Papers of the Smythe family of Barbavilla

Repository: Trinity College Dublin

Identity Statement

TitlePapers of the Smythe family of Barbavilla
Archive ReferenceIE TCD MS/11198
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1651-1929
Extent Medium6 archive boxes, 1 outsize scroll


Creator(s): Smythe, family, of Barbavilla, County Westmeath

  • Administrative History ↴

    The collection traces the family's long connection with Westmeath, from their acquisition of extensive lands in the county in the late 17th century and the construction of their residence, Barbavilla House ca 1730. It also provides an overview of the family's business transactions and the maintenance of the estate over the proceeding generations, through to 1929. A key feature of the collection, and of significant value to scholars of landlordism and agrarian conflict in 19th century Ireland, is the material relating to William Barlow Smythe (1809-1889), who ran the estate from 1830. His papers reflect his early hostility to the Repeal movement, his later conflict with the local Catholic clergy and his relations with tenants prior to and during the Land War, culminating in the eviction of tenants on the Barbavilla estate in March 1882 and a subsequent, unsuccessful attempt on his life at Collinstown on 2 April 1882, which resulted in the murder of his sister-in-law, Maria Smythe. The collection also sheds light on the activities of the Land League and Ladies Land League in Westmeath and the response of the local Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Castle to agrarian violence.
  • Archival History ↴

  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Smythe, family, of Barbavilla, County Westmeath ↴

    The papers consist mostly of correspondence between members of the Smythe family, the majority between Ralph Smythe (1676-1755) and his brother William Barlow Smythe (1692-1769), dated 1712-52. The letters concern social, family and business affairs, in particular land and tenant issues in co Westmeath. There are some land deeds and agreements in respect of Barbavilla. Other papers of interest concern genealogy; poetry, for which exists a first-line index; a collection of printed pamphlets; and miscellaneous items which includes a printed almanac for the year 1684 with manuscript diary entries, in which the author refers to his travels around Ireland and meetings with Lord Granard, Lord Kingston, Sir Oliver St George and Lord Mountjoy.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged as follows:
    11198/1 Rev William Smyth d 1699, of Ranaghan, Co. Westmeath, Bishop of Killala 1680, Bishop of Kilmore 1682, Bishop of Raphoe 1693
    11198/2 Robert Nelson fl 1679-1713, merchant, of London
    11198/3 Ralph Smyth (1676-1757)
    11198/4 William Smyth (1692-1769) of Barbavilla, Co. Westmeath
    11198/5 Ralph Leonard Smyth (1717-1790) of Barbavilla, Co. Westmeath
    11198/6 Ralph Smyth (1784-1814), of Newpark, Co. Roscommon and Barbavilla, Co. Westmeath
    11198/7 William Meade Smythe (1785-1866), of Deerpark, Devon
    11198/8 William Barlow Smythe (1890-1889), of Barbavilla, Co. Westmeath
    11198/9 Henry M Smythe (1810-1893) of Barbavilla Co. Westmeath and Dublin
    11198/10 Col William Lyster Smythe of Barbavilla, Co. Westmeath (1859-1920)
    11198/11 Agnes Smythe (nee Litton) d 1952
    11198/12 Capt Cecil St George Lyster-Smythe (1895-1948)
    11198/13 Genealogical Papers
    11198/14 Poetry
    11198/15 Pamphlets, Transcriptions and Sermons
    11198/16 Miscellanea

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Please contact in advance of your visit
Conditions Governing ReproductionPlease contact for guidance.
Creation Dates1651-1929
Extent Medium6 archive boxes, 1 outsize scroll
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids A collection level description is available online Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialManuscripts and Archives Research Library, Trinity College Dublin contains further related material: IE TCD MS 3488 Smyth, Isabella, of Castle Forward: Commplace book, 1819-1827: school history, poems, devout meditations

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteAdapted by Natalie Milne, February 2014.
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. 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 Descriptions41671