Fethard before and since the English Connection - Book of County Tipperary, 1889

About “The Book of County Tipperary,” 1889

George Henry Bassett produced 7 Irish county directories in the 1880s: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Kilkenny, Louth, Tipperary and Wexford. Each provides useful history of the respective counties as well as lists of office holders, farmers, traders, and other residents of the individual cities, towns and villages.

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The directories are naturally an invaluable resource for those tracing family history. The Book of County Tipperary is the first of these to be made available on libraryireland.com, with its own search page. However, there are a few points to bear in mind.

  1. This online version is designed primarily as a genealogical research tool and therefore the numerous advertisements in the original book, many full page, and quite a few illustrated, have been excluded.
  2. The text has been proofed with due care, but with large bodies of text typographical errors are inevitably bound to occur.
  3. Be aware that there were often inconsistencies in spelling surnames in the 19th century and also that many forenames are abbreviated in Bassett’s directories.

With respect to the last point, surnames which today begin with the “Mc” prefix, for example, were often formerly spelt as “M‘,”. For a list of some of the more common forename abbreviations used in the directory, see Forename Abbreviations.

To enjoy the rich variety of advertisements, confirm accuracy of the entries, or have a printed record of a family member, obtain an original or facsimile copy of The Book of County Tipperary.

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Prior to the coming of the English, Fethard formed part of the territory of the descendants of Fiacha Suidhe, called the Northern Decies. The reigning chieftain made submission to Henry II. on his arrival in the county at the head of an English army, 1171, but soon afterward reasserted his independence. In the settlement of Tipperary by the English, Fethard, from its elevated position in the centre of a fertile country, was chosen for a stronghold. Several castles were built in the vicinity, and the town soon grew to be a place of consequence. It seems to have had a charter in the reign of Edward I. Edward III., in 1376, made a grant to enable the Provost and Commonalty to wall the town. Henry IV. made a further grant for a like purpose. Edward VI. gave a new charter to the inhabitants containing liberal provisions. James I. granted the last charter. This contained further generous concessions to the Corporation, consisting of a sovereign, twelve chief burgesses, a portreeve, and freemen, with power to appoint a recorder, town clerk, and other officers.

Cromwell besieged the town in 1650, but the defense was only continued until favorable terms of surrender could be arranged. The sovereign in that year was James Everard. Two members were returned by Fethard to the Irish Parliament until the Union, 1801. It was then disfranchised, and the two principal owners, Lord Lismore and T. Barton, were consoled with a payment of £15,000.

In 1840, when the town adopted the provisions of the 9th of George IV., the wall enclosed a space calculated by the gentlemen engaged in the Ordnance Survey, to be a quarter of a mile long and one-eighth of a mile wide. There were then four gates. A considerable portion of the wall referred to still exists. It is about 18 feet high and in greatest perfection at the back of the stables belonging to the military barracks. Only one gate now remains. The last one at the bridge crossing the river to the railway station, was taken down within five years by order of the Grand Jury to widen the passage. The other gates were removed for similar reasons. Of the castles remaining in the town there is one at the back of Mr. T. A. Kenrick’s private house. One belonging to Mr. Murphy, town clerk, has a garden in the top storey. One next to the hotel of the Misses Mockler. Stokes’ Hotel was once the castle residence of a Miss Everard. It was joined to the gate leading to Killenaule, which was removed about ten years ago. At the opposite side of the street are the military barracks. That part now used for officers’ quarters, with imposing frontage on the main street, was the mansion of the sister of the Miss Everard referred to. Near the eastern side of the Protestant church there is a square castle, four storeys high, with quadrangular windows in chiseled limestone dressings.

Some of the castles in the district are interesting. Kiltinan, on the property of Mr. Robert Cooke, D.L., is one of these. It stands on a rock surrounded by a richly planted demesne, at a distance of about 2½ miles, Irish, to the south-east. One of the curiosities of Kiltinan is what is called by the people of the locality, “a roaring spring.” It is an underground stream which flows continuously in the driest seasons.

Knockelly, on the property of Mr. Saml. H. Barton, D.L., is about two miles, Irish, from town. This large castle, and the flanking towers on its outer walls, are still in good condition. Mr. Edmond Heffernan is the present tenant. The Everards. if not the actual builders, were for a long time owners of Knockelly. Sir John Everard, a Judge in the reign of James I., resigned his commission rather than take the oath of supremacy drawn by Archbishop Abbott. He was a member of the Irish Parliament, summoned to Dublin, 18th May, 1613, and in the struggle for the speakership, was chosen by the Catholics. During the session which closed in 1615, it is believed that through his judgment, a very severe penal measure was prevented from passing. Sir John was owner of Fethard, and a large part of the district in those days. The estates were forfeited to the Crown after the Revolution for the reason that the then Sir John Everard, Bart., had served in the army of James II. He was killed at the battle of Aughrim in 1691, and twelve years later David Lowe received a grant of Knockelly and its belongings. The Barton family succeeded to the property by purchase in the 18th century.

Ballinard Castle is about two miles, Irish, from Fethard. It is occupied by Mr. W. W. Tennent, J.P.

Cramp’s Castle, the property of Mr. Edmond Leamy, M.P., is situated at the verge of the town, beyond the Augustinian Abbey. Mr. John Heflernan is tenant.