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Thread: Downs Survey and Pettys Census 1659

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Downs Survey and Pettys Census 1659

    To add to the wealth of free online historical records from Ireland I've recently come across the Downs Survey (Thanks to Trinity College) and Petty Census of 1659.

    Both were initiated after the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.

    The Down Survey of Ireland

    Taken in the years 1656-1658, the Down Survey of Ireland is the first ever detailed land survey on a national scale anywhere in the world. The survey sought to measure all the land to be forfeited by the Catholic Irish in order to facilitate its redistribution to Merchant Adventurers and English soldiers. Copies of these maps have survived in dozens of libraries and archives throughout Ireland and Britain, as well as in the National Library of France. This Project has brought together for the first time in over 300 years all the surviving maps, digitised them and made them available as a public online resource.

    The maps are can explore who owned land in 1641 and 1670 for each townland in Ireland. However, unfortunately, like the fate of other census records, the fire in the Four Courts during the Civil War destroyed the detailed parish maps and these are only now available for Cork, Dublin, East Meath (Meath), King's County (Offaly), Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Queen's County (Laois), Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow. The landowner records and barony maps seem to have survived for all counties.

    Then Irish Manuscripts has made Pettys census available online.

    Pender's Census, or Petty's Census, was undertaken by the English economist William Petty between December 1654 and 1659. This 'census' was completed on behalf of the Commonwealth government probably as part of the Down Survey.[1]

    The census provides returns of the inhabitants of most of the country, arranged in counties, baronies, parishes and townlands. The counties of Cavan, Galway, Wicklow, Mayo, Tyrone and most of Meath are not included.[2] The number of English, Irish and Scotch in each townland was also noted.[3] These designations of nationality are vague; 'Irish' may refer to those who speak the language and English may refer to only the newest settlers. The 'Scotch' are found widespread in Ulster, with the exception of Co. Monaghan and Co. Antrim. This census gives no Scotch settlers in the provinces of Munster and Connacht , where the Irish outnumber the English by a ten to one ratio.[4]

    In addition to this, the 'census' also recorded the names of those with titles to land and are referred to as 'Tituladoes'. A Titulado may have been a land-owner, but did not necessarily own land.[5] The census also recorded the principal Irish surnames in each barony.[5]

    The manuscript can be found here
    Last edited by Fraxinus; 25-10-2017 at 10:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Downs Survey and Pettys Census 1659

    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Downs Survey and Pettys Census 1659

    Thanks a million. Fascinating stuff.


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