CARLOW HISTORY

 

Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


The Customs of the Manor of Carlow

By Tommy Clarke

 Source: Journal of the Old Carlow Society 'Carloviana' 1994/1995


The 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.

The grant 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.

One carcase and a half of beef

Eighty and 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.

And also 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.

However the 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.

Tolls collected

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.

During the 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.

References

1. Cottier = a person who hires a small cottage, with or without a plot of land.
2. Divers = some (other customs).
3. Lord = Lord of the Manor
4. Tares = Weed.
5. Haggard = Barn.
6. Heriot (herriot) = was the right of a lord in feudal times to seize a serf's8 best horse and or clothing upon his death.
7. messuage = 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 2008


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2001 County Carlow Genealogy IGP

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