This is a part one of a three part post on what I refer to as ‘Fair Day Triangles’, an attempt at determining the size of the foot print that our ancestors lived their lives in. Part-II & Part III can be found at these links.Have you ever researched your family history and did not consider a finding because the family in question did not live in the same townland or parish as your known family? Have you run into a brick wall when researching the family of the bride, because there is no family by that name in the townland or parish? Have you ever wondered how far afield your ancestor would have traveled to meet their future spouse, or where and how they met?
To answer these questions we need to know several things.
- Where did they go for church?
- Where and when did they go for Market and Fair days?
- Where did they go for court and legal affairs?
- What was the means of transportation at the time and how fast could they travel? Could they make it to their destination and back, with time to conduct business, in one day?
- Were there roads to and from their destination?
This post will attempt to answer these questions for my ancestors living in Tummery, Dromore Parish, County Tyrone.
Means of TransportIn the 18th & 19th century, the means of transportation for the farmer in Tyrone was walking or by horse.
- A person walking will average 3-4 miles per hour.
- A person, on foot, leading a horse, will average 3-4 miles per hour.
- A horse with person riding, with or without cart, will average 5 to 8 miles per hour at a slow trot.
With these limitations, a person could travel up to 12 miles, each way, and have time to conduct business, in one day.
The following illustration shows the area within a 12 mile radius of Tummery, Dromre Parish Tyrone.
As can be seen Tummery is 5 miles from the town of Dromore, where the Parish church is located. My family most likely went to Market in any of the towns in green or yellow.
Several questions arise when looking at the map.
- When going to any of these market towns I could meet people coming from a 12 mile radius of the town, not just the 12 mile radius of Tummery. What area did this cover?
- What days were the Markets and Fairs conducted in each town? Did they compete or adjust their schedules for the biggest draw? Did the markets and Fairs sell the same things or did one have to go to different places to sell cattle, pigs or flax?
- What towns held court and had dispensaries?
This opens up the possibility of meeting people from most of western Tyrone, County Fermanagh and part of County Donegal. Also note that the towns coordinated the days of the week for markets and days of the month for fairs. This allowed the town to draw the largest crowds. Also note that Dromore did not have a weekly market. This means my family from Tummery, Dromore Parish, most likely went to Trillick, Irvinestown or Drumquin for market.
The illustration above sheds light on DNA matches that I have received.
- My 3rd GGrand parents were Denis Barrett and Margaret Gallagher. Denis is on the 1834 Tithe, in Tummery. He is also listed, on the same lot, in 1855 when the townland was sold and listed on the ‘Encumbered Estates Court Sales’. This document also states that the lot he leases in 1855 was originally given in a ‘3 lives’ lease to Bryan Gallagher in 1805. I assume that the Margaret Gallagher, that Denis married, was the daughter of this Bryan, but this is not proven. The question arises as to where Denis Barrett came from between 1805 and 1834 and where did he meet Miss Gallagher? The Gallagher's are from Tummery, Dromore, but there is no other Barrett in Dromore Parish on the Tithe. My DNA match is to a Barrett family from Aughadulla, Drumragh Parish, Tyrone. Aughadulla townland is close to Dumquin and Omagh, both within my Tummerry, 12 mile, ‘Fair Day Triangle’ area.
- I have two DNA matches to the Moss family line. One from Garvagh townland in Termonamongan Parish, Tyrone (Just north of Killeter). This goes back to the late 18th century, and the other from Fintona, Donacavey Parish, Tyrone, which goes back to the mid 19th century. There is no Moss listed on the 1827 Donacavey or Dromore 1834 Tithe, but many on the 1828 Termonamongan Tithe. Note that Killitter, Tummery and Fintona are well within the Drumquin 12 mile radius circle.
The following is a listing of markets and fairs by town, from ‘A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837’ & ‘Ordnance Survey Memoirs Co. Tyrone 1821, 1823,1831-36’.
FINTONA, a post-town, in the parish of DONAGHCAVEY, barony of CLOGHER, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 7 miles (S.) from Omagh
The market is on Friday, and is well supplied with all kinds of provisions; and large quantities of brown linens are sold every alternate Friday to the bleachers, who attend from a great distance. A fair is held on the 22nd of every month, which is large and well attended. Petty sessions are held on the second Tuesday in each month; and a court leet and baron for the manor of Castlemaine once a month, for the recovery of debts under 40s. There is a dispensary.
DROMORE, a parish, in the barony of OMAGH, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 8 miles (S. W.) from Omagh, on the road from that place to Enniskillen.
Is a constabulary police station, and has a penny post to Omagh, and a dispensary. Fairs are held for farming stock on Feb. 1st, March 17th, Easter-Monday, Whit-Monday, May 1st, June 24th, Aug. 1st, Sept. 29th, Nov. 1st and 26th, and Dec. 26th. No weekly Market Day at this point in time.
TRILLICK, a market-town, in the parish of KILSKERRY, barony of OMAGH, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 9 miles (N. by E.) from Enniskillen, on the road to Omagh, to both which places it has a penny post.
In which a market is held every Tuesday, chiefly for butter and provisions; and there is a fair on the 14th of every month, including a Hiring Fair. This is a constabulary police station; petty sessions are held on alternate Mondays; and courts leet and baron every three weeks, for the recovery of debts under 50s. There is a dispensary.
OMAGH, an assize, market and post-town, partly in the parish of CAPPAGH, but chiefly in that of DRUMRAGH, barony of OMAGH, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 26 ¼ miles (S. E.) from Londonderry.
The market, held on Saturday, is well supplied with provisions, and on alternate Saturdays brown linens are exposed for sale: a market-house was built in 1830, in which grain and vegetables are sold, and a very convenient range of shambles was opened in 1834. Fairs are held on the first Saturday of every month for all kinds of cattle. There is a dispensary and County Infirmary. The assizes for the county are held here; as are the quarter sessions for the baronies of Omagh and Strabane, alternately with the town of Strabane. A court baron is also held every third Thursday for the manor of Audleston, at which the seneschal of the lord of the manor presides: debts to the amount of £4 are recoverable in it.
IRVINESTOWN, or LOWTHERSTOWN, a market and post-town, in that part of the parish of DERRYVULLEN which is in the barony of LURG, county of FERMANAGH, and province of ULSTER, 7 ¾ miles (N. W.) from Enniskillen.
It has a dispensary, a constabulary police station, and petty sessions are held on alternate Wednesdays. The market is on Wednesday, and fairs are held on the 8th of each month and on the 12th of April.
DRUMQUIN, a market-town, partly in the parish of EAST LONGFIELD and WEST LONGFIELD, barony of OMAGH, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 7 miles (W.N.W.) from Omagh, on the river Roe, and on the nearest road from Londonderry to Enniskillen. There is a daily penny post to Omagh. The market, on Thursday, is well supplied with provisions and yarn; and fairs are held on Jan. 17th, March 21st, May 2nd, June 9th, Aug. 15th, Sept. 17th, Nov. 9th, and Dec. 12th, for general farming stock: those held in March and June are large and well attended. Quarterly cattle fairs, to which English dealers resort, are the principal means of circulating money. Here are a meeting- house for Presbyterians, in connection with the Synod of Ulster, a large male and female school, and a dispensary.
ENNISKILLEN, a borough and market-town, and a parish, partly in the barony of MAGHERABOY, but chiefly in that of TYRKENNEDY, county of FERMANAGH, (of which it is the chief town), and province of ULSTER, 21 ½ miles (S. E.) from Ballyshannon, and 80 ½ (N. N. W.) from Dublin. The patent granted to William Cole, in 1612, authorized the holding of a market on Thursdays, and a fair on Lammas-day, with tolls; and in 1813 a patent was granted to the Earl of Enniskillen for holding fairs on the 10th of each month, except March, May, and August. Besides the general market on Thursdays, a butter market is held on Tuesdays. A butter and grain market have been built on land belonging to the Earl, at an expense of upwards of £900; there is another market-house under the town-hall, also a pig market; and convenient shambles have been erected at an expense of £750, which was advanced by the Earl to the corporation. The borough court, held every Thursday, has jurisdiction to the amount of £3. 6. 8. The assizes for the county and quarter sessions of the peace are held in the county court-house, which is a plain building near the eastern bridge. There is a dispensary and County Infirmary.
What were the condition of the roads between Market Towns and how were they maintained?From; The Industrial Archaeology of Northern Ireland
by W.A. McCutcheon
Director, Ulster Museum, Belfast
Road travel and traffic in the stage coach era, 1740-1850. p16
’It would appear that in Ireland the 17th century, and the early years of the 18th, were characterized by a general absence of wheeled vehicles, on a fairly primitive road network. Those people who did have occasion to move about the country walked or rode horseback, whilst goods were conveyed by pack-horse. Gradually the statutory labor provided by the parishes for six days in each year began to effect improvement in the overall condition of Ulster roads but not on sufficiently wide a front as to stimulate any immediate increase in the use of wheeled vehicles. Right through the 18th century horseback remained the most popular method of travel. By the beginning of the 19th century the native car popular with farmers in remote areas had two small solid wheels fixed to an axle and was a simple advance from the older slide car or slipe.
‘It was noted that twenty years ago (1780) very few wheel cars were to be met with, except in the neighborhood of principal towns such as Dungannon, Omagh and Strabane, now every farmer of any note is possessed on one, though in many situations it can never be applied so usefully as the common slide car. Frequently the wheel cart is on no more use than that of occasionally going to market or fairs. Slide cars cost 3s 9d to 5s 5d and wheel cars from four to six quineas.
Co. Fermanagh, The greater part of the road pattern was already in place in 1740. The main Enniskillen and Londonderry road originally passed through Tempo and over the mountains to Fintona and on to Omagh. In 1828 a new road was made to avoid the mountains that divided Fermanagh and Tyrone. It is a little longer than the original, but has the advantage of being level. From the Enniskillen-Iervinstown road a trunk route strikes out northeast along a lowland corridor by Ballinamallard, Trillick and Dromore, towards Omagh. This opened communication with Dromore and Trillick and would become the route for the railway in the 1850's.’
‘In 1613 an act was passed in the Irish parliament which made Ireland independent of Britain in the matter of road making. During the century and a half following the original enactment of 1613 the maintenance of roads in Ireland was the responsibility of the parish, operating a system of direct, statutory labor. The Act of 1613 required parishes to maintain those roads within their boundaries which served the principal market towns, using the direct labor resources available in the parish, as decreed and marshaled by directors and overseers, for a MINIMUM of six days within the period from Easter to Midsummer Day. The more substantial parishioners - those occupying a plough land (100 acres) or anyone owning a plough - were required to contribute a cart and horse, and four men. Other householders and tenants had to attend in person and where any of these did not have the tools necessary for road work the justices of the peace could impose a levy of 2 pounds on the parish for their purchase. This continued to be the chief means of repairing the roads of Ireland for one hundred and fifty years (1613-1765) and though amending acts were passed, statutory six day labor remained basically unaltered. Towards the end of the period of parochial interest it became obvious that a method of road repair originating in a subsistence economy was unable to cope with the changing economic circumstances of the mid 18th century. A system of road repair by Presentment gained rapidly in importance as the 18th century progressed and the older form of parochial organization became more and more an anachronism, eventually giving rise to civil unrest throughout the west of Ulster in the 'Oakboy' demonstrations of 1763. In 1765 the long standing system of six day labor was abolished though in the north of Ireland the activities of the parishes in road repair did not end. The Act of 1765 marked the end of the use of direct labor on the repair of major roads and also recognized the construction of new lines of roads, extending across a number of parishes. Direct, unpaid labor was no longer employed, rather, the money collected throughout the parish, from occupiers of land, at a penny or two pence per acre, was now used to employ paid labor under the direction of a wage earning overseer. New roads had to be no less then 14 ft graveled and 30 ft between drains and fences. This freed laborers and tradesmen from the requirement of 6 day statutory labor and put the whole burden on those who owned or leased land. The act of 1765 had laid down that presentments for road works should be levied on the barony within which the work lay, those for bridge works on the county-at-large. In 1805 the presentment expenditures for Co. Tyrone were 17,491 pounds, in 1845 it had grown to 37,343 pounds. The small farmer now paid the Presentment (road) tax covering the parish, barony and county levels, Tithe to the Church of Ireland or Poor Law rates, Small Dues to the Church of Ireland for each Marriage, Baptism and Funeral, whether or not it occurred in their own church, The Hearth tax, The Window tax, Fees to use and sell at Market,charges of the weigh master, Excise tax on Mills, Kilns, distilleries, maltsters… ect, on top of the rent on their land and mandatory days of labor to the lease holder as set forth in their lease.’
‘Roads here were described as being quite good in the 1830s. The main road from Omagh to Enniskillen passed through Fintona, Trillick and Kilskeery and was in good repair, the road from Dromore to Trillick was just being made, while the roads from Trillick to Tempo and Fivemiletown were described as hilly and in great need of repair. There were two public conveyances serving Trillick, the Rover and the Tallyho. Each was drawn by 2 horses, the first a sort of caravan or stage-coach and the second a double outside jaunting car. The conveyances left Omagh each morning at 5.30 a.m., arrived in Trillick around 9 a.m., then on to Enniskillen, arriving back here at 5 p.m. and continuing on to Omagh.’
Taylor & Skinner: Maps of the Roads of Ireland Surveyed 1777