Ponsonby of Bessborough

The ancestor of this remarkable Kilkenny family was Colonel John Ponsonby, originally from Hale Hall in Cumberland. The Colonel raised a regiment of cavalry and accompanied Cromwell to Ireland. When the war concluded he was appointed a Commissioner for the taking of depositions concerning atrocities committed against Protestants during the 1641-49 rebellion, and was made Sheriff of Wicklow and Kildare.

Cromwell looked after his faithful officers very well and within a short time he knighted John Ponsonby who became Sir John. In addition Sir John was granted the forfeited estate of Edmund Dalton at Kildalton and lands that formerly belonged to the Walshes[1] particularly in the Fiddown area[2]. It is said that Cromwell accompanied Sir John Ponsonby into the area and as he gazed over the beautiful valley of the Suir he threw up his hands and cried out with a loud voice “Behold the land flowing with milk and honey which the Lord hath delivered into my hands.

[1] A noted Kilkenny family whose ancestors came over to Ireland from Wales with the first Norman invaders in 1169. They got a grant of lands in South Kilkenny which became known as the Walsh Mountain. The displaced Gaelic families were the Ui Faolain and the Mac Giolla Padraigs. The Walsh family ruler was known as The Lord of the Mountain. After the Cromwellian wars they lost most of their lands, which were confiscated and granted to the Cromwellian soldiers and adventurers.

[2] From the Down Survey

Click HERE for access to printed book.

Click this LINK for immediate access to the Ponsonby pdf.