Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Tithe Applotment Books for Myshall Parish,Diocese
 of Leighlin, Co. Carlow

Tithe Arrears in Myshall
County Carlow 1833

By kind permission and written by Alice Barrigan c2006

Tithe Arrears in Myshall, County Carlow 1833

The North Yorkshire County Record Office holds a book used by the Rudby Parochial Church Council as a Minute Book, which had originally been used in the 19th century as a notebook by the Revd R J Barlow.

The book opens with Mr Barlow's jotted "Notes on Humbolts Cosmos Vol 1."  (A few notes relating to 'Cosmos' also appear in another of Mr Barlow's notebooks, in the possession of Hutton Rudby Primary School).  These extend over several pages.  They are followed by twelve pages of names and figures set out in columns, the first headings being "Myshall", "Arrears May 1st 1833", and "half yearly". 

These entries have hitherto been described as "rental of an Irish estate (?).  However, a comparison with the Tithe Applotment Book for the townlands of the parish of Myshall in County Carlow (1827) shows that the arrears in question are arrears of tithes.

(In case of inaccuracies in the following transcription you are advise to consult the original)

The Revd R J Barlow's connection with County Carlow

The Revd Robert Joseph Barlow (ca1804-1878) was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College.  He acquired by purchase the living of Rudby-in-Cleveland (the principal township of the parish being Hutton Rudby) and he was instituted vicar on 3 January 1831.  He remained in the parish until his death on 23 June 1878.

Mr Barlow's sister Nanny was the wife of the Revd Hector Francis Vaughan, who was Rector of Myshall from 1825 until his death aged 47 in March 1834.  Nanny Vaughan later lived with her brother Robert and two unmarried sisters.  She was at Hutton Rudby vicarage for the 1851 and 1861 censuses.  She died on 26 October 1867 aged 66 and was buried in Hutton Rudby Churchyard. 

Barlow's (draft?) list was evidently drawn up after the publication in English of Alexander von Humboldt's 'Cosmos'; an English translation by Elizabeth Juliana Leeves was published in four volumes between 1849 and 1858.  At the side of one page Barlow left a note of wages due for work in Hutton Rudby for the sixteen days beginning Tuesday February 7 - a combination of date and day that occurred in 1854, 1865 and 1871. 

The year 1854 seems the most likely date for the tithe arrears list.  It is not clear whether this was an attempt to claim tithes unpaid in the Tithe War, or whether they were to be claimed from a later incumbent.

Robert Barlow's stipend was not large and he and his sisters depended for their comfort on allowances made them by their elder brother James, who had luckily inherited a fortune from a childless cousin of their father.  Unfortunately after James's death in 1843 (the result of an accident) it emerged that his estate was heavily encumbered by mortgages.  The annuities that would have replaced the allowances could not be paid and Robert Barlow and his sisters lost a major part of their income.

It seems likely that the household's financial difficulties prompted the idea of claiming arrears of tithes due to Mrs Vaughan, as the Revd Vaughan's sole heir and Executrix.  It is not known whether Mr Barlow actually attempted to make the claim; it seems unlikely that he would succeed twenty years after the event.

The total arrears of tithe due to Mr Vaughan on 1 May 1833, according to Barlow's notes, amounted to 161-3s-4d.  The tithe applotment books show that the total rectorial composition was 400-0s-1d annually.  Most of the landholders in arrears seem to have owed 18 months' tithes, though some owed more - for example, the Police Office at Myshall owed 3 years' tithes.

It is evident that Mr Barlow worked from the Applotment Book in producing his list of tithe arrears.  Against the names of the landholders or their successors, he listed in a first column the arrears due on 1 May 1833, followed by a column of abbreviations and notes, and lastly a column recording the half-yearly amount due to the Rector.

Mr Barlow’s list is potentially a useful source of information on Myshall parish.  It reflects changes in occupancy between 1827 and 1833, and contains some additional notes.  For example, against the name Mary Ann Neil of Myshall, Mr Barlow noted "B Schoolmistress"; against John Neil of Coolnashegan, he wrote "Carrier"; and against the entries for Knockbrack, he wrote "Sursfield Colclough holds Knockbrack from the Doyles".  However, the abbreviations used by Mr Barlow (eg. "Cor", "B" and "C") await explanation.

Unfortunately Mr Barlow cannot be regarded as an entirely reliable source.  He seems to have been impatient of the minutiae of administration and paperwork.  The most obvious example of this can be found in the errors of dates and names that have been discovered in the parish registers throughout his incumbency.  Indeed for much of the 1840s he made few or no entries in the burials and baptisms registers, and the paucity of entries in the marriages register indicates that this may also be imcomplete.  He did not send the registers up to York for Bishops' Transcripts and was rather casual in his replies to Archbishops' Visitations.  It is therefore likely that errors exist in his list of tithe arrears and this should be borne in mind.  

“We the undersigned being appointed Commissioners for the parish of Myshall and Diocese of Leighlin agreeably to an Act passed in the Fourth year of his present Majesty George the fourth, Entitled an Act for the Establishing of Compositions for Tithes in Ireland for a limitted time do certify that this Book contains a just true and particular account of all lands, with their Valuations and Compositions here unto annexed in said Parish and by whom payable

Given under our hands and seals this 18th day of Decr. 1827
Adam B Feltus
George James
To the Revd Hector F Vaughan Rector and Vicar of the Parish of Myshall
And to Adam B Feltus Esqr of Hollybrook and George James of Clonee Esqr Commissioners of Composition in said Parish
A Survey of the PARISH OF MYSHALL containing 5692 acres Irish measure Excluding Roads and Rivers Amounting in the Grass or Field value to 4,744-7-10 the Rectorial Composition 400 British.  342 Dwelling Houses and about 1880 Inhabitants Computing between 5 and 6 to each habitation. Extending from Mount Leinster near the Bounds of the Co of Wexford to Killane in the Parish of Kellistown – about five Miles.  And from the Parish of Dunleckney to the Parish of Darragh [Barragh?] Above two miles.  Situate in the County of Carlow and Diocese of Leighlin
Surveyed from May to Decembr 1827 – By Richd Griffith and Robt Mores”
[Transcribed from microfilm at the Billingham Family History Centre)

The Book then lists in columns the Landholders’ names – the Total amount of land – Amount of first quality – Amount per acre – Amount of second quality – Amount per acre – Amount of third quality – Amount per acre – Total Amount of rent – Amount of Rectorial Composition – Observations

For those unfamiliar with pre-decimal coinage:-

12 pence      (12d)  =  1 shilling  (1s. or 1/-)
20 shillings  (20s. or 20/-)  =  1
One pound and one shilling  (1-1s or 1/1/0)  =  1 guinea (1 gn.)
The penny was subdivided:-
One-quarter of a penny  (d)  =  1 farthing
Half a penny  (d)  =  one halfpenny

It was generally estimated at this time that a yearly income of 150 was the bare minimum for middle-class life, and that a family needed 300 to live respectably in a town, where expenses were higher.  A good urban artisan's wage in 1835 was round about a pound a week.  An income of 1,000 put a man at the top end of the middle class.

Parts of the original are difficult to read; it can be seen that in places Mr Barlow uses the long "s".

The full story behind the list of Tithe arrears drawn up by the eccentric Dublin-born clergyman Robert Barlow can be found in Alice Barrigan's book 'Remarkable, but still True: the story of the Revd R J Barlow and Hutton Rudby in the time of the cholera', pub 2007, ISBN 9781905544066. Copies are available through her website at

Source: Alice Barrigan c2008 ( )

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