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
THE GRAIGUE ORMOND CLUB
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 AND MEETINGS
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.
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BENEFITS DURING
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
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.
PENALTIES AND FINES AND MANAGEMENT
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
[Rules of the Graigue
Ormonde Club; Instituted May, 1808. Carlow: Printed by Geo. Cooke,
Source: CARLOVIANA December 2004 No. 53 p37/38
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