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Hugh Terrance of Culnamen

This section does not occur in RMT's book but is an addition, in similar style, to extend what is known of the original.

Speculative Genealogy

Irish records are scarce and most of what few records were available were destroyed in 1921 in the bombing of the Four Courts, the repository of most of the public records. This inevitably means that much of this section is speculative. I have tried to present the original data together with my reasons for assembling it in the order shown here, together with other views. Since there seems now to be no way of establishing the true facts, much of what follows is sheer speculation, but I have tried to give reasons as far as possible.

It may be argued that speculation should have no place in a work such as this. However, scientific method consists of speculation followed by theory followed by test. Scientific genealogy would cause us to seek documents to test our theories. However - in the absence of available documents, all we can do is to make thought models and see how plausible they are. So much of the reason for adding this section is to encourage others to think about the speculations herein and hopefully argue for or against them, thus helping to improve them.

Early data

There is very little early data. One reason for this is that the population was quite sparse. So let us have a quick look at the early data.


1659 Census

This did not name names, simply gave numbers. But it clearly indicates by the way that Culnaman had been opened up for settlement by 1659:

Coolenoman 12 people 2 English/Scots 10 Irish
Moneydregie 24 people all Irish
Coolaromar (Cullyramer) 16 people: 11 English Scots 5 Irish
The 2 Moveinyres 24 people- 10 and 14 Irish
Mullachinch 8 people, no Irish
Gortin and Kavetatt 8 people: 2 Irish
Gortine 11 all Irish
Mirchell..(Mayoghill?) 13 people: 6 and 7
Colicapell 5 no Irish
Caruro...(Carnroe?) 4 people: 2 and 2
Bovach 11 no Irish.

There were no Scots or English tituladoes in Toghil Desert, so called, and in Aghadowey the tituladoes were 2 Blairs in two townlands and Paul Canning in Agivey.

1663 Hearth Money Rolls

The full list of the Hearth Money Rolls is given as a text file on this site. There is also a 'Subsidy Roll' which represented the more well-to-do amongst the population.

The three Wills

These are three wills, dated 1716, 1748 and 1771 which tie together and give us our best insight into the relationships. These are so important they are covered in come detail later.

1725 Pyke's survey for Aghadowey parish

This lists names of the tenants in the parish but is incomplete.

1740 Protestant Householders

The names of the Protestant Householders in Londonderry Walk under the inspection of Mr. Gustavus Henderson Supervisor of Hearth-Money of Londonderry Survey. Anno 1740.
Townlands are not given.

Macosquin Saml Torrence
Aghadowey Hu. Torance
Aghadowey Alex. Torance of Carnroe who went 'abroad'
Aghadowey David Torance of Carnroe who went 'abroad'
Aghadowey Wm. Torance Maybe of Dromore? (Next name is Saml. Coughron)
Aghadowey Arch. Torrance of Carnroe
Aghadowey Hu. Torrance of Mayoughill, 1695-1779 (Next name is Alex McFeetrus)
Desertoghill Thom. Torrance Thomas of Woodbury CT?
Jno. Torrance of Culnamen: married Jean T. of Mayoughill

In italics I have identified who the person is thought to be. Hugh of Mayoughill, Alex and David of Carnroe, listed as 'abroad' in 1771, are there. Archibald are all mentioned, but there are three we cannot place at all, including a second Hugh, a Samual and William. It is worth noting that the Cochranes were a family from Dromore. The will of James Cochrane is on record, dated 1778. A daughter of his, Jean, married Hugh Torrens of Mayoughill father of Robert of the American letters. William is thus possibly connected to the Mayoughill line. Also, Dromore is about as close to Macosquin parish as you can get without being in Macosquin, so there has could well be a connection between William and Samuel.

However, in 1666 Hearth Money Rolls, a William Torrence was listed in Ballynegarvy. Balllynegarvy is just across the Bann from Carnroe. There is no mention of Ballynegarvy later in the records: the family died out - or moved, but the name of the ferryman at the Vow Ferry was William Torrens for several generations. I have an unprovable theory that William of Ballynegarvy moved, with his family, across the Bann to Carnroe or thereabouts, and integrated with the Aghadowey line. It has also been proposed that William in 1666 was a brother to Hugh of Culneman!

Note also the two Hughs: one has to be Hugh of Mayoughill. The other could be the son of Alex of Carnroe mentioned in his will. Which means he's Mayoughill's uncle. Or he could be a cousin, or someone else...

The likelihood is that all the 1740 PHHL Torrenses are either brothers, uncles, or cousins but we just do not know the exact relationships and there simply seems no way of weighing speculation.

1765 Alsop's survey for Aghadowey parish

This is a list of tenants. It shows:

1796 Fourty shilling Freeholders lists and Visitation lists

There are lots of records for 1796, including the Garvagh Church visitation list.

1804 Three American letters

In 1803 Robert Torrens in America wrote to his family back in Mayoughill - he apparently sent several copies and one survived, as did replies from his youngest brother and a nephew. The full text of these is quoted elsewhere on this site. These also give a god insight into the early families.

1810 Affidavits

In 1810 there was an affray involving the Kennedys and Torrences of Culnamen. This was one of the main documents that enabled us to piece together the Culnamen descent.

1818 Visitation list

Not as full as the 1796 list, but another source to check

1821 Census

By the time of the census there were about 106 assorted Torrenses in the list. We have had an explosion! Some of them can be linked: so we can locate descendants of Hugh of Mayoughill. We have also located what we think are the descendants of John and Jean but there are lots we cannot place and a few more brains discussing the list would be useful.

The three Wills

There are three wills which connect and are crucial to any attempt to understand the lines of decent. These three will were found by J W Kernohan when he was working for J S Torrence, see A genealogical search. for the story and were quoted in JST's book.

Alexander Terrence of Carnroe

Derry Will
Alexander Terrence of Carnroe, Co. Londonderry, yeoman

To Marien my dearly beloved wife £20 to be put to interest for her for life, and at her decease said £20 to be equally divided to Archibald Terrence (his) childer.

Also to my dearly beloved wife 2 acres of plowed land and two cows grass, rent free for her life.

To my son John Terence £10

To my son Hugh Terence £10

To my grandson, son to John Terrence, Alexander Terrence

To Mary Terrence 2 Roues (or Houes?)

I desire and give to John Scot his bond bill to him.

To my son Archibald Terrence what remains of debts, bills, bonds, due me and all other goods and chattles, he to pay my debts, rents and funeral charges.

Appoint my son Archibald Terrence sole exor and leave him all my rents and tenements to be by him freely possessed.

Witness whereof, 2 Nov. 1716
Alexander Terrence


Probate gtd 29 Aug. 1717 to Archibald Terrence the exor, before Ad: Jenkin, Sur.
Indorsed:" Carnroe, Alexander Torrence last will, 1717"

Archibald has to be the same Archibald of Carnroe whose will follows. Carnrow and Mullahinch are only about one mile apart. Archibald was not a common name in the Torrence families: in fact no other Archibald is known in that time and place. The will implies that Archibald was the oldest surviving son. It is likely, from the fact that Archibald is heretofore unknown in the Torrences, that Archibald was the name of Marien's father the first son died and that .

Notice the name of the witness: David Snell in the above. David is also mentioned in and witness to the will that follows. It is in fact believed that Marien's father was an Archibald Snell, possibly the father of this David. In 1663 Hearth money rolls there was a John Smeyle in Carneroe and it seems likely that David is a descendant.

Archibald Torrence of Carnroe

Derry Will
Archibald Torrence of Carnroe, parish of Aghadowey, Co. Londonderry, yeoman

I bequeath £20 to my eldest son David, who is now abroad, if he returns and demands it within 7 years, till which term I allow it to be put at interest and the yearly interest to be equally divided among my three daughters Janet, Mary and Marion, and if said David returns not in said term of 7 years, I appoint said £20 equally among my said three daughters or the survivor of them.

To my son-in-law , William Archibald, and his wife Elizabeth, my eldest daughter for their children's use, £20.

To my son-in-law, Samuel Millar, and his wife Janet, for their children's sole use, £25.

To my second son, Alexander (if he in person demands it within 7 years) the sum of £50.

To my daughter Mary, if my executor and overseer thinks she deserved it, the sum of £60.

To my daughter Marion, if my executor and overseer thinks she deserved it, the sum of £50.

My horses, Black cattle, sheep, all household goods and furniture, together with my lease of Carnroe, and all corn, standing or cut, to be sold by public sale by me executors (and out of proceeds:)

I bequeath £2 to my cousin, Alexander Torrence of the half town of Mullahinch.

I bequeath to the Rev. John Elder of Rusky, Clerk, £2.

The overplus, if any, to be disposed of as my exor and overseer thinks fit.

I order my exor and overseer to divide the £50 above bequeathed to my son Alexander among my surviving children as they think fit and

  • if he returns not to demand it in 7 years,
  • as above mentioned.

    I appoint and order all the money in hand or that shall be got of debts or for goods and chattles to be lodged in my cousin David Snell's hands.

    I appoint my cousin, Alexander Torrence, aforesaid executor and the Rev. John Elder aforesaid overseer.

    In witness whereof 3 June 1748.
    Archibald Torrence.


    Probate gtd. at Derry 10 Aug. 1748 before John Torrens
    Indorsed 1748 Aghadowey Archd. Torrens Will.

  • David Snell is here stated to be a cousin, as is a certain Alexander Torrence of the half town of Mullahinch. David must have married an un-named sister of Alexander Terrance of Carnroe and there is also an un-named brother, this Alex's father.


    There was also an Inventory of Archibald's property which in interesting, but only part was quoted in Kernohan's notes as an attachment to his letter of 17 March 1920.

    Inventory papers in Diocese of Derry, 1748-1846. 4M-24-24.
    1748, Aghadowey, Archibald Torrens.
    Inventory of late Archibald Torrence of Carnroe, made by Alexander Torrence and Jonathan Jameson
    (long list of farm stock, cattle, etc. value of household goods, includes:-)

    The farm sold for £36.

    (Signed:) Alex. Torrence, Johnathan Jameson.

    Alexander Torrans of Mullahinch

    Derry Will
    Alexander Torrans of Mullahinch, parish of Aughadowey, Co. Londonderry, farmer

    To Ann my dearly beloved wife the sum of £80 to be paid her by my two sons, James and Alexander at £10 a year till the whole be paid; also her bed and chest of drawers, and at her decease the chest of drawers to my son Alexander.
    To my eldest son James the sum of £40 and £5 to his son Alexander.
    To my youngest son Alexander £20.
    To my son-in-law Hugh Henery and his wife Ann, my eldest daughter, £20 and £5 to their son Alexander.
    To my son-in-law Samuel Heselet and his wife, my youngest daughter Elizabeth £20, and £5 to their son Alexander.
    To my eldest daughter's child Ann £5.
    To my sister, Margaret Hunter £2.
    To my brother's son Robert Torrans. £2.
    To my sister's son John Anderson's child Archibald, £2.
    To my beloved wife 12 guineas to pay my funeral charges.
    To my eldest son James all my wearing clothes.
    To my youngest son Alexander all my goods, horses, cows and household furniture, save one cow to my son James, and if James survives Alexander, at Alexander's decease my son James to have the clock.
    If there be anything left over after my bequeathments it us to be divided at the discretion of my exor and overseer, and if my effects come short the legacies to abate in proportion.

    Appoint my son James Torrans sole exor.
    Appoint John Karr of Droghat and Alex. Torrans overseers.
    In witness whereof, 31 Dec. 1770. Alex. Torans (a scrawl)

    Probate gtd. 20 Feb. 1771 to the exor, before Thos. Torrens,"
    Indorsed "Aghadowey 1771 Alex. Torrens's Will."

    Of particular note is the bequest: To my brother's son Robert Torrans. £2.
    Now we believe his brother was Hugh Torrens of Mayoughill, who is mentioned in letters dated around 1804 and who had a son, Robert, who founded the American line from which descended Jared Sidney Torrance. This Robert is the only only Robert on record, but he had left for America in 1754, some 16 years earlier, and was not in touch wilth his family. Although such a bequest may have been a 'hands across the sea' gesture to mention Robert, it seems highly unlikely. Far more likely is that there was a third brother, name unknown.

    Note also that a Wilam Torrens was witness. Doubtless the same William who was listed in the 1740 PHHL.

    ¶601. Hugh Terrance1

    is listed in the 1663 hearth money rolls as a taxable in Culnamen. He is also listed on the subsidy roll.

    This is the first record of any Torrenses in this area and it seems that Hugh came over from Scotland around 1650, maybe aged about 30 - or probably older as he seems to have brought wealth with him. It is also notable that only two Torrances occur: Hugh Torrance in Cachenny and Hugh Torrence in Culneman. There is difference of opinion (see The Early Hughs of the Torrens Family in Ulster) as to whether these were one person or two separate ones. However, if two, then Culnamen, being on the subsidy roll, is the senior and Culnamen has been an area where Torrenses have lived ever since and it seems that Hugh is the single ancestor of the whole Bann Valley line.

    Children of Hugh Terrance of Culnamen thought to be four at least

    1. ¶602. Hugh Terrance.
    2. ¶603. Alexander Terrance
    3. Son Terrance: the Bann valley Torrenses increased too fast for us easily to be able to trace them back to only Hugh and Alexander. I believe there was a third.

      But there are also William and Samuel and the second Hugh in the 1740 PHHL, probably all grandsons to Hugh of Culnamen, so:
      Grandsons to Hugh of Culnamen:

      1. William Torrens (of Dromore?)
      2. Samuel Torrens of Macosquin
      3. Daughter Terrence, mentioned by implication as a cousin to Archibald Torrence of Carnroe in his 1748 will. Married a David Snell.
        The will of Alexander Terrance lists a David Snell. The will of his son, Archibald mentions 'my cousin David Snell'. It is believed therefore that David Snell married Hugh Terrence's daughter.

    ¶602. Hugh Terrence

    who is buried in Vow Graveyard

    It is not known definitely that there was a son Hugh. However there are various report of a 'Hugh who had a father Hugh who had a father Hugh who was born in Scotland about 1600.' If this son Hugh had a son then his first choice of names should have been Hugh, and we do indeed have Hugh in Mayoughill, born 1695 and listed in 1740 PHHL, who must suely be a grandson of Hugh of Culnamen. It therefore seems reasonable to assign the name Hugh to this son of Hugh!

    In the Vow Graveyard, near Finvoy, Co. Antrim, lie two faded headstones:

    Here Lyeth the
    Body of Huey
    Tornce who
    departed thi
    s life July 2
    2, 1712
    Here Lyeth
    the Body of
    llln Torrans
    hoo dsised the
    3 of November

    These have to be Hugh and his wife, who could have been Jean. The death date is very similar to that of the will of Alexander Terrance of Carnroe, which indicates they were probably brothers, hence sons of Hugh of Culnamen.

    Children of Hugh of Vow graveyard thought to be at least five

    1. ¶605. Hugh Torrence of Mayoughill
    2. ¶606. Alexander Torrence of Mullahinch
    3. Son Torrens who is only listed as 'To my brother's son Robert Torrans. £2' in the 1771 will of Alexander Torrans of Mullahinch.
      1. Robert Torrens
    4. Margaret Torrence, married a Mr Hunter. She is mentioned in the will of her brother, Alexander Torrans of Mullahinch.
    5. Daughter Torrence, who married John Anderson. Mentioned in the will of her brother, Alexander Torrans of Mullahinch. as 'To my sister's son John Anderson's child Archibald.
      1. Archibald Anderson

    ¶603. Alexander Terrance of Carnroe

    Married a Marien, surname possibly Snell and his will is dated 2 Nov. 1716.

    Children of Alexander Terrence and Marien

    1. Archibald Torrence. His will, dated 3 June 1748 lists his children. We know Archibald's parents were Alexander and Marien. We would expect the eldest son to be Alex and the second daughter to be Marion.
      1. David Torrence. Mentioned as 'abroad' in the will, presumed to be America. David is listed in 1740 PHHL, so left between 1740 and 1748.
      2. Elizabeth Torrence, the eldest daughter, married William Archibald. Had children.
      3. Janet Torrence married Samuel Millar. Had children.
      4. Alexander Torrence, second son. Mentioned as 'abroad' in the will, presumed to be America, probably with his brother David. He, also, is listed in 1740 PHHL. There is a clear implication that David is older. If so the conclusion can only be that there was a son born before David, who was called Alex after Archibald's father and who died young, so the name was re-used for the third son.
      5. Mary Torrence. Unmarried in the will.
      6. Marion Torrence. Unmarried in the will. Seems to be third daughter rather than the second.
    2. John Terence
      1. Alexander Terrence
    3. Hugh Terence
    4. Mary Terrence

    ¶605. Hugh Torrence of Mayoughill

    ¶606. Alexander Torrence of Mullahinch

    Mentioned as cousin to Archibald Torrens of Carnroe in Archibald's 1748 will, Alex of Mullahinch's own will is on record, dated 1771. His wife is named Ann, surname unknown. It is noticeable that he had three grandsons - all named Alexander. Two of them were via his daughters, so were either second sons named traditionally, or Hugh Henery and Samuel Hazlet's fathers were both named Alexamder! Or were these both named after an honured Alexander Torrence - maybe with an eye on his will? The Torrens Genealogy gets extremely complicated!

    1. James Torrens: eldest son, who had son:
      1. Alexander Torrens: youngest son
    2. Alexander Torrens
    3. Ann Torrens, eldest daughter. Married Hugh Henery. Had two children:
      1. Alexander Torrens
      2. Ann Torrens
    4. Elizabeth Torrens: youngest daughter. Married Samuel Heselet. Had a son
      1. Alexander Torrens

    Part 15 Top of page Part 17

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    Torrence and Allied Families Written by Robert McIlvane Torrence, published 1938
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