Blog: Conservation of Strokestown Leases

Blog: Conservation of Strokestown Leases

The Archive at Strokestown Park is a rare example of an intact Estate Records Collection dating from the late C18th to the mid C20th centuries.

As part of our goal to make the archives of Strokestown Park accessible to researchers we have sought and received funding from the Heritage Council of Ireland and the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage in 2020 to have 90 fragile leases professionally conserved.

One of the 90 leases with attached map

Dated 24 October 1807, this 21 year lease was between Maurice Mahon of Strokestown Park and members of the Fallon, McDonnell and Kelly families. It’s for 28 acres 3 roods and 39 perches of land at Killinervan, County Roscommon. The annual rent was £36 4s 10d.

Dating from the early 1800s the leases contain information on tenants on the Mahon estate, the land they rented and amount of rent they paid. Used in conjunction with our surviving Estate Rentals and 100 previously-conserved leases, the leases will provide researchers with a unique overview of small-scale landholding on the estate prior to the upheaval and depopulation of The Famine.

Closeup of seals and signatures, including wax seal of Lord Hartland and tenant names marked with an ‘x’

Conservation work will be carried out by Benjamin van de Wetering of the The Ox Bindery, a professional conservator, whose conservation studio is nestled in the Ox Mountains in County Sligo. The leases will also be listed by our archivist and the list published on this site. It is hoped that the list and the leases will be accessible in time for the Irish Famine Summer School in Strokestown Park next summer, 2021.

Benjamin will use a variety of conservation techniques including deacidification, leaf casting and resizing to stabilize these unique documents. Over the next six weeks we plan to share updates and photographs of this specialised processes on this page…..

This project received funding from the Heritage Council of Ireland and the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage in 2020


The Conservation Process

(Photographs kindly provided by Benjamin and Ineke van de Wetering of the Ox Bindery


Assessment of damage to our lease with closeup of one damaged area. Fixing seals to stabilise them and then separating the lease from the attached map


Pre-wetting with alc-water mix. Using a support sheet to transfer the lease


Washing the lease by immersion in a water bath



Filling leafcaster with water, placing leafcasting mesh, transferring the lease to leafcaster using support sheet and then removing support sheet



Masking area with latex, correcting rips and folds, inserting weighing down mesh, filling leafcaster with water, creating new paper pulp and floating this mixture over lease


Placing lease between two felt boards having first removed leafcasting mesh, cover sheet and support sheet


Lease transferred to a paper press for pressing.


to be continued…..