Cancelled Book Derreen 1855-1970

Griffiths Map - Derreen
AskaboutIreland -Griffiths


Located on the eastern boundary of Clareabbey parish, Derreen is seventy-four hectares or 184 acres in area. It borders Manusmore to the west and Ballyvonnavaun to the north and three townlands in three parishes; Carrowmeer in Quin parish to the north, Castlefergus in Doora to the east and Latoon North to the south in Kilnasoolagh (Newmarket). The Ennis-Limerick rail line (lot 7 and later lot 10) runs through the townland.

Matthew L Blood of Castlefergus was recorded as the immediate lessor of the townland in 1855. The landed estates database indicates that the family was a junior branch of the Blood family of Roxton in Rath parish. The family were granted a Royal Licence to change their name to Blood Smyth but the surname was recorded as B. Smith in the cancelled books.[1][2] The family continued to hold land in Derreen until 1946. The final immediate lessor listed in the cancelled books was Rev William Blood Smyth (1853-1940), the last Church of Ireland Archdeacon of Killaloe (1927-38).[3]

A feature of the 1855 Primary Valuation for Derreen was one occupier holding a number of lots and by the 1856/57 cancelled book these lots have been combined and renumbered.

Both the 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland record two households with eleven occupants in 1901 and ten in 1911.[4]

Inheritance patterns observed in Derreen are similar to those noted in other rural townlands of the parish with the same occupiers surnames reoccurring or names changes which often mean the farms are passed down through wives/widows, daughters or sons-in-law. The case study of the Kitson/Torpey/Burke family in lot 5-7, later renumbered as lot 3a is a good example.

The value of the cancelled books 1855-1970 when combined with other available local sources including the Killoo Graveyard records transcribed by the Clare Roots Society, transcribed parish records and available Irish civil records allow a family historian to recreate a family’s story and connection to place.

Patrick Kittson was the occupier in 1855 and the property passed his son Lawrence, his son-in-law Michael Torpey and Lawrence’s grandson Henry Joseph Burke (1887-1965) and his son Patrick. Kate Kitson (1866-1945), daughter of Lawrence and Susan Quinlivan was baptised in Clarecastle church and her 1884 marriages to Patrick Burke (c1850-1890) of Newmarket, the baptism of their three children Mary Matilda (1886), Henry Joseph in 1887 and Patrick (1890) and her second marriage to Michael Torpey (c1846-1928) of Broadford are recorded in church records.[5] After Michael’s death in 1928, Kate’s older son Henry Joseph Burke (1887-1965) is listed as occupier.[6] The cancelled book records that he purchased the property under the Land Act Purchase scheme in 1946. Henry Joseph later passed the property to his son Patrick Burke who held the property in 1970. There are graves commemorating the Kitson and Burke families in the Killoo Graveyard which have been transcribed by the Clare Roots Society and are available on line.[7]

[1] ( (accessed 28 Feb 2023).

[2] Limerick Gazette, 3 Feb 1808 page 3 reporting on Royal Licence to take the name Blood Smyth.

[3] William Blood Smyth Archdeacon of Killaloe, Wikipedia (accessed 28 Feb 2023) & William Blood Smith 1940 death record ( (accessed 28 Feb 2023).

[4] ( and ( (accessed 28 Feb 2023).

[5] (  & ( (accessed 28 Feb. 2023).

[6] ( Death record for Michael Torpey 1928, accessed 28 Feb 2023.

[7] ( and ( (accessed 28 Feb 2023).

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