The First or Townland Valuation...

of the 1830s

Though often dismissed as being of fairly limited genealogical value, the townland valuation carried out in the 1830s can be an important source for those searching for their ancestors, particularly if those ancestors were urban dwellers.

The bound manuscript returns are arranged by barony and parish and those for the Newry area are available at PRONI under the reference VAL/1B.

Although the Townland Valuation was primarily concerned with the agricultural value of land, it also included details on houses valued at £3 or over (in 1838 this was raised to £5 or over). In the rural areas the names of only a few householders were given, and the entry for many townlands will include the sentence: ‘No houses in this townland worth £3’. Those that were recorded tended to be of the gentry or the better class of tenant farmers. Nonetheless, many houses were included which were subsequently dismissed as being of lower than £3 in value.

In towns, however, many more houses were substantial enough to reach the valuation, with the result that a large number of householders are recorded. The information recorded usually included the dimensions of the house and outbuildings (referred to as offices in the field-books) and a coded system to indicate the age (new, or nearly new, medium and old) and materials used in the construction of the buildings (such as thatch, stone, brick or mud).

Accompanying the field-books are annotated Ordnance Survey maps on the scale of 6 inches to the mile. These show the different areas of land use within a townland. They also indicate by a numbering system the houses recorded in the field-books. The maps are listed under VAL/1A. In addition there are larger scale maps for towns under VAL/1D.