The Brownlow Papers

Brownlow House

The Brownlow Papers consist of 520 volumes and 9,300 numbered documents. With some exceptions, they can be described as an estate archive, documenting the history and management of the Brownlows' estate. This consisted of their land in the manors of Brownlowsderry and Richmount in the Lurgan area, Co. Armagh, including Lurgan town itself and the adjacent areas of west Down and south-west Antrim, 1619-1960, but also to property in Magheracloone parish, barony of Farney, Co. Monaghan, 1753-94, and in Philipstown parish, barony of Ardee, Co. Louth, 1753.

Historical Background

Plantation grants
Under the Plantation of Ulster, John Brownlow of Nottingham offered himself as an undertaker of land in O'Neilland, Co. Armagh. (Brownlow stated Nottingham as his place of origin, his family's native city and where his father had served as Mayor; but he himself had actually been living in Epworth, Lincolnshire, and had only returned to Nottingham on his father's death to claim his inheritance.) He was granted the 'middle proportion' of Doughcoron in the barony of ONeilland by patent from James I, 29 May 1610.

Doughcoron contained 1,500 acres and included the townlands of Taberhany, Aghenecloghly, Keilmarigie, Tirnurye, Doughcoron, Taunaghvore, Knockneseggan, Lurgyvalyvackon, Balliblagh, Derry, Dromonavahir, Taunaghnoreinkellymory, Dromonicolla, Kanagow, Clonrolla, Lisocorran, Lorogine-Itarry, Clan-Igollavorist, Dunhjnagreih, Corakinegeir, Killaghy, Tollidegon, Tollyconnally, and Dromonikeherny. Shankill and half of Aghnecloghie, some 90 acres, were exempted from the grant and reserved as glebe land for the church.

On 13 June 1610 John Brownlow's son, William, was granted by James I, 1,000 acres, the proportion of Ballynemony. This land also lay on the southern shore of Lough Neagh, adjacent to his father's land, and stretched from the upper Bann eastward to Doughcoron. His grant consisted of the townlands of Derryvieasse, Bechonill, Knockrawre, Ballynemany, Tanaghvore, Leggachory, Moynrege, Tollygalla and Teghevan. Kinenereganbeg, containing 60 acres, was exempted from the grant and reserved as glebe land for the church.

William BrownlowPost-plantation developments
With the death of John Brownlow, his son, William inherited his property. By 1620 we learn that 'He hath made a very fair town, consisting of 42 houses, all of which are inhabited with English families, and the streets all paved clean through; also two water mills, and a third mill, all for corn; and he hath store for arms in his house ... planted and estated on the land ... 57 British families ... 52 lessees and 5 freeholders ... and all these have taken the Oath of Supremacy and are able to make 100 men with arms ... and not one Irish family upon all the land.'

On 15 December 1622 William Brownlow was knighted by Sir Henry Cary, Viscount Falkland, Lord Deputy of Ireland. In 1623 William was appointed High Sheriff of County Armagh. On 29 June 1629 the re-grant was written into law uniting the lands of Doughcorn and Balleynemoney to form the Manor of Brownlows Derry,comprising the townlands, of Derryinver, Derryloste, Derrytrasna, Ardmore, Derryadd, Derrymacash, Derrytagh, Ballynery, Annalost, Kinnegoe, Clanrolla, Turmoyra, Boconnell, Knockramer, Ballynamoney, Aghacommon, Tannaghmore West, Tullygalley, Legaghory, Monbrief, Taghnevan, Aughnacloy, Silverwood, Toberhavny, Tannaghmore South, Balliyblagh, Ballylurgan, Derry, Shankill, Tannaghmore North, Knocknashane, Taughrane, Drumnamoe, Dougher, Clankilvoragh, Lurgantorry, Cornakinnegar, Tullydagan, Killaghy, Tullyronnelly, Drumnykerne and Donagoreagh.

While we learn from Pynnar's survey that there were no Irish on Brownlow's land in 1620, Rev. George Hill points out that 'Sir William Brownlow must have soon afterwards yielded to the temptation (which no undertakers could long withstand) of the high rents and ready payments yielded by native tenants, for it was found by inquisition that, in, 1630, he had more than the permitted number of this class on his estate ...' However, T.G.F. Patterson, writing in the County Louth Archaeological Journal disagrees, saying '... in actual fact the evidence points the other way.' He believes Sir William Brownlow was influenced by his Irish wife, Eleanor O'Doherty of Inishowen, who wished to help her compatriots and influenced her husband towards a more sympathetic policy in regard to Irish tenants.

The 1641 Rising
Brownlow's estate continued to develop but in 1641, as Kieran Clendinning tells us in his history of The Parish of Shankill, '... the peace of the area was shattered when the Maginneses of Clanconnel who rallied to the side of the O'Neills in the insurrection and attacked the town of Lurgan in October 1641. Contrary to his [William Brownlow's] claim that the bawn was unarmed the fact is that a supply of guns and ammunition was left in Lurgan, prior to the attack, by Government forces. However, he was unable to resist the attack and under a flag of truce Brownlow was able to conduct favourable terms of surrender which guaranteed safe passage for his English tenants to the Enlish at Lisnagarvey. These terms were not fully honoured for a number of refugees were killed either through individual acts of outrage or revenge.' Lurgan however recovered very quickly once the country was subdued, although a large number of the original English surnames no longer appeared on the Brownlow tenants list.

Arthur Chamberlain/Brownlow
With the restoration of peace, the existing Brownlow estate was not only consolidating and prospering but also being extended, for on the death of Sir William Brownlow in 1660, he was succeeded by his grandson, Arthur Chamberlain, eldest son of Lettice Brownlow who had married Patrick Chamberlain of Niselrath near Ardee, Co. Louth. This marriage and the subsequent succession of her son brought the Chamberlain estate in the parish of Philiptown, barony of Ardee, Co. Louth into the possession of the Brownlows.

Arthur Chamberlain assumed the surname of Brownlow as directed in the will of his grandfather Sir William Brownlow and resided in Brownlowsderry. A succession of in-laws, related to his through some of his mother's four marriages, lived on the Co. Louth lands. For further details, see the County Louth Archaeological Journal, Vol. XI, pp 175-85: 'Notes on the Allied Families of Clinton, Aston, O'Doherty and Brownlow' by T.G.F. Patterson. The Co. Louth estate eventually passed out of Brownlow possession in c.1753 when William Brownlow, grandson of Arthur Brownlow, alias Chamberlain, sold it to Alderman Richard Dawson. The property contained 923 Irish acres with tenements in Ardee and Louth towns; no information is given for the purchase price though from a Brownlow rental/account book we know the half-yearly rent in 1753 was £260:12:4 and one farthing.

The Brownlow CrestArthur Brownlow, alias Chamberlain, was a prudent manager and accumulated a considerable amount of money which he invested in other lands, chiefly in Co. Armagh where he acquired the manor of Richmount and thus became one of the largest property owners in the county. This land, originally known as Aghavellan, was granted by James I to John Heron in 1610. He sold it to John Waldron who received a re-grant for it from Charles I in 1629. John Waldron's grandson, Francis Stonard Waldron, conveyed the lands to Thomas Coke, Robert Burditt and Rowland Cotton in 1705, and in the following year by deeds of lease and release, by way of conveyance, the whole manor to Arthur Brownlow and John Hoope, merchant, for £13,000. Arthur Brownlow later bought out John Hoope, thus securing complete control of the manor.

The Co. Armagh Estate
Through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Co. Armagh Brownlow estate in the manors of Brownlowsderry and Richmount continued to prosper and with it the Brownlows, while Lurgan continued to grow as a town. Charles Brownlow was raised to the peerage as Lord Lurgan in 1839 'for services to the Whig Party'. In 1833 he had engaged W.H. Playfair, the Edinburgh architect, to design what became Brownlow House, alias 'Lurgan Castle'. It was finished by c.1840. Visiting it in 1863, John Ynyr Burges of Parkanaur, Castlecaulfield, Co. Tyrone, recorded in his diary

"The interior of this beautiful mansion is wonderfully arranged. The furniture and fitting-up is most costly, the dinner exquisite and the whole establishment in excellent order."
By 1883, the Brownlow estate, of 15,276 acres, was worth £20,589 a year. However, the changing political situation in Ireland, especially in regard to the land question, and the coming of Land Purchase, meant the end of the great estate. This, coupled with family financial crisis, forced the Brownlow family to sell off most of their remaining estate, including Brownlow House, in 1893. They moved to London, although maintaining until the present day their contact and links with the town and people of Lurgan.

The Papers

Very little need to be said about the arrangement of the archive, which is self-explanatory. As regards content, apart from occasional references in a very few account books to the Co. Louth and Co. Monaghan estates, c.1753 and 1758-9, and a series of rentals for Co. Monaghan, 1755-94, it is exclusively concerned with the Co. Armagh estate and related interests.

Title deeds and leases
There are 4 volumes containing abstracts of tithe deeds relating to the Co. Armagh estate, 1722-90, 1826 and 1880; 566 title deeds (patents, marriage settlements, mortgages, and miscellaneous agreements), 1610-1932, and c.80 wills and testamentary papers relating to members of the Brownlow family, 1660-1883. There are 12 leasebooks recording leases on the estatee, 1710-51 and 1826-91; 4,000 leases and associated documents relating to agreements made between the Brownlow family and their tenants; and 6 volumes and 4 made between the Brownlow family and their tenants; and 6 volumes and 4 associated documents relating to evictions from the estate, 1830-2,269 documents relate to the Irish Land Commission and the buying out of the estate, 1881-1918.

Account books and rentals
Account book and rental material comprise: some 83 personal and estate account books, 1711-1933; 10 household account books and inventories, 1754-75; and 13 volumes of labourers' wages books, relating to Brownlow House, farm, demesne and garden, 1750-61 and 1854-93; and 273 rentals, rent-rolls and rent day books for the Co. Armagh estate, 1755-94. In the same section there are also 14 mass rentals, 1827-90, 17 tithe rentals for Lurgan, 1852-69, and 4 bundles of letters re tithes in Shankill and Ardmore parishes, Co. Armagh, 1827 and 1850-76.

William Brownlow 3rd Lord LurganPolitics and local government
Local politics and local government (the latter particularly in the sphere of education) are amply documented in the archive. There is a poll book for Co. Armagh, 1753, and 100 registers of Co. Armagh freeholders, 1800-50. There are 5 memorial court books for the manors of Brownlowsderry and Richmount listing the jury, overseers and "grievances', 1776-1847, and 117 documents relating to Lurgan Courthouse, Lurgan Workhouse, Lurgan Town Commissioners and the office of high sheriff of Co. Armagh, 1834-81. In the section dealing with educational material there is a register, 1786-95, of Lurgan Free School, established in 1786 for the education of poor children in Shankill parish, which also includes a list of subscribers to the school, 1786-94, accounts for clothing given to children, 1786-94, and a list of poor people in Shankill parish with details of aid provided to prevent street begging, 1810-14, together with a minute book of the school, 1786-1848, with accounts, 1786-1850, and details of the setting up of the school. There are also c.900 documents, including correspondence, attendance returns, etc., relating to national schools on the Brownlow estate in Co. Armagh, including Ardmore, Tullygally, Breagh, Dollingstown, Tanaghmore, Richmount, Aghacommon, Turmoyra and Derrycaw, 1826-90; 143 documents including correspondence, accounts, minutes etc., 1862-1941, relating to Lurgan Ragged School, later Queen Street National School; and 35 documents relating to the establishment of Lurgan Model School, 1858-77. There are, in a different section, 30 booklets on the 'Orders, Rules and Regulations of Lurgan Yeomanry', and a list of enrolled men for the militia in the parishes of Shankill, Tartaraghan and Seagoe, 1793-5 and 1831.

Maps, plans, valuations, etc.
Maps, plans, valuations, etc., comprise: 2 volumes of maps of the manor of Brownlowsderry, the first surveyed by Patrick Dougan, 1751, the other by Alexander Richmond, 1831; a volume of maps of the manor of Richmount, 1830, and a volume of maps of the manor of Richmount 1830, and a volume of maps of the turf bogs in Richmount, 1841, both surveyed by Alexander Richmond; and c.300 architectural plans and drawings of Brownlow House and of Lurgan School, by W.H. Playfair, 1834-8. There are also 2 bundles of tithe valuations and 13 related volumes for parishes of Moyntaghs, Shankill, Drumcree, Maralin and Seagoe, 1833-60; 9 miscellaneous valuation volumes, c.1756 and 1819-1912; 15 volumes relating to Poor Law Valuation for Union of Lurgan, Banbridge, Clogher and Co. Armagh, 1850-64 and 1889.

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