The Settlement of the Ashe Family in Cavan

The Settlement of the Ashe Family in Cavan

The following is an account of the settlement of the Ashe family in Cavan.

Sir Thomas Ashe and his brother, John Ashe, began to develop their respective estates in Ireland in earnest from the beginning of the 17th century and before the plantation of Ulster.  In a recently-published account of the Ulster Plantation in counties Armagh and Cavan it was noted that Sir Thomas Ashe of Trim, Co. Meath, who was the brother of John Ashe of Kilmessan, had acquired Crown leases on lands in Cavan by letter patent as early as 1603.[1]

 The Calendar of Patent Rolls of Ireland (James I, 10) recorded that Sir Thomas Ashe was granted a 21-year lease in November 1603 on the town and lands of Tullenebrett, part of the estate of Sheane Reagh McCahill O’Reilye, attained and the farm and termon of Killdallon and a parcel of the estate of Ferroll McDonnell McTirrelagh O’Relie, late of Covett, attained.  Other lands in Westmeath were granted to Sir Thomas Ashe at this time for 21 years at the annual rent of £1 5s ‘in consideration of his true and faithful service’.

 Sir Thomas Ashe and his brother John were granted 750 planation acres in the Baron of Tullygarvy, Co. Cavan, as servitors[2].  The Calendar of State Papers for the reign of James I for the periods 1611-14 make eight references to Sir Thomas Ashe and in September 1611 refer to his grant in Co. Cavan:[3]

‘Proceedings of the Servitors and Natives in Planting, Sept. 1611

…… Co. Cavan …..Sir Thomas Ashe, Knt., and his brother, John, 750 acres in the Barony of Tullaghgarvy, are building a bawn of sods and earth, with a good large ditch, at a place called Dromhyle, and they intend to draw water from the lough adjoining to compass the same; have drawn a watercourse two miles long to a place where they propose to make a mill.  Have made preparations for building a good house, and will have their material ready next spring. …..’.

There is also some evidence that as early as 1611 five denominations of the substantial plantation grant made to Mulmory oge O’Reilly in Tullygarvey (3,000 acres as opposed to the 750 granted to Ashe) had been sold to Sir Thomas Ashe.  These denominations are not named.[4]

The Calendar of State Papers for the period make a further five references to Sir Thomas Ashe.  One of these dates from 1618 and concerns ‘A Muster Book of Undertakers, Servitors and Natives of Ulster’.[5]  This muster roll records that neither Thomas nor John Ashe, both now in possession of 750 acres in the Barony of Tullagarvy, had at the readiness either men or equipment if called to Muster.  This was also true of all the servitors and undertakers in Co. Cavan.

The Pynnar Survey of 1618 recorded the steady acquisitions of lands in Cavan by Sir Thomas Ashe, but also the fact that his estate at Tullygarvey remained unpopulated: In Castlerahan, lands granted to the servitors Fettiplace and Taaffe were now held by Thomas Ashe.  Ashe had also acquired Garth’s property and Ridgeway’s Estate, and with it the responsibility of the town of Virginia.  Ashe had built a castle and several bawns on these acquisitions by 1618.  However, on his Tullgarvey grant, his bawns had been built, but as yet no house had been built.[6]

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Other lands were granted to Thomas Ashe.  By letters patent 19 James I, 512 (47), dated 12th May 1621 the manor lands of Mullaghmore and other lands in Cavan were surrendered by Sir Thomas Ashe, assigned to Sir Francis Annesley and regranted to Edward Dowdall, as a assignee from Sir Thomas Ashe.  This was also reported in the Calendars of State Papers, which recommended Sir Thomas Ashe’s suit and claims for land he had surrendered for accommodating the plantations’.[7]

The following year, in 1622, the bawn built by Thomas and John Ashe was down in a number of places and the house that had been built was let to ‘one of the Relys’.  This would suggest that the Ashe estate at Tullygarvey was being re-tenanted by the native Irish.[8]

The Calendar of Ulster Inquisitions sworn in 1629 records some details on the Ashe estate in Cavan, which was stated as consisting of the lands of Lisscowogie, Derrineskewe, Corvickgillechriste, Lissnegyre and Dromyeare.  The Ulster Inquisition noted that Thomas Ashe married Elizabeth Glassier and had issue of Henry Ashe, the son-and-heir and Nicholas Ashe.  Thomas Ashe died on 14th October 1626.  The Inquisition was taken in front of Commissioners at Cavan Town on 20th April 1629.[9]

By 1641 the Ashe Estate in Cavan amounted to 4500 acres.  Of the original servitors in Cavan, only one, Culme, had tenants that were not exclusively Irish.  If Hunter is correct, this would mitigate a transplanted English family being present on the estate by 1641.

The death of John Ashe, brother of Thomas, is reported in the Ulster Inquisitions (49 Charl I, 1638), when he is recorded as being the owner of St. Johnston, Trim, Co. Meath.  He died 4th May 1636 leaving a son-and-heir, Thomas.

It is documented that by 1714 much of the Ashe Estate in Co. Cavan had been leased to Nathaniel Clements and this lease was eventually purchased by the Clements family sometime between 1760 and 1777.

A sample of the deeds registered for the denomination of Cortobber during the periods 1706 to 1810 were examined.  The first of these is the initial lease on Cortobber between the Ashe and Clements families.[10]

The deed of lease between Thomas Ashe of the City of Dublin, Esq., and Robert [sic] Clements, also of Dublin, Esq., began as follows:

‘Whereby the said Thomas Ashe did in consideration of the sum of one hundred pounds …. Paid to him by the said Robert Clements, and for other considerations therein mentioned, demise, grant, let and to farm and to let unto the said Robert Clements all that the Manor of Ashfield and the several towns and lands herein after mentioned being parts and parcels of the said Manor, Viz: Cortobber, Corrabeagh, Corballyquill, Carrickgalway, Tonaghbane, Corweelis, Drumloghan, Drumurry, Kilskreeny, Dunharrick, Birragh, Loorton, Drumsheel,, Largy, Lisnagreer and Littermore, situate in the Barony of Tullygarvey …..with liberty to appoint seneschals of the said manor as occupiers …. To hold for 41 years at the annual rent of three hundred and two pounds, paid half yearly at Strongbows Tomb, in Christchurch, Dublin.’

For some unknown reason the identical deed of lease was registered a second time in 1720.[11]

 More information on the Ashe family in Cavan can be found here

[1] Hunter, Robert J., The Ulster Plantation in Armagh & Cavan 1608-1641 (Ulster Historical Foundation, 2012), p. 55.

[2] The name given to army officers who took up undertakings were ‘servitors’.

[3] Calendar of the State Papers Relating to Ireland, of the Reign of James I, 1611-14 (Dublin, 1877), p. 131 #251.  Also p. 231 #386.

[4]Hunter, p. 208, Commission of 1622.

[5]Calendar of the State Papers of Ireland, of the Reign of James I., 1615-25 (Dublin, 1880), p. 255 #501.

[6]Hunter., p. 123-5

[7]Ibid., p. 396 #969. Dated 29th November 1622.

[8] Hunter, p. 153.

[9]Inquisitionum in Officio Rotulorum Cancellariae Hiberniae Asservatarum, Repertorium Co. II

Ulster Inquisitions from 20 Charl I, 1629.  In Latin.

[10]Memorial of Deed 12-368-5435, Memorial of Deed of Lease, dated 18th September 1714.

[11]Memorial of Deed of Lease 29-48-15933