Ireland Parsons Around 1600

The Parsons Undertakers

"The fortunes of the Parsons in Ireland were founded by two brothers, William and Lawrence (or Laurence), who came over from England about 1590. Like the Earl of Cork (with whom they had marriage connections), they were members of the group of tough and capable Englishmen that pioneered the resettlement of the country after the wars of the 16th century. (These people were called undertakers because they undertook the control of the plantations.) William, the elder, became a Commissioner of Plantations, and the Surveyor-General of Ireland, obtained large grants of lands, mostly in Wexford, and was created a baronet in 1620. (William had 5 sons and 7 daughters.) He was the ancestor of the Earl of Rosse of the first creation whose line died out in 1764.

"The younger brother, Laurence, was trained as a lawyer, became Attorney-General for Munster in 1612 (when he was Knighted), a Judge of the Admiralty in 1619 and, in 1620, joint Receiver-General of Crown Lands with his brother, William. His official career was more successful than meritorious; and it is his activities as a colonizer and developer of plantation lands that are interesting. In 1620 he acquired 1000 acres of arable land and 277 of wood and bog in the territory in central Ireland known as Ely O'Carroll. This acquisition centered on the town and castle of Birr; on June 26 of the same year it was constituted a manor under the new name of Parsonstown. Parsonstown and Birr have remained alternative names for the town up til recent years"...quotes from the Rosse papers. Lawrence and his wife, Ann Maltham, had 3 sons and 3 daughters. The current Lord Rosse of Birr Castle is a descendant of the 2nd son, William.

Fenton Parsons, a third brother, following the profession of the Law, came to Ireland about 1611. Fenton of Ballinamore had a grant of land in Leitrim as British undertaker. He and his wife Elizabeth Jackson had 3 sons, Fenton, Gerard, and William. The Reference book B-2, compiled by Richard Parsons (b. 1838) traces his ancestory back to this Fenton Parsons (mainly in Limerick, Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh counties of Ireland).

The Parsons Clergymen

"At the period of the great Irish Rebellion, Oct., 1641, there were two clergymen of the name of 'Parsons', beneficed in Ireland; one of these Rev. Richard Parsons was vicar(?) of Drung and Larah in the Co. Cavan, diocese of Kilmore; the other Rev. Thomas Parsons, was parson of Gowran in the Co. Kilkenny, diocese of Ossory. The 'despositions' of the first mentioned are amongst those in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin; it is at considerable length, and is sworn to, and attested by the Deponent himself. This deposition will be given further on, it is of much importance (to my mind) in this Enquiry." ....quote from B-2,p.92 by the Rev. W. A. Reynell, M.A., B.D., June 1893 ...The Rev. Richard Parsons married Miss O'Reilly of Cavan Co. and had 3 children, all alive on 24 Feb., 1644... note of Alumni Oxoniensis, 1500-1886 Vol 1,(1891) Some Parsons in Ireland probably descend from this clergyman.

"The Rev. Thomas Parsons was murdered by the rebels. The deposition of Mrs. Elizabeth Parsons, his relict, is also on record in Trinity College Library. It does not contain any particulars of her deceased husband's family but it is an account of the losses he sustained and of the injuries he underwent, etc., etc. As there is no mention of a child in this deposition, we therefore conclude that the Rev. Thomas Parsons by Elizabeth, his wife--left no issue."..........B-2,p.92 quote of Rev. W. A. Reynell.

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