Rosslee Civil Parish and the Incidence of the Brennan Surname in Griffith's Valuation, County Mayo, Ireland

Rosslee Civil Parish falls within Carra Barony and is part of Mayo Abbey Roman Catholic Parish. Mayo Civil Parish is also part of this Catholic Parish. Church records cover the years 1841-1906. When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for Rosslee Civil Parish in 1857, there were only 21 Townlands and all except Rathnacreeva and Weatherfort were quite small.

There were no Roman Catholic Chapels or other Churches documented in the Griffith's Valuation for Rosslee Civil Parish and the only Graveyard was present in the Townland of Rathnacreeva.

I couldn't find any patents applications for fairs or markets and the Townlands of Rosslee weren't mentioned in the Statistical Survey of County Mayo when it was conducted in 1802. The Griffith's Valuation didn't show a "Fair Green" or "Tolls and Customs of Fairs" in any of the Townlands of Rosslee Civil Parish. There was very little in the way of commercial activity aside from a Forge in Ballynamuddagh and Herd's Houses in the Townlands of Cloghannageeragh, Graddoge, Hollowpark, Knockatotaun, Peenoge and Rathnacreeva. The numerous Herd's Houses would seem to indicate a fair amount of pasture, grazing land. I didn't see any "Bog" parcels designated in this Civil Parish and only one lake, Lough Frank a portion of which is in Weatherfort. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Rosslee).

As far as education goes there were no documented Schoolhouses in this small Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857, but Samuel Lewis in his book "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" mentions a private school in Rosslee Civil Parish. (Lewis, 1837, 1984, p. 538).

Mark Blake was the primary landlord in this Civil Parish representing 12 Townlands; Lord Clanmorris was predominant in 8 and George O'Malley in one Townland.

Rosslee Civil Parish like many others during the famine and post-famine years saw a significant population drop. In 1841 there were 1,283 people living in Rosslee Civil Parish, dropping to 694 in 1851. By the year 1911 there were only 334 residents of this Civil Parish. This was just shy of a 75% population drop. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 8).

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857 for Rosslee Civil Parish, there were Brennans documented in three different Townlands, Patk Brennan (Thos) in the Townland of Castlelucas (this was in Castlebar Union), Michael Brennan and Patrick Brennan (Thos) in the Townland of Graddoge (Ballinrobe Union) and James, Patrick Brennan- Sen, Patrick Brennan (James) and Patrick Brennan (Thos) in the Townland of Weatherfort. Weatherfort, Castlelucas and Graddoge are all next to each other in the southwestern part of Rosslee Civil Parish.

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.

I have completed the three items on film # 1279209 that covers Mayo Abbey Catholic Parish (that includes this Civil Parish) and there were 10 different Brennan families documented as living in Weatherfort, one Brennan family in Graddoge and one in Ballynamuddagh. Keep in mind that many times Townlands aren't given at all. Remember when a record says i.e., Patk Brennan (Thos), it refers to the fact that Patk is the son of Thos Brennan, and when it says sen, it refers to senior.

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)
Castlelucas 2 Brennan (Thos), Patk Blake, Mark Land 1-0-32 0-4-0 1 other
Graddoge 1b Brennan, Michael Joyce, Joseph House   0-2-0 none
Graddoge 3 Brennan (Thos) Patrick Clanmorris, Lord Land 1-2-6 0-3-0 1 other
Weatherfort 1a Brennan, James Clanmorris, Lord Land, House and Offices 50-1-0 26-15-0 none
Weatherfort 4 Brennan (James), Patrick same Land, House and Office 16-1-20 27-15-0 (total for this and his next parcel) none
Weatherfort 5 Brennan (James), Patrick same Land 36-3-20 same none
Weatherfort 6b Brennan, Martin same Land, House and Office 39-1-7 2-13-0 Patrick Brennan, Sen and two others
Weatherfort 6d Brennan, Patrick, Sen same Land and House same as above 2-13-0 Martin Brennan and two others
Weatherfort 10 Brennan (Thos), Patrick same Land 15-2-20 1-12-0 one other
Weatherfort 11a Brennan (Thos), Patrick same Land and House 22-3-19 12-15-0 none

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