Monday, 26 May 2014

The Grocers Company and its Irish Manor

The Worshipful Company of Grocers is one of the twelve great Livery Companies of London. In order of civic precedence it ranks second after the Mercers Company. It received its first charter in 1428-29. The lands conveyed to the, "Grocers," by the Irish Society in consideration of its financial contribution to the plantation of the land between the Rivers Bann and Lough Foyle including what was known as O'Cahan's Country, surrounded what is now the village of Eglinton, (formerly Muff). Although the lands were allotted on 17th December 1613 the assurance from the Irish Society was not sealed until 8th January 1619. Following the Restoration the Irish Society executed a new and confirmatory conveyance in favour of ,"The Grocers."


Until the autumn of 1821 the estate was leased out. The last tenant was David Babington and he was paying a rent of £2750 pa. From 1821 the Grocers proceeded to develop and improve their estate. They repaired two of the three mills on the estate, a resident agent was appointed and drainage and reclamation work was implemented. A Sessions House and Market House were built at Muff and a dispensary was established. In1828 a School House for Girls was built in the village. A building for the Constabulary was built in 1825.


In 1872 the Grocers resolved to sell their Estate. Messrs Stewart & Kincaid of Dublin were appointed as selling agents. They recommended redeeming the tithe which was achieved for the sum of £7425. Messrs Stewart & Kincaid valued the estate at £150,000 after redemption of the tithe. The Manor was disposed of in eleven lots as follows:-


Lots 1 & 2. W. F. Bigger £ 20,800

Lot 3. G Stevenson. £20,000

Lot 4. G George (tenant). £9,157

Lot 5. Tenants. £13,700

Lots 6 & 7 Davidson. £41,500

Lot 8. Tenants. £12,000

Lots 9 & 10 W. F. Bigger. £30,000

Lot 11 Dr. McCutcheon. £8,000


The eleven lots totalled 11,745 acres and the total sale price was £157,257 10s. A piece of slob land was sold for an additional sum of £399. At the time of the sale 70 persons were receiving relief at the hand of the Grocers to the extent of £339 pa.


Sources: Visit of the Right Hon The Lord Mayor of London to Londonderry (1933) and Report of Irish Estates (Special) Committe to the Court of Assistants of The Worshipful Company of Grocers 1890



  1. Fascinating stuff. Would I be right in deducing that one lot was just over 1,000 acres? So the Biggers had about 4,000 acres and the Davidsons, 2,000 acres? Tim.

    1. Unfortunately I am unsure how many acres were comprised in each of the lots. Clearly the quality of the land in each of the lots would have had an affect on the average price per acre.