Vowell Family

Vowell Family

The first member of the Vowell family to go to County Cork, Ireland is believed to be David Vowell. He possibly came over with Sir Walter Raleigh as an Adventurer. The family tradition is that they sailed on a ship named "Christopher", probably at the end of the 1500's or the beginning of the 1600's. This name has certainly remained popular in the Vowell family.

The Reverend Christopher Vowell, born in 1640 is described as the son of Richard Vowell and Grandson of David Vowell, all of county Cork. He was the Rector of Charleville, for the Boyle family. The Earl of Orrery describes him in pretty unflattering terms; his letter are summarised in the "Calendar of the Orrery Papers" He is scathing enough that I was glad the Rev Christopher Vowell wasn't a direct ancestor!

Orrery to Dowager Countess Orrery

Charleville 23 May 1681

Concerning Christopher Vowell, the parson of Kilboane. Protests that he has not received any previous word on subject [The previous Earl, his father had Vowell as his Chaplain, and appointed him rector of Charleville etc. The Dowager Countess is on the side of Rev Vowell ] Defends his [Orrery’s] actions in appointing a substitute for Vowell, who’s failure for ten successive Sundays to say any prayers either in this parish or Kilbolane, or to appoint someone to officiate for him caused his parishioners to apply to him [O] they and he believing that the living is a gift. Vowell was appointed by the Late Earl, but only during pleasure.

Implores her not to listen too closely to Vowell, whose own Bishop described him as a “hauty insinuating young felloe” [17 years ago…]. Orrery goes on to describe Vowell as “a Woolfe in Sheepes clothing; slander and drunkenness being failings as well as non attendance of his duties. That Vowell was drunk and abusing Will Supple, Lord Orrery confesses that “I knockt him all a longe” Vowell’s excuse to the Bishop was that he was drunk and remembers nothing at all of the incident.

My line descends from his brother Thomas Vowell. It is known that Thomas was the eldest son, born before 1635 [the year of his brother Christopher's birth . He is buried in the Church of St Nicholas at Castlelyons. The stone says " Here lies the body of Mr Rich Vowell who dyed 1681 AD Aged 92. The memory of the Just shall be blessed. Here lyeth also the body of Ann his fond wife. And of Mr Thomas Vowell his eldest son all waiting for a blessed resurrection when Christ who is in our life shall appear. Then we shall appear with him in glory. When the bright son displays his light, A joyful day shall follow without night, Hoc anno DM 1692."

Thomas married, but the name of his wife is not known. Estelle Holloway suggests that her name may have been Edith Lymbry. They had two sons, Christopher and Richard. Christopher married Elizabeth Harrison in 1697 and they owned the Estate Ballyorane . Christopher himself died in 1724,and is buried at St Nicholas, Castlelyons. Elizabeth was alive in at least 1746 as she is listed in a deed. They had six sons and five daughters.

Their son Thomas Vowell was born in about 1720. He married Tamazine/Thomasina O Callaghan on the 11th September 1736 at the Church of Ireland Church at Kilshannig. The O Callaghans were an ancient Irish family, claiming descent from the 42nd Christian King of Munster in 932 AD, Thomasina was the daughter of Anthony Callaghan of Dromore. They lived at Sparrowclogh, in the Parish of Kilshannig. They had two known children, Catherine in 1738 and Richard in 1746. Thomas died in 1749 and in 1750 his widow married again to Edward Odell of Castle Constance. The two children were placed under the guardianship of The Reverend William Vowell.

Richard Vowell was gazetted in 1764 as an Ensign in the sixty-fifth Regiment of Foot. Later he transferred to the sixty-sixth Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was posted to Jamaica and promoted to Major. Richard's Regiment was guarding Port Royal. He retired in 1783, returning to Ireland to become the member of Parliament for Newbrough, near Arklow in County Wexford. He attended the Irish Parliament in Dublin until 1790.


Richard's Cousin Major Christopher Vowell. He was from the same era and a similar regiment.

On 24th of May 1786 at St Mary Collegiate Church at Youghall, Co Cork, Richard Vowell married Ann Evans Hamilton. She was the daughter of Joshua Hamilton and Mary Cox [Herself the daughter of Sir Richard Cox of Dunmanway and Catherine Evans]. Joshua Hamilton was the grandson of Gustavus Hamilton Viscount Boyne. [He served King William at the Battle of the Boyne, along with Thomas Becher]. The couple seem to have lived in Youghal or Cork, and had at least six children, some born in Ireland and some in Bath, Somerset. The parish registers of St Mary have survived, but unfortunately, only the burial of Arabella Vowell is recorded there.  The birth order of the children has been worked out from other sources, including death notices, census records, university information, order of names in wills & a tombstone. It may not be completely correct.


St Mary, Youghall where the Vowells were married in 1786 and Arabella buried in 1792.

Richard Vowell and Ann Evans Hamilton had six children;
1. Mary VOWELL
b. abt 1787 in Co Cork, Ireland, but baptised 24th July 1795 at St James, Bath. It seems likely there was an earlier baptism in Ireland.
d. 18 Feb 1835 at Clyda House, Kilshannig [from will probate & Limerick Chronicle 28 Feb 1835 ]. She is called Mary Vowell of Clyda, Mallow. She leaves her estate to her sisters & brother. It is Mary whose name is listed in the Poor Rates Book [Along with a Rev Olive?] in 1810 & 1811.
2. Ann VOWELL
b. abt 1789 in Ireland
d. 9 January 1854 at the Rectory at Barnoldby-Le-Beck at the home of her nephew Rev Michael Henry Becher & was buried in grave 65 at St Helens, Barnoldby-Le-Beck.  According to Estelle Holloway's book on the Vowell family, Ann Married David Barry in 1810, but her subsequent records including her will make it clear that she was a spinster & never married. She can be found in the 1851 census at  St Swithins, Walcot in Bath, with her sister Catharine. Her age is given as 62, which gives her a birthdate of 1789, or possibly 1788.
3. Arabella VOWELL
b. 1791 Ireland
d. July 1792 aged 1 year. She is buried on 20th July 1792 in the graveyard of St Mary, Youghal.
4. Catharine VOWELL
b. abt 1794 Ireland & baptised 24 July 1795 at St James, Bath.
d. 20 January 1854 Barnoldby-Le-Beck, ; her death notice describing her as aged 60 & the last surviving daughter of Richard Vowell. She is buried in grave 64 next to her sister. Catharine, who was found in the 1851 census records with her sister Ann at 24 Brock St, St Swithins, Walcot. Her age was given as 57, giving her a birthdate of 1793 or 4.
5. Richard Longfield VOWELL
b.
abt 1795 in Bath, England. He was baptised along with his 3 elder sisters on 24th July 1795 at St James, Bath.
d. 18th December 1870 at Bruk Bruk, Carapook, Victoria, Australia and buried at the OIld Casterton Cemetery.
  On the 24th July 1795 at St James Bath, Mary, Ann, Catharine and Richard were all baptised together. Mary, Ann and Catharine were definitely born in Ireland and had presumably been baptised there already, but presumably the family was now publicly becoming Church of England. Richard led a fascinating life, becoming a well known figure in South America where his books are still read, before coming to Australia. He eventually died in 1870 in Victoria. More on him later!
5. Susanna VOWELL.
b. 23 October 1797 at Bath, Somerset.  I hunted unsuccessfully for her baptism for many years, but it was recently tracked down for me by Alison Miles Manning at St Swithins,Walcot  Her parents both died by the end of 1807 & it is probable that Susanna had an earlier baptism at another church in Bath, but presumably no-body knew for sure. She was baptised aged 11! on the 16th May 1808 and her date of birth was given as 23rd October 1797 at Bath.

The family lived at 19 New King St, Bath, better known as the house where William Herschel discovered Uranus from the garden. The property is now a charming museum, little changed from the days that the Vowells lived there. Sadly on the 16th November 1806 Major Richard Vowell died. He was buried at St Swithins, Walcot on the 23rd of November [Thanks again to Alison!] His wife Ann died on the 4th September 1807 and was buried with Richard on the 18th September. The children continued on at 19 New King St, with the property appearing in Mary's name. Richard went to Wadham College at Oxford in 1814.


19 New Kings St Bath, where the Vowell family lived.

The only one of the family to marry was Susanna, who married Rev Michael Henry Becher on the 24th March 1818 at St Fin Barrys, Cork City. I am yet to discover how they met!

Sources: Parish registers of St James, St Swithins, Newspaper Indexes, Estelle Holloway's book "Christopher of the Blackwater side", Calendar of the Orrery Papers, Burke's Irish Family Records, Oxford University Records, Personal Correspondence, Wills lodged in the UK archives, The Gentleman's Magazine.

Vowell Family Tree

David Vowell
b. ? in England, possibly Devon
d. 1667 in Co Cork, Ireland
Married ? Presumably in England
Had issue;
1. Catherine Vowell
2. Richard Vowell
b. abt 1589 England
d. 19 July 1681Co Cork, Ireland
Buried at St Nicholas, Castlelyons
Married before 1633 Anne
had issue:

1. Thomas Vowell
b. Before 1635
d. before 1692
Buried at St Nicholas, Castlelyons.
Married? And had issue, see below.
2. Rev Christopher Vowell
b. 1635
d. 1709 Co Cork, Ireland.
He was the Rector for the Boyle family at Charleville, very unfavourably recorded in "The Calendar of the Orrery Papers"
3. Richard Vowell
4. Anne Vowell

Thomas and his unknown wife had two sons;
2. Richard Vowell
1. Christopher Vowell
b.?
d. 1724 Co Cork, Ireland
He married in 1697 Elizabeth Harrison and they had 11 Children, but the order is a bit uncertain.
1. Henry Vowell
2. Dorcas Vowell
3. Mary "Mercy" Vowell
4. Christopher Vowell
5. John Vowell
6. Rev William Vowell
b. abt 1719
d. 23 July 1788 Co Cork
7. Thomas Vowell
b. abt 1720
d. abt 1749
8. Richard Vowell
9. Elizabeth Vowell
10. Mary Vowell
11. Catherine Vowell

Thomas Vowell married on the 11th September 1736 at St Seanachs, Kilshannig, Co Cork to the presumably Catholic Tamazine [or Thomasina] O Callaghan of Dromore. She was the daughter of Anthony O Callaghan. They had two known children, Thomas is believed to have died in 1749 and his widow married again to Edward Odell. The children end up under the guardianship of The Rev William Vowell.
1. Catherine Vowell
b. 1738
married on 2nd November 1758 to the Rev Charles Philips. They had a daughter Thomasina.
2. Major Richard Vowell
b. 1746. Ireland
d. 16 th November 1806 at  Bath, Somerset {Gentleman's Magazine}, buried 23rd November at St Swithins, Walcot, Bath
He married on the 24th May 1786 at St Mary Collegiate Church at Youghal to Mary Evans Hamilton. They had issue;
1. Mary Vowell
b. about 1787 Co Cork, Ireland
baptised 24th July 1794 at St James, Bath
d. 1835 at Kilshannig, Mallow, possibly buried at St Seanachs
2. Ann Vowell
b. 1789 in Co Cork, Ireland
baptised 24th July 1794 at St James, Bath
d. 9 January 1854 at The Rectory, Barnoldby-Le-Beck, Lincs, England. Buried at St Helens, Barnoldby-Le-Beck
3. Arabella Vowell
b. 1791 in Co Cork, Ireland
d. 19 July 1792 at Youghal, buried at St Mary, Youghal.
4. Catharine Vowell
b. abt 1794 in Co Cork, Ireland
baptised 24th July 1794 at St James, Bath
d. 19 January 1854 at the The Rectory, Barnoldby-Le-Beck, Lincs, England. Buried at St Helens, Barnoldby-Le-Beck
5. Richard Longfield Vowell
b. 1795 in Bath, Somerset, England
baptised 24th July 1794 at St James, Bath
d. 1870 at Bruk Brul, Carapooka, Victoria, Australia
6. Susanna Vowell
b. 23 October 1797 in Bath, Somerset, England
baptised age 11 on 16 May 1808 at St Swithins, Walcot, Bath
d. 27th December, 1853 at the Rectory, Barnoldby-Le-Beck, Lincs, England. Buried at St Helens, Barnoldby-Le-Beck. Her death certificate gives the cause of death as "disease of the heart" & the informant as her son John Thomas Becher of Fleet, near Holbeach.
Married 24 March 1818 at St Fin Barry, Cork City to Rev Michael Henry Becher.

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