Occupants and Lessees of Houses in Kilkenny City 1808

Small Sources No. 72.  This is a list of 145 persons listed as lessees or occupants of premises described as ‘Arran Estate Houses’  in the town of Kilkenny  in 1808.  They are listed in a rental ledger within the the extensive ‘Ormond Papers‘ collection in the National Library of Ireland. The specific file (Ms 23,811) is entitled  “An index to, and brief alphabetical, of a rental of the Arran, Kilcash & Garryricken estates (compiled by)C. Maxwell, 1808”.  The Ormond Papers contain the records (correspondence, maps,  pedigrees, business and personal papers etc) of the Butler family of Kilkenny (and  estates in other counties) from 1530 to 1850.  Rentals are the records kept by landlords on their tenants and are variable in format and content.  For further information on their format and family history value,  see our detailed blog “Rentals as a resource for Irish family history“.   This particular rental is in a leather  book in which the  list of tenants is arranged in columns (see Fig 1 below) showing the Lessee, Current occupant (in 1808) and the rent due by year and by quarter.  The list of 145 names below has been extracted from the rental,  and indicates whether they are  occupants or lessees. Note that some are listed in both categories, and a small number are associated with several houses in the City.  There are many reasons why the lessee is not the occupant.  The most likely is that the lessee has sublet the property to the occupant,  or the lessee may be a relative of the occupant.  Until the late 18th century Catholics could not hold leases, so they could only be tenants of properties which were available by lease.  Even though leases were legally available to Catholics at this time, there are almost no names among the lessees that would be typically Catholic (e.g. Murphy, Malone, Fitzpatrick, Fogarty and Finn).   An exception is Daniel Sullivan.

The location of the houses within Kilkenny is not provided within the document. However, searches for some of the persons listed show that they resided on several streets.  For instance James Loughnan is a banker on the Coal Market; Frederick Reily is a watch and clock maker on High Street; Joseph Laffan is a ‘Barrack Master’ on John Street; and William Shanahan is a Physician on John’s Quay.

Kilkenny is an ancient city whose origins can be traced back to the 7th century.  A detailed description of its history and topography has been compiled by the Royal Irish Academy in their ‘Historic Towns Atlas‘ series and is available here.  The population of Kilkenny at the time of this record (1808)  was approximately 15,000 and it was then one of the largest cities in Ireland.  In 1808 it was still at the peak of its prosperity as a market town.  To quote the above RIA publication  “The foundation of Kilkenny’s prosperity was its rich agricultural hinterland and, in particular, the sale of cattle and grain“.   Kilkenny city was dominated by 10 families for many centuries.   These were Archdekin, Archer, Cowley, Langton, Lee, Knaresborough, Lawless, Ragget, Rothe and Shee.   See here for further information on these families.   Together with some other influential families such as Hacketts, Savages, Sherlocks and Walshes,  they controlled every civil position within the town for much of its early history.   Of these families, Archdekin, Archer, Shee and Knaresborough are represented in the list below.

The names would suggest that these tenants are all upper-class gentry and professionals.   A large proportion are names that are unusual in Ireland, e.g. Prim, Knaresborough, Blew, Cooksey, Empson, Enery and Tovey.   Further information on some of the families below might be found in the sources listed in our e-book publication ‘Sources for Irish Family History 2021‘.  This lists books and articles on over 2,500 Irish families – see cover below.

Fig. 1. The ‘H’ index of tenants showing name of lessee, current occupant, and the annual rents

The images were created by Ancestor Network and are reproduced courtesy of the National Library of Ireland. Ancestor Network conducts research on all Irish family history sources and in all Irish archives. If you need help in following up on anything related to this source, or any other Irish research, we can advise on what we might be able to do for you.  We  also offer readers 1 free hour of research by a professional family historian to conduct further study on these individuals, or on other tenants of the estate.  Click here and quote ‘KilkennySS72’ in the subject line.

Agar James (Lessee)
Alcock, Doctor (occupant)
Ally, Peter (Lessee)
Ally, Jeremiah (occupant)
Andrews, Doctor Well? (Lessee)
Archdeacon (&?) Helsham (occupant)
Archdeakin, John (Lessee)
Archer, Peter (Lessee)
Baker, Henry (occupant)
Barnes, Thomas (Lessee)
Barton, William (Lessee)
Baxter, Martin (Lessee)
Baxter, William (Lessee)
Bergin, Patrick (occupant)
Bergin, John (occupant)
Birch, George (Lessee)
Birch, John (Lessee)
Blake, John (occupant)
Blew, John (Lessee)
Blewett, Martin (Lessee)
Blewett, Mrs. (occupant)
Blunden, John (Lessee)
Blunt, Anthony (Lessee)
Blunt, John (Lessee)
Blunt, Joseph (Lessee)
Blunt, Thomas (Lessee)
Bowers, John (occupant)
Brennan, Charles (occupant)
Bridges, Thomas (Lessee)
Burnham, Francis (occupant)
Butler, Buckley (Lessee)
Butler, Edward (Lessee)
Butler, Emly (Lessee)
Butler, Mrs. Doctor (occupant)
Butler, Rebecca (Lessee)
Butler, Thomas (Lessee)
Callagan, Edmond (occupant)
Cody, James (occupant)
Colles, Charles (Lessee)
Colles, Nicholas (occupant)
Comerford, John (occupant)
Congreve, John (Lessee)
Connell, Revd. William (Lessee)
Connell, Richard (Lessee)
Cooksey, John (Lessee)
Cormick, Martin (occupant)
Cormick, Nicholas (Lessee)
Cramer, John (Lessee)
Dealy, Mrs. (occupant)
Doly, Louis (occupant)
Doyle, Patt (occupant)
Empson, Richard (occupant)
Enery, Lieut. Col. (occupant)
Finn, Michael (occupant)
Fitzpatrick, Emanuel (occupant)
Fogarty, Matthias (occupant)
Freight, George V. (occupant)
Friars of Walkinstreet (occupant)
Greene, Henry (occupant)
Hamilton, John (Lessee)
Handcock, Tobias (occupant)
Harrison, Richard (Lessee)
Hartford, Bibby (occupant)
Hartford, Geo. (occupant)
Harty, Mrs. (occupant)
Harty, Louis (occupant)
Haydock, Josias (Lessee)
Haydock, Stephen (Lessee)
Heape, Thomas (Lessee)
Helsham John (occupant)
Hennessy, John (Lessee)
Jennings, Samuel (Lessee)
Kane Robt. (occupant)
Kinchella (le ? Kinchella) Louis (occupant)
Kinchella, John (Lessee)
Kingsmill, Major (occupant)
Kingsmill, Mrs. (occupant)
Knaresborough, Robt. (Lessee)
Laffan, Joseph (occupant)
Landsdown, Marquis (occupant)
Langton, Michael (occupant)
Langton, Michael (Lessee)
Lawson, Saml. (occupant)
Leech, George (occupant)
Leech, George (Lessee)
Loughnan & Helsham (occupant)
Loughnan, James (occupant)
Louis le Kinchella (occupant)
Lyons, Redmond (occupant)
Malone, George (occupant)
Marum ?, Daniel (occupant)
Matthews, Mrs. (occupant)
Meade, Sir John (Lessee)
Mewkins, Isaac (Lessee)
Mewkins, James (Lessee)
Morres, William Evans (Lessee)
Mulhallen, Purcell (occupant)
Murphy, Jane (occupant)
Murphy, John Esq. (occupant)
Murray, Emanuel (Lessee)
Murray, Mrs. (occupant)
Murray, Mrs. E. (occupant)
Newcomen, Daniel (Lessee)
Nixon, Widow (occupant)
Oldhum, John (Lessee)
Pack, Colonel (occupant)
Pack, George (occupant)
Palmer, Revd. Arthur (Lessee)
Pape, Mary (Lessee)
Philips, ?? Edmond (Lessee)
Philips, Thomas (Lessee)
Philips, William (Lessee)
Plumer, John (Lessee)
Poyntz, Luke (occupant)
Prim, John (occupant)
Prim, John (occupant)
Rebault, John Sr. ? (Lessee)
Reily, Frederick (occupant)
Reynolds & Clancy (Lessee)
Reynolds, Francis (Lessee)
Robertson (Roberston?) William (occupant)
Ronayne, Michael (Lessee)
Ryan, William (occupant)
Sargeant, John (Lessee)
Shanahan, William (occupant)
Shearman, John (occupant)
Shee, Colonel (occupant)
Shee, John (Lessee)
Shee, Patrick (Lessee)
Shee, Peter (Lessee)
Shervington, Michael (Lessee)
Shervington, Robert (Lessee)
Smithwick, John (occupant)
Smyth, John (Lessee)
Stowell, John (Lessee)
Sullivan, Daniel (Lessee)
Sweet, Stephen (Lessee)
Taylor, Col. – Dublin Castle? (occupant)
Thresham, Richard (occupant)
Tovey, Joseph (Lessee)
Tunnadine, Richard (Lessee)
Tynan, Daniel (Lessee)
Vaughan, Rev. Stephen (Lessee)
Warring, Mrs. (occupant)
Westerman, Richard (occupant)


Further articles in our series on Irish Family History sources include: