The Estate of The Right Hon. James H. G. M. Somerville, Lord Athlumney

CourtCourt of Appeal (Ireland)
JudgeWylie, J.,Appeal.
Judgment Date07 May 1913
Date07 May 1913
In the Matter of the Estate of the Right Hon. James H. G. M. Somerville, Lord Athlumney.

Wylie, J.












Land Purchase Code — Demesne — Sale and re-purchase — Superior interest — Redemption of — Segregation of purchase-money of demesne — Irish Land Act, 1903 (3 Edw. 7, c. 37), section 3, 16.

Held, by the Court of Appeal (reversing the decision of Wylie, J.), that under the circumstances of the case there was no occasion to apportion the purchase-money of the demesne, and that the redemption price of £1140 was a charge on all the purchase-money of the demesne.

Motion On Notice.

At the date of the sale and re-purchase, hereinafter referred to, Lord Athlumney was the absolute owner of a demesne in the county of Meath, consisting of portions of the townlands of Flemingstown, Balrath, Burtonstown, Kentstown, and Ballymagarvey. The lands of Ballymagarvey were held for the residue of a term of 999 years from the 1st November, 1839, at the yearly rent of £100; those of Burtonstown were held under a fee-farm grant, at the yearly rent of £416 7s.; those of Kentstown, comprising 30a. 3r. 35p., and through which the main avenue leading to the mansion-house ran, were held under two leases for lives renewable for ever, dated the 6th May, 1826, and the 25th October, 1826, respectively, the rents payable under which had been adjusted, and were paid in one sum amounting to £47 11s. 9d. The remainder of the demesne lands was held in fee-simple, and there were no incumbrances affecting any part of the lands.

Lord Athlumney had agreed with the Estates Commissioners for the sale to them, and re-purchase by him, of the said demesne under the provisions of section 3 of the Irish Land Act, 1903, the price originally fixed by the Estates Commissioners being £14,000, of which £400 was placed on the lands of Kentstown. The price was subsequently increased to £17,895. This sum of £17,895 was apportioned by the Estates Commissioners between the various parts of the demesne, £498 being fixed as the selling value of the lands of Kentstown.

No notice of the sale and re-purchase of the demesne, or of the segregation of the purchase-moneys thereof, was given to Sir Lionel Alexander, the owner of the rent of £47 11s. 9d., issuing out of the lands of Kentstown, until the 15th June, 1909, when the solicitors acting for Lord Athlumney wrote to the solicitors for Sir Lionel Alexander, stating that “as the sale of this estate is rapidly approaching completion, it would be well, if possible, to endeavour to arrange the purchase-price of the head-rent of Kentstown, without having recourse to the decision of the Judicial Commissioner.” As a result of the correspondence which ensued, the parties were unable to agree as to the redemption-price of the said rent, and on the 11th February, 1913, an application was made on behalf of Lord Athlumney to the Right Hon. Mr. Justice Wylie to redeem the said rent of £47 11s. 9d., at the sum of £498. The learned Judge ordered the rent to be redeemed at the sum of £1140 (1).

(1) The judgment of Wylie, J., was as follows:—

This is an application to fix the redemption price of two rents of £44 5s. 9d. and £6 15s. 2d. payable out of those parts of the demesne lands sold in this matter comprised in the townland of Kentstown. The lands respectively subject to these rents were demised by William Alexander Shaw to Sir Marcus Somerville, by two leases for lives renewable for ever, dated respectively the 6th May and 25th October, 1826. The lands so demised adjoined the Somerville demesne, and were respectively situated at the south and north side of a then existing road which, I am informed, is now, and has been since the granting of the leases, one of the main avenues into the demesne. There is a map on the later lease, which shows this, and the lease states that the lands demised were then marked out for planting by Sir Marcus Somerville. It is plain therefore, I think, that these leased lands were acquired by Sir Marcus Somerville, for the purpose, which he afterwards carried out, of incorporating them into his demesne. These two rents, having been adjusted under the Local Government Act, have been since paid in one sum amounting to £47 11s. 9d. The area of the land comprised in both leases is 30A. 3R. 35P. The original price fixed by the Estates Commissioners for the entire demesne was £14,000, of which £400 was placed on the lands of Kentstown demised by the said two leases. Subsequently, however, on an objection being lodged by Lady Mowbray, who received a head-rent out of another part of the demesne lands, a second inspection was directed by the Estates Commissioners, and the price was raised from £14,000 to £17,895, the £400, placed on Kentstown, being raised to £498. When this application first came before me, I was informed that the full purchase-money was being advanced to Lord Athlumney for the purpose of re-purchase by him, and it being immaterial to Lord Athlumney, as an absolute owner, whether the price fixed was the full selling value or the value for security only, I referred the matter to the Estates Commissioners to ascertain whether the sum of £498, the price fixed for Kents town, was the full selling value or the...

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