EVICTIONS IN KILLAVULLEN, 1843/4
Transcribed by Jean Prendergast (c)
from ‘The Cork Examiner’, (CE), 1844
Two accounts of evictions in Killavullen were published in ‘The Cork Examiner’ of 1844, the first in February (1) and the second in October (2).
(1) EVICTIONS AT CARRIGACUNNA, KILLAVULLEN (CE 9/2/1844)
THE CLEARANCE SYSTEM AT CARRIGACUNNA, KILLAVULLEN
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CORK EXAMINER
SIR – The Constitution a newspaper having taken under its protection Mr. Henry Baldwin Foott, and the depoplating system now extensively carried on at Carrigacunna, and the same organ having thought proper to abuse Mr. John Quinlan, the active Poor Law Guardian of Monanimy, who in the discharge of his duty at the Mallow Board spiritedly exposed that vile and ruinous system and its instigators. I wish to lay the particulars of the case before the public.
The Batterberry family came to reside at Carrigacunna under the Footts more than 80 years ago; their farm contained 96 acres plantation. It was originally in 4 parts, but for years has been divided into 8 lots; eight occupying farmers enjoying 12 acres plantation measure each. Two of them lately left the farm after selling the interest of their 24 acres to two of the six farmers remaining, who let 5 small tenements varying from one to three acres each being the very worst of the farm, beside, there are a great many haggards and houses built by the humble occupiers along the mountain brow of Cloughoula, which forms the southern boundary of Carrigacunna. There are, or rather were (for seven families have left) 31 families on the farm, comprising 175 souls; 31 families containing 167 souls are under orders to quit; some are already gone.
Only one family of 8 persons is allowed to remain – that of Mr. Henry B. Foott’s steward (John Batterberry) who had the good luck to get from his employer after 40 year’s service, a new lease of his house and garden some time ago, he having a lot of 13 acres in another part of Carrigacunna.
The Batterberrys held the farm for a lease of 3 lives, who lived to a great age. The last died about three months since at the patriarchal age of 93 years which allowed the occupiers to enjoy the lands for about 80 years. The children and grandchildren of the lessees are on the farm, which Mr. Foott, (the landlord) is in possession of, and working with a large gang of men, demolishing ditches and old fixtures that were not disturbed for the last century. None of the stock is allowed on the lands. The owners are obliged to confine and feed them in their out-houses. From the quarters they are getting they must be off as soon as they get a place to enter. The farmers are not going without capital, two of them have got farms from respectable landlords and paid fines. John Batterberry, the last of the three lives died early on Saturday, the 25th of November last, and Mr. Henry B. Foott, demanded and received possession at noon on the same day. The family where the corpse lay and another being the only parties who refused the modest landlord to quit on that day. The reoussants surrendered in two days after.
Mr. Foott is giving as a great boon to any of the poor people who will tumble their cabins and quit –viz., the timber and thatch – one person named Rorke, who took the proffered reward was living wretchedly for the last 3 months under the arch of a lime kiln. I have seen the habitation, and the wife told me that they were compelled to remian up on wet nights, being unable to lie on the sop from the rain coming down, ‘till eventually they had to fly entirely from this miserable abode.
A widow Kennefick’s little boy was summoned by Mr. Foott for a trifling trepass. Mr. Foott told her that he would forgive the offence, and give the timber and thatch if she would be off; she complied, being unwilling to meet a plaintiff in Court who happened to be the J.P. and Judege – while the widow was out looking for a customer for the thatch for which she got the sum of one shilling, Timothy Magner (Mr. Foot’s Watchman), came to tumble the cabin.
The widow’s sick disabled daughter was putting a plaster to her leg, when the attack was made on the Castle; she ordered the assailant away, he insisted on her quitting to the d___l, the lame girl scrambled out of the cabin with her pot in one hand and the blanket in the other, and remained sitting under the canopy of heaven until her mother’s return. It is needless to say the fortress was taken.
The mother and daughter have signed a statement which is witnessed, containing the above facts, 12 families were put out of Carrigacunna about 5 years ago. These things are to be deplored in a Christian country. The parish is quiet peaceable, and I hope it will continue so. I enclose a list of heads of families drawn up and their number.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Killavullen, February 5, 1844
NAMES OF HEADS OF FAMILIES
* Quitted on the land since the life dropped.
John Batterbury, Mr. Foott’s steward, wife and 5 children, and grandchild, the only persons to remain.
STATEMENTS FROM THE KENNEFICKS
I, Catherine Kennefick, am prepared to declare that I received a summon from Mr. Foott on the day he got possession of my cabin, charging my son with taking the branch of a tree – the branch he took being already broken off. Mr. Foott told me on the same day he would forgive the offence, give the timber and thatch if I tumbled the cabin and left the lands, which offer induced me to comply.
Present _____________ CATHERINE KENNEFICK X her mark
Dec. 23, 1843
(A true copy)
I, Anne Kennefick, am prepared to declare that while my mother was from home seeking a customer to purchase the thatch of our cabin, Timothy Magner, Mr. Foott’s watchman, came to pull off the thatch without saying a word; I at once asked him what he was about, and to desist until my mother came home – he (Magner) desired me to be off to the devil; I hastened out as well I could, taking the bed-clothes and pot with me, and remained sitting by the ditch until my mother came home.
Present ___________ ANNE KENNEFICK X her mark
Dec. 23, 1843
(A true copy)
(2) EVICTIONS ON THE NAGLE AND FOOTT ESTATE (CE 16/10/1844)
The second account was published on the 16th of October 1844 as a letter dated Mallow, Oct. 10 1844, and was signed by ‘Erigena’. The great part of the letter rails against the injustices of the land system and the writer states that he is in possession of a large amount of the documentary evidence that was laid before the Landlord and Tenant Commission which had recently visited Mallow. It is no doubt from this evidence that he quotes the following statistics regarding tenants on the Foott and Nagle estates in Killavullen:-
.....I defy any man whose heart a generous feeling has ever warmed, to read without emotions of a most distressing kind the subjoined statistics of two properties within a mile or two of each other. The one that of PIERCE NAGLE, Esq. of Anakissy, the other that of HENRY BALDWIN FOOT, Esq., of Carigacunna Castle. I give the details in a tabular form that they may be taken up at a glance. From the former there have been evicted in the years respectively prefixed: –
ESTATE OF PIERCE NAGLE, ANNAKISSY
COTTIERS OR PERSONS HOLDING SMALL TENEMENTS
* PUT OUT SINCE 1833
Making a total of families 42, acres 730, and persons 281.
There are at present under notice to quit 10 families – averaging each of these at 5, the foregoing number will be increased to 331.
FROM THE PROPERTY OF HENRY BALDWIN FOOT, ESQ., OF CARIGACUNNA, THERE HAVE BEEN EVICTED FROM NOV. 1843 TO JUNE, 1844
With the kind permission of Jean Prendergast