Eustace Families Association

Our Eustice family comes from Ireland.  We do not know which city they emigrated from or when.  But our guess is around 1840`s and the city of Dublin.

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Three Maurice Eustaces of Castlemartin

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The existence of as many as three Sir Maurice Eustaces, all of the house of Castlemartin, alive during the 17th Century, is apt to puzzle genealogists, and to cause confusion when writing of them and their wives. The following notes about each of them are given in the order in which they died:

Sir Maurice Eustace (1595-1665)

Maurice Eustace; knight; was Lord Chancellor of Ireland and lived at Harristown, County Kildare, and at his house in Damask (now Eustace) Street, Dublin. He was knighted about the year 1640. Maurice Eustace of Harristown was the great nephew of Maurice of Castlemartin, the martyr. His father was John Eustace, of Harristown (ob. 1623) a younger son of William Eustace, of Castlemartin.

After being student, graduate and fellow of Trinity College in Dublin, he studied law in England at Lincoln’s Inn and was called to the Bar 1625. His exceptional ability was soon earning him large fees and by1634 he was Leader of the Irish Bar. That same year he became M.P. for Athy and in 1639 was appointed Speaker of the House of Commons, receiving a knighthood. Over the next twenty years, he received many royal grants for services as Speaker and other functions.

In 1645 at his country estate of Harristown, Sir Maurice Eustace built a fine house, but only three years later, this was burned before his eyes when captured by Parliamentarian Colonel Hewson. With other Royalists, Sir Maurice was imprisoned at Chester for seven years, only narrowly missing exile in Jamaica. He was released in 1655 and returned to Dublin only to be re-arrested on a charge of communicating with Charles II. He was set free but under strict supervision. Meanwhile those of the Eustaces who were Catholic had fared much worse, many being deprived of lands and possessions.

Sir Maurice Eustace (1590-1665)

Maurice Eustace was speaker of the Irish House of Commons in 1639 and Lord Chancellor in 1660. Eustace Street in Dublin is named after him.

On the restoration of Charles II in 1660, Sir Maurice was rewarded for his loyalty and appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland. A special frigate carried him back to Dublin. In 1661, King Charles granted Sir Maurice the lands of Castlemartin that had been forfeited by his cousin together with half of the barony of Rathdownry. In 1663 he decided to build and endow a church and school at Baltinglass and also to build new bridge and market.

He had already built himself a town house in Dublin on the grounds of which ran from Dame Street to the banks of the Liffey. Part of the site is now Eustace Street.

His wife was Charity, daughter of Sir Robert Dixon, Knight of Dublin, by whom he had no issue. Dame Charity, was a well known figure in Dublin society until her death in 1678.

In letters of that time it is clear that the king proposed to make Maurice Eustace a Baron, but having no sons of his marriage, Sir Maurice was endeavoring to arrange inheritance of his title and lands by his illegitimate son, Maurice Eustace of Whitchurch. (In his will Sir Maurice mentions his illegitimate son, Maurice Eustace, of Portlester, County Meath.) Unfortunately Sir Maurice died during the negotiations so that the whole question of a peerage was dropped.

Sir Maurice Eustace died on the 22nd of June, 1665, and, according to a Funeral Entry,’ was buried in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin; but his widow’s will contradicts this, as she expressly desires in it to be buried near her husband at Castlemartin, if she dies in the country ( i.e., at Harristown), and near her father in St. Werburgh’s Church, if she dies in Dublin; her death took place in June, 1678, when she was aged seventy-two.

His younger nephew, also Sir Maurice (see page 23), was his principal heir although estates were left to his brother Sir John and their sister’s husband. He in turn was called to the Bar, elected M.P. for Knocktopher and made Privy Councillor in 1665. Harristown under his hand became a showplace in Kildare. In 1673 his wife Anne died and catastrophe struck when James II became king – every royal grant to Protestant Harristown was reversed. Both Maurice and his brother John had to flee the country. On the accession of William III, Sir Maurice returned but it was not until 1700 that he regained full possession of his estates. Sir John died unmarried and left only debts.

Sir Maurice Eustace, Baronet of Castlemartin (??-1693):

Sir Maurice Eustace was a first cousin once removed of the Lord Chancellor’s. His father was John Eustace (son of Maurice, eldest son of the William Eustace, of Castlemartin, mentioned above) of Castlemartin and his mother was Margaret, daughter of Edmond Keating, of Narraghmore, in the County Kildare.

Sir Maurice was created a Baronet on the 23rd December, 1685. He served as a Captain, first, in the Infantry Regiment of Sir Thomas Newcomen, Baronet, whose 4th daughter, Margaret, he married; afterwards he commanded a troop in Colonel Theodore Russell’s Regiment of Horse.

Maurice Eustace became a Catholic; and when the Orange invasion of 1688 led by William of Holland (later known as William of Orange) also called "the Glorious Revolution" broke out, Maurice Eustace took up arms on behalf of King James II. Maurice commanded one of the infantry regiments in James II’s army, in which there were six officers named Eustace, as well as several in other regiments. The name of Sir Maurice Eustace, or of his regiment, was among the most prominent in the campaigns from 1689 to 1691; being mentioned at the Siege of Derry, at the routing of Hunter’s insurgents in County Down; at the 1st Siege of Limerick; at the guerilla or frontier war in Kildare, and at the defense of Ballymore, Queen’s County and at the battle of Aughrim, in Galway where Sir Maurice was severely wounded. Following defeat at the 2nd Siege of Limerick, Sir Maurice and many of his regiment fled to France. In France, Maurice became Colonel in the Régiment d’ Athlone, infantry which was appointed to serve in Italy. He held that command until the latter part of 1693, when he apparently died. King James then appointed William Bourque of Turlough, Co. Mayo.

Sir Maurice was one of the 22 attainders and forfeitures in 1690/91(on this occasion twelve were in County Kildare, eight in County Carlow and two in County Wicklow).

The wife of Sir Maurice Eustace was Margaret, daughter of Brigadier Sir Thomas Newcomen, Knight of Sutton, County Dublin and Lady Frances, daughter of Sir William Talbott of Cartowne in County Kildare, by whom he had two daughters, Frances and Maria Henrietta, who both died unmarried. Margaret, the widow of Sir Maurice, survived him and died in January, 1738.

Sir Maurice Eustace (???-1708), Knight, of Harristown:

Sir Maurice Eustace was a second cousin of his namesake, the Baronet, and nephew of the Lord Chancellor. He was the second son of William Eustace, the Lord Chancellor’s younger brother, by his wife Ann, daughter of James Netterville, of Castletown Kilpatrick, in the County Meath.

Sir Maurice was knighted in November, 1662, and was member of Parliament for Knock, County Kilkenny, in 1665 and for Harristown in 1692-5.

He was twice married, first to Ann, daughter of Sir Robert Colville, Knight, of Newtown, County Down. Her death took place on the 26th of August, 1685, and she was buried at Coghlanstown, County Kildare. The second wife was Clotilda, daughter and heir of Michael Parsons, of Tomduff, County Wexford. She died about the year 1752. By his two wives, Sir Maurice had one son, who died young, and seven daughters.

His death occurred on the 13th April, 1708, and it is not at all unlikely that he, too, was buried near his first wife, in the Coghlanstown Churchyard, which lies close to Harristown.

Lord Walter FitzGerald acknowledged assistance from Mr. G. D. Burtchaell, of Ulster Office, for much assistance in the above sketches.


FitzGerald, Lord Walter, Journal of the Kildare Archaeological Society; Pages 484-85; Volume II; (1899-1902).

Journal of the Kildare Archaeological Society, Volume XIII, No.7 (1958).

These pages © Ronald Eustice, 2009