MacCawell family genealogy

THIS family name in Irish (see the "Cowell" No. 1 pedigree, p. 391) is MacCathmhaoil. From O'Donovan's Annals of the Four Masters we learn the following information respecting this ancient family:

A.D. 1185. Gilchreest MacCawell, Chief of Kinel-Farry,[1] and of the Clans, viz., Clann Ængus, Clann Duibhinreacht, Clann Fogarty, Hy-Kennoda, and Clann Colla in Fermanagh, and who was chief adviser of all the north of Ireland, was slain by O'Hegny and Muintir-Keevan, who carried away his head, which, however, was recovered from them in a month afterwards.

A.D. 1215. Murrough MacCawell, Chief of Kinel-Farry, died.

A.D. 1238. Flaherty MacCawell, Chief of Kinel-Farry, and Clann-Congail, and of Hy-Kennoda in Fermanagh, the most illustrious in Tyrone for feats of arms and hospitality, was treacherously slain by Donough MacCawell, his own kinsman.

A.D. 1215. Donough MacCawell, Chief of Kinel-Farry, was slain by the men of Oriel.

A.D. 1252. Conor MacCawell, Chief of Kinel-Farry and many other territories, and peace-maker of Tirconnell, Tyrone, and Oriel, was slain by the people of Brian O'Neill, while defending his protegés against them, he himself being under the protection [2] of O'Gormley and O'Kane.

The name MacCawell also occurs in O'Donovan's Annals of the Four Masters, under the following years: A.D. 1261—1262—1346—1358—1365—1366—1368—1370—1379—1403—1404—1432—1434—1444—1461—1467—1474—1480—1481—1492—1493—1498—1508— 1515—1518—1519.

Dr. O'Donovan also mentions the Kinel-Farry, or Cinel Fereadaigh, under the following years: A.D. 626—632—1082—1120—1129—1166—1507—1511—1516—1531.

In the Index to Wills, Diocese of Derry District Registry of Londonderry, the following names occur: Robert MacCawell, of Drumragh, A.D. 1734. Owen MacCawell of Drumragh, 1718. Thomas MacCawell of Drumragh, 1723. Hugh MacCawell, 1737, to be buried in the churchyard of Clogher.

In the Index to Wills, Clogher District, Registry Armagh, appear the names: Patrick MacCawell, Bolies, county Tyrone, A.D. 1790. Owen MacCawell, Cavan, co. Tyrone, 1806. Bernard MacCawell, Scotstown, co. Monaghan, 1809. Rev. Fergus MacCawell, of Cornamuck, 1758. And Hugh MacCawell, of Aughanameena, co. Monaghan, 1802.

In the Fate and Fortunes of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and Rory O'Donel, Earl of Tyrconnel, by the Rev. C. P. Meehan, M.R.I.A., we read that Rev. Father Hugh Cawell or MacCawell was afterwards Archbishop of Armagh, in 1626; and in the same volume we meet the name of Hugh Cawell or MacCaughwell.—See pp. 249, 322, 324, and 327 of that great work.

And in the Registry of Deeds Office, Dublin, we find in Book 79, p. 244, Memorial 55,639, the name of Bryan McCowell of Bishop's Court, county Kildare, gent., as a witness to a Deed made respecting Robert Colvill of Newtown, co. Down, son and heir of Hugh Colvill of same; and registered on the 17th April, 1735. It is possible that this Bryan McCowell, of Bishop's Court, in 1735, was the Bryan Cowell, of Logadowden, in the county Dublin, mentioned in the " Cowell" (No. 3) pedigree, whose Will was proved in 1768 in the Prerogative Court, Dublin.


[1] Kinel-Farry: Of this Clan, Dr. O'Donovan, in Note m in the Annals, under the year 1185, says: "Kinel-Farry (in Irish, Cinel Feareaduighe) and the Clans. The territory of Kinel-Farry, the patrimonial inheritance of the MacCawells (the descendants of Fergal, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages), was nearly co extensive with the barony of Clogher, in the county of Tyrone; in which barony all the clans here mentioned were located, except the Hy-Kennoda and the Clan-Colla, who were seated in Fermanagh. The Hy-Kennoda gave name to the barony of Tir-Kennedy, which is situated in the east of Fermanagh, adjoining the barony of Clogher, in Tyrone.—See it mentioned in the Annals at the years 1427, 1468, and 1518; and in the "Davin" pedigree, infra.

The family of MacCathmhaoil (a name generally anglicised MacCawell, and latinized Cavellus), who supplied several bishops to the see of Clogher, are still numerous in this their ancient territory, and the name is also found in other counties, variously anglicised Camphill, Cambell, Caulfield, etc., and even Howell; but the natives, when speaking the Irish language, always pronounce the name MacCathmhaoil.

[2] Under the protection: This passage is not in the Dublin copy of the Annals of Ulster, but, in the old translation preserved in the British Museum, it is given in English, as follows: "A.D. 1252. Conner MacCathmoyle, kingly chief of Kiudred Feragh and many other places, also the upholder of liberality and fortitude of the North of Ireland; the peace-maker of the Connells and Owens, and Airgialls also, killed by the Rutes (cohortes) of Brien O'Neal, defending his comrick from them, being upon O'Garmely and O'Cahan's word himself."