Chapter XXIX

George Bomford’s Land  1854 - 1899

 

29.1  George's Land in 1854

Oakley Park Map

29.2  Oakley Park or Lawrencetown  Valuation 1854

29.2.1  Land Improvements  1860 - 1866

29.2.2  Summary of Oakley Park Leases and Rents

29.3  Drumlargan  1854

29.3.1   Drumlargan House Improvement  c1865

29.3.2  Grants for Land Improvements

29.3.3  Drumlargan Balloon Houses

29.3.4  Drumlargan Income

29.4   Knockstown

29.4.1  Tithes  11th May 1870

29.5  Baltrasna  Survey of 1854

29.5.1  Rents from Baltrasna and Knockstown

29.6  Cluide  Survey  of 1854

29.7  Rattin  Survey of 1854

29.7.1  Clonfad  Survey  of  1854

29.7.2  John Francis Bomford becomes a Landlord  1861

29.7.3  Tenants and Rents of Clonfad and Rattin  1854 -1903

29.7.4  The Gaynor Valuation

29.7.5  Cleary Valuation

29.7.6  Other Valuations and some Politics

29.8  Census of Ireland   1871

29.9  The Neville mortgage of Clonfad

29.9.1  The Neville Family

29.9.2  Clonfad Unable to Sustain Interest

 

29.1  George's Land in 1854

Previous chapters have taken all branches of the family to their conclusion, except for that of George the younger of Oakley Park (Chapter 25, portrait 25.4, siblings 18.8.9, children 30.1). The remainder of this narrative is devoted to George and his family, and, since the documents originated from Oakley Park it is in greater detail.  A shortened version was considered but set aside, since the reader who has got so far must be sufficiently interested to continue, and further more, it would be difficult to decide what to miss out.

When discussing George’s family there has to be reference to the land because there were problems over the inheritance. George’s eldest son, George Winter Bomford, had a personality problem; his second son, John Francis Bomford, farmed much of George’s land and was groomed to inherit. This chapter therefore concerns the land and Chapter 30 concerns the family.

In 1836 the Ordnance Survey gave detailed information of land ownership throughout Ireland, the next major survey was as a result of the Famine, carried out in October 1854 and called the “The Griffith’s Valuation of Rateable Properties” (27.3). Before going into details let us first compare George’s property of the 1836 survey (24.8) with the new one of 1854.

George has three houses valued at £9 or more in 1854. Oakley Park recently enlarged with a valuation of £50, where he and the family lived. Drumlargan House occupied by John Monaghan and valued at £9 in 1854; it used to be called Bloomfield and in 1836 was occupied “by a herd but is going into a further ruinous state as time goes by”; it will be substantially improved during the late 1860s before George’s son, John Francis moves into it with his family. The third house was on Rattin in Westmeath, called Clonfad House and valued at £10.10.0; in 1854, it was occupied by The Reverend John Fetherstonhaugh but it was never occupied by a Bomford and so has not been discussed.

In 1854 George has a total of 3,813 statute acres with a rateable annual valuation of £2,952 for the land, and £111 for the buildings which includes the cottages, cattle yards, stabling and so on. This is made up as follows starting with the 1836 summary for comparison.

Property 1836 Statute acres 1854 Statute acres Rateable Land Value Building  Valuation Valuation per acre

Oakley Park

741

741

£637

£ 59

£0.17.2

Drumlargan

785

980

£1056

£12

£1.1.7

Knockstown

424

225

£183

£8

£0.16.3

Baltrasna

484

479

£411

£11

£0.17.2

Clonfad

440

433

£203

£8

£0.9.3

Rattin 

923

923

£432

£12

£0.9.4

Cluide

25

25

£30

£1

£1.4.0

 Totals

3,822

3,806

£2,952

£ 111

 

 

Sometime between 1836 and 1854 a portion of Knockstown had been allocated to Drumlargan; it is not known why this was done, but such places as Edinstown, Clonlyon, and Moynalvy of the original deeds have dropped out of the picture and have been absorbed into Drumlargan or Knockstown; this change of boundaries has now been completed and the areas of Drumlargan and Knockstown remain stable from now on.

The last column, ‘Valuation per acre’, is my addition so that one can see at a glance the comparative worth of the various lands; the Westmeath lands of Clonfad and Rattin have a low valuation as they contained quantities of bog, the northern end of the Bog of Allen. The only land which George farmed himself during the 1850s was 340 acres at Oakley Park; all the rest was either leased (3,473 acres) or bog (Drumlargan 68 acres), and brought in a gross income of about £5,000.

The rest of the chapter is taken townland by townland starting with the Griffith’s Valuation and following the changes of tenants with other items of interest; some lands have been taken to George’s death in 1886 but others, like Clonfad, have been taken to their eventual sale.

Map of Oakley Park or Lawrencetown, Based on 1883 Ordnance Survey showing 1854 Map References

Oakley Park 1883 with 1854 Map References.  Click on Map to see full size.

Click on map to see larger size.

Lease of Part of Oakley Park  1st March 1861  (1861 Book 13 No 172)

George Bomford of Oakley Park leased to John Francis Bomford also of Oakley Park, the land of Oakley Park containing 128 plantation acres (207 statute) bounded on the:

for the lives of:

or for 31 years at a rent of £1.10.0 per Irish acre (£192). George Bomford reserves the timber and sporting rights.

Drawn up and witnessed by John Thomas Hinds, solicitor of Dublin

 29.2  Oakley Park or Lawrencetown  Valuation 1854

The ‘Immediate Lessor’ is recorded as George Bomford.

Map Occupier   Description Area: Acres/Roods/Perches Rateable Land Value Building Valuation

1a

Thomas Barnes

Herd’s house, offices & land

209

26

£200. 0.0

£5.  0.0

2a

Robert FitzSimmons

House, offices & land (Leased by Samuel A. Reynell)

1

3

0

£1.5.0

£0.10.0

2b

Vacant

House

 

 

-

   

£0.  5.0

2c

Christopher Barrett

House & garden

0

0

18

£0.3.0

£0.  5.0

2d

Michael Coyle

House & garden

0

0

12

£0.2.0

£0.  8.0

2e

William Mulligan

House & garden

0

0

22

£0.4.0

£0.16.0

2f

Bryan FitzPatrick

House & garden

Waste etc

0

0

18

£0.3.0

£0.  7.0

0

   

3

22

 

3

Samuel A Reynell

Land

207

0

21

£188.0.0

4a

Charles Reilly

House, offices & land

52

0

17

£38.0.0

£2.  0.0

5

George Bomford

Red Bog Lough

6

2

0

-

6Aa

George Bomford

House, offices Gate Lodge & land

248

0

26

£200.0.0

£50.  0.0

6A-G

George Bomford

Land (Plantation)

15

0

20

£9.5.0

-  

Totals 

 

 

741

3

2

£637.2.0

£59.11.0

 

The map references have been listed but no map was found which shows them; however local knowledge has been tapped and nearly all have been located apart from the details of the 15 acres of plantation labelled 6A-G which cover the shrubbery, flower-knot and other plantations close to the house.  In paragraph 25.3 there is a map of Oakley Park based on the Ordnance Survey map of 1836 which was made prior to the arrival of George Bomford. The next survey map was made in 1883 and the map above is based on it. This shows the changes made by George to the house, yards, garden, woods etc. It also shows the new course of the river, the outlying cottages, to which have been added the map reference numbers, and the borders of the three major land leases.

Map Reference 1a

In 1838 Thomas Barnes of’ Westland leased 209 acres from George at the north end of Oakley Park. The 1883 map shows a small house and yard on the Moynalty road which is the only house on the land which Barnes leased, this was probably the “herd’s house and offices” valued at £5. All signs of this house have now disappeared.

In 1872 the Barnes lease was terminated and George’s son, John Francis, took it over.

Map Reference 2a

The exact site of this house is not known, but it is thought to be the one shown on the map on the Mullagh road near Maperath on what used to be called “Daly’s holding” on the 1730 map. In 1854 it was occupied by Robert FitzSimmons, the herd of Samuel Reynell. In 1861 Samuel Reynell gave up the lease and the house was vacant. At some date before George Bomford’s death in 1886 a new house was built, perhaps on a different site. It was first occupied by Rose Smith,  then in 1903 by William Flood, in 1915 by Mary Masterson, in 1927 by Laurence Manning, and finally by his son Lance Manning who bought it from George Lyndon Bomford in 1941.

Map Reference 3

Samuel Reynell’s lease of’ 207 acres lasted until 1861 when John Francis Bomford took it over, (lease below). It took in the ‘Great Bogg’, later called the Bottoms, to the west of the river, and Ballanescrahoge between the Big Wood on the east and the back road on the west and south.

The Bottoms consisted of about 40 acres of marsh including the Duckoy, but the remaining 170 odd acres was good quality meadow.

By 1886 and perhaps during the late 1860s John Francis had built a yard on the back road which included a house, called in later valuations the “Caretaker’s House”. In 1887 these buildings were valued at £14, (29.2.1). The caretaker was the Oakley Park steward Charles Reilly who died during the 1890s and was followed by his son Phillip. However, these Reilly’s lived on their own 53 acre farm (Map Reference 4a); it is therefore not known who initially lived in the house in the new yard, though the Reilly’s moved there during the early 1900s.

Map Reference 4a

The third large lease is the 52 acres occupied by Charles Reilly, sited on the west of the Mullagh-Kells road which in the 1730 map is termed “part of Ballanescrahoge called ye Mountain”. The Reilly’s had this plot in the earliest deed concerning Oakley Park dated January 1709, when it was in the possession of Edmond Reyly; in 1739 he or his son is recorded as “Edmond Riley late of Dublin merchant”; Francis Reilly leased it in 1814 from the Rev Jason Crawford. Charles, or maybe his son another Charles Reilly, continued here until after George’s death. In 1854 Charles was living in the house on his land valued at £2; Charles died and his son Philip inherited and in 1897 his house and offices were valued at £4. Sometime during the early 1900s he vacated this house and moved into the house across the road in the new farm-yard, which John Francis Bomford built.

Map References 2b, c, d, e and f

There was a row of five attached 2-storey houses which appear on both the 1836 and 1883 maps, sited in the south-west corner of Oakley Park to the west of the back road and almost opposite the road T junction. An undated plan of these houses is amongst the documents and they were known locally as the “Soldier’s Houses”; it is probable that they were built for the returning soldiers from the Napoleonic Wars, a supposition which is given weight by a pencilled inscription on the back of the plan which reads “Jan 1818”. These were most likely the houses with a valuation of under 10/-. Rather than return to them later the history of their occupation is concluded now. The valuation of all five was increased to £2 between 1889 and 1901 when they were either improved or newly built.

Map Reference 2b

Was vacant in 1854, by 1889 it was occupied by John Connell, it then passed to James Connell in 1903, Francis Smith in 1923, John Dalpen in 1927, Edward Neary in 1929 and finally to Laurence Carpenter in 1936; he built a new house nearby in which the Carpenters were living in 1984, the old house slowly disintegrated.

Map Reference 2c

Was occupied in 1854 by Christopher Barrett but was deleted from the record in 1860. Another house was built in 1889 for an unknown tenant. In 1897 John Johnston was living there, followed by John Smith in 1908 and John Cuddy in 1921. Another new house was built in 1936 on another site where Bridget Cooney lived and the old house referenced 2c was allowed to collapse.

Map Reference 2d

Was occupied by Michael Coyle in 1854. In 1889 George Yore lived there followed by Bridget Yore in 1901, Michael McEnerry in 1920 and Mary McEnerry in 1930.

Map Reference 2e

Was occupied by William Mulligan in 1854, followed by Patrick Lynch in 1889, Bernard Boylan in. 1897, Anne Lynch in 1915, Stephen Carolan in 1924 and Edward Farrell in 1929.

Map Reference 2f

Was occupied by Bryan FitzPatrick in 1854 followed by Edward Boylan in 1897, Rose Mullen in 1903, Christopher Dunne in 1905, Thomas Cahill in 1921, Mary Anne Cahill in 1932 and Owen Lynch also in 1932. Owen ‘Ownie’ Lynch moved to the back lodge in 1941.

The three remaining Soldier’s Houses were condemned in 1940 and the next year George Lyndon Bomford sold the sites. The two that had been rebuilt on separate sites (2b and 2c) were also sold in 1941 to the occupants.

Map Reference 6a

The valuation of £50 for the buildings was not only for the big house but also for the yard with its two corner houses, the mystery house behind the yard called “Mary Anne’s” and the two lodges. All these buildings were shown on the 1836 map but since they were not leased the names of the occupants were not recorded. The front lodge was faced handsomely in stone with a raised stone porch with fluted Doric columns and an arched window on either side; there was nothing special about the lodge on the back avenue.

29.2.1  Land Improvements  1860 - 1866

On 20th August 1860 the Public Works Department lent George £800 to improve the lands of Oakley Park in accordance with a schedule which was not found (1860, Book 27, No 72). No rate of interest was given in the deed but there are receipts for £15.7.2 for the year 1862 which works out at about 2%. 

There are additional receipts for nearly £52 annual interest payments covering the years 1864 to 1866, so the loan was increased to about £2,600 using the 2% figure. It matters little what sum George borrowed, what is important is the work that was done for that considerable sum for those days when labour cost about 6d a day.

There are a number of differences in the survey maps of 1836 and 1883 firstly the 1836 map shows a mass of ditches around the Bottoms, in 1883 these ditches remain but a new one has appeared which is the course of the present day river. To drain the Bottoms would be a major land improvement, even though it was not entirely successful, and no doubt it was about this time that all the ditches were deepened and the river re-aligned as shown in the map.

Secondly George must have built the farmyard, on the back road about this date. It gave his son John Francis a firm base to work from when he took over Reynell’s lease in 1861.

Thirdly the house yard was extended to the north with new cattle yards and a handsome brick arched byre. There were a number of other changes, like the bringing of running water into the house, with the addition of the bathroom wing, but this would hardly be considered as a land improvement, though it was done about this time.

There were many woods in the 1836 map but the later map shows an increase of these. It was probably during this time that the outlook from the house was improved with formal tree planting and crow’s foot vistas, which would lead the eye to the countryside beyond. The many little woods scattered around the estate were not just to beautify the place but were for shelter for the stock in winter. Animals were not brought in for the winter as they are now, but left in the fields where there was shelter in the form of a coppice of hard-wood of beech, oak or ash. The only time when cattle were brought in was when they were about to calve, and that was seldom because it was the practice in Meath to buy young bullocks from the west, fatten them up for a couple of years, and then to drive them to the market.  Large herds were driven along the road to Dublin for the boat to England. Prices were good for cattle during the 1850s and 1860s; it was not until the late 1870s, when prices were forced down by economic depression in England, and the importation of cheap foreign foodstuffs including cattle, that places like Oakley Park felt an economic squeeze. Luckily George had sufficient reserves to withstand this squeeze during his lifetime, but by the time his son inherited, matters were very different and he had to start selling land.

29.2.2  Summary of Oakley Park Leases and Rents

More or less ever since George bought Oakley Park there were three farms on the place, and about 1885, just before George died the division was as follows:

1.  George himself farmed about 270 acres around the house.

2.  About 417 acres to the north and west were farmed by John Francis who paid George a rent of about £446, and

3.  About 52 acres leased by Charles Reilly on the far side of the back road, for which he paid George a rent of £42.

Out of this income of £488 George had to pay the Head Rent of £85.13.11 to Lord Headfort, tithes and poor rates of £13.7.6, and quit rent at £4.13.7, to which one could add the insurance of the house, offices and furniture of £11 (in 1889). So George netted about £370 on Oakley Park.

Head Rent

The previous mention of Head Rent was in 1807 when £l00 was paid to Lord Headfort (see 24.8.9). The rent may have been decreased, but it is more likely that the difference was caused by the devaluation of the pound after the Napoleonic Wars.

Tithes, Poor Rent and Quit Rent

In May 1870 tithes of £13.7.6 was paid to the Rector of Kells, Edward Stopford, at the rate of 4/3 an acre. This figure included the poor rate and income tax at 5d in the pound. The Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1869 and the payment of tithes stopped, that money was made available to the relief of the poor; George’s payment of 1870 was therefore technically only the poor rate. The accounts, which John Francis Bomford, made out for his mother in 1889 (32.5) only includes the poor rate. Unfortunately he has recorded a lump sum of £58.6.8 covering all lands as “Poor Rates as by Rental” so it is not possible to compare payments before and after the disestablishment of the Church.  Also found in these accounts is the quit rent for Oakley Park at £4.13.7, this was an annual payment.

Fire Premium

On 23rd September 1874 the National Assurance Company of Ireland received from George the sum of £9.10.0 being the premium for Fire Insurance of £9,000 on the property as specified in Policy No 34721. By 1889 the premium had increased to £10.10.0 and the cover was for “Oakley Park House, offices and furniture” with a further 10/- cover for “Cottages”. John Francis Bomford, Agent for Meath, signed the 1874 receipt; John Francis must have been their agent until he became a ‘Sub-Commissioner under the Land Court’.

29.3  Drumlargan  1854

1854 Survey. This excludes the 491 acres belonging to Lord Langford and leased to Patrick Maher. The following all belonged to George Bomford who is termed the “Immediate Lessor”.

Occupier Description Acres Rateable Valuation
      Land Buildings

Edward Purdon

House, Offices, Land

195

£250.  0.0

£0.15.0

John Monaghan

House, Offices, Land

705

£781.  0.0

£9.  0.0

George Bomford

Bog, Land,Plantation

68

£20.  0.0

-

John Halford

House, Offices, Garden

2

£1.  5.0

£0.10.0

Michael Chanler

House, Garden, Land

5

£2.  0.0

£1.  0.0

Catherine Seery

House, Garden

2

£0.10.0

£0.  5.0

Christopher Bourke

House, Garden

3

£1.  0.0

£10.0

Totals

 

980

£1,055.15.0

£12.  0.0

 

In 1836 George had these 980 acres split into three. There was 66 acres planted with fir and ash trees, plus 69 acres of Drumlargan Bog, some of which must have belonged to Lord Langford who owned the balance of Drumlargan. Of the remainder George had it let in two farms at £2 a plantation acre, bringing in an income of about £ 1,570. This division of the bog and the two farms remained until about 1866 when:

1.  The bog, land and plantation of 68 acres, although remaining in George’s hands, would have been leased to tenants for fuel and, once dug out, planted with trees. This plot remained until he died.

2.  Edward Purdon’s farm of 195 acres was occupied by him in 1836, but sometime before 1854 Edward had died; in 1854 it was in the hands of his ‘representatives’, probably his son, who continued farming it until 1865 when there was a further change.

3.  John Monaghan occupied the large farm of 705 acres including Drumlargan House in 1854, but he must have died about that year because very soon after 1854 Andrew O’Connell and a Mr Murphy occupied it.   In 1865 the occupier was John Francis, George’s son.

In 1866, according to the Valuation Office in Dublin, the two farms were divided into three and this may have been a consequence of the lease by George to John Francis of a portion on 1st August 1865. The deed of this lease was dated 30th January 1886; it recites the lease of 1st August 1865 of Drumlargan containing 701 acres, excepting the old Churchyard, for 31 years at a rent of £ 1,375.2.7, and further recites that in 1878 John Francis surrendered the land to George Bomford and so terminated the lease.   (1886, Vol 5, No 209)

This lease of 1865 and the Valuation Office records of 1866 do not agree. The Valuation Office makes a three-way split of:

It will be noticed that the last two (the 369 and the 337 acres) just about match the 701 acres of the deed. Nevertheless the Valuation Office divisions were the correct ones because in 1905 John Francis sells the 337 acre plot, plus Drumlargan House. It is however likely that John Francis farmed the whole 701 acres although there was a technical difference in the leases of the two plots.

No mention has been made of the four cottages. No later record of the occupiers has been found but, no doubt, these 12 acres continued to be leased until Drumlargan was sold.

To date George Winter Bomford, George’s eldest son who will inherit the entailed Drumlargan estate, has not been mentioned. George complained in court in 1857 that George Winter had taken over for his own benefit the lands of Drumlargan (30.2.1); evidently this was ignored officially although it is possible, but unlikely, that the Valuation Office wrote George Bomford when they should have written George Winter Bomford.

29.3.1   Drumlargan House Improvement  c1865

In 1836 Bloomfield House was described as a “tolerably good house, at present occupied by a herd but it is going into a further ruinous state as time goes on” (15.13.8). In 1854 John Monaghan or his herd occupied the house, which was then valued at £9. In 1866 the description was “Herd’s house, offices and house” with a value of £18; thus during the 12 years since 1854 there have been two changes, another house has appeared and the valuation has doubled.

Considerable work must have been done on Bloomfield, now renamed Drumlargan House, to make it habitable for John Francis and his growing family. Burke’s Guide to Country Houses includes this on the house, “A two storey double gable-ended house, probably early c18 century but with c19 windows and a c19 two store gabled projecting porch”; so some of the improvements included new windows and a porch. The question is, when did John Francis move into Drumlargan House? In December 1869 his third child was born at Oakley Park, as were the two previous children; in February 1871 his fourth child was born at Drumlargan, as were all subsequent children. It is therefore thought that, although he may have lived in the house off and on before, the family moved in permanently in 1870, and that the house was improved during the mid 1860s.

29.3.2  Grants for Land Improvements

On 8th January 1868 George Bomford applied for a loan from the Landed Property Act Commissioners of £1,100; this was granted for work on Drumlargan, (1868, Vol 1, No 272). Similar grants were agreed on:

These grants totalled £2,550 but it is not certain what was done, possibly drainage of the bog. A small part of the grant may have been used to put a wall around the graveyard, which Dr Beryl Moore says was done about this date. However this loan was from a different source to that of Oakley Park, and so some of the money may have been allowed for improving Drumlargan House.

29.3.3  Drumlargan Balloon Houses

A farcical error took place about the middle of the 1800s concerning two little houses on the Drumlargan road belonging to Lord Langford. Lord Langford of Summerhill designed a straight avenue to run one mile from Lynch’s Knock beside his house onto the road at Drumlargan. An architect was asked to design two gate-lodges to be placed at the end of the avenue on either side of the main road; the same architect also had to design two block-houses for the Indian Army to be sited to guard the Khyber Pass leading into Afghanistan. Needless to say the plans got mixed up and two low square block- houses with roofs like balloon-shaped pyramids were built on the road at Drumlargan. It would be interesting to know what the Indian Army thought about their blockhouses, but the Irish were intrigued with their “Balloon Houses” as they were soon named, and they remained an outstanding piece of local architecture until they were unjustifiably pulled down quite recently.

Incidentally the road through Drumlargan was one of the very first highways of Ireland; it led south from Tara and was in existence in A.D. 900, if not before.

29.3.4  Drumlargan Income

Using the lease of August 1865 of 701 acres at a rent of £ 1,375.2.7, we can calculate the rent out of Drumlargan. The original leases were at £2 an acre; the 1865 lease was at £1.19.2½ an acre, which is virtually the same. Ignoring George’s own holding of the bog, Drumlargan would produce a gross rent of just over £ 2,788.

29.4   Knockstown

1854 Survey, Parish of Kilmore.

This excludes 96 acres belonging to William R. Miller and others. All the rest belongs to George Bomford, the ‘Immediate Lessor’.

Occupier Description Acres Rateable Valuation
      Land Buildings

John Leonard

House, Offices and Land

61

£45.  0.0

£2.  0.0

John Gresham

-do-

45

£38.  0.0

£1.10.0

Edward Hanley

-do-

22

£18.10.0

£1.10.0

Thomas McNally

-do-

44

£40.  0.0

£0.15.0

Thomas Hanley

-do-

53

£42.  0.0

£2.  0.0

Totals

 

225

£183.10.0

£7.15.0

 

George the elder entailed the lands which he purchased in 1808; these were Drumlargan, Dunganstown, Edenstown, Knockstown, and parts of Clonlyon and Monloy, amounting to 1202 statute acres. Now the only named lands are Drumlargan and Knockstown (or Knockturin) and the others with their variety of spellings have disappeared. The boundaries were changed soon after their purchase but the area remained much the same, 1209 acres in 1836 and 1205 in 1854.

The five farms on Knockstown in 1854, which continued until after George died, were much the same as in the c1828 rent-roll (20.10). The only family name change was that of McNally who has taken over the farm of the evicted family of Healy.

Each farm had its own house and yard, which were a cut above the usual valuations; the exception was that of McNally, and his house had disappeared from the records by 1910.

No rents have been recorded for Knockstown but rents were collected by one of the tenants of neighbouring Baltrasna, which, most probably, included those of Knockstown (see 29.5.1).

29.4.1  Tithes  11th May 1870

A receipt from George on behalf of John F. Bomford for tithes in the Parish of Kilmore is amongst the documents. This indicates that by 1870 John Francis was the immediate Lessor rather than his father, but there is no other indication of this change. The receipt is for £5.8.3 due to the Rev William A. Kempston being half a year’s “rent charge” from the holding in Kilmore Parish. It was broken down into “Poor Rate 5/10, Income Tax 2/3 at 5d in the pound”, and “Cash £5.0.2”; and would cover Knockstown and that part of Baltrasna (106 acres) in the Kilmore Parish.

29.5  Baltrasna  Survey of 1854

George Bomford is the ‘Immediate Lessor’ in all cases.

a.  In the parish of Culmullen:

Plot Occupier Description Acres Rateable Valuation
        Land Buildings

1.

John Tyrell

House, Land

22

£17.  0.0

£0.  5.0

2.

Andrew Sheriden

-do-

37

£29.  0.0

£0.10.0

3.

Peter Lenehan

House, Office, Land

75

£67.15.0

£3.  0.0

4.

Reps of James Reynolds

House, Land

24

£27.  0.0

£0.  5.0

5.

Thomas Maguiness

House, Office, Land

9

£7.10.0

£0.10.0

6.

John Duffy

-do-

37

£30.  0.0

£1.  0.0

7.

John Gavagan

-do-

87

£70.  0.0

£1.10.0

8.

James Carroll

House, Garden, Office, Land

6

£5.10.0

£0.15.0

9.

John Byrne

House, Office, Land

17

£12.  0.0

£0.10.0

10.

Thomas Mulvany

-do-

1

£1.10.0

£0.15.0

11.

Thomas Cummins

House, Land

1

£1.  5.0

£0.10.0

12.

William Carroll

House, Garden

½

£0.12.0

£0.  8.0

13.

Chris Coffey

House, Land

57

£46.  0.0

£0.15.0

 

b.  In the parish of Kilmore:

Plot Occupier Description Acres Rateable Valuation
        Land Buildings

3A.

Peter Lenehan

Land

7

6.  0.0

 -

4A.

Reps of  James Reynolds

House, Office, Land

99

90.  0.0

0.10.0

Totals 

 

 

479

£411.  2.0

£11.  3.0

 

Slight differences in area occur in the 13 plots of Baltrasna from year to year, but the overall acreage remains much the same at 479 statute acres.

Plot 1.  22 acres was occupied by John Tyrell in 1854 remained in his hands until at least 1867. Joseph Tyrell had the farm in 1898 when his rent was £20.

Plot 2.  37 acres was occupied by Andrew Sheridan in 1854 but he had no house there in 1859.  On 27th April 1867 he got a new lease from George Bomford for 38 acres for 31 years at a rent of £34.  This lease was drawn up by George’s solicitor John Thomas Hinds of 28 Westmoreland Street in Dublin and was witnessed by John Francis and Charles Reilly, who farmed part of Oakley Park. The 31 years ends in 1898 but there is no reason to suppose that the Sheridan family was not still there when Baltrasna was sold. The farm was bounded on the north by Woodtown, which used to belong to the Rev John Bomford, on the east by John Tyrell’s farm, on the south by Peter Lenehan’s farm and on the west by Kilmore.

Plot 3, 75 acres in the Parish Culmullen, and Plot 3A, 7 acres in the Parish Kilmore. This 82 acre farm first appears in October 1793 when Baron Galtrim, John Hussey leased it to John Lenaugham at a rent of £61.4.9 for the lives of his three sons, Walter aged 9, and Thomas aged 7 and Peter aged 1. It is probably this third son who had the farm in 1854; they lived in a house valued at £3, which must be Baltrasna House. Peter must have died in 1854, aged 62, because in 1855 the occupier is termed “Reps of Peter Lenehan”.

This state must have remained for some years, but in August 1861 Samuel Reynell of Archerstown, who looked after George’s property and who signed himself as “Your affectionate cousin, S. A. Reynell”, wrote two letters to George. His writing is difficult to read but the first one of 17th August is about the half-year rent of Baltrasna amounting to £435.8.5 (or about £870 a year) paid by Andrew Lenehan. Andrew must have become the occupier of Peter’s farm, and also the rent collector for Baltrasna. However £870 is far too high a figure for Baltrasna only and so it is thought that the rent he collected must have included Knockstown also.

The second letter of 26th August is about meeting George at Baltrasna to go over the land, meet the tenants and to agree their rents.

Sometime before 1870 this 82 acre farm was split into two. The 75 acres in Culmullen which Peter Lenehan had in 1854, followed by Andrew and then in 1881 by John Lenehan, was detached from the 7 acres in Kilmore.

The 7 acres in Kilmore went to James Sheridan in 1870, followed by John Callaghan in 1885.

Plot 4. 24 acres in the Parish Culmullen was occupied in 1854 by the representatives of James Reynolds was held in 1859 by Jeremiah Dunne until 1880 when it was leased to John Francis Bomford (see below 4A-D).

Plot 4A. 99 acres In the Parish Kilmore was also occupied by the representatives of James Reynolds was split into two farms in 1855 (4B and 4C).

Plot 4B. 46 acres were farmed by Francis Reynolds who was still there in 1898 when his rent was £46.

Plot 4C. 53 acres belonged to Mrs Jane Barry in 1855. In 1859 the Lessor was changed from George to John Francis Bomford and the occupier was Peter Barry. In 1864 the occupier was Daniel O’Brien, then in 1878 both the lessor and the occupier was John Francis Bomford.

Plot 4D. In 1881 the 53 acres of 4C were combined with the 24 acres of 4; these 78 acres were leased by George Bomford to John Francis Bomford in the deed dated 20th January 1881 (1881, Vol 5, No 83) at a rent of £100 for 31 years or three lives, the lives of:

Bounded on the north by the farm of Peter Lenehan deceased, on the south by Mullagh, in the east by part of Baltrasna occupied by William Hickey (he does not appear on any list but may be a tenant of that part of Baltrasna which the Winter’s of Agher owned), on the north-west by part of Baltrasna occupied by Patrick Reynolds deceased, and on the south-west by Kilmore townland, the property of George Bomford. George’s signature was witnessed by his son, Robert Laurence Bomford and by Charles Reilly, both of Oakley Park. John Francis’ signature was witnessed by William Shaw and by his coachman, Thomas Pattison, both of Drumlargan.

On 17th April 1881 John Francis mortgaged his lease of these 78 acres to Christopher Barry of Little Ardrums, south of Agher, a grazier and sales master for a loan of £250 with the principal sum of £400. This mortage was drawn up by John Thomas Hinds the solicitor, and the memorial, which goes with it, was witnessed by John Francis’ sister, Anne Bomford of Oakley Park.  (1881 Vol 15, No 212, and Vol 16 No 107) 

In 1882 the occupier was recorded as Christopher Barry who had also given John Francis another large mortgage in 1880, but more of that later.

Plot 5.   9 acres. Thomas Maguiness occupied these 9 acres in 1854 and he was there in 1859 but no later record appears.

Plot 6.   37 acres. John Duffy occupied this in 1854. George Bomford gave him a new lease dated 27th April 1867 for 31 years at a rent of £41.10.0, which would take him to 1898. The 37 acres were in two parcels, 20 and 17 acres. The 20 acres were bounded on the north by James Gavagan (No 8) on the east by John Byrne (No 9), on the south by John Reilly (No 13), and on the west by Carraghtown: The 17 acres were bounded on the north by Peter Lenehan (No 3), on the east by Woodtown, on the south by William Hickey, (see 4D), and on the west by John Daly (a new name). The lease was witnessed by John Francis and Charles Reilly, and drawn up by John Thomas Hinds.

Plot 7.  87 acres belonged to John Gavagan in 1854. The Hussys gave John a lease in April 1832 of the 89 acres which his father, Simon Gavagan, had before him at a rent of £86.17.0 for 41 years or three lives; one of the lives was John’s son, William Gavagan then aged 4. In 1859 the land was occupied by John Lawless so the Gavagans must have died out or moved away.

Plot 8.  6 acres belonged to James Carroll in 1854, but in 1859 he only had one rood, just enough to contain a cottage and a small garden. In 1898 Thomas Goodwin had this rood of land.  The remainder of the 6 acres was taken over in 1859 by James Gavagan.

Plot 9.   17 acres. In 1854 these belonged to John Byrne who was still there in 1873, but then they drop out of the picture.

Plot 10.   1 acre consisted of a cottage and a garden belonging to Thomas Mulvany in 1854 and he was there in 1859. In September 1886 the Sanitary Authority of the Poor Law Union of Dunshaughlin purchased one rood of his land compulsorily from J. Mulvany; the Union paid £1 rent for this to the Bomfords. The Mulvanys were mentioned in Arbella Bomford’s accounts of 1898 when their rent was £2.

Plot 11.  1 acre. Thomas Cummins had a cottage and a garden here in 1854. He was there in 1859 after which there is no further record.

Plot 12.   ½ of an acre  consisted of a cottage and a garden occupied in 1854 by William Carroll. He was still there in 1886 when the Dunshaughlin Union made a compulsory purchase of one rood of his land; the rent paid by the Sanitary Authority was £1 paid to the Bomfords. In 1902 the whole plot was taken over by the Rural District Council, Dunshaughlin.

Plot 13. 57 acres this was in 1854 leased to Christopher Coffey. Back in 1793 John Hussey leased this plot to Robert Kerran for 41 years at a rent of  £35.6.3; then in 1826 the Hussy’s leased it to Michael Coffey at a rent of, £54.14.6 for 31 years; in 1834 James Coffey, corn and hay factor of North King Street, Dublin, took over the lease. Christopher Coffey must have died before 1859 because that year it was in the hands of Margaret Coffey.

On 21st April 1861 this plot was leased by George Bomford to John Reilly for 31 years at a rent of £60. The farm was bounded on the north by John Duffy (plot 6), on the east by Mullagh, on the south by what might be read as Coxtown and on the west by Leonardstown.

Plot of 57 acres not included in the 1854 survey. My guess is that this was part of the 87 acres of Plot 7, which drops out of the picture sometime after 1859. On 7th August 1873 these 57 acres were leased to John Reilly for 31 years at a rent of £61.4.0. Culmullen bound it on the north, on the east by Bogganstown and Woodcocktown, on the south by Leonardstown, and on the west by the lands of John Duffy (plot 6) and John Byrne (plot 9). These bounds are different to the 57 acres of plot 13 which were also leased to John Reilly. There were in fact two men named Reilly as the following letter from George Bomford to his son John Francis informs us. The letter was written on 7th August 1873, the same date as the lease, from Oakley Park.

My dear John I have no objection to give Mr John Reilly the lease you mention. I hope it will be in time. I was about to write to you when he came to the door. I will not give the other Mr Reilly any lease. I should have written to you sooner but have been obliged to have an adjourned Petty Sessions in Kells yesterday as we could not get the cheque which the porter got from Miss Smith on Monday in consequence of the Bank Holiday. The porter was sent to Trim for six months with hard labour.

I remain your affectionate father George Bomford.

There are no clues as to who “the other Mr Reilly” might be except that George did not consider him a suitable person to have a lease, and so John Reilly now had two different plots each of 57 acres on Baltrasna.

As a Justice of the Peace George acted as the judge in Petty Sessions at the Courthouse in Kells and the letter gives an interesting insight to the duties. It sounds as though the porter embezzled Miss Smith’s money.

The letter is surrounded with the thick black mourning edges, which were used so much in the Victorian era. It was most probable that the family were mourning the loss of George’s son in India Samuel Stephen aged 31. The Suez Canal had been opened in November 1869, three and a half years before but, even so, mail took about six months from India, most of it still travelling in sailing ships around the Cape of Good Hope. Samuel died on 22nd August 1872 so it would be February or even March the next year before they heard of it at Oakley Park.

29.5.1  Rents from Baltrasna and Knockstown

Using the later leases of Baltrasna the average rent is £1.1.6 an acre, or nearly £516 for a year. This figure confirms that the £870, covering rent collected by Andrew Lenehan as recorded in plot 3A above, must have included Knockstown and that the balance of £354 must be the rent of Knockstown. In 1825 the rent from Knockstown came to £312.10.2 so the figure of  £354 is reasonable.

Gross rent to George Bomford:

The head rent on Baltrasna was £6, paid to Trinity College, Dublin.

29.6  Cluide  Survey  of 1854

1854 Survey in the Parish of Smarmore, Co Louth, George Bomford is the ‘Immediate Lessor’.

Occupier Description Acres Rateable Valuation
      Land Buildings

Laurence Fedigan

House, Offices, Land

7

£8.  0.0

£0.10.0

William Corbally

-do-

11

13.  0.0

0.10.0

Michael Corbally

House, Offices, Garden, Land

7

6.15.0

0.  9.0

Totals 

 

25

£27.15.0

£1.  9.0

 

There is nothing more to add at this stage about this little townland which is isolated from all the other Bomford properties and sited south of Ardee in Co Louth. It appears to have been trouble-free and so there was little or no correspondence about it. Around 1828 the rents collected amounted to £34.12.4.

29.7  Rattin  Survey of 1854

1854 Survey in the parish of Killucan Co Westmeath, George Bomford is the ‘Immediate Lessor’.

Occupier Description Acres Rateable Valuation
      Land Buildings

Reverend

Land

54

£12.  0.0

 

John

Offices, Land

129

£92.10.0

£1.15.0

Fetherston-Haugh

House, Offices, Land

522

£326.  5.0

£10.10.0

 

Bog

218

£1.  0.0

 

Totals 

 

923

£431.15.0

£12.  5.0

 

29.7.1  Clonfad  Survey  of  1854

Adjacent to Rattin in the Parish of Killucan, George Bomford is the ‘Immediate Lessor’.

Occupier Description Acres Rateable Valuation
      Land Buildings

Patrick Curran

House, Land

21

£4.10.0

£0.15.0

John Judge

-do-

1

£0.  7.0

£0.  5.0

Mary Farrell

Land, Bog

52

£3.  0.0

 

George Beglan

-do-

14

£2.10.0

 

Thomas Glennon

House, Offices, Land

15

£3.10.0

£0.10.0

Christopher Dardis

Offices, Land, Bog

94

£30.10.0

£0.15.0

Thomas Fagan

House, Land

7

£2.  0.0

£0.10.0

William Cunningham

Land

23

£6.15.0

 

Bridget FitzSimons

House, Offices, Land

18

£5.  8.0

£0.12.0

Patrick Connor

-do-

25

£9.10.0

£0.10.0

Thomas Gaynor

-do-

16

£5.10.0

£0.15.0

Michael Flynn

-do-

53

£42.10.0

£2.  0.0

James Cleary

Offices, Land

94

£87.10.0

£1.  0.0

Totals

 

433

£203.10.0

£7.12.0

 

There is a considerable number of letters and accounts concerning Clonfad and Rattin during the second half of the 1800s, and Clonfad in particular was a typical Irish estate suffering rent problems and evictions consequent upon the social and economic climate of the time. George had mortgaged Clonfad and John Francis, who came into Clonfad in 1861, inherited the mortgage. The interest had to come from the rents, which on paper were sufficient, though in fact were insufficient because the rents were paid in arrears, in some cases a number of years in arrears. John Francis was in a difficult position; he could not sell the place, even if he wanted to, because the prices were so bad for encumbered (mortgaged) estates, and he could not redeem the mortgage because he did not have the money which, one imagines, was spent educating his seven boys. It became a question of muddling through and hoping that the harvests would be good so that the tenants could pay their rent so that, in turn, he could pay the mortgage interest. In fact the harvests of 1879 and 1886 were disastrous and the wretched tenants fell even further behind in their payments.

However there are really two subjects here, the question of the rent and that of the mortgage and, although it is these two subjects which makes Clonfad so typical of the times, it is more convenient if they are treated separately, and more convenient if the narrative is carried beyond George’s death to the sale of Clonfad and Rattin.

First the question of the rents and a bit of historical background.

1708 - the Head Landlord was Francis Heaton who re-leased Clonfad to Thomas Bomford (c1651 - l740) at a rent of £135 for 1,168 statute acres. Clonfad may have been a Bomford property since about 1677.

1710 - two years later Francis Heaton leased neighbouring Rattin to Thomas fee farm forever at a rent of £66 for 460 statute acres.

1740 - both places were surveyed and came out at 1,027 statute acres, rather than the original 1,628 acres. This does not necessarily mean that the original figure was very wrong since rents were paid for usable land, and the bog land may not have been included. Rattin, for instance, contained at least 218 acres of bog, which is the northern end of the Bog of Allen and for which, in 1854, the Rev John Fetherston-Haugh paid a rent of only £1.

In 1740 Thomas Bomford leased both properties to James Tyrrell at a rent of £260, and the Tyrrell family remained there until about 1830. When Thomas died the lands were passed firstly to Edward of Hightown (c1660 - 1756) and then on his death to Stephen the younger of Rahinstown (c1722 - l806). From about this date there is no further mention of the Head Landlord and Stephen probably took over both places outright.

1806 - on Stephen’s death the property passed to George the elder of Drumlargan (1759 - 18l4) who leased most of Clonfad to Samuel Dopping in 1807.

1814 - When George died the land passed to his son George the younger, later of Oakley Park, then aged three.

From about 1825 the area of Clonfad and Rattin appeared to be rather odd, but a letter of 1903 clarified the mystery; it appeared that the townland boundaries were adjusted and much of Rattin became Clonfad. This letter states that the old townland of Clonfad was leased to the Tyrrell family for a rent of £218.5.6 and the old townland of Rattin was leased for £236.16.6, actually the figures were the other way around.

About 1830 the Rev John Fetherstonhaugh (1796-1874) either inherited or took over the lease of Rattin after John Tyrrell died, and it must have been about this time that the boundaries were changed. This brings us up to date with the 1854 survey. Incidentally in 1826 John Fetherstonhaugh of Griffinstown, Co Westmeath, married the Hon Susan Maria Massey, 3rd daughter of the 3rd Lord Massey, and so she was a sort of relation to Robert and Maria (Massey) Bomford of Rahinstown.

In 1835 there was trouble at Clonfad according to a letter from Myles O’Reilly, just after the young George had come of age; the harvest was “burned by malcontents’. There are no other details but this snippet of information does show that Clonfad was under the plough. The trend throughout Ireland at this time was to turn to pasture; this was cheap and more profitable from the landowner’s point of view because animals needed little labour and the market for beef was good. However the population was such that by turning to pasture and less labour-intensive cattle, large numbers of labourers were turned off the land. This caused much suffering since to find work the labourers had to wander the country, or even cross over to England; many of them gravitated to the already overcrowded towns.

29.7.2  John Francis Bomford becomes a Landlord  1861

In 1861 Clonfad and Rattin passed to John Francis Bomford and in 1865 the properties were settled on him. The two relevant deeds being:

4th February 1861  (1861 Book 9 No 81)

In accordance with the marriage settlement of 21st July 1832 (24.1), George Bomford of Oakley Park settles Clonfad on John Francis Bomford of Drumlargan, one of the younger sons of George Bomford, for the payment of £700 by John Francis Bomford.

19th April 1865  (1865 Book 13 No 147)

Between:

1.  George Bomford of Oakley Park, Kells.

2.  John Charles (mistake for Francis) Bomford of Oakley Park, a younger son of George Bomford.

3.  John Thomas Hinds of 28 Westmoreland Street, Dublin, solicitor.

Reciting:

1. The settlement of 21st July 1832 on the marriage of George Bomford and Arbella Winter (24.1) in which George Bomford leased to the trustees the land of Clonfad in the Barony of Farbill to raise the sum of £4,000.

2. The marriage settlement of the previous George Bomford dated 21st March 1809 (18.8.4) in which the lands were entailed except for Clonfad, which could be given to a younger son.

3. That John Francis Bomford was one of the younger sons and was aged over 21 and that he was granted the lands of Clonfad.

This Memorial records that Clonfad now belongs to John Francis Bomford.

Only Clonfad is mentioned in these deeds but John Francis also got Rattin.

29.7.3  Tenants and Rents of Clonfad and Rattin  1854 -1903

Most of the documents concerning Clonfad cover the period 1869 to 1903, and all are addressed to John Francis who was living initially at Oakley Park but by 1870 had moved to Drumlargan, and remained there until 1900. In some cases the tenant’s rents were given but here the valuation amounts are given as we can trace them more constantly from the Valuation Office records in Ely Place, Dublin. It is often difficult to follow some of the changes because the system used was a colour code; each year had a different colour, but now the inks have faded making it difficult to decide on the correct year. The Griffith’s Valuation of 1854 is listed in the first column and the valuation figures are for the land only.

Parish Clonfad

Occupier Acres 1854 1869 1871 1876 1882 1897 1903

Patrick Curran

21

£4.10.0

-

-

-

£4.  9.0

£4.  9.0

£4.  9.0

John Judge (Cathy Judge in 1869, later Christopher Judge)

1

£0.  7.0

£0.10.0

-

-

£0.11.0

£0.  6.0

£0.10.0

Mary Farrell  (later James and then Thomas Farrell)

52

£3.  0.0

-

-

-

£3.  2.0

£3.  2.0

£3.  0.3

George Beglan (later Thomas Hughes)

14

£2.10.0

£2.13.2

-

£4.0.0

£3.10.0

£3.10.0

£3.  7.9

Thomas Glennon

15

£3.10.0

-

-

-

£3.14.6

£3.14.6

£3.11.6

Christopher Dardis (later split between Richard and John Dardis)

94

£30.10.0

-

£21.  0.0

-

£34.11.9

£29.12.0

£29.14.0

Thomas Fagan (later Thomas Whelihan)

7

£2.  0.0

£2.15.0

£2.10.0

-

£2.  2.6

£2.  2.6

£2.  0.9

William Cunningham (Mrs in 1876, then William again)

23

£6.15.0

-

-

£10.0.0

£7.10.0

£6.15.0

£6.15.6

Bridget FitzSimons (later Patrick FitzSimons)

18

£5.  8.0

£7.10.0

-

-

£6.  0.0

£5.  5.0

£5.  5.6

Patrick Connor (later John Connor, JFB’s bailiff paid £3 pa.)

25

£9.10.0

£12.0.0

-

-

£10.  4.0

£9.  5.0

£9.  5.0

Thomas Gaynor (later Martin Gaynor)

16

£5.10.0

-

-

-

£7.  4.0

not included

Michael Flynn

53

£42.10.0

-

£56.  0.0

-

£51.18.4

£51.  0.0

not included

James Cleary The Deer Park, includes ‘his man’ W.  Kelly (later Thomas Cleary)

94

£87.17.0

£122.7.0

-

-

£123.  7.2

£112.  0.0

£162.12.0

John Mangan (new name)

?

-

-

£1.0.0

£2.0.0

£1.  4.0

£1.  4.0

£1.  3.3

 

Parish Rattin but listed as Clonfad

Occupier Acres 1854 1869 1871 1876 1882 1897 1903

Reverend John Fetherston-Haugh

218 of bog

£1.  0.0

-

-

-

£3.0.0

£3.0.0

not included

Reverend John Fetherston-Haugh

705

£430.15.0

-

-

-

not investigated

The total valuations for these years amounted to:

Year Valuation

1854

£635.12.0

1869

£675.15.2

1871

£684.10.0

1876

£686.  2.0

1882

£693.  4.3

1897

£666.  5.0

1903

£662.  8.6

 

It is not possible to average out the valuation per acre and so determine the amount received in rent, because much of the land was bog; for instance Mary Farrell’s plot of 52 acres was valued at £3 and Michael Flynn’s plot of the same size was valued at about £50, the former must have been largely bog whereas the latter would have been good ground. However these figures do show that the mortgage interest of £150 a year was a feasible proposition at the time when the mortgage was taken out.

It can be seen that there was an increase in the valuation, and so probably the rents, up to 1882 and then a fall. This downward trend was largely brought about by the Land League, an organisation of tenants founded by Michael Davitt that was intended originally to deal with the problems of high rents and evictions. But the agitation was political as well, and it derived much of its strength from the support of the Fenians. Unrest over rents was such that in 1881 the Government made provision for the settlement of rents in land courts. The judicial settlement of rents was necessarily downwards in the social and economic conditions of the time, and, after a court hearing at Mullingar in April 1891, the rents of Clonfad were judicially set.

29.7.4  The Gaynor Valuation

However John Francis did not wait for the organisation of the land courts to come into operation. In 1884 James C. Trench valued the land, and there are two letters from him.

14th  June 1884  

Dear Mr Bomford

I have not the Ordnance Map of Clonfad, but in the copy of my valuation report sent to you (which is now missing) I notice under Matthew Gaynor: -

Irish acreage 2.0.0, rate per acre 22/-, £2.4.0, nice field, 8 inches resting on black gravel, part good upland, and part mossy, detached piece.

There may be trifle more than 2 Irish acres in it, scaling from your tracing, say £2.10.0 for the field. I shall go down and value Cleary’s farm as soon as I can get a free day, which I trust will be the week after next. 

James C. Trench.

I can not match Matthew Gaynor’s plot with any in the rent list. However another letter, from Mary Gaynor dated 18th November 1884, confirms that Martin Gaynor’s rent was £5 and Matthew’s £2, making the £7 listed as Martin’s 16 acres.

Mary Gaynor’s letter is so natural that one can almost hear the shouting that went on between her, her husband and his brother, and it was this strife which caused it to be written to Elinor, John Francis' wife.

Dear Lady Bompford

Please let me know did Mr Michail Flynne pay your Ladyship 2 years rent for me as it anoyes me very much that I got no receite or no answer about it and there is great contension between my husband and his Brother that I dont own one perch of the ground and let me know who does Mr Bompford Demand the rent of - is it me or Matt

I remain your obed

Mary Gaynor

Please Lady Bompford I depend on your Ladyship not to delay in letting me know.

On the back of the letter John Francis has written a draft of his reply dated 22nd November 1884 from Dungannon:

Mr Flynn paid 2 yrs rent at Mr Trench’s valuation which cleared your farm to 1st November 1882. I shall give you a proper receipt when next in Clonfad. Send me now £5 a year’s rent to 1st November 1883. Your husband’s brother has nothing to do with the farm.

No doubt that put the brother Matt in his place; but they were not paid up as Mary thought, they were over a year in arrears.

29.7.5  Cleary Valuation

Trench did go back and value Cleary’s farm a month later and an extract from his valuation reads:

21st July 1884

Very nice grass farm, all good feeding land, the Deer-park enclosed within high walls being the best of it. No waste, and water obtainable on the lands, which are capable of fattening stock. Nice slated dwelling house and offices unoccupied, not valued.

The acreage came out at 92 statute acres. The Deer park is shown on the ordnance map and is all that remains of the ancient Clonfad Monastery. John Francis has noted that the house and yard should have been valued. It seems that James Cleary lived elsewhere, perhaps at Kilpatrick (see below), and that his man, W. Kelly, looked after the place.

The only lease to be found for these Clonfad tenants is for this farm of James Cleary dated 13th October 1869:

George Bomford of Oakley Park leases to James Cleary of Kilpatrick 58 plantation acres (94 statute) of Clonfad known as the Deer Park for 31 years at a rent of £122. The land is bounded on the:

Witnessed by: John F. Bomford; William Bolton; and Thomas McDonnell.

It is likely that the Cleary and Flynn families took over a portion of the Dopping lease which was not renewed in 1838 (18.8.1); the dates match nicely, 1838 plus a 31 year lease comes to 1869, and this lease of another 31 years will be up in 1900. Michael Flynn was not included in the 1903 rent list and it looks as though his 53 acre farm was taken over by Cleary since his rent was increased by the £50, which Flynn used to pay.

29.7.6  Other Valuations and some Politics

A letter of 14th April 1891 gives more details of the tenant’s farms.

My dear Bomford [John Francis]

I have been over Clonfad these two days. Butler had to go to bury his Aunt. I send with your papers a copy of the Ordnance Sheet with the boundaries marked [now missing].

“Farrell [52 acres] has in his possession all the plot of rough grazing lying between the road and Currans [21 acres] holding, also a triangular plot on the extreme north of the townland. These together correspond with the certificate of valuation.

Glennon says the large field south of his holding, marked into his holding on your map, is not his, it would take this field to make up his area of 15 acres, the part I have marked in for him is about 10 acres….

Dardis says the cottage at the south western corner of his holding is a freehold, not included in his farm. He does not care to have turf.

Mangan has built a second house on his holding. So also has Curran.

I had two months in Mayo at the potatoes. Very troublesome work it was. I had to see after the picking of 500 tons in places 60 miles apart and no railways. I was a great deal knocked up and when I went home for vacation the Doctor ordered me to bed. He feared an attack on my lungs. I was not fit to return to work here [Mullingar] till 9th. However I am all right again.

The row among the Nationalists has given the land purchase bill an easy passage. I have not heard what appointments are likely to be made under it, do you know anything of it.

Very Truly your

Hugh V. Simpson.

“The row among the Nationalists” refers to Parnell and the National League, and their liaison with Gladstone and the Liberals. In 1890 the prospects for home rule had never seemed brighter because the Liberals would almost certainly win the coming election; but before the year was out Parnell’s career lay in ruins and his party had been shattered. This sudden reversal arose out of Parnell’s private life. A long-standing liaison with Mrs O’Shea (see Trevor Napier Bomford, 26.6.1), the wife of one of his followers, resulted in an action for divorce, in which Parnell was cited as the co-respondent. He offered no defence and in November 1890 the verdict was given against him. Victorian Britain could tolerate sexual immorality in its statesmen provided it was decently disguised; but on this open admission of guilt the Liberals demanded that Gladstone should repudiate all alliance with the Irish party. Parnell was urged to resign but obstinately refused to do so. The result was that his party was split and this was “the row among the Nationalists”.

The Liberal Party leader Gladstone with Parnell favoured Home Rule for Ireland, whereas the Conservatives under Salisbury favoured land purchase for their Irish policy. A pamphlet of February 1870, amongst the documents, titled “A correct report of the speech of the Rt Hon W. E. Gladstone on proposing the Irish Land Bill”, makes interesting reading and shows how skilfully Gladstone presented an unpleasant pill to the landed interest, but history now maintains that as a Bill it was a failure. As with all landlords, George Bomford was vitally interested but he could hardly argue against the two main provisions of the Act relating to security of tenure and compensation for improvements by the tenants. Twenty years later the Land Purchase bill, introduced by Balfour, which had ‘an easy passage’, was to guarantee an advance of £33 million to be loaned to tenants who wished to purchase their land. The result was not a great success since the tenants were discouraged from purchasing by the complicated nature of the new financial arrangements, and the landlords from selling by the fact that they were to be paid, not in cash, but in Land Stock redeemable in thirty years.

The administration of such a bill would give additional employment to many throughout the country and such employment would fall into the hands of land agents like Hugh Simpson and indeed to Land Commissioners like John Francis.

Although it must seem that John Francis was singularly uninformed about what went on at Clonfad, it must be remembered that he was travelling the country on the Land Commission and, even if he did have the time, it was a good 20 miles to Clonfad from Drumlargan; this distance would be a hard four hour ride on horseback which would in turn mean a night stop in some doubtful inn. It is understandable that he was not aware of the situation and would employ someone else to investigate the land and communicate by post at a penny a letter. However the following letter from his bailiff dated 10th October 1903 shows another method of exchanging views with his tenants and of getting home the same day.

Sir

I received your welcome letter, and I am very glad we are all going to meet your Honnor at Killucan Station on Tuesday next at the time you appointed, as I have gone round and told all the tenants.

your Obedient Servant

John Connor..

29.8  Census of Ireland   1871

The comparison of the three decades in the 1871 census of the number of houses and the population of George’s lands show comparative stability when compared to the west or south-west of Ireland; but even here the population shows a steady drop after the famine of 1846-9, which reflects the exodus from the land to the towns, and by emigration to America and England. Those foreigners travelling the country after 1850 all remark that the population consisted mainly of old people and young children; there were practically no young men or to a lessor extent young girls about; they had all left the country to find work elsewhere.

The numbers of houses of the 1854 valuation are shown in brackets alongside the 1851 census figure; the townlands of Oakley Park, Baltrasna and Knockstown were totally owned by George, whereas he only owned portions of the townlands of Drumlargan, Clonfad and Rattin; this accounts for the differences in the number of houses in the latter townlands. The census of Cluide was not found.

Houses 1841 1851 (1854) 1861 1871

Oakley Park

17

13

(13)

11

14

Drumlargan

18

17

(6)

15

18

Baltrasna

15

14

(14)

13

10

Knockstown

5

5

(5)

7

8

Clonfad

23

19

(10)

11

14

Rattin

12

13

(0)

15

17

Totals 

90

81

(48)

72

81

 

Population 1841 1851 (1854) 1861 1871

Oakley Park

104

86

 

87

84

Drumlargan

102

84

 

78

87

Baltrasna

81

65

 

67

41

Knockstown

42

32

 

29

27

Clonfad

118

129

 

62

61

Rattin

79

86

 

100

86

Total

526

482

 

423

386

 

The number of persons in each house works out at close to 6 for the first 20 years, but just under 5 for 1871; this is lower than expected, but it was the young people who would emigrate.

It is worthy of note that on Oakley Park virtually all the wage earners would have been employed on the estate as there was no other employment in the vicinity, and that an estate of 740 acres could sustain between 80 and 90 people; something that it could not possibly do nowadays. The system employed later at Oakley Park, and there is no reason to suppose that it did not happen in George’s time, was that a drill or two of potatoes for each household was planted and harvested with the main crop; similarly a bag of flour or grain was given out; at Christmas a beast was slaughtered and the various cuts apportioned to each family. There was no turf on the estate but the families were free to gather sticks or any fallen branches from the woods; the nearest turf bog was about two miles away and George rented a strip of Emlagh Bog for the house fires.

When that basic food grown by George is added to whatever the cottage garden and poultry produced, it can be seen that the cottagers did not fare too badly and indeed were comparatively happy and settled. The same cannot be said for the tenant farmers and their labour at, for instance Baltrasna: they were on their own and had no ‘big house’ to fall back on for help. Some of the landlords were uninterested and so were termed by the local people ‘bad’: they were only interested in getting their rents and cared little for their labour; it is of the sad plight of their labour about which one reads.

By the time George arrived at Oakley Park all his labour probably spoke English. However at the time of the harvest when extra labour came from the west, some of them would have been Irish speakers and so George must have had some knowledge of that language. English was more widely spoken in the eastern counties than those in the west, but during the previous century (the 1800s) much more Irish was spoken throughout the land. Stephen of Gallow, for instance, must have been able to converse in Irish in order to communicate with his labour. The 1841 Census revealed that Irish was still the common language of the majority and in 1834 Dr Cantwell wrote, “There are some good Irish scolars in the neighbourhood of Kells; it is the language of the people of that country”.

In 1831, when the first National School curriculum was introduced, the Irish language was excluded, oddly enough on the recommendation of the priests who were afraid that it might become the secret language of the Protestant Societies; as a result knowledge of Irish was soon restricted to isolated parts of the West and southwest of the country. It was not until 1944 that Irish was taught compulsorily in the National Schools to save it from becoming a dead language; however the means by which it was introduced was poor and unfair to some, indeed it set many people against the language.

29.9  The Neville mortgage of Clonfad

On 27th April 1865 Robert Neville went to court and got a judgement against George Bomford for £6,000.  What happened previously is conjecture, but there must have been a mortgage, probably for £3,000, which George took out some years before. The judgement for £6,000 sounds to be the penal, or default, figure for a £3,000 mortgage.

Also in April 1865 Clonfad, was settled on John Francis. Some of the money was recovered from the judgement and no doubt was paid by George; however the remaining amount was inherited by John Francis who took out a new mortgage with Robert Neville for £ 3,000 at 5% interest or £150 a year. The two relevant deeds read:

6th June 1884  1884 Book 29 No 98 & 99)

In the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench, between Robert Neville of Rockfield House, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, Plaintiff and George Bomford of Oakley Park, Defendant.

Robert Neville swears that on 27th April 1865 he got a judgement against George Bomford for £6,000. He was then a Major in Her Majesty’s 41st Regiment of Infantry and is now retired.

Some of the money was recovered from the 1865 judgement but the sum of £3003.1.11 remains outstanding, (in 1884, the date of the deed).

Now the defendant is John Francis Bomford of Oakley Park, a sub-commissioner under the Land Court. Robert Neville claims from him the sum of £3,003.1.11, which is still outstanding.

20th April 1865  (1865 Book 13 No 148)

With the approval of George Bomford of Oakley Park, John Francis Bomford also of Oakley Park mortgages the land of Clonfad for £3,000 to Robert Neville, Major of Her Majesty’s 41st (Welsh) Regiment of Infantry.

29.9.1  The Neville Family

The Neville family first appear in Co Wexford near Gorey as early as 1247, but they sided with Silken Thomas, the son of the Earl of Kildare, in an uprising and their land was forfeited in 1535.

Robert was the 3rd son of Brent Neville, a merchant of Dublin and Sheriff there in 1810. Robert was born in 1824 and joined his regiment in 1843. He served in the Crimea and at Scutari, became a major and retired to Rockfield at Ballybrack, Co Dublin. In 1857 he married Emma, who died in 1916, the only surviving child of William Helsham Candler-Brown of Tilney in Norfolk; she inherited land in Ireland, mostly near Callon, Co Kilkenny. They had two sons and two daughters. It was their eldest son, Colonel William Candler Neville, who bought 443 acres of Clonfad in 1913; The Colonel was born in 1859 and saw service in the Burmese Expedition arid in the South African War in which he received the DSO in 1900.

29.9.2  Clonfad Unable to Sustain Interest

So Clonfad, and maybe Rattin as well, was mortgaged for £3,000 at 5% interest. The interest had to be found from the tenants' rents and since the valuation of the land came to over £650 a year, there should have been easily enough to cover £150 a year; the trouble was that many of the tenants were behind in their payments, some being in arrears by a number of years, and there was little hope that they would ever catch up. Under these circumstances the full amount of the interest was not paid and Robert Neville took the Bomfords to court, firstly George and then John Francis. There is reference to another court case at some date before 1888 when the Chancery Division of the High Court appointed a receiver for Clonfad. He was William James Roe of 11 Westland Row, Dublin, and many of his accounts are included in the documents.

Roe took over the rent collection and was tough with the tenants who had not paid. By April 1899 there had been three evictions, or, as the documents call them, “ejectments”; the first one was in June 1888 and the other two in 1899 in January and March. The landlord had to bear all the costs and these three evictions cost John Francis £10.3.0.

Nevertheless there was no easy solution; the tenants simply did not have the money as they were still suffering from yet another bad harvest of 1886. In October 1888 interest payments had fallen behind by £121.17.6; in June 1889 more money was found but £75.10.0 was still overdue; by 1892 payments had again lapsed by a whole year’s interest of £150.

Naturally there were a number of letters of complaint from Robert Neville to John Francis, and the most enlightening one is dated 26th December 1892.

My dear Sir,

I called upon Mr Roe for the interest, all he had is £15. It is quite evident Clonfad cannot make the interest due and it is running into arrears. Unless you can arrange matters I must allow Messrs Moore (Neville’s solicitors) to wind it up. I do not wish to give you any trouble or Law Expenses but I cannot do without the interest, there is a year due now….”

There is reference in a deed of 9th June 1899 concerning the Hinds mortgage (31.4) to a Land Judge Order of 14th November 1894, which concerns the Neville mortgage of £3,000. The figure quoted is £3,236.5.9, the additional £236.5.9 being court charges which have mounted up. The interesting thing is that the mortgage was due on Drumlargan, so it is apparent that the lands concerned were enlarged and were Clonfad and Drumlargan. However this is the only reference to Drumlargan in the Neville mortgage.

In 1895 the Court instructed Claude Chaloner of King’s Fort which lies immediately to the north of Oakley Park to carry out an independent valuation. Naturally John Francis had to bear all the costs and Chaloner’s fee of £7.7.6 appears in Roe’s accounts.

In 1897 the receiver, Roe, produced accounts which showed that the tenants were in arrears to a total of £236.15.9, and as a result he recommended that two tenants ‘be got rid of’, and one, John Dardis, was evicted in March 1899. Later accounts show that Robert Neville was receiving his interest and there were no more personal letters from him although there were letters from his solicitors.

26th May 1899 

Subject – Bomford’s Estate (Neville)

Dear Sir,

I had to evict John Dardis of Clonfad for non-payment of rent in March last. I have a caretaker in charge of the place. There will be of course some meadow on it which will be fit to be cut in July, do you know of anyone who would be likely to take it, or if not would it be possible for you to send some of your own men to cut and save it. The farm contains about 50 statute acres.

William J. Roe.

John Francis must have replied immediately because on 31st May another letter from Roe was written.

I am much obliged for yours of 30th, if I can effect a sale of the meadows on Dardis’ late farm I will do so. I have not heard that Judge Ross has decided anything so far about the sale of Clonfad.

So there were three evictions from Clonfad. It is not certain who the first two were, though I suspect that they were George Beglan and Thomas Fagan who had the only farms in which the names of the tenants were changed at about the right date. Christopher Dardis must have been the father of John and Richard Dardis, and when he died his farm was divided between the two brothers, one of whom, John, was evicted.

The first mention of a possible sale of Clonfad is in this last letter, but nothing was decided then; however four years later there is a letter from Neville’s solicitors (Moore, Keily and Lloyd). In May 1903 they suggest that a buyer might be found for the whole estate of Clonfad; they argued that a single buyer might be found to take over all the leases, whereas a number of purchasers would not look at the leases split into small lots, as they would consider them to be “undesirable investments”. This may well be true but the main problem was the system in operation at the time; that the purchaser of an encumbered estate took over the encumbrances; in other words the mortgage went with the land, as it did when John Francis took over Clonfad from his father.

John Francis must have considered the sale seriously because later in the year in September the solicitors write, “We are obliged for your letter of yesterday’s date and will be most happy to meet you for the purpose of conferring as to an advantageous sale of Clonfad estate.”

As already mentioned John Francis met the Clonfad tenants at Killucan Railway Station in October 1903. No doubt the question of a possible sale was the subject under discussion, and it very much looks as though John Francis recommended that the tenants purchase their own farms making use of the latest Land Purchase Bill of 1903, which was a great improvement on the previous bills of 1890 and 1896.

This new act, known as Wyndham’s Act, was passed in 1903 and proved most satisfactory to both sides. The landlords found that the price they received was substantially higher than those of the previous acts. The tenants had to pay less interest on their loan and had a longer period to pay it back, and the state rather than the tenants now paid the legal costs. The act encouraged the sale of whole estates when the landlord and three-quarters of the tenants agreed on a price, the sale could go through, the Land Commission would take over the landlord’s responsibilities to the tenants who did not wish to buy; finally when an entire estate was sold the landlord received a bonus equal to 12% of the total sale price.

In 1905 the records show that some of the holdings had been bought by the tenants, but only 113 acres so it is doubtful if the terms of Wyndham’s Act were met at that date. However by 1912 more holdings had been bought by tenants and perhaps the Act then came into force and the Bomfords got the bonus.

It is not clear just what happened, as there are no accounts after 1903. It is to be hoped that John Francis received some of the sale price before he died in 1911. The end of Clonfad is recorded in a document in the Land Commission Office dated 19th June 1913; it concerns the sale of 433 acres of Clonfad to William Candler Neville, executor of Robert Neville. The sale includes ‘a portion of Rattin’, but the map only shows Clonfad, and the portion that Neville bought was in the northwest corner from the Deer Park to the borders of Lowtown and Kilbride. The yearly rent from this area was £135 with a quit rent of £12.l3.0¾ .The farms of Flynn, Cleary and Curran were certainly in the sale but if a portion of Rattin was really included then not all of Clonfad was in the sale. However it can safely be said that two years after John Francis had died, his son George Lyndon successfully got rid of Rattin and Clonfad. Whether he got any money from Neville is doubtful, the estate was probably sold for the £3,000 mortgage money. Actually the valuation records show that George Lyndon sold one small plot as late as 1936 and another, the last, in 1956; but these dates are within living memory, the last one being after the death of George Lyndon, and none of the family recollect any property in Westmeath; it would seem that the Valuation Office records had not been updated correctly.

Clonfad was held by the Bomfords from about 1677 to 1913, a period of 236 years, and was the longest held of all the Bomford properties apart from Ferrans, passing through seven generations. Rattin was not held for so long as it was not acquired until 1710, but even so it was a Bomford property for 203 years.

Next Chapter: Chapter 30

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