Kilfian Civil Parish and the Incidence of the Brennan Surname in Griffith's Valuation

There were no individuals with the Brennan Surname documented in Kilfian Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856.

Kilfian Civil Parish falls within Tirawley Barony and had 50 Townlands when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856. The Roman Catholic Parish of Kilfian covers this Civil Parish and was formed in 1826. (Mitchell, 1988, p. 88). I have also seen it referred to as Kilfian and Rathreagh Catholic Parish. Rathreagh Civil Parish is also part of Kilfian Catholic Parish. Only one Roman Catholic Chapel was identified in the Griffith's Valuation and that was in the Townland of Kincon. There were no graveyards listed for this Civil Parish. Church records for this Catholic Parish are found on LDS microfilm number 1279205 and cover the years 1826-1844.

I couldn't find any fair or market patent applications for Kilfian Civil Parish Townlands listed in the Griffith's Valuation (there was however, a patent for fairs obtained for the Town of Fortfield in 1812 by Francis Knox), as you will see referred to in the quote from Samuel Lewis below. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 87). There weren't any documented "Fair Greens" or "Tolls for Markets and Fairs" in Kilfian Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856. The book "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" by Samuel Lewis does however mention the following fairs in his section of Kilfyan:

"At Bridewell is a large fair for horses on Feb. 1st; fairs are held at Tonrahowen on St. Stephens, St Patricks and Corpus Christi days; and at Fortfield, a small village, which has obtained the grant of a market not yet opened, on January 1st, June 15th, Aug. 16th, Sept. 8th, Oct. 29th, and Dec. 1st." (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 95).

I couldn't find either Tonrahowen or Fortfield in the Griffith's Valuation for Kilfian Civil Parish and I am pondering the possibility that they may be smaller towns within the Townlands. They weren't listed in "Index to the Townlands, and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland" either. Fortfield was not listed as having fairs when the "Statistical Survey of County Mayo" was conducted in 1802.

There was fairly little in the way of economic activity documented in the Griffith's Valuation for Kilfian Civil Parish. The Townland of Ballygavna had a Constabulary Barracks and Mill. There were no Turbarys, Corn Mills or even a Forge. This is also one of the few Civil Parishes in which I didn't find any documented Herd's Houses. (Griffith, 1847-1864'; 2003, Kilfian). With the emphasis on grazing areas instead of tillage after the famine, the amount of designated pasture/grazing area appeared to increase in most Civil Parishes.

As far as Education goes there were five schools documented in Griffith's Valuation; there were National Schoolhouses in Kincon, Ballykinlettragh and Fairfield Lower, and schoolhouses in the Townlands of Rathnamagh and Fortland. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilfian).

I found it interesting that the Edinburgh Agricultural Society was a tenant in the Townland of Ballykinlettragh. There were no designated bog areas, lakes, plantations or orchards documented in Griffith's Valuation for this Civil Parish, but there was a "River" noted as running through the Townland of Kinnavally.

There wasn't one particular landlord that dominated Kilfian Civil Parish, but landlords such as the Earl of Arran, Major John Knox, Sir W Roger Palmer Bt, John Ormsby and John Orme were the most prevalent. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilfian).

I was able to find the Earl of Arran and Sir W Roger Palmer Bart in "The Landowners of Ireland" by Hussey De Burgh, 1878, that listed landlords in Ireland having more than 500 acres or land valued at over 500 Pounds. The Earl of Arran (also known as Phillip York Gore, the 4th Earl) resided in Castle Gore, County Mayo (one of his residences) and he had 29, 644 acres in County Mayo and 6883 acres in County Donegal. Sir William Roger Palmer Bart resided in Keenagh Lodge, Castlebar, County Mayo among his several residences. He held 80,990 acres in County Mayo, 9570 acres in County Sligo and 4,202 acres in Dublin. There were also notations in this source for a John Henry Knox who resided in Ballina with 6,909 acres in County Mayo as well a John F Knox who also resided in Ballina (only County Sligo acreage listed for him). I am uncertain which, if either of these is Major John Knox and will have to investigate further. Finally, there were two John Ormsby's listed in this resource, John with 3,186 acres in County Mayo, residing in Gortnerabbey, Crossmolina and a John R Ormsby who only had Sligo acreage listed. (De Burgh, 1878; 2007, p. 11, 255, 357, 361). I will be covering all of these landlords in a special section of the landlords of County Mayo that I am currently working on.

John Orme was not listed in this resource. J.F Quinn describes the Orme's Faminy in his 5 volume works "History of Mayo" as being Cromwellians who received a lot of land in both County Sligo and County Mayo and were "good landlords." (Quinn, 1996, Volume 4, Chapter 11, p. 333).

Kiflian Civil Parish saw almost a 50% drop in its population between 1841 (6,064) and 1851 (3,348). That number continued to decline and by the year 1911 there were only 1,750 people residing in this Civil Parish. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7).