JOHN'S STRONG WILL
A 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.

The Griffiths 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:

"I, 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.

Firstly I 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.

Secondly I 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.

Thirdly I 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.