Labourers in Kilcavan Parish, Wexford 1850.

Small Sources 5:  This is a small list we found in research on Wexford families. It shows 37  labourers or workmen on the Thomas Meyler Estate in the townland of Harristown, Parish of Kilcavan, Wexford in 1850.  It is in a Workmen’s account book which shows the dates worked and payments made to each worker in May 1850 (see Fig 1 below). 

Payments vary from 4d (pence) to 12d (12 pence,  which equals 1 shilling) per day.  The women are paid 4d  and most males are paid 6d plus. These daily rates of pay are low in comparison to wages seen in other sources, e.g. 8 pence per day for Lord Louth’s Labourers in 1801; or 10 pence/day for labourers in Doneraile in 1840.  Another blog on labourers in Roscommon in 1820/21 shows a rate per day for men of 9 pence.  However, this was just after the Great Famine,  and a time of great depression in Ireland.

Lists of workmen are useful as the individuals listed are often difficult to find in other records.  Many are not householders but rather lodged with their farmer employers.  They will therefore not appear on land records. They are arranged in couples or family groups  with one page per individual or group (with some exceptions as in the illustration).  Many of the names are common Wexford names such as Roach  (usually spelled Roche),  Redmond, Corish, Cleary and Howlin. It also includes the unusual name of Westnott. Further information on some of these families may be available through our e-book title ‘Sources for Irish Family History 2021’.  It   lists 6,500 books and articles written  about specific Irish families.  It provides access to a wealth of published information on about 2,500 Irish families.

The original of this rental document is in National Library of Ireland Ms. 5356.  The images above and below were created by Ancestor Network in the National Library of Ireland and are reproduced here through their courtesy. If you need help in following up on anything related to this source, or any other Irish research, you can outline your requirements here and we will let you know what we might be able to do for you. Ancestor Network will also offer 1 free hour of research by a professional researcher to conduct further research on these individuals, or on tenants of this estate. We can also obtain images of the original documents. Click here  and quote ‘Wexford SS5’ in the subject line.

Name                                   Author Notes 

Mary Bryan
James and Pat Butler                   (called Jim in some entries)
Owen, Bid and Nell Carroll
James and John Cleary
Ally and Mary Cleary
Anne Corish
Jim Dorney
Peter Finn
Richard French
Nichl.  Howlin
James Kaine                                                    (usually spelled Keane)
Thomas and Nelly Kelly
Paddy Kelly (Mower)
Andy Kelly
John Murphy
John McDaniel and Cath Scallan
Mary Maloy                                                          (usually spelled Molloy)
Philip, Mary and Ally Moran
Nichl. Murphy
Paddy Redmond
Thomas Roach                                                      (usually spelled Roche)
Paddy Roach                                                                           ”
Ann and Pat Roach                                                              ”
Dolly Walsh
James Walsh
Richd. Westnot
Richd. Williams

Fig 1. Extract from Workmens account showing workers, days worked, and wages paid.

Further Wexford and general articles in our series on Irish Family History sources:


Wexford Sources