Lismore Castle Papers

Repository: Waterford City and County Archives

Identity Statement

TitleLismore Castle Papers
Archive ReferenceIE WCA/PP/LISM
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates[1750]-31 December 1969
Extent Medium208 boxes


Creator(s): Lismore Estate, Irish Estates of the Dukes of Devonshire

  • Administrative History ↴

    Lismore Castle was the seat of the Dukes of Devonshire in Ireland. William, the 4th Duke of Devonshire (1720-1764) married Lady Charlotte Boyle (1731-1754), heiress of the 3rd Earl of Burlington and through this marriage the Irish estate mainly situated in counties Waterford and Cork became part of the estates of the Dukes of Devonshire. The Irish estates were administered from Lismore Castle, Lismore, County Waterford by agents living and working from Lismore Castle and responsible for all the Irish estates of the Dukes of Devonshire with a sub-agent located in Bandon to administer the lands and properties located in the areas surrounding Bandon in county Cork. The seat of the Dukes of Devonshire is Chatsworth in Derbyshire, England. The Dukes visited Lismore on occasion, in particular, to hunt and fish but were not permanent residents of Lismore Castle. Instead, the estate was administered by agents who were closely supervised by the Dukes of Devonshire through a series of detailed and, in some cases, daily, correspondence. During the period covered by these papers there were a number of holders of the title of Duke of Devonshire who held the Lismore estates. William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire (1748-1811) who married Lady Georgiana Spencer; William Spencer Cavendish, the 6th Duke (1790-1858), known as the “Bachelor Duke”, who extensively remodeled Lismore Castle. The estate was then inherited by the 7th Duke, William Cavendish (1808-1891) who married Lady Blanche Howard, granddaughter of the Duchess Georgiana. Spencer Compton Cavendish 8th Duke (1833-1908) who married Louise von Alten. Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke (1868-1938) who married Lady Evelyn Fitzmaurice and Edward Cavendish 10th Duke (1895-1950) who married Lady Mary Cecil. For more information on the Dukes of Devonshire please see The agents for the duration of these papers were Colonel William Currey (1817-1839); Francis Edward Currey (1839-1885), assisted by his son Chetwode H. Currey; Robert H. Power (1885-1895); James Penrose (1895-1921) and Edward Beecher (1921-1936). During the 1930s Charles Cavendish, son of Victor , 9th Duke was resident at Lismore Castle and was managing the estate on behalf of his father and brother until his death in 1944. The sub-agents in Bandon were Alexander Swanston (c.1825-1852) and John R. Berwick (1852-c.1892). The Lismore estate became the Lismore Estates Company c. 1927 and members of the Cavendish family sat as members of the Board of the company. The company was administered with the assistance of Anthony Carroll, solicitor, Fermoy, co. Cork. Meetings were held to discuss the administration of the estate at Lismore Castle and in London.
  • Archival History ↴

    This collection was held at Lismore Castle until 1983 when it was box listed by Anthony Malcolmson, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. The earlier part of the collection was transferred to the National Library of Ireland and these papers were transferred to Waterford County Library’s store in Lismore. The papers stored in the County Library in Lismore were transferred to Waterford County Archives in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford on its establishment in October 1998. In 2004 as part of a project to list the papers there was a meeting between Waterford County Archives and the National Library of Ireland to create a clearer method of dividing the parts of the collections held. A further visit was made to Lismore Castle to sort and collect papers that had not been removed in the 1980s and these were divided according to the method determined between WCA and NLI. Waterford County Archives holds the following: All Rental Books, Account Books and Legal Deeds from 1870 onwards Correspondence from 1885 (the end of FE Currey’s agency) Fishery records from any cases commenced after 1870 (any cases commenced prior to 1870 to be held in their entirety by the National Library) All Railway records All Tenant Application Books All Financial Vouchers Some records prior to the 1885 cut-off point were found inside the rental books or mixed among the financial vouchers and ledgers following the completion of the Descriptive List by the National Library of Ireland and, therefore, while prior to the 1885 date have been listed here.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Permanent Loan

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Lismore Estate, Irish Estates of the Dukes of Devonshire ↴

    This collection contains the administrative records of the Lismore estate. It includes records on the upkeep and running of Lismore Castle and Gardens, the Castle Farm, Woods, Mountains, Lismore Sawmills and the Blackwater Fishery. The collection includes records of the tenants on the estate, payment and non-payment of rents, fixing of fair rents, requests for repairs and improvements and the purchase by tenants of their farms under the Landed Estates Acts. The Tenant Application Books (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/169-201) record applications made by tenants for improvements on their farms and for assistance, such as assistance to emigrate. These records provide a source for the detailed history of many of the families and farms of counties Cork and Waterford and in many cases provide the only written evidence of the daily lives of these tenants.
    The Lismore Estate was also involved in a number of infrastructural improvements, including: the development of the Lismore Canal (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/437-476); the Lismore Water Supply Scheme (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/489), and the Lismore Gas and Coke Company (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/628-635). In particular, the Estate was a major investor in the development of the Railways. The Estate invested in the Lismore, Dungarvan and Waterford Railway (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/752-802) and the Fermoy and Lismore Railway (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/803-817) and the collection includes extensive correspondence on the introduction and management of the railways. The collection contains a number of maps of the railways and proposed routes.
    The collection includes records on the operation of the Blackwater Fishery by the Estate (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/636-694). There are extensive records of legal cases (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/695-726) regarding the Blackwater Fishery, the conservation of salmon on the river and the operation of drift net and rod fishing on the river. There are maps and records of salmon and grilse numbers in the river (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/727-751) which would be of use to those studying the Blackwater and the conservation of fish stocks today.
    The collection also contains some records of the political situation in Ireland and the land question. There are records in relation to the provision of information from the estate for use by Lord Hartington in the House of Lords (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/841) and information supplied to William Gladstone on the Irish question (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/843). There are records in relation to the War of Independence, in particular, the burning of Lismore Courthouse (IE/WCA/PP/LISM/850) and Aghern Police Barracks (IE/WCA/LISM/842).

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection has been arranged by subject and within subject by date. The subject titles have been chosen to reflect, where possible, the original order of the collection. In particular, the financial vouchers have been arranged and titled in accordance with their original order.

    I. Lismore Castle and Cavendish Family
    II. Administration
    III. Bandon Administration
    IV. Staff
    V. Legal
    VI. Rights and Appurtenances
    VII. Survey and Lands
    VIII. Valuations
    IX. Sales and Purchase of Lands
    X. Irish Land Commission
    XI. Church Properties
    XII. Tenants
    i. Lismore Estate
    ii. Bandon Estate
    iii. Lismore Town
    iv. Tallow Town
    v. Proceedings Against Tenants and Ejectments
    XIII. Infrastructure and Development
    i. Infrastructure
    ii. Labourers Cottages and Repairs
    iii. Lismore Development
    iv. Bandon Development
    v. Tallow Development
    vi. Youghal Development
    vii. Dungarvan Development
    XIV. Estate Farm and Works
    i. Farms and Stock
    ii. Works
    iii. Woods and Sawmills
    XV. Lismore Gas and Coke Company
    XVI. Fishery
    i. Operation of Blackwater Fishery
    ii. Fishery Legal
    iii. Fishery Maps
    XVII. Railways
    i. Waterford, Dungarvan and Lismore Railway
    ii. Fermoy and Lismore Railway
    iii. Railway Extensions
    iv. Other Railways
    XVIII. Politics
    XIX. Finance
    i. Financial Records
    ii. Rates and County Cess
    iii. Tithe Rent Charges
    iv. Rents and Payment of Rents
    v. Assistance to Schools
    vi. Assistance to Charities
    vii. Assistance to Organisations

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Any records containing personal information will be closed for 100 years (and for 150 years in the case of records relating to children) to comply with the Data Protection Act, 1988 and the Data Protection Amendment Act, 2003. These conditions of access are subject to review by the depositor.
Conditions Governing ReproductionThis collection is copyright to the Depositor and any request for permission to reproduce any document or item from the collection must be submitted to the Archivist.
Creation Dates[1750]-31 December 1969
Extent Medium208 boxes
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Characteristics Tech ReqDamp Press Letter Books only available on microfilm. Some items in the collection are fragile and access will be at the discretion of the Archivist.
Finding Aids Descriptive List Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Copies InformationDamp Press Letter Books on microfilm at Waterford County Archives
Related MaterialLismore Castle Papers Descriptive List National Library of Ireland Lismore Castle Papers by Anthony Malcolmson, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, 1983 Devonshire Collection and Archive Assistance to Emigrate Database from the Tenant Application Books available to search at

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteJoanne Rothwell
Rules/ConventionsIGAD: Irish Guidelines for Archival Description, Dublin Society of Archivists, Ireland, 2009 ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd edition Ottowa, International Council on Archives, 2000 National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, Chippenham, National Council on Archives, 1997
Date of Descriptions40562