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Title: Challenge and change : the big house in north-eastern Ireland 1878-c.1960
Author: Purdue, Olwen Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0001 3502 9637
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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During the eighteenth and nineteenth century Ireland was dominated economically and politically by a powerful elite whose ownership of land not only provided them with wealth but also gave them access to positions ofpolitical influence on a local, national and even international level. The closing years ofthe nineteenth century witnessed a powerful. challenge to this elite on both an economic and a political front. While these developments resulted in the rapid decline ofthe southern landed class and the loss ofmany oftheir big houses, this thesis argues that the experience ofthe landed class in the north-eastern six counties oflreland was very different in many respects. It examines the serious impact that agricultural depression and land legislation had on landlords throughout Ireland during the I880s and 1890s. It argues, however, that, through a combination ofcareful management ofresources and more favourable land legislation in Northern Ireland after 1921, northern landlords were placed in a much better position to continue maintaining their country houses than were landlords in what was now the Free State. The thesis also investigates the eA1ent to which the northern landed class continued to operate as a political and social elite in the opening decades ofthe twentieth century. It examines the significance oftheir continuing social links with Britain's landed and political elite and the importance ofthis for their continued relevance in twentieth century society. It also examines the move that many ofthem made into leadership roles both in opposition to ~ome Rule and within the new state ofNorthern Ireland and argues that, although increasingly challenged by a powerful middle class, their continued role in society had an important influence in e:ll.1ending the survival ofthe big house in the north-east oflreland.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available