Irish Family Research Discover the secrets of your ancestors’ past Brendan Mullins Genealogist

    The Orme family of Tirawley, County Mayo.

    Brendan Mullins

      The Abbeytown Estate is adjacent to the town of Crossmolina. The large house on the estate is built on the site of the ruins of an old 14th. century abbey and it is claimed that the Ormes, who were a protestant family, demolished the ruins and used the masonry on the new house. It was built in the mid 18th century on a site of just 124 acres, but by 1852 the site was more than 5000 acres16. Compared to the rest of Mayo, the land on this site was good and highly valued.


The Ormes of Abbeytown Abbeytown House Page 2 of 3

      In Carne, Thomas and Elizabeth had just one child. This was William Orme, born in 1757. He married Anne Dickson, daughter of George Dickson of Enniscoe, County Mayo and they lived in the new Abbeytown Estate.  In the Registry of Deeds, there is an entry for January 1783 stating the sale of Abbeytown and three other townlands to William Orme from the widow of George Bell17. William Orme was a ‘Suffering Royalist’ in 1798. He died in May 1813 and is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Crossmolina18. William and Anne had two sons and two daughters, Thomas, William, Jane and Elizabeth. In William Ormes will, which was dated 12 October 1807, but had 8 codicils with the latest in 1813, he left the estate to his son Thomas.

      In 1804, the daughter Elizabeth married William Fetherstone. This family would later purchase or lease much of the Orme land and property.  

      In 1787, Thomas, the first son of William and Ann was born. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin in 1804. In 1814 he married Elizabeth Jackson, daughter of George Jackson of Enniscoe and they lived in the Abbeytown Estate. George Jackson was one of the larger landowners in Mayo, a colonel in the North Mayo Militia and an M.P. for the county. Thomas Orme became a major in the North Mayo Militia and he died in 182619. Occasionally the militia, with the army, would traverse the countryside in search of arms to restrict any disturbances20. Thomas is also buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Crossmolina. He  and Elizabeth had three sons, William Henry, Thomas and James.

      His brother, William, married and moved to Glenmore House.        

      Thomas Orme   5th gen.                                                                                                           

      On the Abbeytown Estate, Thomas was succeeded by their first son, William Henry Orme, who was born in 1815. He spent most of his time abroad and was educated at St. John’s College, Oxford where he acquired a B.A. in 1840 and a M.A. in 184321. He then served in the 3rd Light Dragoons where he became an officer. In the 1840’s, this regiment was stationed mainly in India, where they had many successful campaigns, and then they marched through the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan, where they met tougher opposition after taking most of Kabul, and were pushed back. It was at the village of Ferozeshah in the Punjab, in December 1845, that Coronet William Henry Orme was severely wounded, but fortunately recovered. Having advanced on the village, which was occupied by a large Sikh army, a fierce battle ensued in which many were killed, but they were victorious. In 1846 William Henry Orme was promoted22. He later became a Brevot Major in the 85th Foot Regiment. He was granted a Coat of Arms in March 1845 by the Ulster King of Arms, Sir William Betham. –see Appendix 4, page 14.                  

      William Henry Orme   6th gen.                                                                                                    

      In the Tithe Applotment Book of 183423, Godfrey Fetherstone is shown as the lessee and William Henry Orme, who is now an absentee landlord, is the owner of the Abbeytown Estate, however in the Griffith’s Valuation24, taken in this area in 1850, it is reversed with George Orme, brother of William Henry, the occupier, and Godfrey Fetherstone is the lessor. For a period between these dates the house was let fall into ruin and was occupied only by a caretaker.  The Fetherstones owned much of the land in the area and also leased some of the Orme lands. When William Fetherstone married Elizabeth, daughter of William Orme of Abbeytown, in 1804, they lived in Glenmore House at that time25.    

      In July 1862, Elizabeth Orme, widow of Thomas Orme (5th gen.) and mother of William Henry Orme (6th gen.), died in Hardymount, Co. Carlow, where she was then residing26. In her will she left her ‘share of her sister Mary’s money and also her fortune to the day of her death’ to her son William Henry Orme27. He died within a few years without issue.

      Glenmore House was built in 1790 by the Ormes, and stones quarried from the nearby wood were used. It became known locally as the ‘Big House’ and it is situated in Attyshane near Crossmolina on a 215 acre site near the shores of Lough Conn. A holy well was situated near the house and people came to pray there, but it is claimed that William Orme, who was a strong protestant, was displeased with this so he ordered it to be filled in by his workers. Reluctantly, they obeyed28.

     The Ormes of Glenmore House                                                                    

Glenmore House

      In 1789, William, the second son of William and Ann of Abbeytown, was born. He married Cherry Knox, daughter of Francis Knox of Rappa Castle in May 1815 and they lived in Glenmore House. The Orme townlands were now divided into three main estates and these were Abbeytown, Glenmore and Owenmore. Smaller branches of the family also resided elsewhere in Mayo and Sligo.

      Their first son and heir was born on 23 May 1816 and he was William Knox Orme.

      Their second son, Francis, was born in April, 1817, but one month later, in May 1817, Cherry died. William Orme then remarried and his second wife was Anne Emily Jackson from Enniscoe, county Mayo. William had two sons and one daughter with his second wife. He died, aged 46, in Dublin in August 1836, and his funeral took place in St. Annes church in Dawson Street29. William can be found in the Prerogative Grants Index for 182630.

      William Orme  5th gen.                                                                                                                 

      In Glenmore House, William was succeeded by his son, William Knox Orme. He was well educated, like most of his relations, and studied at Trinity College in Dublin. He later became a Lieutenant in the 16th Queen’s Lancers and served in India and Afghanistan with his cousin, William Henry Orme of Abbeytown, who was in the 3rd Light Dragoons. For the 1841 English Census, he was stationed at Maidstone Barracks in Kent31, prior to his departure to India.  The Ormes were now known as a military family. William Knox Orme had become an absentee landlord, but his brother, Francis, who was a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and a Barrister-at-Law, occupied Glenmore House and deputised for him. He died in 1896.                                    

      William Knox Orme  6th gen

      William Orme (4th gen.), the second son of William and Elizabeth Orme of Falgarriff was born in 1762. He married Isabella Ormsby of Gortnor Abbey, County Mayo in September 1805, and they lived in Belleville. William became a captain in the North Mayo Militia. He died in August 1842. They had three sons, William (5th gen.) who married and lived in Owenmore, Robert (5th gen.), who married and lived in Enniscrone, County Sligo, and John (5th gen.), who married and lived in Belleville.                                                                                                                                                

      William Orme (5th gen.), the first son of William and Isabella Orme of Belleville, was born in February 1810. A graduate of Trinity College, he married Janet L’Estrange Carleton in October 1837 in St. Peter’s Church on Aungier Street, Dublin and they resided in Owenmore Estate, County Mayo. He became a J.P. for the counties of Mayo and Sligo. They built this large house, with its splendid Italian ceilings and marble fireplaces, in about 1830. It is about five miles from Crossmolina, on the former Millbrook site, with the Owenmore river running through the estate33. Janet died in 1850 without issue and in 1858, William remarried. His second wife was Margaret Barbara Hall of Loughgall, county Armagh. He died in 1876 and was succeeded by his brother, Robert Orme.                                                                    

      Robert Orme (4th gen.), the first son and heir of William and Elizabeth Orme of Falgarriff was born in 1761.  He married Dorothea Fleming and they lived in Millbrook, Co. Mayo. This was a ‘neat cottage’, built in 179632. In 1787 he initiated the exporting of oats, grown by his tenants, from Killala. Robert died in 1833. They were without issue. Millbrook later became ‘Owenmore’.

     The Ormes of Millbrook/Owenmore and Belleville                                 

Owenmore House

16   NUI Galway, ‘Orme (Abbeytown and Glenmore)’, , viewed 25 January 2011.

17   Bell to Orme, Registry of Deeds, Book 349, page 419, No. 235170.

18  Mayo Family History Centre, ‘Orme, Church Burial Record’, , viewed 18 Nov. 2011.

19   Pedigree of Orme, 1590-1844, NLI, Manuscript Reading Room, Dublin, MS 175, pages 379-87.

20 Newspaper Abstract, ‘The Connaught Journal, Mayo 18 Dec. 1823’, , viewed 6 February 2011.

21   Edward Walford, County Families of the United Kingdom, 12th. Edition, Pub. 1872, Robert Hardwicke, London, First Pub. 1860, National Library of Ireland, Ref. J929725.

22  Richard Cannon, Historical Record of the Third Light Dragoons, Pub. 1847, W. Clowes and Sons, London.

23   Tithe Applotment Book on Microfilm, Roll No. 73, National Archives of Ireland, Dublin, Viewed 4 Feb. 2011.

24  Griffith’s Valuation, ‘Crossmolina Parish, Tirawley, Mayo’,<b>Abbeytown</b>           viewed 18 Nov 2011.

25  Donohoe, The History of Crossmolina, pages 198-199.

26  Death Cert., ‘Elizabeth Orme, 12 July 1862’, ?name=Orme&location=&dd=&mm=07&yy=1862&submit=Search,  viewed 6 January 2011.

27   Will, ‘of Elizabeth Orme, late of Abbeytown, 1862’, National Archives of Ireland, Ref. T/6214.

28   Irish Roots and Epals,‘Moygownagh, Co. Mayo, Glenmore House’, , viewed 2 January, 2011.

29  Parish Records, St. Annes Church Dawson St., ‘Funeral of William Orme of Co. Mayo, 1836’, , viewed on 9 February 2011.

30 Prerogative Grant for William Orme of Abbeytown, Prerogative Grants Index, 1826, ref. 313 W, N. A. Dublin.

31 England & Wales Census 1941, ‘William Knox Orme, Maidstone Barracks’, ,  viewed on 18 Nov. 2011.

32 Ordnance Survey Field Books, ‘Millbrook’, , viewed 14 February 2011.

33  Mayo Library, ‘Irish Tourist Board Document 1942- Mansions Castles and Estates, Co. Mayo’,, viewed 18 Nov. 2011.

      John Orme (5th gen), the third son of William and Isabella Orme, married Mary Jane St. George from Crossmolina in 1844 and they lived in Belleville. They had a son, William (6th gen.).  Bellville House was later unoccupied for many years and the local people believed it to be haunted, especially after human bones were found under the floorboards. It was eventually demolished.    

      William Orme   4th gen.                                                                                                           

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