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Urcher is a townland of 497 statute acres 1 rood and 10 perches lying to the east of Crossmaglen, straddling the Newry Road. It is bounded on the north by Cloghoge, on the east by Cregganduff, Cregganbane and Liscalgat, on the south by Drummuck and on the west by Sheiland, Monog and Carran. In the 1828 Tithe Applotment Books the total area is shown as 265 acres and 3 roods (Plantation Irish measure)

Name of townland

Urcar, "A cast or throw". According to Hugh Macauley, writing in the 1992 Journal of the Creggan Local History Society, the likely explanation of the name is that there was a church between Crossmaglen and Creggan at Killyloughran and the "cast" referred to the funeral practice of mourners casting a stone to form a cairn on or near the grave, or alternatively that the mourners built their cairn at a point from which they first caught sight of Creggan graveyard.(1)

There are three townlands called 'Urcher' in Ireland; in Counties Armagh, Cavan and Monaghan.

Ordnanace Survey Name Books: Creggan Parish (2)

URCHER (OSNB i 15): It is in the west of the village of Creggan, and principally under grazing. There is a considerable portion uncultivated and bog. In detached pieces a road to Crossmaglen runs thro' the N. of this td. from which it is distant about 1/2 a mile and which is its market town.
It contains 494..1..27 of which 55..2..11 is uncultivated and Bog.

Griffths Valuation (1864) records the owner of the townland, with the exception of four houses, as Thomas P. Ball. Of the 28 landholdings recorded, ten were of less than ten acres, 10 were between ten and 20 acres and eight were of 20 or more acres.

Census of Ireland 1901

The Census enumerated 62 people in 17 households; a ratio of 3.6 people per household. The households ocupied a total of 54 rooms; a ratio of 3.2 rooms per household and 1.1 people per room. One household occupied more than 4 rooms, four occupied 4 rooms, six occupied 3 rooms, five occupied 2 rooms and one household had but a single room. Eight (40%) of the houses were thatched.

Native Irish Speakers

Of the 17 households enumerated in the Census, five contained at least one native Irish speaker - 8 in all. 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 Anne Conlon, born in Co. Monaghan and James Duffy, born in Co. Louth.

  • Mary Nugent, sister of Bridget Nugent, 56
  • Owen Morris, farmer, 75
    his wife Anne, 80
    their daughter, Katie, farmer's daughter, 48
    and son Patrick, farmer's son, 38
  • Anne Conlon, wife of Peter, seamstress, 50
  • James Duffy, farm labourer, 62
  • Bridget Donnelly, mother-in-law of Thomas Corr, 68
* The average age of the group was 61; oldest 80, youngest 38.
* Of the group, five could both read and write and three 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 33 34 31 27 20 17 20 18 12 14 14
People 201 152 148 126 86 87 68 67 50 46 65
People per house 6.1 4.5 4.8 4.7 4.3 5.1 3.4 3.7 4.2 3.3 4.6

In the period of 110 years, the number of households more than halved (58%) and the population dropped by 68%. The largest drop (57%) was in the 40 years after 1841, reflecting the continuing effects of the Great Famine and lack of rural employment opportunities.

Family Connections

The O'Reilly Family's grandfather (Joseph A.) who was born in Co. Galway, moved here from Moybane at the beginning of the 20th century. The Joseph O'Reilly listed in 1957 is him.

Names of House and Land Holders

All the valuations since Griffiths distinguish between those with houses in the townland and those, living elsewhere, who 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.

Hearth Money Rolls Census of Creggan Tithe Applotment Books Griffiths Valuation Census of Ireland First NI Revaluation Second Revaluation
1664 1766 1828 1864 1901 1935 1957 1974
Hurker Urker Urchere Urcher Urcher Urcher Urcher Urcher
Households/Land Households Households Households Households Households
Patte Fean Patrick Callaghan Thomas P. Ball Esq. James Begley Patrick Begley James Begley James Begley Patrick Begley
Hugh O'Farrassy James Doyle Michael Byrn Margaret Anne Bernard James Boyle Francis Boyle Owen Boyle Owen Boyle
James Duffy Patt Connolly Charles Boyle Mary Boyle Patrick Finnegan Thomas Comiskey Thomas Comiskey
Art Hughs Cormick Coyle Cormack Boyle Peter Conlon John Garvey James Conlon (Cornonagh) Patrick Conlon
John Johnston David Doyle Patrick Boyle Thomas Corr Mary Gormley John Cowan Thomas Donaghy
Bryan Lavill Samuel Gilmer Bridget Burns William R. Corr Mary Maguire Thomas Donaghy Margaret Gregory
John McGeeney Patt Grahams Patrick Conolly James Duffy Reps David Marks Peter Gregory Mildred Lowe
Michael McGeeny Denis Hearty Michael Lamb Eliza Jackson Bernard McAneaney John Lynch Thomas Mackin
Owen McGeeny Mrs Jackson David Jackson Hugh Largap (?) Patrick Nugent Thomas Mackin Alice Maloney
Patrick McGill George Kerfoot Daniel Marks David Marks Joseph O'Reilly J.C. Magee Hugh O'Neill
Charles McShane John Kerfoot Peter McAnulty Charles McElroy Reps Robert Rowland Alice Maloney Samuel Rowland
Terence Meehan Josua Kerfoot Owen McCoy Patto McNulty RJ Smith Joseph O'Reilly Major Michael Wright
Henry Morrise Widow Kerfoot David McKenna Owen Morris Thomas Wilson Elizabeth Rowland  
Owen Morrise Francis Lannen Owem Morris Bridget Nugent A. White  
Alex Marks Denis Nugent Denis Nugent   J.F. Wright  
Patt McElroy Mary Nugent Isobel Rowland      
John McNickle Rose Nugent Mary Rowland Land Land Land
Patt McShane Thomas Nugent Robert Rowland Reps Peter Connolly Patrick Conlan (Drummuck) Patrick Conlan (Drummuck)
Owen Morris Michael Pidgeon William Rowland John Donaghy Reps Peter Connolly John Comiskey
Michael Nugent Peter Reilly Mary C. Shields David Gilmore John Comiskey John F. Foley
Thomas Nugent John Rowland Owen Hearty David Gilmore Francis Kernan
Thomas Rowland Richard Rowland Sir Thomas Jackson Bart. Mary Hearty Joseph Kernan
Roger Shields Robert Rowland Hugh Largy Francis Kernan Michael Largey
Peter Wade William Rowland Kate Lennon Joseph Kernan Patrick Morgan
William Rowland Patrick McAnulty Michael Largey Patrick Morgan (Crossmaglen)
Patrick Shields George McCullagh Bridget McAneaney Thomas Morgan (Moybane)
Patrick Wade   Patrick Morgan Patrick Morgan James Shiels
        Patrick Morgan (Crossmaglen) Patrick Morgan (Crossmaglen) Thomas Treanor (Chum)
      Land   Robert Rowland Thomas Morgan (Moybane)  
      Samuel Gilmore   James Shiels Bridget Murphy  
      Michael Lennon   Owen Treanor James Shiels  
      Patrick McElroy     Thomas Treanor (Chum)  
      Patrick Nugent     Mary Wright  

1. Hugh Macauley, "Creggan", Journal of Creggan Local History Society, No.6 1992 p.38
2. G. Jarvis (up to 1835) as compiled by A.J. Hughes in Seanchas Ard Mhacha Vol 15 No 1 1992 pp 97 - 112.
[Back to Townlands of Creggan]

Last Updated on 11 October 2004
Email: pdevlinz@btinternet.com
© Patrick Devlin 2004