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Some nineteenth-century Irish litigation over commons and enclosures

W. N. Osborough


The investigations of the Irish municipal corporations commissioners in the 1830s furnish most of the readily accessible data on one key category of Irish common land - borough commons.1 Even so, any additional information to be gleaned is very welcome, and here we are in luck. Lawsuits exist, ones reasonably well reported, and these do indeed add something to our quantum of knowledge, if rather less than might have been hoped. Twenty years ago J.H. Andrews, relying on O’Higgins listings (O’Higgins 1986), drew attention to the dearth of legal commentary on Irish commons and enclosures, a criticism that was well deserved (Andrews 1987). Sadly, this state of affairs was to persist, so that what follows here is to be regarded as an attempt to go at least part of the way to remedy this neglect.

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