The Bridge of the Bandon

Between two hills sits the town of Bandon dissected by the River Bandon. Founded in 1604 during the Plantation of Munster, the town was originally called Bandon Bridge, the translation of the Irish name, Droichead na Bandan, or Bridge of the Bandon.

Arriving in Bandon from the north.
© Julie Medlock Flake

The earliest known members of the Knight family lived here including my 8th and 9th great-grandparents. Martha Allin and Thomas Knight, my 8th great-grandparents, were Quakers, married at a Friend’s meeting in Cork held 14 August 1682. The transcript of the marriage certificate says that Thomas was from Bandon Bridge and that Martha was the daughter of “John Allin, of Boalnamore House.” (So far I haven’t located this place, but I believe it was about 5 miles from Castlesalem, the home of William Morris, or about 16 miles from Bandon, based on some other Quaker records.)

Martha and Thomas probably went to live in Bandon following their marriage. They were definitely in Bandon by 1683 when their first child was born. The rest of their 15 children were also born in Bandon.

The 1717 survey of Bandon has them living on Main Street. Their property went from the street to the Bridewell River and was described as follows.

Parcel n° 56 Thomas Knight
Tenement : Newces
Measurement in feet – Front/Depth : 38.5/320,
Observations: Dwelling house 2 storeys high with linny* backward, outhouse adjoining on the East side of the inner yard and another on the South side thereof. Malt house with gable end to the street 1½ storeys high, 2 other low outhouses in a range with it belonging to the malting trade of the inner and outer yard, and garden extending to the Bridewell River as do the following gardens.

A lease in 1721 shows that Thomas worked as a clothier, which means he either sold clothes or made cloth. He may have also sold the products of his malt house. Some Quaker meetings took place in the home before a meeting house was designated.

Today, the house no longer stands and the River Bridewell runs under a street. In Bandon, we wandered the main streets, looking for the address I had located using Google Maps, a map from 1775 (on page 5, plot # 6), and the descriptions of houses on the same street from the 1717 survey.

We found the approximate place and confirmed the address after happening on a small billboard down the street advertising for a lawyer at the same address. We wandered to the back side of what would have been Thomas and Martha’s property, standing above the River Bridewell.

Top row: the current building at the address and a look down Main Street.
Bottom row: where the Knight property would have ended (the Bridewell is under the street here); an older, abandoned building between the two ends of the property; flowers growing in a stone wall. © Julie Medlock Flake

From there, we followed the path of the river back to the River Bandon and stood on the more modern bridge. My ancestors would have known an earlier bridge a block to the west.

The River Bridewell and the River Bandon with its bridge. © Julie Medlock Flake

This post is part of my Ireland Genealogy Trip series.


Notes and Sources

*a shed with a lean-to roof and open sides.

  1. “Bandon, County Cork,” Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation, June 25, 2020), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandon,_County_Cork.
  2. Thomas Knight and Martha Allin marriage record, August 14, 1682, image posted by ancestry user alisa corbet of transcription by H.G. Haughton dated January 30, 1928; digital image, Ancestry, https://www.ancestry.com/mediaui-viewer/tree/34614813/person/350112803765/media/3e1bc0cb-2f65-48f3-9d66-8535bafe277e?usePUBJs=true
  3. “Bandon Quaker Family Details,” Bandon Genealogy (unknown publisher, July 2, 2020), http://www.bandon-genealogy.com/bandon_quaker_records.htm.
  4. “Bandonbridge Survey of 1717 (section two),” Bandon Genealogy (unknown publisher, July 2, 2020), http://www.bandon-genealogy.com/bandon-survey-south.htm.
  5. “Bandon Leases in 1721,” Bandon Genealogy (unknown publisher, July 2, 2020), http://www.bandon-genealogy.com/leases_1700s.htm.
  6. O’Flanagan, Patrick. Irish Historic Towns Atlas, no. 3, Bandon. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1988, text, pp 3, 5. https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/assets.ria.ie/ihta/ihta-digital/early-modern-gaelic-and-plantation-towns/bandon/IHTA_03_Bandon_Text.pdf

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