John gayer





William Gayer of Okehampton, Devon

John Gayer, Week St. Mary;

Samuell Gayer of Stratton;

Benjamin Gayer of Stratton


Rev John Gayer

Philip Gayer

Edward George Gayer

John Gayer of Dublin and children

John Gayer was my great (x 4) grandfather, born in 1760 in Dublin.  There is no information about his education nor his early occupation.   In 1794 he became Deputy Clerk of the Irish Parliament. Then, following in his father's and uncle's footsteps, he became Chief Clerk to the Irish Parliament in 1799, although this role was short-lived.  John Gayer signed the Irish Act of Parliament ratifying the Act of Union 1800. This essentially ended his job as a Chief Clerk.  He was granted an annuity from the Parliament of 651 pounds 13 shillings and 4 pence (Annual Register of Annuitants of Irish Parliament). Note: in the Register he is identified as "Joseph Gayer" and his cousin John Gregg is also identifed as "Joseph" rather that John.

John's portrait was painted by Edward Lyons, an Irish painter and was reported to be in the Frank's Collection in the British Museum but when I contacted the librarian there the portrait was missing.

“John Gayer (the eldest son of Edward Gayer), who had been previously deputy, was appointed Clerk of the Parliament on his father's death [1799], and signed as such the Irish Act of Parliament ratifying the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1800. He died in 1802, and left a number of daughters but no son” From Memoirs of the Family of Gayer by Arthur Edward Gayer. Note: year of death is incorrect - it was 1806.

John Gayer married Olivia Henderson on 22nd August 1783 in Dublin (1). Olivia (Henderson) Gayer (born 1762-died before 1800) was the daughter of John and Olivia Henderson and granddaughter of Mathew and Susanna Henderson. 

John and Olivia Gayer had one son and eight daughters: A son, name not known (1784), is not believed to have survived infancy. Olivia (1788), Elizabeth (about 1789), Henrietta Harriet (1789),  Maria (1790), Charlotte (1791) Agnes (1793), Anna (prior to 1796) and Catherine (prior to 1797)

Between at least 1790 and 1793 John and Olivia lived in Beaumaris, Anglesey, Wales. Three of their children Maria, Charlotte and Agnes were born there.  In the Beaumaris, Anglesey Principal Inhabitants, 1791 British Universal Directory John is listed as a "Gentleman" giving no clue to his reason for being in Wales.

John’s wife Olivia (Henderson) Gayer, died before 1800. After Olivia's death John was left with eight young children. In August 1801, John married Dorothea Smyth in Dublin. The record in the St. Peter’s Parish Register shows the marriage of John Gaynor and Dorothy Smith. However, the Marriage Articles of 10/Aug/1801 give the correct names as John Gayer and Dorothea Smyth (2).  Dorothea is described as a spinster and the Articles were witnessed by the Rev Thomas Smyth (Dorothea’s brother) and John Kennedy. The Articles mention Carew Smyth esq. Baldoyle, Co. Dublin (deceased 1793), his wife Sophia, son James Lowther Smyth, a minor deceased.   John Gayer died (1806) without making a promised 300 bequest to his wife. Dorothea would have inherited the estate of Carew Smyth (her brother) after the death of his widow, Sophia.

John Gayer died on June 13th 1806 at Grenville St. Mount Joy Square, Dublin.  John Gayer is listed as having left a will in 1807 (Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810). Note: these wills were destroyed in the fire of 1922, only the Index remains).

Dorothea Gayer died in 1828. There was a notice in the Dublin Evening Packet of 14th June1828 "Mrs. Dorothea Gayer of Booterstown, relict of John Gayer, Esq".  Booterstown is now a suburb of Dublin.  There is also a record of a will of Dorothea Gayer in 1828 (the actual will is not available as it was probably destroyed in the fire in 1922).

Charlotte Gayer, fifth daughter of John's first marriage lived with her grandmother Henrietta Gayer after their father John died (source Anthea Gayer Mitchell, 5th cousin, Australia). Henrietta Gayer (grandmother) died in 1814 in Co. Antrim.

It is known that Charlotte later lived with her older sister Maria and her husband William Bernard, in Carlow.  In 1816 William Bernard prepared an annuity for Charlotte Gayer (described as a spinster).  

“Deed of annuity bearing date 27th May 1816 between William of Gayville in the County of Carlow Esquire one part, and Charlotte Gayer of Gayville aforesaid spinster of the other part.  Witnessed that the said William Bernard in coson of 500 pounds paid by the said Charlotte Gayer did give grant sell confirm unto the said Charlotte Gayer and assigns during her natural life an annuity of 60 pounds per annum charged on Cranavornan formerly held by Ambrose Doran and afterwards in possesion of William Bernard containing 75 acres bounded on the north by John Kealy’s holding on the south with the Butters and on the west by Lord Killsborough Mountain situate in the Barony of Idrone, Co Carlow and also other part of the said land containing 166 acres 2 rods and 5 perches.                   Signed and sealed William Bernard”

                                                               Charlotte later married James Morgan, a Presbyterian Minister in 1823, in Carlow.

Deed of assignment of 3rd Feb 1830 between the Rev. James Morgan of Belfast, Co. Antrim, Presbyterian Minister and Charlotte Gayer his wife of the one part and Abigail Hetherington and Margaret Hetherington both of the town of Carlow spinsters of the other part after reciting as therein the said James Morgan and Charlotte Morgan his wife in the for the consideration in deedment granted bargained sold assigned transferred and made over the annuity of 60 pounds sterling charged on said lands (inter alia) of Cranavornan formerly held by Ambrose Doran and afterwards in possession of William Bernard and tenants in 281 acres 2 rods and 5 perches to hold receive and take the said amount of 60 pounds and all the estate rights title and interest both at law and in equity of the said James Morgan and Charlotte his wife their heirs executors and administrators and in the same into said Abigail Hetherington and Margaret Hetherington heirs executors administrators and assigns from 22nd Nov then cash for life of Charlotte Morgan                       Registered 2nd April 1830


John Gayer was from Co. Antrim, although he spent time in Dublin when he was Clerk to the Irish Parliament up until dissolution and was there at the time of his death.  Three of his four older children married men from Co. Carlow: Henrietta, Maria and Elizabeth. Charlotte married a cleric who was based in Carlow and John's youngest surviving daughter Anna, also married in Carlow. Only Olivia, the eldest, married in Co Antrim.

  • A son 1784. Announcement in the Dublin Evening Post June 26th 1784 of the birth of a son. As there is no further mention of a son it is presumed that he did not survive infancy.

  • Olivia Gayer born 1788 in Portadown, Co Armagh 
            1788-1870 married firstly, Richard Wolfenden 1814 in Lambeg, Co Antrim. Richard was her first cousin.
            They had two children:
    • Richard Wolfenden   1818-1861
    • Charlotte Wolfenden 1819-1891 Married William Mathews of Portadown, Armagh. Ceremony conducted by Revd James Morgan of Belfast

Richard Wolfenden died in 1819 of yellow fever while in the West Indies.
Olivia (Gayer) Wolfenden was married secondly, in 1821 in Belfast, to Rev. Robert Masaroon, a Wesleyan Minister.  He later became the Governor of the Weslyan Connexional School
    • Henrietta Masaroon 1823-1897. Married Revd. James McKee (1818–1845) at Moira in Co. Down and  in 1844 she married John Donald in Dublin in 1847
    • William Robert Masaroon 1824-1896 
    • Olivia Masaroon 1827. d. 1889 Annareach, Richill, co Armagh
Olivia (Gayer) Masaroon died 29th March 1870 in Portadown, Co. Armagh. She was 82.  Robert Masaroon died in 1871 in Rathmines, Co. Dublin. He was also 82

I have been fortunate to have received copies of letters from Richard Wolfenden, to his parents and from his mother to him, a note from Charlotte to her father and a letter from William Robert Masaroon to his father.  I have been given permission to publish these correspondence by Alex Cameron, a descendant of Charlotte (Wolfenden) Mathews .

  • Elizabeth Gayer  believed to have been born about 1789, married Arthur O’Brien Bernard of Carlow in 1812.   Arthur was the younger brother of William Bernard who married Elizabeth's sister Maria, also in 1812.    Elizabeth died in 1823.

Arthur O’Brien Bernard of Carlow Capt. (of Easton) Co. Carlow v. married in 1812 Elizabeth, daughter of John Gayer, Elizabeth died in 1823. Irish Genealogical Manuscripts # 575

Arthur and Elizabeth had three children:
    • Arthur O’Brien Bernard (Jr.) 1818 
    • Maria Frances Bernard born 1819 in Carlow, died 1902 in Dublin
    • John Hamilton Bernard 1820. 
No further record of the two male children has been found. As Arthur’s first son, by his second wife, was also called Arthur it is probable that his first son died in infancy. It was common practice to call a child by the same name as a previous child who had died.

In the 1818 edition of the Carlow Morning Post you can get an idea of life in Carlow at that time. Arthur and Elizabeth are mentioned along with “Miss Gayer” who was most likely to have been Charlotte.

  • Henrietta Harriet Gayer was born in 1789. She married Benedict Hamilton Jr. in 1810 at the age of 21 (5). He was the son of Benedict Hamilton and Sarah McDermott who married in 1777. Benedict died in Dublin after 1826.
        Announcement in the May 5th 1810 Saunders's News-Letter - Dublin
Hamilton marr
Benedict Hamilton was a lawyer (doctor of laws) in Carlow. By 1822 they are living on Paradise Row in Dublin and in 1824 they are living in Manor Street, Dublin where he is a practising lawyer
        Children (birth dates are approximate unless a day and month are specified):
    • Harriet Hamilton b. about 1812  (d. before 1860). Married John Partington Gray of Timolin, Co Kildare(1813-1870) on the  15th Aug 1849. In her marriage announcement she is described as "the only daughter of Benedict Hamilton of Carlow". As there are records for the birth of other daughters it is probable that they all died before Harriet married in 1849.
    • Sarah Hamilton          b. 1814 (d. before 1849).
    • John Gayer Hamilton 1816-1844 Died in Hyere, S of France
    • Olivia Hamilton          b. 28th Jun 1817- (d. before 1849) (13)
    • Henrietta Ann Hamilton b. 4th march 1819 (13) - d. bef 1849
    • Hans Hamilton          b. 26th Feb 1821 (13) - (d. before 1852)
    • James Hamilton         b. 1822-1860. Married Alicia Spencer McMunn 1852. He died in 1859 aged 37.
Henrietta (Gayer) Hamilton died in Monkstown, Co. Dublin on Feb. 16th 1882 at the age of 93

  • Maria Gayer was born in 1790 and baptized on the 14th August 1790 in Beaumaris, Anglesey, Wales. She married William Bernard of Carlow, 1812 at the age of 22.  (William was the older brother of Arthur O'Brien Bernard both sons of Thomas Bernard of Carlow).  Maria died in 1817 aged 27. There were no known children from this marriage.

Marriage of ‘William Bernard of Gayville (now Beechville) born 1791 v [vivat? Living 1817]. 1817 = Maria daughter of John Gayer of Dublin deputy clerk of the Parliament d. 1817 Aet [aetas - age] 27’ the marriage year was recorded as 1812.  Irish Genealogical Manuscripts # 575

    There was also a post-marriage settlement for Maria in 1815.

Deed of settlement dated 26th August 1815 between William Bernard of Gayville, county Carlow, Esq of the 1st part, Maria Bernard otherwise Gayer his wife of the 2nd part and Arthur O’Brien Bernard Esq and Charles Browne Gent, both of Carlow of the 3rd part…. ‘William Bernard did grant release and charge to Arthur O’Brien Bernard and Charles Browne the town and lands of Gayville otherwise Straw Hall the town and lands of Poorstown, Cranavornan, Tomard and also the several houses and lands in and near the town of Carlow known by the name of the Quarry Plot which are on the Dublin Road otherwise called Dublin Street beginning at Chapel Lane in the town of Carlow aforesaid.  Also the town and lands of Leiasnee[?] situate in the Queen’s County to hold to the said Arthur O’Brien Bernard and Charles Browne and their heirs forever to the use of the said William Bernard and his assigns for life and after the death of the said William Bernard and the use and purpose that the said Maria in case she should survive him and her assigns should yearly during her life receive and take out of said lands and premises an annuity of 100. .. payable half yearly every 25th March and 29 September. . .’

Witnessed by Moore McMahon of Carlow, attorney and Laurence Martin, his clerk.

Source: Grantor’s Index 1815


  • Charlotte Gayer Charlotte Gayer was born in 1791 and baptized on the 11th Sept 1791 in Beaumaris, Anglesey, Wales.
On p 27 Recollections of my life and times, an autobiography by J. Morgan, with selections from his journal ed. by his son [T. Morgan]. By James Morgan.  Published 1874
My wife was not born, however, at the native place of the family, but at Bangor, Wales where her parents had gone to reside for a short time; but she was reared near Lisburn, at Lambeg, with her grandmother, Mrs. Gayer,”

Charlotte married. Rev. James Morgan in 1823. Newspaper clipping from 12 September 1924 - Lisburn Standard
Morgan marr

    • Anna Morgan        1824-1824
    • Thomas Morgan    1825-1909
    • Charlotte Morgan  1826-1801
    • James Morgan       1828-1866
    • John Morgan         1830-1858
    • Harriet Morgan      1831-1845
    • Maria Morgan        1835-1872

In the Dictionary of national biography. London : Smith, Elder, & Co. 1894 In Recollections of my life and times, an autobiography by J. Morgan

“He married in 1823 Charlotte, daughter of John Gayer, one of the clerks of the Irish parliament at the time of the union, and by her had three sons and three daughters.”

  • Agnes  Gayer was born in 1793 and baptized on May 26th in Beaumaris, Angelsey, Wales. She died in March 1794 in Beaumaris. 

Baptismal Records
The baptismal records for Maria, Charlotte and Agnes Gayer were found in the Beaumaris Parish Registers (thanks to Paddy Neill for this contribution to the Gayer family history)

Images from the Beaumaris Parish Registers showing the baptisms of Maria (1790), Charlotte (1791) and Agnes (1793) Gayer

maria bapt
Charlotte bap
Agnes bap

  • Anna Gayer  was born before 1797. It is not known where she was born, but likely in Dublin.  This date is estimated based on a record from the Ireland, Court of Chancery Records, Bill Books 1633-1851, dated  13th June 1797 where the plaintiffs are listed as "John Gayer and Olivia, Elizabeth, Henrietta, Maria, Charlotte, Anna and Catherine Gayer, minors, by John Gayer their father and next friend". The defendants are "Robert Fitzgerald, Francis Vesey and Elizabeth Henderson".
Ch Ct 1797
Elizabeth Henderson was the sister of Olivia Henderson and Robert Fitzgerald was an executor of the will of Mathew Henderson, Olivia and Elizabeth's grandfather.

In an 1804 deed John Gayer seized some property from his brother Philip Gayer of Derryaghy, to be held for the life of his youngest daughter Anna.(7)
In an 1816 deed (4) Which refernces a prior deed in 1815 in which Anna is described as "a minor". The age of majority was 21 years so in 1815 Anna would have been under 21.
In 1819, Benedict Hamilton (her brother-in-law) set up an annuity for Anna (8)
In 1823 Anna is living in Lisburn, Co Down, a spinster. She is the subject of a deed relating to her annuity. (9)
In a deed dated 1825 Anna is in Dublin (10)
Anna married Arthur O’Brien Bernard in1825. He had previously been married to Anna’s sister Elizabeth who died in1823.
A deed in 1830 also references the annuity that was established for Anna. (11)

Arthur and Anna (Gayer) Bernard had five children:
    • Arthur Thomas Bernard, (born c. 1828, location unknown)
    • Standish O’Grady Bernard (born 1829 in Isle of Man),
    • Rozetta Bernard (born 1830 in IoM), married Thomas Doolittle White in 1855 in Dublin and secondly, Samuel Frederick Knaggs in 1857
    • Anna Frances Bernard (born 1832 in IoM).  She married in 1851 Henry Hutton Maddock, son of Joseph Maddock (lawyer) and Mary (Gunning) Maddock of Dublin. 
    • Harriett Bernard (born about 1834)

Anna (Gayer) Bernard died about 1875 in Dublin.  She was my great (x 3) grandmother.

  • Catherine  Gayer (born before 1797)
As previously described in the account of her older sister Anna, Catherine was born on or prior to 1797. There is an entry in the St Mary's Parish Register, Dublin of the burial on 26th Jan 1798  Gayer Esq, child, St. George's St (no name, age or gender given). Although this could be Catherine this conflicts with later record of Catherine in Chancery Court records.  Ref: Irish Church Records.

In Chancery Court records dated 16th April 1805 John Gayer's seven daughters are defendants in a suit, presumably listed in birth order:  "Olivia, Elizabeth, Harriet, Maria, Charlotte, Anna and Catherine"

The next mention of the Gayer children in Chancery Court records occurs in May 1808 where all surviving are listed except Catherine. It is therefore assumed that she died prior to 1808.

In a deed dated May 1816. All the surviving children are mentioned (including Catherine, although she was no longer alive at this point) "Reciting that said Olivia had died in the lifetime of John Gayer leaving issue 7 daughters namely Olivia Eliz Henrietta Maria Charlotte Anne and Catherine". There is no date associated with this declaration to pinpoint the year Olivia (Henderson) Gayer died (12) . John Gayer died in 1806 so Olivia's death is prior to that year.

Registry of Deeds: Vol #, Page #, Memorial #
(1)   Memorial  351/537/237861    Image# 597
(2)   Memorial   533/466/354899   Image# 561
(3)   Memorial  591/66/400097      Image# 341
(4)   Memorial  702/566/481656    Image# 291
(5)   Memorial  621/270/426539    Image# 143
(6)    Memorial 266/170/169494    Image # 94
(7)    Memorial 562/117/373298    Image #66
(8)    Memorial 739/1/503336        Image # 6
(9)    Memorial  778/581/527316   Image #342
(10)   Memorial 804/200/542535   Image# 129
(11)    Memorial  857/457/572457  Image #543
(12)    Memorial  702/614/481698  Image #317


To find the Memorial go to Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland. Insert Volume# and Image #

Back to John Gayer....