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Leinster Leader: 17/06/1922

Sale to English Purchaser



Co. Kildare Estate



         In the family of the Fitzgeralds since the Norman Conquest, the Leinster estate, embracing the greater part of Kildare, Kilkea Castle and the principal towns of the county, has now passed into the proprietorship of an English Baronet, Sir Harry Mallaby-Deeley.
Their heritage will, however revert to the Fitzgerald family on the death of the present Duke of Leinster, who sold his reversionary interest-which accounts for the present change of ownership-when his two elder brothers were still alive.
He was then Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and the Duke of the time, the sixth to hold the title was still in his early twenties. With another senior brother also alive there was little prospect of his succeeding to the title, and he disposed of his reversionary rights for, it is stated a relatively small sum to Sir. Harry Mallaby-Deeley, whose baronetcy was announced in the recent British Honours list.
The investment turned out a sound one for the baronet, as Lord Desmond Fitzgerald the sixth Duke’s eldest brother was killed in the war, and the sixth duke himself died a few moths ago. Lord Edward Fitzgerald thus coming into the title, and Sir Harry Mallaby-Deeley into the estate of the historic Geraldines. His holdings do not end here, for part of the Irish estates of the Duke of Leinster were sold to the tenants on the passing of Mr. Wyndham’s Purchase Act of 1908, and the proceeds amounting to nearly £1,000,000 invested in London ground rents. The life interest on these investments it is presumed will now become the property of Sir. Harry Mallaby-Deeley, says the Dublin correspondent of the “Daily Express.” The Leinster seat of ducal residence is Carton, Maynooth, which has been charge of Lord Frederick Fitzgerald and his sister-uncle and aunt of the present duke.
Many people have been employed on the great demesne of Carton, and the change of owners has led to a change of conditions. Some twelve or more workmen were dismissed last week to cut down expenses, and general disappointment and discontent are felt in consequence.
No demonstration or hoisting of a red flag however has taken place, as was announced by a London contemporary.
The new owner is best known for the campaign he instigated and waged against the profiteers in the clothing business, opening an establishment in London, he sold suits at a figure which broke the prices and smashed the profiteering or “the trade.” He is a very wealthy man, and it is reliably stated will make comparatively few changes in the working of the Leinster estate.
To a London newspaper he declared he was unaware of the cutting down of expenses, and added that, as far as he knew, his recently acquired Irish property was being run as usual. It is not likely that he will come to live at Carton.
The dispossessed Duke of Leinster is just thirty years of age. He married Miss May Etheridge, a musical comedy star, in a London Registry Office in 1913. As an officer of the West Riding Regiment he fought in the world war and succeeded to the title through the early death of the youthful sixth duke, whose delicate health prevented him ever taking his seat in the House of Lords. An uncle, Lord Walter Fitzgerald, resides in Kilkea Castle County Kildare.
The Fitzgerald family have lived in Kildare since the first years of the thirteenth century. Shortly after their arrival they introduced into Ireland the Franciscan and Dominican Orders, but in Tudor times deserted the old Faith. They were not many generations in the country until having made common cause with the people they became more Irish than the Irish themselves. For centuries the Geraldines held a foremost place in the Irish national struggle. The names of Garret Oge, Silken Thomas and Lord Edward are as imperishable as Irish history itself.

Any severance of the Fitzgerald family with the management of the Leinster property will be greatly regretted in Kildare, where despite the fact that the land has been largely sold to tenants, they still retain large interests, the ground rents, and many of the buildings and homes in practically all the towns being held from them. Very extensive employment is given on the demesnes, tillage being intensive and a splendid class of livestock bred. Being a resident family a very deep interest was taken in the welfare of the employees, who are comfortably housed and well treated. In addition the Leinster estate trustees always subscribed generously to any object that tended to benefit Kildare and its people.
In connection with the purchase of the Duke of Leinster’s estate at Carton, Co. Kildare, the “Daily Mail” published the following statement by Sir Mullaby-Deeley, M. P.-
“Some four or five years ago I was asked to purchase these reversionary rights, and I refused” said Sir Harry.
“About twelve months later the offer was repeated. I said I was still not very keen on purchasing, but that I was prepared at a price to buy. I was told by expert advisers that the price I proposed to pay was perfectly ridiculous-meaning that my offer was in their opinion, far too high”.
“As far as I know the estate is being run as usual. I am bearing the whole expenses of the estate, and my agreement with the Duke is that everything should be carried on exactly as it has been in the past.”
“It is still open for re-purchase by the Duke’s Family”.
The Duke of Leinster has authorised the following statement to be made to the representative of a London paper by his private secretary.
“I can say that the Duke is in no way parting with his birthright, as he has an option of re-purchase within a certain number of years.”
“ The cost for re-purchase is £350,000 and not £400,000 as has been stated. The estate of the Duke of Leinster is worth more than £2,500,000, and, in addition, the heirlooms are valued by him at the best part of £2,000,000.The Castle costs £8,000 a year to maintain, and the annual income from the estates is more than £45,000. The employees on the estate are still in the Duke’s service, and there is no need to worry about the place changing hands.”
“Certain negotiations are in hand at the present moment and, no doubt, they will be completed within the next two or three days.”
“Sir H. Mallaby-Deeley is in daily touch with the Duke, and it is only a question of the solicitors making the necessary arrangements for the completion of a deal which will be satisfactory to both parties.”
Lord Frederick Fitzgerald points out that the portion of the estate sold under the Wyndham Act reached over half a million-not nearly a million as stated in the “Sunday Express,” and that it is an error to say that the amount realised was invested in London ground rents. It is true, he adds, that estate expenses have been cut down. “Some labourers having regretfully been discharged owing to the enormous death duties.”

Leinster Leader: 24/06/1922

                                                   The Carton Estate Sale

Interviewed by a “Daily Express” representative at Carton House, where he is in charge of the estate in the absence of Sir. Mallaby-Deeley, the present owner, Lord Frederick Fitzgerald replied to Sir Harry’s repudiation of instructions for the dismissal of servants. “Certainly,” he said. “I received instructions to reduce the staff of the estate. They came from the firm of Messrs. Freshfields,...., and .... Sir Harry’s solicitors. He had written to Sir Harry asking, in view of the repudiations if the dismissed men may be reinstated at

A very interesting article on the sale of the Leinster title and subsequent loss of the great Leinster estates is published here to mark the 150th article on the EHistory site.  This story is one of the 'whispered scandals' of Kildare Local History and this article from the Leinster Leader of June 1922 helps shed some light on the events.

[complied and edited by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Niamh and Sarah]


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