Richard and Annie Davis through Years of Revolution.

A Protestant family living Boggaun, County Leitrim.

First, to take a look back at the family’s roots.  My grandfather’s oral family history puts his Davis family coming from County Antrim in the late seventeen hundreds. Preceding this, it is assumed that they came from Scotland as part of the Ulster Plantation when the first colonists arrived from the first decade of the sixteen hundreds onwards. Richard’s story tells of a family dispute over the inheritance of an ‘unnatural’ son. This is possibly Richard’s grandfather.

(Richard’s words as noted by a historian – family from Antrim in North Ireland, had lots of property, illegitimate, could have fought for the property but stood to lose all. Grand Uncle pulled yoke (?) from sled (?) to stop brother from getting to partner – this is certainly a story of passion and family intrigue. Added for blog by SMcW.)

At this time, favourable leases in Glenboy, County Leitrim, were advertised in the northern newspapers hoping to attract those with various linen-making skills. This was part of the landlord Nathaniel Clement’s plan to establish a ‘linen colony’ at Glenboy outside Manorhamilton. However, his plan never matured, leaving Glenboy the rural townland that it is today, although traces and remains of the mills can easily be found.

The first known record of the linen scheme appeared in an advert in the Belfast Newsletter in March 1768 for the letting of a bleach mill, weaver’s houses and workshop looms at Glenboy. As in other development of the time, there was an intention of ‘protestantising’ the development. 

One of the first leases issued was to run the mill. This was taken up by the Robinson brothers from County Down. It seems likely that a favourable lease at Glenboy would have attracted the ‘unnatural’ disaffected Davis son to move into the area.

Comparing mid-nineteenth century Griffith’s Valuation records of family names to those living there today, it appears that, while the linen industry never took off, many of the ‘linen families’ stayed. John Davis is listed in Griffith’s Valuation as having just over eighteen acres at Glenboy, at the location known to be my great grandfather’s birthplace.

Continues in full article here.


Note: A longer piece on the Glenboy Linen Colony is in this unpublished article by Barry Bradfield, 2014, here.

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