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RE: [Bann Valley] Mercers' Company: Rent roll for 1714
I have purchased a copy of MIC225/2, the roll with the 1714 reference. The following is my summary from my review of the film in 2001.
I spent today going over the "Acts of Irish Court" item on the film. (See attachment for previously distributed list of film contents.) The biggest disappointment was the 1714 Rent Roll. It was a list of the agents who had leased entire townlands and the rents due from them to the whole Mercer's Estate agent. None of the individual tenants (farmers) were listed.
The entire handwritten record is of the London based actions of the Mercers as they dealt with their Irish Estate. It seems quite apparent to me that they wanted to deal with their Irish Estate by delegating as much of the work and responsibility as possible to one lessee for the entire estate.
There was some description of the estate conditions on several occasions. The descriptions were pessimistic and were to support an appeal for leniency from the Worshipful Company of Mercers for the current estate lessee. The first lease mentioned was for 41 years and was granted 1 Nov 1714, probably the reason for the above-mentioned rent roll. By 1731, the lessee was citing the 'great desertion of protestant inhabitants began 6 or 7 years ago ... great numbers transport themselves to plantations in America without paying rents.' Note: The 41 year lease was to the Estate lessee, any and all subleases were limited to that end date leaving the tenant with the requirement to renegotiate the lease with a new Estate lessee at unknown and probably less favorable terms. By 1735, the estate is described as mostly untenanted and the inhabitants also transport themselves to the West Indies. By 1748, the holder of the lease chose to surrender it as a bad business arrangement. The Estate Lease was then advertised and was won by an Alexander Stewart, Esq., of Newtown, Co. Down, starting in 1755 for a term of 3 lives and 61 years.
There are only a few entries between 1755 and 1800.
Starting in 1800, there is some interest in the plight of the poor Irish labourers as shown by the appeals for monetary support and Mercers contributions to schools and a dispensary. The Estate condition in 1814 is described as poor. The advanced age of the leaseholders (from 1755) leads to uncertainty in the conditions after their deaths, so the tenants make almost no effort at lasting improvements. The records do show that the estate rents are being paid regularly to the Mercers, but at the same rate as the original 1714 lease.
> From: akilpatrick@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [Bann Valley] Mercers' Company: Rent roll for 1714
> Date: Mon, 16 May 2011 10:26:52 -0300
> To: BannValley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Hi, everyone:
> PRONI ref. MIC/225 is a microfilm copy of a limited range of estate records surviving for the Mercers' Company holdings in and around Kirea.
> Apparently, the microfilm includes a rent roll for the Kilrea estate for 1714. My question is, have any of our readers seen or studied this information?
> Trim your reply and do not quote irrelevant parts of previous message.
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