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Case Studies
Townland of Cullyramer in the Parishes of Aghadowey & Desertoghill, Barony of Coleraine

The townland of Cullyramer is located to the east of the town of Garvagh [see map of the locality]. Cullyramer was part of the civil parishes of Aghadowey and Desertoghill in the Barony of Coleraine. Later it was part of the District Electoral Division of Bovagh  in the Poor Law Union of Coleraine.  Note however than when using both the Griffifth's Revision Books and Form B1 [House & Building Return] in the 1901 and 1911 Census Retuns the Aghadowey and Desertoghill parts of the townland are dealt with separately.

The figures in the table below [compiled from the official census] show how the number of people and [inhabited houses] in each part of the townland changed during the period 1831 to 1901.

Townland 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901
Cullyramer [Aghadowey] 150 [27] 106 [18] 91 [18] 111 [19] 77 [16] 54 [14] 28 [12]** 29 [8]
Cullyramer [Desertoghill] 106 [18] 111 [19] 76 [16] 79 [17] 62 [13 26 [6]*    35 [9]*** 29 [8]
Total 256 [45] 217 [37] 167 [34] 190 [36] 139 [29] 80 [20] 63 [21] 63 [15]

* A note in the census states “the decrease is attributed to emigration”.  ** A note in the census states “The enumerator reports that some houses, etc. were returned in this townland in 1881 which properly belonged to the townland of the same name in Desertoghill Parish”.  *** A note in the census states “The decrease attributed to the stoppage of work in a beetling mill”.

The most striking feature in the table is the fact that in 1901 the numbers of people and houses in Cullyramer were only a quarter of the numbers in 1831. The decline began during the Famine years but was most noticeable towards the end of the century. The reasons for this are vividly highlighted in the notes in the census.

The table below shows the religious breakdown of the population in the townland in the early nineteenth century, calculated from the 1831 Census Returns.

Townland Inhabited Houses Uninhabited Houses No. of Families Total in Houses E.C. % R.C. % Presb. % Others %
Cullyramer [Aghadowey] 8 1 8 29 4 14% 4 14% 21 72% 0  
Cullyramer [Desertoghill] 7 0 7 34 1 2% 4 12% 29 76% 0  
Total 15 1 15 63 5 8% 8 13% 50 79% 0  

The 1831 Census Returns [Aghadowey] & [Desertoghill] also list the names of the   householders and the dominance of Scottish planter surnames is clear. This, of course, explains the religious breakdown shown in the table above. The Tithe Applotment Book of 1832 [Aghadowey] & [Desertoghill] gives the names of the main landholders in the townland.  Note that there are only 7 names listed in the Aghadowey part of the townland and 11 in the Desertoghill part. You might want to compare these names and properties with those in the 1831 Census Returns and the 1859 Griffith's Printed [Tenement] Valuation and see how many you can match up.

The 1859 Griffith's Printed [Tenement] Valuation and accompanying Valuation Map shows that the entire townland was a mixture of some quite substantial farms, smaller farms and a considerable number of cottiers who, I suspect, relied on the domestic linen industry to support their families. Detailed information on the size and condition of a few of the farmer's houses are given in the 1832 Townland Valuation. Only one house reached the threshold for inclusion in the Aghadowey part of the townland and two in the Desertoghill part. A flax mill is marked on the 1833 map but it is actually located in the adjoining townland of Boghilboy.

The Griffith's Revision Books - see database of changes - [Aghadowey] & [Desertoghill] will show you the changes in each holding and help you to link the names and properties in the 1859 Griffith's Printed [Tenement] Valuation with those in the 1901 Census Returns.

Note that the Griffith's Revision Books are now online at PRONI. If you want to look at the pages for Cullyramer click here. This will take you to the Search page at PRONI. Simply type in Cullyramer in the placename box and click on Search. This link will bring up the books that you need to consult.

The table below shows the number of people and houses in the townland in 1901 and the religious breakdown of the population. This information comes from the 1901 Census Returns.[Aghadowey] & [Desertoghill]. Although the townland is all in Bovagh DED there are two separate sections in the census records - one in the Parish of Aghadowey and one in Desertoghill DED. The same applies to the Griffith's Revision Books.

Townland Inhabited Houses Uninhabited Houses No. of Families Total in Houses E.C. % R.C. % Presb. % Others %
Cullyramer [Aghadowey] 27 3 27 150 8 5% 11 7% 131 88% 0  
Cullyramer [Desertoghill] 18 0 19 106 13 12% 14 13% 79 75% 0  
Total 45 3 46 256 21 8% 25 10% 210 82% 0  

Like most townlands in the county, the 1901 figures show a sharp reduction in the number of families and houses. This reduction can be attributed to the decline in the linen industry and the consolidation of farms. Interestingly the religious breakdown of the reduced population in 1901 was similar to that of 1831.


The farming families within both parts of the townland were dominated by a few names - McFetridge, Kennedy, Torrens and Lyttle. These families had been resident in the townland since, at least, the 1830s. One family, that of Samuel Long, was a relative newcomer. He arrived in the townland c.1857 and had formerly lived in the Roe Valley. I have selected this family, for more detailed study.

My Databases
Databases compiled from 19th Century Census Substitutes
Databases compiled from 18th Century Census Subtitutes
Databases compiled from 17th Century Census Subtitutes
Copyright 2013 W.Macafee.