Vanderplas Cork Deeds

Repository: Cork City and County Archives

Identity Statement

TitleVanderplas Cork Deeds
Archive ReferenceIE CCCA/U675
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1598, 1610-1677, 1694
Extent Medium61 items


Creator(s): Unknown, possibly the Gould or Meagh family

  • Administrative History ↴

    By the end of the 16th century, the area and the population of Cork City was not much greater than that of medieval times. The City was largely in the hands of a merchant patriciate of Old English descent. Despite some advances by the Reformation, by the early 17th century, the merchant rulers were once again predominantly Roman Catholic. This was in contrast to the recent Munster plantation settlers who were of the Anglican tradition. The English authorities regarded Cork’s merchant oligarchy with suspicion due to its Catholicism and it was thought to be in league with Gaelic and Catholic forces outside the city. On the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, the leading Catholic families in Cork refused to proclaim James I as king. Lord Mountjoy soon put down what was termed the ‘Recusant Revolt’, which was mirrored in other Irish cities. The 17th century was a momentous and turbulent century in the history of both Cork and Ireland. It saw the re-establishment of the power of the crown over Ireland; a power that was now aligned with the Protestantism of the Reformation. It also witnessed the beginnings of the decline of the old Gaelic civilisation. Most historians regard the defeat of the Irish and Spanish forces at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 and the flight of the Earls in 1607 as watersheds in the history of Ireland. While the civic government of Cork City remained in the hands of the merchant patriciate, the tensions between it and the officials of the crown continued to simmer. Members of the leading Catholic families, such as Meades, Tirrys, Goolds and others were fined for non-attendance at formal religious ceremonies conducted according to the Anglican rite. The James 1 Charter of 1608, while it created the County of the City of Cork which covered a much larger area than the old medieval walled city and suburbs, also retained for the crown the right to poundage, tonnage and customs in the port of Cork. This was a severe financial blow to the merchants of the city. Matters came to a head in 1644, following the 1641 rebellion. In that year it was discovered that some of the leading citizens of Cork had been conspiring with Lord Muskerry, a military commander loyal to the Catholic Confederacy. Lord Inchiquin, in June 1644, then decreed the expulsion of the Irish and Catholic population of Cork from the city. The power of the Old Catholic merchant families, which had dominated the civic life of Cork for centuries, was broken. The forces of the Catholic Confederacy continued to struggle against the English forces, which were themselves riven by the conflict between parliament and the crown in the prelude to the English Civil War. The dispossessed merchants of Cork City were briefly reinstated in 1648 when English forces in Cork declared for the Royalist side. Their reinstatement was short-lived, as they were expelled again in 1649 on the arrival of Oliver Cromwell’s forces. Cork City was under military governance from 1644 to 1656 when Cromwell granted a new municipal charter to the Protestants of Cork City. Further orders expelling the Irish from Cork City were made in 1651 and 1656. The municipal government of the city was to remain firmly in Protestant hands until the reform of the Corporation in the 1840s, apart from a brief period during the reign of Catholic James II (1685-1690) when the Old English rallied to the Jacobite cause and regained control of the City, which was then beseiged and taken by Williamite forces in September 1690. Some of the Old English had properties in Cork returned after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, but the dominance of the City by the Old English merchant elite, which had lasted for centuries, was at an end. Despite the political turbulence, the economic fortunes of Cork began to improve in the first half of the 17 th century after two centuries of relative decline. Historians and geographers using evidence from maps, surveys and other sources estimate that the population of the city may have trebled from approximately 3,000 in 1600 to approximately 9,000 in 1640. The number of streets, lanes and buildings within the old walled city increased and similar developments took place in the suburbs. In the 17th century, Cork, a Staple port since 1291, had become a major centre for the import and export of goods. Among imported goods were wine, salt and other commodities. The export of hides, pipestaves, rugs and tallow was extensive. Trade with Bristol was especially important and trade with European ports, for example Bordeaux, began to flourish. The Irish Staple ports had been established to regulate trade in staple goods, such as wool and hides, which could only be sold to foreign merchants in designated staple towns, originally Cork, Dublin, Waterford and Drogheda. By the 17th century, the Staple was principally important in the regulation of debt. The staple officers, the mayor of the staple and two constables, had power to take recognisance of debts incurred within the staple. The recognisances were known as 'statute staple' and, when issued had the staple seal attached. If the debtor defaulted, the mayor of the staple had the power to imprison the debtor, take possession of his goods and use them to make restitution to the creditor. In Cork, a ‘Corporation of the Staple’ was set up by the James I. Charter of 1608, granting Cork the same privileges as those in Dublin and London.
  • Archival History ↴

    The collection was purchased by the Archives in 2007. Given the large number of references within to the Gould and Meagh families, it is a possibility that the collection was brought to the European mainland by a family member or descendant of the Gould or Meagh families, who perhaps may have emigrated following the final loss of their lands and power after 1690.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Unknown, possibly the Gould or Meagh family ↴

    MS. parchment deeds relating to property, estates and business transactions mainly in Cork city and environs. The majority of the items date from from the period 1610-1677, with a particular concentration in the 1620s, 1630s, 1660s and 1670s.

    The earliest item in the collection is a 1598 lease by John Roche of a house and other property to his brother Patrick Roche fitz Morris, including 20 acres near Ballinlough and property outside Cork City’s South Gate, above St. Augustine’s Abbey (the ‘Red Abbey’) and near the Holy Rood Church (Church of St Mary Del Nard). (U675/1)

    The latest item in the collection is a 1694 indenture between Ignatius Gould, alderman, of Cork, John Baggot of Baggotstowne in the county of Limerick Esquire, Stephen Gallway of Cork gentleman, and Robert Power of the Middle Temple, London Esquire, concerning the town and lands of Lehanaghmore in ‘ye County of ye said Citty of Corke’ (the County of the City of Cork). (U675/61)

    A large number of people are mentioned in the deeds, including those parties involved in the transaction, and also those acting as witnesses or in an official capacity. We find several names closely associated with ancient Cork, particularly of Old English origin, including for instance, Gould/Goold, Galwey/Gallway, Meagh, Coppinger, Martell, Morrogh, Roche, Ronayne, Sarsfield, Skiddy, Tyrry (Terry), Verdon, and Fitzgerald.

    A distinctly large number of items in the collection directly involve those with the names Gould and Meagh. In particular, several items relate to merchant Ignatius Gould (possibly the Jacobite Mayor of Cork City in 1687), gentleman James Fitz Thomas Gould, and alderman Thomas Fitz George Gould.

    From the mid 17th century, other names appear, including Evans, Busteed, Hodder, Johnson, Parker, Penn, St.Leger, Wright, and Brodrick, reflecting the major political upheavals and wars of the mid to late 17th century, which resulted in a new set of political masters and property owners in Ireland.

    Names of Gaelic origin are much less prevalent in the collection, however there are a few references to the names Cartie/McCarthy, Collins, Hurley, Murphy, O’Callaghan, O’Cronin, O’Crowley, O’Keeffe, and O’Scannell. (See the Index of Persons)

    2 items relate to debts owed in 1670 by James Gould, gentleman, to William Penn, (b1644-d1718) founder of the State of Pennsylvania, who was sent to Ireland in c.1667 by his father, Admiral Sir William Penn, to manage the extensive family estates in Cork. (U675/48, and /49)

    All of the deeds concern estates, property or monies in one way or another in Cork City, the Liberties of Cork City, and in County Cork. The deeds often mention the properties by townland and parish name and/or proximity to a landmark or other noteable location. Amongst the places mentioned are Ballinlough, Carrigeens, Farranferris, Shandon, Huggardsland, Knockrea, Milstreet, and St.Peters parish in Cork City, and Ballyphilip, Garraneboy, Killdorrery and Kinsale in County Cork. Sometimes baronies are also mentioned. (See Index of Places)

    Of particular note are a number of Statute Staple related deeds, concerning the recognisance or settling of debt, the first dated 1618, involving a debt of 300 pounds, signed and sealed by the Mayor of the Staple, David Tyrry Fitz Stephen (U675/3; see also: U675/14, U675/15, U675/20, U675/44, U675/49).

    A number of items from the 1660s and 1670s appear to relate to the possible recovery of property by Catholic families following the restoration of the monarchy with the accession of Charles II in 1660, including a 1661/1662 Decree of Innocency for Mary and Anstance Gould, relating to the 1641 estate of their father Alderman Thomas Gould, and signed by the relevant court commissioners including Thomas Beverley, Sir Edward Dering, Sir Richard Rainsford, Sir Edward Smyth, Sir Allen Brodrick, Edward Cooke, Winston Churchill, and Sir William Domville (U675/35, U675/38, U675/51).

    The collection contains a small number of personal wills including that of Ann Meagh, widow of Merchant Patrick Lewes, 1610 (U675/2), Merchant James Meagh fitz James, 1665 (U675/42), and James Gould fitz Thomas, Gentleman,1670 (U675/50).

    The collection is significant as it helps to document Cork’s history in the early modern period, a period for which local archival sources are exeedingly scarce. The terms and conditions, descriptions of property, and types of legal transactions documented in the deeds may be of interest to the study of land ownership and tenure, trade and commerce, family inheritance, and the confiscation and restoration of lands during the political troubles of a key period in Irish History. The collection is particularly useful regarding the family history of the old Catholic merchant families of Cork, who, in common with the Gaelic Irish and others, were largely dispossessed of their power, lands and privileges by the end of the 17th century.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Accruals ↴

    Not expected.
  • Arrangement ↴

    Mainly in chronological order.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Open by appointment to those holding a current readers ticket.
Conditions Governing ReproductionThe deeds are generally quite fragile and are unsuitable for copying.
Creation Dates1598, 1610-1677, 1694
Extent Medium61 items
Material Language ScriptEnglish, Latin (11 items contain a substantial amount of Latin or are fully in Latin, with the remainder written in English)
Characteristics Tech ReqA number of items are in a damaged condition and are partially or wholly illegible.
Finding Aids Descriptive list, Index to Persons, Index to Places Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialCCCA: SM642 Goolds in Ireland Family History (Kathleen Goold Crowell, PhD) U372 Ronayne-Sarsfield Correspondence U240 Gould Application to Court of Claims, 1662 U119 Vaughn / Sims IOU, 1699 SM756 Skiddy Deed, 1565 SM673 Charles the 2nd Charter and 1669 deed U229: Exham Flynn Solictors Papers YTR: Youghal Town Records, 17th c. material Elsewhere: British Library ADD MS. 19,843 and 19,844. Register of Statutes-staple of different cities of Ireland, kept by Clerk of the Decrees and Recognizances of the Court of Chancery in Ireland; from Feb 1689 - Apr 1662, and Apr 1673 - Nov 1678. Marsh’s Library: Cork Deeds, Webster Donation

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteBrian McGee
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions40422