Aghatirourke Townland

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: County Fermanagh, Irelandmap
Surnames/tags: Willis Fermanagh
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Aghatirourke is a townland in the civil parish of Killesher, in the Barony of Clanawley, in the Electoral Division of Cuilcagh; in County Fermanagh.

Known variously as "Talladean & Aghterorke" (1611) Agheteerourky (1659) Rourkefield or Aghateerourke (1817) Roarkfield (1830) - Aghatirourke is now part of the Cuilcagh Mountain World Geopark in County Fermanagh RSPB Reserves : Aghatirourke

Aghatirourke Townland, Fermanagh
Aghatirourke is the largest townland in County Fermanagh; Aghatirourke has an area of 8,171,854 m² / 817.19 hectares / 8.1719 km² - ie. 3.16 square miles - there are 2019.31 acres; or 2019 acres, 1 rood, 9 perches
  • Aghatirourke once formed part of the ancient kingdom of Airgíalla, or Oriel as it is known in English.
  • Achadh tigh ui Ruairc – the field of Ruarc’s house. Ruarc was the son of íomhair, Lord of Tullyhaw - It is thought they were Vikings.
  • Aghatirourke in English means “Field of the House of O’Rourke” and O’Rourkes were living there in 1609 when the the first map of Fermanagh was drawn by the English administration
  • Following the end of the nine years war and the flight of the earls, the plantation of Fermanagh with English and Scottish settlers is well underway. Aghatirourke is still occupied by 60 – 90 Irish tenants
  • Following the rebellion 1641-1650. Catholics were required to convert to the Church of England or move off confiscated lands, including Aghitirourke.
  • noted in the census of 1659 – Aghatirourke (Agheteerourky) is an area of 2019 acres
  • The Willis family were the first leaseholders, as retainers of the Cole family they took up their land at the same time as the Coles took up their land at Florence Court.
  • George Willis built Rourkefield House around 1720.
Rourkefield House photographed c. 2015
  • Robert Harbison's books, Song of Erne and Songs out of Oriel preserve lovely glimpses of 19thC. Aghatirourke
Fermanagh Herald 04 June 1910 [1]
The home farm at Rorkefield is offered for sale at auction -
Highly important auction of extensive and very valuable residential farm at Rorkefield, Claudius W. Reid Esq.Florencecourt, in consequence of his continued ill-health. This extremely valuable and attractive farm contains 307 acres 3r.21p. statute measure or thereabouts, held in fee-simple, subject to a terminable annuity (with decadel reductions) of £57.6.2.
It is perfectly situated beside Florencecourt, within easy distance of Enniskillen, Blacklion and Swanlinbar. A large portion of the farm is composed rich loam, producing most luxurious pasturage and meadows and noted for its superior fattening properties, with a never-failing supply of spring and river water.
It's excellence as a grazing or dairy farm can scarcely be surpassed in Fermanagh. The residence and out-offices are of a most superior character, the dwelling being a modern, two-storey mansion in perfect condition, splendidly situated and commanding one of the finest views in the country; with enclosed yard and elaborate slated office-houses and a good herd's house. There is an unlimited supply of the finest black turbary (the legal right to cut turf or peat for fuel) within the ambit of the farm, and a large quantity of heavy timber. In addition, the property forms an attractive sporting estate, lying alongside Florencecourt Demesne for about three miles, and the shooting comprising pheasants, woodcock, grouse, snipe etc. is well known and eagerly sought after at a very remunerative price each year.
The sale of the entire cattle, horses and effects etc. will take place some day after sale of farm, particulars of which will be fully announced.
Half the purchase price can remain on security of the farm if required at 5 percent interest, For further particulars apply to the Auctioneer - Robert W. Wilson
OCCUPANTS of the townland of Aghatirourke -
1749 Freeholders of Killesher
George Willis 1690-
George Willis 1720-1793
the children named in the will of George Willis 1720-1793 -
Edward Willis 1739-1818
George Willis 1746-1808
James Willis 1741-1806
Catherine Willis (married ... Armstrong)
unknown daughter Willis (married John Bracken)
unknown daughter Willis (married Thomas Wilson)
John Willis
Hugh Willis 1749-1819
note : Edward, George and James each have a son named George who also feature in this will.
Edward's son - George Willis
George's son - George Willis
James' son - George Willis
1788 Register of Electors
Edward Willis - Rockfield
George Willis - Aughterorke
Hugh Willis - Aughterorke
James Willis - Rockfield
1st John Willis - Swadlinbar with freehold in Augheterorke
2nd John Willis - Swadlinbar with freehold in Aughatterorke
Simon Willis - Enniskillen with freehold in Augheterork
1828 Tithe Applotments - Rorkefield
Anne Willis -1832
Edward Willis -1867
John Willis
Anne's Will dated 1832
Anne (Burley) Willis has 1/3rd share of the lands of Aghatirourke in right of her husband Christopher
Christopher Willis my husband deceased 1787-1828
Jane Willis her daughter aged about 17 years
James Willis her son aged about 14 years
Edward Willis the younger and still living - has 1/3rd share of the lands of Aghatirourke
John Willis her brother-in-law to be supported by her son James provided he behave himself
Hugh Willis an excise man c.1780- has 1/3rd share of the lands of Aghatirourke
Executor - Charles Willis of Gortnakelly Clerk
Excecutor - George Willis of Drumbroses
Executor - James Willis of Enniskillen Innkeeper
1866 - Griffith's Valuation & updates as per the Valuation Revision Books : ref: VAL/12/B/26/9A (1864 - 1878) online at (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland - Aghatirourke
area 1 - plantation in fee; occupied by Earl of Enniskillen
areas 2; 3; 4; immediate lessors - 2: John (house & land) & 4: Edward Willis (land) & 3: John Reed (land); all occupied by James Gaddis - revised in 1869 to Earl of Enniskillen as immediate lessor.
area 5 immediate lessor - Earl of Enniskillen; occupied by Edward Willis - house & land
area 6 Immediate lessor - Earl of Enniskillen; occupied by John Reed - house & land
area 7 immediate lessor - Earl of Enniskillen; occupied by John Willis - herd's house & land - later occupied by Hugh Willis in 1869, by Robert Willis
area 8 immediate lessor - Earl of Enniskillen; occupied by John & Edward Willis and John Reed; with a note that Edward Willis was dead in 1869

By 1879, the was no one of the Willis family left in Aghatirourke, the properties had passed to John Reid.

Belfast News-Letter 28 February 1948
REID - February 23rd 1948; at her residence, Gortahurk, Letterbreen, Enniskillen; Jane, wife of the late C.W. Reid, Rorkefield, Florencecourt, in her 90th year.
Aghatirourke - home of the Irish Yew / taxus baccata fastigiata

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