March 1798.  Rosscarbery Select Vestry meeting to Levy a Rate to provide Four Men to Serve in  Militia and to Levy Seven  and a Half Pence Per Gneeve.

The Castletownbere Select Vestry met in 1793 and under the provisions of an Act of Parliament levied £6 on the parish for each man from the parish drawn  to serve in the militia.

At a Vestry legally summoned and held at Drimoleague Church on Tuesday the 22nd day of May 1798 It is unanimously agreed upon that the Sum of ten pounds four Shillings and ninepence Stg be Levied on the Inhabitants of said parish for raising Substitutes for the South Cork Militia at the rate of nine Shillings out of each and every Plowland in said parish & that the Church wardens of said parish be appointed to Collect the Same – Resolved Unanimously that the Thanks of this Parish be returned to the Right Honourable Lord Bantry for his kind Attention to us during the late Disturbances & that we Consider ourselves as Indebted Solely to his LordShip for the Restoration of Tranquility without having the Militia sent to live amongst us at free Quarters.

How do you define the word ‘gneeve?’  It is the twelfth part of a ploughland; and those ploughlands and gneeves vary in size. One Gneeve may be as large as twelve others. Some Gneeves do not exceed from four to five acres in extent. Other Gneeves have thirty acres on it, they are  let according to their value.

Gneeve?  It is the twelfth part of a ploughland; and those ploughlands and gneeves vary in size. One gneeve may  as large as twelve others. Some do not exceed from four to five acres in extent; others gneeves which has thirty acres on it : it is let according to its value or capacity to bear livestock (like in Irish féar dha bhó, grass of two cows).

The backdrop is the 1798 Rebellion of the United Irishmen.  There was an amount of latent support locally and two years earlier the French had Attempted a Major Landing in Bantry without Success.

Robert Swanton of Ballydehob was an active United Irishman, he fled to New York later becoming an Admiralty Judge. Surgeon O’Connor as Alexander McCarthy, Barrister of Bantry were convicted of United Irishmen offences adn transported to Australia.

The Vestry apart from its church functions was pivotal in administrative affairs, collecting the county cess with the Baronial Constable, road maintenance burying the indigent dead, care of foundlings of whom there were may.

This is from the records of Ross from 1680 which have survived, luckily the Minister ignored the command to deposit the books in the Public Records Office in 1920 for safety. If anyone wants them  e mail me at


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