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Landlords, Tenants, Famine
The Business of an Irish Land Agency in the 1840s

Desmond Norton (author)
Paperback / softback,
Publication date:
1st August 2006

Author Biography

Desmond Norton is Senior Lecturer in Economics at University College Dublin


Desmond Norton's fascinating study of the relationships between landlords and tenants in Ireland during the Great Famine period of the 1840s is principally based on a large uncatalogued archive in private ownership of the Stewart and Kincaid land agents. Much of the information from this unique resource is being published for the first time. Norton challenges existing assumptions about landlord-tenant relations, emigration and land improvement during the famine decade. Messrs Stewart and Kincaid was a firm of land agents based in Dublin, and most of the correspondence was addressed to its office there. The letters in the archive relate mainly to the estates managed by the firm during the 1840s, and give a rounded picture of life in the Irish countryside during the period. They provide evidence of some humane and caring landlords, the activities of middlemen, suffering tenants and emigration in a large number of locations, including Sligo and Roscommon, Clare and Limerick, Kilkenny, Carlow and Westmeath.Many famous families appear such as the Pakenhams and Ponsonbys, well-known historical figures, such as Lord Palmerston, who was foreign secretary and prime minister, as well as being a landlord in Sligo and Dublin. The evidence of the Stewart and Kincaid archives is complemented by research into other family archives and from the author's meetings with descendants of many of the families discussed. "Landlords, Tenants, Famine" is an immensely important contribution to scholarship on the Great Famine and to nineteenth-century Irish economic history.