Tithes had been a source of trouble in Doon in the 18th and
19th centuries. Tithe means the tenth part of profits from land, stock on the
land or from the industry of the parishioners and it was payable for the
maintenance of the established church by everybody who had things titheable.
This meant that produce that arose directly from the land, corn, wheat, hay etc., produce of animals on the land, for example, calves, milk, eggs and even workers in mills and other industries all paid tithes.
From 1735 pasture land was exempt from the ecclesiastical tax but it was only the larger land owners who could increase the number of acres they had under pasturage. This meant that the burden of the tithes fell heavily upon the small farm occupiers in the parish who held very small parcels of land and who were devoted for the most part to agriculture.
It was difficult to justify these tithes in a community where in 1766 there were only 27 Protestant families and 332 Catholic families, later still in 1804 there were only 33 Protestant parishioners and by 1834 when the population of the parish had grown to 5,500 there was only 86 Protestant parishioners. A small but very strong minority.
From the Vestry Meeting Books of Doon for 1790 to 1831 we find that the parishioners were not only obliged to pay tithes for the support of a minister that they may or may not have subscribed to , but were also bound to pay for the repairs to the church ,the sextons' wages, the cost of bread and wine for communion and any other expenses.
The amounts laid on the parish per acre for the repairs and salaries (excluding the Ministers) varies from year to year. In 1794 a half penny was laid on the parish for repairs of the church, by 1805 it was three half pence per acre and by 1812 two pence per acre. In 1821 the clerk and sextons' salary was twelve pounds between them and in 1826 it was sixteen pounds.
This money for church and repairs was collected by the church wardens who were the local landlords and in the 1820's the records show that they were not very successful in securing the tithes.
In a small number of townlands records show that tithes were collected (though often with difficulty) up until 1834.
In March 1826 Hugh Bradshaw and John B. White were appointed commissioners to survey the titheable land in the parish of Doon, this was when payment in kind was being substituted for payment in money. Joseph Bradshaw and Thomas Hunt were also appointed under the new Tithe Composition Act to survey the parish of Castletown. This was done for both parishes on a townland basis and gives the list of land occupiers and land owners, it also records the quality of land though not all the land is accounted for in these lists.
In the Tithe Applotment Books compiled for Castletown a total of 1034 acres 1 rood and 11 perches was applotted the townland of Clonlusk was included
Here we include an extract from these books:
"We the undersigned Joseph Bradshaw and Thomas Hunt Commissioners appointed under the Tithe Composition Act find the Parish of Castletown in the County of Limerick to contain by our survey and valuation thereof 1034 acres, 1 rood, 11 perches Irish Plantation Measure of which we find 500 acres maketh 1st class or quality are worth one pound, sixteen shillings and eleven pennies British per acre shale pay the sum of one shilling seven and a farthing British per acre and so in proportion for roods and perches as a composition for the tythes thereof, and we find that 460 acres 24 perches maketh 2nd class or quality are worth one pound seven shillings and eightpennies and a farthing British per acre shall pay the sum of one shilling one penny of British per acre and so in proportion for roods and perches as a composition for the tythes thereof and we find that 70 acres and 27 perches maketh 3rd class or quality worth thirteen shillings ten pennies British per acre."1
This was signed and wax sealed on 28th October 1826 and lodged in the Registry in Cashel 30th October 1826.
The people of Doon both before and after Emancipation had also had to support their own clergy out of their limited means, added to this they were also making great sacrifices to build their own Catholic church in 1836 up to then they attended Mass in a small thatched chapel at the top end of the village.
By the 1830's throughout the country there was great agitation against the payment of these tithes and in the summer of 1831 a great demonstration took place in the parish of Doon against the tithes. Fr Patrick Hickey then P.P. encouraged his parishioners not to pay these tithes saying he himself would not do so (not explaining that he had never been asked to) at this Rev Charles Coote was adamant to collect the money, after obtaining support from the Government he ordered his tithe-proctor, a man named Lysaght to seize the priest's cow this he did and impounded her in Bilboa. Notice was then given that the cow would be sold for the payment of these tithes but the people were determined that the auction would be used to demonstrate against the tithes.
When property or cattle was seized in this way the people refused to buy it and there was often conflict and difficulty disposing of the property. (See Chapter, Struggle of the Clergy in the 19th century).
Rev Coote became a very disillusioned and saddened man as relations deteriorated within the community and at least two assassination attempts were made on his life.
From the outrage reports now stored in Dublin Castle we include the following extracts.
17th September 1835.
I have the honour to report that in consequence of the Rev Mr Coote of Doone Glebe having sent word that he would go Monday last to collect his tithes hundreds collected on the hill of Cooga between Cappamore and Doone, most of them armed to prevent him. They waited all day and on finding Mr Coote didn't come they fired several shots and then dispersed, nothing further occurred as Mr Coote didn't attempt going out.
18th September 1835.
I have the honour to report that on the night of Wednesday the 16th last the townlands of Gurtavallagh and Cooga appeared in a great state of excitement. There were fires burning on the hill, also some shots were fired and horns sounding. It was all on account of Rev Mr Coote intended to collect his tithes, no mischief has of yet been done.but they appear fully intended.
On Sunday last the 4th Sept. instant when Rev Charles P. Coote had officiated on that day as Rector of the parish. He proceeded from Doon on horseback to Toomaline for the purpose of visiting the Marshalls. When returning towards the village of Doon, Rev Coote had only proceeded a few yards on his long way when he was fired at from a small plantation from behind and through a hedge but fortunately the shot took no effect on Mr Coote or of the animal of which he had.2
A reward of fifty pounds was offered for private information on the matter. Boycotting was put in force against the clergy and the people were forbidden to speak to them, placards were posted throughout the area forbidding anyone to work for Rev Coote under pain of death.
"There lived near Doon six fellows, brothers, named Lysaght, whom some years previously, Mr Coote, being fully convinced of their innocence, had by his exertions saved from transportation, to which, on perjured evidence, they had been sentenced. The real culprits were afterwards arrested and convicted. These six fellows were determined to work for their benefactor, so they, with some Protestant parishioners of his, assembled one fine morning on the bog of Doon to cut his turf. Suddenly about mid-day crowds of men appeared crossing the bog from all sides towards the workmen, shouting and firing shots. The turf-cutters ran for their lives to the rectory, not waiting to put on their coats. The mob came on, tore up the clothes. destroyed the turf that had been cut, smashed the turf-cutting implements, and then retired as they came, with shouts and shots.
We were not 'boycotted' to the same extent, and were allowed to cut our turf and save our crops. One morning We heard a rumour that our labourers, who were saving our hay were to be stopped, and We were preparing for an attack, when our steward said, "You needn't be a morsel uneasy, for it would be illegal for them to come to annoy us without giving us regular proper notice."
The Lysaghts, whom I have mentioned as helping Mr Coote in his difficulties, were amongst the coolest and most determined fellows I ever met. They had been among the bravest of the Reaskawallahs, and by their prowess had often turned the tide of war, and won the victory in their battles with the Coffeys.
One evening, just as Mr Coote had got off his horse at his hall door, a man ran up to him, and said, "Oh, your honour, they are murdering Ned Lysaght there below on the road to Cappamore."
He remounted his horse at once, and galloped down the road, where he found Lysaght lying in a pool of blood, apparently dead, and saw three men running away across the fields. He jumped off his horse, knelt down beside Ned, and said, "Ah, my poor dear fellow, have they killed you?"
Ned opened his eyes, and sat up, blood streaming from his head and face. "Thanks be to the Lord, I'm not killed entirely; but they thought I was. They came up, unknownst to me, behind me, and one of them struck me with a stone, and tumbled me. As soon as I was down the three of them beat me with sticks and stones till they thought I was dead. I didn't pretend to be dead too soon, in dread they'd know I was seaming; but when one of them gave me a tremendous crack on the head, I turned up my eyes, and "och, dhe alamon am" (God, take my soul), says I, and shifted my legs and my arms, and, begorra, they were full sure it's what I was dead; and, till I heard your honour's voice, I never opened an eye, or stirred hand or foot, in dread they might be wachin' me."
"Do you know them?" asked Mr Coote.
"I partly guess who one of them was; but I couldn't be too sure, for they all had their faces blackened," said he.
After a few minutes Lysaght was able, with Mr Coote's help, to walk back to the rectory, and in a few weeks he was as well and strong as ever".3
The landlords had mixed views on the tithes, some wanted them abolished but may have put higher rents in their place, others saw them as unjust but a lesser of many evils. Lord Cloncurry held a large amount of land near Abington and on hearing that his agent a Mr Robert Cassidy was taking an active part in the agitation against tithes sent the following circular to all his tenants:
Lord Cloncurry to his Tenants:
I am told that Mr Robert Cassidy has advised you not to pay tithes. I hope it is not so, for I never authorised him so to do. If tithe was abolished tomorrow, all new leases would be at an increased rent. The poor man would then be far worse off than under the composition, which makes tithe comparatively light to the small holder and potato-grower.
I think Parliament will soon make a different provision for Protestant clergy, and not call on the Roman Catholics to pay them; but I hope the landlords will pay tithe for the support of the poor and other useful purposes; and, until the law be changed, I think all honest and wise men should obey it, even in its present offensive and, I must add, unjust state.
Your affectionate friend and landlord,
By 1839 tithes were abolished and made the responsibility of the landlord who in turn added them to the tenants rent.
The Parish of Doon extended even further than the Civil Parish for the purposes of collecting tithes and here we include a list of townlands and landlords.
|Boreheens||Rev James Ellard|
|Milltown Cluggin||Thomas Lloyd Esq|
|Gurtnakistem||Thomas Lloyd Esq|
|Reenavanna||Thomas Lloyd Esq|
|Inside Reenavanna||Thomas Lloyd Esq|
|Foilyclear||Thomas Lloyd Esq|
|Curraghaunmageen||Thomas Lloyd Esq|
|Curraghafile||Thomas Lloyd Esq|
|Goulaghey||Thomas Lloyd Esq|
|Gortnascarry||Thomas Lloyd Esq|
|Gortmanna||Thomas Lloyd Esq|
|Dark Island||Thomas Lloyd Esq|
|Lackanaguin eeny||Rev Richd. Dickson|
|Clonlusk||Mr James Riordan|
|Lisowen||John D White|
|Toomaline Upper||Lady Baker|
|Doon||Lord of Clonmel|
|Carrigogoonagh||Erasmus Smyth Est|
|Castlegarde||Darby O'Grady, Waller O'Grady|
|Cloghar||Charles P. Coote|
|Gurtnagarde||Charles P. Coote|
|Gurtdrishla||Charles P. Coote|
|Gurteennahorna||Charles P. Coote|
|Knocknacorrigey||Charles P. Coote|
|Ballacushown||Erasmus Smyth Est|
|Kilevacogy||Capt. G. Bradshaw|
|Longford||Mr James Riordan|
|Lisnakelly||Arthur Shouldan Esq|
|Kilaogues||Robert & Wm. Jones|
|Kilmoylan Upper||Newport White Esq|
|Kilmoylan Lower||Laurence Marshall|
|Gurtavalla||Erasmus Smith, FitzMaurice Hunt|
BARONY OF OWNEYBEG
BARONY OF K1LMANAMAGH
|Glengar||George W. Hodges|
|Losfid||Rev Wm Mafsey|
|Baghaghey||Rev Wm Mafsey|
PARISH OF CASTLETOWN & BARONY OF COONAGH