Thursday, 5 January 2012


Posted in 2011 on the Clare List...

From: "Larry Brennan" <>

Subject: Re: [IRL-CLARE] Ejectment books of County Clare, National Archives of Ireland

To try and explain and detail current information available on the ejectment
books can I draw readers attention to posted information on these books
dating by to 1999.

 The long URL has been converted to a tiny URL

Great credit has to go to Jean Rice for bringing them to our attention.

The Ejectment Books are a little-known resource, but they contain much
information. There are 17 Co. Clare ejectment books (including two that are
missing) for the period 1816-1850. There are another 28 books for the years
1850-1914. Co. Clare has the largest number of surviving ejectment books as
they were not at the Four Courts when it burned in 1922. Also surviving are
the Civil Bills of the Circuit Court.

Throughout the 19th century, Ireland's impoverished tenants eked out a
precarious existence from the soil. Since the turn of the century rapid
population growth had led to continual sub-division of farms and more
marginal land being brought under cultivation. Townlands often teemed with
tenants working uneconomic patches of reclaimed bog and mountain. The
potato, which was the staple diet of the majority, was a crop subject to
frequent blight. Harsh and oppressive laws, unfeeling landlords, the
"hanging gale," and the fear of ejectment were features of daily life.

Random evictions had occurred throughout Ireland before the 1840s, but it
was the dreadful famine years that turned a stream into a flood. Faced with
a blighted potato crop, tenants were often forced to sell everything they
had to feed their families. The ramshackle poor law which was intended to
provide relief for the distressed now exacerbated a developing crisis.
Landlords receiving little or no income from rents were still liable to pay
rates on holdings rate at 4 pounds and under. The number of bankrupt estates
under the Court of Chancery was evidence of the harsh economic pressures.
For some landlords the choice was stark: evict the tenatry or face
impoverishment themselves. For other landlords ejectment was an opportunity
to be rid of an unnecessary expense. Numerous properties were sold under the
Encumbered Estates Act at prices which failed to cover mortgages and debts
The new owners, often from the merchant class, were even more relentness in
their clearance of tenants than the established landlords.

The sessions in Clare took place at Ennis, Killaloee, Kilrush, Sixmilebridge
and Tulla.

Below is a record of a proposed eviction:

Ennis Sessions, Tuesday, March 26th, 1833 - Case #5

M. Greene was the attorney for the plantiffs.

Wm. Causabon Purdon Esq., a prominent East Clare landlord, was the plantiff.

James Touhy and Michl. Ryan are listed and presumed to be legal officers,
perhaps process servers or baliffs.

Tenants who are listed as defendants include:

Owen Toohy
Anne Toohy alias Finaun
Rose Hogan
Dominick Hogan
Michael Sheedy
Wm. Melody
Thos. Sheedy
Michl. Hourigan
Michl. Dea
Michl. Brady
Daniel Brady
Daniel Quigley
Thos. Farrell
Martin Coffee
John St. Laurence

The reason for the proposed eviction was as follows:

For non-payment of rent of all That and Those that farm in Belkelly formerly
in the possession of Dominick Hogan and Peter Hogan, since decd., and now in
the poss'ion of said Defts. (defendants). Bounded viz on the North and East
sides by Patk. Kelly's farm and by James Barry's and Mathew Ryan's farms; on
the South by the part of Doctor MacNamara's farm called Behernagh. Situated
in the Parish of Ogonnelloe and Barony of Tulla. Yearly rent 35 pounds late
Irish currency. Sum due 135 pounds Sterling present currency.

You can compare this list of the names of tenants being ejected in 1833 with
the list of tenants assessed for tithes in 1825 in the tithe applotment book
for Belkelly (Purdon) 1825:

James O'Dea, John St. Lawrence, Owen Tuohy, Michael Hourigan, Thos. Sheedy,
and Patrick Coffee. Notice spelling variations from record to record. (Info.
from article in "Irish Roots" genealogy periodical, 1997.)

The verdict of the court in this case was "Possession Decreed."


     Surnames: Cullinan, Browne, Brady, Brady, Halpin, Hogan, Mitchell,
Culligan, Brislane, Finucane, English, Croker, O'Brien, Gibson, Rose, Power,
Mitchell, O'Callaghan, Daxon, Ryan, McNamara, Meehan, Reddan, Hehir, Boland,
Rice, Daly, Deady, Donnellan, Downes, Heath, Hynes, Reddan, O'Loghlen,
Brennan, Leary, Burns, Carthy, Connell, Egan, Halloran, Kenny, Hehir,
Connor, Kennedy, Stapelton, Curran, Browne, Neylon, Shea, Connell, Hawkins,
McNamara, Clune, Malone, Conumane, McMahon, Hynes, Loughnane, Kennedy,
Musgrave, Butler, Hartigan, Considine, Rourke, RobertWalsh, Curtin, O'Brien,
Martin, Blood, Hickey, Cukkinan, Burley, Cunumane, Mullins, Flanagan, Burns,
Doogan, Sayers, O'Connor, Connellan, Bane, Dillon, Treacy McTigue

All the above name are part of an article written by Michael J.Coffey in the
Othe Clare Vol.22 1998 under the title of
Ejactment Books.

Tulla Session Monday 1st. April 1839
Ennis Session Monday 4th. April 1825
Ennis Session 21st. October 1825
Sixmilebridge Session June 23rd. 1843
Information from Ejectment cases:

Where several tenants are listed they represent a substitute census
Since Landlords are named it should be easier to locate estate records.
Women are given their full name and sometimes their maiden name
An ejectment might explain a family's disappearance from a townland or
The location of specific farms, previous occupiers of a townland, and
details of the lease
Researchers should not that it is necessary to order the Ejectment Books at
Bishop St. Dublin a day in advance since they are not currently stored on
the premises.

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