Ardbraccan Parish

Baile Biatach, town of the Betaghs

After the Anglo Norman Conquest, the Irish left on the conquered lands were reduced to villeinage, forced to work on the land for their conquerors.  These Irish villeins were called 'betaghs'.  Villeins were the lowest class of human beings under the Anglo Normans.

Betaghstown John O'Donovan.

Betagheston Inq. temp. Henry V111.

Betaghton Inq. temp. Car. 1.

Batetestowne Inq. temp. Car. 1.

Betaghstowne Down Survey.

Betaghtowne Civil Survey 1654-55.

This townland is situated in the centre of the parish.

It is bounded on the north by the townlands of Neillstown and Ardbraccan.

It is bounded on the east and south by Ardbraccan townland.

It is bounded on the west by the townlands of Ongenstown and Neillstown.

It contains 228 acres and 35 perches statute measure, and is all under cultivation.  It is the property of Nicholas Codington, Esq., of Oldbridge, whose agent is Henry Coddington, Esq., of same place.  It is let under leases of 1 life and 21 years 9 (but the leases are nearly expired) at the yearly rent of from £1-11 shillings-6 pence to £2 per Irish acre.  The tenants purchase their bog at £1 per perch.  The soil is mainly of a pretty good loam, and produces per acre:- 9 barrels of wheat, 12 barrels of oats, 50 stone of flax, or 300 bushels of potatoes.  Size of farms, from 1 to 66 acres.  The inhabitants are all Roman Catholics.

County Cess is 1 shilling and 4 pence per acre per half year.



Beryl F.E. Moore

These were the men who provided food.  The Celtic chieftans usually established within their their territory a sort of public hostelry and put an officer in charge of it called a Biadhtact or food man.  The public victualler had a tract of land rent free on condition that he supplied food and lodging without charge to travellers and the chieftans soldiery whenever they marched in that direction.

Thus we find Betaghstowns townlands here and there all through the country.  These townlands originally contained the same amount of land, i.e. 480 large Irish acres.  The betaghs were held in great respect and gave up their own names and adopted the name Betagh.