Cowley or Colley Family of Gloucestershire
Transcript taken from :Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, Vol.
Edited by REV. BEAVER H. BLACKER, M. A. Published in 1890. London, England.
Transcribed by Brenda Pickard (Starweaver)
In Vol. IV of the Gloucestershire Notes and Queries for 1890 beginning on pages 563 to 566.
1890.-The Cowley, or Colley, Family.
Cowley, of Cowley (now Coaley), Gloucestershire.
Smyth, in his "Description of the Hundred of Berkeley"(Berkeley Manuscripts, vol. iii.,p. 153), mentions "Dns Ricus deCowley, filius Hardingi." Harding was ancestor of the noble familyof Berkeley. His son Richard had a son Simon, living in the timeof Henry II. There were also Richard de Cowley, temp. RichardI.; Richard de Cowley and Maud, his wife, temp. Henry III.;Robert de Cowley, 18 Edward I.; John de Cowley, his son, who died 19 Edward I.; and Robert de Cowley, son of John, who had three daughters. The family was clearly of some importance; and to it probably belonged those of the name who are recorded as citizens of Bristol about that time, in company with many others bearing Gloucestershire names.
Cowley, of Dublin.
In 1870 the Lords of the Treasury published a volume, entitled Historic and Municipal Documents of Ireland, A.D. 1172-1320, which throws much light on the early history of Dublin. The first document in it is a charter dated 1171-2, by which Henry II. grants to his men of Bristol his city of Dublin, "with all liberties and free usages which they have at Bristol and throughout the land." There is also a "Dublin Roll of Names," filling forty-six pages; in this the name Cowley does not occur, but several names derived from places near Cowley may be found. Thus, Samsun de Stanlega (Stanley), Moricius nepos Uielli (Uley), Ricardus de Kaume (Cam), Iuo de Dereham (Dyrham), Rogerus Ailweded de Wike (Wick), and others. Besides thsi list is one of "Free Citizens of Dublin, A.D. 1225-1250;" in it local names very frequently appear, and amongst them Hugo de Koleye, Radulphus de Kolee, and Ricardus Iuuenis de Coly. From this time the name Cowley, Colly, or Kolley, was common in Dublin. It may now be impossible to prove the connection between these Bristol and Dublin Cowleys and the family descended from Harding the Dane; but that a connection did exist seems to us highly probable. It may be possible to find in the archives of the city of Dublin much formation respecting the Cowley family during the period between 1250 and 1460.
Robert Cowley, of Dublin, And His Line.
About the year 1460 was born Robert Cowley, a man of some mark, and
the first known ancestor of Arthur Cowley, or Wellesley, the great Duke of Wellington.
Readers may find frequent mention of Robert Cowley, or Colley, in the Calendars of State
Papers; in 1530 he had two sons who held high posts in Ireland, and he himself is styled
"Old Colley." Modern peerages state that the earliest known ancestor of the Duke
of Wellington was an English- man of a Rutland family, living in Ireland. Robert Colley is
styled in the State Papers an Englishman, but only in the same way as were the Cusacks,
Wellesleys, and others who had lived for centuries within the English pale. There is
nothing to show that his ancestors were connected with Rutland. His earliest public
appearance, in 1515, as one of the two bailiffs of Dublin, would
point to his being descended from the Cowleys who removed from Bristol, and continued to hold a good position in the city of their adoption. From him the descent may be briefly given.
i. Robert Cowley,
or Colley, bailiff of Dublin 1515, died at a great age between the years 1535 and 1547. He is frequently mentioned in Holinshed's Chronicles and the Book of Howth, and had issue, 1. Walter, principal solicitor for Ireland 1530, whose only son died s.p., and
clerk of the privy council in Ireland, master of the rolls 1528. He had issue, 1. Robert, killed 1573, leaving a daughter, and
iii. Sir Henry,
died 1584, having had issue by his first wife........,
1. Sir George, who married a daughter of Archbishop Loftus; he styles
himself "of English birth," and left issue.
Sir Henry married secondly, Catherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Cusack, son of John Cusack and Aleson, his wife, daughter of Sir William Wellesley. By her he had issue,
2. Sir Henry, who follows as IVth of the line.
3. Walter, seneschal of Wexford, who had issue,
a. Dudley, who had two sons, Thomas and Arthur.
b.Sir William, living 1609.
c. John, who married......, and had issue,
(1) Thomas, of Balcarrick, who married Agnes Lyndon, and had
(a) John, of Ballywalter, who left issue a daughter, married to Capt. Pownder.
(d) Roger, of Balcarrick, born 1696, married Jane Jones, and had issue, with daughters,
(1) Arthur, of Balcarrick, born 1756, married Anne Pentland, and had issue,
(a) Francis, born 1816, married Harriet Beesley, and has issue, with daughters,
(A) Arthur Roger, born 1852.
iv. Sir Henry,
eldest son of Sir Henry (iii) by his second marriage, was at school in 1587; he married Anne, daughter of Archbishop Loftus, and sister of the wife of his brother, Sir George Cowley, and had issue,
v. Sir Henry,
who died 1637, having married Anne, daughter of Christopher Peyton, and had issue,
who died 1674, having married Anne, daughter of Henry Warren, by whom he had issue,
who married Mary, daughter of Sir William Ussher, and had issue,
1. Henry, ancestor (through his daughter Mary) of Viscount Harberton, and
who was created Lord Mornington, father of
Earl of Mornington, father of
Duke of Wellington, born 1769, died 1852. N.B.- The late generations of this branch of the family will be found fully and correctly given in modern peerages.