O’Brien Rare Coin Review: Coinage of the Cities of Refuge (Bandon 1646-49)

Bandon in 1641

The rural counties of Leinster, Munster and Ulster were sparsely populated by Protestant settlers that had been given land in recent plantations. In many places, the Catholic tenants that had previously worked the farms were still in the locality and subsisted as landless outlaws (woodkerne, or tories). When rebellion broke out, some were very quick (and brutal) to exact revenge on their usurpers. Reports of the violence was greatly exaggerated in order to garner financial and military support from London. Many of the troops sent to Ireland, enraged by these reports, were only too keen to reciprocate.

The 1641 Rebellion was particularly notorious for the atrocities committed by troops on both sides. Civilians were harshly treated and often executed on the spot. The 1641 Rebellion was particularly notorious for the atrocities committed by troops on both sides. Civilians were harshly treated and often executed on the spot. This woodcut, from Ulster, illustrates the general hysteria attributed the the propaganda. 

The fortified towns of Bandon Bridge and Kinsale were important refuges for Protestant farmers and their families who were fleeing from the armies of the Catholic Confederacy. Although the two armies splintered under a variety of commanders, some of their number were left to besiege the so-called Southern Cities of Refuge – Bandon Bridge being one of these.

The situation was made even more complex by the splintering of the Protestant armies into those loyal to Parliament, and those loyal to the king – and, in 1649, when Charles I was beheaded, some of the Protestant forces even defected en-masse to the Confederate side. When Cromwell invaded Ireland, another series of defections in either direction occurred.

Depositions of Bandon 1641-42

Ref# Name Location Occupation Persons Named in the Deposition Losses (numbers are £s)
822.46 Abbott, John Knockbrogan yeoman Brady, Luke;   Clear, Richard;  Burchill, Samuel;  O’Crowley, Tieg; 1000,
822.86 Abbott, Richard Tullyglass yeoman 493
823.13 Arthur, Thomas Murragh sawyer Palmer, William and son William Palmer (deceased) 54
823.165-8 Baldwin, Walter Granahoonick yeoman Barry, Garret;  Scot, Robert; 913
822.80 Bathurst, Robert Bandon hatter O’Connor;  Bryant, Walter;  Carty, Callaghan;  MacShane, Moragh;  Quarry;  Stroud;  Scott; Spenser;  Hill; Gibbings;  Stanley 246
825.66 Beamish, John Bandon yeoman Beamish, Francis;  O’Mahony, Ffynnin 66
824.168 Bernard, Francis Mishells [Mussells yeoman 1656
825.66 Berry, Mary Gaggin widow of Richard Berry 148
824.48-9 Boswell, Henry (Bosville) Cooltra [Callatrim] gentlemen Crowly, Crogher 346
824.48-9 Bennett, Jonathan Bandon-Bridge merchant Bennett, Thomas and George;  father Roger Bennett of Baltimore Castle stock, livestock
825.148 Bennett, Rebecca Clonakilty wife of Michael Bennett, tanner 116
825.128 Bull, William Kilbrogan hellier 75
823.128 Burlingham, William Skeemanish [Shevanish yeoman Reagh, McCarthy;  Roche, Patrick 147
825.108 Congdon, Marie Ballymoodan wife of Robert Congdon, yeoman 103
824.170 Deane, Joyce Bandon sevant to Mrs. Heazle, Arthur Bartram torture
824.170 Draper, Emma Ballymoodan widow of Draper, yeoman 85; home burnt
Ellwell, James Bandon yeoman Roche, Patrick;  Bayly, James; Crowly, Daniel; Wenford, Sibill; Lnae, Walter; Williams, Thomas livestock and money owed
824.170 Fenton, George Bandon-Bridge merchant Barry; Long; O’Donnovan; Jepson; Godall; Carthy; Cormack; Barry; White; Prout; Desmond; Sweeny; Hurly; Gallaway;  Norse;  Hangland; Tullagh; Coppinger; O’Sullyvane; Hussey; 1505
824.33 Fuller, Thomas Ballymoodan yeoman livestock, stock, 18 yr leases, 125
825.81 Fuller, Ralph Kilbrogan yeoman
822.198 Franklin, Thomas Bandon Butcher Sampson, Henry;  Hill, Thomas;  Best, Robert 143
824.71 Fleming, John Kilmacsimon gentleman Burrowes; 1107
825.142 Fryth, Thomas Cork/Kerry Archdeacon,
Justice of Peace
Rev. John Gardiner 0166
825.181 French Thomas Callatrim 26
823.169 Gordon, Valentina Bantry Spinster MacCarthy; Muskerry; Courcy torture
Galanure Enniskeane yeoman Cowly; O’Coughlan 83
824.50 Gates, Anne [Barber] of the Bog widow John Barber; William Barber
822.54 Holland, Hanora Enniskeane widow John Holland, blacksmith 59, loss of trade
Hodnett, Mary Burran Thomas Fuller
824.253-9 Hull, Sir William Scull Knight 7679, land, mortgages, leases
825.150 Howard, Daniel Bandon-Bridge yeoman 247
825.255 Hake, Tistram Kilpatrick yeoman 236.18
Hammett, John Kilpatrick yeoman 241
Jagoe, Brigit Cahergall O’Crowly, Arundel, husband murdered
823.51 Langton, John Bandon gentleman Ruffin, Bennett,chonock, Bryan, Trenman, Recroft, Sanders 474, leases,
823.98 Milner, Robert Silly Point, Kinsale murders leases
825.82 Nicholet, Charles Bandon 240, leases
823.111 Poole, Samuel Knocknamesle tanner Woods, Stowersm Whelpy chattels
Poole, Thomas Bandon yeoman Mac Donnell, MacMahowne, Shea, 40, leases
Popham, John Bandon-Bridge 42
823.14 Rubie, Thomas Muggah Weekes, Mahony murder
823.79 Radcliff, Judith wife Radcliffe, Cobb 113, murder
823.80 Richardson, William Castletown clothier 140
Saunders, Samuel Derrycool yeoman O’Mahowne, MacDonogh 154, chattels
824,85 Snary, John Bandon-bridge Rector MacCarthy, Mac Donogh, Canty, various
Smith, Michael Moskeigh Pickle, Weekes 90
Shepheard, Anthony Bandon provost Vine, Bastable, More, O’Sulllivan 120, trade
Tresilian, Richard Ballydoune merchant Reagh, O’Curtaine 70, farm
824.118/9 Turner, Henry Bandon burgess Quiales, business
Trenman, Christopher Shinagh Coombes chattels
822.62 Taylor, Anne Ballymoodan Nagel, Baylie, Welch, Roche, Cullane, O’Hara, O’Donovan, MacCarty, O’Hea 175
822.8 Woodroffe, John Bandon malster Fford, Hobbe, Trippet, Beecher, James, Clarke, Bennett, Glanville, Mason, Collet, Birney, Ffrench, John Phillips debts, goods, chattels, trade
Woodley, Andrew Bandon Woodley 530, chattels
823.55 Wood, William Caweb, (Carir Inshikeene) MacOwen, O’Sullivan, O’Norse, Reagh, Seymour, Wright, Field, Hungerford, Martyne trade, debts
824.171 Ware, John Nucestown yeoman 498
824.201 Williams, Anne Kilbrogan wife of Robert Williams,  MacWilliam, O’Herly chattels
825.155 Warner, Randall Kilcoleman gentleman leases
825.302 Waterman, Mabell Bandon wife of Jaocob 58

Scans of the original papers, maps and texts from these depositions can be viewed via the Trinity College Dublin website.

  • The Online Depositions Website
  • The 1641 Depositions (Trinity College Dublin, MSS 809-841) are witness testimonies mainly by Protestants, but also by some Catholics, from all social backgrounds, concerning their experiences of the 1641 Irish rebellion. The testimonies document the loss of goods, military activity, and the alleged crimes committed by the Irish insurgents, including assault, stripping, imprisonment and murder.
    • Propagandists, politicians and historians have all exploited the depositions at different times, and the controversy surrounding them has never been satisfactorily resolved.
    • Most importantly, these depositions give details about the settlement patterns of these Protestant newcomers as they built fortified mansions, villages, schools, and churches; cut down woods and drained and enclosed land; and nurtured the development of urban settlements and proto-industry (tanning, iron-making, glass-making, cloth-making and so on)

Bandon during the Great Rebellion 1641-52

The walled town of Bandon Bridge, circa 1620, shows the defensive nature of this important bridging point on the River Bandon

The walled town of Bandon Bridge, circa 1620, shows the defensive nature of this important bridging point on the River Bandon

Richard Boyle was appointed Privy Councillor for Ireland in 1613.  That same year he bought the lease for the town.  At that time Bandon was under constant attack from the conquered natives.  As a result, in 1620 Richard Boyle began the construction of a wall around its perimeter.

  • The wall took approximately five years to build and enclosed an area of 27 acres.
    • Most of the walls were nine feet thick and varied in height from thirty to fifty feet.
  • There were six round towers with additional defence provided by cannon.
    • The river openings were protected by iron flood gates and fences.
  • The gates were built within an archway capable of allowing the tallest cart-load to pass through.
  • They were of an imposing kind with beautiful architectural portals and strengthened with portcullises.
    • The bridge was built of stone and consisted of six arches.
  • Within the walls Boyle built 250 houses.
    • There were also three urban tower houses.

So proud was Boyle of his accomplishment that in he remarked

“my town of Bandon-Bridge is more encompass than Londonderry… my walls are stronger and thicker and higher”.

The main town was entirely Protestant (enforced by an early by-law) but suburbs containing Irish households were to appear near the southern part of the town even before the walls were finished. By 1623 the suburb in Cloghmacsimon townland had acquired the self-explanatory name of Irishtown. Things did not stay so geographically definite for long.

  • The ‘census’ of 1659 recorded a population of 846 at Bandon Bridge, 542 English and 304 Irish.
  • The Irish were presumably Catholics, a proof that Boyle’s ban on ‘popish recusants’ was less effective than had been claimed.

The plentiful supply of water from the River Bandon and its tributaries provided a basis for the growth of many industrial pursuits. Among the workers recorded in the early seventeenth-century were bakers, blacksmiths, butchers, carpenters, chandlers, cloth workers, comb-makers, coopers, curriers, cutlers, dyers, felt makers, glaziers, glovers, masons, metalmen, pewtermen, shoemakers, strainers, tailors, tanners, turners and weavers.

  • Bandon was one of the best defended settlements in Munster before the 1641 Catholic Rebellion and with its new walls and gatehouses, its own militia and a substantial garrison it was to prove more than a match for its assailants.
  • However, the effects of the rebellion were disastrous for Bandon.
    • Sealed off from the sea, its agricultural hinterland devastated and the town flooded with refugees, it could no longer effectively function as a trading centre.
    • Although it never fell to the Irish Confederates and their allies, it became an enclave in what remained essentially a no man’s land until the arrival of Cromwell.

The Bandon Farthing

1647 Bandon farthing - Obverse BB in circle, Reverse 3 castles, 1 above 2 in circle

1647 Bandon farthing – BB in circle, 3 castles, 1 above 2 in circle

  • Obverse: B. B, within a circle of small lozenges
  • Reverse: Three castles within a circle of small lozenges
  • This coin, which is struck upon an octagonal flan of copper, weighs 30 grains and is of rude execution
  • The letters B B represent Bandon Bridge, which was the original name of the town



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