Introduction


Samuel Lewis (the elder) published several topographical gazetteers and maps in the 1830s and 40s. The first edition of 'A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland' was published in 1837 in two volumes (there was also an atlas published to accompany the dictionary) and a second edition in 1842. S. Lewis and Co. of London were editors and publishers but the individual sections themselves were written by a large number of contributors, often living in the area they were writing about.

The following two paragraphs which are extracted from the preface to the first edition describe the sources and standards of the statistical information.

It is necessary to state that all distances are given in Irish miles ; glebes, and every other extent of lands, except when otherwise expressed, in Irish plantation acres ; grants and sums of money, unless the standard be specified, may be generally regulated, as regards their amount, by the period to which they refer, in its relation to the year 1826, when the assimilation of the currency took place. Numerous Reports to Parliament, of recent date, have been made available for supplying much useful statistical information. The Ordnance survey, so far as it has extended, has been adopted as the best authority for stating the number of acres which each parish comprises. As regards other parishes, the number of acres given is that applotted under the tithe composition act, which in some cases embraces the entire superficies of the parish, in others excludes an unproductive tract of mountain waste, of which the estimated value is too small to admit of its being brought under composition. The amount of parochial tithes was derived from parliamentary returns of the sums for which they have been compounded. In case of a union of parishes forming one benefice, and of which the incumbent only receives a portion of the tithes, the parishes constituting the benefice are enumerated under the head of that which gives name to it; the tithes of the latter of which, and their application, are first stated ; then, the gross tithes of the benefice payable to the incumbent, the appropriation of the remaining portions of the tithes of the other parishes being detailed under their respective heads.

The census of 1831 has been adopted with reference to the population and number of houses ; and the Reports of the Commissioners on Ecclesiastical Revenue and Patronage, of Ecclesiastical Inquiry, and of Public Instruction, have furnished much valuable matter relative to the Church. The number of children educated in the several schools in connection with the Board of National Education is given from the Report of the Commissioners. With respect to other schools, the numbers are generally those reported by the Commissioners of Public Instruction, which, being the numbers entered upon the books of the different schools, must be regarded as exceeding those in actual attendance. In cases where the information obtained on the spot materially differed from that contained in the Reports, the former has been adopted; but the introduction of the National system has caused such numerous alterations, as to render it extremely difficult to state with any degree of precision the exact number of children at present receiving instruction in each parish.

Samuel Lewis, the younger, died in 1862, and the elder in 1865.

The sections linked to this page are places my own family has connections. I would be happy to receive emails from anyone researching these areas.

Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (London: 1837)


Michael Cronin 2001

Cronin Families of Cork

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