Emigrants: Ballykilcline emigrants

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives
Roscommon Index


File contributed by: Don Kelly


Introduction to depopulation of Crown Estate Ballykilcline 
by robber baron Lord Hartland.

The following excerpt is from a book, Emigrants from 
Ireland, 1847-1852: State- Aided Emigration Schemes, c. 
1850, by Eilish Ellis.

The crown estate of Ballykillcline was situated in the 
parish of Kilglass in the barony of Ballintubber, Co. 
Roscommon. It contained about 602 acres subdivided into 
small holdings occupied by 'cottier labourers', and was 
almost completely over-tilled and worn out when the lease to 
the tenant, Lord Hartland fell in April, 1834.

Before the expiration of the lease, terms for the sale of 
the property had been proposed to Lord Hartland who did not 
accept them, and the rents, which appeared to have been paid 
regularly to his agent, were placed in charge with the 
agents of the Commissioners of Woods, from 1 May 1834.

Though the annual amount payable by the under-tenants, of 
whom there were 74, amounted to £411 19s 11d., less than 
£350 had been collected when the payment of all rents ceased 
from 1836. Notices to quit were served and possession 
demanded from the tenants, and by 1  May 1837, 56 holdings 
had been surrendered.

The remainder however, refused, and in the spring of 1842, 
John Burke, clerk of the Quit Rent Office, proposed their 
eviction after a visit to the estate.

There was considerable opposition to the attempts made by 
crown officials to enter the estate; the assistance of the 
police was necessary on several occasions;  houses were 
re-occupied and bailiffs attacked when serving eviction 
notices. However, those charge with assaulting the  bailiffs 
were acquitted by a jury, who, in the opinion of the crown 
agent, 'were a set of the lamest and most ignorant men could 
be impaneled, and a disgrace to any Court of Justice'.

The establishment of a police barracks on the estate was 
considered at one stage, so determined was the resistance.

It was not until it became evident that there was organised 
opposition among the tenantry that the Commissioners of 
Woods  grew impatient. It was reported that the tenants had 
employed a lawyer named Hugh O'Farrell, whom they were 
paying the rate of five shillings per acre each, to prevent 
their being evicted. A part of 'Molly Maguires' also visited 
the estate.