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Clare Estate, Clare Upper Townland, Ardstraw Parish, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland: Presentation of an Address to James Greer, Esq., J.P., by His Tenantry 1881

The Tyrone Constitution, 5th Aug 1881
Transcribed and Submitted by
Juliette Buchanan, Victoria, Australia


A map of the location of the townland can be found at Clare Upper Townland, Co. Tyrone indicating its closeness to Castlederg.


On Wednesday last the tenants on the Clare estate, the property of James Greer, Esq., J.P. met at Clare Lodge to present an illuminated address to their popular and esteemed landlord on the occasion of his restoration to health after a long and dangerous illness. Mr Greer has, throughout his lifetime, gathered around him many fast, sincere and valued friends, who during his sickness in the spring, keenly watched the progress of an illness that threatened at one time to sever the golden link which bound them together, hoping and praying that it would pass away, and that he would return to them full of health and strength. Amongst all those who sympathised with Mr. Greer during those trying days when death and life were so evenly balanced none sympathised more deeply with him than his Clare tenantry; none feared the parting more, and when the telegrams arrived telling that the crisis was past, and that the chances of recovery were increased none amongst all his friends rejoiced more sincerely than his tenantry. They had learned to love and value him as an upright, generous landlord, who, during a twenty or thirty years’ intercourse, in which time their interests were bound up together, had always proved a true friend. About twenty years ago Mr. Greer purchased this estate, and from the first he directed his whole energies towards its improvement and the bettering of the condition of the tenantry. He gave them every facility for improvements, and a security that those improvements would be respected by him; the result of this wise and judicious course at the present time is that nowhere throughout Ireland can there be found a happier or more prosperous tenantry. Both landlord and tenant can point with pride to a district of country where under their united exertions, is to be seen land in the highest state of remunerative cultivation, with two-storied residence and farm houses to match all showing that taste and watchful care which one expects to see amongst an industrious farming community, who do not sit down to manufacture grievances and whine over the results of their own lasiness and improvidence. Landlords and tenants in the South and West of Ireland, whose relations towards each other have become so strained that the murder of the one and the starvation of the other seem in each other’s eyes a very desirable ending to the strife between them, would never have arrived at this deplorable state of things had they cultivated and acted upon that spirit of good will and fair-play which has made the Clare property so valuable both to landlord and tenant. Agitators, who live by setting tenant against landlord and landlord against tenant, would have found no ears to charm, charm they never so well; and the long roll of brutal murders would never have been recorded to our country’s disgrace.

At a preliminary meeting of the tenantry, held in Clare School House, presided over by Rev. John Johnston, it was moved and seconded that an address should be adopted and presented to Mr. Greer on his return home. The idea was warmly taken up by the whole tenantry on the estate, and on Wednesday last, by arrangement, they met Mr. Greer at the Shooting Lodge on the estate, for the purpose of making the presentation.

There were present on the occasion –

Dr. Hans Fleming

Dr. Hans B. Fleming

Rev. A. G. O’Donoghue

Rev. W. H. Winn

Rev J. Johnston

George S. Mansfield, Esq., J.P, and Mrs. Mansfield

Mrs. Greer and Miss Greer

John Crockett, Esq., and Mrs. Crockett

John Rankin

John Rutledge

James Verner

Andrew Crawford

Thomas Sproule

John Robinson

Wm. Forbes

Andrew Mullen

Wm. Johnstone

David Little

Robert Henderson

Wm. Emery

Charles McPhilemey

Michael Corey, jun.

Michael Corey, sen.

James Nesbitt

Wm. A. Robinson

David Emery

Wm. Weldon

John Gallagher

David Johnston

John McAney

Thomas Forbes

David Gallagher

John Winter

Robert Emery

Arthur Turner

Joseph Gallagher

Wm. Rutledge

Wm. Reid

George Forbes

David Eakin

Jas. Sproule

John Emery

Joseph Little

Patrick Corey

Jas. Crawford

Peter McCallion

John McKane

John McGlinn

Francis McPhilomey

Phillip Corey

Jeremiah Corey

Hugh Harvey

Wm. J. Magee

Hugh McDaid

Henry Kelly

James McCallion

Wm. Forbes, sen.

John Sproule

Andrew Forbes

Joseph Whitton.


About half past two the Rev. A. G. O’Donaghue rose and moved Rev. John Johnston to the chair. He said he had great pleasure in taking part in the days proceedings. Whilst unfortunately in other parts of Ireland there was bad feeling between landlord and tenant there was nothing of the kind here. To-day the tenantry met their landlord to congratulate him upon his recovery from a serious illness. Since he became the owner of this property he had dealt fairly with the tenantry and they would be ungrateful if they did not feel glad at his recovery.

Mr. Crockett having seconded the motion.

Mr. Johnston took the chair – He said that it gave him a great deal of pleasure to be there that day. He was not, although it had been said, the oldest tenant on the estate. There were older tenants than he present on that occasion. When the tenants on the Clare property heard of Mr. Greer’s illness they were extremely sorry and a gloom settled over the estate which gave place to gladness when the telegrams arrived announcing that Mr. Greer was recovering. The tenants sympathised both with Mr. and Mrs. Greer on that trying occasion. They all knew how Mrs. Greer sympathised and felt for those around her when in affliction, and when her trial came the tenants on Clare felt deeply for her. When the preliminary meeting was called in Clare school house to consider the best form in which to express their joy he had never presided over a more unanimous and enthusiastic meeting; and it did him good to witness the kindly feelings expressed at that meeting towards Mr. and Mrs. Greer. This was only as it should be. We should thank God that He has spared Mr. Greer to us for some time longer. It is to be hoped that the mutual regard which Mr. Greer and the Clare tenancy hold towards each other will never end. The tenants are to-day delighted, pleased and gratified to see Mr. Greer, in full enjoyment of health once more among them. (Applause).

The Chairman then called upon Mr. Crocket to read the address, which with Mr. Greer’s reply will be found in another column.

Mr. Greer then invited the tenantry to lunch with him and Mrs. Greer in the lodge.

Prior to the commencement of the proceedings, Mrs. Greer very kindly remembered the children at Clare School, and despatched a few well-filled hampers to Mr. Whitton, the master, for their especial benefit, which we have no doubt received every attention from, and were practically appreciated by the youngsters.

After lunch Mr. Greer directed that the address should be shown to those who had not an opportunity of examining it previously. It is a heavily framed, beautiful work of art, chaste in design, and delicate and harmonious in colouring. The order was intrusted to Mr J. R. Clegg, Omagh.







Dear Sir,

We the tenants on you Clare estate, embrace with pleasure this opportunity of presenting you with an Address, expressive of our feelings of profound thankfulness that your life has been spared, and that we have once more the valued privilege of seeing you in the enjoyment of so large a measure of health and strength.

We assure you, the news of your illness excited much uneasiness amongst us, and called forth our warmest sympathies, and now that you are convalescent, we who did sympathise with you in your sorrow, desire to rejoice with you in your joy.

We are aware you need nothing in the way of a testimonial from us. You succeeded in building up a character which is widely known, and wherever known is highly appreciated. Still you will kindly allow us the right of testifying that you are – personally and socially considered – held in the highest esteem by us, and that we entertain towards you feelings of the greatest goodwill and highest respect.

We have noticed with pleasure your life of usefulness. You have always endeavoured to reduce the world’s misery and increase its happiness. In you the poor have found a helpful friend, and society an agreeable member. To you the institutions of our country are deeply indebted, as they have profited largely by your sound judgement and wise and prudent counsels.

In conclusion, we would ask you to convey to Mrs. Greer whose unremitting attention, we doubt not, contributed in a great measure to your recovery, our sympathy with her under the three-fold trial which she has been called on to undergo; and we pray that she and you may long be spared the one to the other, and to us, and that together we may enjoy God’s sustaining and enriching blessing.


Signed on behalf of the tenantry,

Rev John Johnston, Chairman.

David Hunter

George Forbes

Thomas Sproule

Andrew Mullin

Wm Robinson, Treasurer.

John Crockett, Secretary.

Clare, County Tyrone,

July 1881.



My Dear Friends.

It gave me most sincere gratification to receive your too flattering address and to know that after my very intimate connection for nearly 40 years with the tenants of the Clare Estate, the friendly ties which had so long bound us together had suffered no estrangement.

I was fully aware of your highly prized sympathy during my late serious illness, and now that by God’s providence I am so far recovered I have most heartily to thank you all not merely for it but for the invariable kindness I have ever experienced at the hands of the present as well as of the past tenants of Clare.

From my earliest connection with them during the lamentable famine years ’46 ’47 and ’48, my first and most engrossing thought was to promote their permanent welfare and the improvement of the Estate, and in this I was heartily seconded by every tenant on the property. Many of these I regret to say have been removed from this earthly scene, whilst others still remain to enjoy the fruits of their indefatigable industry, and have the proud satisfaction of knowing that by their connection to Clare property stands second to no other of like extent in Tyrone for the amount and character of its substantial and permanent improvements.

For your kindly attentions to my discharge of my private and public duties I cannot too heartily thank you, though I feel that your estimate of both is quite beyond my deserts.

It was with sincere pleasure that I conveyed to Mrs. Greer your very thoughtful expression of sympathy with her under the sad trials she had to suffer in the loss of three of her nearest relatives during my illness. For such she desires me most gratefully to thank you and we both beg to reciprocate your prayer that she and I may be long spared to each other and to the tenants of Clare.

Whether our sojourn here be long or short, we equally pray that God’s blessing may rest on you and your respective families no less than on ourselves, and we can assure you that whilst we live, your most friendly address, so chastely and artistically illuminated, will be ever preserved and cherished by us as a most kindly and pleasing memento of our connection with the Estate of Clare.

I remain my very dear friends,

Yours very gratefully,


Coneywarren, Omagh, 3rd August, 1881