Newtown

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Newtown

Newtown

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Newtown

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Annual Report 1869

Annual report and rental for year ending June 1869, containing detailed report and accounts showing the receipts and disbursements on the estate for the preceding year. Records that the financial situation is favourable and that the largest expenditure was on drainage at Ballyknockan, Newtown, Killeenmore and Ballyduff. Reports that the RASI have awarded a 3rd Gold Medal and the Hall Challenge Cup for the best drainage in all Ireland. In relation to buildings and other improvements, he refers to ongoing renovations rather than new builds. Reports that the RASI have awarded a Gold Medal for improving existing labourers' cottages and that Mr Mallison, architect, was awarded £25 for best plans of labourers' cottages.(See 'Architectural drawings' preceding Index.) The constabulary barrack was fortified to withstand any attack. Woods and plantations were not as profitable as other years and reports on works on Derryclure, Clonad, Derryadd and Killeenmore.

In general, reports that 'an excellent tone pervades the people', that they appear satisfied and there is an absence of outrages. Regrets to say that part of the county boundary in Westmeath not for from estate is in a 'lawless condition'. Also reports on a 'curious incident' outside Tullamore where a ruse was employed by locals who wanted to divert police from an intended cock-fight. Also reports on the murder of Captain Tarleton and on a Mr Roberts who was forcefully ejected from his farm having 'seized' another farm which had belonged to a relative of his who had recently died. Appendix (pp54 and 55) contains copy correspondence between Lord Digby and RASI in relation to the establishment of a Digby Challenge Cup.

Annual Report 1870

Annual report and rental for year ending June 1870, containing general reports and accounts detailing the receipts and disbursement on the estate for the preceding year. Financial report is generally favourable. Drainage report outlines a reclamation project in Newtown between the railway and Tullamore Road. Also reports on 11 acres drained in Ballyduff for large tenant, Richard Odlum, 50 acres reclaimed in Ballinagar where previously marshes made the road from Ballinasloe unsafe for cattle, and the draining of Flynn's Moors in Derryweelan. Describes the success of the new sheep-washing pool formed in Lugmore main drain. Reports that it is used by almost everyone and that one of the largest tenants, Mr Ridgeway, proposed to wash 1110 sheep within one hour. The Trenchs came out at the appointed time, seats were provided for spectators 'and he won his bet easily with 7 minutes to spare.'

Referring to building improvements, 80 houses were changed from thatched roofs to slate, and the RASI awarded the Gold Medal for improving the greatest amount of cottages in the best manner in the province of Leinster. Woods and plantations report included details on the thinning of Derrygunnigan of large and useless timber, which was subsequently purchased by the Great Southern and Western Railway (5000 cubic feet of beech) but that the expense of drawing it across the bog to Tullamore detracted from the profits.

Also reports on 'peculiar violence and bloodshed in the surrounding district in counties' including the shooting in the face of Mr. Warburton, High Sherrif of Queen's County by a Mr Conroy, whose land, Mr Warburton had taken up. Describes an outrage on the other side of Geashill, where the same Mr Conroy attacked Mr O'Connor and cut his nose off while two other men held revolvers to his chest. 'Mr. O'Connor got an excellent nose to replace the one he had' and Conroy was sentenced to 14 years penal servitude. Other outrages included the brutal murder by Shields and his sister of a Mr Dunn - 'Very little excitement in the county and both were quietly hanged & buried within the precincts of the gaol.' Also includes further reports of attacks on gentry in Meath and Westmeath.

Annual Report 1882

Annual report, accounts and rental for year ending June 1882. Remarking on the 'extraordinary events in Ireland of the last 12 months', Digby reports that consequently there is a large amount of arrears, including abandoned arrears which are mainly the rents of Ballydownan and Roskeen farms which are in Lord Digby's hands having been surrendered.

Land improvements have ceased due to the suspension of rent and the generally disorganised state of the country, a new dwelling house for William Payne, Killeenmore being the chief expenditure. Thirty acres of young plantations in Derrygunnigan and Newtown woods and the maintenance of other young plantations accounted for expenditure in forestry.

Warns that the country is in a 'frightful crisis' and reports on the tactics of the Land League with their 'No Rent' manifesto (Autumn 1881), which was eagerly adopted and led to a complete suspension of the payment of rent. After an abatement was refused, tenantry on the Geashill Estate held a meeting in Killeigh in January 1882 at which a resolution was passed not to pay rent unless abatements were conceded. Proceedings were issued against nine of the principal agitators, their properties seized and put up for public auction in Tullamore. Digby reports that in seven cases, the tenants allowed him to be the purchaser, and in the other two cases, the tenants bought in their farms for the full amount of rent claimed and costs. Evictions followed, five of which required the aid of 'a large force of military and police and bailiffs supplied by the Property Defence Association.'

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