Bellew v Bellew

CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr. Justice McWilliam
Judgment Date12 May 1981
Neutral Citation1981 WJSC-HC 1495
Docket NumberNo.64O6P/1978
Date12 May 1981

1981 WJSC-HC 1495

The High Court

Bellew v. Bertram
Mr. Justice McWilliam

The Plaintiff is the son of the first-named Defendant, hereinafter called Lord Bellew, and the father of the second-named Defendant, hereinafter called the Grandson. These proceedings relate to property in County Louth known as Barmeath Castle comprising a mansion house with land amounting to something over three hundred acres. It has been in the occupation of the Bellew family for a very considerable time.


Lord Bellew succeeded to the title in 1978 on the death of his brother, the Fifth Baron Bellew, but had been living at Barmeath since before the war. By agreements in writing made in January 1941, between the Fifth Baron and Lord Bellew, Lord Bellew became tenant from year to year of the mansion house and lands. By a further agreement of December, 1951, between the same parties, Lord Bellew became tenant from year to year from 6th April, 1951, of the mansion house only at the yearly rent of £75.00.


By Indenture of 29th October, 1953, the Fifth Baron conveyed the mansion house and lands to the Plaintiff but subject to the tenancy of Lord Bellew in the mansion house, and by Indenture of 14th March, 196O, the Plaintiff settled the mansion house and lands on trust for himself for life with remainder to the use of the Grandson in tail male with remainder over.


The Plaintiff lived at Barmeath with his father for a short period before the war. He then went to England and, having married, set up house there. After the war he started a business which was not successful and he returned to Barmeath with his wife and family and apparently took over the running of the farm in or about 1951. He continued to run the farm until 1961 when he left Barmeath under unsatisfactory circumstances and set up house in England with a woman with whom he had formed an association in Irelan. The manner of his leaving was that he left, apparently on impulse, and without informing his family or making any formal arrangements for them.


Since the Plaintiff left, his family has continued to reside at Barmeath with Lord Bellew and Lord Bellew and the Grandson have worked the lands and made such profit out of them as they could. Lord Bellew is now over ninety years of age. The Grandson joined the British army but returned to Barmeath with his wife and family some years ago and has, since his return, been working the lands. The Plaintiff brought proceedings in England for divorce from his wife and it appears that a decree absolute was made subject to the Plaintiff surrendering his life estate to the Grandson who had undertaken to look after the Plaintiff's wife. The Plaintiff did not surrender his life estate but this aspect of the matter was resolved by the death of his wife in May, 1978.


The Plaintiff has never returned to Barmeath and, other than his alleged contribution of the profits of the lands, has not contributed to the support of his wife or children. Neither Lord Bellew or the Grandson have given any account to the Plaintiff of the profits of the lands.


In December 1977, Lord Bellew and the Plaintiff's wife made a lease of the lands to the...

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