed to Samuel Winter and George Murray McGusty. (1837 Book 12 No 152)
So George paid £9,300 for 484 acres of Baltrasna of which we have four leases totalling 285 acres, those of Kerran, Lenaugham, Gavagan and Coffey, the last three were still running in 1854. The marriage settlement of 1866 of John Francis Bomford (30.3.1) recites this deed and confirms that all the land was leased, there was a full list of tenants but this is now missing.
The Husseys were very large Meath landowners in the early 1600s, but at that time most of them were Roman Catholics and so they lost much of their land at the time of Cromwell. However it would appear that the Husseys of these deeds fought for Cromwell because there is a story that one of them, a heavy trooper, challenged a Captain Kelly of the Irish Army to simple combat and killed him; for this deed Cromwell conferred on him the honour of Baron Galtrim. This title had been in existence previously but belonged to “Pattrick Hussy Barron of Galtrym, Irish Papist”, who was removed during the Cromwellian settlement. (See also 9.3.9).
The first Hussey to appear in these deeds (24.7.1) is John Hussey, Baron of Galtrim, of Rathkenny who died in 1803. Rathkenny was then passed to his brother, Thomas Hussey 1749 - 1825 who in 1777 married Lady Mary Walpole, a daughter of Horatio Walpole, the 1st Earl of Orford in Suffolk, and whose great uncle was Robert Walpole, the celebrated Prime Minister of George I and George II from 1721 to 1742.
Thomas had one son only, Edward Thomas 1778 - 1846, who in 1803 married Anne Frances Bacon, died 1866, the elder daughter of Sir Edmund Bacon of Ravenham Hall in Norfolk (party to the deed of 1837 24.7.5) and of the same family as Sir Francis Bacon 1561 - 1626. They also had only one son - Edward Horatio Hussey 1801 - 1876, married in 1840 to Frederica, the fourth daughter of George, 3rd Lord Boston, and she died his widow in 1885. Their eldest son Horatio Gorge was born in 1846 and succeeded to nearly 3,000 acres in Meath in 1876 when his father died.
Thomas Hussey and Lady Mary also had a couple of daughters, the younger being Isabella Anne who in June 1811 married the Reverend Algernon Peyton, 1786 - 1868, Rector of Doddington in Cambridgeshire and brother of Sir Henry Peyton, 2nd Baronet of Doddington; Rev Algernon Peyton was party to the deed of 1837 (24.7.5). Isabella Anne died in 1827 and her eldest son Thomas became the 5th Baronet Peyton.
A major source of information of all the Bomford property was the Ordnance Survey of 1835/6 and the companion Field Name Books which gave additional details. This was followed by the first survey map of six inches to the mile, which also showed a wealth of detail.
The Meath survey includes some names and gives a figure for the rent; the Westmeath and Louth surveys give no names or rents, so the rental has had to be estimated from the later 1854 valuation which agrees very well with the deeds; no Kildare Name Books have been located but this is not important since George had no property there at this date.
This survey has proved of prime importance to this study and indeed a number of properties were first ‘discovered’ through it.
(Extract from survey) “Contains 1,276 acres (plantation) of which 66 are planted with fir and ash trees and about 69 acres is bog. It is the property of George Bomford Esq. and Lord Langford (Hercules, 2nd Baron Langford, 1795 - 1839). Lord Langford has 491 acres, which he has let to Mr Maher of Gallow for 31 years.
George Bomford is the proprietor of the remainder of the Parish (785 plantation or 1202 statute acres), and has it let in two farms at £2 an acre (giving George an income of £1,570).
In the Parish are the ruins of an old Church in a graveyard of which the country people can give no information. The inhabitants are all R.C.s. Their houses are mud cabins. Bloomfield (soon to be called Drumlargan House) is a tolerably good house, at present occupied by a herd, formerly the residence of Mr Purdon (probably P.E. Purdon of Clonlyon House), but it is going into a further ruinous state as time goes on.
(Signed) George A. Bennett, Lt Royal Engineers, 7th June 1836.”
“322 (plantation) acres the property of Mr George Bomford of Agher, and Mr Philips of Dublin, the latter has 60 acres known as Ash Green. Mr Philips last lived in Ash Green House in 1798 since when it has been going to wrack and ruin and now only the walls are standing. George Bomford has let the rest (262 plantation or 424 statute) in farms at £1.12.6 an acre. “ (Giving George an income of £425.15.0).
The 1912 edition of Burke records that Michael Phillips, 1730-1802, was willed by his uncle John Wade of Clonebraney (2.7.1) the lands of ‘Coolcor or Ash Green’ in 1776. It must have been Michael or, more likely, his son Thomas Phillips (b c1772) of Ash Green who was chased from his house in his night clothes by the Rebels of 1798. None of Michael’s grandchildren are listed as ‘of Ash Green’.
This property changed hands in 1837 so in 1836 it was “1299 (plantation or 484 statute) acres the property of Baron Hussey who has let it all to Mr Keernan at 22/- an acre.”
It would appear that the middleman, Mr Keernan, was deleted when George bought the property as there is no mention of him in the purchase deed or in the previous leases. If this is so then the 22/- an acre to the middleman was also deleted and George received the full sum direct from the tenants whose average rent was about 30/- an acre. This would give George an income of about £450.
This is a mystery property, which is only recorded in George’s account book of 1834 when he received £80.5.0 from tenants whose names were all written down. When Dangan Estate was sold in 1818, Lot 10 was Great and Little Ginnets and the leasee was George’s cousin, John Mockler.
The Ordnance Survey of 1836 states, “Great Ginnetts, a detached portion of the Parish of Agher. 694 acres (plantation) the property of Mr Blackwood (of Dublin) and let in farms, the largest being 130 acres. ‘Big House Farm’ is in the possession of Mr William Allen. Little Ginnetts 74 (plantation) acres the property of Mr Blackwood, nearly all pasture.”
As can be seen there is no mention of a Bomford in 1836, and neither is one mentioned in the more detailed valuation of 1854. Ginnetts has therefore been ignored as a Bomford property and it is thought that George was acting as someone’s agent, perhaps Mr Blackwood, in collecting the rents.
It was not until 1837 that George bought Oakley Park, the year after the Ordnance Survey, which states, “It is the property of Mr Gunning (should be Mr J. Cuming) and Mr Graham, and contains 741 statute acres. 28 acres are plantation of the demesne of Captain Graham who resides in the residence.”
“To the south of Hightown, in the Parish of Killucan; 443 statute acres (in 1854 George had 440 acres there). There is a patch of bog in the NW corner and a second patch near the western boundary. In the SE corner is a Deer Park. There are three sand pits in the interior. The rest of the land is tillage and pasture.”
From this George would have an estimated income of about £350.
The walls surrounding the Deer Park are all that remain of the Monastery of Clonfad where in the year 550 St Columbkille was made a priest, and where in 577 St Etchen, Bishop of Clonfad, died.
The 1837 map shows a house named Knockawilliam House but it is not clear who lived there.
“To the south of Clonfad in the Parish of Killucan; 1,528 acres. There is a portion of bog in the SW corner and a second portion in the SE corner. In the western portion are a cornmill and kiln. Rattin Castle is in ruins and nearby is Clonfad House. Attached to this house in the east portion of Rattin are a small portion of planting and a garden, and there is a gravel pit west of the house; it belongs to Mrs D. Cole.”
In the 1854 valuation (27.3) George had 923 statute acres including Clonfad House, which was all let. The acreage has increased from the 460 acres of the previous century but no additional lease or purchase has come to light. The reason is probably two-fold; (1) the townland boundaries of Clonfad and Rattin may have been altered; this would account for Clonfad House now appearing in Rattin townland, and the inexplicable drop of 127 acres of Bomford property in Clonfad; and (2) the original leases may have excluded ‘non-profitable’ land like bog, whereas the 1854 valuation does include bog. If we take the original lease acreage of both Clonfad and Rattin, and add in the bog land of the 1854 valuation, then there is a shortfall of only 65 acres below the total 1854 figure, about 4%, and this amount may be an error in the early acreage, which might have been found in some intermediate survey.
Whatever the reason we should accept the valuation acreage as being correct in 1854, and at the low estimate of £l an acre, because of the poor bog land, George would have an income of at least £923 from the rent of Rattin.
“Alias, Clonduchat, Cloondecacagh, Clude or Cluide in the Barony of Ardee (Co Louth) and Parish of Smarnore; 25 (statute) acres, mostly pasture on rising ground.”
At about £1.15.0 an acre George would receive from the rents about £44. He probably got more because Lewis states that the land ‘is of first rate quality and about two-thirds are under tillage’.
The last summary of 1820 (19.9) was when George was a minor and his guardian John Pratt Winter was looking after his affairs. At that time he had 6,022 acres, much of which was in Co Kildare. In 1821 the Kildare property of Dunfierth, Mucklan, Killyon, Mylerstown, etc, were sold, so there is no Kildare property now.
George’s present total is 4,242 statute acres made up as follows -
Oakley Park (1837)
The above rent income of £3,763 is gross and does not include any taxes or the rent to the Head Landlord. The taxes varied with the times but about 1800 they were -
- Church Cess -/3 per plantation acre
- Public Cess 3/- per plantation acre
- Tithes 2/- per plantation acre,
a total 5/3 per plantation acre. 4,242 statute acres is 2,617 plantation acres, and at 5/3 the taxes amount to £687.
There are two lots of Head Rent, £l00 on Oakley Park due to the Marquess of Headfort, and £6 on Baltrasna due to Trinity College in Dublin, the latter only came to light in the later deeds. All this would reduce the gross figure to close to £3,000. This net figure is the least that George would receive, because no income has been included for Oakley Park, and, also, some of the taxes, if not all, were passed on to the tenants. The figures cannot be precise but they do give some idea of George’s income from the land.
When George came of age he found that John Pratt Winter had accumulated a considerable sum for him. My estimate is about £60,000 and is based on the following:
Repayment of mortgage (1817) on Kildare property
Sale of Kildare property (1821)
Repayment of mortgage on Tullyard (1835)
Rent from land during George’s minority, 16 years, at about £2,800 a year
Less £6,200 for expenses during his minority
No doubt there was a family discussion as to the best means to invest this money and, as was normal in those days, he invested in the land. I can understand his purchase of Baltrasna, which is just north of Mullagh, one of Robert George’s properties, because this gives George a block of nearly 1,700 statute acres stretching eastwards from Drumlargan; but the purchase of Oakley Park is not so easily understood. It is a good twenty miles away from Drumlargan and his friends and relations, and the quality of the land is not nearly so good as in South Meath. The attraction must have been the mature parkland, a good newly built yard, and the comparative ease by which the house could be enlarged; of course it may have been the only suitable place for sale at that time.
After buying these two properties George still had a healthy bank balance of around £30,000 and a satisfactory income, so the stage is now set for him, still a young man in his twenties, to improve Oakley Park House and to take his place in society in, as my Uncle George remarked, “the grand manner”.
However this estimated bank balance might be too high since George was soon to borrow money from his brother Samuel to cover the extension of Oakley Park, and further that the estate he had inherited owed Samuel money, see 24.4. Neither of these has been taken into consideration.
Since Thomas of Cushenstown has died and his property has been divided among his sisters and their children, we can no longer include those lands in a Bomford summary. There remain three distinct land owning Bomford families:
- Robert George of Rahinstown, with 3,129 acres (1820, 2,358) and an income of about £4,500 from the land (22.3);
- George of Oakley Park, with 4,242 acres (1820, 6,022) and an income of about £3,000 from the land; and
- Isaac Bomford of Gallow and Ferrans, with 1,355 acres (1820, 1,437) and an income of about £2,000 plus the amount he received as an attorney (23.3).
Between them they had 8,726 statute acres (1820, 11,304 including those of Thomas of Cushenstown: 19.9), and these figures come from the Ordnance Survey and must be more accurate than any previous ones.
The drop in acreage since 1820 is accounted for by the deletion of Cushenstown, etc (1,487 acres), and the sale of George’s property in Kildare (3,768 acres).
The last family summary, as at 1820, was at 19.7. All the known male descendants of the first four sons of Colonel Laurence (Thomas of Rahinstown, Oliver of Cushenstown, Laurence of Killeglan and Edward of Hightown) had died out by 1837, so there are now only four male Bomfords left, all descendants of the fifth son, Stephen of Gallow:
- Robert George of Rahinstown;
- George of Oakley Park, his brother
- Samuel; and
- Isaac of Ferrans and Gallow.
At this date (1837) the senior Bomford is Maria (Massey-Dawson), wife of Robert (15.5) who had died in 1817 (19.2.3), and mother of Robert George, the senior male Bomford. Maria (21.2) is 68 and lives for another 11 years (22.8) with her daughter Frances Georgina Bolton (21.6.2) at Bective Abbey (21.6.3).
Robert George the only son (21.5, 22.1), aged 36 and his wife Elizabeth (Kennedy) are living in Dublin. It is doubtful if they ever lived for any appreciable time at Rahinstown; the house was in good order but ‘very much neglected’ in 1836, and all their land was leased. It is not known what Robert George’s occupation was, if indeed he had one, he may have simply lived from the money coming in from the land.
They have no children and when Robert George dies in nine years (22.7) time all his property is shared between his sisters and is eventually sold; so this branch of the family also dies out.
It is perhaps worth noting that the law did not discriminate between girl children; strictly interpreted the law found all the daughters, regardless of age, of equal rank in the division of inheritance. This was quite different with male children, the law recognised the eldest son. It is not generally realized that during the life of King George VI either of the two princesses, Elizabeth or Margaret, had equal rights to the throne. It was not until Princess Elizabeth gave birth to Prince Charles that King George VI had to issue Letters Patent in 1948 ordaining that his eldest daughter Elizabeth would be his heir; without these Letters Patent Princess Margaret and her children could rightfully have claimed the throne.
It was because of this failure in the law to establish any rule of primogeniture among females that, in cases where there was no male heir, so many estates had to be sold and the proceeds split among the girl children; and so here, with the unexpected death of Robert George, Rahinstown and his land had to be sold and the proceeds shared. This also applied to Cushenstown.
Annette Maria (21.4) and her husband Thomas Henry Hesketh are in their late 30s. Her father-in-law, the 3rd Baronet Hesketh is alive but his wife is dead and Annette Maria has stepped into her shoes at Rufford Hall in Lancashire. They have two children, Thomas George aged 11 who will become the 5th Lord Hesketh, and Maria Harriet aged 9 or 10 who will become Lady Haldon.
Jane Rosetta (21.3) died this year (1837) in February [21.3.1 says 1836], aged 34. Her husband Richard Mansergh and their five children are living in the family home of Grenane near the town of Tipperary. The eldest child is only 14.
Frances Georgia (21.6) aged about 33 and her husband Richard Bolton are living at Bective Abbey on the Boyne about 8 miles north of Rahinstown. They have no children but her mother, Maria (Massey-Dawson), is living with them.
Jemima Letitia (21.7) aged about 32, has been married three years. Her husband Richard Bolton is 40, and their only children, two boys, have been born. Although Richard Bolton is termed ‘of Brook Lodge’, just north of Drumlargan, it is not clear whether they ever lived there. Richard’s father Lyndon Bolton used to be a merchant in Dublin but his wife has recently died and he, now aged 77, is living at Monkstown Castle in South Dublin; Jemima and her family may be living there with him at this time. However by 1839 they had moved to Cheltenham in England where they settle.
Susan Margaret (21.8) is now about 31 and her husband Charles Rudinge Martin is about 34. Their four boys have been born, the eldest being about 10. It is not known precisely where they were living at this date but Charles was a clergyman who never took office in Ireland. At some date, probably covering this period, he was Chaplain to the Grand Duchess of Mannheim. In 1833 their youngest child was born in Cork and this casts a doubt on their living permanently in Germany at this time; however Susan Margaret favoured Germany since she continued to live there after her husband died in 1847. In l850 she was living in Baden-Baden.
Sarah Maria (21.9) died in 1835 aged 25. She had married the Hon Frederick James Tollemache in 1831 and had one daughter when they were living in London.
Robert George and his six sisters were first cousins to George of Oakley Park and his brother Samuel. Only Robert George and the Boltons of Bective were living in Ireland: two of the sisters had moved to England, and one to Germany, and the other two had died.
George aged 26 and his wife Arbella (Winter) aged 27 have just moved into Oakley Park with their young family which so far consists of Anne aged 4, George Winter aged 3, and Arbella Anna just 1. There are portraits of them at 25.4.
Samuel has hardly been mentioned to date. He is two years younger than George, being 24 now. He was educated at Trinity College, which he has left to join the army, and is now a cornet in the 3rd Dragoon Guards. See Chapter 26.
Isaac the younger (16.5) is the son of David Bomford (16.1.1) and belongs to the previous generation. He has retired as an attorney and is living in Blessington Street in Dublin. He died during this year (1837) (23.4) aged 71, but his wife Jane (Holdcroft) (19.5) lives on for another three years. They had no children and the property was bequeathed to his nephew, Isaac North, the third son (23.7) of his sister Anne North (16.3).
Isaac North (27.1) had to take the name North-Bomford to inherit his uncle’s property (23.4.1). He is now about 45, has been farming Ferrans for some years and it was probably he who built Ferrans House where he is living. He married Belinda Emily (Pilkington) in 1830 (23.2) and two or three of their nine children have been born.
Isaac’s mother, Anne North daughter of David Bomford, was alive in 1835 (23.4.1) so may be still alive, but her husband John North has died. Isaac’s two brothers and the un-named sister are alive; the eldest brother, John North of Whitewell is married to Ellen (Barbour), he is an attorney in Dublin and they have children (23.7); his other older brother, David North, is married to Catherine (Pim), and has a young family of six children; David was at some stage, perhaps now, a Captain in the Royal Navy.
There are two lots of cousins, the Coopers and the Coates (23.4.1). Little is known about the Coopers except that there are six of them, all about Isaac the younger’s age, and that they are most likely living in Dublin. The Coates family are younger and are living at Bridestream House and so are close neighbours to Isaac at Ferrans; their third son, Stephen Coates was at Trinity with George and Samuel Bomford.
This generation of the North-Bomford, Cooper and Coates families were second cousins of George and Samuel.