The Ffrench family of Rahasane, near Craughwell, county Galway was a Catholic land-owning family, and a junior branch of the Ffrench family of Monivea. The family bought Rahasane from the Geoghegans in 1671 and the lands of Cummer (Tuam) and Drumgriffin (Oranmore area) in 1675 and Cargin (Oranmore area) in 1737.
The family became connected with a wide network of rich Catholic merchant families and made good marriages, as when in 1758 Robert Joseph Ffrench (1695-1786) married a much younger Elizabeth Nagle (1731-1818). They had six children of whom Robert Joseph (1762-1811) was the only son. Elizabeth Nagle was a sister of Nano (Honora) Nagle who founded the order of the Sisters of the Presentation in 1775, and of Joseph Nagle of Caverleigh in Devon. Joseph also owned an estate in Ballygriffin, county Cork. Upon his death in 1813 he left his Irish property to his grand-nephew, Robert Joseph Ffrench (17??-1831).
Elizabeth outlived her husband by many years, and was it appears in financial strife during her widowhood. Her son, Robert Joseph Ffrench (1762-1811) married Margaret Aylmer, of Lyon, Kildare, in 1788. They in turn had one son, Robert Joseph (17??-1834), and three daughters. Margaret was the daughter of an important and well connected house. Despite this advantageous marriage, the Ffrenches of Rahasane borrowed heavily in the latter half of the eighteenth century and early part of the nineteenth century and the estate became encumbered with many debts.
Being the only son Robert (+1811) had responsibility for managing his sisters’ family trusts and assets after their father’s death. However, he was, it appears, often slow in forwarding them money, much to their distress; - ‘…you have no idea how distressed your sisters have been by the irregularity of your payments and be assured were it not for their having more resolution and economy than anyone could suppose…(GP4/34). Robert’s ill health for a number of years before his death in circa late 1811, must have also contributed to the family’s weak financial position.
His son Robert (+1831) was the last Ffrench proprietor of Rahasane. After his death a bill was filed by Henry Blake, brother of Martin Blake Ballyglunnin and other creditors of Ffrench against two of his sisters, Frances Ffrench and Elizabeth Power, in the Court of Chancery, which eventually ordered that the estate be sold.
Thomas Joyce, grandson of Pierce Joyce of Merview, Galway bought the estate in April 1846. Thomas was forced to sell it in 1871, when it was purchased by Walter Bourke of Curraghleagh House, Kilcolman, County Mayo, who was murdered outside the entrance to Castle Taylor, Ardrahan, County Galway in 1882. The house was burned down in 1896.
Archival History ↴
The collection had been acquired by Galway County Libraries many years ago, together with Blake of Ballyglunin papers, and was transferred to the Archives Section upon its establishment in 2000.
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: Ffrench family ↴
The collection consists of the papers of three generations of a Rahasane (near Craughwell) branch of the extensive Ffrench family of Galway, dating from 1765 and 1831. The family owned lands in the Monivea and Loughrea areas of county Galway and in parts of county Roscommon.
It includes personal letters, primarily from female siblings to their brother requesting money due them from various legacies and family trusts, records relating to the care and management of the estate, and the collection of rents. It also includes records relating to C. French & Co. Bank at Ormond Quay, Dublin, and to bankruptcy charges, together with details of items to be auctioned from the estate (1831).
Appraisal Destruction ↴
Arranged chronologically by individual.
Conditions of Access & Use
Available on microfilm by appointment. Unrestricted access. The material in this collection is available to all bonae fide researchers by appointment only, and ubject to the conditions of access governing the consultation of archival material at Galway County Council Archives.
Conditions Governing Reproduction
No material may be reproduced from this collection without the written permission of the archivist, and reproductions are subject to the conditions of access.
- NUI Galway JHL, Blakes of Ballyglunin, IE/JHL/LE007
This is a shortened version of the original description for this collection. A longer description is available by contacting the Archive directly.
This collection was originally in a very poor condition with many of the pages stained and damaged. The paper was extremely fragile, thus rendering it inaccessible. However, the whole collection received conservation treatment in 2005. Each item was treated, cleaned and washed, and strengthened by adding one or two layers of Japanese paper as appropriate.
Although the collection is now accessible, it is still quite delicate and requires careful handling.
Descriptive Control Area
ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.