Mason's Parochial Survey, 1814-19

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Union of Kilmanaheen, Kilasbuglenane, Kilmacreehy, Kileilagh and Kilmoon

VIII. State of Religious Establishment, Tithes, &c.

Places of Worship, Glebe-House, Glebe
In the parish of Kilmanaheen is one church, in the village of Ennistymon. The place of worship for the parish priest is at present, the Session-house. A glebe-house is built on the glebe, where the Archdeacon resides: there is also a glebe of about two acres in the centre of Bishop’s-farm. From the appearance of the ground, and also from the repute of the country, there ought to be at least twelve acres in this glebe, though in the Auditor-General’s office it is only set down as two acres. There is a glebe in the parish of Kilmacreehy, of about three acres, through the centre of which, the high road from Ennistymon to Liscannor runs. This glebe bounds a large bishop’s farm, and from the appearance of it, and from the reputation of the country, it ought to contain ten or twelve acres, but it is not set down in the Auditor-General’s office more than four acres. Near the ruins of Kileilagh church, there was a glebe of about six acres of the best and richest land, not only in the parish, but in the union. It is set down in the Auditor-General’s office, at only three acres arable.

The tithes of those parishes are predial and mixed, the distinction between the great or rectorial tithes, which the abbots plundered from the church for their own convents, and the small or vicarial tithes, which they allowed the Vicar for his drudgery, does not appear to have been kept up since the Reformation. The Vicar, since that period, had one-third of the tithes predial and mixed, in the parish of Kilmanaheen; the Rector had two-thirds. In Kilaspuglenane and Kilileigh, the same division took place. In Kilmacreehy and Kilmoon, the Vicar had half the entire tithes, predial and mixed; the Rector had the other half. The rectories in this Union are all sinecures, save only that the Archdeacon must preach in his turn in the cathedral, where the rectorial and vicarial tythes are united; the incumbent has more satisfaction, and the tiller has less trouble, having but one clergyman to deal with in that case; therefore it would be for the general interest of the church to have those tithes united, as far as it is practicable in every parish in Ireland. On the dissolution of monasteries, the abbey lands, and the great tithes belonging to those abbies, were vested in the crown, and granted or sold by the crown to different persons. In this county, they were all granted to the O’Brien families of Thomond and Inchiquin, who certainly had a prior claim to them, their ancestors having been at different periods most munificent benefactors of the church; besides, those two families and their relatives had the fee of almost the entire of this county at that time. Some of those rectories are lay property, and are in the possession of laymen; some more are lay property, with this difference, that they must have a clergyman presented to them by the patron on every vacancy. Of this description are the three rectories, already mentioned, of Kileilagh, Kilmoon, and Carron.

Mode of taking Tithes
In harvest, the Archdeacon sends out sworn valuators to value the tithes, and to agree for them with the parishioners. He also sends, at the same time, another man to receive the tithe-money of the preceding year. By this indulgence, and by a moderate valuation, he contrives to keep on good terms with his parishioners; but very often at a very great loss to himself, for the want of a court to resort to, in case of a difference between him and them as to the value. The state of this diocese, with respect to its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, is very much to be lamented indeed, not only by him, but by every other gentleman who has any interest in the tithes of it, on account of not having a resident Vicar-general or Surrogate. The consequence is, that when any man’s tithes exceed 40s. the clergyman is obliged to compound in the best manner he can, and generally to his own prejudice. He frequently requested of Mr. Martin, who is Vicar-general of Kilfenora, but resides at or near Killaloe, a distance of at least forty miles from Kilfenora, to appoint a surrogate that would reside in the diocese. Mr. Martin at last informed him, that he must in future attend the Bishop’s visitation at Killaloe, and that any suit necessary for him to have for the recovery of his tithes, must be instituted there. The Archdeacon answered, that although the dioceses of Killaloe and Kilfenora were united in one Bishop, yet the jurisdiction of them was separate and distinct; that, however willing he may be to attend the Bishop’s (now Bishop of Derry’s) visitation at Killaloe, or any where else he thought proper, yet transferring the jurisdiction of the one court to the other, would be contrary to law, and could not on any account be sustained; and he also begged of Mr. Martin too represent this to the Bishop. The consequence was, he was pronounced contumacious, and has not been able to obtain any favour from the board, notwithstanding the pretensions he has to their countenance and protection.

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