Termon or erenagh lands

As written by Sir Charles Coote in his survey of county Monaghan in 1801:

... When therefore we came to enquire the quantity of termon lands, I called unto me one of the best learned vicars in all the country, and one that had been a Brehon, and some skill in the civil and common laws, and with much ado, I got from him thus much light for the understanding of this matter. He told me, that the word termon doth signify, in the Irish tongue, a liberty, or freedom, and that all church lands whatsoever are called termon lands by the Irish; because they were ever free from all impositions, and cuttings, of the temporal Lords, and had the privilege of sanctuary, so as no temporal serjeant, or officer, might enter to arrest any person upon their lands, but the bishop's officers only; howbeit, in common understanding, among us, that are English, we call such only termon lands, as were in the possession of corbes or herenachs. For the name of Corbe, I could not learn that it had any signification in the Irish tongue...

Source: Coote, Charles. Statistical Survey of the County of Monaghan, &c. Dublin: Graisberry & Campbell, 1801. (pg. 11). 

❖          ❖          ❖

According to Jefferies,

  A coarb (comharba) was literally the 'successor' of the founding saint of a church and he enjoyed considerable but indefinable spiritual prestige. ... In function, though, a coarb was virtually the same as an erenagh.

  The term airchinnech (anglicé erenagh) originally signified the head or superior of an early Irish ecclesiastical community called a monasterium, ...

Source: Jefferies, Henry A. "Erenaghs and Termonlands: Another Early Seventeenth Century Account." Seanchas Ardmhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society. Vol. 19, No. 1 (2002), pp. 55-58.

❖          ❖          ❖

Bardon writes:

... Sir Oliver St John reported in 1609, 'there is no parish church in Ulster, but is built upon the erenagh lands, and has an erenagh belonging to it.' Some hereditary heads were each known as a 'coarb,' and the English used the terms coarb and erenagh interchangeably. These parochial lands were inherited by families who simply paid rent to the bishops. The erenagh shared the cost of maintaining the church building with the parson and the vicar, and provided hospitality to visiting clergy when required. Other church lands of a similar nature were known as 'termon' lands, where sanctuary could be sought.

Source: Bardon, Jonathan. The Plantation of Ulster: The British Colonisation of the North of Ireland in the Seventeenth Century. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2011.

❖          ❖          ❖

Erenagh, (Ireland, historical, ecclesiastical) the head of a clan occupying church lands under a bishop in Gaelic Ireland.

Source: Nicholls, Kenneth. Gaelic and Gaelicised Ireland in the Middle Ages. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1972). Online at Wiktionary, en.wiktionary.org (accessed 2016-08-13).

Keenan writes,

... The erenagh was the steward of the lands. They were laymen, but retained some of the duties of the clerics. They were supposed to maintain some pretence of learning, and to dispense some hospitality, to pay some revenues to the bishop or abbot, and to help with the upkeep of the churches.

Source: Keenan, Desmond. The True Origins of Irish Society. (pg. 387). Xlibris Corp., 2003.

❖          ❖          ❖

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

Contact   |  Copyright notice  |   Privacy statement   |   Site map

© Alison Kilpatrick 2014–2019. All rights reserved.