Bekan Civil Parish and the Incidence of the Coffee (Coffey, Coffy) Surname in Griffith's Valuation

There were no individuals with the Coffee, Coffey or Coffy Surnames documented in Bekan Civil Parish when Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856.

Bekan Civil Parish falls within Costello Barony and is part of Bekan (or Becan) Roman Catholic Parish. When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for this Civil Parish, there was one documented Roman Catholic Chapel in the Townland of Bekan and the only Graveyard was there as well. Catholic Church records that are available for this parish cover the years 1832-1910 on microfilm number 1279209. There were 63 Townlands in Bekan Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted. There was one additional listing in the valuation, "Islands in Mannin Lake" that had only one occupant that I did not include on this list. The Town of Ballyhaunis, a significant market town in County Mayo was incorporated in two Townlands in Bekan Civil Parish, Carrowluggaun and Pollnacroaghy. Ballyhaunis sits on the border between Bekan Civil Parish and Annagh Civil Parish. Two Townlands in Annagh Civil Parish also have the Town of Ballyhaunis incorporated into their borders: Abbeyquarter and Hazelhill. I have created a more detailed page on Ballyhaunis in my County Mayo Market Towns section.

William Knox obtained a patent for markets and fairs for Ballyhaunis as early as 1751. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 85). When the Statistical Survey of County Mayo was conducted in 1802, Ballyhavnefs (sic) was noted as having a market for cattle, but not for grain and Fairs were held on July 2, September 22 and October 29. (McParlan, 1802; 2007. p. 37,45-46, 47-50). The Town of Ballyhaunis incorporated into the Townland of Carrowluggaun had the Tolls and Customs of Fairs and a Constabulary Barrack. The Town of Ballyhaunis incorporated into the Townland of Pollnacroaghy had the Tolls of Crane, the Grand Jury of County Mayo Petty Sessions House and the Guardians of Claremorris Union Dispensary. Other commercial activity seemed to be fairly evenly distributed through Bekan Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted. There was a Pound in the Townland of Brackloon West and Tooraree, Brickeens had a Corn Mill, Kilns and a Tuck Mill, Carrowreagh had Corn and Tuck Mills and a Kiln, the Townlands of Cuiltycreaghan, Cullentragh, Devlis and Killknock had Corn Mills and Lissaniska had a Corn Mill and a Kiln. Herd's Houses were present in the Townlands of Bohogerawer, Bracklagh, Brackloon West and Island, not all that many for a Civil Parish this size. There was however, a significant number of Townlands with designated "Bog" parcels including Bekan, Brickeens, Greenwood, Keebagh, Larganboy East, Larganboy West, Lissaniska and Lurgan and their were numerous lakes throughout Bekan Civil Parish. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Bekan).

As far as education goes, there was a National Schoolhouse in the Townland of Bekan, Brackloon North and Larganboy East. Samuel Lewis in his 1837 "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" describes a school at Brackloon and 5 private schools as well. (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 190).

Viscount Dillon was far and away the predominant landlord in Bekan Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856, distantly followed by Phillip Taaffe, Austin F. Crean, George Knox and a smattering of others. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Bekan). Lord Dillon was listed as a non-resident landlord for Costello Barony in the Statistical Survey of County Mayo in 1802. (McParlan, 1802, 2007, p. 106).

The population of Bekan Civil Parish saw a decline during and after the peak famine years like many other parishes in County Mayo. In 1841 there were 5,589 people living in Bekan Civil Parish, dropping to 4,724 in 1851. By the year 1911 the population of the area was down to 3,834. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7).