Devon Commission

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The Devon Commission (officially 'Commission on Occupation of Land (Ireland)'[1]) was a commission that was appointed by Sir Robert Peel to research the problems with land leases. It was formed by a queen's proclamation issued 20 November 1843 and reported 14 February 1845. This was a positive step for the government as it made the Irish believe that reform would come soon afterwards. This was the first time that a British government had taken a step towards reforming the unfair leases.

The Devon Commission was headed by William Courtney, the 10th Earl of Devon,[2] and it reported in 1845 that the population of Ireland had exploded from 6 million people to close on 8 million people. Similarly they concluded that the leases were unfair and were favorable to the landowners (who were usually Anglo-Irish). The majority of Irish tenants had no form of protection, they could be, and often were, summarily evicted. They also had no claim to the Ulster Custom of landholding - this would have granted tenants the "3F's": fixity of tenure, fair rents and free sale. The Devon Commission had wide reaching consequences and though too late to prevent the famine, it did galvanize change afterwards.


  1. ^ The Irish Problem and How to Solve It, Elibron Classics. Google Books
  2. ^ House of Lords biography
  • The Irish Problem and How to Solve It, Elibron Classics. Google Books