William Bayly Upton’s will

(Updated November 17, 2017)

Finding a will – even if it is a transcription – is a wonderful thing in Irish genealogy research. So many original wills and similar documents were lost in the fire at the Four Courts in Dublin during the Civil War in 1922.

Recently I found the transcription of the November 1861 will of William Bayly Upton, my 3X great-grandfather. I knew he had died on the 13th of January 1863 but had no idea what happened to his property and other possessions after that. Now I know something about that.

The transcription is part of a collection of wills that were registered in the District Registry for Waterford, which covered the counties of Waterford, Wexford and Tipperary. The volumes of transcriptions were kept in Waterford and are now being digitized and made available on-line by the subscription service Find My Past.

From looking at the lists of properties in Griffith’s Valuation published in 1850, I knew that William Bayly Upton lived in Cashel and had significant property in the town including houses, gardens and vacant lots on several streets and lanes branching off Main Street in the centre of the town. I was curious to know what he decided should be done with that after he died.

It was usual in most families for the sons, particularly the eldest son, to inherit their father’s property. But, as I have already explained in other posts, all five of William Bayly Upton’s sons died before he did. Two of his sons, William and David, had children. But, as far as I know, William’s two sons died as children. David had two sons; the younger one, Matthew Gilbert Upton, emigrated with his mother and sister Fanny to the United States after his father died in 1846. I think Matthew’s older brother William stayed in Tipperary and was not reliable (I will write about him on another occasion). William Bayly Upton’s youngest son, Bayly, died in 1852 and I believe he was unmarried. So William Bayly Upton had no Upton grandsons in Cashel that he could trust with his estate. He did have grandsons from his daughters’ families but they were not favoured in the first instance.

He also had a granddaughter Eliza Upton (my great-grandmother), who was living in Cashel in 1861. She was the daughter of William Upton. She is not mentioned in the will. Eliza married Lancelot Smith in June 1862 so maybe her grandfather thought she would be provided for through that marriage.

Interestingly enough, he decided to bequeath his real property and residual assets to two of his daughters – although he had three daughters (Prudence, Rebecca and Margaret). What was the reasoning behind this? I think Margaret was omitted because she was no longer living in Cashel whereas the other two were. Margaret, who married Thomas Ryall, died in Dublin in 1866.

Prudence Upton was the eldest daughter and she was married to Robert Charters (also often written as Chartres). She was born in 1798, by my calculation, so she was 63 years old when her father’s will was signed. This is what Prudence received:

I will and bequeath unto my daughter Prudence Charters all that and those houses in Chapel Lane viz. the house occupied and inhabited by herself and the three other houses above her and on the same side of the said street and which three houses I hold by lease under Margaret Harrington the third of said three houses is situate at the entrance into Lester’s lane and also the several eight houses and the void and empty spaces of ground extending from the house occupied by Patrick Ekins to Mrs. Dolan’s gate leading into her garden and the empty space extending from the other side of said gate to the houses occupied by John Ryan and the garden behind the house occupied by Michael Keefe, all which house and waste ground and garden I now hold under Abel Richard Woodroofe Esquire and here I have to state that the space over Mrs. Dolan’s gateway heretofore a room belongs to me and forms part of my lease

This is quite a complicated description that is hard to follow without a map.

So here are a couple of maps to give you an idea of where these properties were.

First is a modern map showing the centre of Cashel with Main Street going in a diagonal line. The Rock of Cashel, with its ancient church buildings is to the north of Main Street beside Rock Lane. The streets and lanes where William Bayly Upton had property were: Main Street, Friar Street (also written as Friar’s, Fryar, or Friary Street), Chapel Lane (now called Dominic Street), Lester’s Lane (not visible on this map), and Green House Lane (also not visible).

Ordnance Survey of Ireland modern map excerpt

The second map is a closer look at the centre of the town at about 1900. It shows more of the lanes as well as the streets. Lester’s Lane is identified as Lyster’s Lane, to the left of Chapel Lane. Green House Lane is not identified in this map either but may be what is called Quirk’s Lane, which leads into Main Street on the south side of that street.

Ordnance Survey of Ireland map excerpt c 1900

Rebecca Upton married Terence McGrath (later written as Magrath) in 1830. She was born around 1809 so she was about 52 when her father’s will was written in November 1861. Apart from one other bequest, Rebecca Magrath received the rest of the property, as follows:

And to my daughter Rebecca Magrath I will and bequeath all the rest of my property consisting of holdings in Fryar street, in said city of Cashel being the house in which John Dunn collar maker lives and the next house now a gateway held from me under a proposal by William Corcoran and the next house some time since occupied by Margaret McEnroe which property I hold under the late Mr. William Phelan as also the house and concerns which Mr. Thomas Carew holds from me under lease and which I purchased from Richard Lockwood Esq. at forty years purchase and also that portion of Green house lane in said city of Cashel which the said Mr. Thomas Carew holds under lease from me and which Garden is part of the property I hold in said Green house lane which I hold under lease from Thomas Dwyer Esquire Solicitor all which garden and houses in said Green house lane I will and bequeath to my daughter Rebecca Magrath being the Bakery house and two rooms one over Mr. Thomas Hayden’s kitchen and the second over a back room of the adjoining house and a house opposite to where Patrick Magrath lives in said lane both which places Mr. Thomas Hayden holds from me under leases also a house the said Mr. Hayden holds at a weekly rent of one shilling per week the rest of the houses in said Green house lane being held by weekly tenants and consist of twelve distinct houses and ten rooms in the large house I also will and bequeath to my daughter Rebecca Magrath the property partly in the Main street and Chapel lane which I hold under lease from the late Richard Wood Apothecary which consist of three houses once held by Catherine Farrel another held by Mrs. Dolan and the one in the lane by Michael Ryan barber and the fourth being in the lane called Chapel lane and next door to the house held by Michael Ryan the barber as aforesaid and the two houses held by Catherine Farrel and Mrs. Dolan in the Main street, in stating the houses held under the late Richard Wood Apothecary I mentioned at first any three houses instead of four which number I wrote over the word three as above

It seems to me that Rebecca got the bulk of the property from her father’s will. She was also named as the residuary legatee for any money that remained after other assets (including his books) were sold and his debts were paid.

The will also describes certain yearly rents that each daughter would have to pay to those who were the ultimate owners of specific pieces of property they would inherit.

Having stated which property was to go to Prudence and which to Rebecca, their father’s will then goes on to bind them as to who would inherit the property when they died. So, in the case of Prudence, her daughter Ellen Charters was to be the heir to her mother’s real property (assuming she had not sold it before then). Prudence Charters died in 1864, only about a year after she inherited the property from her father.

I have no information on the life of Ellen Charters and do not know if she married. I did find an Ellen Charters in the 1911 Irish census living in Kilshane townland, which is not far from Cashel. She was unmarried, aged 72, and a member of the Church of Ireland. I have not been able to find her in the 1901 census; that might help to confirm I have the right Ellen Charters.

The will further specifies that if Ellen died without any legitimate children, the property would then go to her cousin William Bayly Magrath, one of Rebecca’s children.

Rebecca Magrath was also tied as to whom she could bequeath the real property she inherited from her father. The will specifies that the property would then go to Rebecca’s two daughters Margaret and Rebecca “share and share alike” (in other words, split equally). Rebecca Magrath died in 1875 and probate for her will was granted in 1877 to her daughter Margaret who was recently married to John Evans Joyce. Margaret’s sister Rebecca must have died before 1877 because Margaret was the sole legatee.

Going back again to the original will, William Bayly Upton specifies that if his granddaughters Margaret and Rebecca Magrath died without legitimate issue then the property was to be shared equally between their brothers Terry and James Magrath. This provision would not have been activated because Margaret (Magrath) Joyce had several children. I will write about the Joyce family in another post later on.

Probate on the will of William Bayly Upton was granted to Rebecca Magrath, widow, on the 7th of February 1863.

It is tempting to speculate about why William Bayly Upton decided to favour some of his female descendants as his heirs but it is probably best not to do that. Of course, you can do so if you wish …

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