New Settlers in Ossory, Offaley, and Leix

As already explained, the daughter of Dermod MacMurrough, King of Leinster, having been married to Richard de Clare, earl of Pembroke, commonly called Strongbow, the kingdom of Leinster was conferred on Strongbow by King Dermod; and William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, having married Isabella, daughter of Strongbow, by his wife Eva, the inheritance of the kingdom of Leinster passed to the family of the Marshalls, earls of Pembroke, and was possessed by the five sons of William Marshall, who became in succession earls of Pembroke and lords of Leinster; and on the extinction of the male line of the Marshalls, the counties of Leinster were divided amongst the five daughters of the said William Marshall, earl of Pembroke; and their descendants in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (see Hanmer's "Chronicle," Baron Finglas's "Breviate of Ireland," and Harris's "Hibernica"): Joanna, the eldest daughter of the said William Marshall, had, on the partition of Leinster, Wexford allotted to her as her portion; and being married to Warren de Montchensey, an English baron, he, in right of his wife, became lord of Wexford, which afterwards passed by intermarriage to the De Valences, earls of Pembroke, and lords of Wexford; and, in succession, to the family of Hastings, earls of Abergavenny; and to the Talbots, earls of Shrewsbury, Waterford, and Wexford. Matilda or Maud, another daughter of William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, had the county Carlow allotted to her; and she married Hugh Bigod, earl of Norfolk: this family became lords of Carlow, which title, together with the county Carlow, afterwards passed in succession, by intermarriages, to the Mowbrays and Howards, earls of Norfolk. Sibilla, another of the daughters, got the county Kildare, and was married to William Ferrars, earl of Ferrers and Derby, who became lord of Kildare; a title which passed by intermarriage to the De Veseys. The family of the Fitzgeralds afterwards became earls of Kildare.

Isabel, another daughter of William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, had for her portion the county Kilkenny, and was married to Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hereford; and, leaving no issue, the county Kilkenny, after his decease, fell to his three sisters, and passed by intermarriage chiefly to the family of De Spencers, barons De Spencer, in England, and afterwards became possessed mostly by the Butlers, earls of Ormond. Eva, the fifth daughter of William Marshall, had, as her portion, Leix and the manor of Dunamase or "O'Moore's Country," comprising the greater part of the present Queen's County; and having married William de Bruse, lord of Gower and Brecknock in Wales, he became, in right of his wife, lord of Leix; and one of his daughters being married to Roger Mortimer, lord of Wigmore in Wales, Leix passed to the family of Mortimer, who were earls of March in England. The King's County, as already stated, was formed out of parts of Offaley, Ely O'Carroll, and the kingdom of Meath; and in the grant of Meath given by King Henry the Second to Hugh de Lacy, a great part of the present King's County was possessed by De Lacy, who built in that county the castle of Durrow, where he was slain by one of the Irish galloglasses, as mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters, at A.D. 1186. The Fitzgeralds, earls of Kildare and barons of Offaley, became possessed of a great part of the King's County; and the family of De Hose or Hussey had part of Ely O'Carroll, and the country about Birr.

The following have been the chief families since the English invasion in Kilkenny, King's, and Queen's Counties.

In Kilkenny: Butler, Grace, Walsh, Fitzgerald, Roth, Archer, Cantwell, Shortall, Purcell, Power, Morris, Dalton or D'Alton, Stapleton, Wandesford, Lawless, Langrish, Bryan, Ponsonby, etc. The Butlers became the chief possessors of the county Kilkenny, as earls of Ormond and Ossory, dukes of Ormond, earls of Kilkenny and Gowran, viscounts of Galmoy, and various other titles derived from their extensive estates in this county and in Tipperary.

"The Graces:" An account has already been given of Maurice Fitzgerald, a celebrated Anglo-Norman Chief who came over with Strongbow, and was ancestor of the earls of Kildare and Desmond. William Fitzgerald, brother of Maurice, was lord of Carew in Wales; and the descendants of one of his sons took the name of De Carew, and from them, it is said, are descended the Carews of Ireland—great families in Cork, Wexford, and Carlow. From another of the sons of William Fitzgerald, were descended the Gerards, families of note in Ireland. The eldest son of William Fitzgerald, called Raymond Fitzwilliam, got the name of "Raymond le Gros," from his great size and strength; he was one of the most valiant of the Anglo-Norman commanders; was married to Basilia de Clare, sister of Strongbow; held the office of standard bearer of Leinster; and was for some time chief Governor of Ireland. Raymond died about A.D. 1184, and was buried in the Abbey of Molana, on the island of Darinis, on the river Blackwater, in the bay of Youghal. Maurice, the eldest son of Raymond le Gros, was ancestor of the great family of the Fitzmaurices, earls of Kerry. Raymond had another son called Hamon le Gros, and his descendants took the name of "le Gros," or "le Gras," afterwards changed to Grace. The Graces were created barons of Courtown, and held an extensive territory in the county Kilkenny, called "Graces' Country;" but, in the wars of the Revolution, the Graces lost their hereditary estates: John Grace, the last baron of Courtown, having forfeited thirty thousand acres of land in Kilkenny for his adherence to King James the Second.

"The Walshes:" This family was, by the Irish, called Branaghs, from "Breatnach," which signifies a Briton: as they originally came from Wales with Strongbow and his followers, They therefore got extensive possessions in Waterford, Kilkenny, Wexford, and Carlow; and held the office of seneschals of Leinster, under the successors of Strongbow. The Butlers, viscounts of Galmoy; the Graces, Walshes, Roths, and Shees, lost their extensive estates in Kilkenny, in the war of the Revolution. The Bourkes, a branch of the Bourkes of Connaught, settled in Kilkenny and Tipperary; and some of them in Kilkenny took the name of Gaul, from "Gall," the name by which the Irish then called Englishmen; and from them "Gaulstown" got its name.

The Purcells were also numerous and respectable in Kilkenny and Tipperary; and, in the latter county, had the title of barons of Loughmoe.

In the Queen's County: The following were the chief families of English descent: After Leix had been formed into a county, the following seven families were the chief English settlers in the reigns of Queen Mary and Elizabeth, and were called the seven tribes; namely, Cosby, Barrington, Bowen, Rush, Hartpole, Hetherington, and Hovendon; and in the reign of Charles the First, Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, having got extensive grants of land in the Queen's County, his lands were formed into the "Manor of Villiers," and passed to the present dukes of Buckingham; and after the Cromwellian wars and the Revolution, the families of Parnell, Pole, Pigot,[1] Prior, Coote, Cowley, Dawson, Despard, Vesey, Staples, Brown, Johnson, Trench, Weldon, and Walpole, got extensive possessions.

In King's County; Fitzgerald, Digby, Hussey, and Fitzsimon, were the chief families before the reign of Elizabeth; and some of the Fitzimons took the Irish name of "MacRuddery," from the Irish MacRidire, which signifies the Son of the Knight. In aftertimes, the families of Armstrong, Drought, Bury, Parsons, Molesworth, Lestrange, and Westenra, were the chief new settlers.


[1] Pigot: According to some authorities, it was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth that the "Pigott" family came to the Queen's County.