Rural tensions in nineteenth-century Knock, County Mayo
In 1879 the parish of Knock witnessed both the outbreak of the ‘land war’ and also a reported apparition of the Virgin Mary. The press coverage that resulted from both of these events has enabled this study of tensions within rural communities. It examines the attitudes of individual landlords towards their tenants and the demise of the open field (rundale) system of farming. Parallels with English enclosures and agrarian protests are noted. The rise in literacy, together with the growth of the press, enabled the Knock tenantry to be well abreast with current world affairs as shown by their support for the Zulus during the ongoing Anglo-Zulu war of 1879.
Frank Mayes is a retired lecturer in poultry science and in food technology. He is an active member and past chairman of the Stewartstown and District Local History Society in Co. Tyrone, and has published regularly in their journal, The Bell.