The BECHER and WRIXON families of North Cork, Ireland


June 2, 2002:

The Bechers were of English origin and were settled in West Kent throughout the 15th and 
16th centuries. Several of the family were citizens and drapers of London, including Sir 
Edward Becher, who was appointed Sheriff of London in 1721.

The Bechers were descended in the female line from Eustace Dampreticourt, a Flemish Knight, 
who came to England with Philippa, Queen Consort to King Edward III, in 1328. His 16th 
century descendant, George Dabridgecourt, had a son and a daughter who both married a 
Becher. Their Father-in-Law was Henry Becher, Alderman and Sheriff of London in 1569, 
who married Alice, daughter of Thomas Heron [or Hearne] of Croydon, Surrey, and sister 
of Sir Nicholas Heron. Of their five sons and three daughters the eldest son, Henry, 
married Judith, daughter of John Riche, physician to Queen Elizabeth I, and the second 
son, Edward, was bodyguard to Elizabeth I (and it was possibly his son, Edward Becher, 
gentleman, who was granted on 14 January 1597 the office of general escheator and 
feodary within the province of Munster). The third son, Fane, married 1572 George 
Dabridgecourt's daughter, Susan, and the eldest daughter, Margaret, married Susan's 
brother, Sir Thomas Dabridgecourt. The Bechers of Ballygiblin are descended from the 
marriage of Susan Dabridgecourt and Fane Becher.

Fane Becher was a wealthy and powerful man: he received grants of land of 12,000 acres 
near Bandon, County Cork, by warrant of Elizabeth I in 1586/7, and was one of the 
founders of Bandon with the first Earl of Cork. He had four sons and five daughters, 
his eldest son, Henry Becher, being appointed Lord President of Munster in 1604, which 
position he held until his death in 1610. Henry (of Castle Mahon) married 1586 Mary, 
daughter of the Rt. Rev. William Lyon, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross 1583-1617 and 
had by her five sons and six daughters. The eldest son, Major Henry Becher of Bandon, 
married Miss Noates [or Noales] of Aughadown and had issue, a son and a daughter. The 
son, Colonel Thomas Becher, married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Henry Turner of Bandon, 
Councellor-at-law and Recorder of Limerick, and had by her nine sons and six daughters, 
of whom seven survived to adulthood.

Thomas Becher was one of the richest men in West Cork. He was an officer in Lord Orrery's 
militia in 1666, and received a salary of ten shillings a day as Governor of Sherkin Island. 
Later, he acted as aide-de-camp to William III at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, when the 
King presented him with his own watch. His seventh son, John [or St. John] Becher, who was 
born in 1677, married as his first wife Hester, the only daughter of Sir John Duddlestone 
of Bristol and had by her six sons and two daughters. The second son, the Rev. Henry Becher, 
was great-grandfather of the famous writer W. M. Thackeray, his granddaughter Anne having 
married Richmond Thackeray. The eldest surviving son, John Becher, was born 6 April 1700 and 
married 1727 Mary Townsend, daughter of the Rev. Philip Townsend of Cork, and had by her 
three sons and two daughters. His eldest son, John Townsend Becher, of Annesgrove and Creagh, 
married Mary, daughter of the Rev. Morgan O'Donovan, and had issue a son and two daughters. 
The son, Henry Becher, of Creagh, was killed in a shooting accident on his 21st birthday, 
leaving Creagh to his younger sister Mary Becher, who married 1778 William Wrixon of 
Ballygiblin.

William Wrixon was High Sheriff of County Cork in 1778 and 1779 and was appointed JP of 
County Cork 21 November 1777. He had issue, among others, a son and heir, William Wrixon, 
who was born 31 July 1780, and, in obedience to the testamentary injunction of his uncle, 
assumed the surname and arms of Becher. The assumption was confirmed by sign-manual 29 
September 1831, and the following day he was created a baronet. He married 18 December 1819 
Elizabeth [or Eliza] O'Neill, a celebrated actress (who died 29 October 1872) and had by 
her three sons and two daughters. He died October 1850 and was succeeded by his eldest son, 
Sir Henry Wrixon Becher, second Baronet, who married 20 February 1878 Florence Elizabeth 
Hannah, eldest daughter of Frederick John Walker, but died without issue 25 November 1893 
and was succeeded by his brother, Sir John Wrixon Becher, who was born 16 August 1828 and 
married 6 May 1857 Lady Emily Catherine Hare, daughter of William, second Earl of Listowel. 
Their eldest son, Sir Eustace William Windham Becher, became fourth Baronet in 1914, and was 
succeeded in1934 by his eldest son, Sir William Fane Becher, fifth Baronet. It is assumed 
that his son, John William Michael Wrixon-Becher (b. 1950), is the sixth and present Baronet.

OTHER HOUSES CONNECTED WITH THE FAMILY
The Bechers had a number of seats in West Cork. The original principal seat was Aughadown, 
which was later sold to a family called Hutchinson. It subsequently had a number of owners 
before reverting to the original family, being possessed by Henry Becher Esq., at the 
turn of the twentieth century. Henry was the second son of Mr Becher of Hollybrook, 
another Becher seat built in 1751 by John Becher, grandson of Colonel Thomas Becher. 
The third West Cork one-time Becher seat was Creagh, which is pleasantly situated three 
miles south of Skibbereen.

North Cork had a long-standing connection with the Wrixons. In the late 17th and early 18th 
century the family occupied Lohort Castle: in 1684 it was the home of Henry Wrixon, a tenant 
of Sir John Percival. Henry's daughter Ellenor later married Roger Crofts and he was still 
recorded as an occupant in 1713.

In the early 18th century, there was a townland called Ballyrastin just east of Castlemagner, 
which, according to Smith in 1750 contained a "good house and improvement of the Wrixon 
family". It is unlikely that anything of this dwelling now remains.

Having purchased the townland of Cecilstown from the Earl of Egmont c. 1770, Henry Wrixon, 
of Lohort Castle, let forever, at a small head rent, Cecilstown Lodge and some 100 acres to 
a relation of his, John Wrixon, whose representative sold it in 1907. Sir William 
Wrixon-Becher's father, Colonel William Wrixon, lived at Cecilstown Lodge with an unmarried 
daughter, Miss J. C. Wrixon, probably until his death in 1845, but certainly until 1837.

Assolas was connected with the Wrixons from 1749 to c. 1850 and was for a time the home of 
Sir William Wrixon-Becher and his wife, Elizabeth O'Neill.

Woodpark appears as a Wrixon seat in 1753, when the will of Robert Wrixon of Woodpark was 
proved. Henry Wrixon of Woodpark, Mallow, eldest son of Robert Wrixon of Kilroe, was 
appointed a JP for Co. Cork 1739. There were still Wrixons here in 1837.

A reference to Bartholomew Purdon-Coote of Ballyclough has also been found, he assumed the 
additional surname of Purdon and married April 1762 Mary, daughter of Henry Wrixon of 
Glenfield, Co. Cork, but the exact location of this house is not certain.

Another Wrixon seat from the first half of the 18th century onwards was Blossomfort. It 
was occupied in 1800 by Henry Wrixon, member of the Duhallow Hunt. The original Wrixon 
house became derelict and was rebuilt by Mr Harry Wrixon, who occupied the house until 
the death of his son, another Harry, in the 1860s, when he sold it to Mr Richard 
Longfield of Longueville.

A William Wrixon lived at Ballyellis (or Avondhu), Mallow, in 1814.

Castle Wrixon near Ballyhea also belonged to the Wrixon family. In 1814, John Wrixon 
lived here. It was sold by Colonel Wrixon to the Crofts family in the early nineteenth 
century.

A John Wrixon was living at Walshestown Castle in 1814. On 2 July 1820, John, son of Edward 
and Anne Wrixon, of Walshestown, was baptised.

John Wrixon Junior lived at Somerville [or Summerville], Mallow in 1837 and married 
Wilhelmina, fourth daughter of William Crofts of Danesfort.

There also seem to have been Wrixons at Mount Ruby, Mallow: J. N. Wrixon, Esq., was 
living here in 1840; his daughter and co-heiress Catherine Elizabeth married 1859 her 
cousin General Sir Julius Augustus R. Raines.

Clyda House in Mallow was for a long time the residence of the Rev. Michael Henry Becher. 
He occupied the house as curate of Kilshannig for over 40 years and remained here when, on 
the death of the Rev. John Lombard in 1847, he was appointed Rector of the Parish. He died 
soon after the appointment and his widow lived at Clyda till 1850, when she decided to give 
it up and move to England where her sons had settled.

The Wrixons were also connected, by marriage, to Castle Cor, when Elizabeth, daughter of 
Sir William Wrixon-Becher, first Bart, of Ballygiblin, married 1856 William Norton Barry 
of Castle Cor as his second wife. He died in 1871 and she in 1906.

Castle Hyde was purchased about 1862 by Sir Henry Becher, second Baronet. It was occupied 
by his brother, John Becher, Esq., (afterwards third Baronet) for about 20 years. When Sir 
Henry died in 1893, it passed to his brother, William Becher, Esq., D.L., who was still 
there in 1911.

The Wrixons also had a connection with Fairy Hill in Mallow, seat of the De la Cour family. 
It was left by Robert De la Cour to his niece, Miss G. H. Herrick, who married 1888 William 
Nicholas Wrixon-Becher of Castle Hyde. He was living at Fairy Hill in 1893, and after his 
death his widow and her sister, Miss Herrick, resided there.

Another house occupied for a time by the Wrixon family was Clifford near Castletownroche, 
which was rented from March 1907 to March 1910 by Major Henry Wrixon-Becher, third son of 
Sir John Wrixon-Becher, Bart.

A reference to one Becher House in North Cork has also been found: In 1916 Lady Emily 
Becher rented Quartertown House, Mallow, in 1916. She died a year later, when her daughters 
moved to Killetra across the River Blackwater.

MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATON
Original members of the Duhallow Cavalry formed 23 March 1822 included among others William 
W. Becher, MP (who was appointed captain commandmant of the corps and was requested to apply 
to Government for arms and accoutrements), William Wrixon, John N. Wrixon, Henry V. Wrixon, 
John N. Wrixon Jnr., John Wrixon, Henry Wrixon, Nicholas Wrixon, Edward Wrixon and John M. 
Wrixon.

The pulpit and prayer desk at Castlemagner church were dedicated as memorials by Sir John 
Becher of his brother, Sir Henry W. Becher, who endowed the parish. There are also a number 
of tablets in the church erected in memory of various members of both the Wrixon and Becher 
families.

The Rev. M. Becher, of Dromore, was one of the original members of the Duhallow Hunt, being 
elected 26 December 1801. He was curate to the Rev. John Lombard, Rector of Kilshannig.

Arthur Lysaght, brother of the first Lord Lisle, married 1736 Charity Wrixon, daughter of 
Mr. Wrixon, Esq., of Ballygiblin. Their eldest son, Nicholas Lysaght, nicknamed the 
"wicked uncle" was appointed JP for Co. Cork in 1766 and was High Sheriff for Co. Cork 
in 1768. He had property in Co. Limerick, which was sold after his death to pay his debts 
to Mr. Wrixon.

Source: http://www.iol.ie/~edmo/becher.htm

September 25, 2002: Thanks for the information. I am descended from the Wrixons of County Cork, Ireland through my g grandfather who was William Henry Wrixon, son of James Charles and Frances Anne (Johnson) Wrixon. Father of James Charles Wrixon (b. 1802) was, we believe John Wrixon b.d. 1768 who married Elizabeth Thompson on July 26, 1794. Beyond that we are unable to find the connection - partly due, I think, to the repetition of names. My mother told me as a child that her Wrixon family in Ireland were heavily involved with horses and hounds, etc. - that makes me think about the Duhallow Cavalry. If you are able to shed any light on this topic I'd really enjoy hearing from you. My gg father William Henry Wrixon and his brother John Westropp Wrixon settled in Manitoba Canada approx. 1870. ... Pat

E-mail Pat and Al Lewis

Back to Bytown or Bust - Early Immigration from South-west Ireland