Cork history, Military History

William Henry Collis of Castlelyons

William Henry Collis of Castlelyons

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

 

Introduction

Captain William Henry Collis died on 9th May 1917 from wounds received in battle. He was at the time a captain in the 7th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was buried in La Laiterie Military Cemetery at Heuvelland, Belgium. Captain William Collis was the eldest son of Lieutenant Colonel William Gun Collis of Barrymore Lodge, Castlelyons.[1]

William’s younger brother, John George Collis (born 2nd March 1895), served in the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment and survived the Great War.[2] William Henry Collis was born on 4th June 1892 as the eldest son of William Gun Collis by his wife Mabel Robson.[3]

 

Barrymore Lodge

Barrymore Lodge, Castlelyons

William Collis of Kerry

The earliest ancestor of William Henry Collis was William Collis of Lisedoge, Co. Kerry. The second son of William Collis, John Collis, married Elizabeth daughter of Peter Cooke of Castle Cooke, near Kilworth, Co. Cork. They were the parents of Rev. William Collis (died 25th May 1754), Rector of Church Hill, and Kilgobben, Co. Kerry, who on 22nd November 1750 married his cousin, Martha, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Cooke, of Ahada, and Castle Cooke.[4]

Thomas Cooke of Castle Cooke

Thomas Cooke of Castle Cooke was the eldest son of Peter Cooke by his wife (married 23rd April 1696) Elizabeth Mitchell. Peter Cooke was the son of Thomas Cooke of Dungallane, (renamed Castle Cooke), a Quaker and merchant in Cork City and grandson of Thomas Cooke, an officer in Lord Broghill’s Regiment in the Confederate War.[5]

Thomas Cooke succeeded his father to Castle Cooke and married Dorothy, daughter of Robert Sheilds, of Wainstown, Co. Meath, and niece of Clotworthy Wade, of Clonebraney, Co. Meath. They had three children, namely, Elizabeth who married (as his 1st wife), Sir Thomas Blackall, of Dublin, second son of Thomond Blackall, of Littlerath, Co. Kildare and died without issue on 6th July 1752; Martha who married Rev. William Collis and Anne who married William Cosgrave.[6]

With no male heirs Thomas Cooke was succeeded at Castle Cooke by his brother, Rev. Zachery Cooke. Rev. Zachery Cooke died unmarried and was succeeded at Castle Cooke by his niece, Martha, wife of Rev. William Collis. The eldest son of Martha Collis, Rev. Zachery Collis took the additional name of Cooke upon succeeding to the Castle Cooke estate and thus became Rev. Zachery Cooke-Collis.

Rev. Zachery Cooke-Collis was archdeacon of Cloyne from 1810 to 1834 when he was succeeded by Rev. William Ryder.[7] In 1834 both clerics tried to collect tithes dues in the parish of Gortroe which was attached to the archdeaconry of Cloyne. Their efforts met with resistance as this was the period of the Tithe War in which there was widespread resistance to the tithe across the country. When, on 18th December 1834, they tried to get tithes from the widow Ryan confrontation between the local people and the military force which accompanied the clerics led to the massacre of Gortroe in which nine people were killed and forty-five injured.

The younger brother of Rev. Zachery Cooke-Collis was William Collis of Richmond, Co. Waterford and Mountfort Lodge, near Fermoy, Co. Cork.

William Collis

William Collis (died 22nd April 1839) was a Barrister-at-Law. Before 1793 William Collis married Jane, eldest daughter of Peter Carey of Careysville, Co. Cork. William and Jane Collis had five sons and one daughter. The second son was Peter Collis of Mountfort Lodge.[8]

Peter Collis

Peter Collis was born 4th July 1793 and lived at Mountford Lodge near Fermoy, Co. Cork. Peter Collis was a Captain in the 95th Regiment. On 19th June 1843 Peter Collis married Elizabeth Mitchell (died Dec 1884), daughter of John Carey, of South Cregg, Fermoy, Co. Cork. On 28th January 1871 Peter Cooke Collis died. Peter and Elizabeth Collis had three sons and one daughter. The eldest son of Peter and Elizabeth Collis was William Gun Collis of Castlelyons.[9]

William Gun Collis

William Gun Collis of Barrymore Lodge, Castlelyons was born on 16th April 1845. William Collis served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, the same Regiment his second son served in during the Great War.[10] On 23rd December 1864 William Gun Collis was made an ensign or Second Lieutenant. On 1st July 1871 he was promoted to Lieutenant and on 21st July 1880 was made a Captain. On 25th March 1885 William Gun Collis was promoted to the rank of Major. In 1890 William Gun Collis was a Major in the Surrey Regiment and an adjutant to the 2nd Volunteer Battalion. In 1890 the 2nd Battalion was based in Umballa in Bengal. By 1890 William Gun Collis had served twenty-six years in the army.[11]

On 4th December 1890 William Gun Collis married Mabel Katherine, daughter of Captain G.L. Robson (5th Dragoon Guards), of Altwood, Berkshire. They had two sons and one daughter, the eldest son of whom was the William Henry Collis killed in the Great War.[12]

In the 1901 census William Gun Collis (aged 55) lived at Castlelyons with his wife Mabel (aged 40) and their three children, William (8), Marjorie (6) and John (5). The two eldest children could read and write but John could not read. They had four servants in the house, namely, Kate O’Connor (18) housemaid, Norah Cullinane (20) cook, Mary McCarthy (23) parlour maid and James Houghton (26) groom and domestic servant. William Gun Collis gave his occupation as Lieutenant Colonel (retired). In 1901 Mabel Collis gave her place of birth as Staffordshire while in 1911 she said it was in Berkshire. In 1901 Barrymore Lodge had 9 windows in front and 14 rooms used by the family along with 11 outbuildings.[13]

In the census of 1911 William Gun Collis (aged 65) lived at Castlelyons with his wife Mabel (aged 50) and two servants. These servants were Ellen Lynch (31), cook and domestic servant, and Bridget Murray (25) domestic servant. William Gun Collis gave his occupation as a retired army colonel and all declared that they had no infectious diseases. Barrymore Lodge had 9 windows in front and 12 rooms used by the family along with 15 outbuildings.[14]

William Henry Collis

William Henry Collis was born in Hampshire on 4th June 1892 as the first child of William and Mabel Collis. In the 1901 census he lived at Castlelyons with his parents and was described as a scholar. when war broke out in 1914 scholarly activities were left behind and people joined up to defend the Empire and countless other reasons. In 1917 William Henry Collis was with the 7th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. In October 1914 the 7th Battalion had joined the 49th Brigade as part of the 16th Irish Division. In August 1917 the 7th and 8th Battalions of the Inniskillings formed one battalion because of a shortage of soldiers to fill both. During the War the 16th Division suffered more than 28,000 casualties and had to return to England in June 1918 after taking a battering in the German spring offensive.[15] It is not clear where Captain William Henry Collis received his wounds from which he died on the 9th May. After the Great War Lt. Col. William Collis and his wife Mabel moved to Cheltenham in England.

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End of post

 

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[1] Gerry White and Brendan O’Shea (eds.), A Great Sacrifice: Cork Servicemen who died in the Great War (Echo Publications, Cork, 2010), p. 209

[2] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 259

[3] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 259

[4] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 259

[5] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 259

[6] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 259

[7] Albert Eugene Casey & Thomas O’Dowling (eds.), OKief, Coshe Many, Slieve Loughter and Upper Blackwater (15 vols. Wisconsin, 1964), vol. 6, p. 838

[8] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 259

[9] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 259

[10] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 259

[11] http://www.mocavo.com/Harts-Annual-Army-List-1890/151785/227 accessed on 11 September 2015

[12] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 259

[13] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Cork/Castlelyons/Killsaintann_s_South/1143897/ accessed on 11 September 2015

[14] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Cork/Castlelyons/Kill_St__Anne_South/412228/ accessed on 11 September 2015

[15] Gerry White and Brendan O’Shea (eds.), A Great Sacrifice: Cork Servicemen who died in the Great War (Echo Publications, Cork, 2010), pp. 72, 74

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One thought on “William Henry Collis of Castlelyons

  1. Jerry Leonard says:

    Many thanks for this account of the Collis family. I am Lt-Col William Gun Collis’ great grandson via his daughter, Marjorie Elizabeth Mary (1893-1958) who married Paul Hallowes in 1922 and had two daughters Sheila Marjorie Collis (1927-1951) and Penelope Mabel (1929-1989). I am the son of Sheila and Philip Francis James Leonard. I do not have any children but my sister, Lesley Jane Cooper, has two children Madeline Jane and David Robert.
    When I was a lad Paul and Marjorie Hallowes lived near Kitale, Kenya, and were neighbours of her brother John George Collis and his wife Elizabeth. The latter had no children and, when Elizabeth died, I was bequeathed a number of Collis family heirlooms including miniatures, silhouettes, etc., which prompted me to start researching the family history. Covid has given me the time to do more of this!
    I found a good deal of information in Burke’s Irish Family Records (accessed athttp://griffiths.askaboutireland.ie/gv4/nbl/lh_nbl_show5.php?mysession=&choice=&id=050531&pdfpage=131) and on The Peerage site (http://thepeerage.com/index.htm). From the former it appears that an earlier ancestor of William Henry Collis might have been the William Collis that went to Ireland around 1650 as a member of Jerome Sankey’s Regiment of Horse. HIs son, John Collis, married Mary Corridon and they were the parents of William Collis of Lisedoge, Co. Kerry.
    I have also read with interest your account of the Carey family (https://niallbrn.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/carey-family-of-careysville-co-cork/#_ftnref43) and am curious to know if and where the Elizabeth Mitchell Carey that married Peter Collis (Grandfather of William Henry Collis) fits in to the story. Can you shed any light on this?

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