Thomas Vennard-Ann (Agnes) Brownue


James, John


NAMES(S): Thomas Vennard
BIRTH YEAR: c. 1775
OCCUPATION: Carpenter LOCATION(S): Gilford, Co. Down / Loughgall, Co. Armagh / England
Sue Turner, Ballyclare, Co. Antrim

Within the family there are two stories of how and when the first Vennard came to Ireland. Firstly, that he was the Chaplin (or tutor) of William of Orange and came from The Netherlands with the army for the Battle of the Boyne in 1790. After the battle he was given a tract of land to the north of the river Boyne and settled in Ireland (Ulster). Searches of all land transactions in Ireland since 1750s have revealed no Vennard transferring land ownership in that area. In addition the list of Huguenot army pensioners from the Battle of the Boyne list no Vennards (or possible derivations of that name). This story (which is a common version within many of the other Irish Vennard branches) should, for the moment, be treated with caution.

The second, and probably more likely, version is that it was the father of the below-mentioned Thomas (name unknown, but a weaver) who settled in Ulster from either England or France.

So far, two children of Thomas Vennard have been identified John (born 1806) and James (born 1808). Both joined the Army (John in 1825, and James in 1824). At enlistment, both stated that they were from Tullylish, Nr. Gilford, Co. Down . They both enlisted at Tandragee (which would have been the nearest army base from Tullylish and is on the border between Counties Down and Armagh).

The only evidence that John and James' father was called Thomas is on James' second marriage certificate of 1871, in which he states his father was a Thomas Vennard (Carpenter). Given that his son John was born in 1806 it is assumed that Thomas was born about 1775-80. No further children have yet been identified, but it is thought that Thomas' wife was called Ann (or Agnes) Brownlie (again no documentary evidence to date, just family information). If the family were based around the Gilford area it is not known how long they had been settled there. Searches through local parish records and graveyards have not identified any indication of any Vennards in that area at that time.

When John and James eventually left the army they both settled, and married in Kilmore, Co Armagh. Kilmore is only about 4 miles west of Loughgall village. Within my family the story goes that when in the army in India James met up with Colonel Cope (owner of the Manor House at Loughgall) who agreed to let land to him on his return. It is for this reason that we assume our branch settled in this area in about the 1850s. There is no evidence of any other Vennards in Loughgall village before then.

John married Mary Woods in 1845 and had 3 children (James, 1846; Anne, 1848; Thomas John, 1854). Mary died in 1856 and the three children eventually settled in Glasgow, Scotland. John died in Loughgall in 1884. James married Elizabeth McCormick in 1868 and had 9 children but only two sons that survived to adulthood. Annie went into service and has not been traced beyond 1881. Thomas John married Christina Wallace in 1876 and had three daughters. No further details are known of any descendants. James married Mary Jane Redmond in 1847 and settled in the Loughgall area. They had 10 children (Maria, 1848; Ann Elizabeth, 1849; Thomas, 1851; William, 1855; Mary Jane 1856; Emma, 1857; Cecilia, 1859, Sarah, 1861; James, 1863 & John, 1866). Mary Jane died in 1870 and James re-married in 1871 to Margaret Carray. They had two further children (Henry, 1873 & Margaret 1875). Maria, Ann and Mary died without children, William, Emma, Cecilia, Sarah, James, John, Henry & Margaret all settled, married and had children, in England. Only Thomas remained in Loughgall. He married Ellen McBirney in 1878 and had eight children (Emily, James, William, Thomas, Samuel, George & Annie). Emily, James, William and Annie died without children. Thomas and Samuel settled in England and George settled in Co. Roscommon (now Republic of Ireland).

By the 1920's therefore no descendants of James Vennard remained in Ulster. In the 1980's however his GGGranddaughter (Sue Turner, granddaughter Samuel Vennard) returned to Northern Ireland for her work and started delving into her Vennard background. This has now extended to general research into the Irish Vennards, in the hope that it will link some of the sub-branches together.

Most descendants of this branch are living in England, but some have settled elsewhere (in New Zealand, United States, Canada, Peru, China)

--Sue Turner