Pensioners of Powerscourt 1844 (Archive Month #10)

A few months ago, I posted up some details of workmen’s account books for Powerscourt, held in the National Library Powerscourt collection manuscripts. Another related item is a list of people receiving pensions from Powerscourt (MS 43,038/3). I think this would have been unusual, or at least uncommon, for the time, and is probably another indication that Powerscourt treated his staff reasonably well for the time.

Lord Viscount Powerscourt’s Pensioners for the quarter ending 31st December 1844

Name Address
Yearly Pension Signature
Mary Harney Curtlestown £8 Her mark
Sarah Fox Ballinagee £10 Sarah Fox
Elizabeth Fitzwilliam Drumcondra £7 13s 4d
Paul Murphy Kilmolin £8 His mark
Lucinda Hacket Alms House £8 Her mark
Mary Flood Ballybrew £5 4s Her mark
Margaret Toole Near Kingstown £5 5s Her mark
Bridget McGuirk Glencree £3 5s Her mark
Robert Walsh Coolakey £2 12s His mark
Anne Barnwide? Drumcondra  £6

Total amount payable in last quarter: £15 19s 10d

Correction – The Drumcondra residents didn’t sign – they seem to have been paid a total amount in advance or else will be paid at the end of the year.

6 thoughts on “Pensioners of Powerscourt 1844 (Archive Month #10)

  1. That’s interesting. I wonder were there special circumstances for those receiving pensions. Employees that carried out particular functions or maybe people with no other means of income or no other family members?

  2. I’m not sure to be honest. I think it was in Terence Dooley’s book (“The Decline of the Big House in Ireland”) that I read that pensions were unusual for the time.

    There were 28 servants, including school teachers, listed in the wages accounts books for 1844 (that I will type up sometime!) so 10 pensioners is a large proportion of the working staff. I’m guessing farm staff are not included in these accounts. I would guess that these were retired house or garden staff..

    The range in amounts would suggest to me that the pensions were given to all types of staff – I think its interesting that Sarah Fox is the only one who can write, and she gets the largest pension. Perhaps she had a senior position in the house – maybe the housekeeper? For comparison, the annual salaries for that year for servants ranged from £5 to Anne Walker who was a gate keeper right up to £100 to James Croghan who was house steward, so some of the pensions are considerably generous.

    On an unrelated note, there is an Enniskerry Road in Drumcondra/Phibsborough… is this a coincidence?!
    More questions than answers as usual!

    • There’s an Enniskerry townland/village in Ontario. I contacted the person who wrote the piece “How Enniskerry got it’s name”

      but what he really wrote about was how the name reverted back to Enniskerry. He didn’t have any knowledge of how the original name came about. There are a lot of Irish names in the graveyard but none that stuck out to me as being from the village.

  3. Exclaims an un-academic, ‘ooh look – a Paul Murphy!’ Spooky reincarnation theories abound. (after all its such an unusual name)

    • Hey Paul – Ha! Yes I meant to contact you to tell you I saw your namesake alright. A pretty decent pension too!

  4. Here’s your namesake again Paul. A case from the Dublin courts.

    The Freeman’s Journal Dec 1st, 1959

    A man named Paul Murphy was charged by Mr Thomas Brady, honorary secretary of the Humane Society for cruelly working a horse. It appeared the defendant was the driver of the Enniskerry car which leaves the General Post Office daily. On the 14th inst the attention of Mr Brady was called to the state of the horse under the vehicle. The animal’s shoulders were quite galled and sore. The Magistrate fined the defendant 10s.

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