Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, grandiloquent, eloquent, innovative, blessed among the women, historian supreme, a right boyo, a prophet, humble self-effacing, erudite, scholarly, a marathon runner, a genius with an astronomical I. Q., once a trainor of hurling teams, a Gaelic footballer, a prize winner at reciting poetry, superb gardener and florist and the most devious and most wily of them of all, that wily boy from beside the mine pits. It ever has been gold and silver for the Barrystown childre (to use a coinage of Anna Maria Hall) and as St Kevin of Kilkevan prophesised.

I am at a loss to understand why archaeological digging is not attempted at Bannow and indeed at the surrounding locality.

I will endeavour to give the life story of Tom Boyse’s wife in serialised form, extending over two blogs. Judgement was given in the Probate Division of the High Court in London in June 1879 in the case of Crofton v Gautier. Mrs Jane Stratford Boyse had died at Marseilles, aged over 90 years so two marriages did not diminish her health; there was ambiguity about whether she had a third marriage. She had no children. At the time of her death she was possessed of a house (No 53 Westbourne Terrace), some freehold property at Cheltenham and a very large sum in Consols and other Government stocks. Her next of kin and the only persons, as alleged by the plaintiff, interested in her estate were: Mr John Stratford Kirwan; her sister Lady O’Donnell, the wife of Sir George O’Donnell of Newport, Co. Mayo; the five children of the late Mrs Martin, who were then resident in Canada and three children of another sister, the late Mrs Charlotte Crofton. One of the latter, Mr Edward Crofton, was the present plaintiff in this case. He had applied for a grant of letters of administration to the effects of Mrs Boyse [probably the wrong appellation for her] but a caveat or objection was entered against the granting of these letters of administration previously. The boy from Barrystown is a whiz at legal intricacies: letters of administration are sought by an interested party or parties in the situation of a deceased person who has made no will, who dies intestate—that is having left no directions as to the disposal of his or her property. The grant of such letters enables the person to whom they are granted to distribute the assets of the deceased. Subsequently Mr Crofton, member of the Irish Bar—a barrister in other words, or Queen’s Counsel—delivered a statement of claim “praying for a grant of letters of administration of the personal estate of the deceased as a nephew and one of her next of kin. In normal circumstances the granting of such letters is a legal formality.

The defendant, Mr Gautier pleaded a denial that Mrs Boyse had either died intestate or as a widow: he was insisting that he was her husband!

Mrs Boyse—if that was her proper name—was evidently addicted to credit and presumably hyper spending! She was indebted to the Credit Foncier to the amount of £9,000; a bill in Chancery—a division of the High Court—was filed in 1872 to compel the Bank of England to pay over to her the dividends on some £64,000 Consols standing on their books in her name—presumably to enable her to pay the amount owing to the credit bank, the Credit Foncier. These dividends were unpaid for some years; perhaps she had become absent minded, in advanced age.

There had been suggestions that Mrs Boyse was, in fact, married to a Frenchman, named Gautier, the defendant in the present case. Under these circumstances the Bank of England refused to pay the dividends; I do not understand the logic of that refusal nor is it specified. She made a declaration at that time in which she stated that she was the daughter of the late Mr John Kirwan, King’s Counsel, Merrion-Square, Dublin. She was married in 1818 to Mr Caesar Colclough of Tintern Abbey, County Wexford; he had been a prisoner of war in France from 1802 to 1814. After his marriage to the young Kirwan girl they lived a great deal on the continent and she stated in the declaration that she developed a taste for life on the continent, presumably in France. Caesar Colclough died in 1842.

She married Tom Boyse on the 7th of January 1846 “and the whole of the property which had come to her from the first husband had been settled on her. This consisted¸ in part, of £64,000 in Consols which, however, had not even in 1872, been transferred into the names of the trustees of the settlement.” The Caesar Colclough will led to much legal contest .

She stated that the second marriage was unhappy and a separation had soon taken place. Tom Boyse died in 1854 but for many years before that she resumed the name of Colclough and had never again been known as Mrs Boyse.

One obvious reason why this marriage to Tom Boyse was such a spectacular failure is that Jane Kirwan Colclough preferred life on the continent and may have felt isolated in Bannow but her refusal to ever use the name of Boyse again points to serious repellence towards Boyse; perhaps, he sought to restrain her high spending tendencies. Boyse was seriously cerebral—focussed on scholarship and pursuit of both scientific knowledge and of the humanities, ie, literature and history; maybe all that bored her. She could have taken aspirin!

In her declaration Jane Kirwan Colclough Boyse stated that she placed her affairs in the care of Alfred Gautier but did not prove that she was married to him. The court could find no real proof that she married Alfred Gautier although the latter claimed in court that she lived with him as his wife. I will give all this evidence and legal argument in the next blog; I agreed with the decision of the court. As I always say, Tom Boyse’s short marriage is proof that even in matrimonial affairs he was a man of the future! Like the district justice in John Mc Gahern’s enthralling novel, The Barracks, I should get a job in the circus!

From The Free Press, October 18th 1963:–

“The Boyse estate now in the hands of Germans, was once a place of much activity in the old days. About fifteen years ago it was sold by Mr Mervin Boyse to Mr Timothy Mulcahy, a Dublin man, who, two and a half years ago, disposed of it to its present owner, Mr Richard Herling, a progressive farmer from Germany. In the attractive little lodge at the entrance to Bannow House lives Mr John Codd, who worked on the estate for 50 years. In his early years the place was owned by Major Henry Arthur Boyse, on whose death it passed on to his son, Mervyn. There were many men and maids employed there in those times and horse drawn carriages were a frequent sight going up and down the avenue. Mrs Codd was one of about 15 girls who worked in the house. She has happy memories of the great times they had, with staff dances every so often on a loft. A local mumming set used to contribute to the entertainment. Big boxing matches used, also, be held in a shed there. Mr and Mrs Codd are as jolly an old pair as you could meet. The celebrated the golden jubilee of their wedding two years ago and, as a surprise, one of the family in England had their photograph published in “The Free Press”.

From The People the 13th of January 1892—an extract from a meeting of the Guardians of Wexford Poor Law Guardians:–

“The Plot at Tullicanna

The following letter was received—“As your plot of land at Tullicanna has not been disposed of and I understand Mr Roche has withdrawn his claim, I beg to remind you, being the highest bidder, to consider my offer. It was mentioned in some of those former letters which stopped the sale at the time that the right of pre-emption should be given to the parties, who sold it to you. I would wish to inform those parties, if the right of pre-emption should be given to anyone, it ought in justice be given to me, as my father owned that before either Mr Roice or the Court of Chancery, for it was on that very spot I was reared and if any man want it worse, or can lay stronger claim to it, I will withdraw altogether; otherwise I hope you will accept my offer.—Yours etc, John Keane.”

Chairman—What offer did he make?

Clerk—I forgot.

Chairman—Are there any claimants for it?

The Clerk said he didn’t know. They got this little piece of land from Mrs Louisa Heaton as a plot for a labourer’s cottage and paid £20 for it. There was a couple of perches over the quantity allowed and as this was close to the village, it was of some value. The Guardians didn’t want it and would dispose of it.

Chairman—In whose possession is it at the present time? Clerk—In ours. Chairman—Is there no one making use of it? Clerk—No. The Act of Parliament provides that we must make the first offer to the person from whom we originally bought it.

Mr Walsh—And is she declines to purchase?

Clerk—The person whom we bought it from is dead (laughter). Mr Walsh—Does this man make a reasonable offer? Chairman—He must have made an offer. He stated so in his letter. Mr Walsh—I think we ought give to him. He appears to have the best claim. Clerk—We could not give it to him without enquiring further.

Ultimately it was decided to refer the matter to the Guardian of the division, Mr Kehoe.

From The People the 20th of January 1892 re a meeting of Wexford Board of Poor Law Guardians:–

“Mr James Kehoe Poor Law Guardian, visited me in reference to the plot of land in Tullicanna which is owned by the Union. He told me the guardians were anxious to get every opinion on the matter as to whether you would give it to John Keane. I visited the place in company with Mr Daly and we are both of the opinion that on account of its proximity to Keane’s house that he should get it, as it undoubtedly would be of service to him. We are further of the opinion that £1, which we understand was a previous offer made by Keane is quite the value of the plot.

The Chairman said the Clerk had already advised the Board that the preference for purchase should be given in a case of this kind to the person from whom the plot was originally purchased.

Mr Peacocke that such was the law.

The Clerk said the person from whom the plot was bought had died. Mr Peacocke said the representatives ought to be communicated with. Mr Roice said he believed the original owners were all dead and gone. The Clerk, however, was directed to make enquiries as to whether any of the representatives of the original owner were surviving and to report to the board as to the result of such inquiries.”

The Board of Guardians was a mix of elected members plus ex officio members such as magistrates: they had responsibility for the health dispensaries, for indoor relief in the Workhouse and outdoor relief for the sick poor, for the maintenance of sanitary standards and proper housing and construction of labourers’ cottages.

The Wexford Independent on the 8th of February 1882 reported on the attempted auctions of farms, for which their landlords had obtained a decree to dispose of:–

“Captain Henry A. H. Boyse, plaintiff; Nicholas Sinnott, defendant.

All the defendant’s right, title and interest (if any he has) in and to all that and those, that part of the lands of Ballymadder, Graigue, Demesne of Graigue and Grange, as now in his possession, with the houses and buildings thereon, containing respectively—Ballymadder, 62 acres, 2 rood, 27 perches; Graigue 9 acres, 3 roods 0 perches; Demesne of Graigue and Grange, 68 acres 0 roods 0 perches plantation measure, be the same more or less, situate in the barony of Bargy, held under lease dated 7th July 1880, for the term of 35 years, from 1st May 1880, at the yearly rent of £280 12 shillings 6 pence. Also part of the lands of Vernelly with the house and buildings thereon, containing 19 acres 2 roods 0 perches, plantation measure, situate in the barony of Bargy, held under lease dated 16th October 1877, for a term of 32 years, from 1st November 1867, at the yearly rent of £47 18 shillings 4 pence.

This case was, also, settled.”

Nicholas Sinnott had a lot of land; an acre plantation measure would be the equivalent of one statute acre plus three eights of an acre: five plantation acres equalled approximately eight statute acres.

“To Be Sold By Auction

At The Grange Of Bannow

In The County Of Wexford

On Tuesday the 26th of February instant, and following days until all be sold

A large number of prime dairy stock well fed and in excellent condition.

Also a very large quantity of well saved hay of the years 1837 and 1838 with a few other articles of use to Farmers.

Sale to commence at 12 o’clock.

Bannow, February 7, 1839.”

The above notice does not state who the vendor was.

In 1838 the odious tithes—a levy on all tillage crops of one-tenth in value to support the Established Church clergy and payable by Catholics as well as Protestants—was replaced by a rent charge; many of the liberal landlords paid this charge themselves and did not pass the charge onto their tenants. As usual Tom Boyse, and his first cousin Lord Robert Carew of Castleboro gave the lead: Jack Greene the editor of the Wexford Independent paid this fulsome and eloquent tribute to both and especially to Tom Boyse:–

“We are happy to find the tenantry of Lord Carew bear testimony, in their own simple but expressive language, to the character of their “good landlord”; and we  confidently anticipate a favourable result to the memorial, which has been forwarded to that excellent nobleman. We are sure his Lordship entertains the same respect for liberty of conscience as that practically exemplified by his illustrious and noble-minded relative—Mr Boyse—a man not ennobled certainly by the breath of Kings—but the impress of the King of Kings. He it was that had the honour of setting the glorious example in this county of relieving the Catholic tenantry from the operation of the obnoxious and blood stained impost—an example, we are happy to find, now being generally followed by such of the landlords as can observe “coming events casting their shadows before”; and who are desirous to establish the peace of the country on a firm and lasting basis; but above all to cultivate those reciprocal feelings and esteem which should subsist between the Proprietor and the Tiller of the soil.”

The People reported on August 5th 1950:–

“A New Appointment—Mr Patrick Dunne, Ballymitty has been appointed by Wexford Co. Council as temporary ganger on road and drainage schemes in place of Mr James Wade, who is presently indisposed. Mr Dunne is  a popular figure and a former well known long distance runner and winner of skilled labour competition. His appointment gives great satisfaction to road workers and general public.

G. A. A.—The matches advertised for Cullenstown last Sunday in the nine-a-side tournament had to be abandoned owing to heavy rain. It is hoped to make a start with the games on Sunday.”

The Wexford Guardian stated on January 28th 1846 that “the renewed operations on these ancient works are becoming of a more promising character.”

The Wexford Independent reported on 15th September 1849:–

“Fatal Accident—Barristown Mines

To The Humane And Charitable

The family of the late James Leary who was accidentally killed at the above mines on Friday, 7th instant, being in the deepest distress and consisting of his widow and five young and helpless children, are compelled to appeal to a humane and generous public for a favourable consideration of their deplorable circumstances. The deceased bore an excellent character and was the sole support of his family.

We have been requested to receive at our Office contributions towards the relief of the afflicted and desolate widow and orphans. We shall feel pleasure in doing so and in making the suitable acknowledgements.”

The People on May 16th 1863 reported:–


May 10th the wife of William Kane of Blackhall, Bannow, of three daughters who together with their mama are going on well under the kind treatment of Dr Boyd.