Tenants of Farnham estate in Castlerahan Barony, Co. Cavan, 1717 – 1785.

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Small Sources 41:  This list of 69 tenants in 55 properties is from a rental (NLI Ms 11, 491 – 8) among the Farnham Estate papers  and shows tenants with properties in County Cavan during a period from 1717 to 1785,  and also the date of their leases and a synopsis of the lease terms.     See our article here for a detailed account of rentals and their relevance.   All of the properties would appear to be within the Barony of Castlerahan (based on the townland names)  in Cavan and the areas rented vary from 23 to 187 acres noting that the acreage is not stated for many.   It would appear that these are first-time tenants as  a series of conditions related to the tenancies are imposed by the estate as follows: Royalties: Turf bogs reserved. … Building within 4 years a good farm-house 80 ft. long 16 ft. wide and 10 ft. high; Orchard 1 acre, penalty £2 added rent; Ditching within 7 years 200 perches 5 ft deep and 6 ft. wide, penalty £2 added rent; not to alien (i.e. Sub-let) more than 15 acres under penalty £10 added rent. Bound to mills penalty 5s. a Barrel. Not to commit or suffer to be committed any waste in woods under penalty of £10 for every time waste is so committed. Power for landlord to examine buildings and to repair them if not repaired within 6 mons. after notice. Tenant to have half of the trees they plant.    

A search of the Tithe Applotment books (1823-37)  shows that at least half of these settler names were still in Cavan,  and many in the same townlands at that time.  If you are interested in information on the specific families listed,  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.

This detail indicates that the Farnham estate was more intensively managed than most estates and imposed conditions to ensure that their tenants built houses, established effective boundaries, drainage systems, orchards and woods. They are also obliged to use the mill owned by the landlord for any milling, and also to give the landlord half of all the trees they planted.  All of the lease conditions (which are detailed in the document) are generally identical to this, although the sizes of houses and the penalties vary.   The document also specifies the 3 lives whose duration defined the length of the lease.  See our rentals article for more information on this.

From a family history viewpoint leases-for-lives  are very valuable.  For instance,  the lease of John and James Morrow below  states:  Lives of James Morrow one of the lessees, Hugh Porter son of John Porter of Clogagh aged 8 years, and John Elliott son of John Elliott of Lisnamandra aged 2 years;   while that of Robert and William Johnston states:  Lives of Willm. Johnston Lessee, Robt. Johnston the younger and James Johnston they being three sons of Robt. Johnston the elder; first lessee mentioned.   Further information on lease and rental arrangements is in our blog on Rentals. 

The measures to enhance farming on the estate are probably the influence of Robert Maxwell First Earl of Farnham, who was a keen agriculturalist and worked to improve the farming and other practices on the estate.  This was maintained by later generations.  An account of the great divide in lifestyles between landlords and their tenants is in our blog entitled ‘Eye-witnesses to our ancestors‘ which summarises the accounts of travellers to Ireland in the period covered by this document. Farnham estate residence is now a hotel and wedding venue  and a short history of the estate is available on their site. The  images are reproduced courtesy of the National Library of Ireland (call number NLI Ms 11, 491 – 8).   Ancestor Network will offer 1 free hour of research by a professional researcher to conduct further research on these individuals or others in these estate papers. Click here and quote ‘Cavan SS41’ in the subject line.

Rent rolls of the property of Lord Farnham in Co. Cavan, 1718 - 1790. NLI Ms. 11,491
A sample entry in the rental

Tenant(s)                                                               Holding (Date of Lease)

John Gray & John Blackstock                                      Cladagh (1747)
John & Wm. Biers & John Hawthorn                         Cladagh (1747)
Bernard Parr                                                                  Carignaveagh (1748)
Thos. Hinds                                                                     Cornasure (1748)
Wm. Griffith                                                                    Carn (1752) Carn
Thos. Wilson                                                                   Fintavin (1752)
Henry MtGomery                                                          Clogagh (1752)
James Greer                                                                   Cath..? (1753)
Fras. Walden                                                                   Carigaclevan (1751)
John Porter                                                                     Keenagh (1778)
Christ. Plunket                                                               Clare (1782)
Thos. Nugent                                                                 Cormeen (1784)
Owen Reilly                                                                    Lacken alias Killavally (1784)
Thos. Babington                                                            Shanoe (1784)
James Mullen                                                                 Lacken (1785)
John Enery                                                                     Toboy, Corniry etc (1717)
James Tuite                                                                    Ennaugh, Cormodiduffe & Drumsheel (1717)
Luke Stanford                                                                Mullaghmore & Dugary (1717)
Edwd. Reily                                                                     Greanghadusan (1737)
Rev. John Charlton                                                       Derry (1737)
John Morrison                                                              Lackan (1743)
James Cochran                                                             Galencorragh (1747)
Robt. & Jos. Henery                                                     Polmoled (1747)
Saml. Moore                                                                 Lismagurl? (1748)
Robt. Johnston                                                             part Fintavin (1748)
Robert Byers                                                                Part of do. (1748)
Thos. Reilly                                                                    Corraghabreden (1748)
Aughtry Morran                                                          Kinfinly & part of Carnarome (1748)
Wm. Stratford                                                             Treaghduff (1749)
Jno. McNeal                                                                  Fintavin Mill & lands (1756)
Danl Newell                                                                  Drumhallagh (1757)
Freeman Wilton                                                          Derrin (1757)
John Parr                                                                      Greaghlaugh (1769)
Hugh & Jos. Porter                                                     Lissenery and Pottenacopple (1760)
John Makemson and William Spinks                      West part of Togher (1767)
Charleton Spinks & Thos. Burrowes                      East part of Togher (1767)
James Grier                                                                  Cullabuy (1768)
Thos. Acheson                                                            South part of Shanoe (1769)
James McDowell                                                         Carnagh (1719)
Hugh & Jno. Porter                                                    Cloughagh (1743)
Robt. & Willm. Johnston                                           Ardlougher (1744)
Wm. Edwd. & Hugh Hunter                                     Aghnaclifin (1747)
John Kellet                                                                   Corraroark (1744)
James Smyth                                                               Dromony (1769)
James Brand                                                               Tivenenan (1743)
Sam. Watson                                                              Part of Fintavin (1748)
John Hinds                                                                  Palare (1748)
Thos. Reilly                                                                 Sleangola (1749)
Thos. Harwood & Wm. Harwood                         Teydeghan (1770)
Wm. Love                                                                   Pt of Clare (1782)
Ann Plunkett                                                             Do. (1782)
Con O’Neal                                                                Part of Cormeen (1782)
Wm. Porterfield                                                       Part of Clare called Clarebeg (1782)
John Morrow & James Morrow                            Part of Derrylurgan (1782)
Saml. Hunter and Thos. Henery                          Pt. of Cornahill (1786)

Rent rolls of the property of Lord Farnham in Co. Cavan, 1718 - 1790. NLI Ms. 11,491
Lease details from the listing for John and James Morrow – end of list above.

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