Introducing the Maturin and Johnston Families in Ireland

The name Maturin will be familiar to many, but perhaps as a memory of Patrick O'Brian and his Napoleonic Navy stories rather than one of the few descended from the Huguenot Pastor from Guyenne, Gabriel Maturin. It is one of history's oddities that the name should be so memorable when only 160 babes baptised as Maturin in the UK and Ireland can be traced in the last 300 years, and only eleven of those are still alive in mainland UK, and just one in Ireland. It may disappoint O'Brian fans that none were named Stephen and only two were in the Victorian, rather than Nelson's Navy so not even the most imaginative can give Aubrey's sidekick a reality.

O'Brian was proud of his Irish literary roots. When he was searching for a good Irish / French name he will have known the history of one of the great Irish writers, Charles Robert Maturin, championed by Scott and Byron and now best known for his Melmoth the Wanderer gothic horror adventure. The name Maturin was also used by Somerset Maugham in The Razor's Edge, perhaps picked as Charles Robert's entry in the Dictionary of National Biography was very close to his own. The most recently publicised Maturin was the actor Eric who appeared with Paul Robeson in Sanders of the River in 1935 and in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp in 1943.


Now back to the start. Most of the stories agree that Gabriel was born in the Montauriol - Monflanquin area of Guyenne, east of Bordaux, married Rachel Garrigue and had a family before they fled to Dordrecht in Holland after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. In 1689 he joined a clandestine mission back to France to give comfort to the faithful who had remained, but was arrested within five months and condemned to perpetual solitary confinement on the île Sainte Marguerite with the five other Protestant ministers on the mission. There he remained for 25 years and was only released after representations at the highest levels at the negotiations at the Treaty of Utrecht. His son, Peter, was chaplain to the regiment commanded by the Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim; Marlborough had a direct line to Queen Anne. The Bishop for all overseas clergy was the Bishop of London; John Robinson was that Bishop and also one of the plenipotentiaries negotiating the Treaty. Gabriel was the only one of the Protestant clergy to be released and he emerged as a cripple but able to make his way to London. Peter had been based in Utrecht where both his sons were born in 1700 and 1705. By 1718 they had reached Ireland when Gabriel James, the elder son, entered Trinity College Dublin and Peter had gained the preferment which led eventually to his appointment as the Dean of Killala, way out on the northern coast of Connemara west of Sligo. Gabriel James used his natural talent to make his way in the church; when Jonathan Swift died in 1745 he was elected as Dean of St Patrick's, Dublin but lived for only one year after and died at the age of 46.


The Johnston family became entwined with the Maturins in 1802. Until then the Maturin men had been Protestant clerics or soldiers named Gabriel, Peter, Jacques (or James), Charles with an occasional William or Henry. The Johnstons had been Benjamin or John (and Edmund coming in from the Welds), dissenting lawyers and doctors, though their prosperity was boosted by John Johnston who was an "Ironmonger" at the height of the Georgian development of Dublin. After the marriage of Henry Maturin to Elizabeth Johnston in 1802 and the subsequent marriage of Benjamin Johnston to Emma Maturin in 1843 the Maturins started to breed lawyers and doctors and Johnstons to raise clergymen.

Gabriel and his family's journey from Guyenne via Holland, Paris, the île Sainte Marguerite, London and Dublin to Killala

The Number Code
The digit before the name e.g. "1." is the generation from Gabriel. The number after the name "-1" or "-11" is the individual reference based on Neville de Mestre's system and starts at 1 with Gabriel. Each generation then adds one more digit so that Gabriel's son Peter is 11 and Peter's second son is 112. When there are more than 9 children T is used for the 10th and E for the 11th offspring. Therefore 111129E is Charles, the 11th child of Edmund , who was the 9th child of Henry, who was the 2nd child of Charles, who was the 1st child of Gabriel James, who was the 1st child of Peter, who was the 1st child of no. 1, Gabriel.


The Colour Code

To help separate the presentation of the generations names from the fourth generation  to the seventh generations from Gabriel (or the second generation after Benjamin Johnston 1703) are highlighted in colour.  e.g. 1111)  Charles, 11111) Gabriel MATURIN,  111111) Rev Charles Henry MATURIN, 1111131)  Frances Anne MATURIN.

The Maturin Arms

awarded to Peter in 1728

Gabriel's grandchildren

including Peter (1705), his son Peter (1732), Dean Gabriel James daughters and the Quinan connection

Dean Gabriel's eldest son Charles (1729), his eldest son Gabriel (1767) and his family

Henry (1771), Charles' second son, and his descendants

Captain Gabriel (1730) second son of Dean Gabriel James

William (c 1740)

third son of Dean Gabriel and his family

Gabriel (1638), his son Peter (1668) and grandson Gabriel James (1700)