Hoel of Karcbren (Co. Wexford)
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Howel of Carrykobren John Stephen
The origins of this family tree are statements made by J. C. Walsh in his book Walsh 1170-1690 as well as commentary by Eric St. John Brooks in the book Knights' Fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny, who are both quoted in the following text. This is perhaps the only early pedigree referencing actual records which attempts to establish a connection to the house of Walsh of the Mountain in County Kilkenny.
About 1232 the Earl Richard Marshal gave written instructions for marking off the forests around his estate at Old Ross (co. Wexford). In one place the direction is "and from Radcrother in a line as far as the cross which is between the chapel of Hoel of Karrethobren and the house of the said Hoel." Further on in the same document "it is permitted to Hoel of Karrickobrien" (and others who are mentioned) "and their heirs, with the free tenants, to reclaim, enclose and occupy their lands which are within the aforesaid meres and bounds, as well as their other lands which thye hold outside the forest" reserving to us the savage beasts."
This was at Courthoyle, on Carrickbyrne mountain, parish of Newbawn, barony of Bantry, co. Wexford. The name is preserved in two townlands, and on one side of Carrickbyrne there are still remains of a castle and of earlier earthworks, marking the abode of Hoel (Howell, Hoyle, Hale) of Carrickbyrne. The name Howel, as Orpen points out, is preserved in the townland of Courthoyle, where the castle and chapel are marked on the Ordnance Survey map.
The family there shows its Welsh origin in the name Howel. It was known in the first centuries after the Invasion by a patronymic: Howel son of Stephen, Oliver son of Howel, etc. There is evidence that it was later represented by the well-known house of Walsh of the Mountain, for the ancestors of that house were the same Howels of the feodaries, and in Stuart days the Walshes of the Mountain held the fee at Carrickbyrne. The feodary of 1247 shows Howel of Karcbren, the feodary of 1324 shows Howel son of Stephen, and the feodary circa 1425 shows the heir of Oliver Howell, all holding the 1/2 knights fee at Carrykbryn. [source: Knights' Fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny]
Witnesses mentioned in the (c. 1232) document about the forests of Old Ross included Philip Keating and Thomas Boscher, along with Hoel of Carrickbyrne. Philip Keating and Thomas Boscher, whose families also held lands in County Wexford, were also witnesses of a certain final concord (ca. 1213) between the monks of Dunbrody Abbey and one of their neighbors at Tyrbregan, and "Hoel son of Grono" was also a witness. A Howel son of Gronius witnessed a Dunbrody (Wexford) charter probably before 1204, according to the Chartularies of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin (perhaps the same charter of c. 1213)
Hoel son of Grono is possibly the Hoel of Carrickbyrne of the forest charter, who certainly (c. 1232) held this fee, as he did in 1247. Stephen Howel is mentioned as witness in connection with Dunbrody (c. 1240) along with Thomas Keating and David Boscher, presumably all three of the next generation of those mentioned ca. 1213. Stephen Howel was probably the son of the tenant of 1247 [Hoel] and was presumably the next holder at Carrickbyrne. He witnessed, between 1294 and 1302, the charter of John Thuluse to Dunbrody. In 1302 Stephen Howel was a juror in co. Wexford (Cal. Just. Rolls, i, 397)
Stephen Howel and John son of Stephen Howel occur both in co. Wexford and in co. Kilkenny in the same connection in 1285 and 1286, as shown in the Calendar of Documents Relating to Ireland (C.D.I., iii, pp. 52, 95). This is of interest as it helps to identify Stephen Howel as the ancestor of the Walshes of the Mountains, whose principal seat was Castlehale (named from the same Howel ancestor as Courthoyle) in co. Kilkenny. In 1293 Sir Stephen Howel witnessed two deeds relating to the transfer of Knocktopher, co. Kilkenny (of which barony Castlhale was held) to the Butlers, as shown in the Ormond Deeds, i. nos. 302, 305. [source: Knights' Fees in Counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny]
His son, Howel son of Stephen, occurs in co. Kilkenny in 1297 (Cal. Just. Rolls, i, 106), and in 1312 he witnessed a further series of deeds connected with the transfer of Knocktopher to the Butlers (Cal. Just. Rolls, i, 466-68, 471-3). He is the Howel son of Stephen who held the fee of Carrickbyrne in the feodary of 1324. His successor was Oliver, the same 'Oliver son of Howel son of Stephen' who held the lordship of 'Lotheran' in co. Kilkenny in 1361 (Cal. Just. Rolls, ii, 76). It was Walter son of Walter son of Oliver (Howel) who transferred his Kilkenny possessions to Geoffrey son of Thomas son of Nicholas Howell Walshe in 1373 (Ormond Deeds, ii. no. 185), a date which may indicate the period when the name Walsh was adopted by the family. In the feodary of c. 1425 the heir of Oliver Howell held the 1/2 fee at Carrickbyrne [Carrykbryn].
The term 'Lotheran' may indicate an area in the southern portion of the modern barony of Knocktopher in County Kilkenny, perhaps with overlapping lands in the modern barony of Ida, once part of the medieval cantred of Overk. Lotheran, or Logheran, are encountered in the Irish feodaries of 1247, 1317 and 1355, in conjunction with the terms Rossenan (or Rosnan) and Kyllache (or Kyllaghyt). The latter two have been interpreted as the parishes of Rossinan and Killahy in this area of southern Knocktopher, and were held of 1/2 knights' fees by the le Graunts in the 13th and early 14th centuries. The Logheran fee was part of the de Clare estate which descended to the le Despensers. A William le Graunt, holding lands in cos. Kilkenny and Waterford forfeited his estates before 1346 (Cal. Pat. and Close Rolls, Ireland, p. 53b.).
In the Stuart period, as mentioned above, the holders of the fee at Carrickbyrne and that of Castlehale, co. Kilkenny were the Walshes of the Mountain. Walter Walsh late of Castlehowell, co. Kilkenny, died in 1619, seised of Courthoyle and other places (named) in co. Wexford, containing 4 carcates of land, held of the King in chief by military service (Inquisitions co. Wexford, no. 26 of James I).
Footnote: there is a record dated 1595 that a James [Grant] of Ballynabouley purchased lands at Courthoil (parish Newban Bargy, Barony New Ross) from W. Walshe.
As J. C. Walsh says in his book, Walsh 1170-1690, "it is difficult to arrive at any other view than that these Howells were the first Lords of the Mountain. The succession from 1170 to Howell of 1312 is almost or quite complete. On the evidence, the manor 'Houlden of the barony of Knocktopher' began with the first of them." As other sources quote for Howell of Castlehale, "whether he married a younger daughter of Griffin, or of Griffin's brother Raymond [le Gros], his chances were of the best in Knocktopher."
Possible entries in the early Irish records related to the 'Howels of Carrickbyrne', as well as those related to 'Walter son of Walter son of Oliver' (who transferred his Kilkenny tenements to Geoffrey Walshe in 1373) are further covered in this article.