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Thomas Townsend Aramberg - 1786 - 1868

(3rd Baron Ventry)


Thomas Townsend Aramberg was born in 1786 and was the only son and heir of Townsend Mullins who was the 2nd son of the 1st Baron Ventry.


Thomas Townsend Aramberg was in the English Army and became Lieutenant in 7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers) in 1807.  He became Captain in 1811.  He served with his regiment in the Peninsular War, being present at  Busaco in 1810 and Albuera, where he was severly wounded in 1811.  He also fought in the American War of 1814 - 1815 where he was again wounded in the attack on New Orleans in January 1815.  He retired from the army on half-pay in 1817. (1)


In 1821 Thomas married his cousin Eliza Theodora Blake who was from Menlough, Co. Galway.


When William the 2nd Baron Ventry died in 1827 Thomas Townsend Aramberg Mullins took over the title of Lord Ventry and the Ventry Estates were put in trust in the chancery for the 41 years in which he held the Lordship.  This was because he was absent for many of the earlier years and disabled when he returned.  Because his injuries left him disabled his tenants knew him as "An Tiarna Bacach" (2)


At this time also Rev. David Thompson was appointed Receiver and became Lord Ventry's Land Agent as on the death of the previous Lord Ventry the Estate was bankrupt.  His aim was to get the Catholics off the estate and replace them with Protestant tenants.  Thompson had full reins of power over Lord Ventry's estate.  It is said that the first Lord Ventry had tried to boost his position by setting a high price for the land but only demanding a fair rent.  He never demanded the balance from the tenants.  Thompson is said to have used this to further his cause and said that if tenants converted to Protestantism then the full rent would not be demanded but otherwise it would.  Hundreds of tenants were evicted.  Protestant tenants were then moved in and charged less.


The year 1831 witnessed another famine.  Rack-rents, tithes, County cess, Ventry cess, consumed the tenants' corn crop; and if that did not suffice for payment his cows were seized and auctioned for eight shillings a head, and if there was still a deficit, the potatoes should go.  Whatever the consequences to the tenant the vultures should be satisfied to the last farthing. (3)


Lord Ventry and his wife Eliza (who, although coming from a mixed marriage, was a staunch or 'black' protestant) and the agent D.P. Thompson were very active in putting pressure on Catholics to convert and this of course alienated them from their tenants.


In the 1830s a proselytising campaign was launched on the Dingle Peninsula and it was the one successful protestant missionary effort in Kerry.  Lord Ventry's chaplain was Rev. Charles Gayer who was also Rector of Ventry and Dunurlin, Curate of Kilmalkeader and Assistant Curate of Dingle.  He came to Dingle in 1833.  Before he came there had never been any religious conflict in Dingle.  The Protestant community was very small - there were only about 30 members.  Parson Goodman, who lived in Ballymore was well liked in the community and had never involved himself in proselytising.  Rev. Gayer, working with the Irish Missionary Society - a protestant organisation - distributed Irish language versions of the New Testament among the local people.  Also active in the proselytising campaign was a Rev. thomas Moriarty, a converted Catholic, and a native Irish speaker. 


The Curate of Dingle, T. Goodman, then also became active in the campaign, preaching in Irish, establishing schools etc.  Seven to eight hundred destitute Catholics converted to Protestantism.  These converts were known as 'Soupers' as they were fed soup as a reward.  One of the earliest Soup Kitchens was opened in Dingle by Lady Ventry, Mrs. Hickson and Mrs. Hussey.  Every house in Dingle was asked to contribute one penny per week but for the destitute the soup was free.  One pint of very good soup was given per head every morning.  After soup, Indian meal was distributed from iron boilers at the roadside.  Lady Ventry and her helpers were accused of 'souperising' (protestantising).  Most of these people reverted to Catholicism at a later date.  Colonies were established at Ceann Tra (Ventry) and Dingle to provide accommodation for the converts.

"the sharpest edge of the proselytising campaign was to make use of the Irish language" (4)


Rev. Thomas Moriarty, a Dingle man, was appointed Curate of Parish of Ventry and Dunquin in 1838.  He later became Dean of Ardfert.


Missionary boats were sent to the Blaskets and the Maharees and schools were built at Ventry, Dunquin, Great Blasket Island, Kilmalkeadar and Dunorlin.


In 1840 an acre of ground on the Great Blasket Island was rented from the Government at 5 a year and a school house was built with accommodation for a scripture reader (the readings were done in Irish) and accommodation for a visiting clergyman.  The people were given the impression that they were only being taught to read and write in Irish but later copies of the bible were distributed and the object of the mission was openly declared.  By 1846 three or four familites were attending  protestant services on the island.


In 1841/42 a colony was established in Dingle.  Rev. Gayer received funds for 15 houses, which were then built in Strand Street.  The tenants paid no rent and received seven shillings a week wages.  Those who reverted to Catholicism were duly evicted.


'in or about the year 1841 or '42 the sick poor then residing along Stand Street were flung out of their dying beds to perish on the roadside and on the site of their dwellings the Dingle Colony was established and enlarged for soupers' (5)


Rev. Gayer was not well liked and this is evident from an anonymous death  threat sent to Lord Ventry on 24th December 1844


"Take Notis"

That if you do not send Gayer the bastard out of this country, from a quiet and pensible people, and discountenance all blagards that  deny their holy religion for soup: this do, and you will do  right.  By the eternal God I will drive a brace of balls through your carcass privately, otherwise in the noon-day if not.


Signed by



For Ever

Parson Goodman is a good man, he interfares with no man's religion.  I lave him to you." (6)


Rev. Gayer died in 1848 of famine fever (typhoid).  He had worked very hard to help alleviate distress in the community.


On 16th February  1841, by Royal Licence, Thomas Townsend Aramberg took the name of De Moylens in lieu of that of Mullins for himself and other descendants of his grandfather.


"It is presumed that the noble house of Mullins then claimed descent from Sir John De Moyleyns (d.1360), of Stoke  Poges  &  c., Bucks., who was a benefactor of Burnham Abbey, in that co, of which he was granted the advowson in 1338 (ante, vol. 1x, sub Moylens).  For the arms of this Sir John, differenced only by the addition of ermine spots, are now borne by Lord Ventry instead of the Cross Moline formerly borne by the family.  According, however, the the Royal Licence of 1841, the grantee was 'descended from a family long seated at Burnham, Norfolk, of which his immediate ancestor, Frederick William Mullins, or Milins, came to  Ireland in the reign  of Charles II....previously to the 16th century, the family name was uniformly  (sic) spelled Molins, and more  anciently  de Moyleyns or de Molins'.  In fact  the parentage and ancestry of Frederick William above named, of Burnham, in England,  remain unknown."(7)


Thomas Townsend Aramberg died in 1868 at Burnham House and was entombed in the Mausoleum in Raithin Ui Bhuaig.


Mausoleum at Raithin Ui Bhuaig cemetery, Baile an Ghoilin


(1) G.E.C., Geoffrey H. White, R. S. Lea, "The Complete Peerage, or a History of the House of Lords and all its members from the earliest times," St. Catherine Press, London 1959; vol. XII, pp. 238-241

(2) Baile an Ghoilin Townland Report.  Sean MacGearailt, An Daingin. 6u Aibrean 1993.  This Report is available in Dingle Library, Dingle, Co. Kerry.

(3) Foley, Patrick 1903 The Ancient and Present State of the Skelligs, Blasket Islands, Donquin and the West of Dingle. Page 54

(4) Foley, Patrick 1903 The Ancient and Present State of the Skelligs, Blasket Islands, Donquin and the West of Dingle.

(5) Foley, Patrick 1903 The Ancient and Present State of the Skelligs, Blasket Islands, Donquin and the West of Dingle. Page 62

(6) O'Mainnin, Micheal The Protestant Crusade in Dingle Journal of Kerry Historical Society  Vol. 29 Pages 100 - 103 (Kerry County Library, Tralee)

(7) G.E.C., Geoffrey H. White, R. S. Lea, "The Complete Peerage, or a History of the House of Lords and all its members from the earliest times," St. Catherine Press, London 1959; vol. XII, pp. 238-241

Next in line - Dayrolles Blakeney de Moleyns 1829 - 1914 - 4th Baron Ventry