John and then Arthur Oram were agents for the Grant Estate estate around Lagduff north of Ballycroy from 1863 until or before the estate was sold to the Congested Districts Board in 1916. After Henry John Grant died in 1861 control of the the estate passed to his cousin and trustee Henry Jeffreys Bushby. About two years later, on 14 February 1863 John recorded his “appointment to Mr Bushby’s Agency”. For the next forty years John and then Arthur were agents for Henry J Bushby until Arthur reported in 1903:
2 September 1903 .. letter announcing the death of Mr Bushby on 27th [August] from Mr HR Bushby stating that he succeeds to the Irish Estate, that Lady Frances & Messrs JH North & GT Kenyor MP exors.
3 September 1903 ..wrote letters, one to Mr HNG Bushby (my first to him) of condolence.
Extent and brief early 19th century history of the estate
The estate, referred to variously as the Grant or Bushby or Lagduff Estate included the townlands of North and South Aughness , Lagduffmore, Lagduffbeg, Tarsaghaunbeg N, Muingnanarnad and Sranamonragh. Aughness had been owned by the Marquis of Sligo and the other townlands by the O’Donel family before Henry John Grant bought the land via the Encumbered Estates Court.
Sale of the estate to the Congested Districts Board
On 5 July 1905 while en route for England Arthur Oram was in Dublin and “called at Messrs Battersby 37, Westmoreland Street by appointment re-valuation of Lagduff, what I require & ask terms, which Mr W Battersby states will be £25gns. Called on Secty CDB at 12 o’c by appointment re sale of Lagduff Estate to Board..”. Over five years later on 14 November 1910 Arthur went to Lagduff with a Mr Crawford to begin the preliminary work for the maps required by the CDB for the transfer of the estate. About seven months later on 2 June 1911 Arthur recorded that he had completed the necessary papers for offering Lagduff to the CDB.
During December 1911 Arthur spent two nights at the Lagduff estate and collected rents at Aughness, the “.. tenants pay quite as well as usual”
In December 1912 rather than collecting rents Arthur was “Writing up copy of Lagduff Lodge inventory for CBD” and a year later in December 1913 “At home writing up Lagduff Estate a/c”
The last reference Arthur made to Lagduff that I, Carolyn have found was on 30 May 1918 when “Mr Rowlette with Mr FR called re seaweed of Lagduff Estate”.
John and Arthur Oram’s visits to Ballycroy
In 1857 John Oram had been elected an inspector for the Board of Conservators of Fisheries, Bangor District, and regularly attended meetings in Ballycroy. No doubt John Oram was glad to secure Mr Bushby’s agency as it would have made the journey north of Mallaranny worthwhile. John and Arthur would usually arrange their own horse-drawn transport to Mallaranny where Mr Prince, agent for the Clive estate at Claggan would send a trap for the next stage of their journey. In Ballycroy John and Arthur would usually stay one or two nights before returning home.
It was when returning from collecting rents at Aughness in 1872 that an attempt was made on John Oram’s life. Soon afterwards a newspaper article appeared in the Ballina Herald saying “We, the undersigned tenant farmers on Mrs Grant’s estate in Ballycroy, desire to express our abhorrence abhorrence of the atrocious and dastardly attempt lately made to assassinate her excellent agent, Mr. John Oram of Burrishoole, and we hereby pledge ourselves severally and collectively to lose no opportunity of bringing the would-be murderer to public justice.” It will be noted that the tenant farmers described themselves as being on the Grant estate, but John and Arthur always referred to the trustee Mr Bushby who was their direct link to the estate.
The Little family
Arthur Oram would sometimes stay over night at Srahnamonragh with Mr Little. When the Little family acquired the draft net fishery on the Owenduff River from Archer Clive they started renting Srahnamonragh Lodge from the Bushbys. The Owenduff River runs through Lagduff and enters the sea below Srahnamonragh Bridge.
In May 1891 Arthur Oram mentioned visiting Mr Little and meeting Miss Ormsby. In April 1895 Mr Little died and Arthur attended his funeral in Ballina. Mr Little’s son Lowther Little died in July 1904. A year before on 10 July 1903 Arthur reported in his diary “…lunched at Lagduff. Called at Mr Little’s found him not at all well his mind quite unhinged.” Arthur attended Lowther Little’s funeral in Ballina.
Mr & Mrs Ormsby
It is not known if the Little and Ormsby families were related or just on friendly terms. In May 1903 Arthur went ” ..to Shranamonragh (meet Mr & Mrs Ormsby for first time) .. Mr Ormsby walks over Lagduff with me.” By 1908 the Ormsbys are renting a house in Rockfleet (they are at Rossyvera House in the 1911 census) and are often mentioned by Arthur in his diaries.