Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Desmond Survey (Author: unknown)

Introduction to the Clancarthy Survey

The text edited below is that of portion of Carew Manuscript 625, preserved among the Carew collection at Lambeth Palace Library. The various collections of manuscripts at Lambeth have long been known by distinctive names, and Codices Manuscripti Carewani, nos. 596-638 of the Lambeth


volumes, comprise the collections (relating mainly to Irish affairs)2 of Sir George Carew, president of Munster (1600-03) under Elizabeth I, who died earl of Totnes in 1629. Carew had antiquarian tastes and had a deep interest in Irish history. Like so many public officials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, he made a large collection of documents and it is probable that he intended to write a history of Ireland or at least an account of the wars in Munster. However, it was Sir Thomas Stafford, to whom Carew bequeathed the collection, who carried out that project in his Pacata Hibernia.3

How most of the Carew collection came to be preserved at Lambeth has been a much discussed subject4. but hardly concerns us directly here. Manuscript 625, which has been inspected by the editor at Lambeth, is a well preserved folio volume measuring 8" by 12" by 1½". It has a modern binding of leather and is stamped with the letter Q and the Carew shield of arms. Carew himself, it appears, had devised a curious numeration of his volumes in three alphabets (A, AA, AAA, B, BB, BBB, etc., the letters I and U not being used). Thus, of Carew's total collection (manuscript and printed) of seventy-two volumes, most of which are at Lambeth, the forty-sixth item was designated Q in his original enumeration, and later became Volume 625 in the Lambeth Palace Library Volume Z in Carew's numbering (now Lambeth volume 636) comprises an index to volumes A-X.5

In his catalogue of the Lambeth manuscripts, M. R. James remarks that the Carew manuscripts were fully calendared as State Papers and consequently did not need to be described by him.6 In fact, as Butler points out,7 the Clancarthy Survey in manuscript 625 finds no mention in the Calendar of the Carew Mansucripts. This is all the more curious in view of the awareness shown by the calendar's editors8 of the great interest of the Carew material to Irish historians and antiquarians, a number of whom, from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, consulted the survey at Lambeth. Thus, it is referred to by an anonymous writer on ‘Ancient Irish Income’ in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology for 1856.9 W. M. Brady in his edition of the McGillycuddy Papers (London 1867) published a greatly garbled paragraph or so from the manuscript.10 In the same year Daniel MacCarthy Glas published his Life and Letters of Florence MacCarthy Reagh, an important but badly arranged book, at once reflecting enormous industry and singular lack of skill in a combination characteristic of Irish research historians of the period. The author described the information provided in the survey as ‘most curious as remains of a civilisation dating before the period of acknowledged history’. It is clear that MacCarthy appreciated the interest and value of the survey but considered it ‘far too voluminous’ to reproduce.11 A similar reference to the ‘great length’ of the survey is made by Mary A. Hickson in her Old Kerry Records. Miss Hickson (who evinced particular interest in the maps accompanying the survey) gives what purport to be direct quotations from the manuscript but what are in fact her own free adaptations.12 A later writer on MacCarthy family history, Judge S. Trant MacCarthy, also consulted the survey and made knowledgeable comments on some of the place-names.13 But it was William F. T. Butler who first drew attention to the great historical significance of the survey (‘of its value, as well as that of the maps which accompany it, it is almost impossible to speak too highly’) and who expressed surprise that it had never been published or even calendared.14 Butler's extended commentary on the survey is important, though he had difficulty in reading the manuscript and gave some defective renderings of place-names.15 But he rightly emphasized the value of a document which throws an important light on the political and social structure of a great native chieftainship, part of the Gaelic polity going down before the Tudor attack. Professor Myles Dillon has remarked of the survey that, as an account of the rents and privileges enjoyed by the Lord of Desmond at the end of the sixteenth century, ‘it is later by four hundred years than the Book of Rights but it is apparently an exact record and of great value as such.’16 There are other reasons why the survey should be published. It describes the location and extent of the lands of the chief families in south Kerry and south-west Cork. It contains material of importance for the study of place-names and its interest is further enhanced by the details furnished on fisheries, mines and forests. There is also information on contemporary prices of livestock and foodstuffs, on contemporary currency and coinage and on traditional units of weights, measures and land areas.


Historical Background

The historical background to the survey may be noted briefly here.17 In 1565, as a check against Desmond Geraldine's power, Domhnall MacCarthy Mór, lord of Desmond, was created earl of ‘Clancar’ or Clancarthy. Though he participated briefly in the first Geraldine revolt in 1569, sharing the general sense of land insecurity, his subsequent role was generally that of a spectator while the Geraldines, his neighbours and traditional enemies, were being overthrown.18 Yet the suppression of the Desmond rebellion brought the undertakers to his doorstep and these Elizabethan adventurers soon realized that their own security demanded a satisfactory land settlement in the adjoining Gaelic lordship.

Domhnall's son and heir, the baron of Valentia, died in 1585,19 he had no close male legitimate relatives, so that the future of the MacCarthy demesne lands was now bound up with the person of his daughter Ellen, his only surviving legitimate child. The authorities in Munster were naturally concerned that Ellen should make a fitting match. The ambitious Sir Valentine Browne, who secured a mortgage on some of the MacCarthy demesne lands by lending money to the unthrifty earl, 20 negotiated with Domhnall for a marriage between Ellen and his son, Nicholas Browne. The projected alliance with an upstart planter family was strenuously opposed by the countess of Clancarthy as well as by the leaders of the septs. They expressed their opposition to Sir William Herbert who suggested to Sir Thomas Norreys, vice-president of Munster, that he should consider offering for Ellen's hand, Herbert promising to use his influence to secure not only the queen's consent, but also a grant-of succession for Norreys to the earl's lands. But Norreys, ‘after some paines taken, he in the ende mysliked of it, being as it seemed, otherwise disposed to bestowe himself.’21 Events now took a surprising turn and one which greatly disconcerted the English authorities. In May 1588 Ellen suddenly and secretly married the redoubtable Finín (Florence) MacCarthy Riabhach, tanist of Carbery, ‘the most dangerous man of all the Irish nation’.22 Like the Brownes, Florence had also secured a mortgage on some of the earl's demesnes. Herbert urged that steps be taken to counter ‘Florence McCarte's dryft, to joyne in himsealfe Desmond and Carberie, and so to erect againe the greatnes and tyranny of the McCarties’. The problem was complicated by the emergence of a party within the MacCarthy territory which opposed at once Florence's ambitions and the extension of the English interest. The principal members of this group were Sir Owen O'Sullivan of Beara and the able Domhnall MacCarthy, the earl's bastard son, ‘whom that countrey doth much favor and would fayne have to be MeCartie’.23

The neighbouring undertakers may have had their bitter disagreements such as that which arose between Sir William Herbert on the one hand and the Brownes, the Springs and the Dennys on the other, 24 but all had their designs on the MacCarthy lands and they made the usual convenient planters' identification between their own ambitions and the interests of the Crown. Sir William Herbert who desired to have 6,000 akers in the countye of Desmonde after the Earl of Glincarr's death25 made a report to Burghley on the position in Desmond and recommended that ‘it is of great consequence and importance unto our inhabitation here that the Earl's estate be not enlarged, to the end that after his decease English gentlemen may be there planted
26 This advice accorded with the fundamental principle of Elizabethan policy as expressed by Sir Henry Sidney: ‘the dissipation of the great lordships: to distribute the lands, if among English, the better: if not, yet that they be dissipated’.27

The conflicting claims to, and interests in, the MacCarthy lands were brought to the forefront by the death of the earl towards the end of 1596. The planters urged that Florence's claims to ‘the landes


and honor’ be rejected and that the country ‘be divided amongst gentlemen of good sort and condition’.28 But the critical political situation brought about by the Tyrone rebellion precluded such a simple and brutal solution by the crown.29 Nicholas Browne, whose particular concern was to enforce his title to the lands mortgaged to his father, submitted a memorandum to the lord treasurer in 1597 on the situation in Munster, with particular reference to the position in Desmond.30 This included a list of the various septs in the lordship with a comment on their traditional loyalties or otherwise ‘to the howse of McCartie’. This general analysis is similar to the overall arrangement of the survey and there are also resemblances of phraseology, so that Browne may have been the author of, or at least a principal source of information for the survey, possibly helping with the final draft.31

Purpose of the Survey

On 1 July 1597 the survey was ordered to be made. The English Privy Council directed that the commissioners of survey (these included the president of Munster) should proceed along certain lines of inquiry. They were to report on the extent and value of the earl's demesne lands; the various tributes traditionally due to him; the castles, islands and havens in his possession which might be kept by the crown; the extent of the mortgaged lands; the lands claimed by the dowager countess and the lands which might be given at a rent to the bastard Domhnall. Finally the survey was to list the English planters who were already in Desmond together with the rents and services they paid to the crown. The Irish council was to ‘add such other articles as may seem good to them whereby the country may be distributed to English people’.32 The survey, then, was carried out with an eventual eye to partial plantation. A comparison of the above instructions with the text of the survey will show that the terms of reference were fairly closely observed.


There is no date on the survey itself but it is possible to assign a date to it within certain limits. As we have seen, it was commissioned in July 1597. From a letter of Sir Roger Wilbraham, solicitor-general, to Sir Robert Cecil on 25 May 1598, commenting on the claims of Domhnall MacCarthy, it would appear that Wilbraham had been studying the survey for some time.33 However this may have been only a draft or a portion of the report, for a royal warrant of 13 August 1598 mentions that ‘the said survey may not (as is doubted) be speedily effected’.34 On 16 March 1599 the lord lieutenant and council gave their decision on the claims of Florence MacCarthy and Nicholas Browne. It is clear from this and from a petition by Florence of the same date that the survey had been completed well before that.35 On the whole, it is reasonable to conclude that the material for the survey was gathered between the autumn of 1597 and the spring of 1598 (it has no hint of the turbulence in Munster in the latter part of 1598) but that it was not given formal shape until late in 1598. It may be said here that the survey did not in itself provide a solution to the various problems concerning the succession to the earl's demesnes, and there were protracted legal disputes for well over a generation afterwards.36

Description of Manuscript

In his catalogue of the Lambeth Palace manuscripts, Todd37 lists the contents of volume 625. The list is based on the table of contents which prefaces the volume itself and which is headed ‘The Principall Matters Contayned in this Booke.’ Above this heading, at the top right-hand corner of the folio, is the unmistakable signature Gr Carew over the date 1617, presumably the year in which the volume was compiled from disparate material. It comprises a copy of a letter from Elizabeth ‘concerninge sterlinge pay’ (1582); an account of wages due to the lord deputy and the army (1587-88); the survey; a discussion of James I's claims to Longford, Leitrim and other areas, as well as a project for their plantation; and finally, ‘a booke of the armes of certain sundrie noblemen and gentlemen of Irland


The volume has a confusing double foliation (recto only) throughout. A top right-hand foliation begins with the introductory table of contents and continues in sequence, blank folios being numbered. The bottom left-hand foliation begins with the first item in the volume, which is on folio 1 verso (bottom left hand) or folio 7 verso (top right hand). It is proposed to use the bottom left-hand foliation for reference. It is the foliation to which the contents table refers and the figures appear to be more contemporary with the script of the text than those of the top right-hand corners.

The Clancarthy Survey, published here for the first time, extends from folio 19 verso to folio 39 recto inclusive. A prefatory note (folio 19 verso) is followed by a general map in colour of Kerry and Desmond (folio 20 recto). Then comes (folio 21 recto and verso) a detailed list of the earl's demesnes (including those in his possession at his death as well as those mortgaged or disposed to others) and of his various fishings with their present distribution.38 Next, there is a note on lands claimed by the earl (folio 22 recto) and the definition of various terms relating to traditional rents and services (folio 22 recto and verso). After a coloured map of Glanerought barony comes the main body of the survey, consisting of the detailed returns of the rents and services traditionally payable by the various septs in Desmond to the earl of Clancarthy, as well as some general observations on the lands surveyed. The septs are grouped under three main headings: the septs friendly to MacCarthy Mór (folios 25 recto to 28 recto), those traditionally hostile to him (folios 28 verso to 34 verso) and the O'Sullivan septs, usually aligned against him (folios 34 verso to 38 verso). In the case of each sept, its lands are named in successive paragraphs, the money value of the services and dues relating to specific lands is stated, and an annual total sum given for all the lands. Four other coloured maps are folded in at appropriate points. After the main body of the survey comes (38 verso and 39 recto) a description of rents due from various church lands to the earl as well as a note on a tribute from the lords of Duhallow. The survey is completed (folio 39 verso) by a grand total of the money value of all the rents and services.

Printed Text

The lay-out of the manuscript has been modified in the printed text. In the manuscript, extensive use is made of margins to show different divisions of the subject matter. Thus an outer left-hand margin is used to indicate each of the three main groups referred to above, the heading being placed outside the margin at an appropriate point. Sub-headings along inner left-hand margins denote the different septs within each main group. Each group of lands within a sept has a right-hand bracketing outside which is placed the money value of the rents and services for that particular group of lands. Since such an arrangement would be inconvenient to reproduce, the ‘vertical’ marginal headings of the manuscript have been replaced by ordinary ‘horizontal’ headings in the printed text. Similarly the money totals outside the right-hand bracketings of the manuscript are simply placed in a separate line in the printed text. The original paragraphing has, of course, been retained. The editor has italicised headings for the sake of clarity.

With the exceptions subsequently mentioned, the printed text is a faithful reproduction of the manuscript. Contractions whose meaning is certain have been silently extended. Thus wth, wch are printed as with, which, respectively; pl, plo, pt, pcells, porcon become ploughland (or plowland ), part, parcells, portion . Fortunately there are few doubtful contractions in the manuscript: indeed, though there were occasional reading difficulties, the manuscript was found to have very little undecipherable matter. Abbreviations which would find approval in modern usage have been retained— str, viz., li.s.d., for example. There is very little punctuation in the manuscript and it has been thought safer to follow suit in this regard, except where modern usage would require the insertion of full stops after abbreviations, as in wh. gr. (white groats). In money totals, the figure 1 occurring


in the manuscript has been replaced by the small roman numeral i (i d, i white groat). The spelling of the original (for example, initial v and internal u ) has been retained, as well as the usage of capitals and lower case. It should be noted, however, that the manuscript uses a special, large clear script for proper names (as well as a rather ornate script for the headings) and that this has not been reproduced in the printed text. Where scribal errors are corrected in the text, they are mentioned in the footnotes which also draw attention to any other peculiarities in the manuscript, square brackets enclosing letters or words indicate obvious omissions by the scribe. Finally, reference in introduction, notes and indices to different parts of the text is to sections numbered by the editor in order to facilitate indexing.

The Petworth Manuscript

In the sixth Reportof the Historical Manuscripts Commission (1877), p. 309a, there is mentioned as item 89 of the manuscripts of Lord Leconfield, Petworth House, Sussex: ‘Folio 16th century: A general survey of all such lands as are conteyned within the county of Desmond as well of such as wear the Earl of Clancarty's own demesnes as of all other lands belonging to the lords and others the freeholders of the said country (22 pp. + 4 maps done by hand).’ On investigation, this manuscript was discovered to be another copy of the Clancarthy Survey. It is still preserved at Petworth House, Sussex. Written on paper and bound in vellum it is in good condition. Unfortunately, nothing has been discovered about its history. The Petworth manuscript (referred to subsequently as 'Petworth") may possibly have been copied from Carew Manuscript 625, but a comparison of the two texts suggests that both Carew and Petworth were independently copied from another manuscript. Erroneous forms of some place-names in Carew39 But the Petworth spelling seems to be slightly more modern (e.g., internal v for u, general dropping of superfluous final e ) as does the letter formation (the modern form of w ). The hand, which seems to be later than Carew, is very regular, and this impression of ‘ruled’ regularity is strengthened by the orderly lines of writing and the straightness of the side brackets. Petworth is also somewhat better punctuated and is a much cleaner copy, with no erasures at all. It may be of interest to set down here, side by side, the opening paragraph from the two manuscripts:

Carew MS 625
A General Suruay of all such
landes as are conteyned wthin
the Country of Desmond as wel
of such as were the Earle of
Clancarties owne demeanes as
of all other landes belonging
to the Lords and others the
freholders of the said Country
w'th what dewties rentes and
Chiefryes are customablye to be
payd to the said earle out of the
same, taken vpon the recport
[sic] of the Sergeantes and officers
of the of the saide Contrye

Pentworth 89
A generall survey of all such
lands as ar conteyned within the
Country of Desmound as well of
such as wear the Earl of Clancartyes
owne Demeanes as of
all other lands belonging to


the Lords and others the freholders
of the said Country,
wth what Dutyes rentes and
Cheifryes are coustomably to be
paid to the said Earl out of the
same, taken vpon the report of
the sariauntes and officers of the
said Country.

Petworth is spaced more generously and its material per folio is only about three-quarters that of Carew. Whereas paragraphs in Carew are concluded at the end of folios, Petworth occasionally runs on in mid-sentence to the top of the next folio.

It is difficult to refer to particular pages of the Petworth manuscript since it is not foliated at all and there are some blank pages. An introductory page (verso only) is followed by eleven folios, recto and verso, i.e., twenty-three40 pages of manuscript in all, with one or two blank pages interspersed. Unfortunately some three folios of material41 are missing from the manuscript. Since the sequence of maps is the same as in Carew (the first four in each case being those of Kerry, Glanerought, Dariry and Magunihy) it is


clear that the missing Petworth section included the maps of Dunkerron and Iveragh baronies. The lacuna was probably there when the manuscript was being bound as there are no indications that the missing folios and maps were subsequently extracted.

The Maps in Carew Manuscript 625

The maps are bound in at different places in the survey which they are intended to supplement as well as to illustrate. Since the complex assessment of the various rents and services was on different portions of lands, not on people, it was of importance for the purposes of the survey to show the location of the lands and the geographical distribution of the various septs.42 All the six maps in Carew Manuscript 625 would appear to be in the same hand (which seems to be identical with that of the manuscript) although occasionally a later hand has added more names, e.g., in the general map of Kerry, the later form ‘Valentia’ (corruption of Bél Inse) has been written under the original ‘Dariry’.43 We may take it that the surveying for the maps was carried out at the time the information for the report was being collected. Though the map-maker may well have got help from earlier maps, these maps reproduced below were obviously made specially for the survey.

The late sixteenth century is a period of exceptional interest in the history of cartography.44 More advanced techniques were being used, even though the kind of competence typified by Petty was still a long way off. The maps in the survey exhibit that combination of picture, survey and map characteristic of the period. In general it may be said that, considering the remoteness and difficulty of the area surveyed, these maps are extremely good. Our cartographer may not have had Bartlett's expertise or sophistication, but he gives us much more information about late sixteenth-century Kerry than Bartlett does about Ulster in the same period.45 We cannot be sure what surveying methods and implements were used: possibly a compass, perhaps only a system of simple triangulation. The latter was practised since the early part of the sixteenth century but it is very doubtful whether our cartographer used the plane table which came into general use only about 1590. But accurate visual observation compensated in large measure for the lack of technical knowledge and equipment.

The general map of Kerry and Desmond46 was intended as background reference for the five barony maps, the purpose of which, as has been said above, was to illustrate the place-names in the text and to show the extent of the different lands of the free-holders, distinguished by letters or numbers as well as by the use of different colours.47 After nearly four centuries, the colours (varying shades of yellow, green and red) are still remarkably vivid and the lettering surprisingly clear.48 Churches, abbeys and castles are represented by stylized drawings. Particularly important churches and abbeys are given a special symbol—e.g., Kilmore in the Dariry map (this map is of special interest, with its large scale, it clear pictorial symbols and its particularly fresh colouring). Castles like Dunkerron and Castleisland are shown as ringed around by a rectangular or circular fort. Unroofed buildings probably indicate a derelict state at the time of mapping. Wooded areas are represented pictorially while mountains are shown in pictorial elevation or perspective, a series of inverted V s which are intended to convey the impression of height. As Kerry is exceptionally mountainous, these curved lines are everywhere.

We have referred to the keen eye of the cartographer. The Skelligs are drawn impressionistically, just as they appear to a mainland observer—towering rocks jutting out of the sea, though shown perhaps too near the coast. The Kerry coastline is drawn with reasonable accuracy but the location of islands is sometimes erroneous (e.g. in Ballinskelligs bay). The island of Valentia is badly orientated in the four maps in which it is shown, and the drawing of the baronies is frequently rough-and-ready. Barony boundaries, however, were not well defined at the time.49

Some other features of the maps call for a brief comment. The conventional compass directions (top of map to north, etc.) are not observed, and the elaborate compass roses found in other maps of the same period are lacking.50 Indeed, artistic embellishment in general is at a minimum. With the exception of the general map of Kerry and Desmond, each of the maps is circular in shape and this must be regarded as a survival of the archaic method of drawing the world, and portions thereof, in a circular frame. It should also be noted that the original maps are of varying size, the Dariry map being drawn within a comparatively small circle and the Dunkerron map being by far the largest. None of the mans attempts to show a scale and there are no initials or signatures to indicate authorship.

Petworth Maps

The four surviving maps (Kerry and Desmond; Glanerought; Magunihy, and Dariry) in the Petworth manuscript closely resemble their counterparts in Carew Manuscript 625. The Petworth maps are also coloured. They lack, however, the additions in a later hand which are so obvious in the Carew maps and to which reference has already been made. It is of interest that when Dunlop was making his catalogue of sixteenth-century maps he noted the reference in the sixth Report of the Historical Manuscripts Commission to the Petworth maps.51 However, it is clear that he did not inspect these maps and he seems to have known nothing of the existence of the Carew maps.

Hickson Maps

While the maps reproduced in the present volume have never before been published, mention must be made of the maps of Glanerought, Dariry and Iveragh which appear as an appendix to Hickson's Old Kerry Records.52 Miss Hickson states that her maps ‘have been taken’ from the Carew maps. This must be interpreted to mean free adaptations and in no sense copies or reproductions. The lines of division in the originals have been greatly over-simplified, the keys to the maps have been transposed and considerable liberties taken with captions and titles. Moreover, the draughtsman was obviously unfamiliar with the script of the originals so that many words were badly garbled in transcription. Some of the misreadings are quite inexplicable and would have been obviated by a consultation of a modern map of Kerry. The Hickson maps, then, are of no historical value.

Currency and Coinage in the Survey

The references to currency and coinage occurring throughout the text, as well as in the Desmond and Peyton Surveys, (‘half face money’, ‘old money’, ‘sterling’, ‘legal money of England’) call for some comment.53 The background here is the successive debasement of the Irish coinage begun by


Henry VIII and continued by his successors. Elizabeth I partially restored the standard for Irish silver coins in 1561 but lightened the weights. There was a somewhat similar development in English silver coinage during the Tudor period.

‘Old money’ or ‘half face money’ almost certainly refers to the English silver issues of Henry VIII struck on the sterling standard of 92.5 per cent pure silver. These coins carried the king's head in profile as distinct from the later issues of the same on a debased standard, where the portrait was full face or nearly so. As only half the face could be seen when struck in profile, the term ‘half face’ was a convenient one for distinguishing the profile issue from the later, or full face, issue. But there were, in fact, two English issues of silver on the sterling standard of Henry VIII. In the first (1509-26), they were based on a penny weighing 12 grains. In the second (1526-44), sometimes called the Wolsey coinage, the silver issues were based on a penny of 10 2/3 grains weight. It is this latter issue which is referred to in the survey as ‘half face’ or ‘old money’.

The term ‘legal money of England’ refers to the standard in force in England at the date of the survey, which was the sterling standard restored by Elizabeth in 1561.54 The silver coinage in this restored sterling standard was, however, based on a penny weighing 8 grains. Therefore the bullion ratio of the ‘old money’ to the Elizabethan standard money (‘legal money of England’) was 10 2/3 to 8, i.e., 32 to 24, or 4 to 3. In other words, one-third would have to be added to any quantity of this Elizabethan English money to make it equal in bullion value to the same quantity of ‘old’ or ‘half face’ money of Henry VIII.55 We may assume that where ‘old money’ or ‘half-face money’ is not specifically mentioned, a money reference relates to the then existing currency in the sterling standard at 8 grains to the penny.

The white groat is continually used in the monetary calculations in the survey. These groats are probably the debased Irish issues struck by Elizabeth in 1558 and possibly other debased issues struck before that by Mary (1554) and Philip and Mary (1555-58). All of these had only a 25 per cent silver content. The proclamations or orders defining these have not been discovered but the general average weights were about 8 grains to the penny for Mary, 12 grains to the penny for Philip and Mary, and 12 grains for Elizabeth. This would give a silver content varying from about 2½ to 3 grains per penny. Simon in his Irish Coins56 states that the 1558 silver was recoined from English base issues. The English penny at 8 grains sterling would have roughly 7½ grains of silver and the bullion ratio of it to the Irish base penny would be roughly three to one (7½ to 2½), the tendency being to value the debased coinage at the lowest standard. This would reduce the value of the Irish base groat (nominally 4d ) to 1[frac13] pence ([frac13] of 4d ) in terms of the restored coinage of sterling standard of Elizabeth: in other words, 3 white groats would be equal to 4d in new sterling money. This is precisely the value of the white groat that one establishes by calculation from internal evidence in the survey.

What has been said may be illustrated from a passage in the survey where reference is made to a ‘cuddy or refection of a sopper and breakefast for the earle of Clancartie
or els in lieu thereof five markes old money which amountcth to iiijli viijs viijd ij w[hite] g[roats].’57 Since a mark was two-thirds of a pound,58 five marks ‘old money’ was five times 13s 4d, or £3 6s 8d in ‘old money’. To get the equivalent of this sum in Elizabethan standard money, one-third (or £1 2s 2 2/3d ) has to be added. Thus we get £4 8s l0 2/3d, or £4 8s 8d and 2 white groats (worth 1 1/3d each). This may seem a strange method of keeping accounts but the white groat was in plentiful supply and had to be fitted into monetary calculations.59

All the calculations in the survey, as well as the individual and group tots, have been thoroughly checked and it has been found that, with very few exceptions, the scribal accounting is accurate. Such arithmetical anomalies as do occur are dealt with in footnotes to the text. The gross total at the end is a correct tot of the group totals given throughout the survey.


Land Measures

It is not proposed to discuss the questions which the survey raises concerning Irish land measures, except to point out that the document affords further evidence of the irregularity of these measures.60 Units of measurement varied from district to district: thus one late sixteenth-century source speaks of ‘every quarter containing three plowlands’ in the Muskerry district of mid-Cork61 while another comments, with respect to the carl of Clancarthy's demesnes, that some quarters contain ‘four ploughlands, some three ploughlands and some five ploughlands as the country manner is variable’.62 An even wider variation than this emerges from a study of the survey. By statement or implication, it informs us that the number of ploughlands to a quarter in different parts of Magunihy and Dunkcrron baronies ranged from something less than four to six.63

Definition of Services

It may not be out of place to comment briefly on the list of interesting definitions of services which appear in the survey, sections 13-25. A peculiar feature of these terms is that many of them (garemsloaeg, gallogoloh, kearnty, rout and musteroun ) do not occur subsequently in the text. Some of the terms will be readily recognized by students of the political and military structure of Gaelic (and indeed Old English) society in the period before its collapse while others are relatively unfamiliar and even etymologically obscure.

  1. garemsloaeg:
    gairm sluag, ‘calling up of troops’. This is the well-known 'rising out".
  2. sorren:
    sorthan, soirthean, ‘maintenance’, ‘free quarterage’. The general meaning would appear to be that of a tax or rent in victuals, etc.. extracted from vassals or inferiors.64 Two other defintions of the term may be given here. Carew himself described it as ‘a kind of allowance over and besides the Bonnaghy, which the Galioglas expect [?] upon the poor people by way of spending-money, viz. 2s 8d . for a day and night; to be divided between three spears, for their meat, drink and lodgings’.65 Where it occurs in a list of exactions by the earl of Desmond, it is given as meaning ‘a charge set upon the freeholders' lands for a number of galloglasses for certain days in a quarter.’66. A comparison with the survey definition suggests that the term had no one specific meaning.
  3. sorrenmore:
    sorthan mór, ‘great sorren’.
  4. cuddy:
    cuid oidhche, ‘night's portion’. The ordinary meaning of this well-known term is a night's refection for the lord and his retinue.67 The survey definition does not mention ‘night’ at all, but subsequently in the text it is equated with ‘a refection of a sopper and breakefast’.68 Miss Henley notes a phonetically more correct form, cuddeehih, in B.L. Add. MS 22022.69 The surnames Cuddihy, Quiddihy possibly derive from the term.
  5. dowgollo:
    The first syllable here is clearly dubh in the sense of ‘heavy’ or ‘oppressive’ (as in the familiar dubh-chíos). The etymology of the second clement is obscure. It may perhaps derive from (1) colla, a plural form of colainn, ‘flesh’, ‘carcase’, or (2) colludh, vb., ‘to ruin’; coll, n., ‘loss’, ‘ruin’. On the other hand the scribe's note that the term ‘signifieth Blacke rent’ suggests a corrupt form of dubh-ghabal, gabal meaning ‘tax’ or ‘tribute’.70 See Exchequer Inquisitions (Kerry) Elizabeth William III, P.R.O.I., IA-48-89. p. 103: ‘. . .ut de nigro redditu anglic'dict' Black rent et Hibernice dict Dowgolie . . ..’
  6. gallogobh:
    i.e., gall-óglaigh, ‘galloglasses’. Robert Cowley in a letter to Cromwell in 1537 notes that ‘gallo-ghlaghes are noan other but as a kind of sowchynners, that servcth for their wages and


    not for love ne affection.’71 This mercenary aspect is not mentioned at all in the survey definition where the distinguishing mark of these soldiers appears to be the fact that they carried axes.72
  7. kearnty:
    ceithearn tighe, ‘household troop’. The Middle Irish cethern has the meanings (1) a troop or company of foot-soldiers, and (2) a mercenary soldier, or, in familiar anglicized form, ‘kern’ or ‘kerne’. The meaning given in the survey, ‘light footmen’, is the usual one. The surname Kearney may possibly derive from this term.73
  8. rout:
    Etymology obscure. None of the various meanings of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary or the English Dialect Dictionary seems to be appropriate. Perhaps the term is connected with rout, ‘some kind of horse’ ( O.E.D.). Less likely is the use of ‘rout’ in the sense of ‘a long round of visits or calls’ ( E.D.D.) or ‘to gather together’ ( O.E.D.).
  9. musteroun:
    The survey definition accords with that in the state papers, ‘an impost on a tenant for the sustenance of the lord's builders’,74 and with the meaning given for Musterroon in the list of the earl of Desmond's exactions, ‘a charge set upon the country to help the Earl in his works with cappells, garrans and men at his own will’.75 The derivation of the term is less certain. The normal meaning of ‘muster’ does not seem to be relevant here, except perhaps in the sense of a gathering (of workmen). Dinneen renders the Irish mustrún as ‘a person of consequence locally’. He also refers to the Norman-French mustron, ‘right of service attached to land held’. This would certainly seem suitable but Dinneen's derivation cannot be verified from Early French dictionaries.76
  10. canebeg:
    cáin bheag, ‘a petty tax’. A common feature of thefiscal organization of a Gaelic lordship was the imposition of a small land-tax for the benefit of the lord's wife. It is perhaps the most frequently mentioned tribute in this survey. A similar tax, cíos or fiacha baintiarnain ('lady's rent'), in terms of gold or silver, is mentioned in the early fourteenth-century Suim Tigearnais Meic na Mara.77 In a note dated June 1587 describing the organization of the O'Sullivan Beare lordship, it is stated that ‘the standing rent due to O'Sullivan out or upon his country is but 40l., and that itself was ever allotted to the lady for the time being towards her idle expenses
    78 In Welsh society a tribute of food and drink was likewise payable to the chieftain's wife.79
  11. quirren:
    Probably coirín, dim. of coire, ‘pot’, ‘cauldron’,meaning a small container of some sort.80 The scribe defines it as ‘a measure of a pottle or fower pounde’. A ‘pottle’ is an obsolete liquid capacity measure equivalent to four pints.81
  12. sroan:
    Almost certainly srón, ‘nose’, as a synonym for an individual, more unusual, but no less rational, than the similar use of ‘poll’, ‘head’, ‘hand’ or ‘body’. Here it is an expression for a man's ration. Elsewhere it is a term for a poll-tax: almsa as cech sróin o Fermit Muighi, ‘a nose-tax from Fermoy’; cf. Old Norse nef-gildi, ‘nose tax’.82


About 240 place-names are mentioned in the survey, most of them being townland names. Other denominations also occur, some of which are now obsolete. Though Butler identifies a number of place-names, his Gleanings does not substantiate his claim that he was ‘able to find most of these townlands on the modern six-inch Ordnance maps’.83


Equally without substance is his assertion that S.T. MacCarthy ‘gives identifications of nearly all the townlands mentioned in the Survey’.84 In fact, MacCarthy deals with only a handful of names.85

The names, of course, are of great interest and invite comparison with later forms—those, for example, in the Books of Survey and Distribution. Elizabethan renderings of Irish place-names are commonly regarded as barbarous, yet many of the names occurring in the survey are a good deal less mangled than seventeenth-century forms, and not a few are phonetically nearer to their Gaelic originals than their modern equivalents. Considerable time has been spent in investigating the place-names, the great majority of which have been identified on the six-inch Ordnance Survey maps: the exigencies of time did not permit further study of the remainder. The sensible remarks of another editor are pertinent here, and indeed they apply to all editorial work of this nature: ‘
but a great many points that the editor would like to be able to explain and to understand more fully himself remain obscure. This is due simply to the fact that the task of searching for the answers to all these questions would have turned the volume into a life's work. At the same time, inability to explain everything that needs to be explained has not seemed to the editor to be a sound reason for refraining from giving what information he can.’86

All identified place-names are indexed under the modern spelling as given in the Townland Index (1877 edition). The versions found in the text are given in the index in their appropriate alphabetical position. Names which raise a particular point of interest are referred to in footnotes to the text. It should be understood that identifications given are modern equivalents of the name-forms occurring in the survey: the location or extent of any sixteenth-century denomination may be different from its present-day counterpart.

I should like to express my thanks to the archbishop of Canterbury and the trustees of Lambeth Palace Library for permission to inspect Carew Manuscript 625 and to publish the relevant folios, and also to Mr. Wyndham, owner of the Petworth manuscript, for permission to have it microfilmed for my use. I am also obliged to Professor Myles Dillon who kindly lent me his transcript of folios 22 recto-39 verso of Carew Manuscript 625.

John A. Murphy