Monday, 20 July 2020

The Magill Baronetcy

JOHN MAGILL, of Gill Hall, County Down, bequeathed, in 1677, all his estates in County Down to (the son of Lieutenant William Johnston) his grandson,

JOHN JOHNSTON, of Gill Hall, who assumed, in consequence, the surname and arms of MAGILL, and was created a baronet in 1680, designated of Gill Hall, County Down.

Sir John, MP for Hillsborough, 1692-93, Downpatrick, 1695-99, married firstly, in 1677, Elizabeth Mary, daughter of William Hawkins; and secondly, in 1683, Arabella Susannah, daughter of Hugh Hamilton, 1st Viscount Glenawly.

Sir John died without surviving issue in 1701, when the title expired.

The estates, however, devolved, in accordance with the will of the original testator, John Magill, upon Sir John's nephew and heir,

ROBERT HAWKINS (1704-45), of Gill Hall, MP for County Down, 1724-7 (grandson of his sister Mary, who assumed the additional surname of MAGILL), who espoused firstly, in 1728, Rachael, eldest daughter of Clotworthy, 3rd Viscount Massereene and widow of Randal, 4th Earl of Antrim, and had an only son, JOHN (1729-36).

Mr Hawkins-Magill wedded secondly, in 1742, the Lady Ann Bligh, daughter of John, 1st Earl of Darnley, and had issue an only daughter and heiress,

THEODOSIA  HAWKINS-MAGILL (1743-1817), who married, in 1765, John, 1st Earl of Clanwilliam. 

Theodosia, Countess of Clanwilliam (Image: Ulster Museum)

In the 1650s, during Cromwellian land confiscation and the subsequent plantation era following the Irish rebellion of 1641, Captain John Magill acquired land in the Tullylish area and founded Gilford, the name of the village being derived from Magill’s Ford.

Gill Hall

Gilford dates from the mid-17th century when the Magill family, after whom it was called, acquired the land.

The Magills were of Scottish origin. 

Before the Rebellion of 1641 Captain Magill, whose name appears in the list of officers of the Cromwellian Army, obtained half the townland of Ballynagarrick from Art Og Maginnis for £150.

At the end of the war Captain Magill acquired an extensive estate at Gilford, comprising the townlands of Loughans, Drumarin, Drummillar, Mullabrack, Ballymacanallen and half of Ballynagarrick. 

Furthermore, he owned land in Donacloney and Dromore; and it was here, in his Gill Hall estate, that the family seal was placed. 

Robin Knowles once unearthed a manuscript at a library in Northern Ireland concerning Sir John Magill,
In 1674, Magill held a grand pheasant shoot on his estate which had been stocked with nine hundred birds obtained by natural hatch and from eggs hatched under broody hens. He invited sixty-four guns - a nobleman and a commoner from each of the Kingdom of Ireland's thirty-two counties - to shoot and they bagged three hundred pheasants in a day. 
First published in February, 2011


Sandy said...

1674 seems very early for an organised shoot?
I would have thought it more likely to be 1774. Interesting to know the source of the statement. Pedantic, I know, but i'm interested in this stuff!

Timothy Belmont said...

Ever willing to oblige:


Shelley said...

I appreciate your summary of this family line. I am searching for our Magill family and have been confused by the bits and pieces told about Capt Magill and Sir John Magill and Hawkins Magill and the land that they held. Your summary is the first I've read that put all those townlands in the hands of one family. thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...


My family name is Magill and I can trace my relatives to the Tullylish area from around the 1800's up to the mid 1900's. Given the descendancy from Sir John Magill can we assume that other members of the Magill clan also settled in the area and populated the Magill name throughout Ireland. Can you point me to any research material on this subject. Continue the good work on a must visit every day blog. Peter

DR Arathoon said...

Capt John MaGill is my ancestor. His daughter was my last MaGill ancestor, she became a Johnston at marriage.
It was good to read what he was up to and see the pictures.

Unknown said...

I'm a Magill living in Northern Ireland. My father William paschal magill married a lady called Marjorie Mcgill don't k ow if this helps or confuseslol

Unknown said...

My branch of the Magill family also came from Scotland....but the first known one in Ireland is a Robert Magill (1758-abt 1824). He was born in Clonmel, married a Catherine Benner from Tralee, and was a member of the 30th Mayo Militia. His widow and children immigrated to Canada in the early 1800's. I am trying to tie them back further than Robert....and possibly to their Scottish origins. I can see that some Magills were landed/rich, but Robert seems to have been of a "lower station". Any assistance would be appreciated.