Where is “Ross”, Armagh?

The freeholders list for the 1753 election in County Armagh shows 6 Clugston men in “Ross”: Thomas; Robert, John, Robert Jr, Joseph, William
The “Jr” suggests that John, Robert, Joseph and William are sons of Robert Senior.
George and John Willson are the only two other freeholders in Ross. A will is recorded for Thomas Clugston in Armagh in 1764.

But, where is Ross? The list of villages and townlands from the 1864 Griffith’s survey doesn’t include anywhere called Ross in Armagh. There are more than one thousand townlands in Armagh, and another 200 subtownlands, yet it’s not obvious which of them is Ross. So we have to proceed by process of elimination. There are 2052 voters in the election. Very many of them suffer from this same problem, of referring to a place which apparently no longer exists. But at least half of them have residences which can be unambiguously matched to townlands in Armagh.

(1) Could the Clugstons be from County Ross? Or from one of the many places with a name like “Ross” in other counties?

Fortunately we can eliminate this possibility. Of the 2052 voters, there are 69 who are explicitly identified as being from a different county. 18 of these are from “Newry, County Down”. This is a special case, because Newry is right on the border of County Armagh and County Down, and in modern times the city is regarded as being part of both counties.No other non-Armagh town or townland has more than two people from it. There is also no case where more than two people with the same surname are from outside Armagh. Ross is definitely a place inside Armagh.

(2) Rocks, Armagh, next to the town of Hamiltonsbawn

This townland is too small (16 hectares). By 1864 there were only 6 properties on it, all owned by a single landlord (Greer). In the 1753 election William Greer was a freeholder in Hamiltonsbawn.

(3) Lurgyross

Lurgyross is 88 hectares in size. There is one freeholder in the 1753 election from “Lurgyross”: Robert Mcormick. This shows that the name “Lurgyross” was in use in 1753.

(4) Tyross

This is an alternate name for the townland of Legagilly. There are two voters called James Reed from “Turnacross”

(5) Loughross, on the edge of Lough Ross.

This is the most obvious candidate. Loughross is in the Creggan parish, and there are very few voters who can be unambiguously matched to townlands there. Possibly there was a lot of changes of place names in the late 1700’s in that area. There was a Thomas Stevens in Crossmaglen; two voters from “Freduff” and “Ferduff” which are obviously Freeduff, Creggan; and many voters from Glasdrumman (with about 4 different spellings).

There is an extant census for Loughross from 1766. It contains 10 names:

John Boyle, Bartly Clinton, Bryan Garvy, Neal Hanratty, Henry Lennan, James Lennon, Art McShane, John Morisse, James Murtagh, and Peter Woods.

None of these names appear on the 1753 Freeholder’s records. So there is no other name which was actually Loughross.

Even if “Ross” was a broader area than the modern townland of Loughross, we can be certain that by 1766 there were no Clugstons there. This means that all six Clugstons moved at the same time. The two Willsons also moved away at the same time.

 EDIT: May 2017.

Ross is actually “Rawes”, parish of Tynan, Barony of Tiranny, Armagh.

Irish deed volume 139 page 398 number 94691

A memorial of an indentured deed of lease bearing date the first day of April in the year of our Lord 1747 and made or meant to be made between Richd Graham of Culmain in the Co of Monaghan Esq of the one part and John Wilson and George Willson both of Rass in the parish of Tynan and co of Armagh Farmer of the other part by which sd deed the sd Richd Graham for the considn therein mentd did demise set the farm let unto them the sd John Wilson and Geo Willson all that part of the townland of Rass as bounded and meased and then in the possion of them the sd John Willson and Geo Wilson in as full and ample manner as the same was formerly held by Owen Duffy and other joint Tennts situate lying and being in the parish of Tynan Bo of Tyrany and Co of Armagh aforesd to hold to them the sd John Willson and Geo Willson their heirs and afs for and during the Natural life and lives of Ann Willson wife to sd John Willson and daur of Alexr Jemison of Derrynoofe Geo Willson and Mary Willson son and daur of sd John Wilson and the survr and survrs of them and for and during the term of 31 years to be accounted from the first day of Novr last past at and under the yearly rent of 21 pounds 3 shillings and 11 pence ster which sd deed is witnessed by Michael Campbell of Racombe in the Co of Armagh and P?ared Haherty of Culmain in the Co of Monaghan Gent and this meml is witnessed by the sd Michl Campbell and Hector Graham of the city of Dublin Gent.
John Willson his mark

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2 thoughts on “Where is “Ross”, Armagh?

  1. That Ross is possible. I had assumed that Ross was in Armagh. But I just discovered (from Barry’s thesis work) that Mrs Mary Clugston (nee Johnston) had a freehold in “Lurgan Liney, County Down” in the 1760’s. Lurgan is on the border, so perhaps it was actually in Armagh. If so, the family would have been entitled to vote in the Armagh election, regardless of where they lived. I think.

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