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Freeduff is a narrow townland of 303 statute acres 2 roods and 14 perches about three miles north east of Crossmaglen, mid-way to Cullyhanna. It is bounded on the north by Cullyhanna Big, on the east by Tullinavall, on the south by Cregganduff and on the west by Cloghoge and Cullyhanna Little.

Name of townland

The name of the townland means sither "The black heath or heather". There is no other townland of that name in Ireland.

The townland was the site of the first Presbyterian Church in the parish of Creggan in about 1746. See "The Creggan Presbyterian Congregation" in Issue No.10 of "Creggan", the Journal of the Creggan Local History Society.

Sources of Information

Information about the townland was extracted from the following sources -

  • Census of Creggan 1766
  • Tithe Applotment Books - Creggan Parish - 1828
  • Townland Valuation 1837
  • Griffiths Valuation 1864
  • Census of Ireland 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911, 1926, 1937, 1951
  • First Northern Ireland Revaluation 1935
  • Second Revaluation 1957


Annual Rateable Valuation of Townland
Year 1828 1837 1851 1864 1935 1957 1970
Valuation 168-0-0 204-2-11 224-0-0 280-5-0 304-0-0 369-10-0 442-15-0

In the 1828 Tithe Applotment Books its total area is shown as 187 acres and 30 perches (Irish). The Half yearly Rectorial Tithe was 8-8-0.

The 1837 Townland Valuation recorded only houses worth 5 or more a year. There were five such houses in the townland -

Joseph Donaldson
William Mc(Clenan ?)
Luke Murtagh
James Stitt
John Stitt

The Third Revaluation (1975) did not identify property by townlands. Instead, it used the new Post Office system of road names and postcodes. It can therefore not be used to continue this series of household, land and property censuses. To get as close as possible to the present, the position in the townland at the date of the last recorded revision of the Second Revaluation is presented.

Griffiths Valuation records that the ownership of the townland was shared by Ralph Jordan, John Stitt and Willaim Stitt. The following table shows the distribution of the land holdings in 1864 and 1935.

  Holdings - number by acreage
  Less than 10 10 to 19 20 and over Total

Census of Ireland 1901

The Census enumerated 72 persons in 13 households; a ratio of 5.5 people per household. The households occupied a total of 45 rooms; a ratio of 3.5 rooms per household, and 1.6 persons per room.

Native Irish Speakers

Of the 13 households enumerated in the Census, one contained a native Irish speaker - John Fee, farm labourer, aged 52, born in Co. Louth.

Population Decline

The following table sets out the number of houses and population enumerated in the townland in each of the 11 Censuses held between 1841 and 1951.

  1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926 1937 1951
Houses 16 11 14 15 18 13 13 11 11 12 11
People 103 80 75 77 85 84 72 54 51 34 40
People per house 6.4 7.3 5.4 5.1 4.7 6.5 5.5 4.9 4.6 2.8 3.6

In the period of 110 years, the number of households dropped by 31% and the population by 61%. The population decline of 27% over the 20 years to 1861 was followed by an increase in the next two decades, and only beginning to fall again from the beginning of the 20th century.

Names of House and land Holders

All the Valuations since Griffiths identified those with houses in the townland and those who while living elsewhere leased or owned land there. The Census of Ireland enumerated only households in the townland. The following table uses this approach.

Although the data is not strictly comparable since the information was gathered for different purposes and used varying criteria, it provides a comparison of the names listed in the townland at the different periods. While we can not discern the direct lines of descent it is clear that many are from the same families.

Census of Creggan Tithe Applotment Books Griffiths Valuation Census of Ireland First NI Revaluation Second Revaluation
1766 1828 1864 1901 1935 1957 1966
Freeghduff Freeduff Freeduff Freeduff Freeduff Freeduff Freeduff
Households/Land Households Households Households Households Households
Alexander Clark John Bradley James Bradley David Bradley John Bradley F. Ginnane Travers Ferguson
Samuel Donaldson John Bradley Richard Campbell James Bradley Samuel Goodfellow Frederick Goodfellow S. Henry
Robert Hughston Hugh Clarke James Connell Patrick Carragher John Hoey S. Henry John Hoey
Widow Moffit William Clarke John Hoey Thomas Clements Patrick Leonard John Hoey Margaret Leonard
Jos Peery Patt Connell William McClean John Fee William McBride Margaret Leonard Gerard McGeeney
John Stitt John Donaldson Denis Murthagh Samuel Goodfellow Gerald McGeeney Gerard McGeeney Mary Murtagh
William Stitt Joseph Donaldson David Nelson John Hawey John Murtagh Mary Murtagh John Quinn
Ann Hughy Widow Michael O'Hare Edward Kearney Emily Nelson Freda Nelson Francis Rooney
Rev WS McLeane Eliza Perry Thomas Lynch William Stitt John Quinn Patrick Rowland
Luke Murtagh William Perry James McGeeney John Treanor Francis Rooney Francis Sheridan
John Nelson John Stitt Samuel Nelson   Patrick Rowland  
Felix O'Hanlon William Stitt Michael Rooney Land Patrick Rowland Land
Hugh Peery Michael Trainor Bridget Trainor John James Bradley   Michael Largey (Pat)
James Stitt Peter O'Hanlon Land Terence McMahon
John Stitt Land Michael Rooney Terence McMahon Patrick McShane
    Peter O'Hanlon   William Speers Patrick McShane Peter O'Hanlon
    Samuel Speers     Peter O'Hanlon John E. Quinn
          Leata M. Speers Leata M. Speers
          James F. Wright  

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Last Updated on 31 December 2002

© Patrick Devlin 2002