John Cotter/Margaret Cotter


When the letter written by Margaret Penney came to light, the question was posed, ‘Was she possibly related to John Cotter?', the subject of an ongoing post in this website. Further investigation strongly suggests that she was.



20 Jun 1837
  baptism of Catherine Cotter parents John Cotter & Mary Mahony; sponsors Daniel Scully/Margaret Mahony

03 Aug 1839   baptism of Mary Cotter (born July 30 th ) parents John Cotter & Mary Mahony of ???cht ( page torn) sponsors Denis Lenihan/John Pyne/Mary Buckley

26 Dec 1841   baptism of John Cotter parents John Cotter & Mary Mahony of Gordon's Cross ; sponsors Richard Casey/Margaret Scully

25 Feb 1844   baptism of Margaret Cotter (born 25 th Feb) parents John Cotter & Mary Mahony of Gordon's Cross ; sponsors Denis Twomey/Catherine Hurley

08 Nov 1846   baptism of Anne Cotter; parents John Cotter & Mary Mahony


This John Cotter/Mary Mahony family above have children named Margaret (born 1844) and Anne (born 1846) as on the Margaret Penney letter.

They also have a John who was born in December 1841 which would mean that he was indeed 26 if he married Catherine Harrington in August 1868.

Finally Margaret Cotter Penney's father is described on her marriage certificate issued at Cork Registrar's Office in 1865 as ‘John Cotter, smith' - so it would seem that John Cotter (born 1873) and Margaret Penney (1844) were nephew and aunt.

The addresses in these records, though short, are a bonus as very few baptisms from before the 1880s have any address. The ???cht above for Mary Cotter was probably Ballinamucht as other pages in that area of the register contain Ballinamuch, Ballinamucht, Ballinamouct - all versions of Ballinamought, the former name for Mayfield.

The North Cathedral records also include the baptism of a William Cotter on March 26th 1835 whose parents were John Cotter and Mary Mahony. As the Cathedral would have been the parish church for the area at that time, William could well be another son of the same couple.


Where is Gordon's Cross?

In 1841 (baptism of John) and 1844 (baptism of Margaret), the family address is given as Gordon's Cross.

In Griffith's Valuation (1852) John Cotter is listed as a householder at #270 Old Youghal Road - which is on the hill east of Dillon's Cross (rising up to the junction with Gardiner's Hill). In 1863, Laing's Mercantile Directory also records that ‘John Cotter, smith' is at #270 OYR.

When the names of the sponsors of the Cotter children above were checked in Griffith's Valuation, four ‘matches' were found - two living on the same section of Old Youghal Road, one in Ashburton, and one at the bottom of Gordon's Hill (then known as Gordon's Lane). Another family whose address was recorded as Gordon's Cross was also found to be living in Ashburton (the upper section of Gardiner's Hill). More research is needed here but it seems possible that ‘Gordon's Cross' might refer to the junction at the top of the hill (near the Three Horseshoes pub) where Old Youghal Road meets Ashburton and Gordon's Hill.

Below is a snip from the online map which accompanies the Griffith's Valuation (1852). The yellow circles mark Dillon's Cross (on the left) and Gordon's Lane.

The red arrow shows the site of #270 Old Youghal Road today; the green arrows show where two smith's workshops are indicated on the later 1900 map of the area. The ‘smithy' on the right appears to occupy the present site of ‘The Three Horseshoes'.




Margaret Penny, in her 1913 letter, wrote that she was born at 221 Golden's Cross, Old Youghal Road.

Two years earlier, in the 1911 Census of England, her place of birth is recorded as ‘Ashburton Hill, Cork, Ireland'. Is it possible she meant she was born on the hill (from Dillon's Cross) up towards Ashburton i.e. she lived on the Ashburton hill (not on the street called ‘Ashburton Hill' which is further south on Gardiner's Hill)?

She may also have lived at #221 Old Youghal Road (near the Barracks) at some time, but the evidence we have suggests the family were living east of Dillon's Cross around the time of her birth.



(For a more expanded explaination CLICK )