News and Views

Maps show occupiers of Cork towns in the 1780s

6 Jun 2019
(l-r): UCC President, Professor Patrick O’Shea; Dr Pádraig Mac Cárthaigh, Department of Physics, UCC; the Hon. Stephen Evans-Freke, Castle Freke; Dr Hiram Morgan, Director of CELT, UCC; and Rev. Christopher Peters, Dean of St Fachtna’s Cathedral Rosscarbery, pictured with the original document.

The occupiers of every house in the Cork towns of Rosscarbery and Baltimore in the late 1780s have been revealed in a survey of an extensive Munster landed estate published online for the first time.

The beautifully illustrated 1787/88 survey of the estate of Sir John Freke of Castle Freke, near Rosscarbery, County Cork was made by the noted 18th-century Dublin land surveyor Thomas Sherrard.

The surveyed lands stretch from Durrus at the mouth of Dunmanus Bay to Ballincollig near Cork City. Many of the maps include the names of tenants and the size and location of their holdings.

The street maps of the towns of Rosscarbery and Baltimore feature numbered dwellings accompanied by a reference to identify the occupier of each dwelling. In total, some 200 named house occupiers, land tenants and landowners are listed in the survey.

The survey consists of maps of 46 townlands covering some 15,000 acres of land comprising the Cork holdings of the Freke estate - later to become known as the Carbery estate after John Freke inherited the title of Lord Carbery in 1807.

A digitized version of the survey has been published online on UCC’s CELT (Corpus of Electronic Texts) website, allowing access to digitized maps with background information and comprehensive tables compiled from the survey.

“Comparisons with present-day townland boundaries show that Thomas Sherrard was a remarkably accurate land surveyor. This information is of great genealogical value since it provides a link to a period which precedes by two or three generations the well-known Griffith’s Valuation collection of data from the mid-nineteenth century,” said Dr Pádraig Mac Cárthaigh, Department of Physics, UCC, author of the online publication.

Surveys like this were frequently commissioned by estate owners, particularly in the second half of the eighteenth century when there was a vibrant school of Irish land surveyors who, driven by a competitive environment, were producing high-quality documents for both functional and ornamental purposes.

The online publication of the survey was launched recently in Castle Freke, hosted by its owner Stephen Evans-Freke, a descendant of Sir John Freke, who commissioned the survey.

For more on this story contact:

Lynne Nolan, Media & PR Officer, UCC: 087 210 1119.

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