The State and the Landed Estate: order and shifting power relations in Ireland, 1815-1891
Mc Entee, Joanne
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The landed estate was a pivotal force in the construction of 'order' within its hinterlands in nineteenth century Ireland. The rules of the estate functioned beyond estate walls, affecting the lives of the tenantry politically, socially, economically, and culturally. This study has revealed how landlord-tenant relations were more complex than has hitherto been recognised. It has also shown how this relationship was significantly altered as the modernised and centralised state began to assert itself more forcefully through increased rules and regulations. Grounded in six case-studies, this research examined relations on estates located in the provinces of Ulster and Connacht. The estates were selected according to a series of sample criteria including, location, size, religious composition, estate acquisition, landlord and agent profile, and access to estate papers. Through a consideration of rental, social, legal, educational, and religious relations between estate authorities, tenants, and government officials, the research examined the evolution of order on Irish estates from 1815 to 1891. This research argued that the Act of Union of 1800 marked a watershed in power relations in Ireland. Through increasing centralising tendencies, the government succeeded in modifying landlord-tenant relations. Formerly operating from a quasi-feudalistic framework based on privilege and reciprocal obligations, a series of legislative initiatives from government ¿ often heavily influenced by contemporary ideologies such as utilitarianism, evangelicalism and political economy ¿ repositioned estate relations within a legal framework, which redefined traditional rights. This development had significant consequences for the order of Irish landed estates
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