Henry Becher and Mary Lyon

Henry Becher and Mary Lyon

Henry Becher is presumed to be the eldest son of Fane Becher and Susan D'abridgecourt, although I have not yet been able to find his baptism. His parents married in 1572, and according to Burkes Irish Family Records, he married Mary Lyon, daughter of William Lyon, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross on the 14th March, 1586. It is not known where this marriage took place. Henry could have been just 14 years old, which happens to be the age of consent for boys in Elizabethan times. There are lists of Henry & Mary's children in Burkes, as well as various contemporary records, but unfortunately, none that I know of give a date of birth. If Mary was as young as Henry, she could have been able to have children for 30 years after they were married.

William Lyon, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross.
Painted in the 1580 and currently hangs in the Bishops Palace, Cork.
Photo from the Church of Ireland Library, Dublin.

Fane/Phane Becher is known to have appointed an agent, Robert Payne to take care of his interests in Ireland. It is possible that young Henry had one too. He was only 20 years old when his father died in London. The Oxford university register lists a Henry Becher of Hants at Brasenose College, Matriculating 14 Feb 1588-9 at aged 15; and achieving his B.A. 19th Feb 1590-91; and M.A. 5 July 1595. This Henry would have been born 1573-4, in Hampshire, and there is no other known Henry Becher who meets the criteria. It may never be possible to decide if these Henry's are one and the same, but it seems likely. The Becher lands are reportedly unoccupied by them in 1598.

Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy records “Queen Elizabeth granted lands in Kinalmeaky to Phane Becher by patent 30 Sept 1588. They passed to his son Henry." Henry was appointed Lord President of Munster in 1604, which he held till his death in 1610. He cannot have been older than 38.

In 1609 James I granted to Henry the right to a Saturday market and two annual fairs at Bandon Bridge. To his heirs he also granted the right to appoint a clerk of the market, the power of licensing tradesmen and artisans and the right to every tenth salmon caught in the river. 

In 1610, Sir Henry Becher, Lord President of Munster died. He was succeeded by his son Henry. His wife Mary seems to have still been alive in 1617, as her father Bishop William Lyon refers to her in his will.

Michael MacCarthy-Morrogh's book "The Munster Plantation" is very informative on this period. He credits Henry Becher and John Shipward & Wiiliam Newce with the foundation of Bandon. The latter two men leased land from Henry Becher in 1604.[John Archdeacon initially leased land, but was soon replaced by Shipward. The whole site of Bandon is within the Bechers original Seigniory of Kinalmeaky. The Earl of Cork was in the habit of referring to Bandon as if he established it, but his purchase in 1619 was of a town already established.

                                                                 Arms of Henry Becher & Mary Lyon

Henry Becher and Mary Lyon had eleven known children. The following order may well not be correct.

1. William Becher
My Chart lists him as the Firstborn, as do some other pedigrees. He must have died young. According to Ffolliott, he was alive in 1612. However, a Willyam, son of Henrie Beecher was buried 16 April 1601 at Strathfield Saye in Hampshire.
2. Edward Becher
My chart lists him as the second son and heir, married, but died young without heirs, as do some other pedigrees. An Edward Becher, son of Harrie Becher was baptised 2 August 1601 at Strathfield Saye, Hampshire.
3. Henry Becher
Henry's eventual heir.
Henry married Elizabeth Notte on 24th March 1636. She was the daughter of Thomas Notte of Surrey and Elizabeth Olden. Her name has otherwise been recorded as Coates/Koates/Noales! The record was found of Thomas Nottes funerary notice in The Casey index. It notes Elizabeth's marriage to Henry. They had issue.
4. Alice Becher
I do not know anything about Alice.
5. Catherine Becher
The Marriage bonds for Cork and Ross list a bond between Catherine Becher and John Woodroffe in 1631. This "must" I think be this Catherine, if only because there are no others to choose from! John Woodroffe was a provost of Bandon town. He made a deposition for losses after the 1641 uprising. Among debts he lists is money owing from Henry Becher.
6. Phane/Fane Becher
This Phane is I think the Lieutenant Colonel Phane Becher who is mentioned by the English parliament records of 1647-48. It has been suggested that he could also have been the Undertaker Phane Becher's son, but as he was born in 1583, he would if still alive be too old for active duty. However other possibilities is Fane, son of Edward Becher and Alice Welch. The other Irish Phane/Fane to be identified is the one who appears in the Caribbean in the late 1630's and leads a rebellion against the government. He was described on his arrival as a saucy, arrogant,  upstart, kinsman of Sir William Becher. He undertook to supply the residents with haberdashery items at great personal profit. He was apparently known as "Lying Becher". I hope to work out which Fane was which!
The Lieutenant Colonel Phane Becher died in September or October 1649 & left a widow Susanna, [Who was in Bristol at the time of his death] she later married a John Godsuffe of Kinsale. He died in 1670.
7. Lyon/Lyonell/Lionel Becher
His birthdate is not known, but he married Julian [Nee Budde, Widow of Captain Thomas Williams] The marriage took place at St Mary,  Youghal on the 29th November 1642. The Earl of Cork takes credit for arranging a wealthy and very good wife for his servant Lyon Becher. Lyonell Becher worked for the Earl of Cork, and also his son Lord Orrery. He spent some of the war time at Bideford, Devon, which is where his wife Julian Budde's family is from. In the 1640's he was sending provisions to the English army in Ireland. He was a councillor for Youghal, and his name is recorded in the minutes. On the 14th August 1676 he is listed as deceased, and replaced by Mr William Harrison. However his name still continues in the estate papers of Orrery? There is at least one entry in Orrery's estate paper to a task being carried out by Lyonell/Lionel Becher junior, so the most likely explanation is that Lyonell jnr took over the position. A Henry Becher is also listed, as taking papers to England.
The 1659 Census for Ireland records among the Tituladoes for Ballymore, in the parish of Tullagh as Lyonell Beecher and John Selby. This Lyonell Becher is the only one of this name known at this date.
and Julian had at least three children; Lyonell b. 1648, Mary b. 1651 and John b. 1852. These children were all christened in Devon. T.C. Barnard states that Lyonell had 6 children.
8. Abigale Becher
Bennett's "A History of Bandon" states that Abigale married Charles James, and that they lived in Castle Mahon. It was, according to him, they that sold Castle Mahon to the Bernard family. I have not as yet located a marriage bond for this marriage.
9. Mabell Becher
10. Marye Becher
There is a marriage bond for Cork and Ross in 1641 for Marye Becher and Thomas Maddox. She is the only known Becher of the right name and age. Rosemary Ffolliott records her name as Margery.
11. Susan Becher

An Elizabeth Becher, daughter of Henrie Becher was buried at Strathfield Saye on 9 February 1601. She is very likely another child.

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