Ballydonaghy, Camlin

Tithe Applotment Books

The Tithe Applotment Books (1826) list the following Oakmans in Ballydonaghy:

  • John Oakman – 132 acres 2 roods and 23 perches
  • Catherine Oakman – 69 acres, 1 rood, 22 perch
  • William & Walter Oakman – 126 acres, 2 rood, 23 perch (Clements Mount)
  • William Oakman jnr – 62 acres, 3 rood, 11 perch

In 1828, Walter Oakman of Clements Mount died.

1833 Valuations

The 1833 valuation map shows the following Oakmans in Ballydonaghy:

  • William Oakman – Clements Mount – 63 acres 1 rood 17 perches
  • Catherine Oakman – part of Clements Mount – 69 acres 2 rood 19 perches
  • John Oakman – near Ballydonaghy Bridge – 59 acres 3 rood 4 perches

1840s Valuations

A revision to the above valuations was made at a later date (1840s ?) where we find:

  • William Oakman – Clements Mount – 63 acres 1 rood 17 perches
  • Catherine Oakman – part of Clements Mount – 69 acres 2 rood 19 perches
  • William Oakman – Ballydonaghy Rd near Clements Mount – 3 acres 0 rood 21 perches
  • William Oakman – Ballydonaghy Rd near Clements Mount – 3 acres 1 rood 33 perches
  • Benjamin Oakman – opposite Gobrana – 12 acres 0 rood 10 perches
  • William Oakman – near Ballydonaghy Bridge – 26 acres 2 rood 8 perches

Griffith’s Valuation – 1862

  • William Oakman snr – #14 – 13 acres 0 rood 20 perches
  • Benjamin Oakman – #24 – 133 acres 1 rood 35 perches
  • William Oakman jnr – #65 – 33 acres 1 rood 5 perches
  • John Oakman – #78 – 6 acres

Sir Richard Wallace’s estate map dated 1877

  • Benjamin Oakman – 133 acres 1 rood 37 perches – Clements Mount
  • William Oakman (later Orville Gill)  – 20 acres 2 roods 36 perches
  • John Bolton – rep of Benjamin Oakman – 11 acres 3 roods 15 perches

As you can see, the Oakmans owned/leased a number of properties in Ballydonaghy in days gone by.  Piecing together information gleaned from the above, as well as old maps, land valuations, land deeds and other historical publications I am now able to provide the following:

Near Ballydonaghy Bridge

The 1728 Rent Roll for the Hertford Estate (PRONI D427/2) lists Walter Oakman leasing property in Ballydonaghy Townland in the Parish of Camlin.

The Conway Estate map of 1729 shows two Oakman properties.  These were adjacent to one another in the south of the townland and along the Glenavy River.  One property has the names Oakman and Johnston written on the map (includes Heathery Hill) and the neighbouring property has the names Oakman and Hurdman/Herdman.

In 1741, Walter Oakman of Ballydonaghy was granted the lease of one of the above properties (143 acres) then in his possession, to hold for the lives of his sons Nicholas, John and Walter. Memorial Deed #87082.

Also in 1741, Walter’s brother William Oakman, Linendraper of Glenavy Parish, was granted the lease of the neighbouring property in Ballydonaghy (144 acres and one rood) for the lives of his son William Oakman and nephew Walter Oakman and neice Jane Oakman (children of his brother Walter).  Memorial Deed  #87083.

With the acreage being so similar it is difficult to work out exactly who leased which property.

Walter Oakman died in 1755. An extract of his Will reveals he had the following children:

  • John Oakman m. Jane Whitla
  • Mary Oakman m. Smythe
  • Elizabeth Oakman m. McMean (?)
  • Walter Oakman
  • Nicholas Oakman
  • Robert Oakman
  • Catherine Oakman
  • Jean/Jane Oakman
  • Isabella Oakman

1776 – Walter and William Oakman are listed as Freeholders in Ballydonaghy.  This Walter is presumably the son of Walter who had died in 1755.  It is unknown whether this William is the original leaseholder or his son.

In 1791, the home of William Oakman of Ballydonaghey, near Glenavey, was broken into by a number of armed ruffians.  William and his family were tied and bound while the thieves helped themselves to cash, jewellery, silver, cloths, linen, clothing and a horse.

Belfast Newsletter 3 May 1791

Belfast Newsletter 3 May 1791
(published with permission of the Belfast Newsletter)

William Oakman’s son, William jnr, died in Belfast in 1794.  Before his death, William jnr was a partner in the business Thompson & Oakman – importers of all types of goods including teas, garden and crop seeds, sugars, gunpowder, soaps, salt, spices, etc.  See some of their newspaper advertisements.

According to an Indenture dated 12 August 1795, William jnr died intestate and without any issue “capable of inheriting”. His brother, John Oakman, therefore became “heir at law” to the lease of property in Waring St, Belfast, which William jnr had taken out in 1790.  In this Indenture, William snr and John release their interest in this property to James Hyndman.

William snr died in Ballydonaghy in 1803.  A notice in the Belfast Newsletter on 4 February 1803 reads:

On Tuesday last, at Ballydonaghy, near Glenavy, Mr William Oakman – he was a tender parent, an affectionate friend, a charitable and honest man.

On 14 March 1805, John Oakman of Ballydonaghy married Alice Walsh.  This is likely to be the son of William who died in 1803.

In 1806 we find Walter Oakman advertising for sale a farm of land containing 75 acres.  We don’t yet know the exact location of this farm.

Rev Cupple’s map of 1814 (A Statistical Account or Parochial Survey of Ireland) shows John Oakman with 150 acres – bordered by Garlandstown Rd and the Glenavy River and covering the area named Heathery Hill.

The Tithe Applotment Books of 1826 show John Oakman farming just over 136 acres in Ballydonaghy.  An 1833 Valuation show John still there and his farm had reduced in size to just over 59 acres.

John Oakman appears to have died between 1840-1848 when the property is passed on to his son, William Oakman (yes … another William!!).  John’s wife, Alice nee Walsh, died in August 1869.

On 24 August 1876, William Oakman died at the age of 67 yrs.  His Will was signed on 28 July 1876 at Ballydonaghy.  In his Will he bequeaths all his chattels and furniture to his sister Alice Jane Oakman, and his 20+ acre farm to Orville Gill on the condition he provide a home for Alice, 5 pounds sterling every three months and the keep of a cow.

#14 on the Griffith’s Valuation Map

From a Census entry dated mid 1850’s we learn about William Oakman (Ballydonaghy Rd near Clements Mount – #14 on Griffith’s Valuation map).  He was described as aged 60 yrs, a farmer of 14 acres, attends divine service at Glenavy,  was not confirmed or a communicant, had no family prayer but owned a bible. He could read and write. His wife was a Presbyterian.  When visited on 2 May 1856, 1 Jan 1856 and 10 Oct 1856 “all well”.  A nephew is entered as David Shawbridge (Shubridge) – he worshipped at Glenavy and was aged 19 years, cannot read or write – a line later put through his name with the note “gone to America” (possible date of this revision 7 Dec 1858).

On 27 October 1867, William Oakman (of #14 above) died at the age of 73.  His Will was signed at Pigeontown on 24 October 1867.  In his Will he mentions his brothers Robert, Benjamin in John, his sister Alley (Alice) Walker, neice Dorothea McCoy and nephew John Oakman jnr of Pigeontown.

Clements Mount

Clements Mount is situated to the northeast of Glenavy Village, in the Townland of Ballydonaghy, Parish of Camlin. For many generations, Clements Mount was the property of an old family named Clements. It only came into the Oakman family in the early 1800s.

About 1810, William Clements of Clements Mount died.  His substantial property was inherited by his son-in-law William Oakman of Pigeontown.  William’s sons – William, Walter and Benjamin would live and farm on this land in later years.

In 1826, Walter Oakman held the lease for this property of more than 130 acres. Walter’s father was William Oakman of Pigeontown. His mother was one of the daughters of William Clements of Clements Mount. An extract from the Will of William Clements (PRONI T/700/49) mentions his son-in-law William Oakman. As this is only an extract from William Clements’ Will, it is not possible to know of any bequests old William made to his son-in-law, but it is probable that William Oakman inherited Clements Mount and passed the farm to his son, Walter.

The PRONI Will extracts found in T/700 are from the old note books of Mr Stewart Kennedy and date from about the year 1500 through to 1858. The copies of Oakman extracts obtained from PRONI do not include mention of property, but do include any names mentioned in the original Wills. This has proven to be an informative source for a few of the Oakman families from the Glenavy area.

Sadly, Walter Oakman died in 1828. Glenavy Parish Church records show Walter was buried in that graveyard, though no headstone has been found.  The following death notice was found in the Belfast Newsletter:

At Carrickfergus, on the 28th ult. and in the 28th year of his age, Mr Walter Oakman. This young man deservedly esteemed as a friend, a father, and a husband; and although his loss will be long and deeply felt by a tender and affectionate wife, and a young and hopeful family, still we have reason to believe that notwithstanding his early entrance upon the ocean of eternity, yet through the merits of his Divine Redeemer, he was wafted upon the wings of Seraphs to that happy shore, where he shall experience the full enjoyment of his God, which was his special delight during his short pilgrimage here.

Though I have not yet found a marriage record, I believe Walter married Catherine (possibly Boyle) and had at least 3 sons — William, Walter and Clement. After her husband died, Catherine married again to a Mr/Dr Davison and had at least two daughters by that marriage — Catherine and Jane. In 1849, Catherine Davison and her son William Oakman, along with her daughters Catherine and Jane Davison, emigrated to America and settled in New York City. Her sons, Walter and Clement Oakman, had travelled to New York sometime prior to their mother.

No Will has been found to tell us what happened with Walter’s estate after his death, but it is known, from the Will of Mr Dolway Bell, Surgeon of “Bellgrove”, Glenavy, that Walter’s younger brother, Benjamin Oakman, was living at Clements Mount in 1855. Dolway Bell named Benjamin as one of his executors.

A Census entry lists Benjamin Oakman, 49 years of age, farmer. Worships at Glenavy. Not confirmed or a communicant. No family prayer. Can read and write.  Wife Jane, 32 years, worships at Glenavy, confirmed but not a communicant, can read and write.  On 10 Oct 1855 “all were well”.

Benjamin had married Jane Bullock, daughter of William Bullock, farmer of Ballydonaghy, in October 1849. Benjamin and Jane do not appear to have had any children.

The Griffith’s Valuation lists Benjamin Oakman as leasing house, offices and about 133 acres of land from the Marquis of Hertford. By 1883, when Benjamin was well into his 70s, Clements Mount was in the hands of Robert Potts. Perhaps Benjamin had become too old to continue with the farming. His wife, Jane Bullock, died in 1889 in Woodstock Road, Belfast. Benjamin died at his brother’s home (Pigeontown in 1891. Glenavy Parish Church burial records show he was buried in the graveyard, but no headstone has been found to show exactly where he was buried.

Robert Potts died in 1888 and his son Robert junior took over the property after his father’s death.

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