Records of the Irish Encumbered Estates, 1849-1858. The Encumbered Estates Acts of 1848 and 1849 allowed the sale of Irish estates which had been mortgaged and whose owners, because of the savage effects of the Great Famine, were unable to meet their obligations. It was intended that English investors would be attracted to buy Irish estates and thereby give the stagnant Irish agriculture new life and prosperity. However, the 1848 Act proved abortive and had to be amended, along lines suggested by Sir Robert Peel in 1849. This measure, by the Statute 12 & 13 Vict. c.77, appointed Encumbered Estates Commissioners to authorise sales for the purpose of discharging encumbrances on land, and to give the purchaser an indefeasible title. This jurisdiction was transferred to the Landed Estates Court in 1858 by the Statute 21 & 22 Vict. c. 72. The records to be found within the collection consist of rentals and sale particulars relating to the whole of Ireland for the duration of the Irish Encumbered Estates scheme. Bound into a series of 82 volumes, the records are divided into counties, townlands or house and tenements, the names of the parties involved and the date. Included are rentals, maps of the estate giving tenants' names and, on occasion, surveys of the estate. A microfilm copy of an index to the Encumbered Estates Court sales is also available under PRONI reference MIC/80/2. The original is held in the National Library of Ireland, Dublin.
The principal strength of this collection lies in the depth of information which it provides for the whole of Ireland for the benefit of local historians, genealogists and students of estate management in the mid-nineteenth century
The records of the Irish Encumbered Estates consist of 82 individually numbered outsize volumes, 1849-1858, occupying 78 PRONI boxes.
See PRONI Calendar reference D/1201for details. Catalogues are available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room.