Power family of Ballygarran in Seventeenth Century
Niall C.E.J. O’Brien
In the seventeenth century Sir Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, dominated the landed estate landscape of west Waterford – he owned many of those estates including the land of Ballygarran. Today (2018) the castle and townland of Ballygarran is not on any map. Instead the castle is usually referred to as Glencairn Abbey and the townland as Castlerichard. The seventeenth century Ballygarran extended from Glencairn Abbey and the River Blackwater south to the main road between Tallow and Lismore. For much of the seventeen the century the tenant of Ballygarran was the Power family.
At the start of the seventeenth century (in 1602-3) Ballygarran is listed among the lands in the manor of Lisfinny containing one carucate of land. The manor of Lisfinny was owned by the Fitzgerald family, Earls of Desmond, from about 1215 until 1583 when it was seized along with much of the vast earldom at the end of the Second Desmond Rebellion. In 1586 Lisfinny and Ballygarran passed to Sir Walter Raleigh as part of his grant by the government of 42,000 acres in west Waterford and east Cork. In 1602 Sir Walter Raleigh sold his Irish estates to Sir Richard Boyle. On 26th December 1595 Sir Walter Raleigh leased Ballygarran to Roger Suyvener, merchant, with other unnamed lands. At some unknown time after 1595 Pierce Power acquired the lease on Ballygarran.
In about 1600 Pierce Power married Elizabeth Boyle, sister of Sir Richard Boyle (later first Earl of Cork 1620). In 1604 Lieutenant Pierce Power of Lismore apprehended three notorious malefactors in Co. Waterford, Callaghan McOwen, Daragh McOwen, his brother and Cormock McOwen. As a reward for the arrest, Pierce Power got ten pounds per head (£30 in total) which prize money was to be raise equally among the inhabitants of County Waterford. As part of the Munster Plantation each grantee of land was to provide a military force to maintain order and assemble together in a larger force under the President of Munster if needed. On 30th August 1611 Pierce Power was in Tallow for the muster of Sir Richard Boyle’s tenants and the inhabitants of the surrounding area before Sir Richard Morrison, Vice-President of Munster. On the day Pierce Power was a lieutenant in the foot company of pikemen.
Pierce Power and his brother-in-law, Sir Richard Boyle had a number of recorded transactions over the years. In February 1613 Sir Richard Boyle paid Pierce Power £40 for the use of Lady Honora. While this show of trust was good, on a personal level Pierce Power was experiencing financial trouble. In March 1613 Sir Richard Boyle demanded Pierce Power to repay the money advanced by Boyle to clear Power’s debts. Yet this didn’t prevent Boyle from using Power in the former’s land dealings. In May 1613 Pierce Power gained possession of Jinnyshkeen from Garret Fitzjames Barry on behalf of Sir Richard Boyle. In August 1614 Pierce Power got authority from Sir Richard Boyle to let the latter’s lands in the barony of Kinnatalloon for one year. In October 1619 Sir Richard Boyle lent Pierce Power money to pay his bills.
As previously said, it is not known when Pierce Power acquired the lease on Ballygarran. In June 1620 Pierce Power refused to renew the old lease on Ballygarran which was for life at £20 per year. It is not known what were the terms of the new lease but as the Power family continued to live at Ballygarran then thy must have sign some lease agreement. It is possible that Pierce Power built a castle at Ballygarran but he could have also just redecorated an existing castle. In April 1617 Pierce Power got a ton of iron from Sir Richard Boyle for construction work on Ballygarran castle. at the same time Lieutenant Dowling got ten barrels of iron from Boyle for Ballysaggart house.
Glencairn Abbey – built on or near Ballygarran castle
(Niall O Brien photo)
From at least 1612 Pierce Power seems to have acted as a rent collector for Sir Richard Boyle in the manors of Lisfinny and Tallow. In October 1614 Pierce Power paid £10 to Thomas Fitzjohn Fitzgerald for the lease of Tallow on behalf of Sir Richard Boyle. In April 1612, June 1614 and July 1616 Pierce Power collected rent for Sir Richard Boyle on part of the manor of Lisfinny. In May 1615 Pierce Power collected £95 for Sir Richard Boyle as part of rent for lands in the manors of Lisfinny and Tallow and paid another £94 in November 1617. In June 1618 Pierce Power paid £70 of the rents of Lisfinny and Tallow to Mitchel. In April 1617 Pierce Power gave Sir Richard Boyle a velvet satin coat to cover money he was to pay the inhabitants of Tallow for some unknown purpose. Later in the month Sir Richard Boyle purchased provisions for his table from Pierce Power.
Meanwhile on the Ballygarran estate Pierce Power breed cattle and was involved in the timber trade. In July 1617 Pierce Power sent 20 beeves (beef) to St. Leger’s ship. In the 1620s Pierce Power got involved in the pipe staves trade. In March 1620 Pierce Power purchased 10,000 hogheads of pipe staves from Sir Richard Boyle. The pipe staves trade was a big industry in the lower Blackwater region. Between 1616 and 1628 Sir Richard Boyle exported four million staves for £24,000 pounds.
It is not known when Pierce Power died but his wife, Elizabeth Boyle was a widow by 1634. On 20 October 1634 Mrs. Elizabeth Power, widow of Ballygarran, made her will. In it she asked to be buried in Youghal parish church (St. Mary collegiate church), as near as may be to her late husband Pierce Power. Her bequests included £5 to the poor of Lismore, 50 shillings to the poor of Youghal and 50 shillings to the poor of Ardmore. Elizabeth’s grandson, Pierce Power (son of Roger Power) was to get £100 while the residue of her estate went to her son and executor, Roger Power. The witnesses included Robert Naylor (dean of Lismore and cousin of Sir Richard Boyle), Aphra Maunsell, and Anne Begg. The will was proved on 28 November 1634.
Roger Power succeeded his father Pierce Power before 1634 and succeeded to his mother’s estate in November 1634. In the same month of November 1634 Roger Power signed a new lease on Ballygarran for £50 per year and one fat bore. Also in November 1634 Roger Power travelled from Lismore to Dublin to deliver £2,660 on behalf of his uncle, Sir Richard Boyle. In the first half of 1635 William Wiseman of Bandon died. In his will Wiseman mentioned his cousins, Sir Robert Travers, Sir Peter Smyth and Roger Power of Ballygarran. The wife of William Wiseman was Alice Smyth, third daughter of Sir Richard Smyth of Ballynatray. Alice’s aunt was Elizabeth Boyle, wife of Pierce Power of Ballygarran.
In February 1637 Roger Power acted with Sir Richard Boyle in securing the mortgage of Robert Stephenson for the latter’s house and lands in Dungarvan which he had mortgaged to John Fitzmathew Hore. Before 1641 Roger Power held half of burgessmchenry outside Lismore (containing 20 arable acres worth £7). By 1654 this land was held by his son, Pierce Power. At the start of the Confederate War in 1641 Roger Power served as a major in the army of King Charles I. He was granted lands in Co. Wicklow for his services to the royalist cause. In 1641 Catherine Power, a Protestant widow, held Ballygarran with its one ploughland of 320 acres of which 300 acres was arable (worth £24) and 10 acres of meadow (worth £5) with 10 acres of a coppice wood (worth £1). The property had a small castle and was held of Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork. A good proportion of Ballygarran is still today (2018) devoted to tillage production.
Pierce Power was the son and heir of Major Roger Power. In 1660 there were 3 English families living at Ballygarran and 33 Irish families. In 1662 Pierce Power had goods valued at £7 10s upon which he paid £1 in tax. This was the usual tax rate for medium size landholders in Lismore parish at that time but not on the scale of the big landlords like George Knollys of Ballygally (the neighbouring townland o the west of Ballygarran) who had goods worth £18 15s. On 11 May 1687 he secured an exchequer decree against Bethel Vaughan and others for lands granted to his father in Co. Wicklow. The decree was granted.
In February 1687 Richard Cox informed the dowager Countess of Orrery that he was moving to England to live and as such would be retiring as guardian of the estate of Lady Mary Boyle (daughter of the 2nd Earl of Orrery). Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork and Burlington, recommended Mr. Roche (a lawyer) or Roger Power as the most suitable people to succeeded Cox. On 12th August 1698 a mortgage was made by William Oldfield of Abbeyside, Co. Waterford to Roger Power of Lismore for £70 10s 1d on the lands of Nugents Burgery, Knockoulehane, Ardrmone, and Robertstown plus an unnamed location in the Barony of Decies, Co. Waterford. This was signed and sealed by Roger Power. The two witnesses to the mortgage were Benjamin Gumbleton and Michael Bagge.
By 1708 the townland of Ardemone was back within the Oldfield family as Thomas Oldfield gave it in lese for five years to John Meagher of Ballykeroge, Co. Waterford. The rent was £11 for the first year, £12 for the next two years and £13 for the last two years. If Roger Power was able to earn £11 from each of the five townlands in the 1698 mortgage then he could recoup his money within two years. His kinsman, the first Earl of Cork, would arrange it so the mortgage could not be repaid and the Earl would acquire more land.
On 19th September 1684 Richard Power of Carrigline made his will. In it Richard mentioned his son, Francis Power, to whom he left his interest in the lands of Carrigline and Ballygarran. Richard Power left £600 to his eldest daughter, Ann Power and £500 to each of his younger daughters, Catherine and Hanna Power. Richard Power left £5 to the poor of Carrigline and his watch and signet to his brother Robert Power (he had another brother called Pierce Power). Richard Power appointed his son Francis Power as executor and William Babington and his brother Robert Power as overseers and guardians of Francis during his minority. The witnessed to the will were Arthur Pomeroy, John Archdeacon and Robert Power. On 13th November 1684 Robert Power and William Babington took out administration of Richard’s estate. On 4th June 1695 Francis Power was of age and proved the will in the Prerogative Court. But by 1695 the Power family had surrendered or loss the lease on Ballygarran from the 2nd Earl of Cork and 1st Earl of Burlington.
In 1695 Richard Gumbleton of Curraglass near Tallow acquired the lands of Ballygarran and Ralph, amounting to 542 and 79 acres respectively. In about 1720 Richard Gumbleton took out a fee farm grant on Ballygarran and on 9th June 1739 purchased the fee farm lease for £2,354 16s with a chief rent of £5 to Lord Burlington. The descendants of Richard Gumbleton continued ownership of Ballygarran until the early twentieth century when the property was sold to the Cistercian Order and is today (2018) home to a house of Cistercian nuns called Glencairn Abbey.
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