Tenant right and agrarian society in Ulster, 1600-1870
This book explores the transformation of Irish rural society in the context of the plantation of Ulster in the seventeenth century and the development of agrarian capitalism in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It investigates the custom of 'tenant right', by which tenants claimed property rights over and beyond their contracts with landlords, allowing departing tenants to exact a payment well in excess of the yearly rent from those who wished to replace them. Based on the records of over sixty landed estates, the analysis focuses on the function of this customary tenure in relationships between landlords, estate managers, tenants, and undertenants. The author lends a careful ear to the changing and conflicting interpretations of the meaning of tenant right as they were articulated in estate correspondence, tenant petitions, government inquiries, and contemporary publications.
By recognizing the legitimacy of the tenant right system, Ulster landlords were able to transform a customary property right into an effective tool of estate management. The book concludes by examining the transformation of the tenant right question into a central issue of Irish national politics in the nineteenth century.
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Tenant Right and Agrarian Capitalism
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