|Alen of St. Wolstans|
|Kilteel Castle: the ruins of the 15th-century tower house still stand today. Image: Bogman via Wikimedia Commons|
Sir John died without issue and St. Wolstan’s passed to a nephew, another John Alen (d. 1616), whose son, Sir Thomas Alen (d.1627), inherited the St Wolstan’s estate and was created a baronet in 1622 in belated recognition of the services of his long-dead great-great-uncle, Archbishop Alen.
|Thomas Cooper's drawings of the ruins of St Wolstan's Priory, 1781-82. Image: National Library of Ireland.|
Luke Alen’s elder brother Anthony (d. 1754) inherited Pollardstown (Carlow) in right of his wife Mary, daughter of Ulick Wall. Pollardstown itself was heavily mortgaged and the creditors foreclosed shortly after Anthony’s death, but his son, Ulick Wall Alen (d. 1829) evidently inherited other property. In 1821 his cousin, the French general’s son, Lt-Col. Luke John Patrick Alen (1775-1841), returned to Ireland and claimed a half-share of Ulick Wall Alen’s property, on what grounds is not clear. After an inconclusive lawsuit a compromise was agreed in 1827 by which Lt-Col. Alen obtained possession of the whole of the estate but also took over responsibility for Ulick's debts. Col. Alen's son, Capt. Luke John Henry Alen succeeded him, but when he died in 1879 there were no male heirs to continue the name.
St Wolstan's, Celbridge, Kildare
The Alens of St. Wolstans
Although a good deal is known about the careers of Archbishop Alen and Sir John Alen (d. 1561), their genealogy and even their relationship is uncertain. The version presented here is my best interpretation of the available evidence; alternative readings will be found in Burke's Landed Gentry, 1837 and H.L. Lyster Denny's 'An account of the family of Alen', Proceedings of the County Kildare Archaeological Society, 1903. Any further evidence contributed by readers will be particularly welcome!
Alen, Most Rev. John (1476-1534), Archbishop of Dublin. Reputedly the youngest son of Edward Alen, but according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, of unknown parentage; born 1476; he may have been related to the Rev. Thomas Alen who was secretary to the Earl of Shrewsbury in 1516. Educated at Gonville Hall, Cambridge (BA 1495, MA 1498); Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, 1496-1504; ordained priest, 1499; began career as a canon lawyer with appointment as commissary to bishop of Rochester, c.1500-03; transferred to service of William Warham as a proctor at the papal curia, 1503-14; graduated as DCL from 'a foreign university'; admitted to confraternity of the English Hospice in Rome (chaplain, warden, chamberlain and auditor between 1502-12) but expelled for defiance of the English resident; collated to the prebend of Asgarby in Lincolnshire, 1503-28 and rectories of Sundridge (Kent), 1503-28 and Aldington (Kent), 1511-12; transferred 1519 to the service of Cardinal Wolsey and worked for the practical realisation of the cardinal's legateship; rewarded with further benefices: Gaulby (Leics), 1523 and canonries of Southwell (1526-28), St Paul's (1527-28) and Exeter (1528) and the precentorship of St Mary's, Southampton (1527-28); Archbishop of Dublin, 1528-34 and Lord Chancellor of Ireland, 1529-32; he was damaged by the fall of Wolsey in 1529-30 and had to pay a large fine in 1531 for recognizing the authority of Wolsey as papal legate; his attempts to extract money from his diocese to recoup his finances, and to eliminate competing jurisdictions, led him into conflict with the powerful Geraldine interests of the 9th Earl of Kildare; when the Fitzgeralds rose in revolt in 1534 he attempted to flee Ireland but his ship ran aground near Clontarf (Dublin) and the following morning he and forty of his men were murdered by order of Lord Offaly, the Earl's son; it is said that he was ‘brained like an ox and hacked in gobbets’. Sir James Ware said of Alen that "he was of a turbulent spirit, but a man of hospitality and learning, and a diligent inquirer into antiquities". As a Catholic priest he was unmarried.
As Archbishop, he lived at St. Sepulchre's Palace (now Kevin Street Garda Station) in Dublin, which he restored in 1529, but which has been much altered and rebuilt since.
He died 27 July 1534, and as a final ignominy was buried in a pauper's grave.
Alen, Sir John (c.1500-61), kt., of Coltishall (Norfolk) and St. Wolstans. Eldest son of Thomas or Warin Alen, born c.1500, and a first cousin or nephew of the Archbishop. Educated at Grays Inn; entered the service of Cardinal Wolsey, who sent him to Ireland as secretary to Archbishop Alen, with whom he may have quarrelled; after the fall of Wolsey he was closely associated with Thomas Cromwell, and became clerk of the Irish Parliament and Master of the Rolls in Ireland, 1533-39; he played a part in suppressing the 'Silken Thomas' rebellion of 1534 in which the Archbishop was murdered; appointed Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, 1538 and Lord Chancellor of Ireland, 1539; in 1539 he was appointed to lead the commission for the suppression of monasteries in Ireland; he was prominent in the establishment of the Kings Inns in Dublin, 1541-42; knighted in 1542 or 1548; in 1546 he was accused of corruption and removed from office as Lord Chancellor, but regained the office in 1548 and held it until resigning in 1550; in 1553 Queen Mary appointed him to her Irish Council, although during her reign he is said to have lived mainly in England; he was elected MP for Kinsale in the Irish Parliament in 1559. Described as honest and honourable, but quarrelsome and undiplomatic; despite this he succeeded in retaining a degree of favour under Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth. He married a lady from Cheshire but died without issue.
In 1539 (when he was described as 'of Coltishall'), he received a Crown grant of the site and lands of St. Wolstan's Priory near Celbridge, and he probably converted the priory buildings into a house before his death. He also received a lease of Leixlip Castle at the same time. At his death he left all his estates to his nephew, John Alen (d. 1616).
He died in 1561; his will was proved in 1562. There was until c.1800 a monument to him in Donaghcomper church, of which nothing now remains.
Alen, Thomas (b. c.1505), of Kilteel Castle. Second son of Thomas or Warin Alen, and brother of Sir John Alen, born about 1505. Clerk of the Hanaper in Ireland and Chamberlain of the Exchequer, 1536; Constable of Wicklow Castle for life, 1550; obtained a grant of the site of Kilteel Preceptory, 1539, where there was a handsome tower house. He married Mary Rawson, daughter or more probably niece of Sir John Rawson (d. 1547), last Prior of Kilmainham Preceptory of the Knights Hospitaller, and later Viscount Clontarf for life, and had issue, with two other sons:
(1) John Alen (d. 1616) (q.v.);
(2) Edward Alen of Kilteel; married 1577 Alice, daughter of Giles Alen of Dublin and had issue three sons and two daughters;
(3) Eleanor Alen, m. Sir Thomas Dillon of Riverstown (Meath).
His date of death is unknown but was perhaps before 1561, as he was not mentioned in his brother's will.
Alen, John (d. 1616), of St. Wolstans. Only known son of Thomas Alen (b. c.1505), born about 1540. He is said to have married Anne (b. 1554), daughter of Thomas Dillon of Riverstown (Meath) and had issue:
(1) Sir Thomas Alen (d. 1627), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(2) Robert Alen (d. 1641) (q.v.);
(3) William Alen (d. 1643) (q.v.);
(4) Nicholas Alen (d. c.1639) (q.v.);
(5) Gerald Alen.
He inherited the St. Wolstan's estate from his uncle, Sir John Alen (c.1500-61), kt., in 1561.
He died 29 September 1616 and was buried at Donaghcomper (Kildare). His widow died 1 March 1617.
Alen, Sir Thomas (d.1627), 1st bt., of St. Wolstans. Eldest son of John Alen (d. 1616) and his wife (perhaps Anne, daughter of Thomas Dillon of Riverstown (Meath). Created a baronet in recognition of the service of his great-great-uncle, Archbishop Alen, 7 June 1622 and knighted the following day; the baronetcy became extinct on his death. He married 1st, after 1616, Mary (d. 1622), daughter of William Fleming, 11th Lord Slane; and 2nd, after 1623, Mary (d. 1627), daughter of Jenico Preston, 5th Viscount Gormanston, but had no issue.
He inherited the St. Wolstan's estate from his father in 1616, and was probably responsible for building a new house there.
He died 7 March 1627 and was buried at Donaghcomper (Kildare) where there is a monument to his memory; his will was proved 18 April 1627. His first wife died 18 November 1622 and was buried at Donaghcomper (Kildare). His widow married 2nd, Simon Luttrell of Luttrellstown (Dublin), to whom she carried a major part of her Sir Thomas' estates, including the town of Leixlip; her will was proved 18 April 1627.
Alen, Robert (d. 1641). Second son of John Alen (d. 1616) and his wife (perhaps Anne, daughter of Thomas Dillon of Riverstown (Meath). He married Jane, daughter of Robert Sarsfield esq. of Lucan, but had no male issue.
He lived at Kilteel Castle until he inherited the St. Wolstan's estate from his elder brother in 1627.
He died 25 October 1641.
Alen, William (d. 1643). Third son of John Alen (d. 1616) and his wife (perhaps Anne, daughter of Thomas Dillon of Riverstown (Meath). He married Joan Wogan of Rathcoffey, and had issue, with three other sons who died (presumably in his lifetime) without issue :
(1) John Alen (d. 1662) (q.v.);
(2) Anne Alen, who married a Mr. Gibbon.
He inherited the St. Wolstan's estate from his elder brother in 1641.
He died in 1643.
Alen, John (d. 1662). Only surviving son of William Alen (d. 1643) and his wife Joan Wogan of Rathcoffey. He was unmarried.
He inherited the St. Wolstan's estate from his father in 1643. At his death it passed to his cousin, James Alen (c.1625-c.1675).
He died in 1662.
Alen, Nicholas (d. c.1639). Youngest son of John Alen (d. 1616) and his wife (perhaps Anne, daughter of Thomas Dillon of Riverstown (Meath)). He married Aminet, daughter of Patrick Barnewall esq. of Crickstown (Meath) and had issue:
(1) James Alen (c.1625-c.1675) (q.v.)
He died 'before the Civil War'.
Alen, James (c.1625-c.1675), of St. Wolstans. Only son of Nicholas Alen (d. c.1639) and his wife Aminet, daughter of Patrick Barnewall of Crickstown (Meath), born about 1625. He was one of the signatories of the 'Faithful and Humble Remonstance of the Roman Catholic Nobility and Gentry of Ireland' to King Charles II, 1662. He married Anne, daughter of Robert Dillon, 2nd Earl of Roscommon and had issue including:
(1) Maj-General Patrick Alen (d. 1723/4) (q.v.).
He inherited the St Wolstan's estate at Celbridge (Kildare) from his cousin in 1662; fought legal actions to prevent its unjust forfeiture to the Crown and granting to the Earl of Mount Alexander, 1661-63.
He died about 1675.
Alen, Maj-Gen. Patrick (d. 1723/4), of St. Wolstans. Only known son of James Alen (c.1625-c.1675) and his wife Anne, daughter of Robert Dillon, 2nd Earl of Roscommon, born c.1660. He raised troops for King James II in 1691 and was a Major-General in the King's army; participated in the siege of Limerick; allowed to retain his estates following the Treaty of Limerick. He married 1st, Mary, daughter of John Browne of Castle Browne (Kildare) and 2nd, a daughter and co-heiress of Sir Luke Dowdall, bt. of Athlumney, and is said to have sired 42 children, but only fifteen are recorded as surviving to adulthood, viz.:
(1.1) Francis Alen (c.1682-1741) (q.v.);
(1.2) James Alen;
(1.3) Richard Alen;
(1.4) Teresa Alen, m.1 James Donellan (d. 1718) of Johnstown (Meath) and had issue three sons and one daughter; m.2 Standish O'Grady of Elton (Limerick), second son of Darby O'Grady of Killballyowen;
(1.5) Honora Alen, m. as his second wife, John O'Grady of Killballyowen and had issue three sons and three daughters;
(1.6) Dorothy Alen, married May 1682 as his second wife, Adam Loftus (1647-91), 1st Viscount Lisburne, who was killed at the siege of Limerick; died without issue in 1689;
(1.7) A daughter, m. Christopher Horish;
(1.8) Anne Alen;
(2.1) Matthew Alen, died unmarried, 1727;
(2.2) Anthony Alen (d. 1754) (q.v.);
(2.3) Michael Alen, died unmarried in France before 1787;
(2.4) Maj-Gen. Luke Alen (1722-87) (q.v.)
(2.5) Lucy Alen, m. Hugh O'Reilly of Milltown (Meath);
(2.6) Catherine Alen;
(2.7) Aminet Alen, m. Stafford Hussey of Rathkenny (Meath).
He inherited the St. Wolstan's estate from his father in c.1675.
He died in 1723/4. His will was proved 20 January 1723/4.
Alen, Francis (c.1682-1741), of St. Wolstans. Eldest son of Maj-Gen. Patrick Alen (d. 1724) and his first wife, Mary, daughter of John Browne of Castle Browne (Kildare), born about 1682. He converted to the Protestant faith in 1709 and was elected MP for Co. Kildare in the Irish Parliament, 1725-27. He married, about 4 September 1703, Frances (d, 1767), daughter of Charles Whyte of Leixlip (Kildare) and had issue, among other children who died young:
(1) John Alen (d. 1741) (q.v.);
(2) Mary Alen, m. 1734 Edward, 12th Lord Dunsany and had issue one son and three daughters;
(3) William Alen (b. c.1709), educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1725/6); later became a Carthusian friar in France, and died there.
He inherited the St. Wolstan's estate from his father in 1724, and was probably responsible for remodelling or rebuilding the house as a five-bay Georgian block. At his death it passed to his half-brother, Maj-Gen. Luke Alen (1722-87).
He died 9 July 1741. His widow died in September 1767.
Alen, John (d. 1741), of St. Wolstans. Eldest surviving son of Francis Alen (c.1682-1741) and his wife Frances, daughter of Charles Whyte of Leixlip Castle (Kildare), born about 1705. He married and had issue:
(1) William Alen (d. c.1752) of St. Wolstans;
(2) Catherine Alen (d. 1750); died unmarried;
(3) Tipper Alen; probably dead by 1752;
(4) Margaret Alen; probably dead by 1752.
In addition there may have been two further daughters, Charlotte (who married James Lang) and Mary (who married Henry Lyster of Rocksavage (Roscommon), whose descendants made attempts in the 19th century to claim the St. Wolstan's estate.
He inherited the St. Wolstans estate from his father in July 1741 but died a few weeks later. On the death of his son, c.1752, and in default of any Protestant relatives entitled to succeed to the estate it was sold under an Exchequer decree in 1752.
Alen, Anthony (d. 1754), of Pollardstown (Carlow). Second surviving son of Maj-Gen. Patrick Alen (d. 1724) and his second wife. He married Mary, eldest daughter and heir of Ulick Wall of Pollardstown (Carlow) and had issue:
(1) Ulick Wall Alen (d. 1829); married Anne, daughter of George McNamara of Cong (Mayo); inherited some family property from his father in 1754 but it became encumbered and in 1827 he assigned it to his cousin, Luke John Patrick Alen along with his debts; died without issue, 29 March 1829; will proved 1834
(2) Patrick Alen; died without issue;
(3) Anne Alen, m. [forename unknown] Gilfoyle;
(4) Mary Alen; died without issue;
(5) Margaret Alen; died without issue;
(6) Jane Alen; died without issue.
He inherited the Pollardstown (Carlow) estate in right of his wife, but it was sold when his creditors foreclosed immediately after his death. Some other property passed to his son.
He died in 1754.
Alen, Maj-Gen. Luke (1722-87), of St. Wolstans. Youngest son of Maj-Gen. Patrick Alen (d. 1724) and his second wife, born 1722. He would appear to have been sent abroad to be educated, perhaps after his father's death, and joined the French army in 1735; he obtained a lieutenancy in Dillon's regiment and passed from that corps, soon after the Battle of Fontenoy, 1745, into Lally's; awarded Order of St. Louis, 1756; appointed major-general of the army in India; fought at Pondicherry, 1760; returned to France after fall of Pondicherry. He married, 5 October 1762, Mlle Marie Charlotte Adelaide de Behague (1734-1809), sister of Gen. Count de Behague, Governor of the French West Indies and had issue:
(1) Eleanor Antoinette Alen (b. 1765), born 19 June 1765;
(2) Lucie Julie Alen (b. 1766), born 13 December 1766; m. Jean Henri de Vaillant of Lignerolle, Normandy;
(3) Aimée Polyeucte Alen (b. 1768), born 14 March 1768;
(4) Charlotte Adelaide Alen (b. 1769), born 8 May 1769;
(5) Isabelle Jeanne Alen (1771-1850), born 5 September 1771; married, 8 August 1803, Pierre Louis de Person (1769-1839), Chevalier of the Order of St. Louis, Colonel of the Marine Artillery, and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 20 October 1850;
(6) Lt-Col. Luke John Patrick Alen (1775-1841) (q.v.).
He died in France in 1787.
Alen, Lt-Col. Luke John Patrick (1775-1841). Only known son of Maj-Gen. Luke Alen (1722-87) and his wife, Marie Charlotte Adelaide de Behague, born 26 August 1775. Served in the 55th Regiment of Foot (Lt-Col. by 1811); published A plan for the better organisation of West India troops, in Antigua, 1806; mentioned in despatches for actions during capture of French West Indies, 1809-10; appointed CB, 1815; court-martialled for offences relating to military discipline and the quartering of troops, 1817, was found guilty but allowed to retire from the service and sell his commission; he published a defence of his actions in 1822; returned to Ireland in 1821 to claim a share of the family estates and fought legal actions with his cousin, Ulick Wall Alen (d. 1829), eventually reaching a compromise by which he took over the remaining family lands in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare but also took responsibility for the debts secured on these estates. He married c.1799 Hannah Marguerite, daughter of John Creaghe of St. Eustatia, West Indies and sister of Richard Creaghe of Castle Park (Tipperary), and had issue:
(1) Randal Heyliger Ulick Alen (1800-33); born 3 October 1800; died unmarried, 1833;
(2) Capt. Luke John Henry Alen (c.1805-79); educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1823); served in the 74th Highlanders (Lieutenant, 1827; Captain, 1835); married at St Nicholas Catholic Church, Liverpool, 26 May 1839, Lucy Isabella, fifth daughter of Osborne Tylden of Torry Hill, Milstead (Kent) and had issue two daughters, one of whom married and had issue; died 1 January 1879;
(3) Anna Maria Alen (c.1815-76), born about 1815; married, 22 June 1829, Thomas John Wybault Swettenham (1804-61) of Swettenham Hall (Cheshire) but died without issue, 9 March 1876;
(4) Augusta Georgiana Alen.
In 1827 he received the remaining family property in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare from his cousin, Ulick Wall Alen (d. 1829) in return for settling the latter's debts. He lived in retirement in Dublin.
He died 18 March 1841.
Location of archives
No significant archive is known to survive.
Coat of arms
Argent, a chevron gules between three torteaux each charged with a talbot passant, or, on a chief azure a lion passant between two crescents ermine.