In 1751 John Hely, an ambitious barrister of modest origins from Co. Cork, married Christian Nickson,[1] grandniece and heiress of Richard Hutchinson of Knocklofty, near Clonmel. Hely agreed to pay off the £11,000 Hutchinson debts, received no dowry and was given only a reversionary interest in the estate of over 3000 acres. However in return for adopting the name Hutchinson the estate was to devolve on him and his heirs and he had power to charge it with £2,000 for younger children.

In the process Hely obtained a rural estate and a foothold in the landed class. The family, who achieved an Earldom in 1800, was primarily responsible for carrying the Act of Union in Tipperary and was also distinguished for its support of Catholic relief.[2] Indeed as an important visible manifestation of their stance the Hely-Hutchinsons encouraged the commutation of tithes on their estate in the later years of the 18th and early years of the 19th centuries. Liberal non-Catholic landlords could also be responsible for allowing a Catholic chapel to be centrally located within their estates. The Earl of Donoughmore at Knocklofty House had a large chapel located beside his demesne.[3]

[1] She was from Munny in South County Wicklow. Richard Nixon, a magistrate from south Wicklow was murdered in the rebellion of 1798.

[2] T. Power Land, Politics & Society in 18th century Tipperary

[3] Whelan Tipperary History & Society

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