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Arms of Jordan of Roslevin Castle, County Mayo
Arms of Jordan (MacSurtaine) Lords of the Dessen in Connacht
Arms of Christopher Jordan of Dublin, from his Funeral Entry, 1634
This family is descended from Jordan De Courcy, who was a younger brother of Sir John De Courcy, the first Earl of Ulster, from him they derive the surname MacJordan, now Jordan in English and MacSuirtáin in Irish. When, however, the first of the family came to Ireland with the Anglo-Norman invaders, around 1170 they were known by the name De Exeter. Like many of the Norman families, especially their Mayo neighbours the Burkes, they became "as Irish as the Irish themselves," adopting Irish customs and Brehon laws and forming a sept in the traditional Gaelic manner. Hence the abandonment of their Norman name and assumption of the patronymic MacJordan. In The Antiquities of Ireland, by Sir James Ware we find that: "The De Exonias or De Exeters submitted to be called MacJordans, from one Jordan De Exonia, who was the first founder of the family."
Jordan De Courcy, who in 1197 was killed by an Irish retainer in Ulster, left three sons, two of whom were slain in Downpatrick churchyard, in 1203, while defending their uncle, Sir John De Courcy, against the attack of De Lacy's followers. The third son, Jordan, being a mere boy at the time was removed by his friends to Exeter in England, to escape for the time in Ireland the persecution of the family by their great rivals the De Lacys. This boy's mother was one of the descendants of Hugh De Brionis, Sheriff of Devonshire, whom William the Conqueror endowed with one hundred and fifty-nine lordships in that shire; and who, when appointed by the Conqueror as Governor of the Castle of Exeter, was commonly named De Exeter. Hence, young Jordan De Courcy, on his return to Ireland, assumed a portion of his mother's name, and was known as Siurtan De Exeter, which means "Jordan De Exeter. Jordan De Exeter returned to Ireland and made a settlement in ancient Meath; where he built the fortress called Jordan's Castle, and yet known as Castlejordan; but, to assert his uncle's title to the lordship of Connaught which with the earldom of Ulster was in 1181 granted by King Henry II to him and his heirs male, besides any other land in Ireland he (Sir John De Courcy) could gain by the sword, this Jordan De Exeter invaded that Province with a powerful following of friends and retainers; made a settlement in ancient Galenga and in Tyrawley, as above mentioned; and built his principal Castle at Athleathan, in the barony of Gallen, and county of Mayo. This Jordan De Exeter caused the Irish King Torlogh O'Connor to retreat from Carra in that year "as he had not equal forces to meet them." In 1249, Jordan (or Siurtan), lord of Athleathan, was sheriff of Connaught: and commanded the Anglo-Norman forces at Athenry. The Annals record "the Irish nobility of Connaught went to Athenrie, to prey and spoile that towne on the day of our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the middest of harvest . The Sheriff of Connaught with many Englishmen were in the said towne before them. There was a great army with Terlagh MacHugh (O'Connor). The Sheriff and Englishmen desired them in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose day then was, to forbear with them that day, which the Irish nobility refused. They assaulted the towne against the will of the said Terlagh, which Jordan De Exeter the Sheriffe and Englishmen seeing, they rushed forthe to meet the said Irishmen, when the Virgin Mary wrought miraculously against the said nobility."
The personal name Jordan originated in this family, it is said, in the fact that Jordan De Courcy (who apparently was originally given a different, unknown, personal name) went as standard-bearer with the English Crusaders to the Holy Land, and, in a great battle which took place between the Christians and the Saracens on the banks of the river Jordan, was so vigorously attacked by the Saracen host, that on three or four occasions his standard, which was the Banner of the Cross, almost disappeared from the view of the Christians, who, therefore, greatly feared for his safety; but, from his extraordinary strength, and the help he received from his followers, De Courcy re-appeared with his standard, as if miraculously, and on each occasion dealt destruction to the enemy. Hence his adoption of the personal name Jordan in memory of his remarkable prowess on that occasion.
According to Mill's History of the Crusades, two brothers, William and Alberic De Grantmesnil, who were closely connected by marriage with the De Courcy family in England, went to the Holy Land and greatly distinguished themselves during the Crusades. It is believed that Jordan De Courcy accompanied those two brothers, as a Crusader; and, on his return journey to England, remained some time in Germany: and that hence the adfix Teutonicus to his name. It is here worthy of remark, lest there be confusion, that "Jordan Teutonicus" was also the name of the Dominican Monk who succeeded St. Dominic, as General or Provincial of that Order.
In the territory of Galenga, which gave its name to the present barony of "Gallen," in the county of Mayo; and in the north of Tirawley (now the barony of Tyrawley), in the same county, about five miles north of Killala, the Jordan De Exeters founded in 1274 the Abbey of Rathbran, or, as it is now spelled, "Rafran". The Galenga territory here mentioned comprised the entire of the present Diocese of Ardagh; and included the patrimonies of the families of O'Hara and O'Gara. The name, or its anglicised form "Gallen" (which was as recently as 1537, called "MacJordan's Country"), derived its appellation from Cormac Gaileang, to whom the Irish Monarch Cormac MacArt, in the third century, granted that territory. Cormac Gaileang, who was son of Teige, son of Cian, son of Olioll Olum, was a relative of King Cormac MacArt; and was the ancestor of the O'Hara and O'Gara septs.
The Annals contain many references to the family of De Exeter - Jordan. In 1247 we find the De Exeter family name there first mentioned as "Siurtan Dexetra:" the word "Siurtan" being Irish for Jordan; and under A.D. 1249, the name "Jordan". In 1253, a monastery was founded for the Dominicans at Athleathan, in Lieney, by the De Exeters, Lords of Athleathan, barony of Gallen, and county of Mayo. Michael of Exeter, a member of this family, succeeded as bishop in 1289, and died in 1302. In 1269, Richard De Exonia or De Exeter was made Lord Justice, and died same year with his wife Margery De Say. In 1355, Stephen De Exeter fought for the O'Maddens against the Bourkes; in 1394, "John, son of Meyler, was slain by the sons of John De Exeter;" in 1416, MacJordan De Exeter attacked O'Hara's sons and plundered the country, the people of the territory assembled against him, and he was defeated and slain; in 1426, Richard MacJordan, of the Wood (Coillte Magh, or wooded plain is the Irish form of Kiltimagh), was taken prisoner by Owen, son of O'Flaherty, and was given up to MacJordan Dubh, by whom he was slain. In 1428 an incursion was made by MacJordan De Exeter into Tyrawley against Thomas Barrett and his sons; in 1472, the sons of MacJordan deserted (or strayed) from the army of MacWilliam Bourke, and all were slain except MacJordan; in 1486, O'Donnell, of Tirconnell, mustered an army, entered Tyrawley, and took John MacJordan and others, prisoners.
The Friar Stephen De Exonia, mentioned by De Burgo, as the writer of the Annals of Multifarnan (commonly known as "Anonymous Annals"), was one of the Dominican Monks of the Abbey of Strade; and a son of De Exeter, lord of Athleathan. Of that Friar, Ware says: "The Annals of the Dominicans were brought down by an Anonymous Friar of that Order, to the year 1274, in which the author flourished."
Edward I. invaded Scotland, and his Justiciary, John Darcy, summoned the Anglo-Irish Barons and a number of the Irish Princes to attend the expedition to Scotland with men, arms, horses, etc. A large number of the Anglo-Norman Irish nobility attended King Edward in his expeditions to Scotland, among whom two of the De Exeter Lords were present, and were amongst the nobles entertained by the king at Roxburgh Castle. The De Exeters also fought in Gascoigne during the king's wars; and members of that family were present at the victories during subsequent reigns in France.
Three members of the De Exeter family are named amongst the list of the Peers summoned to attend the Parliament at Kilkenny held in the year A.D. 1309. The right, according to the Constitutional law of England, still exists that, as the De Exeter Jordans have been Peers in Parliament, and have received Writs of summons to attend as such from time immemorial, and before Kings and Queens arrogated to themselves the power of granting titles; they can claim their ancient titles if they choose when they prove their direct descent, and that no bills of attainder has been passed against the members of the family. This Constitutional law is distinctly laid down in Hume and Smollet's History of England and in Archdall's edition of Lodge's Peerage.
In 1571 it is recorded that "Lord Deseret" was also called Jordan De Exeter, which family is also stated to have been Lords in the time of the Duke of Clarence's Lord Lieutenancy, in 1361.
The Jordans held high and distinguished positions among the Norman invaders, and intermarried with the families of De Say, Prendergast, and Costello; and with some other of the noblest families in Connaught, viz.: A De Exeter MacJordan married Penelope O'Connor, daughter of the King of Ireland; another married Basilia De Bermingham, daughter of the lord baron of Athenry; a daughter of Walter Jordan De Exeter, of the Island near Ballyhaunis, county of Mayo, married in 1692, one of Lord Clonbrock's ancestors. Celia MacJordan married Rickard Bourke, from both of whom are descended the present marquis of Clanricarde, and the Earl of Mayo. Of this lady it is recorded that "Celia, daughter of MacJordan, the wife of Rickard Bourke, the most exalted woman in Connaught."
The principal residence of the MacJordan family was Athleathan Catles built around 1170. Baile-atha-leathan (meaning the "Town of the Broad Ford") is known as Ballylahan in modern times. That ancient Castle is now in a state of ruin; but, judging by the extensive area covered by its remains, the Castle must have been a very large building. The Annals various attacks on the Castle of Athleathan; but it still remained in the possession of the family until Cromwell confiscated their large possessions, and removed them to their present family seat Rathslevin (modernized Rosslevin) Castle, situated in the barony of Gallen and county of Mayo, and about five or six miles south-east of Ballylahan.
Sir William Petty's Survey of Ireland, speaking of the then De Exeter Jordans, states that he and others showed him matters of record and credit that they were barons by tenure of lands, and were summoned as such to Parliament. Petty also states that they had lands sufficient for such dignity. The Cromwellian and Williamite Confiscations, however, deprived the MacJordans of much of their ancient territory. Yet, but few families in the 19th century still held, as did the Jordans, large tracts of the same lands which they possessed more than 700 years before; and were able to trace a direct and unbroken descent from the founder of their family in Ireland. Also, as O'Hart states in 1876, it is a strange fact that, notwithstanding the Confiscations and Penal Laws in Ireland, the Jordans have remained unchanged in Faith; and that although at one time to all appearance stricken down by tyranny and persecution, the family still maintains a most respectable position in society.
In the Topographia Hibernica we read that Strade or Straid is a fair town in the barony of Gallen, and county of Mayo. This place is seated by the river Moy. The Sept MacJordan founded a House here under the Invocation of the Holy Cross for Friars of the Order of St. Francis; but in 1252 it was given to the Dominicans. A small part of this Friary still remains, but the walls of the church, which was singularly beautiful, are still entire; the high altar is adorned with Gothic ornaments. In the centre of the altar is an image of our Saviour when an infant in the Virgin's lap, and a person in relief within a compartment of each side. Here is also a tomb adorned with curious reliefs of four kings in different compartments, one of whom is kneeling before a mitred person; near to it is another relief of Saints Peter and Paul.
On the 15th July, 1585, and the 27th of Elizabeth, a Commission was issued by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth: "To Sir Richard Bingham, Knt., Chief Commissioner of Connaught; the Archbishop of Tuam; the earls of Thomond and Clanrickard; the bishops of Clonfert and Elphin; the lord Bermingham, baron of Athenry; Sir Nicholas White, Knt., Master of the "Rules;" Sir Edward Waterhouse and Sir Thomas Le Strange, two of the Privy Council; Thomas Dillon, Esq., chief justice of Connaught; Charles Calthorpp, attorney-general; Gerald Comerford, Esq., attorney for Connaught; Sir Tirlagh O'Brien, Knt.; Sir Donnell O'Connor, Sligo, Knt.; Sir Brian O'Rorke, Knt.; Sir Richard Burke, Knt.; Sir Murrogh na Deo O'Flaherty; Francis Barkley, provostmarshal in Connaught; Nicholas Fitzsimons, of Dublin, alderman; John Marburie, Robert Ffowle, and John Brown, gentlemen; who from motives of "tender consideration" towards Her Majesty's loyal subjects in the Province of Connaught, then under the Rule of her right trusty and well-beloved deputy-general, Sir John Perrott, Knight, are directed to embrace all good ways and means whereby their titles and rights may be reduced to certainty: Premising that Sir Richard Bingham, Sir Nicholas White, and Sir Edward Waterhouse be of the Commission; the others as may be convenient; and commanding that all Mayors, Sheriffs, Bailiffs, Constables, Officers and others to attend to the said Commission, for which they shall answer for the contrary at their peril."
Under this Commission, sittings were held at various places in Connaught: one of them was held at Dunemona, on the 8th of September, 1585: from the proceedings of which were laid the grounds out of which Her Majesty's "tender considerations" were consequently bestowed on the MacJordans and others in Ireland.
The Jury empanelled on that occasion were: "Piers Barrett, of Ballysakeery; Redmond MacCulladuff Oge, of Kilkeeran; Marcus MacEnabbe, of the Toher; David MacJoyn, of Kenlagh; William MacMoyler, of the Neale; Sherrone MacGibbin, of Lacken; James MacMorrish, of Barrele: John MacStafford, of Ballymacstafford; Cormack O'Higgin, of Rathmorogh; Richard Oge MacThomine, of Ballycroy; Walter Leagh MacStephen, of Coran; Sherowne MacSherowne, of Moymilla; Theobold Burke, of Turlogh; Taragh MacDonnell, of the Cloomine; Richard Burke, of Ballinecarrow; Teige Roe O'Mally, of Cathernamort (now "Westport"); Richard Oge MacGibbon, of Glankine; Edmond MacTibbod, of Knock Oile; Shane MacCostello, of Tollowhan; Moriertagh O'Killine, of Ballykilline; Robert Oge Barrett; Edward Oge Barrett, of Dowltagh; Richard Oge MacDowdall, of Invroe; Henry MacEdmond MacRickard, of Ballinamore; Henry Bourke, of Castle Key; and Walter MacCostello.
That Jury found that the county Mayo includes nine baronies, of which Ballylahan alias Gallen was one. In Mayo they found that there were 1,548 quarters of land, each quarter containing 120 Irish acres; and, after detailing several baronies, it is found that in the barony of Gallen there is a quantity of land called Clan Stephen, so called, after Stephen De Exeter Jordan, who lived in 1355.
The Indenture made between Sir John Perrott, for and on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, on the one part, and:
"The Rev. Fathers in God, William, Archbishop of Tuam; Owen, elect bishop of Killala; Sir Richard Bourke, of the Newtown, Knt., otherwise called "MacWilliam Egghter;" Walter Kettagh (Bourke), of Bealeeck, gent.; William Bourke, of Ardnaree, gent.; Edmund Bourke MacOliver, of Rappa, gent.; Richard Barrett, of Ross, otherwise called "MacPadine," chief of his name; Pierce Barrett, of Ballasakeery, gent.; Myler MacEvilly, of Kinturk, otherwise called MacEvily, chief of his name; Edmond Bourke, of Castlebar, tanist to the said "MacWilliam Eyghter;" William Bourke, of Ballenacarrae, otherwise called the "Blind Abbot;" Moyler Bourke, of Castle MacKerra, gent.; Tibbot Reagh Bourke, of Boherfayne, gent.; Edmond Vagher MacJordan, of Bellalahan, otherwise called "MacJordan;" Moyler MacJurdan, of the Newcastle, gent.; Walter Liagh MacStevane, of Corran, MacStephane, gent.; Jordan MacThomas, of Bellahagh, gent.; Richard MacMorrish, of the Brees, other, wise called MacMorrish, chief of his name; Davy MacMorrish, of Castlemacgarrett, gent.; Walter MacEriderry, of Castlereagh, gent; William Bourke, of Shrule, gent.; Edmond Bourke, of Cowga, gent.; Richard Oge Bourke, of Loyncashill; Melaghlin O'Mealie, of Belare, otherwise called O'Mally, chief of his name; Tiege Roe O'Maylie, of Cahernamart, gent.; Owen O'Malie, of the same, gent.; Dermod MacArt, of Cleere, gent.; Gilliduff MacGibbon, of Balleneskilly, gent.; Richard Oge MacGibbon, of Glankine, gent.; Shearon MacGibbon, of Lacken, gent.; Nicholas Fitzsimons, of Donmackenny, gent.; Walter MacPhilbin, of Brehan, otherwise called "MacPhillibine," chief of his name; Faragh MacTirlagh Roe, of Carrick Kennedy, gent.; Edmond Oge MacGibbon, of Derrymagerma, gent.; William Bourke, of Torrene, gent.; Rickard Oge MacTomine, of Ballyroen, gent.; Edmond Barrett, of Dowlagh, gent.; John Brown, of the Neale, gent.; Rickard Barrett, of Kirrenagen, gent.; and John Carn, of Downmackennedy, gent., of the other part", proceeds:
"The said Lords, Chieftains, Gentleman, Ffreeholders, etc., acknowledging the manifold benefits by the peaceable government of the said Lord Deputy, and the just dealings of Sir Richard Bingham, and on account of having acquitted of certain Tanistry charges payable to their several chiefs willingly and thankfully, undertaking themselves and their heirs and assigns for ever to pay to Her Majesty ten shillings per quarter; besides to supply forty able horsemen and 300 footmen well armed for battle in Connaught, when commanded to do so, and fifteen horsemen and fifty footmen for general service; and that the names, styles, and titles of Captainships and Jurisdictions, heretofore used by the said Chieftains, shall be henceforth abolished for ever . . . And as regards the barony of Beallalahan, otherwise Gallen, it is covenanted, granted, condescended, and agreed that the above named Edmond Vaghery, otherwise called Jordan D'exeter, chief lord of the said barony, shall for the better maintenance of his living have, hold, possess, and enjoy to him and his heirs and assigns, the Castle and Manor of Belalahan, and eight quarters of Land with their appurtenances, whereof he is now seized as in right of his name of MacJordan; . . . together with other ten quarters of land which lie in 'Joech' Ballalahan and Cowlekearne (Coolkarney) subject to this Composition whereof he is now seized of his inheritance . . . The said MacJordan D'Exeter, his heirs and assigns, shall have a yearly rent-charge of five shillings out of every quarter of 118 quarters, the residue of said barony, in recompense of all rents, duties, and exactions by him claimed of the freeholders of the same; and that they and every of them, their heirs, and assigns, shall for his or their portion of lands hold the same of the said MacJordan D'Exeter, his heirs and assigns . . . and shall do suit and service to the Court Baron and Court Lete of his said Manor of Belalahan" . . .
The Irish Chiefs and Owners of the country, except those in the interest of the English in Ireland, kept aloof, and neither attended the Commission, nor added their signatures to the Indenture; for, feeling that the settlement made in that Indenture was only a pretext to ascertain the extent and value of the inheritance possessed by the native Irish Chiefs (and which was soon after turned to sad account against them), they did not sign the Indenture: they preferred to absent themselves, so as not to be identified with such unjust interference with their rights; but, from compulsion, they had afterwards to gladly submit. The Galway Grand Jury, who refused to find that the Crown of England had paramount rights in the Irish soil were committed to prison, and released only on payment of heavy penalties. If we trace those Commissioners we shall find them in possession of the Estates, of which they held inquiry; for instance: Thomas Dillon got the greater part of "MacJordan's Country," and other lands in Mayo, besides large parcels of MacDermott's territtory in Moylurg; and of O'Kelly's, in Hy-Maine.
Jourdan, one of Napoleon the First's distinguished generals, is supposed to have been descended from the De Exeter Jordan family, of the barony of Gallen, and county of Mayo. In the Illustrations Historical, by Dalton, we find in Butler's regiment in King James the Second's Army List, the name Jordan mentioned amongst the ensigns in that regiment. That officer emigrated to France with other Irish soldiers after the violation of the Treaty of Limerick (in 1691), and from him possibly descended the famous General Jourdan.
There are two distinct coats of arms that belong to this family.
Jordan of Roslevin Castle, Co. Mayo: Gules a lion rampant between three crosses crosslet Or. Crest: None recorded. Motto: percussus resurgo [the beaten rise again].
Jordan or MacSurtaine Lords of the Dessen: Argent a fess Sable, in base a lion passant of the last. Crest: None recorded. Motto: None recorded. (A variant of these arms is found in the Funeral Entry for Christopher Jordan of Dublin in 1634: Argent on a fess sable a mullet of the field, in chief issuant from the fess two demi lions rampant gules)
The Jordan family derives its descent in the male line from the House of Lorraine, of the race of the Emperor Charlemagne, who died A.D. 814; and, in the female line, from the three first Dukes of Normandy.
1. Charles Martel, had:
2. Pepin, King of France, who had:
3. Charlemagne (or Charles the Great), King of France (died 814), who had:
4. Louis (the third son), who had:
5. Charles (born 823), who had:
6. Louis II (born 844; Emperor, 878), who had:
7. Charles III, who had:
8. Charles, Duke of Lorraine, who had:
9. Charles, who had:
10. Wigelius De Courcie, who had:
11. Balderic Teutonicus, who married the niece of Gilbert, Earl of Brion, in Normandy (and daughter of the Earl of Clare), and had six sons and seven daughters. The third of these sons was:
12. Robert De Courcy, Lord of Courcy, in Normandy, who married and had:
13. Richard De Courcy (died 1098), who accompanied William, Duke of Normandy (afterwards known as William the Conqueror), in his expedition to England, and was present at the decisive battle of Hastings, fought on Saturday, the 14th October, 1066; after which the said Richard was granted several lordships in England, one of which was that of Stoke, in the county of Somerset, which, with the other lordships, he held per intergram baroniam. This Richard married and had:
14. Robert, Lord of Courcy and Baron of Stoke-Courcy, who was "Sewer" or Steward of the Household to King Henry I., and to the Empress Maud: by the former of whom the said Robert was in 1133 made one of the greater barons at Westminster; and in that year was, with Stephen, Earl of Moreton (afterwards King Stephen), and others of the nobility, a witness to the Confirmation Charter of the said King Henry to the Prior and Convent of St. Bartholomew, London; this Robert was the founder of the Nunnery of Cannington, in Somersetshire; he married one of the six daughters of Hugh Le Grantmesnil, Lord of Hinckley, in the county of Leicester, who was Lord High Steward of England, and who died 22nd February, 1098. This Robert married and had:
15. Robert De Courcy, Baron of Stoke, who was the principal Commander of the English forces against the Scots at the battle of Northampton. He married and had:
16. William, Lord of Islip (died 1171), who married Juliana, daughter of Risherim De Aquila, and had two sons and a daughter:
I. Sir John De Courcy, first earl of Ulster.
II. Jordan De Courcy
III. The daughter was married to Sir Almeric Tristram, ancestor of the Earl of Howth.
17. Jordan De Courcy, who in 1197 was killed by an Irish retainer in Ulster, leaving three sons, two of whom were slain in Downpatrick churchyard, in 1203, while defending their uncle, Sir John De Courcy, against the attack of De Lacy's followers.
18. Jordan De Courcy or Jordan De Exeter: third son of Jordan. This boy was removed by his friends to Exeter in England, to escape for the time in Ireland the persecution of the De Courcy family by their great rivals the De Lacys, instigated by King John. This boy's mother was one of the descendants of Hugh De Brionis, Sheriff of Devonshire, whom William the Conqueror endowed with one hundred and fifty-nine lordships in that shire; and who, when appointed by the Conqueror as Governor of the Castle of Exeter, was commonly named De Exeter. Hence, young Jordan De Courcy, on his return to Ireland, assumed a portion of his mother's name, and was known as Siurthan De Exeter, which means "Jordan De Exeter. When that persecution had ceased with the death of that arbitary Monarch, Jordan De Exeter returned to Ireland and made a settlement in ancient Meath; where he built the fortress called Jordan's Castle, and yet known as Castlejordan; but, to assert his uncle's title to the lordship of Connaught which with the earldom of Ulster was in 1181 granted by King Henry II to him and his heirs male, besides any other land in Ireland he (Sir John De Courcy) could gain by the sword, this Jordan De Exeter invaded that Province with a powerful following of friends and retainers; made a settlement in ancient Galenga and in Tyrawley and built his principal Castle at Athleathan, in the barony of Gallen, and county of Mayo. This Jordan De Exeter is mentioned by the Four Masters as "Siurtan De Exeter," who was then in command of the English forces in Connaught, and who caused the Irish King Torlogh O'Connor to retreat from Carra in that year "as he had not equal forces to meet them." In 1249 he was sheriff of Connaught: and commanded the Anglo-Norman forces at Athenry, when, say the Four Masters, "he gained a great victory over the Irish, by the miraculous interposition of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
19. Myler De Exeter Jordan, lord of Athleathan: son of Jordan De Exeter: married Basilia, daughter of De Bermingham, lord of Athenry. This lady, according to De Burgo, induced her husband to build and endow the abbey of Straid, near the family residence of Athleathan Castle.
20. Stephen, lord of Athleathan: son of Myler; was also Sheriff of Connaught, and with one of his knights named Pierce Agabard was killed in a sea-fight against MacSorley (MacDonnell) off the coast of Connemara.
21. Richard (called by some "De Exonia"): son of Stephen; was, according to Ware, De Burgo, Harris, and O'Heyne, Viceroy or Lord Deputy of Ireland, in 1269. He married in 1260 Eva (died in 1262), daughter of O'Connor, King of Connaught. As the first Abbey of Straid had been burned down, this Richard De Exonia, at the solicitation of his wife, built and endowed another Abbey there, for the Dominicans. Having large possessions in Tyrawley (his lands there having been increased by his marriage with the King's daughter), he also built and endowed the Abbey of Rathbran or Rafran, near Killala, also for the Dominicans. Richard had a brother Simon De Exeter, who in 1284 was killed in a battle between his forces and those of the O'Flynns, MacDermotts, and O'Flanagans.
22. Myler: son of Richard; was killed in a battle fought between the English in Connaught and King Calvagh O'Connor, in 1289.
23. Slemme De Exeter, lord of Athleathan: son of Myler; was in 1316, while in command of the English forces, killed in the battle of Athleathan, in which Myles De Cogan, "the noblest baron in Ireland," in his time, was with other Anglo-Normans also slain. This Slemme was succeeded by his brother Myler, who, in a fight that in 1317 took place on the banks of the river Methanagh in Drumcliff, county Sligo, was with fourteen of his companions killed by the army commanded by Donal O'Connor. Myler was succeeded by his son:
24. Myler, as lord of Athleathan, who died 1336. (Under A.D. 1340, the Four Masters relate that Jordan MacCostello was slain by Cathal MacDermott Gall.)
25. Slevin: son of Myler; succeeded his father as lord of Athleathan; and built some of the Castles in the De Exeter territory. Under A.D. 1316 the Four Masters say: "Felim (i.e. O'Connor, then King of Connaught) again assumed the government of Connaught. He mustered another army, and marched against Athleathan, now Ballylahan, in the barony of Gallen, and county of Mayo, formerly the seat of the De Exeter Jordans, lords of Athleathan ... He burned the town, and slew Slevin De Exeter Jordan, lord of the town, and also Gogonoch (or Miles De Cogan), the noblest baron in his time in Ireland, and many others of the English; and acquired much booty." From this Slevin, Rahslevin (now Roslevin) Castle, near Kiltimagh, in the county Mayo, derives its name. The modern Castle of Roslevin is now the seat of the present (19th century) representatives of the De Exeter Jordan family. This Slevin and his son Stephen built as outpost fortifications placed at certain distances around their territory, for its better defence, the following Castles, the ruins of which are yet to be seen in the localities mentioned: 1. Currane (or Caislean) Stephen, near Ballyvary, barony of Gallen, and county of Mayo, which was a very strong fortress. 2. Bohola. 3. Ballinamore, the ruins of which are situate on the lawn in front of Mr. Ormsby's residence. 4. Old Castle, near Swinford, and convenient to the modern residence of Mr. O'Rorke. 5. New Castle, near the present residence of Mr. Owen O'Mally, J.P. 6. Athouse. 7. Rathslevin, near Roslevin Castle, now the residence of Mr. Myles H. Jordan, J.P. 8. Tumore, near Foxford. 9. Cloongee Castle, near Foxford. 10. Raight or Wraight, in the barony of Costello. 11. Island Castle, in same barony, and near Ballyhaunis.
26. Meyler, lord of Athleathan: son of Slevin; died in 1336. Myler, the son and heir of Slevin, being too young on his father's death to engage in active warfare, we find that in 1381 (one year afterwards) the MacDonoghs of Ballymote, made a predatory incursion into Gallen, demolished the Castle of Athleathan, and carried away the gates thereof to Ballymote. In the 19th century a member of the Jordan family happened to observe in a place he had visited two beautifully carved stones on which were represented his family crest. Upon inquiring how the then owner of those stones came to be in possession of them, the reply was that they were carried from Ballymote Castle to Glen Island, in the county of Mayo, by a retired constable of police, who looked upon them as a curiosity. The two carved stones, it is needless to say, were at once purchased, and are (in 1888) again we find in possession of a De Exeter, namely, Doctor Myles Joseph Jordan, M.D., Castlebar. Myler was succeeded by his brother Stephen; who was slain in 1355, as mentioned by the Four Masters. This Stephen was succeeded by his son:
27. Slevin, who with his brother John was in 1380 killed in a battle at Athleathan fought there between the two DeBurgo rival factions: "MacWilliam Bourke," say the Four Masters, "gave MacWilliam Oughter (Richard Oge) a great overthrow in the town of Athleathan, in which MacJordan Dexeter, lord of Athleathan, and John Dexeter were slain." Slevin was succeeded by his son:
28. Richard, who in 1395 was taken prisoner by some of his kinsmen, and delivered into the hands of MacWilliam Bourke. "But," say the Four Masters, "Donal MacMurtogh O'Connor and the Irish of North Connaught marched their forces into the territory of MacWilliam, in consequence of the taking of MacJordan, whom they set at liberty; and peace was made between the English and Irish of the province on that occasion." This Richard was succeeded by his brother Myler, who, in 1416, with his kinsmen, made an attack on the sons of John O'Hara; but was slain on his return home from their territory, having taken from them much booty. Myler had a son, John, and another named Richard, who was known as Richard MacJordan of the Wood. John was in 1394 treacherously killed by his own kinsmen; and Richard of the Wood succeeded his father, as lord of Athleathan.
29. Richard MacJordan, of the Wood: son of Meyler; was in 1426 taken prisoner by Owen O'Flaherty, who delivered him into the hands of MacJordan Dubh, by whom he was plundered. This Richard, lord of Athleathan, lived to a very old age; he made in 1428 a hostile incursion into Tyrawley, against Thomas Barrett, whom he plundered; he had many sons (one of whom is, under A.D. 1472 in the Annals of the Four Masters, mentioned for his valour), and a daughter Celia or Silé (died in 1485), who married Richard Bourke, as above mentioned, and who, say the Four Masters, was "the most exalted woman in Connaught." From her are descended the present families of the Marquis of Clanricard and the Earl of Mayo.
30. Meyler, lord of Athleathan: succeeded his father, Richard, in 1475; died in 1510; and was succeeded by his son, Slevin.
31. Slevin De Exeter, died in 1533, and was succeeded by his brother, James, who in 1548, was succeeded by his nephew:
32. Slemme, who, in 1560, was succeeded by his son:
33. Myler, who, in 1578, was succeeded by his son:
34. Stephen: who was succeeded by his brother, Evagher MacJordan, who was succeeded by his son:
35. Edmond: This Edmond MacJordan De Exeter, lord of Athleathan, was one of the barons who attended on Sir William Petty during his Survey of Connaught; signed the paper acknowledging the number of quarters of land he was possessed of; and produced "matters of record and credit" to show that he (Jordan) and his ancestors were barons by tenure of lands, and were summoned as such to Parliament; and Petty in his report to his Government states, that the De Exeter Jordans possessed lands sufficient for such dignity. Thus, in right of his name as "MacJordan," this Edmond "Vaghery," as he is called in the Indenture above given, was confirmed in his possessions; yet Petty afterwards reserved a portion of MacJordan's territory for John Browne of the Neale, who was an ancestor of the present lords Kilmaine and Sligo. Edmond (died 1620), and was succeeded by his son:
36. James, lord of Athleathan, who, in 1663, was succeeded by his nephew:
37. Edward De Exeter MacJordan, who was succeeded by:
38. Edward, who, in 1681, was succeeded by his son:
39. James, who, in 1698, was succeeded by his brother, Henry, who, in 1720, was succeeded by his son:
40. Charles, who, in 1750, was succeeded by his son:
41. Constantine, who, in 1760, was succeeded by his brother, Edward, who married a Miss MacDonnell; and, in 1763, was succeeded by his nephew:
42. Edmund De Exeter Jordan, who, in July, 1770, married Catherine (died 1776), widow of Bourke, lord Viscount Mayo, who died in Pall Mall, London, on the 12th January, 1769. He was a Colonel of Volunteers in Mayo, and was one of the county Mayo Delegates who attended the meeting of Volunteers in Dungannon Fort or Castle.
43. Henry De Exeter Jordan, or "Henry of the Ruffles" as he was called: son of Edmund and Catherine, his wife. Henry married a Miss Burke of Ower, county Galway (whose sister married Sir Walter Blake, Bart., of Menlough Castle, county Galway), and had two sons and three daughters:
I. James, the elder son, was a Barrister-at-Law; conformed to the Church of England to save the remnant of the family Estates from confiscation; and married a Miss O'Donnell, sister or aunt of Sir Neal O'Donnell of Newport-Mayo, who was created a Baronet in 1780. James Jordan and his wife did not live happy together; by mutual consent they separated after three or four years' cohabitation without issue. This James was, in 1785, killed in a duel. James, who died childless, had a quarrel with his mother, on account, it is alleged, of her neglect of his sisters' education, during his absence from home on travel. When dying, he willed the family Estate to a Miss Vipout, of Dublin: thus excluding, he thought, his mother from receiving her dower; and his brother, too, from inheriting the property. But Miss Vipout would take only £500, under the Will: She gave Myles De Exeter Jordan, the brother of her "lover," a clear receipt for all claims on the Estate which James's Will assigned her. The quarrel which led to the duel originated, it is said, at an Assizes held in Galway, circa 1785, between Jordan and his relative Martin, under the following circumstances: Jordan, who went on the Connaught Circuit, was at the Assizes counsel in a case against a member of the Burke family of Ower, county Galway, a near relative of his own, for Jordan's mother, as above shown, was also a member of that family. In the course of conversation, Martin, who was the friend of both parties, observed that he was sorry to find Jordan had not treated his mother with due filial respect; but Jordan, who was proud and imperious, construed the observation into an insult, and a challenge ensued. Martin, who was a noted duellist in those days, made every effort to apologise, and thus prevent a hostile meeting between them; but Jordan would not be satisfied unless the same people were again gathered together, in whose presence Martin had made use of the alleged insulting expression complained of. This would be almost impossible: so the adversaries met in a field near the public road at Green Hills, half way between Castlebar and Westport, when Jordan received in the groin his opponent's fire, and was thence removed into the neighbouring house of Mr. Bourke, of Green Hills, where he (Jordan) lingered in great pain for three or four days and died. To the honour of Martin it should be mentioned that he arrived at the ground fixed upon by the seconds without his pistols, and in consequence it was discussed for some time that the duel could not take place, as Martin had not his weapons with him. Jordan, however, refused, to leave the ground; used various threats against Martin unless the duel proceeded; and insisted upon one of his (Jordan's) pistols being handed to his opponent, who had reluctantly to accept it; and as a fact Jordan was shot with one of his own pistols! So keenly did Colonel Martin feel respecting that unfortunate duel, that one day in the dining-room of the mansion of Castlemacgarrett, county Mayo (the seat of Lord Oranmore and Browne), where the Colonel had been a frequent guest, he was observed with a carving knife in his hand, and "presented" as a pistol, unconsciously soliloquising, "I could not have missed him," meaning the said James Jordan. The extraordinary part of the story is, that Martin and Jordan had been so intimate, they travelled together over nearly the whole of Europe, visited America, and spent a few years together in Jamaica. When Jordan returned to Mayo, after five or six years' absence, he found his sisters more or less neglected by his mother in their education: that neglect led to a feud between him and his mother; it was to that feud that Martin's kindly-meant observation referred, which led to the duel.
II. Myles De Exeter Jordan, see below.
Henry's three daughters were:
I. Mary, who married Charles Jordan, of Knocknaskeagh, otherwise "Thornhill."
II. Honoria, who married Thomas Lynch, Esq., of Ballycurrren Castle, county Galway.
III. Bedilia, who married and had issue.
44. Myles De Exeter Jordan, of Roslevin Castle: second son of Henry "of the Ruffles;" married Miss Bourke, of Green Hills (with whom he became acquainted while his brother James was lying wounded in her father's house, after the duel of said James with Colonel Martin), and left six sons and three daughters:
I. Henry De Exeter Jordan, see below.
II. Constantine: In a duel fought in 1838 by this gentleman at Turlogh, county Mayo, he is said to have displayed great coolness and courage; and to this day the people of that district relate the circumstances attending that duel, as follows: Mr. Jordan could not close his left eye-lid without the aid of his hand. While in the act of doing so with his left hand on the occasion of the duel, he received his adversary's fire through the palm of that hand near ball of thumb. Thus he was disappointed in his aim, for the bullet from his pistol, entered the ground close to his adversary's foot. Mr. Jordan feeling himself wounded, placed the injured hand in his trousers' pocket, and demanded another shot. The seconds, on both sides, complied by again reloading the pistols; but the adversary's second, watchful for the interests of his friend, saw that Mr. Jordan must have been wounded, as blood was making its appearance through his trousers, which was of a light colour. That second, therefore, called attention to Mr. Jordan's wound, and, on consultation with the other second, the duel had to cease. Constantine, in 1832, married Anne Mary Ouseley Finglass, descended from Baron Finglass who held with other lands the Manor of Finglass, county Dublin. They had one son:
Myles Joseph De Exeter Jordan, M.D. (living in 1888), of Windsor House, Castlebar, county Mayo, who in 1862, married Mary Louisa, second daughter of William Graham, Esq., of Westport, county Mayo, and had issue, five sons and six daughters: 1. William Stephen De Exeter Jordan, M.D., born 1863; 2. Myles Constantine, born 1868; 3. Edmond Slevin, born 1871; 4. Charles Joseph, born 1877; 5. Henry James Graham, born 1880; 1. Margaret Basilia, born 1864; 2. Mary Paulina, born 1866, died 1883; 3. Louisa Kate, born 1870; 4. Celia Ellen, born 1873; 5. Agnes Maud, born 1875; 6. Florence Minnie, born 1882; 7. Mary-Penelope, born 1884.
III. Dominick, an M.D., who died unmarried in 1847.
IV. Charles Bourke Jordan (who died in 1855), married Minnie, daughter of Walter Eakins, of Wexford, widow of John Browne, Esq., of Brownestown, county Mayo; and mother of George Eakins Browne, Esq., J.P., D.L., late M.P. for Mayo.
V. Myles, late Crown Solicitor for Mayo, who in 1858, married Margaret J. Graham, eldest daughter of William Graham, Esq., of Westport, county Mayo.
VI. Edmund, Barrister-at-Law, and Crown Prosecutor for county Galway, who died unmarried in 1882, at his residence in Mountjoy Square, Dublin.
The three daughters of Myles were:
I. Jane, who married William Garvey, Esq., of Tully House, county Mayo, and who died in 1880, leaving issue two sons.
II. Honoria, who married Joseph Browne, Esq., of Claran, county Galway; and who died in 1854, leaving issue.
III. Esmena, who married James Jordan, Esq., of Bushfield, county Mayo, for many years Sheriff for Mayo, and who left one son since deceased.
45. Henry De Exeter Jordan, of Roslevin Castle, eldest son of Myles; succeeded to his father's estates; married Maria, daughter of married Egan, Esq., M.D., of Tuam, county Galway, and had issue two sons and three daughters:
I. Myles Henry, see below.
II. ( ).
The daughters were:
I. Bedilia, who died young and unmarried.
II. Jane, unmarried in 1884.
III. Kate, who married J. married Burke, A.B., M.D.
Myles Henry De Exeter Jordan, of Roslevin Castle, Kiltimagh, J.P.,
son of Henry; Chairman of Swinford Board of Guardians, and unmarried