Mr Kevin Doyle has kindly sent the Society a collection of 36 late 18th and early 19th century leases of farmland relating to part of Tynan parish in County Armagh.  For the most part the townlands of Drumgose, Skerries and Feigh/Fife are represented.  All were held by the Johnston family of Woodpark, Caledon manor.  He points out that these “fusty old documents” are almost a census substitute for that little “hook” of Armagh that borders Tyrone and Monaghan for the years covered; even adjoining tenants are shown where maps are attached.

Together with the lessors, Johnston or Johnstone, the attorney and his sons, Mitchell, and the surveyors, Fleming, the lessees are Callaghan, Carrole, Connolly, Donaldson, Duffy, Flanagan or Flanigan, Frackleton, Graham, Hughes, Kelly, McCann, McCarney, McCarron or McCoran, McElgrew, McEnally, McNaghten, Moan, Molloy and Traynor.

The first 4 indentures are leases from Nicholas Johnston, Esq.,
for 31 years to:

1771   John Flanagan – lease illustrated on the right
1772   James Hughes
1772   William McNaghten
1775   Patrick Hughes & Patrick McCaron
1776   Owen & Thomas McCoran

The next 19 indentures, all dated May 1794, are from Edward Johnston, Esq., for 31 years or the following three lives: William Owen Mitchell, Robert Mitchell and Blayney Mitchell, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd sons of Blayney Owen Mitchell of Monaghan, Attorney at Law, who drew up all 36 leases.  Each lease carries a survey map, dated June 1794, by Joseph Fleming at the scale of 20 plantation perches to one inch.

The leases were to:

Bryan & John Hughes
James Hughes, James Carrole & Peter Hughes
John Donaldson & Robert McCann
John Hughes
Joseph Frackleton, Owen Kelly & Michael Traynor
Owen Hughes & James Morrison
Owen McElgrew – survey image adjacent
Patrick & James Callaghan
Patrick Carrole
Patrick Carrole – a different lease
Patrick McCarney
Patrick McEnally & John Hughes
Patrick Moan, Phelemy McCarney, James Hughes & James Carrole
Patrick Molloy & John Connolly
Peter & Phillip Kelly
Peter Duffy
Peter Duffy & Owen Graham
Symon Kelly
William & Owen McNaghten

The next 11 leases, all dated December 1810, were from Nicholas George Johnston, Esq., for 21 years or the life of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Wales, only daughter of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, eldest son of His Majesty King George the Third.  The survey map attached to each lease was by Alexander Fleming.

Choosing the life of Princess Charlotte was unfortunate as, born in 1796, she died in 1817 aged only 21 following a stillbirth.  Her husband subsequently became King Leopold of Belgium in 1831, having declined the offer of the Greek Crown.  Had she lived, Charlotte would have become Queen of the United Kingdom on the death of her father, King George IV in 1830.

The lessees were:

Bryan, Cormick & Patrick McCarron
Cormick McCarron
Owen Hughes
Patrick Hughes
Patrick Hughes & Patrick Flanigan
Patrick Kelly
Patrick Kelly – a different lease
Patrick McCarron
Peter Hughes
Peter McNaghten
William McCarron

The last lease, dated 1813, was from James Hughes to Patrick Hughes and was for 12 years or the three Mitchell lives listed in the 1794 leases.

These indentures have kindly been scanned by the Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis at the Queen’s University of Belfast.  They will be deposited with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) for safe keeping.