Written by James F. Reid, September 2021
James is a Grennan Sproule himself, and he has been researching this family for many years.
We first encounter a particular Andrew Sproule of Grennan in the early 1770s. This is not to be confused with Cornet Andrew Sproule or his son, Andrew Sproule of Grennan, whom we saw in earlier post would have been at least 21 years of age at the time of the 1731 deed. No, this Andrew Sproule from the 1770s was likely of a younger generation, based on the information on his children.
Andrew Sproule of Grennan in the 1770s Deeds
We see him in a series of deeds in the first half of the 1770s, including deeds relating to the lands of Dooish, Coolavanagh (or Cooel) and related holdings, and deeds relating to the marriage of his children:
- In December 1771, Oliver Sproule married Elizabeth Elliott and received the lands of Stroancarbadagh from his wife’s grandfather David Wilson,
- In December 1773, Margaret Sproule married Thomas Elliott, son of John Elliott of Ferney (County Fermanagh). (Please see appendix for further details on these deeds.)
Now, this tells us that those Dooish and Cooel lands were tied up with Andrew Sproule of Grennan by the mid-1770s. It also tells us that his children were of marriageable age in the early 1770s, and that there was some alliance with the Elliott family. If we assume that son Oliver was at least 21 and daughter Margaret was at least 18, that suggests Andrew Sproule of Grennan was himself having children in the early 1750s or earlier.
Oliver Sproule of Stroancarbadagh
Actually, we know a fair amount about this son Oliver Sproule who was granted the lands of Stroancarbadagh. He would later be known as Oliver Sproule of Brook Hill, a property in the townland of Stroancarbadagh, and we can follow this family through the 1800s. We know from newspaper entries, mainly death records that mention age at death, that he had sons Wilson, Robert, Andrew and Oliver (in that order), and daughters Ann, Rebecca, Elizabeth (also in that order). He died in 1832, based on an entry in the Londonderry Sentinel aged 85, placing his birth in c.1747. That in turn would suggest his father, Andrew Sproule of Grennan, was born in the mid-1720s or earlier.
Andrew Sproule of Curraghamulkin (died in 1799)
I had found
some information from Betham’s Abstracts on an “Andrew Sproule of
Curraghamulkin” who left a will dated 26th July 1797 and died in
1799 (will proved 11th July 1799).
The will mentions Andrew’s wife Anne, son George, daughter Anne Armstrong, sons Charles and Andrew, son Joseph and his wife Elizabeth Sproule o’wise Clarke, son Joseph’s children (James, Andrew, Anne, Sarah, Margaret, Elizabeth), son James, son Oliver and his daughters (Anne, Rebecca, Elizabeth), grandchildren Margaret and Hugh Elliott the children of daughter Margaret, and grandchildren Anne and Mary Thompson. Further information on this will was covered by Kate in a previous post The original was at PRONI, a rare example of a surviving will from the period.
Now, what struck me was three things. First, the name of Elliott. This certainly looked like the same daughter Margaret who had married Thomas Elliott of Ferney in 1773, and was probably deceased by 1797. Second, was the names of Oliver’s daughters – they not only matched the names of the daughters of Oliver Sproule of Brook Hill, they were also in the same order by age! (This would be a 1-in-6 chance if entirely coincidental.) And third, based on the additional information provided by Kate’s transcription (not available in the abstract), the reference to the lands of Cooel.
But, the icing on the cake was a little bit further down the line. For in another previous post on the 1835 will of Andrew Sproule of Magheracrigan, we learn that he was the son of “Andrew Sproule late of Grennan” who left a will dated 27 July 1797 (off by one day, close enough?). Furthermore, other information on Andrew Sproule of Magheracrigan clearly establishes him as the son of Andrew Sproule of Curraghamulkin.
Conclusion, but More Questions
So, Andrew Sproule of Grennan from the 1770s has transformed into Andrew Sproule of Curraghamulkin by 1797! In fact, he was “of Curraghamulkin” by July 1792, when we find him as the grantee in a deed from Henry Irwine of Dublin Esq. (472 / 70 / 296579) concerning the lands of Screen that he later gave to his son Joseph.
Why did he move the few hundred yards from Grennan to its neighboring townland Curraghamulkin? Perhaps his wife or mother had a connection and someone had died between the mid-1770s and July 1792.
His residence was probably in the northern part of the townland of Curraghamulkin, near the Tappaghan hill and bordering on Dooish townland, based on a description of the Curraghamulkin land in a deed to his son George (presumably a renewal) in 1806, described in another previous post. George Sproule of Curraghamulkin seems to have been the primary resident of sorts by the time of the Tithe Applotment in the 1820s, as his house was listed as the only one in the townland worth more than £5 annually. Not even the house of the family of John “Jack Roe” was listed! So, the family of Andrew Sproule of Curraghamulkin seems to have pulled ahead of their local brethren, but how exactly is not currently known.
Appendix: Andrew Sproule of Grennan in Deeds
- Firstly, we see him in a deed from December 1771 (384 / 267 / 254900) in which David Wilson of Stroancarbadagh (parish of Drumragh, county of Tyrone) is granting a quarter of the townland of Stroancarbadagh and a half of the lands of Ednafogery to Oliver Sproule of Grennan, son of Andrew Sproule of Grennan, on the occasion of Oliver’s marriage to Elizabeth Elliott, granddaughter of David Wilson. Andrew Sproule of Grennan also grants his son Oliver the lands of Anaghovy.
- We also see him in a complex trio of deeds from May 1773 (297 / 585 / 196250), November 1773 (298 / 415 / 197889) and April 1774 (300 / 376 / 200249) in which Thomas Verner of Dublin, Esq. and Hugh Carmichael of Dublin, counselor, were separately granting to John Sproule of Strabane Esq. (the apothecary), held in trust for Andrew Sproule of Grennan, the lands of Dooish, Coolavanagh, Lisnaboyaghan, Coolmacormick, Coolmacbryan and Coolemore.
- We see him in a deed from December 1773 (301/83/199121) in which John Elliott of Ferney (parish of Magheracross, county of Fermanagh) is granting his son Thomas Elliott of Ferney, the lands of Ferney, a house and tenements in Ballinamallard and lands of Salloon on the occasion of Thomas’ marriage to Margaret Sproule, daughter of Andrew Sproule of Grennan, who had granted £200 to Thomas.
- And finally we see him (“Andrew Sproule of Grannan gent”) as a witness to a deed and memorial from July 1775 (?) (312/74/207399) in which William Orr, son of William Orr Senr of Corr, is marrying Margaret Sproule, daughter of Mr. Charles Sproule of Grennan.
- There is also an Andrew Sproule of Grennan gent. from a 1759 deed (250 / 207 / 162215) who is referenced as an executor, along with Oliver Sproule of Goland gent., of the will of James Sproule of Grennan, deceased. He may or may not be the same individual as the one in the 1770s.