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Ballintotis or Ballintotas?


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Many people are puzzled by the different spellings of the place-name. The sign-post on the road between Midleton and Castlemartyr clearly reads Ballintotis, but the history of the district which was published in 1992 spells the name Ballintotas. Which is the correct spelling? A further and more difficult question is what does it mean? Or you might ask about the derivation of the word. Is it Irish, English or French? Place-names change with time and it is not always easy to find what is the oldest version of the place-name.

In 1894 Canon Hutch P.P. Midleton got a set of special station books printed and printed prominently in the one for the district is Ballintwolas. At first one might think this was a mistake. But somebody going to a printer to get a book printed would surely ensure to have the title correct. Canon Hutch was a Doctor of Divinity and a learned man. It is the name of a town-land in what was Ballyoughtera Civil Parish, a townland with a Castle on it for many centuries, and after the Penal Laws it also had a Church and a school. In 1839 when the present Church was built, in the town-land of Farrantrenchard, it still retained the name of Ballintotas Church. The new school built in 1898 is rightly called Ballintotas School because it is situated in the town-land of Ballintotas and has a nameplate over the main door with the spelling Ballintotas.

The castle is marked on the first Ordnance Survey Map which was printed in 1841 and is named Ballintotis Castle. Griffith's valuation based on that ordnance survey uses the spelling "Ballintotis" invariably.

In 1837 Samuel Lewis in his Topographical Dictionary of Ireland and in which he describes every Civil Parish in Ireland, stated that the "ruined castle of Ballintowlas" stood in the Civil Parish of Ballyoughtera. This is an indication that Canon Hutch had grounds for what he got printed in 1894.

Among Lord Midleton's Papers is an old Rent Roll of Midleton Estate which has survived from 1747. It is entitled "A Rent roll of Glashy and Ballintotas".

In the National Library in Dubllin is a box of manuscripts given in by Mrs. Bell of Fota and it has an interesting post-marriage settlement dated 1678 and it refers to the property of Walters or Waters and it enumerates in that property the plow lands of Ballytawles alias Ballytawlesig, with Ballyedikin, Gourtenina and Attinoge. The Norman-French family, des Autres, (later Waters of Walters) inherited that part of Imokilly from Robert Fitzstephen which included Ballyogy i.e. Ballintotas.

When the good land was being "planted" after Cromwell's invasion it was surveyed in the Down Survey in 1656 and two town-lands in particular were easily identified. They were Killurgane (Killorga) and Ballytotas.

An Inquisition was held in April 1639 to find out the extent of the property of John FitzEdmond Fitzgerald of Ballymartyr (Castlemartyr) and his property included Caherultan an Ballintaltas or Saltstown.

An early Map of Imokilly, that of John Speed dated 1590, gave the name of the Castle as B.totas.

Finally, Paul McCotter and Kenneth Nicholls in a note in their edition of The Pipe Roll of Cloyne, stated that in the early 17th century the place-name appeared in the forms of Ballintawltes, Ballintantesy, Saltstown, and Sauteston. "The 14th century possession of Ballyogy by the desAutres family suggests a derivation of Baile an tAiteirs for Ballintotis". The oldest people living in area, who went to school in the area spell it Ballintotas so for at least ninety years local people have been spelling it Ballintotas. ( from the Parish Bulletin 2001 by Canon Berti Troy )

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