Last week capacity crowds attended the three book launch events organised by Ballinascreen Historical Society in Draperstown, Tirgan and Moneymore.
The Society’s most recent publication “Maps of the Estate of the Drapers’ Company 1857-1858” is a most impressive and useful atlas of old townland maps.
On Wednesday evening almost 200 people attended the launch in Draperstown when the special guest was Penny Fussell, the Drapers’ Company archivist in London.
Fiona Bryant from the Sperrins Gateway Landscape Partnership also addressed the meeting and Dr Bill Macafee gave a short lecture illustrating the usefulness of these maps for family history research.
This publication, the Society’s 39th, contains information on the 56 townlands of the Drapers Estate including county, barony, parish, townland and farm boundaries; rivers and streams; roads and bridges; dams or weirs; forts and mounds; kilns and ruins; quarries; gravel or sand pits; wells or springs; bogs or uncultivated ground; farm layouts; fields and field sizes; houses and other buildings and tenants’ names.
The book is A3 format, full colour in hardback consisting of 312 pages featuring townlands in 10 parishes with 66 maps and 180 tables, covering 27,000 acres; 8541 fields; 1156 farms; 1407 leases and 1386 tenants. In addition, the book contains notes on each townland name, the 1859 valuation of tenements and a list of the leases up to 1858 deposited by the Drapers’ Company in the Public Record Office in Belfast.
The book has been compiled by Patsy McShane and there is a lengthy, scholarly introduction by Dr. Bill Macafee who spoke at the launch events.
There was music and song with a local flavour provided by Joe Diamond and Michael Sears, and refreshments were provided at all three events by the ladies from Tirgan Hall.
A limited number of these handsome (and heavy!) books have been printed and they are now on sale for £25. Copies are available at Sheehy’s (Cookstown), Lawrence’s (Moneymore) and the usual outlets in Draperstown. So, whether you are from Dunman or Dunnabraggy, Keenaght or Killytoney, Cloane or Coolnasillagh don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime!
This is probably one of the most ambitious publishing projects that any local historical society has undertaken so the people of South Derry and, in particular, those living in the 56 townlands should grasp the opportunity to purchase a family heirloom of the future.
Half of the print-run of the books has already been sold at the launch evenings, so the stock currently in the shops cannot be continually replenished – when they’re gone, they’re gone!
Because the books are so heavy, the cost of postage would be prohibitive but anyone having difficulty obtaining copies can make enquiries about collection arrangements by telephoning 7962 9722 or 7962 8514.