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Midleton Town History New Book

02 December, 2012

When Midleton Town was Sold 1964-66

A book by John Fenton outlining the history of Midleton before, during and after the sale of the town by Viscount Midleton in 1964 will be in local shops from the 1st December. A great Christmas present for Midleton people both at home and abroad. Cost €10. A limited Hardback edition of 50 books will also be available on request. Cost of the hardback book €15.

Brief Outline of Books Contents
Midleton, located at the heart of a rich agricultural hinterland and a short distance from Cork city, is one of the most progressive towns in the Ireland. The foundation of a Cistercian monastery in 1180 is generally seen as the foundation of the modern town but it is events that occurred in the mid seventeenth century that form the basis of this story. Following Cromwell’s arrival in Ireland (1649), St. John Brodrick, an English mercenary soldier (who some suspect was also a spy for Cromwell), was granted large tracts of land around Midleton and other parts of the country. For the next 300 years the Brodrick family had a substantial proprietary interest in Midleton town and surrounding areas until the 2nd Viscount decided to divest himself of his remaining assets in the area in 1964. These assets, mainly property and leaseholdings, were purchased by Midleton Estates Ltd., a company specifically established to purchase and administer the estate.
Following this purchase the people of Midleton reacted furiously when the ‘new owners’ increased substantially the ground rent on properties in the town. Following these increases, the Property and Leaseholders Association and the Tenants Association were formed to represent the two strands of disaffected people (leaseholders/property holders and tenants). Their grievances were directed mainly at the new owners but also at Viscount Midleton for his failure to give the local people first option to purchase outright the leases and tenant houses, many of which had been occupied by the same family for generations.
What followed was a ‘battle of wills’ between two sides, both very determined to succeed. The book outlines the history of the dispute from the arrival of the Brodricks in the 1650’s, their influence on local and national politics, the rise in prominence of the town, the sale announced in 1964 and the eventual settlement of the dispute in 1966. The book outlines the protests, negotiations, outside influences and changes in the law that occurred during the period of 1964-66 in a dispute that gained national as well as local headlines and also set a precedent for other similar disputes.        

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