This chapter discusses Tipperary’s landed society. In the 18th century, there were important structural and personnel changes in the county’s landed class arising from the disposal of the Ormond, Everard, and Dunboyne estates in the early part of the century, and, later, from sales on the Mathew and Meade estates. The breakup of the first three estates stemmed from serious indebtedness, the solution to which led to the rise of new families in the landed class; while in the case of the two latter, it led to the establishment of substantial Catholic head-tenants as owners in fee. The changing relationship between levels of income, expenditure, and debt created by the prosperity of the latter half of the century, allowed for a greater solvency among landed families as a whole, in contrast to the economically difficult conditions of the early part of the century. Prosperity widened the base of the landed class, a development which benefited Catholics particularly. Consideration of landed Catholics at the levels of owners in fee, head tenants, and converts demonstrates that they formed an influential section of landed Society.
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