Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - Blennerhassett - Contents


William Carrique Ponsonby

Major (William) Ponsonby of Crotto.
Sold at auction by Phillips, London, 7 Nov 2001.
See bigger.
(todo) See entry at
Military history expert Peter Walton says about this picture: "The uniform is probably nearer to 1810 but could be right for the Kerry Militia whose uniform was scarlet with yellow collar and silver lace (including the epulettes)."

William Carrique Ponsonby, born 1770,
William Ponsonby, of Crotto, Co.Kerry,
descendant of Henry VII.
He was educ Eton 1783 to 1786.
See entry on p.426 of [Eton College register, 1753-1790].
He was educ TCD. Entered 1787, age 17. See entry in [TCD Alumni].

He mar 1stly, Jan-May 1794, to Elizabeth Gun [born post-1765, descendant of Edward III].
Elizabeth was widow of James Fuller Harnett. Her children by him came to live at Crotto.
William's father died 1796. He inherited Crotto.
He must be "William Ponsonby" who was High Sheriff of Co. Kerry (like his father) in 1797-98.

Major in the Kerry Militia:
He was appointed Captain in the Clanmaurice Corps of infantry (volunteer militia) in Co.Kerry in 1803.
[1805 Army List] apparently shows him as Captain of the Clanmaurice Company.
The Clanmaurice Company was probably absorbed in 1807 into the Kerry Militia (or Kerry Regiment, HQ at Tralee).
He was appointed 15 May 1807 directly as Major to the Kerry Militia. (He does not appear in the Kerry Militia before then.)
[1807 Army List] apparently shows him in the Kerry Militia.

Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington), Chief Secretary for Ireland, wrote to him in Dec 1807, authorising Ponsonby to reward informers.
Wellesley wrote to him in Jan 1808 about the possibility of a position for Ponsonby.
In Aug 1808 he was appointed to the office of "Collector of Excise duties in Kerry". See item in Freeman's Journal, 23 August 1808.
He is listed as "Major" at 1809 reception.
His step-dau Sara Harnett married against his wishes c.1809.
His brother Richard died 1811, and then Richard's children seem to have come to live with him at Crotto rather than with their mother, who remarried.
Elizabeth dies, 1812:
She died Cork, Fri 19 June 1812, age less than 47.
See death notice in Freemans Journal, Tuesday, June 30, 1812.
William had issue by 1st wife:

  1. (dau) Ponsonby,
    born think 1795,
    died Crotto, Tue 28 June 1808, age think 13 yrs,
    listed as "eldest daughter" at death 1808,
    see death notice in Freemans Journal, Monday, July 4, 1808,
    (todo) there may also be a notice in July 5 issue,
    (todo) see originals to confirm age.

  2. Richard Ponsonby,
    Richard Carrique Ponsonby,
    born June 1795 [Ms 20608], see p.1 and p.2 and p.3,
    though [RIC officers] says born 1796, Crotto,
    [death notice] and [Ms 20608] say he is eldest son.
    There is a Deed of 10 May 1809, Odell to Raymond, of various lands to hold for the lives of Richard Ponsonby, son of William Carrique Ponsonby, and others, [LR] book 611 p.231 (NOT p.230) no.418002.

    Army officer:
    Richard was army officer. Lieutenant in Kerry Militia from Apr 1810 to Aug 1814 [RIC officers],
    (todo) see War Office, 13/2902-22.
    He was Ensign from Sept 1814 to Aug 1816 [RIC officers]. This would apparently be a demotion. Perhaps this was because he moved to a different regiment.
    Death notice says he was formerly officer in the 27th Regiment.
    [RIC officers] says he became Major, but this seems to be confusion with his father (it confuses his widow with his father's widow).

    He was later a senior policeman, officer in Irish Constabulary.
    Appointed 3rd class Sub Inspector 28 Jan 1823.
    He is listed in [RIC officers],
    (todo) see RIC officers service register, [LDS] microfilm 2097, p.034.
    Chief Constable of Tullow, Co.Carlow.
    [Patrick Carroll's Notebooks] list him as Chief Constable of Tullow in 1829, living Tullow.
    He mar Mary Anne ----.
    Travelled with his career, did not live at Crotto. His younger brother Thomas inherited Crotto.
    Sir John Benn-Walsh writing in 1834 says that Thomas' elder brother "was disinherited by the father."
    Death notice describes him as "County Inspector of Meath".
    He died shortly before 8 May 1841, Navan, Co.Meath, age 45 yrs.
    See Kerry Evening Post, 8 May 1841, [NLI] microfilm, (todo) try 14 June 1841.
    [RIC officers] says he died 1 Oct 1842, but this is not true.
    [Deed, 1842] says Thomas is the "heir at law" of his brother Richard (i.e. heir of Crotto).
    Mary Anne is party to [Deed, 1842].

  3. William Ponsonby,
    2nd son [Ms 20608].
    He wit his 1st cousin Mary Ponsonby's mar settlement 1828.
    Obituary says "for some years past" he held position of Baronial High Constable of Clanmaurice.
    He died suddenly, 10 Aug 1831, Crotto.
    See obituary in Kerry Evening Post, 10 Aug 1831.
    (todo) See Freemans Journal, 10 Aug 1831.
    (todo) See Dublin Evening Packet, 1831, no.592.
    His father died in Dec 1831.
    See admin of his estate in 1869 [NAI]. (Or could this be his father's estate?)
    See admin of estate granted 26 Apr 1872 to his nephew George Ponsonby Lloyd [NAI]. From here.

  4. Thomas Carrique Ponsonby, born 12 Dec 1800,
    inherited Crotto.

  5. Anne Ponsonby,
    2nd born dau [Ms 20608],
    listed as eldest (surviving) dau, spinster, of Crotto, in [Deed, 1829, Crosbie].
    She stayed in contact with her step-sister Sara Harnett. She was Sara's only adult sister or step-sister.
    She mar pre-1836 to George Lloyd.
    George was High Sheriff of Limerick city 1829 and 1834 and 1838.
    Anne is listed as his wife in [Deed, 1842].
    He died pre-1866.
    She lived 2 Richmond, Fairview, Co.Dublin.
    She died April 1866, at her house, 2 Richmond, Fairview.
    See death notice in Limerick Chronicle, 17 Apr 1866.
    See admin of estate granted 22 Dec 1871 to her son George Ponsonby Lloyd [NAI].
    Anne and George had issue:

    1. George Ponsonby Lloyd,
      bapt 7 Jan 1836 [St.Michael's (Church of Ireland) parish records, Limerick], only child.
      His step-aunt Sara Harnett loved her step-sister Anne Ponsonby but disapproved of the lifestyle and drinking of her nephew George Ponsonby Lloyd.
      Sara wrote warm and sympathetic letters to him when his mother died in Apr 1866: "My dear Ponsonby".
      However in a letter to a third party of 19 July 1866, in making her will, Sara says: "I am grieved to say I could not in justice leave to my poor dear sister's only child that which I know now would be most unworthily (illegible)". He was the only blood relative mentioned in Sara's will, but he was left very little.
      He is living 53 Summerhill, Dublin, at admin of his mother's estate 1871.
      He is living 24 Lr Gloucester St, Dublin, at admin of his uncle William Ponsonby's estate 1872.
      He disputed Sara's will in 1874 after her death, but failed to overturn it.
      He went to Australia.
      He mar 1874 in Australia to Elizabeth Bolger (think NOT Golger).
      He died 1908, Melbourne, age 72 yrs.

  6. George Ponsonby,
    born 1810, or 1811, 4th son,
    died at Crotto, of a sudden "apopletic fit", Tue morning, 14 June 1831, age 20 or 21 yrs.
    (todo) Supposed to be item in Freemans Journal, 14 June 1831, but cannot see it.
    (todo) See Cork Constitution, 14 June 1831.
    See item in Kerry Evening Post, 15 June, 1831.
    See notice in Limerick Chronicle, Sat 18 June 1831.
    See notice in Freeman's Journal, 21 June 1831.
    (todo) See Ennis Chronicle and Clare Advertiser, 22 June 1831.
    (todo) See Waterford Mail, 22 June 1831.
    [Deed, 1842] says Thomas is the only surviving son.

William mar 2ndly, 1814, to Honoria Wren [born 1786 or 1788, descendant of Edward III].
He is listed as "Major in the Kerry Militia" at mar.
He made alterations to Crotto House 1819.
[Pielou, 1935] says he was still an officer in the Kerry Militia as at 1820.
His step-son by his 1st wife, Thomas Fuller Harnett, was hanged for forgery in 1820.

Anti-tithe violence, 1821-22:
William was active in combating local anti-tithe violence and "Whiteboyism".
See item in Freemans Journal, December 24, 1821.
He wrote a number of letters to the authorities in 1822, reporting local outrages.
In a letter of 10 Feb 1822 he describes disturbances by "insurgents", and says Co.Kerry is in a bad state, close to "actual rebellious warfare". He encloses a letter addressed to Crotto from "John Starlight", which appears to be a threat to him to comply with agitators' demands.
He is listed as a Justice of the Peace as at June 1822 [Collins papers, 1].

William is listed at Crotto in [Pigot's directory, 1824].
He is listed at Crotto in [Tithe Survey] 1825, lands of 142 acres.
His nieces Louisa and Mary Ponsonby were living with him at Crotto as at 1825, when Louisa became pregnant outside marriage. She left to go to her mother some time after this.
His niece Mary Ponsonby was still living with him at Crotto in 1828.
William was living Crotto as at [Deeds, 1829], at which time Louisa has left Crotto and is now with her mother.
William Ponsonby, senior, JP, of Crotto, and William junior are listed in a petition in Chutes Western Herald, 17 February, 1831 and 21 February, 1831.
Two of his sons, George and William junior, died in June-Aug 1831. William died a few months later.
"William Carrigue Ponsonby" is listed in House of Commons Parliamentary papers, Volume 35, 1832, as one of the Magistrates in the Commission of the Peace in Co.Kerry.

William dies, 1831:
He died at Crotto, 16 Dec 1831, age 61 yrs, or possibly 23 Dec.
See obituary in Kerry Evening Post, Saturday, 24 December, 1831. It says he died "on Friday last", but it is unclear if this means Fri 23 Dec or (perhaps more likely) Fri 16 Dec.
See lament for him and his two sons in Tralee Mercury, 4 January, 1832. "In six short months, the happy group dispersed, and three are clasped in the cold arms of Death."
He is bur at Aghavallen church, near Ballylongford, Co.Kerry.
[Letter, 1898] says that the Ponsonby tomb there is the tomb of "Major Ponsonby".
His wife Honoria was later buried there. Note that she is from the Ballylongford area.
Will proved 1 Sept 1832.

His son Thomas Carrique Ponsonby inherited Crotto.
Honoria is party to [Deed, 1842], in which Thomas is selling off Crotto and the Ponsonby estate.
She is listed in 1842 as of Tralee (has left Crotto).
[Slater's directory, 1846] lists her at 7 Day Place, Tralee.
She was next door to Rowland Blennerhassett of 6 Day Place. (In 1849 her dau married his son.)

Honoria dies, 1864:
She died Wed 16 Nov 1864 [death notice], [grave], [NAI], or possibly 14 Nov 1864 [GROI],
age 76 yrs [GROI], or 78 yrs [grave], NOT age 72 yrs.
She died at her daughter's house Oakvilla, Tralee (NOT Kilflynn).
See death cert from [GROI].
See death notice, Cork Examiner, Sat 19 Nov 1864, [NLI] microfilm.
Have searched Limerick Chronicle, [LCL] microfilm, 15 to 26 Nov, for death notice, not found.
She was bur in the Ponsonby tomb at Aghavallen church, near Ballylongford.
See admin granted 1865 [NAI].
William had issue by 2nd wife:

  1. Henry Ponsonby,
    died unmarried, pre-1842 [Deed, 1842].

  2. Mary Anne Ponsonby, born 1819,
    listed as of Tralee par at mar,
    mar 28 January 1841 [Tralee CoI church] to Stephen Creagh Sandes and had issue.

  3. Alicia Ponsonby,
    living Ballybunion, Co.Kerry, at mar,
    mar 15 Sept 1852, Listowel church, to Rev. Robert Wren Sandes,
    see mar cert from [GROI].

  4. Honoria Ponsonby,
    of Tralee and Crotto,
    youngest dau, born 1820 [by age at death].
    Listed as of Tralee at mar. (Would be living with mother in Tralee. Her brother has sold Crotto.)
    She mar 1stly, Tralee church, 11 Oct 1849, to Richard Francis Blennerhassett [born 26 April 1820] and had issue.
    See [Tralee CoI par records] and [mar cert]. NOT 13 Oct.
    See notice in Nenagh Guardian, October 20, 1849.

Meant to be Elizabeth Gun ("mother of Mrs. Guion - Mrs Harnett") except seems far too old for her.
She was born born post-1765 and died 1812, age less than 47.
Courtesy of Sylvia Goiran and Adair Hobson.

William Ponsonby, High Sheriff of Co. Kerry, and others offer a reward for the conviction of the murderer of a soldier at Tralee on 21 Dec 1797. Also offering rewards are John Blennerhassett, Clerk, and George Cashel and John Blennerhassett and George Cashel junior.
From Chute's Western Herald, 22 Dec 1797.
Printed on p.100 of Historical Record of the 2nd (now 80th) or Royal Tyrone Fusilier Regiment of Militia (1872).

William Ponsonby listed as Captain of the Clanmaurice Corps of infantry in Co.Kerry.
From p.92 of List of the Volunteer and Yeomanry Corps of the United Kingdom, 1804.

William Ponsonby listed as Major in the Kerry county Militia in [1808 Almanac].
Note his in-law Capt. Edward Fuller.
See full size LHS and RHS.

Diary of Judge Robert Day for April 1811 notes his dispute with his political rival William Ponsonby.
From [O'Carroll, 2004, pp.196-197].

CROTTO in [Leet's Directory, 1814] gets the alignment of the 4th column wrong.

Daniel O'Connell tells a story of a Mr. S., who challenged him to a duel, sending the challenge via William Ponsonby of Crotto.
From pp.113-114 of vol.2 of Personal recollections of the late Daniel O'Connell, M.P. by William J. O'Neill Daunt (1848). [NLI] Ir 92 o 138.
This section was quoted in a review of the book in The Patrician, vol.6 (1848), pp.298-305, [NLI] 92905 p 1 (offsite, order in advance).

Engraving of Crotto House published 1821.

Ponsonby tomb, Aghavallen church, near Ballylongford, Co.Kerry

Tomb of Major William Ponsonby and his 2nd wife Honoria Wren.
Aghavallen church, near Ballylongford, Co.Kerry. Inside the ruined church.
Photo 2010. See larger and full size.
See other shot.

Map of Ponsonby and Lindsay graves inside Aghavallen church.
From [Letter, 1898].
The above Ponsonby tomb is "a".


Sources yet to be consulted

Lament for William Ponsonby and his sons.
Tralee Mercury, 4 January, 1832.

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