The Hearth Money Rolls for the County of Wicklow, 1668

The Hearth tax was first introduced in England in 1660 and was operational in Ireland soon after. It lasted almost thirty years in England but was still in operation in Ireland until 1793 when it was discontinued by the Irish Government, through the hard work of Henry Gratten. The Hearth tax was an added burden to be borne by the already hard pressed Irish householder. The very poor of the period lived in a home with mud walls, straw lay on the ?oor which was sat and slept upon and in the centre of the room (if the family was lucky) was a Hearth. Most poor homes consisted of just one room. Most of these homes had neither door or windows. The Gentry of the period were much better off, living in big, spacious homes with walls of stone and a fire blazing from a Hearth in each long hall. Those houses which were of recent construction would also have the benefit of a chimney, or perhaps several. The Hearth money Rolls of 1668 contain a lot of information of historical interest and though incomplete (some pages being missing) they have an interesting list of names of people living in the county of Wicklow who possessed more than one Hearth.

In the half Barony of Shilelah there were 555 homes inhabitated taking in the parishes of Ahool, Glasscolman, Mullincuffe, Macoon, Cornove, and Killavin, 231 of these homes had one hearth, 40 were the proud owners of more than one and Richard Whineat esq, occupied a palatial residence with six Hearths at Coolatin. Lau. Hodgson having 5, in his house at Coolkenno and Matt Delaney of Colfoncy having 3 Hearths. In the parish of Killavin there is recorded 33 widows houses which contained neither Hearth or chimney.

The half Barony of Rathdowne contained three parishes, Portscoot, Bray, Delgany. There were 189 houses inhabited in the 35 townlands of Portscoot. In the 5 townlands of Bray there was a mere 41 homes, and in the 5 townlands of Delgany there were 49 habitable homes. Enniskerry at this period consisted of three houses, one of which was owned by William Paine and had three hearths within its walls. Lord Portscoot in his fine residence paid tax on 14 Hearths.

Bray parish comprised of six houses in the townland of Ballywaltrim, five at Boneshadden (unidentified), there were 1 4 homes in Great Bray in which Richard Wichell lived and paid tax on eight Hearths. There were two houses at Old Court and in the townland of Newtowne there was 14 houses in a habitable state. The Lord of Ardee had 11 Hearths in his residence and Mr Fitzwilliams paid tax on three. In the parish of Portscoot the townland of Kilmaccannogue is spelt as Killinacanoge.

Ireland during this period was in the process of recovering from the excesses of the Cromwellian administration. Oliver Cromwell was dead almost ten years, but the scars of his passing were still in evidence across Ireland and according to the Hearth Money Rolls (halfpenny rolls) for the county of Wicklow many churches were stated to be in a state of ruin, including those at Enoriley, Kliimacow, Killisky, Ballynchorye, (possibly Ballynehorch in the book of survey and distribution) and Glenaly (Glenealy?).

According to local folklore in the village of Rathnew, a Cromwellian officer whose horse had taken lame took a mule from a peasant who was passing by on the road near modem day Ashford, the hapless peasant told the officer that he was mining his livelihood by taking his mule, the officer pointed to two hills in the Ashford-Rathnew area and told the peasant that all the land which lay between was now his property, the officer rode away on the mule leaving his horse and a landed peasant behind, the descendants of this peasant are still living in the area.

The Parish of Delgany was prosperous according to the evidence which can be gleaned from the rolls, and the names of those residents with more than one hearth included a Mr Banks who occupied a house with five hearths and Mr Moore having eight. There are ten houses listed in Delgany town. 13 houses are listed for Killincarrigh, one of which possessed a hearth, six houses are listed for Kendelstown and also Templecarrick and 14 at Rathdowne. Mr Will Massey of this townland occupied a house with 2 hearths.

Wicklow Town

There is a lot of information in the rolls about Wicklow town, which was divided between two Baronies, Newcastle and Arklow (the Black castle is listed as being part of this Barony). The most prosperous area of the town being that which lay in the Barony of Newcastle, there were fewer houses in this part of the town but most possessed hearths or chimney and those names listed are of military bearing. The black castle is listed as having three hearths and is stated to be untenanted, the Castle would have been relatively new due to the fact that it was not long after being re-built, having been tom down in 1646 after the trial of one Edmund O Reilly and Edmund Duffe Birne for ye murder at ye black castle of Wicklow, in 1645.

The Reverend Edmund O Reilly was at the time of his trial the Roman Catholic Vicar-General of the Dublin diocese and by all accounts received a fair trial from the Cromwellian courts. During the trial much emphasis was laid on the fact that Edmund O Reilly was involved in the demolition of the castle nine months after his involvement in the murder by setting the castle on fire, the castle would have been easy to demolish after the fire and was constructed of clay and stone “Easly cast downe and not needing much labour”. The demolition of the castle began nine months after the murder but was not completed until March 1647. The finding at the conclusion of the trial was that Edmund Duffe Bime was guilty of the murder and the Reverend Edmund O Reilly was guilty of being an accessory in the deed.

Arklow Barony

Parish ofArklowKillahurlarBallintempleKilbrideEnoriley
Parish ofCastle McAdamKillmacowDongarstownEnnisboheeneWicklow
(The Black castle is included in the list of 121 habitable houses in the parish of Wicklow).

The town of Arklow was prosperous enough according to the number of houses which had hearths in them, of 68 houses many are listed as having more than one hearth, the opposite is re?ected in the list of houses in the outlying areas. The names of those listed as having more than one hearth in their homes in Arklow town included Mr’s Fleming, Vaughan, Stephens, Washington, King, and Cromwell. There is a mention of the sheep houses which numbered four and all contained a hearth. Major West who lived in one of the five houses at the Rock enjoyed the eight hearths in his home, his near neighbour Garret Cavenagh paid tax on two, at Ballirahin (Ballyrean in John Ward lived in one of the three houses listed and paid tax on two hearths. The church at Killahurlar is stated to be in ruins. In the Parish of Kilbride there is one house listed in the townland of Shelton, this was occupied by Rob.Hussells, Esq, who was paying tax on nine.

The parish of Enoriley:

Sir William Tichborne occupied a residence at Ballinegilloge (possibly Sallymount). Giles Davies owned one of the five houses at Ballynesken and paid tax on four hearths. There is one house listed at Clanpadine and is stated as being untenanted.

The Parish of Castle McAdam:

Here there are many houses listed as having hearths and chimneys. No houses are listed for the townland of Corner (or Conner) which is present day Connary. The residents included Edward Brabazon of Ballyarthur who owned one of the three houses listed and he paid tax on two hearths.

The Parish of Killmacow:

In this Parish lived Wm. Applebury, his residence contained two hearths as did the home of Thos Annesly in the townland of Ballycappell.

 The Parish of Dongarstown:

Captain Matthews lived here, in the townland of Templeline, his house contained four hearths. Richard Lambe paid tax on two hearths in his home situated in the townland of Cornagoar. Of the five houses listed at Brittas, one Matthew Potter paid tax on two hearths, the other houses having one apiece.

 The Parish of Ennisboheene:

In this Parish lived Lau. Pepys, Esq. who paid tax on the four hearths in his residence. Jos. Stephens and Gilbert Ferris warmed themselves on cold winters nights at either one of the two hearths in their respective premises. David Burne paid tax on two hearths in one of the ten houses listed at Magherymore, as did Mrs Pallister in her home at Kilpoole. There are eleven habitable houses listed for this townland. At Newtowne, a house untenanted: Of the seven houses listed at Donganstowne, five are listed as being untenanted, of the two remaining‘ Randall Burrows lived in one and George Holy owned the other, both paid tax on two hearths apiece. There are three houses listed at Kilbride, three also at Ballard, five at Ballinclare, two at Kilmacurra, ten at Conniamstowne which appears well populated; three at Ballytuskin, five at Kilcandra, which contained one hearth apiece.

 The Parish of Wicklow:

In the Wicklow Parish nine houses are listed at Coolbeg, eight at Ballynecloc and four in the townland listed as part Ballenerin. (The rest of Ballenerin is listed as being in the Barony of Talbotstowne). In Wicklow town there are one hundred houses listed, seventy six of which contained one hearth each. The following is a list of residents who were living in Wicklow town in 1668 and who paid tax on more than one hearth in their respective homes. Stephen North, Christ. Mawman, John Halbert, Mr Gardiner, Mr Wilcox, Comet Walkington, Will Warren, Nich Rooney, Capt. Flower, Thos Ellot, Mr Smith, Miles Charleton, Antony Sampson, George Chapman, Mr King, John Hayes, Widow Goodwin, James Stephens, James Much, John Brookes, Rich Lock, Rich Williams, and Mrs Antony. (The Black castle is one of the hundred houses listed for Wicklow town).

 That part Wicklow in the Barony of Newcastle:

This part of town was the more affluent, this can be measured by the number of residents(small), their profession and the number paying tax on more than one hearth. There are 42 houses listed, the names of those living in the town of Wicklow(for which ten houses are listed) included the following, Mrs Cathgore, James White, Wm. Hayward, John Boyce,(Mrs Cathgore paid tax on six hearths in her home). The names of those living in the area outside of town include, John Hacket Esq, Capt. Thos Hacket, Thos. Prat; Lieut. Wm. Yamer, (There is also a mention of a Lieut. Col. Yarner who lived in the townland of Cloemaneinge in the Barony of Talbotstown). (Possibly Clonmannon). Nich Addison, Lieut. Col. George Smith, John Bane, James Stanly, John Simpson, and Thos Banks. John Hacket Esq, paid tax on eight hearths.

 The Barony of Talbotstowne:

For more information on the Yamer family, a military family of note and Claremont Convent, see The Book of Wicklow by Arthur Flynn and Jim Brophy.


Parish BaltinglassKilranlaghKilteaganDonnomore
Parish MooneDunlavenDoonard and Hollowood
Houses3396127 (Imperfect Account)
Parish Wicklow   


There are 38 houses listed for the Village; Robert Stratford was the resident who paid the most in hearth tax, his house containing six, Wm Harebourne paid tax onfive. There are seven houses listed for the townland of Grangeconn of which resident Joseph Fish occupied a house which contained five hearths. In the townland of Coolnarig, Oliver Pledwell warmed himself at night by either of the four hearths in his home. In the townland of Talbotstowne, Parish of Kilranlagh, the castle is stated to be untenanted and there are 13 houses listed for the nearby townland of En glishtowne. The townland of Bore Kilmore in the Parish of Kilteagan contained 9 houses which were considered to be habitable and so earned a mention in the Rolls, here lived Edmond Brisfall owner of two of these houses, both without chimney. There are 18 houses listed for the townland of Rathdan gin. 14 houses listed for Brittace in the parish of Donnomore, and in the nearby townland of Randlestowne and Whitestowne there are also 14 listed, Paul Woodworths paying tax on two hearths here. At Castle Ruddery 21 houses are listed. In the parish of Moone, townland of Rathsallagh there were 7 houses listed, two of the residents were Wm Reeves, and J o. Williams.39 homes are listed for Dunlaven townland, Thos Carill and Owen Hughes paid the most hearth tax, their houses containing five apiece.

Those Parishes which follow Dunlavin in the Talbotstowne Barony are listed as Imperfect.

Doonard and Hollowood: In the townland of Hollowood there are 47 houses listed, Thos. Eustace, resident (Achasm-13 houses Denom of land torn off). Logstown, here are two skins torn out of rolls.

In the Parish of Newcastle, 11 houses are listed for the townland of Killoge, the same for Newtowne, and in nearby Mountkennedy there is one house listed and the resident is named as Sir Rich Kenedy Kt. (These two townlands now make up Newtownmountkennedy). Sir Rich Kenedy paid tax on ten hearths. 14 houses are listed for the townland of Drumbane. The Parish of Darilossara was home to Robert Thackery who paid tax on 3 hearths in his home townland of Moneystowne, there are 14 houses listed to be in good “living in” condition. Kilcool Parish: In the townland of Tnypark lived Humphry Baggaly Esq, paying tax on 4 hearths while his neighbour Jo. Lamb paid tax on 3. 20 houses are listed for the townland of The Downe and 21 for Kilcool, Darby Doyle paid tax on his two Hearths in one of the 9 houses listed for the townland of Kilpedder. At Newcastle (part Kildreny), there are 2 houses listed for the townland The 3 Trouts of which Walter Quin was resident in one and paid tax on 2 hearths. 9 houses are listed for Leahmoore townland, 7 in Ballinquil and also in Leabeg, in the townland of Newcastle there are 29 houses listed and Mr Hugh Hodkinson paid tax on 4 hearths in his residence.


At Ballyadderk 6 houses are listed (now part Blackditch). There are 3 houses listed for Kiltemon and 19 at The Grange, one of the noble residents who occupied one of these homes was Sir Wm Usher Kt.& Baronet. (Mount Usher), who paid tax on just three hearths, of the 11 houses listed for Cloemaneinge one resident was Lieut. Col. Yarner who paid tax on 4 hearths. 10 houses are listed on the rolls for the townland of Barrancoyle and the same in Courtfoyle, 7 in Killaughter, 8 in Ballynchorye of which Wm Wharton and Bamard Sillard were residents. 9 houses are listed on the rolls for Aghoole, 4 at Crowniroe, 1 at Balliknocanbeg, George Clements occupied this house. 5 at Coolnekilly, 7 at Ballynackan Moore and 2 at Ballymanus, Denis Tumer occupied one of these. At Glenaly there is one house listed, three at Ballydowling where James Hayes lived, one at Ballykillabane, 11 at Ballymergin, five at Ballynabamy, also at Miltowne, six are listed for Rathnowe, and eight at Ballynaleagh of which Wm Symons was resident. At Mountagh Mill three houses are listed, each containing a hearth.

In the townland of The Newrath, there are eight houses listed and six of these contained a single hearth. Of the two remaining, John Middleton paid tax on three hearths, and Darby the Smith paid tax on two, (his is the only profession mentioned in the rolls Dis-counting those who carried military titles). It is not beyond the bounds of possibility to consider that John Middleton ran a coaching inn from his premises, this would also explain the presence of Darby the Smith and how his house comes to contain two hearths, (an old coaching inn existed on the site on which Hunter’s hotel now stands). The standard of travel would have been rough, covering only between 25-30 miles per day, this all depended on road conditions, weather, and the threat of footpads and highwaymen. A coach travelling from Wexford to Dublin would use the “Rocky road” to travel on, (made famous in a ballad by the Dubliners) part of which is still in use in Wicklow today, the coach would pass through the old village of Rathnew, having come down the river road (The present day entrance to Seaview Heights estate) and proceed to Newrath, an over?ow stables which was in use much later is situated beside Dowlings pub on the Wexford road. The Gentry of the period would get off the coach and head for the homes of local gentry for a nights accommodation, leaving those not so well off to stay at the inn. The traveller would have to eat his meal without a fork, using a sliogain (or shell as a spoon, as the inn at Newrath was close to the sea these would be easy to obtain, and fish would be prominent on the menu, perhaps every day.) This meal would be washed down with Whiskey or the local brand of beer.

There is just one house listed in the following townlands, each of them containing a hearth, Drumhagh, Merrymeeting, and Bolearny. Two houses are listed at Ballynerin and one at Ashtown, where Jacob Rowse was in residence.

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