From the Broads to the Lakelands – English Plantation in Fermanagh in the early 17th century..

From the Broads to the Lakelands – English Plantation in Fermanagh.

 To give a very simplified mental picture of the Plantation of Fermanagh one has to visualise Fermanagh as a rectangle with Lough Erne running from east to west through the centre of the county. South of this east west line are three of the seven Baronies of Fermanagh with the most easterly and the most westerly namely Knockninny and Magheraboy were  granted to Scottish settlers and the central one partly to Irish and partly to English. On the northern side of the Erne the two Baronies on either end of Fermanagh were granted to English settlers and the two central largely to Irish natives other than around Enniskillen which was to be the new centre of the county of Fermanagh.

The south eastern barony originally granted to Scots from around the Edinburgh collapsed with the first ten years of the Plantation so that of the 9000 acres granted to them Sir Stephen Butler, an Englishman from Bedfordshire had purchased 8000 of these acres rendering this Barony therefore English rather than Scottish nearly straight away. So now the English had almost four of the seven Baronies of Fermanagh and had them in the most strategic places in the county – in the west next to the sea at Ballyshannon, in the centre about Enniskillen and in the east close to the entrance to the Upper Erne.

Most of the English who arrived in Fermanagh came from the area of East Anglia generally as Undertakers – those who undertook to carry our various conditions such as the building of a castle and bawn enclosure and the building of a church. To do this they had to have a certain high level of income (self assessed but) to build and to attract with them from England sufficient quality settlers to labour and farm and occupy the territory granted. Most of the servitors who got land in Fermanagh were also English. In Clinawley Barony, Sir John Davies, Attorney General 1,500 in the rich wheat bearing district around Lisgoole Abbey and reaching towards Enniskillen. Samuel Harrison, English 500 acres and Peter Mostyn, from Flintshire 246 acres.

The Barony of Coole and Tirkeneda Barony contained 116,006 acres almost entirely occupied by 9 undertakers, four of whom were servitors. These were Sir Henry Ffolliott, Baron Folliott of Ballyshannon, 1,500 acres, Roger Attkinson, 1,000 acres,  William Cole, reputedly from Devon 1,000 acres, and Paul Goore, son of a merchant-tailor of London, who had 1348 acres called the Manor of Inishmore.

In this short talk I am trying to explore why these English people were coming to Ireland when at the same time their neighbours, particularly in East Anglia were making America their plantation destination choice. Why Fermanagh rather than Jamestown in America, named after King James 1st? Most of the inhabitants of America’s first permanent English settlement came from Norfolk, England, including Samuel Lincoln, a forefather of President Abraham Lincoln. These are very fully documented in contrast to plantation and migration to Ireland e.g. from the Jamestown Original Settlers and Occupations – May 13, 1607 we even have the labourers recorded John Laydon, William Cassen, George Cassen, Thomas Cassen, William Rods, William White, Ould Edward, Henry Tavin, George Golding, John Dods, William Johnson, William Unger.

Firstly I think that at this stage in history the English had gained a lot of knowledge about this part of Ireland while relatively little was known of the Americas. Quite a few events of the Nine Years War had taken place in and around the Erne. In 1597 the English were defeated at Ballyshannon and then there had been a major siege of Enniskillen Castle in 1594. The island was captured by the English in 1607 and Ballyshannon had received a Royal Charter in 1613. So those who had served in the English army in Ireland and who as English Servitors wanted to be rewarded with Irish lands knew Fermanagh well and liked what they saw.

Sir John Davies, chief architect of the Plantation wrote after visiting Fermanagh, “ Have now finished in Fermanagh, which is so pleasant and fruitful a country that if he should make a full description thereof it would rather be taken for a poetical fiction, than for a true and serious narration. The fresh lake called Lough Erne being more than 40 miles in length, and abounding in fresh water fish of all kinds, and containing 100 dispersed islands, divides that county into two parts; the land on either side of the lough rising in little hills of 80 or 100 acres apiece, is the fattest and richest soil in all Ulster.

He goes on to suggest planting Dutch people in Fermanagh also led by a Dutch merchant called Maximilian van der Lever, who, by their industry the lake will be so full of boats and barks, that they will be a great strength to all the civil inhabitants round about.”

The Dutch interest in Fermanagh came to nought but it too had an origin in East Anglia. For centuries there had been huge commercial links between the Low Countries and this part of England. Dutch Protestant refugees fleeing Spanish Catholic persecution in their own country were getting refuge in East Anglia much to the annoyance of the Spanish. When the English upbraided the Spanish for giving refuge to the Irish Earls who fled there they responded in turn by pointing out England’s acceptance of Dutch refugees.

Such was the English interest in Fermanagh that they actually petitioned to plant the entire county themselves. The names of 40 gentlemen are recorded who offer to bestow £40,000 on the plantation of Fermanagh as they intend to have a market town on the south side thereof at Bellike, and from thence, three miles nearer the sea, to erect a strong corporation at Ballyshannon. They intended to erect 40 manors, if they are granted  60,000 acres, the Loughe, Islands therein, Fishings, and the sole command thereof and they with followers, not less than 1000 men well furnished for all kind of handiwork.”  Of those 40 listed 22 came from Norfolk and Suffolk and the rest from adjoining counties, London or were already in Ireland, presumably with contacts to the same area.

In the Precinct of Lurg and Coolemakarnan in northwest Fermanagh 9000 acres were allocated mainly to men of Norfolk and Suffolk. 1000 acres each to Thomas Flowerdewe, John Archdale, Suffolk, Edward Warde, Thomas Barton, Norfolk and Henry Honynge, Suffolk. John Archdale was related through marriage to the Honynge family having married Francis Hoynynge. The last two were portions of  2000 acres each to Thomas Blenerhassett, Esq., Norfolk and Sir Edward Blenerhassett of the same place. . The Blennerhassetts built what is now known as Crevenish Castle, near Kesh, which they called Castlehasset and established English workmen and tenants about them which they brought from their home near Norwich, in the county of Norfolk in the  East Anglia region of England.

Before becoming established in East Anglia the Blennerhassetts had lived in a village of the same name in Cumberland about twenty miles to the south-west of the city of Carlisle. The village of Blennerhassett today consists of a pub, post office and a village school with a small scattering of houses. So previous generations of the family who had lived on the Cumbrian coast just a short distance from Ulster also had a familiarity with Ireland which included the Blennerhassetts who had set themselves up in County Kerry area shortly before around Blennerville where they are still to be found today. These large of land had come from Queen Elizabeth 1 when the Earl of Desmond’s Estates were forfeited and so the family had a familiarity with the idea of Plantations before they ever came to Fermanagh.

Thomas Blennerhassett’s career before coming to Ireland included being Captain of Guernsey Castle. He was a literary man and wrote several books including, a book entitled, “Directions for the Plantation of Ulster.” He also issued a proclamation as a form of advertising to encourage others in the task of bringing “civilization” to Ireland. In part it reads,

“The County of Fermanagh, sometimes Maguire’s County rejoice. Many undertakers, all incorporated in mind as one, they, there with their followers, seek and are desirous to settle themselves. The islands of Lough Erne shall have habitations, a fortified corporation, market towns and many new erected manors, shall now so beautify her desolation that her inaccessible woods, with spaces made tractable, shall no longer nourish devourers, but by the sweet society of a loving neighbourhood, shall entertain humanity even in the best fashion. Go on worthy Gentlemen, fear not, the God of Heaven will assist and protect you.”

Thomas Blennerhassett has with him six persons, one a joiner, another a carpenter, and three other workmen with one tenant. He has built a boat, and has broken stones for lime and some burnt; and thirty trees felled; some squared and sawed; a fair large Irish house, with windows and rooms after the English manner, wherein is a new kitchen with a stone chimney and an oven. For cattle three horses, a mare and some thirteen head of other cattle.

There were two chief ways of generating wealth in Fermanagh in this early period of the Plantation; smelting low grade iron ore and the making of barrel staves. Both Blennerhassetts built iron works at Clonelly and Hassetts Fort which is now Castle Caldwell near Belleek while there was another nearby at Garrison. Boates indicates-woodcutters were needed, sawyers to saw, carpenters, masons, smiths, bellow makers, water leaders or water-course keepers to steer the water course, bucket makers to make containers for carrying ore and other materials, diggers of ore, carriers of ore, colliers to make charcoal, fillers to put ore and charcoal into the furnace, furnace keepers, firers and hammerers to look after the smelted iron and labourers to look after anything else:

“and for all this, the owners there of did greatly gain thereby, ordinarily not less than forty in the hundred per annum” ,” Iron works were a very profitable if highly destructive industry. Most of the Fermanagh produced iron being exported via Ballyshannon at £11 per ton and fetching £17 per ton in London.” In those days the favourite objects of solicitude were the manufacture of pipe-staves, and the development of the iron-works which were then supposed to be the true El Dorado of Irish enterprise—most people holding with Bacon that ‘Iron is a brave commodity where wood aboundeth.’ Both industries depended for their success upon the woods, which were accordingly drawn upon regardless of the consequences. From Munster whole shiploads of pipe-staves were exported, to the great profit of the proprietors and the great destruction of the woods; and Boate says, in his  Ireland’s Naturall History, “it is incredible what quantity of charcoal is consumed by one iron-work in a year.’’ These enterprises were carried on at a terrible price to the Irish landscape. This wholescale deforestation began the process which has resulted in Ireland being one of the least forested countries of Europe with only about 9% of the country covered in trees while for example France is about 40% afforested.

In summary therefore the vast majority of Fermanagh was planted by either English undertakers or servitors many of whom had an intimate knowledge of the area from their military experience or previous contact as planters in Ireland. They knew with plentiful forest they could make money from smelting iron or converting the forests into usable timber particularly barrel staves. They brought in numerous English settlers whose names are still found in the county, Barton, Archdale, Allingham, Cole, Chittick, Eves and there is even a solitary Blennerhassett. Fermanagh history needs to be rewritten to take account of this English aspect of its heritage.

I have been in East Anglia numerous times and in its libraries and public record offices and the amazing thing is that there is no record whatsoever of people from East Anglia coming to Fermanagh. There are ships lists of those going to Jamestown, down to the least commoner but a total amnesia about plantation families going to Ireland. Perhaps the overwhelming fame of America has totally eclipsed the memory of those who went to Ireland but this is a remarkable fact.

My particular interest in the plantation period concerns name of Eves, an East Anglian name from Old English meaning a dweller beside a forest. Three of that name came to Fermanagh with the Archdales as ploughmen. An Eleanor Eves is noted in the 1821 Census fragment for County Fermanagh as a lady’s maid to the wife of General Archdale. Unusually perhaps the Eves family remained Roman Catholic despite being closely allied and working for the landed Archdales who were Church of Ireland. It has been noted in the predominantly Protestant Kesh area that through the centuries the Eves could purchase any property in the locality despite their religion in a largely Protestant neighbourhood – presumably under the benevolent wing of the Archdales and they also were the operators of one of the first Post Offices in the village of Kesh. As one might say old family links from the Broads of East Anglia were maintained in the Lakelands of County Fermanagh.

JBC 7-11-2008.

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Kesh and The Glendarragh River.

Kesh.

 Kesh began as a ford or crossing place on the Glendarragh River. In the past Lough Erne came very much closer to the village than it does today. Before the first great Erne Drainage in the 1880’s the lake was about nine feet higher and especially in time of flood may almost have reached Kesh. The rath on Rosscah Hill overlooking the village indicates original settlement here probably as far back as the Iron Age c 2000 years ago. After a time the ford was augmented with a wicker bridge for which the Gaelic word is ceis and hence the village got its name. The name had been spelt in varying ways but generally as Kish or Cash until relatively modern times. An ancient saying in the locality which may refer to basket making and osier working in the area states that anyone gifted with a large posterior, “had an ass on them like a Kesh creel.” John O’Donovan the famous Irish scholar wrote two letters from Kesh while helping the Ordnance Survey make the first ever modern maps of Ireland. The first one was written in his inn on the 31st of October  1834 and he is obviously having difficulty in writing in Kesh on Halloween night. He ends, “Excuse hurry and Holly-Eve night’s disturbance in a wild country village.”

 

The Glendarragh River.

 Referred to as the Kesh River as it nears Lower Lough Erne, is about 12 miles long and rises at Glenarn Mountain on the borders of Fermanagh and Tyrone. From its origins it flows in succession through the villages of Lack, Ederney and Kesh. It takes its name from Glen Doire meaning the glen of oaks. The greatest impetus ever provided to Kesh was the arrival of the railway in 1866. It provided employment and a focus for traffic to and from the station. Hardware shops and shops providing for the needs of farmers could now carry a greater variety of goods and stock could be replenished more quickly than by horse and cart. Cattle and other livestock could also be transported to distant markets after being bought in local fairs such as Kesh and Ederney. Kesh has a history of producing some fine specimen catches, with trout of over 19lb and pike of almost 40lb being landed here in the past.

Otters and mink occupy stretched of the Glendarragh River and dippers, grey wagtails, sand martins, mallard and heron can be found.  It is also home to a very rare crayfish – the White-clawed Crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet). It is one of only four crayfish species indigenous to Europe. Austropotamobius which often occur in upland brooks and are esteemed as food and have been widely moved around by man. Today only three European countries retain a single indigenous crayfish species; these are Norway and Estonia with Noble Crayfish and Ireland with Whiteclawed Crayfish. The White-clawed Crayfish is the only crayfish species found in Ireland, where it is protected under the Wildlife Act. It is classified as vulnerable and rare in the IUCN Red List of threatened animals and listed under Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive. Ireland is now thought to hold some of the best European stocks of this species, under least threat from external factors. Irish stocks are thus believed to be of substantial conservation importance.

Ballyshannon Herald 1847.

1847.

 

January 1st, 1847, This issue contains a classic tale of drama in this famine stricken countryside. On Christmas Eve a schooner lay at anchor just inside the Bar of Ballyshannon Harbour. The Bar is a high sandy ridge about four miles downstream of the town which constantly tries to block the river’s exit to the Atlantic. The ship was waiting here for a favourable tide or wind and was bound for Liverpool with a cargo of bacon and lard. She had been chartered by Mr, Edward Chism of Ballyshannon. (Food was being constantly exported from the country during the famine). A boat of Mr.Wade’s, carrying men who said they were salt-makers from the Ballyshannon salt works, pulled alongside. (Salt-workers would have been making their way out to the sea to fill barrels of salt water for evaporating on their salt-pans).

 

Some asked to come on board to light their pipes and then, suddenly, produced pistols. These pirates then stole a large quantity of bacon and lard from the ship after overpowering the crew, The men made off with as much as possible and no doubt an unexpectedly happy Christmas was had by many. The police and soldiers were alerted and found some of the booty buried in the sand dunes on the following day. Later three people were arrested and the newspaper says that scarce a night passes without a robbery in the town or vicinity.

 

January 8th, 1847, There is great distress in the Ballyshannon area. One man died just after being admitted to the Ballyshannon Workhouse. People will not look for aid until the last moment. The dead from the famine are not being buried properly in the Abbey Graveyard Ballyshannon as there is too little depth of clay, A man on his way from Ballyshannon to Donegal heard the sound of lamentation from a house and found a girl of sixteen dying there and her parents trying to keep her warm. In the tradition of the good Samaritan he gave money for food but it was too late and the girl died soon after.

 

January 22nd, 1847, From Fermanagh is is reported that the Rev Grey Porter of Lisbellaw has imported 150 tons of Indian meal on the ship ” Peru”, The grain had cost him £10-10s-6p per ton and inclusive of carriage to his tenants he hoped to sell it at a cost price of less than £12 per ton. This compared with current prices of £24- 10s-0 for Indian meal and £30 for oaten meal.

 

In a continuation of the saga of the Christmas Eve piracy on the Erne, James Currie, was tried for receiving a ham knowing it to be stolen. The ship’s name is now given as the “Confidence” and it’s master as Joseph Davidson. Nine bales of bacon had been stolen and several hogsheads of ham. Sub-Constable Davis had arrested Currie on Christmas day in Ballyshannon carrying the ham. Currie said that he had found it in a hole in the sand dunes. He was found guilty with a recommendation for mercy and was sentenced to 9 months hard labour.

 

April 30th, 1847. There is a great fever sweeping Fermanagh. It is most common in the countryside and arises largely from the people who have left or been sent out of the Workhouse. These have gone home and infected their friends or relations who have generously but fatally taken them in.

 

May 14th, 1847, The deaths around Clones Co., Monaghan are said to be “inconceivably great” and in Enniskillen the poor and starving had rushed the meeting of the Board of Guardians meeting and had to be admitted. Col., Connolly has given his tenants 8 tons of rice free and also given free turnip seed. William and John Tredenick have reduced their rents by between 40% and 50%. These were local landlords in the Belleek-Ballyshannon area.

 

In the Lowtherstown or Irvinestown Poor Law Area there are 9 Electoral Areas and 5,008 people receiving free rations and 407 persons paying for them.

 

September 17th, 1847, No rot can be seen in the potatoes so far this year but a great famine rages around Enniskillen.

 

October 1st, 1847, The forcible dissolution of the Lowtherstown [Irvinestown] Poor Law Union is reported. The immediate cause was the raising of the Roman Catholic chaplain’s salary. In the row that followed the Protestant Chaplain’s salary was also raised. Further rows caused the dismissal of the Master of the Workhouse and then the Board of Guardians of the Workhouse were themselves dismissed.

[ This is the newspaper version of the dismissal of the Irvinestown P.L.U. but in fact there were much more serious reasons why the Union was dissolved by the Government and a Commissioner appointed in their place. The Guardians failed to levy anywhere near a sufficient rate to enable the starving population of the area to survive. The famine here was therefore far more severe than it might have been and the Irvinestown Workhouse possibly the worst run in the country.An Inspector who visited the Lowtherstown Workhouse reported that he had found people almost naked, lying dying on the floor, in their own vomit and excrement. He said that it was the worst Workhouse that he had ever visited.]

 

April 7th, 1847. John Smith was elected Dispensary doctor for Pettigo and hundreds crowded into the town to congratulate him. A celebratory meeting was later held in Hazlett Hamilton’s Hotel [later Egan’s Cosy Bar]

 

December 8th, 1847, This tragic story concerns the freezing to death of two lost children on a mountain near Lettercran,about five miles from Pettigo. “On Friday last, James Mc Grath of Scraghv Mountain had gone to Pettigo with his daughter of fifteen and boy of twelve. Their father had to stay in Pettigo for the night and the children went home on their own across the mountain. A storm came and the children died of exposure. The boy had his shoes and socks off, possibly to walk more quickly. The children were found the next day with the girl’s heavy flannel petticoat wrapped around the boy’s feet and the girl lying with her arm around the boy’s head. It seems that the boy was overpowered first and the girl was trying to preserve him at the risk of her own life.”

 

This tragic story is preserved in the folklore of the Pettigo area, but not quite in the form, as the newspaper reports it. The local story is that the girl, Peggy Mc Grath, was seventeen years old and had a boyfriend. Her father strongly disapproved of him and had absolutely forbidden her to have anything to do with him or even pass his house. An old woman, Mrs Rose Haughey of Meenclogher, who lived near where the children perished and who died at the age of 106 on April 12th 1936 gave her account of the events in a newspaper article, later reprinted in the Irish Independent, May 22nd 1968. She would have been 18 years old when the tragedy occurred. She said that Peggy and her boyfriend had run away but had been brought back and that the two children and their father had been in “Gearg Fair” i.e.Castlederg fair and not in Pettigo.

 

The children coming home would have had to pass the boyfriend’s house or cross the mountain and unfortunately they chose this as a blizzard sprang up. They died quite close to the house of an old woman who heard their diminishing cries for help through the night but was too infirm to be able to assist them. The children were buried in Lettercran graveyard with a headstone with an incomplete inscription. It began,”In loving memory….” and their father who had tried to carve the stone was unable to complete it.

Sadly the stone was destroyed in recent renovations to the graveyard. A little green hollow on a heather covered hillside in Carrigaholten Townland is still pointed out as the deathbed of the children. It is a remarkable story and so widely known at one time that it was carried in a school textbook under the title of “The Tragedy of Termon Mount.” The Termon River flows nearby. From this a generation of schoolchildren all over Ireland were familiar with the story.

 

Ballyshannon Herald 1846.

1846

January 9th – 1846, Two Fitzpatrick brothers have been lodged in Enniskillen Jail on suspicion of the shooting of Mr, Barton J,P, One of them, James Fitzpatrick is now dead of fever in jail and the other protesting their innocence. The newspaper believes that they had always been thought to be loyal Protestants and according to them they just happened to be on the road when the shooting happened, [Whether guilty or not-being jailed in those times could be the equivalent of a death sentence].

 

January 23, 1846. In reference to the Barton shooting, two men named Burnside and a husband and wife named Irvine, were now in jail in connection with the crime.

 

March 6th, 1846. The famine gets a brief mention but only to say that people are flocking to a certain priest in County Cavan to fill bottles at a holy well. It is believed, by these people, that sprinkling their potatoes with this water will stop them rotting. [Despite the dearth of information in the paper about the famine it is obvious that it is raging locally and confirmation appears in the shape of recipes for cooking Indian Meal in the next issue. [Maize meal or Indian meal was detested by the Irish even though they were starving. Constitutions used to dealing with vast quantities of potatoes could not easily absorb this alien type of food. Potatoes for breakfast, dinner and supper was the usual diet of the poor and a labourer might eat up to nine pounds of potatoes per day.]

 

May 28th, 1846. A major disturbance is reported in Enniskillen because of a forestaller “was buying up potatoes to take them into Cavan, The people objected to the potatoes being sold out of the area and the potato sacks were slashed,[a forestaller was a type of profiteer who bought up local food for sale elsewhere].

 

July 24th, 1846, The trial is reported of those accused of the attempted murder of Folliott W. Barton, the Pettigo J,P. Robert Burnside was accused of the shooting and James and Margaret Irvine of harbouring the accused. Barton had been coming on horseback towards his house at Clonelly and had been shot at Crummer’s gate near Pettigo, He was wounded in the right breast but rode on to the house of John Chute where he obtained assistance. A witness, James Armstrong, gave evidence of seeing Burnside with a gun and following him to Irvine’s house where he overheard him tell about the shooting. Despite the apparent strength of this evidence the jury retired for an hour and a half and returned a verdict of not guilty.

 

August 21st, 1846, Despite the famine the social chit chat continues with the news that Coburn’s Hotel Ballyshannon is doing very well this season and that Bundoran and Donegal are packed with visitors. The only indication that all is not well appears in a statement that there were many outrages reported and that many people were being beaten up and robbed especially on the road between Ballyshannon and Donegal.

 

August 28th, 1846, There are complaints of a very scarce season and many disturbances in the locality, Employees of Messers Bradshaw of Donegal were beaten up near Pettigo after leaving coal to the Waterfoot Barton’s estate, Their assailants rushed out of the bog with blackened faces.

 

September 4th, 1846, There are more and more outrages being reported and men have been beaten up on the Pettigo-Laghey road.A man named Jenkins only saved his life by leaving his horse and cart and running away.

 

September 11th, 1846. Finally the gross tragedy of the famine forces it’s way into the the Ballyshannon Herald and there is a two and a half column report of a meeting in Donegal courthouse concerning the plight of the poor, The meeting craves loans and grants from the government to employ the poor of the badly affected baronies of Tyrhugh, Bannagh and Boylagh. There is also an advertisement on behalf of the Ballyshannon Destitute Sick Society which seeks help in alleviating the situation locally.

 

September 25th, 1846, This paper which has taken little or no interest in the appaling situation suddendly discovers the famine, “The poor of this town and vicinity are in a wretched state of destitution . . . . . potatoes are too dear at 6 pence to 8 pence per stone and not a plateful sound ……     Indian meal is now 1 shilling and 5 pence a peck . , . , How are they to live.? …. People are not able to raise enough money from working as the price of food is so high , . , A family [obviously not suffering from the famine] bought a ton of Indian meal in Sligo last week for £12 and could now make £15 profit on it if they wished …. A poor honest tradesman with 12 children is applying for aid .., No one in his house has eaten for forty eight hours … Something must be done. [It is hard to imagine the mentality of the newspaper which, without comment, suddenly finds a crisis of this dimension all round it.] A procession of the starving poor is held through Ballyshannon—they follow a man carrying a loaf speared on top of a pole.

 

 

Ballyshannon Herald 1845.

1845

March 21st,- 1845 Margaret Eves is sentenced to six months hard labour at Enniskillen Assizes for stealing oats. This is one of many huge sentences to be seen in the newspapers at this time for trivial offences. (And an ancestor of mine.)

A major drowning has occurred on Lough Erne and six people have perished. The men were from Boa Island. They were on their way-in a sailing cot with a load of turf,- to another island to engage in illegal distilling when their boat overturned after striking a rock . They were named as,-William Beaty; John Burnside,- Thomas Horan,- Christopher Foster,- John Foster and William Farrell. All of the islands of Lough Erne were famous for illicit distilling but every secluded glen and hill had it’s stillhouse in which poteen was made.

 September 26th,- 1845.This issue gives the first mention of potato blight . It reports widespread potato crop failure in England, Locally it comments on the abundance of herring this year and. reports that the prospects for the harvest appear good although some complain of a partial disease. This is the first minor notice the great Irish Famine of 1845-1850.

November 7th – 1845. A great rot has set in among the potatoes, – even those that have been carefully stored. Unrest was still prevalent in the area an £100 was be inn offered as a reward for the apprehension of the assassin who had made an attempt on the life of Mr, W. F. Barton J.P. who had been shot and wounded near Pettigo.