Conditions on the Gosford Estate, County Armagh in the 1820's
Between 1800 and 1855, many settlers in the Ottawa / Gatineau area of Canada
came from County Armagh in Ireland. Some of them are named in the McCabe List
The Following is a book review, written by W.E. Vaughan in 1978. it may be
of interest to those who are looking for information on the Gosford estate.
Many of these Government Publications remain unsold or if someone is
interested they may be able to track it down through inter-library loan.
GENERAL REPORT ON THE GOSFORD ESTATES IN COUNTY ARMAGH 1821. By William
Graig / Greig with an introduction by F. M. L. Thompson and D. Tierney. Pp. xi, 244.
Belfast: HMSO. 1976.
"The report of the Scottish surveyor and engineer, William Greig, on the
estates of the Earl of Gosford in county Armagh in the last years of the
second decade of the nineteenth century fell into two parts. First, the
tabular reports giving numerous details about individual tenants on the
manors of Baleck and Coolmalish, with the townlands of Hamilton's Bawn and
Ardgonnell, accounted for more than half of the original report: pp 26-231
out of 334 pages. Secondly, the remainder, including 17 pages of 'prefatory
remarks' (pp 71-98 of the present work), gave Greig's views on the
circumstances of the tenantry, the means for their improvement, the increase
of population, the subdivision of holdings and on a variety of projects such
as the improvement of the town of Markethill. The Public Record Office of
Northern Ireland has published the second part of the report with an
excellent introduction by F. M. L. Thompson on its provenance and context.
The tabular reports are not reproduced in full but are summarised in a
second introduction by D. Tierney and a facsimile sample of one townland -
Carrickgollogly - is attached with an accompanying map at the end of the
book. The matter published is a valuable insight into conditions on an
Ulster estate in the ecomomically troubled years after the French wars and
is notable mainly for Greig's analysis of over-population and subdivision.
It is useful, too, for Greig's historical survey of rural development and
his verdict on the wartime inflation (which might be of interest to modern
readers): 'One of the many remarkable occurrences of modern times is the
wonderful operation of a paper currency, which seems to have the
all-powerful force of steam... It was this fullness of circulation which
lubricated the movements of domestic industry, the wheels of state, and the
gigantic efforts of war. . .'(p. 25). On the whole, more of the tabular
reports and less of the general report would have been welcome to
historians. The information on individual holdings included acreages,
quality of soil, population, ages of tenants, number of livestock, rents
valuation, buildings and the religion and character of the tenants. These
details are much more interesting than the fatuous prolixity of the
'prefatory remarks'. The 28 pages of the present book devoted to these
should have been used to give the more important of the tabular reports in
detail. The details of individual tenants such as their character and
religion (the latter was recorded by Greig 'not with any view to perpetuate
any invidious distinction but because the subject is interesting from so
frequently being taken into account in political calculations and reasoning'
(p. 76) are much more to the point - if less edifying - than the sententious
wisdom of the prefatory remarks of which the following extract in not
untypical: 'It is said that great as well as little minds are too apt to
complain of the miseries of the present but we also learn from experience
that prosperity often leads to adversity, as the highest health is often the
forerunner of the worst diseases. . .' Although one might have reservations
about the choice of material reproduced in this volume, the Public Record
Office of Northern Ireland deserve the heartiest congratulations for the
care with which the document has been reproduced (e.g. original pagination
has been reproduced), for securing the talents of Professor Thompson and Dr
Tierney to introduce, it and, above all, for having the sense to think of
publishing it in the first place. "
... Jane Lyons (from the Newsgroup soc.genealogy.ireland)
June 19, 2001: (also by Jane Lyons)
Armagh an inland county in the province of Ulster,it is bounded in the north
by Lough Neagh and County Tyrone; on the east by county Down; on the south by
county Louth; and on the west by counties Monaghan and Tyrone. The length of
county Armagh from north to south 33 miles; and it's breadth from east to
west is 21 miles.
NAME AND FORMER DIVISIONS
The name of the county is derived from the City of Armagh, and belongs to
pagan times. The oldest form is Ard Mhaca, or Macha's height - Macha being a
semi mythical heroine, the foundress of the palace of Emania, 300 years B.C.
The county formed part of the ancient kingdom of Oriel. The eastern part of
this kingdom called Oirthera (meaning "eastern people") was the territory of
the O'Hanlons, and the name is preserved in that of the Baronies of Orior.
The old territory of Hy Niallain, is now represented in name and position by
the Baronies of O'Neilland. On the shore of Lough Neagh, round the mouth of
the Bann was situated the ancient district of Hy Brassil or Clanbrassil.
The rest of this description which includes statistics on census 1821-1926,
Education 1911, Irish Speaking 1861-1926, Religions 1871-1926 and
emigration from the county 1861-1911 can be found on the from Ireland
Website or the second URl here for those who use Netscape
For more general information regarding County Armagh, see
Jane's Web Page for Armagh
E-mail Al Lewis
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