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Ancestor Network Blog

Some tenants of Clanricarde Estate in Loughrea, Galway in 1780

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Small Sources 45.   This list of 43 tenants is from a document (NLI Ms. 2119) in the Clanricarde papers in the National Library of Ireland entitled ‘List of arrears due May 1777 with the different yearly rentals from that period to November 1780 as also a list of the arrears then due … during the employment of John Nowlan as agent and receiver of rents to the Right Honourable John Smith De Burgo, Earl of Clanricarde, as extracted from his lordships ledger found in the possession of his late agent William Morrissy’.  See our article here for a detailed account of rentals and their relevance.

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Rentals as a resource for Irish family history

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This article deals with rentals, a term also used in North America for hire cars,  but here referring to records of rent payments by tenants on Irish estates,  particularly during the 18th and 19th centuries.  They are a potentially valuable source of family history information that is often overlooked, mainly because very few are available  on-line. Read More

Rental of Cloncurry Estate in Limerick in 1818.

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Small Sources No. 44. This is a list of 69 tenants on the Cloncurry estate  in the Civil Parish of Abington (Barony of Owneybeg) directly east of the City of Limerick. The original document is a rental in the National Library of Ireland (NLI Ms. 8183).   See our article here for a detailed account of rentals and their relevance.  The tenants are a mix of large and small tenants who together paid a total of £5,193 in rent,  but the individual holdings range in rental amounts from £1.15 shillings to £965. The size of holdings is not provided.  The record does provide the rent due and paid and any arrears.  The notes in brackets provide some additional information on local townland names.   The Abington estate comprised 1,796 acres and belonged to Lord Cloncurry, whose main estates and residence was in County Kildare.  Further information on his Limerick estate is available here.  He was a controversial figure in the Ireland of his time.  He was associated with the rebel group, the United Irishmen,  and was imprisoned on suspicion of treason in 1798.  However, he gained greater prominence after suing a friend for having an affair with his wife.  The court case proved one of the great scandals of the time.     A detailed account of the life of Lord Cloncurry and his attempts to introduce reforms to his Abington and other estates is in a Maynooth University PhD thesis available here.   This is of particular interest because it describes his efforts to ‘improve’ his estates, i.e. to provide assistance to his tenants by developing their farms and the local infrastructure.   As an ‘improving’ landlord, he gradually eliminated the ‘middle men’ on his estates.  These were large tenants who did not themselves  till the land,  but rented it in smaller lots to sub-tenants. They often charged very high rents and provided no support to their tenants.    Cloncurry got rid of these middle-men (where he legally could) so that he could deal directly with those tenants who worked the land.   It is interesting to note, for instance that in 1818 there are only 4 tenants in the townland of Mongfune below,  whereas in the Griffith Valuation (1851) he has 24 tenants in this townland.   Only one of the 1818 tenants,  Matthew Duhy,  is still present and he is himself a large farmer.   Henry White, a tenant in Knockanerry, seems  also to be a middle-man and appears in the Valuation Books of 1850 as a holder of 31 properties in this townland.

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Tenants in Inch and Holycross parishes, Tipperary 1829/30

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Small Sources 43.   This list of 124 tenants is from a rent book of the Lidwell estate in Co. Tipperary for the period 1829-30.  The document is in the National Library of Ireland  (NLI Mss. 9480) and is titled “Brown, of Clonboy, Papers. Rentals of Cormackstown and Clonmore, Co. Tipperary, the estate of Robert Lidwell, 1826-33′.     See our article here for a detailed account of rentals and their relevance.   The Lidwells had estates in several parts of Tipperary and these are detailed in the Landed Estates Database.  One branch held properties in the townlands of Clon More (Civil Parish of Inch – approx 1200 acres) and Cormackstown (Civil Parish of Holycross – approx 600 acres), barony of Eliogarty from 1736.  The account book was apparently only a rough record made by the agent and the writing is indecipherable in places (see example at end of blog). To understand the detail it is useful to know that it was common practice for land to be rented to a group of tenants  (partners) who would then distribute the land among themselves by arrangement. The Clonmore account book usefully lists the partnerships in place in this property. (Note, however, that there is no similar list for the Cormackstown property). The Clonmore list shows that there were 18 main tenants, and that 9 of these were partnerships (four of these being partnerships among brothers).  An extract is shown below.   In the list of 124 tenants below, some of the payments are indicated as being from partners of these main tenants, e.g. John Brennan partner of Patk. Malone.  The partnership to which they belong is indicated as  ‘per’.  The rental does not indicate whether the tenants were in the Cormackstown or Clonmore property, but the location of some can be worked out from this information.

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