Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A Plot in Castlegore

A Valuation Map of 1862

Wikipedia gives the following introduction to the land valuation in Ireland in the Ninteenth Century:

'Griffith's valuation was a survey of Ireland completed in 1868. Richard John Griffith in1825 was appointed by Government to carry out a boundary survey of Ireland, by marking the boundaries of every county, barony, parish and townland in preparation for the first Ordnance Survey. He completed this boundary work in 1844. He was also called upon to assist in the preparation of a parliamentary Bill to provide for the general valuation of Ireland; the Act was passed in 1826, and he was appointed Commissioner of Valuation in 1827, but did not commence work in this capacity until 1830 when the 6" maps, essential to the project, became available from the Ordnance Survey. He served as Commissioner until 1868, during which period he also held a number of other public appointments, most notably, that of Chairman of the Board of Works. Griffith conducted two major valuation surveys. First, came the townland valuation, which was completed in the 1840s and second came the more detailed tenement survey which valued each individual property separately for the first time. The tenement valuations of County Dublin were the first to be published on 5th May, 1853 and the last were the valuations of county Armagh on 1st June, 1865. It was in Scotland that he first started to value land and spent two years in 1806-07 valuing terrain through the examination of soils and strata. In this manner he became familiar with what he called 'the Scotch system of valuation' and it was a modified version of this that he introduced into Ireland when he assumed the Office of Commissioner of Valuation.'

There are no fewer than twenty-four certain or possible clan valuations in Griffith's Valuation. They are in the following townlands, all in County Antrim: Andraid, Ballycloghan, Ballykeel, Ballymuckvea, Castlegore, Clementshill, Killygore, Kinbally, Maxwellswalls, Rathkenny, Slaght and Tullaghgarley.

The two adjacent townlands with more than any other, both in the parish of Connor, are Maxwellswalls and Castlegore. There are a number of interesting points to note. The landlord of six of the eight plots concerned was Viscount Masserene and Ferrard. As we will see in a later blog, he had been the landlord of all the McIlhaggo plots in the 1836 Tithe Applotment Book of Maxwellswalls. In 1862 the two exceptions were first one in Maxwellswalls where the landlord was William McElhagga, who rented to Alexander Galloway. William in turn rented two plots from Masserene. The second was in Castlegore where Henry McElhagga rented a small plot including a house and 2 acres 1 rood 5 perches of land from Francis Gardner (or Gardiner) whose large plot of 61 acres 1 rood 5 perches, rented from Massarene, surrounded Henry's. In 1864-6 the annual value of that large plot was £22.11.0 and the value of the house £1.0.0.

An entry in a later Griffith Revision Book for 1867-81 suggests that Francis Gardner's land had passed to Nathaniel McIlhagga and that the farm was being rented by James Boyd (who married Jane, daughter of William McIlhagga) and George Gardiner (sic) who appear to be co-tenants on a 50-50 basis. Henry's small plot, which can be seen in the middle of the map above, was either incorporated into James' half or had been taken over by James. On the farm were two dwelling houses, one for each tenant. This information kindly comes from my friend, the Boyd descendant, with whom I have been corresponding.

My last point for the moment about Maxwellswalls is that in addition, there are two plots for William McElhagga plus one where he is landlord; there is one plot for Henry McElhagga plus the small Castlegore plot that he rented from Gardiner; and there are two plots for John McElhagga plus one for a John whose name is spelled McElhaggan and who is called John Sr, which I take it means 'Senior'. The spelling McElhaggan appears only this once. Incidentally the Spelling McElhagan appears in Ballycloghan, Killygore and Kinbally.

In this situation the distinguishing 'Senior' probably implies two things. First, that whether the spelling is McElhagga or McElhaggan, surely the family is one and the same, but second, that there are two Johns. We can assume that they were not brothers, for it is a very rare thing for parents to give two brothers the same name! Therefore they were either cousins, one being older than the other, or more likely, they were father and son, or uncle and nephew. To the best of my knowledge John who was brother to Henry and William (the father of Jane, wife of James Boyd) had only daughters (Rose, Mary and Ellen). However Henry the third brother, had three sons, the eldest of whom was indeed John who was a farmer and who married Mary Houston. I think we may conclude therefore that of the three plots in Maxwellswalls rented from Lord Masserene by 'John' one was for 'Uncle' John, John Sr. (McElhaggan) and two were for nephew John (McElhagga) son of Henry. This certainly clarifies a couple of uncertainties in the Maxwellswalls Family Tree.


  1. Greetings! I have not long downloaded a will from the PRONI site, for Patrick Owens who died 28 May 1886. In addition to his farm at Castlegore, Patrick also includes the following:
    " I also leave and bequeath all my farm in Maxwellswall known as John McIlhaggo’s farm to my son John Owens he paying to my daughter Lizzie a principal sum of one hundred pounds sterling and to my granddaughter Margaret Charters McFall the principal sum of Fifty pounds sterling on her coming of age ......"

    One of Patrick's daughters - Jane Hay Owens was the grandmother of a friend of mine, but I have no further knowledge of or interest in the family. I found your blog because I was curious to know the location of "Maxwellswalls"
    best wishes Sylvia (in Sydney, Aus)

  2. Thank you Sylvia for this nice piece of information. I think that the farm rented by Patrick Owens in 1886 must have previously been rented by John McIlhaggo.