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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Carlow Poor Law Union

The Early Years

Written by Sean O'Shea and previously published in CARLOVIANA December 2003. No. 52. Pages 28 to 35.

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The first meeting of the Guardians was held in the Court House on Thursday, November 5, 1840 where Colonel Bruen was elected Chairman, Sir Thomas Butler Vice-Chairman and William Fishbourne Deputy Vice-Chairman. At the December Meeting George Wilson, Graigue was appointed Valuator with responsibility to value all the rateable property in the Union, which comprised about 188,304 statute acres (County Carlow 151.935 acres. Queen's County 35,491 acres and Kildare 878 acres). Robert Davies, Dublin Street was appointed Clerk of the Union.

The Guardians preoccupation, following their establishment was centered on the erection of the workhouse at the Kilkenny Road, and dealing with the valuation of the Union, which took over two years to complete, followed by many objections and appeals, which had to be adjudicated upon. The Guardians were also required to provide a small-pox vaccination scheme and appoint medical practitioners to operate same. Mr. Henry Montgomery, Dr. Payne and Dr. Bolton were engaged to administer the scheme.

Elections were required to be held annually in the month of March. As the first election was held in late 1840 the next election did not take place until March, 1842. The election was uncontested as the Liberal Party showed little or no interest, and those nominated were declared elected. This resulted in the constitution of the Board being Conservative in the proportion of 36 to 4.

During the months of June. July, and August, 1842 distress again visited Carlow when prepared rice was sold at a reduced rate, with approximately twenty six thousand quarts being distributed. In addition to alleviate the prevailing poverty the Poor Fund Committee provided employment, during the period, with men engaged in repairing streets and roads at Hanover, Pollerton, Green Lane. Gallipot, Athy Road, Montgomery St. Graigue, The Quays and Kilkenny and Dublin Roads.

The 1843 Election was also uncontested with the following being declared elected
CARLOW William Fishbourne. Sen.
Samuel Haughton Simon Clarke
William R. Lecky. Esqrs.
GRANGEFORD William F. Burton. Esq.
TULLOW John Whelan & Hardy Eustice, Esqrs
BARRAGH J. J. Lecky & and Thomas Tomlinson, Esqrs
MYSHALL A. B. Feltus, & Mr. Peter Fenlon, Esqrs
KILTENNEL Henry Newton & Arthur Fitzmaurice, Esqrs
BORRIS John Rudkin & George Whitney, Esqrs
BAGENALSTOWN B. B. Newton and Thomas Sigleton, Esqrs
IDRONE WEST Wm. Richard Stewart, Horace Rochfort,
Wm. Fishbournc, Jun., Esqrs
KELLISTOWN Samuel Elliott, Esq
FENAGH & NURNEV John Watson & Henry Gary, Esqrs. 
SHRULE  Wm. C. Cooper & Joseph Fishbourne
GRAIGUE  The Hon. Wm. Butler,
John Haughton & Robert Farrell, Esqrs.
ARLES Peter Gale & D Kelly. Esqrs.
Guardians elected by Cess Payers, 30

Sir Thomas Butler. Bart.
Colonel Bruen. M.P.
Robert C. Browne
James Butler
H. H. Cooper
William Duckett
James H. Eustice
Henry Faulkner
William Fishbourne
Pilsworth Whelan, Esq.
No. of Ex-officio Guardians elected 10
Total 40

While each Electoral Division was required only to support the destitute from the area, the first rate to be struck in December, 1843 a general rate of 5d to cover the following expenditure:

Debts  800
Clothing 500
Furniture 500
Maintenance 1,000
Salaries  350
Contingencies including vaccination  500

At the January Meeting 1844 the following Poor Rate Collectors were appointed to the under-mentioned areas.

Matthew Griffin  - Carlow, Kellistown, Fenagh and Nurney

Joseph Malone  - Tullow and Grangeforth

John Moulton  - Barragh and Myshall

John Cummins  - Kiltennel. Borris, Bagenalstown

Martin Hughes  - Idrone West

Matthew Farrell  - Shrule, Graigue and Arles

It was also agreed at the January Meeting to appoint a Workhouse Master 60 p.a. Matron 30 p.a. School Master 25 p.a., Mistress 15 p.a., Porter 12 p.a. and Medical Officer 60 p.a. staff the workhouse which was nearing completion. Subsequently following interviews conducted by the Guardians the under-mentioned were appointed.

Master -         William Baird, Waterford

Matron -        Mrs. Mary Anne Rose, Dublin St., Carle

School Master -        Mr. Murphy. Parochial School, Graigue

School Mistress -     Miss Maryanne Noblett. Hacketstown

Porter -          Mr. Ward, Cariow

Medical Officer  -     Dr. Porter, Carlow

The Clerk of the Union Robert Davies took charge of the Workhouse which was completed on 18th October, 1844, and made arrangements for the reception of inmates. The first applicants for admission were interviewed by the Guardians on Thursday the 21 November.

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