Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ireland's Planting of the Green

County Carlow

Update:  In the current environment about climate change, talk about the selfishly depletion of forest resources here in the United States and around the world is not new. I found that these genealogy archive documents show that 18th century Ireland had also depleted their forestlands for the use of fuel, construction, and industry. The local governments with assistance of English monies provided project grant funds to the Irish landowners and renters to encourage the replanting of two million trees. Despite lack of documentation that all 200,000 trees in Carlow were planted, the tree project seems to have been successful.

Update: With the assistance of Ian McDermott, (no relation) Executive Director of the International Society of Arborists UK, and Moray Simpson, we have found out the mysterious species "phillyears."  It is a misspelling or local colloquialism of the ancient species, Phillyrea latifolia, an olive-like small tree, or large shrub.  Moray found the Latin genus in her book Collins Guide to Trees for British and European trees. Many thanks to Mac and Moray, and I've put the Collins book on my must-have list for my library.

June 1, 2012. I often discuss my first and second generation Scottish and Irish roots. Not tree roots, but family tree roots. I also love researching my heritage and hearing stories of Irish immigrants coming to this country.  I receive genealogy notes from the Irish-American listserv on Rootsweb Ancestry website.  The following page is from the Pat Purcell Papers.  Pat Purcell was born in 1896 and died in 1995 at the age of 99 years old.  Purcell left a huge legacy of historical documents which are being transcribed to the listserv for all to read. They are fascinating. The legal document below is from 1828 and shows the amount and species of trees planted on the private estate of Thomas Bunbury, Esquire in County Carlow. The signed and sealed document's legal and Victorian phrasing is difficult to understand, so I'm not sure if the trees were advertised for documentation of the estate permanently, for the enhancement of the Esquire's rental properties, or for eventual sale to the public. 

I am amazed at the availability of 19th century varieties of trees, including foreign species like American, Dutch, Middle Eastern, Portuguese, and citrus trees.  Who knew we exported American trees to Ireland?  Most people I think, believe it was only potatoes and tobacco that sailed from the Americas.

I'm assuming the Aspalia apples is a phonetically spelled form of Espaliered apples and the Timber Sallow is a broad-leafed willow used for construction and woodworking.  Other misspellings are the Balm of Gilead, which is could be several types of poplar trees and Plumb, which is the spelling used when speaking of measurements.

Another newhorticultural term for me is Elm Quicks, which after researching long and hard, is a British term meaning a hedge-like row of elms.

A species I have not identified is the Phillyears. Is the spelling correct or is it earlier English spelling?  Is it a tree or a shrub? I have contacted Irish arborists and hope to have an answer soon.
I Abraham Hopkins of Ballybit,Carlow, Farmer, do swear on the Holy
Evangelists that I have planted or caused to be planted within twelve Calender months, last past, on the lands of Ballybit in the Parish of Rathvilly, Barony of Rathvilly, and County of Carlow, lands held by me from Thomas Bunbury,Esquire, the undermentioned Trees, Viz.~~
100 Elm Quicks.100 Oak.
100 Limes.
100 Poplar.
100 Larch.
50 Ash Plants.
20 Sweet Chestnut.
10 Spurge Laurels.
10 English Elms.
10 Horse Chestnut.
10 Balm of Gitead.
10 Laurestines.
10 Portugal Laurels.
10 Phillyears..12 Hollys.
10 American Black Spruce.
10 Alder.
10 Dutch Alder.
10 Aspalia Apple.
10 Timber Sallow.
10 Plumb.
10 Pear Trees.
Deponent further saith, that he hath caused a notice in writing to be served on Hugh Graves, Esquire, of the City of Dublin who is Agent or the Receiver of the Rents for the aforesaid Thomas Bunbury, Esquire under whom Deponent holds said Lands, of my intention to register said trees to be advertised in Saunders's News Letter thirty days at the least previous to the date hereof (signed) Abraham Hopkins. Sworn before me this 16th day of February 1828 at Carlow. (signed) Adam B.Feltus..
 Another resource for British tree species with their historical use.

Thank you to Carlow Mike for doing the research and passing along the interesting historical information in these papers.  Even if I'm not related to the family, I certainly love reading the thoughts and activities of the Irish immigrants and families back home in Ireland, especially the gardening and farming anecdotes.

Update - More Tree Plantings - 1825

Pat Purcell Papers.
John Walker of Ballyknocken?,Carlow, came before me, one of his Majestys Justices of the Peace, and Voluntarily made Oath on the Holy Evangelists that he has planted or caused to be planted the twelve calender months last past, on the lands of Ballyknocken? in the Parish of Fenagh,Carlow, lands held by him as asigned by Henry Bradly from David LaTouche, Esquire, and being the property of the Right Honourable William Carr, Lord Beresford, the following trees, viz ~ 1,000 Oak.
1,300 Larch.
1,000 Scoth Fir.
1,300 Birch.
500 Spruce Fir.
200 Ash.
and 50 Lime.
And that he has given notice to Charles Doyne, Esquire, accreditted agent of the said Right Honourable William Carr, Lord Beresford, of his intention to register said trees more than thirty days previous to the date hereof. Dated October 19th 1825. (signed) John Walker.
Sworn before me the 21st October 1825. (signed) Philip Newton.

Update - More Tree Plantings - 1821.
Pat Purcell Papers.
Take Notice that I have planted, or caused to be planted on the Lands of Ballanaacrea in the Parish of Myshall, Barony of Forth and County of Carlow, lands held by me from John Whelan, Esquire, the following trees:
100 Larch.
200 Ash.
390 Spruce.
130 Mountain Ash.
125 Alder.
90 Sycamore.
50 American Black Spruce.
62 Apple.
25 Platting.
50 Lime.
20 Silver Fir.
50 Birch.
20 Scotch Fir.
and that I have given notice to the said John Whelan, Esquire. Under whom I immediately derive of my Intention to register the trees and that I have given notice of my intention to register the trees by publick advertisment in the Dublin Gazette thirty days at the least previous to the date hereof. (signed) James Corragan.
Sworn before me this 25th day of October 1822 (signed) John Cornwall.
Update - Explanation of all the Tree Planting Registrations.
TREE PLANTING In 1814, Benjamin Bunbury claimed : *'that I have caused the lands of Mortarstown, Carlow **to be planted*' with 52 beech and 13 sycamores. He was acting ‘*as immediate agent*’ for his nephew Thomas Bunbury Esquire. He stated that he planned to register the trees at the next general sessions of Carlow in order to avail of the grants. Corruption was clearly to the fore in local politics back then as it was claimed some one million trees were planted in Carlow during this period, which would have made the county one big forest. "By the end of the 17th century a great deal of Ireland's natural woodland had been cut down and timber was beginning to be in short supply. Sir William Petty suggested that two million trees should be planted. It would appear that over 200,000 trees were planted in Carlow between 1770 and 1890. In 1698, the first of seventeen Acts was applied to Ireland to enforce, or at least to encourage, the planting of trees. The provisions of the 1765 Act, stated that, on the expiration of his lease, a tenant could claim for the value of the trees that he had planted, provided that he certified this planting and then lodged the certificate with the clerk of the peace for the county. This exercise resulted in the Register of Trees which have survived for various counties in Ireland. The registrations were recorded at the quarter sessions and published in *The Dublin Gazette.* Subsequently this information was entered in the ledger entitled Register of Trees into which, depending on the diligence of the Justice of the Peace, the original affidavits were copied out in full or in summary form. This information can be useful to genealogists interested in a particular family who had long-established roots in a particular townland or county. Note added 2012 by Michael Purcell : I believe that many of the trees claimed for during this period were not planted, the application was a means of availing of the grant, all one needed was a friendly Justice of the Peace or a fellow Magistrate to witness your signature on claiming the grant.' Sources: Crown and Peace Records, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Pat Purcell Papers, Browne-Clayton Archive.]

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