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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Jackson Collection

'The Graigue Ormond Club"

This article was taken from a book in the Jackson Collection, by Sean McCormick at the time when it was stored in the Town Hall, Carlow


On Thursday, 2nd May, 1808. a meeting of householders from the Parish of Killeshin was held at Graigue. They discussed the advantages of the Benefit Societies which were formerly in existence in Graigue and Carlow. These Societies were responsible for looking after the sick, burying the dead and supporting the families of deceased members, it was thought that such a Society would maintain a neighbourly and charitable spirit among the people and an institution of this kind would be the means of alleviating any calamity that might arise. They agreed to form themselves into a Benevolent Society and adopted the name of the Ormond Club, thereby reviving the old Society which formerly existed in Graigue.

They felt that it was necessary to have the patronage of the gentry of the Country and so they invited gentlemen holding property in the parish of Killeshin, who were Magistrates in any County, to act as Governors of the Society. They pledged themselves to make their books and papers available at all times and to give all explanations and information to the Governors of the Society. Regulations were adopted for the running of the Society and I give hereunder some of the main points.


Membership was limited to 200 and those qualified were persons under 45 years of age, who at the time of admission were three months resident in the Parish of Killeshin. To manage the affairs of the Society there were, besides the Governors, a Master, two Stewards, a Clerk and a Council of twelve to be selected from amongst the most discreet and intelligent of the members. The Master, Stewards and Council were to remain in office for three months and the Clerk as long as 'he shall conduct himself to the satisfaction of the members.'

The day fixed for meetings was the first Monday of each month, from September to March, between six and eight o'clock in the evening, and for the remainder of the year between eight and ten o'clock. Any business which could not be transacted during those hours on the day of the meeting was to be adjourned to the next meeting.

A fine of sixpence would be imposed on any member talking of Religion or matters of State or Law in the Society Room or that shall come there intoxicated, Curse, Swear, propose a Bet, use Opprobrious Language, introduce Cards, Dice or any kind of Gaming in any part of the House excite others to be guilty of the like. The penalty for being concerned in combinations among workmen or unlawful assembly or in anything repugnant to the Laws of the Realm was exclusion from membership without the right of being re-admitted.

The Rules of the Society prescribed that the strictest punctuality should be observed. The Master, Stewards, Clerk and Council-members if they absented themselves without reasonable cause from the monthly meeting were liable to a fine of sixpence for every half-hour. They had the privilege of wearing their hats in the Society Room, this privilege not being allowed to the ordinary members.


The entrance fee for members of the Society was fixed at 2/8., and in addition there was a monthly subscription of thirteen pence. The first monthly payment was to be divided as follows: One penny to the Clerk, one-halfpenny to the Beadle and two pence-halfpenny to be expended in the House by the members in any manner they please; as a compensation to the Owner of the House, for the use thereof and his trouble.

The following benefits were payable to sick members who were at least six months in the Society: 6/6d., per week for the first six months, and after that 3/6d., per week as long as their illness continued. Members who were sick on account of drunkenness or quarrelling were not entitled to any benefit. Sick members were required to send notice in writing to the Master, Stewards and Clerk of the Council. If any doubt arose as to the sickness of a member or its duration, he had to verify his statement on Oath.

If any member was at distance from home while sick he had to send a certificate from a physician and an Affidavit stating the length of time he would be unable to work and requesting that the money to which he was entitled should be forwarded to him.


On the death of a member or his wife two pounds was to be paid out of the Funds of the Society for burial expenses. Each member on receiving notice from the Clerk was expected to "attend Shaved and Dressed, with a clean Shirt, and prepared to wear the Scarff, etc., provided by the Society; and accompany the Funeral to the Burying-place, if within 4 miles, under the penalty of paying as a fine One Shilling, except a Reasonable Excuse shall be given.

Within six weeks after the death of any member or member's wife each member on pain of expulsion had to pay 1/7., to the widow or widower, or if the member died unmarried or a widower, to such person as he should appoint by will or to the next-of-kin. This contribution was called "Mortality Money."

Each member within six months of admission had to pay 2/8d., towards the cost of a Pall, Candlesticks, Cloaks, Scarves and other funeral equipment. These requisites were to be given out for the use of the members free of charge and to be hired out to persons who were not members of the Society.


The Stewards and Council, if they thought fit, could reduce or remit altogether any fines or penalties imposed on a member. The money received by way of fines went in aid of the purchase of Funeral Requisites and dresses, or if not so required it might go into the General Fund for the relief of the Sick.

The management and disposal of the Funds of the Society was entrusted to the Master, Stewards and members of the Council. According to the Regulations they were to provide a chest with three locks to contain the Money, Papers, Funeral Dresses, etc., each of the Stewards to have one, and Owner of the House the third. The cost of all equipment was to be paid for out of the General Fund.

It was provided that when the Funds of the Society permitted, a subscription should be made to Infirmaries, Dispensaries, Hospitals, etc., "in the name of the Graigue Ormond Club so that the Recommendatory Tickets signed in its Name by the Master, Stewards or Clerk, might entitle the person to admission."

The Rules covered the holding of a Lottery on the death of any member or his wife, in respect of whom Mortality Money had to be paid by the members. The Master, Stewards and Council-members, who were exempt from such payment, were to contribute towards the Lottery Fund. At the time of drawing the prizes a certain sum was to be divided equally among the members of the Society to enable them to pay their Mortality Money.

In order to avoid trouble being caused to Justices of the Peace and the members by reason of frivolous complaints against the Managers, any member who preferred a complaint which turned out to be without just foundation was to be excluded from membership of the Society.

[Rules of the Graigue Ormonde Club; Instituted May, 1808. Carlow: Printed by Geo. Cooke, Centaur Street.

Source: CARLOVIANA December 2004 No. 53 p37/38

Able men of Carlow

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