The Encumbered Estates' Court was established to facilitate the sale of Irish estates whose owners were unable to meet their obligations because of the Great Famine, regardless of whether the land was entailed. The need for the Court was caused by the impoverishment of many Irish tenant farmers during the 1840s famine, rendering it impossible for them to pay their rents to the landlord who in turn could not make his mortgage payments. Until this Court was established, the lending bank could not get a court order to sell the mortgaged land because of the entail.
Included in the records are the names of the sellers and tenants, providing an invaluable resource, particularly as tenant farmers were often among the poorest in Irish society and may have been among the many who emigrated to the US; this may be one of the rare record sets that includes their details. The place of tenancy would also be helpful for those who don’t know the location of their Irish ancestors' origins.
The following information can be found, where available:
- Whether they were a landowner or tenant
- Property description