Ballycarrane House, Thurles

Ballycarrane House, Thurles

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Thoughts on the Origins of the surname Bray with particular emphasis on the Brays of Tipperary.

Edward  MacLysaght said of the surname Bray that it was of dual origin; Bray may be a toponymic, de Bré (in Cornwall; seldom Bray, Co. Wicklow) also modernised Bree; or the Irish Ó Breaghdha (indicating a native of Bregia, a territory in Meath, formerly well known in Muster (i.e, native Irish).[1]
The Reverend Patrick Woulfe wrote: de Bree, de Bre, de Bray, Bree, Bray; i.e.,' of Bree,' in England, or ' of Brie,' in Normandy, or possibly ' of Bray ' in Co. Wicklow (Irish Bri).[2]
The Brays appear to have a played in prominent role in the history of Clonmel, County Tipperary. The name appears in many documents in the 16th century.  Clonmel was a Norman town and it is likely that the name Bray in Clonmel had Norman origins.
14 Jul. 1588
"Pleas held at Clonmel before John Bray, esquire, soveriegn
of Clonmel and seneshcal of the Liberty, and his fellows, on 
Tuesday next after the feast of SS. Peter and Paul in the 30th
year of Elizabeth in the assizes there."[3]
In 1632 they were still using the Norman form of address in Clonmel.
John Bray FitzThomas FitzEdmond, Clonmel Esq. Burgess, bequeath my soul to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost three persons in one Trinity and the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Marie and to all the Holy Company of Heaven and my body to be buried with my ancestors in the Holy Conf of St. Francis his Monastery in Clonmel. I have enfeoffed my nephew John Lee of City of Waterford and Peter Con… of Clonmell merchant of all the    barns, yards, gardens, meadows, pasture lands, tenants etc in Co. Tipperary … to have  … and deed of feoffment bearing date thirteenth day of March in the present year of the prosperous reign of King Charles over England, Scotland, Fraunce  and Ireland the year from the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ 1631 … at large may and doth appear.
To my two daughters Christian Bray and Kate Bray one hundred Pounds of … in England…
To Michael Bray FitzPiers FitzThomas of Clonmel (1st to John, then his son Michael, then to Michael his son and then to his own brother James, then to his cozen Piers Bray FitzMichael…
I do will devise bequeath to my said  son John Bray my silver salts, my silver tester (or taster) six silver spoons, two high bed stools with their  … and furniture all my tables, carpets, cushions, stools, forms, chayres, cupboards, chests, my harpe, tables, the great Crucifix or picture I lent Mr Richd Wadding of Waterford deceased and my … etc
To my well beloved wife Beale Bray alias Lee for and during her natural life and the  … brought unto me by her out of Waterford on our intermarriage and also the rest … of the said saults, tester and spoons which my said son  is without household his keeping them. I also will and appoint that my said son John Bray shall have and receive the gould Jewell bequeathed by my father unto me which now my sister Anne Bray has after the decease of my said Sister.
…(?) Executor his son and heir apparent John Bray and appoint my cousins Mr Piers Bray and brother Mr Thomas Bray.
John Bray of this my last will and testament to  …. Executors the fifth day of April in the year from the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ 1632.
John Bray. Signed and sealed in presence of James Bray, John Brahynoke (?), Christian Bray, John Bray.[4]
Members of the Bray family in Clonmel were later dispossessed of their property.
John Bray: Burgess of Clonmel, Conf. Kilkenny and M.P. Clonmel in St.(?) James II parliament, lived at Garondillon in 1677: he had forfeited under Cromwell and by deed of 26 Mar 1669 was demised 478 acres in Knockballymallow/Knockballynemollogh for term of 31 years, by Thomas Juxon.
Dates vary for the dispossession. The year 1691 is also mentioned in accounts. According to William P. Burke in his History of Clonmel ‘after the Restoration the Brays made a vain attempt to recover their property in Kilsheelan Street and elsewhere in the town. They subsequently obtained a farm from Captain Mathew at Galberstown, near Thurles. Captain Mathew was George Mathew, half brother of the 1st Duke of Ormond, a local landlord who held many thousands of acres of land in Tipperary. He resided at Thomastown Castle, County Tipperary. The Mathews were originally from Llandaff in Wales.
The Bray name is also found in Fethard, County Tipperary. The history of Fethard is inextricably linked with the Normans, and in particular with William de Braose, nephew of Philip de Braose.  Fethard remained in his possession until 1208.
Archbishop Thomas Bray of Cashel [1749-1820] was born in Fethard, the son of John Bray a wine merchant. John Bray was born in Fethard in about 1710 and was the son of Francis Bray who served as Constable to the Fethard Corporation in the early 1700s. There do not appear to be any earlier records of the Bray name in Fethard. Did they come from Clonmel like the Brays of Thurles, or could Francis have come from Cornwall where the name is common? His grandson James later became a doctor of medicine in Falmouth, Cornwall. Was this simply a coincidence? Or could the Brays of Fethard have a different origin as descendants of the founder of Fethard, the Norman William de Braose?







[1] The Surnames of Ireland, Edward MacLysaght. Dublin, IUP, 1973.
[2] Irish names and Surnames, Rev. Patrick Wolfe. Dublin, Gill, 1923.
[3] The State Papers of Ireland
[4] Bray wills, Four Courts Dublin, copied by me I.R.B.Jennings 17 Nov 1890.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Mary Bray [abt. 1769 - ], Thurles, County Tipperary


Mary Bray was the daughter of Luke Bray of Galberstown, County Tipperary and his wife Mary Phillips. She was the granddaughter of Samuel Phillips of Foyle, County Kilkenny, and Sarah Max of Gaile, County Tipperary.
Mary was a minor when her father died in 1774. She is mentioned in his will:
Luke Bray, bequeathed his interest in Galbertstown Co Tipperary to his Executrix his wife Mary  Phillips in trust for his son John Bray - and to herself £40 p. a. - until her son (John) is 21 yrs of age - and thence to Samuel Edmond Luke and Robert., to each of whom he leaves £200. To his daughters, Eleanor and Mary Bray £300 each at 21 yrs age marrying with their mothers consent.
Nothing more is known of Mary Bray.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Eleanor Bray [about 1767 - ], Thurles, County Tipperary.

Eleanor Bray was the daughter of Luke Bray of Galberstown, County Tipperary, and his wife Mary Phillips.
Nothing further is known of Eleanor Bray.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Edmond Bray [1761- ]

Edmond Bray was the third son of Luke Bray of Galberstown, County Tipperary and his wife Mary Phillips.
Part of the Will of 1777. Will of Thos Max of Killough -made 14 Mar 1777. Codicil.:
…Edm Bray & his heirs, son of Mrs Mary Bray, to have profits of Carrow subject to £21p.a willed to Mrs Mary Bray, by my brother James Max.
Edmond’s grandmother was Sarah Max of Gaile.
He married Mary Keating in 1781.[1]


[1] Ireland Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage Licence Bonds indexes 1623-1866

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Mary Bray and Biddy Bray [1795 - ], Ellen Bray [1797 - ], John Bray [1800 - ], Thurles, County Tipperary

 Mary and Biddy Bray were born and baptised  in Thurles, County Tipperary in 1795, twin daughters of Luke Bray and Anstice Cormack. Sponsors at their baptism were  Alice Bowe, Thomas Cormac and Biddy Cormac.[1]  Their sister Ellen Bray was born in 1797. Ellen’s sponsors at her baptism were John Bray and Bridget Gleeson.[2]  Their brother John was born in 1800. John’s sponsors were John and Bridget Cormac.[3]
Their parents died in 1801, Luke Bray in June. Anstice three months later in September. They are buried at Holy Cross Abbey.
Mary and Biddy would have been only six years old at the time. Their siblings Ellen and John  were even younger.
What became of them after they were orphaned?
A Mary Bray married John St. John in 1824 in the presence of John Bray and Mrs Bray. Could this be Mary, one of Luke Bray’s daughters??
An Ellen Bray married John Meghan in 1828. Was this Ellen, daughter of Luke Bray?


[1] Catholic Church Records. Thurles. Baptisms. 02489/04. P. 3. 1796. [www.nli.ie ]
[2] Catholic Church Records, Thurles. Baptism 26 December1797. Mf 02489/04. Page 10. [www.nli.ie]
[3] Catholic Church Records, Thurles. Mf. 02489/04. Baptism 2 September 1800. [www.nli.ie].

Mary Bray, Thurles, County Tipperary

 Mary Bray was the daughter of John Bray, of Thurles, County Tipperary, and his wife Mary Fogarty.
She married Denis O’Brien. They had two sons.

1. John Bray O’Brien [1805-1839]
John [Luke?], of Denis O'Brien and Mary Bray, Main Street, sponsors John Bray, Elizabeth Bray. [1]
John Bray O’Brien died by drowning in 1839.
Tipperary North Riding Summer Assizes 1839. Thurles 1st August: John Bray O'Brien J.P. of Turtulla drowned. With his two brothers and his cousin german, John Bray Esq., went boating on River Suir, very swollen after recent heavy rain, on Wednesday 31 July. At bridge of Cabra, the boat struck a concealed weir and capsized. The other three scrambled ashore but O'Brien was cast headlong into the water and drowned. He merited high esteems (sic) and affection. Considerate and indulgent as a landlord: friend and benefactor to all in neighbourhood: upright and impartial as a magistrate.

2. Francis Bray O’Brien [1806-1870]
Francis, son of Denis O'Brien and Mary Bray, sponsors Thomas Lanigan of Castle Fogarty and Margaret O'Brien wife of Ml. Ryan of Abington.[2]
Francis Bray O’Brien married his first cousin Frances Agnes Bray, known as Fanny, the daughter of Luke Bray and Ellen Ronan, in Thurles on the 24th of November 1840. They had six children.  Francis died in 1870. Fanny died in 1874.
O'Brien, Jan 12, at Ardfort House, Thurles, after a long and painful illness, Francis Agnes, relict of Francis Bray O'Brien, Esq., J.P. [3]
Both are buried in St. Mary's Graveyard, Thurles, along with other members of the Bray O'Brien family.

Denis O’Brien died on the 26th April 1812.  

His widow Mary Bray married again, to John Burke. They had three children. Mary Helena Burke [1813-1889] also found as Bourke, Emily Burke, and William Burke.
Mary Bray’s granddaughter Mary Helena Bourke married Charles Laurence Toole on the 8th of October 1839 in St. Andrew’s Church, Westland Row, Dublin. They had nine children. Their fourth son, Edmund Toole, born in 1848, was a recipient of the Victoria Cross in 1879, in recognition of his services at Ulundi, Zululand, South Africa.


[1] Catholic Church Registers, Thurles 02489/04 P. 6 1805 [www.nli.ie]
[2] Catholic Church Registers. Thurles 02489/04 P. 14. 1806 [www.nli.le]
[3] The Belfast Newsletter, Jan 16, 1874.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Edmond Bray, New Road, Thurles, County Tipperary

Edmond Bray was the son of John Bray [1755-1826] of Thurles, County Tipperary, and his wife Mary Fogarty [1756-1799].
He married Mary Purcell. They had one daughter, Mary Bray, born in 1809.
Mary, daughter of Edmond Bray and Mary Purcel, New Road, sponsors John Dwyer and Anne Fogarty.[1]
Anne Fogarty was probably a cousin of Edmond's. His mother was Mary Fogarty.


[1] Church Records, Thurles, Baptisms, 02489/05 P. 31 1809  [www.nli.ie]