Workings  of Cork Grand Jury:

Late 18th early 19th Century Interplay of the Select Vestries of the Church of Ireland (State Church) in Local Administration, Barony of Carbery, Castlehaven, Drimoleague, Durrus

The Church of Ireland was the State Church of Ireland until Disestablishment in 1871.  In each parish the select Vestry met not only for the business of the church but for civil matters.

In the Castlehaven Vestry Books there was a listing for those on whom cess was imposed.  The records also appointed road overseers and parish overseers.

In some parishes where records are extant the first vestry was Protestant only and dealt with church matters. Later it re convened with some prominent local Catholics and civil matters were decided.  In Castlehaven that included looking after foundlings clothing for the poor and such matters.

The cess to pay for roads, bridges, and other public works was set in the Baronial ‘Presentment Sessions’, where petitioners applied for funding for such works, were originally held as part of the County Assizes, though the costs were paid from the Barony Cess if the work was of local benefit only. The County Grand Jury was supposed to have included jurors from each Barony, though this did not always happen. From 1819, significantly modified in 1836, Baronial Presentment Sessions were held for these purposes, with a local jury picked by the county grand jury from among the Barony’s highest rate-payers, according to a complicated formula. The baronial presentment sessions were a convoluted process, lacking public confidence and marred by allegations of corruption and favouritism. Special emergency sessions were held during the Famine of the 1840s for the make-work schemes.

Notification, July 1828, by William Swanton, Baronial High Constable, Gortnagrough, Ballydehob, West Cork to Parties Aggrieved by Posting of Cess Levies at Church Doors West Carbery, West Division to Appear in Carrigboy (Durrus) Courthouse.

From Drimoleague Vestry Records.  Church Wardens elect and up to half a dozen other male parishioners (applotters) would be tasked with collected the Cess. The formula went “Church Wardens, Church Wardens Elect, senior individuals from the Parish.

Cess Tax

The cess was generally in the region of 12% of gross rents and was used by the Grand Jury (the predecessor of the County Council established in 1899) to fund works such as road and bridges.   The collection was done by Baronial Constables who charged a poundage,  They had a staff of drivers and presumably proctors who enforced payment.  A popular method of extraction was the seizing of cattle, pigs or other livestock.  They were then detained in local pounds until sale.  The memory lives on in local speech with the phrase ‘Bad cess to you’.

1843 Baronial Constables.  Bantry and Bere, John O’Sullivan.  Bandon town, Horace Poole.   East Division, West Carbery, Samuel Levis.  West Division West Carbery, William Swanton.

Cess Payers.

NAMES and PLACES of RESIDENCE of the CESS PAYERS nominated by the County Grand Jury at the last Assizes, to be associated with the Magistrates at Special Road Sessions to be holden in and for the several Baronies within the County, preparatory to the next Assizes, pursuant to Act 3 and 4 Wm. 4, ch. 78.

Barony of Bere John O’Sullivan Cameatringane David Kinnigan, Bawn Edward Puxley, Oaklodge William Trenwith, Droumdir
James Downing, Castletown Daniel  Sullivan, Dramguiven Roger O’Sullivan, Seapoint John Harrington, Killmacowen Timothy O’Sullivan, Connahanavoe
Richard Martin, Clonee John Harrington, Grenane Timothy O’Sullivan, Castletown William Murphy, Inchintaaglin William Trenwith, Droumdir
Timothy O’Sullivan, Castletown
Barony of Bantry William O’Sullivan Carriganass, Kealkil Michael Sullivan, Droumlickeerue John O’Connell, Bantry Richard Levis, Rooska
William Pearson, Droumclough, Bantry Daniel O’Sullivan, Reedonegan Jeremiah O’Sullivan, Droumadureen John Cotter, Lisheens, James Vickery, Mullagh, Bantry
Rec. Henry Sadler, The Glebe John Godson, Bantry Richard Pattison, Cappanabowl, Bantry John Kingston, Bantry Samuel Vickery, Franchagh
William Pearson, Cahirdaniel, Bantry Robert Vickery, Dunbittern, Bantry Daniel Mellifont, Donemark John Hamilton White, Droumbroe Samuel Daly, Droumkeal
John S. Bird, Bantry William Warren, Reendesert William Vickery, Rooska Denis Lehane, Trenmadry John Brien Corkery, Bantry
Barony of East Division West Carbery Rev. John Wright, Killinah Gibbs Ross, Smorane, Skibbereen Alexander McCarthy, Laherdaly Philip Somerville, Union Hall
John Swanton, Killinagh George Long, Paddock, Skibbereen Philip Attridge, Carrigfada John Sweetnam, Clover Hill, Skibbereen Robert evans, Ardraly, Skibbereen
George Beamish, Lakemount, Skibbereen Richard Swanton, Hollyhill, Aughadown, Skibbereen Nathaniel Lannon (Lannin), Gortnaclohy, Skibbereen Henry Newman, Gurtnamuckla, Caheragh Henry Right (Wright?), Skibbereen
Hugh Jagoe, Lahina Arthur Attridge, Riverview Francis Beamish, Skibbereen Robert Ellis, Carrihaliccca William Young, Letter Scanlan, Skibbereen
William Louth, Glandore House John Levis, Leighluinn George Evans, Drimindad, William Taylor, Drimindah
Barony of West Division West Carbery Thomas Roberts, Quolah Robert Swanton, Ratruane, Schull Alexander O’Driscoll, Gurtnascrena, Drimoleague Alexander Evans, Lisangle, Caheragh
Philip Somerville, Maulavodera, Ballyehob Charles Dukelow, Durrus William C. Browne, Crowe William Long, Greenmount, Ballydehob Richard Swanton, Ratruane, Ballydehob
Rev. Edward Alcock, Clashadoo Glebe, Durrus Murty Houlahane, Clahane, Caheragh George Vickery Inchegerig, Caheragh William Vickery, Ballycomane, Durrus James McCarthy, Ballydevlin, Goleen
James Swanton, Marsh, Skibbereen Timothy O’Donovan, O’Donovan’s Cove, Durrus Andrew Caverly, Ardentenant, Schull William Newman, Woodlands, Schull Joseph Wolfe, Ballycumisk, Schull

Thanks to Susan Barretta, Salt Lake City, Utah and Jean Prendergast:

Vestry Meeting 4 April 1743 – no CW appointed, 2 attendees

Inhabitants of Castletownsend 1789 assessed for Parish Cess


Anorwen, Maj. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Atkins, James Castletownsend Cess 1789

Atkins, Mrs. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Blackburn, Widow Castletownsend Cess 1789

Blackburne, John Castletownsend Cess 1789

Blake, Ned Castletownsend Cess 1789

Bolton, Arthur Castletownsend Cess 1789

Bray, John Castletownsend Cess 1789/ Brien, Danl. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Brien, David Castletownsend Cess 1789

Brien, Dens. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Brien, John Castletownsend Cess 1789

Brien, Patrick Castletownsend Cess 1789

Busteed, Francis, app. Overseer of the Parish 87. VM 1 JULY 1799

Cahalane, James Castletownsend Cess 1789

Calahan, Tim Castletownsend Cess 1789

Chard, James Castletownsend Cess 1789

Chard, Chard, Widow Castletownsend Cess 1789

Coghlans Castletownsend Cess 1789

Coleman, Henry Castletownsend Cess 1789

Connel, Charly Castletownsend Cess 1789

Connell, Morgan Castletownsend Cess 1789

Copythorn Castletownsend Cess 1789

Cullane, Daniel, app. Director of the High Way in CTend 37. VM 4 OCT 1757

Dalys Castletownsend Cess 1789

Donovan, Daniel, otherwise Blackstaff, of Forenought, app. CW 56. VM 13 APRIL 1773

Donovan, Denis, ‘to be app. Sidesman to assist in collecting the Cess.’ 86. VM 25 Donovan, James Castletownsend Cess 1789/ Donovan, James 75. VM 6 APRIL 1790

Donovan, Jerry Castletownsend Cess 1789

Driscol, Dens. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Driscol, Tim Castletownsend Cess 1789

Duff, Malachi Castletownsend Cess 1789

Dunne, Dens. Castletownsend Cess 1789

French, R……., app. Overseer of the Parish 87. VM 1 JULY 1799

Garter, John Castletownsend Cess 1789

Gibbs, Willm., app. Overseer of the Parish

Gilman, Tom Castletownsend Cess 1789

Hamilton, Wm. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Hungerford, Mr. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Josshin, Co… Castletownsend Cess 1789

Juoneen (?), Andrew Castletownsend Cess 1789

Keal, Dens. Castletownsend Cess 1789 (listed twice)

Kean, James Castletownsend Cess 1789

Keane, Mrs. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Keoghan, Jn. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Legoe Castletownsend Cess 1789

Limerick, Mrs. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Linard Castletownsend Cess 1789

Mc Gill, Mrs. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Mahony, Widow Castletownsend Cess1789

Morris, Wm., Esq. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Morriss, Mrs. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Neil, James Castletownsend Cess 1789

Randles, Tim Castletownsend Cess 1789

Regan, Tim Castletownsend Cess 1789

Rountree, Harding, app. Overseer of the Parish 87. VM 1 JULY 1799 / Rountree, Harding Rountree, Peter 127. VM 1 FEB 1819 / Rountree, Peter 128. VM 13 APRIL 1819/ Rountree, Peter 130. VM 3 APRIL 1820

Rowe, Danl. Castletownsend Cess 1789/ Rowe, Danl. 76. VM Easter Monday 1791/ Sabourin, Jn. Castletownsend Cess 1789/ Sabourin, John 120. VM 24 FEB 1817

Salters Castletownsend Cess 1789

Sullivan, James Castletownsend Cess 1789

Sullivan, John Castletownsend Cess 1789

Sweeny, Dudley Castletownsend Cess 1789

Townsend, Edw. H., app. Overseer of the Parish JULY 1757

Townsend, Richard, Esq., app. Director of the High Way in CTend 37. VM 4 OCT 1757/ Townsend, Rich., app. Overseer of the Parish 87. VM 1 JULY 1799

Townsend, Widow Castletownsend Cess 1789

Triphook, T.S., app. Overseer of the Parish 87. VM 1 JULY 1799

Trowner Castletownsend Cess 1789

Whelan, Dan Castletownsend Cess 1789

White, Willm., of Castletownsend, app. CW 29. VM 1 APRIL 1755

Wolahane, Nell Castletownsend Cess 1789

Willby, Capt. Castletownsend Cess 1789

Thomas Ware Esq., Pre 1831, Woodford, Mallow, Sitting Mallow, 1835.  Attending Cork Grand Jury 11 times.  Thomas Ware, Landlord, Vice Chairman Board of Guardians. Complained about the operation of the County Cess.   The High Constable furnishes to the Church Wardens a certificate stating the amount of the Cess to be levied against the Parish, manor or denomination. However he may give a Certificate only to the amount to be levied against the entire Parish.  If he does that it is impossible to applot the Cess and he can make an individual liable for the Cess of the entire ploughland and make him collect on his behalf.  If he defaults he may distrain him.  The system has given rise to great oppressions.  He was aware of an example where the Constable had collected more than justified by the Treasurer’s warrant, he brought the matter before the Grand Jury and the Constable was dismissed.