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Notes from A Short Topographical and statistical account of the Bandon Union.  W. Spillar.  1844


The Bandon union was formed on 12th February, 1839 as part of the plan from the Act for the more effectual relief of the destitute poor of Ireland passed in the 1st and 2nd year of the reign of Victoria. 

 There were 23 parishes in the Union namely, Ballymodan, Kilbrogan, Clonakilty, Kilmalooda, Kilnagross, Desart, Ballinadee, Innishannon, Kilbrittain, Rathclaren, Templequinlan, Templemalus, Timoleauge, Abbeymahon, Lislee, Brinny, Knockavilla, Desertmore, Kilbonane, Moragh, Kinneigh, Desertserges (East Carbery part) and Movidy. 

The Board of Guardians had 31 elective and 10 ex officio members.

 There were 14 towns in the union,

Bandon in Ballymodan and Kilbrogan Electoral division, Clonakilty, Innishannon, Timoleague, Kilbrittain (in Rathclaren Electoral Division), Enniskean and Castletown in Kinneigh Electoral Division, Ballinascarthy in Kilmalooda ED, Ballinadee, Arundel Mills or Ring in Desert and Templemanus ED, Butlerstown, Courtmacsherry and Meelamne in Lislee ED and Lislivane in Abbeymahon ED.

 There were 15 villages which had less than 20 houses

Buttlerscross, Kilpatrick, Shannonvale, Trevara, Crossmahon, Newcestown, Mossgrove, Clogough, Movidy, Crookstown, Killumny, Boultheen, Ballyfoilly, Farranashesharee and Donoughroe.

 There were 7 coastguard stations

Clonakilty, Dunnycove, Dunworly, Barryscove, Courtmacsherry, Trevara and Garranefeen.  At each was generally stationed an officer, one chief boatman and four or six men.  There is no lighthouse in the Bandon Union

 Brick making is extensively carried out in Ballinadee ED and free stone is work on the Duke of Devonshire Estate in Bandon.

 There were 3 limestone quarries in Castlemore, Agherlow and Kilrea 

There wre 5 brown stone quarries.  Kilpatrick in Brinny, Monerone and Knockanreigh in Ballymodan, South Youghalls in Desert and Desart North

 There were numerous slate quarries.  The 12 principal quarries were:-

Courtmacsherry, Meelmane in Lislee ED, Ballyvolane and Ballinadee, Barretts Hill and Tinkers Cross in Kilbrogan, Tedies and Derrygro in Kinneigh, Scrahane in Moragh, Fourkill in Clonakilty, Donoughmore in Abbeymmahon and Knucknamuss in Desertserges


There was a workhouse that could accommodate 900 paupers built at a cost of stg 8,850.  Since March 1844 the paupers have increased from 300 to 400.  On 24th July, 1844  415 were recorded.


There were six post offices.  Bandon, Clonakilty, Innishannon, Timoleague, Enniskean, Crookstown.


Quarter sessions were held once a year in Bandon and Clonakilty and there was a bridewell in each of these towns.


Petty sessions were held in 6 electoral divisions, Bandon, Clonakilty, Innishannon, Timoleague, Moviddy (Farnivane) and Kinneigh (Ballineen)


There was 1 lieutenant, two deputy lieutenants, 39 magistrates, 1 coroner all who were resident in Bandon and Clonakilty both which had military quarters.


There were police stations at Bandon, Upton, Innishannon, Kilbrittain, Newcestown, Kinneigh, Clonakilty, Courtmacsherry, Timoleague and Crookstown.

There were 2 sub inspectors, 2 head constables, 11 constables and 45 sub constables.


1 collector and 9 officers reside in Bandon.  There was 1 Bank of Issue in Bandon, a Savings Bank.  Loan Fund Societies exist in Clonakilty, Bandon, Ballinascarthy, Courtmacsherry, Enniskean.


The only Fever hospital with an infirmary was in Bandon.


There were 7 dispensaries in Bandon, Clonakilty, Innishannon, Timoleague, Kilbrittain, Crookstown and Killumny.


126 schools (not including hedge and lowest classes).  12 under national board and near parish chapels.

89 religious or public and 37 private

4791 pupils


There were four ancient abbeys:-  Clongough in Kilmalooda, Timoleague founded in 1312, Kilcrea and Abbeymahon.


There were 20 castles or fortresses.  Castle Mahon, Kilbeg, Downdaniel, Annagh in Innishannon, Timoleague Morello Tower, Donoughmore, Dunworley, Amanister in Abbeymahon, Kilcrea in Desertmore, Castlemore, Belmont in Movidy, Kilgobbin in Ballinadee, Kilbrittain, Monteen in Kilmalooda, Ballinaroher in Templequinlan, Derry in Desertserges and Kinneigh round tower.


Raths (Circular mounds of earth).  In December 1841 Zachariah Hawkes of Bandon explored a Rath on the lands of Aghalisky in Kilmalooda ED.  He found an inscription in Ogham script – Tiosu, the gentle son of Mocug, his abode.


In Templebryan (Clonakilty ED) immense ruins of a very extensive heathen temple and cemetery with caves beneath.  Hawkes has many possessions of antiquity – Coins, amulets, phoenican money.  On the lands of Kilgobbin in Ballinadee a large quantity of gold and silver coins were dug up.


There were several small chalybeate springs.


In 1831 Bandon Union population 81,533

In 1841 Bandon Union population 81,703.  Only 170 increase


In the 1841 census there were four classes of houses:-

4)       Mud cabins of one room

3)       Cottages – built of mud but had two to four rooms and a window

2)       Farm Houses – 5 to 9 rooms

1)       Houses of better description than the above


In 1841 of the above classes

1)       491 families

2)       3466

3)       4674

4)       5716


In total 10,335 were employed in agriculture, 2652 in Manufacturing and 1363 in other pursuits.


There were three classes of families:-

9095 families classed as labourers

4504  classed as heads of family with fixed employment

369 farmers of 5 to 50 acres


Reading and Writing

Those who could read and write     9727 (male)   5681  (female)

Those who could read only             3476 (male)   3812  (female)

Neither read nor write                     22460 (male)  26719  (female)


Several farmers had been trying the African and Peruvian guano as a fertilizer and had given a favourable report of both.  Spillar purchased guano from William Bullen and Matthew Hunter of Bandon


Manufacture:  Towards the close of the last century (1700s) and the beginning of this (1800s), the woollen, corduroy and coarse linen manufacture was the staple trade of the district.  The weavers of Bandon were then in active and remunerative employment.  The cause of such prosperity arose from the protecting duty of 10% then levied on all English manufactured goods.


In 1826 – 1500 handlooms were actively employed in Bandon on corduroy alone and 500 on camlets.  A man could earn 14s and a boy 10s a week.


Since 1825 the manufacture of linen, cord and woollen has become a mere desultory employment languishing for viabiltiy.  Most of the artisans who once earned a comfortable livelihood in its good days have either emigrated to America or with the help of an occasional job are still dragging on a miserable existence at the loom.  This branch of local industry has almost taken its departure from amongst us and the starving looks of our artisans established.


Henry Franks writes from Clonakilty about the linen trade in Clonakilty.  During the war the articles manufactured – plain and twilled – were used for war purposes.  Weekly sales of stg 600-700.  In 1818 when he commenced work in the linen trade there was extensive demand in South American Markets.  There was a bounty of three half pence per yard on the exportation of coarse linens.  Between 1820 and 1824 weekly sales averaged stg 1000 for linens and for yarns stg 500.  In 1825 and 1826 there was near commercial panic as the bounties were removed.


Cotton then replaced linen and the average weekly sales were stg 200.  He mentions that the very low price afforded very little remuneration to the poor weaver who to work 16 hours per day will not earn above 2s 6d to 3s per week.


The little demand for linen led to the abandonment of cultivation of flax -  not even enough to satisfy local demand.  He mentions the cultivation of flax being still so remunerative in the North of Ireland for export to the UK and asks why not in the South.  The North of Ireland had acquired far more knowledge about its cultivation.  He then goes on to analyse the linen industry in the North.


It is mentioned that Messrs Wheeler and Co have established Lisnegat Cotton Mill four miles from Bandon capable of turning out 2000 lbs of spun cotton weekly.  Calicoes of every description, cordlets etc.


Converting wheat into flour was very important but had declined considerably recently.  Many of the former mills are idle.  There are 22 mills in the union:-

Messrs Biggs, Kilbrogan

Sweenys, Ballymodan

Shannonvale in Kilnagross

Faranashesharee, Ballinascarthy

Moragh, Castleview, Inchy in Timoleague, Spittle in Abbeymahon, Ring, Millville in Clonakilty, Kilbrittain, Barleyfield in Rathclaren, Ballinadee, Rochfort,  Ballymahane and Brinny, Kilmalooda, Belmont in Moviddy, Messrs Allmans Derrysda and Gurteenomahon in Ballymodan.

6 of the above mills are completely idle and several working only 50 pct of the time.


The milling is in decline because of the introduction of Canadian flour due to the Bill of the Late Session.  Canadian flour can be imported into Liverpool for a less marketable price than the Irish Merchant can supply.


Butter is  very important.


The manufacture of leather is extensive.  10 Tanneries in Bandon which manufacture 15000 hides annually.  Has been particularly injured by a tariff and since its enactment, importation of prepared uppers for boots and shoes have taken place diminishing this demand.  This manufacture gives employment to 90 to 100 labouring men in Bandon


Whiskey and Porter very prominent.  2 very extensive distilleries and 3 large breweries in Bandon and Clonakilty


Soap and Candles.  Manufactured in Bandon.


Tobacco is weekly disposed of in Bandon

Salt, a little bacon and dried fish.


Ballymodan Electoral District in 1831 population  11475

                                                      1841 population  10804


The Electoral Division is embellished with several gentleman’s seats.

Castle Bernard erected in 1806 near the old castle

The Farm – Hon Captain Bernard

Mayfield – Horace Pool Esq

Harehill – Thomas Beamish

Mount Prospect – Mrs Bradshaw


Richmont – Richard Sealy

Clancoole – Robert W H???

Kilhassen Lodge – J. Jellett


Bandon Ballymodan Electoral Division in 1844 had

978 heads of families (male)

160 visitors

12 servants

1150 males

979 heads of families (female)

172 visitors (female)

54 servants (female)


Kilbrogan Electoral Division in 1844 included Kilbrogan, Knockbrogan and Killowen

1831 population 5710

1841 population 5970


Notable residences

Roughgrove   Maskelyne Alcock

Mount Pleasant  Henry Baldwin

Myshalls   William Conner

Coolfadda House   B Popham

Laragh   Jas. Hogne Esq

Woodlands    Henry Herrick, Esq

Parkview            H. Cornwall

Woodfort         J. Ottley, Esq


In Kilbrogan in the class houses

1)       53 families

2)       360 families

3)        380 families

4)       157 families


500 were employed in agriculture, 330 in trade/manufacturing and 147 classed as other.

Can read and write   915 (males)   705 (females)

Can read only           349 (males)   413 (females)

Neither                     1015 (males)  1406  (females)


Messrs Biggs flour mill is idle in 1844.

There is a slate quarry at Barretts Hill and Tinkers Cross


In 1835 a company formed under the Paving Act cleansing and lighting the town with gas.


A manufacture of fine stuffs was introduced by Mr Scott in 1835 who erected a steam engine for preparing wool and spinning yarn – Removed to Derrygariffe.


Some looms are employed on calicoes and cords, gingham and coarse linen

Whiskey – Messrs Allman and Mr Fitzgerald

Ale and Porter – Messrs Cornwall and Hurley


Tanning is now one of the principal sources of trade.  There are 10 tanyards in constant work.

Flour is not extensive as the Biggs mill is idle

The exports are Corn (mainly oats), cows, sheep, pigs and eggs

The imports are coal, timber, salt, iron and bark


There are 2 endowed schools by the Duke of Devonshire.

There is a fever hospital, infirmary, barracks, bank, Savings Bank

There is a bridewell for 24 prisoners.

Famous people who came from Bandon were:-

Sir Richard Cox, statesman and historian

Dr Nicholas Brady, distinguished for his version of the psalms

Sir William Jumper – the celebrated naval hero


In 1841  1200 bags of wheat and 40,000 barrels of black oats were exported mainly through Liverpool and Bristol.

20 tons of soap manufactured in the town

500 dozen dipped candles

100  tons of rock salt manufactured into coarse salt


130 weavers reside in the town and of those 50% have very precarious and uncertain employment.

3 master dyers, 2 distillers, 2 brewers, 3 millers, 8 cloth merchants, 2 wine merchants, 128 grocers, 36 bakers.


The shambles has 32 stalls with other convenient covered standings.

Corn and Meal Market.  Fish and Vegetable market.

The provincial bank is managed by R.T. Belcher, Director and J.J. Thompson, manager and H. O’Callaghan, teller.


There is a barracks for 8 officers and 119 non commissioned officers plus 61 horses.


The Boys free school in Ballymodan has 118 pupils

The Boys free school in Kilbrogan has 80 pupils

The Methodists free school has 68 boys and 31 females

The Convent has 400 females


There are 65 pensioners.  The workhouse opened on 17th November, 1841.  Could accommodate 900 but usually no more than 300.


Significant residences in Brinny

Brinny House   J. Nash

Lisibruider   W. Whiting

Kilmore     W. Popham

Ballinacurra         Joseph Nash

Lisard   J. De la Cour

Clashanimud    Lewis

Rose Abbey        Misses Whiting


Significant residences in Knockavilly

Upton   Rev Somers Payne

Garryhankermore  Thomas J. Biggs

Beechmount      J. Hornibrooke

Ballymurphy  William Barter

The Glebe      McCann

Milane   John Hawkes


Significant residences in Desertserges

Kilecolman         Adderly Beamish

Mount Beamish   Francis Beamish

Cashel    J. Beamish

Kilrush   A. Poole

Kilecolmanbeg   William Lamb

Sun Lodge   W. McCarthy

Church Hill   Rev Mountiford Longfield


Siginificant residences in Moviddy

Rye Court  Richard T Rye

Gurrane  Jas. Splaine

Bellmount    T. Herrick

Crookstown House   Rev R Warren

Warrens Grove    J.B. Warren

Kilcondy     John Beale

Glebe House   Rev Hume Bagington

Mount Pleasant   Henry Baldwin

Scartnamuck    Bradshaw Popham

Mossgrove   S. Baldwin

Mount Pleasant Cottage   George Cornwall

Old Park      J.C. Gillman


In 1844 various people were asked about how to navigate the river from Innishannon.  It led to the construction of Kilmacsimon Quay.