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Gortagarry Townland

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: County Tipperarymap
Surname/tag: Shortt
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Gortagarry townland has an area of: 270.71 hectares / 1.05 square miles / 668 acres, 3 roods, 30 perches. It borders the following townlands: Ballinlough to the west, Blakefield to the north, Curraheen to the south, Glenaguile to the west and Killoskehan to the east.[1] The townland can be found in the Downs Survey. [2] The Down Survey map also shows a townland named Cuolog otherwise Dromone (presumably Dromeen in the following deeds) which is not shown in contemporary townland maps.

The 1654-56 Civil Survey record[3] for the townland of “Gort Igarry” appears among those for that part of the Parish of “Aghnamaydull” that lies in the Barony of Upper Ormond. The record shows the proprietor of this and some other townlands to be “Marcus Magrath of Bleane Esqr Irish Papist”. Gort Igarry contained 1 plowland (a plowland was the area of arable land that could be ploughed in a year by a team of eight oxen). The area was estimated to be 232 plantation acres (the plantation or Irish acre was 7840 square yards and was equal to 1.62 statute acres). This consisted of 100 acres of arable land, 12 acres of “meddow”, 100 acres of pasture and 20 acres of “shrubby Wood”. The record says that there were no acres of “Land unpfitable” and that the value of the whole was 18 pounds.

The record goes on to say: “The sd Plowland is bounded on the South by the Generall Lyne with the Territory of Ikeryn. On the East with the lands of Ballynneany. On the West with the lands of Gortavalla. And on the North with the lands of Cuologe, all in this parish. The sd Marcus Magrath the ppietor in fee by descent from his Father & Grand Father who purchased the same from ye Kennedyes long before the Rebellion, as wee are informed. Upon the sd Plowland there is noe buildings.”

Tipperary’s Families by Thomas Laffan[4] lists the name of the head of each household in the parishes of the baronies of County Tipperary subject to the hearth tax introduced during the reign of King Charles II. The 1665 record for “Parochia de Aghavamedill” shows three heads of household for “Gortgarry”: John Short de Gortgarry 1 hearth, Robert French de Gortgarry 1 hearth and Edmond Bourke de Gortgarry 1 hearth. (The tax for one hearth was 2 shillings.) The 1666-67 record for “Parish of Anamedull” shows four heads of household for “Gortgarry”: John Short 2 hearths, Robert French 2 hearths, James Hihily 1 hearth and John Spellane 1 hearth. (The tax for two hearths was 4 shillings.)

The following records appear in Abstracts of Grants of Lands under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation A.D. 1666-1684: Sarah Kentish alias Short, relict of John Short and John Short her son - part of Killustie with a castle thereon 245 acres prof. 306 acres unprof. in Clare 32 acres; barony Middlethird, Co. Tipperary. Total 449 acres 3 roods 32 perches statute. Total rent £4-4-4.5. 7/12/1666 (p.71) Tipperary John Short (listed as son of Sarah Kentish in index) in Gartegarry in N.E. part therof 113 acres 2 roods 27 perches in Drumeene 17 acres Total 211a 2r 33p stat in bar Upper Ormond. 3/12/1677 (p.238) There is no record of John Short or his mother ever taking possession of Killustie Castle (which is near Fethard in South Tipperary) so it seems that John came to Ireland and settled in Gortagarry by 1665 when he would have been a youth of about seventeen (unless his baptism took place when he was more than an infant).

1775-76 - A List of Freeholders of County Tipperary 1775-1776[5] has the following Shorts:

After the surname and first name of the freeholder, his residence is given. This is followed by the location of his freehold (if the two places are the same the name is only given once).

A deed made in 1825[6] provides a rich source of information about Gortagarry because it refers back to deeds made in the previous century. It transferred ownership of lands at Gortagarry from Thomas and Elizabeth Spunner to George Fawcett for 8,000 pounds. The following is an abstract of the contents of the deed:

• 1671 Grant of Curraghine and other lands by King Charles the Second to James Stopford. 1677 Grant of Gortagarry and other lands by King Charles the Second to John Short. 1677 Grant of Gortagarry and other lands by King Charles the Second to Richard Penn.

• Right title and interest of the above lands became legally vested in John Short of Gurteen, Tipperary.

• A 9 June 1739 deed was made in consideration of the marriage of John Short to Francis Spunner in which John Short agreed with Charles Spunner to settle lands of Gortagarry for his life and his children or heirs.

• In 1762, John Short and his eldest son, Johnathan Short, granted Gortagarry in the Barony of Upper Ormond to Thomas Spunner of Milltown, Kings County for eleven hundred pounds subject to rent and covenants.

John Short and his wife Francis recovered Gortagarry.

• In 1777, John Short of Shinrone, Kings County, who held title to these lands of John Short and Jonathan Short, sold them to Henry Palmer in trust for Thomas Spunner.

• The said John Short and Lucinda levied a fine.

• In a 1 October 1796 marriage settlement for Elizabeth Drought and Henry Spunner, son of Thomas Spunner of Milltown - Gortagarry and other lands were put in trust to provide for Elizabeth Drought and their children.

James Sheppard of Clifton, Tipperary County, was appointed as the assignee of Henry Spunner because of Henry’s Insolvent Acts (bad debits).

• On 1 January 1825, Henry Spunner did grant Gortagarry to Thomas Bernard for the use of Henry Spunner to create a trust to preserve the contingent remainders and raise money for his children and other purposes. Henry Spunner then sold these lands to James Sheppard for the benefit of his creditors.

• On 23 Apr 1825, these lands were then sold to John Kirwan.

• On 2 July 1825, Thomas Spunner heir at law of Henry and Elizabeth Spunner sold Gortagarry to George Fawcett for 8,000 pounds. The parties to this memorial were (1) Thomas Spunner, eldest son and heir at law of Henry Spunner then of Moate, Westmeath County; (2) the said Henry Spunner and Elizabeth Spunner, his wife; (3) John Kirwan of the City of Dublin, Gentleman; (4) Thomas Bernard of Castle Bernard, Kings County; (5) George Fawcett, Merchant, of Roscrea, Tipperary County; and (6) Henry Spunner and Elizabeth Spunner, children of Henry and Elizabeth Spunner of Moate, Westmeath County.


  1. Townlands Listing, https://www.townlands.ie/tipperary/upper-ormond/aghnameadle/aghnameadle/gortagarry/.
  2. The Downs Survey, http://www.downsurvey.tcd.ie/landowners.php#l4=Shorte,+John&mc=52.806014,-7.959937&z=14
  3. PDFs of the results for County Tipperary in two volumes can be freely downloaded from http://www.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/digital-book-collection/digital-books-by-county/tipperary/simington-the-civil-surve/. (The results for Gortagarry are in Volume 2.)
  4. Tipperary’s Families is freely downloadable from http://www.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/digital-book-collection/digital-books-by-county/tipperary/laffan-tipperarys-familie/
  5. In the eighteenth century the qualification for voting at elections in counties in Ireland was the forty shilling freehold. This meant property worth forty shillings above the rent and was either owned outright or leased on certain conditions. Leases for lives (usually three) lasting during the lives of named individuals, qualified as freeholds for voting purposes. Tenison Groves, a genealogical researcher who worked in the Public Record Office of Ireland transcribed some freeholders’ registers for the period 1761-1776 and these are available in the National Archives, Dublin (M1321-2). The list referred to here was titled ‘A List of Freeholders of County Tipperary, 1775-76’.
  6. Registry of Deeds 804 371 542706

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