Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, the most devious and wily of them all: that is a truth that nobody will contest! My birthday is on Saturday the 22nd of April. I was born into a world (and an Ireland) utterly different from the present one—a place of horses and donkeys, bicycles, a scarcity of meat dinners, footballers and hurlers, small fields, ditches, shores, Marigold weeds, tribes of rats and mice, small dwellings, some thatched, dusty and narrow roads but tarmacadam was coming in, small lorries, radios, etc et al. People on working days wore greasy clothes and the awful corduroy trousers: to me they had a metaphorical smell. The rain, the sleet, the hints of snow, the cold and the mostly cool summers were, of course, there. There were odd very warm summers, also.

In 1835 Mr Francis Leigh of Rosegarland was at Westminster Parliament giving evidence on the condition of the poor in the parish of Ballylannon.

He spoke of an income of about £4 or £5 for those with two acres of land, and about £2 for those without land. He added:–

“The cabins are always built of mud and thatched with straw; miserably furnished and with bad bedding; often no bedsteads and but one blanket.” He asserted that “the general condition of the poor appears improved of late years. The parish has been generally peaceable.”

Mr Leigh added:–“The old and infirm are generally supported by their children, assisted by the neighbouring gentry or receiving a part of the poor money collected by the Church.”

I think that Mr Leigh is referring to the Established or Protestant Church. The old and infirm could not feel great confidence in the prospects of such provision. Mr Leigh continued:–

“It impossible to say the number of beggars and they receive alms, in money from the gentry; in potatoes from the farmers. Almost in every cottage, a night’s lodging is readily afforded to strolling beggars, which is usually given gratuitously.” He added:–“I know of no one who has died of want.” Mr Leigh’s evidence is, perhaps, a trifle roseate; it is difficult to believe that nobody died of want in such gruesome and destitute conditions.

From The People the 3rd of July 1895:–

“The Shelburne Campaign

The cattle which were seized on the Templemore Estate a few days ago were put up for sale in Arthurstown on Monday and bought up by the owners for about three-fourths their value. There will be a number of other sheriff’s sales at Saltmills during the week. Mr Peter Ffrench M. P. visited the estate on Monday and has entered into communication with Lord Templemore for the purpose of trying to bring about an amicable arrangement of the difference between his Lordship and the tenants.”

There is no need for me to point out that Peter Ffrench was closely connected with Bannow. While the context was different, the ordinary activities of Peter Ffrench M. P. resembled—maybe anticipated—that of the modern public representative. The cattle were seized (I presume) to pay for unpaid rents plus the legal costs of getting decrees.

From The People the 6th of June 1910:–

“A Labourer’s Complaint

The following complaint was read from a labourer named Richard Ryan, Barriestown, in which he stated that he did not know the reason of the delay in the building of his cottage which was far more backward than any of the others in the neighbourhood. He thought he should write to the Local Government Board. Himself and his children were in sore need of a house. He believed that the money was paid in full and he could see no reason why the house was delayed. He should like to have his case get a fair hearing.

Chairman—Does Mr Fitzhenry know anything about this case?

Mr Fitzhenry said that the contractor in this case was very unsatisfactory. He had applied for extension of time and he took more time than he got. He (Mr Fitzhenry) had to take the work out of his hands altogether.

Chairman—I think Mr Fitzhenry did quite right.

The action of Mr Fitzhenry was approved of.” [Mr Fitzhenry was Clerk to the Board of Guardians].

From The People the 6th of August 1910:–

“Successes At the Shows

The success of Mr J. L. Handcock, Coolbrook, at the Wexford Show, in carrying off the first prize for weight carrying hunters, has given great satisfaction to his friends. But he deserves it highly. There is no more dedicated follower of horse flesh in the county, nor one who does more to advance the royal sport of fox hunting; and he, is, moreover what many others in this line, unfortunately for the country, are not, a large and generous employer of labour. The victory of Mr Phil Hickey, Ambrosetown, at the New Ross Show, on his “Airship” deserves mention, also. It was he had the real airship; it was he that could rise and fly—the jumps; and his host of friends are heartily glad of his success.”

From The People the 13th of July 1910:–


M’Elroy and Ennis—July 9th, at St Peter’s, Ballymitty, by the Rev. Alphonsus M’Elroy C. R. L., brother of the bridegroom, assisted by the Rev. Mortimer Sullivan P. P. and the Rev. Thomas Scallen C. C. Ballymitty, Hugh Walter M’Elroy to Barbara Mary, eldest daughter of John Ennis, Springwood.”

From The People the 13th of August 1910:–

“The Carrig Fair

The Carrig monthly fair was held on Thursday the 4th inst., and was a rather small one. It was composed chiefly of some third-class store cattle, yearlings, weanling calves, sheep, and pigs. Pigs, especially, young ones, were very dear and prices ranged from 26 shillings to 36 shillings each, for those from ten to twelve weeks old. Sheep fair, rather small and lambs made a slight advance but other classes remained steady. Trade for cattle quiet and good many unsold.”

The Carrig fair was never successful.

From The People the 13th of August 1910:–

“Mr Ffrench M. P.

Mr Peter Ffrench M. P., J. P., coroner for South Wexford has returned to his residence at Harpoonstown from his Parliamentary duties.”

I had not known previously that Peter Ffrench was Coroner for South Wexford; he probably did not receive a salary for role at a Member of Parliament at Westminster (but collections were made as a remuneration to these M. P.s) but he would get a salary of sorts for his job as a Coroner.

They had important things to deliberate on at the Petty Sessions in Duncormack in July 1910 as reported in The People on the 23rd of July 1910:–

“No Light up

Sergt Currid had up John Walsh, Maxboley, for riding a bicycle without a light at night. John got into an argument which held too long, as to the merits of Jack Johnson and Jeffries as pugilists, with the result that the sergeant met him after the debate without a light. Fined 1 shilling and costs with a hint not to stop out at night again talking of fighting unless he had a light to put up on the road home.”

Bannow, in “The Cromwellian Depositions” does not provide sensational disclosures nor does it illuminate that far off and gruesome period but it does contain, at least, the names of people who lived at Bannow then. I will quote an extract from them:–

“The examination upon oath of Marcus Power of Bannow, yeoman, aged thirty years or thereabouts, taken upon oath on the behalf of the Commonwealth concerning John and James Hood of Bannow, freeholders in the County of Wexford.

To the first Interrogator– The examinant deposed that he well knew the said John and James Hood for that they dwelt in Bannow all the time of the rebellion, near to the deponent, from whence the said John and James Hood did not remove into the English quarters as severall English and Protestants did. The said John being since that time dead and James the surviving heir.

To the third and fourth Interrogator he said and deposed that the said John and James did contribute their persons in arms for the promoting the Rebellion [1641 Rebellion] against the English. His cause of knowledge is for that the deponent did see the said John and James in the company and under the command of Major David Synnott at the fight at Ballibegg assisting the Irish and fighting against the English which fight was near Ross about the 17th of March 1642….

Marcus Power his mark make

Sworn before us the 8th of February 1653

Thomas Hart

Am Andrews.”

I took the liberty of altering the archaic spelling of words into the modern format in the hope of increasing the possibility of obtaining meaning and insight from the deposition. At least, we now know that John and James Hood lived at Bannow, near to Marcus Power who swore that the Hoods threw in their lot with the Confederate Rebellion of 1641 and I—presume—fought against the Crown and English forces. The name Hood sounds unusual and maybe it should be given some modern form.

From The Patent Rolls in the 8th year of the reign of James I:–

I I I.—6 Grant from the King to Gerald, Earl of Kildare—Wexford County, the tithes of the rectory of Banno, with the tithes of the towns of St Brandin, Carricke and St Imothie; parcel of the estate of the late monastery of Tinterne …..”

The tithes were a charge on arable land for the upkeep of the Church—that is before the Reformation when there was only one Church in Europe. They eventually became a commodity or property that could be traded.

William Henry Lynn was born on the 27th of December 1829 at St John’s Point, Co. Down. His father was Lieutenant Henry Lynn of Fethard, Co. Wexford and an officer in the Coast Guard Service. His mother was Margaretta, a daughter of Dr Samuel Ferres M. D. of Larne, Co. Aintrim. William Henry Lynn won great fame as an architect, especially in Canada. The really interesting thing about him is that he was educated at Dr Newland’s private grammar School at Bannow; the one that Mr James was headmaster of.

From The People on the 7th of January 1911:–

“A Peculiar Accident

A young man, named Martin Cleary of Harristown, Taghmon, was received into the County Wexford Infirmary on Wednesday suffering from a broken leg, sustained under peculiar circumstances. It appeared that he was riding a donkey when the animal slipped on the road owing to the frost and Cleary was thrown so violently that the limb was fractured. He was detained in the institution.”

From The Bannow and District Notes in The People on the 7th of June 1952:–

“Home from U. S. A.—Mr John Miskella, formerly of Barrystown, who went to Cleveland, Ohio about 25 years ago, is on a visit to his brother Mr Patrick Miskella, Johnstown. Mr Miskella who will return to America in a few weeks time, intends to settle in his native district in the course of a few years.

An Old Coin—When working in  a field of Mr J. J. Furlong M. C. C., Little Graigue, at a place known as “Knockers Hill”, Mr Nick Bent found a coin bearing the date 1593, on one side of which was a woman’s head with the inscription “Elizabeth” and other marks indecipherable. The coin is of silver and about the size of 2 shilling piece and local opinion is that it is a Florin of the Elizabethan Period.”