Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mark Toomey 1769-1832 ... Irish Gentleman

The family historian says " my Grandfather gave up the shoemaking trade and lived a private gentleman all the rest of his life,"

For Mark the sudden appearance of a substantial inheritance must have felt like winning the lottery . An opportunity , not to step up in the world , but to return to the lifestyle that he must have felt was his birthright and had been denied for the first 28 years of his life. I wonder if he ever acknowledged the gift his mother gave to him . She may have 'had no means to leave him or give him a profession' but she raised him a Protestant and that was his entry ticket into the world of the landed gentry.

He buys a property at Eagle Hill, a townland of 337 acres so presumably he bought it as an entire estate and the house would have looked something like this................County Kildare is littered with beautiful Georgian houses of varying size and magnificence.

The next step is to find himself a bride and in 1799 he marries Miss Temperance Hoysted, the eldest daughter of John and Anne Hoysted of Foxhill. The Hoysteds were a well-off and long established family so presumably Temperance was quite a catch although I do wonder whether her parents thought the same about Mark. ( I'll be doing a separate post on the Hoysteds and Temperance later). The happy couple proceed to fill their home with an ever increasing number of children and to live the good life. A gentleman does not work for a living - heaven forbid!

I may be doing the man an injustice but I can't like him . I have a feeling he is the type of person described in the book A History of Ireland.

" At the beginning of the 19th century Ireland was divided up among landlords who rented land to tenant farmers. Large holdings with owners who thought of themselves as squires, not farmers, and with little interest in the land or estate management other than a means to pay for their prodigal lifestyle."

It's understandable that in the early years his expectations would be to continue to live the privileged lifestyle of the Protestant Irish country set but he will live 30 years into the 19th century and at a time when there would be massive changes , socially and economically, in Ireland. Mark was either blind to what was going on  in his country or chose to ignore it and his attitude indicates a complete lack of foresight or concern for the future of his land or his children, something at least one of his sons was aware of.........the grandson writes...

" My father was a solicitor and I often heard him say he took a profession as he came to the conclusion that most of the old generals 20,000 Punts had been spent and he should look out for himself."

Mark Toomey died at Eagle Hill on the 23rd May, 1832 and is buried at Fontstown.

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