Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cahertubber Eviction 1848

Poor Law
Ireland was a poor country for centuries. Before the Poor Law was enacted in 1838. It had been up to individual parishes to provide relief for poor. The Poor Law Union divided the country into 130 different ‘unions’ and each would have its own workhouse. Families were separated once they entered the workhouse.

In June 1845 serious reports of blight was discovered in Belgium. It had been believed that blight had originated in South America two years previously. Thousands of people died across France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands because of huge crop failures. People who lived in parts of Europe were not as dependent on the potato as those in Ireland.

Sir Robert Peel & The Relief Commission 
Potatoes doubled in price in December 1845, which coincided with the cost of living. The Member of Parliament Sir Robert Peel decided to purchase £100,000 of Indian Corn from America because it was cheap but unfortunately it was not popular because of it being hard to digest and its colour it became known as ‘Peel’s Brimstone’.
Peel also decided to set up a relief commission which formed local committees of landowners, their agents, magistrates, clergy and residents of importance. The purpose of the relief commission was to set up food depots throughout Ireland.

Sir Randolph Routh 
Sir Randolph Routh, who was originally the senior officer of the Commissariat department, which supplied food to the British Army was appointed as Chairperson of the Relief Commission in 1846. It became his duty to supply Indian Corn because he had extensive experience in feeding large bodies of people in sudden emergencies.
He was answerable to ‘The Treasury’. Any expenses would have required sanction by the Treasury such as famine relief. The ‘The Treasury’ was Charles Edward Trevelyan who is synomous to the song ‘The Fields of Athenry’.

Charles Edward Trevelyan 
Charles Edward Trevelyan was the Assistant Secretary and was also the head of Treasury. Trevelyan was a deeply religious man as he was known to ‘read the bible aloud’ and he firmly believed that the Great Famine in Ireland was ‘Punishment by God, on an idle, ungrateful, rebellious country’.
When Sir Robert Peel’s government fell. Trevelyan changed his scheme. Trevelyan and Charles Wood, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, decided that, in the second failure there was to be ‘The provision of food for Ireland was to be left entirely to private enterprise and private traders’.
This causes consternation between Sir Randolph and Trevelyan, 
 as Sir Randolph did not like private enterprise to import food.

Second outbreak! 
The second failure of the potato crop happened in 1846 and rapid reports of distress and deaths quickly followed.

Evictions Begin 1846?
There were different reasons for evictions.  Landlords were liable for rates of tenants paying under £4 in rent under the Poor Law. When tenants could not afford to pay the landlord on their estates. The only way to collect money was to clear the poor of their small plots. 
Some landlords evicted tenants so they could 
 modernise their land for agricultural purposes for Bullock Pasture such as the case in the evictions Ballinglass, Co. Galway on Marcella Gerard’s estate in 1846.
It is not know how many were evicted before 1848. The police began to keep records between 1849 and 1854, were 49,000 families were dispossessed. There were thousands of ‘voluntary surrenders’ where tenants surrendered possession of their patch of land and began to beg, usually heading for the nearest town.
Tenants were also cheated into thinking the workhouse would take them, where they had been persuaded to accept a small some of money, and sometimes they helped tear down their own dwellings themselves.
Emigration was also and option for landlords where they would give their tenant enough money for a passage to America and Canada. Some landlords hired ships to transport them. Other tenants got aid from charities or had been sent money by family members who had already gone.
Many evicted families would shelter in ditches until bad weather drove them to the workhouse.  Emigration was an option whereby landlords gave their tenants enough money to emigrate other emigrants got charitable aid, and some family members abroad sent money for emigrants to emigrate.
Sometimes the land would be let to middlemen. Profit would be made by sub-letting the land to tenants, smallholders and cottiers.
As population grew the demand for land increased. Landlords and middlemen availed of the opportunity to increase their income by allowing holdings to be divided and sub-divided and by letting holdings ‘at-will’. This reduced the security of tenants and enabled rents to be raised from year to year, a practice known as ‘rack-renting’.

Black ’47
Black ’47 was known as Black ’47 because it was the worst year of the Great Famine in that same year the death toll of the county of  Galway was 5,556 in 1846 which then rose to 12,582 in 1848. For the town of Galway the death toll in 1847 was 1, 919, which rose to 2,000 in 1848. Over 11,000 inmates died in Galway workhouse.

Religious Society of  Friends ‘The Quakers’ 
The religious society of Friends were known as the ‘Qaukers’. In 1847 a group of ‘Quakers’ cam to Ireland. They established soup kitchen’s across the country. One of the ‘Quakers’ stated that the Irish children were ‘Like skeletons, their features sharpened with hunger and their limbs wasted, so that there was little left but bones, their hands and arms, in particular being much emaciated and the happy expression of infancy gave from their faces, leaving the anxious look of pre-mature old age’.
 In June 1849, the Quakers gave up relief work on June 2nd.  Thomas Larcom of the Relief Department reported to London that the system could not be continued. Little of value ‘had been created at a vast expense, labour had been diverted from cultivation and masses of rural poor were dying physically incapable and some new scheme would have to be take its place.’ 

Eviction Act 1848

I have tried my best to put the following paragraph’s of the 1848 Eviction Act into layman’s terms from this link

1.     You could not evict a person on Christmas day, Good Friday, two hours before or after sunset.
2.     You must give forty-eight hours notice of eviction for a tenant to the relieving officer.
3.     You must give the notice directly to the relieving officer or postmaster of a post office.
4.     It  is lawful for tenants who become destitute to seek relief off their relief officer electoral division for shelter, the workhouse, food, lodging, medical attendance.
5.     Every occupier should be served a notice.
6.     If a landlord does not abide by the Eviction Act 1848 giving an eviction notice to the relieving officer he must pay £20 pounds as a penalty.
7.     The sheriff or his office must be allowed to pull down, demolish, or unroof dwellings if anyone else it will be seen as a misdeameanor.
8.     This Act applies to all estates, possessions, of the crown in Ireland.

Ø Cahertubber East 1841 pop. 47 and Cahertubber West has a pop. of 185.
Ø Cahertubber East in 1851 pop. rises to 168 but decreases in Cahertubber West to a pop. 101.
Ø Houses inhabitants also rise in Cahertubber East from 8 to 27 houses while Cahertubber West decreases from 28 houses to 18.

Cahertobber and it’s meaning
Cahertobber means ‘Quarter of the Well’ from Oliver Cromwell’s time.

Cahertobber Families 1821

Atchinson; Brennan, Burke,  Cahilan, Ceary,Clasby, Coffey, Connelly,Connor, Coppinger, Culk; Daly, Delany, Fahy, Fallon,Gamen,Geraghrty,Gibbons,Glynn;
and  Grady. Hacket, Hart, Healy, Helay, Henew; Hession, Jordan,  Kelly Kendrigan,  Larkin, Lawless,Loughnane, Mackey; Mahon; McGennis,Monaghan, Moran;Murray, Nobles,Nolan, Qualter,  Quinn;Rowlan, Ruane, Ryan, Shaughnessy; Slamen, Taylor, Wall, and Ward.
 Athenry was desribed as a very run down place in the 1830’s by a German traveller  writer named Pucklar-Muscow was more poverty-stricken than any Polish village. I was pursued across ruins and brambles by a huge crowd of half-naked beggars who tried every possible flattery on him including the cry ‘Long live the King!’. When I threw a handful of coppers among them, soon half of them, young and old, lay in the mud grappling bloodily while the others rushed off to the shebeen to drink their gains.’

Family names in 1855-56
Family names that were record during the Griffith's Valuaton (A land valuation between 1855-1856 in Athenry):

Kealey, Hanly, Slamen, Mealy, Connor, Quinn, McDonagh, Connelly, Ward,
Ryan, Jordan, Dowd, Keane, Loughnane, Brennan, Kendrigan, Bourke, Skehill,
O'Brien, Callanan, Laffy, Shaughnessy, and O'Brien.
It would be the head of the household who's name would be record for the Griffith's Valuation.
I could find no census for Cahertubber West and East in Athenry 1901 and 1911.
(I was informed that night that it is under the DED of Aughrim see

Hon. Col. Bermingham Sewell
Thomas Bermingham Daly Henry Sewell was a son of Elizabeth Bermingham and Thomas Bailey Heath Sewell and grandson of Thomas Bermingham 1st Earl of Louth and Baron Athenry. His claim to the baronetcy of Athenry failed in 1800. At the time of Griffith's Valuation the Sewell estate was one of the principal lessors in the parish of Athenry and the representatives of Colonel Sewell also held land in the parishes of Clonbern, barony of Ballymoe and Dunmore, barony of Dunmore.
Hon. Col. Bermingham Sewell had area’s of Ballydavid Middle, Carrowntobber West, and Carrowntobber East, Knockbaun,

The Eviction Scene at Cahertubber
"A few days ago the sheriff of the county paid a visit to the lands of Gurrane, in the neighborhood of Athenry, on the estate of a man calling himself the Honorable Col. Bermingham Sewell, and demolished the entire village of Cahertubber, leaving but two houses stranding, one of which was converted into a depot for the remnant of roofing of those that were not committed to the flames.
The wretched and unhappy victims are to be found squatted upon the road side, presenting the most frightful appearance of destitution. In vain have those beings looked for compassion from the Honourable Col, although all their gardens are well cropped, and a few short weeks of bounteous Providence would have left them in a situation to discharge the trifling demands of this most Christian landlord, who liberality, generosity and hospitality are in perfect keeping with his honourable cognomen" .

I went into NUIG and looked at the following occupational directories of who was the High Sherriff of the county.

Almanac Registry Directory 1848 - Michael Joseph Browne.

Dublin Almanac 1849 – High Sherriff 1848 Thomas A. Joyce and 
Sub-sheriff Joseph McDonnell Galway. I have found out that Thomas A. Joyce was the High Sherriff of Galway City but in the newspaper Freeman’s Journal 22nd of January Captain Shawe Taylor had been elected High Sheriff of the County. 

Post- Cahertubber Eviction

Tuam Herald Saturday September 16 1848

‘Last week a man named Newel a bailiff in the employment of Col. Sewell, on part of his property, near Athenry, in a conflict with some of the persons named Ryan, about a thatch of an old house from once they had been ejected and which they alleged the gallant colonel gave them permission to take away, Newell was so severely injured as to cause his death in a few days after. 
On Saturday last an inquest was held by Thomas Walsh Esq., 
 Coroner, who committed the two Ryan (brothers) to abide their trail for manslaughter at the next assizes of the county.’

I would like to acknowledge Mr. Finbarr O’Regan, Mr. Adrian Martyn, Dr. Conor McNamara for their help with this research. Jarlath Ryan for the projector,  the Raheen Wood s Hotel for the Screen and Matthew for the use of the Town Café as a venue for my talk.

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