Rentals in the Townland of Halfgayne on the Bellaghy Estate

The townland of Halfgayne which is located in the parish of Maghera in the barony of Loughinsholin was part of the Vintners’ Estate that that was purchased by the Conolly family in 1729. See map of townlands on the Bellaghy estate. In this example you will see how rent rolls for this townland might help in the tracing of families here back to the eighteenth century.

Rentals of 1718 and 1729 showed that the entire townland of Halfgayne had been leased by a John Kerr at a rent of £4 per annum. He would then have sublet the land within the townland to tenants who were almost certainly Irish families. The townland was not granted as a perpetuity lease to Kerr in 1734. There is no further mention of the townland in leases or rent rolls until 1775/6 when it is listed with all of the other townlands in a rent roll of the estate at that date. Below are two tables showing the names of the tenants in the townland in 1775/6 & 1789 and in 1829, 1843 & 1860.

RENTALS 1775/76 & 1789 [PRONI: D2094/51 & 75]

Forename

Surname

Rent 1775/76

Forename

Surname

Rent 1789

Jas.

Cassidy & Co.

£8.3.9

Francis

McCowell

£3.5.1

 

 

 

Patrick

McCowell

£3.3.0

 

 

 

Thomas & Lau.

Cassidy

£6.10.3

Francis

Cassidy & Co.

£8.3.9

Francis

Cassidy

£4.19.9

 

 

 

Michl.

Bradley

£3.15.8

 

 

 

Widow

Cassidy

£4.9.3

Thos.

Dogherty & Co.

£8.3.9

Bryan

Madigan

£3.3.0

 

 

 

Michl.

Dougan

£2.1.0

 

 

 

Bernard

Reynolds

£3.4.0

 

 

 

Michl.

Dogherty

£2.17.9

 

Total Rent

£24.11.3

 

 

£37.8.9

The 1789 rent was a 54% increase on the 1775/78 rent.

RENTALS 1829, 1843 & 1860 [PRONI: D1062/1/2]

Forename

Surname

Rent 1829

Rent 1843

Rent 1860

Michael

Bradley

£3.0.6

£2.11.0

£2.8.0

Andrew Jun.

Bradley

£3.3.0

£2.11.0

£3.10.0

Patrick

Campbell

£4.5.10

£3.13.6

£4.5.0

Daniel

Campbell

£5.2.2

£4.9.0

£4.11.0

Lawrence

Cassidy

£5.10.10

£5.10.10

£11.4.0

John

Cassidy

£2.14.8

£2.6.0

£2.13.0

Brian

Cassidy

£3.10.8

£3.2.0

£4.10.0

Peter

Cassidy

£3.13.6

£3.2.0

£3.14.0

Daniel

Dogherty

£2.7.8

£2.7.8

£2.10.0

Micky

Dougan

£3.0.10

Ends 1842

 

Widow

Dougan

£3.0.8

£5.6.0

Ends 1859

Bernard

Henry

£2.18.4

£2.18.4

£3.11.0

Brian

Madigan

£2.9.6

Ends 1842

 

James

Madigan

£2.7.0

£4.4.0

£5.0.0

Patrick

McEldowney

£1.3.0

£1.3.0

£1.16.0

Bridget

McEldowney

£2.18.4

£2.18.4

£3.17.0

John

McKenna

£5.2.4

£4.6.0

£4.15.0

John

Toner

£2.7.6

£2.7.6

£2.7.0

 

Total Rent

£58.16.4

£52.16.2

£60.11.0

The 1829 rent was a 57 % increase on the 1789 rent.

I think the surname McCowell later became Campbell and McCampbell. I also suspect that after 1734 the tenants were probably given 21 or 31 year leases. Remember that until 1778 Roman Catholics could not hold leases of more than 31 years. By 1829 all tenants were tenants-at-will. Note also that the names listed for the nineteenth-century rents appear in the order that they are given in the rent book. In other words they are not matched, exactly, against the eighteenth century leases.

This list of names is useful in that it can be matched against other lists of names for the townland dating c. 1860, 1833 and 1831. The 1789 and 1775/6 lists are even more useful in that they take us back to a period when lists of Irish names are often difficult to find in the standard sources such as the 1740 Protestant Householders’ Returns, 1766 Religious Census and 1796 Flaxgrowers List. Furthermore, these standard sources do not always list names at townland level.

However, we must not forget that the names listed in eighteenth-century rent rolls are usually the names of the main leaseholders. Early rent rolls often only gave the name of the first name in the lease, the others are often referred to as & Co. Also, as the population grew during the second half of the eighteenth century and leases were renewed new farmers were added to the new lease.  Remember also that there were probably other families not listed in the rent roll who were sub-tenants of some of the lessees. Some of these were probably sons or brothers of the leaseholders.

By the nineteenth century landlords were less inclined to give long leases, instead tenants were treated as tenants-at-will, their tenancy lasting one year but usually renewed yearly. However, on some estates such tenants were easily evicted. This does not seem to have been the case, to any great extent, on the Bellaghy Estate, providing the rent was paid reasonably promptly.

The rent rolls for 1829, 1843 and 1860 reflect the fact that all tenants in the townland were tenants-at-will during this period. It is interesting to compare the names listed for this period in the table above with those listed in the 1831 Census Returns, the 1833 Tithe Applotment Book and the 1858/59 Griffith’s [Tenement] Valuation for the townland. The table below shows the names listed in the 1831 Census Returns and the 1833 Tithe Applotment for the townlandBook.

1831 CENSUS RETURNS [PRONI: MIC/5A/8]

 

 

 

1833 TITHE APPLOTMENT BOOK [PRONI: FIN/5A/176]

Forename

Surname

Families

Males

Females

Total

 

Forename

Surname

Acreage [approx.]

Lewis

Cassidy

1

3

3

6

 

Daniel

McCampbell

19.4

Bryan

Cassidy

1

2

4

6

 

Patrick

McCampbell

16.6

Peter

Cassidy

1

4

3

7

 

Patrick

McEldowney

6.9

Margt.

Bradley

1

1

3

4

 

Lawrence

Cassidy

31.6

Bridget

McEldowney

1

1

3

4

 

John

Cassidy

13.5

Patrick

McCampbell

1

2

1

3

 

Widow

McEldowney

17.0

John

Cassidy

1

4

5

9

 

Patrick

Mulholland

17.0

Lawrence

Cassidy

1

2

1

3 

 

Michael

Bradley

14.2

John

Cassidy

1

2

1

3

 

Andre

Bradley

14.2

Michael

Bradley

1

1

5

6

 

Bryan

Cassidy

15.0

Nancy

Bradley

Uninhabited

 

 

 

 

Peter

Cassidy

15.0

Bernard

Madden

1

1

1

2

 

John

Toner

9.0

James

Madden

1

1

3

4

 

Daniel

Dogherty

9.0

Jane

Kane

1

 

2

2

 

Bryan

Madigan

7.7

Michael

Doogan

1

3

4

7

 

James

Madigan

7.7

Margaret

Doogan

1

2

4

6

 

John

McKenna

17.0

John

McKenna

Uninhabited

 

 

 

 

Michael

Doogan

10.0

John

McKenna*

1

5

10

 

John

Doogan

10.0

John

Toner

1

1

4

5

 

 

 

 

Daniel

Doherty

1

1

2

3

 

 

 

 

Daniel

McCampbell

1

1

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

Total

19

37

 57

 95*

 

18 Landholders

 Total acreage

250.8

* One male servant was also living in the house of John McKenna.

Below is a copy of the page from the 1858/59 Griffith’s Printed [Tenement] Valuation relating to Halfgayne.

Note that it is not too difficult to trace families back to the Griffith’s [Tenement] Valuation of 1858/59 and locate them within the townland on the accompanying valuation map shown below.

 
[PRONI: VAL/12/D/5/36A]

You can then work your way backwards from this point to the rent rolls of the eighteenth century. However, making a definite connection with a name will require other sources some of which, such as church registers, may not be available. At the very least the rent rolls will indicate if a particular surname or forename was present in the townland during the eighteenth century.

Copyright 2010 W. Macafee.