Freeholders of Co. Kerry 1736

From Mary Agnes Hickson's Selections from Old Kerry Records (1872) & (1874) available from Archive CD Books Ireland.

Lists of people, known as freeholders, who voted at elections or were entitled to vote. The entitlement to vote was restricted to men who owned land outright or held it by lease. 

In Ireland, during the 18th and 19th centuries a person holding property in fee simple (outright ownership) or by lease for one or more lives (the life of the lessee and other named persons) was entitled to vote and would therefore appear on freeholder lists. A lease, simply with a defined period did not confer voting rights to the leaseholder. Between 1727 and 1793 only Protestants with a freehold worth forty shillings per year were entitled to vote and from 1793 this qualification was extended to include Roman Catholics. However from 1829 the qualifying freehold worth was raised to ten pounds which substantially reduced the amount of voters. 

2 Comments

  1. Michael Dunne Michael Dunne
    January 26, 2017    

    “Between 1727 and 1793 only Protestants with a freehold worth forty shillings per year were entitled to vote and from 1793 this qualification was extended to include Roman Catholics. However from 1829 the qualifying freehold worth was raised to ten pounds which substantially reduced the amount of voters.”

    Was this increase of freehold to ten pounds a trade off by Daniel O’Connell to government to allay Protestant fears that their control of land etc would not be threatened by a Catholic voted administration? Did the repeal of the Penal Laws. the granting of Catholic Emancipation and the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in 1869 all contribute to these fears?

    I did not see any Cantillon listed as a freeholder. I am trying to establish the genealogical link of William Cantlon (Cantillon or Cantlin) of Clahane circa 1800. He and his son were horse trainers and relatively less well of as the main branch of that family. He was my great great great grandfather, father to James Cantillon, and grandfather to Mary Cantillon who married Patrick O’Riordan in 1881. Padna was secretary of the ‘cottiers association’ in Tralee as well as a regular contributor to the opinion pages of local papers. He died in 1946 and was my mothers (Mary Theresa O’Riordan) grandfather.

    • Kay Caball Kay Caball
      January 27, 2017    

      Michael, thank you for this. You have given us a lot of history here and posed interesting questions. Your family could probably be traced back to de Cantillon of Ballyheigue. I have a note on p.116 of my book Finding Your Ancestors in Kerry with a source on this in Irish Ecclesiastical Record (Sept 1921), pp. 275-285. That might be of some interest to you in case you haven’t gone there already.

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