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The Bowles of Canada and their Roots in Ireland and Great Britain

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Bawnlea Townland

Back to The Bowles of Kilcooly or The Bowles of Bawnlea
See also The Palatine Road in the Slieveardagh Hills of Tipperary
There are not a lot of sources to tell us about the land leasehold transactions in Bawnlea as they changed hands from year to year but we do have three good snapshots from detailed records taken of Bawnlea in 1775, 1826 and in 1851.  Also we have the excellent set of current Ordinance Survey maps which generally match the lots shown on the maps of the Griffiths Survey of 1851.  Lastly we have the Down Survey maps made in 1656-58 which tell us about this area prior to the Palatinate people being settled here.  
Down Survey of Kilcooly 1658
William Petty's map of Killcowly (Kilcooly) parish in 1658.
Trinity College has an analysis of the Down Survey online which relates the Landowner Surveys of 1641 and 1670 to the areas in the Down Survey.  Their site tells us that in 1641 and 1670 the area we now call Bawnlea was then an undeveloped part of a larger Killcowly estate which was owned by a Protestant, Jerome Alexander.  The total population for Killcowly is given as 93 in 1670 and they were all located at Killcowly Abbey.  However, as the survey only counted English people it doesn't tell us anything about the Irish population living on the land.
Note: I've marked Bawnlea's location on the map in blue.  I've also marked the locations near Bawnlea where we know Bowles families lived from the 1770's.  The Bowles of The Commons, Springhill, Fethard, Killenaule, Crohane and Coolquill were likely all connected to the Bawnlea Bowles.  See Sorting Out The Bowles of Kilcooly and Killenaule and Area
In 1676 Sir William Barker of Bocking Hall, Essex married Jerome Alexander's 16th child Elizabeth and received 1000's of acres of land in Ireland including the Kilcooly estate with her.  The estate would remain in the family until the 20th century.
"When the 4th Sir William Barker succeeded to the estate in 1770 .... his first care was to increase the Protestant population of the parish and at the same time reclaim the undeveloped lands of the estate in the Slieveardagh Hills.  He persuaded Palatines from Adare (Limerick) to come to Tipperary and as well advertised for tenants in Finn's Leinster Journal in March 1772." (p. 53-54, Kilcooley's Land and People by W. G. Neely.
The list of Protestant freeholders in the Kilcooly region for the election of 1775-76 gives only 3 family names at Bawnleigh, the Miller, Cooke and Young.  John Cooke was from a well established local Protestant family.  The Youngs are claimed by some authors to have been Anglo Irish and by others to have been Palatine.  The four Millers (originally Muller) were Palatines from Limerick.  More Palatine and local families joined them over the years until the 1800's when it actually became overpopulated.
The Protestant minority hold over the Catholic majority in Ireland came to a head in the early 1800's. The Catholic Emancipation Movement as represented by The Catholic Association was formed in 1823 by Daniel O'Connor.  In 1823 a very controversial decision was made by the government to assess the property of every landholder in Ireland regardless of their religion in order to assess them a tithe (a fee) in support of the official state church, The Church of Ireland. This was a final straw which led to a total polarization of the Catholic population surrounding Bawnlea and the Protestants in the townland. 
However, the 1826 Tithe Assessment made for Kilcooly (which is online on the National Archives of Ireland web site) also gives us our first comprehensive list of the landholders in Bawnlea and the size of their holding.  In total Bawnlea contained 143 Irish acres (229 English acres) not including any unusable land such as roads, swamps etc.  This list includes 32 families many of which were Palatine (Miller, Cesar, Glazier, Steep, Maher (Meyer), Cole (Kohl)) but many were from the Protestant families in nearby communities in Tipperary and Kilkenny (Semple, Pearson, Carrol, Parker, Bowles, Cooke, Going, Sheppard, Sutcliffe). I note though that there were just a few Irish-sounding names in Bawnlea (John Connel, Richard Ryan, William Morrissey, Richard Delany, Patrick Courtney, Patrick Carrol) although after many years of intermarriage in Ireland you can't really reliably predict their religion just from their names.  With those possible exceptions, the one unifying element in Bawnlea was their Protestant religion.
See the original 1826 Tithe Assessment pages for Kilcooly
The Protestant reaction to local Catholic hostilities was the strengthening of local militia units such as Sir William Barker's two companies of Volunteers, The Kilcooley True Blues (formed in 1779) and his Slieveardagh Light Dragoons (formed in Sept 1778 but listed as only 25 men strong in the 'Secret Return of Volunteers in 1784').  I haven't been able to find any lists of the volunteers but we can safely assume that many of our Bawnlea residents were involved.  One of Daniel O'Connor's actions was to have hundreds of thousands of Catholics sign petitions protesting their rights restrictions which he would then read out in Parliament.  The Protestant reaction to that was to draft and sign Anti-Catholic Petitions of their own to be presented to Parliament.  Unfortunately, the Catholic Association then passed a motion to have all the names of the signers of the Anti-Catholic Petitions published in the local newspapers. 
On April 4, 1827 the Tipperary Free Press (of Clonmel) published a list of 22 signers from Tipperary and commented "It is a pleasing circumstance, that out of the numerous body of Landed Proprietors, only two dozen could be found, whose hearts are so corroded with bigotry, as to deny a participation of rights to their fellow-subjects." and also hinted "The Slieverdagh Petitioners shall also receive a just measure of attention, when  the hurry of the Assizes are over; we have received their names, and shall only now say, that such a list of ragamuffins (with very few exceptions) was scarcely ever presented to  the public."  The list of the signer's from the Slieveardagh Hills was published on May 12 and included about 325 names including almost the entire list of landholders listed in the 1826 Assessment of Bawnlea.  None of the Irish-sounding names which I listed above signed the petition though.
See the Signatures to the Anti-Catholic Petition
The publication of their names in such a manner would have been like printing a bulls-eye on their backs from that day onwards.

This site was last updated 10/11/19