customs of the manor of Carlow
By Tommy Clarke
On the 31st
October, 1588 Queen Elizabeth I made a grant of the castle and manor
of Carlow to Robert and William Harpoll, at a yearly rent of twenty
three pounds three shillings and one penny, "current money of
Ireland", at the feast of St. Michael the archangel and Easter by
equal portions and for a period of twenty one years.
consisted of one old castle with four towers situate on the eastern
side of the river of the Barrow, one garden within the site and
precinct of the said castle, one tower on the other side of the said
river, (the white castle), the fishing of the same river, and also a
certain custom there, to wit one salmon yearly from every net taking
salmon in the Barrow running by the limits of the castle.
OSi map of Hay Market & Town Hall
carcase and a half of beef
four acres of arable land of great measure lying in the town of
Catherlagh which Dermot McTeige, Edmund McRorie and others lately
occupied with their nine ploughs and rendered yearly for each plough
one carcase and a half of beef, and seventy two gallons of beer, and
eighteen loaves of bread and thirty one cottages there (Carlow) of
which nineteen cottiers1,
collectively paid thirty three shillings and four pence annual rent
and paid nothing further except works and customs.
And also divers2
other customs there to wit, every one of the tenants and the
cottagers annually rendered out of every flock of thick sheep being
in number seven sheep or upward one sheep and if they had not more
sheep than seven then they shall render for every sheep within the
number of seven, one penny, and every one of the tenants and
cottagers shall render annually at the feast of Christmas, one hen,
and every one of the tenants having cows shall render yearly one
dish of butter in the month of May and another dish in Autumn, every
dish containing three and a half parts of one gallon, and every one
of the inhabitants within the town of Catherlagh having a public
house for the sale of beer shall render for each house four gallons
of beer, likewise for every cow killed within the town the lord3
shall have the hide paying for the said hide, fourteen pence, and
for a small hide six or eight pence.
And in all works to be executed
within the castle, the inhabitants of the town shall find six
workmen or labourers everyday during that work at their own costs.
And every one of the tenants and cottagers shall weed out the tares4
in the demense crops annually for three days and shall reap the
demesne crops in Autumn for three days, and out of every house
within the town one woman shall bind the sheaves of the grain in
autumn for one day in every year, and every one of the tenants shall
cut with his own axe wood for the use of the castle.
For three days
in Summer, and every tenant having a cart horse shall draw the wood
to the castle for three days in every year, and in like manner shall
draw the sheaves of grain from the fields to the haggard5
of the castle for three days in every year, and shall give in like
manner one cart of wood and one bundle of straw at the feast of
Christmas and another cart of wood and another bundle of straw at
the feast of Easter, and every one of the cottagers shall give one
bundle of rushes at Christmas and Easter, and the tenants shall
plough yearly with their nine ploughs in the time of wheat sowing
for three days and likewise in the times of oat sowing, and shall
draw with nine carts the sheaves of grain for the benefit of any
fair or mart annually to be held in the town of Catherlagh, at the
feast of the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary, which profits
may be collected in manner following:— out of every shop and stall
then and their erected, four pence,” and for every horse sold there
two pence, and for every cow sold a penny, for every horse load of
merchandise then unloaded on the ground, one penny, for every entire
piece of wooden sold, one penny, for cloth, one half penny, and for
every sack of salt one penny.
Lord shall have second best animal.
certain other customs by name of herriots (heriot6)
collected within the town of Catherlagh in form ensuing; after the
decease of any tenant or cottager dwelling within the town the Lord
shall have the second best animal of his whatsoever kind it may be,
by name of herriot and if he have one animal and no more it shall be
appraised by the neighbours there, and like Lord shall have the
third part of the piece of the animal, said if he shall have no
animal then his other goods shall he appraised from which the Land
shall have six shillings and eight pence by name of herriot, if the
price shall attain to twenty shillings, and if less then nothing.
Four cottages and four acres.
And also three
acres arable land of great measure lying in the town of Mortallstown
(now Mortantown) and four cottages and four acres of land of great
measure in the town of Downganstown (now Bestfield), lately in the
tenure of a certain William Power, and also five acres arable land
of great measure in the town of Ballinragh otherwise Ballinrath (Ballnree??),
all parcel of the manor of Catherlagh, and also four acres of great
measure in the town of Ahate or Athroo, (now Aghade), and one acre
of land of great measure in the town Killenore alias Killemore (now
Kilmurry near Ballon).
And also eight messuages7 four
cottages and twenty six acre arable land, pasture, moor and wood of
great measure in the county of Catherlagh, and also four acres of
great measure in the county of Catherlagh, with certain customs
there: every messuage and cottage shall find one horse to draw wood
to the castle for one day in any manner? (worded so in original
grant), to draw the sheaves of grain every autumn to the haggard of
the manor, and every one of the tenants and cottagers shall weed the
tares annually in the demesne crops for one day every year, and
shall map the demesne crops there for one day in autumn. And out of
every two houses there one woman shall bind the sheaves of grain for
one day in every autumn.
Work due from other lands
(It is not
recorded in the grant as to which townsland the last named customs
applied). Likewise all other services and works due from other lands
and tenements in the town and fields of Kelliestown (Kellistown),
and also divers other customs services and works issuing and due of
in or upon the lands tenements and tenants of the townslands of
Painstown (Oak Park), Johnstown and Pollards-town (Pollerton),
Unythlin (and now Urglin), Ballikethlan (not identified), Killerik (Killerig),
Knockane (Cruckawn, Pollerton Little), Knightstown (Knees-town), the
barony of Tillagh (Tullow), the barony of Dowleeke (Dunleckney), the
castle of Gras (now Castlegrace), Ballilonan (now Ballylennon),
Killesna (Killyshane), Gurteenvacan, Ardenheath (Ardenhue), Kilborgh
(not identified), Ballymorkill (now Ballyvergal), Balliscanden (now
Ballybromhill), Ballihewet (now Ballyhade) and Frompston (now
Prumplestown) in the county of Kildare, some lands opposite the
castle of Catherlagh lately in the tenure of a certain Peter Wasse
le Rothu, and certain lands and tenements at Fothre (now Grangeford),
lying and being among the Irish called the Kavanaghs, parcel of the
manor of Catherlagh, now or lately waste.
grant was revoked sometime before 1604 when in that year James I
re-granted the entire property (with some minor changes) tolls and
customs to Donagh O'Brien, Earl of Thomond.
At the end of
the 17th century Carlow was devastated by a disastrous fire and in
1709 the Earl petitioned the House of Lords for permission to sell
some of his Carlow leases to rebuild the town.
intervening years the customs were replaced by monetary rents until
by 1818 they were represented only by the tolls of the fairs of
Carlow, these continued to be collected by the Urban District
Council until 1958 when the Fair Green was sold to Carlow
Co-Operative Livestock Mart Ltd.
1. Cottier =
a person who hires a small cottage, with or without a plot
2. Divers =
some (other customs).
3. Lord =
Lord of the Manor
5. Haggard =
= was the right of a lord in feudal times to
seize a serf's8 best horse and or clothing upon
= the term messuage equates to a dwelling-house and includes
outbuildings, orchard, curtilage or court-yard and garden.
8. serf's =
unfree person. One bound to the land.
Source: Journal of the Old Carlow Society 'Carloviana' 1994/1995
p. 26 & 27.
Transcribed by M Brennan Jan
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researching their ancestors in Ireland.
- © 2001 County Carlow