The lands of the present Catholic parish of Ballingarry comprising the civil parishes of Ballingarry, Mowney and parts of the civil parishes of Lismalin and Crohane, were owned by twelve people c. 1650. Of these twelve, five were Butlers, either closely or distantly related members of the most important family in the region. The Butlers owned well over half the land of the parish.
The largest landowner in the parish in the mid seventeenth century was the non-resident Earl of Ormonde who held a total of 4,600 acres which was but a small portion of his total landholding. The Earl and Countess of Ormonde directly controlled over 85,000 statute acres in County Tipperary alone. The Earls holdings in Ballingarry were as follows with the acreage given in brackets, Ballintaggart (1,600), Mohober (1400), Rosnharley (Harleypark-200), Gortnassy (100), and Boulintlea (Boulea-900). Pierce Butler, Lord Viscount Ikerrin resided at Lismalin where his solid castle can still be see (as can his castle at Clonmichlon in Gortnahoe parish). He held the townlands of Lismalin(664), Gragagh(700), Ballygalvan(400), Shangarry(360), The Islands and Gragaugh(598), Garrynagree(410), Garrynoe(500), Knockankitt(200), Shangarry(400), making a total of 4,232 acres. Again this was only a portion of his 26,700 statute acres in County Tipperary. Thomas Butler of Kilconnel held Crohane(1600) and Ballincurry(180) totalling 1,780 acres. Pierce Butler of Callan held 800 acres at Williamstown and William Butler of Ballykerrin held 300 acres there. People bearing the Butler name thus controlled 11,712 acres in the Ballingarry area.
In comparision to the Butlers, the Fanning Family, who were also of Anglo-Norman origin, were of minor importance though they were well established in Ballingarry holding 4,454 acres. Nicholas Fanning held 1600 acres at Ballingarry. Jeffry of Glengall held 474 acres consisting of Glengall(1184) Grawn(100), Ballaghboy(150) and Gortnassy(40). William Fanning of Farrinrory held 1,980 acres: Farranrory(1,000), Cappagh(680), and Kilmackenoge(300). Edmond Fanning of Gortfree held 400 acres therein.
The remaining three landowners in Ballingarry were Edmond Marnell of Lisnamrock who held 860 acres there and had a remainder on 440 acres at Kileheen and Ballyphilip. Pierce Routh of County Kilkenny held 400 acres at Bouleakeale and Morish Stoke owned 800 acres at Coolquill. About the castles of these landowners lived the small native Irish population in cabins and mud huts. Two centuries later the population which worked the land had increased to an extraordinary degree though ravaged by the great famine. Yet landownership was confined to some twenty people.
Between 1650 and 1850 landownership in the parish completely changed. The Anglo-Norman families of Butler and Fanning (invariably described as Irish Papists) who had supported the native Irish in rebellion against the New English in the 1640s were dispossessed during the Cromwellian (if not the Williamite confiscation's).
Fanning of Ballingarry was executed. Viscount Ikerrin (with all his tenants and retainers) was transplanted. In Slieveardagh officers in Cromwells army (in particular) and adventurers who had financed the war were offered the forfeited lands of those who had been in rebellion on the losing side. Many of the adventurers sold on and of course during a period of two centuries lands would have changed hands many times through the normal processes of sales, wills, legacies, etc. The denomination of townland acreage's also changed substantially.
The three biggest landowners in Ballingarry in 1850 were of New English origin and held over 2,000 acres each. These Matthew Pennefather who had 2,617 acres comprising the townlands of Ballaghboy(now recorded as 592 acres), Ballingarry Upper (498), Ballingarry Lower (484), Glengall (661), and Tinnock (382). The Earl of Clonmel (family name, Scott) held 2,044 acres made up of the townlands of Cappagh (519), Jessfield (388), Gortnascullogue (178) and Mohober (959). The Earl of Desart (family name, Cuffe) owned the townlands of Aughnacrumpane (105), Cloncurry (45), Fanningsbog (112), Knockulty (317), Mackinawood (203), and Ballintaggart (1281) making a total of 2,063 acres.
Six landlords held between 1,000 and 2,000 acres. These were Henry Langley with 1,989 acres,Clashduff (462),Coalbrook (202), Curranheenduff (321), Knockalonga (195),Lisnamrock (317),Springfield (144) Ballykerrin (348). Ambrose Going held 1,646 acres at Ballyphilip (417), Earlshill (277), Garrynagree (273), Killaheen (271) and Kyleballygalvan (408). Colonel Palliser held 1616 acres at Ballyphilip (221), Coolquill (363), Broomhill (50), Garrysallagh (101) Gortnassy East (62), Gortnassy West (160), Knokabritta (99), Knockanattin (118), Knocknagapple (88), Tarsna (236), and Knockiltera (118), Malcolmson, Pike and Fennell (with Guy Luther) owned the 1,530 acres of Crohane Lr. townland. The Earl of Carrick (Butler) had 1,098 acres at Gragaugh (754) and the Islands (344). Edward Cooke owned the townland of Boulintlea (1058).
The five landlords who owned between 500 and 1,000 acres were Henry Lloyd, Sir Robert Shaw, Robert B. Bryan, Matthew Jacob, and Michael Sullivan. Lloyd held Farranrory Lr.(888). Shaw had the townlands of Ardragh (120), Bolakeale (294) and Gortfree (299) making a total of 713 acres. Bryan had 709 acres at Williamstown. Jacob held Garrancool (Grawn, 630). Sullivan held the townlands of Coolnashinnagh (85), Gornasmuttin (104) and Farranrory Upper (395). In this last townland Mrs Margaret McCormick was the biggest landholding tenant with 55 acres. This was the Widow McCormick of the Warhouse who subsequently emigrated with her family to America.
Holding less that 500 acres in Ballingarry parish 1850 were the following landlords: John Maher (Ballincurry, 420), James Poe (Harley park, 374), John Langley and Palliser Weyland (Lickfinn, 340). Two others Michael Leahy and John Maggennis, neither of whom in the rigid social hierarchies of the time were denominated esquires, held 110 acres at Foilmarnell Upper and 261 acres at Foilmarnell lower respectively.
Few of these twenty landlords were resident in Ballingarry, exceptions were the Langleys at Coalbrook and Lickfinn, Going at Ballyphilip and Poe at Harley park who had lands in adjoining Co. Kilkenny. Many of these landlords had extensive estates which were not centred on Ballingarry as for instance the Earl of Desart who lived at Desart Court (formerly Inch) near Ballymack. His post famine evictions caused severe distress in his Ballingarry townlands and led to the foundation of the Callan Tenant Protection Society in 1849. This society was the most important development in the cause of tenant right until the emergence of the Land League founded by Davitt and Parnell thirty years later. It was thus not until the late nineteenth, early twentieth centuries that the democratisation of land finally took place with the transfer of ownership from the landlords to the descendants of those who had worked on that land for centuries.