Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Pat Purcell Papers
Bunbury documents extract
Disturbed Carlow Duplicators in 1798
By kind permission of Michael Purcell
Page 4 Page 5 PAGE 6

Introduction by Michael Purcell to Lists from 1798 which have never been published before.
Bunbury documents extracted from the Pat Purcell Papers, 2nd February 2007.

In 1797 the British Administration in Ireland made a concentrated effort to break up the "illegal, seditious and evil-disposed organisation known as the United Irishmen". The previous year (1796) two bills were passed in Parliament "The Indemnity Bill" and "The Insurrection Act" which increased the powers of the local magistrates. Also in 1796 power was given to arrest suspected persons and to imprison them for an unlimited period without charge. Under the Insurrection Act the lord lieutenant, Lord Camden, was empowered to proclaim any county to be "in a state of disturbance". In May 1797 the country was placed under Martial Law and parts of Leinster , including Carlow, were proclaimed as being in a disturbed state. The magistrates now had power to order searches, torture, curfew and to sentence "idle and disorderly persons" to serve in the fleet. Information was sought on illegal assemblies, literature, posters, arms and strangers seen in any area were to be reported.

In Carlow the magistrates decided to administer an Oath of Allegiance to King George the Third, as "a Test" under an Act which had been passed in 1774. The original Oath of nearly 400 words was tailored down by Carlow magistrate Benjamin Bunbury to a mere 27 words in the document displayed and transcribed below. The writing is in the hand of Benjamin Bunbury who travelled about the county from the 21st November to the 27th November 1797 to collect the "marks" and signatures of 97 "able bodied" men in an attempt to commit them under sacred Oath to be loyal to King George the Third and the Laws of his Kingdom.

Most of the men recorded on the List claimed to be unable to write, (although this may have been a ploy with the same reasoning that de Valera adopted 130 years later when in 1927 he declared the Oath of Allegiance to King George the Fifth an "empty political formula" because he refused to read it before signing?), (my own personal hunch!) one way or the other many of those who did subscribe to Bunbury's List were , we can be sure, already sworn members of the United Irishmen . It was said that many took the Oath to the United Irishman with one hand and the "oath" to the King with the other!. they became known as "The Duplicators" but the reality for many of them was that their true loyalty was to the United Irishmen. We know this because out of over twelve hundred names listed many of those named died during or were executed or deported following the Rising of 1798.

We can see from the Lists that Bunbury called to various farmers on successive days and it appears that the farmer lined up the men to take the Oath. Many would have been coerced into signing, besides under the recently passed Acts of Parliament if they refused they could be arrested and imprisoned without trial . The zealous Magistrate Bunbury collected over 400 names altogether between 21st. November and 29th December 1797. (On 16th December 1797 a French Fleet with 15,000 troops sailed for Ireland but due to bad weather the mission was abandoned). I hope to publish more of the Lists in the future , they are an excellent census substitute for researchers and a tangible reminder of "disturbed" times in Ireland.

I, A. B. do Take Almighty God and his only Son Jesus Christ my Redeemer to Witness that I will be Faithful and Bear True Allegiance to our most Gracious Sovereign Lord King George the Third and him will Defend to the utmost of my power against all Conspiracies and attempts whatever that shall be made against his Person Crown & Dignity and I will to my utmost Endeavours to disclose and make Known to his Majesty & his Heirs all Treasons and Traitorous Conspiracies which may formed against him or Them and I do Faithfully promise to Maintain Support and Defend to the Utmost of my power the Succession of the Crown in his Majesty's family against any person or Persons Whatsoever.

So help me God

Persons Names His Mark Place of Abode Addition
John X Bambrick   Kellystown Cooper 21st Nov 1797
Patrick X Querney  


Labourer 22nd Nov 1797
John X Smith   !! !!
William X White   !! !!
Patrick Kennedy X !! !!
David Byrne X !! !!
Owen Nolan X Ballymogue !!
John Lyons X Templepeter !!
James Bolger   Moyle Farmer 23rd Nov 1797
Michael Whelan X Moyle Labourer
John Headon   Kellystown Farmer
James Headon   Kellystown Farmer
John Dowling X !! Labourer
John Ryan X !! Labourer
John Lawler X !! !!
Farnand O'Gorman X !! Farmer
John Hollagon X !! Labourer
Dan Whelan X !! !!
Garth Doyle X !! !!
Pat Gorman X !! Labourer
Edward Eustace X !! !!
James Hughes X !! Farmer 24th Nov 1797
John Cullen X !! Labourer
Timothy Hanlan X !! !!
John Hanlan X !! !!
James Maloy X !! !!
Darby Pendergrass X !! !!
Michael Pendergast   !! !!
James Cantwell   !! Farmer
John Lawler X !! Labourer
Edward Lawler X !! !!
Christopher Hanlan X !! !!
Dan Hollagon X !! !!
Thomas Cantwell X !! !!
Pat Neary X !! !!
Thomas Headon X Kellystown Labourer
Michael Lawler X !! Farmer 24th Nov 1797
Patrick Kinsella   !! !!
Andrew Hennessy X !! Labourer
N.P. Hennessy X !! !!
Patrick Byrne X !! Farmer
Michael Byrne X !! Farmer
William Hennessy X !! !!
Michael Hennessy X !! Labourer
Dan Byrne X !! !!
Pat Cavanna X !! !!
Pat Hennessy X !! !!
John Donohoe X !! !!
John Hennessy X !! !!
John Macguire X !! !!
Pat Kelly   !! Farmer
Redmond Maher X !! !!
John Byrne X Rathtoa Labourer
Andrew Dunn X Kellystown !!
Andrew Boile X !! !!
Morris Tallant X Rathtoa Taylor
Patrick Cummins X !! Labourer
Michael Charty X !! !!
James Keff X !! !!
Pat Walsh X !! !!
Dan Keff X !! !!
John Carthey X !! !!
Murty Bulger   Moyle Farmer
Sam Hollagon X Kellystown Carpenter
Owen Nail X Rathtoa Labourer
Sam Nail X !! !!
Denis Gainor X !! !!
Sam Gainor X !! !!
Thomas Ryan X Kellystown !!
Pat Poor X !! !!
James Eustace X !! !!
Darby Bryan X Moyle Labourer
Thomas Cummins   Kellystown !! 26th Nov 1797
Edward Timings X Moyle !!
Michael Nowlan X Moyle !!
Sam Gorman X Kellystown !!
Patrick Kehoe X Ballycrogue !!
William Dowling X Kellystown !!
William Nowlan   !! Farmer 27th Nov 1797
Abraham Byrne X Ballycurragh !!
John Slaughtery X !!


Peter Eustace X Kellystown


William Coughlan X Killcool


Cornelus Bulger   Kellystown


James Byrne X !!


Patrick Hallagan   Ballycurragh Carpenter
William Do-ley   Rathtoa Smith
Thomas Mulhall X Rathtoa Smith
John Mc Evoy X Ballingown Labourer
Pat Murrey X Ballycorgue Labourer
John Murrey X !!


Pat McEvoy X !!


Laurence Cumings X !! Farmer
Pat Cumings X !! Farmer
Pat Lawler X Rathrush


I certify that the Ninty Seven persons named in this List came before me one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Carlow & took & subscribed the Oath of Allegeance & Declarion prescribed by an Act of Parliament & passed in this Kingdom in the 13th & 14th year of the Reign of his Majesty King George the 3rd entitled an Act to enable his Majesty's Subjects to testify their Allegeance.

Moyle, 27th Nov 1797 B. Bunbury.

Note: Where there is no 'X' mark it suggests that the person signed their own name. The 'X' mark suggests that the names were recorded in the hand of the magistrate and their "marks" added by the men themselves. All had their own style of 'X' or mark.

The above is a true and accurate transcript of the original document.
Transcribed by: Michael Purcell  c2007

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