Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Pat Purcell Papers
The Final Round.
Watters vs Beresford

By kind permission of Michael Purcell

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From the scrapbook of Landlord Agent, Mr Charles Thorpe, in the PPP.

August 1892.

Landlordism near Borris.

On Tuesday last (2nd August) a widow, Mrs Anne Waters, at the age of 81 years with her family, were thrown out upon the roadside by her landlord, Mr Denis Pack-Beresford.

Now deprived, not only of her home, but also of the resources of livelihood which she hoped to bequeath to her children.

It will be remembered that so far back as August 1891 the tenant paid the entire amount due, viz., two years' rent including hanging-gale, and full legal costs, but as the period for redemption had expired a cheque for the amount is now held by Pack-Beresford's agent.

So the poor tenant is now in the position of having parted with home and money.

Mr Pack-Beresford so far has both, and it will be interesting to watch what he will do with poor Mrs Waters farm.

The case is one eminently deserving of close public attention.

The circumstances of the case reveal an arbitrariness that recall the by-gone days when the landlord could do what he liked.

For the past six years Mrs Waters has been harassed by unreasonable rent exaction, and mulcted in law costs.

The rent and heavy legal costs was long since paid to the agent, Mr Charles Thorpe who then wanted the tenant to enter an agreement containing unjust conditions.

Last week, Mrs Waters, with her family, was thrown out upon the roadside and their house handed over to the tender mercies of the sheriff and the emergency men, (crow-bar brigade) at least one of whom wore a revolver, they have now barricaded the premises as if they feared an armed invasion to recapture it.

Mr. Pack-Beresford will find that all Nationalists will combine, and that landlordism in its old form must not be revived in this country, and that respectable tenants, who are willing to pay their just obligations shall not be turned from their homes in order to satisfy a vindictive and despotic landlord.

The employees of Mr Pack-Beresford have been engaged during the past week in carting over to Fenagh House the produce of Mrs Waters land, and some of the crops (including a heap of coal) have been stored at Pack-Beresford's farm.

The greedy landlord's serfs with six horses and the necessary implements entered the Waters farm and without either care or consideration for the condition of the grain the whole corn crop was cut down and is left melting on the ground from that day to this.

It is stated that portion of the work was personally superintended by Mr Denis Pack-Beresford.

Other items removed by the emergency men were; farm carts, tools, two ricks of hay, implements, a donkey croydon, presses, furniture, utensils and sundry articles.

The root and vegetable crops are likewise claimed by Mr Pack-Beresford and are specially guarded, the poor tenant today not knowing the luxury even of a potato from her own garden.

Note added in 2010 by Michael Purcell.

Over several hundred years thousands of evictions such as the one recorded here took place all over Ireland.

Now some of you know why, down through the centuries, the Irish had to form and support such organisations as the Rightboys, the Whiteboys, the United Irishmen, the Defenders, Ribbonism, Fenianism, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Invincibles, the Irish National Land League, the United Irish League, Sinn Fein, the Irish National Volunteers, Cumann na mBan, the Irish Citizen Army, the Irish Republican Army, etc.

I am aware of the account of a group of Irish Republican Army activists planning to burn down Fenagh House in 1920, this morning after reading the above account of Beresford's machinations I can understand why they might have wanted to do so.

What I now find difficult to understand is the fact that the group were ordered not to proceed with their plan because de Valera had issued a directive that attacks by the IRA on the "Big Houses" of the gentry were to cease.

It is believed that this directive from de Valera was issued because of his close friendship with Erskine Childers who had intervened with him on behalf of the gentry of Ireland.

At a local level the 1920 story was confirmed to me by Pat Purcell, May Gibney and Robert Browne-Clayton of Browne's Hill.

Thanks to Jean and her helpers for researching and typing up the reports of this Pack-Beresford history.

 The above is a true and accurate transcript of the original document.

  • Transcribed by Jean Casey, January 2010

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