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NAMES: John JOHNSTON of Roxborrow; John JOHNSTON of Urker & Ballynaclera; Ann NOBLE nee JOHNSTON; Catherine DARBY; Richard JOHNSTON; William JOHNSTON; Rev. Hugh HILL; Thomas JOHNSTON; Adam NOBLE; Thomas SHEKLETON; Graham JOHNSTON; Charity SHEKELTON nee JOHNSTON; Brabazon NOBLE; Francis NOBLE; Thomas NOBLE. OTHER PLACES: Cavanahanlon; Creggan.
Sharon Oddie Brown. October 5, 2009
Updated October 6, 2009



In the Name of God Amen the last Will & Testament of John Johnson[2] Roxborrow in the Parish of Creggan[3] & County of Armagh being of sound mind & memory but desirous & willing to settle the affairs of my family my Soul I commend to Almighty God & my body I desire may be Interred after such Decent manner as my Exrs. or any two of them may think proper to order & direct & what worldly substance it has pleased God to give me, my will is to dispose of the same in the following manner after payment of all my just debts & funeral expenses. I leave & bequeath to my youngest son John Johnson[4] the sum of three hundred pounds sterling to provide equally for him with the rest of my children. I leave to my daughter Ann Noble[5] my gold watch. I leave to the poor of the parish of Creggan the sum of 5 pounds to be divided among them in such manner as the Minister of the said Parish & any of my executors may think fitt. I leave to my servant maid & Housekeeper Catherine Darby[6] that lives with me forty pounds ster. in full of all demands for wages. I leave to Richard Johnson[7] a child that now lives with me & son to the said Catherine Darby the sum of l00 pounds sterling & my will is that my exrs do pay the interest thereof towards his support till he comes of age or lay out the sum or any portion of the principall they think proper for his Maintenance or in binding him out a apprentice to some trade during his minority and my will also is that my Exrs may give & allow the sd. Catherine & Richard [NOTE: I am wondering about the accuracy of the transcription re: Bryan End Cartin] Bryan End Cartin holding containing about 20 acres at forty shillings yearly during the life of the said Catherine as a place of Residence for her & toward the better support of the said Richard during his minority & I recommend to my Exrs to have the sd. Richard brought up in the Protestant Religion. I leave to my friend and relation William Johnston[8] (Conroherna) for his many services done me the sum of 40 pounds ster. I leave to my much esteemed friend the Revd Mr. Hugh Hill[9] minister of Creggan my best horse or mare at the time of my decease as an acknowledgment for his many favours & a token of my regard for him. I appoint my sons Thos. Johnson[10] & John Johnson & my sons in law Adam Noble[11] & Thomas Shekelton[12] Exrs of this my will & I leave to my said Exrs all my real & personal estate freeholds goods chattels & effects whatsoever & my will is that my sd. exrs in case they find anything considerable remaining may distribute the sum of £l00 stg. or less as they shall or may find my effects to answer or turn out & in such shares & proportions as they may think fitt among such persons as I shall leave a return of in writing with some of my said Exrs or enclose in this my will, & my will also is that whatever shall afterwards remain shall & may be equally divided share & share alike among my 3 sons Thomas Johnson, Graham Johnson[13] & John Johnson and my 2 daughters Ann Noble & Charity Shekleton[14] whom I appoint residuary Legatees and my will is that my said son Graham shall allow out of his share or Proportion of my residuary effects if the same amounts to so much the sum of £10 of which I am obliged to pay for him. My will also is that none of my said legacies shall carry any interest till my effects are got sold & disposed off & money in my exrs hands After payment of my debts & funeral expenses to Answer this & my will is that the Legacy left my son John shall be first & next paid after my said debts & funeral expenses & I hereby revoke all wills formerly made by me & Publish & declare this my last will & Testament & have hereunto sett my hand & seal this seventh day January 1753 one thousand seven hundred & fifty three.

John Johnson (Seal)

Signed, sealed, published & declared by John Johnson as his last will & testament in presence of us who have subscribed our names as witnesses to the same in his presence & of each other.

Brab. Noble[15]    Fran Noble[16]    Thomas Noble[17].

Approved & Regd. at Court of Prerogative.

Execution granted to Adam Noble & John Johnson Nov. 27, 1759.


[1] This transcription was sent to me some years ago – perhaps by Roisin Lafferty. Unfortunately, I can’t recall and hence can’t properly thank the kind soul who shared it with me. Roxborough was the name of the house that JOHNSTON built in 1743 at Cavanahanlon. NOTE: I do not know where that is. Would it be Ummeracam (Johnston) or Dorsey?

[2] John JOHNSTON (?-1759).

·         I suspect that he was actually based either at Woodvale or Creggan. I expect to learn more soon. There are many references to this man, a noted (and much hated) “tory hunter”.  

·         He was also possibly a Churchwarden at Creggan Church (His son, John JOHNSTON was as well).

·         He was sworn in as constable of The Fews in 1710 and  was chief constable for 49 years. Many people were executed as a result of his ant-bandit and anti-catholic fervour (doubtless,  many innocent men were executed on the basis of being of the wrong faith in the wrong place at the wrong time).

·         He was the target of the jingle: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews/ Save us from Johnston, King of the Fews.

·         He came from Annadale, Scotland, studied at the College of Aberdeen and was an officer serving in Flanders and Holland. In 1701, he appears as one of the late Colonel Henry CORNWALL’s Regiment of Foot quartered in the Blackbank barracks “in the wildes of the Fews in Armaghe” He had been injured and it was noted that he also conversed in the native Irish “the same tongue as his native Scotch”.


·         http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/yourplaceandmine/armagh/johnston_of_the_fews.shtml

·         http://creggan.armagh.anglican.org/third.html

·         http://www.newryjournal.co.uk/content/view/436/31/

[3] Creggan Parish is where several generations of JOHNSTONs are buried. In 1795, arrangements were made for the JOHNSONs burial plot right beside the JACKSON plot. JOHNSTON-JACKSON. 26’ by 16 ft of ground granted to John JOHNSTON Esq. Of Woodvale in the S.W. corner with liberty to enclose same and 16 feet square to Mr. David JACKSON& family adjoining Mr. JOHNSTON. Going from the map, the JACKSONs of Urker were right in plot #50 beside the JOHNSTONs of Woodvale in plot #60. Another branch of the JOHNSTONs (the ones from Dorsey and Roxboro) were buried in plot 38. The grave memorial was erected by an Ellen JOHNSTON and a Margaret JOHNSTON. According to the history written by John Donaldson sometime around 1839, the graveyard was “the last resting-place of all creeds and classes, as well as many bitterly opposed in life, sharing it with princes, poets, pastors and paupers.”NOTE: At the time of Griffiths Valuation, a James and Francis JOHNSTON leased about 27 acres of land and buildings valued at £1.5.0 and £1.0.0 from Walter M’Geough BOND.

[4] John JOHNSTON (1729-1816) was the 3rd legitimate son. His wife’s name was Mary and they had at least one child, a son named John JOHNSTON. He was a Creggan Church warden in 1776: A very special tribute was paid to him in the Creggan Vestry Minutes of 1777: ". . . That it is further agreed that Mr. John Johnston of Ballynaclera shall have the seat next to the communion Table on the north side of the Church where his family used to sit, confirmed to him and his family forever without any charge for building, as a testimony of the parishioners' regard for him, and in consideration of his having served as Churchwarden this last year, when it was not his turn, and having superintended the building of the seats, flagging the Church and having carefully and justly expended the money raised for that purpose. . .". (NOTE: What is curious to me is that the only townland I could find with this names was in the Parish of Kiltinan, Co. Tipperary.)

[5] Ann NOBLE

[6] Catherine DARBY

[7] Richard JOHNSTON. I believe he is most likely to be the Richard JOHNSTON (bef 1759-aft. 1792)  who married Anne JACKSON in 1767. I have no record of any children, but that does not mean there were none. NOTE: Richard Johnston was married to Ann Jackson in the Church of Creggan in the Diocese of Armagh after having three times published in the said Church and married by the Rev Mr. James Barker on Sunday 17th of May 1767. Mr.Barker was curate. SOURCE: A note at Gilford Castle in an envelope from Harrow, Middlesex in 1932. Also in the envelope was mention of the will of Mary Jane OLIVER and Sir Thomas JACKSON.

[8] William JOHNSTON NOTE: I can’t yet place him.

[9] Rev. Hugh HILL

·         1744 Feb 22  Memorial of Indenture; 1st pt James Ross merchant of Belfast; 2nd pt Jas McCulloch Esq of Piedmount, Co Antrim; 3rd pt Rev Hugh Hill of Mounthill Co Antrim (with ref to an indenture  dated 29 Aug 1744(!) between James McCulloch, Dorothy Beresford Shaw otherwise McCulloch & James Ross). Ballygrogan, Co Antrim.

·         The Charter School at Liscalgot opened in 1737 Annual subscribers for Cregane, County Armagh included Rev. Hugh HILL, Thomas TIPPING, Randle DONALDSON, Francis HALL and John JOHNSON. SOURCE: A Brief Review of the Rise and Progress of the Incorporated Society in Dublin.

·         He was the Rector of Creggan 1728 – 1773 and the celebrated poet Art MacCooey (1739-1773)worked for him as a gardener. When the local priest refused to marry Art MacCooey (because he had written a disparaging poem about the priest’s housekeeper after she served him Buttermilk instead of something stronger), Rev. Hill performed the ceremony. SOURCE: http://www.newrymemoirs.com/stories_pages/cregganoneillclans_1.html

[10] Thomas JOHNSTON. I believe he was the first born of the three known legitimate sons of John JOHNSTON (?-1759)

[11] Adam NOBLE, husband of Anne JOHNSTON. “About the year 1733 several landed proprietors in the Parish of Creggan – to wit Edward TIPPING, Alex HAMILTON, James McCULLAGH, Adam NOBLE, and Randle DONALDSON, Esquires invited Presbyterians to settle on their prospective estates” SOURCE: A Historical & Statistical Account of the Barony of Upper Few . John DONALDSON. An Adam NOBLE was also associated with Longfield, Co. Monaghan. SOURCE: Registry of Deeds abstract of wills 1746 to 1785. No 355. Given the JOHNSTON association with that land, I suspect we are talking about the same Adam NOBLE. The Adam NOBLE of County Monaghan was also a Captain Lieutenant in the Regiment of Dragoons commanded by Col Cadwallader BLAYNEY in 1756. The NOBLE family continued in the military vein. Adam NOBLE of Longfield, Co. Monaghan was JP Oct 3, 1758 & High Sherriff 1768. There may also be a connection to Captain NOBLE, the captain of the Kite (see beneath). Need to check.

·         Anne Noble, etc. 1841 July 17 sailed Appolline for Lond. widow Cpt Noble of Transport Kite, imprisoned in China. China Repository Vol 1 April 1841 pp. 199-204, has narrative of her captivity and suffering. Feb 2 1843, died Amoy HMS Serpent 22 Jan, after a few days illness; Lt Edward Meadows Noble, son Rear Adm Noble. SOURCE: HK PRO Card 129685,

·         A narrative of the shipwreck of the "Kite" and of the imprisonment and sufferings of the crew and passengers as it was recounted in a letter from Mrs. Anne Noble to a friend was published at Macao, China (printed at the Canton Press Office, 1841). SOURCE: SAOS: CWML N304

[12] Thomas SHEKLETON. The SHECKLETON family was well established in the Dundalk environs, I believe.

[13] Graham JOHNSTON. NOTE: Interesting that he wasn’t included as an executor along with his other two brothers.

[14] Charity SHEKELTON. The SHECKLETON family was well established in the Dundalk environs, I believe.

[15] Brabazon NOBLE of Donamine, Co. Monaghan.

·         He married Sophia BURROWNS. SOURCE: www.thepeerage.com

·          A notice in The Gentlemans and London Magazine  in 1764 mentions the passing of his daughter, Isabel of Dunamine, Co. Monaghan.

·         He was one of the founders of the Associated Irish Mining Company in 1787 that undertook mining in the Wicklow Hills. Their office was at 184 Great Britain Street, Dublin.

·         He was appointed High Sherriff of Monaghan in 1767.

·          In 1742, he was recorded as an Ensign in 27th Enniskillen Regiment of Foot. SOURCE: Harts Annual Army List, Militia List, and Imperial Yeomany List.

·         SEE also: DEED: 324-263-214753-1777 Dec 1 Francis NOBLE of Donamine, Co. Monaghan Esq. Acting for last will and testament of Brabazon NOBLE of Donamire Esq. Deceased of 1 part. William DALY of Ballybay of 2nd part.

·         See also 1797, January 17, a deed of release of a Brabazon NOBLE of Dublin, deceased & bankrupt. I wonder if he might have been a son of the Brabazon NOBLE, deceased 1797. A Brabazon NOBLE was also a wine Merchant at 96 Britain Street. SOURCE: Wilsons Dublin Directory for the Year 1787.  

·         There was also a Brabazon NOBLE connected to Co. Louth: Brabazon, son of Brabazon and Mary Noble, Surgeon, Louth Hospital, baptized 14 July, 1821, SOURCE: http://www.jbhall.freeservers.com/st__nicholas_dundalk_page_2.htm  


[16] Francis NOBLE (1759-aft 1788). Clergy of Clogher, Cannon B. Leslie has the following entry: 1788 Francis NOBBLE [curate of Muckno] He was the second son of Andrew N., "gen" by Anne JOHNSTON his wife at Longfield, Co. Monaghan., ed. by Mr. MURRAY, ent. T.C.D. July 1, 1776, age 17. B.A. 1781. NOTE: I suspect the name of the father should have been Adam. SEE also: DEED: 324-263-214753-1777 Dec 1 Francis NOBLE of Donamine, Co. Monaghan Esq. Acting for last will and testament of Brabazon NOBLE of Donamire Esq. Deceased of 1 part. William DALY of Ballybay of 2nd part. 

[17] Thomas NOBLE. I don’t know if there is a connection, but there was a Thomas NOBLE of Dunamoine. I would assume this to be Donaghmoyne, Parish of Donaghmoyne, Co. Monaghan. SOURCE: http://www.thesilverbowl.com/documents/1754Feb4-WADDELL-McMURRAY.html


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