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1836: Robert Vance to John Graves

Dublin to Unknown Address

November 5th, 1836

Robert Vance, Dublin to John Graves Esq.

John Graves Esq.

Dr Sir

Since you left Dublin I have made every possible enquiry about the property of the Forstall family in the County of Kilkenny, & visited the Counties of Waterford & Kilkenny for that purpose. You will recollect that in the Heraldry Office in Dublin we traced that family down from the time of Henry 2 of England (1170) to the year 1766 in which year Edmund [sic] Forstall married a Miss Alice Kennedy — This account is confirmed by the information which I received in the neighbourhood of this property. But in order to show you [both] the proper heir of this property, and also what rank your friend holds in the list of claimants, I shall go a little further back than the year 1766.

Some time about the year 1685, Edmond Forstall married Elizabeth Meagh (or Meade) and had 8 sons of whom the surviving three were: Edmond (Pierce) the eldest, who got this estate. Nicholas, the great-grandfather of your friend — This Nicholas had 2 sons, Viz: Nicholas the grandfather of yr friend and another.

The Edmond (Pierce) who got the estate had an only son called Edmond, who after his father’s death obtained the estate and married Alicia Kennedy in 1766. The issue of this marriage was 4 daughters & 2 sons. One of these daughters married a Mr. Pierce Sweetman; another married a Mr. Quan. The other two remained unmarried. The eldest of the two sons is called Pierce Edmond Forstall and now possesses the property.

The youngest of the two sons is called John, is still living and is an idiot.

Pierce Edmond Forstall, the present possessor of the Estate (and who is about 60 years of age) married a Miss Shea, about the year 1804. The issue of this marriage was 2 daughters and one son. This son is living, unmarried, is about 25 years of age, & is the next heir to the property. Hence by our laws, if your friend is the eldest son of his father, & if his father was the eldest son if Nicholas Forstall, then the only person who could precede your friend in the succession to the property, would be the son of present possessor, who is called Edmond and is about 25 years of age. So far as to your friend’s chance of succeeding to the inheritance — Now as to the nature and value of the property.

The present possessor Pierce Edmond Forstall has absolute power over the property so as to be at liberty to sell it if he pleases. At least I have had the Registry Office here searched, & I can find no deed or will in any way restricting the power of the present possessor over the property. And I am very sorry to say that he has taken advantage of this power to a very great extent. The property consisted as I understand, originally of Ringville, Rochestown, & Forstall’stown, all in the County of Kilkenny, and the present possessor only retains Rochestown, which is worth about L 700  a year — He has, I am informed, sold both Ringville & Forstallstown and has also encumbered Rochestown with two charges, namely: a mortgage of £2,000 and a charge of £5,000 by way of a marriage settlement on one of his daughters. Had the present possessor been a prudent man and kept together the entire property, it would have been very valuable, but as matters are at present, it is more than probable that he will leave his son very little to inherit.

I am very happy to have been able to obtain so much information, respecting the property, although I fear the information will not be very acceptable to your friend.

I remain dear sir

Yours very truly

Robert Vance