A number of wealthy merchant Italian families, mainly from the Lombardy region, followed the Normans in their conquests across Western Europe, into England and eventually to Ireland in the late 1200's. They built up a strong shipping trade in exporting wool, importing wine, banking and in taking indulgences back to Rome.
They became collectively known as Lombards and were staunchly Catholic. However, because of inheritance issues due to the penal laws one of them turned Protestant in 1717 so he could inherit the entire Lombardstown estate, near Mallow.
James Lombard, who died in 1683, stated in his will that he should be buried in the family tomb in Kilshannig Graveyard. He was a direct ancestor to both Nano Nagle and Princess Diana and therein lies a most unlikely kinship, and a strong connection to the British Royal Family.
In 1740, James Lombard built a four storey mansion and in 1750 he became Sherriff of County Cork. This prestigious position seems to have gone to his head as he decided the family needed a place named after themselves and so in 1752 he created a new townland out of the original 358 acres in Gortmolire and named it Lombardstown, which is exactly as it is today.
During the 1798 rebellion William Lombard, a major in the notorious North Cork Militia, was killed at the Battle of Oulert in Wexford by Fr. Murphy's insurgents when his company of 100 soldiers were wiped out. This incident was unfortunate for Lombardstown as he died without a will and his property was divided between his four daughters, which eventually led to the break-up of the estate.
Following a Whiteboy raid on the house in 1826, the marriage of two of his daughters and the death of his widowed wife, his other two daughters, in 1830, moved to Mallow and the estate was leased out to three Bolster families. They, in turn, were replaced by tenants such as Smith, Ludgate, Fleming, Gardiner and Horgan in the 1880-1900 period.
Lombardstown House was reduced to a three-storey dwelling with a slated roof in about 1885 and, unfortunately, it was destroyed by fire in 2012.
A descendant from Australia, John Lombard, visited a few years ago and showed some interest in acquiring the house only to find a burned out ruin instead.
Following the Gladstone and Wyndham Land Acts, the British government subsidised both landlords and tenants to enable the latter to buy out their tenancies and by about 1915 most transfers were completed, and the Lombard association with Lombardstown had now come to an end, only the name lives on.