Last updated on 27/02/2014
Genealogy and History of Two Berry Families of County Westmeath and King’s County, Ireland
Page 1. Compiler’s Introduction
This website, first posted in February 2006, deals with the genealogy of two initially unrelated Anglo-Irish Berry families. Their history reflects that of the Protestant Ascendancy class generally – accumulation of property, wealth and status, followed by its loss under the Irish Land Acts and migration from Ireland, mainly to the British Colonies. It deals chiefly with the descendants of Thomas Berry (c. 1670-c.1728) who settled in Co. Westmeath, Ireland and is the earliest member of this Berry lineage for whom I have documentary evidence. This family, originally based at Broadwood and later Eglish Castle, I have termed the “Eglish Family” (see map below). The first record of the progenitor of the other Berry family was in1659, when John Berry was registered in the census at Clonhane, in King’s County. Clonhane later became known as Dovegrove and I refer to this family as the “Dovegrove Family”. In 1759, Thomas Berry (1737-1815) of the Eglish family married Frances Berry (1743-1807) of the Dovegrove family. This (now combined) Berry family reached its pinnacle of achievement with the acquisition in 1776 of a country house called Eglish Castle, and extensive land holdings in the Barony of Eglish and elsewhere in the vicinity. Eglish Castle and associated land was sold 100 years later by Thomas’ grandson, Rev. William Berry (1850-1920) under the Irish Land Acts (see page on Eglish Castle).
Two Coachman’s maps from Taylor and Skinner’s Maps of the Roads of Ireland surveyed 1777, showing Eglish Castle and Church, residence of Barry (sic ) Esqr. (top left of map 86) and Duff grove (sic ), residence of Berry Esqr. (bottom left of map 87).
My Eglish family genealogy and what I know about the Dovegrove family is summarized in two trees (which also show the intermarriages between the families). Computer-generated summaries by generation of the descendants of John Berry (?-1677; progenitor of the Dovegrove Family) and Thomas Berry (c.1670-c.1728; progenitor of the Eglish Family) are also presented. However, in the case of the Eglish Family a large number of branches resulted from the fact that the second Thomas Berry (1737-1815) had 16 children, 10 of whom left descendents. I have therefore dealt with the descendants of each of these 10 children on seperate pages as they gave rise to several major family branches, some of which persist to the present.
My interest in my family history stems from embarrassment as a child about my second name ‘Fleetwood’. This embarrassment was not shared by my own children, thanks to the pop band “Fleetwood Mac”, which apparently made it a ‘cool’ name to have. Later I became intrigued as to its origins and pervasiveness as a name amongst our family, with no satisfactory explanation proffered except a vague family legend that ‘Fleetwood’ conferred evidence of our descent from Oliver Cromwell. It turns out that this is a myth (no doubt avidly propagated by my Ascendancy forebears)! We are actually descended from Thomas Fleetwood of Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath, whose ancestor was a Royalist uncle of Cromwell’s Lord Deputy.
Most of the information presented is based on the prodigious genealogical research of Dr Lorton Wilson (1879-1958), who married Kathleen Emily Berry (and which presumably resulted in his particular interest in her Irish Berry family). The bulk of the original Wilson manuscripts are lodged in the library of the Irish Genealogical Research Society (I.G.R.S.) London. The I.G.R.S. recently made digitized copies of the manuscripts available on CD. This has enabled me to supplement information obtained earlier though the assistance of Peter Manning of the I.G.R.S. Other Wilson information was accessed from the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland and from a scroll owned by the Button family, which contains a handwritten Berry family tree constructed by Lorton Wilson. This scroll, which probably represents a summary of his manuscripts, consists of 15 joined sheets of paper each measuring 68cm long by 43cm high and is over 10m long! Unless otherwise stated, the source for the information presented here is the relevant Lorton Wilson manuscript, or the scroll.
The primary object of this project is to elicit input in the form of further information, biographical material and comment, particularly from descendants of these Berry families. I would ideally like to include for each individual at least dates, country of residence and occupation. However, biographical information would be welcome (and desirable for the sake of interest). Information provided will not be posted without the provider’s consent. Correction of errors would be welcomed – Lorton Wilson’s handwriting (and typewriting) is not always legible. He used abbreviations liberally, particularly for military ranks and affiliations, many of which are unknown to me. I have used a ? in instances where I have not been able to decipher what he has written. However, I will have made some errors in interpretation.
The project is also intended to be a tangible tribute to Lorton Wilson, who’s prodigious genealogical research made it possible. The fact that he went to considerable lengths to record his research and to ensure that it was lodged in appropriate libraries in England and Ireland indicates that he wanted it to be used by others. The internet enabled me to discover the existence of Lorton Wilson and his work. It seemed appropriate therefore, not only to make my compilation on Berry genealogy available on the www, but also to include a biography on him. A short factual account of his life has already been given by Giles Armstrong in his Hallows Genealogy website. It has been my intention to obtain and add some more personal information about Lorton Wilson on this site. This has been facilitated through contact with his descendants, James, Christopher and Andrew Button and particularly his daughter, Ethne.
In August 2013, corrections were made to the place and date of death for Sophia Berry (Tomlinson) and to the order of birth of her children. I am grateful to Terence O'Connor for providing the correct information.
In March 2013 I added the DNA haplotype of another Berry with a long family history in Devon to the Before Ireland page.
In September 2011 I made my first ever visit to Ireland and Eglish where I took the oportunity to draw a plan of the Berry burial enclosure and record all the gravestone incriptions (see the Eglish Castle page which has been updated). I also sketched floor plans of the Eglish Castle/house. A highlight of my visit was locating and photographing 26 letters written between 1795 and 1800 to Robert Berry, mostly by his mother Frances and older sister, Hester Smith, but also from his father, Thomas and brother, Sterling. Robert, aged 17, was away from home at the time, serving an apprenticeship in the linen trade in Liverpool.
More information is still needed on the Dovegrove Berry family to confirm whether this family is extinct in the male line.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the following people who have contributed information used here:
The Button family - Andrew, Ethne, Christopher and James Button, as well as Ann Anderson (née Button) for access to information, documentation and images of portraits in their possession. The images of Thomas Berry and the Berry arms are courtesy of Ann.
Cameron Berry and Charles Berry for information on the Canadian branch of the family.
Gordon and Theresa Berry for information on the New Zealand branch of the family, as well as images of portraits and photographs in their possession. The image of Sterling Berry is courtesy of Gordon and Theresa.
Robert B. D. Hughes for additional information on the Homan-Mulock descendants.
Douglas Berry and Bruce Trewin who contributed additional information on the descendants of Marlborough Parsons Berry.
Nick Reddan copied the Lorton Wilson manuscript on Robert Fleetwood Berry for me.
Christina Sterling-Berry provided information on her family.
Julie Jewell provided additional information on the Victorian descendants of William Winslow Berry, as did Alison Thomson, Stanley Berry and David Berry.
Patricia David (née Hetherington) kindly supplied photographs of Eglish Castle.
Fleet Berry provided a copy Natalie Berry’s family genealogy.
Kathy Cottam (Dillon) sourced new information on Marlborough Simon Berry and his descendants and provided the image of him.
Nancy Sparks (Frank) provided additional information on the descendants of Alicia Frances Fetherstonhaugh.
Andrew Gauntley and Kevin Marriott provided additional information on the Marriott family.
William Willis and Mary Hyndman contributed information and images of members of the Dovegrove Berry family.
Sam and Robert Alexander, present owners of Eglish, for their hospitality and for their assistance with exploring Eglish Castle/house and interpreting my floor plans.
Brian Pey for photographing a watercolour painting of Eglish now in the possession of Mrs Pat Alexander and Lorraine Wilson for painting the copy of Brian's photograph for me.
I can be contacted on: padberry1“at”westnet.com.au . [To be typed using the usual email symbol for “at”.]
Anon. 1881. ed. Frederic Thomas Colby. The Visitation of the County of Devon In the Year 1564.
Anon. ed. Joseph Jackson and Frederick Arthur Crisp: Visitation of Ireland.
Bewley, Sir Edmund T. (1877-1921): An Irish branch of the Fleetwood family. The Genealogist xxiv :217-241
Bewley, Sir Edmund T. (Ed) 1908. Some Royal Descents of The Families of Fleetwood, Berry, and Homan-Mulock. 15pp. Printed for private circulation by Ponsonby & Gibbs, University Press, Dublin.
Church of Ireland. The representative Church Body Library. Clerical Succession Lists of the Church of Ireland.
Claude Beddington, Mrs. 1929. All That I Have Met. 286pp. Published by Cassell and Company Ltd.
Clergy of Dublin and Glendalough Biographical Succession Lists by Canon J.B. Leslie and revised, edited and updated by W.J.R. Wallace.
Crockford’s Clerical Directory 1898.
Clow (Berry), Natalie Kathleen. 1996. Geneology of Reverend John Berry 1858-1921 (including his ancestors and descendants).
Pey, Brian (ed) 2003. Eglish and Drumcullen A Parish in Firceall. 435pp. Published by Firceall Heritage Group.
Wilson, L.A. Unpublished manuscripts lodged with the Irish Genealogical Research Society, London and the Public Records Office, Northern Ireland.
Berry DNA Project
Irish Genealogical Research Society