Ref NoLE26
TitleHearne of Hearnesbrook Papers
DescriptionThe collection consists of a number of leases and associated legal documents relating to the Hearne of Hearnesbrook family, primarily from the seventeenth century, but with a number of legal documents from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The documents have been arranged in date order.centuries.

The Hearne of O'Hearne family come to our notice in the early seventeenth century, when they are closely associated with the O'Madden and O'Downey families. In the composition of Connacht in 1585 the barony of Longford is identified with the O'Madden lordship, and is assessed as containing 333 quarters. The barony stretched from Portumna in the south, which was in the possession of the earls of Clanricarde (created Marquis of Clanricarde and St. Albans in 1638), accross to Tynagh in the west and eastwards to Clonfert. From 1614 Edmund Hearne of Gortnifluchii, in the parish of Lickmolassy (Lickumelasha in Petty's map), Barony of Longford, began lending sums of money to his relatives and neighbours, who, in turn, mortgaged portions of their lands to Edmund as security for these loans. Quite how the O'Hearne family were able to get their hands on money is unknown, it is possible that they acted as merchants in the area and were able to lay their hands on ready cash at a time when it was relatively scarce. Edmund's son and heir, John, becomes very active in mortgaging of land to the O'Madden family in particular, as well as to the Marquis of Clanricharde from 1628 on, so by the outbreak of the rebellion in 1641 John controlled a large quantity of land within the Barony of Longford mainly as a result of his lending activities.

At this time the Marquis of Clanricarde had been seeking to anglicize his lordship to bring it into line with practice in England, and this afforded opportunities for someone like John Hearne, who's knowledge of English and in particular English law put him at a distinct advantage over his neighbours. Just as the townsmen of Galway found themselves in a position of being able to acquire land through mortgage in the county at large, entrepreneurs like John Hearne also followed this course. Perhaps the largest mortgage of John's career comes in 1638 when he lends £700 to Ulick, Marquis of Clanricarde, and a lengthy legal correspondence follows with Ulick’s son Richard to pay back the loan. At the time, the Marquis was under some financial strain given his involvement in the royalist cause, and in 1653 John Hearne is granted the rents of the Marquis out of the Barony of Longford as well as the parish of Tynagh, but was prevented from acquiring those rents by agents of the Marquis.

Larger events were to catch up with John Hearne however. In August 1652 an act of the Commonwealth Parliament, entitled an Act for the Settling of Ireland, declared that a position had been reached when a settlement of the Irish nation might be effected. Under clauses seven and eight of this act Parliament was allowed to assign any landholder in Ireland to two thirds of their estate elsewhere, ‘in such place in Ireland as the Parliament shall think fit to appoint’. Commissioners appointed from 1654, firstly at Loughrea, then elsewhere, surveyed the lands of Connacht and Clare with a view to the transplantation of people into the province. The machinery of survey and distribution was well set out, People had to travel to Athlone for Decrees, and they were then allotted property in a final settlement at Loughrea.

Under the Transplantation of Connacht Scheme John Hearne was allowed 839 acres, some in the parish of Beagh, and the majority in Tynagh and Killimorbologue, close to his original residence of Tirihane in the parish of Lickmolassy. It was also noted that John Hearne was in possession of 41 acres in the parish of Tynagh, in the barony of Leitrim, although this was probably because of lands mortgaged to him by the Marquis of Clanricarde. Matters between John Hearne and the Marquis of Clanricarde seem to have been sorted out by 1663, and in 1666 Edmund, son of John Hearne, marries Elizabeth Davells, a ward of Elizabeth, Dowager Countess of Clanricarde. John dies sometime in 1669/70, with his son John Oge taking over. By 1677 Edmond Hearne, a minor, is enfeoffed with the lands granted to John, including 30 acres in the parish of Tynagh known in the seventeenth century as Gortnamanagh, noted in the Title Applotment Books of the 1830s as Kilmurry, then in the possession of a Mr Hearn of Hearnesbrooke near Killimor. In Griffiths Valuation in the 1850s the land is held by George DH Kirkaldy , who had married Eliza Louisa Hearne in February 1832. Throughout the eighteenth century, as can be seen from the surviving documents, the family lived at Hearnesbrooke, which was situated near Killimor on the lands that they had acquired through the transplantation. It appears that George Kirkaldy sold his interest in the property sometime in the later nineteenth century, and the family’s link with the area ends at that stage.
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