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Monagilla is a townland of 130 statute acres and 1 perch in County Armagh about a mile and a half west of Crossmaglen to the right of the Culloville Road. It is bounded on the east by Rathkeelan, on the south by Cullaville, on the west by Cornahove and on the north by Lisamry. Since an Irish acre is approximately 162% of a statute acre the townland would appear to have lost about 130 statute (80 Irish) acres between 1828 and 1864. This can't be right so another explanation is needed. Pending further research I am assuming that the Title Applotment Books amalgamated the townland of Cullaville (143 statute acres - excluding 3 acres of water in Carrickamone Lake) which does not appear in the Books, with Monaguillagh. There is still an unexplained difference of about 17 statute acres. This approach accords with known problems with the Applotment Books, which were compiled by local surveyors and assessors relying on local knowledge of boundaries. The 1837 Townland Valuation standardised the townland boundaries.

Name of townland

The name of the townland means either "the hags bog" or "The hill bog". There is no other townland of that name in Ireland

In Griffiths Valuation (1864) the townland was owned by the representatives of John Reid.

Census of Ireland 1901

The Census enumerated 74 persons in 17 households; a ratio of 4.4 people per household. The households occupied a total of 38 rooms; a ratio 2.2 rooms per household and 1.9 persons per room. Two of the households occupied 4 rooms, three had 3 rooms, nine occupied 2 rooms and three occupied single room accommodation. The highest density was six persons in a single room. Thirteen (76.5%) of the houses were thatched.

Native Irish Speakers

Of the 17 households enumerated in the Census, 10 contained at least one native Irish speaker - 11 in total. Since theirs was the last generation to have been born into a predominently Irish speaking environment, their names, occupations and ages are recorded here. All were born in Co. Armagh with the exception of Margaret Boyle and Anne Cunningham, born Co. Monaghan.

  • Mary Watters, farmer, widow, 83
  • Mary Watters, farmer, widow, 80
  • Michael Boyle, farmer, 55
    and his wife Margaret, 40
  • Patrick Fannon, 62
  • Mary Boyle, sister of Janes Boyle, 76
  • Catherine Richardson, wife of John, 76
  • Thomas Murphy, farmer, 49
  • Anne Cunningham, farmer, widow, 75
  • Mary Rooney, farmer, widow, 60
    Mary Woods, farmer, widow, 75
* The average age of the group was 66; eldest 83, youngest 40.
* Of the group, one could both read and write, two could read only and eight could neither read nor write.

Population Decline

The following table sets out the number of houses and population enumerated in the townland in each of the 11 Censuses held between 1841 and 1951.

  1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926 1937 1951
Houses 29 26 25 21 18 17 17 16 17 17 10
People 166 133 131 106 74 75 74 58 60 41 29
People per house 5.7 5.1 5.2 5.0 4.1 4.4 4.4 3.6 3.5 2.4 2.9

In the period of 110 years, the number of households reduced by two thirds while the population dropped by an enormous 83%. The reduction between 1841 and 1851 reflects the effects of the Great Famine and the continuing decline over the following following century was due lack of rural employment opportunities, leading to constant emigration.

Family Connections

James Richardson, earliest known ancestor of the families of the children of James and Kate Richardson (nee McKenna) was born in the townland about 1785. This is the same James Richardson recorded in the 1828 Tithe Applotment Books. His son, James (born 1821), married a widow, Catherine McCoy (nee Kane) and went to live in Moybane where he is listed in Griffiths Valuation of 1864. His son, also James, (born 1860) married Kate McKenna from Drumboy in 1890 and in 1883 bought more land, on which the present house was built, on the Moybane Crossroads, from a cousin of Michael McCoy. Michael McCoy was married a sister of Kate Richardson, Mary McKenna. James' grandson, also named James, still owns the property.

John Richardson (born about 1825), one of the original James' children, inherited the property in Monagilla and his name appears in Griffiths Valuation and the 1901 Census where he is shown, aged 76, living with his wife Catherine and son Patrick (aged 34) in a two room thatched house. A granddaugher, Catherine (Surname indecipherable), aged 9, is also enumerated. The farm was changed to Patrick's name in 1911 and he died, unmarried, in May 1929, thus ending the presence of Richardsons in Monaguillagh.

I am indebted to the late Eddie Richardson for most of this information

Names of House and Land Holders

All the Valuations since Griffiths identified those with houses in the townland and those who while living elsewhere leased or owned land there. The Census of Ireland enumerated only households in the townland. The following table uses this approach.

Although the data is not strictly comparable since the information was gathered for different purposes and used varying criteria, the details provide a comparison of the names of house and land holders who were listed in the Townland at the different periods. While we can not discern the direct lines of descent it is clear that many are from the same families.

Census of Creggan Tithe Applotment Books Griffiths Valuation Census of Ireland First NI Revaluation Second Revaluation
1766 1828 1864 1901 1935 1957 1970
Monnygellagh Monagilla Monaguillagh Monaguillagh Monaguillagh Monaguillagh Monaguillagh
Households/Land Households Households Households Households Households
Patrick Boyle Andrew Banikin James Boyle James Boyle Sen Michael Boyle Patrick Boyle Patrick Boyle
James Brannagan Patt Boyle Michael Boyle Michael Boyle Patrick Boyle James Fannin James Fannin
Charles Burn Patt Boyle Thomas Brannagan James Boyle Jun. Edward Corrigan Jr. Bridget Hanratty Thomas McKeown
Owen Callaghan James Branagan Peter Burns Mary Burns Peter Faughy Thomas Hughes Thomas Murphy
Matthew Kelly James Byrne Thomas Callaghan Edward Corrigan James Fannin Mary Kelly Rose Watters (Peter)
James Laverty Michael Byrne Julia Corrigan James Corrigan Hugh Kelly Thomas McKeown James Woods
Art McArdle Widow Callaghan Micael Corrigan Michael Corrigan Barney McMahon Thomas Murphy Patrick Woods
Laurence McCave Peter Casey Owen Corrigan Anne Cunningham Thomas Murphy James Rooney  
Owen McGee Patt Corrigan Owen Cunningham Patrick Fannan Michael Rooney Rose Watters (Peter) Land
Widow McGee Michael Cunningham Patrick Cunningham Thomas Kelly Mary Watters (Peter) James Woods Patrick A. Boyle
Edmund McMahon Peter Cunningham Peter Cunningham Patrick McMahon Catherine Woods Patrick Woods Patrick Callaghan
Patrick McMahon Widow Cunningham Patrick Fannon Thomas Murphy     Edward Carraher
Danl McVeigh Pat Hannen Hugh Kelly John Richardson Land Land Edward Corrigan Jun
Hugh McVeigh Patt Hanratty Anne Macken Mary Rooney James Boyle James Boyle Edward Corrigan Sen.
Neal Waters Patt Hanratty Peter Macken Mary Watters Sen James Callaghan M. Boyle Thomas Hughes
James Kelly Ardle McMahon Mary Watters Jun James McCreesh Edward Carraher Mary Kelly
Patt Kelly Ann Pidgeon Mary Woods Thomas Murphy Edward Corrigan Jun James McCreesh
Patt Kelly John Richardson Willaim Reed Edward Corrigan Sen. Michael McCreesh
Charles Mackin Peter Rooney James Rooney James McCreesh Mary B. Morgan
John Mackin Bryan Waters James Shiels Michael McCreesh Paul Rooney
John Mackin (Shoe) James Waters   Paul Rooney  
George Martin Peter Waters      
Patt Morgan John Woods      
Hugh McCahy      
William McLernon      
Hugh McMahon      
Owen McMahon      
Hugh McVeigh      
Hugh O'Callaghan      
Jane Person      
Patt Rodgers      
Bernard Rooney      
James Richardson      
Michael Salmon      
James and Patt Sheeran      
James and Neal Watters      
James Watters      
Peter Waters      
Peter Woods      

1. Hugh Macauley, "Creggan", Journal of Creggan Local History Society, No.6 1992 p.37
2. G. Jarvis (up to 1835) as compiled by A.J. Hughes in Seanchas Ard Mhacha Vol 15 No 1 1992 pp 97 - 112.
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Last Updated on 10 October 2004
Email: pdevlinz@btinternet.com
© Patrick Devlin 2004