Small Sources No. 70. This is a list of 51 tenants of Cork city in the period 1784 – 1826. They are in a single leather-bound rental book held by the National Library of Ireland (Ms. 5319), which contains listings of tenants and their rent transactions in this period. The premises listed are mainly street addresses in Cork city including Cook Street, Marlboro Street, Patrick Street, Prince’s Street, Cove Lane, Grafton’s Alley, Long Quay and George’s Street. There are also properties in ‘Lehana’, which is probably a variation of Lehenagh. There are two local townlands of this name, and both are now largely within the greater Cork city area. These are Lehenagh More (big) and Lehenagh Beg (small) – see a map of Lehanagh More here.
The names are from an index to the rental, which is the account-book used by the estate agent to manage the affairs of his tenants. The index provides the folio or page reference (see numbers to the right of each name in the background illustration above) for the detailed account for each tenant. The detailed accounts are in the classical Debtor/Contra style which shows the amounts due by each tenant on the left page (see Dr. at top right in Fig 1) and the payments made by the tenant on the right side (Contra) page which is not shown here. Note also that the rental covers the 42 years from 1784 to 1826, but the duration of the tenancy of each individual varies within this period.
The further information available on each tenant is a description of their holding, the payments made during the period, and occasional comments. An example, from the account of John Maguire is in Fig 1. It shows that he rented a … house with the stable at the rere thereof … at a rent of £9.6.3 per annum. This was paid half-yearly as shown in the following payments. A full description of rentals and the useful family information they can provide is in our blog “Rentals as a resource for Irish family history” which is available here.
The 51 tenants, based on their rental payments, are a mix of very well-to-do citizens and also some very modest tenants paying small rents. Some tenants are very prominent persons who had occupied positions as Mayor or Alderman in the city. These include Randall Westropp and Michael Busteed. Many of them are on the List of Freemen of Cork (1710-1841) published by Cork City and County Archives – see here. Links to available information on other tenants is provided below, but a comprehensive search has not been conducted. The list of names includes many that are unusual in Ireland, such as Waglin, Westropp and Hodder. Further information on some of the families listed may be included in our publication ‘Sources for Irish Family History 2021‘ which lists books and articles on over 2,500 Irish families.
There is no indication in the rental as to who is the estate owner. However, the accounts suggest that the estate owner, at one stage at least, was ‘Lord Riversdale’. This is based on notes in the accounts related to
arrears collected from some tenants in 1785 and noted as being ‘due this day by Lord Riversdale’s books’. Lord Riversdale was Richard Tonson, who was a member of the Irish House of Commons until 1783 and was then made Baron Riversdale of Rathcormack in Co. Cork. The possibilities are that he sold the estate in 1784, or that he handed over the estate management to an agent at that time. Whatever the details of ownership, the tenants are below.
Ancestor Network publish ‘A Guide to Tracing your Cork Ancestors‘ by Tony McCarthy and Tim Cadogan as an e-book or in print.
Ancestor Network will 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. We can also obtain images of the original documents. Click here and quote ‘CorkSS70’ in the subject line.
Tenant Name (Comment added by author)
Abell, J (1)
Commar ?, Patk.,
Cook, St. John
Cunningham, Reprs. (2)
French, Savage (Pedigree is available here)
McCarthy, John Reprs. (2)
Solomon, Ab. (3)
Waglin, Roger (listed as member of Cork Freemasons Lodge in 1782)
Westropp, Randall (Mayor of Cork in 1743 and Alderman)
(1) There are 3 J. Abells listed as Freemen of Cork in the period – James, John and Joseph
(2) ‘Reprs.’ is ‘representatives of ‘, which suggests he was deceased and is represented by beneficiaries or lawyer
(3) An Abraham Solomon is cited in 1753 as the only member of the Cork Jewish community qualified to supply kosher meat. Ref: Jewish Historical Studies Vol. 42 (2009) pp 23-51
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 archives. 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.
Further articles in our series on Irish Family History sources include:
- Petty Sessions– the records of local courts
- Catholic Church records
- Grand Jury Presentments – records of local councils on payments for public works and staff
- Rentals – management of tenants by estates and the records created
- Middle names – the use (or non-use) of second or middle names in Irish records
- How comprehensive are Irish Civil Records?
- Census returns in Gaelic or Irish language
- 60+ blogs with names extracted from manuscript sources from many counties (including Cork). A handy map index to these is available here.