Clare County Library
Clare Genealogy
Home | Library Catalogue | Foto | Maps | Places | Archaeology | History | Search this Website | Copyright Notice | Visitors' Book | Contact Us | What's New

Inhabitants of Scattery Island, Shannon Estuary, Co. Clare by Senan Scanlan

3.1 Inhabitants after 1840: Inhabitants to 1850

As already stated the island was owned in 1825 by Sir Christopher Marrett of Limerick and after his daughter Hannah Maria married Francis Keane[15] of Ennis, in July 1827, it appears that Scattery Island was leased to her husband. Francis Keane then built a summerhouse on the island and one of his daughters Susanna was baptised in Kilrush on 22nd December 1840[16]. He is also mentioned as a cess-payer in the Clare Journal of 4th April 1839 and living in Cappa, Kilrush. Ejectments outlined below against some of the existing inhabitants took place before the lease was transferred to Keane in 1833 or 1834, possibly to give him an island free from encumbrances. Table 1 in the previous section showing a reduced native population by 1841 seems to indicate that these ejectments were successful.

Main Street, Scattery Island
Main Street, Scattery Island

The Corporation of the City of Limerick, No 9, 10 and 11.
24/05/1828 Chamberlain's Account Current, Summer Assizes:

Paid: carriage parcel from Furlong & Sons with ejectments to be served on Scattery.
2s -6d

Paid: Mr Robert Murphy, high constable, amount of expenses incurred in taking a sail-boat, with pilot, constables, and other assistants, for three days, to Scattery Island, for the purpose of affecting the service of ejectments

and on the 04/06/1828, Paid: Mr Holland commissioner for swearing affidavit of service ejectment on Scattery
2s -6d

and on the 30th June 1828, paid same, balance and costs of ejectment, proceedings and trial at Cork, relative to Scattery Island

and on the 22nd July 1829 paid expenses to City Sheriffs, high constable, police, boatmen, and assistants with keepers going down and taking possession of under Habere, of Scattery, the watchmen continuing there and retaining the island for the use of the corporation

No 13 Account for 8th March 1830 states, paid amount of rent to 1st February 1830,allowed by order of council to Wm H C Marrett, Esq, for Scattery Island

and on April 3rd 1830 , paid balance of expenses incurred for keeping possession of Scattery Island

Ejectments Books
However an examination of the nine Ejectment Books for Clare
[18] covering the period 1824 to 1842 does not show any ejectments for Scattery. It is envisaged that these ejectments may have been recorded in the Limerick Ejectment Books which for this period do not survive. A search of the Clare Journal and Ennis Advertiser for 1828 which carried news of many pending ejectments did not show any for Scattery Island. In 1833 the Rent Roll of the Corporation of Limerick still lists Sir C Marrett as tenant for Scattery at an annual rent of £34 -2-6 and after this or in 1834 this lease was transferred to Francis Keane.

Keane Deed
Francis Keane is listed in Griffith's as the immediate lessor and a search of the Registry of Deeds shows that Christopher Marrett granted lands to Francis Keane in deed reference number 886/467/586967
[19] dated August 1830. These lands however were in East Clare, Tipperary and in Limerick City the deed does not specifically mention Scattery Island. In 1878 when Francis Keane is granting and assigning land including Scattery Island to his brother or nephew, Marcus Keane in the deed detailed below reference number 58/48/1608[20]. This deed mentions an earlier deed of the 24th December 1830 but this may also refer to the other land detailed in the deed.

“A Memorial of an Indenture bearing date 31st December 1875 between Francis Nathaniel Keane, Hermitage in the County of Clare Esquire of the first part Thomas Pilkington of Water Park in the County of Clare Esquire of the second part and Marcus Keane of Beechpark in the County of Clare Esquire of the third part. After reciting as therein said Indenture witnessed that the said Francis Nathaniel Keane and Thomas Pilkington each of them according to his respective estates and interests in the premises for the consideration therein mentioned did grant convey assign and assure unto the said Marcus Keane his heirs exors admors and assigns all that and those firstly the Island of Inniscattery otherwise Scattery Island situate lying and being in the River Shannon formally in the liberties of the City of Limerick but now in the Barony of Moyarta and the County of Clare with every of the rights members and appurtenances unto the said Marcus Keane his exors admors and assigns for and during the full term of thirty one years to commence from the death of the said Francis Nathaniel Keane as conveyed and granted by a certain Indenture of lease of the 24th December 1830 in the Indenture of which this is a Memorial in part recited (but subject to yearly rents covenants and conditions in the said therein recited Indenture of lease of the 24th December 1830 contained) upon and to the use of the said Marcus Keane his heirs exors admors and assigns for his and their sole use and benefit and secondly part of the farm and lands of Gower Island called the House Division and the Curragh therein particularly mentioned and described situate in the Barony of Moyarta and the County of Clare to hold unto the said Marcus Keane his heirs and assigns as in the said Indenture mentioned and thirdly all that part of the lands of Gower situate in the Parish of Kilmacduane Barony of Moyarta and the County of Clare excepting as therein to hold unto the said Marcus Keane his heirs and assigns as therein and subject as therein to the use of the said Marcus Keane his heirs assigns absolutely and which Deed contains other covenants, conditions and clauses and which said Deed as to the execution thereof by the said Francis Nathaniel Keane and Thomas Pilkington is witnessed by Michael Shannon of Mill Street, Ennis in the County of Clare Merchant and Matthew Keane of Mill Street Ennis in the said County of Clare Merchant and as to the execution thereof by the said Marcus Keane is witnessed by the said Matthew Keane of Mill Street Ennis in the County of Clare Merchant and Richard Lewis of Military Road Ennis in the County of Clare writing clerk and the execution of this Memorial by the said Marcus Keane is witnessed by the said Matthew Keane and the said Richard Lewis.

Signed and Sealed by the said Marcus Keane in the presence of Matthew Keane of Mill Street, Ennis Co Clare Merchant, Richard Lewis of Military Road, Ennis Co of Clare writing clerk.

The above named Matthew Keane maketh oath and saith he is subscribing witness to the Deed of which the foregoing writing is a Memorial and also to said Memorial and that he saw said Deed duly executed by the said Francis Nathaniel Keane and Thomas Pilkington and said Deed and this Memorial respectively duly executed by the said Marcus Keane and that the name Matthew Keane subscribed as a witness to said Deed and Memorial respectively is this deponents proper name and handwriting. Sworn before me at Ennis in the County of Clare this 30th day of December 1878 a commissioner of Her Majesty's Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland for talking affidavits in and for the County of Clare and I know the deponent.
Signed: John J Tweedy (two minutes after Three O'clock 31 Dec 1878”.

(Robert Keane of Beech Park born 1774, his son Francis Nathaniel of Hermitage (born 1803) married Hannah Maria, daughter of Sir Christopher Marrett of Limerick and Francis leased Scattery from the Marrett's probably in 1833 or 1834 and it is he who would have leased Scattery Island to the pilots in 1844/1845. Francis's brother Marcus Keane of Beech Park (born 1815) also married well to Louisa Isabella daughter of Nicholas Westby who owned over 25,000 acres in Clare and Marcus acted as Westby's agent or land stewart. Marcus son also Marcus (born 1854) would have been 21 years old when the above deed was drawn up the deed does not identify which Marcus inherited Scattery. In 1876 Marcus Keane senior owned 4784 acres in Clare. Thomas Pilkington mentioned in this deed was also married to a Keane. Deeds were normally not registered for some time usually up to two years after they were executed.)

By the early 1840s the inhabitants of the island included the Moran and the Hehir families who had been on the island for some time. The earliest date on a Moran’s tombstone is 1805 with 1815 being the earliest on a Hehir's stone. Oral information states that the Morans came from Kerry as either fisherman or water bailiffs while the Hehirs came from Kilkishen in East Clare as farmers and herdsmen. However an examination of the Landed Estate Court Rentals[21] dated the 2nd March 1866 suggest that a number of other families had land leased from Francis Keane on the island in 1843 as follows:

Jeremiah Hehir 25 acres, Michael Crotty 4 acres, John Fall (Faul) 4 acres, John Mahony 4 acres and John Connor 4 acres, all are listed as tenants from year to year determined on the 25th March each year. The Battery would also have been occupied at this time by approximately twenty five people including the Master Gunner and his family. The population of the island in 1841 was 65 (including probably 25 soldiers and 20 revenue).There is no reference to the Morans in any lease which would suggest that they were fishermen rather than farmers. Including the Battery which had four acres the total amount of land leased or purchased was forty five Irish acres leaving fifty eight acres to be leased in 1843. In addition it is possible that some of the following families could have been on the island in 1843 as the birth records indicate[22] that Thomas and Peggy Bonfill had a son Thomas born January 1840, Patrick and L Corry a son John, born c1841 and a son Patrick born December 1843, Pete and Biddy Honnan had a son Thomas born July 1840 and Sinon and Nancy Mahony had a daughter Mary born September 1841.

An event in March 1843 occurred that was to bring a number of additional families from the Kilbaha to Carrigaholt areas in West Clare to the island and is described as follows in the Clare Journal[23] 1843 Thursday 16th March.

“On Monday last the Kilbaha pilots observed a dismasted vessel about nine miles W.N.W, off the heads to which they immediately proceeded and boarded her. They found her completely deserted, not a living soul on board. She turns out to be the Windsor Castle of Liverpool which from papers on board is supposed to have cleared from Bombay in August last, with a cargo of cotton, indigo, sugar and spices &c. By great exertions these hardy sons of the ocean succeeded in bringing her to anchor off Kilbaha. Here we are sorry to say the people on the coast endeavoured to get on board, evidently with the intention of plunder but those men effectually beat off their assailants and preserved the property of the vessel. ---.”

By October of 1843 those that salvaged the Windsor Castle were compensated as described in this extract[24] again from the Clare Journal of 16th October.

“The Kilbaha salvors will be highly gratified to know that Dr Auster, Registrar, of the Court of Admiralty, will attend at Kilrush on Wednesday next, the 18th instant, to pay them proportionately, a gross sum of £4711-17s for the assistance given the Windsor Castle Indiaman, when derelict off Loop Head. The number of salvors, to receive compensation, averaging £110 to £163 each, is thirty four.” As the salvage money from the Windsor Castle played a significant role in the recent history of the island a full description including the names of the beneficiaries is given in section six on the Western Pilots.

Initially six of the pilots each using some of their salvage money ranging from £110 to £163 leased land on Scattery Island from the landlord Francis Keane and the following are the names listed in the Landed Estate Court Rental[25] of March 1866 as having leases on the island in 1844, Patrick Brennan leased 6 acres, Michael Griffin 12 acres, Michael Hanrahan 6 acres, Austin McMahon 6 acres, all from 3rd March 1844 for three lives. John Melican and Michael Scanlan 6 acres each from 10th June 1845 for three lives. On the 6th February 1846 a Patrick Falls leased 4 acres and on the 1st February 1848 two further pilots Patrick Brennan and Tim Costelloe together leased just over 10 acres. These combined leases total almost 57 of the available 58 Irish acres outlined above. For most of the next hundred years these individuals and their descendants together with the already established Hehir and Moran families are the main inhabitants of Scattery Island. It is not known why some of these families did not come to the island until 1845 but it may be that not enough houses were available or that some of the houses needed repairs to make them habitable. From the censuses summaries the number of houses increased from 9 in 1841 to 15 in 1851. It may be assumed that most or all of the 9 existing houses were taken by the incoming pilot families and the native Hehirs. Six houses must have been built or upgraded to accommodate the new tenants as follows Michael Hanrahan (Pilot), Patrick Faul, John Connors, John Crotty, John Faul and John Mahony all labourers. These six houses are located between Griffins’ and the Master Gunner's house as detailed in Griffith's Valuation of 1855 It is likely that the Patrick Brennan and Tim Costelloe who leased land in 1848 lived in Marcus Keane's Summerhouse.

Back Arrow
2 Early Inhabitants to 1840
Up Arrow
Forward Arrow
3.2 Background of Families