Hearth Money Records – Introduction












The following pages contain the muster roll of the inhabitants of Tipperary and of the Barony of Slieveardagh five years after the restoration of Charles II., and thirteen years after the surrender of the last organised Irish force. The Hearth Money Tax was introduced soon after the return of Charles II. as it afforded a convenient instrument for extracting the last farthing from a defeated race. When we consider the different values of money, then and now, it must have come with a crushing weight on the unhappy masses who hadn’t got even time to raise their heads after the cruel defeats of the ill conducted war. From conversations I more than once had with the late Sir William Butler, I learned what his opinion was of the poor hand that was made by all, save O’Neil, of the confederation fight. If he had lived, I believe he would have supplied one of the greatest of our national wants – an impartial and capable military history of the Confederation and Jacobite wars. These Hearth Money Records are fairly complete for the two years, 1666-7, which are necessarily the most important, if not only important ones since they comprise the lists of the first year that the tax was levied. They have been kept as carefully as they could be for a long series in the Record Office of Dublin. Tipperary is almost unique in having her roll complete, for these of most other counties are imperfect or non-existent. The small number of English names on this muster roll is a wonderful proof of the indestructibility of the Celtic race. Erroneous ideas have been propounded about the large Saxon plantation in Tipperary, but they must have melted away under the Irish atmosphere if the ever had an existence. It has, indeed, been suggested that these people changed their names, but where is the proof? They had a property in them. They procured for them the continued favour of the State, they were the title deeds of everything they had or could expect, they testified at once to their creed and their lineage, to their success in the past and their hopes in the future. No, no, there is no proof whatever of such a transformation and it is contrary to every motive and interest which actuate human nature. It must be borne in mind that the names of the head of the family alone appeared on these lists, so that minors found no place thereon, and we know that no immigrant’s son could have been of age in 1665-6. In the case of the death of the head of the family the name of his widow would appear on the list. These records have been twice gone over with the greatest care, once some years ago and again the other day, when I had the whole of them re-examined with the utmost exactness. Nor were these all,. In the interval selected portions were gone over, through the courtesy of the Deputy Keeper, and his reports to me was that they could not have been more accurately done by his own Staff. They would have been printed long ago but that I could not induce the people of this country, whether at home or abroad, to supply adequate funds. The public spirit of Archbishop Fennelly, of Mr. Michael Fitzlaffan, of the “New York Sun,” of Mr. Thomas O’Connor, of London, and of the Hon. James Ryan , of Newfoundland, together with some few small subscriptions from others, have enabled them at long last to see the light. The reader is not to expect to find a novel on the surface of these pages, but deeper down many a potential epic lies enshrined, and if a Tipperary man, he will find therein the title deeds of his race and name.

Family names should be a property as well as protected by law as any mere material property. The English may cast off their names with the same readiness that a man might cast off his coat, but to the poorest `Irishman his family name is an intergral part of his being, quite as dear to him as are the broad acres to the rich man. It is for this reason that we hope and trust that public opinion will ere long call for such action on the part of the law makers as will make it a felony for any Board, Institution or  individual to give to a child an existing surname or for anybody to appropriate such surname who has not in the male line a right to it. When the nation has time to bestow its thoughts on these matters, I am quite sure it will do so, and though the days of septs and clans be over, the restoration of some useful features belonging to them  will receive an amount of attention which the nation cannot now afford to give them. In Father Woulfe’s book the Irish equivalents of the names will be found, while in the little, but most important, work by Sir R. Matheson, “On the Synonyms of Irish Surmames” will be found the various renderings of each of the leading names. The original text has beenscrupulously adhered to. The trifling difference in spelling here and there observable are in part accounted for by modern alterations in spelling. These will be seen at a glance by those acquainted with our surmanes and placenames. In most instances, however, the errors may be traced to newcomers unacquainted with the strange names. The late Canon Cahill, of Tipperary, subscribed £1; Father E. Ryan, Kilcommon £1; Dr. Corcoran, of Upperchurch, and a Tramore gentleman, 10s. each, and two others a like amount. I may add, in conclusion, that despite the utmost care, the writing has been reported to me by two successive Examiners to be obviously fading here and there, so that ‘twas a case of now or never.





After much patient labour, and careful perusual of long hidden documents, the Editor of these interesting lists is to be congratulated on at last placing them before the public. He has made a valuable contribution to the history of our country, for which so little has hitherto been done.

The lists will be found interesting and instructive from many points of view. They are interesting in asmuchas the give the names of those who inhabited the County Tipperary two hundred and forty five years ago. And they are instructive in this – that hey bear testimony to a remarkable historical fact, illustrating the tenacity with which the Irish people clung to the soil of their native land, in spite of the repeated efforts of the invader to alienate them from it.

These lists were drawn up less than twenty years after the slaughter connected with the Cromwellian war, and the clearance effected by the Cromwellian Settlement, and the wonder is that any Irish names appear on them. But, singular to relate, the vast majority of the names are those of the native Irish. In the Cromwellian Settlement the Irish inhabitants except a few of the labouring class, were ordered to depart to Connaught, where possessions were assigned to them in lieu of those from which they were expelled, and their former holdings were parcelled out amongst the Cromwellian soldiers and adventurers. In this way the whole of the County Tipperary was taken from its lawful owners, and carefully allotted to English and Scottish settlers, proportionately to the nature of the Services rendered, or the money subscribed to the expenses of the war.

The names of the new occupiers are given at length in “Prendergast’s Cromwellian Settlement,” and, comparing them with these lists, it can be seen that the Cromwellian soldiers and adventurers had almost entirely disappeared in the brief interval, and the Tipperarymen were back again in the houses of their ancestors. The short tenure of these merciless plunderers can be attributed mainly to the following causes: – First, they were unused to farming, and therefore they had neither the skill or the industry which are essential to the successful cultivation of the soil. Secondly, they were located on separate portions of land, and in that way they became an easy prey to those dashing spirits, who did not go to Connaught, but took to the mountains and the Bogs, whence they made nightly incursions into the neighbouring farms, and abstracted from them cattle and corn and other portable goods. This annoyance was too much for the latecomers, and to avoid it, they sold out their goods and departed.

Thirdly, many Cromwellian Landlords kept the native Irish as tenants, irrespective of the law of Transportation. To these may be added several minor causes, amongst them the protection of the Ormonde family, which regained its ascendency after the stormy times had passed away. But, notwithstanding all explanation, it is very singular that a plot designed and executed with such systematic care should have completely failed in so short a period, and that the native Irish were back again on the soil that belonged to them by the Law of Nations and by immemorial Right.

The lists will be found interesting to the general public, as showing the parish or townsland in which the different families were then located. Some will be surprised at not finding their names occurring in their present neighbourhood; but most of the existing population is well represented in them. It is to be regretted that in the intervening centuries, the names of several families, who deserve an honourable place in our annals, have almost entirely disappeared.

The book is worth being preserved in every Tipperary household, and I have great pleasure in heartily recommending it.



(From the act of Parliament)


FOR THE YEARS 1665-6 AND 1666-7

AN ABSTRACT Indented contayneing the names and sirnames of all and singular the present owners or occupiers of the respective houses and edifices in the several respective Baronies, Parishes, Townshippes and Corporations of the said Countie who have fire hearth or other place used for fireing and stoves within such their respective houses and edifices according as they returned unto us the undernamed Justices of the Peace by the several Constables and other persons appointed for that service in the respective parishes; the said owner or owners or occupiers being taxed and assessed by us the said justices of the Peace in two shillings ster. For every fire, hearth, or other place used for fireing and stoves according to the tenor of an act of the preset Parlyament entituled An Act establishing an Additional Revenue upon his Majestie, his heiress and successors for the better support of his and their Crowne and Dignitie, the manner whereof appeareth by the particulars following which we humbly certifie and return to His Majestie’s Court of Exchequer as by the said Act is required, and having delivered a counterpart to Thomas Sadlier, Esq., Sherriffe of the said Countie who by the said act is likewise appointed to leavy and collect the said moneyes. Dated at Clonmel the fourth day of Aprill in the 17th. Year of the Reign of Charles the Second, by the Grace of God, of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Kyng, Defender of the Faith, &c.




NOTE: Unlike in England, which abolished the Hearth Tax in 1689, it continued in Ireland till the early 19th century although it underwent major reform at end of the 18th century. It was levied half yearly by the Sheriff of each county on the basis of lists of the names of householders compiled by local Justices of the Peace. The list of the households required to pay the Hearth Tax became known as the Hearth Money Rolls, which were arranged by County, Barony, Parish, and Townland. The tax was sometimes collected over an area known as a ‘walk’, which was based on both the town and a large rural area outside the town.

Several attempts were made in Parliament to abolish or at least limit the proportion of households obliged to pay the tax, which was widely regarded as “a shameful infliction upon the poor peasant, to whom even two or three shillings in the year for such a tax was a burden and a wrong”. The chief proposers of a radical change were John O’Neill and Thomas Conolly. In 1788, for example, they argued that for a substantial portion of those having to pay the tax, the yearly cash demand was an unreasonable burden.

Henry Grattan developed the same point: “I am convinced, that the man who has but five pounds in the world, and pays thirty shillings for his house, ought not to pay hearth-money; the strongest argument for his relief is the bare statement of his condition….The wretchedness of their living, and the misery of their consumption, is the reason why they scarcely pay any tax but the hearth-money, and is likewise a reason why they should not even pay hearth-money”.