Thursday, 27 July 2017

Third Bellew Reunion at Knockabbey Castle (Thomastown) 2009


   Third Bellew Reunion (July 25th 2009) Thomastown (Knockabbey), Ardee, Co Louth



The reunion started with Lunch at the Hunterstown Inn near Ardee for those who were travelling or simply made a full day of it! Henry had a copy of his tree that was prepared by a friend in Cork. Sean also joined us. Then it was off to Thomastown and by 3 p.m. everyone had arrived. Cyril O’Brien our host was also around to welcome people. Henry was the first to scale the fifteenth century tower house. Fifty nine attended.



                                                     Thomastown Castle (Knockabbey)

Seamus had a presentation ready that mentioned the various families represented at the gathering from Armagh, Galway, Louth, Meath, Sheffield, Ohio and our guests from New Zealand. Geraldene and Frances O’Reilly made it all the way to earn an applause. They had an O’Reilly interest in Knockabbey and were parishioners of Fr Keane, grandson of Bridget Bellew. The early monastic connections of Knockabbey were mentioned as were the Bellew, Tenison, Evans and O’Reilly families. The tower houses at Castletown, Barmeath and Knockabbey all date from the same era. Bryan and Rosemary also mentioned that the tower house at Barmeath built by the Moores, is now incorporated into the rest of the castle and showed us its position on the slide. Mary and her son Francis were welcomed and Paul (R.I.P.) was remembered who was with us the last time. Next it was time for a look around the gardens and the house. The original tower house built in the 1400s by the Bellews and it is well kept and Cyril O’Brien has added displays in keeping with the period. The later part of the house with a chimney dated 1754 has been refurbished by Cyril with period furniture. The original contents were sold in the 1998 auction. The O’Reilly hallway with its restored stained glass was also taken in. The gardens were also looking great.



The first Bellewstown Gang!

Then it was back for a very interesting talk from Sean McCartan on Knockabbey. This covered the twists and turns of the ownership of the estate from 1728 when Patrick Bellew bequeathed it to his niece, Mary McCartan and her husband Philomon. Their daughter, Ursula in 1744 married James Savage and Knock Abbey was part of their nuptial agreement.  

In 1750 Ursula remarried William Stafford. Philip Savage, son from the 1st marriage, reckoned he could be disinherited and converted to Protestantism. As a precaution, William Stafford in 1764 arranged with his Protestant friend, Thomas Hoare to lodge a discovery on Knock Abbey and Mountbellew. Philip sold his interests in the estates in 1780 to Michael Bellew. He died in 1782 a year after Michael Bellew found the Hoare discovery. Bellew and Andrew Savage acted in unison with James Smyth as their attorney. Christopher D. Bellew inherited his father’s real estate in 1797. 

Ursula died in 1803 outliving both her husbands and sons. She bequeathed Knock Abbey and Mountbellew to her grand-daughter, Frances Stafford. Michael Bellew and Matthew O’Reilly were tenants in Mountbellew and Knock Abbey respectively. By 1808/9 Frances became ill and dependant on James Cahill a legal person and he succeeded in negotiating an agreement between Frances and Christopher D. Bellew, receiving an approval by the court. Her health deteriorated and in her final weeks she became aware of James Cahill’s roguery. She bequeathed her interest in Knock Abbey to Mary McCartan and her husband John Murray. In 1813 a final settlement was reached when the O’Reilly’s as tenants bought the estate at Knockabbey.



The other Bellewstown gang!


Seamus & the New Zealand visitors


Com'on Armagh


 The Galway contingent


Sheffield, U.S.A. and Barmeath representation


Louth out in force!



Somebody has grown-up in eight years!! (2017)





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