Labourers and Tradesmen at Heywood, Queen’s County (Laois) in 1794

Small Sources No. 48.  This is a list of 78 labourers and tradesmen who worked on the Heywood Estate in Co. Laois (previously Queen’s County) in 1794. The estate is in the Civil Parish of Dysartgallen and Barony of Cullenagh. The document is a single large multi-column page headed ‘Abstract of accounts of labourers and Tradesmen with hired horses working at Heywood beginning January 1st 1794 and ending January 1st 1795’. The page indicates the trades of some but it is not clear which of the others were hired ‘with a horse’, which would have been common at the time.   Estate owners and large farmers hired men and their horses at ploughing or  harvest time for work requiring haulage, such as building.    The original document  is in the National Library of Ireland (Ms. NLI Ms 11,368) and is reproduced through their courtesy.  In 1794 Heywood House would have been the residence of Michael Frederick Trench (1746-1836) who was a barrister and also an amateur architect. He built Heywood House in 1773, and had a large local estate. His portrait is above, and a  short history of the family and estate is here.

Michael F. Trench landscaped the local area by digging lakes, and creating gardens and parks.  He also laid out the town of Ballinakill, which was part of his estate.    Some further information on the garden and landscaping is here.  He  also designed and built many other architectural features on the estate, including gates, mock castles and houses for staff and tenants. It may be that this is why there were so many trademen working on his estate in 1794.  Conditions cannot have been too bad for these workers,  as one of the entries on the account is below!

Fig 1. Extract from the document showing annual purchase of sustenance for the workers

In 1906 the Trench family commissioned the famous architect Sir Edwin Lutyens to design Heywood Gardens,  which are now owned and managed by the Irish government and managed by the Office of Public Works.  However, the house was destroyed in a fire in 1950.

Some common name abbreviations are used, including Wm. = William; Edwd. = Edward; Andw. = Andrew, Michl. = Michael and Thos.= Thomas.   Very common names in the area include Phelan and Fitzpatrick.    If you are interested in information on specific families,  our e-book title ‘Sources for Irish Family History 2021  lists 6,500  books and articles on over 2,500  Irish families.  The sources listed contain a wealth of information on the history and genealogy of the listed families. The full details of the book are described in one of our blogs.


Ancestor Network will offer 1 free hour of research by a professional researcher to conduct further research on these individuals, or on other tenants of the estate. Click here and quote ‘Laois SS48’ in the subject line.

Thomas Burke
Tim Brennan
Patt Bergan                                  (now more usually spelled Bergin) 
Darby Brophy
Thomas Brennan
Andw. Cullen
? Campion
Michl. Casey
John Deegan
Thos., Patk. and  John Doolan
Francis Doolan
Terence Dunne
Wm. Fitzgerald
Edwd Fougarty                      (probably a variant of Fogarty)
James Flanigan
Michael Fitzpatrick
Patt Fitzpatrick
Laurence Fitzpatrick
John Grace and Brothers
James and Martin Gorman
Danl.  and Thos. Gorman
James Hayes
John King
The Kirbys
John Malone and son
John Moran
James Mealon
Patt Mulltilly                    (a rare name derived from Gaelic O’Maoltuile and often anglicised as Tully)
Edward Mackey
Michael McDaniel
James Phelan
William and Thomas Phelan
Thos. Phelan of C: H:
Patt Phelan & Dunne
Keran Quin                         (probably a variant of Kieran or Ciaran,  now a common Irish name)
James Rourke
James Sutliffe                   (the name Sutly appears in later RC records in Ballinakill) 
James & Michl. Wall
Andrew Phelan and Son
Edward Butler
Michl. Corcoran
James Shay
Michl. Phelan
Patt Sheal

Task Work
Luke Shay
William Byrne
E. Flaherty

James Ruth & Son
John Grace and Sons
Robt. Mullock
Dan Byrne
Edwd. Phelan
Michl. Ruth
Mn. ? Edwards

Chas. Daly
Henry Eyres
James Delany
Patt Watters
John Delany
John Day
Mich. Flood
John Bruton

Fig. 2. Extract from the list of workers showingthe names and their payment for the year


Sundry Tradesmen

Walter Dalton                Slater
George Forestal             Horse-shoer
Martin Ruth                    Nailer
Richd. Hancock              Saddler
Patt Comerford              Locksmith
? Costello                        Pump Boarer?
? Lynegar                        Taylor
Willm. Byrne                   for Horsework

Farm Servants
Edwd. Flaherty               Steward
Wm. Flaherty                  Herd              (i.e. looked after cattle) 
James Deegan                Servant          (meaning ‘farm-servant’ i.e. farm worker) 
Peter Dreelan                 Gardiner       (rare name; a child of  Peter Dreelan is recorded in Ballinakill in 1797)
Sandy Lawrence             do.

Others mentioned in accounts  
Casey and Hogan          Thatchers
Mr. Goss                        Shop acct.      (There are several Goss households in Ballinakill; one may be a shop)
Mr. Dunne                     do.
Galbraith                       for Malt
Mr Thompson               for Castlecool Rent
Mrs Cushen                   for one year annuity
Widow Kelly’s sons

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