The Irish Bomfords

Chapter III

Oliver, Thomas & Laurence  1721 - 1729


3.1  Bomford - Echlin Marriages

3.1.1  Marriage of Elizabeth Bomford   1723

3.1.2  Marriage of Laurence Bomford   c1733

3.1.3  Marriage of Margaret Bomford  1735

3.2  Lease - Cushenstown. Portlester & Bodman  16th December 1721

3.2.1  Lease - Brick   30th July 1724

3.2.2  Lease - Smithstown. Thomastown, Cappaghill, Reesk and part of Kilbrew  8th August 1724

3.2.3  Baronies, Townlands etc

3.2.4  A Further Digression. Political and Social

3.3  The Mortgages of Cushenstown and Crossmacoole

3.3.1  Mortgage - Cushenstown  23rd September 1727

3.3.2  Mortgage - Cushenstown  8th October 1727

3.3.3  Lease - Cushenstown  27th March 1728

3.3.4  Mortgage - Cushenstown  27nd  November 1729

3.4  Marriage Settlement Thomas Bomford and Jane Shinton  9th February 1729

3.4.1  The Shinton Family

3.4.2  The Shinton Houses

3.5  The Death of Laurence Bomford

3.5.1  Lease - Westmeath Property  9th June 1729

3.5.2  Lease - Killeglan  19th December 1743


This Chapter concerns primarily Oliver, second son of Colonel Laurence (1.6), and Oliver's first son Thomas (at this stage Thomas 'the younger', to distinguish him from his Uncle Thomas, Colonel Laurence's first son, though later he becomes 'the elder' to distinguish him from his own son) and Oliver's fourth son Laurence.

3.1  Bomford - Echlin Marriages

There are three Bomford - Echlin marriages which we are interested in at this time:

Most of the following is extracted from the Genealogical Memoirs of the Echlin Family printed privately by Rev J.R. Echlin. This gives the relationship and some dates, however more documentary information comes to light later and a fuller Echlin ‘tree’ will be found in 7.8.

3.1.1  Marriage of Elizabeth Bomford   1723

Elizabeth Wilson, the niece of Andrew Wilson (1.10.1), married Oliver Bomford of Cushenstown about 1702 (1.10). They had seven children (2.22, 5.8) including Laurence (3.1.2) and Margaret (3.1.3). Oliver died in 1721 (2.20) and Elizabeth married secondly Rev John Echlin who was the Vicar of St Mary’s, Drogheda (7.8).

Betham’s notebooks include the entry “Echlin, Rev John, of St May’s Dublin, (should be St Mary’s Drogheda), Clerk, and Bomford Elizabeth of the Parish of Duleek, Co Meath, widow, 28th June 1723.”

According to the Succession Lists by Rev Canon J.B. Leslie held in the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin - “John Echlin was evidently the son of John Echlin, farmer. Born in Co Down, educated by Mr Harvey in Lisburn, entered Trinity College Dublin 8th March 1698 aged 18, and got his BA in 1703. He was ordained Deacon of Naas July 3 1705, Curate of St Kevin’s Dublin 1706 - 1711, Vicar of St Mary’s Drogheda 1711 - 1763 and also installed Vicar of Hollywood, Naul and Grallagh on November 10 1759 - 1763 and thirdly Vicar of Kilsharvan (Meath) 1717 - 1763. He died suddenly 19th January 1763. He had issue including a son, John, born in Dublin, educated by Dr Sheridan in Dublin, entered TCD 21st January 1729 aged 16, BA 1734 and Irish Bar 1739.”

The ‘issue including John’ must have been by his first marriage to an unknown lady. As far as is known he and Elizabeth had no children. Elizabeth and the Rev John are going to figure in a court case versus the Bomfords over the lands of Farragh, which starts in 1731 and drags on until 1784. This will be dealt with later (7.7) but one cannot help wondering whether the barrister son, John, gave assistance in court.

3.1.2  Marriage of Laurence Bomford   c1733

Laurence, the fourth son of Oliver, married Anne Echlin. According to the Echlin Memoirs, Ann was the third daughter of John Echlin who died in 1714 and his cousin Jane who died in 1744. These are the only dates we have to work on, but when we consider the known dates of the rest of the family we find that Laurence was born about 1709, so his marriage would hardly have taken place before 1730.

Anne’s birth date is more difficult and to determine this we must consider her mother Jane. Jane’s brother Rev John was born in 1679, but Jane could have been the eldest child and so born about 1675. If Jane married at 20 her marriage date would be about 1695, and the earliest that her third daughter Anne could be born would be 1699. Therefore Anne’s birth date must be sometime between 1699 and 1714, the date her father died, 1699 is the earliest possible and a date of 1708 would be more likely and would still allow time for two more children to be born before her father died.

So Anne and Laurence were about the same age and their marriage would have taken place in the early 1730s, say c1733.

As far as we know they had no children, nor is it known when they died. However Laurence was alive in 1750 when he was a ‘life’ in the lease of Pranstown of September that year (7.5.1) and aged about 41.

3.1.3  Marriage of Margaret Bomford  1735

Margaret is the second daughter of Oliver Bomford, and her marriage is not only recorded in the Echlin Memoirs but in Betham’s Dublin Marriage Licences “Echlin Jno and Margaret Bomford of the Parish of St Mary’s, Dublin, spinster, 15th April 1735.”

Their marriage licence is further recorded in the Bonds Prerogative and by the Diocese of Meath. John Echlin is from a different branch of the family to the other Echlin marriages above. [That may well be true but we don't know Peter's basis for saying it. Given that Margaret's mother married John Echlin senior, one would have to wonder if Margaret married his son John Echlin who graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1734 aged 21 (3.1.1)]. These two are not otherwise mentioned in the deeds. It is not known if they had children.

Because the Diocese of Meath recorded their marriage licence one wonders whether the ‘Parish of St Mary’s, Dublin’ should not really read the Parish of St Mary’s, Drogheda; Betham made the same mistake over the marriage of Elizabeth Bomford.

3.2  Lease - Cushenstown. Portlester & Bodman  16th December 1721

Hercules Rowley of Summerhill re-leases to Thomas Bomford of Rainestown, uncle and guardian of Thomas Bomford, a minor and son of Oliver Bomford deceased (2.20), the town and lands of Cushinstown and part of Killmoon containing 418 plantation acres (677 statute), Portlester containing 100 acres (162 statute), and Bodman 69 plantation acres (112 statute) which were previously held by Thomas Bomford (this is a mistake and should be Oliver, the father of the minor Thomas) for £50 for the lives of:

Signed:  Thomas Bomford

Witnessed:  George Dennis of Summerhill; and Edward Dalton, ‘Notary Publick’.  (Book 31 Page 444 No 19799)

1.  The object of this lease is to replace Oliver by his son Thomas, and to update the three lives, which now include Edward North instead of Oliver. All the other details remain the same except for the rent; in 1719 the rent was £205, now it is £50; the land is good and £205 sounds reasonable, so the £50 was probably the ‘fine’ or fee to change the life.

2.  When viewing the pedigree of Oliver’s branch in hindsight all appears uncomplicated; but at the time when it was uncertain even whether Oliver was a son of the Colonel, it was these leases, and this one in particular, which helped enormously to sort out the relationships. Here we have confirmation that Oliver and Thomas of Rahinstown are brothers, and that the son Thomas is a minor and so all of Oliver’s living children are also minors.

3.2.1  Lease - Brick   30th July 1724

The Right Honourable Chaworth, 6th Earl of Meath, farm let to Thomas Bomford of Rahinstown the lands of Brick, then in the occupation of the administrators of Oliver Bomford deceased containing 77 plantation acres (125 statute) for 61 years from May 1725 for a rent of £28.

Signed: Thomas Bomford (of Rahinstown).  (Book 40 Page 442 No 26715)

1.  This was Oliver Bomford’s land and now belongs to his son Thomas of Cushenstown who is a minor; Thomas of Rahinstown signed on his behalf as ‘an administrator of Oliver’.

2.  There was a previous lease, which is missing, for want of any better date it is assumed to start c1700 though it might be much earlier. This 61 years lease lasts until 1786 and it does not appear to be continued.

3.  Brick is situated in the Parish of Trevet, Barony of Skreen, to the south of Clounstown.

3.2.2  Lease - Smithstown. Thomastown, Cappaghill, Reesk and part of Kilbrew  8th August 1724

The Honourable Lieutenant-General Richard Gorges of Kilbrew, Co Meath, leases to Stephen Bomford of Gallow and to Edward Bomford of Rathflisk, the town and lands of Smithstown, Thomastown, Cappaghill, Reesk and part of Kilbrew in the Barony of Ratoath for 41 years at a rent of £222.8.0 and 8/- an acre for every acre more than 561 plantation acres (909 statute).  (Book 40 Page 457 No 26821)

1.  These lands have been recorded as the property of Thomas, the eldest son of Oliver. Thomas came of age in 1724 but after the signing of this lease; his two uncles Stephen and Edward signed for him. This makes the birth date of Thomas as 1703, but after August, which matches very well with the Trinity College Register.

2.  Kilbrew is 2½ miles north of Ratoath and to the south of Thomas’ other properties in that area. These lands add to his block of land. The major portion of Kilbrew, 805 statute acres, is in the Parish of Kilbrew, but to the north there is a further 160 statute acres in the Parish of Kilmoon, and this is most likely to be the part of Kilbrew leased.

Smithstown and Thomastown consisting of 350 statute acres are just to the north and west of Kilbrew in the Parish of Kilbrew.

Reesk was not a townland in 1654 but was a large one of 805 statute acres 1836. It stretches from Smithstown, down the west side of Kilbrew, to the Skreen - Ratoath road. About half of these 805 acres would be needed to make up the balance of the acreage in this lease; and the half would probably be the top half so that all these lands joined together.

Cappaghill has not been positively identified, but it may be the hill of 402 feet which lies on the borders of Kilbrew and Irishtown; the latter belongs to Thomas.

It would appear that the total acreage was not known but that the approximate figure was 909 acres, so I have split the 909 statute acres of the lease (ignoring any extra at 8/- an acre) into townlands making an estimate of:

Total  909 statute acres.

In 1640 all this land belonged to Patrick Barnwell ‘Irish Papist’, and it was later granted to the Gorges family who were Protestant. There is more information about the Gorges family and Kilbrew in 13.3. There is no further record of these places so we may assume that the lease was not renewed in 1765.

The lease of 1751 (7.13) of 147 acres of part of Kilbrew to a younger brother of Thomas is being treated as a different part of Kilbrew.

3.2.3  Baronies, Townlands etc

The Irish method of land division will be unfamiliar to many, and they may be wondering about Baronies, Townlands and such like.

The Baronies were formed on the submission of the Irish Chieftains, the land of each Chieftain constituting a Barony; so the land given to a conquering Anglo-Norman Baron was the land owned by the local Irish Chieftain. Twelve Baronies were formed in County Meath; therefore it is likely that twelve Irish Chieftains formerly owned County Meath.

King Henry II (1154 - 1189) deposed the O’Maeaghlin’s who ruled Meath, and gave Meath to Hugh de Lacy who was one of Strongbow’s fellow adventurers. Strongbow was the Norman Earl of Pembroke who subdued Leinster in 1170. Hugh de Lacy apportioned Meath among his inferior Barons to hold under him by feudal service.

The twelve Meath Baronies were:

In the north:






In the middle:

Skryne (Skreen)





In the south:







The larger baronies were later split into two, Upper and Lower, the Upper part being the northern part. For instance Drumlargan is in Lower Deece, whilst Oakley Park is in Upper Kells.

A Barony was split into Parishes, which are of two kinds, civil and ecclesiastical. The civil parish is the modern state unit of territorial division for census and valuation purposes. The ecclesiastical parish is the normal unit of local Church administration and generally embraces a number of civil parishes. At one time every parish had its own church. Parishes mentioned in these documents are Church parishes.

A Townland is the smallest administrative division of land with an average area of 350 acres. As an example, Rahinstown is a Townland of 596 acres in the Parish of Rathcore in the Barony of Lower Moyfenrath.

Another division in Ireland was the Pale, a purely defensive boundary within which the Anglo-Normans maintained the English law. Its boundaries changed with time but in the reign of Henry VII in 1488 it ran through Clane, Kilcock, along the Ryewater to Laracor, Athboy, Hill of Lloyd at Kells, Teltown and Donaghpatrick, then north to Siddon and so to the sea. Land beyond the Pale was unsettled by the Barons and included much of the periphery of Meath; it was an area of many of the skirmishes with the local Irish.

3.2.4  A Further Digression. Political and Social

These notes have little direct bearing on the Bomford documents, but to understand the documents it is helpful if one knows what was happening both politically and socially.

Cromwell believed that Ireland would supply armed forces for the Stuarts and that severity would check this. Thus Cromwell’s belief led to great cruelty and intolerance of Royalists and of the Catholic Religion; he put to death “all the priests he could find” and in Kells, for instance; the Church was used as stables, and the High Crosses were used to hang royalists. He failed to subdue the inhabitants and his policy inflicted both suffering and ruin. The population fell by over one-third.

On the Restoration of Charles II (1660) there was general land resettlement with the result that about one-third of the landowners were native Irish Catholics, mostly in the west, one-third were Protestant settlers of Elizabeth’s and James I’s plantations, mostly in Ulster, and one-third were Cromwellian settlers. However there was religious toleration, but free trade was abolished and Ireland suffered from trade restrictions.

After the defeat of James II at the Battle of the Boyne (1690), William III introduced the Penal Code against Catholics under which they could not own land or belong to the professions. Between 1697 and 1727 the Irish Parliament, composed totally of Protestants, passed a series of most vindictive laws against the Catholics who composed four-fifths of the population. A Roman Catholic was not allowed to have a vote and was excluded from every imaginable office or profession, from that of Lord Chancellor to that of a gamekeeper. He could not be educated at a university, and he could not keep a school or be guardian of a child; he could not marry a protestant, was not allowed to buy land, and was even forbidden to own a horse worth more than £5, indeed a Protestant was at liberty to offer £5 for any horse belonging to a Catholic, who was bound to accept the offer. No Protestant might sell, give or bequeath land to a Catholic; and when a Catholic died his land must be divided equally amongst his sons unless one became a Protestant, in which case it all went to him. These laws were so strong that they were often ignored.

However as far as the Irish peasant was concerned, he could tolerate religious intolerance, but could not tolerate the economic intolerance. The great pasturing island, whose cattle and wool were at one time the best in Europe, was stifled by the selfishness of the English farmer. The trade restrictions of Charles II forbade the export of cattle, sheep and swine, dead or alive (1660). William III prohibited the export of woollen goods and confined the export of Irish wool to England alone where it had to pay heavy import duties. Any hope for Irish industries was therefore ruined. In consequence there was little ‘life’ in the countryside and many of the ‘English’ landlords left the country, often leasing their land to ‘Middlemen’ who exploited the smaller tenants to whom they sublet. Oakley Park, owned by the Taylours, had as many as three middle tenants each taking their £100 cut before the land was parcelled out to the peasants. The wretched Irish tenant, paying rent to a middleman, tithes to the Protestant clergyman, and dues to his Roman Catholic priest had in some cases, it was said “hardly the skin of a potato to subsist on”.

There was a relaxation of the Penal Laws in the mid 1700s largely because they were impossible to impose, but also because of the American War of Independence (1775 -1783) when conciliation by the British was necessary since they had to send troops out of Ireland, and whilst Ireland was in imminent danger of invasion by France. In 1778 the Penal Code was abolished and in 1780 the restrictions on Irish trade were abolished also. Money then became available and the land prospered, but only for about 20 years when more trouble ensued.

3.3  The Mortgages of Cushenstown and Crossmacoole

These are the first of many mortgages. Later on the land was often mortgaged by the Bomfords because wills or marriage settlements decreed that money, as inheritance, be paid to younger children, but in these early days this did not appear to be the case. However at this time many houses were being built or improved and it is possible that these Cushenstown mortgages were for that purpose. Stephen Bomford also mortgaged Dirpatrick about this time and he may have used the money to improve or build a new Gallow House.

In the unsettled days of the Pale and even later, residences were generally fortified structures which were sited for defence and often built on a raised mound of earth. The Down Survey refers to them as ‘castles’. By this date landlords were feeling sufficiently secure to replace their castle with the more elegant and comfortable Georgian mansions that came to characterise the Irish countryside. They were set on sites chosen for their outlook rather than defence, and in time, became surrounded by parkland, a walled garden and a walled farmyard.

The early Bomford houses of Rahinstown, Gallow and Clounstown were all Georgian houses and were built between about this date and 1750. It is not known whether Cushenstown, Killeglan, Hightown or Rathfeigh were the original castles or rebuilt; there are no definite ruins left on those lands of a house of this period.

3.3.1  Mortgage - Cushenstown  23rd September 1727

Thomas Bomford of Cushenstowne Co Meath mortgaged for £100 to John Tralford, victualler of the City of Dublin, the land of Cushinstowne containing 479 plantation acres (776 statute), and Crossmacoole 132 plantation acres (214 statute).

This mortgage was discharged on 1st December 1729.  (Book 53 Page 341 No 35786)

3.3.2  Mortgage - Cushenstown  8th October 1727

Another mortgage of Cushinstown and of Crossmacoole (same acreage) by Thomas Bomford of Cushenstown to Mr Gavan for £250 This mortgage was discharged on 29th November 1729.  (Book 54 Page 336 No 35968)

3.3.3  Lease - Cushenstown  27th March 1728

Thomas Bomford of Cushingtown leases to John Grierson the town and lands of Cushinstown and the sub-denomination of Crossmacoole, which together contain 612 plantation acres (990 statute). This lease also includes “the Great House”, stables, barns, cowhouses and other buildings.  (Book 56 Page 128 No 37259)

3.3.4  Mortgage - Cushenstown  27nd  November 1729

Thomas Bomford of Clounstown mortgaged Cushinstown for £150 to Samuel Blanchard. (The acreage of Cushenstown and Crossmacoole was the same as before). This mortgage was discharged on 22nd June 1734.  (Book 60 Page 473 No 42013)

1.  Thomas Bomford moved from Cushenstown to Clounstown in 1728 before he leased Cushenstown. The mortgages were possibly concerned with improvements to Clounstown, and perhaps the building of a new house there. After all Thomas moved from ‘the Great House’ of Cushenstown to what must have been a ‘Greater House’ of Clounstown, and the reason is likely to be the next entry - his marriage.

2.  It is difficult to calculate the correct acreage. To match the figures of the lease of December 1721 (3.2) additional land must have been obtained of which there is no record. The amount of land now must be: -





Cushenstown & part of Kilmoon
















Total statute acres





3.4  Marriage Settlement Thomas Bomford and Jane Shinton  9th February 1729

Between Thomas Bomford of Clownstown, Co Meath [son of Oliver], and Richard Shinton of Geeraldstown, Co Meath, on behalf of his sister Jane Shinton. Thomas Bomford receives £200 and ensures an annuity on his death to his intended wife, Jane Shinton, of £40 out of the lands of Cusanstowne (Cushenstown), Clownstowne and Pranstowne.  (Book 66 Page 151 No 45563)

Extract from Betham’s Marriage Licences Prerogatives “Bomford, Thomas of Parish Trivett, Co Meath, Gent, and Shinton, Jane of Skreen, Co Meath, spinster, 7th September 1729.”

3.4.1  The Shinton Family

Betham records three Shinton wills, those of:

From these three wills, those of the father Richard and his two sons, the following tree can be built.

A few from Lancelot’s will cannot be placed. These are:

1.  Richard the elder must have had a sister who married a Mr Barnes, they had a daughter, Lancelot’s cousin, Sarah who married a Mr Corker, and they had a son Lancelot Corker.

2.  Lancelot’s nephew ‘Richard Shinton and son Lancelot Shinton’, this Richard must be a son of one of the brothers, probably Richard but maybe William.

3.  Other nephews and nieces of Lancelot:

Lancelot’s two sisters, Elizabeth and Eliza, could have married and so account for two of the above only. The indication is that either there was another sister or that one of the sisters married a second time.

3.4.2  The Shinton Houses

Garrettstown and Gerardstown: There is confusion over this Shinton place: the deed gives Geraldstown and the will gives Garrettestown. There is no Garrettstown in Co Meath so that leaves Geraldstown. Geraldstown with an ‘l’ does not exist, but there are two places with an ‘r’, Gerardstown:

1.  Gerardstown which borders Co Kildare in the Parish of Dunboyne is unlikely

2.  Gerardstown in the Parish of Trevet almost borders Clounstown on the west must be the right place.

In 1654 there was “on the premisses a thatch Howse” where Richard Cusack ‘Irish Papist’’ lived. By 1836 the house had become “a gentleman house with a small plantation beside it”, and occupied by a Mr Cullen. Evidently the Shintons had moved elsewhere by 1836.

Pranstown (2.15, 7.5, 13.4): Lancelot leased this townland in 1750 from his brother-in-law Thomas Bomford (7.5.1). One of the ‘lives’ of the Pranstown lease of June 1761 (13.4) is Lancelot Shinton, but the Lancelot Shinton who died in 1772 would be rather old for a ‘life’ and it may be that of his grandnephew.

Cushenstown: George Shinton was living there at the time of his death in 1780. William Bomford, Jane (Shinton’s) eldest son was living at Cushenstown in 1771, and in 1772 he had moved to Lake Tay in Co Wicklow. There is no corroborative lease but it is most likely that George Shinton moved in that year and that his wife, Frances, stayed on after he died. The next lease of Cushenstown is to Patrick Dowdall of the ‘house and lands’ in July 1784.

3.5  The Death of Laurence Bomford

When Laurence Bomford died he left his family of five children as minors. His wife Susanna (Wilson) leased their house at Killegan and moved to Dublin. Their eldest son Laurence will come of age about 1731.

Lease - Killeglan  3rd April 1722

Thomas Bomford of Rahinstown leases to John Blakeley and Henry Graydon, both gentlemen of Dublin, the “town and lands of Killeglan then late in the occupancy of Mr Lawrence Bomford deceased and his undertenants, containing by estimation 439 acres plantation measure” (712 statute) in the Barony of Ratoath for £274 sterling for two lives, those of

3.5.1  Lease - Westmeath Property  9th June 1729

Susanna Bomford of Dublin, widow of Lawrence Bomford late of Killeglan Co Meath, leases to John Wright the town and lands of Balltrasney containing 307 plantation acres (497 statute) and Magherdeirnan in the Barony of Moyashelb Co Westmeath, and Cartiongany or Cartrangany containing 78 plantation acres (126 Statute) in the Barony of Fartullagh Co Westmeath. Thomas Bomford of Reanstown and Stephen Bomford of GaIly are the executors of Lawrence Bomford.  (Book 60 Page 259 No 40783)

These lands have not been investigated. They are not Bomford lands and it is assumed that they were Wilson property, which Susanna had been left. There are only two other deeds concerning Killeglan.

3.5.2  Lease - Killeglan  19th December 1743

Lawrence Bomford, farmer of Dunsink, leases Killeglan to Christopher Dalton for £50 for the life of Susanna Bomford, mother of Lawrence.  (Book 114 Page 67 No 78018)

Rent - Killeglan  6th April 1745

Agreement concerning the rents between Lawrence Bomford of Killeglan and Patrick Lawless.  (Book 145 Page 142 No 97314)

1.  We are not particularly interested in the details of these leases but they do give some idea of the land involved, and, above all, they give clues as to where the family was and what they were doing. Laurence and his mother, Susanna, were recorded at Dunsink in July 1741 (7.7.2) and in the above lease of 1743, which adds that Laurence was farming there. There is no other record about Dunsink so we do not know its location with certainty; one would expect it to be the Dunsink of the Parish of Castleknock west of Dublin, but there is no record of any Bomford there. The latter is not conclusive and I expect this was the place and further suggest that, although they may have stayed in Dublin for a short time after Laurence died in 1721 and whilst Laurence the younger completed his education, that they leased Dunsink around 1730 and settled there.

2.  This is the last entry for Killeglan and it looks as though the lease was terminated on the death of Susanna, the only remaining ‘life’. It is not known when she died but it must be after 1745 when she was aged about 61. Her son Laurence of Killeglan died in 1761.

3.  Andrew the second son of Oliver was a life of Killeglan in 1710 (2.8) and 1722 (3.5) and he must have died in or before 1743 or he would have been included as a life again. He was born about 1707 and so would be about 36 when he died. Nothing else is known about him.

Next Chapter: Chapter 4

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