Supple Family History
|MOTTO: Mens conscia RectiA mind conscious of rectitude
Blazon of Arms: Or; an anchor between two crescents in fess sable on a chief azure; three buckles on the first. Crest: A cubit arm erect proper charged with two crescents in pale sable in the hand of the anchor of the last.
Link here to the Supple Castle
There is no dispute but that the first Supple arrived in Ireland as one of the knights accompanying Strongbow. Philip de Capel one of Robert FitzStephens companions in the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1168, obtained a grant of Killeagh in 1172 and Capel Island was named after him. The de Capels came from Normandy to Kent and thence to Ireland.
In Canon Hayman’s “Sketch of the Blackwater” it is stated that “ the first of the present (1850) Baronet’s family holds the estateby the original tenure of a Knight’s service viz. the annual presentation at Easter of a pair of spurs” The property was called the maiden estate as it never been forfeited or sold. In 1803 according to Dod’s “Peerage and Baronetcy”, the baronetcy was created and the first baronet, Sir Richard Supple assumed the name Brooke in accordance with his uncle’s will, while by royal licence he took the name Capel in lieu of Supple. Killeagh and its early history is dealt with later. Ightermurragh Castle: The peculiar name comes from the method in which the site was chosen by Margaret Fitzgerald, youngest daughter of Edmund fitzjohn Fitzgerald, son and heir of the last official Seneschal of Imokilly. As he had no heir he is said to have divided his property between his threes daughters and gave them a choice of location. The eldest saif ‘Beigh Inse na Chruithneactha agam sa’ I (will have the Wheat Field by the River) i.e Castle Richard. The middle girl said ‘An Cnoc Ghlas damh-sa’ ( The Green Hill for me) and the youngest said ‘Agus an t-Iochtar mo Rogha’ (The lower is my choice). She married Edmend Supple and the proceeded to build the fortified tower house which is now the ruin of Ightmurragh. This was completed in 1641, but they were hardly settled before they were attacked by Parliamentary forces(Cromwell). Poor Margaret boasted she would build a castle far superior to that of her father or elder sisters. So falls the vanity of human nature.
The Norman de Capels became Supple in time and their actual connection to the Ightermurragh area seems to date from earlier that the 17th century. ‘John Supple of Ightmurragh’ is named in an inquisition of 1588 following the Desmond rebellion and inquisitions of 1626 and 1631 mention Gerald and William of the name. The inscription cut into one of the fireplaces tell of Supple and his wife ‘whom love binds into one’: alas they had to fly from their home with an infant child soon after the Confederate War. (Edmundus Supple Dominus Margritu Gerald hane struzare Domague sligate unus mor)
The origin of this surname can be found in the earliest forms as written, in Latin de Capella and in Norman-French de la Chapelle, literally ‘of the chapel’. The exact meaning is uncertain; it could mean one who lives near a church or, more likely, a laicised cleric. A common misconception regarding many such surnames is that all bearers descend from a single ancestor. This is a surname in the category of an Anglo-Norman cognomen and multiple origins are much more likely. Individuals of the surname are recorded in Norfolk and Sussex in England during the 13thcentury in what was a superficial survey and there are likely to have been other families of the name in other shires. Even in Ireland there appear to have been several distinct families bearing the surname introduced by the Anglo-Normans and it is probable that no connexion existed between these. This is clear in the case of the Cork, Meath and Limerick Supples, three distinct groups who can be traced back very early in the conquest and between whom no connection can be discovered.
The de la Chapelles:
The Supples of Cork long held their ancestral lands and preserved a tradition that their first ancestor was one Philip de la Chapelle, who came to Ireland with Robert FitzStephen when the latter conquered Cork in the period 1177-1182. This belief originated in the family’s possession of the ancestral deed by which FitzStephen granted lands in his manor of Inchiquin alias Oglassin to de la Chapelle before 1182. The evidence for this comes trom the Earl of Cork’s diary (he was the then lord of Inchiquin) under date April 8, 1636, when he notes that ‘Mr. William Supple [of Aghadoe] showed me the deed of his lands made by Robert FitzStephen unto his ancestor Philip de Capella,.Sadly this ancient deed does not appear to have survived. Confirmation of this comes trom a much earlier source in the shape of a common bench court case of 1301 in which James de la Chapelle was being sued by another local lord for Athmoyn in Co. Cork, a now lost place name but which must have been part of the manor of Killeagh or of Ightermurrogh. In this case the jury found that de la Chapelle was the rightful owner and held under a feoffment’of Robert FitzStephen to his ancestor, Philip de Capella.
Early records trom this period are rare and the first extant one concerning the family is an undated deed of around 1237 witnessed by Philip de Capella, ‘seneschal of Oglassin’ (or Inchiquin). He must have been head of the family and held this position in addition to his tenancy. The basis of this tenancy was military tenure or knight service. Here the tenant held his freehold by service of a specified number of knights’ fees at a rent of 40 shillings per fee each time the government called a scutage or royal army, plus an additional annual rent. The fees held by the de la Chapelles centered on the Anglo-Norman manorial village of Killeagh with its church and another manor and church a few miles to the south west, at Ightermurrogh, two distinct parcels of land which lay near each other but did not adjoin. Family possession of these lands is likely to date from the first grant of around 1180, but records of the lands only begin to emerge in the later 13thcentury, the earliest direct record concerning Philip de la Chapelle who, in 1288, is recorded as holding three knights’ fees at ‘Kille’ by a rent of 22 shillings and suit at the court of Inchiquin.Two further records, both of 1260, also concern the family. These are minor court cases concerning the claim of Philip de la Chapelle to lands at Dangandonovan and John de la Chapelle to lands at Cnockanmactire (the modem Knockane, between Killeagh and Castlemartyr). Both places are on the western boundaries of the Chapelle estates here and these records indicate that both men seem to have had an interest in the Chapelle estate at this time.
All of this can be put together into a coherent pedigree with the help of yet another court case trom 1290. Strangely, this does not concern the main Chapelle estate but the ploughland of Killotteran in Co. Waterford. This was part of the estate of the bishop of Lismore and in the latter year he sued John de la Chapelle and his son, another John, for Killotteran. The court-case contains many genealogical details which help us to untangle the early generations of the family. Under feudal law when a tenant died leaving a minor (under 21) heir the lands reverted to their lord until the heir came of age. In this case the bishop, as overlord, was claiming Killotteran as Philip de la Chapelle had recently died seized of the fee, leaving a minor heir. As the court-case shows, this was Philip of Killeagh as recorded in the inquisition of 1288, the family head. The case went in favour of the two Johns on the following grounds. The holding was traced back to one Philip de la Chapelle, father of Philip who had recently died and also of the elder John, who were brothers. This Philip was said to have held the fee during the episcopate of Griffin (1223- 1246) and had died during that of his successor, bishop Alan (1246-1253), leaving Killotteran to John, his son, then a minor, and that John’s brother, Philip, never held the lands as the bishop was claiming.
This makes sense of the various other references above. Philip de la Chapelle, seneschal of Oglassin around 1237, was he who held Killotteran until he died during the period 1246-1253 (his widow is named as Mabel in the case). He was probably a son of the first Philip who had gotten Killeagh from Robert FitzStephen around 1180. His main heir was his eldest son, Philip (the third?), while John got Killotteran. The 1260 references indicate that John also had an interest in the Killeagh estate and was an adult by then. (See attached pedigree). Therefore Philip (III?) was an adult by 1260 and died sometime 1288-1290, leaving another minor heir, his son James. We know this and more about the later descent of the family as the manor of Inchiquin was itself in royal custody for much of this period due to the minority of its own lords who held directly of the Crown and thus, as ‘a custody within a custody’, the details of the relatively small de la Chapelle estate were recorded in the Exchequer Pipe Rolls in Dublin. Actual custody of the Killeagh estate after Philip’s death was granted to his brother, John, as can be seen by the government grant of July, 1291, ofa weekly market on Wednesdays and an annual fair each June 23-30 to be held in Killeagh, the village founded by the Chapelles and the center of their territory. Within a few years John himself was dead, as evidenced in a court-case of 1295 involving his widow, Basilia.10 Meanwhile the late Philip’s son and heir James came of age in 1298 when the escheator released the manor of ‘Kille’ to him, which suggests that James was born around 1277.
We know his father to have been an adult in 1260 so he must have been born no later than 1239, all of which strengthens the likelihood of my pedigree being accurate. Most records of James relate to his managing his estate. In 1301 he was among about 140 Irish knights to receive a letter from King Edward n seeking military support for his upcoming invasion of Scotland. It is not known whether Chapelle went but several local knights are known to have finally went with the Irish army who supported the king in 1303. Also in 1301 Chapelle was involved in routine litigation concerning lands at Knockglass and Monacrea, both in the manor of Ightermurrogh, and in the same year purchased the 11;2 ploughlands of Ballybrannigan which had been rented by the estate since at least 1295. This was a place on the coast south of Cloyne and far removed from the main Chapelle estate. In the same year James purchased from his uncle John’s widow, Basilia, all of her dower rights in her late husbands portion of the estate, namely certain rents in the manor of ‘Kille’, and other unnamed lands in Waterford and Kildare. The Waterford lands here must refer to Killotteran while I have not been able to locate the Kildare lands. (Dower was the right of a widow to one third of her late husbands property during the remainder of her life).
Earlier, in 1295, Basilia had sued one Robert de la Chapelle for her dower in Ballybrannigan. Robert had called to warranty John fitz John de la Chapelle who in turn called James, son and heir of Philip de la Chapelle, then a minor in the kings custody. This John fitz John de la Chapelle was the son of Basilia’s late husband – not necessarily her son – and was joined with his father, as we have already seen, in Killotteran litigation of 1290. He was dead by 1300 when his widow, An~tace,was seeking her dower from his lands in Ballybrannigan. Family head James is last noted alive in 1307 and was dead four years later, when his widow, Alesia, was seeking her dower in her late husbands’ manors of Killeagh and Ightermurrogh. Thus James died between the age of 30 and 34. Once again the Chapelle estates went into royal custody as James’ son and heir, Maurice, was a minor. He in turn came of age in 1319, and so must have been born around 1298 when his father would have been aged about. Even before he came of age, in 1316, he was involved in a family quarrel when his grand-unde’s widow, Basilia, sued him and won a distraint order against the estate on the basis that his father James had never paid Basilia the full sum when he had purchased her dower rights in 1301. In 1321 Maurice was recorded as lord of the three fees of Kille’, held by the same rent as in 1288. He seems to have died young in the family tradition as in 1326 his lands were in royal custody due to the minority of his son and heir, James. Actual custody probably rested with Maurice’s brother, John (son of James de la Chapelle). In 1325 he was sued by a tenant for a house in Killeagh and was in possession of Ballybranigan in 1333. He seems to have been involved in a feud with John de Loundres, vicar of Castlemartyr which ran between 1332 and 1336.
Loundres held some property of Chapelle and was in dispute about the rent. Chapelle sued Loundres in court who responded by attacking Chapelle with others in the woods of Ightermurrogh. In other litigation of the period John was involved in a dispute with Thomas de Carew for the lands of Seskintoy in the manor of Aghada (in 1337-8).14 The next record concerning the estate comes in 1344 when David, son and heir of James de la Chapelle, comes of age and is released possession of the manor of Ightermurrogh, held of 8 shillings rent and one pair of gloves, and other lads (i.e. Killeagh). This record appears to corrupt and does not make sense as it reads. James of 1344, who was therefore born around 1323, cannot have been the grandson of Maurice who was born around 1298. It is likely that record should read ‘David son and heir of Maurice fitz James de la Chapelle’.
In other words, must have been a younger brother of James son of Maurice who therefore must have died while still a minor.David occurs in an inquisition of 1349 as lord of the three fees of Killeagh but, most interestingly, in another of two years later he held just two fees while the third was then held one Maurice de Capella. As we shall see, this situation continued and I suspect that it is at this time that the Chapelle/Supple estate was divided in two resulting in the later situation where two families held here, one in Killeagh and the other in Ightermurrogh. Who this Maurice was does not appear but he may have been a brother to David, he cannot have been his son. A few other mentions of David survive. In 1354 he served on a jury at Casdemartyr and in 1368 he was involved in litigation when the Carew family tried to take over the small denomination of Kildrewe near Garryvoe. After this we approach the period when records begin to dry up and just two remain. A passing reference occurs to one Thomas fitz David de Capella in a Cork court case of 1378 and this may refer to a son of David. Finally note the reference of 1386 to one David de la Chapelle holding two fees in the manor of Inchiquin. These must be the Killeagh fees. This is probably the David born around 1323, who would have been about 63 then, old age for the period. Alternatively it may have been a son of this David.
One Philip de la Chapelle occurs in 1332 in association with the Madok family who lived near Killeagh and he held the position of sergeant of the manor of Inchiquin in 1343. His place in the pedigree is unclear but he must have been a member of the family. A Robert Chapel – note the beginning of the shift to Supple – also occurs on the jury of 1354 above.
Conversely, the Ightermurrogh family fought with the Irish forces against the English in the Wars of the 1580s and 1690s and remained loyal to the Catholic religion until forced by the Penal Laws to conform to the Protestant Church under penalty of losing their lands (in 1719). Even after this the family produced Irish patriots, as we shall see below. As it would be impossible to cover both simultaneously I will treat of each separately.
The Supples of Aghadoe:
The first reference to this family occurs in a pardon of 1573 in which Edmund Supple fitz John (i.e. Edmund son of John Supple) of Ahady (Aghadoe) was fined one fat cow by the English, probably for his minimalist support for the war then being waged by the Earl of Desmond against the ‘New English’ conquest. Edmund again occurs in a fiant of 1585. At this time Imokilly was racked by war between the English and Irish and in order to survive the local gentry were forced to mortgage part of their lands in order to raise money to replace the stock taken by the opposing armies. In this way Edmund must have mortgaged some lands during the worst of the fighting, between 1579-83, to the Geraldine dean of Cloyne who was a wealthy loyalist. In this way the outlying lands of Ballybranigan and Kildrew and those of Rathcallan, Monacreagh and part of Dromadda Beg in Ightermurrogh and Carhoo and Lissacrue in Killeagh were lost to the family, the first losses in 400 years. We know these to have passed to FitzGerald by 1597 when they were stated to have come from the Supples. The actual fraud here, for the Supples were only one of several families so robbed, was that FitzGerald claimed that the lands had been sold and not mortgaged and produced forged papers to this effect. Such was his power with the administration that he was untouchable in law.
As lands in both Killeagh and Ightermurrogh were mortgaged it would seem that lands were mortgaged equally between both branches. However, when FitzGerald/s grandson was making his will in 1640 he bequeathed all of these lands to the Aghadoe branch, suggesting that these were in fact senior to the Ightermurrogh line at this time (circa 1580). (FitzGerald was conscious stricken and tried to return the lands stolen by his grandfather, but his will never took effect).
Another indication that Aghadoe were the senior line was that the only signature by a Supple to the government’s cess (tax) agreement of 1592 was by Edmund Supple of Aghadoe. The actual losses to FitzGerald were significant. The total Supple estate as listed in the 1597 inquisition would have consisted, before losses to the dean, of about 5,200 acres of which about 1,150 were grabbed by FitzGerald. In the early 17th century, when exact details of the division appear, the Aghadoe line hold about 1,900 acres and Ightermurrogh about 2,130. If all of the lost lands had belonged to the Aghadoe line this would give them about two-thirds of the original estate and confirm my suggestion above that this two-to-one division dated back to the 14th century. A problem with this is that one of the lost parcels somehow later came back into Supple possession, but of the Ightermurrogh and not Aghadoe line! In summary this is a difficult problem and cannot be resolved clearly. I suspect however that Aghadoe were the senior line and suffered most of the losses to the dean. If this were the case they must have retained some kind of chief rent from their Ighermurrogh cousins but there is no record of this. Again this division may not date back as far as the 14th century. Note that the estate was not cleanly divided; in the case of the manor of Killeagh while the Aghadoe line owned the greater portion including the central parts and castle Ightermurrogh also owned two substantial portions both east and west of KiIIeagh itself. Such a complex division suggests a more recent apportionment. This division was certainly in existence by 1588 as we shall see by our study of the Ightermurrogh line who appear to have been essentially independent of Aghadoe by that time.
Edmund Supple lived for a few years after 1592, as evidenced by a chancery court case postdating that year, when he sued two other Supples for lands at Lismodane and Monlahan in Killeagh. He was also involved in undated litigation concerning the parsonage of Killeagh with a Youghal merchant to whom he may have mortgaged it. Edmund was dead by 1604 when an inquisition of that year into the manor of Inchiquin found that he had held his lands by payment of one pair of yellow copper spurs each year?
What happened next would change the course of history for his descendants. Edmund was probably a Catholic like most of the native gentry of the area. The government had introduced a scheme where, when landowners died leaving minor heirs, these were taken and educated as Protestants by the English. This was what happened in this case as Edmund’s son and heir, William Supple, was a child upon his father’s death. Technically the Supples were free-tenants of the manor of Inchiquin, rather than outright freeholders, although paying only a token rent, and thus the wardship devolved upon Sir Richard Boyle, the famous Earl of Cork, lord of that manor. Boyle had arrived from London penniless twenty years before and, in the troubled times of the period, had cleverly become one of the richest landowners in Munster, based in his great castle at Lismore. Not one to shirk duty, he took charge of the young Supple and saw him raised as a Protestant at Lismore. Supple may have been with the family earlier but it is only soon after Boyle’s diary begins that we find record of this. In 1613 Boyle sent Supple off to Boyle’s brother in England to finish his education. In 1616 he attended Cambridge University. From the evidence we have it would appear that Boyle and his family became genuinely fond of Supple, a feeling that was reciprocated. William’s mother may have been supportive of all of this. In 1616 Boyle appears to have purchased ‘Kilmacke’ from ‘old Mrs. Supple’ although what lands are referred to here is uncertain.
William Supple returned to Ireland in 1620, no doubt the epitome of the English Protestant Gentleman of the period. As the owner of a modest estate he would have belonged merely to the lower gentry but his Protestantism made him an important propaganda tool for the government which would accordingly have felt the need to patronize him with positions of responsibility and earning potential. At the time most of the surrounding gentry were of native Irish or Anglo Norman origins – the difference meant little at this period – and, crucially, Catholic, so a native ‘renegade’ convert to Protestantism, one of very few at this period, was most valuable to the English who were essentially in the position of having recently conquered Ireland against the wishes of the natives, whose religion was Catholicism. The way such patronage worked was by networking and Supple’s connections with the Boyle family was his path to financial security and an important place in Irish Protestant colonial society. We do not know very much about all of this but the few bits of information we have concerning William all point in this same direction.
In 1621 Boyle loaned Supple £20 to go to England on a visit and the next year we find Supple escorting Boyle’s 15 year old daughter, Sarah, home from Co. Louth. Supple may have been in some kind of employment with the Boyle family, perhaps some kind of agent or middleman on their vast estates in East Cork and West Waterford. The regard in which he was held by the family is shown by his marriage, on 24 April 1622, to Katherine, daughter of Sir Richard Smyth of Ballynatray, Co. Waterford, and Mary Boyle, the earl’s sister. He thus married into one of the most powerful English Protestant planter families in Ireland. His status was soon recognized in the usual fashion by the nearest town, Youghal, which admitted William a freeman shortly after his marriage. Boyle intervened on his behalf after a row in 1623 which saw his face disfigured by a cudgel blow from an Englishman and therefore continued to be an important patron to Supple. That the affection was returned is shown by the gift of six lace handkerchiefs to Boyle ‘by my niece Kate Supple’ at Christmas of 1637. William Supple must have built the fine period residence at Aghadoe consisting of a main block and two gabled wings, with string courses marking the floor lines and a series of dormers. This house does not survive but is shown in detail on a map of 1700 .
It is likely the family had continued to live in a domestic range abutted to the 15th century towerhouse at Aghadoe until this new house was built. While this towerhouse does not survive a ‘Sheela-nagig’ which graced its walls does. This was an almost ‘pagan’ stone representation of a female exposing her genitalia and appears to have had a talismanic function against evi1. In 1630 William was appointed a famine commissioner for Co. Cork, a local government job which may have carried some salary, and obtained a more important such position in 1642 when he became sheriff for Co. Cork. In 1631 he had obtained a royal grant of a license to hold a Tuesday market and two fairs each year on June 1 and November 1 at Killeagh. The proximity of Youghal to Killeagh may have prevented the rebels troubling William in 1642 at the outbreak of that rebellion; he was certainly resident at Aghadoe in May of the following year. By 1649 William held the rank of major in the Parliamentarian Army and was the commander of the important English garrison of Youghal. Here he is found following the politics of the Boyle family again.
The period 1641-1660 was a turbulent one in Ireland with rebellions and wars and Major Supple thus fought on the English Protestant side against the Irish Catholic army. Some time after 1649 William died and was succeeded by his son, another William Supple. A Protestant like his father, he had no trouble in succeeding to the family estate in this difficult period. In the land records of the period he is described as ‘an English Protestant.
The earliest record we have of William 1I is in 1663, when he was claiming an interest in his wife’s ancestral estate which had been forfeited. Interestingly his wife, Joan, would appear to have been one of the daughters and heiresses of Maurice Whyte of Crowbally, a Catholic neighbour two miles westwards and of the same ancient Norman stock as the Supples. We know of only one sibling, an unnamed daughter of William (I) who married Sir William Fitzgerald of Glenane as his first wife and who had Fitzgerald’s eldest son around 1657 (perhaps the ‘Kate Supple’ above). Once again a similar pattern occurs here as Fitzgerald was a Catholic neighbour, albeit one with good connections with the English and a loyalist. Clearly the Supples were continuing ancient interconnections here by intermarrying with their long established neighbours.
William (1I) followed a similar path to his father, maintaining the connexions with his Boyle cousins and continuing in public service, although again our records are sketchy and date from late in his life. A number of references in the papers of the Earl of Orrery, one of Boyle’s sons, occur to Supple as Orrery’s ‘cousin’ and one of these show that William held the extensive Charleville Park estate in north Cork as a leasehold tenant of Orrerys, which would have been a lucrative tenancy. William was sheriff of Cork in 1680-1, a peace commissioner, and was said to have been ‘very ill’ by Orrery in 1683. Later that year he died having made a will naming his executor as Captain Henry Boyle, another cousin. He was succeed in turn by his son, yet another William (IlI).
Once again the same pattern is evident in his life. References to him begin to appear in the Orrery Papers in 1675 and continue until 1687. In these he is styled ‘Lieutenant’ and must have served in the English Army as a commissioned officer as a young man. It is clear from these references that William lived as a paid employee of the Orrery family in the earl’s house at Castlemartyr. Once again his marriage appears to have resulted from this connection as Mabel Huntchorn William married in 1687, was a member of an important family with longstanding v connections with the Boyles, the Hulls of Leamcon. This marriage would closely bind both families for generations to come and further enhance the position of the Supples of Aghadoe within the Protestant landlord establishment of Co. Cork. Most of the records concerning the Jacobite war concern the Irish rebels but William Supple must have served in the English Army (against Martin in the Irish Army?) as he is styled ‘Captain William Supple’ in the cartouche of a beautiful parchment map he had made of his estate in 1700. He held the important position of sheriff of Co. Cork in the period 1703-5 but again not much else is recorded about him. He would appear to have died in or shortly before 1715 as his will was proved in that year.
William Supple (Ill) left at six sons and two daughters. His heir was Richard Supple. Richard was given the freedom of Youghal in 1713 and in July of the following year married Mary, daughter of Richard Fitzgerald of London, a merchant. This may explain how Richard obtained an interest in the Fitzgerald estate of Ballinacurra near Midleton, the details of which are unclear. This Mary was a Catholic and only converted in 1719 (when described as of ‘Aghadoe’), suggesting that she was one of the Fitzgeralds of Ballinacurra. In 1712 Richard had joined John Fitzgerald of Ballinacurra in mortgaging the Fitzgerald estate to Mathew Fitzgerald of London. Exactly how this Mary fits into the Ballinacurra pedigree is unclear and requires more work but there was certainly some connection. Interestingly, these Fitzgeralds were descended from the leaders of the Rebels of 1641, the noble Geraldine seneschals of Imokilly, whom Richard’s great-grandfather had fought against. Richard Supple leased part of his estate in March of 1715, made his will on 21 December 1718, and was dead by 11 October of the following year when his will was proved. He left three infant children and his wife, who would long outlive him.
After Richard’s death care of his estate seems to have devolved to his brother, William, who was given the freedom of Youghal in 1722. In 1730 William, then of Aghadoe, is found married to Mary Griffin who was heiress to lands near Kilbrittain. Correspondence of 1745 indicates that William was then a captain in the British Army engaged in the war against ‘Bonny Prince Charlie’ in Scotland, whom he describes as ‘our mock prince, whom God confound’. Captain William ‘Captain of Foot’, is mentioned in 1746 when, interestingly, he appears as one of the trustees to the estate of the Supples Court branch of the family. Earlier, in 1739, William’s address is given as ‘Roxborough’. This was the Roxborough estate near Midleton, part of the property ofWilliam’s wealthy uncle, Richard Hull, and William may then have been managing the estate for him. By 1750 William is styled ‘of the City of Dublin’ in his will which he made, and was dead by August of 1762 when it was proved. In this he mentions his wife Jane, suggesting that he had married at least twice. She is also of Dublin in her will, made in 1789 and which was proved in 1792. As neither will mentions children it would seem that William had died childless.
Richard and William had several other siblings. Robert Supple was the next brother. He was ‘of Roxborough’in 1730 and in 1756 held four houses in Killeagh Village as tenant of his nephew, Richard. He was still alive in 1762 when mentioned in the will of his brother, William, as was John, the fourth brother, who must the the ‘Mr. John Supple’ who held lands at Inchinapishy just outside of Killeagh, and who had earlier held more land here and a limekiln, tuckhouse and gristmill. He is also recorded as formerly holding a field ‘near the Cork road’ of the Supple estate. There were also at least two sisters, Mabella, who had married a Dwyer and who is mentioned in the will of 1762, and Catherine, who in 1763 married George Daunt of Kerrycurrihy and whose uncle, Richard Hull, was a trustee to the marriage settlement. I can find no evidence that either Robert or John left children.
Meanwhile the family of his late brother Richard had grown up. There were three children, a son and heir, Richard (II), born on 22 March 1716, and his sisters Mabella and Ann. It may be that Richard was raised in Dublin (where his mother lived in 1744); in his first deed, of 1741, he is described as ‘Richard Supple by the name of Supple of Aghadoe but now of Dublin’. In this he leased the entire Aghadoe estate to John Denis, a Dublin merchant and banker. In 1744 his mother had to sue him in the Court of the Exchequer in Dublin to obtain a dowry for his sister Ann upon her marriage and provision for her sister, Mabella. Mary Supple nee Fitzgerald died at her house in Cuffe St., Dublin, in April 1764. In a series of deeds between 1749 and 1755 involving the estate Richard Supple is always described as of Aghadoe. In one of these he raised £500 on the estate, perhaps to pay for his ‘courting’ in England. As to his sisters, Ann married William Bull of Dalkey, Co. Dublin, in 1744, drawing a £500 dowry from the Aghadoe estate, and had at least one son, Rev. Richard Bull, living in 1783, and three daughters, all of whom married (by 1783), and all of whom are referred to in several family wills. At least two of these Bull sisters had children in turn. Mabella Supple was a spinster resident at Aghadoe until at least 1768 but who had moved to Dublin by 1783, and who eventually obtained her £500 from the estate from her brother two years later. She died in Dublin where her will was proved in 1789.34
Richard Supple must have spent some time in England, perhaps while being educated, where he met his future wife, Mary Brooke, a member of a distinguished aristocratic family from Great Oakley in Northamptonshire. They were married in 1756 when he was required to make her a detailed jointure of his humble estate and in which he gives his address as his future wife’s mansion house in England. He maintained his hereditary position in local society when given the customary freedom of Youghal the next year. The surprise death of Mary’s only brother in 1762, who died childless, meant that she was the heir to the handsome Brooke estate. This event is described in Freemans Dublin JoumaJ as follows. ‘A few days ago at his seat in Northamptonshire, Wheeler Brooke, by whose death a considerable fortune devolves to Richard Supple of Ahadow’. Supple, however, continued to spread his time between both estates. In 1765 and again three years later he was at Aghadoe on estate business, including leasing part of it to John Davies of Killeagh, a Protestant farmer and land agent whose descendants became the managers of the Aghadoe estate in later generations when its Supple landlords resided mostly in England. A stone in the present Aghadoe House ruin suggests that Richard had the old house demolished and rebuilt in 1768. Around this time Richard’s good luck continued when he inherited the Roxborough estate and lands at Leith Hill in Surrey from Richard Hull, although the exact relationship between both men is unclear. It will be remembered that Supple’s grandmother was Mabel Hull. The Roxborough estate consisted of a little over 1,000 acres and a decent mansion house at Roxborough near Midleton. All of this now made Supple a wealthy man, after 1768 the indications are that he resided mostly in Great Oakley, returning occasionally to Aghadoe to attend to estate business, as in 1784 when, described as of Great Oakley, he gave several leases on the Aghadoe estate. Richard Supple died at Great Oakley in November 1797 aged 81.
Richard (Il) had just one son, Richard (Ill). He was born in Great Oakley in 1758 and went down to Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1771 to begin his university education. He qualified as a barrister in 1787 and was admitted to the Irish King’s Inns to practice as such two years later, suggesting that he had business interests in Dublin. In 1788 he married Mary Worge, an Englishwoman, whose jointure was drawn from both the Aghadoe and Roxborough estates. No longer would the Aghadoe Supples marry Irish wives. Four years earlier he had received the customary freedom of Youghal. All of this suggests that Richard Brooke-Supple, as he styled himself, maintained a life on both sides of the Irish Sea as his father had done before him. In 1785 his address is given as Great Oakley when he remortgaged the Aghadoe estate in company with his father. As against this he was of Aghadoe in 1794 when again on estate business.
In 1803, a few years after his father’s death, Richard Brooke-Supple was created a baronet, Baron Brooke of Oakley, changing his name to Sir Richard de Capel-Brooke. Here he gave precedence to his mother’s name, somewhat ‘fancied up’, and considered to be of greater social standing than that of his fathers, (as reflected in his title), which he had Latinized to de Capel, showing him to have been familiar with his family history. Sir Richard died in 1829 at Great Oakley and was succeeded by his son, the second baronet, Sir Arthur. During the 19th century the Aghadoe estate, now only comprising a small portion of the family landed wealth, became merely a holiday home for the family whose main interests lay firmly in England, where the family served in the army and in local government with distinction. Details of this are published elsewhere and do not concern the present account. Sir Arthur had Aghadoe House renovated in 1836/37 to give it its present form and he and, after his death in 1858, his brother and successor Sir William, the third baronet, developed parts of the Aghadoe estate both financially and recreationally. The lovely deep glen of Glendower, west of Aghadoe, was planted with rare as well as commercial forestry and several roads and bridges were built there. In addition part of the glen was dammed and a lovely lake created, which served both recreational and financial purposes as it fed a millrace to a mill lower down the river near Killeagh.
(Sadly this dam became unstable during the 1980s and was demolished, much to the chagrin of the locals – and the author – who lost their beautiful lake). After Sir William’s death in 1886 his son, Sir Richard Lewis, became fourth baronet, and after his death in 1892 the title passed to his son, the fifth baronet, Sir Arthur Richard. During Sir Arthur’s time the Land Acts transferred most of the estate to his tenants, bringing to an end the power of the Davies family in the Killeigh area who, as estate managers in the absence of the absentee baronets had run the estate imperiously and attracted little local popularity. Sir Arthur retained only the Glenbower woods and a few bits and pieces of scrub. In 1938 Sir Arthur, in a noble gesture, donated Glenbower woods to the Irish public, thus ending 800 years of Chapelle/Supple ownership of land here, and these remain a public park. Sadly, no memorial to the family can be found in the woods today. Sir Arthur never married and, after a distinguished life in public service, died at Great Oakley in 1944 aged 75. His heir was his brother, Sir Edward Geofftey de Capel-Brooke, 6th Baron Brooke of Oakley and the last of the Aghadoe Chapelles/Supples. Sir Edward did not inherit the Oakley estate, only the title, and lived at Kettering nearby. Sir Edward died childless, like his brother, on October 6, 1968, aged 88, the last of his line, and the baronetage became extinct with his death.
The Supples of Ightermurrogh:
The first record of this family occurs in 1584 when John and Garret Supple of Ightermurrogh, both sons of Gibbon Supple, were pardoned. In this document they appear among those gentry of Imokilly who had taken no part in the recent war of the earl of Desmond against the English which had raged from 1569 to 1583 and which had resulted in the re-conquest of Munster.
Imokilly had been a hotbed of support for Desmond. Subsequent documents indicate that the Supples may in fact have been among Desmond’s followers during this war. An inquisition of 1588 held in Cork found that both men had been followers of Desmond and passed an act of attainder against them whereby the government confiscated their lands. Four years later Garret appealed this judgement, claiming not to have been a rebel, and again appealed in 1592, upon which he was restored to his lands. Garret may not in fact have actually been put off his lands as his brother John is styled ‘of Ightermurrogh’ when serving on a jury at Youghal in 1585. Garret must have been unmarried as, in June 1594, he made over his lands to his brother John and John’s son, William, presumably when he was suffering an illness or in old age. He was still alive in 1597 but probably dead by 1600 when a pardon only mentions John at Ightermurrogh.
Documents of the period list the lands of the family as I have outlined above, consisting of three distinct parcels, two around Killeagh and the third at Ightermurrogh, the latter consisting of about half of the old Chapelle lands here, the remainder passing to the dean of Cloyne. The lands of the Ightermurrogh line were still held by a chief rent to the manor of Inchiquin, as evidenced by an inquisition of 1604 which found this rent to have taken the form of timber rights in the woods of Ballymakeigh.
John fitz Gibbon Supple of Ightermurrogh died in October, 1620, at which time his son and heir William was 40 and married. William is called ‘black William fitz John Supple’ by the Earl of Cork in his diary in 1627 when William possessed old deeds to the rectories of Killeagh and Ightermurrogh, the only example of this branch of the family holding old papers. Boyle was here probably directly translating the Irish nickname ‘dubh’ or black in hair colour or complexion. William died in February, 1629, (aged about 49), leaving a widow, Elena Barry, and passing his lands to his eldest son, Edmond. This period in Ireland saw the last flowering of the old Irish gentry as it was a brief period of peace and prosperity before the storms of the Cromwellian period. Many families reflected their prosperity by building fine new stone mansions in the style of the period, as did Edmond Supple. Starting in the late 1630s he had build a very fine mansion house at Ightermurrogh on the site of what must have been the old de la Chapelle manor house here near the ancient church. Upon completion he had the following inscription placed on the beautiful limestone fireplace in the main hall of the house:”Edmund Supple and Margaret Gerald built this house, AD 1641″ Margaret was Edmund’s wife and is probably to be identified with Margaret Fitzgerald, the daughter of a local Geraldine gentleman.
As Edmund was a Catholic he soon came under pressure to join the rebellion which began locally in late 1642. While it is likely his sympathies lay with the rebels he was in an awkward position as Imokilly was ringed with English garrisons and joining the rebellion was risky. Indeed few of the local Irish joined the rebellion, led locally by Col. Richard Fitzgerald of Castlemartyr. Soon after the start of the rebellion the rebels, having failed to persuade Supple to join them, drove him from his new mansion and burned it out. Its very fine ruins still present an imposing picture today. Within a few years the English had re-established a presence in Imokilly and Supple must have been able to return to his shell of a mansion. Edmund died in January 1648 and was buried in the ancient church at Ightermurrogh under a slab with his arms engraved upon it. Edmund’s eldest son and heir, William, was a minor upon his fathers death. In April of 1649 William was petitioning the Countess of Cork (Boyle’s widow) for the lands of Ightermurrogh ‘of which his great-grandfather John Supple had died seized of. This was because, as feudal overlord of the old manor of Inchiquin, Boyle would have had the right of wardship in the event of the death of a freeholder while his son was still under 21 as was the case here.
While what happened next is not fully apparent we know enough to sketch the broad outline of events. The political situation in east Cork after 1641 was complex. The Irish Catholic rebels had softened their anti-British stand in the face of military setbacks and were now supporters of the Royalist side in the English Civil War then raging, while the Irish Protestants tended to support the Cromwellians, (the English republicans). By 1649 East Cork was mostly in the hands of an alliance of Irish rebels and English Royalists, united in the face of the looming threat of Oliver Cromwell, who finally landed in Youghal with a large army late in ’49. While the late Earl of Cork’s son, Roger, earl of Orrery, had begun as a Royalist he very quickly changed sides in 1650 and turned into a Cromwellian supporter, cleverly backing the winning side just in time.
Under the Cromwellian Commonwealth all Catholics were automatically dispossessed of their lands which were given to Cromwell’s English soldiers as a reward for winning the war. Orrery had cleverly become one of them just in time and so was able to share in the carve up of Catholic lands. His prize was the handsome Castlemartyr estate of Col. Richard Fitzgerald – the leader of the faction who had burned Ightermurrogh in ’42. In addition Orrery was helpfully given a number of lessor Catholic satellite estates to strengthen the land bank around Castlemartyr and it would seem that Orrery added the Ightermurrogh lands of the Supples to this block of land as it had handily come into his possession, albeit technically only until the Supple heir came of age. It is likely that William Supple died soon after we last hear of him in 1649 thus helping Orrery’s planned theft. William left two younger brothers, Martin and Edmund, but as Catholics any hope they had of recovering their estates under the Commonwealth was non-existent.
In 1660 the Commonwealth finally collapsed and the monarchy was restored. In theory the Irish Catholics should have been given their lands back but the new king, Charles II could not risk offending the Cromwellian soldiery, safe across the sea in Ireland, and only returned about 20% of the confiscated Catholic lands. Martin Supple had a very good case as his family had taken no part in the Irish rebellion and had even suffered greatly for this position. The process by which Catholics could recover their lands was by a court system called The Court of Claims which sat in Dublin during 1663. Martin claimed his family estate as nephew and heir of Gibbon Supple, Edmund’s brother, although why he adopted this technical tactic is unclear. A letter to a member of the Orrery family from a friend at this time states ‘Martin Supple seeks title from his uncle, Gibbon, a fool, but the Earl of Cork has a jury finding at Inchiquin that will defeat that title’. From this it would appear that Gibbon was an idiot or a retard, or, to put it in more kindly modern parlance, intellectually disabled; and also that the Boyle family had tried to use the old feudal system to disinherit the Supples, Against all the odds, however, in June of 1663 Martin Supple was declared innocent and the following December issued with a decree granting him back all of his lands, Martin immediately recovered the Killeagh lands and set up house at Ballymakeigh More, As Orrery was such a powerful man, however, things were not so easy with Ightermurrogh, In 1666 Martin leased Ightermurrogh to a local merchant even though he still had not recovered it from Orrery, This was likely to have been a tactic to raise money to recover the lands in law, A second ruling by the Court of Claims in the same year gave much of these lands, about two-thirds in total, to Supple but this time gave Ightermurrogh More itself to Orrery. It is clear that Orrery still had possession of the Supples Ightermurrogh lands, about 1100 acres in all, and was determined to retain these due to their good quality and proximity to his new mansion at Castlemartyr. Nonetheless two legal judgements had gone against him and something had to give, In June 1668 Orrery and Supple reached an agreement whereby Orrery gave Supple lands in exchange for Supple dropping his claims to Ightermurrogh. The lands in question were the adjacent townlands of Dromadda, Bohillane and Parknahyla just west of Ightermurrogh, part of which, ironically, had been among those Supple lands lost to Dean Fitzgerald in the 1580s.
These land totalled about 800 acres of which around half were of very good quality, the remainder being hill land, so Supple did not quite get the equivalent of the Ightermurrogh lands but nonetheless did quite well in the face of such a powerful and well connected opponent, Thus did Ightermurrogh slip from Supple grasp after 4 centuries, The replacement lands had been confiscated from Catholics after 1650 but that was part of the vagaries of Irish history at the time, Martin Supple soon made his new home in Dromadda More – within sight of his ancestral ruin at Ightermurrogh – on the site of what had been a castle belonging to a branch of the Fitzgerald family who had lost the property in 1650.
The next part of Martin’s life would be prosperous and comfortable, His estates, a little reduced at about 1,800 acres, were enough to give him a reasonable income. By 1675, when we next hear of him, he has built a new house at Dromadda, which he renames Supples Court, and the same year married Jane Kenny, daughter of Edmund Kenny of Ballinvrinsig near Kinsale, a member of the minor Catholic gentry of the area, In 1686 Martin mortgaged Dromadda More for £200 to Edward Landry of Youghal and two years later leased Ballymakeigh Beg to Henry Kenagh for 21 years. In addition to his primary estate Martin seems also to have recovered the lands and grain mill at Castletown and Glenane (north west of Killeagh) which his grandfather William Supple had obtained by mortgage in 1629, These lands amounted to about 800 acres and, with the mill, would have represented a significant additional source of income for Supple, A number of interesting features marked Martin Supple. In an age when all around him in his class – at least those who still retained some ancestral lands – were happily aping the new English habits and customs Martin seems to have had a great sense of heritage and family values. Many of his tenants and servants were also named Supple (as revealed in his will) and must have been relatives or more distant ‘clan’ members, and his awareness of descent is shown by the entail he made in 1675 leaving his lands to his nearest male Supple cousins in the event of him not having direct male heirs. Incidentally and sadly this also shows that his remaining brother Edmond, alive in 1663, must since have died childless.
After two decades of relative tranquility the Jacobite period with its war (1689-1692) brought fresh turmoil. In this last effort to recover some freedom before the old Irish ways passed into history the Catholic Irish supported an English Catholic king against bis own Protestant subjects.
Throughout Ireland the Catholics, long second-class citizens, took over positions of power and relegated Protestants to the sidelines. In Youghal in 1688 a new Catholic corporation replaced the old Protestant one and Martin Supple proudly occurs firstly in its list of burgesses. In the same year he was appointed one of the king’s tax collectors in Co. Cork. Soon the claimant to the throne, the Dutch Protestant, William of Orange, arrived in Ireland with his English and Dutch army and war commenced. Supple soon enlisted in the Irish Army and became a captain in Lord Kilmallock’s Regiment of Infantry, and therefore must have seen action at the Irish victory at Limerick and the later defeats at Aughrim and Limerick. After the Irish surrender in 1692 Supple’s lands were confiscated and he found himself once again dispossessed. Strangely, Supple was not among the hundreds of Cork Catholics outlawed as rebels by the Protestant victors and why this should be is not clear. It is certain that his lands were taken; in 1700, in company with his wife Jane and cousin and heir James, he petitioned the authorities for their return but this was ‘dismissed as cautionery’. Supple finally seems to have been on the point of recovering the estate in September of 1703 when he mortgaged part of it to raise £300. In this deed his address is given as Robertstown so he was still in exile. He must have returned to Supples Court soon after. He made his will in 1716 and a copy survives. In this he instructs that his body be interred ‘in the tomb I erected at Ightermurrogh Church’. He goes on to thank the Almighty for ‘having blessed me with an estate consisting of farms, stock of black cattle, sheep and horses’ and goes on to list a buggy and horses among other bequests. He left extensive legacies to the local Catholic clergy towards care of the poor and also took care of his many relatives and servants. Two years later he wrote a codicil disinheriting one of his servants who had ‘vexed and disobliged me by being dishonest’. Martin Supple died in 1719 at what must have been an advanced age and, under colour both of his will, made three years before, and the entail of 1675, his estate passed to his cousin William Supple. Martin’s widow, Jane, lived on until 1723 and her will also survives. She died at Castlemartyr, was buried beside her husband, and also left significant sums to the ‘clargey of the Church of Roome’.
This William, cousin and heir to Martin, was the grandson of John Supple, the third and youngest son of William Supple of Ightermurrogh who died in 1629 and brother of Edmund and Gibbon. In 1629 William, who seems to have amassed some savings during the prosperous last decades of his life, invested this by giving two mortgages to Sir John Fitzgerald of Ballymaloe and obtaining in return the approximately 400 acres of Curraghtichy and Ballincaroonig in Aghada parish and the 800 acres of Castleton and Glenane described above. William must have bequeathed the Curraghtichy mortgage to John and, in addition, gave him the tiny 29 acre townland of School Gardens near Ightermurrogh. This was part of the ancient Chapelle estate and, as Gortnescolle, is listed among the lands of the manor of Ightermurrogh in 1311. Normally small landowners like William Supple did not divide their estate between sons and the giving of a mere 29 acres from an estate of around 2,100 acres was not a significant diminution. Rather this was symbolic of the affection William must have held for John as it elevated him to the important status of landowner, albeit on a merely symbolic scale. John’s real source of income was the lands of Curraghticlohy held in mortgage. John was admitted a freeman of Youghal in 1641 (when described as ‘of Ightermurrogh’) which suggests that he was a merchant operating in the town. In 1650, when described as an ‘Irish Papist’, he was the forfeiting proprietor of ‘Gortnascolly’. He was still alive in 1664 when he was seeking recovery of the Curraghticlohy lands and, in fact, is described as of that place which suggests he was then resident there if only as a tenant. John did not succeed in recovering any of his lands but salvation was at hand from an unexpected source.
In 1675 when Martin Supple married he also entailed his lands, in the event of him not having direct male heirs, on his cousin ‘James, eldest son of John Supple of Curraghtyclohy’, with remainders to Robert and Richard, James’ younger brothers. In 1684 Martin had this entail enrolled by patent which suggests that he then realized that he was not likely to have sons (he died childless). Martin had done more than merely bequeath his estate to James Supple however, as the same year (1675) he also leased Ballymakeigh More to James and William, son of James, thus providing them with some income to compensate for the loss of their lands back in 1650. In 1703 James joined with Martin in a deed concerning Dromadda Beg at a time when both were still in exile from the estate and when James’ address is given as Donickmore (some miles north west of Killeagh). Martin went on to outlive James Supple and, in his will, made in 1716, confirmed the entail upon William Supple and his son, Edmond. Although Martin lived on until 1719 he seems to have delegated the running of the estate to William. In December 1716, we find William Supple, ‘heir at law of Martin Supple’ leasing Ballycarnane to Henry Emington for 31 years at an annual rent of £35. In this deed William’s address is given as Knockanenegore, Co. Kerry. He would pass these onto his younger son, James, and this line of the family will be treated of below. By 1718 we find William resident at Glenane (on the lands acquired by mortgage in 1629), when his wife, Elizabeth (nee Barnewall) converted to the Protestant faith from Catholicism. The background to this conversion is found in the current political situation.
The small number of native Irish Catholic landowners remaining after the confiscations of 1692 came under increasing pressure from the Penal Laws to conform to Protestantism. Under these laws passed in 1704 it was illegal for Catholics to own land and Protestants were encouraged to discover such ‘papists’ by being rewarded with their lands. In such a climate many old Catholic gentry families became Protestant in order to retain their estates rather than for reason of religious conviction. William Supple had had first hand experience of the near loss of the estate he was to inherit a few years before and clearly was prepared to take no chances. William is probably the William Supple who recanted Popery and became a Protestant in the Cathedral in Cork in 1704. While Martin Supple may not have approved his advanced age probably made such considerations irrelevant.
William Supple was not poor however, before he inherited his bequest. As we have already seen, his father, James, held a lease of Ballymakeigh in 1675 and this James, about whom little is known, seems to have acquired extensive leasehold property interests in Limerick and probably also in Kerry, to judge by what his son inherited, In William’s will he mentions his uncle, Francis Garvan, Gentleman, of Doneaghe, Co. Limerick, from which it is clear that James Supple had married a Garvan and perhaps had acquired his Limerick lands in this way. Again, the Kerry lands of his son must also have been acquired by James.
In 1719 William Supple finally inherited the estate of his father’s first cousin. His conversion was soon rewarded by the granting of the freedom of Youghal by its Orange (or Protestant) corporation, in 1723. Around the same time a number of deeds were executed by William. In 1724 he leased BaIlymakeigh More to Richard Davis for three lives and after that for 31 years at a rent of £35 ‘and a couple of fat capons’, and the same year CurraghishaIl to Thomas Edwards for three lives at a rent of £10 6s 8d. The following year he leased BaIlyquirke to Colonel John WaIler of Castle town, Co. Limerick ‘my kinsman’, for three lives at a rent of £28. In this case the three lives included his sons Edmund and James and his wife Elizabeth. The same lives were used in a lease of Supples Court alias Dromadda More to Patrick DowdaIl of Dromard, Co.Limerick at a rent of £40. Finally, in 1726 Williarh leased Ballycarnane to William Hubbert and Waiter Parker for 31 years at a rent of £30. It is noteworthy that all of these middlemen to whom Supple was leasing appear to have been Protestants with English surnames. These would, of course, in turn have broken up the townlands they acquired into several farms which would then been sub-let to the native Irish to farm. Only one Catholic seems to have left record on the Supple estate at this time and that was Patrick Joyce of Dromadda, a large tenant farmer (yeoman) who witnessed one of these deeds.
William Supple made his will in January of 1728 and is not heard of after, and was certainly dead by at least August of 1732, when his son Edmund had succeeded to the estate as evidenced by a deed in which he mortgaged Supples Court to Edward Corker of Ballymaloe. (Edmund did not prove his fathers will until 1749). William had at least one sister, Jane, about whom little is known apart from her marriage to John Purdon of Morennane, Co. Limerick. One might think that finally the Supples would have faced a secure future now that they had become Protestants and joined the lower ranks of the Ascendancy but in fact their position was threatened by a peril of a different sort. The Ireland of the 18th century was one where the Protestant landowners and their middlemen kept their Catholic tenants in poverty with excessive rents, the entire apartheidlike system kept in place by the British military occupation. These Protestant landlords in turn were notoriously profligate and often lived way beyond their means in a society where ostentation and pleasure were the main goals and society revolved around a perpetual cycle of balls and parties where each landlord strove to outshine his neighbour with the best of food, imported wine and the latest in musical entertainment. The temptation to live beyond ones means was strong given the availability of easy credit in the form of loans secured against land and in this way many landlords, especially those with small estates, bankrupted by interest charges which outstripped their modest rental income, eventually had to sell their land to clear debts.This is the trap into which the Supples of Supples Court would fall; lacking the social status of their Aghadoe ‘cousins’ with their family connexions with the aristocracy, their own greed would result in their extinction as landed gentry.
In 1733 a dispute concerning part of Dromadda was settled when Edmund leased 22 acres here to Lord Henry Boyle of Castlemartyr in perpetuity for a token rent. In 1735 Edmund Supple of Supplescourt was sued by his mother, Elizabeth, for compliance with the terms of a trust to provide for his younger siblings and settled by paying his mother £1,000, adding to the mortgage of 1732. Four years later Edmund married Elizabeth Purdon, daughter of Simon Purdon of Tinnerane, Co. Limerick, who brought Edmund a much needed £2,000 in dowry. Edmund’s aunt had already married into this family. Edmund held the post of high sheriff of Co. Cork in 1743, a social position which took money to obtain and maintain. Interestingly, he was only admitted a freeman of Youghal in 1760, which suggests that he may not have met with the approval of some elements in local society. An interesting feature of this period is the close links between the Aghadoe and Supples Court branches, both of whom regularly acted trustee for various family trusts, suggesting a warm relationship then existed. Edmund sold an interest his wife held in her ancestral Limerick lands in 1745 and in 1752 the 1732 mortgage on the estate was purchased by Richard Hull of Roxborough, whom we have met above in the section on the Aghadoe line.
Then six years later Edmund sold a leasehold he had inherited from his father on lands at Kilcolman in Conello barony, Co. Limerick. All of this suggests that Edmund was living beyond his means. Edmund continued to lease out for lives various parts of his estate, as in 1745 when he leased Ballymakeigh More to Richard Davies for three lives, thus allowing much of the potential profit of the estate to come to the hands of middlemen and showing poor estate management for such a humble landowner. This practice continued throughout Edmund’s life, the option of farming some of his estate himself as a ‘gentleman farmer’, a sensible option for one in his position, seems not to have appealed to him. In 1760 Edmund raised another £250 in mortgage from the estate and a further sum two years later. Edmund Supple had a number of siblings as revealed in his father’s will, in short three brothers and two sisters. James was the ancestor of the Kerry Supples who are treated separately below.
The other brothers were Robert and Boyle, the latter revealing some effort by William to ingratiate himself with the Boyle lords of neighbouring Castlemartyr. In 1749 Boyle settled a dispute with his mother regarding lands at Clough in Croagh parish, Co. Limerick, to which he was entitled under his father’s will, and in 1755, in company with his brother, Robert, inherited lands at Morenane, Co. Limerick, From his deceased aunt, Jane Purdon nee Supple. Robert is described as ‘late of Morenane’ in 1761, when claiming an interest in lands at Kilsarcon, Co. Kerry, then held by his brother, James, and is not heard of after. Boyle Supple married Alice, daughter of William Babington, in August of 1757, who brought as dowry a lease of lands at Creggane, Co. Limerick, which Boyle promptly leased to his brother, James, who was executor to the will of Babington. Three years later Boyle mortgaged his lands at Clough to a Limerick city merchant to repay a debt. In 1776 Boyle leased his lands at Clough to another and is described as ‘of the city of Limerick’ in that deed and made a further lease of these lands, again from Limerick City, in 1791, after which no more is heard of him. As these leases do not mention any heir one suspects Boyle to have died childless. The will of 1728 also mentions two daughters of William, namely Jane and Harriet, about whom nothing else seems known.
Edmund’s eldest son, Martin, was admitted to Trinity College, Dublin, in 1757 at the age of 17 to study humanities. Upon graduation he chose a career in the Anglican Church and became Rev. Martin Supple. Martin joined his father in a number of deeds, the last of which was in March of 1768. By August of that year Edmund’s second son, Edmund Junior, is being described as ‘only son and heir’ of Edmund, and so Rev. Martin must have died childless in the preceding months. The next year his father obtained a grant of administration of Martin’s goods, who had died intestate, and this grant shows that Martin had died in Trinity College, Dublin. By this time the family financial affairs were becoming difficult. Some indication of why this may have been so comes in a renewal of a lease of lives to George Courtney of Midleton of the lands of Bohillane in 1772 for the small annual rent of £ 100 ‘and one dozen of claret to be spent yearly at the house of Edmond Supple’. Tensions between father and son existed. In 1768 Edmund Senior agreed not to alienate any part of the estate without the permission of Edmund Junior. Was the father partly incapacitated in some way? In 1772 both men reached an agreement to pay the sums due from the jointure agreement to the younger siblings. Edmund Junior raised £455 by leasing most of the estate to Alexander Durdin of Sunville for 99 years and agreed to pay his father an annuity of £130. In return Edmund Senior seems to have agreed to vacate Supples Court and move to nearby Castlemartyr, his address in March 1773. Later that year Edmund Junior raised a further £5,813 by re-mortgaging yet again, this time to the Thomsons of Dromadda Beg and Cork, and retaining only a direct interest in part of the estate. In March 1774 Edmund Junior leased the 10 acres of ground on which Ladysbridge Village stands to Richard Southwell of Castlemartyr for three lives at an annual rent of £5.52
In February 1776 the Hibemian Chronicle recorded the death near Castlemartyr of Edmund Supple of Supplescourt, Esquire. A few weeks later Edmund Junior renewed the lease of lives of Ballymakeigh to Davies for an annual rent of £110, again showing mismanagement. Then, in January of 1777 Edmund sold outright Dromadda More and Dromadda Beg (including the Supplescourt house and demesne) to John Rye of Rye court for £5,486 and moved from Supples Court. In 1780 Supple, then of Johnstown near Midleton, leased for three lives in perpetuity both Ballymakeigh’s and Ballycarnane to George Courtney, his tenant at Ballycarnane, for an annual rent of £240. Three years later, then described as of MidIeton, Supple made another lease of these lands to Courtney and added Curraghishall, the last remaining part of his estate, for an annuity of £289. In September 1784 Supple leased his 74 acres at Johnstown along with the house there to Henry Newenham for ever at a rent of £169, Supple then being described as of Garrane, Co. Cork. A few days later he in turn leased this lease to Courtney for ever for a rent of £106. Finally, in April 1787, Supple quitclaimed all his rights in the remaining parts of his estate, all then in Courtney’s possession, to Courtney for a final payment of £2,000 and an annuity of £160, thus bringing to an end 600 years of Supple ownership here. In this deed he is described as ‘late of MidIeton, now of the City of Dublin’. Edmund Supple Junior is again described as of Dublin in a deed of 1790. The last mention of him I have found is in a deed of April 1791 in which he re-leases a lease he has just taken from Lady Midleton on lands at Glashy in Glanahiry barony, Co. Waterford, to Robert the son of George Courtney for three lives at an annual rent of £220. He is again described as of Dublin in this lease. He is probably the Edmund Supple of Dublin whose prerogative will was proved in 1803 but no copy of this survives. Edmund had three sisters, Helena, who married Samuel Cooke at Supples Court in February of 1770, Barbara, last noted alive in 1777, and Harriet, a spinster. Harriet died in her home in Abbey Street, Dublin in 1810, the last of her direct family of which any trace survives. This is confirmed in her will where her property, after a charitable bequest, goes to another spinster, Johanna Carey. It seems certain that Colemans statement (in 1913) that the then representative of the Ightermurrogh family was an English clergyman is without foundation.
The Supples of Kerry:
This does not, however, bring to an end the story of the Supples of lghtermurrogh, for a branch existed in Co. Kerry. The following account is somewhat imperfect as this line were not central to the present study. The following descent is the most likely interpretation of the surviving evidence. However, the broad outlines of the family down to the late 19th century emerges.
As early as 1716 William Supple, great-grandson of Black William of lghtermurrogh and cousin and heir to Martin of Supplescourt, is described as of Knockanegore, Co. Kerry, although how he obtained lands there is unclear. These may date to the time of his father, James. While William’s eldest son, Edmund, inherited the Supplescourt estate, his second son James, appears to have been given whatever Kerry lands his father had. James is mentioned regularly in deeds concerning lands in Kerry over a long period from 1740 onwards. Interestingly, he did not sever all contact with his brother in Cork for, in 1759, Edmund leased part of the Supplescourt estate, Ballycarnane, for two lives to James at an annual rent of £30. The lands associated with James in Kerry include those at Knockreer near Killarney, Dromin in north Kerry and Kilsarcon and other lands near Castleisland. James is described as of Castle island in 1740 and of Tralee in 1752, where he seems to have practiced as an attorney. His regular address after 1752 is Prospect Hall, Knockreer, near Killarney, a beautiful small demesne on 76 plantation acres in a wonderful setting overlooking the famous Lakes. In 1754 he sold a lease of lands he had in Co. Limerick and in 1760 is recorded buying large numbers of cattle, suggesting that he farmed some of his lands himself The previous year he had re-leased all of Ballycarnane to a local farmer, apart from ‘the great house, kitchen, gardens, stables and grass for four horses on one acre and hay for the horses and one common hack’. He continues to occur in deeds until September 10, 1789, when ‘James Supple esq., late of Prospect Hall, died suddenly at Tralee.James seems to have had two sons. His heir seems to have been Daniel Supple of Dromin, who occurs in deeds from the period 1798-1803 as holding his fathers lands. This Daniel would seem to have had two sons, Edward and Daniel Junior. Daniel Junior was practicing as an attorney at Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin, and at Tralee, in 1835 and again in 1840. In 1837 he granted an annuity to one George Tierney Supple of Banna House, Co. Kerry, who may have been another brother and in 1839 he leased a house in Upper Castle Street, Tralee, and lands at Kilsarcon, to another. His probable brother, Edward Supple ‘of Kinsale, Co. Cork’, was leasing lands at Dromin in 1838. The next year this Edward, described as Lieutenant, lOth Regiment of Foot, married one Letitia Gough, an heiress who had lands near Kinsale. The entire Kerry estate seems to have passed to this Edward, as he must be the Edward Supple of Dundalk, Co. Louth, who owned an estate of 909 acres in Co. Kerry in 1876, the only Supple landowner in the county.
Another son of James Supple of Prospect Hall must have been the James Supple of Tralee whose will was proved in 1816. He was the father of at least four sons, only two of which are known by name, and his wife was Mary McCarthy. His eldest son, Daniel, was admitted to Kings Inns in 1821 as a solicitor and was educated at Castleisland, as was his fourth son, Justin, educated at Tralee, in 1834. He was still practicing as an attorney at Lower Castle Street, Tralee, in 1853.
In this church several of the family are buried and there remains a marble monument with this inscription. ‘Edmundo Supple, armigero, hic juxta reconido, qui decest, 1 mo. Jan rri. 1648’ ‘Martinus Supple, filius cjus inicus superstes et sei et gentisue, posuit, hoc, sepulchrale,marmor 1713’. The Supple arms are on this monument. The Supple table-top tomb in Ightmurragh has inscriptions that require deciphering. A John Supple’s headstone nearby marks his death in October in 1751.
John F Supple purchased the Castlemartyr Demense on 212 acres in 2003 from the Carmelite Order who themselves had purchased the estate in 1929. His father Edmund was born in Gortroe near Youghal in 1895. His father was John(b.1849), son of Thomas also of Gortroe born in 1810. The link of his great- grandfather to the Ightermurragh Supples of the 18th century though tenuous has always existed in family tradition. The family has therefore returned to its roots and John intends to develop and re-furbish the castle, manor house and estate.
Art Supple and Shane Supple are currently living in Gortroe & Youghal in County Cork
Supple Family History