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

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).

There were Corcorans documented in five different Townlands in Kilfian Civil Parish when Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856. Of note is that these Corcorans are in three separate areas of Kilfian Civil Parish. John Corcoran was in the Northern portion of Kilfian Civil Parish in the Townland of Annaghmore, and bordering Annaghmore on the west in the Townland of Keerglen was Michael and Patrick Corcoran. Patrick Corcoran was in the central part of Kilfian Civil Parish in the Townland of Seeaghanbaun and immediately south of him in the Townland of Seeaghandoo was another Patrick Corcoran. Finally, in the Southern section of Kilfian Civil Parish in the Townland of Rathglass, a Thomas Corcoran was documented as having several parcels. Michael Corcoran is listed with "others" as being a landlord in the Townland of Keerglen for Thomas Murhpy as well.

There is one caveat to keep in mind when looking at these findings from the Griffith's Valuation: The Griffith's Valuation only includes the individuals (occupiers) who own, lease or rent a parcel. For instance it will list a householder but not the individuals who live with him. It was common in County Mayo for individuals to share parcels, particularly of land (The Rundale system of communal land sharing). Sometimes the whole town shared one parcel of land. Shared parcels may or may not be with related individuals. Just because an individual is a lone occupier of a parcel does not mean that he is living in (house) or tilling (garden) this parcel alone. He may have numerous family members living with him, but they will not be listed unless they actually lease or own the parcel. Occupiers who sublet their acreage of land or houses to others will be listed as landlords.

For helpful details on how to interpret the following records, please take a look at the page I created on "Deciphering Griffith's Valuation."

Townland Map Ref Number Occupier Landlord or his Rep Property Type Area in Acres, Roods and Perches - a-r-p Total Valuation in pounds, shillings and pence Shared with (other occupiers)
Annagh More 4a Corcoran, John Ormsby, John Land, House and Office 5-2-7 4-14-0 none
Annagh More 17 Corcoran, John same Land 108-1-32 1-0-0 11 others
Keerglen 3a Corcoran, Michael Arran, Earl of Land, House and Office 17-1-6 5-5-0 none
Keerglen 9 Corcoran, Patrick same Land 9-3-23 5-2-0 (for this and his next parcel) none
Keerglen 10 Corcoran, Patrick same Land 7-1-24 same none
Keerglen 15a Corcoran, Patrick same Land, House and Office 3-1-21 2-0-0 none
Keerglen 25 Murphy, Thomas Corcoran, Michael and others Land and House 6-2-10 2-5-0 none
Keerglen 26 Corcoran, Michael same Land 1402-2-11 1-0-0 Patrick Corcoran and 12 others
Keerglen 26 Corcoran, Patrick same Land same 1-9-0 Michael Corcoran and 12 others
Rathglass 4a Corcoran, Thomas Knox, Major John Land and House 7-3-6 3-10-0 one other
Rathglass 10 Corcoran, Thomas same Land 8-3-8 2-7-0 one other
Seeaghanbaun 6a Corcoran, Patrick Handy, Reps. Miss D.A. Land, House and Office 19-1-26 12-5-0 none
Seeaghandoo 10 Corcoran, Patrick same Land 15-2-36 0-1-0 16 others

(Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilfian).