My grandmother, my mother’s mother, was Mary Ann Jennings from Woodford and when she married John Nevin she went to live in Carrowcrin about 3 miles from the village of Abbey. In Carrowcrin she opened a grocery shop providing a service to the local community at a time when travel was not what it is today. One of the ledgers she kept, dated from 1891 to 1896, has survived and there are some interesting facts, figures and records to be found there.
Her customers, as they were recorded in that ledger during those years, included the following:
BALLINAKILL: Rev P Flanagen
BALLINASACK: Michael Rabbit
BONYKNAVE: Whaley, Michael Mullen, John Downey, Widow Conerse, Widow Mullen
BRACKLA: Pat Cotham, McDonaghs, Thomas Curley, Thomas Silk, McCugo, Thomas Coen
BRIDGE PARK: Michael Minogue
CARROWCRIN: Catherine Hogan Widow, Pat Hegney (little), Pat Hegney (Big), Pat Whelan, John Conway, Cornelius McDonagh
CLONLEE: Thomas Kilchrist, John Walsh
CLOONECASTLE: Patrick Quinn Herd,
CREG: Michael Shiel
CURRA: Michael Coen, Thomas Davy Esq, Peter Conway, William Conway, John Whaley, Pat Whelan, Michael Cosgrave, Michael Broderick, Mary Whaley Widow, Coen Herd, John Tierney
DUNIRY: John Lynch, Michael Mooney, R I Constabulary, Sergeant McDermott RIC, Rev P Egan PP, John Mooney Tailor, Anthony Derivan, Widow Daniel, Mr T Dervan, Mary Anne Kennedy Widow, Hanrahan Widow, Michael Whyte
KNOCKANE: Martin McDonagh, Widow Manning,
LISHEENY: Hugh Martin, John Brahoney, Widow Kilcar
MONOTHY: Michael Egan, John Donnohoe, Thomas Downey
NEWTOWN: Andy Kenney, Francis Fahey
TOMANY: Thomas Tully, Timothy Nevin, Bernard Martin, Edward Moran, Pat Curley, Mary Anne Donnelly Widow, John Donnohoe
NO ADDRESS: Michael Boohan, Bridget Larkin, P J Conway, Pat Dononey Shoemaker
The Most Common Items Purchased
It is interesting to look at what was sold in that shop and in particular at the most common items that her customers bought. Tea, sugar, flour, wholemeal, bacon, tobacco, matches, candles and paraffin oil were sold every day. The next most common items were: bread, blacking, soap, salt, pepper, laces, starch, blue, bran, castor oil, soda, coffee, cocoa, hair oil, treacle, ginger, linseed oil, snuff, senna leaves, caraway, potatoes, oats, pollard, lozenges, eggs, thread, ink, washing soda, iron, notepad, pen, washing soda, rice, pins, pipes, lard. Raisins, currants and barm brack were recorded during December. And less frequent items included turpentine, hemp and frost nails.
In the 1800s when this ledger was kept, it was the time of the old currency of pounds, shillings and pence. For the information of the younger readers it is important to say that there were twelve pence in one shilling and twenty shillings in one pound or put another way two hundred and forty pence in the pound. Since that time Ireland converted in 1971 to the newer Irish currency of Irish punts and pence whereby there were now one hundred pence to the pound or punt. And all that was before our move to the Euro currency comprising of Euro and cent.
It is interesting to see what the various items cost and the quantities that customers bought. For example, the following are extracts from the ledger:
½ cwt Sugar @ 2d per lb = 9/4d or it could be an entry for 3 lbs sugar costing 6d.
One cwt Flour = 14/6 (one hundred weight of Flour cost 14 shillings and 6 pence).
2 oz tea = 4½d (2 ounces of tea cost 4½ pence).
2 oz tobacco = 6d (2 ounces of tobacco cost 6 pence).
1 st 5 lbs Bacon @ 5/6 per stone = 7/6d (one stone, five pounds bacon at 5 shillings and 6 pence per stone cost 7 shillings and 6 pence).
Other examples are included in the following ledger entries, courtesy Mrs Vera Reilly:
Payment was made by cash or sometimes exchanged for goods or labour. People sold eggs to the shop and were allowed 10 pence per score. Payment for work depended on the work involved, for example there are records of 4 days work given at the bog, at one shilling per day – 4 shillings being taken off the bill; 45 days work at eight pence per day gave the customer £1-10-0 (one pound, ten shillings) off the bill.
One customer had 6/1½d (6 shillings and 1½d) deducted from his bill as an allowance for half repairs to mowing machine! In November 1895, a local Herd had his account of £2-10-0 paid in exchange for the feeding of two bullocks until May 1896. In one case a Side Car for £11-10-0 (eleven pounds, ten shillings) was accepted as payment of a bill. In another, one Horse Foal for £5-7-6 (five pounds, seven shillings and six pence) was accepted as payment. Another method of payment was wool and this was valued at 9½d (nine and a half pence) per pound weight. One customer had a bill reduced by £4-6-0 for 72 lbs of wool at 9½d totalling £2-17-0 and one Bonham for £1-9-0.
The local shoemaker paid part of his bill by supplying boots, for example a bill for £2-11-6 was offset by supply of boots between 30th May and 17th December 1892 amounting to £2-11-6!