Hi Marion I am guilty of being a farmer and my last name is McCoy a version of McCay. I have also walked a lot of farms in Ireland but do not claim to be an expert on any thing you have mentioned below. Having said that I can give it a go until someone who is more knowledgeable comes along and corrects my poor thoughts. You say it is 39 Cunningham acres shared by four farmers. That is hard to know how big that is because the Cunningham acre was different in different Scotch/Ulster communities. As you know the Irish acre was about 27% bigger per side for a 60% increase over a Statue acre. You are right about the potatoes and oats. These were grown in any shape plot they could find and often close to the house to provide food and sale if possible. At the height of the many potato famines Irish potatoes were still advertised on the Docks of Quebec and Montreal for sale. The first description is mountain arable and heathy pasture, shallow white gravely sand subsoil. The land is arable so it has been cleared and has been plowed at one time. Likely rocks picked and fences build. However by the description as being heathy pasture and shallow I take it to likely mean at one time there was lots of erosion and the fields played out quickly. Heathy land especially on the hill sides are usually covered with low growing shrubs which are the devil to take out again and are extremely invasive. With out an aerial map it is hard to tell but probably the land is on a steep slope and may be part of what is known as a ladder grazing system. The population of Ireland was about 8 million people to this day it still has not regained that number. Every inch of land was being cleared and utilized. The ladder grazing systems took old fields that were unsuited for plowing any longer and used them for seasonal grazing. Farmers usually together took the cattle to the top fields of the hills early in the spring were the top field was dry and the early grass already growing. As each field below grew and got dry enough they would move the cattle down the ladder to the bottom of the hill. This system was well established and communities worked together to mend fences, maintain fields and share pasture land.
The next description is of a deep arable soil which usually means that their is a good depth of top soil. Moory land is usually wet and boggy often containing high levels of peat and high organic mater which has a number of difficulties in farming. The Irish farmers dealt with wet bogey lands by ditching and creating what was known as ,"Irish Drains,." These were the for runner of our modern tile drains. They would dig a net work of ditches and lay stones in them with flat stones on top. The water would find its way to the spaces between the stones and flow to a near by stream via the Irish drain. This took incredible craftsmanship and hand labour and many of them still work today however once you had improved the land this way the tax or rent would jump considerably. In some ways times have not changed... Hope that is of some help cheers Ron McCoy On 2018-10-18 12:22 PM, Marion via CoTyroneList wrote: Hello All, Are there any farmers out there? This is a description of the area where my Great gt Grandfather, Thomas McCay, farmed in the Townland Valuation . He shared about 39 Cunningham acres with four other farmers in the first area and had about 2 acres in the second . The land is obviously pretty poor and I wondered if anyone could suggest how this land would have been used at that time. From my reading I guess he grew some oats and potatoes and used the pasture for some kind of livestock but I would be interested in any comments from people with more knowledge than me. The Townland Valuation 1828-40 This was carried out by the Ordnance Survey and provided a very detailed description of the land in each townland. On June 20th 1833 it was the turn of Rabstown to undergo this process. The townland was divided into 5 areas, noted on an accompanying map, and each described and valued. The area in which Thomas shared land with a group of farmers and in which Archibald's farm was situated was probably area 3 and the following description is given: '3 A recd (reclaimed) mountain arable and heathy pasture, shallow, white gravely sand subsoil' The value or rate for the land in this area is given as 3s per statute acre, later increased to 3/6. This was by far the least valuable land in Rabstown, other areas being rated at between 9/6 and 14s in the initial valuation. Thomas' land in Glentown was obviously much better. It was in area 7 and surveyed on June 24th. The description is as follows: '7 A good free deep arable 1/3 deep 2/3 a moory arable of moderate depth and part exposed Also reclaimed bog wet and heathy pasture’ This was valued initially at 11/6 per statute acre, later being raised to 12/6, while the reclaimed bog and heathy pasture was valued at 3/6. Many Thanks Marion Shephard Sent from Mail<https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=550986> for Windows 10 _______________________________________________ CoTyroneList mailing list CoTyroneList@cotyroneireland.com<mailto:CoTyroneList@cotyroneireland.com> http://mail.cotyroneireland.com/mailman/listinfo/cotyronelist_cotyroneireland.com
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