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.

1841
1851
1861
1871
1881
1891
1901
1556
1482
1570
1352
1417
1303
1231

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.

Excel file listing the Heads of Households in the 1901 Census Returns. These two databases list the Head of Family of each house/property in Craigs [1901 & 1911]. Note that clicking on either the surname or the forename of each Head of Family in each database will take you to the National Archives website where you can see the detailed information on each family plus any other persons living in or visiting in that household on the night of the Census.
Excel file listing the Heads of Households in the 1911 Census Returns.
1851 Census for Townland of Craigs - Excel file - PDF file. Here is a rare opportunity to compare households in Craigs in 1815 and the early 1900s.
1862 Griffith's Printed [Tenement] Valuation - Pages - Maps. Names in this Valuation can be linked to some of the names in the 1851 Census and the 1901/1911 Census.
1863-c.1929 Griffith's Valuation Revision Field Books. [Online @PRONI] These books will allow you to link the names in the Valuation Books and the 1901/1911 Census - plus note changes.
1836 Townland Valuation - Pages - Maps. Note that persons living in houses valued at £3 or more are listed.
1825 Tithe Applotment Book - Excel file - PDF file. Lists landholders who paid Tithe. Names are listed in "geographical" order in both files.

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:

  • The north-western part of the townland is higher ground and as a result of this, some of the farms are much bigger.
  • There is the area in the eastern part of the townland [No. 127 in the Griffith's Valuation] which is dominated by the beetling mills of the linen industry located along the river Main. It also has housing associated with it. Is it a scattered village?
  • There is an area close by to 127 dominated by the church - the school - Hazelbank house, the residence of the local Church of Ireland clergyman, Alexander Kirkpatrick - the residence of the landlord built c.1867 by Edmund McNeill - and the mills and house of George Kilpatrick, son of the rector, near the church.
  • The rest of the townland forms the fourth area and there may be subdivisions within it that I have yet to find.

Having looked at the townland in the field I am not so sure that I now see it this way.

Copyright 2013 W. Macafee.