very good friend, Elizabeth Gallagher McManus, Arigna, Ireland (RIP), provided
me with the following information:
In the mid 1800's
my grandfather, John McManus, farmed land in Caranault, Arigna, in the
Parish of Kilronan, County Roscommon. This is the ancient ground (Tir Tuathail)
of the McManus Clan in North Roscommon. I am proud that I still reside
there but it is not easy for the McManus' to remain at home. On many occasions
in the past, economic necessity and a sense of adventure has motivated
McManus' to leave Kilronan. And they still leave. In the past I too have
lived away from home. But it has been my great fortune to return here to
our family's heritage.
One of our family's
most treasured possessions is my grandfather's last Will and Testament
in which, to some extent, he set out his family's future fortunes, including
that of my father, Bernard. Although our family was not rich we were comparatively
more fortunate than many in the area who had to leave for better prospects
elsewhere. I have little doubt that our opportunity to remain at home was
due in no small part to grandfather's good economic management.
Land Valuation of 1855 records John as having a house, offices and 23 acres
and 27 rods of land for which he paid an annual rent of £9 to the
landlord, Edward K. Tennison. Apart from it being a valuable document of
social history the Will, set out hereafter, gives us some insight into
John's strong hold on the economic management of his estate:
John McManus of Carrownalt, Parish of Kilronan, Barony of Boyle, Co. Roscommon,
Farmer, do hereby make this my last Will and Testament, disowning and disavowing
all other Wills made by me either orally or in writing.
bequeath to my son John the holding of land I own in Cootehall containing
16 acres of land more or less together with the dwelling house built thereon
having in the first place put the house in the following state of repair
that is to loft and board the parlour end of the house and glaze the windows
of same, also to loft the kitchen and glaze the window of same. I also
bequeath to my son John four two year old heifers which he is to keep for
milching cows, one year old heifer, also a falling leaf table and iron
bedstead and mattress which is to be furnished by his mother and also I
will him two pigs and two year old fillies to be kept as a brood mare.
I also will 40 cwts. of potatoes to my son John in case he goes to live
on said farm again November next.
will and bequeath my son Bernard my dwelling house and offices and my holding
of land in Derrinavoggy and Carrownalt containing 24 acres more or less.
I also bequeath my son Bernard all my household furniture less the items
willed above to my son John and in consideration of this last item I ordain
that Bernard shall give my son Philip three pounds sterling. I also bequeath
to my son Bernard and his mother Maria McManus four cows three calves and
two sows and a mare, none of these to be sold or otherwise disposed of
without each others consent and the consent of the executors. I also ordain
that none of the household furniture which I will my son Bernard is to
be removed out of the house or otherwise disposed of.
will and bequeath my daughter Eliza one hundred and forty pounds sterling.
Fourthly I will and bequeath my son Philip one hundred and twenty pounds
sterling . Fifthly I will and bequeath to my daughter Beesy twenty four
pounds sterling which is to be emitted to her to whatever Convent she may
be located . Sixthly I will and bequeath to my son James ten pounds but
this is not to be paid to him until his brother in law Joseph Hill has
paid into the bank the sum of thirty pounds ten shillings for which I am
security. Eighth, I will and bequeath to my daughter Rose the sum of seventy
pounds sterling. Finally I ordain that my wife Maria McManus shall have
full power and control of my house furniture and farm attached situated
in the townland of Derrinavoggy until my son Bernard attains the age of
twenty six years before which age he is not allowed to marry. Then after
his marriage in case of disagreement I ordain she my wife shall have a
room in the house furnished and that part of the Derrinavoggy land situated
between the small river at my house and millroads under the Railroads rent
free during her natural life after which it is to belong to Bernard.