William Steuart Trench and his management of the Digby Estate, King's County, 1857–71
This book set out to establish what the true ‘realities’ were on the Digby estate in King’s County from 1857 to 1871, under the management of William Steuart Trench. Trench was a professional land agent who had previously worked on the Bath Estate in Co. Monaghan and the Lansdowne estate in Co. Kerry. The barony of Geashill experienced a golden age of prosperity. There were vast improvements in both the architecture of the village and in the topography of the landscape during the Trench years. Such improvements gained both national and indeed international recognition for Lord Digby and earned Trench the legacy of an improver who was well ahead of his time. However, not all members of the community shared in this prosperity and while the physical legacy of Trench lives on, it is overshadowed, by the realities of an agent who broke leases, levelled people’s homes and banished the poor and in so doing was ruthless in his management of Lord Digby’s estate. Trench’s realities were therefore not the only realities experienced by the people of Geashill.
Mary Delaney teaches History at Mount Sackville Secondary School, Dublin. She is from Bracknagh, Co. Offaly. She has a keen interest in local History and recently completed a Masters in History at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.