“Midleton Town Sold”

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On August 17th, 1852, the town of Midleton was sold… to the sixth Viscount Midleton! Many have heard of or experienced the ‘sale of Midleton’ in late 1964 when the Cork Examiner (as it then was) published a headline, “Midleton Town Sold”. That was the first that anybody in the town learned of the second Earl of Midleton’s sale of his Irish estate. The town, rather the freehold of Midleton, had been sold privately to a company based in Dublin and Cork, which hoped to make money by dramatically increasing the ground rents. This led to furious protests from those affected by the prospect of paying increased ground rents… leading eventually to changes in the law governing ground rents.

Incredibly this wasn’t the first time that the town of Midleton was sold. In shades of the Celtic Tiger crash, the town was previously sold in 1852 by the trustees of the Midleton Estate. But the warning signs were there when the fifth Viscount Midleton (viscount 1836-1848) sold some of his lands 10 years earlier (1842). He was already running into financial straits due to the development of Cove (now Cobh) where over £40,000 was spent in developing the town (including Ireland’s first indoor flush toilets!) by the fifth viscount and his father, who had redeveloped Midleton in the 1780s to 1830. As you can imagine, Lord Midleton’s creditors soon came calling…

Read the full article inside the latest issue of Midleton & District News.