Quoting p19-20 of Thomas James Gilliland Bennett's "North Antrim Families"1974 "The Moore Gunning marriage aroused considerable curiosity. The Gunnings' name was originally Byres, but John Byres (1767-1843) changed his surname to Gunning, his mother's Maiden name, sometime around the end of the 18th century. What can his reason have been? A Gunning family came from Kent (where else) to Ireland early in the 17th century and settled at Castlecoote, Co Roscommon. During the second half of the 18 century this line flowered in the daughters of an impecunious country squire. There seems to be some doubt of his Christian name. In Sir Bernard Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerages (Harrison, London 1883) he is called Barnaby, But in the same author's Reminiscences Ancestrial, Anecdotal and Historic (Longmanns, Green & Co. London 1884) his name is given as John. Burke's 19th century publications are so notoriously inaccurate, however, that this isn't too surprising, Barnaby is an old Gunning name so I would plump for it. Barnaby Gunning married in 1731 the Hon. Bridget Bourke, a daughter of Theobald, 6th Viscount Bourke. They had 4 children, of whom the only son, John, went into the Army and became a General and the youngest daughter Catherine married a mere Esquire. But the 2 elder daughters, Maria (1733-1760) and Elizabeth (1734-1790) were great beauties. Between bouts of typing I am reading Mrs. Boston's book about her Norman house at Hemingford Greys, "Memory in a House." At exactly the right moment, for she says that the Gunning girls were born in her house, and I had always thought that they were born at Castlecoote. At any rate they left Castlecoote in 1751 to go on the stage in London. Only to take Society by storm immediately after they arrived. Horace Walpole remarkes in a letter to Sir Horace Mann (of Linton in Kent, so doubtless interested in goodies from Ireland) that they couldn't walk in the park or go to Vauxhall without being mobbed and driven away by the crowds rushing to gaze upon their lovely features and perfect figures.
Within a few months Elizabeth married James, 6th Duke of Hamilton and Brandon K.T., while Maria married George William, 6th Earl of Coventy."
P24Discussing the United Irishman Rising of '98 involving McKinley, Nevin, Chambers and Moore he says, "These people are connected in some way with our families but I have discovered a really interesting fact about someone who isn't ostensibly so. Another prominent United Irishman in the Ballymoney area was John Gunning. He also managed to escape and I haven't been able to discover anything more about him. But Gunning is a name which just doesn't appear in the Ballymoney records I have consulted. Could John Gunning have been an organiser or supporter from outside the North Antrim area?"
In a 1774 letter Dr John Moore, father of General Sir John Moore, to his wife Jean Moore, he with the Duke of Hamilton in Geneva. "A few days ago, the Duke received a letter from Lady Betty, (Elizabeth Gunning was now the Duchess of Argyll)informing him of Dr. Pitcairn's death, and desiring the Deputy Keepership of Holy Rood House for her uncle, Captain Gunning. This is the Duke's gift. The Duke, without letting me know he had received such a letter, wrote his sister, that he was sorry his uncle should apply for what he must refuse, as no earthly consideration would prevail on him to give that place to any one but me."
My Moore line is by family tradition thought to be related to this Moore line which I can trace back to the Rowallen, Scotland Moore line. If you have any information on these people from the late 1700's, please share. Rich Moore
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