The Quilietti Family

Your Quilietti family heritage

STANTON, the origins

Old Times

After I had cobbled this page together, I found a WONDERFUL web-site, which goes into this history in much greater detail. It was written by Patrick J. Brennan and Darren McEvilly. The site is no longer available online; there was, for a while, a cached version, but it too has now disappeared.  I copied the page back in the day, but I am not entirely sure about the ethics of republishing it.  I tried to contact Darren McEvilly (the only one who had an email address posted) but that address was also no longer working. If anyone wants to see it, contact me, and I will send it as an attachment.  If anyone knows how to contact either of the authors, please let me know.

~~~~~

According to one of Grandpa Rufus’s uncles, the Stantons came from County Mayo, Ireland. This makes perfect sense. In the Primary Valuation Survey (1848-64), there were 53 Stanton households in Mayo, and only 14 in the entire rest of Ireland.

Mayo is a county in Connacht, the westernmost part of Ireland. It is one of the poorest and least developed areas of Ireland, consisting largely of mountains, bogs and drumlins (surprisingly steep little hills). When Oliver Cromwell conquered Ireland (again) in 1649, the native Irish were told to “go to Hell or Connacht.”

The Stantons were part of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, which began in 1169 and which reached Connacht in the 1220s. These particular Anglo-Normans were mostly from Wales, and some of the Welshmen taking part in the invasion were originally Flemish, having settled in Wales (in Pembrokeshire) in the early 1100s. There is a place in Pembrokeshire called Staunton, and so it is possible that our Welsh Anglo-Norman Irish Stanton ancestors were actually Flemish Welsh Anglo-Norman-Irish.

STANTON/ STAUNTON/ MCEVILLY SURNAME HISTORY
This is principally a Connacht surname, while Stanton itself is a place in Pembrokeshire in Wales, from whence the family, perhaps of ultimate Flemish origin, came to Ireland. Sir Bernard de Stanton, who possessed lands in County Kildare, was the father of Philip Stanton, who took part in the invasion of Connacht in the 1230s, and obtained lands in County Mayo in addition to those in Kildare. In Mayo the family adopted the Irish form Mac an Mhileadha, meaning ‘the son of the knight’, i.e. from Philip son of Sir Bernard, and some Connacht Stantons retain this in its anglicised form McEvilly, although most use the original form of the surname.

The family were long of importance among the Mayo gentry. Today the name is principally found in Mayo, Galway and Cork. In the latter county the family were established since at least the 1240s just east of Cork City, and there is some evidence that this family also possessed an interest in lands in Kildare in the early fourteenth century, and thus may have been of the same root as those of Kildare and Mayo. (Paul McCotter, “Anglo-Norman Surnames of Ireland (part six),” Irish Roots, no. 3 (1998). Found on the Internet at (Local Ireland website) 10 Aug 2003.) [2012 – the original link no longer takes you to the page quoted. This link was accessed on 18 Oct 2012]

The Normans, “Northmen” or Vikings, were an adaptable people. They conquered Normandy, England, Sicily, Ireland (among others) and in each case they eventually adopted – with some changes – the language and customs of the conquered people. In Ireland, it is said they became “more Irish than the Irish themselves.” Many names we consider typically Irish – Fitzgerald, for example – are actually Norman. In Mayo, some of the common Norman names include Barrett, Burke and Bourke, Costello, Culkin, Davitt, Fitzmaurice, Gibbons, Jennings, Joyce, McEvilly, Nally, Padden, Staunton and Walsh.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Normans invaded England in 1066. They came into Ireland in 1169, a force of 30 knights, 60 other horsemen, and 300 foot soldiers. There were virtually no towns – the Irish didn’t build towns, they hated towns – the only towns in Ireland in 1169 were on the coast, and had been built by Vikings.

“No towns, then, unlike Roman Britain; no roads; only beaten paths, stony or muddy; very few buildings . . . ; everywhere dark and wellnigh impassable woods . . . ; a climate even more moist than in our time; vast stretches of uninhabited land . . . . One may imagine how it was that the Danes could never penetrate far beyond the coast, except for brief and daring raids inland, and that even the Normans could only drive wedges into the more passable valleys, and then always have inimical and unconquerable fastnesses on their flanks.” (Sean O’Faolain, The Story of the Irish People(New York: Avenel, 1982) [Originally published 1949 as The Irish: a character study], p. 26-7.)

The Normans proceeded by building their own towns and roads. They would advance a bit, build a castle, establish a town. They participated fully and freely in Irish politics of the time, making dynastic marriages and alliances, switching sides whenever convenient. They also brought the Irish into English politics. They were a rowdy lot, often at odds with their King, and their Irish allies became, willy-nilly, a party to their intrigues, whether as leaders or followers.

The Stantons – or Stauntons as it was most often spelled then – were middle level people. They were considered knights, but they were not one of the great families, like the Burkes or the Fitzgeralds. They were followers of the Burkes (the de Burgos as they were then). Apparently they first rose to power in Kildare: a certain Adam Staunton is referred to as a”great baron of Kildare;” he or his son Philip [according to MacLysaght, Philip was the son of Sir Bernard Staunton as the surname info (above) says] came with the Burkes into Mayo, and was given the district of Carra, where he built a Castle and established a town. (This was about 1229.)

Castle Carra consisted of a three-story tower inside of a strong bawn (i.e., walled courtyard). To this day, remnants of the outer walls remain at some distance from the heavily fortified castle. Castle Carra continued to be held by the Stauntons until the end of the 16th century. (Although difficult to locate, there are significant ruins remaining and they are well worth visiting.) Nearby Kilboynell Castle (sometimes Called Kilvoynell or Kilfeynell), which had originally been built by the O’Flahertys, was taken over and rebuilt by the Stauntons. Ballinslea (also called Kilkerran) and Cloynlaghen Castle were also built by the Stauntons. (from the Patrick Brennan/Darren McEvilly website)

Here is a photo of Carra Castle

In 1298 the Stauntons built a monastery: Burriscarra, a Carmelite foundation. It was transferred to the Augustinian Hermits of Ballinrobe early in the fifteenth century. [According to Darren McEvilly, Adam Staunton built both Carra Castle and the monastery.]

“The Stauntons had been specially powerful around the lake, on the shores of which was their stronghold of Castle Carra. They had another castle at Kinturk. Favouring English customs, they called the neighbouring locality Burriscarra – the borough or town of Carra – and it is not unlikely that fairs and markets were held there when the Stauntons ruled.”(J. F. Quinn, History of Mayo (Ballina, Ireland: Brendan Quinn, 1993), V. 1, p. 310.)

At some point, some of the Stauntons took the Irish name Mac an Mhilidh, which means “son of the warrior” and which is pronounced (now) MacEvilly or MacAvelly. These were the powerful people: the area around Carra was known as “MacEvilly’s country.”

In 1338 the Stauntons were involved in an ugly affair, which gave them yet another name: Clann Ulcins, which some translate as “the children of evil” although Quinn does not define it, but simply mentions that it is an old name, and supposes that it would be Culkeen (or Culkin) today. (Quinn, p. 260) [Darren McEvilly suspects that it was this affair led the Stauntons to take the name McEvilly, and that they were called Clann Ulcin by others.]

The affair was “The Death of the Red Earl’s Son.” There were by now two branches of the Burkes. An opportunity arose for Edmond Burke, son of William Burke, to capture Edmond Burke, son of Richard Burke (the Earl of Ulster). He seized the opportunity without (apparently) considering the consequences. The Archbishop of Tuam was called upon, an agreement was about to be made . . . . At this point the Stauntons, who had considered the consequences (to themselves) if Edmond were released, tied him up in a bag with a stone or two for ballast, and threw him into the lake. And this act had its own set of consequences.

The Stauntons and the sons-of-William Burkes were kicked out of Mayo for a while (they seem to have been back in power by at least 1385), and because the King did not punish the murderers, he lost all claim to authority, not only in Mayo, but all over Ireland.

“In 1338 occurred the event which showed to all men the feebleness of the king’s government and led to open disregard of his authority, not in Connaught and Ulster only but all over Ireland. Hitherto it might be thought that the king tolerated the private wars from unwillingness to put forth his strength. [but] . . . condonation of the murder was an act which would not be attributed to any cause but the true one – – inability to punish it.” (Hubert Thomas Knox, The History of Mayo (Castlebar, Ireland: De Burca Rare Books, 1982;Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co, 1908), p. 134.)

As for the Stauntons and Burkes:

“[T]he destruction of the Foreigners of Connacht, and of his own [Edmond, son of William, Burke’s] family, occurred through this. And Toirdhelbhach O’Conchobhair [Turlough O’Connor] assumed the sway of Connacht after that, and Edmond MacWilliam Burk was expelled out of Connacht; and the territories and churches of all the West of Connacht were spoiled. And Edmond Burk collected a large fleet of ships and barks, [and] remained on the islands of the sea for a long time. Luighne and the Corann were depopulated and wasted, and the sovereignty was assumed by their own hereditary Gaeidhel, after the expulsion of the Foreigners out of them.”(Knox, 134)

By 1385, the Stauntons were back in power.

“The year 1385 was disastrous to Mayo men. . . . Cormac MacDonogh wasted Clann Cuain, but MacWilliam came against him and turned his men out of Castlebar. The MacDonoghs who went to plunder Carra were defeated, and lost many men at the hands of the Stauntons and others and the sons of Cathal Og.”(Knox, 150)

The MacEvillys were still around in 1472. . .

“1472 a son of MacEvilly and others, twenty six in all, went off privately by themselves and were surrounded by the hostile O’Kellys, who captured or killed all but MacJordan, who fought his way out though wounded.”(Knox, 159)

And they were still around in 1576 and 1585.

Philip Sidney states that a chieftain (among those minor chieftans who had sufficient land for Barons) named “Mac Invyle, of English surname Staunton” came to him with the rest at Galway, 1576. . . . They were, however, subject to the Burkes and when the MacEvilly chief went to Galway in 1576 he was mounted on a little nag, and was spoken of by Sidney (the royal deputy) as poor in condition and shrunken in power, very different indeed from the powerful MacWilliams. (Quinn, 260, 310)
Among the first signatures to the Indenture of Composition of 1585 was”Myly MacEvily of Kinturk, a chief of his name,” implying minor chiefs of the same name. The lesser chiefs who agreed to this composition are bracketed together as”MacPaddynes, MacPhillipines and MacEvillies.” Nearly all of them were in an uprising four years afterwards, and the Stauntons said they were driven to unwilling rebellion by the murderous greed of the new-arrived English officers, who all had “itching palms” and insatiable “land hunger.”(Quinn, 260)

They seem to have lost the last of their power before 1600.

MacEvilly owned the castle of Kinturk . . . until 1592. Castlecarra . . . was in MacEvilly hands until it was sold to Lord Trimleston in Sir N. Malbie’s time, and by him to Captain W. Bowen in 1586.(Knox, 287)

Of course they didn’t disappear – Stauntons and Stantons and MacEvillys are still in Mayo today – but they disappeared from the history books. Peter McLoughlin, a Stanton relative still living in Mayo, in a private e-mail (11 March 2003) mentioned some of these later Stantons:

Fr. Martin Staunton (1902-1994) ordained priest served in America, a very holy and prayerful man;
Monsignor James Horan (1911-1986) was related to the Staunton’s and he was responsible for the building of the Airport in Knock, Co Mayo;
Steve Staunton of Dundalk Ireland and Captain of the Irish Team in the World Cup is related.

Peter also described the life of the average Stanton:

Our ancestors lived in two or three roomed cottages with often hard earth floors and small windows and thatched roofs. There was no running water or sanitation or electricity. They slept on beds with straw mattresses.
Our ancestors were predominantly Catholic.
Most were farmers, blacksmiths, shoemakers, weavers,. Ireland was primarily agricultural no industry so every occupation till the late 1800’s was related to agriculture.
Our Ancestors spoke Irish until after the Famine- post 1849 they spoke Irish and English.

http://www.ba044ancestry.com/STANTON/stantondna.htm

2 Responses to “STANTON, the origins”

  1. Lauralynn Staton says:

    Thank you for your internet entry. I, as the family historian, am currently researching our Staunton family’s Irish branch. Your sentry has been most helpful.
    Lauralynn

  2. Helen says:

    Thanks for your comment Lauralynn. What a lovely name. Wondering where your branch settled

Leave a Reply