Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

1795 Census

The Parish of Tullow

This is an Image of two pages of Parish record for Church of Ireland, Tullow.
Carlow (COI) , Parish/Church/Congregation - Tullow
One entry transcribed: Baptism of Dorcus Price of Trooper in Blighs Redgmond on 3 June 1757

Source: Facebook

A Census of the Parish of Tullow in 1795

Dr. David Dickson, T.C.D.

The document published below has recently come to light among the Newenham family papers at Coolmore, Co. Cork and is reproduced by kind permission of Capt. W. P. Worth Newenham. It may be of some interest to readers for several reasons.

 The spectacular expansion of Irish population in the three generations before the Great Famine remains an obscure phenomenon and is badly documented except in its final phases. Generally speaking, before 1821 the only regional population data that survive are a miscellaneous series of house returns in county aggregates—from the records of the somewhat unreliable hearth-money collectors—and (for some dioceses) headcounts of Protestants and Catholics in 1766. However in a few particular cases more detailed censuses were done, for an estate or for a parish, which gave house numbers and population. The Tullow census is in this category. It is an imperfect document being, in letter-form, the second instalment only of an account of the number of houses, the number of separate occupations and the total number of inhabitants in the parish, under Catholic and Protestant headings.

The Protestant part is complete, and although the number of Catholic householders is given and some of the range of occupations, yet the important details of the total Catholic population is in the missing first letter. The census has also another drawback: it is given as a return of the parish of Tullow, but by comparing this return with the 1821 census there seems no doubt that it is referring to the Catholic, not the civil parish. According to Samuel Lewis1 the Catholic parish took in the civil parish of Tankardstown as well as parts of Ardristan, Pubbledrum and Urglin. Thus the extent to which the number of houses changed between 1795 and 1821 cannot be elucidated, for the primary unit used in the latter was the civil parish. The more detailed 1841 census gives house numbers on a townland basis so if it were possible to identify the townland boundaries of the old Catholic parish, then a correlation between 1795 and 1841 would be possible.

In spite of this the demographic interest of the census is considerable, for the occupational detail is exceptional and even the occupational returns included in the 1931 census are less explicit. In the Catholic list all the householders described are craftsmen, dealers, manufacturers or servants, and even if all the other Catholic householders on the missing part of the list were farmers, gentry and labourers, there is enough to suggest that Tullow was already a market town of some importance; between the Protestant list and the Catholic halflist there are over 300 occupations of a non-agricultural nature, most of which would have been urban based. But much more striking in these lists is the degree of specialization implied: coblers, shoemakers (an occupation dominated by Protestants) and brogue makers (who were exclusively Catholic) were all distinct, as were pig jobbers from frieze mongers, tanners from skinners and so on. Labourers were separated from cottagers and put into three divisions (the lone fiddler being —no doubt a part-time member—of the third class). The existence of Protestants at this level of society is a reminder of a forgotten aspect of eighteenth and nineteenth century Ireland, 'the poor Protestant'. This break-down of economic functions by religion is one of the most unusual features of the census. The significance of many of the distinctions made is now obscure but their appearance is a reflection of the rapidly expanding economy of the region at the end of the eighteenth century.

The second feature of interest in this census is its author and his comments interleaved with it. Danial Delany had been Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin since 1785 and had a dynamic and original approach to his pastoral duties. His religious and educational achievements are best known but they too reflected his interest, demonstrated here, in the minutiae—and therefore the needs—of local society: for instance his Order, the Brothers of St. Patrick, founded in 1808 was designed to support itself on comb-making, implement manufacture and agriculture labour,2 (The combs were presumably for wool; the census records twenty-six weavers, and bay-yarn spinning—the female occupation and therefore unrecorded here—was probably even more important).

The final question is how this document reached the Newenham archives in Co. Cork. The most likely explanation is that Archbishop Troy supplied it at a later date to Thomas Newenham, the political economist and supporter of Catholic emancipation, when he was gathering evidence for his Statistical and Historical Enquiry into the Progress of the Population of Ireland (London, 1805). Newenham sought the help of a number of Catholic prelates and priests to obtain sample returns of population to support his argument that the contemporary estimates of the total population of Ireland were seriously inaccurate, exaggerating the Protestant proportion and underestimating the aggregate. How far Bishop Delany's work aided him in this is unknown but the bishop would hardly have objected to the use to which it was being put,

1 - S. Lewis, Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (London, 1837), entry under 'Tullow'.
2 - Rev. P. J. Brophy, D.D., 'Teachers in Tullow' in Carloviana vol. i, no. 7.

List of Roman Catholic Inhabitants etc. of the Parish of Tullow continued from my list

Brought over—608.

Ale, Porter & Spirit Sellers of the most inferior class, 19; Weavers, 22; Broguemakers, 14; Smiths (Black), 14; Taylors, 14; Carpenters, 14; Masons & Stone Cutters, 10; Shepherds & Herds, 10; Shoemakers, 8; Butchers, 8; Pig Jobbers, 6; Hawkers, 4; Mealmongers, 3; Prize-mongers, 3; Bakers, 3; Felthatters, 3; Journeymen Hosiers, 3; Publicans, 3; Tythe Proctors, 3; Leather Cutters, 2; Gardiners, 2; Stewards, 2; Horse riders, 2; Tinkers, 2; Coblers, 2; School Masters, 4; School Mistresses, 3; Shop Keepers, 2; Mantua Makers, 2; Wheelwright & Turners, 2; Barbers, 2; Chandler, 1; Tanner, 1; Brewer, 1; Stay Maker, 1; Slator, 1; Lace Maker, 1; Sadler, 1; Servant, 1; Bailiff, 1; Huntsman, 1; Skin Jobber, 1 Tollgatherer, 1; Wood Ranger, 1; Fidler & also common labourer of the 3rd class, 1.

Eminent ones:

Skinners, 6; Coopers, 6; Millers, 4; Malsters, 4; Huxters—or little nondescript, stationary dealers in a 1000 nameless trifling articles, 18; Combmakers, 3; Tythe Farmer*, 1; Feather Monger, 1.

Total 248.
Brought Over 608.


(*Tis true, the former did not personally reside at the Time in the Parish, but his wife and children did; and he himself (p. 2) now also does. He was confined in the Marshalsea for Debt.).

I assure you, my lord, that the final completion of the lists on the other side has been to me an Herculean Labour—odd as it may appear to you, believe me, that it has been the work of not less than between 6 & 7 Hours most intense application, almost ever since I finished my former Letter to you before I could get matters perfectly to right & quite, as it now is, to my satisfaction & 20, 30 Times have I gone over the entire lists & scribbled over not less than 5 sheets of Paper for the attainment of this End, getting every Time embarrased by fresh Difficulties, the commission of new mistakes & omissions &c. What a Capital Clerk I'd make. But when I began once, I was resolved obstinately resolved to go thro' with the Business, whatever it should cost, & however little interesting & after all unimportant the result might eventually prove. But I am got quite stupid & it is, moreover, very late, so that I must necessarily postpone the Execution of the Protestant Lists, & my promised Definitions, till tomorrow —Adieu—I wish your Grace a good night.

Friday Morn. On sitting down yesterday to write I was called away by express to see poor Mr. Blanchfield, who lies dangerously ill from a Complaint in his Bowels. I now resume the Pen & ere I proceed to the Pt. List must observe, that on a most careful & diligent enumeration of the Houses and revision of all the original lists (by my self) I have detected 2 Errors in my former return viz; a statement of the entire Number of (p.3) Houses to be 1112—854 & 158 Pt Do whereas the whole is in reality but 1009 & the Proportion 856 to Pt Habitations.

List of the Protestant &c Inhabitants &c &c &c of the Parish of Tullow, taken in the year 1795:

Clergyman (a Curate), 1; Landed Proprietors, 5; Farmers, 27; Cottagers, 24; Labourers of the 1st Class, 3; Do. of the 2nd Division, 6; Do. of the 3rd Do., 1; Shoe Makers, 14; Journeymen Hosiers, 10; Carpenters, 4; Weavers, 4; Slaters, 3; Masons, 2; Grocers, 2; Tanners, 2; Schoolmasters, 2; Chandler, 1; Apothecary, 1; Watchmaker, 1; Postmaster, 1; Guager, 1; Sexton, 1; Ale Sellers, 3; Tythe Farmer, 1; Brewer (Family Quakers), 1; Huxters, 2 ;Butchers (one a Quaker), 2; Clerks (one a Quaker), 2; Leather Cutters, 2; Seedman, 1; White Smith 1; Black Smith, 1; Turner, 1; Currier, 1; Lace Maker, 1; Glazier, 1; Sadler, 1; Steward, 1; Tailor, 1; Nailor, 1; Huntsman, 1 Wws. Freehold Interest, 2; Cy. Keepers, 2; Naggin Maker, 1; Pig Jobber, 1; Cooper, 1; Malster, 1; Welder, 1; Paupers, 3.

153 Protestant & Quaker Houses in the whole Parish containing a Population of 428 Pr: males, 393 Do Females, 4 Qt males, 5 Do Females, Total 830 .. Without taking any praise to myself on ye occasion, or meaning to derive any great merit from it, I cannot help again repeating here, that I have really taken since last Monday, at different Intervals, incredible Pains & employed more Time than you can well imagine in ascertaining with ye greatest exactness possible every the minutest Particular returned in these Lists. Convinced I am that ye Statement would in every Point stand the strictest Scrutiny. Would to God I were ye hundreth part so scrupulous in ye punctual & faithful Discharge of other Duties of a far other nature & more important moment. When for Instance shall I set about making a report of the State of my Diocese. Well, well, when I once commence the work, I hope I shall spare no Pains or Time in using my best Endeavours to bring it to a proper conclusion like the present Business. I remain your grace's ever ...

D. Delany.

Most Revd. Doctor Troy, DUBLIN.

Source: This article appeared on p.25-27 of the 1972 edition of the Carloviana.

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