Townland of Craigs in the Parish of Craigs, Barony of Kilconway
There are many Craigs townlands throughout the province of Ulster. This particular Craigs is to be found in the Parish of Craigs within the Barony of Kilconway. All other townlands in Craigs Parish are in the Barony of Lower Toome. There is another townland of Craigs in the adjoining Parish of Rasharkin. It is also worth pointing out that Craigs Parish was only formed c.1840 out of the larger, and more ancient, Ahoghill Parish.
Craigs is also part of Dunminning DED [District Electoral Division] within the Ballymena Poor Law Union. It is important to be aware of DEDs when using the Griffith's Revision books from the 1860s and the 1901 and 1911 Census Returns.
These two maps set the townland of Craigs [and the townlands surrounding it] within the Baronies & Parishes and the Poor Law Unions & DEDs of this part of Co. Antrim. Incidentally, if you are looking for a townland anywhere in North or Mid Antrim you can use my Townlands in North and Mid Antrim and their Administrative Divisions database which you can access at the Administrative Divisions link in the top menu. See the results of a search below. Note that within the database the townlands are listed in alphabetical order.
Craigs is a very large townland - some 2,800 acres - almost four and a half square miles. The average size of the other townlands in Craigs parish range from c.300 acres to c.600 acres. The table below shows the population of the townland 1841-1901.
I became interested in this townland for three reasons. Firstly someone contacted me about the somewhat confusing administrative arrangements regarding Craigs and the townlands in this area of Co. Antrim. The second reason was a talk that I gave to the recently-formed Cullybackey and District Historical Society. The talk concentrated on the Griffith's Valuation - see my Introductory handout. The third reason was that I have always wanted to study a townland where the 1851 Census was available. Some years ago when I was researching the Population History of Ireland this townland was included in the study. However the approach I was using at that time was a statistical one. Now I am more interesed in studying the families and what happened to them in the period 1851-1911.
In the talk I looked, in particular, at the Printed [Tenement] Valuation of 1862 for Craigs and the subsequent Revision Books and I demonstrated how to link some of the properties in the Valuation Records with those in the 1901 Census Returns. In the table below there are links to these sources for Craigs plus some others that, for reasons of time, I was not able to examine in any details. Starting with the 1901 and 1911 Census Returns and the 1851 Census which is available for Craigs Townland. It is interesting, for example, to compare the occupations in 1851 and 1901/1911. The 1836 Townland Valuation and the earlier 1825 Tithe Book will allow you have a glimpse of the townland in the earlier years of the nineteenth century.
As well as looking at the "statistics" and general information generated by the valuation and census records, I tried to look at the changes through the eyes of some of the families living in Craigs at that time. I used the Wright family who lived in the north western part of the townland. They were farmers and their descendants are still there today. I also used the McCauley family who were handloom weavers. They lived in the southern part of the townland nearer to Cullybackey and their descendants now live in America. You may have families that you would want to research.
Although I am only beginning this study I get the impression that there are different localities within this townland:
Having looked at the townland in the field I am not so sure that I now see it this way.
Copyright 2013 W. Macafee.