The imperfect sketch here submitted has been compiled during leisure moments chiefly with the idea of preserving in print the many documents which, though still in existence, are even now difficult to decipher, and threaten before long to become still more so; and of collecting together the many records lying scattered in distant parts, and recognising various masters as their owners.
There have been two main divisions of the family of Copinger, one Irish, the other English - the one connected with the county of Cork, the other with the counties of Suffolk and Kent. That these are from the same stock is evidenced by their bearing the same arms. No connection can be traced between the two divisions, and it is impossible to say whether the Suffolk Copingers came from Ireland, or the Irish Copingers from Suffolk, or whether both came from Denmark direct, but it is clear that the family originally came from the last-mentioned place. The English branch of the family here referred to is now extinct.
All the Irish Copingers have been treated of in the ensuing work, except those of Ballyvolane and Barryscourt, which, as the author has not been able to connect with the branches here dealt with, he has reserved for future consideration. This was done with no wish to ignore this important and distinguished branch of the family, but mainly because the materials at present in his possession are not sufficient for its proper treatment, and partly because the subject is being worked up by a member of this branch already distinguished in the arena of literary labour. With reference to the connection between the Ballyvolane Coppingers and those here treated of, the author is aware of the existence of a pedigree compiled by a Mr. Wigmore, for the late William Coppinger, of Barryscourt, in 1856, which purports to show such a connection; but this pedigree is, in his opinion, utterly untrustworthy. The connecting link is effected by making Alderman John Copinger, who died in 1637 the son of a Thomas Copinger; but as it is perfectly clear that he was nothing of the kind, the author is reluctantly obliged to disregard the attempted connection.
With reference to the spelling of the name the author has adopted three rules:-
1st. In any documents extracted or referred to, the name has been spelt as in such document.
2nd. Where the individual is known to have invariably spelt his own name in a particular way, this spelling (subject to rule No.1) has been adopted.
3rd. Where no assistance is afforded by either of the above rules, the name has been spelt as the author conceives it was or should have been.
No reliance can be placed on the difference between the one p and the two p's as a mark of distinction prior to the 18th century. In the earlier documents the name is often therein written with two p's and yet signed with one, and vice versa. Since the beginning of the 18th century, however, the different spelling has marked the difference between the various branches. For instance, the Coppingers of Barryscourt, and their off-shoots of Midleton and Dublin, and the Coppingers of Carhue and Leemount have settled down to the use of two p's, while the descendants of the Copingers of Cloghan, and of the Copingers of Glenville, and also the Copingers of Peafield have settled down to the use of one p.
The author begs to offer his thanks to his friend and kinsman, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Copinger, for the loan of family papers of an early date; also to Valentine J. Coppinger, of Dublin, Esq., barrister-at-law, for much valuable information, and for his kindness in perusing the proof sheets; and to his friend Richard Caulfield, Esq., LL.D., F.S.A., of Cork, for his kind assistance on many occasions when the author has been desirous of obtaining a high and valued opinion on points of difficulty. It is proposed shortly to publish shortly the History of the Coppingers of Ballyvolane and Barryscourt, and also of the Copingers of Suffolk and Kent, including therein gleanings relating to the family both in England and in Ireland.
W. A. COPINGER
ST. PATRICK'S DAY,
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