Ruttledges of Barbersfort

Barbersfort Estate

Extract from chapter in Killererin - A Parish History pps 606 - 608

Barbersfort House before it was burnt down
Photo: Dom and Mary Dunleavy, Barbersfort House
Cahergal House
Photo: Valerie Jennings, Cahergal

Legal Battles

Many years of legal battles dominated the Ruttledge family land affairs. After the death of Thomas Ruttledge, Bloomfield, Co. Mayo, the lands were divided into 3 main branches of the family – Bloomfield, Co. Mayo, Togher, Co. Mayo and Barbersfort, Co. Galway.

Children cut out of his will

The main issue affecting the Ruttledge lands after the death of Thomas was that all his children (from both marriages), with the exception of Robert, were written out of his will. Barbersfort estate had been bought in 1816 by the Ruttledges from the Bermingham family. Robert Ruttledge, born in 1766, was a lawyer and he married Elizabeth Knox in 1787.[1] After Elizabeth died, having no children, Robert married for a second time in 1828 to Elizabeth Watson (nee Bragg), a widow. Elizabeth already had a son from her first marriage, David Watson, who, on his mother’s marriage to Robert, became David Watson Ruttledge of Barbersfort. When Robert died in 1833, his remaining estates (excluding those he had left to the Rev. Francis Lambert) were left to his stepson, David Watson Ruttledge.[2] David Watson Ruttledge of Barbersfort  then owned a total of 2,108 acres of land in the townlands of Ardawarry, Barbersfort, Cahergal, Garraunbeg, Garraunmore, Garraun, Graddoge, Cahernagry, Clogherboy and Garraun Coyle.

David Watson Ruttledge

David was born in 1811 and he was admitted to the Irish Bar in 1836, having studied at Trinity College, Dublin. He was a life member of the Royal Dublin Society from 1840.[3] During his RDS membership he served on the Fine Arts Committee and is said to have opposed the Sunday opening of the Botanic Gardens. His address was listed as 3 Fitztwilliam Place, Dublin (1858-1878) and Barbersfort, Tuam, Co. Galway.[4]

Cahergal House

The Landed Estates database states that David Ruttledge also leased a house from James Kealy at Clogherboy, named Clogherboy Cottage, and this was listed in 1855 in Griffith’s valuation at a rent of £8 10s. The house was later known as Cahergal House and had 2 storeys and 5 front windows.[5]

David – Magistrate and member of ….

David Ruttledge was listed in Thom’s Directory 1862 as a magistrate and a member of the Hibernian United Services Club, Dublin[6] and a member of the Grand Jury Panel during the summer sittings of 1882-1883.[7] A memorial to Margaret Bragg, sister of Elizabeth Bragg (David’s mother) is recorded in the Journal of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead in Ireland, 1893. The inscription reads:

“Sacred to the memory of Margaret BRAGG spinster aged 66 years eldest daughter of the late Captn. Thomas BRAGG of Egremont, England.  This monument is erected as a mark of esteem by her nephew David Ruttledge of Barbersfort in this county, whose residence she died suddenly on the 15th day of February, 1851”[8]

Conditions of David’s inheritance

Robert Ruttledge had attached a condition to his stepson’s inheritance, stating that David’s children could only retain the lands at B8arbersfort and others if he, David, married a woman who was a child of his stepfather Robert, but one born out of wedlock.[9] David Watson Ruttledge instead married Eleanor Knox of Moyne Abbey, Killala, Co. Mayo in 1836. David and Eleanor had a son David born in 1838.[10]

Forced to forfeit their inheritance

Eleanor was not a descendant of Robert Ruttledge and so, according to the family papers and his stepfather’s will, David Watson’s descendants were forced to forfeit their lands when he died in 1890.[11] This is evidenced by the fact that in 1912 the Congested District Board was asked if they ‘had made an offer to Mr T.H.B. Ruttledge, Bloomfield, Hollymount, Co. Mayo, for the sale of his Barbersfort estate, near Tuam, Galway, and if so what has been the result of the negotiations?’.[12] It is not known where Eleanor lived after this time.

Ruttledges of  Bloomfield

It seems that after 1890 and the death of David Watson Ruttledge, Barbersfort was returned to the Ruttledges of Bloomfield. In 1901, the census lists a Sarah Knox Ruttledge, aged 64, as head of the household at Barbersfort. She lived there with her daughter Eleanor Ruttledge who was aged 30. Sarah Knox was the daughter of Rev. Edward Leet and was married to Major David Ruttledge, Connacht Rangers and Justice of the Peace. As well as Eleanor, listed in the 1901 Census, they also had 2 older sons, David Knox Ruttledge who was born in 1865 and Percy Edward Ruttledge, born in 1868.

House burnt down

The house was burnt down in the 1920s and rebuilt later. Today it is the home of the Dunleavey family.

Elsewhere on this site, there is another article on the trees of Cahergal House.  Just follow the link below:

Trees of Cahergal House

[1] Reocities, The Ruttledge families of Co. Mayo ( (30 Oct 2012).
[2] Ibid.
[3] RDS, Past Members ( (30 Oct 2012).
[4] Ibid.
[5] NUI, Galway, Landed Estates Database ( 31 Oct 2012).
[7] NLI, Galway County Directory 1862

( (30 Oct 2012).
[8] Southampton University Library Digitisation Project, Counties of Ireland Grand Jury Panel for Spring and Summer Assizes, 1882-1883 ( (30 Oct 2012).
[9] Ireland Genealogy Archives Project, Journal of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead in Ireland, 1893 ( (31 Oct 2012).
[10] Reocities, The Ruttledge Families of Co. Mayo

( ) (30 Oct 2012)
[11] Irish Genealogy ( (25 Oct 2012).
[12] Reocities, The Ruttledge Families of Co. Mayo,( (30 Oct 2012).

This page was added on 15/04/2021.

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