Civil Survey of 1640
The parish, at the time of the Civil Survey of 1640, contained eighteen “thatcht” houses, forty two cottages, five ruined castles and one stump of a castle. The spellings in the document are phonetic and were used by the Cromwellian clerks of the Irish Jury which sat in Nenagh on the 5 September 1654.
As a result of confiscations and the later Acts of Settlement and Explanation of Charles II it will be seen that, by 1666 ownership of the parish lands had passed from the Irish O’Kennedy’s, McEgans and Mcan Gowans and the Norman Butlers and Morrises into the lands of the Duke of Ormond (who recovered by force the O’Kennedy’s, lands in Tombricane). Nicholas White of Lexlip (a court favourite who claimed as an “innocent Catholic”) and James Stopford, a Cromwellian Captain of the troop of Thomas Sadleir.
Stopford laid out the village of Borris in 1661. It consisted of a long tapering street adjacent to the ancient parish church. His contribution is evident even today. However, both White and the Duke of Ormond influenced the further development of the parish. White’s father had acquired land from the O’Kennedys who feared a plantation under Charles 1 and thus his son held a considerable tract of land in Catholic areas.
Ormond’s influence was equally apparent for he seems to have allowed the original owner back to Tombricane. We find Philip O’Kennedy there in the reign of Charles 11, 1665 to 1666 charged in the Hearth Money records with two hearths.
The Ormond connection with Tombricane is still evidenced by the name Arranhill from the Duke’s second son, the Duke of Arran. By the year 1685 Borrisokane had grown into a town with a constable and a watch. It is referred to during the Williamite Wars of 1690/91 by and army Chaplain named Storey. He reports that General Ginkle, the leader of the Williamite army, passed through Borrisokane where there has been a pretty English plantation”.
Much has happened in Borrisokane since those words were written but they seem to the writer to give an opportunity to end on a favourable note this account of the origins and earlier history of Borrisokane. Ar ndóigh beidh scéal eile le hinsint again amach anseo.