The Union Of Lurgan.
The Poor Law (Ireland) Act of 1838 – An Act for the More Effectual Relief of the Destitute Poor in Ireland – divided Ireland into 159 districts called Poor Law Unions. Each Union was obliged to provide a workhouse for their destitute poor. A Board of Guardians was elected in each union to administer the Poor Law and a compulsory rate was levied in each union to finance the system.
The Union of Lurgan was declared on 16th January 1839, with the first election of Guardians on the 22nd February 1839. The number of elected guardians was 25, with four ex-officio guardians, that being the whole number of magistrates resident within the Lurgan Union.
To view the elected guardians, click Elected Guardians to the Lurgan Union.
The Union of Lurgan occupied a district, the centre of which is nearly at the point where the three counties of Antrim, Armagh, and Down meet. Portions of all those counties lie within the Union. The Union of Lurgan contained 19 electoral divisions of which nine were entirely within the county Armagh, three in the county Antrim, six in the county Down, and the remaining one partly in the county Down and partly in the county Armagh.
To view the electoral divisions, click Electoral Divisions in the Lurgan Union.
The Board of Guardians having ascertained, by inquiry, that none of the existing valuations would be sufficient for the purpose of the Poor Law, on the 8th March, 1839, resolved on making a new valuation of the property within the Union. On the 6th July, 1839, Mr. James Whiteside and Mr. Sutton were appointed valuators. Mr. Sutton afterwards gave up the appointment in consequence of ill health, and the Union was valued by Mr. Whiteside alone, with some assistance from a Mr. Shane, who was employed by Mr. Whiteside himself as his assistant.
Mr. Whiteside was a resident within the Union, and had been employed by several landlords to make private valuations of their own properties. He was acquainted with many people in the Union, and was known to many of the guardians as a rural surveyor. Mr. Shane, who was employed by Mr. Whiteside as his assistant, had not been employed as a valuator on any former occasion. Mr. Whiteside gave the following information respecting him :- He was an excellent farmer and a pretty good judge of land; but he, Mr. Whiteside, had to instruct him as to value. They went together until he found Mr. Shane competent to value. They then went over different parts of the land. Mr Whiteside kept near Mr. Shane so that he might be able to go over the land and verify his valuation, until he found him competent to value. They then took different districts. Mr. Shane valued three electoral districts, Kernan, Aghogallon, and Tullylish, by himself. Mr. Whiteside valued eleven divisions by himself, and five divisions were partly valued by Mr. Shane and partly by Mr. Whiteside.
The valuator was supplied with the following books and documents to assist in the valuation :-
- Tithe Books.
- Landlords’ Maps.
- Cess Applotments.
- Maps, Ordnance Survey.
- Griffiths’s Valuation.
- Griffiths’s Instructions to Valuators.
- Landlords’ Rental leases.
It appears the valuator made use of the above documents generally for the purpose of ascertaining the number of acres in the possession of each occupier, but he made no use of any of them for the purpose of ascetaining value. Mr. Whiteside stated, he requested, when he was appointed, to be allowed to rely on his own judgement, and did so.
On the 3rd April, 1840, the Board appointed a Committee of seven “to examine the accuracy of the Valuator’s Returns,” and gave the following directions to the Committee :- “That when the valuation of any electoral division is completed the Committee do give notice to the Guardians of such electoral division of the time at which the examination and consideration of such valuation will take place, in order that they may attend and assist.”
When the valuator had finished an electoral division, it was sent to the guardian or guardians for that electoral division. The valuation contained the number of acres and the net annual value. The guardian would make their remarks on it, and object to the number of acres or the value if he though it erroneous. It was returned to the valuator, who examined it again and if he considered the objection well founded he made the alteration.
I have provided a complete list of the freeholders of the county Armagh, who were resident within the Union of Lurgan, with the amount at which the valuator had valued their respective tenements.
This list can be viewed by clicking Registered Freeholders In The Lurgan Union For 1840.
The supplementary list can be viewed by clicking Supplement to the Freeholders List.