This little girl is the only one of my ancestors, back to 1800, not born in south Ulster.

It brings to mind another little girl, her great-grandmother, who was born in India about 1794 and married 11 years later.

Picture of Elsie Henry
Family Genealogy By Peter Morell McWilliam

Murrell of Balteagh

(This work was initiated by attendance at Limavady & Roe Valley Reunion [9-13 October 2012] organised by Dr William Roulston & the Ulster Historical Foundation)

Photograph of Benbradagh
Family Tree of Murrelll of Balteagh


Samuel Murrell obtained a lease on a portion of Ballyquin Townland in Balteagh Parish from William Conolly in 1700

It is possible to trace the holders of this property over 100 years to the brothers of my 3x great grandfather, Rev James Morell of Ballybay.

The original three leaseholders included a fourth in the following deed, while in 1816 3/8th of 1/4 was in the possession of John, jun, and Henry Morell. While tracing the precise descent from Samuel relies on speculation, it can be presumed that the leaseholders in 1816 were descendants of Samuel.

241:309:159141 – 8th Feb 1766 Reg 2/12/1765
Rt Hon Henry Conyngham 1P
Thos Smith, Newtownlimavady 2P
Recites deed where original three lease holders named in lease of William Conolly to Samuel Moriel, Robert Huey and James Martin dated 4/04/1700 give ¼ to John Kerr
1P to 2P for considerations in deed give Ballyquin for natural life of Robert Morriel who was endorsed as life on back of original lease and for lives of Robert & Andrew Smith, sons of Thomas Smith
DW John Smith, Tamlaught, Linen draper
DW George Lane, Dungiven
DWMW James Gamble, NTL, Clerk to Thomas Smith

704:366:482691 – 6th July, 1816 Reg 10th July 1816
John Murrell of Ballyquin 1P
Henry & John, jnr both of Ballyquin 2P
John, senr gives to Henry & John jnr 3/8th of ¼ of Ballyquin, Manor of Limavady
Wit John Moody, Limavady & Wm Osborne, Limavady ???
DWMW Henry Hazlett, Drumneecy & Robt Boyle, Dungiven

Robert & James Murrell are recorded as Protestant Householders in Ballyquin townland in 1740

Rev Samuel Morell of Tullylish, son of James Murrell, and probably brother of John Murrell was murdered by the Hearts of Oak/Steel at the house of Sir Richard Johnston of Gilford in 1772 (see Biographies)

Murrell/Morell Origins

An article in the Derry Standard (2nd Obituary Piece on Rev James Morell) on 16th May 1913 states that the family were Huguenot and influencial in developing the linen trade in the Limavady area. I find the Huguenot origin story unconvincing, while their influence on the early linen trade in the area is probably overstated at best.

John and his brother, Henry were clearly involved and John appears to have acquired an interest in a Bleach Green in Maine on the Castle river but it seems to have been started much earlier. I can find no evidence of the families involvement in the more extensive operations on the river Roe.

Registered Bleach Greens in Newtownlimavady between 1782 & 1801 from Sampson

A Ogilby, L Ogilby, L Alexander, J & J Alexander, J Ogilby, R Campbell, (J Boyle, Drumcovit, H Boyle, Drumcovit) L Alexander, Dogleap, Newtownlimavady, R Campbell, W Ross, W Moody, J Moody. J Maurrell, (D Ross, Beaufort Lodge), & in 1801 H Murrell, Meargreen, Balteagh

Map of Limavady Linen Industry 1835

OS Memoirs Parishes of Londonderry 1833-5; Parish of Balteagh: Discontinued Bleach Greens

The following are the dates, as near as the local inhabitants recollect, that the bleach greens in this parish discontinued or ceased to work:
The bleach green latterly occupied by Macus (Marcus) Rodgers in Terrydremond South ceased to work in 1829, but was a store for linen up to 1831; informants James George and Thomas Wallace.
The bleach green partly in Terrydremond South and partly in Carrick East, formerly occupied by John Ogleby Esq of Ardnargle, ceased to work about the year 1812; informant Thomas Wallace, head bleacher to this green.
The bleach green in the townland of Ardmore, formerly occupied by the late Capt Ross, ceased to work in 1808; informant Daniel Cealy, bleacher to the green.
The beach green in Maine North was latterly occupied by Henery & John Murrell. It ceased work in 1810. (Henery Murrell informant.)
The bleach green latterly occupied by Capt Boyle in Drumgavney Lower ceased to work in 1819.
A join green in the townland of Drumagusker occupied by the above Captain Boyle ceased to work in 1819; informants Michael Connor and Thomas Wallace
The beach green latterly occupied by Richard King in Drumgavney ceased to work in 1808; informants Michael Connor and Franncis O’Kane
4th July 1835

Main Flax Mill - 6 hands employed 4 to scutch and 2 women to attend. The throngest season is from November to March. Wrought by Balteagh water.

Records of a Bleach Green in Main from the Registry of Deeds

163:416:109831 16 July 1753 Reg 25 Sept 1753
Robert Love of Main and Alexander Ogilby of NTL, linen draper.
RL for £3 to AO for 90 years
The water course leading to the said Alexander Ogilby’s bleach yard in said townland of Maine as the same is now laid out and through the said Robert Love’s farm with liberty to scour said water course as often as is required the same as also the turf road leading from the turf bog of Mulkoragh to the said Bleach Green as the same is now occupied and worked by the said Alexander Ogilby. The said Robert Love doth bind his heirs.
DWMW James Dunlap and William Callwell of Maine, farmer

491:258:317940 – 19/20 July, 1795 Reg 14 Nov 1795
Lease & Release
Wm Haslett of Cloney & John Murrill of Ballyquin, linen merchant
Recites Wm Haslett intitled to a mortgage exec, 1790, by Daniel Dunlap, 20a + one full ½ of rents and profits of corn mill and bleach green erected on lands + on death of Jas Dunlap, 1c +1/2 of land in Main
Wm H for £303 16s 4d, in Manor of Freemore to John Murrell
DWMW Sam Martin & DW Jackson Douglass

519:511:341252 – 4th June, 1798 – Reg 25 Sept 1799
Daniel Dunlop for £600 to John Murrell of Ballyquin, title to lands of Main
Wit Sam’l Martin of Culmore & Alex Dunlop of Walworth
DWMW Samuel Martin, Culmore & DW Alex Dunlop, Walworth & MW Alex Boyle Newtownlimavady, Co Londonderry

Bleach Greens on the river Roe

239:591:163962 6 Mar 1766 Reg Feb 4 1767
Rt Hon Henry Lord Viscount Conyngham, Slane, Co Meath 1P
John Smith of Tamlaght, Co Londonderry, Bleacher & Linen Merchant 2P
1P to 2P 13a of arable land on SW side of lower half town of Terrrydremont joining river Roe & 2a Bog, Plantation measure on south of said lands for the use and benefit of a bleach yard or bleach green in Manor of Limavady
Lives, Wm Smith of NTL, gent, Robert Smith, eldest son of Thomas Smith of NTL aged about 11 years & Andrew Smith, son to Thomas, aged 8 years
DW Thomas Smith, Esq
DWMW Thomas Lecky, City of Londonderry, Gent

272:134:173893 18/08/1766 Reg 10/01/1769
Henry Lord Viscount Conyngham, Slane, Co Meath 1P
Rt Hon Thomas Conolly, 2P
Lesley Alexander, Newtownimavady 3P
1P with consent of 2p to 3P
Moors Park, 10 acres Plantation Measure & also 2 small fields or park adjoining on North side of Largy comprising 3 Acres
Bounded on East by Roe, on North by Moors Park & on West & South by Largy Wood
Intended to be laid down for a bleaching green + 2 acres turf bog for fule
Lives: Lesley Alexander, John Alexander, Newtownlimavady, his brother & Robert Smith, eldest son of Thomas Smith of Newtownlimavady
DWMW Roger Murray, City of Dublin
DW Thomas Smith, Newtownlimavady, Gent
DWMW James Gleascock & William Coane, both City of Dublin

Conolly papers in TCD: 3977/763; 6th Sept 1782
Edward Bulkeley, Limavady, to Conolly enclosing
1 An account of Lesley Alexander’s losses by the erection of other bleach greens on the River Roe.
2 Abstracts of leases and the valuation of the lands contained therin {part of the Limavady estate]
Evidence to prove the illegality of Smith’s leases
In the year 1760 Messrs Smiths erected a bleach green on the Limavady estate of the Rt Hon Lord Conyngham with 3 water wheels on one breast or head of water situated by the River Roe.
In 1769 they erected another wheel on the same heads of water to make a green on a parcel of land on which they obtained a lease for ever from Lord Conyngham. This they let for 31 years to Robert Campbell.
In 1777 Robert Campbell erected another new wheel on same above mentioned land.
In 1779 these tenants made repairs and made new their water course which in dry weather diverted the whole water of the river from its usual channel. There was no water left to come down to Lesley Alexander to supply the 5 wheels erected by him in 1767.
He may suffer a considerable loss and requests the Rt Hon Conolly to name and order a certain share of the water of the Roe to come down the usual channel.

Photograph of Morell house in Ballyquin

(see Morell Deeds)

612:332:418656 20 Apr 1809
John Morell, senr of Ballyquin, gent & Henry Murrell of Terrydremont
John Morell for £200 to Henry Murrell 3a of land in Main with flax mill and other buildings on the Brook or river dividing Main from Cloughan
To Henry Murrell for 500 years subject nevertheless to a covenant of redemption on payment of said sum of £200
Witnesses; Henry Horner & Hugh Murrell of Ballyquin

624:435:429481 – 28th July 1810
John Morell of Ballyquin, Linen Draper to Hugh Morell, in consideration of affection etc
Grants in Townland of Maine, Bleach Green, 34a & Flaxmill & 3a of ground
In presence of James Morell, Co Monaghan & George Breakey of Derry in said Co Monaghan


692:283:475418 – ¾ Aug, 1815; Reg 9th Aug
Hugh Murrell of Ballybay & Andrew Morrison of Dromore, Co Londonderry
For £950 Hugh gives 31a 2r 37p in Manor of Freemore (Flax Mill either excepted or right of way guaranteed)
Witnessed by Sam’l Martin & Wm Morrison of Newtownlimavady.

According the Ordnance Survey Memoirs the Bleach Green in Maine North ceased operations in 1810.

Hugh Morell, mentioned in the deed above, emigrated to New Brunswick, Canada about 1826. A series of letters written to him, including two from his brothers, Rev James Morell of Ballybay, and John Morell of Maine, Balteagh have been preserved (see Letters)

Photograph of River Roe from footbridge in Carrick

535:273:350592 – 4th Dec, 1800
Wm McCleland of Carrick & Robert Murrell of Carrick
Lands in actual possession of Robert Murrell – 9a & 4a 1r Cunningham measure
Term of 31 years, 1st May 1782
Lives of John Ross, son of Wm Ross, Wm Moody, son of John Moody & John Boyle, son of Alex Boyle
£9.8.6 yearly rent
Exec by Wm McC & Robert Murrell in presence of Hugh Boyle & Robert Murrell junr
Signed in presence of Robert Murrell, jun & John Murrell of Ballyquin

362:38:241870 – 9th June 1784 Reg 3rd July
Wm Kerr of Terrydremont & Henry Murrell of Ballyquin
For £380 Wm to Henry 36a land in Terrydremont for three lives named in deed

The holdings of Robert in Carrick & Henry in Terrydremont were adjacent to the Bleach Green complex in these townlands but I can find no direct evidence that they were associated with this venture.


Photograph of Watchtower & Bleach Green
Photograph of Watch Tower

Theft of linen from bleach greens was common. They commonly had watch towers for protection and there are reports of men being capitally convicted for such thefts.

Belfast Newsletter 19-23 March, 1779 (see Belfast Newsletter/linen)

Off the bleach green of Wm Ross of Newtownlimavady on Sun 11th, 3 pieces of linen, in green for 3 weeks

Subscription list for a reward:
Alexander, Leslie; Ross, David; Campbell, Robert; Ogilby, John; Ogilby, Alexander; Moody, John; Moody, William; Alexander, John; Stirling, John; Tyler, George; McCausland, R; Neilson, Robert; Given, Robert/Jr; Orr, James; Lane, William; McCausland, Conolly; Murrell ,John; Caldwell, John; Moody, Marcus; Thompson, Henry; Boyle, James; Boyle, Thomas; Boyle, Henry; Lyle, Samuel; Cochran, Alex; Orr, Alexander; Orr, James/Jr.



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