Catholic Relief Act

DeLaMancha

Senior Member
Français de France
Hi, forum !
I read that, by this law, the Irish parliament gave the catholics the right to vote.
But voters had to be 40/- freeholders.
I have no idea of what that means
Can anybody help me to understand ? Thanks in advance.
 
  • Janey UK

    Senior Member
    Native speaker of British English
    It means that in order to be enfranchised (able to vote) one must be a 'forty-shilling freeholder'. Which meant that one must own or rent land, freehold (not leasehold), to the value of forty shillings or more (at the time of the Catholic Relief Bill 1793 this was a value of around £2). This relatively low figure widened the vote to include many Catholics for the first time, and later the threshold was raised to £10 (under the Catholic Relief Act of 1829) which disenfranchised many Catholics since they did not own or rent property of that value.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Which meant that one must own or rent land, freehold (not leasehold

    All freehold involves owning the land, never renting the land. If you have an agreement to hand the land back to somebody else one day (even in 999 years), it is not freehold.

    There used to be various other kinds of land tenancy other than freehold and leasehold which haven't existed (at least in England) since 1925. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyhold I don't know to what extent these were relevant to Ireland.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    to the value of forty shillings or more (at the time of the Catholic Relief Bill 1793 this was a value of around £2). .

    40 /- (40 shillings) always was exactly £2 (and always will be)! Of course, in 1793 £2 bought you many times more than it does now, and was much more difficult for the average person to get hold of then than it is now.
     

    DeLaMancha

    Senior Member
    Français de France
    Oops ! you sure are right Teddy and I apologise. Yet I can realise this through my readings, these days ! I am unforgivable.
    Thanks to you Teddy !
     

    Janey UK

    Senior Member
    Native speaker of British English
    All freehold involves owning the land, never renting the land. If you have an agreement to hand the land back to somebody else one day (even in 999 years), it is not freehold.

    There used to be various other kinds of land tenancy other than freehold and leasehold which haven't existed (at least in England) since 1925. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyhold I don't know to what extent these were relevant to Ireland.

    To be a 'Forty Shilling Freeholder' one didn't need to own the land freehold. The title was a misnomer. The land didn't need to be held freehold, but could also be leasehold, if the length of the lease was sufficiently long. The following is a quote from this site "Freeholders' records are lists of people entitled to vote, or of people who voted, at elections. A freeholder was a man who owned his land outright (in fee) or who held it by lease which could be for one or more lives (for example, his own life or for the lives of other people named in the lease). From 1727 to 1793 only Protestants with a freehold worth at least 40 shillings a year were legally permitted to vote. Between 1793 and 1829 both Protestants and Catholics with 40 shilling freeholds could vote, but in 1829 the franchise level was increased to 10 pounds, so 40 shilling freeholders were no longer allowed to vote. "
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This may be drifting away from the original question but here goes.

    Own is a very general term indicating that one has legal rights in respect of property (which could be land, or physical items, or intellectual property etc)
    It sometimes contrasts with possess which similarly can refer to many different kinds of property, but includes having property in one's care and / or use when it is owned by someone else; similarly if you lend property to someone else you own it but don't possess it.

    Freehold and leasehold are technical terms used in respect of land (and perhaps a few other more obscure kinds of property).

    At least in England and Wales since 1925,
    - If you have a right to use land but don't have exclusive possession of it, you aren't a freeholder or a leaseholder, but have a license. This will happen if you rent a room in someone's house, but have no right to lock everyone else (including the owner of the house) out; or if you rent an office but the landlord comes in to clean etc.

    In cases where you do have exclusive possession,
    - If you rent land and under the agreement you agree to give the land back after a period (which can be one month or 999 years, etc), you are a leaseholder, not a freeholder. The same will happen if you buy leased land from an existing lessee (who obviously can only sell the remaining period of the lease)
    - If you buy land and there is no obligation ever to give it back, you are a freeholder.

    Janey has explained that the term freeholder is used loosely in the expression 40/- freeholder to include some kinds of leaseholder.
     
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