The first part of this narrative describes how Dad, his cousin Adrienne and I drove up to Kilmore, Co. Roscommon in search of our O'Carroll / Dockery roots. We visited the local church where Joseph O'Carroll & Maria Jane Dockery got married and took photos of the stained glass window dedicated to the memory of Maria Jane. We also searched the local graveyard for O'Carroll or Dockery gravestones, but were not able to find anything of particular relevance (a lot of the gravestones were illegible). This part of the narrative (below) relates to my great great great grandfather Hugh Dockery (c1800-1861) and his wife Joan/Jane Simpson (c1801-1881).
After visiting the graveyard, we went back into Kilmore to see if we could find where Hugh Dockery used to live.
Griffiths Valuation (from the AskAboutIreland website) reveals that Hugh was present in Kilmore in 1858. He was leasing Lot 1g and Lot 4 in the townland of Kilmore, and probably lots 5 and 6a in the townland of Skeagh next door to the east:
- Lot 1g, House, Offices and land, leased from Alicia J Auchmuty, including the Post Office so presumably he was postmaster. The house value was £2, higher than his neighbours so it must have been more upmarket. He was right beside the Police Barracks.
- Lot 4, Land, acreage 6,3,1 (acres, roods, perches); value £4,15,0 (pounds, shillings & pence), on which there was a house (4a) rented to Edward Berne (5s).
- He may also have had land in the adjacent townland of Skeagh, Lots 5 and 6a. Lot 5 was 3 acres of land (£2), Lot 6a acreage was 23,1,22 (£13,15,0) and incorporated "Herd'sho.off.&ld.(ptbog)", the house valued at £1,5,0.
|Hugh Dockery appears in several places in Griffiths Primary Valuation|
(note the various spellings of both his names - Hubert, Doherty, Dockry)
You will see from the above that there was a John Simpson, Ecclesiastical Commissioner, living in the Sexton's House, which was beside the church & graveyard. Was he related to Joan Simpson, Hugh's wife? Possibly her father?
From the Cancelled Land Valuation Books, we can surmise the following:
Following Griffiths "Primary" Valuation, there were subsequent evaluations every few years all the way up to the present day. These subsequent valuations were recorded in the Land Valuation Books. When these became "full", a new book was started and the previous one was "cancelled". These Cancelled Land Valuation Books are available in the Valuation Office in Dublin, and chart the changes in ownership of the various lots of land over the course of time.
The coloured maps on the AskAboutIreland website are later than the original Primary Valuation maps (1848-1864). And because the lot numbers and acreage changed over the years, the numbers on the later maps do not necessarily correspond with the numbers in Griffiths Primary Valuation. The numbers and acreage on the AskAboutIreland map match up with the 1882 values (in the Cancelled Land Valuation Books from the Valuation Office) but not with the values before this.
From the Cancelled Land Valuation Books, we can surmise the following:
- It seems that Hugh died in 1861. His name is crossed out and "Jane" (his wife Joan?) is written in in 1862 at Lots 1g and 4. Also, the name Doherty is corrected to Dockery at 1g.
- In 1864, Jane appears to have sold the 6.75 acres at Lot 4 to Patrick Cox who already owned the property at the adjoining Lot 3 (2.75 acres), and a new Lot of 9.5 acres is created.
- In 1871, Jane Dockery is still leasing the same house (but it is now called 1f not 1g).
- In 1882, Jane's name is crossed out and "John Gannon" is inserted in its place.
- According to a newspaper report, Jane died in 1881 in Dublin at the home of her daughter Catherine and her husband John Gibney (1 Haymarket, Smithfield, just north of the river Liffey). She is not buried in Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin, so will we find her in Kilmore? with Hugh? Some graveyard records are available for the Kilmore graveyard but there are none of our family listed there.
- John Gannon is still in Kilmore in the 1901 census (Barony Ballintober North, Parish Kilmore, Poor Law Union Carrick-on-Shannon, DED Cloonteem in 1901 but Cloonfeem in 1911, Townland Kilmore). He is 62, married to Kate (57) and they have 4 children aged 12 to 20. The dwelling is described as a public house and he is a farmer and publican. And he is still there in the 1911 census but his wife has passed.
- Also in 1871, the acreage described in the Cancelled Book are now more in keeping with the later map (1880s), and from this we can conclude that the 9 acre lot now owned by Patrick Cox (that used to contain Lot 4 owned by Hugh Dockery) is located within Lot 5 on the coloured map below. This is possibly/probably close to the land Hugh owned in Skeagh townland next door.
- Sticking with 1871, Lot 4 on the map now refers to the Church, Sexton’s House and graveyard (i.e. the Church of Ireland church that we visited).
- This is where John Simpson lived in 1858 but back then it was called area 1o, and he was leasing the Sexton’s House from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. This was exempt (from rent). He was still there in 1864 but his name is omitted in 1871 (which suggests he may have died during this time).
- There is no sign of him (or any other Simpson’s) in Kilmore in the 1901 census.
Note: I need to check my photocopies of the Cancelled Books (I have them at home).
|Kilmore townland (about 1858) - Lot numbers are not included, but note the |
"Peace Police Barracks" on the left - this marks Lot 1(from FindmyPast)
|Kilmore townland (early 1880s) - Lot 4 is now toward the centre, and includes |
the Church of Ireland church. This is not the same lot as Lot 4 in 1858.
(click to enlarge)
It appears that Hugh Dockery was a man with a career portfolio. As well as being the local postmaster, he ran the local grocery store and the pub. In addition, he was a Prebendiary Magistrate, which meant that he had some dealings with the church, but what the exact nature of his duties were remains uncertain. It also turns out he was the local Petty Sessions clerk (for Kilmore & Drumsna). Note that the Petty Sessions house was at 1i, 2 doors down from Hugh on the other side of the Police Barracks.
On the way back from the graveyard, we were lucky enough to bump into a local woman (Ann) and her daughter, who were gardening on the side of the road. When we asked if they knew where the old Post Office was, Ann said they were living in it! Apparently she now occupies the house that used to belong to Hugh Dockery. She informed us it had been a Post Office, a grocer’s shop, and a pub, so it must have been the heart and soul of the village. The post box used to be at the right end of the house as you face it. This immaculately kept thatched cottage is now a grade II listed building and sits beside the old Police Barracks.
|The house of Hugh Dockery & Joan/Jane Simpson|
The left side of the house was living quarters and the right side of the house was the grocery store and pub, as well as the Post Office. The postbox sat in the wall at the far right end of the house so that people could post their letters into it from the outside.
It was particularly gratifying to find the actual house where my ancestors lived. I felt a particularly keen sense of rootedness, knowing that this is where they passed their lives - growing up, working, socialising, being part of a larger family. It really was a joy and a privilege to discover this ancestral homestead, despite the passage of time. I felt honoured to know that I was walking in their footsteps, seeing the scenery that they would have seen, being in the presence of their spirit.
And to discover this with my Dad was extra special.
|Dad and cousin Adrienne standing beside where the postbox used to be |
(in the wall at the gable end)
|Chatting with some local people|
|The old Police Barracks|
The house evidently continued as a post office after Hugh & Joan/Jane had passed away. Looking at the 1901 and 1911 censuses, there is a Rodger Carroll (a baker, aged 46 in 1901, hence born 1854, but dead by 1911) living at no.3 with his wife Eliza (postmistress), their 2 children (Mary 22 & Thomas 17) and 2 boarders. Thomas later became Postmaster and died in 1962 - we found his headstone in the graveyard (see below). He married Rebecca after 1911 (d 1947) and they had May (d 1932), Thomas (d 1976), Kathleen (d 1994), and Patrick (d 1995).
|Thomas Carroll, subsequent postmaster, is buried in the graveyard |
of the Church of Ireland church at the other end of the village
|The Church & graveyard|
We left Kilmore and headed north to cross the river at Drumsna, where my grandfather HT (Hugh Thomas) O'Carroll was supposedly born (although he could have been born in Kilmore itself). Drumsna is on a slow rolling bend of the River Shannon and the surrounding area is very picturesque.
|The bridge at Drumsna, from the Roscommon side|
|The bridge from the Leitrim side|
Drumsna was home to the famous author Anthony Trollope and was apparently the inspiration for his novel "The McDermotts of Ballycloran". It is quite possible that Hugh Dockery and his children knew Mr Trollope very well ... he worked for the Post Office!