Institutions | About Us | Help | Gaeilge
rian logo

Go Back
Sir Richard Griffith's Three Valuations of Ireland 1826-1864
Smyth, William Anthony
This thesis examines the processes which culminated in the publication of the the General valuation of rateable property in Ireland between 1852 and 1864. Commonly known as ‘Griffith’s valuation’ – in deference to its architect and compiler Sir Richard Griffith (17861874) – it lists the occupier and his/her immediate landlord of every property in midnineteenth century Ireland as well as the acreage of the holding, its value and the nature and value of any buildings thereon. A civil engineer, an eminent geologist and career civil servant, Griffith’s working live extended to sixty years from 1808 to 1868. During that period, as part of the Irish administration, he sought to ameliorate the condition of the poor classes of Irish society whenever it was within his power. For his part, Griffith believed that the solution to Ireland’s poverty lay in the reclamation of its wastelands and in the provision of better housing for the labouring classes through a statesponsored loan scheme. During the Great Famine, Griffith endeavoured to establish state relief for those engaged in essential farm work but this initiative fell foul of a Whitehall administration who rigidly embraced a laissezfaire attitude. By basing his valuation of property on the low rental values of liberal landlords, Griffith had hoped to influence Irish landlords to let their lands on a live and let live basis thereby enabling their tenants to live in reasonable comfort. Griffith’s original proposal, made in 1824, was to value the country on a townland basis thereby compelling the landlords and tenants to enter into negotiations regarding the distribution of local taxation and by extension their rental agreements. However, after 1846, because of the demands of the poor law rates assessment, Griffith conducted his valuation on a tenement basis (whereby each individual holding was valued separately) in unison with his favoured townland valuation. In 1852, Griffith began a total revaluation of Ireland which reflected the changed vista of the country following the vicissitudes of the Great Famine. This study details the process adopted by Griffith to complete his valuations and shows him to have been an able administrator. Through his work Griffith gained a sharp understanding of, and became an insightful social commentator on, the social order in nineteenth century Ireland. The study also discusses the relationship between valuation and rent and concludes that in general Irish landlords retained a greater proportion of the agricultural produce of the country, in the form of rent, than they were reasonably entitled to.
Keyword(s): Sir Richard Griffith; Three Valuations; Ireland; 1826-1864
Publication Date:
Type: Doctoral thesis
Peer-Reviewed: No
Institution: Maynooth University
Citation(s): Smyth, William Anthony (2008) Sir Richard Griffith's Three Valuations of Ireland 1826-1864. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
File Format(s): other
Related Link(s):
First Indexed: 2017-01-20 05:54:30 Last Updated: 2019-01-12 06:16:09