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Cookstown – Old Deeds

Transcribed and compiled by Teena from the Mid-Ulster Mail

Cookstown, County Tyrone, History – Some Old Deeds

In the Register of Deeds in Dublin are some entries which are worth notice and may be given at this place, though rather disconnected.

The first refers to premises in Cookstown leased 2nd August 1750, rather earlier as fixing the date of the street widening. We have been unable to identify these premises, but perhaps some reader in the town may be able to do so from his own deeds. The leasee was William GIBSON, described as formerly yardman at Killymoon and he took a lease of a tenement in Cookstown, 50 feet frontage and 21 perches deep, together with 1½ acres of land in Monrush, 3½ acres in Clagan, a rood in Cookstown bog and more bog in Drumgarrell. The lease was for 7 years, as often as Mr. STEWART renewed his lease with the See, and the rent was £4 10s. GIBSON gave a sub-lease to James MARSHALL and the latter’s widow sold in 1801 to James CONWAY of Cookstown for £122 15s. The witnesses were James COLLINS junr.; Edward PATTERSON junr., and another whose name cannot be deciphered clearly, but is like M’KIM.

Another old lease of the reconstruction time is recited in a deed of 1809. The lease was by Wm. STEWART of Killymoon to James ASTON of Cookstown and is dated 1st December 1856. The property in question (also still unidentified) was 105 feet frontage, with a garden of three roods 16 perches in Cookstown, besides 4 acres 35 perches in New Buildings and 5a. 2r. 26p. in Monrush, with bog in Cookstown and Drumgarrell and the rent was £4 6s. 3d., with 1s. in the £1 fees and three days work of man and horse. ASTON mortgaged the property to James COLLINS, a surgeon, residing in Cookstown, whose executors (presumably son and daughter) John COLLINS, also a surgeon and Mary COLLINS, spinster, assigned it to Geo. ASTON of “Tirryconnell”, for £407. The latter assigned part of the property, described as John BLACK’S and Bernard HAMILL’S tenements and the Monrush land to Mrs. Elizabeth M’CORKE on 8th October 1809 (three days after he had got the property and possibly as part of the same bargain). In October 1809, Mrs. M’CORKE and George ASTON for £431 assigned to Alexander CLUFF of Kildress and his wife Margaret CLUFF, or ASTON, the executrix of James ASTON, subject to trusts, in the will of the said James ASTON. The witnesses were a Dublin attorney named YOUNG and his clerk.

Most of the names mentioned above have now died out, either from emigration, or failure of male representatives, but the name CLUFF is still well represented and it appears so far back as 1730, when “Richard CLUFF of Drum, in Kildress parish, gentleman”, witnessed a lease of lands from Wm. RICHARDSON, of Derrygally, Killyman parish, to Francis HENRY of Clare, farmer, the property consisting of 90 acres, half of Clare townland, “excepting all mines of coals, minerals, etc.; all roads, under-woods, stumps of timber; all quarries, etc.,” the rent being £11 with 5s. 6d. fees. The term of the lease was 31 years, or the longest of the lives of HENRY’S sons, John, Robert, or Francis. The other witnesses to the lease were Andrew CARMICHAEL, a Dungannon scrivenor and George LAMER, a Dungannon merchant.

Though not connected with Cookstown directly, it may be noted that the “Grange of Tullyhogue”, or the four towns of Tullyhog and Grange and the townlands of Beaghmore, “Crochill”, “Cregans” and Stirnagilmartin”, to give the spelling in the deed, were owned by Abreham CREIGHTON of Lifford, in 1729. The deed is a marriage settlement, when he married Elizabeth, daughter of the Rt. Hon. John ROGERSON, Lord Chief Justice. The connection of Grange and Beaghmore and the other townlands, has not been previously noticed.

Returning to Cookstown we find in another marriage settlement, a lease of 28 September 1752. It refers to 105 feet frontage and 21 perches deep, the same extent as ASTON’S lease of 1756, which suggests that this was a common size of building ground after the street widening. The lease included three acres of land in Cookstown and seven acres in Tullygar, with bog in Cookstown and Drumgarrell and the rent for the ten acres £6 5s., with the usual fees. The leasee was Walter TAYLOR. The title in this case became rather involved, but the transactions recorded give us the names of other old residents of the period under review. Walter TAYLOR seems to have been twice married. He had three sons by the first wife, John, Samuel and Walter. The second marriage was in 1780, his wife’s name being WILSON, who had a considerable fortune. Five years after, in November 1785, TAYLOR mortgaged the property of his son John, but apparently the mortgage, a family arrangement, was redeemed for in 1799. TAYLOR assigned to his sons, Sam and Walter, and the former, in 1805, assigned to his brother John, who, on his marriage in 1806, settled the property on trustees for his wife, the trustees being Alexander SANDERSON of Tullylagan and Thos. YOUNG of same place. There were other transactions prior to TAYLOR’S second marriage, in the names of E. PATTERSON (1772), Benjamin PATTERSON (1796), KERR (1770 or 1779?)  and Thomas YOUNG of Pomeroy (1802), appear,  the latter purchasing and declaring that he was trustee for John TAYLOR and John GOURLEY, of Cookstown, equally. GOURLEY was brother-in-law of TAYLOR, as the deed provided that in the event of the latter’s children dying without issue, the property went to his nephew Walter GOURLEY. The premises in this case lay on the east of Cookstown street and were bounded on the north by the road to Coagh, so that they are the corner premises, which are still owned by the TAYLOR family. We have, therefore, definite proof that the street line then was fixed in 1753. The premises to the south were described as belonging to Sam TAYLOR and the deed recites that John TAYLOR spent £1,000 on building the house in which he lived.

From another deed it appears that Walter TAYLOR junior, became a surgeon. His father had, in 1799, assigned to him a dwelling-house, 1½  acres of land in Tullygare, a third of a field in Cookstown and “plot at the end of Nancy HAWTHORN’S house”, which he, in 1804, leased to John TAYLOR at a rent of 228 9d, receiving £250 in cash as a fine. The field in Cookstown is described in assignment to Walter TAYLOR junior, as the “Limestone Park.” John TAYLOR, in a further deed, got assignment from his father in 1799, of Robert RUTHERFORD’S tenement in Cookstown, half-acre of land in Cookstown, two acres in Tullygare and bog in Drumgarrell. Finally, we may note the names of the witnesses to these deeds, Samuel BROWN of Magherafelt; David CHAMBERS, do.; Henry CHAMBERS, do., witnessed the deed of 1800; John GRIMES, Hugh M’GEA, John M’KIM, sadler, all of Cookstown, and John WILCOCKS of Dungannon, witnessed the deed of 1799.

More Old Deeds

An important document, from an historical point of view, is a lease granted by James STEWART of Killymoon, “in accordance with power of leasing under Act of Parliament,” to James COOK, of Derryloran, linen draper. The date of the memorial is 2nd December, 1802 and it recites a lease of 1st December 1800, or perhaps (as it is not very legible) of 1802, and it relates to 10a. 0r. 16p. of land in Gortalowry, “as mapped.” The lease was for lives renewable forever, “with use of a share of the water flowing from Derryloran River through the mill race, which conveys the water to Ben PATTERSON’S mill, which is between the head level of said mill race and the premises granted this deed.” The lessee, James COOK, was the owner of what are now Messrs. ADAIR’S premises and it will be noted that, even at 1800, there was an existing mill race. As we hope to deal with the history of all the mills, in due course, we need not pursue it further at present, but merely note that the witnesses to the memorial were Alexander STEWART of Drumragh, Esq., David M’KINLEY of Cookstown, carpenter, and Walter TAYLOR

Another deed, dated 23rd January 1807, also relates to water rights. It was from Adam and James LYNN, both of Cookstown, to Dan YOUNG of Cookstown and Anthony M’REYNOLDS of Stewartstown, as trustee for Anne ALLEN of Cookstown and was a rent charge of £50. The premises out of which this rent of £50 was payable was a tenement of 52 feet frontage by 21 perches deep, the standard size apparently of a site in Cookstown after the rebuilding, together with 1½ acre of bog in Drumgarrel, held on a renewable lease with other premises, ” with right to convey as much water as at  present underground from the river through present water course.”

Where was this under ground water course? The writer has not been able to place it, for so far, and invites the assistance of anyone who can throw any light on it. The deeds of the house in William Street owned by Mr. W. E. M. ALLEN go back to 1815, when James STEWRAT granted a lease of 24 feet 8 inches frontage to Robert HENRY, surgeon and apothecary, described as of Armagh and the property is defined as bounded on the north by the tenement formally in the possession of Adam LYND junior, and on the south of the property in the possession of Adam LYND senior. If the latter should be what was described in the deed mentioned, what has become of the under-ground water course from the river, or of the river itself? Is it possible that the river is the Burn, and that the property in question is part of that to the north of HARBISON’S block of houses, and that in fact, we are digging about the beginnings of the old Brewery?

That the LYNDS and YOUNGS were old property owners in Cookstown, at the beginning of the last century, is evidenced by a marriage settlement dated 1809, which is also of historical interest because it recites a lease of 1754 – the street widening period. The parties to the settlement were John YOUNG and his son George, the latter being married to Jane THISTLE, daughter of John THISTLE of Gortagilly, gentleman. This name has completely disappeared in the district so far as we know. The trustees were Dan YOUNG, uncle of the bridegroom, probably the person referred to above and James THISTLE, of Tamnaderry (Tamnadoey), uncle of the bride. The witnesses of the memorial were Henry HUNTER of Cookstown and Alex YOUNG, attorney of Dublin.

The property which was settled on these trustees was leased on 5th March 1754, by Wm. STEWART of Killymoon, to James DUNBAR, on the usual terms and consisted of a  dwelling-house with 50 feet frontage, the ground having a depth of 21 perches, on the east side of the main street, between the houses owned by James YOUNG and Dan M’CAY. There was also 6 acres of land in Monrush, divided into four fields called the Sandyhill, the Meadow field and two fields bounded by the lands of Robert GLASGOW, James BLACK, Alex. RODGERS and James CONWAY, and the road to Robert GLASGOW’S land. This land will be recognised as what the late Mr. DERBY occupied, on the west of the “Sandy loaning” and as it is owned in conjunction with the house occupied by Mr. STEENSON, we discover that the latter was the house in which George YOUNG lived when he married Miss THISTLE of Gortagilly, the original lease of which was 1754. We note that the lease also included half acre bog in Drumgarrel and a (rood?) of bog in Maloon, not Cookstown, but farther out.

The excellent system of settling house property on his wife was followed by another of the YOUNGS, James, probably brother of George. In this case, however, the settlement was not till ten years after his marriage in 1800, to Jane HENRY daughter of Wm. HENRY of Cookstown. The trustees were the Rev. David SHOOTER, the rector of Ballinderry and Matthew PATTESON of Cookstown and the premises were south of George YOUNG’S house, with “use of gateway under house of George YOUNG.” South of it, again, was James COOK’S house and at the rere <sic> was Miss FLEMING’S field, let to Michael FOX. The witnesses to the deed were John M’CORMICK and Geo. YOUNG. The house referred to is that of Mr. M’CANN and Mr. BANNIGAN, Mr. M’GARVEY’S property, and we learn from these settlements that when the street was widened, the frontage was set back on the east side, as well as on the west. In connection with marriage settlements of this period, we may note another, though it does not as yet on the town planning by Wm. STEWART.

The date is (?) January 1808, the bridegroom being John WEIR of Stewartstown draper and the bride, James COLLINS, daughter and legatee of James COLLINS of Cookstown, surgeon, deceased. This lady was entitled to half interest in two leases of property and a considerable sum in English Funds. The witnesses to the memorial were, John COLLINS of Cookstown, surgeon, Mary COLLINS, spinster, and Joseph COLLINS, of Dublin, gentleman, while James COLLINS, of Back Lodge, linen draper, is mentioned as being trustee. The name of James COLLINS appears in a list of freeholders so far back as (year unreadable?) for Loy, and in 1774 he is described as James COLLINS of Tullahog, freehold at Loy.