Today I am continuing Kay O’Leary’s heart rending stories of evictions in the 19th century.
In 1881 the agent for the Lyreacrompane landlord, John Hurly, was Lucy Anne Thompson. She was not satisfied with the rents the tenants were paying and she decided to increase them.
When the tenants refused to pay the increase they were ruthlessly thrown on the roadside and depended on their neighbours for shelter and support. At a Land League meeting held in Duagh in 1881, Rev. B. Scanlon, President, informed the gathering that the bulk of tenantry on most of the properties in the parish were under ejectment or had proceedings against them for the recovery of rent. Rev. Scanlon also stated that “in every portion of the County where Ms. Thompson holds sway the unfortunate tenants were in the same sad conditions as they are in Lyre”. Fr. Scanlon was the National Convention delegate for the Duagh Land League.
Some testimonies from the time are clear evidence of the difficulties tenants had in dealing with their landlords.
In March 1881 Julia Nolan wanted to assign her holding and cattle to her son John on the occasion of his marriage. The landlord objected. After the passing of the Land Law Ireland Act in 1881, she applied to have a fair rent fixed. The Landlord resisted the application on the ground that she had parted with possession. In February 1884 she executed a formal deed of assignment to her son John. He then applied to have a fair rent fixed. The Landlord again resisted.
In April 1881 Mr. W. Hartnett, sub-sheriff, accompanied by a force of police evicted Mary Gallivan, Knockanbrack. Mr. George Sandes was her Landlord. Mrs. Gallivan, a widow had gone to Mr. Sandes to get him to acknowledge her son, Michael, as the tenant of the farm. Mr. Sandes would not acknowledge a change of tenancy unless Michael Gallivan paid £200 and agree to an increase of £10 a year on the rent. The Gallivans were unable to meet the demand and Mr. Sandes had them evicted.
Denis Scanlon was a tenant on the Hurly Estate, which was been managed by Lucy Anne Thompson. In 1858 Denis Scanlon held his farm under Lady Locke before John Hurly purchased it at a yearly rent of £8. 5s. The Government valuation was £8 10s. Following the purchase of the estate by John Hurly, Denis Scanlon’s rent had been increased to £20 and Ms. Thompson was demanding a further increase of £5 per annum.
In June 1881 a large contingent of police, regiments of soldiers, cavalry, infantry, ambulance wagons etc. arrived in Listowel. This formidable army marched from Listowel to Carrigcannon (Lyreacrompane) putting terror into the inhabitants of the district, between. They soon arrived at Denis Scanlon’s house. They immediately asked him to abandon the home of his birth. This he refused and at once the law went into action. The bailiffs threw large stones against the door and eventually gained entry followed by the sheriff. Scanlon was dragged from his home, the home where his grandfather was born. His wife and six children were also thrown out of their home. A neighbour immediately gave them shelter.
More on this tomorrow