Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Land Tenure

The earliest record I have of our clan having become tenants of land or of property in the Province of Ulster is in the mid-17th Century listing of the Hearth Money Rolls. These are followed in the mid-18th Century with some indentures on the Island of Magee, renting from Lord Dungannon. The next records are those listed in the Tithe Applotment Books of the 1820s and 1830s, particularly in the townlands of Ballycloghan and Eglish in the parish of Skerry. These are then followed by the records of the major land valuation in the 1860s by Griffith and as far as we are concerned are wider spread though still only in the part of the County of Antrim approximately between Larne and Ballymena.

We find the clan in four parishes in 'Griffith', two rural with 10 references in Connor and 7 in Skerry, and two each in the towns of Larne and Ballymena. The two Larne references may go back to earlier records of people in Islandmagee which is nearby. They refer to William McHaggar in 1861 in the parish of Ballynure, townland of Clementshill who rented a house and garden of 15 perches from Robert Parkhill, paying 2/- for the land and 13/- for the house. The second 1861 Larne reference is to George McIlhaigh renting a house, office, yard and garden in Newton Street, Townparks, of 23 perches to one Daniel McGonnell, who paid him 10/- for the land and £11.0.0 for the buildings. The first Ballymena reference is to the parish of Ahoghill, townland Tullaghgarley where in 1862 William McIlhagel rented a house for £1.5.0 from Samuel Curry. The second Ballymena reference is to Crawford McIltaggart renting a house and small garden for £1.10.0 at 6 Railway Street, Harryville in the townland of Ballykeel, in the parish of Ballyclug, from his landlord, Thomas Casement. Each of these four has its interest which I will pursue at another time. Do the Larne ones hark back to Islandmagee? Is the property in Townparks a business? Both Tullaghgarley and Harryville crop up in the 20th Century records, so is there perhaps a century of continuous occupation in Ballymena?

When we come to the rural parishes of Connor and Skerry, the basic distinction has to be made between those who rented land and property and those who just rented a house. We have six men who clearly were tenants farming, four in Connor all in the townland of Maxwell's Walls and two in Skerry, one in Kinbally and one in Rathkenny. We have seven people, 6 men and one woman, who are renting a house only, three in the parish of Connor, one each in the townlands of Slaght, Castlegore and Ballymuckvea; and four in the parish of Skerry, two each in the townlands of Killygore and Ballycloghan.

Of the two renting land and property in Skerry I have written about in my last blog, namely James McElhagan in Kinbally and Robert McElhag in Rathkenny. The four in Maxwell's Walls, Connor, were John, William and Henry McElhagga and John McElhaggan, senior, presumably the father of the other John, and may be of William and Henry also. The four 'house only' in Skerry I have written about in my last blog, John and William McElhagan in Ballycloghan and John and Mary McElhagan in Killygore. The three in Connor were James McHaggar in Slaght townland and Francis McIlhagga in both Castlegore and Ballymuckvea. Did Francis have two houses or were there two Francises?

The above is only a summary of Griffith Valuation, and from our clan's perspective it needs further analysis, which I will attempt as time permits, as do any references in subsequent Griffith Revision Volumes.

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