© Donal G. Burke 2015
There are few surviving references to members of the Ledgett family in east Galway. Those few records indicate that the family were Protestant, of the Anglican Church of Ireland and resident about the parish of Fahy, near the town of Eyrecourt in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.
One of the earliest references to the name is to one Thomas Ledget who, on the 9th November 1743, married Flower Seymour, one of three children mentioned by their father John Seymour of Ffemore (ie. modern townland of Feaghmore, in the parish of Fahy, near Eyrecourt) in his will dated March 31st 1729.[i] The marriage took place, or was at least registered, in the small Protestant church erected in 1677 by John Eyre the elder at Eyrecourt in the parish of Dononaughta.
Although intermarried with a senior branch of the Seymour family, who rented a farm of approximately one hundred acres about the townlands of Feaghmore Eighter and Feaghmore Oughter in the parish of Fahy from the Eyre family of Eyrecourt into the nineteenth century, the Ledgetts in later generations appear to have been relative small-holders.[ii] Flower Ledget and her heirs would, however, have been in line to inherit the Seymour’s Feaghmore farm had her brother John died before marriage or without offspring. Her brother was given as ‘of Crow’s Nest’ in the parish of Clontuskert in the mid eighteenth century and still unmarried on the first day of May 1751, at which time Colonel John Eyre of Eyrecourt and the same John Seymour of Crow’s Nest, gentlemen, entered into a legal agreement whereby Eyre, ‘in consideration of the yearly rents,’ demised unto John Seymour and his heirs ‘the one half moiety of the town and lands of Feaghmore Eighter and Feaghmore Oughter, containing 108 acres,’ ‘to hold all the premises in as full a manner as John Seymour, deceased, held the same, for the natural lives of John Seymour, Flower Ledgitt alias Seymour, sister of the said John, and Mr. Charles Crow, son of Balwin Crow of Bellamount, King’s County ‘and the longest liver of them.’[iii] John Seymour, for his part, undertook that, in the event that he should die before marriage, or without issue, ‘the premises shall belong unto his sister Flower Ledgitt alias Seymour and her heirs during the full term.’ John Seymour did, however marry Elizabeth Palliser and did have heirs, through whom the tenancy of the property at Feaghmore descended.
Pedigree of the Seymours of Feaghmore, County Galway showing the connection with Thomas Ledget, derived from NLI, Dublin, Ms. 3268, ‘Seymour of King’s County and County Galway’ by H. Seymour Guinness. The hierarchical relationship between the four brothers; John, Thomas, Charles and Randell is taken from H. Seymour Guinness’s interpretation based on his genealogical notes taken from various records formerly held in the Public Records Office, Dublin, etc.
Another of the name, one Richard Ledgett, died on 29th August 1822 aged 79 years and was buried in the graveyard surrounding the small Protestant church in the town of Eyrecourt. His headstone was erected by his son Joseph Ledgett. Taking into account the rarity of the name, it would appear likely that this Richard was a son of Thomas Ledget and Flower Seymour, given that he was born in or about the year in which they were married.
The Tithe Applotment Books record four Ledgetts as occupiers of land or living in the parish of Fahy in 1826; Joseph and Thomas Ledgett (listed together), Richard and James (listed separately), all related to the townland of Lenarth (a now disused townland name) in the parish of Fahy. Richard Ledgett was also listed at that same time in relation to lands in the townland of Rooaun in the nearby parish of Clonfert. No others of the name were given as occupiers of lands elsewhere in the county or country in the surviving Tithe Applotment Books of the early nineteenth century.
One Elizabeth Ledgett would appear to have been a member of the family about the town of Eyrecourt and parish of Fahy as both she and her betrothed, Thomas Fitzgerald, took out a Marriage Licence Bond, submitting the associated sum of money to the Protestant Church of Ireland Diocese of Clonfert in 1837 in anticipation of their impending marriage.
The Ledgetts were renting their land in Fahy in the mid nineteenth century ultimately from the Persse family. Legal action was taken against Joseph Ledgett, son of Richard, for non-payment of rent by Persse. Ejectment of Ledgett was sought by the plaintiff’s leasee for the recovery of approximately seventy-two acres of land in the townland of Lenarth, seven acres of Townparks in the town of Eyrecourt and the tolls and customs of the same town. In May of 1848 one Thomas Silk served an ejectment notice on Ledgett. In the ensuing court case John Eyre, Esquire, who was at that time serving as agent for Burton Persse, proved that three years rent was due by the defendant. The court noted that Giles Eyre, Esq., had granted a lease of the tolls and customs to Joseph Ledgett’s father Richard in May of 1800 and twenty-two years later another lease for the same tolls and customs was made between Giles Eyre, Esq. and Joseph Ledgett, but for the same rent as that agreed in the 1800 lease. While Ledgett appears to have been in arrears in rent, John Eyre comfirmed that Joseph Ledgett had paid the full rent on the tolls and customs as defined under the 1800 lease but had paid only part of the rent due on his other lands and he had received some rental income from Joseph’s brother Richard, who held the lands in Townparks. The jury in the case found a verdict in favour of the plaintiff Persse with damages set in the amount of 6d and the same figure in costs.[iv]
In the late 1850s there were only two Ledgetts given as occupying property in the country; Richard Ledgett in the parish of Fahy in east Galway and James Ledgett in the town of Dromore in County Down. Richard Ledgett was renting his house and eight acres of land in the townland of Feaghbeg in the parish of Fahy from Burton Persse. James Ledgett was renting his house and yard from one Robert Clarke on Castle Street in Dromore and a stall from Robert Dickson on the south side of the Square in the same town.
Although Griffith’s Primary Valuation of Rateable Property gave Richard Ledgett as renting his residence from Persse in Feaghbeg in the mid to late 1850s, Ledgett was described as ‘of Eyrecourt’ in the contemporary records of the Eyrecourt Petty Sessions Court. His name appears on four occasions in the surviving records from 1857 to 1859, all in relation to trespass, a common charge in the petty sessions court. In 1857 Nicholas Callanan, Esquire, pursued a complaint against Richard Ledgett of Eyrecourt before the court on charges of trespass of animals and the same case appears to have come before the magistrate again in the following year. Also in 1858 one local Constable Geraghty had Richard Ledgett of Eyrecourt before the same court on a charge of allowing one ass to wander the public road in the townland of Mayower in the parish of Meelick, near Eyrecourt. In the last surviving record Burton Persse complained in the same court in March of 1859 that Ledgett allowed one cow and three sheep on one occasion and three sheep on another occasion in March of that year to trespass on Persse’s lands in Feaghbeg.
At the time of the 1901 Census of Ireland there were no household of the name Ledgett in east Galway and those remaining in Ireland of the name consisted of three households, all living in the north of Ireland and all, with the exception of one, of the Church of Ireland; the sixty year old Hugh Ledgett, a Protestant born in Dromore, County Down, and his wife Eliza and their four sons and six daughters living in the Square in Dromore, the seventy year old James Ledgett, a clothier and his wife Margaret, Roman Catholics, born in County Down and living on Berry Street, Belfast City and Robert Ledgett, a twenty-seven year old grocer and his wife Elizabeth and their daughter, resident at Peter’s Hill in Belfast City, all Church of Ireland and all born in Belfast City.
[i] NLI, Dublin, Ms. 3268, Seymour of King’s Co., Co. Galway by H. Seymour Guinness. Genealogical Notes with Pedigree Table relating to the Seymour family. Extract from Register 1738-1820, parish of Dononaughta, Co. Galway by H. S. Guinness.
[ii] NLI, Dublin, Ms. 3268, Seymour of King’s Co., Co. Galway by H. Seymour Guinness. Genealogical Notes with Pedigree Table relating to the Seymour family. Lease dated Sept. 20th 1763, extract taken by H. S. Guinness from Registry of Deeds. Will of John Seymour of Fighmore dated Aug. 14th 1763 and will of John Seymour of Feaghmore, dated 13th May 1832, extract taken by H. S. Guinness from Diocese of Clonfert records.
[iii] NLI, Dublin, Ms. 3268, Seymour of King’s Co., Co. Galway by H. Seymour Guinness. Genealogical Notes with Pedigree Table relating to the Seymour family. Indenture dated May 1st 1751, extract taken by H. S. Guinness from ‘Master Litton’s Deeds,’ Public Records Office, Dublin.
[iv] The Tuam Herald, 12th August 1848, p. 2.