An historical memoir of Poher, Poer, or Power
With an Account of
The Barony of Le Power and Coroghmore, County Waterford
by Gabriel O'Carroll Redmond, MD MRSAI
Cappoquin, County Waterford
Reprinted From the Irish builder
Dublin: Office of "The Irish Builder", Mabbot-Street 1891
Transcribed by Joe de la Poer Power and Carolyn Power
The Family of Poher, Poer, or Power
The study of the history of the Anglo-Norman families and of the titles and honours conferred upon them in the Middle-ages, is one, to my thinking, full of interest and charm - an exemplification of the Latin proverb, "Utile dulce" - combining as it does, a pleasing occupation for a leisure bout along with instructive research.
The invasion of Ireland, at the close of the twelfth century, under Strongbow, Raymond le Gros, and Maurice Fitzgerald, and their doughty followers (a period at which the brave and ancient Celtic race, for the first time on Irish soil, found themselves opposed in battle to mail-clad knights of Norman blood and renown), and subsequently its annexation to the Crown of England by Henry II. - have marked an era in the history of Ireland, and brought about a change in the laws, the habits, and the customs of the people, which no other event, from the landing of the sons of Milesius of Spain (A.M. 3500 or 1699 B.C.), had effected.
To become acquainted, therefore, with the history of the descendants of Strongbow's commanders, generals and knights, and of the distinguished barons and knights who came in Henry II's train and prosecuted this Anglo-Normo-Celtic campaign 721 years ago, cannot fail to interest all; and, every additional record or tradition relating to them will, I have no doubt, be considered valuable.
I have commenced with (as the title of the paper explains) an account of an honour conferred, in the reign of Henry VIII., on the ancient and distinguished House of Poher, or Power, Lords of Curraghmore, Co. Waterford, in the person of Sir Richard Power, Knight. It will enhance the interest attaching to this subject, to give some account of a family remarkable in many ways in the past and of which innumerable records of the prowess and courage of its members exist. It can boast of many warriors, of large and well-won territorial grants, and of honours and titles conferred upon it. Among these dignities I may enumerate the following: -
1 Barony by Tenure - Amongst the most ancient feudal peers of Ireland was Poer, who, in almost every writ from the Crown, had the addition of Baron of Donoyle attached to the family name. Towards the end of the fourteenth, and the commencement of the fifteenth, century, a revision of the Baronage took place, when it was enacted that "Every earl and baron, and their peers, viz., such as have lands or rents to the value of one entire earldom, or 20 knights' fees, each computed at £20, which make £400, or the value of an entire barony (viz., 13 knights' fees), and the third of a knight's fee, which make 400 marks, ought to be summoned to Parliament, and none others" &c. Consequently, many of the most ancient peers, whose possessions had been diminished by alienation or otherwise, thus lost their Parliamentary dignity. Amongst these were the Baron of Donoyle, Hussey (Baron of Galtrim), and several others; but they continued to be styled lords and barons down to the time of Charles II.
2 Barony by Writ. - Nicholas de Poer, Baron of Donoyle and Lord of Kylmydan, was called to Parliament by writs of summons, dated 1375, 1378 and 1381. These writs are now the most ancient existing in Ireland.
There are several instances of feudal barons, who ranked as Parliamentary peers from the earliest period, being thus summoned to Parliament. Amongst these were the Baron of Loundres; PhypoÁ , Baron of Scryne; Hussey, Baron of Galtrim; Nangle, Baron of Navan, &c.
1. Barony of Poer. - Eustace de Poher, lord of Grace Castle, Co. Tipperary, was summoned to Parliament as Baron, A.D. 1295. He died leaving no issue.
2. Barony of Iverk. - The original grantee of this barony was Milo Fitz-David, from whom or from whose immediate descendant it passed to a branch of the Poers. In the 12th year of Edward II a deed of conveyance, dated at Knocktopher, was executed, by which Roger, son of Milo de Poer, Baron of Iverk in Ossory to Edmond le Butler, Earl of Garrick.
3. Barony of Kells in Ossory. - At the commencement of the fourteenth century, this barony was granted to Eustace de Poher, who held large possessions in the Counties of Waterford, Tipperary, Carlow, Kildare, and also Connaught. He was succeeded by his son Arnold, second baron, whose son and heir, Eustace, third baron, having joined in the rebellion of the Earl of Desmond, was taken prisoner and hanged as a traitor and rebel, 1345; his estates were confiscated. The barony of Kells was granted to Walter de Bermingham, from whom it passed to the Prestons, Viscounts of Gormanstown, who now hold it.
4. Barony of Portlester. - Sir Eustace de Poher died A.D. 1311. From his eldest son have descended the Lords Power and Curraghmore, and from his second the FitzEustaces, or Eustaces. "Mark that the Eusteys descended lineally of the aforesaid Lord Ustas, which were very noble men in those days of knighthood and ability." The representative of the Eustaces in the fifteenth century was Sir Rowland FitzEustace, Lord of Kilcullen, Lord Deputy to the Duke of Clarence, and Lord High Treasurer of Ireland, who, on the 5th of March, 1462, was created by patent "Lord and Baron of Portlester," to him and to the heirs male of his body. He died 14th December, 1496 leaving no male issue. His daughter, Alison, married Gerald FitzGerald, eighth Earl of Kildare.
5. Barony of Kilcullen and Viscounty of Baltinglass. - On death of the Baron of Portchester, Sir Thomas Eustace, Knight, became chief of the house. In 1541, he was created Baron of Kilcullen, and in1542 Viscount of Baltinglass, to him and to the male heirs of his body. His grandson, James, third viscount, joined the Earl of Desmond in arms, in the hope of placing Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne of England; "but despite all of his exertions and gallantry, the attempt proved abortive," and he escaped to Spain in 1583, where he soon died of grief. In 1580, the viscount addressed the following letter to the Earl of Ormond: - "I have received your letter. Whereas you hear that I assemble great companies of men together, you know I am not of such power, but whatever I can make it shall be to maintain truth. Injuries though I have received, yet I forget them. The highest power on earth commands us to take the sword. Questionless it is great want of knowledge and more of grace to think and believe, that a woman uncapax of all holy orders, should be the supreme governor of Christ's Church, a thing that Christ did not grant unto his own mother. If the Queen's pleasure be, as you allege, to minister justice, it were time to begin, for in this twenty years past of her reign, we have seen more damnable doctrine maintained, more oppressing of poor subjects under pretence of justice within this land, than ever we read or heard done by Christian princes. You counsel me to remain quiet, and you will be occupied in persecuting the poor members of Christ. I would you should learn and consider by what means your predecessors came up to be Earl of Ormond. Truly, you should find that, if Thomas Beckett, Bishop of Canterbury, had never suffered death in the defence of the Church, Thomas Butler, alias Beckett, had never been Earl of Ormond." Two years after the death of Viscount Baltinglass, in 1585, an act of Parliament was passed, by which he was attainted and his estates forfeited. In the "Book of Howth" (Carew MSS.) a list is given of the "nobility of Ireland, placed by Sir Henry Sedney." The Powers are mentioned thus: - 1. Eustace, alias Powar, Viscount of Baltinglass, Lord of Kylkullen, to him and to his heirs male, A ° II. 8, 38 °. Their ancestor, Robert L. Powar, was sent into Ireland with commission, and in his offspring hath rested here, A.D. 1176. 2. Power, Baron of Curraghmore
6. Viscounty of Valentia: - Sir Henry Power, of Bersham, Knight, in Denbighshire, Constable of the Castle of Maryborough, Knight of Mareschal of Ireland, Governor of Leix, and a Privy Councillor, was raised to the Irish peerage as Viscount of Valentia, 1st of March, 1620, to him and to the heirs male of his body. He died without issue, 25th of May, 1642, when the viscounty passed to Sir Francis Annesley, who, in 1621, had obtained a reversionary patent of the title.
Not the least in importance and dignity among the peerages conferred upon the family of Power in Ireland, was that of the Barony and Earldom by patent, which raised the House of Curraghmore to the peerage, under the title of De La Power and Coroghmore.
The scope of this paper will not permit more than a passing word regarding the remote ancestry of this family. The name is derived from the designation of one of the ancient, independent states of Brittany, of which there were five, namely, La Domnonie, La Cornouailles, La Vannes, Le Poher, and Le Leon; and as many Bretons took part in the Invasion of England, under William of Normandy, and settled there, the Pohers being amongst the number, it may fairly be presumed, that the family sprung from the counts or princes of Le Poher. Many branches were established in England.
A.D. 1066. A branch of the Pohers settled in Devon with Alured de Mayenne; and in 1165 Ranulp de Poher held three knights' fees of his barony, of the Honour of Barnstable, under William de Brewes; and William de Poher held of the said Ranulph. Sir Bartholomew de Poher was Lord of Blackburg or Blackborough in the reign of Henry II., and by his wife Elenor left a son Robert de Poher, whose son Bartholomew de Poher was living in the tenth year of Henry III. His son Walter de Poher, Lord of Blackburg Poerk, Sheriff of Devon, 7th and 8th Henry III. Another branch in Devonshire were styled "of Poherhays."
We find Bartholomew de Poher, of Poherhays, living temp. Henry II., who had a son Roger, whose son Roger was father of John, who had a son John, whose son Roger had an only child Cicely de Poher. This Cicely married Richard Duke, Esq. In Pole's "History of Devon" it is stated that "Poherhays, nowe Dukeshays - this hath always contynewed in the name of Poer and Duke."
In Leicestershire, the name is also found. Almost the year 1100 Robert de Poher granted lands between the castle ditch and the king's highway, called Westgate, to the monks of Belvoir.
A.D. 1166. Robert de Poher held five and a half knights' fees in the lordship of Howes, who, with his wife Mabilla, confirmed the advowson of Howes to the Priory of Belvoir.
Robert de Poher granted 12 bovates to the Abbey of Croxton; William de Poher was also a benefactor to the same Abbey. Walter de Poher, and Robert his son, granted, during the reign of Henry II., large possessions at Barkly to the Abbey of St. Mary de Pratis. Robert de Poher and Isabella his wife were also benefactors to the same abbey. Walter de Poher, Lord of Hungerton, granted during the reign the church of Hungerton, with that of Barkly, to the same abbey. About 1270 Robert de Poher granted the chapel appendant to the church of Barkly, together with the tithes of corn and hay in part of Thurmodeston, to the Abbey of St. Mary of Pratis.
In the reign of Henry III., John de Poher was seized of lands in the manor of Lubbenham.
In Northamptonshire, Hugh de Leycester was Lord of Great Preston. He founded a priory at Preston, and about 1090 removed it to Daventry. He was living in 1117, and by his wife Mathilde he left two sons, William and Osbert, who died issueless; and a daughter who married ----- de Poher. By this marriage there were 3 sons: Hugh de Poher, Jordan, and Simon. Hugh, the eldest son, confirmed the grants made by his grandfather Leycester to the Priory of Daventry, to which he granted the churches of Haddon, Cold-Ashby, Ettington, and Suthorp. His brother Jordan de Poher ratified a grant made by his uncle Osbert de Leycestre of 14 virgates, of the fee of Poer, to the Monastery of Pipwell. Hugh's son, John de Poher, held the lordship of Cold-Ashby, containing 60 virgates, of which 38 were of the fee of Poer; confirmed his father's grants to the Priory of Daventry; living 1233. He married Eustachia de Pinkeney, but died without issue.
Kai de Poer, also called De Lichborough, granted the Church of Lichborough to St. James's Abbey. He had several sons, the eldest of whom, Sampson de Poher, adhered to the barons against King John, thereby forfeiting his estates, which were granted to Ingelbert, nephew of Theobald de Blund. His son, Thomas de Poher, was living in 1256. His father's forfeited estates were restored to him, and we find his son, William, Lord of Lichborough, in 1287; and his son, John, Lord of Lichborough, in 1308.
In Shropshire, a branch of the Pohers were Lords of Romsley, a lordship they held by service of one knight's fee from the barons of Richard's Castle, and a third were Lords of Neen Baldwine.
The following were the Lords of Romsley, from the year 1212 to 1315: Roger de Poer, Lord of Romsley, 1212; William de Poer, Mesne Lord of Romsley, 1255; Roger de Poher, Mesne Lord of Romsley, 1287; John de Poer, Lord of Romsley, 1291; Leo De Poer, otherwise called De Romsley, 1307; Roger de Poer, Lord of Romsley, 1315. The Wollascote branch was represented, in 1235, by Alan de Poer, who married the daughter of William le Strange. Their son, William de Poer, alias de Wollascote, was living in 1259, and Roger de Wollascote in 1320.
The Manor of Neen-Baldwine, called later Neen-Sollars, was the only manor in Condetret Hundred held by Osbern FitzRichard, Lord of Richard's Castle, immediately from the king. Anterior to the year 1185, Neen had been given to "the childe Baldwine his ordinary name (says Eyton, in his "Antiquities of Shropshire") being, I suppose, Baldwine de Poer." This Baldwine left daughters only, viz., Eustachia, married Ingram de Fraxins, or De Frene, 1203.
In Warwickshire, Stephen de Poher held two and a half hides, in Clifford-Minor, from Margerie de Bohun (temp. Henry I.). His descendant, Hugh de Poher, sided with the barons against the king; seized of two carucates in Clifford. By his wife, Margerie de Clifford, he was father of Ralph Power, who was given, by John de Clifford, his uncle, all his lands in Ryen-Clifford (temp. Henry III.). These lands continued in the Power family for many generations. Christopher, son and heir of John Power, being the last of this line, granted them to William Clopton, 12th February (5th Henry VIII.).
Thomas Power (22nd Henry VI.) confirmed the lands granted by the Poers, of Ryen-Clifford, to the Hermitage at Bridgtown, and then "constituted John Rawlyns to be hermite there, appointing that said Rawlyns should yearly celebrate an obit In the parish church of Stratford on the eve of Corpus Christi, for the souls of the ancestors of the said Thomas Power."
Walter Power granted (2nd Henry IV) the Manor of Hethcote to the Collegiate Church of Warwick. The dean and chapter and their successors were therefore to celebrate yearly for ever two obits, - one for his own soul, after death.
Hugh de Poher (temp. Henry II.) held fourteen hides of the Manor of Northwick.
William de Poher (4, 5, 6, King John) was Sheriff of Warwickshire. Hugh de Poher (22nd Henry III.) was Governor of the Castle of Kenilworth. Hugh de Poher was Deputy to Walter de Beauchamp, Sheriff of Warwickshire. Hugh de Poher was granted the Manor of Whitley, by Walter de Beauchamp.
In Gloucestershire, branches of the family were located; and in Wiltshire, we also find the name. In 1194, Herbert de Poher was consecrated Bishop of Sarum (Salisbury). He died in 1217, and was succeeded in his bishopric by his brother Richard, Bishop of Chichester, who, in 1220, laid the foundation-stone of the present Cathedral of Salisbury. In 1226, Bishop Richard was elected Bishop of Durham, which election was confirmed by the Pope two years later. He died in 1237. From his eldest brother, Philip de Poer, of Ambresbury, descended John Methuen Poore, who was created a baronet, 8th July, 1795, and whose representative now is Sir Edward Poore, of Rushall, 3rd baronet.
In Herefordshire, the name is found as early as 1182, when Ranulph de Poer, then Sheriff of Hereford, was killed by the Welsh; and in Denbighshire the family was also represented. Sir Henry Power, Master of the Horse to Queen Elizabeth, had issue four sons. The youngest, Sir Henry Power of Bersham, Denbighshire, was General of the Forces in Ireland, and one of the Lords Justices. On the 1st March, 1620, he was created Viscount Valentia, to him and the male heirs of his body. He died s.p., 25th March, 1642. From John Power, eldest son of Sir Henry Power, Master of the Horse, descended Lieut.-General Sir Manley Power K.C.B., Governor of Malta, who died 7th July, 1826, and was succeeded by his son, Manley Kingsmill Power, of the Hill Court, Herefordshire, J.P. and D.D., the present representative of this line.
These scattered notices of the English branch will sufficiently testify the influence, wealth, and position to which the family attained.
The name existed not in Ireland until the reign of Henry II. During this Monarch's reign, and part of the succeeding reign (John's), or the first sixteen years of the Anglo-Norman Invasion, four of the name of Poher came to Ireland, vis., Sir Robert, to whom I shall refer again; Sir Roger, William, and Simon.
Sir Roger served with Sir John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster, when he invaded that province, where he was second to none in the glorious list of warriors. Of him, Cambrensis says: - "It might be said without offence there was not a man who did more valiant acts than Roger de Poer, who, although he were young and beardless, yet he showed himself a lusty, valiant, and courageous gentleman, and who grew into such good credit, that he had the Government of the country about Leighlin, as also in Ossory." He is also described by the same author as a "beardless youth, fair and tall;" and again as "the youngest, bravest, and handsomest of all the Anglo-Norman knights." He was traitorously killed at the Castle of Dangisdrony (in Ossory) A.D. 1188. By his wife, a niece of Sir Armoricus de St. Lawrence, and probably daughter of Robert de Tristram and of Cecilia his wife, he had issue a son John.
Of William little mention is made. Cambrensis, speaking of the distinguished men who flourished at that time, refers to him, and states that he was "at Waterford."
Simon de Poher confirmed, in A.D. 1187, a grant made by Milo de Cogan, his father-in-law, to the Abbey of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Dublin, and he made a further grant to the same Abbey of "60 carcucates of land, contiguous to Cork, in his territory of Munster." He was probably the Poer who built the Castle of Powerscourt, in the County of Wicklow. He left a son William.
Powerscourt House at Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland 2014.
In the "Annals of Loch Ce," edited by the late William M. Hennessy, M.R.I.A., (vol. I., p. 185), the name of Simon Power is mentioned, under the year 1190, thus, "Simon Puer"; and Mr. Hennessy has annexed the following foot note: - "Simon Puer - This entry has been left unfinished. The name of Simon Puer (Poer or de la Poer) does not occur in the usual lists of the early English colonists of Ireland." It is very probable the unfinished entry refers to the year of his death.
Sir Robert de Poher, of whose descendants the following pages treat, was a son of Sir Bartholomew de Poher, Lord of Black borough, Devon (temp. Hen II.), and his wife Elenour. He accompanied Henry II. himself in 1172, was Knight Marshall to that Monarch, and was granted by him in A.D. 1177, "In custodium, the City of Waterford, with all the circumjacent province; and appointed that the following lands should, for the time to come, belong to the service of Waterford, viz., all the lands which lie between Waterford and the water beyond Lismore (which comprehend the greatest part of the County of Waterford), and also the lands of Ossory." He obtained a grant of that portion of the present County of Waterford extending from the River Suir to the sea, excepting the City and cantred of the Danes, a district thence called the Poer, or Power country, thus dispossessing the O'Flanagans, the ancient Celtic proprietors. From Sir Robert de Poher have descended, as we shall see, the Barons of Donoyle, the Barons of Iverke, the Barons of Kells in Ossory, the Lords Power and Curraghmore, and Earls of Tyrone, and the Eustaces, Barons of Portlester and Viscounts of Baltinglass. When William Fitz Adelm de Burgh was recalled to England, the king appointed Hugh de Lacy Governor-General of Ireland, A.D. 1179, and joined with him, in commission, Sir Robert de Poher, Governor of Waterford and Wexford.
Sir Robert, by his wife Katherine, had issue four sons: - Sir John de Poher, Baron of Donoyle, eldest son; Sir Eustace de Poher, a benefactor to the Dominican Monastery of St. Saviour's, Dublin, A.D. 1224; Walter de Poher, Lord of Dunbratyn; and Bartholomew de Poher, living 10th Henry III., who continued the line of Blackburg or Blackborough, Devon.
Walter de Poher, Lord of Dunbratyn and Rathgormyk, the 3rd son of Sir Robert de Poher, founded a branch of the family, which produced many distinguished individuals, but which became extinct before the close of the fourteenth century. He married Feya, daughter and co-heir of William D'Eincourt, Lord of Incheth and Lisnekill, County of Tipperary. This William D'Eincourt is mentioned in Sweetman's "Calendar of Documents Relating to Ireland," viz., vol. i., No. 529: Feb. 1, 1214-15. - Mandates to Henry, Archbishop of Dublin, to distrain debtors to the king for fines made in the time of the Bishop of Norwich, among them is the name of William de Hayncourt, for Crumell (?Clonmel) £100, and 100 marks for marrying his daughter to the son of Elias fitzNorman. - Corfe (Close, 16 John, p. 2, m.9.) No. 1014, Oct. 21, 1221. - The king commands the Archbishop of Dublin and the Justiciary of Ireland to respite till the feast of St. John the Baptist (21 June, ar. 6 Hen. III.) the plaint between William de Aencourt, plaintiff, and William de Burgh, defendant, touching the manor of Clonmel. - Westminster (Close, 5 Hen. III., p.1., m.1.)
Walter de Poher had issue, by Feya D'Eincourt, a son Benet, of whom presently, and a daughter Elenor, who married Sir Alexander de Raymond, or Redmond, knight, of the Hull, Co. Wexford. He was a near cousin to Margaret Grace, lady of Grace Castle, who was the wife of Benet de Poer, his wife's brother, Sir Alexander being a great-grandson of Raymond le Gros. The Latin pedigree of the Redmond family records this marriage: - Dominus Alexander de Redmond de Aula Eques, nupt' fuit a Eleanora, filia Domini Gaulteri Poer de Curraghmore, in comitatu Waterfordensi, Equitis.
Benet de Poer, son and heir of Walter de Poher, was Lord of Dunbratyn and Rathgormyck, in which he succeeded his father; and of Grace Castle, in right of his wife, Margaret, daughter and heir of William le Grace, Lord of Grace Castle, who was the son of Raymond le Gros. By her he had two sons - Mathew (to whom I shall refer presently) and a younger son, who succeeded to Grace Castle. His son Eustace Poer, Lord of Grace Castle, was summoned to Parliament as Lord Poer, A.D. 1295. Died s.p. The elder son, Mathew Poer, Lord of Dunbratyn and Rathgormyck, had no issue by his first wife, Mathilde; but by his second wife, Dionysia, he had three sons - (1) Walter, his heir; (2) Eustace Poer, who was granted the barony of Kells in Ossory, about A.D. 1300 (of whom presently); and (3) Milo Power, Bishop of Leighlin. Miler le Poer, Chantor of Leighlin, upon the king's licence of election, was chosen Bishop by the Dean and Chapter, the 5th Nov. 1320, and confirmed by Alexander Bicknor, Archbishop of Dublin, the 29th of January following. He was consecrated at Waterford on Palm Sunday (says Clynn), in 1321. He sat twenty years, or somewhat more. - (Ware's "Bishops".)
The eldest son, Walter Poer, Lord of Dunbratyn and Rathgormyck, was succeeded by his son Mathew Poer, who was also heir to Eustace, Lord Poer, who was summoned to Parliament as a Baron, in 1295. The second son, Eustace Poer, Baron of Kells in Ossory, was the father of Lord Arnold de Poer, Baron of Kells, Lord of Grace Castle & c., Seneschal of the Counties Kilkenny and Carlow, partisan of the Lady Alice De Kyteler against Richard de Ledrede, Bishop of Ossory, before whom Lady Alice was tried for witchcraft and sorcery. Lord Arnold was afterwards accused of the same by the said Bishop, and pending his trial was confined in the Prison Tower of the Castle of Dublin, where he died A.D. 1328, and was buried in the Dominican church of St. Saviour's, Dublin. He married Agnes, an heiress who has dower, A.D. 1337, and left issue two sons: Eustace (of whom presently), and Robert Poer, Treasurer of Ireland 1327, chief Justice of the King's Bench; Seneschal of Wexford County; Baron of the Exchequer, whose son John, was father of John de Poer, living 1384, Attorney-general to the King.
Eustace de Poer, eldest son of Lord Arnold, was Baron of Kells, &c., and a Knight of the Golden Spur. He joined the Earl of Desmond in rebellion, was taken prisoner while defending the Castle of the Island, and hanged as a traitor and rebel by order of the Lord Justice Ufford, A.D. 1345; when his estates were confiscated. His Baron of Kells, in Ossory, was granted to Walter de Bermingham, from whom it passed to the Prestons, now Viscounts of Gormanston. His manor of Granagh was granted to James Butler, Earl of Ormond. By his wife, the Lady Mathilde de Bermingham, whom he married in 1331, daughter and co-heiress of Sir John de Bermingham, Earl of Louth, he left an only son, Arnold Poer.
The annalist Clynn notices, in his too scant allusions to the events which followed the slaughter of the Earl of Louth, that Sir William Bermingham and his family remained in the summer of 1331 in the woods of the Monks of Dowske, (Graignamanagh); that there Sir Eustace Power married the daughter of the slain nobleman.
Later on, I shall given an interesting account of Lord Arnold de Poer's feud with Gerald, 4th Earl of Desmond.
Sir John de Poher, Baron of Donyle, eldest son of Sir Robert, succeeded his father as baron by tenure. It is extremely probable that Sir Robert himself, or this John, his successor, built the Castle of Donoyle, which was the "caput baroninae," all the other families of the name in the county of Waterford branching therefrom. We find the barons of Donoyle mentioned at a very early period, and I think it may be regarded as certain that this feudal fortress dates its foundation from the close of the twelfth or first years of the thirteenth century. That it was unusually strong and in accessible, the picturesque and suggestive ruins of it still standing, sufficiently attest. This Sir John is mentioned as follows in Sweatman's "Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland," vol. i.: -
No. 1635, Nov. 17, 1228. The King to the Justiciary of Ireland: Richard Duket and Henry de St. Florence have offered to the king on the justiciary's behalf 100 marks for the marriage of John, son and heir of Robert le Poher. The king accepts the offer, saving the fine for John's relief, and commands the justiciary to cause the latter to come to him to do homage, and make that fine. - Westminster (Close, 13 Hen. III., p.1, m.20.)
No. 1786, April 6, 1230. The K. to Richard de Burgh, Justiciary of Ireland: Has taken the homage of John, son and heir of Robert le Poher, for the lands which the latter held of the king in capite, and which descend to John by right of inheritance. John has made with the king for his relief a fine of £20, whereof £10 have been pardoned to him at the instance of Reymond de Burgh. Mandate to the Justiciary that, having taken security for the maintaining £10, he give to John seisin of all Robert's lands. Reading, (Close, 14 Hen. III., p 1, m. 11.).
No. 2285, Aug. 1235. Letters from the King to the Magistrates of Ireland, thanking them for their services, and calling on them to assist the Justiciary in Ireland. Amongst them letters to John le Poer, Robert de Karren, Odo and David de Barri, and others.
Sir John, the second baron by tenure, left three sons also: - (1) Robert, his heir, Baron of Donoyle, who, however, died A.D. 1249, s.p., and was succeeded by his brother; (2) Piers de Poher, 4th Baron; and (3) Mathew de Poher, the youngest son, ancestor of the House of Coroghmore, or Curraghmore, and of which distinguished branch I shall treat at length.
Piers de Poher, 4th Baron of Donoyle by tenure, heir to his brother Robert, was drowned at sea, A.D. 1283, leaving a son and heir, John de Poer, 5th Baron of Donoyle, born at Carnarvon A.D. 1281, two years old at his father's death. In the 33rd year of Edward I A.D. 1305, the crown appointed him Sheriff of the county of Waterford; and the reasons of the appointment are stated to be that much damage was done, by divers malefactors running through that county, some of whom were of the family of the Poers, and others under that family, whom neither the sheriff nor the people could resist; wherefore the Baron of Donhill, who is fully able to chastise all such malefactors of his family and their accomplices, is made sheriff there. - (Lynch's Feudal Dignities.) In 1317, he, with the Lord Justice, the Earl of Kildare, and Richard de Clare, furnished and armed 30,000 men, to oppose Robert and Edward Bruce. In 1324, he was of the witnesses to the compact entered into between the king of England and the nobles of English descent, for the capture of felons, robbers, and thieves of their family and surname. This compact is mentioned in Hardiman's Statute of Kilkenny, p. 66, note, published by the Irish Arch. Soc. in 1843.
In the 18th year of Edward II., A.D. 1325, John de Poer, Baron of Donoyle, obtained a writ from the Crown directing that he should have aid from his knights and free servants towards making his eldest son a knight. The Anglo-Irish lords frequently exacted imposts on the authority and precedents of the feudal system; and this levy, which had no corresponding one among the Irish, was for the purpose of defraying the cost of feasting, &c., attendant on the ceremony of conferring knighthood. He was summoned to Parliament, and aided King Edward against the Scots. He left issue, at his death in 1328, three sons, viz., Piers, his heir; Bennet de Poer, Lord of Kylmydan; and Eustace de Poer, of both of whom hereafter.
Sir Piers de Poher, 6th Baron of Donoyle, was killed, with twelve others of his name, by the Geraldines of Desmond, and in the same conflict was killed the Lord John Fitzgerald, A.D. 1328. Sir Piers married Joan, daughter of Sir John de Wogan, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, by whom he had two sons: - John, his successor; and Benet de Poer, killed in battle with his brother, 1368.
Sir John de Poer, 7th Baron of Donoyle. He was killed in battle against the citizens of Waterford, when the latter were defeated by the Poers, aided by the O'Driscolls. The Mayor of the City, thirty-six of the most worthy citizens, sixty merchant strangers, and English, with Richard le Walshe, Master of the Hospital; and Walter le Devenish, were amongst the slain, A.D. 1368. Sir John left at his death an only child, Joan de Poer, who married, about 1350, Nicholas de Bekinfield. Sir John de Poer, 7th Baron of Donoyle, was made Seneschall of Kilkenny 18 Jan., 11th Edw. II., and we find him a Baron in 13th Edw. II. - (C.R.P.C.II. 22.)
The senior male line of the House of Donoyle thus becoming extinct in the person of the 7th Baron, we shall now revert to Benet de Poher, Lord of Kylmydan, and his brother, Eustace, sons of John de Poer, the 5th Baron, who died in 1328.
Benet (de) Poer, Lord of Kylmydan and Rathgormycke, second son of the 5th Baron, was killed with his brother Sir Piers, in the conflict with the Geraldines of Desmond, A.D. 1328. He left by his wife, Katherine FitzMaurice, one son, John Poer, slain with his father, 1328. This John dying issueless, his uncle Eustace Poer, succeeded as heir to his brother, and was styled Lord of Kilmydan and Rathgormycke. He was succeeded by his son, John Poer, Lord of Kylmydan (who was dead in 1347). This Sir John Poer, knight, and Lord of Kylmydan, had two sons, Piers and Nicholas (of whom presently), and a daughter, Anne Poer, who married Sir Robert de Raymond, or Redmond, Knight, of The Hall, County Wexford, and had issue, Sir Alexander de Raymond, eldest son and heir. This marriage is thus recorded in the Latin pedigree of the Redmond family: - "Dominus Robertus de Redmond do Aula Eques, nupt fuit a Anna, filia Domini Johanni Poer de Kilmayden, in Comitata Waterfordensi Equitis."
Piers Poer, the eldest son, Lord of Kylmydan, died without issue, and his brother Nicholas became his heir.
Nicholas Poer, Lord of Kylmydan, 1370, heir to his brother. He was Sheriff for the County of Waterford in 1372 and was summoned by writ to Parliament as Baron four times, viz., 23rd November, 1375, and thrice afterwards, in 1378, in 1381, and 1383; was living in 1392. He had four sons: - Walter, his heir; Sir Maurice Poer, Knight of St. John of Jerusalem; John, and Thomas; and a daughter, Elenour, who was the wife of David Poer, of the Curraghmore line (of whom hereafter).
Walter Poer, the eldest son, Baron of Donoyle, Lord of Kylmydan, living in 1397-1435, married, and had issue a son.
John Poer, Baron of Donoyle, Lord of Kylmydan, who ob. 1529, leaving by his wife Ellen, dau. of Sir Piers Poer, five sons -
Nicholas, his heir, John Poer of Garrancrowbally, Benet, Henry and Maurice.
Nicholas Poer, hereditary Baron of Donoile, and Lord of Kilmedan, the eldest son, succeeded. In the Presentment of Juries of the County of Waterford, A.D. 1537, he is mentioned thus; - "Item, Nicholas Poer, Kyllmedan, do use coyne lyverye, srahe, and bonneb, in his owne lands, of his tenants, the king's subjects, and also nyghtments, and fyne for thevis that robbe and stele of his tenants." Amongst the City Presentments I find the following: - "Item, They present that Nicholas Powre, of Kylmydan, hath taken coyne 't livery, 't his brethern likewise John Morice 't Benet Powre, 't useth the same contynually 't hath ioyned in tyme past wt Geralt McShane and procured hym to robbe this countrey 't hath committed in revenging his quarell agaynst Sir Richard Power divers felonies as manslaughter, robbing, 't burnyng." He married Shela, dau. of John FitzGerald, Lord of the Decies, by whom he had two sons - Robert, his heir, and Piers Poer of Carrigphilip - from whom branched the families of Power and Poer of Carrigphilip, Kilbolane, Carrigaline, Corbenny, Knockalahan, Affane, Ballyhane, and Belleville.
Robert Power, the elder son and heir, Baron of Donoile, Lord? of Kilmedan, married a daughter of Fitzgerald, (Baron of Burnchurch), and, dying on the 24th of July, 1587, left 4 sons - Nicholas, Richard, Rowland, and John.
Nicholas Power, the eldest son, Baron of Dunisle, Lord of Kilmedan, obiit 1st April, 1635. By his wife Elenor, dau. of Thomas Purcel, Baron of Loughmoe, he had issue three sons - John (of whom presently); Nicholas; and Walter Power, who married a dau. of ----- Grant, Esq., of Curlody - and a dau. Elenor, who married Nicholas Power, of Kilballykiltie.
John Power, son and heir, Baron of Donoyle, and Lord of Kilmedan. He married Giles, dau. of Sir John FitzGerald of Dromana, Lord of the Decies. He defended the Castle of Kilmedan against Cromwell, which was, however, taken and destroyed. Soon after, Cromwell laid seige to the Castle of Donhill, which was courageously defended by the Baroness, when, after a lengthened resistance, it was, according to tradition, betrayed into his hands by the Lieutenant of the castle. The Baron, with 18 of his followers, was "transplanted" into Connaught, and his estates were confiscated. Donhill, Kilfaresy, with other lands, were granted to Sir John Cole, ancestor of the Earl of Enniskillen; Castlereagh to Sir Thomas Stanley; Kilmedan to Henry Nichols, from whom it, with many other lands, passed, by purchase, to John Ottrington, ancestor of the Viscount Doneraile.
Thus ended the Barony of Donoyle, which had been held by one of the most distinguished and loyal of the Anglo-Norman families in the country. For 500 years the Barony passed to the legitimate heirs male of the body of Sir Robert de Poher, the 1st Baron by tenure; and we have seen that during that time from this eminent House many brave barons and knights, faithful and true in their allegiance, sprung.
The last of the name who owned the honoured title of "Baron of Donoyle" had the misfortune, in common with the chief of so many other Anglo-Norman and Irish families, to co-exist with Cromwell - a soldier of whom and some of his followers it might be said with truth "that they sprung from the land of England like fungi from a tree, or the mushroom from the fields; they were false to king and country, and were wanting in the noblest attributes of the soldier - humanity, generosity, and moderation in victory."
The subsequent fate of the last of the Barons of Donoyle has not been accurately shown. After the Restoration, the Baron was amongst those "named" to be restored to portion of his estates, and Donoyle was to have been given back to him, Cole being first "reprised." This was never carried out, however. Some light may be thrown on the matter by a reference to the "Act of Settlement and Explanation," in which, at pages 101, 102, a list of the "Nominees" of Charles II is given. These "Nominees," as they were styled, having been "named" in his Majesty's gracious declaration, were each granted by Charles II capital seats in Ireland, with 2,000 acres of land contiguous to each seat. Among them we find three of the name of Power, namely: -
1 Master David Power, of Kilbolane, "who was mentioned amongst the thirty-eight persons in his Majesty's late gracious declaration, and was restored after reprisals set out, and for whom no provision hath yet been made" (and never was, probably !).
2 John Power, of Donoile, in the County Waterford, Esq., thirteenth on the list.
3. Pierce Power, of Moneylargy, County Waterford, Esq., fourteenth on the list, "and their heirs and assignees shall, by the commissioners for the execution of this act, be restored unto their severall and respective principall seats. That is to say, unto their severall and respective principall messuages, houses, or castles (Kilmedan and the lands thereunto belonging excepted), or in case they have severall messuages, houses, or castles (Kilmedan and the lands thereunto belonging excepted) as they shall respectively chose, within two months after the first sitting of the commissioners for the execution of this act, and unto two thousand acres of land, thereunto adjoining, if they or any of them, their or any of their ancestors, or any other in trust for them or any of them, or to their or any of their use, were seized or possessed of so much upon the two and twentieth of October, one thousand six hundred and forty-one, and were thereunto lawfully and rightfully intitled."
The John Power, of Doneile, Esq., referred to in the list of "Nominees," was certainly either the Baron of Donoyle who resisted Cromwell's onslaught at Kilmedan, or his son and heir. I think it possible he was the son and heir, because a tradition exists that, when the Castle was taken, the owner was "seized and hanged on a tree close by." This, if true (and judging by the worthy Cromwell's many acts of barbarous inhumanity, it was not a very improbably means of retaliating on his brave enemy), would perhaps account for the non-restoration of the estates. Among the grantees in the "Commission of Grace," or enrolments under the "Act of Grace" in Ireland, I find the names of John, Nicholas, and Thomas Power. This John Power was, "in consideration of a fine of £20, granted the lands of Clashmore, Cooleboe, Ballyneclasy, in the Decies, dated 3rd of January, 1684." Now it has been supposed that he was one and the same person as the dispossessed Baron of Donoyle (or his son).
There would seem to be some doubt about it and it is rather remarkable that the family of Power of Clashmore, if descended from the grantee above mentioned, have never claimed to be representatives of the Donisle House, which would have dignified them with the position of being head of all the name of Power in Ireland - Donisle, as already shown, having been the "Fons et Origo Nominis in Hibernia." In a letter from colonel Eustace Mansfield, of Landscape, he expressed to me his belief that "the first John Power of Clashmore was connected with the Law, and purchased or got possession of various lands at or about Cromwell's time, and afterwards got a grant from Charles II in 1684, which was not an uncommon proceeding." Colonel Mansfield's idea is extremely probable, but I would add that, to my mind, there is nothing to disconnect the first John Power of Clashmore with the last John Power of Donisle; and I am inclined to the opinion that he was the eldest son of the last Baron, that he may have been connected with the Law and naturally enough purchased lands in the old county, which were confirmed to him in 1684; but still the "stumbling-block" remains, that the Clashmore family never mentioned in their pedigree a fact of which they could justly boast.
It is worthy of notice, that although John Power of Donoyle is amongst the 79 persons "transplanted" from the County of Waterford, his name does not appear in "The Connaught Certificates, 1653, 1654," which would point to his having never got lands in Connaught or Clare, and is an argument in favour of the Clashmore theory.
The Clashmore family is now extinct in the male line, being represented in the female lines by the present and 14th Earl of Huntingdon, and by Sir John Nugent, Baronet, of Cloncoskraine, County of Waterford. The first of the Clashmore family I find recorded is John Power, of Clashmore, Esq., who may have been the last Baron of Donoyle, or his son, as already suggested, but without any positive record of the fact. He married Margaret, the youngest daughter of Piers Power, of Knocklahane, County Cork, whose will was proved 4th December 1701. She was the sister of Richard Power, who, I am strongly inclined to think, was the first of the family of Power, of Clonkerdin, County Waterford, and whose tomb recording his age and date of death, can be seen in the burial ground at Whitechurch. The fact that the Powers of Clonkerdin always claimed kinsmanship with the Mansfields of Ballinamultinagh, and the Powers of Clashmore, favours my view. The grandmother of the Richard Power I refer to, was a Miss Mansfield, and his sister married Mr. Power, of Clashmore.
John Power, of Clashmore, had issue a son, John Power of Clashmore, and a daughter Barbara, who married James Uniacke, of Cappa, Co. Tipperary. The 2nd John Power, of Clashmore, married Mary McGrath, of Sledy Castle, Co. Waterford, by whom he had a son John Power, of Clashmore, who married, on the 11th November, 1733, Katherine, daughter and co-heiress of John Power of Gurteen, and of Grange, County of Galway, de jure 11th Lord Power and Curraghmore. By this marriage there was issue two sons and a daughter - Richard (of whom presently); William Power, who was born in 1740, and married Margaret Uniack, of Airmount, by whom he had a son James, who married Mary Flyn; and Mary Power (born 1735), who married Redmond Power, of Glasha and Whitefort, grandfather of the late Edmond Power, of Springfield, Clonmel, Esq., solicitor.
Richard, the elder son and heir, of Clashmore. He was born in 1739, and married, in 1766, Elizabeth, daughter of Shapland Carew, of Castleboro', Esq., by whom he had issue: (1) Richard, his heir (of whom presently); (2) Robert Power, Esq., M.P. for the County of Waterford, died s.p.; (3) Mary Power, who married, in 1807, Sir John Nugent Humble, of Cloncoskoran, baronet, father of the late Sir John Nugent Humble, and grandfather of the present baronet; (4) Margaret Power, who married the Viscount of Valmer. Richard Power, of Clashmore, Esq., the elder son and heir, was M.P. for the County Waterford. He married Dorothea, daughter of Robert Carew, of Castleboro' Esq., by whom he had an only child and heiress, Elizabeth Anne Power, of Clashmore, who married on the 8th September, 1835, Francis Theophilus Henry Hastings, 12th Earl of Huntingdon, grandfather of the present and 14th Earl. He died on the 13th September 1875, having survived his wife, who died on the 18th February, 1857. With her ended the line of Clashmore.
If the theory that the grantee of 1681 was identical with John Power, or his son, of Donisle, be incorrect, then the representation of the premier line would have devolved upon the direct male heir of Piers Power of Carrigphilip, second cousin of Nicholas Poer, Baron of Donisle and Shela, dau. of Sir John FitzGerald, of Dromana, Lord of the Decies, who, if the male issue of Major Power of Knocklahane, and that of Richard Power of Carrickaline, his brother (both grandsons of the aforesaid Piers Power of Carrigphilip, and who were both living at the restoration), be extinct, is now most probably Mr. Poer, of Belleville, County Waterford.
To endeavour to trace the descendants of Major Roger Power and Richard Power, and show the lineage of the Ballyhane and Belleville branch, is beyond the limits I have assigned to this paper.
I will close the first part with a list of members of the Power family who are mentioned in vol. i., c. 8, c. 126, "Transplanters' Certificates," preserved in the Public Record Office: -
Names of Members of the Power Family Transplanted from the County Waterford, A.D. 1653-1654.
Nineteen out of a total of seventy-nine persons transplanted from the County of Waterford, were Powers.
Such a sweeping confiscation of the properties of one family is a melancholy confirmation of their influence and wealth; and it is surprising that, at the present day, in spite of their plundered ancestors' misfortunes, so many gentlemen of the name are still to be found amongst the landed proprietors of the County Waterford and Elsewhere.
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