Curraghmore Vouchers

Curraghmore House is located in Portlaw, County Waterford and is the seat of the Marquis of Waterford, the home of the de la Poer Beresford family. You can find out more about Curraghmore House at www.curraghmorehouse.ie The de la Poer family have a long history in Waterford, participating in, and at times shaping the political, economic and social history of Waterford.

In the 19th century, the Curraghmore Estate was a large working estate with staff and tenants dependant upon the estate for their livelihoods. Among the surviving records for the Curraghmore Estate is a collection of vouchers that were given out by the Estate. These appear to be charitable vouchers that could be presented by the recipient at local shops, such as the Mayfield Shop in Portlaw and used to purchase goods. The vouchers date from January 1891-December 1900. They largely date to December or January so they may have been given to people at Christmas time although some are dated in June. In some cases there is a note on the voucher requesting that the voucher be returned to Mr. Hardwick who was the agent of the Curraghmore Estate at the time and in other cases there is a direction that payment be made from Lady Waterford's account. Waterford City and County Archive with the permission of Lord Waterford have made a listing of the information on the vouchers including the name of the person, date of the voucher, purchases and any additional comments that appear on the voucher.

What is particularly of interest about these vouchers is not only do they record the name of the person receiving the voucher but in some cases the shopkeeper kept a running tally of the goods purchased on the back of the voucher and this provides us with a glimpse of the purchases and the cost of these purchases for people in Portlaw and the surrounding areas. Some vouchers were specifically for coal, usually 1 cwt or hundred weight of coal from The Factory Shop. The vouchers were for the amount of 10 or 15 shillings. In addition to purchasing food such as, tea; sugar; butter; bread; bacon; potatoes and flour most of the vouchers include significant expenditure on material to allow people to make clothes. The materials purchased included:

  • Calico - an unbleached cotton that was not fully processed and was cheaper as a result
  • Serge - a twill fabric with ridges/lines on both sides. This was a sturdy fabric that was often used to make coats and uniforms
  • Flannel - soft woven cared wool or worsted yarn
  • Bengal - a muslin material
  • Lawn - a linen or cotton material that was quite fine and often used for undergarments
  • Cretonne - strong printed cotton
  • Stuff - thickly woven wool
  • Ticking - a higly woven durable fabric used for mattresses and bed pillows
  • Trimming, braid and cord were also purchased for use in making clothes and pinafortes, caps, trousers, corsets, suits, ties and boots were purchased. Mrs. William Whelan who was given a voucher on 8th June 1895 used her voucher to purchase 3 yards of Swanskin (a very soft flannel or cotton material) at 3 shillings and a hankerchief for 6d. Among the items purchased by Mrs. Arthur Ryan in January 1895 was an umbrella for 2 shillings.

    You can check out the purchases made with the vouchers by searching the "Curraghmore Vouchers" document.