Latest update 10 24 12
The gathering place for Woulfes seeking information on our ancestors.
Edited by Michael Woulfe, Plantation, Florida, USA
In 1298 William le Lou occurs as a juror at Newcastle (West), Co. Limerick. This first reference to the surname in Limerick shows that the later West Limerick Woulfes were true Woulfes and not Ulfs. Newcastle was a manor of the Shanid Geraldines.
In 1308 the head of that family, John fitz Thomas, had as his receiver in Oconyl one William Wolf, probably the same man who occurs ten years earlier as le Lou as it is around this time the general switch from the French to English style occurs in Irish documents. Oconyl was a general term for the western third of Limerick, all of which lay in the lordship of the Shanid Geraldines, the ancestors to the later FitzGerald earls of Desmond. Three years later we find a non-specific reference to a Thomas Wolf in Co. Limerick and then have to wait until 1359 when another "Thomas Wolf of Ardagh" was appointed a collector for a tax subsidy being raised in Co. Limerick.
Could this 14th century castle in Ardagh have been Thomas' base of operations? It's located on Frank Woulfe's farm just outside town.
Then, in 1375, we note the appointment of Thomas Ulfe as parliamentary collector for the cantred of Ardagh. This latter reference is certainly a scribal mistake for Wolf. Each county had its own clerks and here a Limerick clerk was confusing the very prominent Ulf with the less conspicuous Wolf.
Finally, in 1420 a west Limerick jury was empanelled to extend the Desmond lands there, among the jurors being Patrick Wolff.
What is so strange about these references is that a family so prominent in the locality left absolutely no trace of landed possessions in the relatively plentiful records of the century after 1252. A likely explanation is to be found in the above reference from 1308. The Shanid Geraldines had extensive estates in several counties in addition to their Limerick lands and employed many officers such as bailiffs, serjeants and seneschals to manage their manors. The William Wolf of 1308 would have been responsible for the collection of all incomes from the four or five Geraldine manors in Oconyl, a lucrative position it its own right and which must explain the prominent position of the family locally despite no Wolf families occurring as freeholders in any of these manors. Both Ardagh and Newcastle were places in the cantred of Ardagh, the former place apparently the residence of the family.*
* So, there it is. We can't tell you for sure the name of the first Norman Woulfe into Ireland. Was William Le Lou the first? His name shows up more than 100 years after the Norman invasion. Was he the first Le Lou into Limerick? His father? His grandfather? If William worked for the Geraldines in 1308, is it possible that his grandfather arrived with them as some kind of long-time family employee from the old Estates in Wales or Normandy? Was he a soldier? An adventurer? A merchant? We'll probably never know. mw
No further trace of the family can be found until the 16th century, when we find the family prominent in the Rathkeale area and at nearby Croagh. What is strange here is that these places lie in the cantred of Iniskifty, a territory only acquired by the first Earl of Desmond around the 1330s. The explanation here may be that the early Woulfes moved to Rathkeale *See Wolfesburgess of Rathkeale below* while still in the employ of the Geraldines or that the Rathkeale Woulfes were an offshoot of the earlier Wolfs of Ardagh, where we do not find the name present later. The pattern of landholding of the Rathkeale family, essentially holding lands in the burgagery of an incorporated borough, i.e. as wealthy townsmen rather than as country knights, is indicative of an origin as officials of a wealthy lord, just as the earlier family are known to have been.
In 1573 pardons were issued by the English administration to hundreds of followers of the last Earl of Desmond, then engaged in a last desperate effort to keep the English out of Munster. Among those pardoned were Patragin Wolf of Williamstown, Horseman, and Edmund Wolf of the same place, Footman. This is modern Ballywilliam near Rathkeale while the rank of horseman was close to that of gentleman, footman being a lessor one. Patragin represents the Irish Padraigín, "little Patrick". This seems to refer to the family head, Patrick Wolf, who, on July 12, 1580, in Co. Limerick, was one of those attainted as rebels for joining the last Earl's forces, where he was killed fighting the English. His elderly father, John Wolf, who must have settled his lands on his son before the latter's death, in July of 1584 mortgaged the lands of Balywinteryework to Rory McSheehy of Ballyallinan for 53 milch cows. At this time Patrick's lands were extended as "Gortnemonymore, Nahakrye, Farranaglon, 50 acres, the two and a half quarters of Ballywilliam, the 60 acres of Enyskoysh**, all part of Rathkeale". From another quarter we learn that Patrick possessed the half-quarter of Ballywolane and the ten acres of Russell's Burgages, both in Croagh. Croagh was another Anglo-Norman borough and lies about four miles east of Rathkeale. Ballywolane is, of course, the present Milltown in that parish. Yet another source adds "Clonlegan and Krynashellagh". These lands can be identified with the modern townlands of Ballywinterourke, Ballywilliam South, Ballywilliam North and Ballywilliam Demesne, and Enniscoush in Rathkeale parish, while the first three denominations must be the present Wolfesburgess East and Wolfesburgess West, which straddle the town of Rathkeale at either end. The Croagh lands may be identified with Ballylin and part of Croagh itself. The acreage suggested by these lands is around 2,200 acres, a modest estate, most of which lay around the town of Rathkeale itself, of which the Wolfes must have been the leading family.
**remember this name. This shows that Woulfes were living in this area also known as "Inniscuais." (pronounced Innis-koosh) One Woulfe fleeing the seige of Limerick city came here first before taking lands in the Athea area.
There are actually 2 townlands named Wolfesburgess. Wolfesburgess east and west in the Parish of Rathkeale. Burgess is basically another way of saying Borough. Rathkeale is a very old Irish settlement, first mentioned in documents in 903. Patrick says the English made Rathkeale and many more settlements in the area they initially conquered "Boroughs" to attract settlement in Ireland among the Anglo-Normans. There is a reference to Wolfesburgess in the Elizabethan plantation and that it records the land as belonging to a Sir Patrick Woulfe who dies in rebellion.
This Wolfesburgess spelling is another matter to add to the confusion. In the same graveyards, you will find a "Wolfe" gravestone right in the middle of many "Woulfe" gravestones. If they were in a different part of the graveyard, I'd suspect they might be a different family, but as they're right in among the Woulfes, I suspect some folks just had different ideas of how to spell their name. The townlands definately take their names from the "Woulfe" name. This suggests that this is among the areas the family settled in after coming to Co. Limerick. With the plantation the family would have found it much more difficult to re-establish the claim if they recognised the settlement and continued to live on land that was formerly theirs. The result was that they would have sought refuge elsewhere.
One of the families awarded land from the plantation were an English Catholic family called Courtney. They had approximately 30,000 acres in West Limerick and there is considerable evidence to indicate that they provided refuge to a large number of displaced Irish families on their Co. Limerick estates. They certainly owned Athea up to the 1820's.
After the conquest of the Desmond territories the lands of all who had supported the Geraldines were taken by the English and given to new English planters. Many of the older freeholders opposed this, as a consequence of which they were allowed to retain a portion of their old estate. In the case of Rathkeale Henry Billingsley was the new English landlord and, in 1588, one Edmund Wolfe "of Ballywilliam" claimed these lands as his ancient property. Among the lands claimed was "ten gardens and ten tenements in Rachkelly", no doubt part of Wolfesburgess. This Edmund may be the man of that name pardoned in 1573 and was probably the late Patrick's brother. Patrick also had a son, John or Sean, who is the Shane Mac Patrick Voulfe of Co. Limerick pardoned in 1590. He next occurs as "John Woolf of Ballywilliam, Gentleman", in a pardon of ten years later.
As the Woulfes here had lost their lands after 1588 there is no further record of them as landowners, but they certainly remained in the area as tenants of the New English landowners, as evidenced by the Patrick Woolf who held 50 acres of the Earl of Cork at Moneregan near Rathkeale in 1630. As dispossessed landowners the family hardly occur in records of the period of "The Hidden Ireland". The only significant 18th century reference is to that of the will of Francis Woulfe of Askeaton, a merchant, who died in 1730.
The surname expert, McLysaght, gives Nix as an early interchangeable form of Woulfe in West Limerick and derives this from MacNiocais, presumably from a corruption of "son of Nicholas". Strangely, about 15 households of this surname can be found in 19th century Clare and Tipperary but none in Limerick, so he may be wrong here. Whatever of this, it is certain that Woulfes continued to flourish in West Limerick down to the present day, as more Woulfes/Wolfes can be found here than anywhere else in Ireland today. Probably the best know of these was Fr. Patrick Woulfe (1872-1933) or, as he preferred to be known, An tAthair Pádraig de Bhulbh, born in Cratloe to Seamus Woulfe, a farmer. (A James Woulfe of Cratloe made a will in 1831). Fr. Pádraig was the author of the first major work on Irish surnames, his famous Sloinnte Gaedhal is Gall, published in 1923. De Bhulbh also published extensively on local history topics.
Ulf is not a nickname like le Lou but a patronym, i.e. the christian name of a direct ancestor. It derives from the Anglo-Saxon ulf or the Scandinavian ulfr, both meaning Wolf. Therefore the first Limerick Ulf was either of native English or Danish (Viking) settler descent. The modern form in England is Ulph. The only substantial family of the surname to be found in 14th century England were located in Lincolnshire. The first reference to the name in Ireland occurs in Wexford in a charter of around 1177, witnessed by one "Elias son of Ulf". While the father of this man may well be the ancestor to the Limerick Ulfs we cannot prove this.
The earliest reference to the surname in Limerick occurs in 1260, when Sibil, widow of Adam Ulf was claiming her dower from his lands in Kacherfinwer and Lechmony from his overlord, Robert Summerville. Unfortunately these are both lost placenames and so we cannot locate this first Limerick reference. The next occurrence is non-specific and merely refers to Richard Ulf of Co. Limerick, in 1287. Ten years later this man obtained a lease of the lands of Caruekytel and Kyltyl (see below) from Richard de London, apparently upon the marriage of London's son to a daughter of Ulf's. Following this we come to a period from which much record survives and these lead us to the figure of Sir Philip Ulf, family head during the period 1307-1317, about whom much is known, and who was the son of the Richard above.
Philip first occurs in 1295 as clerk to the then sheriff of Limerick, and was thus an educated man. He had been made a knight of the shire by 1306, indicating him to have held land by military tenure and thus a freeholder of some property. He occurs in two contexts in this period. In 1307 he was in court in connection with a debt of animal hides owed to another and this, in association with his education, suggest him to have been a merchant by profession. The second context was that of landowner. Ulf held several parcels of land in the manors of different lords but in at least two of these cases we know these to have been acquired in his own lifetime and not inherited, again reinforcing the mercantile connection, as he would seem to have speculated in property with his profits. Some, but not all of the lands in question were inherited. We know that by 1358 at the latest the Ulf family held property in Limerick City, and it is my speculation that Philip Ulf was already established in the city as a merchant two generations earlier, albeit one with extensive country properties.
Evidence of Ulf's speculations is abundant. In 1306 he is known to have had lands in the manors of Croom and Athlacca which he later parted with while the next year a court found him to have disseised another of lands at Cahercorny, which Ulf had bought in collusion with the original wrongful taker. We also know him to have held three ploughlands at "Thurlis next Garthe" of Roger de Lees (now de Lacy), which he later disposed of. (This is now Doorlus in Ballingarry Parish). He also held 40 acres and a weir at an identified place called Lysmolo from Robert White of Adare, Ulf in turn renting these to one Roger Longus. Ulf's wealth is illustrated by his inclusion among those powerful men called to support and join the army of king Edward I in his Scottish campaign of 1301. After Ulf returned he was pardoned various debts by a grateful administration. He was certainly also clever; when found guilty of debt the sheriff was unable to distrain his lands for the amount as he had already vested these in a relative, Richard Ulf, who will be met with again below. This litigation had little effect on Ulf's continued activity as a knight of the shire, showing him to have remained in good standing with the government until his death around 1317. In the latter year his widow, Juliane, through her new husband, Nicholas de Lees, sought her dower in the normal way through the courts from Nicholas Ulf, "custos and heir of the lands of the late Philip Ulf". This litigation shows that Philip died seized of "the manors of Carukytil and of Clothuraletham, 30 acres in Clothururgyn and two ploughlands in Kyltil".
In fact the first two do not appear to represent the entire manors here but merely a portion of each. The first is Carrickittle in Kilteely parish, where the Kyltil of the pleading represents Kilteely itself. These are, of course, the lands of Caruekytel and Kyltyl which Richard Ulf obtained in 1297 and which, in 1307, Sir Philip obtained a new lease upon for his life and that of Sir Richard de London the owner, covenanting not to sell them "except to his nephew, William de London, or his father, Richard, of any of his (Philip's) brothers". Clothuraletham can be identified with the "two ploughlands of Cloghyriwolisan" which Sir Philip Ulf held in Peter Daundon's manor of Coulbalysiward (now Howardstown, Bruree Parish) in 1314. The place in question must be represented by the modern townlands of Cloher East and Cloher West in Dromin Parish. I cannot identify Clothururgyn.
The lands in Carrickittle manor are of especial interest to us. Carrickittle lies just south of the ancient manor of Grene, which gives its name to the cantred in which both are situate. In 1300 Philip Ulf gave pledge for a wrongdoer in Grean while in 1314 we read that "the haggard of Sir Philip Ulf at the Oldton near Grene was burned by Richard de Burgh". This is the only actual reference we have to a probable residence of Ulf's. The manor of Carrickittle seems to have consisted of the parishes of Kilteely and Aglishcormack, perhaps with small associated parts of the neighbouring manors of Grene and Caherconlish. In the latter parish is located the townland of Ballyphilip, which lies just 1½ miles west of the town of Pallasgrean, the modern successor to the ancient town of Grene. Very significantly, the mercantile Woulfe family of Limerick City, in a pedigree composed in the early 17th century and based on old family records, give this very Ballyphilip as the residence of their earliest known ancestor, Thomas Woulfe, who was an adult about 1450. It would seem from this that the residence of Sir Philip Ulf descended via Nicholas Ulf to his descendant, Thomas Woulfe, in a direct line. Just as intriguingly, bearing in mind that many townland names actually originate in the 13th-14th century period, does Ballyphilip ("Philip's home") actually commemorate Sir Philip Ulf?
Sir Philip's relative and heir, Richard Ulf, first occurs in 1306 when he is already in legal possession of the Ulf lands, and may have been one of "his brothers" mentioned in the deed of 1307. The same year his address is given as Kylfytheny, which seems to be the parish of Kilfinny, just north of the Doorlus mentioned above. Richard was at law with the bishop of Emly for unspecified lands the following year, and these may have been part of the Ulf estate in Carrickittle and Grene which lay in that diocese. By 1317 Richard had succeeded Sir Philip as family head but is not heard of again. In 1326 his son, Nicholas, was among the followers of the first Earl of Desmond then engaged in war in Munster, and in 1339 was being sued by William Poyns for two messuages, three ploughlands of arable, 200 acres of moor, and a mill in Clonchyrynsin, Co. Limerick, a place which I cannot identify. By 1346 Desmond had made his peace with the administration, as had his follower, Nicholas Ulf, who in that year was appointed a custos pacis for the county, a law enforcment position. In the course of carrying out his duties here he was slain, an event which occurred sometime before 1355. Nicholas must have been succeeded as family head by his son, John Ulf, who, as John son of Nicholas son of Richard Ulf, is first recorded in 1339. Seven years later he was appointed a custos pacis for the cantreds of Grene and Any, once again linking him with the later Woulfe lands here. John was a member of the sheriff's posse in the county (posse comitatus) in 1355 and was dead by 1363 when, his unnamed heir, a minor, was in royal custody along with his estate, described as the lands of Philpynston, Co. Limerick. (This reference, of course, gives us an alternative derivation for Ballyphilip to that given above). He was probably the Philip Ulf who was appointed a custos pacis for Co. Limerick in 1375.
Meanwhile we find the first evidence of a Limeick City connection with the family. This emerged in 1358, when the administration "took into the kings hand" various lands and houses in the city and its suburbs which had been originally part of the estate of the Crutched Friars Hospital and Priory of St. Mary and the Holy Cross. Some years before these had been alienated by the prior, Walter Ulf, (deceased by 1358): in one case three houses had been sold to Edmund Ulf of Caherkonlish - yet another connection with the later Woulfe lands here - who passed them on to Richard Ulf who held them in 1358, while in another case several hundred acres of lands and rents at Galrotheston, Huberdston and Cnokanpovyr had been improperly leased by Walter to David Ulf for 30 years.
The power of the Dublin administration collapsed in Munster around 1400 and was replaced by lawlessness and the rule of the local magnates. With this collapse went the administrative system of law with its clerks and their standardised form of spelling of surnames. By now Gaelic was the lingua franca and the three-quarters of a century which elapsed between the Philip Ulf of 1375 and the Thomas Woulfe of the mid-15th century saw the change in surname take place against the background of a different language. Only a few generations are at work here but we have no record of these. The earliest record of the new usage occurs in 1447, when John Wolfe is recorded as vicar of the parish of Any, just west of the Ulf/Woulfe lands near Grene.
The later Woulfe pedigree, committed to writing in 1770 upon the occasion of a grant of arms to James Woulfe of Paris and authenticated by Hawkins, Ulster Herald, begins with Thomas Woulfe of Ballyphilip, probably to be identified with the man of that name who held the office of bailiff of Limerick City in 1476. (A Garrett Wolfe held that position in 1470). While, as I have shown above, the family may have been established as merchants in the city since the time of Sir Philip Ulf, and were certainly so established by 1358, it is only with this reference of 1470 that we begin to see the family established at a sufficiently high level to partake in the city's governance. Between 1470 and 1647 fourteen Woulfes held the office of bailiff while one was mayor. These municipal records can be used to authenticate the later pedigree. The Thomas who was bailiff in 1476, was the father of a second Thomas, bailiff in 1520, in turn the father of the John Woulfe, bailiff in 1567 and mayor in 1578. John, the mayor, was the father of Richard, bailiff in 1591, who was in turn the father of James, who held the office of bailiff in 1605 and about whom more information survives than from the earlier generations.
This James is described as a merchant of Limerick and of Corbally, (now Longstone, Grean Parish). As one of his younger sons was already a parent by 1627 James may have been born as early as the 1570s. He married a Harold, a member of another old Limerick mercantile family. While the old Ulf lands must have been retained by the family until at least the time of the first Thomas of the pedigree (circa 1476), described as of Ballyphilip, the local Burke lineage - already exerting pressure on Sir Philip Ulf in 1314 - must have eventually dispossessed the Wolfes here. The latter must have retained some paper title to the lands however, and, in 1611 James Woulfe of Limerick advanced £108 and 12 milch cows of three years of age to Edmund Burke of Garranekishy, and thus regained control of the lands. In 1614 Woulfe bought a quitclaim from Burke's son to establish complete title.
Amounting to perhaps 1,500 acres, this modest estate lay together forming an "L" shape with Ballyphilip at the end of the bottom arm. While these lands included Ballyphilip, James' residence was at nearby Corbally, indicating a change since the time of his ancestor, Thomas Woulfe, two centuries before. As these lands do not extend as far south as Kilteely it is clear some diminution of the ancient Ulf estate had occurred by the 17th century. While most of the names of the lands are now obsolete it is possible to identify all of them thanks to the Down Survey parish maps of 1656. These are set out below.
Original name Modern names Civil Parish Acreage
Garraneskishy Baskethill and Clashbane Caherconlish 436
Carrowrowe Ardroe Grean 221
Corbally Longestone Grean 91
Cahirconreiffy (pt. of) Caherconreiffy Anglishcormack 80?
Culnashamroge Coolnashamrogue Anglishcormack 171
Gortflugh Part of Ballyphillip Anglishcormack 196
Ballyphillip Ballyphillip Anglishcormack 299
While James' sons would play a prominent part in the defence of Catholic Limerick during the religious wars of the Confederate Period the most famous Limerick Woulfe was from an earlier generation. This was Fr. David Woulfe S.J., one of the leaders of the Counter-Reformation in Ireland. This Jesuit was born during the first decades of the 16th century in Limerick City. Both his education and his fosterage by an O'Brien - an ancient Irish custom only practised by the wealthy - indicate his patrician status and he must have been one of the Woulfes of Ballyphilip. He first comes to attention in 1550 when in Rome on a Papal pension. Already a pupil of Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, he was duly ordained and appointed Papal Nuncio to Ireland. By 1560 he was back in Ireland, where he played the important role of papal superintendent of ecclesiastical affairs, essentially the leader of the church, always just one step ahead of the Protestant English, eager for his head. Such was his influence that Queen Elizabeth, when giving her reasons for not attending the Council of Trent, spoke of Woulfe as "having been sent to Ireland from Rome to excite disaffection against her crown". He continued to lead the Catholic effort in Ireland until his betrayal and capture at Carrickfergus in Antrim, in 1567. In 1573, "by great skill and cunning" he escaped imprisonment in Dublin Castle and took ship for Lisbon, where he wrote the treatise for which he is most famous, his "Description of Ireland", commissioned by the Vatican. He was later active in the preparations for the Vatican sponsored invasion of Ireland by the Catholic leader, James fitz Maurice, and is last recorded alive in 1578. Fr. Woulfe signs himself "Dáibhíd de Bhulbh" in 1576, giving us our first record of the later customary form of the surname in Irish as applied to an individual, although the Kildare Woulfe territory was known as Crich Bhulbach as early as 1489. It is most interesting to note, however, that another Woulfe, a Co. Clare scribe and poet, Denis or Donnchadha Woulfe as he usually described himself, who lived in the early 19th century, sometimes signed himself "Donnchadha Ulf", showing that knowledge of the ancient origin of the family was not completely lost.
To return to James Woulfe of Corbally, he seems to have been a fractious and difficult man to judge by his testimentary affairs. About 1620 he made his first will, leaving all his property to his eldest son, Patrick Woulfe. He later twice revoked wills and changed their conditions, leaving the estate to other sons each time, the last time in 1635, and appears to have died before 1638. Yet despite this the estate did pass to Patrick after his father's death. These documents are useful as contemporary proof of the number and names of James's sons.
Patricks inheritance coincided with the wars of 1642-52 in Ireland, when the Catholics revolted only to be crushed with great brutality by Cromwell's forces. For most of this war Limerick, with its strong walls, held out for the Catholic side. Patrick did not long survive his father and was in turn succeeded by his son, James, two of whose uncles were prominent in the defence and leadership of the city. These were Captain George Woulfe and Fr. James Woulfe O.P. George is first described as a magistrate, in 1643, and later, in 1646, as a merchant, when in favour of negotiating a peace treaty being offered by Ormond, but later again took up military leadership as Captain George Woulfe and led the defence of the siege which began in 1650. His brother, James, was Prior of the Dominican monastery in Limerick and led the anti-compromise party in the city in 1646 and again in 1650. When the city eventually fell to the Cromwellian siege in 1651, after enduring months of starvation and disease, both George and James were excluded from the articles of surrender and were duly hanged by Ireton, the Cromwellian general. Fr. Woulfe was beatified by Rome in 1915 as a martyr. Another prominent cleric and leader of the Catholic cause in the city was Fr. Francis Woulfe, O.F.M. He occurs as guardian of the Franciscan monastery of Limerick as early as 1639 and disappeared when the Cromwellian's entered the city, according to one story strangled by the Catholic owner of the house in which he was hiding for fear that, if found, everyone in the house would be hanged. While he is claimed to be yet another son of James of Corbally I have been unable to find any proof of this connection. Another cleric who was certainly a son of James was Fr. Andrew Woulfe alias Andreas Lobo, who was a student in the Irish College in Rome in 1628 and moved to Madrid after ordination.
It is hardly surprising to find other branches of the family in Limerick given the centuries old connection with the city. Among members of these may be Nicholas Woulfe, bailiff in 1562, and the others who held this office later, such as Patrick (1585, 1587; perhaps the man of that name who lived in Mungret Lane in 1594), Thomas (1590 - he may have been the leading citizen of that name who occurs in 1608), David (1592), and Pierse, who was removed from office in 1613 for failing to take the Act of Supremacy to the Protestant king. Others who occur were Philip, who witnessed a deed in 1596, and Gaspar, a leading citizen in 1643. One Maria Wolfe was the widow of Oliver Burke, a wealthy merchant of the city who died in 1592. The record of the Cromwellian confiscations after 1653 indicate that there were at least four additional Woulfe propertied families in Limerick apart from the mainline. One of these was represented by the Patrick Woulfe, a city burgess who favoured surrendering the city in 1651, and whose daughter, Katherine, married the Richard Woulfe who forfeited Corbally. There were in fact three Patrick Woulfes in the city at this time for, in addition to Patrick of Corbally there was a Patrick son of Richard Woulfe and a Patrick son of Stephen Woulfe. The second of these owned a cagework house (in modern terms, "tudor style") adjacent to St. Nicholas' Churchyard and valued at £8 while the third Patrick owned a small house and garden valued at £2 at Boherkeagh in the South Liberties of Limerick. Yet another Catholic landowner to forfeit was Nicholas Woulfe, who owned two cagework houses in St. Mary's Parish - one on the High Street, with a combined value of £18. Finally, another forfeiting Catholic was John Woulfe, who lost the lands of Ballynightenmore in the North Liberties from which a small head-rent was payable to the heirs of the old Priory of St. Mary's, yet another connection with the Ulf past, as these very lands may be among those involved in the litigation of 1358 where several Ulfs had obtained portion of the estate of this Priory.
Even after the Cromwellian confiscations some Woulfe merchant families managed to re-establish in Limerick. In 1687 the Catholic king, James II, briefly re-established the Catholic Irish to positions of authority and, among his burgesses appointed in Limerick were James, son of Bartholomew Woulfe and Robert Woulfe, presumably representatives of those lessor branches discussed above. Both of these were outlawed by the Williamites and, after the Protestant capture of the city in 1692 James fled with his family among the Wild Geese to the continent. His son, another Bartholomew, had been baptised in St. Mary's church, Limerick, in 1686, and later married another Irish refugee, Ann Aylward of Waterford City, in Spain. In 1726 Ann gave birth to a son, Don Nicholas Wolfe alias Lobo, in Cadiz, who later became a soldier in the Spanish Army, a knight of the Order of Santiago and a captain in the Granaderos Provinciales, a position he held in 1770 when having his pedigree registered in Madrid. Are there perhaps Spanish "Lobos" descended from him today? Robert Woulfe followed a different path, remaining in Limerick and practising as a merchant, following upon his pardon under the articles of Limerick, in 1699, along with John Woulfe, perhaps his son. In 1703, Robert was among a group of renegade Catholic merchants who converted to Protestantism in order to gain competitive advantage over those who remained Catholic. He last occurs in 1712 and was connected in some way with one of the Co. Clare families, as was Thomas Woulfe of Limerick, another merchant who had Ennis connections and who occurs in 1705. Much later, in 1749, a grant of administration was granted to Richard Woulfe, of the goods of his brother, the wealthy Limerick merchant, Francis Woulfe, "late of Limerick but deceased in America". The last mention of the family in connection with Limerick trade was the reference to Patrick Woulfe, a wollen-draper who operated from the Main Street in 1769. He is probably the man meant by Burke when he stated that Richard Woulfe, one of the sons of James Woulfe of Corbally (dead by 1638) had descendants living in Limerick in the time of George III.
Mention must be made of one further Limerick branch of the family. In 1588, among Sir Edward Fitton's "tenants of English descent" was one David Wolfe, who held three ploughlands of Fitton in the latter's seignory of Any. Fitton was one of the category of chief landlords of the Munster Plantation, who were obliged to settle their lands with English planters, but often substituted Irishmen in their place. David is recorded as holding Castlegar in the town of Any in 1610, and the next year his son and heir, George, inherited. In view of the earlier connection of the Ulf/Woulfe family with Any these men are probably another branch of this line.