Skip to main content

tenant right

tenant right was a phrase much in use in Irish politics, especially after the famine of 1846. Since custom and practice differed from province to province and from estate to estate, the term was not precise and landlords complained that tenants devised new rights as soon as old ones were conceded. The immediate aim of the Tenant League, formed in 1850, was to secure the Ulster custom, whereby a tenant could sell his goodwill or interest in a farm, thus gaining some compensation for improvements. The three Fs for which the league later campaigned were free sale, fixity of tenure, and fair rent—all of which were slogans difficult to quantify and to adjudicate on. Gladstone's Land Act of 1870 legalized the Ulster custom where it existed. The Irish Land League of 1879 renewed the campaign, organizing rent strikes and boycotts and resisting evictions. Gladstone's second Land Act of 1881 conceded free sale, improved security of tenure, and introduced a machinery for deciding what was a fair rent. After 1885 the Conservatives moved towards facilitating land purchases, turning tenants into independent farmers. By that time a number of landlords were only too glad to sell up and be expropriated. Palmerston's comment—‘tenant right is landlord's wrong’—was the other side of the coin.

J. A. Cannon

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"tenant right." The Oxford Companion to British History. . 16 Feb. 2019 <>.

"tenant right." The Oxford Companion to British History. . (February 16, 2019).

"tenant right." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved February 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.