The Registered Freeholder Returns.
The Registered Freeholders Returns are lists of people entitled to vote, or of people actually voting at elections. They were usually arranged on a County, City or Borough basis. Freeholders were substantial farmers of the Irish counties who had the right to vote, as long as they owned or rented land that was worth forty shillings (40s.) or more. As a consequence they were given the nickname, the “Forty Shilling Freeholders”. A freeholder held his property either in fee simple, which means outright ownership, or by a lease for a life or lives (such as the term of his life or the term of three lives named in the lease). A tenant who held land for a definite period such as 31 years or 100 years did not qualify as a freeholder. Some landlord’s subdivided farms and granted leases to create small freeholds so they could increase their political influence and persuade freehold tenants to vote for their chosen candidate in elections.
From 1727 to 1793 only Protestants with a forty shilling freehold qualified to vote. The Catholic Reform Bill (1793) enabled Roman Catholics in Ireland, with at least a forty shilling freehold, the right to vote for the Parliament of Ireland and then from 1801 for the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Forty shilling freeholders, whether Catholic or Protestant, had the vote between 1793 and 1829.
The Roman Catholic Relief Act (1829) which was accompanied by the Parliamentary Elections (Ireland) Act (1829), more commonly referred to as the Disenfranchisement Act, abolished the forty shilling freeholders right to vote, and from that date a freehold worth £10, or more, was required to qualify to vote in Ireland. The new minimum £10 freehold franchise reduced the total Irish county electorate from 215,901 on 01st January 1829 to 39,872 on 01st January 1830. In the nine Ulster counties it decreased from 67,182 to 11,199. This remained the basis of the county franchise in Ireland until it was widened by the 1884 Reform Act, which extended the voting qualifications as existed in the towns to the countryside.
In County Armagh, three members were returned to Parliament, two for the county and one for the city of Armagh. Before the Parliamentary Elections (Ireland) Act (1829), the number of freeholders entitled to vote in County Armagh was 8746.
These were classed as follows :
- 203 freeholders holding tenures of £50;
- 124 of those of £20 and;
- 8419 of those of forty shillings (40s.).
With the abolition of the forty shilling freeholder the number of electors in County Armagh was now 1361.
These were classed as follows :
- 235 freeholders holding tenures of £50;
- 186 of those of £20 and;
- 940 of those of £10.
Townlands in Oneilland East as Listed in 1841.
Oneilland East is a barony in the north-east of the county of Armagh, Ulster. It is bounded, on the north, by Lough Neagh; on the east, by the county of Down; on the south, by the barony of Lower Orier; and on the west, by the barony of Oneilland West. This barony contains part of the parishes of Magheralin and Shankill, and the whole of the parishes of Segoe, and Montiaghs and Islands. The towns are Lurgan and part of Portadown; and the chief village is Charlestown. Oneilland East lies wholly within the Poor-Law Union of Lurgan.
Population in 1831, 19,961; in 1841, 23,391. Houses, 3,843. Families employed chiefly in agriculture, 1,587; in manufactures and trades, 2,430; in other pursuits, 254. The total number of tenements valued is 4,224.
|Parish, and Town||Townland|
|Magheralin (Parish, part of:)||Clankilvoragh|
|Portadown (Town, part of:)*|
|Shankill (Parish, part of:)||Aghnacloy|
|* The remainder of the town of Portadown is in the parish of Drumcree, barony of Oneiland West.|