While researching a collection of estate papers for the Farnham Estate in Newtownbarry in Co. Wexford for the late 18th and early 19th century I came across an intriguing document. The estate records were found in the National Library of Ireland and in Ms. 8527 (5), a collection of drafts and memoranda of legal documents concerning the Newtownbarry Estate from 1802 to 1830, the following draft was found:
Memorandum of a resolution to Eject Geo. Keys, of Kilbrannish, on account of His son threatning [sic] to dispossess him and seize on his stock and property; Resolved to give said George Keys a new lease of his ground in Kilbrannish during his own life in order to prevent his son having any claim on the property. 13th April 1830 by order of Lord Farnham. W. Macutchen.
The idea that a tenant might have gone to the landlord to request assistance in keeping his property from his son seems unusual. George Keys appears in the Tithe Applotment Books in 1825 with 29 acres and 1 rood of land in Kilbrannish, on which he paid a Tithe of £1.8s.7½d., a not insignificant levy. George (or his heirs) were still residing at Kilbrannish North in 1840, unless the errant son was also named George. The Valuation Office Tenure Books for Kilbrannish record George Keys (heirs of) at Lot 16. His holding was diminished to 6 acres 1 rood and 19 perches, but the remainder of the holding appears to have been divided between relatives, none of whom were named Keys. In a note in the margin the valuator recorded “This [Lots 15-18] is all under one lease dated 1794 for 3 lives or 31 years at 10/4 Irish for 29 acres 1 rood of land….16 was the lease, 17 & 18 relatives.”
It does not appear that, despite the memorandum in the Farnham Estate papers, George Keys lease was dissolved and remade in 1830 to exclude the possibility of his son acquiring his lands.
George is no longer residing at Kilbrannish North at the time of Griffith’s Valuation, suggesting that his property did not pass to this son, however, a Keyes family, under the name of Thomas Keyes, remained at Kilbrannish North, his children were baptised in both the Barragh and Newtownbarry parish register, which can be found transcribed online at the Anglican Record Project. Was Thomas the son of George, who ended up with his father’s lands?