Ref NoLE37
TitlePapers of the Lucas family, County Offaly (including papers of the Drews of Drewscourt, Counties Waterford and Limerick, and the Ryans of Ballymackeogh, County Tipperary)
DescriptionLismore Estate: agencies for the 1st and 2nd Earl of Cork - correspondence, accounts

Drew family papers - land deeds, correspondence, concerning mostly the Drews of Drewscourt (County Limerick), slightly the Drews of Mocollop (County Waterford)

Ryan family papers - land deeds, correspondence, legacies and miscellaneous papers

Drew and Ryan families: genealogy - collected notes for family trees

Lucas family - notes on family history, army commission, other disparate family papers
Date1601 - 1989
Extent1 box
ArrangementThe arrangement of the collection was imposed. It falls broadly into four sections: the agency business of the Drews for the Earls of Corke (17th c.), the Drews of Waterford and Limerick (17th-20th c.), the Ryans of Tipperary (17th- 20th c.) and the Lucas family (mostly 19th/20th c.). Some preliminary study of the collection was made by an unknown agency: many 17th -century items in the collection were marked for dates and names. Much 17th-c. material is hydrolisis damaged and fragile.
Administrative HistoryAlthough these papers came to be owned by a member of the Lucas family, they barely contain documents that concern them. Mostly, this collection is made up of documents of the Drew family (Limerick and Waterford), and the Ryan family, with whom the Drews intermarried in 1881. It is unclear when the Lucases came into possession of the Ryans' papers.

The first section pertains to the Earls of Cork, their land agents and principally Barry Drew and his descendants. Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork (1566-1643), originally from southeast England, had acquired much land in Limerick and southeast Munster, by offices he held, marriages, and the purchase of Sir Walter Raleigh's estate around Lismore and Youghal. Some papers survive from his time, and illustrate his various activities of fortifying his holdings in Munster, improving industries, managing native tenants and inviting settlers. They are mostly from his agents in counties Cork and Waterford, but also contain a letter of 1642 from Murrough O'Brien, 1st Earl of Inchiquin, then an ally in the preservation of Munster for the royalists. The letter regards the troubled city of Bandon and bears a draft reply in the Earl's own hand.

Barry Drew first appears in 1684 as a principal agent and receiver of rents of Boyle's son, also Richard, 2nd Earl of Cork. Richard Boyle had joined the English peerage as the 1st Earl of Burlington (created 1664), and signed his letters to Drew by that name; he was also lord treasurer of Ireland since 1660. The Drews were originally from County Devon, and Barry Drew was the son of Francis of Kilwinny, County Waterford, who came to Ireland with Queen Elizabeth's army (1598). Barry Drew inherited his father's lands in Waterford and Limerick (Ballyduff, Drewscourt), while the Drews of Waterford and Kerry (Kilwinny, Meanus) formed a different branch. Drew was based in Lismore, receiving instructions on ordering the Earl's estate, mostly concerned with the tenants. The earlier papers from 1st Earl of Cork likely are survivals from Barry's predecessors in managing estates for Boyle.

The estate managed by these agents had once formed part of Walter Raleigh's holdings, situated in the Munster Plantation of the late 16th century, including the towns of Lismore, Tallow, Youghal, but also including the newly founded town of Bandon which Boyle had acquired in its entirety by 1625. Drew's role as Boyle's receiver and supervisor of other agents seems to have been more substantial than related agency papers within the Lismore Castle collection (National Library of Ireland) led to suspect. Burlington clearly trusted Drew in his own work, and in supervising other agents that were found wanting.

In 1690, Drew asked to be relieved from his duties for his ill state of health, and Burlington sent Colonel William Congreve and others to assist him, and eventually take over the agency after Drew's death. It has been surmised that this William Congreve was the same as Major William Congreve, head of the garrison in Youghal in 1678 (father of the dramatist, also William Congreve), who according to one account went to Lismore as the agent of the second Earl of Cork, according to another he was called to Carrickfergus. However, in Burlington's letter Congreve is described as crossing over to Ireland in October 1690 expressly to assist Barry Drew in managing the estate - he is also invariably styled "Colonel", not "Major". [LE37/ 18]

Until Drew's death (before March 1694), the Earl corresponded with both men regarding estate management and his tenants in counties Waterford and Cork. Another dozen letters then testify to William Congreve's agency for the Earl. There is no indication as to how this agency was ended: documentation effectively ends in 1698, but on the 3rd Earl's death in 1704 his widow Juliane Noel Boyle corresponds with Congreve's subagents, and the papers abruptly end, giving no indication how they came to be entrusted with the Drews again. [LE37/ 51]

Burlington repeatedly advises Congreve to keep an eye on the children of Barry Drew and their rightful inheritance of estate (in fee simple) in Waterford, and in Limerick. [LE37/ 36, 40, 41, 46] Eventually in 1705, the estate was split up between the two brothers Francis and John. The bulk of the Drew papers follow Francis's line (of Drewscourt, County Limerick), and the Drews of Mocollop Castle (County Waterford) only feature marginally in this collection. Another legal act seems to have put an end to further disputes between the brothers. [LE37/ 53]

The Drews of Drewscourt (this estate being situated halfway between modern-day Charleville and Ballingarry) were joined by marriage to the Ringrose family of Moynoe, County Clare, whose ancestor Colonel John Rose - according to a sketched family tree [LE37/ 62] - came from Hampshire and changed his name by order of Elizabeth I in 1560. Other disparate papers survive; in 1796 the death of another Barry Drew seems to have occasioned some financial trouble for his widow, Mary (née Conyers). [LE37/ 57]. Three generations later, the estate had fallen to a side branch, and the estate holder Francis Drew married very prestigiously into the family of Hugh 3rd Baron Massy, one of the biggest landholders in Ireland, County Limerick. At the time of Griffith's "Valuation" (1852), the Drews of Drewscourt are listed at 1,021 acres (£665 p.a.).

The estate was passed on to the eldest son Colonel Frank Massy Drew, but although his line continued and the last offspring, Anthony Francis Clennell Drew, Drewscourt, appears in Burke's "Irish gentry" (1912), there are no records of the family in the 1911 Census, or beyond. It is through Francis Drew's second son, Ringrose Drew, that in 1881 the family was joined with the Ryans of Ballymackeogh through his marriage to Anne A.Susanna Ryan. Their second son Ringrose Charles [Wellington] Drew lived in Dublin in 1911 (refusing to state his religious denomination), and with a note of his death (mid-20th c.) the papers of the Drew family end. [LE37/ 59]

The Ryans of Ballymackeogh, County Tipperary, were also members of the Established Church, although of Gaelic stock. They styled themselves "the Milesian family of Ryan, anciently O'Mull Ryan [who] held extensive possessions in the barony of Owney and Arros, and co.Tipperary, up to the period of confiscations by Cromwell, when they were deprived of the greater part of their estates." The eldest William Ryan is said to have passed on the reduced estate to his son Daniel. However, it seems from these papers that Ballymackeogh estate was only acquired by Daniel by marriage to Honora Ewer, whose father Colonel John Ewer had been given the estate in 1667 from Charles II, in gratitude for military services. [LE37/ 64] Ballymackeogh lies c.5 miles southwest of Newport, County Tipperary (Barony Owney and Arra). In the 19th century, the Ryans continued to marry advantageously, connecting themselves with the Pennefathers of County Tipperary and the Grogans of Carlow. Both the Pennefathers and Grogans produced Members of Parliament. The marriage portion of Anne Pennefeather when she married William Ryan in 1814 , was £3,000 [LE37/ 68], and their eldest son, also William, a Justice of the Peace, was valued at 1,352 acres (£866 p.a.).

The next head of the family, Charles Arthur Ryan, was also a Justice of the Peace; his wife survived him and held on to the estate [LE37/ 88], and in 1989 Willie Ryan wrote to a certain Mr. Lucas about his family's history [LE37/ 99]. The house at the former Ballymackeogh estate seems to have been a splendid edifice, and may still be inhabited today.

There are only few papers pertaining to the Lucas family: this family, with its seat at Mount Lucas, County Offaly, dates itself back to a Benjamin Lucas who acording to family lore performed a particular act of moral bravery in Cromwell's time [LE37/ 94]. He received extensive grants of land in Counties Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, and Offaly, and by the late 18th century they had their seat in Mount Lucas, Daingean (formerly Philipstown), County Offaly, near the border to County Kildare, while retaining land in County Clare: their acreage at the time of valuation extended to 2,489 (£704 p.a.).

The papers do not concern the main line of Lucases which ended with two daughters, one of whom inhabited the family seat at the time of the 1911 Census of Ireland, together with her niece. Instead, there are papers from Henry Lucas, officer in the Ceylon Rifles, and a generation later we find papers from Robert Cordner Lucas who is seen to buy property in Cornwall where he lived. Finally there is the letter, aforementioned, by Willie Ryan to an unnamed Lucas, providing the only clue as to how the Ryans' papers came into their custody: Lucas was particularly interested in the papers of Antoinette Jane Ryan, deposited with a Limerick solicitor. Ryan sent him a "history" of his family, and it is not clear whether the papers of genealogical interest in the collection are intended by that. [LE37/ 90-93 and 99] Whether this interest went beyond historical research (not finalised), or testifies to a real connection between the two families, is impossible to ascertain from the papers.
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