William was from Bunagara (also spelled Bunagarha), just east of Listowel, Co. Kerry. His family, who were Protestant, were related to my Hudson family, who were Catholic - apparently resulting from the conversion to Catholicism by my great-great-great-grandfather Richard Hudson upon his marriage to a Catholic. It is possible that William was Richard's grandfather. Marriage between a Catholic and Protestant in the Ireland of the day would have been unusual and would usually have been met with disapproval from both families. However, relations between Richard's Catholic family and their Protestant cousins were apparently amicable.
The following information, kindly provided by Hudson descendant and researcher Tom Moloney, gives us the history of the land ownership of William and his descendants:
William leased a considerable amount of land in Kilbaha, Newtownsandes (now Moyvane), Co. Kerry from William Talbot (of Mount Talbot, Co. Roscommon) and the Sandes family. On 20 April 1771, he assigned the Kilbaha land to his son Edmund, who seems to have also gone by the name Edward.
The names on the original Bunagara lease, dated 1 August 1758, were William Hudson (i.e., William above) and his son Edmund/Edward. The townland of Bunagara was entirely owned by the Paul family, whose estates were located mainly in Co. Carlow, and manuscript volumes in the National Library of Ireland relating to the Paul estates tell us the Bunagara land was let to the following in about 1776:
1. Samuel Raymond paid a rent of £50 for 114 acres.
2. Richard Hudson (a son of William?) paid £37 for 221 acres.
3. John James paid £43.17s for the 145 acres known as Ross Temple.
The total number of acres is therefore 483. These are actually plantation or Irish acres. To convert to statute acres we need to multiply by about 1.61. This gives a total of 357 statute acres for Richard Hudson. The total area for the townland is 782 statute acres. If you look at Griffiths Valuation you will see that this is about 50 acres short of the total area for Bunagarha (833 acres). Researcher Tom Moloney has read that in earlier times waste land was sometimes left off when surveying land and he believes the figures for the three plots above are a reasonable approximation of what each person had at the time. Tom Moloney notes that even though the Hudson plot was the largest in Bunagara, their rent was the lowest. It is reasonable to suggest, therefore, that the quality of their land was the poorest. Some of Bunagarha is still effectively bog and was probably even more so back in Richard Hudson's day. In fact in 1777 Richard was given a £9 reduction in rent for having drained the woods.
According to the late Bill Hudson, another Hudson researcher, whose volumes may be viewed in Tralee and Listowel libraries, Richard was a son of Edmund, but it seems to me he was more likely to have been a son of William. Bill also says that William may have had a son who was also named William: "Probably a William Hudson (not certain) who was reported to have married a housemaid." Bill goes on to say that this William "may have had at least one daughter who could have been Kate Hudson (1848-1888) who settled in Philadelphia." However, this could not be the case as William, i.e., son of William above, was probably born in the mid-18th century and therefore could not have been Kate's father.
Bill's volumes also tell us that by 1960 the Bunagara land leased by William from the Paul family mentioned above was in the ownership of Patrick Behan, Eugene O'Sullivan and Mick O'Sullivan. However, it is thought that these three farms amounted to only about 50 acres, so they would have been just a fraction of the total amount of land leased from the Paul family.
From my own research I see there was another Hudson family who lived in Bunagara, who may have been connected to the family of William above. Edward Hudson and Mary Gallivan/Galvin had at least six children: Ellen (born in 1821), William (1832), Elizabeth (1835), Mortimer (1838), Catherine (1841) and John (1846). Although we do not know if Edward was born into the Protestant faith, we do know that his children were baptised into the Catholic church. At the time of Ellen's birth, the family was living in Bunagara but it appears they subsequently moved to Warren/Warrin in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry. It is possible that Edward was a brother of my great-great-great-grandfather Richard Hudson.
Finally, a note on the Hudson surname in Ireland: it is most numerous in Dublin and East Leinster. It is an English name meaning "son of Hudd", " Hudd" being a pet form of Hugh or Richard. According to Bill Hudson our Hudson family came to Kerry from England in the 16th century with Sir Edward Denny who had been granted about 6,000 acres in the county.