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The Rev'd. Edward Whitty

Back to The Bowles of Ballickmoyler

Please see my note on Recording People's Lives for a comment relevant to this report

The Reverend Edward Whitty was a major church leader, landholder and magistrate in the Castletown/Ballickmoyler area of Queen's county from the 1760's to the 1790's.  He is of interest to me as, according to one reference, my ancestor John Bowles was working for him in 1787 and perhaps much earlier than that.  Either Edward or his son, John, built their house, Providence Lodge, in the late 1700's on their property near Rathtillig just a short distance from Ballickmoyler on the road to Castletown.  This is the house in which my ancestor took refuge when his own house in Ballickmoyler was burned and where he and eleven other men fought off another attack by rebels during the United Irish Rebellion of 1798.  The Whitty family was resident on this property until at least 1899 ref..  See The Whitty Family Tree and The Early History of Ballickmoyler

Today's Providence Lodge or House at the same location is thought to have been built around 1830 and is not the Whitty's original Providence Lodge. 


Providence Lodge and Ballickmoyler about 1841

A modern aerial view of the same area. Click on the picture for a larger view.



Edward Whitty was born about 1720 in Dublin.  The Whitty Clan website states that he was the son of Thomas Whitty, a grocer of Dublin and Exeter, England.  Another source says that he was the son of a Rev. John Whitty who was the son of Sir Walter Whitty of Ballyteigue Castle in the Parish of Kilmore in co. Wexford.  He is mentioned in Church of Ireland  records as being the Curate of Killabban Parish in 1766.  That's in Queen's county (now co. Laois) and includes the Ballickmoyler/Castletown area.  It's possible that he held that position continuously from the 1760's until he was replaced by the Rev'd. Anthony Weldon in 1792.  (ref: Castletown Church 1801-2001 pamphlet) 

He's also mentioned in Volume 3 of Rev. M. Comerford's "Collections relating to the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin" (1886) which states:

In a Return dated 1731 (see Vol I. P. 269,) it is stated that there were in Killabban one Mass-house, two private chapels, four schoolmasters, and two priests; and that several itinerant priests, supposed to be regulars, frequently officiated in the said chapels....For the particulars supplied by a similar return, made, March 29th, 1766, by Edwd. Whitty, Protestant Curate, see Appendix.

We know he held several more senior positions in the church as well during that time.  His biography is listed in The Clergy of Dublin and Glendalough as b. 1720 Dublin, BA Trinity College 1740, MA Trinity College 1743, Canon of Hollywood and Naul (near Dublin) 1753, Canon of Killaban (Leighlin Diocese) 1765, Rector of Rathvilly (Leighlin Diocese) 1765-1804, Prebendary of Tomgraney, Killaloe 1775-77, Archdeacon of Leighlin 1777-1804.  ref. Second reference

He was already living in Queen's county in the 1760's as his son, John, was born there in 1760 or 1761 ref. but I'm not sure yet just where he lived at that point.  There were at least three other children born to Edward and his wife, Mary Beere.  Two of his sons, Irwin and John, would also enter the clergy.

He started buying land around Castletown/Ballickmoyler in 1768/69.  I'm in the process of obtaining some of those deeds to help identify where he may have lived prior to then.  Providence Lodge was probably built shortly after although the first reference I have found for it is in 1785 on his son's marriage bond.  The Rev. Whitty was instituted as the Prebendary (Curate) of Killaloe (co. Clare) on Oct. 28, 1775  ref.  He was elevated to the position of Archbishop of Leighlin in 1777. ref.  However, he seems to have maintained his residence at Providence during these times as he is mentioned as living in Queen's county, about 5 miles from Carlow town in the following reference from 1787.

As the Archdeacon of Leighlin he would have been entitled to collect tithes from residents of his diocese.  These tithes were assessed to provide the clergy of the Established Church (ie. The Church of Ireland) with a Living and were payable regardless of the resident's religion.  The largely Catholic peasantry strongly objected to being required to pay for the support of a church other than their own especially when they were forbidden to practice their own religion.  There were other grievances as well such as excluding grazing land from the tithe assessment.  The larger land owners tended to convert their land from crops to grazing land while the peasantry had no choice but to operate theirs for food crops for their own subsistence.  Therefore those who could best afford to pay and were actually members of the appropriate church did not have to while the Catholic peasantry were often kept at the poverty level.  This resulted in an agrarian resistance movement which sometimes took the form of large bands of men who would stand up against the armed guard which would accompany a tithe collector when the payment of tithes became overdue.  Some often bloody battles could then occur.  In an article in The Hibernian Magazine of 1787, the Rev. Archdeacon Whitley (certainly Whitty, see reference) is mentioned as having been attacked by a multitude of farmers/tenants when he went to seize cattle from them for their non-payment of church tithes owed to him.  My ancestor, John Bowles, was his land agent and was beaten badly in the attack.  The whole party was made to swear that they would never return to collect the hated tithes. Rev. Whitley is described as being "rather advanced in years" so this would be Edward Whitty not his son, John, who would have only been in his 20's at that time.   reference and full text of this article

Between 1787 and 1798 he left his son John at Providence Lodge and settled in Rathvilly, co. Carlow.  I have him next on record in Rathvilly in 1798 where he put in a damages claim for 175d 6s 9 1/2p for his house which was burned there in the United Irish Rebellion. ref: Carlow Claimants for Losses in 1798  He died on Mar. 11, 1804 and his funeral service was celebrated at Castletown church, Queen's co. just a few miles from Providence Lodge.  Apparently he was buried in Rathvilly Cemetery though as there is a stone there to his memory erected by his son John. Memorial stone

His son, Rev. Irwin ref., became the Prebendary (Curate) of Inniscatty, Killaloe, co. Clare (1777-1842) but I'm more interested in his son John as he remained in the Ballickmoyler area.

The Reverend John WhittyWHITTY, Rev. John (1761-1843). Cut silhouette SOLD

John was born in 1760 or 61 in Queen's county, the second son and heir of the Rev. Edward Whitty and his wife Mary Beere.  It's not known yet exactly when Edward built Providence Lodge but John was resident there when a marriage bond was issued on Feb. 5, 1785 between John Whitty of Providence, Queen's county and Anne Groome of Castlecomer (both Protestants). ref: The Whitty Family

In 1791 he was appointed as the Rector of Ballytarsney in co. Kilkenny which is described as having no church and requiring no service as the parishioners were "two Protestant families, both gentlemen of property".  He resigned this position on Aug. 31, 1804. ref.

In 1798 during the United Irish Rebellion, the Protestant population of Ballickmoyler fled their homes and gathered at the Rev. John Whitty's home, Providence Lodge, just NW of town.  The rebels had rallied at Ballickmoyler and then marched on to Carlow but were turned back at the Craigue bridge and returned to Ballickmoyler.  Finding the Protestants had left the town they burned their houses and then attacked Providence Lodge with quite a significant loss of lives.  See Ballickmoyler in the 1798 United Irish Rebellion

Following the attack on his house in 1798 the Rev. John Whitty put in a compensation claim for 66d 4s 9p for the damage done to his house, furniture and hay and for the loss of some sheep.  In that compensation claim list you can also see the other claims for houses burned or damaged in Ballickmoyler including those of Joseph and William Bowles.

He seems to have moved to Carlow very soon afterwards and possibly settled at Rathvilly as his signatures are on documents as a Magistrate in co. Carlow from 1800. 

Here is a sample from the Pat Purcell papers  (click to enlarge)

He later assumed his father's appointments as the Rector of Rathvilly from 1804-44. ref.  His wife, Mrs. Anne Whitty (Anne Groome, see above), died on Feb. 22, 1826 in Rathvilly. memorial

In a repeat of his father's encounter with an agrarian resistance, John Whitty also pursued the policy of seizing livestock from tenants who were in default of their church tithes and was involved in at least two confrontations which required police and military intervention.  In these two cases he had succeeded in seizing the cattle but was prevented from selling them for profit.  These two articles are from the The Times (of London, England):

The Times June 27 1833, p1, Iss 15202
Ireland: Tithes: County of Carlow
The tithe sale held at Rathvilly on Saturday the 15th inst, on account of the Rev. Mr. Whitty (to attend which the extraordinary force of 30 of the 10th Hussars, 80 of the 43 foot and 80 police were ordered and led by Major Wallington) did not pass off without a riot.  About a thousand persons attended who shouted and yelled most vehemently as 4 cows belonging to Mr Gahan were put up to auction.  These were purchased eventually by the owner and the auctioneer was about to descend from his eminence when he was knocked down by a stone.  The Rev Mr Whitty ran to his aid and fell in the confusion.  The 10th Hussars then charged the crowd who dispersed in all directions and left the field to the military and police.

The Times Tues May 17 1836, p 3, Iss 16105
Ireland, Dublin, May 14
Tithes (From the Carlow sentinel)
On Saturday last, the day appointed to hold an auction at Rathvilly, on several head of cattle, distrained for tithes due to the Rev Mr Whitty, the peasantry assembled so early as 5 o'clock in the morning from all parts of the neighbouring counties.  Telegraphs were erected very systematically on the various hills between Rathvilly, Hacketstown and Castledermot, to give notice of the approach of the police, while horns were sounding in every direction within six miles of the scene of action.  ... The cattle were set up for auction amid the most savage yells and bid for by one of Mr Whitty's men.  This operated as a signal to commence an indiscriminate attack upon the devoted minister and his party which was accordingly made by a shower of stones and other missiles, when Giltrap, sen who bid for the cattle, fell having received a blow of a stone which fractured his skull, in the presence of the magistrate.  Mr Whitty's life was in imminent danger, but he providentially escaped unhurt.  A signal was then made for the police and military who ran to the spot in about 10 minutes, but by the preconcerted arrangements of the mob the cattle were carried off in triumph and the crowd dispersed before their arrival....


A similar event occurred when the Whitty's associate, the Rev. La Touche attempted to sell some sheep he had seized at Tenekill in Queen's county.  The Rev. John Whitty Sr.'s son, David La Touche Whitty was probably named after this gentleman.  See the Story of this event.

He remarried in 1829 to Jane St. George and died in Rathvilly in 1843. memorial  Biography


The following notes have been taken from The Pat Purcell Papers and are courtesy of Michael Purcell of Carlow:

Rev. John Whitty was a magistrate for Queen's County.
He was honoured by the Grand Jury in 1800 and recommended to Lord Cornwallis for saving the lives of 100 Protestant women and children during the attack on Ballickmoyler in May 1798.
He moved to Carlow with his family in later years where he is well documented.

     Whitty's signature is on several documents as magistrate in Carlow from 1800 until at least 1814


The following references can all be found by searching the EPPI site:
In 1820 John Synge, Sheriff of Wicklow filed a Criminal Information against Rev. John Whitty of Carlow.
The 1820 Papers Relating to the State of the Established Church of Ireland:
Rathvilly - rectory: Rev. John Whitty, has cure of souls; resides in the parish and discharges the duties himself
In 1821 a Supreme Court of Carlow Presentment in the Spring Assizes lists the Rev. John Whitty as the supervisor of 900 perches (a land measure) between Mr. Cummin's gate at Ricketstown and Judy Lee's crossroads in the Barony of Rathvilly. 
The 1824 List of Parishes in Ireland with the Names of Their Respective Incumbents lists:
Diocese of Leighlin: Rathvilly, co. Wicklow;  John Whitty, resident
The 1825 list of Unbeneficed Curates in the Diocese of Cashel and Emly lists John Whitty and also mentions a William Whitty at Rathvilly.  This is John's son.
The 1825 Account of Progress on Statistical Returns of Counties of Ireland (Carlow, Barony of Rathvilly) lists:
Clergy Resident Within the Barony: (both are also listed as Magistrates)
Rev. John and Rev. Thomas Whitty both in Richardstown, Rathmore parish
The 1833 Account of the Salaries and Emoluments of the Different Curates in Each and Every Benefice in Ireland:
Diocese of Leighlin, Rathvilly, William Whitty, salary £69 s4 d7 1/2, employed since Sept. 4, 1825, resident incumbent. 
The Next Generations
The following references from the EPPI site give some idea of the religious careers of some of Edward Whitty's other descendants:
The 1820 Papers Relating to the State of the Established Church of Ireland:
Tulloh - vicarage: Rev. John Whitty, A. B. resides in his Glebe House and attends the duty; has cure of souls (note: John Whitty in this and the subsequent references is Rev'd. Irwine Whitty's son John)
1823 Accounts Relating to The Church Establishment in Ireland: Appendix # 3 Sums advanced as Loans for building Churches; Killaloe and Kilfenora; 1813; Kilrush; £1,500 paid to Right Hon. J. O. Vandeleur and Rev. J. Whitty
1823 The 11th Report of the Commissioners for Auditing Public Accounts in Ireland:
£50 fever grant to Rev. J. Whitty for the exclusive purchase of medicine, and relief of the sick poor of the parish of Kilrush June 29, 1822.
The 1824 List of Parishes in Ireland with the Names of Their Respective Incumbents lists:
Diocese of Kilfenora: Archdeaconry; Rev. John Whitty, A. M., archdeacon; resident in Glebe-House
An Account of all Sums Applotted During the Year 1827:
Diocese of Emly: No. 32 Kilcooly; A sum of £1,846 sterling was assessed on the parish for the purpose of building a new church; John Whitty, curate. (I'm not sure which John this is)
Diocese of Killaloe and Kilfenora; No. 5 Kilrush Union; rates for several clerk's salaries plus some church repairs and £600 to build a new church in Kilrush parish; J. Whitty, incumbent.
The 1831 Report on magistrates in Commission of the Peace for co. carlow for 1831 includes:
Appointed by the lord Chancellor: Rev. John Whitty (Clergyman) and Thomas R. Whitty (Layman)
Appointed since 1810  Thomas R. Whitty
Superseded since the year 1810  Rev. Edward Whitty
(note: Thomas Ravenscroft Whitty was another son of Rev. Edward Whitty's; this reference appears incorrect as the Rev. Edward Whitty had died in 1804)
The 1833 Account of the Salaries and Emoluments of the Different Curates in Each and Every Benefice in Ireland:
Diocese of Cashel and Emly, No. 10, John Whitty, salary £150, appointed 7 years before, not resident, resident in glebe-house. 

John Whitty in co. Clare, Queen's co. and in co. Kilkenny in 1835 list of Clergymen in the Commission of the Peace; in Rathnelly co. Carlow in 1836 list.

1836 Return of the Names and Residence of Each Person in Ireland to Whom Licenses have been Granted to Keep Arms by the Magistrate at Quarter Session:
co. Clare; John Whitty; Kilmanaheen Glebe; issued by Crofton M. Vandeleur at Kilrush; licensed for: 3 guns, 1 sword, 4 pistols
co. Wexford; William Whitty; Ballintubbin; issued by Edward Kough at New Ross; licensed for 1 gun

Nov. 1846 Rev. John Archdeacon Whitty listed as a Magistrate in the "Extraordinary Session held at Corofin for the Barony of Inchiquin, co. of Clare" for the review of Poor Law Valuations.

Registrars etc. Return of 1860: Diocese of Killaloe and Kilfenora; The Vicar General of Kilfenora is the Venerable John Whitty, Archdeacon; resides at Ennistimon.
The 1874 Return of the Number, Names and Present Residences or Livings of Clergymen and Ecclesiastics:
Diocese of Kilfenora; Kilfenora; David LaTouche Whitty; residence: Kilfenora; Annual value of Living: £105

The 1876 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General upon the Account of the Commissioners of Church Temporalities in Ireland lists the Rev. Mr. William Whitty of Warrington-Place, Grand Canal as having been paid his life annuity despite having been dismissed by his Rector "on account of the tone of a letter which Mr. Whitty had addressed to him" as they ruled the dismissal had not been "his own willful default".

A 1910 listing of tenant evictions prepared for the British Parliament has the following two entries for Queen's co.:
John E. Whitty  at Gurthahoyle  evicted:   James Lawlor 1880
W. A. Cooper    at Ballickmoyler evicted:   James Tobin  May 24, 1884
My thanks to Ian Longworth for the contributions he made to this Whitty family history page.

This site was last updated 10/23/18