Pilson Manuscripts

Seven manuscript volumes and one typescript copy of a volume, 1775-1863, comprising the records of Mr. Aynsworth Pilson of Downpatrick. One of the volumes is merely an account book recording transactions, 1826-62, and another is entitled ''Memoirs of notable inhabitants of Downpatrick''. It provides much detail about 79 inhabitants of the town including Pilson himself who, we are told, had an income of £430 per annum by 1844. This probably had much to do with his father who had a distillery and tan yard which latter business he made over to his only son in whose hands it apparently prospered.

In his early years, Aynsworth Pilson took part in public affairs, but he was not prepared to subordinate his private interests to them. Thus, after a connection of about twelve months with the Volunteers he resigned as he found he could not give sufficient attention to his tan yard. In later years he served on several local committees, such as Poor Law, Library, etc. He seldom travelled far from home and consequently his diaries relate almost exclusively to his own private affairs and to those of Downpatrick and its neighbourhood. To people from that district Pilson's volumes should be of considerable interest. All the events, large and small, of a country town in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are noted.


An excellent source for students of local history for an important provincial town.

Physical characteristics

8 volumes, 1775-1863, occupying 3 PRONI boxes.

Description or Catalogue

See PRONI reference D/365 for a catalogue of the papers which is available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room.


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Added by PRONI | Last updated on: 25 August 2018