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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Flax Growers

Carlow & Laois


Who were Flax Growers?

The Flax Growers Bounty List is also known as The Spinning Wheel Survey of Ireland. The list was compiled in 1796 by the Irish Linen Board. The list consisted of about 60, 000 growers who were given incentives for growing flax. Flax was a very important crop in Ireland.The Board decided on a scheme of incentives to get people to grow the crop. Indiviuals were rewarded with 4 spinning wheels for planting one acre of flax. Three quarters of an acre entitled the grower to 3 spinning wheels. One-half acre of flax brought the grower two spinning wheels. A grower of one-quarter acre of flax got one spinning wheel. Flax growers who cultivated five or more acres got a loom or spinning wheels to the value of five shillings.

"To the person who should sow between the 10th day of March and the 1st day of June 1796 with a sufficient quantity of good sound flax-seed, any quantity of land, well prepared and fit for the purpose not less than 1 Acre -- 4 Spinning Wleels, 3 Roods -- 3 ditto, 2 Roods --2 ditto and 1 Rood -- 1 ditto. And to the person who should sow in like manner any quantity of like land, not less than 5 Acres, a loom or wleels, reels or hatchells to the value of 50 shillings, and for every 5 Acres over and above the first 5, a like premium"

Source: &

Irish Flax Growers, 1796

I believe that this is a picture of a harvested flax field.

The Irish Linen Board published a list of nearly 60,000 individuals in 1796. Spinning wheels were awarded based on the number of acres planted. People who planted one acre were awarded 4 spinning wheels and those growing 5 acres were awarded a loom. Donegal and Tyrone had the highest number of awards. Dublin and Wicklow were not included in this list. These extracts contain the name, parish and county. The barony was listed instead of the parish in a few of the records. Also known as the Spinning Wheel list or the Flax Growers Bounty.


Flax Growers of Ireland, 1796 - County Laois

Bergam Thomas, Clonmore Laois
Deegan Francis, Killabban Laois
Lawler Edward, Killabban Laois
Murphy Patrick, Ballyadams Laois

Flax Growers of Ireland, 1796 - County Carlow

Byrne Edward, Rathvilly Carlow
Byrne Laurence, Rathvilly Carlow
Doody Michael, Tully Carlow
Farrall James, Rathvilly Carlow
Graydon Robert, Tully Carlow
M'Donnell John, Rathvilly Carlow
Wall James, Rathvilly Carlow
Walsh Mary, Tully Carlow
Wornall Richard, Tully Carlow


Common FlaxFlax (also known as Common Flax or Linseed) is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. The New Zealand flax is unrelated. Flax is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India and was probably first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent. It was extensively cultivated in ancient Egypt.

It is an erect annual plant growing to 1.2 m tall, with slender stems. The leaves are glaucous green, slender lanceolate, 20-40 mm long and 3 mm broad. The flowers are pure pale blue, 15-25 mm diameter, with five petals. The fruit is a round, dry capsule 5-9 mm diameter, containing several glossy brown seeds shaped like an apple pip, 4-7 mm long.

Developing flaxIn addition to the plant itself, flax may refer to the un-spun fibres of the flax plant.

Flax flowerFlax is grown both for its seeds and for its fibers. Various parts of the plant have been used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets and soap. It is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens.

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