Eighteenth-Century Ireland Annual Conference, June 2014

June 2014
Location: Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society Annual Conference, Armagh.

The Project team organised a panel entitled ‘Mapping the Eighteenth-Century Irish State – Boroughs, Barracks and Taxation’ featuring the following presentations:

    • Speaker: Ivar McGrath
      Lecture Title: ‘So many little military-colleges scattered up and down the country: ‘Mapping the country-wide network of permanent residential barracks in eighteenth-century Ireland’.
    • Speaker: Patrick Walsh
      Lecture Title: ‘Who paid what, where and how? Mapping Irish revenue collection and its discontents, 1690-1783′.
    • Speaker: Eamon O’Flaherty
      Lecture Title: ‘Urban community or oligarchy: Irish boroughs in the long eighteenth century’.

 

Irish Economic and Social History Conference, November 2013

November 2013
Location: Military History Society of Ireland, Griffith College, Dublin.

    • Speaker: Ivar McGrath
    • Lecture Title: ‘“So many little military-colleges scattered up and down the country”: The establishment of a country-wide network of permanent residential barracks in eighteenth-century Ireland’.
    • Speaker: Patrick Walsh
    • Lecture Title: ‘Who Paid What? Taxation and the Financial Impact of the State in Ireland, 1690-1782‘.

 

Shanroe

Alternate Name(s)

Belmont, Forkhill

Dates

1795-1821

Location

The barracks is located in Shanroe townland, about 1.5 miles / 2.5 kms to the north-west of the village of Forkhill. It is on the southern / left-hand side of Glendesha Road, Forkhill, mid-way between Upper Road and Lough Road.

It is located at the north-western foot of Slievebrack / Croslieve mountains, which rise to the immediate south-eastern rear of the barracks. These two mountains form the southern-most part of the mountainous Ring of Gullion. The barracks therefore faces into the valley within the Ring.

View Location in the Barracks Map Viewer

Description

The site was ‘two roods and twenty perches Irish measure’. It is located to the immediate south-east of the site of the old Church of Ireland Rectory. It is not evident when the rectory itself was built, though it was certainly in existence when the Rev. Thomas Woolsey was rector of Forkhill, 1775-9, and was detailed on the Taylor and Skinner road map survey of 1777. It is also detailed on the first edition OS map in the 1840s. Nothing remains of the rectory today other than a possible gate lodge, which is a ruin.

The close proximity of the barracks to the rectory may have been purposeful, given that the rector from 1779 to 1795, Rev. Edward Hudson, was apparently much disliked and had been shot at in 1789 and his horse killed.

The main barrack building remains fully intact to this day and is currently two private homes. It constitutes one single long rectangular two-storey white-washed building with six windows a piece on both the ground-floor and first-floor levels on the front façade. There are currently two entrance porches – one per private dwelling – located between windows two and three and windows four and five on the ground floor front façade. It has a traditional sloped front-back tiled roof running the length of the building. The porches seem to be later additions to the building.

Windows one to three of the first storey front façade are inset into the wall in the same manner as all of the ground floor windows. However, windows four to six on the first storey are at a higher elevation in the wall and are set into three gable dormers in the sloped roof. This style of gable dormer window was described to the research team as being of Scottish origin. It is not evident if this variance in the heights of the windows was owing to the two halves of the building being constructed at different times, or to the fact that the barracks was built on a slight slope, or because the rooms with the gable dormer windows were purposefully given higher ceilings.

The front façade of the main barrack building faces north west, and was originally enclosed by a rectangular inner boundary wall aligned in the same manner as the barrack building itself. Sections of this inner boundary wall still exist. As the barracks was built on elevated ground above the Glendesha road, the front inner boundary wall appears to have been primarily a retaining wall rather than a defensive or security structure, and was below shoulder height when viewed from the barrack building itself. On the road, it stood at about 12 feet high. The other remaining elements of the inner boundary wall at other parts of the site suggest it was primarily a boundary-defining structure rather than a security or defensive structure.

The inner boundary wall had four two-storey towers, with one a piece located on the north, east, south and west corners of the wall. The north and west towers, located at either end of the front north-west facing wall, had bases approximately 16 feet x 16 feet and were approximately 145 feet apart. Of these two towers, the western one has been restored, while there are some remains of the northern one. There are also some remains of the eastern tower at the upper corner of the rear south-east facing inner boundary wall. There are no remains of the southern facing tower.

The purpose of the towers is unclear. They appear to only have had inward-facing windows overlooking the barrack building and inner areas of the inner boundary walls. The western tower also has fire places and a sloped tiled roof. There is no evidence that they were built as defensive structures. A small gated and walled footpath entrance to the barracks site curves around the south-western axis of the western tower, suggesting the tower may have functioned as a guard house for monitoring that gateway. The same may have been the case with the northern tower, which overlooked the main entrance to the barrack site. This tower was known as the ‘Whipping Tower’ or, according to local tradition, as the ‘Whipping Chamber’. It was apparently purposefully removed, along with ‘its gruesome appliances’, in the early twentieth century.

There was also an outer three-sided boundary wall which lay to the north-eastern and south-western sides and south-eastern rear of the inner boundary wall. There is some stonework in the area that may have been part of this outer boundary wall. According to local information, a lane at the rear of the barracks was known as ‘Whipping Lane’. This may be in reference to the area of ground enclosed between the inner and outer boundary walls, proceeding from the northern ‘Whipping tower’ around the rear of the barracks past the external-facing walls of the eastern and southern towers and continuing on toward the western tower.

All of the previously described structures and buildings are clearly detailed on the first edition OS map, with the site identified as ‘Old Barrack’. The OS map also details an inner yard wall running from the rear centre of the main barrack building to the rear-facing inner boundary wall, thereby creating two yards to the immediate rear of the main barrack building. There is a small inward-facing outhouse-type structure at the point where the internal yard wall joins with the inner boundary wall, within the area of the first, or south-western, yard, which has two further inward-facing outhouse type buildings detailed on the inner boundary wall’s south-eastern and south-western sides. The inner yard wall and its outhouse-type structure are still visible today. The OS map also depicts in the second, or north-eastern, yard, an inward-facing outhouse-type building on the north-eastern inner boundary wall and a porch at the rear of the main barrack building.

The OS map also details an enclosed rectangular area to the immediate south west of the outer boundary wall, with three small structures depicted. This may have been an outer barracks yard or kitchen garden, though nothing remains today.

Click thumbnails below to view images.

History

The barracks was built on the ‘lands of Shanroe within the … manor of Forkhill’. The commissioners for barracks purchased the site from the trustees of Richard Jackson’s Charitable Donations and Susanna Barton by deed of conveyance on 15 April 1795 for £291, 12s. 11d (Murray 1934, 23-5). The Forkhill estate, including the lands of Shanroe, originally belonged to Richard Jackson, who died in 1787. Susanna Barton was his sister. Jackson played a key role in developing the settlements around Forkhill, including the financing of the building of the Forkhill Church of Ireland church in 1767, where he is also buried. Similarly, the rectory and Glebe lands immediately to the north-west of the barracks were also part of the Jackson estate. The site of Forkhill fair is also nearby, the patent for the fair having been granted in 1760.

It appears that the construction of the barracks at Shanroe had already taken place when the April 1795 deed of conveyance was agreed. An initial request for an army barracks to be located in the area had been made to the government in 1790 following various local disturbances. It is therefore possible that the barracks had been build and occupied by the army prior to 1795. The barracks was built in the first instance in order to accommodate regular army troops. However, following the establishment of the Irish yeomanry in September 1796, its purpose changed and thereafter it seems to have functioned primarily as a yeomanry barracks.

The barracks had been decommissioned by 1821, at which time it was described as having become ‘useless and unnecessary’. A deed of conveyance dated 15 October 1821 transferred the ‘Old Barrack’ at Shanroe from the commissioners of barracks to the Rev. James Campbell for the knock-down purchase price of £70. Campbell was the Church of Ireland rector of Forkhill from 1817 till his death in 1858.

Once in Campbell’s possession, from 1821 onwards the old barracks became known as Belmont House. It is this occurrence which seems to be the reason why the site is known locally as Belmont Barracks, though it was never referred to as such while the site was actually used as a barracks. In 1892 the property was sold by Campbell’s nephew, Peter Quinn, to the Roman Catholic church, and the buildings served thereafter as the RC parochial house for the Forkhill parish. In 1984 it was finally sold into private ownership, which remains its status today.

Maps

  • Taylor and Skinner. Maps of the roads of Ireland, surveyed 1777. Dublin, 1778. Available from archive.org.

Sources

  • Leslie, James. Armagh clergy and parishes: being an account of the clergy of the Church of Ireland in the Diocese of Armagh, from the earliest period, with historical notices of the several parishes, churches, &c. Dundalk, 1911.
  • Murphy, Kevin. ‘Belmont Barracks’ in Journal of the Creggan Local History Society. 1989. Available from ‘Journals of the Creggan History Society‘.
  • Murray, L. P. ‘Shanroe Barrack (1795-1821)’ in Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, 9 (1937).

Local Consultants

  • Ní Uallacháín, Dr Pádraigín
  • Murphy, Kevin
  • Murphy, Seamus
  • Walsh, Una

Johnston’s Fews

Alternative Name(s)

Johnstons Fews, Fews

Dates

c.1733 – c.1770

Location

The barrack site is located in the townland of Camly on the western side of the Carrickrovaddy Road, between the junctions with Drumalt Road, at the location of Johnston’s Bridge, and Lough Road. Prior to the building of the barracks, the location was identified on two maps from 1711 and 1720 with a cartographic settlement symbol and placename ‘Fews’, which was also applied to the wider mountainous region in South Armagh more generally. By 1727 the location had become known as Johnston’s Bridge. The barracks was strategically located half-way along the eighteenth-century coach road between Armagh and Dundalk. The barracks was located on the western side of the eighteenth-century coach road on both Rocque’s 1760 map of County Armagh and the Taylor and Skinner road map of 1777. It was given the same location in the first edition OS map. Local information suggests however that the barracks may have been located on the eastern side of the road. There are no physical remains to suggest this however, and the confusion may arise from the fact that there appear to have been some additional buildings, possibly private houses, built during the eighteenth century on the eastern side of the road. Certainly on both Rocque’s 1760 map of County Armagh and the first edition OS map there are structures identified on the eastern side in the fair green and elsewhere.

View Location in Barracks Map Viewer

Description

The barrack site is currently occupied by a farmhouse and associated buildings. A house built on the site in c. 1717 was later incorporated into the barracks when it was established in the early 1730s. That house, which was rebuilt in 1824, remains in existence today as part of the main rectangular farmhouse building on the western side of the Carrickrovaddy Road. The Carrickrovaddy road runs from north-east to south-west, but dog-legs into a short north-south orientated section between the junctions with Lough Road and Drumalt Road, which constitutes the site of the barracks. There is a small bridge over a stream at the top of the Drumalt Road where it meets the Carrickrovaddy Road. This bridge was known in the eighteenth century as Johnston’s Bridge. The main farmhouse building aligns on a north-south axis with the front façade facing in an eastward direction on to the Carrickrovaddy Road at the middle of the dog-leg, with Drumalt road and the bridge to the south-east. At the time the barracks was established, it was strategically located half-way along the eighteenth-century coach road between Armagh and Dundalk.

The original c. 1717 building runs half the length of the current main farmhouse, which constitutes one single rectangular two-storey grey-plastered building with four windows a piece on both the ground-floor and first-floor levels on the front façade. There are two front doors, one entering into the original section of the block between windows one and two on the ground floor, and one into the newer extended section between windows three and four. The whole building has a traditional sloped front-back tiled roof running the length of the building, with the second of three chimney stacks located at the point where the original building connects to the newer extended section. The two windows on the first storey of the original building are at a higher elevation in the wall than the two in the newer section, and are set into two gable dormers in the sloped roof (the first-storey windows in the newer section are not dormer). This style of gable dormer window was described to the research team as being of Scottish origin when viewed on the Shanroe Barracks building in the nearby Forkhill area. In 1749 the barracks was described in the Journals of the Irish House of Commons as being a 12-roomed building that was then occupied by three officers and 39 private soldiers.

John Rocque’s 1760 map of County Armagh locates Johnston’s Fews Barracks at the current site, and depicts two barrack buildings on the western side of the eighteen-century coach road, one of which is ‘L’ shaped while the other is ‘like the letter E with the bottom stroke reversed’ (Paterson 1938, 110). This latter structure appears to have incorporated the original c. 1717 building. The map also depicts two smaller structures on the eastern side of the road, as well as a small square enclosure which it has been suggested was possibly a pound.

In the same year as Roque created his map of County Armagh, the barracks was described in detail in the Journals of the Irish House of Commons, a description which seems to explicate the E shaped structure in particular, as follows:

Crown title. No lease. Situation: It stands near the foot of a rising ground, inclining to the east, in mountainous country very thinly inhabited, on the high road between Dundalk and Armagh, about 12 miles from each, and lies a considerable distance from a church or market town.

In the east wing are contained 3 rooms for officers and a kitchen.

In the west wing are contained 4 rooms for private men.

In the old building or middle space 4 rooms for private men, a parlour on the ground floor, and kitchen and 2 rooms on the upper floor.

The west wing has been lately built under the inspection of the surveyor-general, and seems to be well executed.

The roof, ceiling, walls, and flooring in the rest of the building appear to be in very good condition.

The whole building both front and rear and the large turf-yard are enclosed with a well-built stone wall.

On the outside of the courtyard is about an acre of ground which is intended for the use of the soldiery and may be converted into a garden.

The structures on the site had altered quite significantly by the time they were depicted on first edition OS maps of the 1830s-40s. The site is noted as ‘Old Barrack Yard’ and ‘Ordnance Ground’, and is again depicted on the western side of the road in the middle of the dog-leg, and is defined and enclosed by a large square boundary wall with a second smaller enclosed area in the middle, which may have been the barrack turf-yard. There is no E shaped structure, though the c. 1717 building is shown on a north-south axis facing immediately on to the road, in the south-east corner of the outer square enclosure. To the west of the c. 1717 building on the southern boundary of the site, where the road turns once more in a south-western direction, is a smaller rectangular building aligned on an east-west axis. Nothing remains today of this structure. To the north of the c. 1717 building there are three further smaller rectangular structures in the north-eastern corner of the outer square enclosure, in the area described as the ‘Ordnance Ground’.

Another rectangular structure is depicted on the OS map to the south on the other side of the road from the southern end of the c. 1717 building, on the western side of Johnston’s Bridge. An old semi-derelict building remains at that location today, and may have been part of the original barracks. The OS map also depicts a large area on the eastern side of the main road opposite to, and extending northwards from, the barracks. This area is described as the ‘Fair Green’. There are several smaller structures dotted around this area also.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

History

The barracks at Johnston’s Fews appears to have been established in order to replace an earlier redoubt at Blackbank. As was the case with Blackbank, it was hoped that the barracks would assist in encouraging a successful settlement being established there, and licence to hold fairs had been granted in 1731 to assist in that enterprise. The barracks’ primary purpose however was to protect the eighteenth-century coach road between Armagh and Dundalk. The first reference to the barracks is from 1733, when a detachment of infantry from Major-General Bissett’s regiment, which was head-quartered in Armagh city at the time, was noted as being at the ‘Fuzes’ under the command of a Captain Cockran (Quarters of the army 1733, 9). The following year that location was recorded as ‘Johnston’s fuze, near Ardmagh’, when it was manned by a detachment under a Major Wright from Colonel Charles Otway’s infantry regiment (Quarters of the army 1734, 11). In 1754 the 25th regiment of foot, under Major General W. E. Home, was providing the detachment (List 1754, 8).

The first barrack-master, a civilian appointee who was responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and general management and care of the barracks, was John Johnston, who is of greatest renown, or infamy, as a ‘Tory-Hunter’ in the area. It was also to him that the licence to hold fairs was granted in 1731. The Johnston family were already well-established in Camly before the barracks became operational in the 1730s. This was probably an important factor in the decision to locate the barracks there, along with Camly’s position being half-way on the road between Armagh and Dundalk. Tomas O Fiaich claimed that this road was the ‘most dangerous road in contemporary Ireland’ (O Ciardha 2001, 404). The barracks was located on land that had earlier been leased to John Johnston (snr) in December 1714. The c. 1717 house belonged to Johnston senior, who died in 1719. His son, John, was living there still in 1727, though later ‘acquired land in the adjoining townland of Dorsey Cavan O’Hanlon, where he built a house called Roxborough’ (Paterson 1938, 110-11). Although the date of this transfer of residence is unknown, it presumably occurred before 1733, given that by then the original c. 1717 house had been subsumed into the barracks complex. When he died in c. 1759, his son, Graham Johnston, became barrack master ‘to guard the Fews’, a position he still held in 1779. However, sometime after 1770 the barracks at Johnston’s Fews fell into disuse when a town and new barracks for two companies were built at nearby Newtownhamilton. In 1837, the remains of the barracks at Johnston’s Fews were still visible.

Maps

  • ‘Ardmagh County’ map in A geographical description of Ireland (London, 1720). Available from Marsh’s Library.
  • Price, Charles. A correct map of Ireland divided into its provinces, counties & baronies, shewing the roads and the distances of places in computed miles by inspection where barraques are erected &c. London, 1711. Available from UCD Library Special Collections, W1.U.2/1-2.
  • Rocque, John. A topographical map of the County of Armagh to which is anex’d the plans of Newry and Armagh. 1760.

Sources

  • A list of the general and field Officers, as they rank in the army (London, 1754).
  • [Irish] Revenue commrs’ mins, 23 Aug. 1723 (TNA CUST 1/17, p. 68)
  • Lewis, Samuel. A topographical dictionary of Ireland. 1837. Available from Ask about Ireland or Library Ireland.
  • Murray, L. P. et al (eds), ‘The history of the parish of Creggan in the 17th and 18th centuries’ in Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society (1934)
  • O Ciardha, Eamonn, ‘Toryism and rappareeism in County Armagh in the late seventeenth century’ in A. J. Hughes et al. (eds) Armagh, history and society (2001).
  • Paterson, T. G. F., ‘The Black Bank and Fews Barracks’ in Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 3rd series, 1 (1938)
  • Quarters of the Army in Ireland for Anno 1733. [Dublin, 1733].
  • Quarters of the Army in Ireland for Anno 1734. Dublin, 1734.
  • Taylor and Skinner. Maps of the roads of Ireland, surveyed 1777. Dublin, 1778. Available from archive.org.

Local Consultants

  • Murphy, Kevin
  • Walsh, Una

Hamiltonsbawn

Alternative Name(s)

Hamilton’s Bawn

Dates

1731-c.1830

Location

The barrack was sited on a low hill just south of, and rising up from, Hamiltonsbawn village. The section of Mullaghbrack road at which the site was located was known locally until the 1970s as ‘Barrack Hill’, which was the official postal address for the homes on that section of road. The barracks has always been referred to as Hamiltonsbawn barracks.

View Location in Barracks Map Viewer

Description

The site is now a farm field, with farm buildings in the north-west corner, on the eastern side of the Mullaghbrack road (B111) heading south from Hamiltonsbawn towards Markethill. There is also a low lying ditch or old man-made earth wall immediately opposite the main barrack site on the western side of the Mullaghbrack road. This is of unknown date, but corresponds with a more substantial structure with out-buildings shown on the first edition OS map, and may have been part of the barrack complex. The OS map shows the main barrack site on the eastern side of the road also, which is identified as ‘Hamilton’s ruins’. The site has four square buildings depicted in a square formation with a building in each corner on a north-east, north-west, south east, south-west orientation, and a fifth rectangular building to the immediate south west of the south-west corner of the square formation. This organisational structure is in keeping with the suggested layout of the barracks currently evident from the lie of the land, as follows:

Some foundations were still visible 35 years ago on the barrack site (local sources). Some stones are still visible at the site, which may be from the original barrack buildings, while the actual location of the barrack buildings still seems to have left some imprint on the land, with an evident square shape of slightly raised earth suggesting the boundaries of the barrack, or some part of it.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

 

History

The barracks was built in 1731 on the site of a 60-square foot defensive Bawn with 12-foot high walls constructed out of lime and stone with two flankers, which had been built as part of the plantation undertaking by the Scottish settler John Hamilton in 1619. A local tourist notice board records that by 1622 the Bawn was 90 feet long and 63 feet broad. Hamilton was responsible for somewhere between 20 and 26 families in the area, and was able to arm 30 men as required by his undertaking as part of the Ulster plantation under James I. Prior to that time the area was known as Monela or Moynellan, or the plain of the glenside. The Bawn was almost completely destroyed during the 1641 rising in Ulster, but following the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, Sir Hans Hamilton, son of John, built a three, or possibly five, chimney mansion or manor house on the ruins of the Bawn. Because of the tall chimneys, the house was known locally as ‘the Castle’, which led to some confusion in some nineteenth-century publications which recorded in error the existence of an actual castle at the site.

Owing to substantial family debts, the land on which the Bawn and house stood was sold by Sir Hans Hamilton II, grandson of the first Sir Hans, in the early eighteenth century (possibly 1704) and by the 1720s it had come into the possession of Sir Arthur Acheson of Markethill. The Achesons were the future Lords Gosford of Gosford Castle at Markethill.

Jonathan Swift visited the home of Sir Arthur Acheson of Markethill for lengthy periods in 1728 and 1729, on the latter occasion composing the poem ‘The Grand Question debated: whether Hamilton’s Bawn should be turned into a Barrack or a Malt-House?’ (Simms 1971, 139) The decision to lease the land to the government for a barracks won out in the end. The land was initially leased by the government from Acheson for £60 a year for 30 years, though Acheson was required to undertake transforming the old mansion / manor house into a barracks and stables first. The resulting barracks could accommodate two troops of horse or dragoons. In 1733 it was garrisoned by a substantial detachment of Colonel Clement Nevil’s dragoons under the direct command of the regiment’s Lieutenant Colonel, and in the following year by Colonel Henry Hawley’s dragoons under Lieutenant-Colonel Kerr.

It has been suggested that the barracks was de-commissioned in 1787 (McGleenon 1993, 54), in which year the government were still paying rent for the site, but it appears that the barracks may have remained in use after that date. The 1837 Topographical Dictionary states that the barracks was garrisoned ‘until recently’, without giving a date. The Parliamentary Gazeteer from the early 1840s though states that the barracks was still being used as a ‘regularly garrisoned barrack’ sixty or sixty five years earlier, which seems to imply, though without any certainty, that it was not in use in the intervening period. Other sources state that it was used in 1798 to house 125 French soldiers who had been forced-marched from Kinsale. It is also suggested that the government only finally stopped using it as a barracks around 1830.

In the 1830s permission was sought from Lord Gosford by a Mr James McRoberts, grocer, to allow the local inhabitants to dismantle the barracks in order to use the stone for local improvements. This resulted in the stone Hamilton armorial shield which had been part of the Restoration manor house ending up in the side wall of Gildea’s Pub in Hamiltonsbawn at the corner of Main Street and Mullaghbrack road.

The army made regular complaints about lack of forage, according to local sources, who state that the barracks housed 200 Dragoons. The tourist notice at the site states that the barracks was ‘garrisoned by troops of dragoons armed with 200 muskets until the 1830s’.

A surviving parish register for the years 1767 to 1782 records 22 army marriages in the local Church of Ireland church in Mullabrack parish, which suggests the possibility of close fraternisation between the soldiers in the barracks and the local community, and a significant degree of integration of the army in local society.

Sources

  • Lewis, Samuel. A topographical dictionary of Ireland 1837. Available from Ask about Ireland or Library Ireland.
  • McGleenon, C. F. ‘Patterns of settlement in the Catholic parishes of Ballymore and Mullaghbrack in the 17th and 18th Centuries’ in Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society, 15, no. 2 (1993).
  • McHugh, Mary. Mullabrack: A parish of great antiquity. 2012.
  • Parliamentary Gazetteer.
  • Quarters of the army in Ireland for Anno 1733 [Dublin, 1733].
  • Quarters of the army in Ireland for Anno 1734 Dublin, 1734.
  • Simms, J. G., ‘Dean Swift and County Armagh’ in Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society, 6, no. 1 (1971).

Local Consultants

  • McGleenon, Neil. Secretary of Markethill Historical Society.
  • McHugh, Mary
  • McHugh, Sam
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