The Myshall Yeomen of Carlow in 1796/7

Small Sources 71. This is a list of 83 members of a Yeoman militia group in County Carlow, Ireland in 1796. It is compiled from two related lists in the National Library of Ireland. The first is the ‘Names and townland of residence of 79 members of the First Carlow Loyal Yeomanry at its formation, Sept.1796′. The second is an ‘Attendance roll of First Carlow Cavalry; Dec. 1796 – Jan. 1797’.  The format of the attendance list is shown in Fig 2 below.   Both documents are in the same folder: NLI Ms. 19,083. The latter attendance list contains only 45 names and ranks but also lists 4 persons (indicated below) who are not on the first list. The first list also indicates some of these as being infantry, and the attendance list provides the rank of those included. In summary, the combined information on these lists provides names and townlands of residence for most of those listed.  The more usual version of the placenames (usually townlands) listed is indicated in brackets below.  All of these places are in the general vicinity of the town of Myshal, which is in the Civil Parish of Myshal and barony of Forth in Co. Carlow.

Fig. 1. Extract from the attendance list of militia members.

Yeomen were a form of militia, i.e., an armed group put together within an area for local defence. In the Ireland of the 18th century, they were also a force used by authorities to control sedition.  Ireland at this time was a very unequal place in which the mainly Anglo-Irish estate-owners controlled almost all aspects of Irish life.  Another of our articles in this series summarises the accounts of foreign visitors to Ireland during this period and later.   It provides a useful background to forming an understanding of how our ancestors lived, and the role of Yeomen in society.

The specific reason for the creation of the Carlow Yeomen was the rise of the United Irishmen,  a powerful political force for independence in late 18th century Ireland.  They were the instigators of the 1798 Rebellion against British rule. The British government, in anticipation of this armed revolt, encouraged local gentlemen to raise cavalry troops and infantry companies in their areas. An excellent and detailed account of the issues surrounding the creation of the Yeoman corps, and their organisation,  is in the journal History Ireland, and is available here.  In consequence of the government encouragement, nine yeomen corps   became active in County Carlow in the period leading up to 1798. Their officers were local gentry, and the lower ranks were paid, clothed and armed by government.  Although this group was originally called the Carlow Yeomen (in 1796), it would appear that their name was changed to the ‘Myshal Cavalry and Infantry’ sometime before 1798, probably because another militia group also claimed the same name. This is based on the fact that a group called ‘Carlow Cavalry and Infantry’ that was active in 1798 included none of the officers listed here, whereas a group named ‘Myshal Cavalry and Infantry’ were led by the officers listed here.  Presumably the name-change was to avoid confusion.  The change of name to include Myshal  would also make logical sense as Myshal House was the residence of their captain, Robert Cornwall.  One of the epic songs about the 1798 Rebellion, called the Croppy Boy,  specifically mentions the Myshal Cavalry.  Many yeomen and militia, including this Myshal group.  were notoriously brutal and had effective licence to arrest,  punish or even execute anyone they suspected of being a rebel. The captain was Robert Cornwall, a local landlord who was zealous and cruel in dealing with local rebels and is reputed to have hanged several from a tree in front of his house.

The Yeomen members, it should be noted, are mainly gentry or other families that were loyal to the British Administration and few of the common Catholic families of Carlow are represented among the names.  The list does include interesting and unusual names including the wonderfully named Cadwallader Shipley; several members of the Feltus family which, in Ireland, is only found in Carlow at this time;  Lummax (probably a variant of Lomax); Elward, Dagg, Hollyman,  Welwood and Witter. Flyleaf Press publish an e-book ‘Sources for Irish Family History 2021′ which provides lists of articles and books on 2,500 Irish families.  This may be useful in finding further sources of information on some of the families listed.

No illustration of the Carlow (or Myshal) Yeomen uniform could be found, but it is likely to have been similar to the uniform above, from the Cork Militia of the same period.

The illustrations were created by Ancestor Network, courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.  Ancestor Network will offer 1 free hour of research by a professional researcher to conduct further research on these individuals, and/or to obtain copies of the original documents. Click here and quote ‘Carlow SS71’ in the subject line.  Ancestor Network conducts research on all Irish family history sources and archives. If you need help in following up on anything related to this source, or any other Irish research, you can outline your requirements here and we will let you know what we might be able to do for you.

Name                                                     Residence (where provided)

John Ashmore                                                      Raheen Wood
Henry Bradley Junr.                                             Ballynocen (Ballyknockan)
Henry Bradley                                                       Ballynocken (Ballyknockan)
Thomas Bradley                                                   Boledoorah (Booladurragh)
John Bradley                                                         Ballynocken (Ballyknockan)
Simon Bradley                                                      (no address)
William Bradley                                                    Raheenwood
Joseph Bradley                                                     (no address)
James Brenan                                                       (on attendance list only)
Patt Brenan?                                                         Zenah??
Patk Brenan                                                          Ballyknockan
William Browne                                                    Fennah
Thos. Butler                                                          Sraduf (Straduff)
John Butler                                                           Sherwood
Philip Butler                                                          Sraduff (Straduff)
Benj. Butler                                                           Castlegrace
Richd. Butler                                                        Tullow
William Butler                                                      Clonee
Willm Butler                                                         Mountpleasant
John Cleary                                                          Ballybrien
Beauchamp Colclough                                       Kildavin
Edward Cooke                                                     Clonmore
Robert Cornwall                                                  Myshall Lodge
Thos. Dagg                                                           Mountpleasant
John Dillon                                                           Raheenwood
John Doyle                                                           Myshall
Richd. Elward                                                      Raheenwood
Edward Eustace                                                  Kilconna (Kilconner?)
Wm Eustace                                                        Kilconna “
John Faircloth                                                     (no address)
John Feltus                                                          Hollybrooke
Henry Feltus                                                       Hollybrooke
Martin Fenton                                                     (on attendance list only)
John Flinn                                                            Raheenwood
Ed. Gregory                                                         Ballynockin  (Ballyknockan)
James Gregory                                                   Ballinvally
Robt. Griffith                                                       Shean
Thos. Hollyman                                                   Lun…?
Benj. James                                                         Clonee
Ralph James                                                       Clonee
Thomas James                                                   (on attendance list only)
John Jenkinson                                                   (no address)
Patt Joyce (?)                                                      Coolnacuppoge
George Keatinge                                                 L…?
George Keatinge Jr.                                           Myshall
Michl. Kelly                                                         Myshall
Richd. Keys                                                         Ballyknockan
Andrew Lea                                                        Killane
Willm. Lea                                                          Killane
John Little                                                          Aughabog
James Lucas                                                      Ravane ??
William Lucas                                                    Clonatoos (Clonetoose)
Robert Lucas                                                     Clashganny
John Lummax                                                   Sraduff (Straduff)
Edward Malone                                                 Ballishancarra
James Minchin                                                  Ballyna?
Wm. Minchin                                                     Ballyknockan
Michl. Murphy                                                   Lumcloone
Stephen Murphy                                               Garrahill (Garryhill)
Patrick Neal                                                       Knockdramagh (?)
Jno. Neary??                                                      Garryhill?
Michl. Nowlan                                                    Killane
Darby Nowlan                                                    Upton
William O’Bryan                                                Ballinvally
Geo. O’Neill                                                        Garryhill (Spelled O’Neail in foundation document)
Hugh O’Neill                                                       Newtown (Spelled O’Neail ” )
John O’Neill                                                        Myshall ( “ )
John O’Neill                                                        Myshall
William O’Neill                                                   (on attendance list only)
Wm. Payne                                                         (no address)
George Reice                                                       (on attendance list only)
Michl. Rice                                                           Crows Grove
William Rose                                                        Ballyknockan
Wm. Rose                                                             Ballyknockan
James Rose                                                          (no address)
Peter Salter                                                          Clonee
Thos. Salter                                                          Moanmore
Cadw. Shipley                                                      Shean
Nichs Shortall                                                       Kildavan (Spelled Shortle on attendance list)
Thomas Sligh                                                       (on attendance list only)
Robert Smith                                                         Myshall
Wilm. Stiles                                                           Sraduff (Straduff)
James Stiles                                                          Sraduff (Straduff)
Wm. Shets?                                                           Garryhill
Wm. Warren                                                          Upton
Samuel Watson                                                     Lumclone
Danl. Welwood                                                      Clasganny (Clashganny)
James Witter                                                          Garrihill (Garryhill)

Fig. 2. Extract from Attendance roll of First Carlow Loyal Yeomanry Jan 1797

Further articles in our series on Irish Family History sources include: