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Saturday, 6 March 2010


Several of my family trees, a significant cluster, grew in the self-contained little forest of the Protestant Ascendancy in co Tipperary. Many of them have their roots in the soldiers whom Cromwell paid off with grants of land in Ireland when he had run out of money, or in the earlier plantation of Englishmen into that country by Elizabeth I. Sadleirs, Coopers, Bourchiers, Massys, Bakers … they were all there, and kept themselves very much to themselves, intermarrying rather more often than was probably good for them.

Chadwicks too. William Chadwick was the first of his line to settle in Ireland, taking advantage of the fall from grace of the Fitzgeralds of Ballinard to snap up their estate when it was put up for grabs in the 1650s. By some accounts he was an English gentleman of good standing who had to sell up in Lancashire after some political or family falling-out, taking advantage of the Cromwellian settlement to relocate out of harms way in Ireland.

Ballinard to the northwest of Tipperary is a near neighbour of Sadleirswells to the northeast. The Sadleirs of Sadleirswells (called Kingswells when the Chadwicks arrived and presumably by a more Irish name before that) had come over in Elizabethan times. Over the next two hundred years the families of Sadleir and Chadwick became very close indeed.

Settler William's granddaughter Grace Chadwick married Clement Sadleir, and Grace’s great great great grandson Richard William Ralph Sadleir (the chemist – see my earlier post) married Eleanor Wilhelmina Octavia Cooper (see my earlier post about her and the starter pack she left me).

Meanwhile his grandson William Chadwick had a grandson Richard “Parson Dick” Chadwick who married Margaret Sadleir, and Richard and Margaret’s granddaughter (you may have seen this coming) was none other than Eleanor Wilhelmina Octavia Cooper, my great great grandmother.

So I am related to settler William Chadwick through both his grandson William and his granddaughter Grace. Through the boy he is my 7x great grandfather, and through Grace's line (where they married sooner and younger) he is my 8x great grandfather.

William and Grace, his first two grandchildren, were named after him and his wife, Grace Goggin, whom he had met in England. This Grace was about four years William’s junior, and a ward of Chancery – what today we call a ward of court, which probably meant her parents had died and she was too young to inherit.

The Lord Chancellor of the day, under whose care she now fell, refused to sanction her marriage to William Chadwick – she was probably under age at least in some legal, moral or fiscal sense; and perhaps there were political disagreements between him and Chadwick which also affected the Chancellor’s judgement in those turbulent republican years.

But William and Grace were young and in love, and love will find a way. They fled to Ireland together, and Grace escaped detection as they travelled by concealing herself amongst William’s luggage – in a sack. It’s quite romantic really! And thanks to that sack, here I am nine or ten generations later.


  1. What a wonderful story! A real romance - I love the thought of her hiding the sack :-)!

  2. How on earth do you know she escaped hiding in a sack? Fab story.

  3. It's a family tradition, this story - who knows the truth of it but such stories are as important for their traditional telling as their truth!


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