The Conformity Rolls of Ireland excerpt

These are some of the surviving records of Catholics conforming to the Established Religion (The Church of Ireland) in the 1700s. Many of these conformities were done, not necessarily out of religious conviction, but as a matter of convenience such as to inherit land. Sometimes one can find the same person recorded as conforming twice obviously not a genuine conformity and probably done to meet some urgent legal requirement.

Usually the person conforming read their recantation from the Roman Catholic Church in the most convenient Protestant Church. These recantations were sometimes then reported in the local newspapers and a certificate of Conformity was sent up to Dublin. The date listed against the name is the date the Conformity took place. Sadly they are quite incomplete. There are a few Catholic priests who conformed to the Protestant Church (see one below) some of these went on to act as rectors in the Protestant Church but quite a number are recorded as never officiating in the Protestant Church.

Names of Crowleys appearing in the Conformity Rolls

  • Catherine Crowley of the Parish of Tracton, 4th April 1736
  • Rev Cornelius Crowley, oath taken at Tralee, County Kerry 15th Sept 1751
  • Thomas Crowley, practitioner of Physic, 23rd March 1771

From Clerical and Parochial Records of Cork, Cloyne and Ross by W Maziere Brady. 1863.

  1. “We present that Cornelius Crowly (sic), alias Maddery of Skibbereene; Owen M’Owen, Sullivan of Kilcaskin Parish are all Irish Papists (and) have taught school and continue to do so contrary to the Act” July 1697 (Bishop Downes’ Manuscript).
  2. “Corn. Crowley, a convert, teaches grammar in a school in this Parish. His wife teaches English. Abbeytrewry lies on the West and North of the town of Skibbareen” (sic). 29th May 1700. See Volume 2, page 453 of the above work.
  3. “Humphry Crowley pays 6s an acre for part of the Downing (name of a parcel of land) near the town of Rosse, for 30 a(cres)”. 1641. (From an account of lands belonging to the Church of Ireland, Diocese of Cloyne).

Originally appeared in Crowley Clan Newsletter by Mary Casteleyn, Spring 2003 edition