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      In the Index of Consistorial Wills for the Diocese of Killala and Anchory, Co. Mayo, 1756-1831, which was badly damaged and just fragments remain, the surname Orme can be found with four different years, but the information linking these is missing and there may have been others. These years are 1727, 1758, 1763 and 176510.

   The Orme family of Tirawley, County Mayo.

       Brendan Mullins


      The Origins of the Ormes

      The name Orme is derived from the old Norse word ‘Ormr’ meaning ‘dragon’ or ‘serpent’, and the earliest records of the name, and its variants, can be found in Scandinavia1. During the Viking era the Ormes spread as far west as Iceland, as well as to Britain and Ireland. In Stafford in England, where many Vikings settled, there is an eleventh century church named St. Chad’s, with a stone inscription in Latin stating that ‘The man who founded me is called Orm’2. There are records of individuals with the name ‘Orme’ spanning the next few centuries, but these are incomplete.

      Tirawley, Co. Mayo, -from Cromwell to the arrival of James Orme.       1stgen. in Ireland.

      During the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland an Act of Settlement was passed in 1652 which allowed for many catholic Irish landowners to lose their land and be transplanted west of the Shannon to Connaught or Clare. Some of these came to Tirawley in north east Mayo, but when Cromwell required additional land for his army, most of Leitrim, Sligo and Tirawley were chosen, so these people were transplanted again or became just tenants3.  It was about 58% of the land that was confiscated4. With the restoration of the crown in 1660, changes were expected but little occurred. Many of these Cromwellian soldiers, or their descendants, had little respect for the land and sold it on for small payments.

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      There is an existing Pedigree chart of the Ormes of Tirawley, dated 1844, in the National Library of Ireland, which begins with William Orme of Hanse Hall, by Longdon Green in Staffordshire, England, descended from an ancient family in Chester, who was born about 1567. His tomb is in the Hanse Chapel and it states how he suffered greatly for his loyalty to the Stuarts.                                                                                                                              

      It was his grandson, James Orme from Hanse Hall in Staffordshire, who came to Ireland, about 1671, and he ‘purchased considerable estates’, mainly in the Moygownagh area of Tirawley, county Mayo5. His signature appears on an address of ‘The commissioners of array, magistrates, and gentry of the county of Mayo to King Charles II’, in 16826. Moygownagh, which means ‘The plain of the cows with calf’, is situated just north of the town of Crossmolina.  The Ormes were known to be Royalists so it is possible that James Orme may have been given a grant of land first by James II, but this is not certain, or at least likely, as he was a protestant and would have been grateful with the Williamite victory and the restoration of the protestant ascendancy that followed. He married Elizabeth Barrow, daughter of Thomas Barrow from Cork and they lived in Carne in Moygownagh parish, where they had two sons, Robert and William. James Orme died in 1707.

      A second Orme family arrived in Mayo, but these were of French Huguenot descent and were not related to the Ormes from Staffordshire7. Another family with a similar name in the area, that were not related, were the Ormsbys.


      Robert and William Orme 2nd gen.

      Robert, who was the first son and heir of James Orme and Elizabeth Barrow, married Elizabeth Johnston in 1703 and they lived in Carne in Moygownagh, where they had four sons, and three daughters.                                                                                                               

      The second son of James and Elizabeth was William, and he married Dorothea Fleming from Achonry in Sligo. They lived in Ballintober, County Mayo, where they had one son, William, and one daughter, Elizabeth. William became a Major in the army and then High Sheriff of the County of Mayo in 1775. In the Registry of Deeds, there is an entry for 13th March 1766, in which William Orme receives a lease for three quarters of the land of Ballintober from the Earl of Arran8. This is repeated on 10th July 1783 with some additional land included and there are many more similar entries, involving William Orme of Ballintober, for this period. In the Index to Prerogative Wills, 1536 – 1810, there is the will of William Orme of Ballintober, Co. Mayo for 17919.                                                                                                                                    

      Thomas, James, William and Robert Orme (3rd gen.)

      The four sons of Robert and Elizabeth Orme of Carne were Thomas, James, William and Robert and the three daughters were Mary, Margaret and Lellia.      

      Thomas Orme (3rd gen.), the eldest son and heir was born in 1705, and in 1751 he married Elizabeth Atkinson, daughter of William Atkinson of Foigney, County Longford. They lived in Carne where they had one son, William. Thomas died in 1780. He left a will, dated 25 January 1775, and his estate was granted to his son William.

      James Orme (3rd gen.), the second son, married Catherine Hillas from Sligo and they lived in Fairfield, County Mayo. They were without issue.    

      William Orme (3rd gen.), the third son, married Elizabeth Orme in 1759. She was his first cousin and daughter of William and Dorothea from Ballintober and they lived in Falgariff, County Mayo. They had two sons, Robert, who married and lived in Millbrook, county Mayo, and William, who married and lived in Bellville, also in County Mayo, and one daughter, Catherine.         

      Robert Orme (3rd gen.), the fourth son of Robert and Elizabeth Orme of Carne, settled in America where he became a member of Congress.

      Tirawley in 1793 and 1798.

      In 1793, after a long period of peace, areas of Connaught were described as being in a state of insurrection, and there were reports of mobs plundering and stealing arms from the Protestant gentry’ houses11. In the same year, the Irish Militia was founded, although it had existed for short periods before this. It is also described as being an Irish force composed mainly of enlisted Irish people, but it was still part of the British army, which provided its commanders. There was a strong resistance to being enlisted. It was primarily to defend Ireland, and the Empire, from external attack, but in times of need, many of them were often sent to join the regulars in wars abroad12. There was a regiment for each county or part thereof, and the North Mayo Militia was one of these. The officers, including Major Thomas Orme (5th gen.) of Abbeytown, were all protestant. Over the next decade, including 1798, they were rarely at home, serving elsewhere in the country or the UK, and the officers families often moved with them13.

      In August,1798, when General Humbert, with 800 French troops, landed near Killala, they were joined by 1,500 Irish recruits that had been mustered up and they soon captured Ballina. They then proceeded towards Castlebar, passing through Crossmolina and some of the estates, where they caused a lot of damage. They were eventually defeated.

      Some of the Irishmen involved were later captured by the English troops and there is a record of one of these being hanged at the gates of Abbeytown14.  A number of landowners, including the Ormes, made claims for goods or livestock stolen or destroyed. These became known as the ‘Suffering Loyalists’. One of these was William Orme (4th gen.) of Abbeytown who claimed for cattle, furniture, wine and a gold watch15.

1  Matthew Orme, The origins of the name Orme, , viewed 22 January, 2011.

2  St. Chad’s Church, A man named Orm,, v. 22 Jan. 2011.

3 Seán Duffy, The Concise History of Ireland, Second Ed. 2005, First Pub.2000, Gill & Macmillan Ltd., Dublin. Pages 115-117.

4 T. W. Moody F.X. Martin F. J. Byrne, A New History of Ireland, Vol 3, First paperback Ed. 2009, First Pub. 1976, Oxford Univ. Press, UK. page 358.

5  Pedigree of Orme of Hanse Hall, Staffordshire, of Carne and Co. Mayo, 1590-1844, Nation Library of Ireland, Manuscript Reading Room, Dublin, MS 175, pages 379-87.

 6  J. Bernard Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 3, Published in 1853, Henry Colburn, London. Page 252.

7  Tony Donohoe, The History of Crossmolina, Pub. 2003, De Búrca, Dublin. Page 524.

8  Earl of Arran to Wm. Orme, Registry of Deeds, Book 238, page 610, No. 159405.

9  Sir Arthur Vicars, Index to Prerogative Wills, 1536-1810, Will of William Orme  of Ballintober, 1791, Dublin 1897, Genealogical Publishing Company, available in the National Archives of Ireland, Bishop St., Dublin.

10  Consistorial Wills, Index of Wills for the Diocese of Killala and Anchory, 1756-1831, available in the National Archives of Ireland, Dublin, Book XX47 on shelf.

 11  T. Bartlett, An End to Moral Economy: The Irish Militia Disturbances of 1793, pages 56-57, , viewed 2 February 2011.

12  Ivan F. Nelson, The Irish Militia, 1793–1802, Ireland’s forgotten army, Pub. in 2007, Four Courts Press, Dub.

13   Rosemary Ffolliott, ‘Some Irish Militia Movements During the Napoleonic Wars’, The Irish Ancestor, Vol. 2, 1969, pages 109-114.

14  Donohoe, The History of Crossmolina, pages 15-21.

15  The 1798 Rebellion: Claimants, Tirawley, Mayo, 1798Rebellion/IOShow1798RFullRecord.aspx?ID=1773 , viewed 4 February, 2011.

The Orme Pedigree   Part 1 The Orme Pedigree   Part 2

William Orme

Of Hanse Hall, Staffordshire

1567 - 1623


William Orme

Of Hanse Hall, Staffordshire

     - 1665


James Orme

Of Hanse Hall, Staffordshire

Came to Ireland about 1671.

     - 1707

-As on 19th. October, 2011 OrmeTree1_HiRes.jpg OrmeTree2_HiRes.jpg St. Mary’s Church and Graveyard,  Crossmolina  (C of I) Copyright © All rights reserved. Made By Serif. Terms of use | Privacy policy