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Found the list of 1600 Dublin citizens for c.1200, but it isn't the one which
contains the name Fagan--and no Fyans were on it either. This must be another
list. Most of the names weren't modern-style surnames, nut names like "John the
Baker" or "Henry of Bristol"--many of them in Latin. There was an "Augustinus of
La Rochelle" (occupation unstated. INcidentally there are just 4 places called
St Augustin in France & one is in the Arvert area, where the Fayants centred, so
this could be significant.
Rochel Street/ Lane, Dublin, was first recorded in 1281 according to a Dublin
history website, but I've found references to it for 1213 and 1244. This is
assuming "rochel" refers to la Rochelle, & doesn't just mean "rocky". 2
inhabitants of this street were mentioned in 13th century lists of merchants: 1
name may be corrupt Latin for "the taster" or "the tasty one", the is obscure,
but they don't equate to any known surnames.
IThe British Library has almost exactly the same printed collections of Medieval
Irish legal documents as Public Rec. Off. Library, so I found no new Fyans (or
Fagans) there, but it is noteworthy that Fagans occur just as seldom as Fyans
before we get to c.1460.
I've got hold of 2 detailed books on Medieval Ireland & found out more about our
first definite Fyan--William Fyane killed in battle alongside Thomas Butler of
Dunboye. The incident actually occurred on 9 August 1329, at Ardnurcher, south
of Mullingar, Co Westmeath. Butler and his 160 "Meath men" were slaughtered by
the MacGeoghan clan, who lived in that area. That autumn the justiciar (English
governor in Dublin) went back with 378 men & massacred the MacGeoghans in
retaliation. I think we can assume Willian Fyane was a rural military setrler (1
rank below a knight) & not a Dublin merchant. I'd guess he lived at or near
Dunboyne, not at Fyanstown.
These same books tell us that all these tiny places in eastern Ireland with a
personal name at the beginning & "town" at the end date from around 1200. There
are many around Fyanstown, such as Nugentstown. Oristown, & Faganstown. There
was a man named "Pagan alias Payn" in that area, but this was his firstname--his
surname was Dullard, and he is commemorated by "Painestown". I don't think he is
connected to Fagan or Fyan.
In about 1200 the De Verdon family got hold of part of Co Louth, and in 1244 of
the Fyanstown. This used to be spelt De Verdun in older books but modern ones
say De Verdon. There is a Le Verdon at the mouth of the Gironde, in France, just
4 miles across the water from the Fayant Arvert area--but this could be just
Finally, I found the "Admiralty Examinations 1536-1641" (of Irish merchant
ships) book & 3 good entries.
1. 1537--Richard Fyand (our subsequent Dublin mayor) was trading between Dublin
& Cornwall. He & his partners hired a ship from a Cornishman at St Ives & got a
pilot to guide it from the outer Dublin port at Dalkey up to the city--it was
sunk. The Cornishman sued Richard, who had to leave a bond of 500 marks (£333)
with the magistrates in Helston. These are still well-known little Cornish
coastal towns today. 500 marks was a fortune in 1537.
2. 1590--Walter Fyan, of Drogheda, shared cargo space on the Patrick Landy's
ship "Many Bonaventuire" with other Drogheda merchants named Nugent, Dowdall,
Peppard. & Cheven (1st 3 good local names). Cargo = hides, beef & tallow; to be
sold at La Rochelle or St Jean de Luz (=close to Spanish frontier). The ship,
captained by a Richard Brady, was captured by a La Rochelle warship, then
retaken by the English captian Sidenham. Rescued goods landed & sold at Padstow
& Helford (both Cornwall). Landy wanted Fyan & others to reimburse him. This
Walter Fyan is obviously father of the Walter Fyan who lived at Drogheda
1583-1616, & perhaps brother of the elder Melchior Fyan & uncle of the younger
one who was dispossessed by Cromwell in 1649.
3...1611--Francis Foynes, an English sailor, helped another Englishman to get 4
Irish servants drunk & steal a boatload of arms & ammunition which they took
from coast of County Cork across to Dartmouth, Devon. I think this Foynes is NOT
related to us, but might be the Francis Foynes who married at Whitestone, near
Exeter, Devon, in 1602 (see "Familysearch"). There seem to have been several
Foynes merchants & sailors in the English West Country around 1600, but they
weren't Irish, and the modern records show no Foynes, etc native to that area. "Foynes"
may be local pronunciation of (English) Fines.
Foster Fyans' coat of arms (is on Ancestry.com account of his grave) was a wolf
sitting on 1 lion rampant. This is apparrently not an official emblem & he just
made it up. The English Fynes (and Fiennes) had coats of arms with 3 lions
rampant & (in some cases) 2 wolves as "supporters". I think he just copied
these. Obviously Foster was a descendent of the Drogheda merchant Fyan mentioned
above, not an English Fynes. This suggests the Co Louth Fyans didn't use the
Dunboyne-Butler 3 cups, & were a separate branch from the Dublin Fyan. The
Faunts were also originally a Co Louth family, & their emblem was a lion
rampant, but I don't think this is enough to show that Faunt & Fyan began as one
name, even though we have the juror of 1219 who is Fyaunt in one doc, Faunt in
I'm hoping to fdig deeper into the Fyanstown issue. It was definitely the site
of a Medieval castle, but in 1540, 1550, 1578-80, & 1655 the local land belonged
to the Irish Catholic family of Fitzjohn or Fitzjones. I can find no mention of
Fyanstown earlier than 1540.