The townland of Woodbrook was the seat of the Kirkwood family since the 17th century [Walford 1882]. However, the 19th century, "Kirkwood of Woodbrook" were not to be found resident on their landed estate (held in fee simple). Instead, they preferred to lease finer Georgian properties in the district of Croghan.
In 1822, "360 Ash trees, now standing in the townland of Woodbrook" were advertised for sale by Thomas Kirkwood Esq. of the Hermitage, Croghan, to be shown by his "herd on the land" James Leneghan who was the actual occupier of house 1a at Woodbrook [Roscommon & Leitrim Gazette - 04 May 1822]. Note that the role of herd, once awarded, was handed down through generations of the same family.
In 1833, even though the Leneghans and others were present, James Kirkwood Esq. (1808-1857), son of Thomas Kirkwood, was the only name to appear in Woodbrook's Tithe Applotment records. His residence was also the Hermitage, Croghan. Circa 1848, he moved to Hughestown House which he re-named "Woodbrook" (the 20th century Kirkwood residence, romanticised in David Thomson's novel).
In 1857, at the time of Griffith's Valuation, the herd's house [#1a Woodbrook], occupied by the Leneghan family is recorded in the name of James Kirkwood Esq. (1808-1857) residing two townlands north.
On 11-Apr-1865, James Lenehan II & Elizabeth O'Neal / O'Neil of Woodbrook baptise a son, James (Godparents: Bernard O'Neal & Mary Mulloy).
By 1857, James Kirkwood had built Woodbrook National School there to educate the family of the workers on his estate. This included cottagers by the name of Duignan, Flanagan and McGreevy, and Michael Murphy at 2a who was a small farmer with 7 acres.
In Woodbrook's Census of 1901, all of these names are still present, in addition to James Leneghan (b.1865 son of James, farmer, Toorymartin) and his wife Mary Jane Oats (dau. Michael Oates of Woodbrook) married in 1899.
By the time of Woodbrook's 1911 Census, only 3 families Leneghan, McGreevy and Flanagan remain.
[Reverse Genealogy by Rua Mac Diarmada 2018]
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