Skibbereen Petition Ecclesiastical Titles Bill.


The sub editor of the Cork Examiner in penning the article of Skibbereen Protestant was probably too severe to depict it as ‘Anti Popery Petition’  The Cork Examiner was very firmly the organ of the emerging Nationalist and Catholic party in Cork.  It was more in the format of later petitions in relation to the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, a doomed attempt to preserve a status quo which no longer existed

Interestingly here over 240 names, all men,  are appended to the petition.  In contrast in Cork only 112 names from three Parishes and it was alleged that many had given no permission for their name to be used,

All the evidence was that the people of the general Skibbereen District regardless of their religion or politics pulled along pretty well as evidenced  by shared interest attendance at funerals etc.  This was in contrast to the Bandon Valley where sectarianism and party feeling remained high up to the 1830s.

The listing could be viewed as a mini census.  The presumption is that all those listed were Protestants.  There is a divergence between the Church of Ireland and Methodism.  Families such as some of the Swantons, Vickeries, Warners, Woulfes were Methodists.

Interestingly in many cases the occupation is given.   The disaster of the Famine in Skibbereen  is well known.  What is not widely appreciated is that since the mid 18th century as well as penury, mass poverty there existed a market economy with quite a number of prosperous people.  Here we have bankers, cabinet makers, painters, watchmaker, engineer, pawnbroker, saddler, multiple merchants, doctors, lawyers, wine merchant. Quite a number of Gentlemen as well as those of the Governing elite, Magistrates, Customs and Excise Officials as well as clergy.

The people described have multiple origins, many would have originated in the Bandon Valley area from the West Country of England and gradually drifted westward from the mid 17th century.  There are those of a Huguenot background, Connell (Quesnell), Levis.  Additionally names like Shannon and possibly Lannin may have migrated from the Northern ……