CHAPTER II. - James, John & Robert Lowry, Sen., 1665-1729
Their families – Purchases of Land – Robert Lowry’s acquisition of the Manor of Finagh
– His Will
Having traced the history of Fynagh from the Plantation of Ulster to the year 1705-6, when it came into possession of my family, this will be a convenient point for stating the previous history of the family. The first member of it concerning whom I have any authentic record, or indeed anything beyond mere tradition, was James Lowry who died intestate. In the year 16665 letters of administration were granted to his eldest son and heir John Lowry. James is described as of Ballynagorry co. Tyrone. I have heard that there is a Townland of that name in the neighbourhood of Strabane.
This is all that I positively know about him. The tradition is that he was a younger son of the family of Laurie of Maxwelton, Dumfries in Scotland. His son John had two wives; the first was Mary Buchanan, by whom he had two sons, viz.- Robert the purchaser of Fynagh; and John who appears at one time to have lived in the county Louth, to have married Mary daughter of Henry Townley, esq., of Aclare, co. Louth, widow of a Mr Foulkes, and to have died about 1698 without issue. His widow married thirdly James Somerville, esq.
John Lowry senior had also four daughters by his first marriage, viz: -
Catherine, m. Samuel Perry esq., of Moyloughmore co. Tyrone
Anna, m. Robert M’Clintock esq., of Castrues co. Donegal
Rebecca m. Wm. Moore, of Drumond co. Tyrone esq.
Jane m. John M’Clintock of Trintagh co. Donegal esq.
John Lowry married secondly Jane, daughter of Sir Hugh Hamilton, of Ballfatton co. Tyrone, by whom he had William, who died unmarried in India, and three daughters, viz: -
1. m. Fras Perry of Tattyreagh esq.
2. m. – Keys of Cavancor co. Donegal esq.
3. m. Archibald Woods of Trinsallagh, co Donegal esq.
He is said to have been present at the siege of Derry, with his second wife, who died there. Probably he was an elderly man then; one of the civilians driven to take refuge in the town, as his name does not appear in any of the lists of officers. His name, however, does appear amongst those of persons attainted by King James Parliament in 1689. *
The only document in my possession relating to him is a lease for a year or conveyance dated 26th February 1694, by a Mr Peirson of St James Middlesex, to John Lowry of Atherdee + (now Ardee) county Louth, of the lands of Drummin county Armagh containing 45 acres, then in the occupation of Mr Patrick Savage. On the following day 27th February 1694, a release of Drummin containing 45 acres, which had belonged to the late Arthur Earl of Anglesey (a predecessor of Viscount Valentia), whose debts exceeded his personal estate by £ 5,000, was executed for the consideration of £32 10s. It had been sold by the Countess to Peirson, on the 23rd October 1691.
This Townland appears to have remained in the family just over 100 years. On the occasion of a fine and recovery of the estate being suffered in Michaelmas term 1795, after my grandfather came of age, the parties being Armar Viscount Belmore, and the Hon. Somerset Lowry Corry, his eldest son and heir, and Mr David Babington (a solicitor in Dublin).
Lord Belmore and Mr Corry acknowledged the premises ‘to be the right of David Babington, as those which is said David Babington had the gift of them.” In resettling the estate, Drummin was left at the absolute disposal of Lord Belmore, most likely with the view to its sale.
Mr John Lowry probably did not long survive this purchase. His eldest son, Robert married Anne Sinclair of Holyhill county Tyrone, whose mother had been a Miss Galbraith.
* As John Lowry, Tyrone
+ It is just possible that this conveyance was made to John Lowry’s son John, who died without issue
This marriage, I think took place in or about 1698, for in the year 1699 begins a series of
entries by Mr Lowry in an old Bible * of his wife’s (published during the Commonwealth), of the days and hours and birth places of his children, together with entries of the deaths of such of then as died young. This series was continued by his third son Galbraith, whose own marriage is entered, as is also that, by himself, of my great grandfather with Lady Margaret Butler, in 1771.
In 1692 Robert Lowry, John Lowry’s eldest son, who was one of the Commissioners of escheated lands in Tyrone and Armagh, and who appears to have r4esided at Caledon in the county of Tyrone, took a lease for thirty-one years (if the lessor’s title should so long continue) from George and John Warburton of the city of Dublin, of the lands of Killygiven and Tullynecalgan in the barony of Dungannon, to commence from 1st May 1693. He was to pay £6 a year rent for the first ten years, £8 for the second ten years, and £12 for the remainder of the term.
In 1697, however4, he was enabled to purchase this property.
A lease for a year, dated, 24th June 1697, was followed the next day by a release, which recites an indenture, dated 16th April 1685, between Robert Parkhurst one of the executors of Sir Robert Parkhurst knight deceased, surviving executor of Sir Robert Parkhurst knight deceased, who was surviving executor of Alderman Robert Parkhurst deceased of the one part; and George and John Warburton of the other; and further amongst other things that Sir Robert Parkhurst was indebted to the said George and John in the sum of £570; and, likewise, was indebted to some others in divers sums of money, to whom the said George and John are bound together with the said Robert Parkhurst as his security; and it likewise recites that Bryan m’Henry, Orge O’Neill, and Phelim O’Neile afterwards Sir Phelim O’Neile, and Robert Hovenden, did on 26th April 1633 acknowledge before the mayor and constables of the town of Drogheda, a statute staple for payment of £2,000 to the said Alderman Parkhurst &c., and was actually put in possession of the lands of Killygivin alias Killygivilly, and Tullynecolpin alias Tully, and was then in possession of them at certain value, at which they were extended to the said Robert Parkhurst for the speedier payments of £570; and for other considerations mentioned in the said deed, sold to the said George and John Warburton amongst other things, the town of Killygivin and Tullynecolgan with their appurtenances, which were so delivered to him in execution &c; to hold the same during all such interest as he had in them, by virtue of which George and John entered into possession of the premises; and further that Henry Hovenden son and heir of Robert Hovenden one of the cognizors of the said estate, to whom the fee and inheritance of the said land belonged, by deed of lease dated 28th February, and of release dated 1st March 1693 between himself and Stephen Ludlow, for the consideration therein mentioned, granted Killygivin and Tullnecolpin to Stephen Ludlow and heirs; and that whereas Ludlow’s name was only mentioned in trust for the Warburtons, the indenture witnesseth that George and John Warburton and Stephen Ludlow for the consideration of £100 did grant the lands to Robert Lowry, to hold the same forever.
On the 29th March 1700, Robert Lowry obtained a lease for a year, and on the 30th March a release from John Hamilton of Caledon esq., for the consideration of £450, of the Townland of Aghenis near Caledon, together with about eight acres in Loughmacnab. To this was attached liberty for Robert Lowry and his under tenants to cut turf on the turf bog of Ballyboy being a sessiagh of Aghenis, to be spent on the land, and also of grazing on the said bog, and on the turf bog joining to the Townland of Dromess in the parish of Aghaloo barony of Dungannon, excepting out of the grant the royalties and the two bogs themselves, except the right of cutting turf on the one, and grazing on both; but granting all houses woods underwoods &c.
Mr Lowry and his tenants were to do suit and service at the manor court of Caledon, and to grind their corn at and pay mulcture to the mill there, provided there was sufficient water &c; and he was also to pay £3 18s 6¾ d. either directly to the Crown, or at his option through Mr Hamilton. This is signed by John Hamilton in the presence of David M’Clenahan John Gamble Robert Maxwell Hugh Brown.
Upon this Townland Mr Lowry and his son Galbraith, and his grandson Armar had their seat, until the latter succeeded his mother at Castlecoole in 1779. It was intended that my grandfather, the son of Armar, should have lived there after his marriage, but his father’s death rendered this arrangement unnecessary. The house fell into decay, and became the abode of a colony of beggars, until Aghenis was sold in 1852 to Lord Caledon’s trustees.
Melbury, where Mr Robert Lowry the younger resided, was in Loughmacnab, in which Townland it would appear, by his will, that he had a large interest that his father had possessed.
The Caledon estate remained in the Hamilton family until it came into the possession of Miss Hamilton who married the Earl of Cork and Orrery. It was sold towards the end of the centry to the ancestor of the present Earl of Caledon, having been it is said, previously offered to Sir James Strong’s ancestor for £70,000, and to Lord Belmore for £90,000. It must now be an estate producing a large rental.
From the small beginning with Killygivin, Robert Lowry the elder accumulated a great landed estate. Land was cheap in those days, but rapidly rising in value as things settled down after the Revolution; and it was well worthwhile to buy with borrowed money. His purchase of the manor Finagh I have already noticed. This alone contained a good many thousand-statute acres. As some time or other the head rent of the townland of Moylagh was acquired, either by himself or his son Galbraith. This is now paid to me by Major Perry M’Clintock, of Seskanore.
This Townland had on the 17th December 1684, under the name Mullagh, been assigned by Mr George Mervyn of Maynooth county Kildare, to a Mr James Delap, of Mullagh for £83, a head rent of £8 sterling, royalties being reserved. Mr Mervyn was, I believe, a successor in title of Sir William Ussher. Moylagh is considerable acreage, and is not in Finagh.
In 1710 Mr Lowry purchased out the tenant of Doogary, which is paid head-rent to Fynagh. This Townland, situate near Omagh and in the diocese of Derry, (all the manor except Doogary, Camowan and Lisboy being in Armagh diocese) was on the 1st November 1698 the subject of a deed between William Robertson of Duggery and Patrick Hamilton of Termontomungan. It recites that Sir William Ussher had by deed of feofment dated 14th October 1662, sold to Robertson the lands of Duggery estimated at sixty acres for £20, reserving a rent of £3 13s 4d. (Payable as to the manor of Fynagh).
On the 25th July 1710 a lease for a year registered by memorial, (which must have been followed by a release,) conveys Hamilton’s interest to Robert Lowry, in whom the head-rent was now vested; the purchase money was £100- just five times what Hamilton had given for it less than twelve years before.
On the 3rd of July 1724 Henry Melvyn, esq. of Trillick assigned to Robert Lowry for £1,560 and a rent of £2 yearly, the townlands of Legacorry, Beagh and Letfern. These are in the manor of Tuckett. The head-rent is no longer paid. But under the name of mulcture there is a sum of £7 paid for something outside Finagh, to A Stuart esq.. although I do not quite know for what.
As much as Mr Lowry possessed of Fynagh, (with the exception of Achorrow and Corballintackin, which are supposed to be represented by the modern Townland of Curr of the Ordnance map, and to have been sold by a mistake to be hereafter alluded to; and Killadroy, which had been omitted from the entail,) together with Doogary, Legacorry, Beagh, and Letfern, are still in my possession.
Mr Lowry settled Fynagh on his eldest surviving (but originally his second) son Robert, on the occasion of his first marriage with Miss Katherine Dopping, daughter of the Dean of Clonmancnois. But he had also acquired and even larger estate than Fynagh. On 3rd November 1713 Mr Lowry purchased Tattemoney from a Mr Reid for £556, and a further sum of £165 to Charity Drynely. (This appears to have been Mervyn property.)
On the 7th June 1722, Margaret, Richard, and Mary Hill conveyed Recarson to him for £190. On the 26th June 1728 he purchased from Mr Rowley, Camderry and other lands for £1,025 6s. He had also other townlands of which I can not give the particulars. Amongst others his sons Robert conveyed to him a Townland called Cornebracken, but this may have been purchased in trust.
His will was dated 1729, and he must have died shortly afterwards 9as his son Galbraith says0, at home (Aghenis) of a the dropsie. He disposed of his property in the following manner: -
EXTRACTS FROM WILL OF ROBERT LOWRY DATED 1729
The manor of Sixmilecross having been settled at the marriage of his eldest son Robert with Katherine Dopping, he leaves him only a legacy of £20.
He bequeathed in trust to his son-in-law Daniel Eccles, and to Alexander M’Clintock as executors, the town and lands of (Aghenis) Ballyboy, and about eight acres in the Townland of Loughmacnab, Killygivin, Tullyancolgan, Lissaaggan, Kiladerry, Legacorry, Beagh, Letterfearne, Arvallee, Edenderry, the truck mill and corn mill, Garvaghlees, Aghagallon, Mullagh, Cranny, Drumgrane, Taltymulmoney, Benefargan, Hallaghan, Hillinana, Cormackellagher, Lisneadin, Backarrenbeg, Tullyenangh and Cornebrecken, to his second surviving son Galbraith Lowry for his life, with remainder to his heirs male.
Failing them to his third surviving son James Lowry and his heirs male, and failing James to Robert, failing male issue of the three sons to the eldest daughter of Galbraith and her heirs male, failing her to her sisters in succession, and their heirs male. Their husbands to take the surname and arms of Lowry. Failing Galbraith’s daughters to Jame’s daughters under like conditions. To James Lowry his third son for life, and his heir’s male, the manor townlands and ballyboes in Altadesart otherwise Chichester, lying and being in the Barony of Dungannon. Failing James to Galbraith and his heir’s male, failing him to Robert and his heir’s male.
To Galbraith, when seized of the aforesaid lands, he gave power to charge them with a jointure not exceeding £200 per annum; and a further power to Galbraith to charge them with a sum not exceeding £2,000 for daughters and younger sons, or daughters if no son.
James also was to have power to charge his lands with £1,000.
To his daughter Isabella he bequeathed £100, to be paid at the age of eighteen or day of marriage, and if she married with consent of his executors £1,500. In case of her demise before eighteen and unmarried, or if she married without consent, Galbraith was to take the £1,500. Isabella was to get £50 per annum from testator’s death until marriage in lieu of interest. To M’Clintock he left £100, and further to Galbraith the sum of £2,000 due by D. Eccles.
To his sisters Jane and Anne M’Clintock, and brother-in-law Perry and Moore, the sum of £80 to be divided equally.
If any part of the personalty was remaining after legacies were paid, James was to have £100, and Galbraith to be sole executor and residuary legatee.
In a codicil he revoked the bequest of £1,600 to Isabella, and gave her £1,000; to his sister, Jane M’Clintock, £40; his sister, Catherine Perry, of Mullaghmore, £40, to his sister Anne M’Clintock £40, to the children of his sister Rebekah Moore, £40, to his daughter Mary Eccles, £40.
The sum of £600 taken from Isabella was to discharge these latter legacies.
Mr Lowry’s widow died ‘of a decay’ at Fintona, the residence of her son-in-law, Mr Eccles.
His eldest son John who entered Trinity College May 23rd 1715 but dropped off Feb, 1st 1716, predeceased him in 1724, and was buried at Saint Mary’s Dublin, having been born in 1699.
There is a picture at Castlecoole, which, from the family likeness which it bears to his descendants, I have not doubt is that of Robert Lowry senior.