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Local Townlands
on Monday 04 May 2009
by WebMaster author list
in article > History

When the “Killyfole Remembers” project was finished, we thought about in the future making a more comprehensive survey of the townlands in the immediate neighborhood covering the number and size of the farms in each townland, the surnames of families, the changes in the land use and farm building as far as possible, thus presenting a survey for every 25 or 30 years during the last century. Such a project would involve much research and take time to assemble and was put aside until the lough project was under way.

When the Rural Community Network offered us a grant to do a project on a very short timescale, we decided it would not be feasible to attempt all of this. However, we planned to do some of it by setting up a background based on the information in the Griffiths Valuation 1862 and the 1901 census and local knowledge. We sent out questionnaires asking about housing, farm changes and survival of earlier buildings. Much interesting information did surface and was followed up and we thank all who contributed.
We asked about previous ownership of farms, farmhouses, old and new build, survival of old farm buildings, field names and water supplies but we do not have enough information to present these as separate items. Such information as we have has been recorded under the townland concerned. Very often we found that the names of previous owners were already recorded in the 1901 census which says something about the stability of farm life. Over the second half of the last century there was extensive renovation of rural houses. Single storey houses were raised, thatch was replaced by slates, additional wings were added to accommodate bathroom and kitchen. The next phase saw either what amounts to a complete rebuild to provide a modern home or else redundancy and dereliction as farms were joined up. Now we are seeing another phase as old buildings are renovated and new buildings appear on green field sites. This varies very much area to area and still is far short of balancing the population loss of the last fifty years. Farm buildings were drastically changed over the past fifty years too because of the Government grants to provide bigger and more economical housing for larger numbers of livestock. At present, because of changes in Government policy many of these are already redundant. The most obvious redundant building is the small pump house some distance from the farm yard. At a time in the 1960s nearly every farm had a well sunk and a pump installed to bring up sufficient spring water to comply with the Milk Marketing Board regulations regarding dairy hygiene and to feed large numbers of pigs. When piped water became obtainable, wells and pumps lost their importance but who can say what the future may bring.

Field names tended to be of the simple type, long meadow, far land, the well field etc. and most have been lost with the land reclamation schemes where fields were joined up and names were no longer relevant. In the era of form filling in which we live, field numbers on a map have replaced the thoughts and notions of previous generations. However some interesting ones have turned up and been recorded in the appropriate townland.

In working on this we have relied heavily on the Griffiths Valuation 1862 as it is the earliest comprehensive record we have of the area. These valuations were drawn up around 1862 by Sir Richard Griffith for the primary purpose of assessing the rateable valuation of all the property in Ireland. The initials H Os & L denotes house, outbuildings and land but not all occupiers lived in the townland. Where L appears it denotes the person had land there. The Lessor denotes the person from whom the property was rented. He might have been the landlord who owned the land, his agent or a neighbouring farmer who in turn had rented from a landlord.

The Griffiths Valuation 1862, a copy of which can be inspected in the Enniskillen Library, does give the acreage of the various holdings as well as the valuation. We did not, for they would not be accurate after all the changes that have taken place. We only gave the overall acreage of each townland and this should be regarded simply as a note of the comparative sizes. The areas are given in the old measurement i.e. one perch = 30 ¼ sq yds. 40 sq perch = 1 rood. 4 rood = One acre. 2 ½ acres (approx) is the hectare of today. For the 1901 census we have only given the name of the person who signed the form as head of the household. Again, full details as to family members and the description of house are available in the Library for anyone who wants to follow family history. Had time allowed we would have made more use of the information on buildings and houses. For the surnames of present day occupiers, we have used the 2005 Electoral Register.

We have recorded, insofar as we can, the plantation manor to which each townland belonged. At the time of the plantation each grant of land was recorded by the name of the townlands included. These grants were legal documents and so the townland names were recorded then and in numerous leases, re-grants, sales, wills and all kinds of land descriptions ever since. Without this many of the old names would not have survived. Many of the spellings are different to what we know, some are lost entirely or changed very much but we can be thankful for what have survived. Most townland names received the spelling that we know today during the making of the Ordinance Survey in 1835 when the names the people used were written down by the surveyors. These spellings were then revised by language scholars. For one who has no knowledge of Irish the interpretation of the names can be difficult. There are plenty of reference books around and plenty of different interpretations. We have taken the easy path, giving a meaning if we had it on reasonable authority otherwise leave it out.

At the Plantation in the Barony of Clankelly there were 6 allotments of land. The largest allotment was to Trinity College of over 10,000 acres. A substantial portion of this was leased to form the Madden estate known to us as Springrove.
The others were: 1000 acres to John Sedborough centred on the townland of Rateen originally called the Manor of Latgir but later Mount Sedborough.

Sir Hugh Worrall was granted 1000 acres to be known as the Manor of Ardmagh which is a bit confusing as the centre of his holding here was Rathmoran and it was only later that the Haire family revived the Armagh Manor name. Thomas Flowerdewe likewise had 1000 acres which became the Shannock Manor. Robert Bogas had 1000 acres centred on Cloncarn but soon sold this to Edward Hatton. In 1629, a re-grant was made to Edward Hatton and this became the Manor of Knockballymore which was inherited by Lord Erne.

Robert Calvert was granted 1000 acres centred on Gortgunan (Gortgommon) This property he sold in 1629 to Bishop Heygate. It became the Manor of Heygate (Highgate). This last has only a few townlands on the fringe of the area we hope to cover. Although marked on the map as ‘castle or ‘site of castle’ nothing remains of any of these early buildings. Good building stone was removed for other purposes and through time ditches were filled in. 
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