The Brownes and the Nottinghams

In 1622, Joseph Browne, presumably a kinsman or descendent of Alderman Browne, is described as living at Finnstown, while Ballyowen Castle was in the possession of a gentleman named Christopher Taylor. However, by the 1640s, both Ballyowen and Finnstown were held by a zealous Roman Catholic named Lamerick Nottingham.

The Nottingham family came from England to Dublin in the early years of the Anglo-Norman conquest. By the late 12th century they has established themselves as a family of importance. Robert Nottingham, a highly influential ‘Merchant’ , stood as Mayor of the City for seven years between 1309 and 1322. In 1313, he was asked to contribute finances to King Edward II’s war with Scotland (which culminated in the battle of Bannockburn). In 1317, this same Robert Nottingham, as Mayor of Dublin, attempted to deflect the invading army of Edward the Bruce by setting light to the outer suburbs of the City. The ploy worked in that Bruce’s army about turned for Leixlip but unfortunately the fire subsequently got out of control and burned a substantial part of Dublin’s suburbs, including part of Christ Church Cathedral. Curiously, Robert Nottingham was the one-time owner of Dublin’s Lucan Castle (and the even larger Merrion Castle).

Lamerick Nottingham’s first wife was a sister of William Sarsfield, the enterprising owner of Lucan Castle, and Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan and hero of the Siege of Limerick. Thus the Nottingham fortunes must have at least partially rested with those of the House of Sarsfield.

Lamerick’s second wife was a sister of a prosperous Dublin vintner, Robert Ussher of Crumlin. In his will he makes special provision for the latter lady on account of “her great charge of children”. In all, he left fourteen children. His eldest son and immediate heir, William Nottingham, was living at Ballyowen in 1650. The Nottingham’s lost their Irish lands during the Cromwellian conquest and Ballyowen was leased to a Captain Frances Peasley. However, at the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, the estate of Ballyowen Castle was restored to Lamerick’s second son, Captain Peter Nottingham, a former Confederate officer in the Duke of Ormonde’s army. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Nottingham’s forfeited Ballyowen to Colonel Thomas Bellew, later MP for Mullingar.