Scrubb Wood

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Scrubb Wood

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Annual Report 1881

Annual report, accounts and rental for year ending June 1881. Reports that the financial condition of the estate had disimproved, outstanding arrears remaining due and abandoned arrears considerably increased. Profit remitted was £8500, a decrease on previous years, although there was a net increase in the overall rental income. Also reports that the Roskeen lease was surrendered by the reps of Mr. Bailey, and that the farm at Ballydownan was surrendered by Mr Adams and now in Lord Digby's hands and set for grazing with newly purchased cattle.

In terms of land improvement, Digby reports on the completion of a number of Board of Works projects including the draining and squaring of the moors under Scrubb Wood, the deepening of the boundary stream at Cappancur and the sinking of a large main drain in Balinvally bog. Construction works included new offices for Mr Arthur of Killurin and Patrick Nugent of Ballycollin; new cottages completed at Killeigh; new cottage commenced in Geashill Village and assistance give to William Mathews to erect substantial new dwelling house in Killurin. Also reports on the thinning and replanting of Derrygunnigan Wood.

Warns that agrarian agitation is increasing encouraged by the Land League. Blames the Government for slow response to agitation. Reports on a 'monster meeting' held in Tullamore by the Land League prior to the winter collection of rents (1880) where the Geashill tenantry requested en masse Griffith's Valuation as a fair rent which was subsequently refused by Lord Digby, but who abated the rent by 10% on the half year's rent payable. Identifies William Adams as the leader of the agitation and describes the court proceedings taken against him individually. With the result of being faced with bankruptcy, Adams paid his rent and then surrendered farm at Ballydownan, with the result that all other agitation on the estate ceased and rents were collected within three weeks. Also refers to 'boycotting' occurring throughout the estate but that no acts of violence or outrages took place. A further attempt at withholding rent in May 1881 was similarly short-lived.

Annual Report 1885

Annual report, rental and accounts for year ending June 1885, showing a gross reduction in rents by £95.16.0 and with arrears same as in 1884. Describes the year as 'singularly uneventful' and notes that the only work undertaken was a large area of ground replanted in Scrubb Wood, River Wood and Clonad.

Digby Estate Valuation and Survey

  • IE OCL P74
  • Arquivo
  • 1798-1799

Survey and valuation of the Digby estate completed by Michael Cuddehy, land surveyor, for Lord Digby, on 3 January 1798 and a further valuation on 25 June 1799 listing lands in the barony of Geashill that are out of lease. Townlands surveyed in the initial valuation are listed in Cuddehy's accompanying note as Annaharvey, Ballymooney, Ballyknockan, Ballycue and Ballyduff, although only those of Ballycue and Ballyduff are extant. The valuation is tabular, listing tenants' names, a description of their holdings (e.g. 'moory pasture', 'oat field', 'big fallow field' etc.), a measurement in A.R.P (acres, roods, perches) and a yearly value.

The second list entitled 'Lands in the Barony of Geashill out of lease except the parts disposed of as herein 25 June 1799' contain a list of the townlands Annaharvey, Ballymooney, Ballycue, Bluebell, Ballyduff , Dalgan, Ballydownan, Curragh, Killellery, Ballyavill, Cappincur, Kinockballyboy, Ballinagar, Killleigh, Scrub, Killeenmore, and Killurin. Each description is accompanied by a reference number for a map by Cuddehy which is not extant. There are also comments by Cuddehy on certain plots such as 'Darby Smollen declared tenant' in respect of a plot in Ballydownan and he notes that Cuddehy himself is proposed for a plot in Ballymooney of 149 acres.

Digby, Family of the Barons

Annual Report 1860

Annual report for year ending June 1860 containing details of the leaseholder's compensation fund, the executors' arrears, mesne rates, new rentals and the purchase of leases. Also discusses estate improvements: permanent land improvement at Meelaghans; the creation of turf banks at Colehill; management of woods and plantations at Scrubb Wood, Killeenmore and Derryweelan ('Furry Hill'); and the building of roads and bridges at Clonad and Derryclure. Particularly refers to the 'model farm' which has been established at Ballyknockan.

In relation to the construction of houses, the report describes the completion of Richard Odlum's offices in Ballyduff, 'one of the most independent and thriving farmers on a large scale on the estate.' Also discusses Odlum's house in Ballymooney to be near completion. Reports that cottages in Killeigh and the new rent offices are complete 'and ought to last forever'. Referring to dire housing conditions amongst some of the tenantry, the report justifies the expense on rebuilding houses and states that there was more than one case on the estate 'where the inhabitants were in daily danger of being buried alive.' Also reports on small repairs to existing tenants' houses and a scheme of compensation for 59 families to surrender certain tenancies.

Also reports on agrarian unrest and agitation by Ribbonmen on the estate, including arson attacks on Geashill Castle offices and outhouses, and an arson attack on the farm of Mrs. Pattison, Protestant tenant at Annagharvey. Appendix contains copy letter from John Townsend Trench, second son of W. S. Trench, who interviewed Mary Shea, barmaid of the Cross Keys public house, Geashill, at the barracks in Tullamore where she was being held for her own safety. Letter describes plot to assassinate T. W. Trench and lists the main Ribbonmen active in Geashill as told to J. T. Trench: Loughlin Kelly ('treasurer of the murder fund'), Henry Bryan of Cross Keys public house; John Whelaghan, John Helian, William Grumly, Ned Geraghty, Christopher Mooney, Johnny Clibborn and others.

Drawing on pg 151:
Sign language or secret signals of the Ribbonmen

Annual Report 1862

Annual report for year ending June 1862 containing details of the rental of the estate and the consequent worsening financial situation. Explains that rental income has decreased due to the inability of the tenants to meet their rent following the bad harvest of the previous year. Also discusses drainage and land improvements at Ballyknockan, Annagharvey, Ballyduff, Ballydownan and Colehill. In terms of buildings, the report discusses construction of a new school house at Geashill and minor repairs to existing tenants' houses. Referring to the number of tenants on the estate, the report suggests that there are too many for advantageous farming and discusses compensation scheme for emigration. Reports that 807 tenants have left in the last five years and 142 houses were levelled.

Referring to the threat from Ribbonmen, the report warns that Lord Digby is set to lose two of his best tenants, Mr Denning, bank manager of Bank of Ireland, Tullamore and Mr Dowling, attorney, Tullamore due to sustained intimidation by Ribbonmen. Appendix contains copies of letters from both men setting out their situation. Appendix also cotnains report on the woods and forests by forester Daniel Dewar.

Drawings in report:
Page 1 Drawing of cottage and yard with tenants and animals
Page 5 Drawing of large farmhouse with adjoining field being ploughed.
Page 8 Drawing of the new schoolhouse
Page 10 Drawing of Scrubb Wood before and after thinning
Page 12 Drawing of a ship sailing from the coast (emigration)
Page 105 Map of Ballycollin

Annual Report 1886

Annual report, accounts and rental for year ending June 1886, showing a further reduction in the gross rental received by £152.13.0 and noting a considerable increase in arrears outstanding mainly attributable to the continued and intensified depression in the value of almost all kind of stock and farm produce, recent proposed legislation and a renewed demand for alteration of land laws. Forestry works consisted of 20 acres planted in Derryclure Wood and Scrubb Wood.

Describes a further agitation at the winter collection of rents (1885) with the object of procuring an abatement of rents that have been recently judicially fixed. Also describes the 'great excitement' among the tenantry derived from the Home Rule movement and the Parnellite party.

Annual Report 1887

Annual report, accounts and rental for year ending June 1887, showing a small decrease in rent, a moderate increase in arrears which Digby blames on a 'grave agricultural depression'. Abandoned arrears are high with much of this land consisting of boycotted farms and lands now 'on hand' following surrender. Principal amounts of expenditure is for forestry at Scrubb Wood and Derryadd, which he points out led to a large amount of employment in the reach of small tenants and labourers on the estate who must otherwise have suffered from enforced idleness. Describes a 'half-hearted' agitation against the payment of any more rent than the National League authorities advised. Also notes that meetings were held before the winter collection of rents and a proposal to inaugurate the League's 'Plan of Campaign' was not successful.

Annual Report 1880

Annual report, accounts and rental for year ending June 1880, wherein Digby contrasts the Geashill estate favourably with other estates in the country during this 'almost unprecedented agricultural disaster of the past season'. Reports that although the usual remittance is reduced by £1500 due to increased arrears, there was an overall net increase in rental income at £17,307.1.8.

Reports that there is an increase in the number of unskilled labour available and therefore more drainage works and land improvement projects were carried out with the result that there was hardly a person on the estate in want of work compared with other parts of Ireland where there was great distress and beginnings of famine. Notes that many of the projects are being executed under the Board of Works. To offset any failure of the potato crop on the estate, Digby reports that he has imported 50 tonnes of champion seed potatoes from Scotland and distributed among the tenantry.

Construction works included a pair of double cottages at Killeigh; a further addition to Thomas Cobbe's farmhouse at Annagharvey; a labourer's cottage for Mr Delamere at the Meelaghans; and the repair of the roof and offices at Ballymooney House. Forestry works included clearing and replanting of Scrubb Wood and new plantations at Gorteen and Derryadd.

Notes that the past year will long be remembered by every landlord and tenant 'as one of the most disastrous ever experienced', with bad weather, failure of root crops, and 'a potato crop more diseased than any since the famine years.' Warns that the Land League have seized upon the bad harvest as a means to increase agitation amongst tenants and have organised meetings the length and breadth of Ireland, and hopes that forthcoming legislation by the government will solve the Irish Land Question.