‘The price of our loyalty’: Ulster landlords, tenants and the Northern Ireland Land Act of 1925

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

On 28 May 1925 the Act to amend the Law relating to the Occupation and Ownership of Land in Northern Ireland was passed by the Westminster government, thus completing the compulsory transfer of land from the hands of Northern Ireland’s landed class into the hands of its tenants just two years after similar legislation was passed by the Free State government. This piece of legislation has passed largely unnoticed. At the time it went through parliament quietly and without much interest either at Westminster or in the national press; and subsequently, in terms of historical scholarship on the land question, it rarely rates a mention. Yet for northern landlords and tenants alike, the Northern Ireland Land Act was significant both in practical economic terms and in terms of the light it shed on issues of identity, legitimacy and the age-old tensions surrounding land, its ownership and its occupation.
This chapter will explore the campaign for land reform, the progress of the Act, and its implications for landed estates in Northern Ireland. It will also examine responses to the Act among northern tenants, many of them Protestant unionists who felt that that its terms represented little more than a sell-out of the northern tenant farming classes. In so doing, it seeks to highlight the complexity of social, religious and economic relationships in the north of Ireland during the opening decades of the twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLand Reform in the Four Nations Since 1800
EditorsAnnie Tindley, Shaun Evans, Tony McCarthy
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh UP
Number of pages20
Publication statusAccepted - 2020

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