It’s sometimes possible to see our ancestors’lives through rose tinted glasses. 
Sometimes they didn’t live all that well, whether through fecklessnessor simply 
poverty. You are scathing about the description of houses where youcan see 
“pigs and fowls in the kitchen and everything is dirty.” The thing is,that is 
factually correct. That is how poorer folk did live. My own grandmotherwas 
brought up in a farm labourers cottage in the 1890s and she described abare 
earth floor where chickens and ducks wandered in and out through the 
door,defecating all over the place. They weren’t wealthy enough to have a pig 
but itwas common enough for livestock to be kept under the same roof, for 
securityand warmth. It must have been dirty and smelly, just as the OS 
descriptiontells us. You can see cottages like that today in the Cultra Folk 
Park museumoutside Belfast.  But that way of livingwas common enough in the 
1700s and 1800s, across Europe not just here inIreland. Up on the famous 
Scottish Island of St Kilda (150 miles north ofIreland) they had a dreadful 
neo-natal death rate. During the winter months, thesheep and cows were kept in 
the house alongside the family, at one end of thebuilding. A visiting nurse 
eventually discovered that whenever a child wasborn, the family dipped the end 
of the umbilical chord in the animal and humanmanure inside the building “for 
good luck.” Consequently half the babies caughtfatal diseases. And that was in 
the late 1800s.

Yousay: “The time period scribes never seems to mention how hard working 
thesepeople are, how close knit the families be, the way communities work 
togetheror the weight of unfair and unjust economic burdens they struggle under 
andstill survive and more they insist on thriving in the face of 
greatadversity”. What’s your evidence for that? Unless people have changed a 
lotover the past 200 years, I would expect they were the much same as today, a 
mixof hard workers, some who worked less hard and quite a few who led 
fairlydissipated lives. (Some of whom you can read about in the court 
newspaperreports on the Co Tyrone website.)

The men who compiled and wrote the OS memoirswere a mix of Army Officers and 
civilian assistants. (There’s a goodexplanation of who they were and how they 
worked at the beginning of everyvolume of the Memoirs). They weren’t all crusty 
upper class British Armyofficers. Many were non commissioned soldiers and 
civilian assistants. And the themesin the example Len quoted can be found 
elsewhere in reports for other Ulstercounties. So was there some vast 
conspiracy, do you think, or might thedescriptions (pejorative as they may seem 
at times) perhaps be reasonablyaccurate?





      From: Ron McCoy via CoTyroneList <>
 To: "" <> 
Cc: Ron McCoy <>
 Sent: Friday, 26 October 2018, 12:52
 Subject: Re: [CoTyroneMailingList] Observations on the Inhabitants of Clogher 
Parish, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland 1833-5
Hi Len and allThank you Len for sharing this with all of us. I read this and 
many other pieces of history. I  notice the trend through out of the lack of 
mention of positive attributes of the common people. Empathy for another human 
being is completely devoid in these reports. The time period scribes never 
seems to mention how hard working these people are, how close knit the families 
be, the way communities work together or the weight of unfair and unjust 
economic burdens they struggle under and still survive and more they insist on  
thriving in the face of great adversity. I think these Ordinances  are 
important pieces of history not as much about what they report or say on the 
surface to  us  but because they tell us a lot about the writer and the class 
structure he dwells in. It seems important to him to paint a portrait of the 
Irish working class people at a level of sub human strata (you may see pigs and 
fowls eating in the kitchen and everything is dirty ). The considerable 
hardships people are forced to live in are justified because of their moral 
depravity, "49th: It is believed that there is at least an improvement in the 
morals and cleanliness of children attending Sunday Schools". This article to 
me paints a picture of a people who are brave in the face of over whelming 
poverty, and unjust taxation without representation overseen by  absentee land 
lords. It speaks to me of a devotion to preserve the family and traditions at 
all costs. As people who are forced to struggle, their hope lies in their 
children and their children's, children, in other words "us". They would not 
allow themselves to quit, be broken, or trodden under, despite the written 
word, legal system and their betters opinion. They refused to think of 
themselves as less then any mans equal. They put all their hopes in the 
generations to come, they sacrificed everything to bring "us" into a safer , a 
better place... may we not let them down, may we never forget who they were and 
what they sacrificed for ,"us", for ,"me". What they did was not easy and it 
was not pretty but they did it, a better world for us, those like us, those 
like them and those still to come. May we be able to say the same.... Thank you 
Len for bringing these pieces of history to us.CheersRon McCoy

On 2018-10-25 10:20 PM, Gail Mooney via CoTyroneList wrote:

Thanks Len - Even knowing the history of those hard times, this piece paints a 
pretty grim picture of the environments our people endured as they struggled to 
survive.  I imagine depression was common in the population - reminds me to be 
more grateful for my lucky circumstances.  From: "Len Swindley via 
CoTyroneList" <>
Cc: "Len Swindley" <>
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2018 7:02:19 PM
Subject: [CoTyroneMailingList] Observations on the Inhabitants of Clogher 
Parish, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland 1833-5

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Hello Listers; There has been recent interest expressed in the lives of our 
Tyrone forbears (thanks to Elwyn) and here is an extract from the Ordnance 
Survey Memoirs of the 1820s-30s that offers some observations on living 
conditions in Clogher parish. Having read through many of the memoirs covering 
the parishes of Co. Tyrone, this report could be applied similarly to all 
parishes. Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia  EXTRACTED FROM ORDNANCE MEMOIRS 
order, cleanliness, or neatness in general to be found either in the houses or 
of the more wealthy farmers or in the cottages of the poor. The turf stack 
often approaches within a few yards of the door and thus intersects the view 
and stops the currency of the air. The yard in front of the house is full of 
the odour of the cow house and stable, for they are often built in the very 
front and sometime adjoining the dwellinghouse. The lanes and approaches to the 
house are narrow, rough and filthy in the extreme. Within no order is visible; 
you may see pigs and fowls eating in the kitchen and everything is dirty and 
confused, the furniture a few pots and noggins, a stool or a broken chair. The 
potatoes at meals are thrown out in a basket and so laid on the table or on a 
stool, and the whole family gather round, master, mistress, children and 
servants in a mass, and eat out of the basket without knife, fork or any 
appendage at meals. A man who can give his daughter in marriage 50 or 100 
pounds will live in this manner. But this is not universally the case: 
sometimes everything is seen comfortable, neat and clean, both within and 
without the farmhouse, the furniture good and decent, the kitchen neatly tiled, 
the outside of the house well whitewashed and thatched, the yard and lanes 
about the house in good repair and clean. It is, however, to be regretted that 
very few instances occur where this order and decency is observed. FOOD44th: 
Potatoes and milk is the general food of the farmers of this barony, for 
breakfast, dinner and supper during 9 months of the year. This is sometimes 
varied by a bit of bacon for dinner, sometimes butter and oaten bread or eggs 
are added to the potatoes for dinner. In 3 of the summer months when potatoes 
begin to fail, stirabout or flummery is substituted for potatoes, for breakfast 
or supper.45th: The same report will serve for the manufacturing class and 
tradespeople.46th: Potatoes and milk, or when milk grows scarce potatoes or 
herrings, or potatoes and salt is almost the only food of the poor inhabitants 
during the entire year. Occasionally a little stirabout is added for supper or 
breakfast in the summer months. EDUCATION47th: There is certainly a general 
desire of instruction in all classes of the people, both Protestants and Roman 
Catholics. The poor are anxious to teach their children reading, writing and 
arithmetic, and although the facilities for the education of the Roman 
Catholics is not so great as for the Protestants, being hindered by their 
priests from attending Sunday and other schools, yet there is certainly a 
desire in the minds even of the Roman Catholics for the education of their 
children.48th: The children of the poor pay for their education according to 
the following rates: for spelling and reading, for writing for arithmetic, for 
book-keeping [blank]49th: It is believed that there is at least an improvement 
in the morals and cleanliness of children attending Sunday Schools. They are 
not permitted to attend unless they are clean and they are expelled if any 
gross immorality be committed. It is also hoped that there is in the 
inhabitants in general, a greater respect for the laws, fewer quarrels and less 
fighting than formerly  Sent from Mail for Windows 10 
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