Author Topic: leases renewable forever  (Read 1191 times)

Offline what0101

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leases renewable forever
« on: Monday 31 May 21 15:51 BST (UK) »
I'm looking at the ordnance names survey and for the townland I am researching, says "Proprietor = X, all held on a lease renewable forever by Y."

So if I'm understanding this correctly, X actually owns the property and Y is just leasing it (and then subleasing it to hundreds of tenants), is that correct? What rights would one have on "a lease renewable forever"?

Online Viktoria

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Re: leases renewable forever
« Reply #1 on: Monday 31 May 21 17:27 BST (UK) »
I have not heard of that arrangement. Hereabouts the old leases are like gold.
999 years ,  but no idea if they can be renewed and on what terms .
The majority of the housing stock built in the mid to late 1800’s so at least 699 years left.
Viktoria.

Online Jon_ni

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Re: leases renewable forever
« Reply #2 on: Monday 31 May 21 19:18 BST (UK) »
‘lease of lives’. meant is that the person taking the lease, the leasee, nominated usually three people in the lease and the lease expired when all three people named had died.  Often the leasee would nominate young family members and sometimes their ages were recorded. In a lease for lives renewable or a perpetual lease a new name could be inserted when one of the lives died on payment of a renewal fine.

As an aside a Lease of Lives meant that the person was a Freeholder and could vote.
Surviving lists of people, known as freeholders, who voted at elections or were entitled to vote for the early 1800's are available on https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/about-freeholders-records Many of the originals were lost 1922 Dublin Record Office fire and PRONI's are compiled from Estate records and newspapers as it was typical for lists to be published there. Freeholders had to register to vote and then re-apply every few years. Enfranchised men consisted of a very small proportion of the population living in an area.

In Ireland, during the 18th and 19th centuries a person holding property in fee simple (outright ownership) or by lease for one or more lives (the life of the lessee and other named persons) was entitled to vote and would therefore appear on freeholder lists. A lease, simply with a defined period did not confer voting rights to the leaseholder. Between 1727 and 1793 only Protestants with a freehold worth forty shillings per year were entitled to vote and from 1793 this qualification was extended to include Roman Catholics. However from 1829 the qualifying freehold worth was raised to ten pounds which substantially reduced the amount of voters.

40-shilling freeholders also existed in England & Wales as mentioned under 'The franchise' on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reform_Act_1832


Offline aghadowey

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Re: leases renewable forever
« Reply #3 on: Monday 31 May 21 19:41 BST (UK) »
Jon-ni is correct. This might be helpful to read-
https://www.irishfamilyhistorycentre.com/article/lease-of-lives
Especially the bit "... In a lease for lives renewable or a perpetual lease a new name could be inserted when one of the lives died on payment of a renewal fine. ..."
Away sorting out DNA matches... I may be gone for some time many years!

Online Jon_ni

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Re: leases renewable forever
« Reply #4 on: Monday 31 May 21 20:09 BST (UK) »
From leases I have seen in the Brownlow Estate, Lurgan whilst some named young family members eg children aged 12 (old enough to now expect to live to adulthood) frequently names nominated were Queen Victoria's children or other nobility (some of them did not live as long as the lessor perhaps anticipated) I suppose the thought was they would and would be easy for estate owners to follow. The Leases are large map sized documents with a lot of text about what they could do & needed to do - plant trees, maintain hedgerows etc.

Offline what0101

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Re: leases renewable forever
« Reply #5 on: Monday 31 May 21 23:44 BST (UK) »
I don't have access to the original lease, this is a listing in the Ordnance Survey Names Book that says "lease renewable forever," ie. this is not a lease of lives. In this specific case the person who had the lease renewable forever was the one listed as as the immediate lessor for the entire townland in Griffith's Valuation, so I had assumed he owned the land, but it appears he was leasing it and then subleasing it out.

I just browsed through the Ordnance Survey Names Book and it looks like this type of "forever" lease was not uncommon (mind, these are all very large landowners renting entire townlands to other English gentry who would then sublease it to Irish farmers, the farmers themselves did not have this type of lease).

Here are some examples on this page and the ones after it.

Online Jon_ni

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Re: leases renewable forever
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 01 June 21 04:57 BST (UK) »
Not come across, I can find no info for "lease renewable forever" on https://www.prai.ie/ just reference to Leases for Lives Renewable forever.

Utilising google all can come up with is reference to perpetually renewable leases in England.
"A perpetually renewable lease is a lease which contains a contractual right to renew on the same terms, including the right to renew, therefore the tenant will have an infinite right to renew the lease. By operation of the Law of Property Act 1922 a perpetually renewable lease becomes automatically converted into a 2000 year lease and will be registered as such at the Land Registry."
https://www.myerson.co.uk/news-insights-and-events/the-danger-of-mistakenly-granting-a-perpetually-renewable-lease
Here is the section of the 1922 Act, https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5/12-13/16/schedule/FIFTEENTH/enacted (and leases of lives became under that 1922 & 1925 Act into 90 years after death of original leasee) But neither apply to Ireland.

Looking at the OS pages again both refer to college land. Think was on the right lines above with perpetual renewable for period of years.

See Enfranchisement Fee Farm Grants http://mcmahonsolicitors.ie/redundant-legal-interests/
"Leases for lives renewable forever were perpetual interests, which equity protected by allowing renewals… Such interest developed from the 18th Century to some extent in order to circumvent the penal laws which limited the property rights which could be granted to a person who was not a member of the established church."
Also the entire paragraph from this page preview from 'Property and Trust Law in Ireland' by Una Woods https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9o2WDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT28&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false which starts
Quote
A Fee Farm Grant is a conveyance of a fee simple subject to payment of a perpetual rent by the grantee and his successors in title to the grantor and his successors in title.
Conversion Fee Farm Grants came about through legislation designed to avoid the need for perpetually renewable leases for lives or leases for years.

and page 47 (pdf page 8 ) of https://bahs.org.uk/AGHR/ARTICLES/61_1_3_solar.pdf
Quote
The more relevant sort of subletting involved ‘middlemen’, individuals who farmed little of the land that they held under lease, instead letting it out in smaller parcels to subtenants. In the seventeenth and early eighteenth century some Irish landowners, particularly those who had received recent grants of confiscated land, took the easy option of letting it out in blocks of hundreds and even thousands of acres. When they did so on leases in perpetuity or renewable forever, they effectively alienated the property to these large tenants. But many of the leases to middlemen were of shorter duration: in the eighteenth century leases for three lives were commonly given to Protestants, whilst the Penal Laws restricted the length of leases given to Catholics to 31 years. From the late eighteenth century landowners started eliminating the middlemen when they had the opportunity. If middlemen paid particularly low rents, either because they were favoured individuals or because they were taking over the effective management of the estate from the landowner,

Offline what0101

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Re: leases renewable forever
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 01 June 21 11:41 BST (UK) »
This is all really interesting!

Looking at the OS pages again both refer to college land. Think was on the right lines above with perpetual renewable for period of years.
See Enfranchisement Fee Farm Grants http://mcmahonsolicitors.ie/redundant-legal-interests/
"Leases for lives renewable forever were perpetual interests, which equity protected by allowing renewals… Such interest developed from the 18th Century to some extent in order to circumvent the penal laws which limited the property rights which could be granted to a person who was not a member of the established church."

There are also some where it's one individual to another. However, all the ones I can find are clearly one English Protestant to another. So I don't think this was a way of covertly selling land to Catholics.
 
and page 47 (pdf page 8 ) of https://bahs.org.uk/AGHR/ARTICLES/61_1_3_solar.pdf
Quote
The more relevant sort of subletting involved ‘middlemen’, individuals who farmed little of the land that they held under lease, instead letting it out in smaller parcels to subtenants. In the seventeenth and early eighteenth century some Irish landowners, particularly those who had received recent grants of confiscated land, took the easy option of letting it out in blocks of hundreds and even thousands of acres. When they did so on leases in perpetuity or renewable forever, they effectively alienated the property to these large tenants. But many of the leases to middlemen were of shorter duration: in the eighteenth century leases for three lives were commonly given to Protestants, whilst the Penal Laws restricted the length of leases given to Catholics to 31 years. From the late eighteenth century landowners started eliminating the middlemen when they had the opportunity. If middlemen paid particularly low rents, either because they were favoured individuals or because they were taking over the effective management of the estate from the landowner,

This is exactly the situation I am looking at -- Protestant landowner renting "forever" to Protestant gentry who then subleased to many small (Catholic) farmers for much shorter terms, life or 21 years or yearly. I believe the actual lease may be in the National Archives, and I hope to be able to visit eventually and have a look.

Offline what0101

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Re: leases renewable forever
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 01 June 21 14:31 BST (UK) »
Quote
Another person who usually holds under some great landowner is the " for ever " men or long leaseholder. This is his northern title, but he has different others. Sometimes he is called a "half sir," "half gentleman," or gentleman, according to the size of his property. He holds by a tenure almost if not quite peculiar to Ireland. This is a lease of lives renewable for ever now often converted into a " fee farm grant." In the north of Ireland he holds often but a few acres of land, but, as a rule, over the country he has two or three hundred acres at a low rent, frequently but halfa-crown an acre. He is nearly always of English or Scotch origin. The origin of freeholds, or long leases at nominal rents, is various. In one very remarkable case in Ulster, a number of long leaseholds were created of all sizes from a few acres to two or three hundred in a very simple way. The landlord was in a position to make these grants, which he did over a very great extent of property. A grant was made to any tenant who could pay down a lump sum.
from "The Irish peasant, a sociological study"