Many of the Gatchells in Ireland were Friends (Quakers). Friends began emigrating from England to Ireland around 1660. It is not clear when the Gatchells themselves arrived in Ireland. But when they did, they played a prominent role in County Laois, County Waterford, and Dublin.

(It is unlikely the Gatchell/Getchell brothers, John and Samuel, were Quakers since the Friends movement did not begin until after they emigrated to America. They left southwestern England in 1635; the Friends movement began in northwestern England about 1647.)

The Friends in Ireland (and England) were falsely viewed as a threat to English authority. Many were social reformers — opposed to slavery, warfare, and the death penalty; promoted quality education and prison reform; and actively involved in Ireland’s famine relief efforts.

Mountmellick School
In 1786, John Gatchell, with three others, founded a private boarding school in Mountmellick, County Laois, for the children of poor Friends. It is a community school today, see photo. According to 1788 records, John, Jonathan, and William Gatchell were merchants in Mountmellick.

Waterford Glass
Inherited from his father Jonathan Gatchell and his uncles James and Samuel Gatchell, George Gatchell (see photo) was the last owner of the original Waterford Crystal (then called Waterford Flint Glass Manufactory). Steep British tariffs enacted in the 1830s made it impossible for the firm, and other previously prosperous Irish glass works, to continue. The last remaining glass firm in Ireland, Waterford Glass was forced to close in 1851. It reopened as Waterford Crystal in 1947. Today, Gatchell’s Restaurant is located at the Waterford Crystal Visitor Center, Waterford, Ireland.

Gatchell Coins
See photos of the Gatchell sovereign and half-sovereign minted in Dublin, Ireland, about 1798.