Humphrey Crowley - Mayor of Cork 1789

Who was Humphrey Crowley?

Humphrey Crowley/Crowly appears in The Council Book of the Corporation of Cork between 1765 and 1795. He warrants investigation being at various times an Alderman, Sheriff and Mayor of Cork. He first appears as Humphry Crowly, clothier, on 12 April 1765 when after having completed his apprenticeship with John Allen, deceased, and Francis Allen, he is granted the freedom of the city of Cork. He appears again on the 3 June 1765 where he is receiving 100 part share for a period of 990 years of profits arising from reservoirs, canals, trenches, water courses and pipes to be erected for the conveying of water for the city of Cork.

In 1773 he is one of five men involved in a scheme to build a bridge over the Lee. Over the years he has obviously taken on apprentices himself for three of them, Denis Quigley, woolcomber, Henry Ford, woolcomber and Thomas Malowny, woolcomber are granted the freedom of the City in 1782 and 1783.

In 1784 Humphrey Crowley is appointed as one of two Sheriffs of Cork for that year and in 1789 he was created Mayor of Cork having succeeded H. Harding who had died in office. His rise in the world has been rapid. By 23 February 1787 he is called Humphry Crowly Esquire (for the first time). A Humphrey Crowley is listed as a churchwarden in 1757 for St Peter’s Church, Cork and this may be the father of the above Humphrey Crowley (The Annals of St Peter’s Church, Cork. 1822). Sadly the name of Crowley does not appear in the surviving extracts taken by Col Grove White from the Registers of St Peter’s which began in 1744, nor in the surviving extracts of the 1766 census for St Peter’s. However his name does appear in a Resolution not to give servants any more tips on being entertained at their master’s house. His name is one of many and this rather mean document was signed in 1765 (Casey, Albert O’Kief, Coshe, Mang, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater, Volume 6)

A Marriage Licence Bond exists for Humphry(sic) Crowly(sic) and Easter Hall for 1737 in the Diocese of Cork and Ross and this is probably the churchwarden. There is also a 1762 Prerogative Will for Humphrey Crowley, merchant. There also exists a Marriage Licence Bond for Humphry(sic) Crowly (sic) and Ann Carey for 1769 for the Diocese of Cloyne. A Prerogative Will for Humphrey Crowley is listed for 1796 so presumably he died about that time; he appears to have stopped activity on the City Council in 1795. On 16 May 1792 John Crowly, Gent, eldest son of Alderman Crowly is admitted as a freeman to the city of Cork. They were Protestant merchants in the cloth business and had money, position and a certain amount of power. The need for a Prerogative Will for both the father and son would indicate that property was left in more than one Diocese. More in depth research would render up a great deal more information.

By Mary Casteleyn, Crowley Clan Newsletter, March 2010

Peter CrowleyComment