Farm Labour Account Book 1806-7

A discovery by Martin Whyte, related to Mountbellew Estate.

Jimmy Laffey

As Martin Whyte, a painting and decorating contractor by profession, originally from Summerville, Moylough but now resident in Moanbaun, Athenry, was renovating Mick Carroll’s cottage, in the townland of Lismoes near Vermount in Menlough, he made a discovery of a “Farm Labour Account Book” dated 1807-8. That was around 1996 and it lay virtually unopened, but safely preserved, by Martin for over 25 years until he made contact with the Skehana & District Heritage Group, in September 2021, to seek our opinions.  Both Martin and ourselves were acutely aware of its significance immediately. As it is in a very fragile condition, given its age, we had this carefully scanned, reprinted, laminated and bound by Cantec in Galway and the final output is absolutely brilliant – all 71 pages.

The ledger contains a daily summary report of work done and total wages paid while on the opposite page is the roll-call of labourers recording their names and the days on which each man, or members of his family, was hired. The names listed are tenants of the estate, who were bound by a clause in their lease agreement to work for the landlord on any days that he required. But the ledger contains so much more regarding the actual activities and tasks as well as other placenames.

From the great research already done by Joe Clarke, Mountbellew, on the Bellew family it was possible for us to connect its origin to the Bellew Estate in Mountbellew. We are most grateful to Joe for willing sharing this with us and shining a light on the document and its contents. A special thank you to Martin Whyte for preserving and sharing this document with us and we also wish to acknowledge the financial support and guidance given to Martin and ourselves by Marie Mannion, Galway County Heritage Officer. This will be of immense interest locally but is also of national significance.

You can download the pdfs here (in three parts due to website limitations) or if you would like to receive a single file copy of the pdf please email us on [email protected]. Also please refer to Joe Clarke’s Observations below for additional explanatory information – it is indeed fascinating. Mark Walsh, of the Tuam Herald, did a most informative story on the ‘Vermount Ledger’, as christened by Joe Clarke, and you can read this below also.

Bellew Account Ledger Pages 01-23

Bellew Account Ledger Pages 24-47

Bellew Account Ledger Pages 48-71

Joe Clarke’s Initial Observations.

Tuam Herald Feature Page 1

Tuam Herald Feature Page 2


This page was added on 01/04/2022.

Comments about this page

  • Wonderful to see these unique (and vulnerable) historical records digitally preserved and made available to historians and researchers.

    By Lorna Elms (05/04/2022)
  • Thank you for making a copy of this account book available. I believe my 4x GG, John Fahey, is one of the labourers mentioned. His 6 sons emigrated to Australia in 1841 and I am descended from William.

    By Margaret Dwyer (03/04/2022)
  • Thanks Margaret for your comments and we are delighted that you have been able to connect your ancestors to the names contained therein.

    Jimmy Laffey PRO.

    By jlaffey (03/04/2022)
  • Thanks so much for sharing his golden finding!
    Would anyone have a clue as to how much basic food and other necessities were in the early 1800s in Ireland? To estimate payment for workers.
    I have requested a pdf, thanks so much!
    PS I have related to the Geraghtys of Moylough. Anyone else of them out there?

    By John Kenny (02/04/2022)

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