Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My wife's ancestors - Fitzwilliam - Contents

Booterstown, Co.Dublin

Thorn Castle

The estate of Thorn Castle came into possession of a branch of the Fitzwilliams 1400s.
Thorn Castle and Booterstown were inherited by cousins of these Fitzwilliams.
Came into possession of Thomas Fitzwilliam before 1517.

Thorn Castle is now Booterstown and surrounds, down to Blackrock and up to Mount Merrion.
The Thorn Castle building itself probably stood near Blackrock.
[Ball, vol.2, 1903] says that in the 18th century the bridge over the stream at the entrance to Blackrock (see map) was called Thorncastle Bridge, and this may be where the old castle stood.


Booterstown village was occupied in the 1400s by tenants of Fitzwilliam of Thorncastle.
It was destroyed in a raid by the native Irish before 1435.
See [Ball, 1900] for 1435 document referring to the recent raid.
[McGahon, 2013] says the raid was in "1430" but no source is given.
Booterstown Castle was built 1449 by Fitzwilliam of Thorncastle to defend Booterstown village.
Thorn Castle and Booterstown were inherited by cousins of these Fitzwilliams.
They came into possession of Thomas Fitzwilliam before 1517.

Thorn Castle and Booterstown were held by Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam, Kt in 16th century.
1st Viscount Fitzwilliam was cr Baron Fitzwilliam of Thorncastle 1629.
The grant of Thorncastle, Booterstown and other lands to 2nd Viscount was reaffirmed 1666.

In the 18th century Booterstown Castle was built into a house that went for some time by the name "Booterstown Castle" but was later called "St.Mary's".
Booterstown Castle survives inside "St.Mary's" today.

Page 310 of [Ball, 1900] quotes a 1435 document referring to the recent destruction of "Balibothir" (Booterstown) by "our Irish enemies", and the request to build a castle.

Part of the parish of Monkstown in the [Down Survey, 1655 to 1658]. E (sea) is up.
Booterstown (plot A) is not under the name of Fitzwilliam. Though grant of it to Fitzwilliam was reaffirmed 1666.
This is part of the larger map of Kill and Monkstown. From TCD.

"Butterstowne" (Booterstown) on Map of Dublin bay, 1685.
E (sea) is down.
See full size.

Booterstown on John Rocque's map of Dublin, 1757.
Booterstown Ave is called "Merrion Lane".
Cross Ave is called "Black Rock Avenue".
The lower part of Mount Merrion Ave exists. (From other maps we know the upper part does not yet exist at this time.)
Note the old Catholic chapel ("Mass House", built 1686) on Booterstown Ave.

Detail of Pat Roe's map of 1774.
Shows the old Catholic chapel.
See full map.
From Mount Merrion 300. Used with permission.

Booterstown ("Butterstown") in [Taylor and Skinner, 1777].

Booterstown Castle

Booterstown parish

The Catholic parish of Booterstown, which originally meant most of SE suburban Dublin (outside the city centre), survived through the Penal times due to the protection of the Fitzwilliams, who stayed Catholic through the 1600s.

A plaque on the RHS wall of the current Booterstown church lists "Rev. James Cahill" as Roman Catholic parish priest of Booterstown, Donnybrook and Dundrum from 1616 (in the time of the 1st Viscount) to 1650.
[Ball, vol.2, 1903] says that as at 1630, "Rev. John" Cahill was acting as Roman Catholic priest for Donnybrook, Ringsend, Irishtown, Booterstown, Blackrock, Stillorgan, Kilmacud and Dundrum, under the protection of the Fitzwilliams and the Walshes, and "was able to perform the services of his church without interference".
[Lyng, 2000] also has him as "Rev. John" Cahill, says there was no church at this time, he stayed with the Fitzwilliams and said mass at Merrion and Dundrum.
The plaque at Booterstown shows a continuous line of parish priests from 1616 through the penal years to the present day.

The old Roman Catholic chapel at Booterstown was built 1686 (in the time of the 4th Viscount), see [Lyng, 2000], making this now one of the oldest continuous Roman Catholic churches in Ireland.
Although the 5th Viscount finally conformed in 1710, the penal laws never really ran in the Fitzwilliam territory of South Dublin.
There is reputed to have been an old mass tunnel (hiding and escape route for priests) in the Deer Park at Mount Merrion.
The Catholic parish register started in 1755 (temp 6th Viscount).

The name "St.Mary's" - The old name for the Booterstown church was "St.Mary's". This might derive as a replacement for the old Donnybrook church "St.Mary's". The Booterstown Castle house was named "St.Mary's", apparently because the parish priest lived there. The site of Merrion Castle is also now "St.Mary's".

Interesting that "Mary" was a family name in the Fitzwilliam family. See:

The present Booterstown Catholic church on Booterstown Ave was built 1812 (on the site of the old chapel) by the 7th Viscount for his Catholic tenants.
[McGahon, 1999] and [Lyng, 2000] and [McGahon, 2013] say the foundation stone was laid on 6 Aug 1812, and the new church was dedicated by John Troy, Archbishop of Dublin on 15 Aug 1813.

The founding of the Catholic Sisters of Mercy convent and school beside Booterstown church in 1838 was contributed to by Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea, heir of the Fitzwilliams and frequent resident at Mount Merrion.

The high cross outside Booterstown church was erected c.1868 from a sum of money left to the church by a servant lady from the Pembroke estate.

Canon Patrick Flanagan was parish priest of Booterstown 1939-56.
The name of Booterstown RC church changed from "St.Mary's" to the "Church of the Assumption" in 1950.
Richard Humphreys and Deirdre Flanagan married at Booterstown church in 1965.
See street view outside church.

Booterstown RC church.
Photo 2009. See larger and full size. From here.
See more photos.

Plaque inside the Catholic church at Booterstown (on RHS) showing the parish priests.
Photo 2013. See full size.

Plaque inside the Catholic church at Booterstown (on LHS) commemorates its building in 1812 by the 7th Viscount and his agent Barbara Verschoyle.
Photo 2013. See full size and wider shot.

Pages 7-8 of the 1826 (posthumous) edition of Lettres d'Atticus, written in French by the 7th Viscount.
This notes that, although Protestant, he spent a large sum building a Catholic church at Booterstown for his tenants.



Sources yet to be consulted

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