The Books of Survey and Distribution were compiled by the English
government at the end of the 17th century to establish a reliable
record of landowners in Ireland for the purpose of imposing rent
(the Quit Rent). The Books incorporate information collected during
earlier surveys – the Strafford, Civil and Down
Surveys – detailing the names of proprietors who forfeited
their land under the Cromwellian Settlement of 1641 and the amount
and quality of land they held. The names of those to whom this
land was granted, under various Acts between 1662 and 1703, is
The land of county Clare was reserved for ‘Innocent Papists’,
i.e. Catholics from other counties who had not taken arms against
Cromwell but were transplanted to make room for new English settlers,
and also to the O’Briens, a native Clare family which supported
The original Books of Survey and Distribution are held in the
National Archives and the section relating to Clare was published
by the Irish Manuscripts Commission (1967).
The transcription given here is taken from James
Frost’s The History and Topography of the County of
Clare (1893) and comprises proprietors in 1641 and those
to whom land was disposed, arranged by barony, parish and townland.
It also includes Frost’s extensive notes, indicated here
by superscript numbers in square brackets which link to the relevant
note. In turn, the 'Notes' section itself can be used to refer
back to the main text via the link in each note. The 1659
Census and Dineley's
Journal, referred to throughout Frost's notes, are available
on this site.
Clare County Library wishes to
Local Studies Project
for preparation of raw text for this project.