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PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE of NORTHERN IRELAND

 
The Lissadell Papers (D/4131)

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Summary.
Gaps in the archive.
Destruction of records?
Strengths of the surviving archive.
Family history to 1830.
The Gores from c.1660 to c.1760.
The windfall of the Booth inheritance.
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th baronets.
The Gore-Booth estates in Co. Sligo.
Irish title deeds and leases.
Purchases, leases and sales.
The Burton Irwin estate.
Salford and Manchester.
Asset-stripping the English estate.
A poor exchange.
Lissadell household, demesne and estate accounts.
Correspondence, etc, 1827-1987.
The Great Famine and Sir Robert's 'coffin ship'.
The trials of an Evangelical dowager.
A family tragedy.
Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Bt (1843-1900).
A mainly Polar archive.
Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth, 6th Bt (1869-1944) and his siblings.
Sir Josslyn's estate and business correspondence and diaries.
Co-ops, munitions and knitting.
Correspondence of Mary, Lady Gore-Booth.
Personal, business and Second World War correspondence, c.1925-1987.
A Communist brother who 'did time' in Pentonville.
Constance, Countess Markievicz, 1868-1927.
The history of Constance Markievicz's letters.
The content of Constance's letters.
Eva Gore-Booth, 1870-1926.
Newspaper cuttings, scrap-books, etc.
Photograph albums and photographs.
Irish maps, plans and surveys.
The S., L. and N.C.R..
Miscellaneous, mainly family history, material.
Miscellaneous rental and deed material, possibly of Burton Irwin provenance.
Arrangement of the archive.


Lady Gore-Booth (second wife of Sir Robert, 4th Bt)


Constance and Eva Gore-Booth

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Summary.

The Lissadell papers currently occupy 168 PRONI boxes, the contents of some of which have been microfilmed. In addition, five large metal deed boxes (equating to c.30 PRONI boxes) of deeds and leases relating to the Salford and Manchester estate of the Gore-Booth family are covered by the PRONI list, but remain physically in Manchester, where they are still of regular, if infrequent, administrative use. Further material, either covered by the list or as yet unexamined by PRONI, remains in family possession, but is destined for PRONI. The largest category is the papers of the late Miss Aideen Gore-Booth, which the owner and depositor has offered to go through with a view to eliminating all that is obviously of no historical significance.

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Gaps in the archive

Worryingly, there are still many gaps (according to the evidence of the abundant schedules which survive in the archive) among both the Irish and English documents of title.

In the case of the Irish documents of title, it has been ascertained that many papers lodged with the Irish Land Commission were never returned and therefore are still with that body in its new location in the National Archives, Bishop Street, Dublin. In the case of the English documents of title, the gaps in the material recorded on the schedules is less explicable. However, many leases of parts of the Salford and Manchester estate must have served as title deeds to a long succession of mortgagees, and may have been lost in the process of assignment and re-assignment of these mortgages; and many others were as a matter of estate policy handed over as title deeds to the purchasers of the freehold when such purchases were made.

Yet, even if every document of title recorded on the schedules were to turn up (which is not probable), the fact remains that the Lissadell archive would still be disappointingly 'modern'. In particular, it would lack 17th and 18th-century correspondence, rentals and accounts, would have few pre-1850s Irish leases and would have few Irish rentals of the Gore-Booth estate for any part of the 19th century.

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Destruction of records?

Some confusion exists about the reason for the comparative 'modernity' of at least the Irish side of the archive. It used to be thought that the old, bow-windowed house at Lissadell, situated near the present house but right on the shore of Sligo Bay, was destroyed by fire, and that its destruction made necessary the building of the present house in the early 1830s. However, what seems to have happened is that the old house was deliberately demolished in 1833, after the new house became ready or nearly ready for occupation; so its demolition ought not to have given rise to the destruction of archive material. What is more probable is that a good deal of archive material (especially pre-1850 Irish leases) was kept in the Estate Office, which was located in the stable block at some distance from the new house and was destroyed by an accidental or (more likely) malicious fire in 1941.

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Strengths of the surviving archive.

In spite of its disappointingly late start, the archive possesses considerable strengths. It must be a major source for the history of Salford and Manchester from the mid-18th century until recent times. It includes documentation of Sir Robert Gore-Booth, 4th Bt's, important (in national terms) role in sponsoring assisted emigration and other famine relief measures in the middle decades of the 19th century, and his less controversial art-historical role in building the Greek Revival Lissadell. Its early 20th century Irish material is also of importance. This is because of Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth, 6th Bt's, involvement in the Co-operative Movement, as well as his passionate interest in farming, horticulture and commercial timber which had the practical effect that, by the time Land Purchase became compulsory, c.3,000 acres of the Lissadell estate were in hand and as a result survived until long after his death as probably the largest privately-owned agricultural unit in Ireland.

The early 20th century papers of his two sisters are of self-explanatory significance: Constance, Countess Markievicz, was a leading light in the 1916 Rebellion and the first woman to be elected to the British House of Commons (even though she did not take her seat), among other claims to fame, and Eva Gore-Booth, her beloved sister, though overshadowed by Constance, is of considerable interest in her own right. The papers relating to them, which mainly derive from Eva, include unabbreviated versions of Constance's letters from prison, c.1916-1921, which amplify the text published by Eva's literary executor, Esther Roper, in 1934. In view of the fact that Eva and Constance had not lived at Lissadell for many years prior to their deaths (in 1926 and 1927 respectively), and were considerably estranged from their family, the presence in the archive of this material is an unexpected bonus.

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Family history to 1830.

The Gore family first came to prominence in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, with Gerald Gore, a London Alderman, the son of John Gore. Gerald had eight sons, and died in 1607 aged 91. The extinct (since 1802) Earls of Ross, the Earls of Arran, the Lords Harlech and the Gore-Booths descend from the seventh son of Gerald, Sir Paul Gore, a successful soldier of fortune in late Elizabethan Ireland, who was granted substantial estates in the north-west and was created a baronet in 1622. He put down roots in Ireland, was elected M.P. for Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, and died in 1629. It was he who built the castle of Ardtermon on the shore of Drumcliff Bay about two miles west of the present Lissadell. Its angle towers and protective bawn betoken its seriously defensive purpose.

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The Gores from c.1660 to c.1760.

Sir Paul's son, Sir Francis of Ardtermon, was the direct ancestor of the present Gore-Booth family of Lissadell. Sir Francis co-operated with the Cromwellians, yet reconciled himself with the Royalists and was granted land at the Restoration. He was elected M.P. for Co. Sligo in 1661. He married Anne Parke, surviving daughter and heiress of Capt. Robert Parke of Newtown Manor or Castle, alias Parke's Castle, just across the country boundary into Leitrim. She died in 1671, having borne Sir Francis nine sons and four daughters.

In 1678, the eldest son and heir of Sir Francis and Anne Gore, Sir Robert Gore of Newtown, Co. Leitrim, married Frances Newcomen, daughter of Sir Thomas Newcomen of Sutton, Co. Dublin. They had seven sons and four daughters. Sir Robert died in 1705 and was succeeded by Nathaniel, his eldest son. In 1711 Nathaniel married Letitia, the only child and heiress of Humphrey Booth of Dublin, a Cromwellian who was 'Titulado' of Sligo; and through this connection there eventually (1789) came into the family the already-mentioned, considerable estates in Manchester and Salford. They had two sons and three daughters. At some point during this period, Ardtermon Castle was burnt out by accident. Worse still, in 1751, the Newtown estate which Anne Parke had brought into the Gore family and which then comprised 6,500 acres, appears to have been sold to one John Whyte of Dublin, and passed out of Gore-Booth possession and family history.

Booth, the eldest son of Nathaniel and Letitia Gore, was made a baronet of Ireland in 1760. He is described as being 'of Lissadell' rather than of Ardtermon. This Lissadell must have been the old house on the shore of Drumcliff Bay, which was demolished in 1833, as the mansion erected by his grandson, the fourth baronet, neared completion. Sir Booth Gore, 1st Bt, married his cousin, Emily, daughter of Brabazon Newcomen, and they had two sons and a daughter.

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The windfall of the Booth inheritance.

Meanwhile, his younger brother, John Gore, had been left the estates of the childless Booth family (mainly in Salford, Pendlebury, Pendleton and Weaster, but including property in Ancoats, Ardwick, Chorlton, Long Millgate and elsewhere in Manchester) by his second cousin, Robert Booth of Salford (d.1758). John Gore assumed the additional surname of Booth, but himself died childless in 1789, leaving the Salford and Manchester estate to his nephew, Sir Booth Gore, 2nd Bt. So, as a result of a bewildering series of childless marriages and deaths, the Gore baronets of Lissadell, succeeded to the Booth estate in Salford and Manchester, in addition to their patrimonial Gore estate in Sligo.

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The 2nd, 3rd and 4th baronets.

Sir Booth Gore, 2nd Bt, who had succeeded his father in 1773 and uncle, John Gore Booth, in 1789, lived at Huntercombe House, Buckinghamshire, and periodically at Lissadell. James McParlan's Statistical Survey of Co. Sligo (Dublin, 1801) lists Sir Booth Gore as an absentee, and his brother, Capt. (Robert Newcomen) Gore as a resident. This suggests that the younger brother (who had been made a captain in 1777 and therefore cannot have stayed long in the army, or been much good at it, if he was still only a captain in 1801), lived at Lissadell and looked after the estate in the owner's absence. Sir Booth Gore died, unmarried, in 1804.

He was succeeded as third baronet by Capt. Robert Newcomen Gore, then a bachelor in his sixties, who dutifully married almost immediately. His wife was Hannah, daughter of Henry Irwin of Streamstown, Co. Sligo. Sir Robert Newcomen Gore was the third baronet but the first to assume, on 30 August 1804, the additional surname and arms of Booth. He and Hannah had two sons and a daughter. The elder son, Sir Robert, 4th Bt (1805-1876), the builder of the present Lissadell, succeeded at the age of nine to the title and estates following his father's early death in 1814.

Sir Robert married on 23 March 1827 the Hon. Caroline King, daughter of the 1st Viscount Lorton; she died along with their newly born child in the following January. A widower by the age of 23, Sir Robert married secondly in 1830 Caroline Susan Goold, daughter of Thomas Goold of 20 Merrion Square, Dublin (and Dromada, Co. Limerick?), Serjeant-at-Law and subsequently a Master in Chancery.

From this point on, when the archive gathers momentum, family history, building history and the history of the estate more or less dovetail with a description of the archive; so the two will now be provided in tandem. (A much more detailed account of family history will be found in the introduction to PRONI's list of the archive.)

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The Gore-Booth estates in Co. Sligo.

The estates in Co. Sligo which Sir Robert either inherited or purchased totalled c.32,000 statute acres. The townlands comprising his inherited Lissadell estate in the mid-19th century, according to Griffith's Valuation, all located in the barony of Carbury, Co. Sligo, were as follows:

Ardboline Island Ardtermon
Ardtrasna Attiduff
Ballineden Ballinphull
Ballintemple Ballygilgan
Ballymuldorry Ballynagalliagh
Barnarobin Carrigeens
Cartronmore Cartronwilliamoge
Clogh Cloghboley
Cloghcor Cloonderry
Clooneen Cloonelly
Cloonmull Cooladrumman Upper
Coolagraffy Cullaghbeg
Cullaghmore Curraghmore
Doonfore Doonowney
Drinaghan Drumcliff
Drumcliff Bay (adjoining Finned) Drumcliff Bay (adjoining Lissadell)
Edencullentrgah or Hollyfield Finned
Glencarbury Gleniff
Gortarowey Gorteen
Gortnadrung Gortnahoula
Horse Island Islands, 3, 4, 5
Kelloges Kellogyboy
Kilmacannon Lecklasser
Lissadill Moneyahan
Moodoge Mullinfad
Oughtagorey Raghly
Shancrock Slievemore or Kingsmountain
Urlar

The townlands comprising his Ballymote estate (which he purchased in 1833), mostly in the barony of Corran, Co. Sligo, but a few in the barony of Tirerril, were as follows:

Ardloy Ardnaglass
Ardrea Ballinvoher
Ballybrennan Ballymote (Main Street)
Ballymote (Market Street) Ballymote (Market Street -Stoneparks)
Ballymote (Mill Street - Rathnakilliga) Bearlough
Bellanascarrow East Bellanascarrow West
Bricklieve Bunnamuck
Camross Cappagh
Carnaweeleen Carrickrathmullin
Carrigans Carrigeenmore
Carrowcauly or Earlsfield Carrowcushely
Carownacreevy Carrownanty
Carrownree Cloonagashel
Cloonagun Cloonbannan
Clooneen Cloonena
Cloonshanbally Cluid
Coolboy Coolskeagh
Corhober Daghloonagh
Derroon Doomore
Doonmeegin Drumaneel
Drumcormick Drumdiveen
Drumnagranshy Emlaghgissan
Finisklin Graniamore
Greyfield Knockadalteen
Keenlaghan Knockbrack
Knockgrania Knockmoynagh
Knocknacroy Knocknagore
Lavally
Lissananny More Listrush
Maghera Murillyroe
Rathdoony Beg Rathdoony More
Rathnakelliga Roscrib East
Roscrib West Sniggeen
Stoneparks Tawnaghmore
Tawnalion Woodfield

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Irish title deeds and leases

There is a series of very useful and informative (granted the gaps in the originals) schedules and inventories, 1855-1908 and 1947, of title deeds, wills, leases, mortgages, deeds of settlement, etc, going back to 1628.

Wills and related papers run from 1774 to 1938 (the earliest wills in date are of the Booth family and relate to the English property). There are title deeds to the Lissadell estate, together with deeds of settlement, mortgage, etc, exclusively affecting that estate, 1777-1957, and similar title deeds to the larger Ballymote estate, 1670, 1833, 1835, 1849-51, 1864, 1867 and 1892-1971, including an attested copy of the grant of Charles II confirming the estate to the Earl of Carlingford, 25 March [1670].

The purchase of the Ballymote estate, made by Sir Robert Gore-Booth, 4th Bt, in 1833, almost trebled his Co. Sligo rental. The vendors were the Fitzmaurice family, Earls of Orkney, and the cost to Sir Robert was £130,000.

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Purchases, leases and sales.

There are also a number of deeds and leases, 1759, 1836, 1842, 1863 and 1872, relating to purchases of additional Co. Sligo townlands and impropriate tithes made by Sir Robert Gore-Booth in the middle years of the 19th century to augment or round off both the Lissadell and Ballymote estates. Deeds of settlement, mortgage, etc, relating to more than one of these estates (including some combining the English and Irish properties), or relating to no estate in particular, run from 1876 to c.1930. Lissadell and Ballymote leases include an isolated document relating to Shancargin, a townland on the Ballymote estate, 1680, and run with reasonable density from 1754 to 1964. There is also a quantity of Irish Land Commission sale papers relating to both estates, c.1890-c.1930.

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The Burton Irwin estate.

The Co. Sligo estate which is best-documented in terms of surviving title deed and lease material is actually neither Lissadell nor Ballymote, but the estate of Burton Irwin of Streamstown, Co. Sligo (the Sligo part of which was left to Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Bt, on Irwin's death in 1898), and part of which (Cletta, etc), confusingly, was held under the Fitzmaurice family, from whom Sir Robert Gore-Booth had bought the Ballymote estate in 1833. The numerous deeds and leases relating to the Irwin estate are dated 1628, 1735, 1774, 1791 and 1801-1960.

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Salford and Manchester.

The title deed and lease material relating to Salford and Manchester begins with the already-mentioned five outsize deed boxes of leases, 1698-1960s, brought temporarily to Lissadell for inspection, but usually (and now) held by Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth's Manchester solicitors, who have made an inventory of their contents.

The Salford and Manchester title deed and lease material (principally the former) held by PRONI consists of 10 boxes, 1635-1870, beginning with the will of Humphrey Booth, by which he endowed the church of Sacred Trinity, Salford, and founded 'The Booth Charities' for the relief of the Salford poor. (It is indicative of the wealth of Humphrey Booth that the lands with which the charity was endowed were producing £18,000 a year in 1910.)

Salford and Manchester rentals and accounts are dated 1807, 1809, 1831-1834, 1843, 1861-1899, 1941-1956 and 1983-1984. There are also some significant maps and plans of the Salford and Manchester property, 1761, 1807, [c.1810?], [c.1840], 1842, 1864 and 1871-1914.

Salford and Manchester estate correspondence is voluminous, and runs from 1813 to 1956. There is also a separate run of files, 1911-1922, relating to the recondite lawsuit taken by Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth, 6th Bt, as patron of Sacred Trinity, Salford, because of a dispute between the Bishop of Manchester and him over ritual and the right of presentation.

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Asset-stripping the English estate

It is only when the mid-19th century title deed and other material for the Irish and English estates is considered in conjunction, that a coherent picture of family finances emerges.

Sir Robert Gore-Booth's expenditure of £130,000 on the purchase of Ballymote in 1833, plus his contemporary expenditure of £11,000 on the building of the present house at Lissadell (to say nothing of the further cost of furnishing it and planting the demesne), represent capital outlay on a fairly staggering scale. It is clear from the Salford and Manchester section of the archive that Sir Robert raised the purchase money of Ballymote mainly by a mortgage of £20,000 secured on the English estate and by selling English chief rents to the value of another £79,000. This sum of £99,000 was raised during the first half of 1833 alone, and was preceded and succeeded by other sales and mortgages of Salford and Manchester property. By 1853, the mortgage had been increased to £50,000, still secured on the English estate.

These facts and figures throw some doubt on the tradition, dating from at least 1881, that Sir Robert mortgaged the Lissadell estate to the tune of £40,000 or £50,000 in order to finance famine relief measures: he did not mortgage the Lissadell estate, but rather freed it from an inherited encumbrance of £12,000; and the mortgage of £20,000-50,000 raised off Salford and Manchester mainly ante-dated the catastrophe of the famine and is more likely to have paid for the balance of the Ballymote purchase than for famine relief.

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A poor exchange.

The Salford and Manchester rentals tell their own story of the in-roads made into that estate. The earliest rental, for 1807, states the annual rent from the estate as £6,240. In 1834, after the sales made to enable the purchase of Ballymote, the rent received for the June half-year was £898, with an arrear of £172. In 1843 the half-year's rental was £1,084; in 1880, it was £1,434.

Clearly, Sir Robert had made a conscious, dynastic decision to concentrate the Gore-Booth family's resources and influence on Co. Sligo. In economic terms, it was hardly wise to sell fixed, but gilt-edged, English rents at the height of the Industrial Revolution and in the area most affected by it, to buy Irish land in what proved with hindsight to be the decade before the Great Famine. In social and political terms, however, the decision to build Lissadell and almost treble the Sligo rental paid off in that it ultimately led to Sir Robert's election as M.P. for Co. Sligo, 1850-1876, and to his appointment as Lieutenant of the county.

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Lissadell household, demesne and estate accounts

Nearly all the rest of the Irish estate material consists of series of volumes and other papers, running mainly from the middle of the 19th century, which document in great detail the management of the household, gardens, demesne, home farm, etc, at Lissadell.

These consist of: 10 game books, 1846-1864 and 1890-1945; 7 day books and other volumes relating to household consumption, 1851-1854, 1878-1881 and 1895-1943; 8 dairy books, 1855-1857, 1861-1868 and 1901-1943; 15 pantry or consumption books, 1893-1942; bound and loose balance sheets, private ledgers, etc, kept by Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth, 6th Bt, 1902-1937; 3 MS account books and numerous small printed sale catalogues, all relating to Sir Josslyn's propagation, for sale, of Alpine plants, conifers, ferns, daffodils, etc, 1906-1932; series of slim, paperback, audited sets of Lissadell farm and garden accounts, c.1928-c.1965; 38 workmen's time books (farm account), 1940-1953; 7 workmen's time books (engineers), 1940-1953; 24 workmen's time books (garden account), 1940-1953; miscellaneous estate, household, wages, chicken, provisions, etc, account books, 1840-1925 and 1950-1954, including accounts for the Lissadell School of Needlework, 1909; and inventories and valuations, 1853-1939, of the household effects of the Gore-Booth family, including a Lissadell library catalogue, 1853, various inventories and valuations drawn up following Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Bt's, death in 1900, and two inventories of the family's seaside house, Seaview, Bundoran, Co. Donegal, 1919-1920.

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Correspondence, etc, 1827-1987

The correspondence and related papers constitute in many ways the most important of the archive and, because of their scale, they have been sub-divided according to family members, beginning with Sir Robert Gore-Booth, 4th Bt, and his widowed mother, Hannah, Lady Gore-Booth.

Sir Robert's correspondence includes letters, 1827-1868, from Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston [Illustration of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston ], and Palmerston's widow, Emily, about Co. Sligo elections, railways and the affairs of Palmerston's Mullaghmore estate, Co. Sligo (where he built his 'Dracula Castle', Classiebawn, c.1860).

There is also some material, 1830-1831, 1833-1835 and 1839, about the building of Lissadell (and more in the 'Irish maps, plans and surveys' section - q.v.). The material in the correspondence section includes: an agreement between Sir Robert and his architect, Francis Goodwin (whose previous oeuvres had included Manchester Town Hall), 1830, about how to proceed with a house which will keep within Sir Robert's budgetary ceiling of £10,000 - Goodwin's first plan had exceeded this by £4,500; 3 successive tenders, 1831, and a letter, 1839, to Sir Robert, from the contractor, James Nowell, Dewsbury, Yorkshire, the letter annexing a copy of 'the only part of the specification relative to the sound boarding', obviously in connection with a dispute between them over the quality of the workmanship; and a series of workmen's and labourers' accounts for Lissadell, 1833-1835, which seem to be mainly agricultural in content, but involve a certain amount of cartage and other things which may throw some light on the building of the house.

Informative about this and other things are a rent account book, accounts and correspondence, 1833-1837 and 1841, between Sir Robert, on the one hand, and his Irish agent, George Dodwell, and father-in-law, Thomas Goold, on the other; these are important, not only because they throw side-lights on the building of Lissadell, but also because they document the purchase of Ballymote in 1833.

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The Great Famine and Sir Robert's 'coffin ship'.

Of considerable significance, because of Sir Robert's undeserved reputation as a hirer of a 'coffin ship' (called the 'Pomone' or the 'Pomona') at the time of the Great Famine, is a bundle of miscellaneous letters and papers, 1843-1876, about his Co. Sligo estate affairs, with particular reference to famine relief and assisted emigration in the 1840s.

These include a rental of the Lissadell estate to March 1843, and a series of figures and statements 'Sent to Land [i.e. Devon] Commission, November 8th 1844', explaining - in refutation of some allegation - the provision made for the 'dispossessed tenants' of Ballygilgan, either in the form of farms elsewhere on the Gore-Booth estates or through assisted emigration to North America - since 1834. There are further papers and volumes about assisted emigration, including 'An account of expenses attending the emigration of sundry families from the townlands of Ballygilgan and Cartronwilliamogue on the estate of Sir Robert Gore-Booth, Bt ...', 1835-1842, lists of tenant emigrants of the same period, and three volumes, resembling cheque book stubs, of passengers' contract tickets, 1847.

(It is, incidentally, difficult to imagine how Sir Robert could have found a crew willing to sail an unseaworthy hulk to their deaths. Anne Marreco, author of a biography of Sir Robert's grand-daughter, Constance Markievicz, called The Rebel Countess, investigated the story and could not find any supporting reports in contemporary newspapers and found, in contrast, frequent reports of the generosity of Sir Robert towards his tenants. What may have happened is that Sir Robert's ship was confused with an emigrant ship of the same name which sank off Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford, ten years later, and with which Sir Robert had no connection whatever. The story of Sir Robert's 'coffin ship' is not contemporary and in fact dates from the late 1850s.)

Also related to the famine are three minute books of 1847 of the Lissadell, Carney and Drumcliff famine relief committees (re-used by Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Bt, when these committees were re-constituted to deal with a similar emergency in 1880-1881). A striking case study of over-population and congestion is provided in 1847 or 1848, by Vernon Davys, assistant to Richard Gethin, Sir Robert's then agent, in a statement about the townland of Ardtermon during the famine era.

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The trials of an Evangelical dowager.

Hannah Lady Gore-Booth's correspondence consists mainly of letters about personal, Evangelical and financial matters. These include: letters, 1833-1864, from her daughter Anne, who married in 1829 the Hon. Robert King, later 2nd Viscount Lorton and later still 6th Earl of Kingston; and letters, 1851-1867 and 1870-1874, to her and then to her son, Sir Robert, from and about her unsatisfactory second son, Henry, and Henry's much-put-upon wife, Isabella. Isabella was a sculptress of some note, and her pocket diaries, c.1835-c.1875, are also preserved in the archive. Henry's extravagance, his mistresses and his illegitimate children were a constant source of anxiety to his family. So too was the infidelity of Lady Lorton, an extremely plausible and manipulative character, and the lawsuits resulting over the almost certain illegitimacy of her second son, who in spite of this succeeded as 8th Earl of Kingston.

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A family tragedy.

Sir Robert, 4th Bt, died in 1876 and was succeeded by his second son, Sir Henry. By his second wife, Caroline Goold, he had had two sons and three daughters. Their first child, Robert Newcomen, was born in 1831, the second son, Henry William, being born twelve years later in 1843. In 1861 the two sons were involved in a sailing accident in Drumcliff Bay in which the elder was drowned and Henry saved only with difficulty. Robert Newcomen was thirty years old and had just married. But he had no children, so the baronetcy passed to the younger son, Henry, in 1876.

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Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Bt (1843-1900).

Sir Henry Gore-Booth was a remarkable man in many respects. His tenants admired and respected him because of his liberality and interest in them. After the death of his father's agent in 1866 he took charge of an estate of almost 32,000 acres, and managed it most successfully. He inaugurated a very thorough system of accounts and book-keeping and after his succession to the property continued to direct its general management, soon gaining a reputation of being a popular and benevolent landlord.

He took little interest in public affairs and seemed content to devote himself to the development of his estate, the welfare of his tenants and the progress of local institutions and organisations. He was President of the Sligo Agricultural Society, and for many years was Chairman of the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway. However, in spite of his near-escape from drowning in his youth, his first love was the sea. He is now best remembered for his Polar expeditions from 1873 onwards and his memorable rescue of another Arctic explorer, Leigh Smith, in 1882.

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A mainly Polar archive.

His correspondence (and log books) mainly concern various Polar expeditions on the ships 'Eva', 'Vega', 'Isbjorn' and Kara' (the best known) to north Greenland, Nova Zembla, etc, 1873-1898. In addition to log books and journals, there are loose letters and papers, c.1873-1903, relating to: the building of the 'Kara' at Wivenhoe, Essex; proofs of articles by Sir Henry on yachting and Arctic exploration, and of his chapters on 'Whaling' in the Badminton Library volume devoted to sea-fishing and on 'Shark-fishing and Whaling' in The Encyclopaedia of Sport; letters and papers about his voyages (particularly the expedition which rescued Leigh Smith, who had got ice-bound north of Nova Zembla, in July 1882) and about whale and polar bear hunting; and financial papers about the sale of the 'Kara' after his death, 1901-1902, and about his shares in a Norwegian steamboat company (which begin in his lifetime and continue until 1903).

Sir Henry's papers also include personal, estate, financial and (a little) political correspondence, including material of 1876-1902 about the Gleniff barytes mine (on the Lissadell estate) and other mineral enterprises.

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Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth, 6th Bt (1869-1944) and his siblings.

In 1867 Sir Henry had married Georgina Mary, daughter of Colonel John Hill of Tickhill Castle, Yorkshire. They had five children: Constance in 1868, Josslyn in 1869, Eva in 1870, Mabel in 1874 and Mordaunt in 1876, all of whom proved extremely talented.

Constance was later to become one of the most prominent leaders in the political and military struggle to free Ireland. Her sister Eva showed her serious interest in poetry from an early age but also rebelled, devoting much of her life to her efforts to improve conditions for working girls, particularly in the Lancashire cotton mills. Josslyn, the elder brother, later 6th Bt, was in many respects conventional, but he had breadth of vision and, with Sir Horace Plunkett, established the co-operative creameries to provide Irish dairy farmers with markets for their milk, as well as a co-operative clothing factory in Sligo and a furniture factory on the Lissadell estate. He was also a notable cattle breeder and established a famous nursery for Alpine and herbaceous plants, ornamental shrubs and forest trees.

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Sir Josslyn's estate and business correspondence and diaries.

These consist of: a long run of fairly perfunctory diaries, 1889-1942; family and personal correspondence, 1899, 1901, 1924 and 1944; letters and papers, 1900-1944, about settlements, trusts, mortgages, securities, etc, much of it engendered by the death of his father, Sir Henry, in 1900 and the ensuing complications; Lissadell estate and business correspondence, 1882-1944, including a volume in which the youthful Josslyn Gore-Booth recorded examples of good English estate management practice, 1880-1888, detailed estimates of the work and cost involved in rebuilding the Estate Office following the (possibly malicious) fire in 1941, some references to co-ops., 1942, and an envelope of bills of cost furnished by his Sligo solicitors, Messrs Argue & Phibbs (who really exist and are not a creation of Trollope!), 1940-1944; and a series of 7 damp-press copy out-letter books of Sir Josslyn, apparently relating to all manner of business, and including some personal letters, 1898-1956.

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Co-ops, munitions and knitting.

Of greater public interest are: his account books, loose letters and papers, printed matter, etc, relating to the Co-operative Movement, in which he was prominently involved, and to local Co. Sligo co-ops. such as the Drumcliff Dairy and Mills, and the Ballinphull and Ballintrillick Creameries, 1895-1939; files kept by Sir Josslyn in relation to the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction and the latter's Co. Sligo Agricultural Committee, 1902-1906; and 4 files of letters and papers relating to Sir Josslyn and Lady Gore-Booth's labours in Co. Sligo to forward the war effort in 1915-1916, respectively titled 'Munitions', 'Recruiting' and 'Knitting'.

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Correspondence of Mary, Lady Gore-Booth.

The correspondence and related papers of Sir Josslyn's wife, Mary, Lady Gore-Booth, née L'Estrange Malone (1884-1968), a Yorkshire cousin on his mother's side, whom he married in 1907, include a quantity of letters, c.1890-1921, from her English friends and relations.

These are: her father, the Rev. Savile Richard L'Estrange Malone (1849-1908), Rector of Galton Holme, near Beverley, Yorkshire, and domestic chaplain to his uncle, Marcus Gervais Beresford, Archbishop of Armagh, from whom there are a couple of letters; her mother, Frances Mary, second daughter of George Savile Foljambe, D.L., of Osberton, Worksop, Nottinghamshire; her aunt, Constance Anne (1839-1917), wife of Josslyn Pennington, 5th Lord Muncaster of Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass, Cumberland (via whom the name 'Josslyn' enters the Gore-Booth family); and other Northern English friends and relations. Included in the sub-section are letters of condolence to Lady Gore-Booth on her mother's death, 1921, and letters and papers of her first cousin, Henry Savile Foljambe (d.1932).

There is also a longish run of letters to her from Sir Josslyn, c.1907-1939, letters from her daughters, Aideen, Bridget, Gabrielle and Rosaleen, and sons, Sir Michael, 7th Bt, and Sir Angus, 8th Bt, c.1920-c.1968, and letters from Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma, writing in the main from Classiebawn, Co. Sligo (which had descended to Lady Mountbatten from her indirect forebear, Lord Palmerston). The last sub-section of Lady Gore-Booth's papers consists of letters, bills, accounts, legal papers, etc, 1945-1955, many of them about the legal incapacity of her son, Sir Michael, 7th Bt, and about the start of 'the Gore-Booth case' to which this gave rise.

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Personal, business and Second World War correspondence, c.1925-1987

The correspondence and related papers of and about Sir Josslyn and Lady Gore-Booth's children and grandson, the present Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth, 9th Bt, run from c.1925-1987. Among other things, they document the education of the children at school and university (where appropriate), Brian Gore-Booth's career in the Navy and as a literary agent in London (with particular reference to a book on the so-called 'Mutiny at Invergordon' in 1931), to his and his brother, Hugh's, service in the Second World War (in which they were both killed, in 1939 and 1943 respectively), etc, etc.

There are many files, letters and papers of 1944-mid 1980s, relating to all the contentions and publicity over the Solicitor-General for Wards of Court's alleged mismanagement of the c.3000-acre Lissadell estate and its timber resources, and allegedly unjustified sale of 2,630 acres of it, on behalf of Sir Michael Gore-Booth, 7th Bt, in the period 1952-1973. On this issue, 'the Gore-Booth case', material of Lissadell provenance is united with files which were originally in the possession of the junior and English branch of the family, represented by Mordaunt Gore-Booth, younger brother of Sir Josslyn, and Mordaunt's sons, Colum and Sir Paul (later Lord Gore-Booth), two of whom were successive trustees of family settlements affecting the estate. These latter files run up to the mid-1980s.

From 1973-1987, when Mr Josslyn Gore-Booth, now Sir Josslyn, 9th Bt, begins to play a part, the files mainly related to less sensational matters of business, including the running of the Salford and Manchester estate.

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A Communist brother who 'did time' in Pentonville.

One slightly unexpected component of the archive is letters and papers, c.1912-1965, of and about Colonel Cecil John L'Estrange Malone, M.P., Lady Gore-Booth's brother, a notable British Communist. Cecil L'Estrange Malone sat as a Labour M.P., 1928-1931, but prior to this period of respectable left wingery had been a member of the Communist Party and had been imprisoned for six months in 1920-1921 under the Defence of the Realm Act, after speaking at a meeting opposed to the British expedition to Archangel; at the same time he had been deprived of the O.B.E. awarded him in 1919. Included among these papers are letters to Lady Gore-Booth about how Cecil is faring in Pentonville, 1920-1921.

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Constance, Countess Markievicz, 1868-1927

Born at 7 Buckingham Gate, London S.W., the eldest child of Henry Gore-Booth, later Sir Henry, 5th Bt, Constance Georgine Gore-Booth entered a world, a lifestyle and (ultimately) a religion against which she rebelled. In 1900 she married Casimir Dunin Markievicz, a soi-disant Polish count with estates in the Ukraine, whom she had met as a fellow art-student in Paris in the previous year. From 1908 their ways increasingly parted, with Constance Markievicz pursuing revolutionary Irish politics of ever-greater extremism.

She took part in the Easter Rising in 1916, and would have been executed but for her sex. Imprisoned in Kilmainham and Mountjoy Gaols, Dublin, and in Aylesbury Prison, Buckinghamshire, she was released in 1917. In absentia (she served further prison terms in Holloway, Cork and Mountjoy between 1918 and 1921), she was elected to Westminster as the Sinn Feinn member for St Patrick's (Dublin) at the general election of 1918. She thus became the first woman ever elected to the House of Commons, but as a Sinn Fein member did not take her seat. When the first Dail met in January 1919 she was made Minister for Labour. When the Dail ratified the treaty which Collins and Griffith had signed in London, she was among the republican members who seceded with de Valera. Her political activities tailed off thereafter, and she died in 1927.

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The history of Constance Markievicz's letters.

Constance Markievicz's letters, mainly to her sister Eva, constitute only a small part of the Lissadell archive. A number of reasons may explain this.

Firstly, her personal lifestyle was one which did not root her in any one particular location. Even before she embarked on her political career, her bohemian existence would not have been conducive to archival preservation. All that remains of her artistic works - apart from what is hanging at Lissadell - is a few sketch books all of which pre-date her Parisian sojourn. When she returned to Ireland she lived at a number of locations in Dublin and this nomadic existence, coupled with her various prison terms, did not make it easy for her to keep papers. Her chosen career was one which did not endear her to the authorities and her homes were raided many times. Given her bohemian, rootless and fugitive lifestyle, it is perhaps surprising that anything, particularly written documents, has survived.

There is also no obvious reason why any of Constance's letters should have been at Lissadell, the home she left, under less than harmonious circumstances, in 1893. As a matter of fact they only recently arrived there. To understand why we need to follow the succession of Eva's literary executors. When Eva died in 1926 she named Esther Roper as her literary executrix. Esther Roper was succeeded, on her death in 1936, by Mr T.P. Conwell-Evans, who fulfilled the duties of executor until 1964. Due to failing health Mr Conwell-Evans approached Lord Gore-Booth (then Sir Paul Gore-Booth), nephew of Eva and Constance, who agreed to become Eva's ultimate literary successor (copyright expired in 1976). Following his death in 1984, his widow passed Eva's papers, many of them letters to her from Constance, to Mr, now Sir, Josslyn Gore-Booth, who has added them to the archive.

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The content of Constance's letters.

Constance's letters and other papers include her personal correspondence, sketch pads and related newscuttings. The most interesting part of this section of the archive are typed copies of the letters which Constance wrote to Eva when she was imprisoned in various locations in Ireland and England.

Esther Roper published Constance's prison letters in 1932, and they were re-printed in 1987. The whereabouts of the original letters are, however, unknown. Enquiries directed to the National Library, Dublin, the Fawcett Library at the London Guildhall University, the Quaker Library, London, the Manchester Public Library and the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester, have failed to run them to earth. The letters as they appear in Esther Roper's book have had many personal names, short anecdotes and paragraphs deleted; in some cases whole letters have escaped publication. These typed copies, unlike the published version, contain the names, anecdotes, paragraphs and letters, etc, which Esther or her publisher decided to withhold.

Esther Roper had hoped to include, in addition to Constance's letters, those which Eva wrote in reply. These letters which had been treasured by Constance, who carried them about her person in prison, were accidentally destroyed. Only one such letter remains; it does not appear in Esther Roper's book but is present among the Lissadell papers.

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Eva Gore-Booth, 1870-1926.

Third child of Sir Henry Gore-Booth, poetess, writer, feminist, suffragette and mystic, Eva lived and died in the shadow of Constance. Inseparable as children, they remained close throughout their lives.

When Constance went to London to pursue her artistic career, Eva moved to Manchester where almost immediately she became involved in women's trade unionism and the suffrage movement. She embraced these physically demanding activities with gusto, despite her small and fragile physique, and still found time to write poetry and plays. She scored an impressive victory over no less an adversary then Winston Churchill who was standing as a Liberal candidate in a Manchester by-election.

Eva was assiduous - in spite of her hectic political and literary life - in writing to and visiting Constance in the various prisons both in Ireland and England where she was incarcerated between 1916-1921. In later life Eva turned more to poetry and mysticism. Like her sister, she had a natural artistic flair, illustrating her own books and letters. She published ten volumes of poems, five plays and two books. She died in 1926 after a short illness.

The section of the papers devoted to Eva consists of poems, lectures, miscellaneous writings, a diary, pamphlets, a journal, sketch pads, newscuttings and photographs of Eva, 1890s-1926, together with mainly subsequent correspondence about her writings, her death in 1926, her grave and the history of her papers (including the letters written to her by Constance), 1905-1990.

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Newspaper cuttings, scrap-books, etc.

These mainly consist of news cuttings and news cutting books, 1808-c.1975, relating to the Gore-Booth family. Of these, the most interesting is a newspaper cuttings book containing cuttings of the period 1846-1898, but mainly relating to Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Bt.

This includes cuttings about the political career of his father, Sir Robert Gore-Booth, 4th Bt, 1850 onwards, and obituaries of Sir Robert, 1876. From 1875 until the end of the book, there are numerous cuttings about Salford and Manchester, particularly about Sacred Trinity, Salford, and ecclesiastical affairs in general. The early cuttings about Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 1879-1882, concentrate on famine relief and the land question, and in December 1879 he is praised for his generous abatements of rent on the Ballymote estate. Other events described are the fatal carriage accident of Mrs Owen Wynne in 1887, Lady Gore-Booth's laying the foundation stone of the Drumcliff Creamery in 1895, the Sligo and Enniskillen Railway in 1896, and a women's suffrage meeting at Drumcliff in the same year (attended by Eva Gore-Booth and the conventional sister, Mabel Olive, but not by Constance). The Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway dominates the news in 1897, though Drumcliff and other co-operative creameries attract much attention throughout the period 1896-1898.

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Photograph albums and photographs.

These run from c.1860-c.1960, and mainly comprise group and individual portraits of family and friends.

There is one photograph album, 1880-1882, titled 'Eira', bearing the inscription, 'From B. Leigh Smith to Sir Henry Gore-Booth in grateful remembrance of assistance afforded to the crew of the Eira in the Polar Seas'. This album contains photographs of Sir Henry's Polar expeditions.

'Big houses', mainly exterior views, also feature prominently, and include Adare Manor, Co. Limerick, Crom Castle, Co. Fermanagh, Glenarm Castle, Co. Antrim, Lissadell itself, Muncaster Castle, Cumberland, Osberton, Nottinghamshire, The Palace, Armagh, etc, etc. Muncaster and Osberton were both seats of English relations of Sir Henry's and Sir Josslyn's wives, who (as has been noted) were cousins. The majority of the big houses depicted are English.

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Irish maps, plans and surveys.

The Irish maps, plans and surveys, 1828-1883, include mainly fairly late estate and OS material, and a quantity of labourers' cottage designs and specifications, 1875-1886.

However, the principal interest of this section of the archive lies in the architectural plans and drawings, 1833-1834, [c.1870] and 1889-1891, for the house at Lissadell and other Francis Goodwin projects relating to it, as follows: 3 autograph plans for Lissadell, all signed and dated February 1883 by Goodwin, and titled respectively 'Basement plan', 'Ground plan' and 'Chamber plan' (another plan has been removed from the next page of the book); 4 plans on tracing paper signed but not dated by Thomas H. Wyatt for (mercifully unexecuted) alterations to Lissadell, notably the addition of a new dining room by filling in the recess where the service access meets the basement, [c.1870]; tracings (in the handwriting of Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Bt) and other papers relating to more mundane and sanitary alterations, 1889-1891; and a ground plan of Lissadell Church, produced for Sir Henry by Musgrave and Co. Ltd., Belfast, N.D.

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The S., L. and N.C.R.

There are no less than a dozen PRONI boxes of letters and papers relating primarily to the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway, 1874-c.1939. These are present because the Gore-Booth family were involved both as landowners whose estates were affected by the line and as promoters of this particular railway, Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Bt, and Sir Josslyn, 6th Bt, both having been Chairmen of the company (Sir Henry from 1877 until his death in 1900).

The first box contains printed matter, mostly official publications and printed acts of parliament, 1817-1919, relating to public works, canals, railways, etc. The remaining boxes contain correspondence, accounts, legal papers, etc, relating to the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway, 1874-c.1939.

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Miscellaneous, mainly family history, material

A somewhat miscellaneous variety of material, 1686, 1777 and 1804-1990, has been brought together in the one section because it all relates to family history, including that of the L'Estranges (one branch of the family of Mary, wife of Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth, 6th Bt) and the Irwins of Streamstown, Co. Sligo.

The earliest document in the sub-section is a King's Letter of 1686 from James II to the 2nd Earl of Clarendon authorising him to create Sir Robert Gore of Newtown, Co. Leitrim, Knight, a baronet of Ireland. This cannot have been acted upon as Sir Robert remained a knight. The other 'royal' documents in the sub-section include a licence signed by George III authorising Sir Robert Gore, 3rd Bt, to assume the name and arms of Booth in addition to those of Gore, 1804.

The most interesting component of the sub-section are two volumes of Lissadell reminiscences by the long-suffering and versatile butler, immortalised by Casimir Markiewicz's pilaster portrait in the Dining Room, Thomas Kilgallon. These begin in 1864, and Kilgallon claims to remember Palmerston (which he could only have done at second-hand, his father having been skipper to Sir Robert Gore-Booth's yacht). Kilgallon accompanied Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Bt, on at least one of his Arctic expeditions, and died in 1941. To the volumes of reminiscences have been added his letters to Mary, Lady Gore-Booth, 1923-1940.

Another set of reminiscences present in the box - more interesting in a general sense than Kilgallon's, though of lesser relevance to Lissadell - are those of S.A.W. Waters, Assistant Inspector-General of the R.I.C., who was born in 1846, joined the force in 1866, retired in 1916 and wrote his reminiscences in 1926. Waters was a well-connected half-gentleman, and because his first posting was to Grange, Co. Sligo, near Lissadell, he became fairly friendly with the Gore-Booth family, particularly with Charles Wynne, the somewhat raffish son-in-law of Sir Robert Gore-Booth, 4th Bt. His accounts of rodent-hunts through the basement of Lissadell are memorable.

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Miscellaneous rental and deed material, possibly of Burton Irwin provenance

This miscellaneous section includes several deeds, 1803-1936 (with many gaps), including an assignment, 1803, of a lease of a house and warehouse in Henry Street owned by Robert Morgan of Henry Street, 'cabinet-maker'.

More significantly, there are seven boxes of estate rentals, 1850-1954, but dating mainly from the 1860s to 1890s, relating to various estates in Cos Sligo, Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Donegal, including those of Burton Irwin of Streamstown (d.1898) in Cos Sligo and Donegal, one Colonel Wood-Martin (Galway), Mrs Leyborne-Popham (Roscommon), Mrs Reynardson (Roscommon), Armstrong (Mayo), O'Connor, Brinkley, Orme, Mullhall, Major Phibbs, Colonel French ('The McDermott Roe'), Capt. Brereton, etc.

All of the rentals are of a uniform appearance and many contain details of different estates within a single volume, suggesting that they came from the office of an agent or solicitor who managed all these estates, including that of Burton Irwin. Also included is a bound copy of a statement of account relating to 'Burton Irwin's Trusts' and a small grazing book. (Burton Irwin was, as already mentioned, a nephew of Hannah Lady Gore-Booth, at whose death unmarried in 1898, his estate at Streamstown, Co. Sligo, came into the possession of her grandson, Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Bt.)

Finally, there is a box of unsorted and miscellaneous leases, deeds, maps and legal papers, 1742-c.1940, relating to various properties mostly in Co. Sligo. The earliest document (dated 1742) concerns the lease of a house in Bridge Street, Sligo, from Benjamin Burton of Burton Hall, Co. Carlow, to Samuel and Joshua De Butt, merchants, of Sligo town. Also included is a substantial bundle of leases dating from the early years of the 19th century, concerning the estate of Richard Wood Esq. of Seafort, Co. Sligo.

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Arrangement of the archive.

In order to play to the strengths of the archive and facilitate particular interest-groups among its potential users, the arrangement adopted has been fairly unorthodox in some respects.

It is to be assumed that railway enthusiasts are unlikely to be interested in anything other than railways; so, since that was in any case more-or-less the way in which the material had been boxed or otherwise kept originally, everything relating to the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway has been brought together in the one section, regardless of the member of the Gore-Booth family from whom the papers derive.

More controversially, and with slightly less authority from the original arrangement or semblance of arrangement, everything relating to Salford and Manchester has also been brought together in one section, on the ground that this is more convenient to users than an arrangement which groups Salford and Manchester material generically with Irish material according to the nature of the documents concerned - title deeds, leases, accounts, correspondence, etc.

Finally, partly because Sir Josslyn and Lady Gore-Booth, particularly Sir Josslyn, are already represented in the archive by substantial quantities of material, their papers relating to other members of the family have been grouped with the papers of the family members concerned. This seemed to be the commonsense way of dealing with Sir Josslyn's sister, Constance Markievicz, who is the most famous member of the family and whose devotees will expect that everything relating to her in the archive should be grouped together for ease of reference. As a result, the artificial section devoted to Constance consists mainly of letters and papers of other family members relating to her, 1883-1927 (and beyond), together with letters to her brother, Sir Josslyn, and his wife from Casimir Markievicz (her husband), Staskow (his son) and Maeve (their daughter), 1916-1969. The same approach has been adopted towards her sister, Eva, and towards Sir Josslyn and Lady Gore-Booth's children, Hugh, Brian, Gabrielle and Aideen, and towards Lady Gore-Booth's brother, Cecil L'Estrange Malone.

A.P.W. Malcomson
Michael Goodall
Stephen Scarth

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© Crown Copyright 1998.