Landed Estates
NUI Galway



Name Description
Blake (Doonmacreena & Oranmore) This branch of the Blake family, descended from the Blakes of Ballyglunin, county Galway, was settled at Doonmacreena on the border between counties Mayo and Galway from the early 17th century. They were regranted their estate, almost 3,356 acres in the barony of Clanmorris, under the Acts of Settlement. Through a marriage in 1693 they acquired an estate at Oranmore, outside Galway city, from the Athy family. Their county Mayo estate amounted to over 2500 acres in the parishes of Crossboyne and Kilvine in the barony of Clanmorris and their county Galway estate to over 200 acres in the parish of Oranmore, barony of Dunkellin. According to ''Burke's Irish Family Records'' one 18th century member of this family had a colourful career. In 1824 Walter Blake of Oran Castle is described as a resident proprietor in county Galway. The Blakes sold their Doonmacreena estate in 1851 and their Oranmore estate was advertised for sale in 1853 and bought by James Dillon Meldon. However, Walter Blake was the lessor of property in Oranmore at the time of Griffith's Valuation in 1855. The mother of John Blake Dillon, one of the co founders of "The Nation" newspaper was a Blake of Doonmacreena.
Thorngate The Thorngates were originally from Gosport in England. Griffith's Valuation shows that James Thorngate and his brothers bought some of the estate of the Blakes of Doonmacreena in the parishes of Crossboyne and Kilvine, barony of Clanmorris, county Mayo and some of the Abbeyknockmoy estate, county Galway of the Blake Forsters. P. Lane writes that the Thorngates also bought portions of the estates of Geoffrey Davies in the barony of Killian and Edmond Concannon in the baronies of Dunmore and Dunkellin. By far their biggest purchase was in 1851 when James Thorngate purchased the Castle Ffrench estate and lived there until the 1860s. The estate was sold, after Thorngate's death, to James Crooke, for whom Daniel Churcher acted as agent. William E. Churcher and George Churcher of Southampton were the trustees of the estate of William Thorngate and much of the Thorngate estate appears to have been in Churcher possession by the 1870s. At the time of Griffith's Valuation James Thorngate is recorded as a land holder in the parish of Rahara, barony of Athlone, county Roscommon.
Churcher By 1876 Emanuel Churcher of Gosport, Hampshire, England, had bought some of the estate of James Thorngate in county Galway, including Castle Ffrench as well as Thorngate's estate in the parishes of Crossboyne and Kilvine, barony of Clanmorris, county Mayo. He still held untenanted land in the Crossboyne locality in 1906. Thorngate and Churcher were both natives of Gosport. In the 1870s Churcher owned almost 8,000 acres in county Galway, 1,400 in county Roscommon and 1,633 acres in county Mayo. Part of the Churcher estate in county Galway, amounting to 1,633 acres, was sold to the Congested Districts' Board in March 1912, with a further 978 acres in that county going to the Board in February 1915. 1,546 acres belonging to William E. Churcher in county Mayo were sold to the Congested Districts' Board on 23 Oct 1913.
Forster (Blake Forster) The Forster family were of English origin who first acquired property in Galway in the 1640s. The progenitor of the family in county Galway was Francis Forster who was the son of Thomas Forster of Hunsdon, Hertfordshire. He obtained the Clooneene/Ashfield property by Royal grant from Charles II dated 18 Aug 1677 and chose to live there from then on. Francis married Mary O'Donnellan, daughter of Sir James O'Donnellan. The family also had houses at Rathorpe and later at Fiddaun as well as in county Clare in the parishes of Kilfenora and Drumcreehy. Francis Forster, who inherited the estate in 1752, married Anastasia Blake of Menlough and the family became known as Blake-Forster. The estate at Ashfield passed from the Blake Forster family in the 1830s. The Abbeyknockmoy estate situated in the baronies of Tiaquin and Athenry, county Galway, also belonged to the Blake Forsters. Samuel Lewis writing in the 1830s refers to a grant of Abbeyknockmoy by James I to Valentine Blake in 1629. This estate of almost 4,000 acres was offered for sale in Oct 1851. A newspaper cutting with the rental in the National Archives records the purchase of the unsold portions of the estate by Dominick Donnellan and Richard C. McNevin, a relative and agent to the Blake Forsters. By the time of Griffith's Valuation, a few years later, Donnellan and McNevin's purchases were in the possession of Martin J. Blake of Ballyglunin and James Thorngate. In the 1870s Captain Francis Blake Forster owned 3,593 acres in county Galway and 1,308 acres in county Clare, while Robert Blake Forster of Corofin, county Clare, owned 572 acres in county Galway. In 1906 Marcella Blake Forster owned over 250 acres of untenanted land and a mansion house at Corr, in the barony of Longford. An offer from the Congested Districts Board on a small acreage owned by Miss M. L. Forster was accepted sometime after 1909. see / For McNevin and Blake Forster marriage see
ffrench (Castle ffrench) Originally known as Clogher and purchased by the ffrenches from the O'Kellys in 1636. Confiscated by the Cromwellian Commissioners and granted to a Doctor Fennell and repurchased from Fennell's widow by Jasper ffrench in 1671. Charles ffrench was created a baronet in 1779. In the early 19th century family members were heavily involved in banking and business enterprises in Galway and Tuam. In 1851 following banking setbacks and the Famine the estate was sold in the Encumbered Estates' Court to James Thorngate. The Castle Ffrench estate was in the baronies of Killian and Kilconnell, county Galway, but it also included Rosleague and other land in the parish of Ballinakill, barony of Ballynahinch and the lands of Beagh, barony of Moycarn, county Roscommon. Rosleague was sold to Henry G. Fletcher. The ffrenches repurchased the estate in 1919. At the time of Griffith's Valuation two sons of Sir Thomas Ffrench, 2nd Baron, namely Martin and Gonville, held estates in counties Galway and Mayo in their own names (see separate entries for ffrench of Claremont and Ballinamore).
Cruise/Cruice It is evident from documents in the Westport Papers that the Cruise family, originally from Cruisetown, county Louth, acquired land at Castlegar, in the parish of Ballynakill, barony of Killian, county Galway, in the mid 17th century. In the 19th century the Cruises were occupying Cruice Lawn on the estate of James Galbraith in the parish of Killosolan, barony of Tiaquin, which Galbraith held from the Blakeneys and nearby Greenville, which the Cruises held from the Bellews. In the 1850s Daniel Cruise held a townland in the parish of Drum, barony of Athlone, county Roscommon. The Cruise family were petitioners in the sale of Kelly-Egan property at Grange in the barony of Clonmacnowen, county Galway, in November 1858. Daniel W. Cruice of Fairfield, Ahascragh owned 360 acres in county Galway in the 1870s and Daniel J. Cruise of Killarney owned 1,386 acres in county Roscommon. In 1875 Ardkeenan held in fee and lands in the parishes of Taghmaconnell leased from Sir Thomas Burke of Marble Hill were advertised for sale by members of the Cruice family. In 1878 the house and lands at Bredagh, as well as other properties in the baronies of Kilconnell and Tiaquin, county Galway, were offered for sale in the Land Judges' Court. Daniel William Cruice is described as bankrupt in the sale notice.
Davies (Kentstown) John Davis of Clonfinage or Kentstown, county Galway, who married Ellinor, only child of Andrew Kent of Ballynacor, county Galway, is recorded in the Genealogical Office MS 182. The pedigree does not record if they had any children. In the mid 1830s Netterville Davies held at least ten townlands in the parish and barony of Killian. Thomas Davies, a Dublin solicitor, advertised for sale in the Encumbered Estates' Court, 140 acres of Briarsfield, parish of Moylough, barony of Tiaquin, county Galway in June 1850. The sale of 2,317 acres belonging to Geoffrey Davies in the barony of Killian was advertised in June 1851 and some again in January 1852. The Freeman's Journal reports that much of it was purchased by Thomas Cornwall. It is evident from Griffith's Valuation that some of the former Davies land in the parish of Killian was held by John N. Gerrard, James Thorngate and Matthew Cornwall by the mid 1850s but members of the Davies family still retained Cappagh and Kentstown. Geoffrey Davies tried to claim the estate of Marcella Gerrard after her death in 1865. Thomas Davies of Kentstown was the owner of 841 acres in county Galway in the 1870s. Thomas Henry Davies advertised three different parts of his estate for sale in the Landed Estates' Court in 1873 and 1877 including Kentstown and Briarfield, barony of Tiaquin in November 1877. Cappagh was sold in the Landed Estates Court in July 1877 when the purchaser was Thomas Mann, in trust. Brierfield was sold to Samuel Nulty and George H. Pentland in November 1877 while was sold in trust to Mr.P.J. Kelly, solicitor, at the same time. In June 1875 John Francis Davies offered for sale lands at Cloonkeen Kelly and Clonfinogue. The Irish Times reported that the former was purchased in trust for William Gleeson and the latter by Thomas H. Davis.
Crooks In the 1870s James Crooks of Castle Ffrench and Gosport, England, owned between 2,000 and 3,000 acres in county Galway and 1,001 acres in county Mayo, which he purchased following the death of James Thorngate.
O'Brien (Fairfield) Mary Casteleyn's article in ''The Irish Genealogist'' gives a detailed history of this family. Besides their land in county Galway the O'Briens also had land in county Roscommon at Kilmore and Clonboy or Clyboy, parish of Athleague, barony of Athlone. In 1850 James Scott Molloy, assignee of Thomas O'Brien, advertised the sale of the O'Brien estate at Fairfield and Kilmore, amounting to 1439 acres, in the Encumbered Estates' Court. At the time of Griffith's Valuation Kilmore was in the possession of Edward Corcoran and John Sadlier. Dillon O'Brien, a younger brother of Thomas, emigrated to Minnesota, where he became a prominent layman in the Catholic church in America and an author. Marie Adelaide O'Brien, grandmother of Florimond de Basterot was a member of this family. The O'Briens were also related to the O'Connors of Corristoona and Milltown, the Dillons of Dillon's Grove and the Comerfords.