A guide to trace your ancestors from Lurgan, County Armagh and from the County of Armagh

Flax Growers List of County Armagh for 1796

The Flax Growers Bounty List For County Armagh.


The Flax Growers Bounty List of 1796, known officially as the Spinning Wheel Premium Entitlement List was compiled and published in 1796 by the Irish Linen Board. The list included about 60,000 individuals throughout Ireland (except Dublin and Wicklow) who had received awards for growing flax.

During the 18th century, Ireland, and Ulster in particular, established a reputation as a producer of fine linen, which was made from flax. Flax was an important ‘cash crop’ and during this time period, thousands of Irish farmers grew the crop for their livelihood with the government giving special incentives to encourage the production of linen. The Irish Linen Board, in 1796, decided on a scheme of incentives to get people to grow the crop. An individual was awarded with 4 spinning wheels for planting one acre of flax. Three quarters of an acre got the grower 3 spinning wheels, one-half acre of flax brought the grower 2 spinning wheels, one-quarter acre of flax would get one spinning wheel whilst a flax grower that cultivated no less than five acres got a loom or spinning wheels up to the value of five shillings.

From the 60,000 people receiving incentives to grow flax, over 40,000 were based in counties Armagh, Derry, Donegal, Down, and Tyrone.  Arranged by civil parish in each county the Flax Growers Bounty List for 1796 is a valuable substitute for non-existent census material for this period in Ireland. The county of Armagh list contains over 3,000 names.

Each county list begins with the following explanatory note.

“A List of Persons to whom Premiums for sowing Flax-seed in the Year 1796 have been adjudged by the Trustees of the Linen Manufacture.

Pursuant to the Scheme offered by them for encouraging the Growth of Flax throughout the Kingdom, vis. To the Person who should sow between the 10th Day of March and the 1st Day of June 1796, with a sufficient Quantity of good sound Flax-seed, any Quantity of Land, well prepared and fit for the purpose, not less than 1 Acre – 4 Spinning Wheels, – 3 Roods 3 Ditto – 2 Roods 2 Ditto, – 1 Rood 1 Ditto. And to the Person who should sow in like Manner any Quantity of like Land, not less than 5 Acres, a Loom, or Wheels, Reels, or Hatchells to the Value of 50 shillings, and for every 5 Acres over and above the first five a like Premium.

The Claimants for one Rood, who are entitled to one Wheel each, are requested to apply to the County Inspector for their Wheels, there being a sufficient Number ready to distribute among them. The other Premiums will be discharged in Rotation as the Wheels can be made, of which due Notice shall be given.

Every Person preferring Reels may have two of them in lieu of a Spinning Wheel.

The Scheme of Premiums offered by the Board for the Year 1796 has had so extensive an Effect that it will require 37,135 Wheels to discharge the One Rood Claimants, and not less than 88,719 Wheels, together with 227 Looms, to discharge the whole, which necessarily produces much delay in delivering.

As the highest Price is paid for the Wheels in order to have them of the best Fabric, of seasoned Timbers, and of full Size, no Claimant is to receive any Wheel deficient, in any respect: They are all to be stamped with the Board Seal before delivery, and with the Maker’s Name.

And in order to render the national benefit proposed by the Trustees as officious as possible, they request that any neglect of the Inspector in delivering Wheels of the best quality and equal excellence to the Pattern deposited with him, be instantly made known to them by information to any Trustees, or to the Inspector General, or by Letter to their Secretary, at the Linen Office, Dublin.

N.B. Any Inspector, Deputy Inspector, or Surveyor, or other Person acting under him or them who shall directly or indirectly receive any Fee, Gratuity, or Reward for the performance of his duty, becomes by such offence, disqualified by Act of Parliament to hold any Employment under the Linen Board.”

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