Text By Sandra Casey, Hyperlinks & Maps by Antoinette Lydon
Magherabeg is in the civil parish of Kilcummin. The civil parish corresponds with the following Church of Ireland parish of Kilcummim, Galway West. In general, the civil parish and the Church of Ireland parish are the same as is the case in the Kilcummin Oughterard area.
Irish Form of Name: Machaire Beag – Translation: Small plain.
Magherabeg borders the following other townlands:
- Bealnalappa to the east
- Drimnahoon to the east
- Gortrevagh to the north
- Laghtgannon to the east
- Magheramore to the west
- Moyvoon West to the north
- Raha to the south
Other forms of name.
Magharabeg in the Boundary Surveyor
Magherabeg in the Barony Cess Book
Maghrebeg in the County Map
Magharabeg – Local
Tullybruder – Quit Rent Collector
Tolivrodran – Inquis.Temp.Jac.1
The area contains 217 acres of land, about half of which is under tillage. It also contains ½ an acre of water and the remainder is mountainous pasture. There is an ancient fort adjacent to the Western boundary of this townland.
The landlord was Thomas B. Martin, Esq., Ballinahinch. Thomas B. Martin was a member of the Martin of Ross Family as stated in the Landed Estates Database.
- Martin (Ross) – The Martin family were established beside Ross Lake in the barony of Moycullen, county Galway, from the late 16th century, where they purchased land from the O’Flahertys. They were Royalist supporters and were dispossessed of their property in the city of Galway by the Cromwellians. Robert Martin received a grant of 2,909 acres in the barony of Moycullen, by patent dated 21 Aug 1677. Jasper Martin of Ross, who died in 1700, had two sons Jasper and Richard, from whom descend the two branches of the family settled at Ross and Ballynahinch. Nicholas Martin, who died in 1811, married Elizabeth O’Hara, daughter of Robert O’Hara of Lenaboy, and according to Burke’s ”Landed Gentry”, a grandniece of James O’Hara, 2nd Baron Tyrawley. Their grandson, James Martin of Ross, had sixteen children from his two marriages. His daughter, Maud, married H. Callwell and they were the parents of the author, J. M. Callwell. The youngest daughter of James Martin was Violet Florence Martin of the well known literary team Somerville and Ross. The Martins of Ross owned 5,767 acres in county Galway in the 1870s. They advertised the sale of their estate in the Landed Estates’ Court in May 1885.
- Martin (Ballynahinch) – A branch of the Anglo Norman family of Martin, one of the Tribes of Galway, was granted the O’Flaherty lands in the Connemara region in the mid 17th century. This family were a junior branch of the Martins of Ross and under the Acts of Settlement were granted vast estates in counties Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Clare and Sligo. By a patent dated 1698 they were confirmed in the possession of their Connemara estate known as the Manor of Claremount by King William. The Westport Estate Papers document the sale of over 27,000 acres in the baronies of Moycullen and Ballynahinch by the trustees for the sale of Colonel John Browne’s estate to John Edwards for Richard Martin in 1699. The early generations of Martins lived at Birch Hall and Dangan, in the townland of Oranhill, parish of Rahoon, near Galway city. Richard Martin, better known as ‘Humanity Dick’, was the first member of the family to be reared as a Protestant. He was a famous duellist and founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Ballynahinch Castle was built in the centre of his estate. His son Thomas Martin died in 1847 during the Famine and Thomas’s only daughter and heir, Mary Laetita, inherited a heavily encumbered estate. She married her cousin, Arthur Gonne Bell, and died in New York in 1850. The Martin estates were offered for sale in two sections in 1849. Their property close to Galway town included Dangan, Corcullen, Bushypark and Killeen. Their Connemara estate was acquired by the Law Life Assurance Society in 1852, to whom it was heavily mortgaged. In 1853 the estate of almost 200,000 acres was surveyed by Thomas Colville Scott for a prospective buyer. Richard Martin, second son of Richard ‘Humanity Dick’ Martin of Ballynahinch, is recorded as holding five townlands in the parish of Killannin, barony of Moycullen, county Galway, at the time of Griffith’s Valuation although he emigrated to Canada in 1833. He was also recorded as the occupier of Clareville, a Martin home in the village of Oughterard. Many of his descendants still reside in Canada. http://www.martinhistory.net/
The Tithe Applotment Books
About the Records
Tithes were a tax on agricultural produce which was payable by the occupiers of agricultural land. They were the main source of income for the parish clergy of the Church of Ireland (the largest Protestant church and the church established by law). However, in many parishes a large part of the tithes was ‘appropriate’, which meant that they were payable to a bishop, cathedral chapter or other ecclesiastical recipient, or were ‘impropriate’, which generally meant that they were payable to a local landowner. The parishes used in the Tithe Applotment Books are civil or Church of Ireland parishes, which often differ in name and territory from Catholic parishes, Acts of Parliament of 1823 and 1832 provided for the conversion of tithes into a fixed charge on land, and specified the average price of wheat or oats in the parish in the seven years before 1821 as the basis on which the tithes would be calculated. They also extended the application of tithes to pasture, where previously they had been levied only on tillage.
This change in the law resulted in the valuation of individual holdings in almost all parishes containing agricultural land, in order to assess the portion of the tithes for which each occupier of land would be liable. The apportionment was recorded for each Church of Ireland parish in a Tithe Composition Applotment Book. The information was collected and the amounts were calculated by two Parochial Commissioners, one of whom was appointed by the cess-payers of the parish and the other by the relevant Diocese of the Church of Ireland. This procedure was carried out in over 2,500 parishes between the years 1823 and 1837.
The Tithe Applotment Books are in a variety of formats, from a few pages sewn together to elaborately bound volumes. In most cases they are written in manuscript throughout, although some consist of manuscript entries on printed questionnaires. The information in the books is broadly uniform and generally includes at least the name of occupier; the size of holding, the valuation and the tithe payable. In some cases, more detailed information is provided. Some volumes have maps and most have certificates and correspondence attached.
The sub-divisions of the parish were recorded. Some of these subdivisions, such as ploughlands, ceased to be in official use after the six-inch survey of the Ordnance Survey was completed in the 1840s. Only productive land was subject to tithe, and the books usually distinguish between this tithable land and untithable land such as roads or mountains. Tithable land was in some cases classified by quality, and a money value was given to each class. In some cases, the proportion of tithe payable to the rector, vicar or lay proprietor of the tithes was set out. The column for observations was sometimes completed, with information about commonage, for example.
There are a number of other points that should be noted. The acreages given in the Tithe Applotment Books are in Irish or Plantation measure, which is 1.62 times larger than statute measure. Only occupiers of land at the time of the tithe composition are recorded, so not all heads of households living in a parish at the time are included. Only rural areas are systematically covered, although inhabitants of towns who held plots of cultivable land are included. The equivalent tax in urban areas, Minister’s Money, has left few records.
The Tithe Applotment Books are an important source of information for a wide variety of researchers of pre-Famine Ireland. They provide the first surviving national list of the occupiers of land, and are used by genealogists as a partial substitute for returns of the 1821 and 1831 censuses of population, which were destroyed in 1922. They also record information on the quality of land, and provide information on pre-Ordnance Survey territorial divisions, some of which were not recognized after the 1840s.
The National Archives hold the original Tithe Applotment Books only for the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland. The books for the six counties of Northern Ireland are held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast. (http://titheapplotmentbooks.nationalarchives.ie/search/tab/aboutmore.jsp)
Bartly Burke, Patt Burke, John Burke, Bartly Fahy, Thom Kelly, Roger Feenaughty, Patt Feenaughty, Bartly Feenaughty, Thom Feenaughty, James Walsh & Michl are listed as having 70 acres of land (10 acres 1st Quality with a payment of 1s 6d, 17 acres 2nd Quality with a payment of 1s, 13 acres 3rd Quality with a payment of 3d, 20 acres 4th Quality with a payment of ½d & 10 acres 5th Quality with a payment of ⅛d.)
Payment of Proportion of Tithes: Richard Martin Esq. 9s-1d, James Daly 9s-½d & John Wilson 9s-½d.
Information from the Down Survey Website:
The Down Survey is a mapped survey. Using the Civil Survey as a guide, teams of surveyors, mainly former soldiers, were sent out under Petty’s direction to measure every townland to be forfeited to soldiers and adventurers. The resulting maps, made at a scale of 40 perches to one inch (the modern equivalent of 1:50,000), were the first systematic mapping of a large area on such a scale attempted anywhere. The primary purpose of these maps was to record the boundaries of each townland and to calculate their areas with great precision. The maps are also rich in other detail showing churches, roads, rivers, castles, houses and fortifications. Most towns are represented pictorially and the cartouches, the decorative titles, of each map in many cases reflect a specific characteristic of each barony. (http://downsurvey.tcd.ie)
Townland of MAGHERA BEG
Down Survey Name: Maghery
1641 Owner(s): Clanrickard, Earl of (Protestant)
1670 Owner(s): Clanrickard, Earl of (Protestant)
The Down Survey website will tell you who owned this townland in 1641 (pre Cromwell) and in 1671 (post Cromwell).
Down Survey website
Griffith’s Valuation 1850s
In Griffith’s Valuation the area is 218 acres 8 perches with a land value of £40
Occupiers of the Land:
The occupiers of the land in Magherabeg at this time were:
Patrick Burke, Martin Burke, Michael Burke, Edmund Burke, James Walsh, Btly Feenaghty (Roger), Btly Feenaghty (Pat) and Margaret Walsh. The Immediate Lessors were The Directors of Law Life Assurance.
Ownership of Land and Property
All of the occupiers owned a house and land except James Walsh who owned a house, office and land.
The total annual valuation of rateable property in Magherabeg came to £218 2s 0d.
Land Rates: The land rates for each of the occupiers came to £5 0s 0d each.
Building Rates: The buildings were rated at 10 shillings each. Total rates for buildings was £40 0s 0d.
Out Offices and Land
The out office was a farm building, a cow house, piggery or barn. The land was very poor and sterile and people were always poverty-stricken. At this time most tenants were trying to eke out a living on 5acres or less and a farmer needed at least 15.3 acres to survive.
Clachan: The Irish is ‘Clochán’. A clachan was a small traditional settlement common in Ireland until the middle of the 20th century. They usually lacked a church, post office or other formal building. The origin is unknown but it is likely that they are of ancient root most likely dating to medieval times.
They were related to the rundale system of farming. According to David Lloyd, The Great Famine 1845–1849 caused such disruption to the social system that the clachans virtually disappeared.
People living in Clachans had the support of a tight knit community.
In some cases, the clachans have evolved into holiday villages or one or two houses have been taken over turning smaller houses into agricultural outhouses.
Poor Law Union Ireland
In Ireland the Poor Relief Act of 1838 divided into districts or “unions” in which the local taxable inhabitants were to be financially responsible for all paupers in the area. In 1898 the Poor Law Union was adopted as the basic administrative division in place of the civil parish and barony. Further subdivision into 828 registration districts and 3,751 district electoral divisions followed. Townlands were not arranged according to these divisions with parish and barony retained as a means to make comparisons with records gathered before 1898.
The 1838 Act
The main provisions of the 1838 Act were:
- The extension of the existing Poor Law Commissioners’ powers to Ireland, with the appointment of Assistant Commissioners who were to implement the Act in Ireland.
- The division of the country into Poor Law Unions based on Irish electoral divisions which were themselves made up from townlands.
- The creation of a Board of Guardians for each Union, two-thirds of whom were to be elected, the other third to be appointed ex officio.
- The setting up of a workhouse in each Union.
- The collection of a local poor-rate to finance the system.
- Assistance for emigration.
Initially, 130 Unions were created, based upon 2,049 electoral divisions. The divisions were composed of townlands, a peculiarly Irish unit, traditionally of 120 Irish acres in area. (Between 1848 and 1850, an additional 33 Unions were created by subdividing and reorganizing the boundaries of some existing Unions, particularly in the west of the country.
Boards of Guardians were elected annually on 25th March. Only rate-payers were eligible for election, which effectively disenfranchised most of the native Irish who were usually tenants at this time. Rate-payers were allowed between one and six votes depending on the size of a valuation of their property.
A town land is one of the smallest land divisions in Ireland. They range in size from a few acres to thousands of acres. Many are Gaelic in origin, but some came into existence after the Norman invasion 1169. Magherabeg is a townland.
Population & Census Information
People who lived here:
You can retrieve a list of people who lived in this townland from 1827 to 1911. This list is compiled from the following resources.
- The Tithe Applotment Books
- Griffith’s Valuation
- 1901 Census
- 1911 Census
1841 – 20 houses with 101 people living in Magherabeg
1851 – 17 houses with 82 people
1861 – 18 houses with 76 people
1871 – 8 house with 51 people
1881- 8 houses (8 inhabited) with 57 people (26 males, 31 females). There were 11 outbuildings in Magherabeg. The valuation of Houses & Land in 1881 was £44 0s 0d.
1891 – 8 houses (8 inhabited) with 48 people (25 males, 23 females). There were 10 outbuildings in Magherabeg. The valuation of Houses & Land in 1891 was £44 0s 0d.
1901 Census Magherabeg
This is a return of the members of the family, their Visitors, Boarders, Servants who slept or abode in their house on the night of Sunday March 31st 1901 in Magherabeg.
There were 9 houses listed in the Townland of Magherabeg. The people were all Roman Catholics and they were born in County Galway. There were 21 in total of farm buildings and out offices which included, stables, calf houses, cow houses, sheds, barns and piggeries.
Class of House: The class of house depended on the materials used in the roof, walls, number of rooms and number of front windows. A 1st class house was considered the highest standard.
Walls of the houses: The walls were of stone, brick, concrete or of mud, wood or other perishable material.
Roofs: Roofs were of slate, iron, tiles, thatch, wood or other perishable material. The roofs of houses were of thatch, wood or perishable material. Most likely they were thatched as there was ample reeds for thatching in the lakes.
House Occupancy: Each of the 9 houses was occupied by one family.
The people listed as Head of the Family were also listed as the lawful Landholder of the property.
House & Building Returns
Out Office & Farm Steadings
House 1: Patrick Downey aged 33 was head of the family. He lived with his wife Bridget, aged 27, two daughters Alice 7 and Margaret A. aged 2 and one son James M. Aged 5. Both Patrick and Bridget could read and write. Alice and James were both scholars and they too could read at this stage. Patrick was a railway labourer who originally came from Co Kerry. His wife and children were all born in Co. Mayo. They spoke both Irish and English. Their house was a “railway gate house”. It was 2nd class with 2 front windows and 3 rooms occupying 5 persons. They had 1 fowl house and a turf house.
House 2: Martin Burke aged 70 was head of the family. He lived with his wife Mary aged 60, son Patt 30 and daughter Bridget aged 18. Also in the house on the night of the census were his 3 grandchildren Maggie 7, Alice 5 and Bridget aged 4. Patt was a widower. Martin was a farmer and Patt a farmer’s son. All of the family spoke both English and Irish. Maggie and Alice were scholars. They could all read and write. They lived in a 2nd class house with 5 windows and 4 rooms occupying 7 persons. They also had a stable, cow house, barn and a cart house.
House 3: Barbara Burke, aged 60 was listed as head of the family. Barbara was a widow, she had two daughters Sabina Walsh 28 and Maggie aged 16. Also in the house on the night of the census was her son in law John Walsh 40 and two grandchildren Mary 3 and Thomas aged just 11 months. Barbara was a farmeress and her son in law was a farmer. They all spoke both English and Irish. Barbara was however unable to read while the rest of her family could both read and write. They lived in a 3rd class house with 1 window and 2 rooms occupying 6 persons. They had one cow house and a piggery.
House 4: Edmond Burke aged 70 was head of the family. He was married to Maria aged 60. In the house on the night of the census was his 2 daughters Julia 28 and Norah 21 and his grandson Patrick McDonough aged 9. Edmond was a farmer, he could not read and neither could his wife Maria. They spoke Irish and English. They lived in a 3rd class house with 2 front windows and 3 rooms occupying 4 persons. They had a stable, cow house, calf house and a cart house.
Note: Norah married John Lydon of Lydon’s Bar, The Square, Oughterard.
House 5: Mary Walsh, aged 59 was a widow and head of the family. She had two sons with her that night, Philip 32 and James aged 21. Mary was unable to read. Philip could read and James could both read and write. They all spoke both Irish and English. They lived in a 3rd class house with one front window and 2 rooms occupying 3 persons. They had a cow house and a piggery.
House 6: Margaret Walsh, aged 80 was head of the family. Margaret was a widow. She lived with her son Patrick 47 and daughter in law Mary aged 42. Also in the house the night of the census was her 7 granddaughters Norah 18, Bridget 15, Mary 10, Ellen 9, Sarah 6, Annie 4 and Julia aged only 6 months and her 4 grandsons Patrick 17, Michael 12, John 8 and Edward aged 2. Patrick was a farmer, Norah, Patrick and Bridget were listed as farmer’s children. Michael, Mary, Ellen, John and Sarah were scholars. Margaret was unable to read, the rest of her family with the exception of the small children could read and write. They all spoke both Irish and English. They lived in a 3rd class house with one front window and 2 rooms occupying 14 persons. They owned a cow house and a piggery.
House 7: John Walsh, aged 75 was head of the family. He was married to Winifred aged 66. They lived with their son John aged 23. John and Winifred were unable to read or write. John, their son was able to read and write. They all spoke both English and Irish. They lived in a 3rd class house with 2 front windows and 2 rooms occupying 3 persons. They had a cow house and a piggery.
House 8: Roger Feenagherty, aged 60 was head of the family. He was a widower and lived with his two sons John 17 and Rodger aged 15 and his daughter Winnie aged 13. Rodger could not read however his children could all read and write. They all spoke both Irish and English. They lived in a 3rd class house with 1 window and 2 rooms occupying 4 persons. They had 1 cow house.
House 9: Henry Burke, aged 78 was head of the family. He lived with his wife Bridget aged 60. They were unable to read and they spoke both Irish and English. Henry was a farmer. They lived in a 2nd class house with 3 windows and 3 rooms occupying 2 persons. They had a cow house and a piggery.
Magherabeg Census 1911
This is a return of the Members of families in Magherabeg, their visitors, boarders and servants who slept or abode in the house on the night of Sunday the 2nd of April 1911.
Description of the Houses
All the houses in Magherabeg were listed as private dwellings and were built of concrete or stone. The roofs of the houses were of wood, thatch or other perishable material. Most likely they were thatched. The heads of the families were listed as the landholders. One family lived in each property. The Class of the house depended on the material used in the roof, walls, number of rooms and number of front windows. Most of the houses came under “2’ in the census form meaning that there could be 2, 3, or 4, rooms in the house.
One family lived in each of the 8 houses listed. They were all Roman Catholics and the head of the family was the landholder. There were 22 males and 23 females a total of 45 persons living in the village.
House & Building Returns
Out Offices & Farm Steadings
House 1: Rodger Finnerty, aged 63 was head of the family. He was a widower living with his son Barney aged 30. Barney was a single man. They were both farmers and spoke both Irish and English. Barney could read and write while his father could only read. They lived in a 2nd class house with 3 front windows and 3 rooms occupying 2 persons. They alos had one cow house.
House 2: Winnifred Walshe, aged 72 was head of the family. She was a widow living with her son John aged 30. John was single and worked as a farmer. He could read and write unlike Winnifred who couldn’t read. They spoke Irish and English. They were living in a 3rd class house with 2 front windows and 2 rooms occupied by 2 persons. They had 1 cow house.
House 3: Patrick Walsh, a farmer aged 60 was head of the family. He lived with his wife Mary aged 50. They had 3 sons living there at the time, Michael 23, John 18 and Edward aged 13 and 4 daughters Ellen 19, Sarah 16, Annie 14 and Julia aged 11. Patrick’s mother Margaret, aged 80, also lived with them. Mary had 13 children born alive and 12 still living. Michael and John were listed as farmer’s sons. Annie, Edward and Julia were scholars. They could all read and write with the exception of Margaret. They all spoke both English and Irish. They lived in a 3rd class house with 2 front windows and 2 rooms occupying 10 persons. They had 1 cow house.
House 4: Mary Walsh, aged 74 was head of the family. She was a widow, living with her two single sons, Philip aged 45 and James aged 32. Philip and James were farmers. Mary spoke only Irish and could not read or write. Philip and James spoke both Irish and English, Philip could read while James could read and write. They lived in a 3rd class house with 2 front windows and 2 rooms occupying 3 persons. They had 1 cow house.
House 5: John Walsh, a farmer, aged 50 was head of the family. He lived with his wife, Sabina aged 37. They had 4 daughters, Mary 12, Alice 8, Margaret E. 5 and Barbara aged 3 and 4 sons, Thomas 10, Peter 9, Patrick 7 and John aged just 1. Also living with them was Sabina’s mother Barbara aged 71 and her sister Maggie aged 25. Barbara was not able to read but the rest of the family could read and write except the smaller children. Mary, Thomas, Peter and Alice were scholars. Sabina had 8 children born alive and 8 still living. They all spoke both English and Irish. They lived in a 3rd class house with one front window and 2 rooms occupying 12 persons. They had 1 cow house.
House 6: Henery Burke, a farmer aged 92 was head of the family. He lived with his wife Bridget aged 73. In the house on the night of the census was his daughter Nora Walsh 30, son in law Pat Walsh, aged 33 and also a farmer, and his grandson John J aged 2 and granddaughter Josephine M aged only 4 months. They all spoke both English and Irish. Bridget had 9 children, 6 still living. Nora had 3 children born alive with 2 still living. Henery could read and write but his wife could not. Nora and Pat could read and write. They were living in a 3rd class house with 2 front windows, 2 rooms occupied 6 persons. They had one cow house.
House 7: Margaret Burke was listed as head of the family. She was a widow aged 73. Margaret was a farmer. In the house at the time was her son Patrick aged 47, Patrick was married. Also in the house were her 3 daughters, Maggie 18, Alice 17 and Bridget aged 14. They could all read and write and spoke English and Irish except for Bridget who only spoke English. Margaret had 9 children born alive with 7 still living. Patrick had 3 children born alive and 3 still living. They lived in a 2nd class house with 3 front windows, 2 rooms occupied 5 persons. They had 1 cow house and 1 stable.
House 8: Edward Burke aged 85, was listed as head of the family. He lived with his wife Mary age 76. In the house on the night of the census was his son Tom, aged 42 and single and his grandsons Pat 19 and Eddie aged 14. Edward was a farmer and spoke English and Irish. The rest of the family could also read and write except Mary. They all spoke English and Irish and Eddie was a scholar. Mary had 12 children born alive and 8 still living. They lived in a 3rd class house with 2 front windows, 2 rooms occupying 5 persons. They had one stable and one cow house.
House 9: At the time of the 1911 census, House 9 was uninhabited.
Church records of births, deaths and marriages:
Church records of births, deaths and marriages are available online at http://www.rootsireland.ie. To search these records, you will need to know the ‘church parish’ rather than the ‘civil parish’. (The civil parish is the pre-reformation parish and was frequently used as a unit of administration in the past.)
Magherabeg is in the civil parish of Kilcummin.
This civil parish corresponds with the following Roman Catholic parish or parishes.
- Clonbern & Kilkerrin in Galway East.
- Carraroe in Galway West.
- Kilannin in Galway West.
- Kilcummin/Oughterard in Galway West.
- Rosmuc in Galway West.
Church of Ireland parish:
This civil parish corresponds with the following Church of Ireland parish.
- Kilcummin in Galway West.
In general, the civil parish and the Church of Ireland parish are the same, but, this is not always the case.
It is located at 53° 24′ 15″ N, 9° 17′ 25″ W.
Original OS map of this area
Ireland was first mapped in the 1840s. These original maps are available online.
Original OS maps at the Ordnance Survey of Ireland website
Below is a link to the Ordnance Survey of Ireland website. It displays the original OS map that was created in the 1840s.
Information from Google Maps:
You can use this link to find this townland on Google Maps.
Information from the National Monuments Service:
You can use this link to view a map of archaelogical features. This link brings you to a website wherein you will have to search for your townland.
Archaeological map from the National Monuments Service