philip 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 Gayer

John Gayer of Dublin and children


PHILIP GAYER 1698 – 1755 was my great (x 6) grandfather

Although the Trinity matriculation (admission) book records that Philip Gayer was born in Derriaghy, his baptism is not recorded in the parish register. It is possible that he was born in the home of his mother in Loughgall, Co. Down and baptized in the church where his grandfather was the precentor (Downpatrick) but the registers for those Parishes are not available.

 GAYER, PHILLIPS, Siz. (Mr Clarke, Lisburn), May 30, 1716, aged 18; s. of John, Clericus; b. Deriaghy, Co. Antrim. Sch. 1719.  B.A. Vern. 1720. (Ref: Alumni Dublinensis).   This entry helps to confirm his birth year.


Siz. - Most students entered college as Pensioners. In other words, they paid a fixed sum annually.The other two categories were: Sizar and Fellow Commoners (Socii  Comitates). Sizars were "allowed free education in consideration of performing certain, at one time menial, duties"; Fellow Commoners paid double fees and enjoyed several privileges, including that of finishing the College course in three years instead of four. "Sizars were sons of poor parents, frequently the clergy"

In parantheses "The name of the school, or more frequently the Schoolmaster”.

Age - Between 1669 and 1770 the academic year started on 9th July. The age given was frequently the age at next birthday since the "Annum Agens" format of giving ages was commonly used.

Latin Terms:    clericus - clergyman; vern - spring

Philip graduated in 1720, was ordained in 1721 and took his first Curacy at St. Catherine's, Dublin (1721-1727).  It was here that he married the Rector's daughter, Agnes Echlin Agnes (1706-1739) was the eldest daughter of  Rev. Henry Echlin and Jane Moore. 

The Rev. Henry Echlin, who died in 1754, was son of Sir Henry Echlin, Baronet, one of the Barons of the Exchequer (to whose will, dated 29 January, 1721,now in Court of Probate, Dublin, Philip Gayer appears one of the attesting witnesses)”. (Ref; Memoirs of Gayer)

Philip later became Curate of Carrickfergus, Antrim (<1727-1737). He was in Carrickfergus when he was party to a lease, Nov 1727 (1)

He was curate at Carrickfergus, until he moved to Derriaghy, Co Antrim. One of his duties at Carrickfergus had been to supply straw and bread to prisoners in the county gaol [Jail]. The grand jury granted him for this purpose thirty pounds in 1730. As soon as he became active as vicar, the minutes record that he was a stickler for precision and detail. The poor money accounts came in for scrupulous examination and the road maintenance programme was described each year in exact detail from the stretches of road to be repaired to the parishioners required to work on each stretch. Gayer also had the steeple of the church slated, the church given a plain ceiling and an altar piece installed.

He succeeded his father as Vicar of Derriaghy in 1737

 Some time after 1747, Philip inherited "Flanders Farm" in St Genny's Cornwall, upon the death of his aunt Johan (Gayer) Watts. Flanders Farm in St. Genny’s had been in William Watts (Johan Gayer's husband) family.  The bequest was written into the will of Philip's uncle, William Watts.  in 1724. This would explain why Philip and Agnes's first born son was given the name William Watts Gayer. 

After the death of Agnes (Philip’s wife) in 1739, Philip Gayer married Alice Smyth daughter of Brent Smyth and Sarah Clewlow (sister of Madgalen and Mary Clewlow). There is no record of any children from this marriage.

Rev. Ed. Matthews, Precentor of Down 1720-55, in his will dated 12 Dec 1754  and probated 01.02.1755, mentions his niece Alice Smyth (deceased) who had married Rev. Philip Gayer (Alice was in fact his wife Magdalene’s niece, not his).

Philip Gayer died in 1755 leaving a will which bequeathed property and personal effects to his two sons.  A codicil, written after the death of his uncle Edward Mathews (brother of his father’s second wife), allowed him to bequeath monies to his surviving daughters, three of whom were named as executrices.


Between about 1724 and 1739 Philip and Agnes Gayer had two sons and five daughters. They are named in a deed registered in December 1768 describing the distribution of the estate of Catherine Gayer, one of the daughters of Philip and Agnes. The names of the remaining children are presumed to be in birth order (males, followed by females) i.e : William Watts, Edward, Jane, Charlotte, Joanna and Magdalene (2).

  •   Jane Gayer, born about 1726 either in Dublin or Carrickfergus. She married before 1750 to William Higginson and had five children  :
    • Edward Higginson - Born 1750 in Lisburn, Antrim. Married Margaret Fletcher. He was the Vicar of Ballinderry. Daughter Margaret Higginson. Edward Higginson died in 1782, aged about 32, in Lisburn.
    • Francis Higginson  - 1752
    • Elizabeth Higginson - 1754
    • Agnes Higginson     - 1755 married Rev Edward Smyth at the age of 15
    • Charlotte Maria Higginson - 1764 to 1829. Married Nicholas de la Cherois (1736-1829)
  • William Watts Gayer was born in 1728, probably in Carrickfergus. He studied law, entering Trinity College Dublin in 1743 at the age of 15.  He married Catherine Jones, daughter of Valentine Jones in 1754 (3).  He became, along with his brother Edward, Chief Clerk of the House of Lords in Ireland. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.).
    • Agnes Gayer - born after 1754-1838, married Anthony Ballylough Traill in 1788, son of Rev. Robert Traill and Jean Dow. (Pre-marriage settlement 398/135/262485). Trustee was Jonathan Bruce Roberts. Witness to the deed was Fortescue Gorman.  The couple had two sons: William and Robert, and a daughter Catherine. Anthony Traill died in 1831
    • Mary Gayer  - 1759-1829 married Jonathan Bruce Roberts in 1783 (4) .

  • Edward Gayer born in 1730  Married Henrietta Jones, a daughter of Valentine Jones of Lisburn. Became a clerk to the Irish Parliament, at the same time as his brother.

  • Charlotte Gayer  born 1732, probably in Carrickfergus. In 1756 she married Fortescue Gorman and had four sons (Pre marriage settlement 183/442/123411). He died in Dublin in 1796. The Gayers were from Antrim, as was Fortescues' father, although Fortescue lived in Dublin  they were probably married in Antrim. It is unusual that the couple's first son William was not born until 7 years after their marriage. I speculate that there were other children, possibly born in Antrim, for whom I have yet to find a record. It was not uncommon for a woman to go to her parents home to give birth.
    • Rev. William Charles Gorman.  1763 in Dublin. Attended TDC in 1780 aged 17. Married in 1787 Elizabeth Bushe 1761-1809 (5). Son Fortescue Gorman
    • Henry Echlin Gorman     1765
    • John Gayer Gorman       1767 in Dublin
    • Fortescue Gorman         1768 in Dublin

  • Catherine Gayer born about 1734 and died unmarried  in Blaris in 1760.

  • Joanna Gayer born about 1735.  Spinster in Dublin in 1768 (6).

  • Magdalene Gayer born about 1736, married in 1763 to Poyntz Stewart (1736-1823)  (she died in 1773). They had three sons:
    • Charles Stewart    1764-1837. Married Amelia Gordon. He was a Major in the East India Civil Service, and Professor of Eastern Languages at Haileybury College. 
    • Philip Stewart 1765 born in Kinsale. Career in the army ending as a Major. Married about 1796 Anne Smythe (daughter of Captain William Smythe and Catherine Vesey). Died in Brighton, England in 1837. Children: Poyntz (1797), William (1798), Charlotte (1800, Charles (1801), Philip (1803), Magdalene (1806), Amelia (1808), Anne (1811), Rosina and Mary (1817)
    • William Stewart    1769-1844. Married 1798 Margaret Piers. Children: Poyntz (1799), Edward Piers (1802), Jane, Margaret, Magdalene, Emily and Charlotte.
    Information on the Stewart family can be found in Historic Memorials of the Stewarts of Forthergill, Perthshire and Their Male Descendants by Charles Poyntz Stewart.

Jane Moore.
Jane Moore was the daughter of Brabazon Moore and Susannah Pepper. They are recorded as having 3 sons: William, Edward and Randle and 3 daughters: Mary, Hannah and (un-named -who, according to "The Peerage of England" married Philip Gayer. This is obviously a mistake as Jane Moore and Henry Echlin's daughter Agnes Echlin married Philip Gayer)

Jane Moore was the 4th cousin of Chambre Brabazon (5th Earl of Meath) and Juliana Chaworth. This connection to Chabre Brabazon is reflected in Henry and Jane Echlin's children's names which included: Chaworth, Chambre, Edward and Brabazon - all names that were also used by Chambre Brabazon's family

Rev. Henry Echlin.
Henry Echlin was the second son of Sir Henry Echlin and Agnes Mussen of Belfast. He was the Vicar of St. Catherine's Dublin.  He was Vicar-General of the Diocese of Tuam, later becoming  Dean  of Tuam.

Sir Henry Echlin was the second son of Robert Echlin (of Ardquin), and his wife Anne Hamilton Echlin (a widow, nee Conyngham). He attended Lincoln's Inn Law School in 1679 (probably aged 17) so his birth year would be approximately 1661. He died after 1710.

Registry of Deeds: Vol #, Page #, Memorial #
(1)   Memorial  57/86/37353          Image# 52
(2)   Memorial   259/538/173389   Image# 272
(3)   Memorial   336/564/226379   Image# 309
(4)   Memorial   358/408/241416   Image# 214
(5)   Memorial  386/268/25401      Image# 146
(6)   Memorial   259/538/173389   Image# 272

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

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