Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, erudite, scholarly, witty, humble, modest, self-effacing, kind, benign, charismatic, innovative, a right boyo, a historian supreme and above all else—wily. The saint of old prophesied that gold and silver would always follow the Barrystown children. That prophecy is ever true.
The Echo on last Tuesday published my letter on the Anglo-Saxon Dialect in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy. It is replete with erudition and intense learning as one would expect but further it is also informed by common sense! If the people of Forth and Bargy were speaking—effectively—a German dialect well into the nineteenth century how could the courts proceed? They would have to have an interpreter at the Duncormack Petty Sessions. John C. Tuomy, the Taghmon schoolmaster, bitterly attacked Anna Maria Hall not for having the characters in her stories speak Saxon but because she—in his opinion—deliberately exaggerated the defects in the ordinary English spoken by the characters in her works—all of them based on local people. Settlers in the baronies of Forth and Bargy previous to the Norman invasion brought in the Saxon dialect and the Normans when they came spoke a mixture of Flemish, French, Saxon and English. Do read my letter!
On the 14th of February 1883 The People reported that at the meeting of the Poor Law Guardians in Wexford “a notice of eviction brought by Josiah Martin and Thomas Boyd, receiver on the lands of Ballingly, against Patrick Butler, tenant, was laid on the table.”
The Wexford Independent on May 31st 1837 reported that on Monday week last that the ceremony of “laying the first stone” for a new Catholic temple or Church at Carrig-on-Bannow took place on the estate of “that genuine philanthropist and benevolent landlord, Mr Samuel Boyse”. The report continued:–“Thousands of his grateful and happy tenantry were in attendance on this auspicious occasion; and mingled their heartfelt benedictions with those of the Venerated Pastor of the Parish, on the head of Him, who has been to them, in the truest sense of the word, a “Natural Protector”; and who soaring above all sectarian and anti-Christian prejudices, lent his purse, his example, and his influence, to raise a befitting Altar to God of all charity, for the sole accommodation of his Catholic dissenting brethren.”
After the dedication of the new chapel in the summer of 1856 John C. Tuomy—the Taghmon schoolmaster— wrote of the laying of the foundation stone as occurring in the summer of 1836. This is flawed memory on his part and his folksy image of Sam Boyse coming seated on a pony, with Tom Boyse walking alongside him, is a folksy tale, and hardly true, either. So don’t believe everything that you hear! We may safely assume that Tom Boyse arrived in an expensive and expansive automobile.
Sam Boyse and his illustrious and far famed son Tom, arrived at the site of the projected edifice, at about twelve of clock, and were—needless to record—were hailed “with one loud and universal burst of acclamation, from the vast concourse assembled.” Also present were: Fr Peter Corish Parish Priest of Carrig-on-Bannow but resident in Ballymitty and then or later Chancellor of the diocese of Ferns; Fr Martin Moran C. C., the Curate in the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow; Fr Jim Walsh the pioneering Parish Priest of Kilmore plus a many other distinguished individuals.
Sam Boyse was a challenged orator; his deficiency as a public speaker was a matter of which he was aware—he did not have the elitist education of his famous son Tom, who studied for many years in the English universities. The reporter in The Wexford Independent reconstructed Sam Boyse’s speech in more coherent, and I presume, grammatical form—as implied in this introduction:–
“Mr Samuel Boyse, after the usual preliminaries, addressed the assembly, nearly as follows:–[this is the reconstructed form of Sam Boyse’s address]
Friends and Brother Parishioners, I feel particularly happy in meeting you here this day, agreeably to your wishes, to lay the first stone of an edifice to be dedicated to the Great and Living God and His Beloved Son, Christ Jesus, our Redeemer. I entertain a sanguine hope that it will constantly remind you of the great day of judgement, when a final sentence will be passed upon us all; and I trust and hope, that you will constantly attend to your duties here, when your respected and pious clergy will point out to you the road to peace and prosperity in this world, and to happiness eternal in the world to come—(cheers). I hope the example I have always set to you will have the effect of mitigating the asperities of those sectarian differences, which are too prevalent in our country and that we shall still continue to live as brothers and Christians.—(reiterated plaudits). I shall not detain you any longer as I am not in the habit of public speaking, that to express my prayer, that the good work we are about to commence this day may keep pace with my wishes and that God will help and prosper our endeavours.”
Sam Boyse confessed at a public meeting many years earlier that he, in the initial phase of his life, had the conventional Protestant prejudice against Catholics; he, always, indicated that his son Tom had been most influential in bringing him to see the great good of amity and co-operation between the two major denominations. He became convinced that such was the truly Christian way to proceed.
Fr Corish, according to the report, when he presented himself, “was received in that affectionate and warm hearted manner, worthy of the Pastor and the Flock.”
His address seems disjointed, devoid of thematic flow and at times gasping for ideas, words and phrases. He, probably, spoke without notes and without preparation—this is what he said, according to the report:–
“Mr Boyse—said the Rev. Gentleman—let me return you my most sincere thanks for the honour you have done us this day. This is a glorious day; a novelty in this country, indeed—(Hear). It is a glorious sight to behold the Lord of the Soil, the landlord of the greater portion of those who surround him, coming forward to lay the foundation stone of a Temple to be erected to the service and worship of the Living God and for the spiritual and temporal benefit of his people—(cheers). You have, this day, Sir, a noble example to the landlords of Ireland—you have laid the foundations of this great and extensive edifice; and not merely with your hands but with your purse. Yes, Sir, you have laid the foundation and with your aid will we use our efforts to raise the superstructure. You, Sir, and your family shall be considered, in all ages, the originators of this extensive edifice; I say, in after ages, because it shall be erected on so solid and permanent a foundation as to defy, comparatively, the wreck of time. My good people, continued the Rev. Gentleman, to the large assembly, what a joyful day is this for you; what people more blessed in having a landlord of this description residing amongst them; and shedding upon them the benedictions of comfort, happiness and plenty—(cheers)—Your hearts must this day exult and exulting as mine does on this occasion, I am sure you will join me most cordially in returning thanks to Mr Boyse for the honour he has done us this day. Cheers for the Messrs Boyse here followed, which was long protracted, after which the large multitude retired.”
Fr Peter Corish was an olde world priest and steeped in what (for want of a better term) I call the Gallican tradition in Irish Catholicism. This latter philosophy deemed all earthly authority as a replication of God’s authority in Heaven: the phrase “Lord of the Soil” derives from this mind-set. There were, also, Lords of the Realm, Lords of the Courts and of course Lord Bishops of the Church. Bishops and priests of the Gallican tradition believed that the Catholic Church had to adapt to local, geographical and geo-political conditions and in the Irish context this involved co-operation with the landlords or at least with the more benevolent ones. Many powerful figures in the Established or Protestant Church in Ireland, lay, clerical and Episcopal favoured practical acceptance of the Catholic Church. This dual linking of Catholic and Protestant divines and proprietors formed the basis of the Whig or Liberal political project which up to the outbreak of the Famine seemed to hold out a real hope of solving the Irish Question. The great, Kennedyesque (to speak in a futuristic sense) Lord Lieutenant Mulgrave, who represented Liberal values, made a triumphal tour of the County Wexford in the summer of 1836—crowds poured onto the roads to see and follow him.
From The People April 26th 1882: a list of decrees to evict granted at the Assizes:-
“Captain H. A. Boyse v Thomas Cullen and another for the lands of Ballyfrory at a rent of £20 which was now due. Decree.
Same v Laurence Walsh and others for the land of Bannow, at a rent of £89, which was now due. Decree.
Same v John White for the lands of Vernegly, at the yearly rent of £60 which was now due. Decree.
Same v William Stafford and another for the lands of Vernegly, at the rent of £10 17 shillings, one year’s rent being due. Mr Huggard said that the remainder of the ejectments were served through the post and by being posted on the Wexford court-house. Daly, the process server, was then sworn and gave an exparte statement; he said he was afraid to go to Bannow to serve the ejectments. He was told to do nothing more for Mr Boyse with respect to rent, and not to go there any more or to mark the consequence. He was afraid to go there though he was always armed.
Same v Michael Cahill for the lands of Cullenstown, at a rent of £18, now due. Mr Huggard said that case was now settled.
Same v Benjamin Wade for the lands of Haggard, at a rent of £12 10 shillings, now due. Decree.
Same v Luke Brennan for the lands of Kiltra, at a rent of £11 10 shillings, now due. Decree.
Same v Robert Breen for the lands of Moor, Bannow, at a rent of £2, now due. Decree.
Same v Patrick Colfer for the lands of Bannow, at the rent of £1; there was a second ejectment for the lands of Vernegly, held at a rent of £8. Decree.
Same v John Colfer for the lands of Newtown, held at a rent of £37 10 shillings and 5 pence. Decree.
Same v James Colfer for the lands of Graigue, at £40 a year, now due. Decree.
Same v John Cahill for the lands of Grange, held at a rent of £32 14 shillings and 10 pence, now due. Decree.
Same v Michael Deery, for the lands of Haggard, held at the rent of £14, now due. Decree.
Same v Thomas Furlong for the lands of Vernegly, held at the rent of £11 9 shillings and 5 pence, now due. Decree.
Same v John French for the lands of Grange, held at a rent of £36 9 shillings and 4 pence, now due. Decree.
Same v Robert Morris and another for the lands of Bannow, held at a rent of £8 9 shillings and 4 pence, now due. Decree.
Same v William Radford and Nicholas Maddock for the lands of Cullenstown, at the rent of £28 19 shillings, now due. Decree.
Same v Benjamin Radford and two others for the lands of Cullenstown, at the rent of £17 10 shillings, now due. Mr Huggard said that this case had been settled.
Same v John Stafford and another for the lands of Coolseskin, at the rent of £50, now due. Decree.
Same v James Stafford and another for the lands of Newtown, at the rent of £15 19 shillings and 3 pence, now due. Decree.
Same v Gregory White for the land of Newtown, at the rent of £57 3 shillings and 11 and a half pence, now due. There was a second ejectment against the same defendant for the lands of Bannow, held at a rent of £9 15 shillings, now due. Decree.
Same v John White for the lands of Newtown, held at the rent of £29 3 shillings and 8 pence.
Same v William Browne for the lands of Bannow, held at a rent of £2, now due. Decree.
Same v John Connors for the lands of Haggard, at a rent of £6, now due. Decree.
Same v Eliza Colfer for the land of Kiltra, at a rent of £30, now due. Decree.
Same v Robert Devereux for the lands of Bannow, at a rent £1 10 shillings, now due. Decree.
Same v Laurence Devereux for the lands of Haggard, at a rent of £8 4 shillings, now due. Decree.
Same v James Keane for the lands of Bannow, at a rent of £3. There were two other ejectments against the same defendant for the lands of Bannow and Haggard, at the rent of £32 5 shillings and £8 12 shillings, now due. Decree.
Same v Matthew Meyler for the lands of Vernegly, at a rent of £11 4 shillings and 4 pence. Decree.
Same v Bridget Moran for the lands of Grange, at a rent of £13 10 shillings. Decree.
Same v John Stafford and three others for the lands of Coolhull, at a rent of £60 1 shilling and 8 pence. Mr Huggard said that this ejectment had been settled.
Same v Martin Tierney for the lands of Haggard, at a rent of £27 19 shillings. Decree.
Same v Nicholas White for the lands of Newtown, at £17 per year; also, against the same defendant for the lands of Bannow, at a rent of 15 shillings, now due. Decree.
Same v Bartholomew Cullen for the land of Lower Bannow, at a yearly rent of £85 10 shillings and 8 pence.
Same v Moses White and two others for the lands of Danes Castle, at a rent of £14 15 shillings. Decree.
Other ejectments were:–
Richard King v Walter F. Hayes and six others for the lands of Danes Castle, at the rent of £34; due £51. Decree.
Same v W. F. Hayes for the lands of Danes Castle, at a rent of £6; due £9. Decree.
Mr P. Darcy v James Browne for the lands of Clonmines, at a rent of £4 6 shillings; due, £21 10 shillings. Decree
Same v Edward Stafford for the lands of Clonmines, at a rent of £39 2 shillings; due, £156 8 shillings.
Hon. W. F Forbes v John Power for the lands of Whitty’s Hill at the rent of £4 10 shillings; due £9. Decree.
This tediously long list of ejectments was, undoubtedly, in the greater part the outcome of the Land League campaign of refusing to pay rents above the Griffiths’ Valuation. The tenants usually bought back their farms when the landlords put them up for sale by paying the arrears and legal costs. It does not seem a very rational policy to me. Some of the above tenants were evicted for genuine inability to pay their rents.