John Hewson of Ennismore

The following extract is from “Memoirs Of The House Of Hewetson Or Hewson Of Ireland.” by John Hewson published in 1901. It’s largely here because it makes me smile, but it’s also here because John and Margaret Hewson are the great great great grandparents of Mary I.E. O’Bryen, who is in turn a first cousin three times  removed.


John Hewson, Esq., of Ennismore, co. Kerry, named in his father’s will ; spoken of in the county of Kerry as the “Rich Foreigner.” Married 23 Oct. 1737 Margaret, then in her 19th year, of Royal descent (born 1718, died at Ennismore House 28 July 1809, aged 91 years), seventh dau. of Maurice Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry, by his wife Elizabeth (whom he married 30 June 1703), second dau. of David Crosbie, Esq., and sister of Maurice, first Lord Brandon.

Ennismore, containing 1170 acres of land, was one of the residences of the “ Old Knights” of Kerry from about 1600 to the closing year of the seventeenth century, the “Grove,” near Dingle, being their principal one. In 1737 Mr. Hewson, upon his marrying the seventh of the nine daus. of Maurice Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry, leased the whole estate from his father-in-law, and his descendants still continue to live there.

The appellation of “ Rich Foreigner,” by which Mr. Hewson was known in Kerry, is thus explained.  Down to the closing year of the eighteenth century, and even later, so strong was the clan feeling in this county, and so remote was it from the rest of the most “advanced ” parts of the island, that the people there always spoke of the inhabitants of any other county in Munster and the other three provinces as “ Foreigners.” An old Kerry gentle- man, not long since deceased, used to say that the Hewsons of Ennismore in 1750 — 1770 were the wealthiest “ foreigners ” of that day in Kerry, their foreign origin being simply their arrival in Kerry from the next county, Limerick, in or about 1730.

The roads in many parts of Munster at that time were very bad, and both gentlemen and ladies were obliged to save time and trouble by traversing them on horseback instead of using carriages.

There is an old Kerry tradition that it was on a journey of this kind from Ennismore or its neighbourhood that Miss Fitzgerald first made her future husband’s acquaintance. The horse that she was riding from that place into Limerick falling lame or casting a shoe, she and her attendant groom were at a loss how to proceed, when a young gentleman (Mr. John Hewson) happened to pass by on a good steed, the loan of which he asked her to accept, and walked by her side to the house of her friend in the county Limerick. The acquaintance led to an attachment and the marriage of 1737, of which the issue was numerous, and there arrived at maturity three sons and six daughters.

Leave a Reply