House Book for Town of Enniskerry 1840 (Archive Month #2)

NAI 5.3573 30 Jan 1840: Houses in Town of Enniskerry

Many of us are familiar with the wonderful Griffith Valuation records available online. The valuation of Ireland has a complicated heritage, but gathered pace as a result of the enactment of the Poor Law in Ireland in 1838, with a view to establishing a uniform valuation of land across the country for taxation purposes. The Primary Valuation is now online and searchable by name and place. The House Books (and Field Books) relate to the preparation of the Primary Valuation and can provide additional detail on a locality, by giving occupiers’ names, size of buildings and additional comments.  They are on microfilm in the National Archives of Ireland.

The House Books for the “Town of Enniskerry”, detailing notes made by surveyors, are recorded below. The book is dated January 1840, but lines crossed out may refer to subsequent amendments These were distinguished by colour and can be traced using the Valuation Office original documents in the Irish Life Mall – an expensive exercise – but it does yield information on the transfer of ownership of land over a long period of time.

Notes for Town of Enniskerry in the townlands in which it lies:

1. Townland of Cookstown, 19th December

Number on Map: 16 [10 (4 then 11 crossed out)]

School for Boys and Girls

House (53 x 20), Teacher’s dwelling (17 x 18), “more of same, more and sheds, office and privy”

Quality 1B+

Observation: With 16 perches of a yard and garden. Patron Lord Powerscourt, all people able pay from 3 to 4 (s?) per quarter each child, but a good many are taught free. Note added in pencil – 15 payable out of 45.

Number on map: 9 (5 then 10 crossed out)

Doctor Rufsel

Dwelling 37.5 x 22

Quality 1B+

Observation: With a large yard and 30 perches of a garden. Leased at £40 yearly

Number on Map 2 [ 7 (8 crossed out)]

Doctor Geeson Mrs Caroline Geeson

Includes dwelling 44.6 x 24. Quality 1A+

Observation: The late Dr Geeson expended two thousand pounds in building this house and offices it is leased at ground level.

2. Townland of Kilgarron

Number on map – 8 [22 (15 crossed out)]



Number on Map – 5

House for temporary Worship – Rev Robt Daly 43 x 23

More of house – 17 x 13

Number on Map – 4 a, b , c, d, e, f

Dwellings 13.6 x 19.6 – given free by Lord Powerscourt to a widow (quality usually 1B+)

Names: Mrs Stack (crossed out) = c, Mrs Boyle = a, Mrs Dennis = c, Mrs Margaret Smyth = d, Mrs Brigid McHugh = e, Mrs Margaret Dempsey = f. B and C subsequently annotated vacant.

Number on Map – 2

Hospital consisting of House (53.6 x 21.6 (Quality 1B+)), returns, basement and privy, no observations.

3. Townland of Knocksink

Number on map – 3 Captain Cranfield

House (33 x 18 – 1B+) and others –

Observation – £85 yearly is paid for this house and four Irish acres of land – see sheet 7 the house is furnished by herself

Number on map not legible (Mr John Barrington – name crossed out). is the name replaced by Messrs Millers? – very difficult to see pencil.

Observation – This is the hotel and was built by the father in law of Mr Barrington and pays only ground rent.

5 thoughts on “House Book for Town of Enniskerry 1840 (Archive Month #2)

  1. Backtracking my Kennedys from Sheboygan Wisconsin USA 1847 to Maine 1835 to Quebec 1833 to Powerscourt Ireland 1832. John K 1798-1865 boarded with wife Mary McGraw 1798-1832 and 8 children. The eldest , George, 21 married Margaret Dempsey26 shortly before sailing. Mother Mary McGraw Kennedy died at sea after the birth of ninth child Anna. John’s headstone “erected by his sons” boasts of a start in Powerscourt.. A son’s obit claims John was “an agent” of the Earl of Powerscourt. Their is reason to believe he was a skilled carpenter. I see on my wonderful recent find of your Enniskerry website listed a “widow Kennedy” on the property rolls in Annacrivey 1816 and in 1840 a charity house kept by Lord Powerscourt sheltering Mary Dempsey in Kilgarron. Suggestions on if and how I may claim and build on them ??–Michael Patenaude, Madison WI

    • Hi Michael,

      Very impressive work on your part! Quite a journey for the family Haven’t much more to offer you at the moment, but will keep an eye out for these names as I go through Powerscourt records, although there is a bit of a black hole from about 1820 – 1850. I can say with almost certainty that Kennedy wasn’t an agent in the sense of a land agent, but he probably meant that he was in Viscount Powerscourt’s employ as a carpenter. Widows of some of Powerscourt’s labourers (typically skilled labourers) were often supported by Powerscourt. “McGraw” is probably a version of “McGrath” or “Magrath”, more commonly used here.

      All the best for now,

      • Thanks Michael. I have encountered the McGraw/McGrath variations and hadn’t recognized them as such. It seems Margaret and Mary are also interchanged. A correction of my earlier note–John and Margaret/Mary were born about 1790. I try to fathom desperation that drove him, his pregnant wife and 8 kids aged two to twenty-one into an autumn crossing of the North Atlantic.

        • Hi again Michael,

          Issue of assisted emigration is controversial, understandably. In my experience of going through Powerscourt records, there are lots of requests for support from people looking for assistance. In a sweeping statement I would say that those offered assistance with passage were not the most destitute, but perhaps ‘good tenants’ who’d fallen on bad times (eg a father died). If you’re interested in this topic, Jim Rees book ‘Surplus People’ documents assisted emigration from the Fitzwilliam estate in South Wicklow. Fitzwilliam would have been a similar landlord to Powerscourt (ie pretty decent for the time).

          It’s an interesting topic and one I hope to explore more for Powerscourt when I get the time!

          • Thanks Michael for your help. I was aware of the assisted emigrations but thought they came later, Will look up Rees and leave you be. MP

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