THE HEALY FAMILY
"Says the biography of the late Dr. Worlaw: "There are some people
who say they attach no importance to man's descent or to family honors,
and despise those who do." Perhaps they may be sincere, but 1 cannot help
thinking their judgment in this matter erroneous and their feeling
unnatural. "The glory of children" says the wisest of men. "are their
fathers," and I do not see why any honorable descent should not be
valued as well an any other blessing of Providence.
And, says the biographer of Dodridge: "Wise men and good lay very
little stress on any hereditary honors but those which arise from the
piety and usefulness of their ancestors."
I have gathered up the following genealogical fragmentary records
of the Healy family, not because my ancestors were of "honorable descent"
nor because they were distinguished for their learning, piety, or
usefulness-although they may have acted well their part and have no mean
place in history- but to gratify myself and those who bear me family name
and share in the inheritance of so worthy an ancestry. If this labor of
love shall induce the coming generation to cherish the memory and imitate
the sterling Christian virtue of their fathers, my purpose will have
been accomplished. For my materials, 1 am largely indebted to members of
the different branches of our family and very especially to Samuel Bell, Esq.
Of Manchester, N.H. and the Hon. John Plummer Healy of Boston, Mass.
"-Joseph Warren Healy (The Healy Book).
English Ancestry-Notes from Early Histories
"The English Genealogical Histories of Ancient and Distinguished
Families gives a full and detailed account of the ancestors of the Healy
Family. In English records the name is variously written as Hele, Heale,
Hela, Healey, Heeley, and Healy, all doubtless having a common ancestor.
No less than five English Post Offices bear the name of the family: Hele
near Exeter. Hele-Cullompton, Healey-Sheffield, Healy-Bedale, Marsham,
and Healey-Rochdale. Scattered over the Kingdom are descendants of position
and wealth, some of whom occupy ancestral estates and are allied to the
Says Prince in his Worthies of Devon writing in 1701: "There was Hele
of Hele in the parish of Bradninch, eight miles to the north of Exeter.
Here lived Bartholomew de la Hele so far back as the days of King Henry II,
whose reign commenced Oct. 23 AD 1154 now near 550 years since. From him
descended Roger I, next Sir Roger II Hele, Kt., and then Sir Roger III
his son-Roger IV Hele, Roger V Hele, and William VI Hele. William VI had
two sons, Nicholas VII and Roger VII Hele. The line of Nicholas ended with
his daughter Alice, but Roger VII Hele was the progenitor of all the families
of Hele in the South part of the country."
Says Moore in his History of Devonshire, page 4....."From a Pedigree in
the possession of Paul Treby, Esq., the representative of the principal
branch of this family, the Heles from the southern part of the Country
are descended from the Heles of Bradninch."
From the Records of the Heralds Visitations of 1620: "The Pedigree of
all the Devonshire branches of the family is directly traced to Bartholomew
de la Hele, the first of the name mentioned in English History, who lived
in the time of King Henry II, AD 1154-1189." The records to on to say: "He
doubtless came over to England from Normandy with William the Conqueror and
received from this Prince the lands among his Norman followers, etc."
Notes: William the Conqueror or William I, Duke of Normandy, invaded
England in 1066 Defeating Harold II in the Battle of Hastings Oct. 14, 1066,
William was crowned King and reigned until 1087. After William 1 came
William II, Henry I, Stephen, and then Henry II. In 1171, over 100 years
after the Conquest of England, Henry II began the Conquest of Ireland. It
is quite possible, however, that there were two Bartholomew de la Heles,
the earlier one coming to England with William the Conqueror, and the other,
a descendant, living in the time of Henry II. A generation is oftentimes
overlooked when the telling is done by grandchildren.
Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England says: Hele, Heale,
or Healy a manor in the parish of Bradninch in the Hundred of Harridge in
the North of Devon, from the earliest time of which any record exists and,
as is presume, from long before the Conquest, was in the possession
of the family which had its dwelling there and gave it name. Of this very
ancient family, fruitful as the county of Devon is known to have been in
distinguished houses, it may with truth be stated that is was one of the
most eminent, the most widely spread, and the most affluent which even that
quarter of England could boast....." Burke assigns to the family of Healy
a Coat-of-Arms very nearly the same as that of Hele. The Hele, Heale, or
Healy English-family Crest is given in the Royal Book of Crests, Great
Britain and Ireland, Dominion of Canada, India, and Australia, Plate 37,
14th Crest. Underneath the Crest is the description: "On a chapeau a lion
statant gardant ducally gorged"
Condensed from THE HELE-HEALY FAMILY (IRISH)
By Michael Walsh, Editor of the New York Mercury, in 1888.
"The Healy family is of pure Munster origin, owing its extraction to the
famous Eile-Righ-Deargh or Eile-- The Red King...,. This branch was the
root of the family O'hEiligh or O'Healy, but it had many ramifications
in various parts of Munster. the principal of which was the clan O'Healy,
Chiefs of Domhnach-Mor-0'h-Eiligh or Probal O'Heal, a parish in the ancient
barony of Muskerry in County Cork That the name is one of the most ancient
in Ireland can be deduced from the fact that the putitive founder Eile-Righ-
Deargh, flourished in the 5th century. The name is anglicized Healy, Hely,
and Haley. Others deduce the name from the O'Haly family which is the
anglecized form of the Irish O'h Algaiel (Algaeh Irish Nobler-Irish Pedigrees
by O'Hart. Coats of Arms:
1 Arms as a fesse between three stage heads erased in chief az and a
demi lion ramp in base (P. 64)
2. Three boars' heads couped in pale ar crest; on a chapeau a lion
statant guard ducally gorged (P.24) The similarity between the
English and Irish armorial bearings seems to indicate a common
ancestor. Titles such as Duke, Marquis, Earl, Viscount or Baron
were to be found in Ireland only after the Angle-Norman Invasion).
O HELUIGHTHE O HEALAITHE HEALY HELY
Eladach or Ealathach was a personal name in frequent use among the Ui Echach of
Munster (see 0' MATHGHAMHNA). The Annals of Inisfallen record that Eladach son
of Dunlang was killed in a battle in Muskerry in 828. According to the
genealogies he was of the kingly line of the U' Echach, one branch of whom was
known as Clann tSealbhaigh, being descended from Sealbhach. According to Duan
Cathain, Sealbhach had four sons, one of whom was Cochlan and another Ealathach.
Since Ua Selbhaigh and Ua Cochlain were names prominently associated with the
see of Cork, it is likely that the Ui Ealathaigh were of the same group,
especially since they too functioned as a hereditary ecclesiastical family later
on - though in the diocese of Cloyne.
The parish of Donaghmore or Donoughmore (Domhnach M6r), whose patron is Laichtin,
lies on the southern slopes of the Boggeragh mountains. It is now partly in East
Muskerry and partly in Barretts barony, in the former Muscraighe Mittaine
territory. Much of the land in Donoughmore belonged to the church, having,
apparently, been donated by the Ui Ealathaigh. They, in turn, were entitled to
be airchinnigh or erenaghs of the church, i.e. laymen who cultivated the church
lands as freeholders and who were responsible for the upkeep of Laichtin's
In 1301 Thomas Ohellethi was vicar of Donoughmore while John Ohellethi and
Nicholas Ohellechi were clerics also in the diocese in Cloyne. A royal pardon
granted in 1317 to Dermot Mac Carthy, chief of the Irish of Desmond, included
the names of Thomas (deacon), Gilbert and Gregory Ohelehit. Around 1366,
according to the Pipe Roll of Cloyne, Master Gilbert Ohelghy, Patrick Ohelghy,
Malachy Ohelghy, Philip Ohelghy, Nicholas Ohelghy, Matthew Ohelghy, John Ohelghy
and four others were the tenants of the Lord Bishop of Cloyne at Donoughmore.
They swore on oath that they were 'true men of the Blessed Colman of Cloyne and
that so were their ancestors, and that they cannot be moved from the land of the
church itself without leave of the Bishop. The preponderance of Norman personal
names is probably due to the influence of such families as the Cogans, the
overlords of Muskerry in the 13th century.
Master Gilbert Ohelghy (who was probably vicar of the parish) also held half a
carcucate in Balytayg near Donaghmore while Cornelius Ohellohy held one messuage,
five acres, near the church.
Not unexpectedly there were many clerics of the name in the diocese of Cloyne.
Philip 0 Haylle was one in 1406, and in 1414 Thomas o Healghy was a canon of
Cloyne. A petition by Maurice Yhelayd, cleric of Cloyne,in 1461 stated that a
canonry with the prebend of Domnachmore was vacant by the resignation of the
former canon, Thomas Yhelayd. But whether Thomas had resigned or had been forced
out is debatable. In 1473 Thomas Ohelay, clerk, got a mandate to have a canonry
of Cloyne and the prebend of Donaghmore, detained for fifteen or twenty years by
Maurice Ohelay, clerk. Possession seems to have been nine points of the law, as
eight yearslater Thomas Ohelahy got another mandate to be put in possession of
Donaglimore, now being held by Donatus Ohelahy, priest, 'from fear of whose
power the said Thomas cannot safely meet him in the city or diocese of Cloyne.In
1492 Johannes Ihellahyg was a canon of Cloyne diocese and occupied the prebend
of Donaghmore - a prebend which seems to have been exclusive to the family.
After the Mac Carthys became lords of Muskerry in the 14th century the 0 Healys
were forced to pay them a head-rent. A list of the lord of Muskerry's lands in
1600 included four 'countries in Muskrye' - 0 healiey, 0 herliey, 0 longe, 0
cromin - all apparently with ecclesiastical connections. The 0 Healys are
recorded as holding 12 ploughlands. When an 0 Healy chief was inaugurated, he
had to pay £4-9s to Mac Carthy.
In the Elizabethan Fiants are recorded pardons granted to numerous 0 Healys of
Donoughmore, usually as followers of the Mac Carthys of Blarney or of Carraig na
Muc (Dripsey). In 1601, for example, Sir Cormac Mac Dermod's followers included
Thomas oge 0 Hialihie, alias 0 Hialihie, of Donoughmore - apparently the then
chief of the sept. Along with him were pardoned Denis, Donnell, Morrice, John,
Philip, John oge', William, Dermod and Donogh 0 Hiallihie, all of Donoughmore
and all described as 'gentlemen'. Later in the year, it was reported that
Donnough 0 Healey was in the army of Spain.
Followers of Callaghan mac Teig of Carraig na Muc in the same year included
Donell mac Morrish 0 Hialeigh of Donoughmore, John mac Thomas oge 0 Haleighie of
Kilcullen (par. Donoughinore; he was probably a son of the chief; Dermod mac
Thomas oge 0 Hyalyhy of Ballycunningham was pardoned in 1577), Morris mac Shane
mac Thomas, of same, Morris mac Shane 0 Hialaii of Carhoo (par. Magourney), John
oge beg 0 Hallihey of same, and John oge 0 Hallihie entarmyn of Donoughmore. The
soubriquet an tearmainn means 'of the termon', i.e. church lands of sanctuary.
This maybe the John 0 Hiallihie of Donoughmore who in 1588 sent a petition to
the Privy Council seeking pardon for the 'poor and ignorant offenders in those
parts' for their share in the rebellion of the late Earl of Desmond.
A John 0 Healy, 'one of Cormac's old thieves', was also mentioned in connection
with Cormac Mac Carthy, lord of Muskerry, who was imprisoned at Cork in I 602.
John was appointed to go to England in order to bring home Cormac's eldest son
from Oxford. Carew got wind of the plot and 0 Healy was captured on board ship
before leaving Cork - but not before he had thrown all his letters and money
overboard. Because he would not confess as to the letters and money, he too was
lodged in Cork gaol. When Cormac was eventually pardoned in March 1603, his
loyal follower 'John Hialihy, of Blarney, gentleman', was pardoned along with
Inquisitions of the early 17th century show us that the 0 Healys were still
flourishing in Donoughmore at that period. One was taken in 1625 into the lands
of Donald 0 Healehie of Ballycunningham, Kilcullen and Coolmona, who died in
1619. John was his son and heir. The lands were held of Cormac og Mac Carthy
(late of Oxford). Donald 0 Healehie of Kilcullen and Oliverius 0 Healy of
Fornaght laid claim to the lands. (Donald may have been the Donell 0 Healehy of
Fornaght pardoned in 1591 while Oliverius was probably the Oliver Healy,
gentleman, mentioned in the marriage settlement of Cormac og's daughter and Sir
Valentine Browne). Another inquisition, dated 1638, dealt with the lands of
Thomas mac Meater 0 Healyhy and Johanna ny Meater 0 Healyhy, alienated to
Viscount Muskerry, and one in the following year dealt with lands which Thomas 0
Healihy of Gowlane alienated to William 0 Riordan of Clodagh.
Certain difficulties arose with regard to former church lands after the
reformation period. A document in Brady's Records describes Donaghmore as the
most considerable episcopal demesne in the diocese - excepting Cloyne itself. It
was one of the see's earliest possessions and was let on lease as a fee farm to
the 0 Helihies (now Helys) at 6s.8d per plowland, who tenanted part and let out
the rest to the chiefs or heads of clans 'in that part of the country which
comprehends the Bogra mountains, the wildest and most uncivilized district in
the county of Cork'. Bishop Lyon (1583-1617) instituted a suit against its
possessors but nothing came of the negotiations. Bishop Synge (1638 - 1652)
renewed the suit against the tenants of the whole eighteen ploughlands. The
bishop's plea was that the Pipe Roll of Cloyne reckoned Donaghmore expressly as
the bishop's manor and that Bishop Bennet soon after 1500 lived in the manor
house there; that as the English were lords in chief, the 0 Helihies who were
hibernici could only have been tenants at will or villani. The Helys on the
other hand contended that their land was freehold and had continued in their
family for 500 years, that they owed suit and service not to the church but to
Lord Muskerry, and that they paid composition to the king which no church land
This was in 1639 and eventually one of the 0 Healys agreed to take a lease from
the see, delivering up to the bishop the celebrated shrine of St. Laichtin's arm
which was the symbol of power in the manor. (This is now in the National Museum,
Dublin.) The 1641 rebellion, however, put an end to further suits and Lord
Muskerry retained his overlordship. At least one of the family, William Healy,
became a Protestant clergyman (though a MS of 1615 says of him: 'William 0
Hialyhy noe graduate; his wife and children goe to Masse'). He became chancellor
of Cork diocese from 1610 to 1632 and resided at Athnowen (Ovens). His example
was not followed by Patrick 0 Healihy, a priest, who with six others in 1628
attacked and beat Edmund Murphy or Murfield, servant to the Protestant bishop,
who was endeavouring to collect tithes at Dunisky in Muskerry. 0 Healihy called
him 'a devilish heretical churl and the servant of the devil'! A John Hialihy
was sworn a freeman of Cork in 1631 - perhaps a son of the Thomas O Hyalliyhie
who had a house in Cork in 1582.
The Civil Survey gives us full details of the 0 Healy lands in Donoughmore
parish in 1641. Thomas mac Daniel Healihy, Irish papist, of Gowlane, held
Gowlane, Lackanbane and Ballygirriha, 880 acres in all, but mortgaged to Lord
Muskerry for £400. On the lands was 'an old decay'd House, with a ruinous grist
mill' wliich perhaps indicates the site of a former 0 Healy castle. Fornaght was
held by Oliver Healihy but West Kilclogh (par. Matehy) had been purchased from
John Healihy fitz Philip by Zachariah Travers of Cork. Lower Kilmartin belonged
to Maurice mac Thomas Healihy and Upper Kilmartin to Dermod 0 Healihy, deceased.
Donogh mac Thomas Healihy held Ballykervick and Monataggart while Thomas mac
Meater held Barrahaurin. Coolmona ('both Coolmonys'), Killeenleigh,
Ballycunningham and Kilcullen all belonged to Daniel mac Shane Healihy. In every
case a chief rent was payable to the lord of Muskerry.
All of these 0 Healys must have joined Lord Muskerry in the 1641 rebellion since
the entire group (described as 'gentlemen') were declared outlaws in 1643,
together with John of Castlemore, Thomas of Mashanaglass and Donogh 0 Hialighy
of Ballyburden (near Ballincollig), 'a doctor of Physic'. At the end of the war
an allegation was made that Dr. Healy was involved in the deaths of English
settlers who formed part of a convoy from Macroom to Cork in 1642. Even after
the rebellion had ended and the plantations were completed, a contemporary
account listed 'all the Hialihyes and their children, brethren and followers'
among those who were 'plotting for troubles'. They were given as 'in carbry' -
possibly in error for Muskerry.
As we might expect, the 0 Healy lands were declared to be forfeited during the
Cromwellian period but when Charles II was restored in 1660 Lord Muskerry (now
Earl of Clancarty) had his estate restored, with a proviso enabling him to grant
leases at low rents to the representatives of those freeholders who had 'gone
out' with him in 1641. Thus leases were granted to Morris Healihy (Kilmartin
Upper), Daniel Healehye (Kilcullen) and to Dermot and Donnogh Healihy (Coollicka).
However, the confiscation to the crown of the Clancarty estates after the
Williamite wars set aside these leases. In 1697 the Protestant bishop of Cloyne
again laid claim to the lands of Donoughmore but to no avail. Finally, in 1703,
Bishop Crowe purchased the lands for £4,020 and leased them to suitable
One of these was Mathias Earbery of Ballincollig who took a lease of Gowlane.
His daughter, Prudence, in 1719 married Francis Healy of Gertrough - perhaps
Gortroe in the neighbouring parish of Kilshannig. Francis seems to have
conformed to the established religion. Their son, John Healy or Hely, a
barrister, in 1751 married the grandniece and heiress of Richard Hutchinson of
Knocklofty, near Clonmel, and changed his name to Hely-Hutchinson. He was M.P.
for Cork from 1761 to 1790 and became Secretary of State for Ireland. His eldest
son and heir, Richard Hely-Hutchinson supported the Act of Union and was created
Earl of Donoughmore. In the House of Lords the Earl supported Catholic
Emancipation while his brother, Christopher, championed the Catholic cause in
the House of Commons. It was a later Earl of Donoughmore who moved the
ratification of the Irish treaty of 1921 in the House of Lords.
The rest of the now landless clan scattered to various parts, many Joining the
Wild Geese abroad. John Healy, born in Donoughmore, was in 1690 in 0 Mahony's
Dragoons and later a Major-General in the Spanish army. A Captain Healy of the
Irish Brigade was wounded at Fontenoy and a Lieutenant Healy wounded at Laffeldt.
Don Francisco Haly was a sub-lieutenant in the regiment of Ultonia in Spain in
1718 while Don Tomas (1725) and Don Guillermo Healy (1759) were cadets in the
same regiment. Among the Co.Cork gentlemen outlawed in 1691 for 'treason beyond
the seas' (i.e. adherence to King James) were:Daniel Heally, Kilneally, called
heir of land of Kilcullen; Thomas Mac Morris Healy, Kilmartin, called heir of
land of Upper Kilmartin; John mac Thomas Healy, Barrahaurin; William and Maurice
Healy, Ballygirriha; John Hely, Fornaght; William and John mac Oliver Healy of
Gortacrohig (par. Aghabulloge).
A Thomas Healy of Muskerry in the 19th century settled in Bantry where he taught
Greek and Latin. He also taught his children that their family had been
despoiled under the Penal Laws and that the bronze reliquary of St. Laichtin's
hand had been in the guardianship of his people. His grandsons, Tim and Maurice
Healy were noted Irish members of the Westminster parliament around the turn of
the century and Tim Healy was chosen to be the first Governor-General of the
Irish Free State in 1922.