D) The document reveals that Laurence lived with his wife in Ferns, a very small and ancient townland in the north of County Wexford. Ferns was one of the first Christian places of worship in Ireland, and was the seat of the McMurrough Kavanagh family, Kings of Leinster. One of the witnesses when asked by Butler where she was during the rebellion, replied that she was mostly at his house, but at the time he was taken away she was in “a back house”. Whether this implied there were multiple dwellings is difficult to determine. One would assume that most of the residents of this small village consisting of one long street, would have been born in the local vicinity. There was no known industry in Ferns which is surrounded by farmlands and forests, but the nearby forests may have been the source of the timber used in his cabinet making business. He may also have been employed in fitting out the very large house being constructed at that time for the Protestant Bishop of Ferns, known as St Aiden's or The Palace.
It is unlikely that Laurence moved to Ferns from a distant region, but he may have come from another part of Co Wexford.
In a 'List of persons who suffered Losses of Property, in the County of Wexford in 1798', published in 1800. a George Butler is listed, occupation: 'mason'; residence: Ferns; place loss sustained: Residence; nature of loss: bed, bedding, wearing apparel, provision, gun; sum claimed £24.7s.1d.; sum allowed- blank.
(Source- Find My Past). It would be interesting to know if, and how closely this George Butler was related to Laurence Butler.
However, Fr. Redmond in his letter of 30 June 1798, explained the situation about the Heydons in a very different light. While admitting that the rebels had plundered these two houses, even under his censure, he acquitted Lewis Bulger of complicity, saying that Bulger had " your interest at heart very much" and had lodge her belongings along with his own in Mr Gough's house at Milltown, but soldiers who had encamped there on the Bishop's lawn plundered Mr Gough's house and "did not leave a sixpence behind them belonging to any person."
(Ref. Musgrave Depositions, Trinity College Dublin- courtesy of W. Sweetman.)
Laurence submitted a statement of defence which has been lost. It was probably similar to the written defence statement submitted by fellow rebel Michael Murphy who was transported on the Friendship in 1799/80. His trial took place at Waterford City in July 1799.
Murphy's Defence Statement listed:
The victim referred to, could have been one of two possible contenders. A man named J. Chamney was on a list of murdered Protestants in Musgrave’s “Memoirs”. He was from Horetown, between Wexford Town and New Ross, just west of Taghmon. However, Musgrave includes ‘J. Chamney from Horetown’ on the “List of Protestant Inhabitants of the Parish of Ferns Murdered in the Rebellion”. Horetown is not in the Parish of Ferns, so why Chamney was included on this list is unclear, unless he was murdered in the Ferns Parish. Maybe he was part of the Yeoman Militia units in the area. .
Whether he was related to Laurence is also unknown.
Contact email address: butler1802 @hotmail.com (NB. no spaces)
Link back to Introduction:
Links to all the chapters in this blog:
The 1798 rebellion
Laurence Butler's trial for his role in the Rebellion
Analysis of Butler's trial
Laurence Butler at the Battle of Tubberneering
Laurence Butler's imprisonment
Butler's life and family in Wexford
Laurence Butler's transportation to Sydney in 1802 on the Atlas 2
Conditions on Convict Ships
Life as a convict in Sydney
Laurence Butler's property investments in Pitt Street Sydney
Sydney Town in 1800-1810
Laurence Butler's petitions to the Governor
Laurence Butler's 100 acre land grant in District of Petersham
Butler's membership of the Commercial Society of Sydney
Laurence Butler's court cases
Laurence Butler's business interests in Sydney
Laurence Butler's cabinet making business
Laurence Butler's property investments in Sydney
Laurence Butler's colonial family
Laurence Butler's death in 1820
Laurence Butler's issue- Walter, Lawrence Junior and Mary Ann
The Catholic Community of Sydney up until 1820
Genealogy- Butler's possible ancestry and possible descendants in Ireland, and BDM records
Butler's fellow Irish rebels transported to Sydney
Conclusion about the life of Laurence Butler