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Persons of Note

Cotter of Anngrove

General Background History

It is believed, according to Gibson’s ‘History of Cork’, the anglicised Cotter family name has its origins as Scandinavian “Kotter” of northern Europe. Upon their arrival in Cork the family of William Cotter, son of Edmond, settled at Coppingerstown castle, had forfeited his estates as a consequence Irish War of 1641.

A descendant, another Edmond, held conciderable property situated in and around Carrigtwohill, with his principle residence being Anngrove, formally known as Ballinsperig, with further property interests in Queenstown “the Cove of Cork”. Edmond was twice married. Firstly, to Elizabeth, daughter of John Connell of Barryscourt, and by her had three sons and three daughters. He then married Ellen Sarsfield, daughter of Lord Kilmallock, and by her had another three sons and three daughters. Edmond died in 1660, and is memorialised by an Italian plaque of marble which once was surmounted upon the ancient family vault within the former Franciscan Abbey grounds of Carrigtwohill, which now lies beneath driveway between today’s St David’s church and former Abbey ruins where the plaque now resides, reads;

"This monument was erected by Sir James Cotter for himself and his family Anno Domini 1688.

Edmond Cotter of Ballinsperig died A. D. 1660"

Edmond was succeeded by his son, Sir James Laurence Cotter, who was himself succeeded by his son, governor of Cork, Sir James Laurence, who was born 4th August 1689, married, 1706, Margaret, eldest daughter of Major George Mathew, of Thurles, and uncle of Nano Nagle.

Sir James Laurence Cotter

Many accounts incorrectly state; “for his devotion to the cause of the Stuarts, executed the 7th May 1720”, whereas, he was in fact hanged, having been accused and convicted of raping a young Quaker, Elizabeth Squibb, though she repeated denied any attack had taken place. There may well have been political undertones in the background driving the case; for as governor of Cork, Sir James is said to have had a hand in the assassination of exiled John Lisle, on behalf of Charles II (who regained the throne 1660), in revenge of Lisle’s participation in confiscating Quaker Charles 1st property for use as prisons.

Pue's Occurrences of Dublin,
3rd March 1719

The Pue's Occurrences of Dublin published following notice, 3rd March 1719, now transcribed for ease of reading;

"Whereas Mr. James Cotter stands indicted for rape, supposed to have been committed on the body of Elizabeth Squib a Quaker, and whereas it has been reported by several Quakers, and particularly by Joshua Fennel, of the County of Tipperary, and Edw. Fenn of Cork Brewer, That the said James Cotter, or some Body in his behalf, made proposals to the said Fenn of 1500l. to compound the matter; and that no prosecution might be. Now the said James Cotter doth herby certify, that he never directed or intended any sum or consideration whatsoever should be offered in his behalf to prevent the said prosecution, neither does he believe there was any grounds for a report of this kind, but that the same was invented by his prosecutors to better commence their proceedings against him, and now the said James Cotter doth hereby advertise and give notice to the said Elizabeth Squib, Edward Fenn, and all others concerned in the said prosecution, that he (with God’s assistance) will stand tryal at the next assizes to be held for the City of Cork."

To further complicate the story, nearby Midleton was the seat Lord Lieutenant Alan Broderick, whose son, St John was the prosecuting judge of the rape trial. Broderick’s wife was also the granddaughter of John Lisle.

This execution sparked riots and public outrage towards the Quaker communities who were continually abused.

It is assumed Sir James Cotter was laid to rest at Carrigtwohill, but is impossible to know for certain, as no record, or grave marker exists. It is also possible he was interred at Rockforest, but considered most unlikely.

Cork Constitution,
 3rd June 1862

Sir James Laurence Cotter 1st Baronet

Sir James was educated at Oxford, as were his two brothers, and were Edmond died, aged 21, 16th October 1770.

Then Forty-three years after his father’s execution, his successor, also names James Laurence Cotter, MP for Askeaton, Limerick, was created a Baronet, 11th August 1763, an hereditary title of Sir awarded solely by the monarch, as distinct to hereditary peerage title of Sir for a Lord of the realm.

in 1746 he married widowed Arabella Casaubon, daughter and co heir of Lord Chief Justice John Rogerson. This was when Sir James Laurence acquired the lands and property at Rockforest which would remain the family homeland until 1916, when it was sold. The main Rockforest House of early Georgian design, was owned by Sir Cotters' grandfather, who was granted the property in 1652, incorporates an earlier Anglo-Norman structure, built by its original owners, the Roche clan, Barons of Fermoy.

However, the tradition of Cotter internment at Carrigtwohill continued through to the at least the mid 1800s. Sir James Laurence Cotter Bart., M.P., who died, 9th February 1829, was twice married. Firstly, to Anne, who died 1773, only daughter of Francis Kearney, of Garretstown, near Kinsale. He then married Isabella, daughter of Reverend James Hingston, of Aglish, who died, 1832. Sir James was also a partner of the banking business of ‘Cotter and Kellett’, Cork City. Both burials were recorded within St David's parish registers held at the former Public Records Office, Dublin.

St David's Burial Register

The folllowing is a list of those known to have been buried in Carrigtwohill, and presumably in family vault, as recorded within St David's burial register once held at the 'Piblic Records Office', as transcribed by Ffollott, which are now most likely at the National Archives, Dublin.

Date Name Additional Comments
8 Aug 1811 Cecelia Cotter  
28 Jan 1818 Anne Charlotte
12 Feb 1829 Sir J Laurence Cotter Bart.  
8 April 1831 Rev George Sackville Cotter
15 Feb 1832 Mrs Cotter Relic of Rev. George S
5 March 1833 Miss Eliza Cotter  
21 April 1832 Isabella Cotter Relic of Sir James Bart.
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