Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.


My ancestors - Blennerhassett - Contents

  1st Baronet's issue

Deeds involving the 1st Baronet

There is no daughter Catherine

There is a daughter Melisent

Our family

Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet

Rowland Blennerhassett is described as of Dublin in [Deed, Feb 1762].

Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet,
born 1740 or 1741.
Descendant of Edward III.
See Wikipedia and Wikitree and Geni and thepeerage.
"Rowland Blennerhassett" is a witness to his sister's marriage settlement [Deed, June 1758].

Went to Dublin:
He trained as an attorney in King's Inns, Dublin. See entry in index.
He was an Exchequer attorney, admitted to King's Inns in Michaelmas Term 1761.
Rowland Blennerhassett of Dublin is a witness to his sister's marriage settlement [Deed, Feb 1762].
Listed as attorney at mar.

He mar 31 Oct 1762 to his 1st cousin Millicent Agnes Yielding [bapt 18 Dec 1742].
He is mentioned in his father-in-law's will 1763.
He is listed as an attorney for the Exchequer court in [Watson's Almanack, 1764]. He is listed at Back Lane, Dublin. (He was not in the Almanack in 1762.)
He is listed as an attorney for the Exchequer and King's Bench courts in [Watson's Almanack] 1765 to 1774.
He is listed at Stephen St, Dublin, in [Watson's Almanack] 1765 to 1770.
Think his father died 1766.
"Rowland Blenerhassett of the City of Dublin" is party to [Deed of Mar 1766] about his mother's property.
He is listed as of Dublin in [Deed, Feb 1767] and [Deed, Mar 1767].
Living Dublin at dau's bapt 1768.

Moved back to Co.Kerry:
He moved back to Co.Kerry, but retained an office in Dublin for a few years.
Rowland Blennerhassett, attorney, is listed as of Ballybeggan (NE side of Tralee) in March 1769. From Thrift Genealogical Abstracts.
Rowland Blennerhassett of Dublin witnessed [Deed, June 1769].
He is listed at Ballybeggan in [Deed, Mar 1770] and [Deed, Oct 1770].
He is listed as of Dublin in [Deed, Apr 1771].
Rowland Blennerhassett of Ballymacprior, Killorglin, Co.Kerry, is party to [Deed, Jan 1772] with his brother Arthur.
Ballymacprior Lodge (also called Ballymacprior House) was the house of Rowland's uncle and cousins.
He is listed as of Ballymacprior in [Deed, July 1772].
He is listed as an attorney at Aungier St, Dublin, on p.99 of [Watson's Almanack, 1773]. This might just be an office address and he is living in Co.Kerry.
He is listed as an attorney, no address in Dublin, on p.99 of [Watson's Almanack, 1774]. He is not in the Almanack in 1775. It only lists attornies in Dublin.

Founder of Blennerville, near Tralee, Co.Kerry. Arrives by 1774:
Rowland settled at Cathair Uí Mhóráin near Tralee, re-named it "Blennerville" after his family.
He developed Blennerville as the port for Tralee.
He lived Blennerville House, Main St, Blennerville, which he may have built.
He is listed at "Corgrage", Co.Kerry, in [Deed, May 1774]. This would be Curragraigue townland (Blennerville).
Listed at "Corgraige" (Blennerville) in [Deed, Jan 1778].
He is listed as of Tralee in [Deed, June 1778].
He was Colonel in 1779-1782 of the "Laune Rangers" regiment of the Kerry Volunteers.
He built Blennerville Windmill, apparently in 1780 to 1800.
He is listed as of "Blennerville" in [Deed, Mar 1781].
He is party to Exchequer Bills of May-June 1781.
He is listed in Munster Volunteer Registry, 1782 as Colonel of the "Laune Rangers" regiment of the Kerry Volunteers.
[Houses of Kerry] says he is listed as living Blennerville House in 1783.
He is listed at Blennerville in multiple deeds from [Deed, Oct 1783] to [Deeds, Feb 1788].
[Deed, Dec 1802] says Rowland was living in Tralee as at 1788.

Moves to Churchtown, near Killarney, apparently 1788:
Rowland built or lived at Churchtown House, near Killarney, Co.Kerry.
Rowland Blennerhassett is listed at "Killarney" (could be Churchtown) in April 1788.
He is of Churchtown in [Deed, May 1788] and [Deed, apparently March 1789] and [Deed, Nov 1789].
He is listed as of Churchtown in the will of his brother Arthur, Apr 1790. This was registered in 1806 but think the addresses come from 1790, not 1806.
He managed his brother Arthur's estate after his death, 4 May 1790. This is noted later in his nephew's marriage settlement, May 1798.
Listed at Churchtown in [Deed, 14 May 1790] and [Deed, 15 May 1790] and in his son's marriage settlement, 27 May 1790.
He is listed at "Churchtown" in 1791.
Listed at Churchtown in [Deed, July 1792].
Though he is listed as of Blennerville in [Deed, Aug 1792].
He is listed at Churchtown in multiple deeds from [Deed, Jan 1793] to [Deed, May 1795].
Rowland Blennerhassett of Churchtown is party to his nephew Richard Yeilding's marriage settlement in [Deed of Feb 1796].
He is listed at Churchtown in [Deed, 1797].
He is listed at Churchtown in his nephew's marriage settlement, May 1798.

Moves back to Blennerville, 1798:
Rowland returned to Blennerville. He is consistently described as of Blennerville after 1798.
He is described as of Blennerville in his son Richard's marriage settlement, Oct 1798 and [Deed, Nov 1798] and [Deed, Feb 1799] and [Deed, May 1799] and his son Arthur's marriage settlement, Sept 1799.
He is described as of Blennerville in [Deed, Jan 1800] and [Deed, Sept 1800] and [Deed, Jan 1802] and [Deed, Dec 1802].

Millicent dies:
She was said to have been killed in an accident at Blennerville windmill.
Tree in [Ms 20621] (c.1909) says she was killed by a blow of the windmill sails in 1802.
[Kelly and others, 1989, p.44] and [Blennerhassett and Hollwey, 1991] say she was killed in 1801.
Oral history in the [Schools' Folklore Scheme, vol. 440, p. 140] collected in 1937-39 says she "went up on the balcony of it. It was working at the time and the wind blew her in and she was ground to pieces."

Rowland is described as of Blennerville in [Deeds of Mar 1804] and [Deed, Jan 1805] and [Deed, Nov 1805] and [Deed, Nov 1806] and [Deed, 1807].
Grant or arms and title in 1808-09 describe Rowland as of Blennerville.

Arms 1808 and Baronet 1809:
See Grant of Arms dated 13 Mar 1808.
This is p.53 of "Grants and Confirmations of Arms", [NLI] GO Ms 105. See cover. Copy in microfilm POS 8290. No pedigrees attached to any grant in this book.
Rowland is described as of Blennerville in [Deed, 1 May 1808] and [Deed, 12 May 1808].
He is referred to as "Rowly Hassett" in diary of Judge Robert Day, 31 July 1809. See [O'Carroll, 2004, p.167].
He was created a Baronet 22 Sept 1809.
See Letters patent in [Collins papers, 4]. Granted to "Rowland Blennerhassett of Blennerville".

Listed as of Blennerville in [Deed, Oct 1809] and all deeds until his death.
[Holden's Directory, 1811] lists "Rowland Blennerhassett, Blennerville".
He established Protestant school at Blennerville 1812. See [Deed, Mar 1812]. See also [Kelly and others, 1989, p.66] and [Heritage Council, 2001].
[Leet's Directory, 1814] shows him at Blennerville.
[Deed, Feb 1816] says his wife is dead.
See item in Dublin Evening Post, 6 August 1818, about a dinner Sir Rowland hosted in Tralee. He is described as of Blennerville House.
He is described as "very ill" in [Letter of 9 Sept 1818].
Still at Blennerville in [Deed, Dec 1820].

1st Baronet dies, 1821:
He is listed as of Blennerville House in death notice.
He died Wed 14 Mar 1821, age 80 or 81 yrs.
(todo) See notice in Limerick Chronicle, 17 Mar 1821.
See notice in Saunders's News-Letter, 20 March 1821.
See notice in Freemans Journal, Wed 21 March 1821.
His will pr 1821. See entry in index. See entry in other index. Listed as of Blennerville. Will would be burnt in 1922.
See entry in [Boyd's Family Units].
1st Baronet and Millicent had issue:

  1. Melisent Blennerhassett,
    probably born at Stephen St, Dublin,
    bapt 16 January 1768, St.Peter's CoI church, Aungier St, Dublin.
    See screenshot of transcript.
    Spelling: The only record of her existence apparently says "Melisent" so we will go with that as the spelling.
    She would be age 38 in 1806 when George Cashel was conceived.

  2. Sir Robert Blennerhassett, 2nd Baronet,
    born 26 Jan 1769.
    Would be named after grandfather.
    Eldest son.
    He inherited Churchtown House, near Killarney, Co.Kerry.

  3. Richard Francis Blennerhassett,
    Richard Blennerhassett, born 23 May 1772.
    Listed as 2nd son in [Deed of 1798] and [Deed of 1808].

  4. Arthur Blennerhassett, of Blennerville,
    born 27 Oct 1776.
    Listed as 3rd son in uncle's will 1790 and cousin's marriage settlement, 1798 and his own marriage settlement, 1799.
    He is called "Arthur Blennerhassett Rowland" in [Deed, Nov 1821] to distinguish him from "Arthur Blennerhassett Robert".
    He inherited Blennerville House and most of Blennerville.

  5. Rowland Blennerhassett,
    born 26 Dec 1780 (twin),
    of Kells, Co.Kerry,
    and of Day Place, Tralee town.
    Listed as 4th son in [Deed, 1808] and [Deed, Aug 1815].

  6. William Blennerhassett, of Blennerville,
    born 26 Dec 1780 (twin).
    Listed as 5th son in [Deed, Jan 1802] though it then describes Rowland as his "younger brother".
    Listed as 5th son in [Deed, Aug 1815] and [Deed, Jan 1816].
    He built King's House, Blennerville.

Rowland Blennerhassett listed at Back Lane, Dublin.
From p.25 of [Watson's Almanack, 1764].
See Back Lane on 1757 map.

Rowland Blennerhassett is described as of Curragraigue (Blennerville) in [Deed, May 1774].

Rowland Blennerhassett is described as of "Blennerville" in [Deed, Mar 1781].

The "Laune Rangers" regiment of the Kerry Volunteers in Munster Volunteer Registry, 1782, p.50.

An address of thanks to Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Signed by, among others, Rowland Blennerhassett.
Freemans Journal, September 19, 1786.

Rowland Blennerhassett is described as of Churchtown in [Deed, May 1788].

Stories of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett at Blennerville.
First story from around 1800.
From The Kerry magazine, vol 3, no 34, 1 Oct 1856, p.166 and p.167.
See also [Kelly and others, 1989, pp.57-58].

Rowland Blennerhassett is made a Baronet.
From p.1384 of The London Gazette, 29 August 1809.
Announcement is dated 2 Sept 1809 but Letters patent is dated 22 Sept 1809.

On Tue 26 Sept 1809, there was a reception at Tralee Castle for the Lord Lieutenant, Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond, his wife the Duchess, and their children Lady Mary and the Earl of March (the future 5th Duke).
Those present included William Rowan, Provost of Tralee, and Major William Ponsonby and his 1st wife and Sir William Godfrey, 1st Baronet and Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet (created Baronet that week).
It seems Sir Rowland's wife is dead.
Judge Robert Day presided at the reception.
This is from diary of Judge Robert Day. See [O'Carroll, 2004, p.171].

Sir Rowland Blennerhassett listed at Blennerville in [Leet's Directory, 1814].

The gates of Blennerville House. Photo 2003. See larger and full size.


1st Baronet papers, 1785-1820

The following was for sale at De Burca Rare Books in 2017. See 2017 catalogue.

From the above catalogue.
Shows Rowland Blennerhassett at Killarney and Churchtown.

Oral history of Blennerville, Schools' Folklore Scheme, 1937-39

The Schools' Folklore Scheme in the [NFC] collected oral history of Blennerville in 1937-39.
The following is from Volume 440, pp.136-141.
Oral history collected from Mrs. Margaret Lambe, age 79.

The story about the death of Lady Blennerhassett, p.140.

Blennerville Windmill. Photo 2003. See full size.

Correspondence of Daniel O'Connell


Daniel O'Connell goes to dine with the 1st Baronet at Blennerville House.
Letter from Daniel O'Connell to his wife, 18 Aug 1816.
From p.112 (letter 655) of [Correspondence of Daniel O'Connell, vol 2].
The 1st Baronet is also mentioned in:


Deeds involving the 1st Baronet

Have looked at all these:

Dublin and Co.Kerry




Deeds yet to be consulted:


The sons


Blennerhassett signatures to a letter to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Kerry Evening Post, 19 February 1831.
Shows Robert at Churchtown, Arthur at Blennerville, Rowland at Tralee, William at Blennerville.
See also Dublin Evening Post, 22 February 1831.

List of Kerry jurors in Tralee Mercury, July 27, 1831.
Shows Arthur (3rd Baronet) at Mount Rivers, Rowland at Tralee, William at Blennerville.


There is no daughter Catherine

There have been claims that the 1st Baronet had a daughter Catherine. This seems to be false.

The printed histories

The printed family histories such as Debrett's and Burke's at one point showed a Catherine. But this seems to be an error.

The 1st Baronet has no daughter in the entry for Blennerhassett in [Debrett's Baronetage, 1815].
This is on p.1247 of vol.2.


The 1st Baronet is listed with a daughter Catherine on p.628 of [Debrett's Baronetage, 1828].
This is in the time of the 2nd Baronet. He cannot be paying much attention to Debrett's if he allowed it to list him with the wrong sister.
In the entry, the 1st Baronet's daughter Catherine marries Rev. Edward Conyers, of "Knockman".

Other 19th century sources duplicate this:

In the late 19th century, the printed histories seem to have decided this "Catherine" was an error and removed her:


Records of Ballingarry

More confusion was caused by a misleading extract from the book Records of Ballingarry.

Catherine Blennerhassett, born 1788, daughter of "Sir R. Blennerhassett".
From Limerick City Library extracts from the book Records of Ballingarry [Hamilton, 1930].
If she really was born 1788, this would be a dau of the 1st Baronet, not the 2nd Baronet (who married 1790).

When we look at the original source in [Hamilton, 1930] though, we see the extract is misleading.
The extract makes it look like it is an original baptism entry. But it is not. It is just an extract from a set of family notes in the book. In the original notes, Catherine is discussed as the person who married Rev. Edward Conyers and was born 1788 and died 1869. This context is lost when making the extract of BMD.
So there is no new Catherine. The date 1788 is simply an error.


There is a daughter Melisent

Since deciding (correctly it seems) that the 1st Baronet had no daughter Catherine, the printed histories have shown him with no daughter.

However, in researching my own family, the evidence suggested that the 1st Baronet did have a daughter.
The page: Proof of our descent from Blennerhassett explains how both documents and DNA matches suggested that our family must descend from a previously-unknown daughter of the 1st Baronet and his wife. The evidence made a prediction that such a daughter must exist.

On 13 June 2020, I discovered that the 1st Baronet did have a daughter, Melisent Blennerhassett, baptised in Dublin in 1768.
She does not appear in the printed histories.
Maybe she died as an infant. Or maybe she is the ancestor of my family and she explains our DNA evidence and our origin story.


Transcript of baptism of Melisent Blennerhassett in 1768.


Our family

The page: Proof of our descent from Blennerhassett explains the following findings:

We start our family with:

  1. "Letitia" Blennerhassett.
    Close relation and probably daughter of 1st Baronet. Hence descendant of Edward III.
    Named as "Letitia" in my family history.
    But this could be an error and she may in fact be Melisent Blennerhassett, baptised 1768, dau of the 1st Baronet.
    The story is she was a Protestant, ran away with a Catholic and was disinherited, and had a child George Cashel (born 1807).
    [PAT/10, p.3] says she became a Catholic herself.
    Her son George Cashel was Catholic (though this may have been through his marriage in 1838).
    She mar Edward Cashel and had issue.

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