Making Ireland English: The Irish Aristocracy in the Seventeenth Century 9780300177503

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Table of contents :
Contents
Acknowledgements
List of Illustrations
Conventions
Glossary
Abbreviations
1. Introduction
Part I: The Reconstitution of Ireland’s Aristocracy, 1590s–1670s
2. The Transformation of the Peerage
3. The Transformation of Noble Culture
4. Landed Nobility
5. Religion
6. Marriage
Part II: The Peerage in Politics
7. Power, Politics and Public Office
8. Early Stuart Parliaments
9. Civil War
10. Survival
11. The Restoration Land Settlement
12. Political Life
Part III: The Sinews of Power
13. Income
14. Expenditure
15. Lineage and Formation
16. Death and Memory
17. Conclusion
Notes
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
Appendix IV
Appendix V
Appendix VI
Select Bibliography
Index
Recommend Papers

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Making Ireland English

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Making Ireland English the irish aristocracy in the s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u ry

JANE OHLMEYER

YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS

N E W H AV E N A N D L O N D O N

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Copyright © 2012 Jane Ohlmeyer All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in any form (beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press) without written permission from the publishers. For information about this and other Yale University Press publications, please contact: U.S. Office: [email protected]   www.yalebooks.com Europe Office: [email protected]   www.yalebooks.co.uk Set in Adobe Garamond Pro by IDSUK (DataConnection) Ltd Printed in Great Britain by TJ International Ltd, Padstow, Cornwall Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Ohlmeyer, Jane H.   Making Ireland English: the Irish aristocracy in the seventeenth century/Jane Ohlmeyer.   p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978–0–300–11834–6 (cl: alk. paper) 1. Nobility—Ireland—History—17th century. 2. Ireland—Social conditions—17th century. 3. English—Ireland—History—17th century. 4. Ireland—Politics and government—17th century. 5. Social change—Ireland—History—17th century. I. Title. DA940.O43 2012 941.505—dc23 2011033291 A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. 10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1

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For Richard and Jamie

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Contents Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Conventions Glossary Abbreviations Chapter 1: Introduction

Definitions • Making Ireland English • Structure • The Archives • Historiography •

x xiii xvii xviii xxi 1



Part I: The Reconstitution of Ireland’s Aristocracy, 1590s–1670s Chapter 2: The Transformation of the Peerage

27

Chapter 3: The Transformation of Noble Culture

64

• Tudor

Peerage • Peerage in 1603 • Inflation of Honours • Resident Peerage in 1628 • Resident Peerage in 1641 • Mid-Century Elevations • Mid-Century Creations • Resident Peerage in 1670 and 1685 • Securing the Succession • Conclusion •

Nobles in Irish Society • Honour • Contesting and Defending Honour • Conclusion • •

Chapter 4: Landed Nobility • Titled

Landholders in 1641 and c.1670 • Titled Landholding in County Dublin • Tenure • Plantations • The Munster Plantation • The First Earl of Cork • The Roches and MacCarthys • The Butlers • The Ulster Plantation • The Earls of Antrim • The Informal Plantations • The Formal Plantations • Other Early Stuart Settlements • Conclusion •

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Contents

Chapter 5: Religion

Catholicism and Kingship • The Catholic Church • Lay Patronage of the Catholic Church • Clerical Connections • Presbyterianism and the Peers • The Church of Ireland and the Peers • Personal Piety • Wardships and Conversions • Sincerity of Conversions • Conclusion •

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Chapter 6: Marriage

Women in Stuart Society • Courtship • Frequency of Marriage • Age at Marriage • Geographic Origin of Brides • Mixed Marriages • Social Status of Brides • The Economic Importance of Marriage • Relationships • Conclusion •

169



Part II: The Peerage in Politics Chapter 7: Power, Politics and Public Office

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Chapter 8: Early Stuart Parliaments

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Chapter 9: Civil War

250

• The

Stuart Court • The Exercise of National and Local Power • Law and Order • Conclusion •

• The

1613–15 Parliament • The Graces • The 1634–5 Parliament • The 1640–1 Parliament • The Opposition Peers • Conclusion •

A Military Caste • War in Scotland and Rebellion in Ireland • The Impact of the 1641 Rebellion • The Baronial Context of the Civil Wars • War and Politics • Confederate Catholics • Baronial Leadership • Conclusion • •

Chapter 10: Survival

Exile • Reprisals • Catholic Survival • Transplantation • The Case of Antrim • Protestant Survivors • Architects of Restoration • Conclusion •

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Chapter 11: The Restoration Land Settlement

A Revolution in Titled Landholding? • The Winners • The Survivors • The Losers • Conclusion •

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Chapter 12: Political Life • The

Irish Parliament, 1661–6 • The Politics behind the Land Settlement • Restoration Dublin • Later Stuart Politics • The Army • James II • Conclusion •

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Contents

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Part III: The Sinews of Power Chapter 13: Income

Levels of Wealth • Landed Entrepreneurs and Improving Landlords • Urbanization and Commercialization • Overseas Expansionism • Conclusion •

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Chapter 14: Expenditure

Levels of Borrowing • Aristocratic Borrowings • Expenditure • Capital Expenditure • Personal and Domestic Expenditure • Legal Expenditure • Conclusion •

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Chapter 15: Lineage and Formation

Kinship and Clientage Networks • Children • Schooling and Education • Grand Tours and the Exercise of Arms • Conclusion •

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Chapter 16: Death and Memory

Preparing for Death • Cause of Death • Funerals • Memorialization and Posterity • Conclusion •

448



Chapter 17: Conclusion Notes Appendix I:

Lands held by resident titled nobles in 1641, ranked according to size. Appendix II: Office holding and political activity of resident peers, c.1600–c.1690. Appendix III: Military and political activity of resident peers during the 1640s. Appendix IV: Peers recorded in the 1660 poll tax (the so-called ‘1659 census’). Appendix V: Attendance and activity in the House of Lords, 1661–6. Appendix VI: The land settlement and the process of restoration. Select Bibliography Index

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475 483 572 575 599 606 608 614 617 628

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Acknowledgements This book has been a long time in the writing. I first began working on it

in 1994 when I was teaching at Yale University. I had just published my biography of the marquis of Antrim (1609–1683) and wanted to know how ‘typical’ his experiences were. This book answers that question. A number of reasons explain why it took me so long to finish it. First, as so often happens with academics, I became sidetracked with various administrative duties first at the University of Aberdeen and later at Trinity College Dublin, and the responsibilities associated with being head of school in an era of restructuring left little time for anything else. Second, other projects simply distracted me. That said, some of these – on the early Stuart lawyers and the Dublin court of chancery, on the records of the Irish statute staple and, more recently, on the 1641 depositions – undoubtedly enriched this study. A major grant from the Leverhulme Trust (1999–2001) while I was at the University of Aberdeen allowed me to undertake the research for this book and a period of sabbatical (2008–9, 2010) from Trinity College Dublin gave me the time to write it. I am deeply grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for its financial support and to Aberdeen University and its then principal, Sir Duncan Rice, and Trinity College Dublin, especially the former provost, Dr John Hegarty, and the respective deans for arts and humanities, Iain Torrance and Michael Marsh. I particularly appreciated the support of my colleagues in the history department first at Aberdeen and then at Trinity, who helped to create the space needed to write, and especially my heads of department and my heads of school, Ciaran Brady, David Ditchburn, Roger Stalley and Brian McGing, together with Debra Birch, the administrator for the School of Histories and Humanities. A grant from the Arts and Social Sciences Benefactions Fund for 2008/9 funded the drawing of the maps and I would like to thank Dr Charles Travis, then a fellow in the Trinity Long Room Hub, for undertaking this task with such good grace and patience. Further grants from the Benefactions Fund (2010–11) and the Grace Lawless Lee Fund (2011) allowed for the inclusion

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A c k n ow l e d g e m e n t s

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of so many illustrations. Various grants allowed me to employ a number of gifted graduate research assistants, who have gone on to enjoy their own academic careers: Ali Cathcart, Eamon Darcy, Paul Dover, Éamonn Ó Ciardha and Barry Robertson. The secretarial support provided by Barbara McGillivray, from the history department at Aberdeen, and Judy Lee, from the history department at Trinity, was also greatly appreciated. I would also like to thank the staff of the following libraries for allowing me access to items in their holdings: Aberdeen University Library, the Beinecke Library at Yale, the British Library, the Folger Library in Washington DC, Marsh’s Library in Dublin, the National Library of Ireland, the National Library of Scotland and Trinity College Dublin Library. A number of institutions and individuals have graciously allowed me to reproduce as illustrations items from their holdings: the Castletown Foundation, the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees, the Hunt Museum, Limerick, the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Board of Trinity College, the Board of the National Library of Ireland, the Office of Public Works, Dublin and the Frick Collection in New York. A number of the key ideas in the book have been explored in seminars and at conferences: the Ireland Seminar at Hertford College, Oxford (1996); the Irish Studies in Britain Conference at the University of Stirling (2002); conferences on ‘Communities: Imagined and Actual’ and the British and Irish Legal History in University College, Dublin (2003); the British history research seminar at Merton College, Oxford (2007); the ‘Britain’s Wars Revisited’ symposium at Hull University (2008); the early modern seminars at the University of Bangor and the Erasmus University in Rotterdam (2008); the Irish Studies Seminar, Cambridge University (2009); the Newberry Library Fellows Seminar (2009); conferences on ‘Nobilities in early modern Ireland’ at NUI Galway and on ‘Ireland as a Laboratory of Empire’ at Derry (2009); a seminar on ‘Britain and the Habsburg Territories in Comparison’ at the German Historical Institute, London (2009); the Women’s History Association of Ireland conference on migration (2009); the Princess Grace’s Library seminar in Monaco (2010); the Atlantic History Seminar, New York University (2010); and the D. B. Quinn lecture at the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool (2010). I am grateful to the participants at these events for their insightful comments and suggestions for improvement. Over the course of the years I have incurred numerous intellectual debts to colleagues and students, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them: Robert Armstrong, Ronald Asch, Toby Barnard, Tom Bartlett, Ciaran Brady, Maurice Bric, Keith Brown, Ian Campbell, Nicholas Canny, Aidan Clarke, Tony Claydon, Tom Connors, Eamon Darcy, David Dickson, David Ditchburn, Declan Downey, Dave Edwards, Kevin Forkan, Robert von Friedeburg, Raymond Gillespie, Derek Hirst, Brendan Kane, Connie Kelleher,

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Phil Kilroy, Karen Kupperman, Ned Landsman, Joe Lee, Marion Lyons, Charlene McCoy, Margaret MacCurtain, Hector McDonnell, BrÍd McGrath, James Maguire, Annaleigh Margey, Hiram Morgan, John Morrill, Elaine Murphy, Éamonn Ó Ciardha, Mary O’Dowd, Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin Eleanor O’Keefe, Barry Robertson, Kevin Sharpe, Patricia Stapleton, Maryann Valiulis, Patrick Walsh, Bartolomé Yun-Casalilla and Steve Zwicker. During the course of the academic year 2010–11, I taught an undergraduate seminar on nobilities in early modern Ireland. My students, especially Frank Sanderson, made many perceptive comments on this manuscript. I am grateful to Kevin McKenny for allowing me to use his database on the Books of Survey and Distribution. Brian Mac Cuarta kindly commented on chapter 5 and John Cunningham made his helpful comments on chapters 4, 10 and 11. Rolf Loeber not only read sections of the manuscript but also suggested, with characteristic generosity, a number of the illustrations. I am particularly indebted to Hamish Scott and Micheál Ó Siochrú who read the manuscript in draft and made incredibly helpful suggestions for improving it. Professor Scott introduced me to the nobilities of early modern Europe as an undergraduate at St Andrews and Professor Ó Siochrú, an expert on early modern Ireland, is a colleague and close friend. Their input was above and beyond the call of duty. Robert Baldock from Yale University Press has been a model editor and I am deeply grateful to him for commissioning this book and for his patience as I completed it. I am also indebted to Yale’s anonymous readers for their comments and suggestions, to Rachael Lonsdale and Tami Halliday for their editorial support and to Richard Mason for being such a proficient copy-editor. Writing a big book like this is a solitary exercise and family and friends have helped to sustain me. I greatly appreciated the conviviality I enjoyed with the late Mary Clarke and with Robin Adams, Mary Apied, Trish Callaghan, David Ditchburn, Linda Doyle, Barbara Fennell, Jan and Ian Kerr, Margaret MacCurtain, Finn McMahon, Catherine Morris, John O’Hagan, Emma Stokes, Maryann Valiulis, and Daniel, Eva, Marina and Phoenix Williams. My greatest debts are to those who are closest to me. I am especially grateful to Phil Kilroy for her wisdom and friendship and to Simon Williams for his encouragement, good humour and companionship. My mother, Shirley Ohlmeyer, has been an unstinting supporter and will be relieved that this book is finally finished, as will my sons, Richard and Jamie, who have lived with it their entire lives. Over the years Richard and Jamie have been great sources of joy and of distraction. This book is dedicated to them. Jane Ohlmeyer Cruit Island, County Donegal, and Trinity College Dublin

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Illustrations Plates   1. Portrait of George Fitzgerald, sixteenth earl of Kildare, 1632. Reproduced with the permission of the Castletown Foundation.   2. Arthur Annesley, first earl of Anglesey, after John Michael Wright, 1676. Reproduced with the permission of the National Portrait Gallery, London.   3. Ulick Bourke, first marquis of Clanricarde, by an unknown artist. Reproduced with the permission of the National Portrait Gallery, London.   4. Miniature of Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork, by Isaac Oliver. Reproduced with the permission of the National Portrait Gallery, London.   5. James Butler, first duke of Ormond, after Sir Peter Lely. Reproduced with the permission of the National Portrait Gallery, London.   6. Elizabeth Preston, Lady Ormond, and Thomas Butler, later earl of Ossory, painted c.1637, attributed to David des Granges. Reproduced with the permission of the Office of Public Works, Dublin.   7. Donough MacCarthy, Viscount Muskerry. Reproduced with the permission of the Hunt Museum, Limerick.   8. Anne (Carey), countess of Clanbrassil, by Anthony Van Dyck, c.1636. Reproduced with the permission of the Frick Collection.   9. Lady Arran’s funeral, 1668. Reproduced with the permission of the Board of the National Library of Ireland. 10. Jones funeral monument in St Patrick’s, Dublin. 11. Boyle funeral monument in St Patrick’s, Dublin. 12. James Cranford, The teares of Ireland wherein is lively presented as in a map a list of the unheard off [sic] cruelties and perfidious treacheries of bloodthirsty Jesuits and the popish faction . . . (London, 1642). Reproduced by the courtesy of the Board of Trinity College. 13. Arms of the Butlers of Mountgarret. Reproduced with the permission of the Board of the National Library of Ireland.

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14. Portumna castle, County Galway. Reproduced with the permission of Professor Rolf Loeber. 15. Sir Thomas Philip’s drawing of Carrickfergus. Reproduced with the permission of the Board of the National Library of Ireland. 16. Detailed drawing of Charlemont fort, showing the great mansion built in the early decades of the seventeenth century. Reproduced with the permission of the Board of the National Library of Ireland. 17. Bunratty castle, seat of the O’Briens of Thomond, from the north, drawn in the late seventeenth century. Reproduced with the permission of the Board of the National Library of Ireland. 18. Lismore castle, seat of the Boyles of Cork, in the early seventeenth century. Reproduced with the permission of the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees. 19. Clancarthy house in the later seventeenth century, Dublin. Reproduced with the permission of the Board of the National Library of Ireland. Maps (Based on the Books of Survey and Distribution)   1. Top 20 titled landholders in 1641.   2. Top 20 titled landholders in c.1670.   3. Titled landholding in County Dublin in 1641 (see also William Smyth, Map-making, Landscapes and Memory: A Geography of Colonial and Early Modern Ireland c.1530–1750 [Cork, 2006], pp. 237, 240).   4. Titled landholding in Munster, 1641.   5. Butler landholding in Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny, 1641 (see also William Smyth, Map-Making, Landscapes and Memory: A geography of Colonial and Early Modern Ireland c.1530–1750 [Cork, 2006], pp. 284, 317).   6. Titled landholding in Ulster in 1641 (see also Philip Robinson, The Plantation of Ulster: British Settlement in an Irish Landscape, 1600–1670 [Dublin, 1984]).   7. Catholic titled landholding (top 20 resident peers) in 1641.   8. Catholic titled landholding (top 20 resident peers) in c.1670.   9. Protestant titled landholding (top 20 resident peers) in 1641. 10. Protestant titled landholding (top 20 resident peers) in c.1670.

pages 90 92

96 102

110 115 303 304 306 307

Tables 1. Ethnic breakdown of all peers in 1603, 1628 and 1641. 2. Ethnic composition of the resident peerage in 1603, 1628 and 1641.

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3. Breakdown by rank of resident peerage. 4. Ethnic composition of the resident peerage in 1641, 1670 and 1685. 5. Inheritance amongst resident peers. 6. Size of estates held by resident peers in 1641. 7. Ethnic breakdown of lands held by resident peers in 1641. 8. Titled landholding, c.1670. 9. Geographic extent of titled landholding at provincial and county levels, c.1670. 10. Intensity of titled landholding at the county level, c.1670. 11. Titled noble landholders in County Dublin in 1641 and c.1670 (in plantation acres). 12. Titled landholding in Munster in 1641. 13. Antrim leases (1637): type of lease granted. 14. Religious breakdown of the resident peerage. 15. Marriages of resident peers, c.1600–c.1690. 16. Geographic origin of 421 wives of resident peers (based on wives’ fathers), c.1600–c.1690. 17. Social status of wives of resident peers (based on wives’ fathers), c.1600–c.1690. 18. Succession status of resident peers’ wives, c.1600–c.1690. 19. Peers or close family members awarded lands in Connacht. 20. Length of leases on Lady Ormond’s estates, 1655–60. 21. Titled landholders in c.1670 with estates over 20,000 plantation acres. 22. Winners, c.1670. 23. Survivors, c.1670. 24. Catholic survivors, c.1670. 25. Catholic losers, c.1670. 26. Estimates of landed wealth in c.1635 of titled nobles in east Ulster. 27. Subsidy assessments after the Restoration and landholding in c.1670. 28. The earl of Cork’s income, 1638–44. 29. The earl of Cork’s expenditure, 1637–41. 30. Spread of ages at death of resident peers. 31. Place of burial of resident peers.

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pages 42 48 58 89 89 93 93 94 97 107 121 136 179 184 190 192 289 294 308 312 323 324 332 368 370 377 402 452 462

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Figures   1. The marriages of the Boyles of Cork, 1620–42.   2. Family tree of the Boyles of Orrery.   3. Family tree of the Annesley family.   4. The earl of Cork’s income, 1638–44.   5. Monies borrowed by the duke of Ormond, 1641–50.   6. The occupations of the duke of Ormond’s creditors, 1641–50.   7. The earl of Cork’s expenditure, 1637–41.   8. The monthly balance of account and income on the Boyle estates, 1638–44.   9. House of Ormond, wider lineage. 10. House of Ormond, nuclear family.

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1 This unusual portrait, attributed to the ‘Irish school’, depicts George Fitzgerald, sixteenth earl of Kildare (c.1612–1660), wearing a luxurious fur-lined scarlet robe over a simple linen shirt. The robe is reminiscent of the ‘mantles’ worn by great Gaelic chieftains and serves as a reminder of Kildare’s ancestry and Catholic lineage. Despite his Protestantism and his marriage in 1630 to a daughter of the first earl of Cork, Kildare continued to take seriously the traditional responsibilities associated with lordship.

2 Arthur Annesley, first earl of Anglesey (1614–1686), was the son of a planter and entrepreneur who made good during the early decades of the seventeenth century. Anglesey benefitted hugely from the restoration land settlement and played a key role in later Stuart Ireland and Britain where he served as Lord Privy Seal. Michael Wright, who painted many leading Irish aristocrats in the 1660s and 1670s, depicts Anglesey in this portrait at the height of his power in 1676. Shortly after this he quarrelled publically with Ormond and fell from favour.

3 Ulick Bourke, first marquis of Clanricarde (1604–1658), depicted here in armour was head of one of the great Catholic, Old English dynasties. Clanricarde grew up in England, where he held considerable estates near Tunbridge Wells in Kent and enjoyed many kin links to leading English aristocratic houses. Thanks to his connections with influential figures at the Caroline court he served as an important broker for the Catholic interest at Whitehall in the pre-war years. A staunch supporter of the Stuarts, he spent most of the 1640s on his vast patrimony at Portumna, near Galway.

4 This exquisite miniature of Richard Boyle, the ‘upstart’ earl of Cork (1566– 1643), by Isaac Oliver represented him in the 1610s at the point when his career as a landed entrepreneur was about to take off. The second son of a Kentish squire, Cork arrived in Ireland in 1588 virtually penniless but went on to acquire a vast territorial empire in Munster. By 1641 he was reputed to be the richest man in the Stuart kingdoms. Father to seven sons and eight daughters, Cork consolidated the Boyle network with a series of astute marriages with local settlers and established aristocratic families.

5 James Butler, first duke of Ormonde (1610–1688), was head of Ireland’s premier aristocratic dynasty and the greatest landowner in the country. As lord lieutenant of Ireland and as lord steward of the royal household he was one of the most influential political figures in later Stuart Britain and Ireland. This striking portrait painted during the mid-1660s, at the height of his power, represents Ormond wearing his Order of the Garter robes and holding in his right hand the wand of office of lord steward of the household. The plumed hat to Ormond’s right adds a sense of lustre and opulence.

6 This unusual portrait of Elizabeth Preston, Lady Ormond (1615–1684) and her eldest surviving son, Thomas Butler, later earl of Ossory (1634–1680), was painted in c.1637 and has been attributed to David des Granges. Lady Ormond was the grand daughter of the tenth earl of Ormond and when in 1629 she married her cousin, James, later first duke, the Ormond titles and patrimony were reunited. Their marriage was a happy one that lasted 55 years. Lady Ormond bore the duke two daughters and eight sons, none of whom outlived their father. It was Ossory’s son, James, who succeeded his grandfather as the second duke in 1688 but with the death of his brother in 1758 the line became extinct.

7 Donough MacCarthy, Viscount Muskerry and later earl of Clancarthy (1594–1665), was of Gaelic provenance and one of the great Catholic figures in Stuart Ireland. This portrait, possibly from the studio of Sir Peter Lely or by Garret Morphy, depicts him standing in armour with a curtain halfdrawn behind him and a castle, presumably his seat at Blarney, visible in the distance. He wears a long wig with a lace cravat at his neck and a gold and emerald sash around his waist and carries a walkingstick with a silver-gilt top in his hand. This desire to be represented as warriors, especially on the part of the Catholic peers, highlights the continuing importance of the exercise of arms in noble culture.

8 Sir Anthony Van Dyck’s fine full length portrait of Anne Carey, the eldest daughter of the duke of Monmouth, was painted shortly after her betrothal in 1635 to James Hamilton, second Viscount Claneboye and later earl of Clanbrassil, who had recently arrived in court after completing a continental Grand Tour. James was the son of a successful Scottish planter who had acquired extensive estates in East Ulster but wanted to demonstrate his ‘civility’ by securing an English bride for his heir.

9 Lady Mary Stuart, countess of Arran and Ormond’s teenage daughter-in-law, died of a fever in July 1668 and had an elaborately choreographed funeral the following month. After being embalmed Mary’s body was removed from her residence at Chapelisod to Lord Chancellor Eustace’s grand new house on Dame Street where ‘it lay in Blacks’, encircled by brightly coloured escutcheons and heraldic banners quartered with the arms of the Butlers of Ormond and the Stuarts of Lennox. As the drawing from the funeral entry shows wailing women, who appear to be acting as keeners, remained in constant attendance as ‘Ladies of Quality’ came to pay their respects and ‘multitudes of people…daily resorted thither’. Note the black servant in the bottom right hand corner.

10 This elaborate funeral monument in St. Patrick’s cathedral in Dublin commemorates Thomas Jones, archbishop of Dublin (c.1550–1619), and his son, Roger, Viscount Ranelagh (d. 1644). It shows the archbishop with churchman’s cap and gown. The recumbent figure of Viscount Ranelagh lies below clad in armour, highlighting the importance of military service for the newcomers (in fact Ranelagh died in Oxford and was buried there). He is surrounded by four female figures, presumably his three daughters and wife, while his son, Arthur, later second viscount (1610-1670) who is in civilian dress, kneels in prayer. Monuments such as this celebrated public service, military achievement and private virtue and provided for posterity a powerful visual record of an individual and his lineage.

11 The first earl of Cork combined the visual and the verbal in his family’s funerary monuments to portray his new and composite dynasty as an ‘ancient’ and honourable lineage. This is a photograph of Lady Cork’s tomb in St Patrick’s cathedral in Dublin, which shows her grandfather and parents at the top of the monument. The middle section depicts the countess and her sons and in the bottom tier her daughters kneel in prayer. The coats of arms of the families into whom the Boyles married frame the elaborate tomb and add further colour and splendour. This, like the other Boyle tombs, was a subtle work of propaganda that stressed the virtues of the family and its alliances, its continuities with the past and its potential for the future.

12 With the outbreak of rebellion in 1641 local insurgents seized the town and castle of Monaghan, together with Castle Blayney. They expelled Lord Blayney and took prisoner his wife, seven children and other members of his family and household. James Cranford represented the Blayney family’s incarceration in The teares of Ireland. A crude woodcut, aimed at stirring up anti-Catholic sentiment, depicted Lady Blayney and her children sitting on a pile of straw in front of a man hanging from a gallows. The caption reads: ‘the Lord Blany forced to ride 14 miles without bridle or sadell to save his life: his Lady lodged in strawe beeing allowed 2d a day to releve her & her children, [The insurgents] slew a kindsman of hers and hanged him up before her face [for] 2 dayes telling her she must expect the same to terrifie her the moore’.

13 The Catholic Butlers of Mountgarret, who owned considerable estates to the north of County Kilkenny, was a cadet branch of the house of Ormond. Of noble provenance and connected by marriage to many leading English Catholic families, the Mountgarret viscountcy dated from 1550. Coats of arms such as this, along with genealogies and pedigrees, focused on the nobleness and legitimacy of particular lineages and helped to differentiate them from the ‘upstarts’ who became peers during the early decades of the seventeenth century.

14 In 1618 the fourth earl of Clanricarde built an exquisite, three storey, rectangular mansion house at Portumna near Galway with an impressive entrance over a basement. Distinctive renaissance features, such as the Dutch gables which are clearly visible in this photograph, highlight the importance of continental influences. Above all, Portumna was a grand English house, with its mullioned bay windows, freezes and ornate plasterwork. It was also fortified in that the projecting, angled towers had gun loops that provided flanking fire and inner and outer bawns, albeit ones that took the form of gardens. Portumna cost the fourth earl £10,000 to build and has been recently restored to its seventeenth-century splendour.

15 Sir Thomas Philip’s drawing of Carrickfergus showing, on the left, Carrickfergus castle and, on the right, Joymount, Lord Deputy Chichester’s great mansion. In 1618 Chichester (1563–1625) built Joymount, an elegant English mansion house that also boasted French architectural influences. An English visitor, William Brereton, described Joymount in 1635 as ‘a very stately house, or rather like a prince’s palace, whereunto there belongs a stately gate-house, and graceful terrace and walk before the house … A very fair hall there is, and a stately staircase and fair dining-room carrying the proportion of the hall; fine garden and mighty spacious orchards, and they say they bear good store of fruit.’

16 In 1623 Toby Lord Caulfeild, swordsman and landed entrepreneur, built a castle of lime and stone at Charlemount on a low hill overlooking the Blackwater river. Nicholas Pynnar’s fine coloured drawing of Charlemount depicts a square, four storey stone mansion house with numerous large windows, chimney stacks and an elaborate tower. External, trace italienne fortifications, a drawbridge, a substantial wooden bridge over the river and adjacent houses are also shown. Situated six miles west of Armagh and four miles south of Dungannon, Charlemount occupied a key strategic position in terms of defence of the Pale. Little wonder it was a prime target for the insurgents in October 1641.

17 The O’Briens of Thomond were of Gaelic provenance and amongst the largest landowners in Ireland. By the early seventeenth century earls had converted to Protestantism and thanks to a series of English marriages had become increasingly anglicized. Thomond’s magnificent seat was at Bunratty castle, drawn here by Thomas Dingley during the later seventeenth century, on the banks of the River Shannon in County Clare. An inventory of Bunratty castle, dating from 1639, recorded how the castle was furnished in great splendour and stood at the centre of a vibrant agricultural enterprise.

18 The earl of Cork embarked on an ambitious construction programme during the early decades of the century. His main seat was at Lismore castle in County Waterford, which adjoined the medieval cathedral and boasted one of the finest ‘polite’ gardens in Ireland with its raised walkway and terraces. In neighbouring County Cork he also built Castle Lyons and grand English mansions at Bandon and Youghal. Great houses like these, mushroomed up across Ireland, and facilitated the anglicization of the Irish landscape. They also represented powerful physical manifestations of the crown’s civilizing message.

19 By 1672 Sir William Petty suggested that over one fifth of the country’s big houses were located in Dublin and by the early eighteenth century it has been estimated that twenty-five to thirty peers maintained Dublin residences. Certainly, between 1660 and 1673 the city doubled its acreage. The area near St Stephen’s street and College Green was developed and new properties included a grand house, shown here in a drawing dating from 1683, that the earl of Clancarthy owned.

Conventions Unless indicated otherwise, dates throughout are given according to the Old (Julian) Calendar, which was used in Scotland, Ireland and England but not in most of continental Europe. The beginning of the year is taken, however, as 1 January rather than 25 March. Unless otherwise stated, all monetary values are sterling. Modern spellings have been preferred for proper names (especially people and places).

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Glossary Acre: units of measurement were not standardized; by the mid-seventeenth century the use of the ‘plantation’ or ‘Irish plantation measure’ (the terms are interchangeable) was common. One hundred Irish or plantation acres equalled 162 statute acres and 100 statute acres equalled 40.5 hectares. Thus a plantation acre was equivalent to an Irish acre and larger than a statute (or English) acre by a ratio of 1.62 to 1. Composition: a payment made by Protestant proprietors, during the Commonwealth period, to secure recovery of their sequestered estates from the state. Concealment: the practice of non-disclosure of a land title, to avoid payment of a feudal incident, or because of some defect of title that could lead to a resumption of the land by the Crown. Court baron and court leet: a manor court presided over by the steward of the manor. The function of the court baron was to maintain the records of the manor and settle problems between the landlord and his freehold tenants according to customary law. A jury composed of tenants and presided over by the lord’s factor gave judgements. The factor also played the role of judge in the ‘court leet’ administering, with the authority of the Crown, basic justice in minor criminal cases. Custos rotulurum: the person who had custody of the rolls and other records of the sessions of the peace. Debenture: a charge in writing of specified property with the repayment at a fixed time of the money loaned; the word was used in the Commonwealth period to describe the document that was issued to an ex-soldier stating his arrears of pay and confirming his entitlement to compensation for such arrears by an allocation of lands of equal worth and value out of the confiscated lands in Ireland.

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xix

Dower: the portion of a deceased husband’s estate which the law allows for his widow for her life. Entail: to settle land on a number of persons in succession, so that it cannot be bequeathed at pleasure by any one possessor. After 1660 this became known as the ‘strict settlement’. Fee farm: a fee-farm grant is a conveyance of a fee simple estate subject to the payment by the grantee and his successors in title of a perpetual rent of which there are three main categories: those creating the relationship of lord and tenant under the feudal system of landholding; those creating the modern landlord and tenant relationship; and those creating a rent-charge. Many of the fee-farm grants made in the seventeenth century were of the first kind. Feudal incidents: the incidents of tenure due by a tenant, holding in knight’s service to his lord, whether as tenant in capite or otherwise; the principal of these were as follows: Escheat: the reversion of title to land to the original grantee or lord of the fee by virtue of failure of the heir or attainder; in cases of the latter the forfeiture always went to the Crown. Homage: to render fealty and attend the lord’s court. Marriage: the right of the lord to choose the spouse of any tenant of his lordship, whether male or female. Relief: the payment due to the lord by the heir of full age as the price of his right to succeed as tenant, i.e. to sue out his livery; in the case of tenancies in capite the Crown had the right of primer seizen, i.e. the right to take possession of the land until the appropriate homage and relief had been rendered. Seisin: the act of giving possession of feudal property. Wardship: the right of the lord to manage, for his own profit, the estate of an heir of one of his tenants until he came of age, i.e. attained the age of twenty-one years. Gavelkind: a system of succession, by which land, on the decease of its occupant, was thrown into the common stock and the whole area redivided among the members of the sept; partible inheritance. Heir general: succession to a title through both the male and female lines. Inquisition: an inquest of office or inquiry conducted by an officer of the Crown such as a sheriff or escheator, concerning any matter that entitled the Crown to the possession of lands, tenements, etc. Jointure: the estate settled on a husband and wife before marriage in satisfaction and bar of the woman’s dower.

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G l o s s a ry

Knight’s service: a feudal tenure of land in which a specified quantity of land was described as a knight’s fee; as well as providing military service to the lord, the tenant had other burdens to fulfil, outlined under ‘feudal incidents’ above. Lease: a demise or letting of lands by one person the lessor, to another the lessee, for a term of years or life or at will, usually for a rent reserved. Letters patent: writings on a parchment given by the king and sealed with the great seal; the word patent signified that the writings of the document were open, ready to be shown for confirmation of the authority given by them; this was the usual form of conveying a grant of land by the Crown to an individual in Ireland in the seventeenth century. Mortgage: a conveyance, assignment or demise of real or personal estate as security for the repayment of money borrowed including, in the case of land, where the creditors enter into possession. Plantation acre: see ‘acre’ above. Primogeniture: the right of the eldest legitimate son to succeed to the title and to inherit property, to the exclusion of other claimants. Quit-rent: a fixed rent payable by freeholders; the term was adapted by the Acts of Settlement and Explanation to describe the rent payable by grantees or restored persons to the Crown, in lieu of earlier rents or services due to the Crown in respect of their estates. Sept: a clan or tribe. Socage: a tenure of land of a certain and determinate service. Statute staple: bonds of record entered into under the supervision of the mayor and constable of the staple, in staple towns, enabling recognisances to be entered into, for the lending of money and its subsequent repayment, under penalty of estreat. Tail: tail general is an estate limited to a man and the heirs of his body without restriction; tail female is an estate that limits the succession to females; tail male is a descent limited to a man and the heirs male of his body, and to subsequent generations claiming exclusively through males.

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Abbreviations BL British Library, London BL, Add. MSS   Additional Manuscripts BL, Harl. MSS   Harleian Manuscripts Bodl. Bodleian Library, Oxford Clarendon, Rebellion Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, The history of the rebellion and civil wars in England, ed. W. D. Macray (6 vols., Oxford, 1888) Comment. Rinucc. Richard O’Ferrall and Robert O’Connell, Commentarius Rinuccinianus, de sedis apostolicae legatione ad foederatos Hiberniae catholicos per annos 1645–9, ed. Rev. Stanislaus Kavanagh (6 vols., IMC, Dublin, 1932–49) CSPD Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, Second Series (23 vols., London, 1858–97) CSPI Calendar of State Papers relating to Ireland (24 vols., London, 1860–1911) CSPV Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts relating to English affairs, existing in the archives and collections of Venice and in other libraries of Northern Italy (38 vols., London, 1864–1947) DIB James McGuire, James Quinn (eds.), Dictionary of Irish Biography: From the Earliest Times to the Year 2002 (9 vols., Cambridge, 2009). GEC George E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom: Extant, Extinct or Dormant (13 vols., London, 1910–59)

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xxii

A b b r e v i at i o n s

Gilbert (ed.), J. T. Gilbert (ed.), A Contemporary History Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, From AD 1641 to 1653 . . . (3 vols., Irish Archaeological Society, Dublin, 1879) Gilbert (ed.), Irish J. T. Gilbert (ed.), History of the Irish Confederation Confederation and the War in Ireland, 1641–3 . . . (7 vols., Dublin, 1882–91) Grosart (ed.), Alexander B. Grosart (ed.), The Lismore Papers. First Lismore Papers [and the second] series . . . Edited with introd. and notes by Alexander B. Grosart from the original MSS. belonging to the Duke of Devonshire preserved in Lismore Castle (10 vols., London, 1886–8) HMC Historical Manuscripts Commission HMC, Ormonde Calendar of the Manuscripts of the marquess of Ormonde, preserved at Kilkenny Castle (Old and New Series, 11 vols., London, 1895–1920) IMC Irish Manuscripts Commission Lodge John Lodge, The peerage of Ireland: or, a genealogical history of the present Nobility of that kingdom. With engravings of their paternal coats of arms … by John Lodge; revised, enlarged and continued to the present time by Mervyn Archdall (7 vols., Dublin, 1789) MS/MSS Manuscript(s) NA The National Archives, Dublin NHI, III T. W. Moody, F. X. Martin and F. J. Byrne (eds.), A New History of Ireland. III: Early Modern Ireland 1534–1691 (Oxford, 1976, reprinted 1978) NLI National Library of Ireland, Dublin NS New series; or, in dating, New Style OS Old series; or, in dating, Old Style PRONI Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast SCL Sheffield City Library SNA Scottish National Archives TCD Trinity College Dublin TNA The National Archives, London TNA, SP   State Papers

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CHAPTER 1

Introduction In July 1668 the Irish resident peerage gathered to mourn the sudden and

premature death of the seventeen-year-old Mary Stuart, a granddaughter of the infamous first duke of Buckingham, daughter and heir of a great courtier

2

Making Ireland English

Lady Arran’s funeral was a public celebration of the Ormond dynasty and a powerful demonstration of the support the duke could command from amongst his peers and followers, many of whom had lined the route taken by the hearse. The funeral highlighted Butler influence in Ireland, the grandeur, nobleness and munificence of the family, together with its Englishness, especially its alliances with the great British houses of Buckingham and Lennox. The fact that the duke and his eldest sons were conspicuous by their absence at court, the seat of royal power and authority, simply underscored this and their intimate association with the house of Stuart. This book analyzes how the resident peers, many of whom participated in Lady Arran’s funeral, charted their way through a particularly transitional and tumultuous period. An inflation of honours, itself an exercise in social engineering dating from the 1610s and 1620s and often accompanied by significant grants of land, created numerous opportunities for advancement for both natives and newcomers. In 1603 the peers were predominantly of Catholic native Irish and Old English backgrounds. An inflation of honours allowed New English and Scottish lords to join their ranks to the point where the newcomers, many of whom were Protestant, predominated numerically and increasingly socially, economically and politically. During these years the Stuarts allowed a generation of ambitious and avaricious lords, who were determined either to consolidate their patrimonies and political influence or to make their fortunes in Ireland, to secure public reward and social recognition. These ‘new’ lords joined ranks with members of the established peerage. Together these men comprised Ireland’s leading landlords, politicians, military leaders, property developers, entrepreneurs and philanthropists. They exercised power and influence locally, nationally and across the Stuart kingdoms. Land underpinned their status as cultural, economic and political brokers, and provided the wealth needed to sustain their rank. This landed aristocracy helped to shape the face of early modern Ireland. This book examines the resident peerage as an aggregate of 91 families and not simply as individuals, many of whom are worthy of study in their own right. It represents a new departure in a number of ways. First, it charts how a reconstituted composite resident peerage of mixed faith and ethnicity assimilated the established Catholic aristocracy. Second, it offers an overview of 91 titled families, usually over three or four generations. It situates the fortunes of these lords, 311 men, in the social and political contexts in which they operated: as fathers, husbands and landlords in their territorial patrimonies; as power brokers in county and national politics; and as courtiers and influential figures in England.3 Third, by tracing the fortunes of the resident peerage over nearly a century, this book eschews the traditional chronological boundaries that shackle the study of early modern Ireland. This enables change over time to be tracked and the galvanic impact of expropriation, plantation and a decade of

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Introduction

3

civil war during the 1640s to be examined, especially on landholding. Fourth, this book assesses the agency of the peers in and their responses to many of the convulsive processes that gripped early modern Ireland, especially anglicization, Protestantization, commercialization and colonization. What emerges is a series of complex and, at times, contradictory stories of ruthless self-aggrandizement, of pragmatic assimilation and mutation, and of a dogged determination to pursue agendas – in themselves often ambiguous – that preserved or, where possible, enhanced prestige, social standing, material wealth and political power. Families exploited the favourable circumstances created by the wider political situation to consolidate landed power and in the instances of dynasties like the Boyles or Butlers used their family networks to assemble vast territorial empires. Yet even dynasties that prospered often struggled to produce a legitimate male heir and thereby secure the succession.4 The fact that only the resilient and lucky few survived and succeeded should not, however, blind us to the importance of those families who failed in this regard. Definitions For the sake of clarity it is important to define terms, particularly the meanings of ‘peerage’, ‘nobility’, ‘aristocracy’, ‘resident’ and ‘Irish’. In early modern Ireland the peers were a class of nobility who enjoyed a title (as duke, marquis, earl, viscount and baron), awarded to them by the English monarch, and had the privilege of sitting as temporal lords in the House of Lords, alongside the Protestant archbishops and bishops. The greater peers also formed the ruling aristocracy. Traditionally the term ‘aristocracy’ designated ‘rule by the best’. By the early modern period its meaning had begun to change and correspond with the modern sense of the word and to denote ‘the very top layer of the nobility’ rather than a particular system of government.5 In 1603 the aristocracy of Ireland comprised the Butlers of Ormond, Fitzgeralds of Kildare, Bourkes of Clanricarde, O’Briens of Thomond, O’Neills of Tyrone, O’Donnells of Tyrconnell and a handful of lesser lords, such as the Nugents of Delvin (and later Westmeath). The ranks of the aristocracy were neither fixed nor impermeable. Some dynasties, like the O’Donnells and O’Neills, fell from royal favour and were attainted and their lands forfeited. Upward social mobility also occurred as ‘new’ lineages joined the established ones. In the pre-1641 years the Boyles of Cork and MacDonnells of Antrim entered the ranks of the ruling aristocracy, and after 1660 a significant number of new Protestant families, the Annesleys of Anglesey, Aungiers of Longford, Boyles of Orrery and Jones of Ranelagh, together with established ones like the MacCarthys of Clancarthy or the O’Briens of Inchiquin, did likewise. These great aristocratic dynasties, together with the lesser titled houses, comprised the Irish peerage which was closely modelled on the English hereditary peerage.

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4

Making Ireland English

The nobility was a social order that encompassed the titled peerage, together with baronets, knights and the upper echelons of the gentry. The concept of nobility had its origins in the division of medieval society into three orders, or Estates. The First Estate, the clergy, prayed; the Second Estate, the nobility, fought; and the Third Estate, the rest of society, worked. Traditionally the European nobility, the Second Estate, had comprised mounted knights who in return for military service received lands and social, political and sometimes legal privileges from the king. Birth usually determined noble status, but it was also critical to behave nobly and to maintain a lifestyle that was regarded as being noble. In addition to a military role, which was transformed and strengthened by the tactical, technological and logistical developments associated with the Military Revolution, nobles were regarded as being the king’s natural counsellors and as the essential points of contact with the wider community, ensuring that the king’s writ reached the furthest corners of his kingdom. Government was the king’s business and increasingly nobles also held key offices in the administration and judiciary.6 How large was the nobility in Ireland? Across early modern Europe the nobility constituted between 1 and 1.5 per cent of the general population.7 Calculating with precision the numbers of nobles in seventeenth-century Ireland is impossible, so a guesstimate must suffice. In 1600 the population of Ireland was between approximately 750,000 and 1.4 million people, of whom between 7,500 and 14,000 (1 per cent) might have enjoyed noble status. In neighbouring Scotland, where population size and definitions of nobility were comparable, Keith Brown has estimated that 7,500 people enjoyed noble status and ‘the total size of the landed nobility was at least 1,500 heads of houses’.8 By 1641 the population of Ireland had increased to between 1.5 and 2.1 million people and the number of nobles presumably also rose, even if many of the newcomers were of lowly origins.9 Whatever the precise figure, the 311 peers who lived over the course of the seventeenth century and are the subjects of this book represented a tiny minority of the wider community of nobles. Yet these men quickly established themselves as the dominant social group in Irish society. By 1641 half of the resident peerage was Catholic and half Protestant. The peerage combined distinct ethnic groups: the native or Gaelic-speaking Irish; the Old English, as the descendants of the English-speaking Anglo-Norman invaders were known; the New English, as those who had migrated to Ireland from England since the 1530s were labelled; the Scots and the Welsh. The social background of these men was equally varied with 52 (out of 91) houses of ancient lineage or noble blood, including the Bourkes of Clanricarde, Butlers of Ormond, Fitzgeralds of Kildare, MacDonnells of Antrim and O’Briens of Thomond. The remaining 39 families, like the Boyles, Blayneys, Hamiltons, Sarsfields, Taaffes and Moores, were soldiers or from the gentry or mercantile classes

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Introduction

5

and thus regarded as arrivistes or upstarts.10 Whatever their background, these titled families, especially the ancient houses, held a disproportionately large amount of Irish land, at least 18 per cent in 1641 rising to 26 per cent by c.1670.11 They controlled a significant element of the country’s wealth, and the richest aristocrats in Ireland were on a par with the most prosperous English or Scottish lords.12 Men of money, power, prestige and privilege, the peers lived nobly and conspicuously. They acted as cultural brokers, dressing in the latest London fashions (see plates 4, 5 and 6), speaking English (though a significant number would have been native Irish speakers or bilingual), and living in ‘great houses’.13 The creation of a ‘service nobility’ is a central element of the argument developed throughout this book. The fact that peers were required to take the oath of supremacy before holding office ensured that the service nobility was predominantly Protestant, with only a handful of Catholic aristocrats holding senior legal or administrative positions or enjoying military commands in the Stuart army. Unable to hold office as their forebears had, the only political outlet for many recusant lords was the royal court at Whitehall and the Irish parliament, which only met sporadically, and even there they often opposed government policies. Hardly surprisingly, the fact that Catholics, especially those who had previously formed part of the ruling elite, were excluded from serving the king became a major grievance. The Old English poet and historian, Richard Bellings, justified the reluctant involvement of the Catholic lords in the 1641 rebellion on the grounds that they were denied adequate opportunity to serve: We have considered the condition of all the other kingdomes of Europe, and we are the sole subjects, who, being much the more numerous and powerfull, are made incapable of raysing our fortunes by serving our King in any place of honour, profitt, or trust, in that country wherin we were borne, and which God, of his providence, appointed us as a part of the earth which our ancestors for soe many hundred yeares did inhabit.14

Ironically it was during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which the 1641 rebellion helped to trigger, or in exile during the 1650s, that many of these lords finally secured an opportunity to serve the Stuarts. With the Restoration after 1660, Charles II endeavoured (not always successfully) to reward those who had stood by him in his darkest hour, but back in Ireland opportunities for service were once again restricted and limited to the Protestant peers. Deprived of opportunities to wield patronage, generate income and secure their noble honour, the continued exclusion of Catholics from holding office and bearing arms undoubtedly contributed to the long-term political and economic demise of Catholic lords, especially the lesser lineages.

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6

Making Ireland English

The term ‘resident’ peers also requires definition. The resident peers were those lords whose principal estates and interests were in Ireland even if, especially after 1660, the lord himself may have spent extended periods at court and acquired English estates. This group, the subject of this book, needs to be distinguished from those, usually Englishmen, who held Irish titles of honour but did not reside in Ireland nor own Irish lands and enjoyed few connections with that country. By 1628 nearly one-third of the seventeenthcentury peerage was non-resident and comprised a curious medley of entrepreneurs, upstarts and social climbers. Invariably these titled absentees were associated with the duke of Buckingham who viewed Irish titles as a resource that could be exploited in the interests of wider Stuart politics. During the late 1610s and 1620s he either sold Irish honours to enrich himself or used them to fob off tedious claimants who had insufficient money or political clout to secure an English peerage. Hardly surprisingly, Buckingham’s creations proved deeply controversial and had wider ramifications for Stuart politics as the sheer scale of the ennoblements alarmed many. The English peers were particularly horrified at the prospect of being outranked by an arriviste with a more senior Irish title.15 The established peers in Ireland were equally appalled and resented the fact that the link between land and title, so carefully nurtured by the Tudors, had been broken. Significant though these non-resident peers with Irish titles may have been, they do not feature in this book aside from a brief mention in chapter 2. The final term that requires definition is ‘Irish’, since ‘Irishness’ meant a variety of things to different people.16 Only the Gaelic-speaking Catholic natives regarded themselves as being truly ‘Irish’. Those of Anglo-Norman ancestry, such as the earls of Clanricarde or the Butlers of Ormond, consistently stressed their ‘Englishness’, often at the expense of their ‘Irishness’.17 Aidan Clarke’s seminal work on the political connections and cultural makeup of this ‘Old English’ community clearly demonstrates that throughout the first half of the seventeenth century they perceived themselves as the Crown’s loyal and devoted servants, and argued that their Catholicism in no way jeopardized their fealty to a Protestant prince nor their ability to serve him as their ancestors had done.18 Studies largely by Gaelic literary scholars, especially Breandán Ó Buachalla, suggest that after the defeat in the Nine Years War (1594–1603) and the ‘Flight of the Earls’ in 1607 the native Irish, while acknowledging the centrality of Catholicism to their identity, increasingly adopted the same conciliatory, politique attitude towards the Crown that had traditionally characterized the Old English.19 Despite prohibitions against extensive intermarriage and cultural crossassimilation, both had occurred between the native Irish and the Old English, with the result that many members of the former had become anglicized and the latter gaelicized. Predictably, this blurred boundaries between ‘Irishness’

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Introduction

7

and ‘Englishness’ and allowed Catholic peers to juggle identities. Some – like the Butlers of Mountgarret or the Barnewalls of Kingsland – touted their ‘Englishness’ when it was politically expedient to do so.20 Though of Scottish provenance and married to a prominent Englishwoman, the marquis of Antrim was born in Ireland, spoke Irish and upheld traditional Gaelic values. He sincerely wanted to succeed in, and be accepted by, very different worlds; to be both lauded by Gaelic bards on either side of the North Channel and painted by Van Dyck.21 A man of all three kingdoms, Antrim nevertheless remained a committed Catholic. For Antrim and so many of the recusant peers, religious belief fundamentally shaped identity. Lords did everything possible to prevent children being schooled by Protestants, and the fact that they sent children to be educated abroad at continental colleges underscored this devotion to Catholicism. The conversion to Protestantism of leading native Irish and Old English lords further complicated matters around identity. Some, such as the O’Briens of Thomond who converted to Protestantism in the late sixteenth century, downplayed their Irish origins and represented themselves as ‘English’. By the 1670s, Henry, the eldest son of the seventh earl of Thomond (and greatgrandson of the distinguished ‘civilizing’ fourth earl), urged his own heir ‘to cherish the English uppon his estate and driue out the Irish, and specially those of them whoe are under the name of gentlemen’.22 One of the best documented Old English families are the Butlers of Ormond, who by 1660 had become Ireland’s premier lineage. Of Anglo-Norman descent and Irish ancestry, the twelfth earl and later first duke of Ormond was born (and died) in England and made much of being English. Did contemporary writers render the Butlers of Ormond as ‘English’ (as they appear to have seen themselves), as ‘Irish’ (by virtue of their ancestry), or as ‘British’ (as they might be termed today)?23 Or were they more concerned with depicting the family’s sense of honour and dignity or, in the case of the Butler women, their virtue? Many contemporary English-speaking poets referred to Butler links with England, ‘our British world’ and the ‘British Empire’, rather than Ireland. However, these allusions were secondary to the poets’ concerns to portray the first duke of Ormond as a loyal servant to the Stuarts, as a premier courtier and as an extraordinary statesman, and his son Thomas, the first earl of Ossory, as a great military hero.24 In particular, elegies written in the wake of the deaths of Ossory, the first duke and his duchess, celebrated their lives and lineage, their military achievements, their public service and their private virtue together with their loyalty to sovereign, family and friends.25 Native Irish commentators challenged this representation. According to one Capuchin chronicler, ‘The family remained loyal to the English Crown in Ireland through good times and bad, for the sake of their own advantage, and during that time they contracted many marriages with the English; this

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8

Making Ireland English

very man [the duke of ] Ormond himself . . . had an Englishwoman for his mother, which is why he behaved like an Englishman among Englishmen’. Of course, identity was slippery and complex and could alter according to time, place and circumstance, and Ormond, like so many of his contemporaries, enjoyed multiple identities. Of his ‘Irishness’ the same chronicler claimed that the duke was descended from Irish ancestors over more than four centuries; he was bound by manifold binding ties of association with several of the best Irish families, and he had in Ireland estates, dependants, and numerous powerful off-shoots of his own extended family. He spoke the Irish language as well as English with elegance, and insisted among Irishmen that he was the most Irish Irishman of all.26

The earl of Meath concurred and claimed that Ormond was ‘as Irish as any man’.27 No doubt Ormond, like Thomond and others of their ilk, used his ‘Irishness’ when it was politically expedient to do so, but this should not disguise Ormond’s commitment to promoting the English (and Protestant) interest in Ireland. The ‘New English’ settlers, Catholic and Protestant alike, who colonized Ireland from the 1530s, flaunted their ‘Englishness’.28 However, as Toby Barnard’s insightful study of the collective mentality of the Protestant community demonstrates, the onset of the First English Civil War after 1642 forced Protestants living in Ireland to choose between king and Parliament and caused something of an identity crisis for many. Those who opted for Charles I continued to tout their ‘Englishness’; while those who sided with Parliament and later Oliver Cromwell viewed themselves primarily as Protestants of Ireland. Increasingly, religion became ‘the surest touchstone of reliability’, preparing the ground for the Protestant ascendancy of the eighteenth century and for Ireland’s emergence as ‘a part of the European ancien regime’.29 The other distinct ethnic group that settled in Ireland were the Scots. The first generation of ‘Scottish peers’ retained a strong sense of Scottish identity, but with the passage of time and presumably in a desire to become assimilated they became ever more ‘Irish’ (if Catholic) and ‘English’ (if Protestant). For example, when the earl of Mount Alexander, whose grandfather had settled in east Ulster at the turn of the century, died in 1663, no mention was made of his Scottish origins. The Montgomery family chronicler simply noted that the earl had no love or hatred ‘solely for country sake: English, Scotts and Irish were welcome to him, yet he liked and esteemed the English most (both his ladys being such)’.30 Clearly, Mount Alexander was not alone, and the extent to which it is appropriate even to label the descendants of the first generation of settlers as ‘Scottish’ is debatable. Like migrants throughout early

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Introduction

9

modern Europe, the Scottish lords who settled in Ireland often had problems in describing themselves. Instead of identifying with their place of birth they increasingly looked to their host nation, where they enjoyed rank and status, and to their monarch, as the source of honour and continued reward. Marriage, education, travel and socializing, together with shared concepts of honour and mutually beneficial political and economic agendas, also cut across ethnic and religious divides and helped to forge a common sense of aristocratic identity. Protocol and ritual regulated and reinforced the status and privilege this social group enjoyed. Thus in Ireland, as elsewhere in early modern Europe, identity formation proved an ongoing and multilayered process that was defined and redefined by prevailing political, religious and socio-economic developments.31 Making Ireland English The core argument of this book is simple: how the resident peers helped to make Ireland English.32 It illustrates how the Stuart sovereigns exercised imperial power over a troublesome dominion and how a particularly English institution, the hereditary peerage, was successfully transferred to Ireland where it served as an effective instrument in the Crown’s efforts to ‘civilize’ and anglicize.33 Victor Treadwell in his study of the duke of Buckingham in Ireland suggested that ‘Whether motivated by consideration of public policy or private interest, Buckingham was a major agent of “Britishization”. In particular, the proliferation of Irish honours and the promotion of plantation contributed to the interpenetration of English and Irish society at several levels.’34 This book suggests otherwise and argues that Buckingham’s agenda was an English rather than a British one. The Crown had long harboured ambitions to impose on Ireland an English legal, political, administrative, tenurial and honour system, together with the English language and religion (Protestantism), along with English ‘civility’ – dress, customs, codes of behaviour – and English (lowland) economic and agricultural practices.35 What distinguished the Stuarts from their predecessors was their ability to drive forward an imperial agenda in Ireland in a way not hitherto possible. James VI and I, who acceded to the throne of the three kingdoms in 1603, needed to capitalize on Elizabeth I’s hard-won victory over the earl of Tyrone and his followers at the end of the Nine Years War and, as one historian noted, move from ‘aristocratic to direct rule’.36 To achieve this, the king needed to reform his unruly subjects, to tame the overmighty lords, to replace ‘thuggery and feuding’ with ‘law and order’, and to channel labour into production rather than destruction. Yet even during the early modern period, the personalities of the monarchs and their ministers, a chronic lack of financial resources and changing

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priorities tempered metropolitan policies and attitudes towards Ireland.37 As a result, state-sponsored imperialism, which promoted military conquest, plantation and active colonization, was pursued throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries alongside more reforming assimilationist policies. With the completion of the military conquest of Ireland in 1603, the Crown aimed to establish – at the national, provincial and local levels – political, administrative and legal control over all elements of Irish society, and especially over the semi-autonomous warlords, the most powerful of whom had been ennobled by the English Crown. Closely linked to this was the determination to secure, wherever possible, religious conformity with the Church of Ireland. Alongside political subjugation and conversion to Protestantism stood cultural assimilation and the need to reform ‘uncivil’ natives and to anglicize their apparently barbarous customs, practices and culture. Finally, a combination of reform initiatives in the 1540s, 1570s and 1580s, together with official plantation and unregulated colonization, transformed the legal basis on which land was held in Ireland and thereby reconfigured the country’s economic and tenurial infrastructure in accordance with English commercial models, patterns of landowning and inheritance practices (namely primogeniture and entail). The creation of a hereditary peerage, which after the passage of the Kingship Act (1541) comprised all of the king’s Irish subjects, was an essential element of this package of reforms. Collectively these strategies, though often couched in the rhetoric of civility, effectively amounted to a form of imperialism that sought to exploit Ireland for England’s political and economic advantage, to anglicize the native population and to make Ireland English. The burden of implementing these policies in Ireland fell to the chief governors, Arthur Chichester, later baron of Belfast (1605–15), Thomas Wentworth, later earl of Strafford (1633–40), and James Butler, later duke of Ormond (1643–50, 1662–9 and 1677–85); but also to government officials, Church of Ireland clergy, lawyers and local lords. The majority of these imperial agents were Protestant newcomers or converts. However, given the scale of the enterprise and the lack of central funds, Irish Catholics, especially members of the traditional social and ruling elite, many of whom were incorporated into the resident peerage, were encouraged to serve as exemplars of civility and, whether wittingly or not, they collectively facilitated the implementation of civilizing policies on their estates across Ireland. Yet their involvement in these processes also afforded them an opportunity to negotiate compromises that best suited their personal circumstances and political ambitions. As a result, rather than being seen as passive victims, many Irish Catholics proved reactive and responsive to civilizing schemes. Moreover, the fact that English imperialism in Ireland lacked any overriding, coherent and consistent framework allowed some Catholics, especially the peers, together with many Protestant planters,

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not only to co-opt the colonial processes to strengthen their regional power bases but even to subvert the original civilizing agenda. As a result, multiple colonizations, occurring at a variety of levels, took place at different times and with varying degrees of intensity during this era. Hardly surprisingly, then, no neat imperial or civilizing model can be easily applied to early modern Ireland, something that the composite make-up of the peerage itself reflects. Structure This book offers an overview of the making of Ireland’s aristocracy during the century after 1570. The first seven decades of the seventeenth century – the reigns of James VI and I, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and Charles II – are its primary focus. The re-Catholicizing policies of James II and VII and the wider significance of the events of 1690–1 receive limited analysis.38 The remaking of Ireland’s nobility during the reign of William III is not examined here but has received some scholarly attention elsewhere.39 A rigorous study of the Williamite land settlement and how it impacted on the exercise of noble power remains to be written. This book is divided into three parts. The first part (chapters 2–6) analyzes the political, cultural and religious reconstitution of Ireland’s peerage in the century after 1590 and charts the emergence of a Protestant service nobility. Chapter 2 offers a chronological overview of the structural reform of the resident peerage and provides detailed ‘snapshots’ of the peerage in its entirety at key dynastic and political intervals: 1603, 1628, 1641, 1670 and 1685. Three developments characterized this process of reconstruction. First, the Tudor and Stuart monarchs combined Gaelic, Old English, New English and Scottish lords of both faiths into a composite peerage, and immediately created tensions by allowing only Protestants to enjoy the full benefits of high administrative, legal and military office. Second, the inflation of honours, which began with the surrender and regrant programme of the mid-sixteenth century and peaked in the 1620s, accompanied by significant grants and transfers of land, allowed for intense upward social mobility as a generation of parvenus and adventurers secured titles, property and office. Third, the Crown created in Ireland an aristocracy which, by 1660, was identified almost exclusively with the parliamentary peerage. A corresponding cultural transformation occurred, which sometimes conflicted with these political developments and sometimes complemented them. Chapter 3 examines this cultural transformation of the titled nobility from a noble elite that drew its status primarily from blood, lineage and standing within a community to one determined by royal service and a title held from the king. The process was messy and contested especially by those Catholics who felt that they had been displaced by upstarts. Honour, central to the noble cultures of both native

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and newcomer, was the glue that bound together early modern noble society, and by 1641 ideas of honour, centred on the king and royal service, became dominant and formed an important part of wider anglicizing and civilizing processes. Chapter 4 focuses on land, the basis for political power in seventeenthcentury Ireland, and demonstrates how by 1641 the hierarchy of landownership was effectively mapped onto the status hierarchy which the peerage represented. Land, inherited through the practice of male primogeniture and entail, also provided the wealth that sustained a lineage and during the 1640s the fighting men it needed to wage war. This chapter documents the new patterns of land ownership and analyzes the landholding of the ‘top twenty lords’ in 1641 and c.1670, paying particular attention to the provinces of Munster and Ulster which underwent extensive programmes of plantation and colonization. Religion is the focus of chapter 5. In 1603 the vast majority of Irish peers were Catholic, but a combination of conversions and new Protestant creations ensured that by 1641 the religious composition of the resident peerage had changed very dramatically indeed: roughly half were Catholic and the other half Protestant. This chapter analyzes the attitudes of the peers towards religion. In particular it examines the relationship between the Stuarts (all but James II and VII were Anglican) and their Catholic subjects, especially the dogged determination of the recusant lords to maintain their faith even when it resulted in the state questioning their loyalty and depriving them of office. Finally, this chapter examines conversions and particularly the Crown’s use of wardship to secure converts to the ‘English religion’ as part of a wider civilizing mission. Contemporaries were conscious of the extent to which marriage served as a means of anglicization. Marriage, the subject of chapter 6, was a key event in a person’s life cycle and was quite literally the lifeblood for any titled family. A good marriage could bring a family immediate financial benefits (in terms of cash and lands), as well as providing access to influential political and patronage networks and to prestigious social circles. Above all the right wife would provide a lineage with a male heir to continue the line. The challenges involved in identifying a suitable bride, anxieties about her ethnic, social and religious background, and the economic and political significance of marriage are discussed in this chapter. The chapters 7–12 in part II of this book offer a broadly chronological overview of the role that the peers played in politics – parliamentary, courtly, national and regional – between the 1610s and the 1680s. Chapter 7 highlights the importance of the royal court in London, the ‘nerve centre’ of politics, as the place where policy was formulated, patrons were secured, patronage and clientage were exercised, matches were made, and bad habits and debts acquired. Above all the court allowed Irish peers to gain direct access to, and

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forge relationships with, the person of the monarch, the fount of all honour, along with his family and favourites. This chapter also analyzes the role that peers played in central and local government and how they exercised power on their estates. The contribution that the peers made to parliamentary politics, especially in the parliaments of 1613, 1634 and 1640–1, is fully discussed in chapter 8. The resident peerage in Ireland viewed itself as a fighting class or a military caste for whom service on the battlefield continued to be inextricably linked to a lord’s public and private sense of honour and virtue. Chapter 9 on ‘civil war’ offers a sustained discussion of this and analyzes the military and political contributions the peers made to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639– 52), as the conflict between the subjects of Charles I is now known. The 1640s also provide a fascinating case study illustrating how relations between the monarch and his peerage broke down and also how tensions, often around religion, came to the fore. The Cromwellian military reconquest paved the way for another round of expropriation on a scale that not even Edmund Spenser or Thomas Wentworth would have imagined possible. Chapter 10 illustrates how the completion of the Cromwellian conquest reduced the resident peerage, especially those lords with royalist and confederate track records, to particularly low ebbs. In a world where land, wealth and power were inextricably linked, expropriation represented a profound threat to their status and their very existence as a privileged group in Irish society. Some peers preferred exile on the Continent to remaining in Ireland. There they eked out existences as political refugees at the royal court in exile or as military entrepreneurs. Others took their chances at home, and this chapter examines their fate and their strategies for survival. Chapters 11 and 12 focus on the fortunes of the resident peerage in the 1660s, 1670s and 1680s. The implementation of the land settlement, which defined the lives of lords for the remainder of the century, is discussed in chapter 11. For many the land transfers were largely complete by 1670 but for some, attempts to recover former estates dragged on for another decade and beyond. Who were the ‘winners’, ‘survivors’ and ‘losers’? The focus of chapter 12 is political life after 1660. It offers a detailed assessment of the role that the resident peers played in the Irish parliament of 1661–6 and the importance of Dublin as a political, social and economic centre. The restoration of the Stuarts created expectations amongst members of the Catholic peerage that they would be restored to their estates and that they would be allowed to serve their king at home, as many had during the 1640s or in exile. They were to be bitterly disappointed: it was their Protestant counterparts who benefited most from the frenzied scramble for land after 1660, held the highest offices and the senior military commands. This changed, however, with the accession of James II and VII in 1685 when the king favoured

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Catholics over Protestants and thereby alienated the latter. This chapter explores how the peers navigated the political factionalism and sectarianism of these years. The third and final part of this book (chapters 13–16) returns to a thematic discussion of the vertical bonds that sustained the peerage: income, wealth, borrowing, expenditure, kinship, family, education and death. One of the key features of the seventeenth century was the emergence of a commercially oriented, money-driven economy which privileged relationships between a lord and his tenant and focused on the production of marketable goods that could be exchanged for cash. Moreover the nobility now needed access to money – or credit – in order to fund lifestyles commensurate with their status and privileged position in society. Chapter 13 attempts to determine levels of wealth and landed income and explores how the peers made their money. Detailed case studies for leading aristocrats highlight the extent to which lords behaved as landed entrepreneurs and improving landlords, maximizing returns from mixed farming and agriculture and diversifying their income streams through proto-industrial activities or by acting as money lenders. Finally, chapter 13 examines the economic infrastructure that the peers established as they developed urban settlements and internal communications, provided funding and leadership for commercial and proto-industrial enterprises and, increasingly, involved themselves in trading networks and overseas expansionism. Expenditure is the focus for chapter 14. It examines patterns of conspicuous consumption and the strategies that families adopted for dealing with short- and long-term indebtedness. The continuities with traditional practices are often difficult to document. Nevertheless, chapter 15 examines the importance of lordship and how ties of blood, marriage, fosterage and clientage allowed, on the one hand, for the growth of powerful and geographically widespread lordships/lineages and, on the other, underpinned the exercise of political and military power, together with the trust relationships that facilitated economic exchange and high-level social interactions. The chapter also examines the wider significance of noble households and the hospitality associated with the ‘great house’. The continuities with the past, as embodied in the lordship/lineage, were real, but this was also a period of transition and the family unit, which comprised parents and children who were linked by blood or affinity, became increasingly important thanks to the primacy of primogeniture. The begetting and safe delivery of children, especially male heirs, who represented the future of any dynasty, and then equipping them with the life skills necessary to provide military and political leadership, became a priority and are explored here. Chapter 16 examines death, the final rite of passage, and discusses how noble families used death and especially funerals to mark the achievements – past, present and future – of the wider lineage. The rituals that surrounded death

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serve as a potent reminder of the general importance of ritual in helping to forge a sense of aristocratic identity and privilege. Many themes run throughout the chapters of this book, a number of which would be worthy of further study. For example, the cultural patronage and intellectual worlds of the nobility are not as fully explored here as one might wish. That said, this book has benefited enormously from pioneering scholarship on material culture by Toby Barnard, Raymond Gillespie and Jane Fenlon. The English, Scottish and continental influences on the construction of noble houses and gardens, and the acquisition of artworks and other luxury possessions, were very real.40 Recent work on Irish libraries has done much to illuminate the reading and collecting habits of the Irish elite, along with their intellectual worlds.41 The cultural patronage of great aristocrats like Ormond or Orrery has received some attention but also merits further analysis.42 Space precludes a detailed discussion of the relationships between the peerage and members of the landed gentry, the merchants and the professional classes.43 Yet these were the people who sustained a lord and his lineage, occasionally becoming visible in estate papers, inquisitions, wills, the 1641 depositions, records that detail debt and the land surveys. Members of the gentry comprised a lord’s chief tenants. They leased his lands, paid him rents, improved his property by building stone houses and planting orchards, attended his schools, worshipped in his church, formed the cortege at his funeral, helped to maintain law and order across his estate, and represented his interests in the wider community by serving as magistrates, justices of the peace and MPs. The ‘quality’ socialized with their lord, joining him for a celebratory dinner, a wedding feast, a game of cards, at a hunt or at the race course. Loyal during times of war, the gentry formed the backbone of a peer’s armies and at moments of crisis, especially during the 1650s, many did what they could to protect their lord’s interests. Even less is known about those further down the social hierarchy. These men ploughed a lord’s land, carried his water, drove his cattle to market, served as domestic servants, grooms and gardeners in his household, turned out during moments of celebration and mourning, and comprised the cannon fodder in his forces. More fully documented are the merchants who represented a very important link between a peer and the wider community, as they bought agricultural produce and livestock from a lord’s estate, provided him with goods and served as important sources of credit. Over the course of their lives, peers also interacted regularly with the professional classes, the clergy, lawyers and physicians, who ministered to them, litigated for them and cured their ailments.44 Only detailed cadastral and prosoparagraphic studies of individual lordships or regions will fully untangle these interlocking sets of relationships and allow for a better understanding of the local importance especially of the lesser lords.

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Just as each of these social groups, especially the gentry, and the relationships and dependencies between them await detailed analysis, so too does the history of the noble family – of children and grandchildren, and of the relationships between parents and their offspring and between siblings – in early modern Ireland.45 Here methodologies developed by gender historians on manhood and masculinities in early modern England might usefully enrich the study of the resident peerage, much as have recent studies of honour (see chapter 3 below).46 Gender history is essentially about power: the social relations of power, the formal exercise of power, and the mediation of power between men and women, between women and women, and between men and men. In her work Alexandra Shepard, has decoupled ‘manhood and patriarchy’ in order to ‘discern the full complexity of the workings of gender in a society’.47 She has demonstrated that for early modern England ‘stark hierarchies of age, social status, and marital status’ interacted with ‘gender hierarchies to produce a complex multi-dimensional map of power relations which by no means privileged all men or subordinated all women’. By moving away from a concept of gender ‘defined exclusively in terms of a male-female dichotomy’, she has enriched traditional understandings of patriarchy and recovered a ‘multiplicity of gender identities’.48 A history of masculinity in early modern Ireland awaits its historian, as do discussions about what the social and cultural constructions of maleness, manhood and manliness meant. Manliness, for instance, was a social as well as a sexual identity, and it might be argued that manliness was inevitably linked to the siring of a male heir, something that only two-thirds of peers managed to do. How did ‘concepts of masculinity’ interact ‘with contours of social status’ in a society where extensive intermarriage occurred between men of ‘ancient’ title and women of recent title or, in some cases, of ‘no breeding’.49 How did these complicate gender relations and compromise manhood? The Archives On his first visit to the English State Papers Office, King James VI and I was struck by the sheer bulk of records relating to Ireland and observed ‘that there was more ado with Ireland than all the world besides’.50 Despite the destruction of so many records of the Dublin government in the fires of 1711 and 1922, a wealth of material – albeit disparate and often difficult to interpret – that relates to the resident peerage has survived. Works on the peerage serve as obvious starting points. G. E. Cokayne’s Complete Peerage and John Lodge’s The peerage of Ireland provide basic information with regard to titles, patents, offices held, family circumstances (parentage, marriages and offspring) and, occasionally, they offer an insight into the educational background and the relationship an individual peer had with the Crown. The information gleaned

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from these rather dry, factual compilations needs to be used in conjunction with other sources, especially the personal archives of peers, estate papers, official records, the extensive contemporary pamphlets, and literary and visual sources. The survival of personal archives means that the nobility is often better documented than other social groups. However, bodies of correspondence for the resident peerage are the exception rather than the rule and are limited to the Butlers of Ormond, the Boyles of Cork and of Orrery (for the later decades of the seventeenth century), together with the Conway family. Largest of all is the Ormond archive, which is divided primarily between the Bodleian Library in Oxford, where the bulk of the correspondence is held, and the National Library of Ireland, where the estate papers are located. The archives of the Boyle family, currently divided between the National Library of Ireland and Chatsworth House, where much is held, contain letters, diaries, rent rolls, inventories, estates maps, leases, deeds and bonds. 51 Papers relating to the estates of the earls of Thomond (currently held at Petworth) and Orrery (located in West Sussex Record Office) also hold fascinating material on all aspects of Irish (and English) lordship in the seventeenth century.52 The letter books of the sixteenth earl of Kildare and marquis of Clanricarde have also survived, as have the diaries of the earl of Anglesey.53 Unfortunately, comprehensive, all-embracing, aristocratic archives remain the exception. Some seventeenth-century estate papers are extant for Lords Anglesey, Antrim, Balfour, Castlehaven, Castle Stewart, Claneboy, Digby, Donegal, Dungannon, Fingal, Fleming of Slane, Gormanston, Ikerrin, Kenmare, Le Power, Loftus of Ely, Ridgeway of Londonderry, Roche of Fermoy and Westmeath.54 Eighteenth-century disputes over the estates of the Plunketts, Barons Louth, contain much retrospective material.55 A significant number of wills have survived thanks in part to the fact that so many peers died in London and probate was granted by the court of Canterbury, while others survive amongst collections of family papers, along with extracts of wills granted probate in Dublin, the originals of which were destroyed in 1922.56 However, for the vast majority of peers, especially the lesser Catholic ones, there are no wills or letters or estates archives, making it very difficult to recover the nature of their finances never mind the secrets of their hearts. The fate of baronial archives was thus mixed. Some contemporaries took great care of their family papers. The guardians of the young earl of Kildare were particularly concerned about the ‘evidences and writings’ relating to his estates and stored them in a ‘council house, strongly built of stone, a little remote from the house [at Maynooth] towards the garden, a place very fit for their keeping’.57 Presumably this is why his letter book survived the destruction wrought on Maynooth castle by the insurgents after 1641. Lady Orrery carefully preserved for posterity her correspondence even if ‘many of

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the deeds and evidences’ relating to the family estate in Munster ‘were lost’ during the 1640s.58 The marquis of Clanricarde compiled letter books before he died and the earls of Anglesey, Orrery and Ormond collected together their personal papers and others relating to their lives (see chapter 16 below). Prior to the duke of Ormond’s death in 1688 his personal secretary urged the duke to commission a history of his life on the grounds that ‘every man is a debtor to his family, and ’tis not enough to leave great heaps of materials behind, if they must be left to the mercy of those who shall not employ them aright’.59 Others instructed that their papers be destroyed. Madame Preston, later Lady Tara, wrote many love letters to her husband during the 1640s and asked him to burn them after he had read them.60 Lady Clancarthy requested that her agent destroy her correspondence after she died and Lady Massareene instructed her executor to do likewise with her late husband’s papers.61 Natural disasters claimed other archives. A trunk containing ‘writings’ belonging to the earl of Desmond was recovered after he died in a shipwreck in 1629 and a Welsh pedlar was prosecuted for riffling through them.62 A fire in 1664 destroyed the personal papers of the Montgomery family, while the archive of Arthur Forbes, first earl of Granard, was lost when ‘owing to the dishonesty of my grandfather’s agent, the family papers were carried away or destroyed’.63 The publication of family memoirs and narratives, which glorified the achievements of a dynasty, became increasingly common across early modern Europe and helped to preserve select archives. From the early eighteenth century, published histories of the Bourkes of Clanricarde, the Boyles of Cork and of Orrery, the Butlers of Ormond, the Forbes of Granard, the Hamiltons of Clanbrassil, the MacDonnells of Antrim and the Montgomerys of Mount Alexander appeared and often reproduced contemporary memoirs and correspondence, along with other significant documentation such as grants, patents and wills.64 Given the haphazard rate of survival for personal archives, these volumes are of considerable historical value even if they were essentially works of propaganda. The lack of evidence for so many of the families that comprised the resident peerage is frustrating, and while it is critical not to downplay the distinctive contribution made by particular lineages whose records happen to be extant, this study also aims to pay due attention to the lesser peers, especially the Catholic ones, whose personal archives have not survived and who invariably lost out. Equally, noblewomen are everywhere and nowhere in the archives, and only the exceptional few – Ladies Antrim, Conway, Ormond, Orrery and Ranelagh – have left some written records. This absence of evidence is redressed in part by the survival of a substantial amount of material relating to the titled nobility among the papers of select lord deputies, especially Chichester, Wentworth and Ormond.65 Particularly important are the administrative and legal papers of the state in Dublin and

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especially in London, where archives are intact (but often not catalogued).66 For example, Kenneth Nicholls has alerted historians to the significance of Irish legal records, especially those of the court of Chancery, which survived the bombardment of 1922.67 Equally, English Chancery records (housed in the National Archives in Kew) require further examination not simply to uncover cases that involved peers resident in England but others that relate directly to Ireland.68 Other extant legal records, especially inquisitions and the records of the Court of Claims, illuminate disputes over debts, mortgages, marriage settlements, and provision for widows and minors.69 The 1641 depositions are particularly valuable in helping to reconstruct what actually happened during the early months of the uprising and the impact that the rebellion had across Ireland.70 There are two types of deposition: the statements taken down within a few years of the events that were alleged to have happened and those collected during the 1650s. Over 8,000 depositions record losses and contain accounts of how the rebellion changed the lives of ordinary folk as well as great lords. This witness testimony allows scholars to ‘listen in to the conversations of many ordinary people as they struggle with conflict, fear and trauma; we can hear the words they used. . . . We can feel the pain and the traumas.’71 Alongside these qualitative sources are more quantitative ones. The Irish statute staple records contain a wealth of information on the activities of titled creditors and debtors, and are worthy of detailed analysis since they provide a fascinating insight into the credit network that helped to sustain much economic activity during these years.72 The recognizances taken by the mayors of the staple, known as statutes staple, were a form of registered bond by which a debtor(s) entered into a recognizance to pay a creditor(s) a fixed sum, at a given time, together with interest at 10 per cent. The bond accorded security for the loan and was usually double the amount of the loan. The statute staple was thus an effective means of securing financial transactions, and by the early seventeenth century its significance lay in the regulation of debt. Perhaps in recognition of this, the Irish staple towns expanded to include Belfast, Carrickfergus, Derry, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, New Ross, Sligo, Wexford and Youghal, as well as the original towns of Cork, Drogheda, Dublin and Waterford.73 Of particular importance are the various maps and surveys associated with the plantations of Munster and Ulster, the Strafford Survey of Connacht (1636–40), Sir William Petty’s ‘Down Survey’ (1654–9) and ‘Civil Survey’ (1654–6). The Books of Survey and Distribution, ‘being abstracts of various surveys and instruments of title, 1636–1703’, are especially noteworthy.74 Arthur Capel, earl of Essex, ordered their compilation during his lord deputyship (1672–7), though some sets contain references to forfeitures after 1688.75 The Books of Survey and Distribution are the equivalent of the

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Domesday Book (a great English land survey dating from 1086) for Ireland and recapture the revolution in landholding that the country experienced during these years. The most complete set is in the National Archives in Dublin (the ‘Quit Rent’ set) and includes entries for every county in Ireland. Drawn up in the wake of the restoration land settlement in part for taxation purposes (‘quit rent’), these contain a wealth of information. The names of landholders in 1641 and again in c.1670 appear in columns together with the number of plantation acres (profitable and non-profitable) and the county, barony and parish where the land was held.76 The entries are linked to the Down Survey maps, or in some instances, to the Strafford Survey. Units of measurement were not standardized, which frustrates attempts to provide accurate totals of acres owned, but by the mid-seventeenth century the use of the ‘plantation’ or ‘Irish plantation’ measure (the terms are interchangeable) was common.77 The survival of records like these is rare and offers historians of early modern European nobilities a fascinating opportunity to examine in painstaking detail the land transfers that helped to make – and to break – Ireland’s political, economic and social elites.78 Finally, contemporary pamphlets and literary sources, especially prose and poetry, help the historian to probe the mindsets and mentalities of the peers.79 Visual sources – ranging from portraits and engravings to estate maps and images of funeral monuments – offer additional insights into the physical, material and cultural worlds of resident lords.80 Sadly, extant examples of seventeenth-century domestic architecture are few – whether in 1641, 1798 or 1922, baronial mansions quickly became targets for Irish insurgents – and this frustrates attempts to offer extensive sampling. However, what has survived, combined with a variety of written and cartographic sources, recaptures the building frenzy that gripped the aristocracy as they constructed elaborate English-style mansions, replete with walled gardens, orchards and deer parks, or renovated medieval castles.81 Historiography The seminal book on the nobility in the Stuart kingdoms remains Lawrence Stone’s The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558–1641 (first published in 1965). Informed by rigorous analysis of extant archives and by methodologies pioneered by the Annales school of French social history, Stone argued that the English nobility, during the later sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, underwent an economic, political and intellectual crisis which shook the very foundations of Stuart society.82 Despite the hostile reception Stone’s study received in some quarters, it helped to transform how historians studied nobilities.83 While it is now clear that Stone’s emphasis on ‘crisis’ proved something of a distraction, the controversy it generated had the positive benefit of

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stimulating further research into nobilities across early modern Europe. The emphasis of this new research is more conceptual: what was noble status and how it was acquired; what is known of noble demography and family structure; the importance of the wider lineage, marriage and inheritance; attitudes to violence, education and culture; and patterns of office holding.84 Writing in 1966, Hugh Kearney, in a review for Irish Historical Studies, suggested that Stone’s book ‘is certain to have reverberations in the field of Anglo-Irish history, though what form re-interpretation will take is difficult to foresee at the moment’.85 What reverberations did Stone’s magisterial study have on the study of the aristocracy in Ireland? The simple answer is remarkably little. That said, historians of early modern Ireland have increasingly devoted scholarly attention to the study of the elites in the early modern period. Medieval and Tudor historians have paid particular attention to the importance of lordship.86 A monograph on the Irish House of Lords after 1690 sheds some light on the parliamentary activity of the peerage in the earlier decades.87 The earls of Antrim, Kildare and Orrery have been the subjects of recent political biographies.88 Roughly a third of the resident peers merit entries in both the Dictionary of Irish Biography and the Dictionary of National Biography. All of the leading aristocrats, along with some of the lesser peers (Bermingham of Athenry, Butler of Galmoy and of Ikerrin, Magennis of Iveagh, Netterville of Dowth and Roche of Fermoy), are provided with entries, together with a small selection of their wives, including Ladies Antrim, Conway, Cork, Kildare, Ormond and Ranelagh, and younger sons or brothers who had distinguished clerical or military or business careers. Recovering the life stories of individual lords is an essential first step in reconstructing the political, social, cultural and economic worlds they inhabited. Particularly important in this regard is Nicholas Canny’s social and cultural biography of the first earl of Cork and, more recently, David Edwards’ superb study of the Butler lordship.89 Pioneering work has also been done on marriage, death and honour, and these studies are particularly relevant for those interested in studying the titled nobility in Ireland.90 The wider relationships that resident peers had with the royal court have also received meticulous analysis.91 Aristocratic culture and values have been carefully recovered by scholars working on bardic poetry.92 The culture, life and politics of the Protestant elite in the early modern period have also been extensively researched.93 Important though these works undoubtedly are, the question remains as to why historians of early modern Ireland have not studied the aristocracy as a collective. First, the unevenness of the archives and the absence of papers, especially for the lesser Catholic houses, have proved a major and understandable deterrent. Second, the focus of much research on early modern Ireland has, until relatively recently, been on political and military history at the expense of social, economic and cultural history. Third, the association of the

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Making Ireland English

aristocracy in Ireland (albeit of a later vintage than most of the peers discussed in this book) with English imperialism made it an unpopular subject of study amongst Irish historians. During the Irish civil war of the twentieth century the ‘big house’, which stood as an uncomfortable reminder of a colonial past, became a military target; writing the histories of their titled occupants did not sit well with a tradition that was republican and nationalist. Of course this is changing, something that became clear at a conference, held in 2009, on ‘Nobilities in Early Modern Ireland’ at the University of Galway. There, a new generation of scholars re-evaluated the contribution nobles made to the development of early modern Ireland and challenged the sentimentalized preconceptions and hagiographic histories that characterized earlier studies of the aristocracy, particularly those written in the nineteenth century. Wider historiographical debates have also highlighted the need to understand who the ruling elite were and what these lords actually did. Consider, for example, the ‘New British history’.94 Throughout the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the histories of the three kingdoms became inextricably intertwined. Events in one kingdom, especially during periods of plantation and the wars of the 1590s, 1640s and after 1688, influenced affairs in its neighbour. After 1603 the royal court in London served as an important point of contact and a cultural melting pot for English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh aristocrats. Individuals – like Lords Anglesey, Antrim, Clanricarde, Cork, Ormond and Orrery – enjoyed political, military, landed, commercial, literary or intellectual interests across the Stuart kingdoms and invite ‘holistic’ and pan-insular analysis.95 As a methodology the ‘New British history’ is useful in other respects. Increasingly, Irish historians have become interested in the study of social and cultural history and have adapted methodologies pioneered by scholars of early modern England or Europe, where the extant archival material is often richer. This book owes much to the research, methodologies and arguments developed by Stone on the English peerage and Keith Brown’s superb two-volume study of the Scottish nobility. The scholarship of Stone, Brown and of European historians like Ronald Asch, Hamish Scott and Karin MacHardy means that comparisons across the Stuart kingdoms and early modern Europe can be made.96 It is also critical to remember that early modern Ireland formed part of continental Europe. Throughout this period France, Spain and Italy were particularly important temporary destinations for young lords in search of cultural, economic, educational, military and religious experiences and training. After 1603 political exiles from Ireland became permanent features at the European courts, and the expansion of the Spanish aristocracy during the later decades of the seventeenth century included many Irishmen (Berehaven, Butlers, Husseys, O’Donnells, O’Neills and Taaffes) who secured titles, lands, office and became quickly assimilated into their host society.97

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Introduction

23

Others continued to use a title abroad that had been declared forfeit at home. For example, the earldom of Tyrone was created in 1542 and forfeited in 1608, yet Hugh, second earl, and his sons, the third and fourth earls, continued to style themselves as ‘earl of Tyrone’ and were recognized as such by continental monarchs.98 A few held titles from continental sovereigns as well as the Stuarts. For example, Hugh Hamilton, later baron of Glenawley, was ennobled in Sweden under the title Baron Hamilton of Deserf, and his sister-in-law, Anna-Catherina Grubbe-Stjernfelt, was styled ‘Lady Hamilton of Tullykeltyre’ after the family moved back to County Tyrone.99 The fact that Ireland, like other states across early modern Europe, was responding to similar sets of pressures – state formation, confessionalization, the professionalization of warfare, and so on – facilitates meaningful comparisons around the contributions that their aristocracies made to these processes and to the emergence of common noble cultures across early modern Europe.100 Equally, noble responses to these processes can be examined. Historians have, for example, noted the adaptability of nobilities and their capacity ‘to assimilate cultural trends . . . and to subordinate them to its own value system’.101 Meaningful parallels can be drawn between Ireland and the Habsburg territories of Bohemia and Lower Austria after 1620, where the emperor set out to create a Catholic service nobility. There, as in Ireland, land transfers underpinned and facilitated this social engineering as monarchs rewarded favourites or those whom they sought to win over with confiscated acres, along with titles of honour and office. The ubiquity of warfare in the seventeenth century ensured that landed windfalls occurred across early modern Europe, especially in Bohemia, Muscovite Russia, Sweden and Denmark, which had profound implications for noble life.102 Of course, identifying differences is as important as examining the similarities. For example, the fact that many resident peers in Ireland practised a religion different to that of their king, which flew in the face of the contemporary doctrine of cuius regio, eius religio, would not have been tolerated elsewhere. The ambiguities and tensions that characterized Stuart Ireland ended in 1691 with the military defeat of Irish Catholics and their total exclusion from power, politics and public office. Thereafter Ireland resembled more closely the Habsburg lands of Bohemia and Lower Austria where, after 1620, nobles who wished to exercise power, own land and have a political voice had no alternative but to espouse the religion of their ruler.

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PART I The Reconstitution of Ireland’s Aristocracy, 1590s–1670s

This section analyzes the political, cultural, tenurial, religious and marital reconstitution of Ireland’s peerage in the century after 1590 and charts the emergence of a Protestant service nobility. Chapter 2 offers a chronological overview of the structural reform of the resident peerage and examines the peerage in its entirety at key dynastic and political intervals: 1603, 1628, 1641, 1670 and 1685. Chapter 3 explores the cultural transformation of the titled nobility from a noble elite that drew its status primarily from blood, lineage and standing within a community to one determined by royal service and a title held from the king. Chapter 4 demonstrates how by 1641 the hierarchy of landownership was effectively mapped onto the status hierarchy which the peerage represented. Religion is the focus of chapter 5 and marriage is the subject of chapter 6.

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CHAPTER 2

The Transformation of the Peerage Like his Tudor predecessors, James VI and I was determined to ‘civilize’ Ireland. This involved imposing English legal, political, administrative and tenurial structures, along with an English honour system, the English language, Protestantism, English dress, customs, codes of behaviour and lowland economic and agricultural practices.1 The peers played a central role in the Crown’s efforts to ‘civilize’ Ireland, and a study of titles reveals how the king manipulated the lords and created a primarily Protestant service nobility, akin to what the Habsburgs achieved in Bohemia and Lower Austria after 1620.2 There, as in Ireland, land transfers underpinned and facilitated this social engineering as monarchs rewarded favourites or those whom they sought to win over with confiscated acres, along with titles of honour and office. The key difference was that in the Habsburg lands the emperor actively favoured Catholic nobles as his loyal servants and excluded Protestant ones. In Ireland the Stuarts initially preferred elevating Protestants to peerages, but by the 1620s the king created lords of both faiths. As a result by the midseventeenth century nearly 70 lineages formed the backbone of the Stuart peerage in Ireland, just under half of whom were from ‘old’ families and half of whom were Catholic. Lands, titles, religion and loyalty became inextricably intertwined and provided the Stuarts, who lacked a substantial standing army and a sizeable bureaucracy, with an effective and relatively inexpensive means of governing a particularly troublesome kingdom. The Stuarts did, however, draw the line at allowing Catholics to hold senior positions of authority in the Dublin administration, the judiciary and the army. In short, having created a service nobility, the Stuarts then prevented all but the greatest Catholic aristocrats from actually serving their prince as bureaucrats, as judges or as officers, alongside more recent Protestant creations. This resulted in the Catholic nobility, who saw themselves as the king’s natural supporters and as the traditional leaders within Irish society, feeling aggrieved. Political tensions bubbled

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Making Ireland English

to the surface in 1613, during the mid-1620s and, most spectacularly, during the civil wars of the 1640s. During years of shared exile on continental Europe in the 1650s these Catholic peers finally had an opportunity to serve their monarch, and after the Restoration Charles II rewarded their loyalty by restoring them to their hereditary estates. Despite enjoying the goodwill of the king after 1660, Catholics were still not permitted to hold high office or senior military commands until James II and VII ascended the throne in 1685 and actively promoted Catholics, much to the irritation of the Protestant peers, who resented any diminution of their privileged position as the king’s loyal servants in Ireland. The link between service, land and a title of honour was not, however, hard and fast. The Stuarts and their favourites, especially George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, viewed Irish land and titles as resources that could be exploited in the interests of wider politics, and handed out Irish peerages to reward avaricious English courtiers and tedious claimants. Strapped for cash, James VI and I and Buckingham shamelessly sold Irish honours to those without sufficient clout or cash to secure an English title. The result was that nearly a third of the peerage did not reside or have any interest in Ireland, nor were they in a position to serve the king in Ireland.3 Instead these parvenus generated animosities amongst members of the established peerages in all three kingdoms.4 This chapter offers a chronological overview of the structural reform of the resident peerage in Ireland and provides detailed ‘snapshots’ of the peerage in its entirety at key dynastic and political intervals: 1603, 1628, 1641, 1670 and 1685.5 The obvious starting point is 1603 and the regal union of the Stuart kingdoms under the ‘imperial crown’ of James VI and I. An examination of the composition of the peerage in 1603 forms the baseline against which change and expansion over the course of the seventeenth century can be monitored. The inflation of honours associated with the royal favourite Buckingham was particularly significant and explained why the second key date was Buckingham’s death in 1628, rather than the accession of Charles I in 1625. This should not suggest that the early Stuarts did not take a very direct interest in Ireland. They did. In particular, James VI and I personally oversaw the plantations in Ulster and boasted that the reform of Ireland was one of his greatest achievements. Ultimately, the rancour caused by his only Irish parliament (1613–15) soured his enthusiasm and he effectively delegated ruling Ireland to Buckingham.6 The importance of 1641 as a watershed in Irish history cannot be overstated. It marked the outbreak of the Irish rebellion and the onset of a decade of civil war followed by another decade of Cromwellian occupation. The survival of detailed data for 1641 is particularly fortunate. In particular, the Books of Survey and Distribution, which list landowners in 1641 and again

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in c.1670, make it possible to reconstruct the general extent of baronial estates prior to the outbreak of war and to assess the impact that the revolution in landholding of the 1650s had on them (see chapters 4 and 12 below). With this in mind, 1670, rather than the return of Charles II to the throne of the three kingdoms in 1660, is taken as the key date for the Restoration period. The accession of James VII and II in 1685 is the final date for which a detailed analysis of the peerage is given. How many peers were there at these key moments and what proportion were resident in Ireland and committed to Irish affairs? What was the ethnic and social background of these lords? Why were the creations of new titles significant? Before offering a generational analysis of the Stuart peerage, it is essential to establish how these seventeenth-century peers related to those ennobled in the years before 1603 and to appreciate how the Stuarts espoused the reforming and ‘civilizing’ policies begun by the Tudors. Tudor Peerage Prior to the 1540s the peerage in Ireland was small and had remained relatively stable for the three previous centuries. Only three lines – Barry (created 1261?), Bermingham of Athenry (created 1280?) and Fitzmaurice of Kerry and Lixnaw (created 1295?) – traced their titles back to the thirteenth century. The earldoms of Kildare and Ormond dated from the early fourteenth century (created 1316 and 1328), along with three other titles, Courcy of Kinsale (created 1340?), Preston of Gormanston (created 1370?)7 and Fleming of Slane (created 1370?). In the fifteenth century the king honoured six families: St Lawrence of Howth (1440), Plunkett of Killeen (1449), Roche of Fermoy (1461),8 Plunkett of Dunsany (1462), Barnewall of Trimleston (1462) and Nugent of Delvin (1478). These families of Anglo-Norman provenance comprised the English aristocracy of Ireland and the country’s colonial elite. These lords quickly adapted to the warring and politically fragmented Irish landscape. In the sixteenth century baronial warfare had proved endemic and had escalated into major noble risings (Silken Thomas’s rebellion of the mid1530s, the earl of Desmond’s of the 1570s and the earl of Tyrone’s of the 1590s). Each of these sixteenth-century rebellions had specific causes but each one fed off the widespread lawlessness that afflicted Tudor Ireland.9 This general disorder stemmed in large part from the fact that a small number of powerful Old English and native Irish overlords not only controlled their own territories but also collected tribute (in the form of military service, food, lodgings, and agricultural labour) and demanded submission from previously independent regions, thereby extending their political control and enhancing their standing within their own lordship. Since military might and robust

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Making Ireland English

baronial networks determined dynamic lordship, maintaining and sustaining an effective army became a priority for any sixteenth-century Irish lord. It also underpinned the social order, for a lord’s followers were not only obliged to feed and house soldiers but to offer military service themselves in return for his protection. This elaborate system of extortion, intimidation and protection was known to the Old English as ‘coign and livery’ and enabled individual lords to field substantial private forces.10 Since livestock, especially cows, constituted an important form of wealth, cattle raiding was also rife. A successful cattle raid sometimes resulted in the submission of a territory, which enhanced the military and political standing of those who led the raids, and brought increased riches in the form of tribute.11 Many English observers were shocked at the extent to which AngloNorman and Gaelic Irish lineages had by the sixteenth century (if not long before) come together ‘in kin[d]red, alliance and affinities of bludd’, and effectively shared many aspects of the same political culture despite prohibitions against doing so.12 Rather than being the upholders of civility, these lords were held responsible by their critics for the degeneration of Ireland into lawlessness as they pursued violent vendettas and became embroiled in factional feuding. A number of great dynasties – Desmond, Kildare, Ormond, O’Brien, O’Donnell and O’Neill – predominated as they vied with each other to exploit to their best advantage the political geography of their estates and to bring lesser lordships under their protection. By the early sixteenth century there were two dominant factional networks – the Geraldines (Fitzgeralds of Kildare and Desmond) and the Butlers (Ormond) – which the Crown attempted, with varying degrees of success, to manage in an effort to rule Ireland.13 The passage of the Kingship Act in 1541 transformed Ireland’s status from a feudal lordship into an imperial kingdom and enabled the Crown to reshape the aristocratic elite. This ‘constitutional revolution’ redefined relations between the English king and his subjects, especially those of Irish provenance, who were now accorded the same rights as those of English origin.14 Sir John Davies later suggested that the Anglo-Norman nobility resented the Irish being made ‘free subjects’ since this threatened the privileged position of the former, as the colonial elite, within society.15 Legislation that promoted English language, dress and culture also became law in 1537. ‘An Act for the English Order, Habite, and Language’ mandated ‘a conformitie, concordance, and familiarity in language, tongue, in maners, order, and apparel, with them that be civil people’ from the English Pale. The Act also outlawed the Irish language, the wearing of glibs (or long fringes) or Irish garments such as mantles.16 Later legislation prohibited other Gaelic agricultural, social, political and cultural practices. For instance, the removal of Irish-speaking ‘tympanours, poets, story-tellers, babblers, rymours, harpers, or any other

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Irish minstrels’, who served as symbols of the ‘feasting and fighting’ culture, became a priority.17 Alongside these ‘civilizing’ and anglicizing initiatives, the Crown promoted the policy of surrender and regrant whereby those lords who held land without an English title surrendered it to the Crown. The issue of letters patent regranted the title in perpetuity under the sovereignty of the Crown and in tenure good in English law. The lord agreed to renounce his Gaelic title for an English one, to accept primogeniture as the basis for succession and inheritance, to recognize the king’s writ and courts, and promised to anglicize his territories.18 By 1547 some 40 Gaelic chieftains had surrendered their lands, including some of the most powerful magnates. Lord Deputy Anthony St Leger was the great proponent of surrender and regrant, believing that ‘the king’s subjects will be sooner brought to conformity by small gifts and honest persuasion than by rigor’.19 With this in mind, he presented a paper in December 1540 to the Irish council which proposed that baronages be granted to Sir Edmund Butler (Dunboyne), Brian Fitzpatrick (Upper Ossory), Oliver Plunkett (Louth), Sir William Bermingham (Carbery), and viscountcies to Sir John Rawson (Clontarff ) and Sir Thomas Eustace (Baltinglass). The king and council endorsed his recommendations and between 11 and 29 June 1541 these six titles of honour were granted. Three became extinct before the end of the sixteenth century (Carbery, Clontarff and Baltinglass) but not before James, second Viscount Baltinglass, had plunged the country into rebellion between 1579 and 1583.20 Lords Dunboyne, Louth and Upper Ossory remained loyal to the Crown during the rebellions of the sixteenth century and the Nine Years War (1594–1603).21 The particular willingness of Gaelic lords to collaborate and compromise with the Crown highlights the extent to which they were ‘in fact pragmatists concerned with maximising their power and enhancing their reputation at minimum risk’.22 David Edwards’s pioneering study of the Fitzpatricks or MacGiollapadraigs of Upper Ossory, one of the middle-ranking Gaelic dynasties, offers a series of fascinating insights into Gaelic attitudes towards English rule and Tudor reform. In 1541 Brian Fitzpatrick willingly surrendered his chiefly title (‘the MacGiollapadraig’) and lands, agreed to end the use of Gaelic practices, adhere to the English common law (including primogeniture), to encourage his followers to use the English language and dress, and permitted his son, Barnaby, to be reared at court with Edward VI (where he embraced Protestantism). Brian Fitzpatrick was the first Gaelic chieftain to take his seat in the House of Lords. Despite the rhetoric of the agreement, ‘the barons of Upper Ossory remained cattle lords in the classic Gaelic tradition’. They embraced Tudor reforms as a means of minimizing English interference and of bolstering their own position within the

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lordship. In the short term, collaboration proved a very effective survival strategy.23 The middle decades of the sixteenth century witnessed a considerable expansion of the peerage in Ireland, with the creation of three earls, a viscount and seven barons. With the exceptions of Baron Le Power (created 1535), Viscount Mountgarret (created 1550), the earl of Clancare (created 1565) and Baron Bourke of Castle Connell (created 1580), these titles dated from the years between 1541 and 1543 and were linked to surrender and regrant agreements.24 In addition to the six titles granted in 1541 (discussed above), Con O’Neill, long a thorn in the side of the authorities and source of constant trouble, was created earl of Tyrone in October 1542, with the remainder of his title passing, contrary to normal practice, to his illegitimate son, Matthew, who was styled Baron Dungannon, in tail male.25 Of equal political significance, Murrough O’Brien, prince of Thomond, surrendered to the king’s authority ‘his captainship, title, superiority, and country’, covenanting ‘utterly to forsake and refuse the name of O’Breen’. On 1 July 1543 in Greenwich the king elevated him to the earldom of Thomond. On his death the earldom passed to his nephew (styled Lord Ibracken) and his barony (of Inchiquin) to his son.26 As in the case of Matthew O’Neill, the Crown ignored, for pragmatic reasons, the primacy of primogeniture. The Thomonds promoted anglicization as a survival strategy, and a scholarly study of lordship shows that the ‘essential characteristics of the traditional lordships were in fact preserved and institutionalised under English law in the seventeenth century, though in an altered form’. By the late sixteenth century Donough, fourth earl, who had been reared at the English court, embraced Protestantism.27 The other great overlords in the west were the Bourkes. Anglo-Norman in origin, the de Burghs had become gaelicized and the clan leader enjoyed the title, ‘the MacWilliam’. A succession dispute over who would be the MacWilliam resulted in one of the candidates, Ulick na cgeann (the beheader), cutting a deal with the English administration. In 1543 Ulick travelled to court for the formal surrender and regrant of his lands, and on 1 July 1543 he was elevated to the earldom of Clanricarde at Greenwich (the elevation of Clanricarde and Thomond on the same day later resulted in endless wranglings over precedency, with Clanricarde claiming seniority). Clanricarde’s earldom triggered the onset of a long process of anglicization, lasting at least five generations, which was interrupted by bouts of resistance. As in the cases of Thomond and Fitzpatrick, the true impact of anglicization only became really apparent after 1603 once Ireland had been militarily subdued and the Crown finally had the resources to enforce Tudor reforms.28 Over time, these arrangements became increasingly sophisticated. Throughout the 1570s and 1580s, the state pressured leading powerbrokers to accept ‘composition’ agreements that sought to demilitarize the local magnates by

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appealing directly to their principal followers and enhancing the power of the state in the process.29 Thus, the ‘Composition of Connacht’ (1585) promoted anglicization in the lordships of Clanricarde and Thomond and paved the way for moderate tenurial and political reform. Ultimately, however, it weakened rather than strengthened the position of the lesser landowners and enshrined in English law the ‘essential characteristics of the traditional lordships’.30 Thus, these reforming arrangements not only protected, at least in the short term, the estates of leading lords from confiscation but also represented an effective form of ‘unconscious colonization’. The experiences of the other great Gaelic overlords, the MacCarthy Mórs, whose estates encompassed much of south Kerry and west Cork, differed and they highlight the dangers inherent in entering into a surrender and regrant agreement. In a ceremony in London on 24 June 1565 Donal, ‘the MacCarthy Mór’, formally submitted and surrendered his lands to Elizabeth I, who created him earl of Clancare and baron of Valentia.31 Despite Clancare’s promises to promote the English legal system and English cultural practices, his lordship continued to operate as it always had and the impact of anglicization was limited. Rumours of an ambitious scheme to colonize Munster, including Clancare’s lands, provoked the earl into military action and resulted in his public renunciation of his English title in favour of his Gaelic one, the MacCarthy Mór. The rebellion came to nought and Clancare once again submitted to the English administration. He attempted to keep a low profile during the 1570s as the earl of Desmond’s rebellion plunged Munster into chaos and resulted in the forfeiture of his estates and the demise of the mighty house of Desmond.32 The onset of the Munster plantation after 1584 posed a renewed threat to Clancare, as the Crown confiscated territories held by lords from whom he collected tribute. This combined with his escalating debts and the death of his only legitimate heir left the earl very vulnerable. Under the terms of the 1565 royal grant his lands would revert to the Crown in the event that he died without leaving a legitimate male heir. In a last-ditch attempt to prevent the breakup and redistribution of his estates, Clancare tried to marry off his daughter, Ellen, to a local English planter rather than to Florence MacCarthy Reagh to whom she had been betrothed. This failed and the line became extinct until the MacCarthys of Muskerry assumed the title of Clancarthy after the Restoration (discussed below). Despite the Crown’s dependence on securing the cooperation of local magnates, criticism of these ‘overmighty lords’ continued.33 Civic humanists like Sir Thomas Smith and Thomas Blennerhasset wanted to break the feudal ties that bound common folk to their lords and thereby facilitate Ireland’s transition to a civil society.34 Writers like Edmund Spenser and Sir John Davies particularly resented the power and influence enjoyed by the ‘over mighty’ lords who ‘exercise plain tyranny over the common people’.35 Fynes

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Moryson added that they used ‘husbandmen … as slaves’.36 According to Spenser, these lords wielded a nearly absolute power over their inferiors, compelling their sizeable body of dependants ‘to followe them into any action whatsoever’.37 Lord Deputy Chichester concurred. Writing at the turn of the seventeenth century he reported to London that the peoples of Cavan and Monaghan were unacquainted with the laws of good government, having been so long subject to oppression and tyranny, as they shall ever be, unless some men of more civility and understanding be seated among them both to instruct and to defend them; for it is death to the great lords that their tenants and followers should know or understand more than brute beasts, by reason their greatest advantage for profit in times of peace, and for opposition and defence in days of rebellion, ariseth from the ignorance of the meaner sort.38

As the seventeenth century progressed, the state enjoyed authority over these ‘tyrannous Irish lords’ and exercised a monopoly over the use of violence. In 1625 Sir William Parsons, master of the much hated court of wards, reported to Lord Conway in London that the common law was respected and king’s writ obeyed everywhere. Irish lords no longer operated as ‘petty sovereigns’ but ‘now embraced and [were] environed by [royal] authority’.39 Peerage in 1603 On the accession of James VI and I to the throne of the Stuart kingdoms in March 1603 the Irish peerage, like the English and Scottish peerages, was small and comprised 25 lords, all of whom resided in Ireland. Within six months there were two new peers, giving a total of six earls, five viscounts and 16 barons (see tables 1 and 3 below). The majority were Catholic (24 peers). The three Protestant lords were recent converts: Lords Thomond, Courcy of Kinsale and Ormond, the last of whom had been raised at court with Prince Edward. Five were peers of native Irish or Gaelic background. Shortly after James’s accession Rory O’Donnell, one of the leading insurgents during the Nine Years War, became earl of Tyrconnell in a surrender and regrant agreement.40 The others were Tyrconnell ally and leader of Irish resistance, Hugh O’Neill, third earl of Tyrone;41 the infant Dermot O’Brien, fifth baron of Inchiquin, whose father had died in English service fighting against O’Donnell; Florence Fitzpatrick, third baron of Upper Ossory, a loyal supporter of the Crown;42 and Donough O’Brien, fourth earl of Thomond, another loyalist and Munster power broker.43 Together these five Gaelic-speaking lords comprised 19 per cent of the peerage in 1603 (see table 2 below).

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Table 1.  Ethnic breakdown of all peers in 1603, 1628 and 1641. 1603

1628

1641

Non-resident English

0

29

24

Native Irish

5

6

7

New English

0

22

22

Old English

22

30

33

Scots

0

6

5

Welsh

0

1

1

Total (resident)

27

94 (65)

92 (68)

Note: resident peers in parentheses

The 22 lords of Old English provenance, comprising 81 per cent of the 1603 peerage, predominated, which reflected the political influence that the descendants of the Anglo-Norman invaders enjoyed as members of Ireland’s ruling elite. They included the great houses of Kildare, Ormond and Clanricarde whose fortunes during the early decades of the seventeenth century were mixed. Gerald Fitzgerald, sixteenth earl of Kildare, succeeded to his title in 1599, but Lettice Digby, later baroness of Offaly, disputed his claim to the Fitzgerald estates, resulting in lengthy litigation and acrimony. This combined with an inability to secure the succession with an adult male heir exposed the house of Kildare to external interference. The Butlers of Ormond were equally exposed when Thomas Butler (‘Black Tom’), tenth earl of Ormond, who had supported the Crown with enthusiasm during the Nine Years War, failed to produce a legitimate heir and the nephew he had been grooming to succeed him (Theobald Butler, Viscount Tulleophelim, only surviving son of his brother, Edmund, who had conformed and married Ormond’s daughter) died prematurely in 1613.44 Yet right up until his death in 1614 Black Tom exercised real power and commanded the support of the cadet Butler houses of Cahir, Dunboyne and Mountgarret. The most politically influential Old English lord was Richard Bourke, fourth earl of Clanricarde. He did his utmost to ‘improve’ his patrimony by encouraging his tenants to build stone houses, enclose land, plant trees, and adopt ‘modern’ agricultural techniques. He also maximized profits from his mills (which in itself suggests increased grain production) and developed the natural resources on his estates (particularly ironworks and fishing).45 In 1604 Sir John Davies reported that he had attended the sessions at Galway with Clanricarde and found the people civil and ‘more obedient’ than their neighbours in the Pale. He praised the earl’s ‘extraordinary industry and judgement’, adding that ‘his affability and good temper

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wins him great love and respect among them’.46 Having distinguished himself in royal service during the Nine Years War, Clanricarde married in 1603 Frances Walsingham, daughter of Elizabeth I’s secretary of state and widow first of Sir Philip Sydney and then Robert Devereux, earl of Essex. Shortly afterwards Clanricarde asked permission to go to England, since he was ‘already too full of Ireland, where there is little good company, much malice, and every place, though for the present quiet, yett full of discontent’.47 Thereafter Clanricarde spent much of his time at court where his English allies pressured him to ‘secure a title and privileges in England’. In 1624 he settled for an English viscountcy ‘to avoid the dislike or envy of earls of Scotland or of Ireland ancienter than myself when they come hither’, but four years later he acquired the earldom of St Albans (1628), together with an English estate.48 In the 1610s, using monies raised by mortgages on his Irish estates, the fourth earl built at considerable expense a magnificent H-plan house and deer park on his wife’s estate at Summerhill, close to the fashionable spa at Tunbridge Wells. Situated on a hill, the house enjoyed fine views into Surrey, the Seven Oak hills and the Canterbury hills. With its splendid state rooms, elaborate chimneys and carved wainscot, Summerhill was built for entertaining and made a powerful political statement about the influence, status and wealth of its owners.49 In short, Clanricarde lived like an English lord and ruled his Connacht patrimony by pen. Back in Ireland, his fellow peers led less privileged existences. David, Viscount Barry, who had been involved in Desmond’s rebellion but was pardoned in November 1602, held the title because his elder brother, Richard, though sane, was deaf and dumb.50 More loyal were Richard, fourth Baron Power, and David Roche, seventh Viscount Roche of Fermoy, who had served the Crown during the Nine Years War. It was Roche who proclaimed James VI and I king in Cork when the local mayor refused to do so.51 Another royal favourite was John De Courcy, thirteenth Lord Courcy of Kinsale, who had conformed and distinguished himself against the Spaniards at the battle of Kinsale and later served as a gentleman of James’s bedchamber. The Old English lords of the Pale kept relatively low profiles. They had supported the Crown during the Nine Years War, but the Dublin administration questioned the loyalty of a few of them. Richard Nugent, fourth Baron Delvin, and Nicholas St Lawrence, eighth Baron Howth, were arrested on suspicion of being involved with Tyrconnell and Tyrone (who had fled to the Continent in September 1607 and forfeited their titles and estates shortly thereafter).52 Nugent was pardoned and in 1621 he purchased for £1,500 the earldom of Westmeath.53 Howth had also disgraced himself by becoming involved in a number of public brawls and murdering a man.54 The remaining lords of the Pale – Jenico Preston, fifth Viscount Gormanston, William Fleming, eleventh

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Baron Slane, Christopher Plunkett, eighth Baron Dunsany and Robert Barnewall, seventh Baron Trimleston – were among the Catholic peers who subscribed to the proclamation of James VI and I as king.55 These men were nobles of ancient creation and saw themselves as the king’s loyal servants. Inflation of Honours The early decades of the seventeenth century saw an inflation of honours (knighthoods, baronetcies and hereditary peerages) across the Stuart kingdoms, and Lawrence Stone has suggested that the sale of titles brought into the royal coffers at least £620,000.56 By 1628 and the death of the royal favourite George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, the composition of the peerage in Ireland had more than trebled in size from 27 lords in 1603 to 94 (see table 1 above). Over a comparable period 258 knighthoods had been bestowed, along with 45 baronetcies (between 1619 when the rank was introduced to Ireland and 1630).57 The English peerage underwent a similar transformation, increasing threefold from 59 to 179 peers, thanks to the addition of 56 new peers during the reign of James VI and I and a further 64 during that of Charles I.58 The number of Scottish peers rose by 50 per cent up to the year 1625 and another 38 per cent by 1649.59 Comparable inflations occurred throughout early modern Europe, especially in the Iberian Peninsula, France, Muscovy and Sweden. For example, the number of ‘ducs et pairs de France’ increased from 11 (1589) to 28 (1643), and the titled nobility of Spain (grandes de España and titulos) rose from 99 (1528) to 165 (1599) to 239 (1613).60 Of course the specific forces driving these augmentations varied, but a number of key factors can be identified: a desire on the part of the Crown to reward favourites and loyal service, to strengthen and add lustre to its position at court, to dilute particularism of the established Catholic peers and to generate cash. In terms of the scale of the enlargements and the motives behind them, developments in Ireland accorded with trends elsewhere, albeit with one important difference. The number of men elevated to the peerage who were effectively absentees is striking. In any analysis of the peerage it is critical to distinguish between those whose principal estates and interests were in Ireland (even if the peer himself may have spent extended periods at court and owned English estates) and those who enjoyed minimal Irish connections. Between 1618 and 1628 there were 29 ‘absentees’ who acquired Irish titles. These creations spanned the decade but the bulk of ennoblements fell in the years after Charles I’s accession in 1625 (14 dated from 1628 alone) and were closely associated with Buckingham. Whether it was the king’s intention that these men should cultivate interests in his third kingdom and thereby facilitate integration ‘under one imperial crown’ is unclear. Richard Hadsor, an

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Old English lawyer who had made his career at court, had advocated precisely this in a discourse he prepared for James VI and I shortly after his accession in 1603, lamenting the fact that English peers no longer enjoyed Irish interests and vice versa and encouraging the king to return to these earlier policies.61 Victor Treadwell in his study of Buckingham in Ireland suggests that ‘Whether motivated by consideration of public policy or private interest, Buckingham was a major agent of “Britishization”. In particular, the proliferation of Irish honours and the promotion of plantation contributed to the interpenetration of English and Irish society at several levels.’ Only Buckingham’s premature death in August 1628 ‘precluded the erection of a new British aristocratic hierarchy in Ireland’. This together with ‘the elimination of the Court in the 1640s and 1650s, [prevented] the homogenisation of the aristocracies of the three kingdom into a British aristocracy’.62 Yet Protestant Englishmen, with English rather than British agendas, predominated. The bulk of these absentee peers held no Irish lands nor enjoyed any significant Irish associations either at the time of their creation or subsequently. Even if they did not own estates, a few of these English lords – William Hervey, Baron Hervey of Rosse (created 1620), and Oliver St John, first Viscount Grandison of Limerick (created 1621) – had served in Ireland during the Nine Years War, and St John had enjoyed a position of eminence as lord deputy between 1616 and 1622.63 Other claims were more tenuous. Robert, first Viscount Kilmorey (created 1625), owed his only link with Ireland to his father, Sir Robert Needham (d.1603), who had served with Essex and incurred great expense which had not been reimbursed (and, perhaps, explains his title). Similarly, William Fitzwilliam, Baron Fitzwilliam of Lifford (created 1620), was the grandson of Sir William Fitzwilliam, who had served three times as lord deputy of Ireland. Only one absentee was of native Irish provenance. Dermot O’Mallun, first Baron Glanmullen (created 1622), about whom little is known aside from the fact that he was a cousin of the earl of Thomond who had spent most of his life ‘off the country’, travelling all over Europe, studying law and marrying a noblewoman from Artois, through whom he acquired a considerable estate and influence at the court in Brussels. Neither Dermot nor his heir, Albert, sat in any of the Irish parliaments despite being summoned to attend.64 Hardly surprisingly, Buckingham’s ennoblements proved deeply controversial. The sheer scale of them alarmed many throughout the Stuart kingdoms, and especially the English peers who were horrified at the prospect of being outranked by a peer with a more senior Irish title.65 The established Irish lords, fearful of being outranked by landless parvenus, scrambled to protect their privileges largely by securing higher titles within the peerage (discussed below). It also became a political issue. One of the Graces (37) of 1628 mandated that absentee peers without estates in Ireland should pay their fair

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share of the subsidies ‘and all other payments towards the charge of our army there’.66 With the aid of Poynings’ Law, Lord Deputy Wentworth blocked an unofficial bill requiring peers to purchase an Irish estate appropriate to their status, introduced in the first session of the Irish parliament of 1634–5.67 The Catholic confederates raised the matter again during their negotiations with the king. In 1645 they insisted that all peers should hold Irish estates worth at least £200 (for a baron), £400 (for a viscount) and £600 (for an earl).68 Again in 1648 the confederates demanded that in order to take their seat in Parliament men with Irish titles must hold Irish estates.69 The process itself attracted contempt as it became apparent that honours were simply being sold to the highest bidder across the Stuart dominions.70 At least 18 Irish titles were sold, primarily to lords resident in Ireland (discussed below). Men with no lands and no connection with Ireland also purchased titles of honour there presumably because they lacked the cash or political clout to buy English peerages.71 Elizabeth’s last chief governor in Ireland was Charles Blount, Baron Mountjoy and earl of Devonshire, and in 1618 his illegitimate son, Mountjoy, was created baron of Mountjoy Fort (and later first earl of Newport in the English peerage). It is likely that he purchased the honour by bestowing a house and lands at Wanstead either on James or Buckingham.72 A minor favourite at court, Mountjoy had no contact with Ireland aside from holding a few hundred plantation acres in the barony of Dungannon, County Tyrone, which he had presumably inherited from his father.73 In other cases cash simply changed hands. For example, in 1628 George Chaworth became Viscount Chaworth of Armagh for £1,500, and William Pope’s earldom (of Downe) cost him £2,500. Neither had or developed any Irish connections. In addition to trafficking titles, Buckingham and, to a lesser extent, his royal masters used them to reward loyal service or promote clients and kin.74 The distinguished Welsh diplomat and philo­ sopher Edward Herbert became first Baron Herbert of Castle Island in 1624 as compensation for the considerable debts that he had incurred during his embassy to France. In 1625 he acquired, through his wife, estates in County Kerry but he and his heirs rarely (if ever) visited Ireland, preferring to spend time in London and on their estates in Montgomeryshire.75 Interestingly, the family later claimed that their Welsh estates subsidized their Irish one.76 Of the 29 ‘absentee peers’ roughly half were Buckingham’s clients.77 As lord deputy of Ireland between 1616 and 1622, Oliver St John, first Viscount Grandison, effectively acted as Buckingham’s agent as he oversaw the distribution of plantation lands in Wexford, Longford and Leitrim. Grandison watched over Buckingham’s cronies, including men like John Vaughan, Baron Vaughan of Mullingar (created 1621) and later earl of Carbery (created 1628). He had served in Ireland during the Nine Years War and acquired 1,000 acres in the Ulster plantation. Despite this, Vaughan and his heir

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focused on Welsh affairs, rather than Irish ones. Kinship links reinforced Lord Deputy Grandison’s personal loyalty to his English patron. Childless, Grandison’s Irish title, pension and County Leitrim estates passed on his death in 1630 to Buckingham’s great-nephew, William Villiers, son of his half-brother, Edward, and Barbara St John, the lord deputy’s niece.78 Richard Preston, Lord Dingwall and after 1619 earl of Desmond, a great favourite of James VI and I and a gentleman of his bedchamber, was in a similar position. He had married Elizabeth Butler, the only surviving child of Thomas Butler, tenth earl of Ormond, and resided briefly in Kilkenny after 1624. Their only daughter, Elizabeth, was heir to much of the Ormond estate and as a child had been betrothed to George Fielding, Buckingham’s eight-year-old nephew, who had been elevated to the Irish peerage in 1622 as Viscount Callan.79 In the event Elizabeth Preston married her cousin, James Butler, later first duke of Ormond, but on Preston’s death in 1628 Fielding became, as his heir presumptive, the earl of Desmond. Elizabeth appears to have made a wise choice, for in 1635 Fielding’s wife sued him in the High Commission court for divorce on the grounds that he was unable ‘to please a reasonable woman’.80 Finally, the quality of the ennoblements caused consternation since so many individuals were clearly not even modestly suited to their dignities and were regarded as landless parvenus. Thus the sale of titles cheapened and brought dishonour to the peerage.81 Writing in 1652, Sir Edward Walker quipped: ‘many persons who could not procure titles of honour in England, for money and other reasons have with great ease gotten them . . . [in Ireland]; so as there is hardly a town of note, much less a county, but hath some earl, viscount or baron of it’.82 He argued that rather than strengthening the Crown with judicious elevations to the peerage, James and later Charles had debased it by bestowing honour on men without ‘public merit’.83 Walker had a point. Of the 29 ‘absentees’ who received dignities during the 1620s, only a very small proportion had the ‘breeding’, the means and the record of service commensurate with the honour they held.84 Members of the established English aristocracy noted developments with considerable dismay and deeply resented the influence exercised by Buckingham and his cronies across the Stuart kingdoms.85 It is, however, important to acknowledge that a number of non-resident peers represented significant points of contact with the royal court in London. For example, the Calverts connected Ireland with England and the New World. George Calvert, first Baron Baltimore (created 1625), was a protégé of Sir Robert Cecil, a client of Buckingham (until 1624), a close friend of Thomas Wentworth, later earl of Strafford and lord deputy of Ireland, a member of the English Privy Council and principal secretary of state during the reign of James VI and I. Despite his Catholicism, Baltimore acquired

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estates in Ireland of over 9,000 acres and lived there with his family briefly in the mid-1620s. In 1628, keen to promote plantations ‘in those remote parts of the world’, he transferred his interests from Ireland to the New World, first to Newfoundland (he had obtained a charter to found a colony in 1623) and later to Maryland (the charter was issued shortly after he died in 1632).86 In the event, his eldest son, Cecil, and 200 English Catholic migrants went on to found the Maryland colony that his younger son, Leonard, later governed.87 Many Irish Catholics migrated to the new colony. The elevation of so many newcomers to the Irish peerage also enlarged the marriage market for resident lords.88 For example, Henry O’Brien, fifth earl of Thomond, married the daughter of the first Baron Brereton of Leighlin while two of his daughters were matched with other non-resident peers who enjoyed political clout in England.89 Buckingham’s second cousin, Sir Thomas Beaumont, created Viscount Beaumont of Swords in 1622, was a wealthy entrepreneur from Leicestershire who allegedly made £1,000 per annum from coal mining. Within two months of acquiring his Irish dignity, he had negotiated a marriage contract between his son and heir, Sapcote, then only eight years old, and Katherine Boyle, daughter of the earl of Cork, who brought with her a dowry of £4,000. With Buckingham’s death in 1628 the match no longer held political value for Cork, and the earl asked for his money and daughter back (Katherine had been living with the Beaumonts).90 The union in 1616 of Thomas, first Viscount Somerset of Cashel (himself the third son of the wealthy and politically powerful earl of Worcester), and Helena Barry, daughter of David, Viscount Barrymore, and the widow of Thomas Butler, earl of Ormond, gave Somerset access to a great estate in Ireland. Almost immediately he muscled in and became involved in an acrimonious dispute with Cork over the wardship of his wife’s nephew, the young Lord Barrymore. Given his connections to Buckingham and his other court contacts, he won. He then sold his interest to Cork for £850.91 Resident Peerage in 1628 Of the 65 resident lords in 1628, 13 were earls, 23 viscounts and 29 barons. Prior to 1620 there were only 10 new ennoblements: Chichester (1613); two in 1616;92 Hamilton of Strabane (1617); four in 1618;93 and two in 1619.94 The drastic inflation of the Irish peerage dated from the 1620s, with the creation of 31 new titles by 1628. There were five in 1620;95 six in 1621;96 seven in 1622;97 Cromwell of Lecale (1624); four in 1627;98 and eight in 1628, which might be associated with preparations for the Parliament proposed for November 1628.99 Elevations within the peerage account for a significant number of these titles, especially the earldoms. In 1620 Randal MacDonnell and Richard Boyle quite literally traded in their lesser titles, which they had

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held for only a few years, for the earldoms of Antrim and Cork, with the latter paying at least £4,500 plus fees of £305 4s 4d for his honour and Antrim something similar.100 Eager to maintain their position in the social hierarchy and to avoid being outranked by newcomers, others followed suit. In 1622 James Dillon became the earl of Roscommon and Thomas Lord Ridgeway the earl of Londonderry; in 1627 the baron of Ardee became the earl of Meath; and in 1628 David Barry assumed the earldom of Barrymore and Luke Plunkett that of Fingal (the former cost £1,000 and the latter, £2,700).101 Others – Moore (1622), Cromwell (1624), Chichester (1625) and Sarsfield (1627) – abandoned their baronages in favour of viscountcys.102 Old English peers dominated these elevations, highlighting the determination on the part of the established, pre-1603 aristocracy to enjoy a more exclusive position in the new Stuart social order. In this scramble for titles both Catholics and Protestants acquired new honours, but the latter predominated. The number of Catholic peers increased by nearly a third (from 24 to 31) and that of Protestant peers soared over tenfold from three in 1603 to 34 in 1628 (discussed at length in chapter 5). The ethnic make-up of the peerage also changed radically (see table 2). The percentage of native Irish peers dropped from 19 per cent in 1603 to 9 per cent in 1628, while Old English peers now represented only 46 per cent of the peerage (in 1603 the figure had been 81 per cent). While their Table 2.  Ethnic composition of the resident peerage in 1603, 1628 and 1641. 1603

1628

1641

Native Irish

5 (19%)

6 (9%)

7 (10%)

New English

0

22 (34%)

22 (33%)

Old English

22 (81%)

30 (46%)

33 (49%)

Scots

0

6 (9%)

5 (7%)

Welsh

0

1 (2%)

1 (1%)

Total

27

65

68

Table 3.  Breakdown by rank of resident peerage. baron

viscount

earl

marquis

duke

Total

1603

16

5

6

0

0

27

1628

29

23

13

0

0

65

1641

29

26

13

0

0

68

1670

24

26

24

1

1

76

1685

20

26

28

0

1

75

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proportional share dropped, the total number of native Irish peers increased slightly from five in 1603 to six in 1628 (seven in 1641). The only earl, Henry O’Brien, fifth earl of Thomond, was Protestant and would have regarded himself as being ‘English’, not native Irish. Sir Charles MacCarthy, one of the most powerful figures in Munster, used his Buckingham connections to secure the viscountcy of Muskerry in 1628.103 Thomond pressured Muskerry, his son-in-law, and grandson to conform or, in the words of a clerical observer, Thomond ‘infected [them] with the same pestilence of the souls [i.e. Protestantism]’.104 The conversion proved superficial and on his deathbed in 1640 Muskerry reverted to Catholicism. Of the three native Irish barons, one, Murrough O’Brien, sixth Baron Inchiquin, conformed thanks to the efforts of his guardian and father-in-law, William St Leger, president of Munster.105 The other two barons, Barnaby Fitzpatrick, fifth baron of Upper Ossory, and Brian Roe Maguire, first Baron Maguire of Enniskillen, whose 1628 title was a reward for his support for the Crown, remained staunch Catholics.106 This also held true for the native Irish viscounts who joined the peerage during these years. In 1623 Arthur Magennis, who had acquired considerable estates in County Down ‘in capite by knight’s service’, purchased the title Viscount Magennis of Iveagh for the sum of £2,000. Despite his elevation the Dublin administration regarded him as potentially subversive, thanks in part to his earlier links with the earl of Tyrone.107 It was 1631 before another devout Catholic and loyal supporter of the Crown during the Nine Years War, Terence O’Dempsey, joined their ranks as first Viscount Clanmalier. The Old English remained the largest ethnic group in 1628 and the numbers of peers increased from 22 to 30 (in 1641 this figure was 33), giving a total of 15 Old English barons, eight viscounts and seven earls. The Tulleophelim line had became extinct in 1613 but nine new lords (three barons, five viscounts and an earl) joined the established Old English peers. Following the successive deaths of her paternal grandfather and uncles (the twelfth and thirteenth earls of Kildare), Lettice Fitzgerald (as heir general) assumed the style of Baroness Offaly and claimed the title and certain lands, while the earldom went to the male heir. In 1620 after a lengthy legal dispute with her cousin George, sixteenth earl of Kildare, she was created baroness for life.108 Equally contentious was the attempt by Theobald Bourke to claim the title of Castle Connell from his nephew, the legitimate heir. When this failed, Theobald instead became baron of Brittas in 1618, but litigation over disputed lands continued.109 More routine was the elevation of Laurence Esmond, a veteran of the Nine Years War, who became baron of Limerick in 1622. As for the new Old English viscounts, Dominick Sarsfield, a prominent lawyer from Cork who was attorney general, chief justice for Munster, judge of the king’s bench and finally chief justice of the common pleas, took the title Viscount Kinsale in 1625. This provoked a rancorous dispute with

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John De Courcy, thirteenth Baron Courcy of Kinsale, which resulted in a ruling in his favour. Sarsfield opted for the title Viscount Sarsfield of Kilmallock.110 It was 1627 before the king rewarded Theobald Bourke (styled ‘Tibbot na Long’ because he was born at sea), a major figure in Connacht, with a title, Viscount Mayo, for his loyalty during the Nine Years War.111 Another loyal veteran of gentry stock, John Taaffe, first Viscount Taaffe of Corren (created 1628), held extensive lands in Louth and during the early years of the seventeenth century acquired vast estates in County Sligo. Taaffe’s humble origins left him vulnerable to accusations of social climbing. One Irish commentator held that he was ‘a man of meane ranke (though viscounte) . . . inferior . . . in reputation, honour, and extraction’.112 An established peer damned him with faint praise, describing him as a ‘very gallant gentleman, [who] has gained much honour in England, the king’s servant, wellesteemed’.113 Of ancient and distinguished gentry background, Nicholas Netterville, who became first Viscount Netterville of Dowth in 1622, held estates in Counties Meath, Wexford and Westmeath. The marriage of his son and heir to the daughter of the allegedly Catholic Sir Richard Weston, chancellor of the exchequer in England, provided some return for the honour that had cost him £2,000. Of similar stock was Theobald Dillon, first Viscount Dillon of CostelloGallen (created 1622), who from the 1580s used his Pale connections to carve out an extensive estate in Connacht.114 Like Netterville, Dillon purchased his honour, paying £2,500.115 His kinsman James Dillon, created baron of Kilkenny-West in 1620, was elevated to the earldom of Roscommon two years later. An Old English political activist with estates in Counties Longford, Meath and Westmeath, Dillon had been imprisoned in 1605 after offering the lord deputy a petition from the nobility and gentry of the Pale against interference with ‘the private use of our religion and conscience’. Yet, according to his patent, he won his honours by loyal service and by ensuring that his son conformed to the Established Church.116 Richard Nugent, Lord Delvin, was also regarded as a trouble maker, but in 1621 he purchased the earldom of Westmeath for £1,500 and later supported Buckingham’s expedition to Rhé and helped to negotiate the Graces in 1627–8.117 There were three further ennoblements in 1629: John Bourke, an illegitimate son of Ulick, third earl of Clanricarde, and client of the fifth earl, became first Viscount Bourke of Clanmorres; Pierce Butler, Viscount Ikerrin, the son of Sir James Butler and a grandson of Thomas, tenth earl of Ormond, was closely associated with the house of Ormond and Buckingham;118 and Thomas, Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion, a prominent Dublin figure who had attended Gray’s Inn.119 The Fitzwilliams of Merrion owed their prominence, together with their wealth and landed estates, to an able late fifteenthcentury lawyer, also Thomas, and his successors, who had all attended the

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Inns.120 In 1628 eight (of 30) Old English peers were Protestant: the earls of Barrymore and Kildare, together with Baroness Offaly, and Lords Courcy, Esmond, Howth, Kerry and Kilmallock. In 1628 there were 22 New English peers (four earls, eleven viscounts and seven barons). In terms of rank the most senior of the earls was a Catholic veteran of the Nine Years War, Mervyn Touchet, who was eleventh Baron Audley in the English peerage and from September 1616 first earl of Castlehaven in Ireland. Next in rank was Richard Boyle, baron of Youghal (created 1616) and later viscount of Dungarvan and earl of Cork (created 1620). The ‘upstart earl’, as he has been dubbed, had arrived in Ireland in June 1583 ‘a younger brother of a younger brother’ from Kent with £27 3s 0d in his pocket.121 He quickly secured extensive lands in Munster and Connacht together with public offices, including that of lord justice, and by the late 1630s was one of the richest men in the Stuart kingdoms (discussed in chapters 4 and 13 below). Though much less successful than Cork, Thomas Ridgeway, earl of Londonderry, was a Devon man who had served the Crown during the Nine Years War before becoming a prominent planter.122 In 1616 the king made Ridgeway a baron, and on 19 August 1622 he purchased the earldom of Londonderry, in the gift of Sir James Erskine, to whom Ridgeway ‘sold’ 2,500 acres in County Tyrone.123 Finally, William Brabazon, second baron of Ardee and after 1627 first earl of Meath, was the grandson of Sir William, who had settled in Ireland during the 1530s and held a variety of offices including that of lord justice.124 The extremely high number of New English viscounts (11 in all) can be explained by the desire of new peers to have precedence over barons in both kingdoms. One – Lewis Boyle, Viscount Kinalmeaky (created 1628) – was the nine-year-old son of the earl of Cork (his father paid £1,000 for the honour).125 The rest were ex-soldiers. Henry, Viscount Valentia (created 1621), was a career soldier who had served with distinction during the Nine Years War. Originally from Kent, Garret Moore, who according to one hostile source had been ‘raised from the common soldiery’, distinguished himself in the Nine Years War and then acquired estates in Counties Louth and Armagh which passed to his son, Charles, the second viscount.126 His widow later married a fellow servitor, Charles Wilmot, first Viscount Wilmot of Athlone (created 1621), who became president of Connacht. Similarly Richard Wingfield, Viscount Powerscourt (created 1618), had seen active service on the Continent and in Ireland before becoming involved in the plantations of Ulster and Wexford.127 Despite his record of service the childless adventurer paid at least £2,000 to one of James’s favourites for his title.128 Other new peers were the sons or relatives of swordsmen. Having served in Ireland with the earl of Essex, Edward, father of Thomas Cromwell, first Viscount Lecale (created 1624), sold his English estates and purchased lands in the barony of

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Lecale, County Down (though Thomas spent much time in London cultivating Buckingham). Edward Chichester, first Viscount Chichester of Carrickfergus (created 1625), was the younger brother of the lord deputy, Sir Arthur, Baron Chichester of Belfast (created 1613). Another veteran of the wars in Ireland and the Low Countries was Thomas Roper, who in 1627 became Viscount Baltinglass of Wicklow, having purchased for £3,000 the historic abbey lands of Baltinglass three years earlier.129 A distant relative of Buckingham (his Derbyshire cousin had married the favourite’s elder brother), he used these connections to secure his honour and to nurture an Irish alehouse syndicate and other commercial and landed interests.130 Less common in Ireland, though not elsewhere in early modern Europe, were educated career administrators who secured titles as a reward for service.131 Yet there were a few. The lawyer Adam Loftus, first Viscount Loftus of Ely (created 1622), had attended Lincoln’s Inn and continued his legal studies in London, becoming a bachelor in civil law before coming to Ireland in 1597 where he then accumulated an array of public and legal offices, including that of lord chancellor of Ireland. Loftus was the nephew of Archbishop Adam Loftus and Roger Jones, first Viscount Ranelagh (created 1628), was the entrepreneurial son of another archbishop of Dublin, Thomas, who had also served as lord chancellor. Buckingham’s influence ‘procured’ the title Viscount Killultagh (created 1627) for the Warwickshire squire, Edward Conway, who had served as secretary of state to James VI and I and Charles I.132 Commended for his ‘soldiership’, knowledge of languages, honesty and ‘courtiership’,133 Conway had married a greengrocer’s widow for her fortune.134 Unlike his father, the eldest son and heir, Edward, second viscount, spent most of his time in Ireland having acquired from his uncle, Sir Fulke Conway, estates at Brookhill, near Lisburn, in County Antrim.135 There were seven New English Protestant barons in 1628. One – Roger Boyle, Baron Broghill – was the seven-year-old son of Cork (the title, like that of his bother, cost £1,000).136 Like the viscounts, the majority had military backgrounds. Henry Docwra, baron of Culmore, distinguished himself during the Nine Years War and as governor of Derry.137 Charles Lambert, second baron of Cavan, was the son of Oliver Lambert, who had served with Essex in Ireland and helped to reduce the province of Ulster. Oliver had described himself as ‘a poor man who has spent his hool [i.e. whole] life in the warres’.138 He had hoped for a viscountcy but had to make do with a baronage.139 Thomas Folliott, second baron of Ballyshannon, was the son of Henry Folliott who had fought at Kinsale in 1601; and William Caulfeild, second baron of Charlemont, was the nephew and heir of Toby Caulfeild who distinguished himself under Essex in Ireland. There was one legal baron. Originally from Cambridgeshire, Francis Aungier, first Baron Aungier of

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Longford, like Loftus of Ely, quickly acquired legal offices, including master of the rolls, and served as a commissioner for the plantations of Ulster, Wexford and Longford. Like Aungier, Robert Digby, first Baron Digby of Geashill, enjoyed a gentry background but had close connections with the English peerage (John, his eldest brother, later became earl of Bristol). A single Welshman from Montgomeryshire, Edward Blayney, baron of Monaghan (created 1621), who had served with Essex during the Nine Years War, needs to be added to the list of 22 New English settlers. Over the course of the next generation the number of New English lords remained stable and the composition had only changed slightly by 1641. The death in 1634 of Richard Wingfield, Viscount Powerscourt, without an heir meant that his title became extinct and, as a result, the number of viscounts dropped from 11 to 10. The numbers of barons increased by one (from seven to eight) when Francis Annesley became Baron Mountnorris in 1629. A client of Lord Deputy Chichester and of Buckingham, he was an able colonial administrator and politician who, like Loftus and Aungier, quickly acquired influence, lands and offices only to clash with Lord Deputies Falkland and Wentworth.140 According to Edward Hyde, later earl of Clarendon, Mountnorris ‘raised himself from a very private, mean condition (having been an inferior servant to lord Chichester)’.141 Like so many of the other Protestant ennoblements, Mountnorris was a parvenu. The Scots comprised one further ethnic group in the resident peerage. By 1628 there were six Scottish peers (one earl, two viscounts and three barons). In May 1617 James Hamilton, heir to the earl of Abercorn, was created baron of Strabane. Sir Randal MacDonnell, whose forebears had established themselves in County Antrim in the mid-sixteenth century, was ennobled as Viscount Dunluce in May 1618, a privilege for which he paid a hefty £5,000. The earldom of Antrim followed in December 1620.142 The remaining Scots were all associated with the plantation of Ulster. On 7 November 1619 Andrew Stewart, Lord Ochiltree, became Baron Castle Stewart, and the following day Sir James Balfour became baron of Glenawley. On 3 May 1622 Sir Hugh Montgomery became Viscount Montgomery of the Ards, and on 4 May Sir James Hamilton was elevated to the viscountcy of Claneboy and thereby conceded parliamentary precedence to Montgomery. By 1641 the Balfour line had become extinct, leaving five Scottish peers, two of whom (Strabane and Antrim) were Catholics. Resident Peerage in 1641 By 1641 there were 68 peers (13 earls, 26 viscounts and 29 barons), of whom 32 were Catholic. The relative ethnic make-up of the peerage had stabilized: 49 per cent were Old English, 33 per cent were New English, 10 per cent of

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the peerage were native Irish, 7 per cent Scottish and 1 per cent Welsh (see table 4). These overall proportions remained fairly constant at these levels until the 1690s, as did the ethnic breakdown of each rank of peer (earl, viscount and baron), which roughly reflected the overall figures. Thus of the 29 barons in 1641, 15 (52 per cent) were Old English, eight (32 per cent) were New English, three (10 per cent) native Irish, and three (10 per cent) Scottish and Welsh; and of the 26 viscounts, 11 (42 per cent) were Old English, 10 (38 per cent) New English, three (12 per cent) native Irish and two (8 per cent) Scots. When viewed from the perspective of social status the newcomers to the peerage in Ireland fell into three broad groups: those who had noble backgrounds and associations; those who were professional soldiers and became landed entrepreneurs or government administrators; and, finally, those, usually with legal training, who served the state as bureaucrats and legal officers. In the first group well over a third of the new creations were junior members of the English, Scottish or Irish titled nobility and enjoyed lineages worthy of ennoblement. The new native Irish lords – Magennis of Iveagh, MacCarthy of Muskerry and O’Dempsey of Clanmalier – all enjoyed illustrious pedigrees and were the descendants of ancient Irish noble stock. Similarly, many of the Old English ennoblements came from cadet branches of the great aristocratic houses of Butler of Ormond or Bourke of Clanricarde, or from amongst the upper echelons of influential gentry families of the Pale, such as the Dillons and Nettervilles. Half of the Scottish peers, all of whom were great favourites of James VI and I, enjoyed close links with Scottish peers: the Hamiltons of Strabane were intimately connected to the earls of Abercorn, the MacDonnells of Antrim to the leaders of Clan Donald and Baron Castle Stewart held the Scottish title of Lord Ochiltree. Of the 22 New English lords, only a few had noble origins. Castlehaven held the English title, Lord Audley; and Digby’s brother became earl of Bristol. During the early decades of the seventeenth century, lineage continued to be important Table 4.  Ethnic composition of the resident peerage in 1641, 1670 and 1685. 1641

1670

1685

Native Irish

7 (10%)

7 (9%)

7 (9%)

New English

22 (33%)

24 (32%)

25 (33%)

Old English

33 (49%)

37 (49%)

36 (48%)

Scots

5 (7%)

6 (8%)

5 (7%)

Welsh

1 (1%)

2 (3%)

2 (3%)

Total

68

76

75

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and established peers used it to maintain their exclusive position in society and, where possible, to keep out any upwardly mobile parvenus. This was especially true for Catholics, whose religious beliefs precluded them from taking the oath of supremacy and thus holding prominent positions as military commanders or as top bureaucrats and lawyers. Unable to serve, they emphasized the importance of lineage over the virtue of offices held or military service. Half of the New English creations (12 peers) fell into the second category and were professional soldiers who served and settled in Ireland, becoming landed entrepreneurs. They included veterans of the conflicts on the Continent and of the Nine Years War, such as Lord Deputy Chichester and Lords Blayney, Caulfeild, Cavan, Docwra, Moore and Roper. Two Old English peers – Esmond and Mayo – also fell into the military category, but none of the Scottish or native Irish peers did. Service to the state was the hallmark of the third, and smallest, category. Five New English and two Old English lords – men like Lords Loftus of Ely, Aungier, Sarsfield of Kilmallock and Fitzwilliam of Merrion – rose to prominence thanks to their administrative or legal abilities. Like the adventurers, their social origins were often humble, something contemporaries noted. For example, Gerald De Courcy, later fourteenth baron of Kinsale, in a petition to the English Privy Council drew attention to his own ‘ancient Norman lineage’, while denigrating that of his adversary, Viscount Sarsfield, who was the son of ‘a mean Cork merchant’.143 Of equally modest and dubious provenance were those who defy easy categorization. For instance, men like the upstart earl of Cork, the Scottish planters Hamilton and Montgomery and Viscount Ikerrin, did not enjoy military or titled backgrounds (on the contrary their origins were very modest), nor were they legally trained or administratively gifted, yet they quickly became highly successful landed adventurers. Of course, the barriers between these three groups were porous and mobility across them occurred, especially as professional soldiers became career administrators and entrepreneurs. Moreover, membership of these groupings changed over time, as peers became increasingly educated, attending university and the Inns of Court and/or undertaking a European grand tour. Equally, New English newcomers, especially those of humble origins, did their upmost to ally themselves, usually through marriage, to established families, while the Old English paraded their merit and worth by very public displays of loyalty to the Crown. Thus by 1641 the titled hierarchy ceased to be determined simply by traditional criteria such as lineage, regional status, or the number of followers over whom a lord wielded power. Increasingly, lordship also came to reflect a peer’s financial prowess, his ability to exploit his landed resources and his success in

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securing high office and ability to network – especially at court. The Crown had effectively created a service nobility, a new generation of predominantly Protestant, ambitious and avaricious peers, who wanted either to consolidate their patrimonies and political influence or to make their fortunes in Ireland, and to secure public reward and social recognition. They were also determined to establish themselves in the community of honour and to demonstrate that they had been ennobled by merit, rather than the purse. Thus on the eve of civil war crude tiers of lordship had emerged. First, a small and select group of premier peers that included men with established titles such as the earls of Ormond, Clanricarde and Thomond; the earl of Cork, whose financial acumen ensured that despite his humble origins he enjoyed the status of a ‘super peer’; and Antrim, who owed his pre-eminence to his vast estates and court connections. The second division of middleranking lords comprised many of ancient lineage: the Old English earls of Kildare and Barrymore, Viscounts Mountgarret and Costello-Gallen, and Lords Dunboyne, Dunsany, Louth, Slane and Trimleston, together with others of Gaelic extraction such as Viscounts Muskerry and Baron Inchiquin. They were joined by more recent ennoblements: a host of New English viscounts and barons including Aungier, Baltinglass, Lambert, Loftus of Ely, Moore, Ranelagh, and others of Scottish origin, such as Viscounts Claneboy and Montgomery. Finally, the third division of lesser lords was largely made up of Catholic barons and Protestant swordsmen who had secured cheap lands at opportune moments. For a few of these men, their titles outlived their means. They included the Bourkes of Castle Connell, whose fortune by the 1630s was ‘small, or rather nothing left to support the honour with’, and the Maguires of Enniskillen and the Magennises of Iveagh. For families like these the outbreak of civil war initially provided an opportunity to regain fortunes and status, but ultimately military defeat and the revolution in landholding associated with the 1650s brought them to their knees (discussed in chapters 11 and 14 below).144 Of course the boundaries between these tiers were neither clear-cut nor static. Political and economic developments combined with the ability of a family to produce an heir ensured that some peers scrambled up the baronial hierarchy, while others moved down it. Mid-Century Elevations The inflation of honours associated with the 1620s elevated three types of people: first, those with contacts at court, the majority of whom were ‘absentee’ peers or who were willing to buy titles from the avaricious favourite; second, those who distinguished themselves during the Nine Years War and continued to serve the Crown in a military and increasingly administrative capacity; and, finally, those from titled backgrounds who needed to secure

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new and higher honours. The hallmark of many of the post-1641 elevations and some of the new ennoblements was loyalty to the Stuart cause. Service in the camp and at court, together with shared experiences of exile, secured for Ormond an Irish marquisate in 1642, an English earldom in 1660, an Irish dukedom in 1661 and, the ultimate accolade, an English dukedom in 1682.145 After the Restoration he was, without doubt, Ireland’s premier peer and the most influential aristocrat in Stuart Britain. The Crown rewarded other peers for their contributions to the royalist cause. Antrim’s marquisate (1645) can be attributed to the key role he played in rallying support for the king in Scotland and the lobbying of his influential wife, Katherine Villiers, widow of the ubiquitous duke of Buckingham. In 1645 the earl of Clanricarde, who maintained the king’s cause in Connaught, also received the marquisate that he had long been angling for but was irritated that Antrim now outranked him.146 Like Clanricarde, Thomas Cromwell, Viscount Lecale, was a staunch supporter of the Stuart monarchy and during the 1640s he commanded a regiment of horse. The earldom of Ardglass (1645) was his reward. Viscounts Claneboye and Chichester led the anti-Catholic war effort in east Ulster and in 1647 received the earldoms of Clanbrassil and Donegal. The same year another active royalist and formidable military commander, Charles Lambert, became first earl of Cavan. Proximity to the royal court in exile and a close friendship with Ormond facilitated the elevations of Inchiquin to an earldom in 1654 and Muskerry to the dignity of earl of Clancarthy in 1658. Oliver Fitzwilliam, second Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion, had served with the English royalist armies before joining the exiled court in Paris. In 1661 he became earl of Tyrconnell. After 1660 Charles II rewarded with earldoms those who had actively worked to secure his Restoration. The most prominent were Lord Broghill, once a great favourite of Oliver Cromwell, who became the earl of Orrery in 1660, and Arthur Annesley, who inherited his father’s Irish titles in 1660 and was created Baron Pagnel and earl of Anglesey in the English peerage in 1661. The following year Montgomery of the Ards became earl of Mount Alexander and his brother-in-law, Viscount Moore, became earl of Drogheda. Charles II also remembered his favourites, especially those who had shared his exile. Thus Viscount Taaffe, who according to the queen mother, Henrietta Maria, was ‘a person of great merit who has served the king . . . with affection and utmost fidelity’, became in 1661 the earl of Carlingford.147 Another great favourite of Henrietta Maria was the second earl of Cork. This together with the connections of Cork’s wife and his high standing at court secured his advancement to the English earldom of Burlington (or Bridlington) in 1665. Finally, in 1665 William, Baron Caulfeild, was created Viscount Charlemont, having agreed the previous year to sell the strategically sited Charlemont fort to the Crown for £3,500.

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Mid-Century Creations Of the new mid-century titles, three dated from the 1640s and one, Preston of Tara, from 1650. In 1642 Thomas Butler, Ormond’s eight-year-old son and heir, became sixth earl of Ossory.148 Edward Butler was created first viscount of Galmoy in 1646 on Ormond’s recommendation. He was an active confederate and a grandson of the fifteenth Lord Slane, and related by marriage to the houses of Mountgarret, Ormond and Upper Ossory.149 Sir Nicholas Barnewall of Turvey, who in 1646 became first Viscount Barnewall of Kingsland, was from a distinguished Old English legal dynasty and remained a committed royalist throughout the war, albeit with confederate sympathies.150 Thomas Preston, first Viscount Tara, was the second son of fourth Viscount Gormanston, a veteran of Spanish service and commander of the confederate Army of Leinster.151 According to the anonymous author of the Aphorismical Discovery of Treasonable Faction, Ormond also promised to secure titles for Walter Bagnel, who was to become Viscount Newry, and Viscount Mountgarret, who was to be elevated to the earldom of Wexford. The chronicler claimed, even the promise of a title of honour served its purpose of dividing Catholic interests and ‘tended to drawe those members from the due observation of theire severall oaths of association and confederacie’.152 The remaining 12 new titles were linked to the Restoration of Charles II. Despite their track records as parliamentarians and their Cromwellian associations, which enabled them to amass vast estates during the 1650s, the king created in 1660 John King, first Baron Kingston,153 and John Clotworthy, first Viscount Massareene.154 The following year he rewarded Sir Charles Coote with the earldom of Mountrath despite the fact that Coote had supported both Parliament and Oliver Cromwell.155 His brother, Richard Coote, received the dignity of baron of Colooney on the same day. A supporter first of the king and then Parliament, James Barry, who in 1661 became Baron Barry of Santry, used his Dublin civic and mercantile connections to promote Charles II’s Restoration and became one of the most influential and distinguished judges in later Stuart Ireland.156 Others had less chequered careers during the 1640s but could also be regarded as parvenus. The son of a Welsh planter in County Down, Mark Trevor, who in 1662 became first Viscount Dungannon, had fought for Charles I at Marston Moor (1644), inflicting a sword wound on Oliver Cromwell.157 During the 1650s he reached an accommodation with the ruling regime and later became a favourite of Ormond. An active confederate, Daniel O’Brien, who became first Viscount Clare in 1662, was the third and youngest son of Connor O’Brien, third earl of Thomond, and probably owed his honour to the influence his grandson, Daniel, exercised at the Stuart court.158 Descended from a legal dynasty and trained as a lawyer, William

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Dungan, first Viscount Dungan of Clane (created 1662) and later first earl of Limerick (created 1686), had served with the royalists in England and enjoyed royal favour thanks to the connections of his mother, Mary, sister of the influential Richard Talbot, later earl of Tyrconnell.159 Shared experiences of exile and royal favour helped Francis Boyle, a younger son of the earl of Cork who in 1638 had married Elizabeth Killigrew, a confidante of Queen Henrietta Maria, secure his title (Viscount Shannon) in 1660. Similarly, Ormond’s favoured position enabled his fifth son, Richard, to become earl of Arran in 1662.160 In 1665 Folliott Wingfield revived the title Viscount Powerscourt, thanks to the influence of his guardian and father-inlaw, the earl of Orrery.161 Folliott’s grandfather had inherited the Powerscourt estate (but not the title) in 1634 from his cousin Richard.162 In similar circumstances the Balfours of Glenawley had failed to produce a male heir and as a result the line became extinct in 1636, only to be revived by Hugh Hamilton who in 1661 became first baron of Glenawley (his wife, Susanna, was one of the original Balfours).163 Hugh was born in Ireland, the younger son of Scottish parents (his father Malcolm, archbishop of Cashel, had originated in Lanarkshire). In 1624 he became a private soldier in Sweden, later rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and spent most of his life in northern Europe serving in Scottish regiments before returning home and securing a title.164 As a man of the sword determined to make his fortune in Ireland, Glenawley – together with Coote of Mountrath, Coote of Colooney, King of Kingston and Trevor of Dungannon – was typical of an earlier generation of Englishmen who had received Irish titles. There was also a significant grouping of men who were primarily bureaucrats, often with legal training – Barnewall of Kingsland, Barry of Santry and Dungan of Clane, later earl of Limerick. Finally, there were those who owed their titles to the influence of established peers eager to found cadet lines: Ossory and Arran were sons of Ormond, and Galmoy was a close kinsman; Boyle of Shannon and Wingfield of Powerscourt were part of the earl of Cork’s lineage; and Clare, who was born in c.1577, was a son of the third earl of Thomond. While some of these new lords might have been associated with the Cromwellians during the 1650s, all of them were established in Ireland prior to 1641. The Books of Survey and Distribution capture the extent of the pre-war holdings for a number of these men or their fathers.165 For example, Sir Daniel O’Brien’s acres, largely in County Clare, equalled those of many of the pre-war earls. The estates of the Cootes, Trevors, Wingfields and Kings were also significant and on a par with those enjoyed by other early seventeenth-century newcomers like Montgomery of the Ards or Moore of Drogheda (see chapter 4 for details). More modest, but still sufficient to maintain the honour, were the lands enjoyed by Lords Dungan and Barry, though the latter’s income would have been supplemented with legal fees.

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Resident Peerage in 1670 and 1685 In 1670 there were 76 resident peers (see table 4). Sixteen new men had been ennobled and the lines of eight others had become extinct or, in the case of Maguire of Enniskillen, one of the leaders of the 1641 rebellion, forfeited. If the total resident peerage in 1670 is analyzed from the perspective of rank, the extent of upward social mobility becomes clear (see table 3). There was a drop in the number of barons from 29 in 1641 to 24 in 1670 and the number of viscounts remained the same (26). The most striking change came with the near doubling of the number of earls from 13 in 1641 to 24 in 1670 and the creation of an Irish dukedom (Ormond) and two marquisates (Clanricarde died in 1658, leaving only Antrim). The dukedom marked out once and for all the Butlers of Ormond as Ireland’s premier aristocratic family; while Antrim’s marquisate ensured that he outranked everyone but Ormond and those peers from Ireland who held English earldoms as well as Irish titles.166 Men whose titles dated from the early seventeenth century acquired most of the earldoms: Taaffe of Carlingford, MacCarthy of Clancarthy, Cromwell of Ardglass, Lambert of Cavan, Chichester of Donegal, Moore of Drogheda and Boyle of Orrery.167 Keen to consolidate their exclusive position on the social hierarchy to prevent encroachment by a new wave of arrivistes, these men behaved much as the established lords had done in the 1620s. The extent of intermarriage within Ireland makes the use of ethnic labels after 1660 highly problematic, but an analysis of surnames suggests that the ethnic breakdown of the peerage echoed trends characteristic of the pre-war years. The religious breakdown of the resident peerage also remained largely unchanged, with 39 Protestant and 37 Catholic peers. Eleven of the 15 new ennoblements were Protestant, which helped to compensate for the fact that two peers (Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen and Baron Inchiquin), who had conformed in 1641, had converted to Catholicism during the mid-seventeenth century. The onset of civil war in England after 1642 brought with it a fresh wave of non-resident ennoblements that need to be noted. While loyal servants of the king’s cause in England, none of these men enjoyed significant Irish connections. That said, Charles Cokayne, an ardent royalist from Surrey who had allegedly lost £50,000 in the king’s cause, became Viscount Cullen (created 1642) and married Mary O’Brien, a daughter of the fifth earl of Thomond. In 1644 Thomas Bulkeley received for this loyalty the title Viscount Bulkeley of Cashel. Other creations followed in 1645: Francis Hawley became baron Hawley of Duncannon and Henry Bard, Viscount Bellomont. Elevations associated with the Restoration enjoyed tenuous connections in Ireland: in 1661 Thomas Fanshawe, who was related by marriage to the Thomonds, became Viscount Fanshawe of Dromore, and two

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years later Charles Berkeley, who briefly served as a commissioner in Ireland, became Viscount Fitzhardinge of Berehaven. Finally, William Ducie became Viscount Downe in 1675. His title became extinct on his death in 1679, and two years later John Dawny purchased the viscounty of Downe (he allegedly paid a hefty £25,000 for the honour, a far cry from the 1620s’ price). In 1681 Richard Lawrence produced a ‘catalogue’ of the peers with Irish titles in order to highlight ‘the Strength of the English Interest in the House of Peers’.168 He identified a total of 121 lords whom he listed according to rank. Of these 75 can be regarded as resident, though figures like the duke of Ormond and the earls of Cork and Thomond spent more time living in England than on their Irish estates, and the remaining 46 were absentees. On the accession of James II and VII to the throne in 1685, the overall make-up of the peerage had changed little in the intervening 15 years. There were 75 resident peers, 37 of whom were Protestant and 38 Catholic. Since 1670 six lines had become extinct and six new peers created.169 In terms of rank there was one duke (Ormond), 28 earls, 26 viscounts and 20 barons (see table 3). There had been two elevations within the peerage. In 1675 Baron Aungier of Longford became a viscount; an earldom followed two years later. The elevation of Richard, sixth Baron Le Power, to the earldom of Tyrone in 1673 can be attributed to the influence of his father-in-law, Arthur, earl of Anglesey.170 On 8 September 1673, shortly after he became lord privy seal, Anglesey visited the king at Whitehall ‘and moved his majesty for an earldome in Ireland for my son Power w[hi]ch he graciously granted w[i]th this expression not only for his sake but for mine’.171 Tyrone later gained notoriety for his alleged involvement in the Popish Plot, which resulted in his incarceration on a number of occasions, much to Anglesey’s embarrassment. Also implicated in the popish plot and briefly imprisoned for his alleged involvement was Richard Talbot, a great favourite of the new king, who in 1685 became earl – and, in 1689, duke – of Tyrconnell and later lord deputy. The youngest son of the leading Catholic lawyer, Sir William Talbot of Carton in County Kildare, Tyrconnell had served in Ireland, being wounded at Drogheda in 1649, before fighting in Spain where he became a close friend of James, duke of York.172 Throughout the Restoration he used his position at court to influence the course of the Irish land settlement and to promote Catholic interests.173 There were three Protestant ennoblements during the 1670s. Murrough Boyle, first Viscount Blessington (created 1673), was the son and heir of Archbishop Michael Boyle, who had taken his seat in the House of Lords as a spiritual peer, and the grandson of the earl of Inchiquin.174 In 1676 Ormond’s patronage secured a viscountcy for Sir George Lane, his private secretary, despite the family’s rather modest landed estates.175 Little wonder the duke discouraged George who was first Viscount Lanesborough and later the second from becoming earls, ‘well remembering that it was not

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without difficulty and envy that I obtained the honour they had for them’.176 No doubt Ormond was reluctant to allow one of his underlings to enjoy a grade comparable to that of his sons. The composition of the peers of Scottish provenance changed most between 1670 and 1685, with three lineages dying out. The line of Castle Stewart became dormant in 1678, and with the deaths of the earl of Clanbrassil in 1675 and Baron Hamilton of Glenawley three years later both titles became extinct. There were two new ennoblements. Arthur Forbes, born in Ireland of Aberdeenshire parents, became first Viscount Granard in 1675 (he was elevated to the earldom in 1684). The Forbes family had settled in Ireland in 1620, having secured plantation lands first in Leitrim and later in Longford. In 1641 Sir Arthur, held, according to the Books of Survey and Distribution, 3,149 plantation acres (only 1,778 of which were described as profitable) in the baronies of Longford and Granard in County Longford, and in the barony of Mohill in County Leitrim.177 By the late 1670s the estate had trebled to 9,466 plantation acres (7,573 of them profitable) and generated an annual income of £1,700.178 Presumably it was Forbes who helped to secure a title for William Stewart, his step-son, ward and the grandson of a successful Scottish planter, Sir William Stewart (d. c.1647), who had amassed sizeable estates in Donegal and Tyrone. In 1683 Stewart requested a viscountcy, ‘since viscounts are the men in fashion in Ireland’, and asked that he be known as Viscount Mountjoy.179 When an objection was raised, Sir William retorted in a letter to Lord Lieutenant Ormond: My Lord, it is no new thing to assume an ancient title without having the land or place so called. Of near fifty viscounts that I could number, hardly five enjoy the place of their honour, and I thought taking a name from a family so utterly extinct, that their lands, as this Mountjoy did, devolved to the Crown, would displease none.180

During his brief reign James VII and II also added to the Irish peerage. On the eve of his only Irish parliament (7 May–18 July 1689) he summoned by writ four men who had served him loyally as bureaucrats and military leaders. On 2 April John Bourke, a close relative of Clanricarde, became Baron Bourke of Bophin; the following day Thomas Nugent, second son of the second earl of Westmeath, became Baron Nugent of Riverston; on 20 April Sir Valentine Browne, grandson of first Viscount Muskerry, became Viscount Kenmare; and on 1 May 1689 Alexander Fitton became Baron Fytton of Gosworth.181 Justin MacCarthy was created first Viscount Mountcashel on 23 May and took his seat in the House of Lords the following day. He was the youngest son of Donough, first earl of Clancarthy, and a nephew of Ormond who had been raised in exile in France, where he later entered

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military service. In January 1685 he became colonel of an Irish regiment despite objections that he was a Catholic, and on the outbreak of the War of the Three Kings he commanded a regiment for James II.182 Edward Cheevers, who had married Patrick Sarsfield’s sister, became Viscount Mount Leinster in August 1689 and fought at the Boyne in 1690. It was January 1691 before Sarsfield himself was elevated to the earldom of Lucan. Like so many of the other Jacobite creations, Sarsfield was Catholic and enjoyed a military background, serving first on the Continent and then as one of James’s leading commanders in Ireland.183 The constitutional position of the lords whose titles dated from 1689 and after is problematic, since on 11 December 1688 the English – but not the Irish – Parliament declared James II to have abdicated the throne. By virtue of the Kingship Act (1541), Ireland was a ‘dependent, subordinate kingdom’ and ‘inseparably united’ to the Crown of England, yet to what extent did an ‘abdication’ in England override all kingly rights in Ireland?184 The 1689 Irish parliament did not follow the English example, declared that James remained king, and passed a massive bill of attainder against those who had rebelled against him. Thus the peerages created by James in 1689, when he possessed his regal rights and was de facto king of Ireland, and which were duly enrolled on the Irish patent rolls, formed part of a constitutional conundrum that conveniently resolved itself when these peerages became extinct shortly after their creation.185 Securing the Succession Other lines became extinct for want of a male heir. As the figures in table 5 illustrate, over two-thirds of peers resident in Ireland (71 per cent) were succeeded by a son and in the majority of cases these boys had reached the age of majority, a statistic that is comparable with England where two-thirds of peers produced a male heir.186 In one-third of peerage families a title did not pass directly from a father to his son. A small number of grandsons (6 per cent) succeeded directly to the title, but thanks to the longevity of their grandfathers these boys tended to be older (mid-twenties), and better equipped to deal with the responsibilities that their honour brought. In at least 39 instances a brother succeeded a brother. In eight families a title passed to a nephew, in eleven to a cousin and in four to an uncle. At moments such as these a lineage was vulnerable, especially to external interference from the Crown and economic pressures associated with the provision for wives and daughters. For example, the failure of Ulick Bourke, marquis of Clanricarde, to father a son meant that on his death in 1658 much of his disposable wealth passed to his daughter and his title and ancestral lands to his cousin, Richard, who became sixth earl. Richard was the son of Sir William Bourke, who was

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Table 5.  Inheritance amongst resident peers.187 Relationship

No. of peers

Sons

195

71%

Grandsons

17

6%

Brothers

39

14%

Nephews

8

3%

Cousins

11

4%

Uncles

4

2%

274

100%

Total

Percentage of total

the third son of the third earl of Clanricarde (d.1601). Richard died in 1666 without producing a son and, like the marquis, provided generously for his daughters.188 His brother, William, succeeded as seventh earl but to an estate that was heavily encumbered with provisions for the womenfolk of his predecessors. The house of Kildare had eight earls between 1597, when the twelfth earl died, and 1707 when Robert became the nineteenth earl. Over the course of 110 years the line rarely passed from father to son and when it did the son was often underage. Gerald, fourteenth earl, died suddenly in 1612 leaving an infant son, Gerald. On his death at the age of eight years and ten months the title passed to his teenage cousin, George, who succeeded him as sixteenth earl. Only an abundance of collateral male heirs saved the dynasty from extinction and enabled the Kildares to emerge in the eighteenth century as dukes of Leinster and Ireland’s premier dynasty.189 The fecundity of Theobald, first Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen, who had eight sons (four of whom married), saved the line from extinction later in the century. Theobald died in 1624 and since his eldest son had predeceased him, his teenage grandson, Lucas, succeeded him as second viscount. Lucas died prematurely and his posthumous son succeeded him as third viscount in 1629, only to die the following year. The title then passed to his teenage uncle, Thomas, who conformed to the Established Church but later reconverted. On his death in 1674 his fourth and only surviving son, Thomas, succeeded him as fifth viscount. Thomas died the following year and his cousin, Lucas, who also had no heir, became sixth viscount. On his death in 1674 another cousin, a grandson of the first viscount by his second son, succeeded him as the seventh viscount, only to die at Aughrim in 1691. His son, Henry, became eighth viscount, and through him the line continued.190 Others struggled to produce even one son. As his poignant funeral monument highlighted, Baron Chichester’s heir had died as an infant and so on the

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baron’s passing on 19 February 1625 the title became extinct. His brother, Edward, inherited his vast estates, and on 1 April 1625 Charles I conferred a viscountcy on him. On Edward’s death in 1648 his son, Arthur, who later became the first earl of Donegal, succeeded him. The earl only fathered a daughter, Anne, and on his death in 1675 she inherited much of his disposable wealth, leaving his nephew, Arthur, as heir to the title. He died three years later and his son, the third earl, died prematurely in 1706, leaving a minor to succeed him. Biological failure and erratic successions played havoc with family finances, but at least the Chichester lineage managed to survive.191 The majority of Irish resident peerages were held in tail male and extinctions occurred upon the death of the last collateral male heir.192 At least 32 titles became extinct by the mid-eighteenth century for want of legitimate male heirs: Aungier of Longford (1704),193 Balfour of Glenawley (1636), Boyle of Blessington (1732), Boyle of Shannon (1740), Butler of Arran (1686), of Gowran (1676), of Ormond (1758), of Tulleophelim (1613), Conway (1683), Cromwell of Ardglass (1687), Dillon of Roscommon (dormant after 1722), Docwra (1647), Dungan of Clane and Limerick (1715), Esmond of Limerick (1645), Fitzpatricks of Upper Ossory (1713), Folliott of Ballyshannon (1716), Hamilton of Clanbrassil (1675), Hamilton of Glenawley (1681), Jones of Ranelagh (1712), Lane of Lanesborough (1724), Loftus of Ely (1725), Montgomery of Mount Alexander (1757), Power of Tyrone (1704), Preston of Tara (1674), Ridgeway of Londonderry (1714), Roche of Fermoy (1733), Roper of Baltinglass (1672), Stewart of Castle Stewart (after 1678), Taaffe of Carlingford (1738), Trevor of Dungannon (1706) and Wingfield of Powerscourt (1634 and 1718). The ‘new’ peers were most vulnerable and 16 of English provenance became extinct. Equally, within a century five of the Scottish houses (out of a total of nine) had become extinct and another forfeited its title in 1691. Even by early modern standards, when it was not unusual for a third of all lines to die out after four or five generations, this represents a very high rate of attrition.194 Of the 68 resident peers who held titles in 1641, 19 (or 28 per cent) had become extinct by the mid-eighteenth century, and of the 76 peers who held titles in 1670, 26 (34 per cent) had become extinct over the same period. Protestant lineages became extinct more rapidly than Catholic ones in large part due to the recentness of these ennoblements and the fact that there were insufficient male heirs in the direct line. Of the 36 resident Protestant houses in 1641, 16 (44 per cent) had become extinct by the mid-eighteenth century while only three Catholic lines had. By 1670 the Protestant figure had risen to 20 (out of 39 resident Protestant peers, or 51 per cent) and just six Catholics (out of 37 resident Catholic peers). At first glance the overall rate of extinction in Ireland (one-third in 1670) was considerably less than neighbouring England where the level of extinction by the early 1680s had

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reached 59 per cent, but the figure for Protestant resident peers (51 per cent) was closer to the English one. It is also important to include in these calculations the forfeiture of 13 Catholic titles in 1691.195 If these are added to the six Catholic extinctions (mentioned above), the overall rate of attrition of Catholic peerage families – 19 out of 37 resident Catholic peers in 1670 (or 51 per cent) – was significant and equalled the Protestant losses. If the totals for Catholic and Protestant extinctions and forfeitures are combined, the overall rate of attrition was 39 peerages (out of 76), or 51 per cent. Attainders and forfeitures notwithstanding, the families who held pre-1603 peerages fared best thanks to their fecundity. The Fitzgeralds of Kildare overcame the dynastic crises that had plagued them in the seventeenth century to replace the Butlers of Ormond as Ireland’s premier aristocrats. The Bourkes of Clanricarde, the Butlers of Mountgarret, the Courcys of Kinsale, the Nugents of Westmeath, the O’Briens of Inchiquin, the Plunketts of Dunsany, the Plunketts of Killeen and Fingal, the Prestons of Gormanston and the St Lawrences of Howth all managed to produce male heirs and to secure their succession. Continued political compliance and religious conformity meant that many of these dynasties prospered as they entered the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The great exception to this general trend of survival was the Butlers of Ormond. Writing in 1680 John Dryden brought into public view in Absalom and Achitophel, in the dedication of the Plutarch (1683), and yet more strikingly in Fables (1700) the fragility of the Ormond lineage.196 The earl of Ossory’s death in 1680 left only his younger brother, Richard, earl of Arran, and Ossory’s fourteen-year-old son, James, and James’s younger brother Charles, as male heirs. Ossory’s death also highlighted how the house of Butler faced, yet again, dynastic crisis.197 The problems the family had in securing the succession during the early decades of the seventeenth century were common knowledge. In 1603 the king gave permission for a marriage between the daughter of Thomas, tenth earl of Ormond, and Theobald Butler, ‘a kinsman of the earl’s own blood, whereby to save the succession to his estates’, and advanced Theobald to the rank of viscount ‘out of esteem for the earle’s old services’. Viscount Tulleophelim’s premature death in 1613 sparked a major crisis that was finally resolved by the marriage of James, later duke of Ormond, to his cousin, Elizabeth Preston (see chapter 6 below).198 Between 1632 and 1646, the first duke and duchess produced 10 children, yet none of the eight sons outlived their father, and Ormond’s sense of anguish at the deaths first of Ossory in 1680 (see chapter 16) and later of Arran (1686) is particularly poignant.199 Shortly after Arran’s death the duke wrote to Primate Boyle that ‘I say nothing of the sad change lately befallen my family. I hope I have learned what use to make of it, and of whatever it

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shall please God to do with me and mine.’200 Since the future of the lineage would come to rest with James (who in 1688 would become the second duke), Ormond focused his efforts on securing a suitable bride for his grandson. In July 1682 James married Anne Hyde, daughter of Laurence, earl of Rochester. Following her early death after a miscarriage, James wed Mary Somerset, Beaufort’s daughter, who gave birth to Thomas on 24 September 1686.201 The earl of Clarendon immediately congratulated Ormond: ‘I pray God your Grace may live to see many more of these blessings, and that your family may multiply and flourish in spite of your enemies.’202 Within six months of the first duke’s death on 21 July 1688 the great grandson was dead, and though five daughters were born to the union of James, second duke of Ormond, and Mary Somerset, there would be no male heir. Charles, who succeeded James as third duke in 1745, had married in 1705 but produced no legitimate children, and when he died in 1758 the line became extinct.203 Conclusion Of course, the primary responsibility for any peer was to provide his dynasty with a legitimate heir, ideally an adult son. Over two-thirds of titled nobles did father a son, but a significant minority died leaving an underage heir. When the direct male line failed, a family turned to the male descendants of the founding peer. For established families, whose titles dated from the pre-1603 years, these men usually existed in abundance but for more recent ennoblements this could pose a major problem. The combination of biological failure and the demographic uncertainties that characterized early modern Ireland made extinction as much of a ‘ubiquitous danger’ as it was throughout early modern Europe.204 Protestant peers of English and Scottish origin with titles dating from the seventeenth century were particularly vulnerable to extinction. It is ironic that these service nobles, whom the king had elevated with the specific purpose of making Ireland English, were the ones who ultimately failed to secure their lineages, with the result that by the early eighteenth century over half of their titles had became extinct. Historical attention has focused on the newcomers but in reality members of the established nobility, especially the great Catholic aristocrats and those who converted to Protestantism, also benefited from the creation of a Stuart service nobility. The wars and rebellions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries allowed the Crown to winnow out the most disloyal lords and to replace them with men willing to collaborate and to consolidate their positions. Of the families who had negotiated surrender and regrant agreements in the mid-sixteenth century, the O’Briens of Thomond and the Bourkes of Clanricarde became highly anglicized, and in the case of Thomond abandoned Ireland in favour of England. Over the course of the century the

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peerage became increasingly stratified and many of the lesser nobles – the Butlers of Dunboyne, the Fitzpatricks of Upper Ossory, the Folliotts of Ballyshannon, the Plunketts of Louth, the Prestons of Tara, the Roches of Fermoy and the Stewarts of Castle Stewart – simply faded into impoverished obscurity or had their titles forfeited in 1691.205 This might be attributed, at least in part, to the fact they were denied an opportunity to serve the Crown and therefore an income. As such, they were of less use to the Crown, which continued to depend on securing the support of leading aristocrats, themselves regional power brokers, for the smooth running of Ireland. The level of upward social mobility within the peerage is remarkable especially in the pre-war years when an unprecedented number of arrivistes secured titles and established lords, many of whom had been content with their baronages for generations, scrambled for earldoms in order to secure their pre-eminent positions in the social hierarchy. After the Restoration opportunities for ennoblement were more limited, but peers whose titles dated to the pre-war years traded in their viscountcys for earldoms and thereby prevented a new generation of parvenus from outranking them. By the later seventeenth century the opportunities for upward mobility continued to be limited and the ranks of the nobility became increasingly stratified. At the top of the social pyramid were the Butlers of Ormond, who had spawned three cadet branches (Arran, Gowran and Ossory). The Boyles of Cork (and Burlington) also enjoyed the status of a ‘super peer’, with two cadet lines (Orrery and Shannon). Lords Antrim, Clancarthy, Clanricarde, Inchiquin, Kildare, Ranelagh and Thomond headed up the second division. As for the rest, a high number became extinct after three or four generations or operated as lesser lords whose title had long outlived their means and political authority. Distinctions between members of the lower peerage and highranking gentry became increasingly blurred. Nonetheless, many successful and politically well-connected Old English Catholic families with distinguished lineages and considerable landed and personal wealth never became ennobled, while others like the Brownes used their legal and political connections to secure social advancement (as Viscount Kenmare).206 Equally prosperous and influential Protestant lineages – like the Parsons, Percevals or Rawdons – had to wait until the eighteenth century before securing a title worthy of their conspicuous lifestyle and social ambitions.207 Finally, the relative stability of the peerage as a social group is worth noting. After the initial influx of lords during the 1610s and 1620s the overall size of the peerage remained relatively constant, with a core of roughly 70 resident families. As families became extinct, the Crown kept the overall number stable by ennobling new men. From the 1630s the king dispensed honours judiciously and thereby ensured that Irish titles retained their value and remained much sought after as marks of royal favour. After a flurry of

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Protestant ennoblements in the early seventeenth century, the peerage remained equally divided between Catholics and Protestants, comprising men from a variety of ethnic origins and representing an interesting cross section of Stuart society. This should not imply that the peerage was a homogeneous group, far from it, but it was a coherent body and one which, with the passage of time, consolidated its position, became – thanks to economic, social and kin relationships – increasingly integrated and, from the perspective of the Crown, more manageable.

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CHAPTER 3

The Transformation of Noble Culture The previous chapter examined the political and social reconstruction of

the peerage in Ireland from the mid-sixteenth to the late seventeenth centuries. Three developments characterized this. First, the Tudor and Stuart monarchs combined Gaelic, Old English, New English and Scottish lords of both faiths into a composite hereditary peerage but immediately created tensions by allowing only Protestants to enjoy the full benefit of high administrative, legal and military office. Second, the ‘inflation of honours’, which began with the surrender and regrant programme of the mid-sixteenth century and peaked in the 1620s, accompanied by significant grants and transfers of land, allowed for intense upward social mobility as a generation of parvenus and adventurers secured titles, property and office. Third, the Crown created in Ireland an aristocracy that, by 1660, was identified exclusively with the parliamentary peerage. A corresponding cultural transformation occurred, which sometimes conflicted with these political developments and sometimes complemented them. In any event, by the late seventeenth century anglicized lords had become politically, economically, socially and culturally dominant. This chapter has four goals. First, it attempts to untangle what it meant to be noble in the context of early modern Irish society where different cultural groups interpreted nobleness in different and often conflicting ways and disputed who was eligible to be considered as noble. It examines the cultural transformation of the titled nobility from a noble elite that drew its status primarily from blood, lineage and standing within a community to one determined by royal service and a title held from the king. The process was messy and contested, especially by those Catholics who felt that they had been displaced by upstarts, something that the bardic poetry captures so vividly. Second, the chapter focuses on what it meant to hold a title of honour from the Crown: what responsibilities did this bring and what privileges did a peerage confer? Third, this chapter offers a sustained examination of honour.

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Honour was central to the noble cultures of both native and newcomer, the glue that bound together early modern society. New notions of honour, especially continental ones, often cross-pollinated or were grafted onto existing Gaelic and English ones. Finally, this chapter examines how honour was contested and defended. Adherence to carefully choreographed rituals – in Parliament, in church and in the home – brought order and helped to regulate the complex sets of relationships around and between lords. Squabbles over precedence, concern with protocol, status and standing, together with a determination to defend and enhance honour, preoccupied the peers, and an examination of these ‘honour disputes’ highlights its evolving nature and how they defended theirs. Honour was a collective status, as well as an individual one: a lord’s honour resided ultimately in the achievements, real or imaginary, of his forebears, which he was duty-bound to uphold and seek to eclipse. Therefore, peers ensured that honour was validated in each generation and extended to the wider kin group. Exposing the young to and educating them in concepts of honour and virtue was regarded as an essential part of their upbringing, if only to prevent the young person from dishonouring and bringing shame to the family (as, indeed, a number nevertheless did). By 1641 ideas of honour, centred on the king and royal service, became dominant and formed an important part of a wider anglicizing and civilizing process. As we have seen, the peerage in Ireland comprised native and newcomer, Catholic and Protestant, and men of Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh extraction. In short, it represented a cross section of Stuart society where lords of ancient pedigree were forced to rub shoulders with parvenus of no ‘breeding’ but who had served the Crown or secured royal favour. Whatever their provenance, these peers comprised some of the most influential political, military, social and economic figures in seventeenth-century Ireland. While members of the ancient nobility – the Butlers, earls (and later dukes) of Ormond, the Fitzgeralds, earls of Kildare, the Bourkes, earls of Clanricarde, the O’Briens, earls of Thomond, and so on – enjoyed wellestablished senses of honour, from the beginning of the seventeenth century they nevertheless sought to reinforce their individual (and collective) position within the social hierarchy; vied to establish their pre-eminence in the community of honour; and, thereby, to differentiate themselves from the upstarts. For their part these newcomers wanted to behave and be accepted as honourable men. The passage of time, intermarriage and economic interaction broke down many of these social and cultural barriers, and by midcentury the peerage formed communities of honour, which were defined by blood, military valour, service, loyalty to the Crown and the need to live a virtuous life. These communities were often transnational and exchanges of

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gifts, intermarriage, economic and political interdependence and patronage reinforced relationships within and across them. Nobles in Irish Society The bardic poets, guardians of the aristocratic tradition, acknowledged the nobles as the true and legitimate leaders in Irish society. With the outbreak of war in 1641 the Dominican poet Pádraigín Haicéad looked to ‘Ireland’s noble persons’ to provide leadership as they had in the past. In a verse entitled ‘After the beginning of this war in Ireland, 1641’, Haicéad asked: Who will bring to pass The revival of Gaelic glory After long injustice to their tribes, As their prophets forecast; Now or never seems the time For the chieftains of the Irish nation To have exalted or cut down Their fame, their faith, their reputation.1

Haicéad, like his fellow literati, looked to ‘chieftains of the Irish nation’ to provide leadership for their Catholic followers. Some of these ‘chieftains’ held titles of honour from the Crown; many did not.2 Members of the New English community held similar views about the role that the nobility should play. Writing in the 1680s, Richard Lawrence suggested that ‘The Nobility of a Kingdom are the Pillars of it, and therefore called Peers.’3 Though Haicéad and Lawrence represented the interests of two diverse communities and operated in very different social and political contexts, both the Gaelic intellectual and the English settler held members of the nobility to be the natural leaders in Irish society. Where they disagreed – and did so profoundly – was over the qualities a noble should possess. Haicéad believed that a true noble was a natural leader capable of calling his men to arms, a brave warrior who enjoyed great physical prowess, loyal to his faith, hospitable, kind, generous, wise, learned, a patron of the arts, popular with his people and respected by his peers. He was also a man of ancient lineage, honour and virtue who was godly and a devout Catholic. Lawrence offered a narrower definition of what constituted the nobility and limited it to members of the parliamentary peerage who had secured recognition for their service, as well as their noble qualities. The distinction is important, and by the end of the seventeenth century Lawrence’s view prevailed and the membership of the hereditary peerage and the ruling aristocracy (or the top layer of nobility) overlapped.

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Yet there were many, especially in the Gaelic community, of noble birth or who enjoyed noble characteristics and disposition but were not peers. The learned classes frequently noted this. In a eulogy entitled ‘My life is now so poor’ one of the greatest poets of these years, Daibhí Ó Bruadair, whose main patrons were the MacCarthys and Barrys in County Cork, mourned the passing in 1650 of John Barry, a leading Catholic royalist who had married Alice Boyle, the eldest daughter of the earl of Cork. Though he held no title of honour, Barry was a near kinsman of the aristocratic houses of Clanricarde, Antrim, Ormond and Westmeath, and for Ó Bruadair he embodied the qualities of a great noble: He was lordly, unruffled, considerate, loving, and mild, In good ever busy, adventurous, skilful, and brave, Though fierce to his foes, he was ever forbearing to friends; And the Church of God found a safe pathway in him unto peace.4

For Ó Bruadair, Barry did not require a title to be considered noble, something that Cork recognized when he allowed his daughter to marry him. The contemporary Capuchin historian, Richard O’Ferrall, reminded his readers that the confederate general assembly had many noble members – often descended from the kings of Ireland – who were not distinguished ‘by any titles of duke, count, baron, nor of knighthood’. According to O’Ferrall, these men had spurned those English titles and simply bore the family name (‘the O’Neill’ or ‘the MacCarthy Mór’).5 There were also those who held titles according to custom, rather than by royal patent: the Husseys, barons of Galtrim, the Purcells, barons of Loughmo, and the Nangles, barons of Navan. A few of these lords had been summoned to some of the medieval parliaments, and contemporaries recognized and regularly used their titles. The bardic poetry also recorded what the literati perceived to be the collapse of aristocratic rule in Ireland and the replacement of men of true nobility with upstarts and parvenus. As Bernadette Cunningham noted, ‘in a traditionally hierarchical society where honour based on lineage and valour was still key to social order, the dislocation resulting from colonization had irrevocably altered the social code that defined status and respectability in Irish society’.6 The loss of office, land and status to those they believed to be socially inferior, whether Catholic or Protestant, left the noble elite feeling dishonoured and aggrieved. They vented their spleen against the men ‘hatched in ignobilitie’, who might be Protestant newcomers, converts or Irish Catholics from humble backgrounds who had risen above their social station.7 The anonymous author of the Aphorismical Discovery of Treasonable Faction lambasted John, Viscount Taaffe, as a ‘comon, cogginge, gamster, a route banke and a temporizer’ and as ‘a man of meane ranke (though

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viscounte) . . . inferior . . . in reputation, honour, and extraction’.8 Richard O’Ferrall suggested that Dominick Sarsfield, the son of a Cork merchant, had ‘increased his own estate by obtaining filthy profits’ which he accrued by fining priests. ‘By doing so he [Sarsfield] grew so wealthy that among lesser distinctions and honours (though indeed honours of ill repute) he came into the most opulent title of Viscount of Kilmallock’.9 Many, such as Geoffrey Keating, author of Foras feasa ar Éirinn, and Michael Kearney, his Englishlanguage translator, felt that the newcomers were ‘blood-suckers and moths’ who would make Ireland ‘a withered dry stump of a tree, left without fruit, flower, leaves or bark’. These men had ‘received advancement in honour and riches beyond their merits or deserts’ and turned the social hierarchy on its head.10 The anonymous author of Pairlement Chloinne Tomáis, a remarkable text probably dating from the 1630s, also lamented the rise to prosperity of the lower orders at the expense of the rightful nobility. Pairlement Chloinne Tomáis charts the fortunes of a family of minor Gaelic nobles, Clan Thomas, who used the availability of cheap land in the wake of the Nine Years War, marriage alliances and the Crown’s ‘civilizing’ and commercializing policies as a route to social advancement.11 The family of upstarts quickly overextended itself and called a ‘parliament’ (pairlement) which met over three sessions. The descriptions of the proceedings and of the low-born members of Clan Thomas who aped English language, manners, dress and customs, offer, in the words of Brendan Kane, ‘a scathing commentary on Irish social inversion’.12 Writing later in the century, Ó Bruadair lamented the fact that he had to live amongst vulgar, ‘gloomy boors’, ‘fat-rumped jeerers’ and ‘ignorant dullards’ who value English fashion more than learning.13 In short, as Marc Caball and Joep Leerssen have shown, the poets equated honour ‘with adherence to uniquely Gaelic cultural forms and dishonour with Anglicization’. These notions of honour were religiously charged and culturally exclusive, but it would seem that the Catholic peers, much to the disgust of the literati, largely disregarded them as they embraced English notions of honour.14 In Ireland the English monarch was the fount of all honour, creating new titles and regulating entry into the ranks of the peerage.15 ‘To be the Fountain of Honour, is the peculiar priviledge of Sovereign Princes,’ wrote Richard Lawrence, adding ‘and though they may trust a Subject with the Key of their Treasury, and Cabinet; yet the Key of Honour should always be tied at their own Girdles.’16 In a society consumed by status, marks of royal favour were highly prized. The Crown reserved English titles for only a select handful of very privileged Irish lords. In 1628 Richard, sixth earl of Clanricarde, acquired the English earldom of St Albans. He took real pride in relating this ‘extraordinary’ favour to his agent in Connacht and reminding him that ‘an English title is held no small matter especially for a [man of ] Irish birth’.17 In 1682 Charles II recognized Ormond’s extraordinary services to the Crown

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with the ultimate prize, an English dukedom, and Ormond was grateful for the precedence the honour conferred.18 Of course, Irish titles were also eagerly sought and the recipients regarded them as an ‘eminent and lasting mark of favour’ (see chapter 2 above).19 In principle the process of ennoblement comprised three stages. First, the king created a new peer by oral or, increasingly, written declaration. Second, the king or his representative (usually the lord deputy) invested the new peer by girding him with the sword of that country.20 In the sixteenth century Irishmen invariably travelled to England and submitted themselves to the king or queen in person, but after 1603 this rarely happened. Third, a charter or patent was issued recording and announcing the creation of the title. The precise terms and conditions of patents did vary but the general format was similar. It explained why the honour was deserved. For example, the earl of Castlehaven’s patent (1616) stated that his honour was ‘in consideration of his military services in the Netherlands, France, and Ireland, and more particularly at the siege of Kinsale, where he was severely wounded’.21 The earl of Barrymore’s grant of 1625 referred to him as ‘one of the ancient nobility of Ireland and chief of a very honourable and well-deserving English family planted there from the first conquest’.22 The earl of Roscommon’s patent (1622) attributed his earldom to loyal service and the fact that his son conformed to the Established Church.23 The charter usually mentioned a grant of lands, often entailed, and the amount of the ‘creation fee’ (or modest royal pension the peer was entitled to claim). The patent also explained how the remainder was to be disposed of, usually to a ‘lawfully begotten’ male heir (‘tail male’), and thus a lineage often depended for its long-term survival on the ability of the first lord to produce legitimate adult male heirs (and many failed to do this, discussed in chapter 2 above). The widespread adoption of primogeniture and entail created a relatively stable and in many instances enduring landed aristocracy. Occasionally, a title passed to a designated family member. In a few instances, the marquisates of Antrim and Clanricarde, a title was held for life. Some patents included a reversion clause that saw lands revert to the Crown in the absence of a legitimate male heir.24 The link between a title and land was of fundamental importance and grants of property often accompanied the passing of a patent for a peerage. Sir Randal MacDonnell’s patent referred to his role as a loyal servant to the Crown and as a planter who had ‘reduced to civility the barbarous people of those parts where he doth reside’.25 The patent dated from 25 June 1618. Four days later Lord Deputy St John created him Viscount Dunluce (earl of Antrim in 1620) in a ceremony performed in his presence chamber in Dublin castle. A sermon preceded the ennoblement and a lavish feast, paid for by Dunluce, concluded the celebrations. Of particular importance were the royal grants that related to a lord’s estate, and in Dunluce’s case these dated from

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the previous decade (28 May 1603).26 The bardic poet Fear Flatha Ó Gnímh captured the delight of his patron in securing his patent to his lands in the Route and Glynns of Antrim: ‘On a smooth membrane-roll of parchment, in consequence of promise of favour, he brought from the king, on the day he was summoned for the grant, Glenarm and the estuary of the Bann.’27 As part of this grant MacDonnell was to provide ‘120 foot soliders, 60 to be good shot, and the rest swordmen and pikemen, and 24 horsemen’.28 MacDonnell, like so many Catholic Irish lords, held his lands directly from the king by knight’s service in capite, which meant that they were liable to the feudal incidents of wardship, marriage, seisin, relief and escheat.29 The tenures Abolition Act of 1662 replaced knight’s service in capite with tenure by free and common socage, which was how many of the Protestant newcomers already held their lands. The significance of these feudal incidents, especially marriage, wardship and relief, was very real. The king had the right to choose a lord’s spouse. Wardship accorded the king the authority to educate and to manage, for his own profit, the estate of a young lord until he came of age (i.e. became twenty-one). Relief was the payment due to the king by the heir of full age as the price of his right to succeed (i.e. the heir sued out his livery), and the king had the right to take possession of the land until the appropriate homage and relief had been rendered. To make matters worse the Act of Supremacy determined that a Catholic who held land by knight’s service could only sue for livery to his estates when he took the oath of supremacy (something that clauses 15–17 of the Graces ended). The Crown’s ability to use these feudal incidents, particularly wardship, to ‘civilize’ the nobility is discussed elsewhere (see chapter 5), but suffice to say they accorded the king considerable power over his subjects and allowed him to exercise control over the most influential members of Irish society. A title of honour conferred on a lord a variety of political, judicial and social privileges. Peers took their seats in the upper chamber of the Irish parliament alongside the archbishops and bishops.30 Those willing to take the oath of supremacy held key public offices as government ministers and as regional and local administrative and judicial officials. As such they represented an informal point of contact between the king and his subjects, and many spent time in London at the royal court, the ‘nerve centre’ of seventeenth-century politics.31 A few served as the king’s favoured counsellors. As well as these political privileges Irish nobles enjoyed legal ones. A nobleman accused of a crime could claim special legal treatment and the privilege of being tried by his peers. Thus in 1628 Baron Dunboyne was tried in Dublin before his peers on a charge of manslaughter (discussed below), a privilege that was denied Lord Maguire of Enniskillen when he was tried in London for treason in 1645.32

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The peers also played a critical role in the administration of justice, serving in the public courts and dispensing justice in their baronial courts. Peers in Ireland, like their English counterparts, did not enjoy exemptions from taxation, but their pre-eminent position as landowners accorded them privileges which represented an important source of revenue. They enjoyed a monopoly over access to and exploitation of natural resources, especially timber, together with hunting and fishing rights, and they could compel their tenants to use their mill or local court (discussed in chapter 4 below). Peers were not subject to complex rules around derogation, which prevented some continental nobles from engaging in activities not deemed to be in keeping with noble status, namely trade, thus preventing them from acting as landed and commercial entrepreneurs.33 Finally, the peers had a range of honorific privileges, such as the right to hold armorial bearings, which helped to differentiate them from other members of society and underscored their elevated social status. In return, a lord had to behave in a manner befitting his rank and station and to live a life of conspicuous consumption (discussed in chapter 14 below). A worthy lord also needed to demonstrate that he was loyal, wise, charitable, virtuous and honourable.34 Honour Despite being ‘the social glue’ of Stuart society, the analysis of honour in an early modern Irish context has attracted relatively little attention from historians.35 There are, of course, a number of exceptions. Articles by Bernadette Cunningham and William Palmer on honour in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, together with books by James Kelly on duelling, Clodagh Tait on death and, above all, Brendan Kane, have drawn attention to the importance of the subject.36 In his pioneering study Palmer argued that ‘the concept of honor played an important role in the mental worlds of Irish lords and English conquerors’ and that ‘the English and the Irish developed different and distinctive concepts of honor, which were expressed in individual actions, various kinds of writing, symbols, and rituals. The English conception of honor emphasized English dominance in Ireland and loyalty to the crown, while the Irish conception, though less clear, stressed individualism and defiance of authority.’37 In short, English and Irish notions of honour did little to transcend ethnic and sectarian divides and to foster stable communities of honour. More recently Brendan Kane, drawing on rich Irish-language sources as well as English ones, has approached the topic from the refreshing perspective of the operation of honour politics across Ireland and Britain.38 As the arbiters of noble honour, Kane shows how the writings of the bards ‘offer an extremely sensitive barometer for measuring change or continuity in

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contemporary ideas of honour’.39 In his various publications Kane explores the interface between honour, culture and politics, and analyzes how honour principles operated in an Irish context, how a distinctive Irish community of honour gelled, and how these discussions had a very direct impact on court politics. Using surrender and regrant agreements, the Crown sought to incorporate the peers into a ruling class and to ‘create an aristocratic honour culture’ centred on the king. Kane suggests that despite the very real ‘social, cultural and political differences separating English from Irish’ the Tudor Crown and administration in Dublin under Lord Deputy St Leger ‘saw Ireland’s Gaelic and “English-Irish” elites as simply variations on a recognized model of European nobilities’.40 Kane examines noble honour in three broadly chronological contexts. The first looks at honour in the ‘fighting and feasting’ culture of medieval Ireland. The second, covering the years between the passage of the Kingship Act in 1541 and the outbreak of rebellion in 1641, explores how being a kingdom influenced notions of honour. There was the ‘shift away from culturally (Gaelic) specific honor notions to more broadly negotiated ones’ in which ‘the honor bond between king and subject was now made explicit’.41 He argues that ‘Irish intellectuals reworked traditional notions of Gaelic honour to fit rapidly and radically changing social, cultural, political and religious circumstances’.42 He also takes cognizance of the wider European context and demonstrates how ‘the influence of Tridentine Catholicism’ and continental ideas of honour refashioned Gaelic ‘notions of honour’.43 The third element in Kane’s argument ‘considers anglicized “British” honor’ which, by the mid-seventeenth century, predominated.44 Kane’s pioneering research owes much to the scholarship of historians of early modern England who have demonstrated that honour was a slippery, nuanced and complex concept. It meant different things to different people; it was individualistic and communal; could be applied in a variety of ways and in both the public and private spheres, and its meaning changed over the course of the early modern period. The most influential, if now rather dated, discussion of honour and politics in early modern England was Mervyn James’s English Politics and the Concept of Honour, 1485–1642 (first published in 1978). In this James ‘mapped out a pattern of change amongst the élite whereby a concept of honour associated with chivalry and lineage came to be overlaid by a concept linked to humanism, Protestantism and obedience to the crown. The virtues of wilfulness, steadfastness and assertiveness gave way to wisdom, temperance and godliness.’45 Richard Cust has challenged James’s model.46 Cust has suggested that ‘For many contemporaries blood and lineage remained fundamental to their understanding of honour, and this view could coexist with an emphasis on virtue and service to the crown.’ He continues that ‘It would be misleading to privilege one particular concept as dominant and thereby marginalize others. Even if concepts of honour

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were not straightforwardly transformed by a shift from an old “lineage” discourse to a new “civil” one, nevertheless it is apparent that they were altering in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.’47 This may well have been the case in England, but in seventeenth-century Ireland honour became increasingly linked to service even if lineage remained particularly important for those Catholic families denied office because of their faith. Of course, as Cynthia Herrup notes, ‘honour was less a single value than a selection from a medley of values. It was . . . inborn and achieved, self-generated and bestowed, activist and stoical. . . . Honour was both inherited and earned . . . dependent upon royal favour and community approval.’48 Honour was its own reward. Honour was also highly gendered, with female honour being inextricably linked to chastity, sexual purity and obedience (discussed below in chapter 6).49 A woman, who usually took her ranking from her husband, depended on men – her husband, her father, her brother – to defend her honour. For, as one commentator wryly noted, men could repair their reputations but a woman’s was like glass and once broken impossible to mend.50 In a pioneering study of honour, gender and reconciliation, Linda Pollock argues that honour was ‘ubiquitous’ and ‘resided in social relationships’. She examines three interlinked aspects of honour culture: ‘the importance of restraint and reconciliation; the role of collective, family honour; and the contribution of women to the honour culture.’51 In particular, she analyzes how women took an active role in shaping honour culture and constructing ideas of communal honour. They praised their menfolk when they behaved honourably, criticized them when they did not or when they threatened to bring dishonour to the wider lineage, and stressed the importance of domestic harmony to the reputation of the family. The importance of communal or collective honour is discussed below, and the particular significance of interventions by women is vividly illustrated by the duchess of Ormond and her interactions with her husband and their adult children (see chapter 15 for details). Those peers of ancient lineage, like the Ormonds, viewed themselves, thanks to the good fortune of their birth and their chivalric origins, as enjoying a predisposition to honour. They commissioned family trees that traced their ancestry back in time, some to Adam or in the case of the earls of Thomond to Brian Boru, high king of Ireland, and Milo, the first Gaelic invader of Ireland and a descendant of the ancient Greeks. Genealogies and pedigrees focused on the nobleness and legitimacy of particular lineages and helped to differentiate them from the arrivistes.52 Towards the end of the sixteenth century the Ulster king of arms began to compile coats of arms for peers with Irish titles. By the turn of the seventeenth century the use of heraldic devices was widely established. It was also common for families to

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return funeral entries, which recorded the name of the deceased, the date of his/her death, the names of spouses, children (living and dead), grandchildren, sometimes with other information relating to the marriages of children and the place of burial.53 Bernadette Cunningham has suggested that ‘This interest in heraldry within the context of a settler social hierarchy, and more particularly the associated verification of pedigrees, closely paralleled the work of the hereditary historians in Gaelic society in affirming contemporary social status by reference to ancestry.’54 The anonymous author of the ‘Aphorismiscal Discovery of Treasonable Faction’ ridiculed the Old English obsession with origin. He took delight in trawling the annals with the intention of exposing the humble beginnings of many of the established lords: ‘I haue perused both those chronicles and founde nothinge remarkable, any noble extraction, either in bloude or action, or other thinge, wherof these present gentlmen might bragg off theire proper beinge from thence descended.’55 Often lacking an illustrious pedigree, the newcomers to the peerage emphasized their service to the Crown. Military service, which had long been a defining feature of the nobility, was particularly important. Across early modern Europe ‘It was assumed that a nobleman’s overwhelming sense of honour, of family and of lineage would ensure that he would always do his duty. Military virtue was believed still to reside principally in the social elite, for whom army service long remained a defining characteristic and not simply a career choice.’56 The innovations associated with the Military Revolution spread across early modern Europe and changed the nature of warfare, as technological advances in the use of firepower and the construction of fortifications led to a dramatic increase in the size of armies in which the infantry, rather than the heavily armoured cavalry so prevalent in the Middle Ages, predominated.57 This changed and enhanced the military role of the nobility, even in Ireland which embraced the technological innovations associated with the Military Revolution later than elsewhere.58 Military valour and chivalric values continued to fuel notions of honour and the exercise of arms at home or abroad remained a central part of noble culture.59 The language of honour, martial prowess and loyal service pervaded Sir Toby Caulfeild’s long patent.60 Particular mention was made of Sir Toby’s defeat of ‘the traitor’, Hugh O’Neill, earl of Tyrone. The letters patent extolled Sir Toby’s worthy lineage, his military training in France and the Low Countries, and his soldierly triumphs in Ireland. He displayed ‘true loyalty, unfailing constancy, and indefatigable labour, and the virtues of men devoted to their Prince’, which was in stark contrast to the dishonoured Tyrone, who was described as hateful, crafty, obstinate, perfidious and barbarous.61 Since Sir Toby had never married, his letters patent provided for the transfer of his title to his nephew, Sir William, who was described as ‘a man of distinguished talent and character, a strenuous imitator of his uncle’s military and other

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virtues’.62 Similarly, Sir Edward Blayney’s ‘conduct as a valiant soldier’ during times of war helped to secure his honour, as did his ‘services as an able counsellor during the peace’.63 As the work of Nicholas Canny, Clodagh Tait and Patrick Little has demonstrated, Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork, stands as an excellent example of someone who used royal service, marriage and death to portray himself as virtuous and his lineage as honourable, even if it was clear to contemporaries that he was a grasping, greedy, social-climbing commoner who lacked noble virtues and qualities.64 He purchased armorials and the latest books on the English peerage. He ostentatiously adorned his new home in Dorset with heraldic shields. The earl commissioned Christopher Watts, mason and carver from Bristol, to make ‘a very fair chimney’ for the parlour that would reach up to the ceiling ‘with my coat of arms complete, with crest, helmet, coronet, supporters and mantling’. He also asked Watts to carve two figures, each three feet high, ‘with my coat with a coronet’, which were to be placed on the staircase where they might remind the household and visitors of the family’s pre-eminence.65 Of course, Cork was not alone and other ‘upstarts’ flaunted their nobleness. The funeral sermons of Protestant lords extolled their public virtues: their ‘noble’ birth and ancestry, their role as loyal public servants, as brave soldiers, as devoted supporters of the Crown and of the Established Church; together with their personal qualities – their learning, wisdom, tenderness, compassion, hospitality, charity, faithfulness – and, above all, their sense of honour (see chapter 16 below). The greatest royal servant during these years was the duke of Ormond.66 Contemporary historians, like Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, represented him as a courageous, selfless, loyal servant who put the interests of the Crown before his own.67 John Dryden’s portrait of Ormond as Barzillai in his poem Absalom and Achitophel exemplified Ormond’s loyalty in terms of service and sacrifice in civil-war Ireland (‘regions waste beyond the flood’) and extols his honour (‘Barzillai crown’d with Honour’).68 Two years later, Dryden published his translation of Plutarch’s Lives and dedicated it to the duke. In the preface he emphasized the duke and his family’s sense of virtue and honour, his ancient and distinguished lineage, his long and loyal service to the Stuarts, and his remarkable and effective rule in Ireland.69 Ormond also enjoyed close relationships with some of the other leading literary figures in Stuart England and Ireland, including Aphra Behn, Katherine Philips, Nahum Tate and John Wilson. Writing in 1685 to celebrate the coronation of James II, Aphra Behn represented Ormond as ‘Stedfast in Loyalty, in Honour nice’.70 Like John Dryden, these writers were concerned with depicting the family’s sense of honour or, in the case of the Butler women, their virtue. The writers portrayed the duke as a loyal servant to the Stuarts, as a premier courtier and as an

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extraordinary statesman, and his son, Ossory, as a faithful commander and military hero (comparable to Caesar or ‘a Carthaginian prince’).71 Honour was a collective status and the example of the Ormonds illustrates this vividly. In particular, elegies, written in the wake of the deaths of Ossory and the first duke and his duchess, celebrated their lives and lineage, their military achievements, their public service and their private virtue, together with their loyalty to sovereign, family and friends. Richard Lawrence dedicated The interest of Ireland to Ossory’s young heir, later the second duke, and in the preface reprinted many other poems that appeared in the wake of Ossory’s death in 1680. These focused on his lustrous and ancient lineage, his commitment to Protestantism, his loyalty to the Stuarts (‘Charles was his Polar Star’), his naval and military victories, his ‘publick spirit’, and his personal qualities of diligence, affability, humility, charity, and honour.72 One-page broadsheets also circulated ensuring that the widest possible reader­ship learned of Ossory’s bravery, martial acts, fidelity and honour.73 John Dryden in his opening dedication of Fables (1700) deftly linked the three generations and celebrated the Ormonds as a model for the unbroken descent of virtue, honour and charity, and suggested that they were ‘descended from one of the most Ancient, most Conspicuous, and most Deserving Families in Europe’.74 Given their position as the premier lineage in Stuart Britain, these representations of the Ormonds as the ultimate embodiment of aristocratic honour are understandable, as is the extent to which they became a model for others to emulate. Contesting and Defending Honour The acquisition or possession of honour was one thing; its significance, however, lay in the fact that others acknowledged it publicly. ‘Honour is not in his hand who is honoured,’ wrote James Cleland, ‘but in the hearts and opinions of other men.’75 In return for behaving according to their rank and station the peers demanded deference and respect. Rank and date of creation determined the order in which peers assembled, processed and sat at a council table, in parliament or in church. This was a hierarchical society and so issues of precedence and protocol often proved contentious. Disputes over precedence, for example, dogged the openings of nearly all of the seventeenthcentury Irish parliaments. The 1613 parliament proved particularly troublesome. Lord Deputy Chichester noted how the peers squabbled ‘about the priority and precedency of their places (more to interrupt this great affair as we conceiv’d it, then for any sound reasons besides) and professed that they would neither come to the Parliament house, not yet accompany us unto the Church, before those differences were first decided’. He suggested that this was simply a delaying tactic. He invoked the king’s name to force their

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attendance and indicated ‘that howsoever they did ranck themselves for that day, it should be held for no disparagement for the time, nor prejudice unto the right of precedency of any one of them’.76 Chichester also attributed the confusion to the infrequency with which parliament met and the fact that ‘few of them had any letters to shew for their creations, all which they pretended to be consumed or lost by accidents, again the Parliament rolls are uncertaine and various’. He sent a list of contested titles to London and asked for instructions on how best to determine precedence cases.77 In the interim Chichester had to settle disputes between Viscounts Gormanston, Barry and Roche, and between Lords Slane, Courcy, Lixnaw, Delvin and Killeen.78 In 1625 Dominick Sarsfield’s attempts to claim the viscountcy of Kinsale triggered a stream of objections from Lord Courcy of Kinsale, whose title dated back to the reign of Richard II.79 In a long drawn-out dispute between the earls of Clanricarde and Thomond over which earl enjoyed seniority, Clanricarde vowed in 1627 to settle the issue discreetly and thereby to clear his family name of ‘wicked and foolish aspersions’.80 The elevation of Ulick, fifth earl, to the marquisate of Clanricarde temporarily resolved the problem but it became an issue again in the Restoration Parliament.81 During the early 1660s Lords Courcy and Kerry also sparred over issues of protocol and precedence, as did the earls of Drogheda and Tyrconnell.82 The king carefully protected the honour of the Crown, as did his representatives in Ireland who enjoyed quasi-regal status.83 Elaborately orchestrated ceremonial events – like the opening of parliament, the inauguration of a new lord deputy, an official vice-regal progress, the ritual act of ennoblement – provided lord deputies with ideal opportunities to promote the cult of monarchy and to remind people that ‘the name of king is higher than the name of lord’.84 They also used these events to highlight their own importance. In 1613 the attorney general, Sir John Davies, drew attention to the semi-regal status and powers of the lord deputy. ‘For he that doth fight with the sword of a king, write with the pen of a king he that hath the justice, mercy and bounty of a king in his hands, had need be furnished with those noble powers and virtues as are fit for the rule and government of a kingdom.’85 As lord lieutenant, Ormond used rituals and processions to underscore his own authority and that of the restored Stuart monarchy.86 A detailed account, dating from September 1666 when the duke was at the height of his powers, of one progress from Kilkenny to Youghal vividly recaptured the pomp and ceremony associated with these public displays of political power, military might and great nobility. The duke continued his progress, stopping in Kinsale, Blarney House and Youghal ‘where the Earl of Cork received him kindly and gave him “a noble entertainment” ’. ‘In all places’, the earl of Orrery noted, the duke ‘was received with the respect due to the King’s representative and to a man of his merit’.87 Ormond’s use of

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ritual was typical of the wider aristocratic community, who manipulated public and private events to remind contemporaries of their elevated rank and privileged position in society. These rituals also helped to forge a sense of aristocratic identity and to underscore communal notions of honour. When due deference was not given or when a peer believed that his honour had been slighted, confrontation often occurred. In these instances individuals used violence (including formal duels) and the courtroom as a means of defending honour. These ‘honour disputes’ reveal much about private and public perceptions of honour, honour culture, and the relationships a lord enjoyed with the king and his fellow peers, in other words the wider honour community. Violence was common throughout early modern Europe and Ireland was no exception. Linda Pollock discusses violence as an element of an honour system that, on the one hand, promoted behaviour that was ‘aggressive, masculine, and sharply hierarchical’ but, on the other, condemned unnecessary violence (including duelling) as dishonourable.88 The furious dispute between the maverick Baron Howth and some prominent English newcomers illustrates the tensions inherent in the honour system and the complexities involved in interpreting incidents of interpersonal violence that involved honour and reputation.89 Between 1608 and 1611, the ninth baron of Howth, whose title dated from the mid-fifteenth century, clashed with the sons of two English settlers who had risen to prominence under Lord Deputy Chichester, but whom Howth regarded as upstarts. One was Sir Garret Moore, who became Baron Moore of Mellifont and later first Viscount Drogheda; the other was Moore’s son-in-law, Roger Jones, son of Thomas, archbishop of Dublin (Jones was raised to the peerage as Viscount Ranelagh in 1628). This formed part of an ongoing vendetta between Howth and Moore. Moore claimed that the encounter began when Howth made ‘false and slanderous accusations’ against him and others. Moreover, as Moore added, the ‘Lord of Howth’s malice to the English is also well known, and how that publicly he used the most detracting, disgraceful, and malicious speeches he could of the whole nation’. He concluded his statement by insisting that Howth was ‘an enemy, and a public slanderer of the King’.90 Attempts to resolve the matter failed ‘to abate the edge of his [i.e. Howth’s] tongue’, and Chichester referred the dispute for arbitration to the court in London.91 Initially the king sided with Howth. In April 1609 Chichester was informed that ‘His Majesty has chosen rather to judge of his [Howth’s] loyalty by his former carriage and his disposition in religion [Howth claimed to be a Protestant], than by the allegations against him, [and] he has restored him freely to his favour as before.’ A few months later Howth wrote to the king, out of ‘concern for his own good name’, informing him that Sir Roger Jones had attacked him one day while he was playing tennis. Chichester and the

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archbishop of Dublin offered an alternative account of the altercation, which had resulted in the death of one of Jones’s kinsmen.92 The archbishop complained that Lord Howth ‘who, although of noble birth, is of a most violent and seditious disposition, and who had never ceased since his appearance before the Council in England, to insult and calumniate him’. He went on to relate ‘the murderous attack made by Howth and his cut-throat . . . retainers upon his son’. Two things infuriated the archbishop: first, the attack affected ‘the dignity of his [ecclesiastical] office and authority’, and second, it had impeached his ‘personal character and reputation’.93 After a further unpleasant incident of verbal abuse, in which Howth allegedly accused Jones and the English generally of being cowards, the king withdrew his earlier favour towards the baron. Howth took this as a direct slight on his honour and felt aggrieved that he had not been offered an opportunity to defend publicly ‘his honour and reputation’.94 This testosterone-driven dispute, dressed up in the language of honour, can be presented as a cultural confrontation between native and newcomer. There may have been truth in this, but other factors may also have been at work. The dispute coincided with a particularly difficult moment in Howth’s personal life as his marriage to an English Protestant, Elizabeth Wentworth, ended in acrimony. In 1608 the English Privy Council instructed the baron to pay her an annual allowance of £100. Elizabeth appears to have taken charge of their brood of six children, raising them as Protestants and in 1615 marrying the eldest son to the daughter of George Montgomery, bishop of Meath.95 The Howth–Moore dispute also presented the Crown with an opportunity to clip the wings of a family whose proclivity for violence was well known.96 Sometimes the Howths fought, raided and plotted on behalf of the Crown, but when it suited them they acted against it. The ninth baron’s predecessors had practised their Catholicism openly (and his own commitment to Protestantism wavered), quarrelled loudly with their peers, and committed extreme acts of domestic abuse against their servants, wives and children, thereby threatening the validity of the household as the social building block in Stuart society.97 The Dublin administration could no longer tolerate the situation and used the escalation of this unsavoury incident to vilify the disruptive baron and to neuter his lineage. Thus with Howth’s death in 1619 the family became politically compliant: it conformed to the Established Church, individual barons spent increasing amounts of time living in England, and the lineage faded into relative obscurity. Others resorted to duelling as a means of preserving their reputation and winning honour, despite the fact that the Crown did everything possible to curb the practice. A lord felt obliged to accept a legitimate challenge to a duel if he wanted to retain his reputation as an honourable man. There were many recorded instances of duels, often involving young men or those associated

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with the court. Matters of the heart resulted in a duel between the 19-yearold Roger Boyle, Lord Broghill, and the son of an English earl, much to the annoyance of the earl of Cork who approved neither of his son’s resort to violence nor of the young lady.98 When Lord Wilmot of Athlone heard that his son (also 19) had been involved in a duel, he suggested that he be sent to serve in the Low Countries but later forgave him on the grounds that his son had acted ‘according to such rules of honour as now misguide the world’.99 In 1669 a drunken brawl caused ‘a triple duel’ in the Phoenix park involving Lord Brabazon, son of the earl of Meath, and other senior army officers; one man died and another was ‘run through’.100 As a peer Brabazon escaped censure (his accomplices were found guilty of manslaughter) and secured a formal pardon.101 A spat between the earl of Roscommon and the earl of Clancarthy’s brother over precedence at a funeral in 1667 resulted in a duel at Merrion, just outside Dublin, with the earl of Arran acting as second for the former and Lord Mountgarret’s son for the latter. Ormond heard about the duel and immediately sent his guard to stop it.102 Early intelligence also prevented a duel in March 1670 between the earls of Roscommon and Mount Alexander.103 Roscommon’s son, Lord Kilkenny-West, was as hotheaded as his father. In 1686 he sought revenge for an assault he had received during a drinking spree. ‘I will not desire to live when I suffer a blow from any but those I owe duty to,’ he informed his father.104 Presumably Roscommon, now older and wiser, cautioned restraint; nothing further was heard of the matter. By the early seventeenth century the courtroom acted as an important forum where a peer’s reputation could be defended and his honour restored. The case of Edmund Butler, Lord Dunboyne, patron of the poet Pádraigín Haicéad, illustrates this. In 1628 Dunboyne came with some followers to Cahir castle to collect a legacy that his father-in-law had left him. The keeper of the castle and a kinsman, James Prendergast, refused to hand the plate over and a heated argument began. James Butler, the local justice of the peace, tried to keep order but one of Dunboyne’s men goaded Prendergast, telling him that Dunboyne ‘was a better man than he or any in the house, except the two lordes’. Prendergast gave Dunboyne ‘the lie’ and Dunboyne punched him; Prendergast then drew his sword and Dunboyne ‘suffered him not’. In the ensuing melee Prendergast died of stab wounds. A Tipperary grand jury found Dunboyne guilty of manslaughter, but the baron proclaimed his innocence and, as was his right, asked to be tried before his peers in Dublin. The setting for the trial was suitably formal, with ‘a place being prepared in the King’s Bench with a chaire and a cloath of state, and other places for the nobilitie, peers, judges, the King’s counsell, and common people to behold and see’. The court proceedings aimed to impress those present with the legitimacy of royal authority as the only means of resolving disputes.

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According to an observer ‘The Lord High Stewarte of Ireland came on horse from the White friares, attended by the peeres and judges.’ A sergeant at arms, ‘with his Mace and two ushers’, preceded them. Dunboyne presented his case with due formality to the assembled lords and argued that he had not administered the fatal blow. Convinced by Dunboyne’s testimony, the court returned a non-guilty verdict. When he heard it, Dunboyne ‘satt downe upon his knees, and praied for the king, and afterwards arose and thanked his peers’.105 Dunboyne’s trial was a very public and carefully choreographed display of royal justice in which a group of Irish lords of mixed ethnic and religious backgrounds operated as a collective community of justice and honour. The significance of this and of Dunboyne’s public submission to the king and his peers would not have been lost on the ‘common people’ who witnessed it and those who later heard of it. Though the context was very different, Donough MacCarthy, second Viscount Muskerry and, later, earl of Clancarthy, also used the courtroom to secure his honour. In December 1653 Muskerry stood trial before a Cromwellian court, charged with the murder of innocent civilians including women and children, allegedly committed during the civil wars of the 1640s. He had chosen to stand trial, returning to Ireland from exile in the Iberian Peninsula, to bear (as he put it) his ‘crosses’. He offered a spirited defence and after a three-day ordeal was acquitted. In a moving speech he thanked the court, which, he believed, had acted ‘with justice’. He continued: ‘I consider that in this Court I come clear out of that blackness of blood . . . [which] is more to me than my estate. I can live without my estate, but not without by credit.’106 In other words he could not live without his honour, which interestingly he expressed in monetary terms. Muskerry’s speech highlights the importance of personal honour and the premium he placed on securing his reputation for the collective honour of his lineage. Increasingly, a lawsuit or arbitration was regarded as an acceptable alternative to violence in defence of one’s good name.107 The number of slander cases illustrates this trend.108 In parliament peers regularly took action against those who uttered ‘scandalous speeches’ against them and, invariably, fierce punishment was meted out to men who spoke these ‘scandalous words’.109 On the petition of Oliver Fitzwilliam, the Catholic earl of Tyrconnell, two men, Rowse and Wright, were brought to the bar of the house in 1661 for speaking contemptuously to Tyrconnell. Rowse was put into the stocks in Ringsend for two hours and ordered to ask Tyrconnell and his brother Mr Fitzwilliam for forgiveness. Wright was to be put into the pillory ‘with paper on his breast saying he standeth there for calling the Earl of Tyrconnell a rogue’.110 In 1666 Francis Annesley, brother of Arthur, earl of Anglesey, accused Mark Trevor, first Viscount Dungannon, of having committed treason. A committee of the House of Lords effectively tried Francis for the slander. First his judges

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ordered him to apologize to the House and to ‘acknowledge himself guilty of a very rash and inconsiderate action’. He was then instructed to appear before the next assizes in County Down, where Dungannon’s estates lay, and the assizes in ‘every county in Ulster, [to] acknowledge in the face of the country, that he has committed a very gross error in accusing my Lord Dungannon of treason’. This public humiliation of Francis may have restored Dungannon’s good name but it also brought that of Annesley into disrepute, and Anglesey immediately retaliated by making a formal complaint about his brother’s treatment.111 Moreover, when his own good name was challenged Anglesey did not hesitate to take action. Shortly before he died in 1686, Anglesey took Anthony Philpott to task for his ‘barbarous and scandalous usage’. According to the earl, he himself had ‘arrived at old age with unblemished honour and allegiance’ and he hoped to bequeath his unsullied reputation to ‘his numerous progeny’.112 Cases of scandal brought issues of honour to public notice. Gossip, rumour, aspersions and insinuations about the behaviour of influential statesmen, or their immediate kin, could often have serious political consequences. Ormond was particularly concerned about gossip and how this affected his reputation at court. The whispering campaign that the earl of Orrery conducted against him in the midst of the popish plot irritated him intensely since it left him with no means of clearing his name. In a letter to the earl’s elder brother, Ormond complained about Orrery’s dishonourable conduct: ‘To an accusation a man knows what to make answer, and has liberty and opportunity to do it, and the accuser is under some obligation of credit at least to prove his assertions. But, by the way my Lord, your brother, has taken, I have no means of defence, neither is he under the obligation of proof.’113 In terms of damage to reputations, the earl of Anglesey’s spat with Ormond during the early 1680s exposed the good names of both men to public scrutiny, courtly gossip and intrigue in both England and Ireland.114 The details of the very public dispute have been well documented and are discussed in detail in chapter 16 below.115 Suffice to say that it highlights the concern of both peers with their personal reputations as loyal and honourable nobles and with how posterity might judge their respective lineages.116 Conclusion Linda Pollock has suggested that ‘honour was deeply ingrained in the English elite, entwined in the fibers of their beings, something they lived with, thought about, and debated on a daily basis’.117 Honour was ubiquitous in Ireland too but, as Brendan Kane has demonstrated, ‘Irish aristocrats now derived their sense of noble honor in large part from their relationship with the monarch.’118 Honour determined the behaviour and actions of

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individuals and of wider lineages, and how a peer interacted with other members of society. It would be inappropriate to suggest that by 1641 a common and monolithic sense of honour and virtue had transformed the Irish lords into a homogeneous social group. However, by the end of the seventeenth century, adherence to shared and overlapping principles of honour, together with a variety of other factors – especially extensive intermarriage and economic interdependence – helped to forge a common sense of identity amongst the peers, something that became very apparent after the Restoration (see chapter 12 below). Moreover, these lords belonged to a community – or, more accurately, communities – of honour, the membership of which was fluid and was figured and reconfigured over time and according to specific contexts and events. These communities of honour might be defined by place, by the ancientness of title, by the nature of royal service, by valour on the battlefield, and by political engagement (especially in the Irish parliament). Ethnicity was another complicating factor, something that Raymond Gillespie emphasizes in his fascinating article on the social thought of Richard Bellings when he suggests that ‘The Old English . . . were not simply an economic or social elite but a moral one also, imbued with the sense of honour and duty conferred by their lineage.’119 Religion also played a role, especially during times of crisis – the 1640s and after 1688 – when the peerage aligned along sectarian fissures. While religion did remain divisive, the forging of a common sense of honour and the recognition by many Protestant peers that Catholicism was an honourable faith served as one of the key factors in facilitating the social and economic integration, the cultural cross-assimilation and the political cooperation within the resident peerage.120 Little wonder then that at his trial Viscount Muskerry, who, rather appropriately, had first learned of the outbreak of the 1641 rising whilst at a dinner party at Castle Lyons attended by local Munster barons and the earls of Cork and Barrymore, was more concerned about his ‘credit’ and honour than his ‘estate’.

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CHAPTER 4

Landed Nobility Land was the basis for political power in seventeenth-century Ireland and

the nobility was a landed one. Land, inherited through the practice of primogeniture when property passed from a father to his legitimate male heir and through marriage, provided the wealth that sustained a lineage and, during the 1640s, the fighting men it needed to wage war. The dissolution of the monasteries, the rebellions of the sixteenth century and the wars of the seventeenth century resulted in large swathes of Irish land being expropriated and redistributed by the Crown to favourites, clients, the ‘deserving’ and those who needed to be paid off. In addition numerous opportunities – informal land transfers through widespread mortgages and sales – allowed for the purchase of cheap land and facilitated upward social mobility.1 Greedy speculators of all creeds and backgrounds grabbed lands wherever they could, which allowed for the creation of vast estates that were held by a variety of tenures and titles. Whether Catholic or Protestant, native or newcomer, all peers during these years aspired to accumulate landed resources, and landholding became inherently linked to the changing situation of the peerage. By 1641 the hierarchy of landownership effectively mapped onto the status hierarchy which the peerage represented. Thus the greatest aristocrats, with the most political clout, held the largest estates while the lesser-ranking peers held more modest ones. The widespread adoption of entails, whereby land was settled on a number of persons in succession so that it could not be bequeathed at pleasure by any one possessor, created relatively stable landed bases and allowed for the emergence of powerful and enduring landed dynasties. The creation of a landed nobility in Ireland represented a significant departure from the medieval past when status and influence were determined by the number of followers who owed loyalty to a lord, rather than the size of his estates. Moreover, in the medieval Irish system, land belonged to the sept rather than to individuals and partible inheritance (‘gavelkind’) was the norm, rather than male primogeniture, which had resulted in the atomization of

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landholding.2 Pastoralism, especially cattle farming, formed the mainstay of the local economy, with herds moved to high pastures during the summer months, a practice known as transhumance, or ‘booleying’. The early Stuarts regarded this redistributive economy as unsophisticated and aspired to nurture a more commercialized system that favoured settled patterns of farming and promoted urbanization and the development of nucleated settlements. The advantages of this for the peers were very real. Aside from becoming landed entrepreneurs, control over local towns afforded lords economic and political clout over who held office and represented a borough as an MP in the House of Commons. This chapter attempts to recover the relationships that this fluid economic environment spawned. It documents the new patterns of landownership and offers a broad overview of titled landholding in Ireland in 1641 and again in c.1670. It identifies who the largest landowners were and where they held their estates. (The productivity of these estates and the activities of the peers as landed entrepreneurs are discussed at length in chapter 13 below.) The importance of political geography and where a peer held his lands cannot be overstated. In the absence of a standing army and a trained bureaucracy the smooth running of the country depended on the ability of the Crown to secure the support of peers who owned lands in geographically remote and often hostile areas. At one level, a patchwork of seventeenthcentury lineages overlaid the lordships and sub-lordships that had predominated in medieval Ireland. Thus pre-1641 the Bourkes of Clanricarde and the O’Briens of Thomond and Inchiquin and their kin networks were the key power brokers west of the River Shannon, along with more recent ennoblements like Viscounts Mayo and Dillon of Costello-Gallen. Newcomers to the peerage – the MacDonnells of Antrim, together with other Scottish lords (the Hamiltons and Montgomerys) and a few native Irish ones (the Magennises of Iveagh and the Maguires of Enniskillen) – held sway in the remote regions of Ulster. In the far reaches of Munster, power and influence were shared between traditional lords and their kin, like the Barrys of Barrymore or the MacCarthys of Muskerry, and newcomers like the earl of Cork. Peers also dominated political and cultural frontiers, such as the Leinster–Munster border, where the wider Butler lordship ruled supreme. Established Old English peers of the Pale – the Fitzgeralds of Kildare, the Nugents of Westmeath and the Plunketts of Fingal – lorded it over the strategically important areas of Leinster, especially the outskirts of the Pale and the Leinster–Ulster border, along with recent ennoblements like Viscounts Ranelagh and Clanmalier. To some extent these men acted as overlords, much as their predecessors had done, and constellations of lower noble and gentry families arrayed themselves around them. The mid-century revolution in landholding modified particular elements of this general picture, especially in

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Leinster where more recent Protestant ennoblements displaced established families, but it also consolidated the position of the landed nobility who increased their holdings (discussed below and in chapter 11). Peers held lands in each of Ireland’s 32 counties, but more lords held lands in County Dublin, close to the seat of political power, than elsewhere, which suggests that a process of social centralization was occurring in Ireland (much as it was elsewhere in Europe) and explains why County Dublin is examined in considerable detail (see below). Space precludes a comprehensive study of all titled landholders. Instead this chapter analyzes the landholding of the ‘top 20 lords’ in 1641 and c.1670 and adopts a regional perspective by examining landholding patterns in the provinces of Munster and Ulster, both of which underwent extensive programmes of plantation and colonization. In these regions peers of all ethnic and religious backgrounds interacted in complex webs of economic and tenurial connectivity. The activities of lesser lords who owned smaller estates are often less well documented than those of the newcomers or those who lorded it over vast estates, but where the evidence allows the landed interests of the natives and smaller landowners have also been reconstructed. Detailed cadastral studies of the estates of leading peers – the earls of Antrim, Cork and Ormond – add some flesh to otherwise bare statistical bones and highlight the importance of undertaking comparable studies for other lords. The impact that the revolution in landholding associated with the mid-century confiscations had on titled landholding, and especially on the recusant peers, is fully discussed elsewhere (see chapter 11 below), but Catholic survivalism becomes apparent in the evidence presented in this chapter. Many lords resided on their estates and took a direct interest in nurturing their landed investments and acquiring additional lands through purchase, mortgage and more opportunistic windfalls triggered by rebellion and warfare.3 Estate papers – replete with letters patent specifying the creation of manors and the right to hold courts leet and baron along with markets and fairs – survive for many lineages. These – together with evidence of mortgages contracted and released, complex indentures establishing trusts, rent books and leases – vividly recapture the activities, at times frenzied, of individual families as they speculated on the fluid land market or connived to secure expropriated acres.4 As the printed calendars and extant transcripts illustrate, the patent rolls, which were sadly destroyed in 1922, contained a wealth of detail on who held land, where and by what tenure.5 Detailed analysis of these, along with extant estate papers, surveys, bonds, testamentary and other legal records, allows for the reconstruction of the complex layers of landholding within individual lordships/lineages. These gentry farmers and their subtenants paid a lord his rent and in times of crisis took up arms at his behest, yet frustratingly little is known of how these men interacted with a lord or his agents.

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Using the Books of Survey and Distribution, which provided the names of landholders in 1641 and in c.1670, together with details of the size and location of their holdings, Kevin McKenny has offered a fascinating statistical interpretation of the Cromwellian and Restoration land settlements. He suggests that the Protestant share of land increased from 30 per cent in 1641 to 67 per cent in c.1670, and that the percentage of land held by Catholics fell from 66 per cent in 1641 to 29 per cent c.1670, which revises J. G. Simms’s calculation that the Catholic share of land fell to 22 per cent.6 McKenny has also suggested that by the end of the seventeenth century the ‘top aristocracy’, including English peers who acquired lands at the Restoration in 1660, held about 20 per cent of the land and that if the lesser nobles are included this figure rises to around 40 per cent, which represented an increase of 10 per cent since 1641.7 Even if McKenny’s figures are inflated with acres held by non-resident peers, they nonetheless underline the importance of landholding and illustrate how the noble share of land increased over the course of the century. Titled Landholders in 1641 and c.1670 The Books of Survey and Distribution offer a unique glimpse of the lands held by 63 (out of 68) resident peers in 1641 and by 72 resident peers in c.1670.8 This was a pre-statistical age in which measurements were not standard, and so these data need to be handled with caution. Moreover, the figures given here should be seen as indicative of estate size rather than offering precise totals that accord with modern acreages. The fact that there are no data for Viscount Kinalmeaky (d.1642), Baron Docwra (d.1647) and Baron Esmond (d.1645), whose lines became extinct with their deaths, is not surprising, but the lack of information for Viscount Conway is strange. Similarly, there is no entry for Lettice Fitzgerald, baroness of Offaly, but a ‘Lady Fitzgerald’ is listed as holding 2,884 acres. In any event, on her death in 1658 these lands passed to the earl of Kildare. In all, 11 women who were the mothers or wives of peers were listed as holding acres, presumably jointure lands, in their own right, but their estates have been included in totals given for their husband or son. The most significant woman who held lands in 1641 was the heiress Elizabeth Butler, countess of Ormond, with 32,291 acres (her mother-in-law Lady Elizabeth Thurles held a mere 167 acres). The ‘Lady Iveagh’, who held 5,686 acres, could have been Sarah O’Neill, mother of the second viscount, but it is more likely that she was his wife, Mary Bellew. Similarly, ‘Lady Clanmories’, who held 1,881 acres, could either have been Catherine Brabazon, wife of the first viscount, who was still living in 1656, or Margaret Fleming, wife of the second viscount. ‘Lady Dunboyne’, who held 2,283 acres, was probably Ellen Fitzgerald (d.1660) who had

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married as her third husband, Edmund, third baron of Dunboyne. The remaining women – Ladies Aungier, Castle Connell, Caulfeild, Moore and Wilmot – held smaller parcels of land. Though the resident peers represented only a tiny fraction of Ireland’s total population, these men and their womenfolk held over 1,591,109 acres (not all of which were deemed profitable), representing nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of the country (Ireland comprised a total of 9,084,111 acres). In 1641 this land was divided almost equally amongst the Protestant (51 per cent, 814,744) and Catholic (49 per cent, 776,365) peers. Hardly surprisingly, the earls owned the largest share of the land (55 per cent, or 869,652 acres), followed by the viscounts (29 per cent, or 469,240 acres) and the barons (16 per cent, or 254,217 acres). As the figures in table 6 make clear, only nine men held estates of less than 5,000 acres. They included six newcomers to the peerage, Lords Aungier of Longford, Folliott of Ballyshannon, Fitzwilliam of Merrion, Castlehaven, Castle Stewart and Wilmot of Athlone; together with three established Catholic barons, Barnewall of Trimleston, Courcy of Kinsale and Le Power. The majority of peers (35 out of 63) held more substantial estates that measured between 5,000 and 20,000 acres. Of these 35 peers, 25 were new ennoblements and the remaining 10 came from established families (Barrys of Barrymore, Bourke of Castle Connell, Fleming of Slane, Butler of Dunboyne, Bermingham of Athenry, St Lawrence of Howth, Preston of Gormanston, Fitzmaurice of Kerry and Lixnaw, Plunkett of Louth and Plunkett of Dunsany). The newcomers included military speculators such as Lords Lambert of Cavan, Moore of Drogheda and Caulfeild of Charlemont, together with well placed administrators like Lords Mountnorris or Loftus of Ely, and landed adventurers like Lords Taaffe or Montgomery of the Ards. Nineteen lords held lands measuring over 20,000 acres across the four provinces of Ireland (see map 1). By far the largest landowner in Ireland was the earl of Ormond with estates of 224,087 acres, followed by the earls of Clanricarde (152,131 acres), Antrim (149,353 acres) and Thomond (120,230 acres). Of these men, only the earl of Antrim was a newcomer to the peerage. Viscount Muskerry’s holdings of 82,037 acres were also considerable, as were those of Dillon of Costello-Gallen (53,629), Cork (46,257), Claneboye (44,569), Kildare (41,935) and Westmeath (40,346). In the ‘top 20’ of titled landholders, peers of Old English provenance predominate (eight peers): Lords Ormond, Clanricarde, Dillon of Costello-Gallen, Kildare, Westmeath, Mayo, Fingal and Mountgarret. This comes as little surprise since the total Old English share of land was 50 per cent (see table 7). More remarkable is the extent of native Irish holdings, 19 per cent of land held by titled nobles, with six peers holding land over 20,000 acres: Lords Thomond, Muskerry, Clanmalier, Enniskillen, Inchiquin and Iveagh (the only native Irish peer not included here was Upper Ossory). The five remaining lords who held land

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Table 6.  Size of estates held by resident peers in 1641.9 Plantation acres

Number of peers

0–499

2

1,000–4,999

7

5,000–9,999

11

10,000–14,999

14

15,000–19,999

10

20,000–29,999

9

40,000–49,999

4

50,000–99,999

2

100,000+

4 63 (no data for 5 peers)

Table 7.  Ethnic breakdown of lands held by resident peers in 1641.10 New English (19 peers)

245,001 plantation acres

16%

Native Irish (7 peers)

299,433 plantation acres

19%

Old English (32 peers)

818,996 plantation acres

50%

Scots (4 peers)

203,107 plantation acres

13%

Welsh (1 peer)

24,572 plantation acres

2%

Total: 63 peers

1,591,109 plantation acres

100%

over 20,000 acres were all newcomers: two Scots (Lords Antrim and Claneboye), two Englishmen (Lords Cork and Ranelagh), and one Welshman (Baron Blayney). Given the small number of Scottish peers, their overall share of land was high, at 13 per cent (see table 7). What is surprisingly low, given the large number of New English lords (22 in 1641,19 for whom data are extant), is the overall share of land held by titled nobles (16 per cent), which, even when combined with the Welsh figure, did not equal the native Irish holdings. These figures can also be misleading since they do not capture the value of land. Ormond may have been the largest landholder in Ireland but his pre-war landed rental (approx. £8,000) meant that his estates would have been valued at £160,000 (the standard rate in England for the valuation of land was 20 years’ purchase). By the same measure Cork’s estates, which yielded an annual rental in 1641 of some £18,000, would have been valued

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Map 1.  Top 20 titled landholders in 1641 (based on the Books of Survey and Distribution). a combined dot indicates that Catholics and Protestants held land contiguous to each other 1. earl of Ormond 2. earl of Clanricarde 3. earl of Antrim 4. earl of Thomond 5. Viscount Muskerry 6. Viscount Dillon of Costello 7. earl of Cork 8. Viscount Claneboye 9. earl of Kildare 10. earl of Westmeath 11. Viscount Mayo 12. Baron Blayney 13. Viscount Clanmalier 14. baron of Enniskillen 15. Baron Inchiquin 16. Viscount Ranelagh 17. earl of Fingal 18. Viscount Mountgarret 19. Viscount Magennis of Iveagh 20. Viscount Roche of Fermoy (Catholics in bold)

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at £360,000.11 Towards the end of the century these figures had increased very significantly, thanks in part to the landed windfalls both men secured. By the 1670s the earl of Cork’s annual rental was £30,000 and his estates were valued at £600,000, and by the 1680s Ormond’s annual rental was £24,000 and his estates were valued at £480,000 (discussed in chapter 13 below). The Books of Survey and Distribution also record landholding for 72 peers and 12 of their womenfolk in c.1670 (see map 2 for the top 20 landholders).12 Apparently incomplete entries for Lords Chichester, Conway and Ridgeway highlight the challenges involved in using these data, but they nevertheless suggest that these 84 individuals held 2,348,703 acres (1,734,629 of which were deemed profitable, see table 8). Only one man, the earl of Mount Alexander, held land in all four provinces (his holdings spanned nine counties), and particular circumstances after the Restoration explain this (discussed in chapter 11 below). More commonly, as the figures in table 9 illustrate, peers held land in one province or two (26 men in each category), but 19 peers held lands in three provinces. More lords held land in the 12 counties that comprised Leinster, especially Counties Dublin, Meath and the rest of the Pale, than in any other province (see tables 9 and 10), but the total acreage of profitable land held by resident peers in Leinster was considerably less than in Munster. Munster’s six counties, especially Cork and Tipperary, also attracted a high number of titled landowners and was the province where the peers held the greatest number of acres. Less densely settled by peers were Connacht (with the exception of County Roscommon) and Ulster. Nonetheless they held considerable proportions of both provinces, albeit much of the land in Connacht was deemed to be unprofitable. When the data in table 9 are examined from a county perspective, only five peers (out of 72, or 7 per cent) held land in more than 10 counties: Lords Kingston (17 counties), Anglesey (16 counties), Ormond (11 counties), Cork (11 counties) and Ranelagh (11 counties). Relatively few peers (15, or 21 per cent) held land in five counties or more, and those that did represented an interesting mix of established lords (the earls of Clanricarde, Kildare and Thomond), early seventeenth-century ennoblements (the earls of Cavan, Donegal and Drogheda), and ‘new men’ (Lords Colooney, Massareene and Mountrath). Geographically widespread holdings were often associated with the land grabs of the early and mid-seventeenth century, as in the cases of the earls of Anglesey, Cork and Ranelagh, or with newcomers like Lords Kingston and Lanesborough, elevated to the peerage after 1660. The Connacht lands held by many Catholics (Lords Dunsany, Ikerrin, Netterville, Trimleston and Westmeath) harked back to the transplantation initiatives of the 1650s and usually signalled a failure to retrieve ancestral holdings at the Restoration. It was much more common for a peer to hold land in a single county (16 peers, or 22 per cent) or to spread holdings out over two or three counties (28 peers,

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Map 2.  Top 20 titled landholders in c.1670 (based on the Books of Survey and Distribution). a combined dot indicates that Catholics and Protestants held land contiguous to each other 1.  duke of Ormond 2. earl of Clancarthy 3. earl of Clanricarde 4. earl of Anglesey 5. earl of Thomond 6. marquis of Antrim 7. Baron Kingston 8. Viscount Mayo 9. earl of Cork 10. Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen 11. earl of Inchiquin 12. Viscount Clare 13. Viscount Kenmare 14. earl of Mountrath 15. earl of Clanbrassil 16. Viscount Massareene 17. earl of Kildare 18. Baron Colooney 19. earl of Carlingford 20. earl of Ranelagh (Catholics in bold, new peers in italic)

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Table 8.  Titled landholding, c.1670.13 Leinster

Munster

Ulster

Connacht

Total

# peers (72)

55 peers

32 peers

23 peers

27 peers



# ladies (12)

5 ladies

5 ladies

2 ladies

4 ladies



Unprofitable plantation acres

33,875

184,495

69,505

326,199

614,074

Profitable plantation acres

459,559

707,869

320,449

246,752

1,734,629

Total (plantation acres)

493,434

892,364

389,954

572,951

2,348,703

(The total number of peers is given in brackets.)

Table 9.  Geographic extent of titled landholding at provincial and county levels, c.1670. P[rovince]

P1

P2

P3

P4

Total: 72 peers

26 peers (36%)

26 peers (36%)

19 peers (27%)

1 peers (1%)

C[ounty]

C10+

C5–10

C4

C3

C2

C1

Total: 72 peers

5 peers (7%)

15 peers (21%)

8 peers (11%)

17 peers (24%)

11 peers (15%)

16 peers (22%)

or 39 per cent). In these instances counties often bordered each other and traversed provincial borders, which explains why so many peers held land in more than one province. At the top of the pyramid of nobles in Ireland, the power of certain families was truly immense. A few individuals, Lords Antrim, Cork, Ormond and Thomond, and after 1660 Annesley and Clancarthy, ruled over what were in effect private fiefdoms. Only in the cases of Antrim and Clancarthy were these vast family estates territorially consolidated and fully contiguous. A geographically compact estate of any size was difficult to create. The normal pattern was for peers to hold clusters of lands scattered across several regions and even different provinces. This reflected the way in which most great noble estates had been built up in stages and over an extended period of time. They were amassed through skilful marriages (see chapter 6 for details), fortunate inheritance, landed windfalls associated with the dissolution of the

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Table 10.  Intensity of titled landholding at the county level, c.1670. Leinster

Munster

Connacht

Carlow: 8 peers

Clare: 9 Peers

Galway: 13 Peers Antrim: 3 peers

Dublin: 20 peers

Cork: 14 peers

Leitrim: 6 peers

Armagh: 4 peers

Kildare: 11 peers

Kerry: 6 peers

Mayo: 9 peers

Cavan: 7 peers

Kilkenny: 11 peers

Limerick: 10 peers Roscommon: 15 peers

Donegal: 2 peers

King’s County: 11 peers

Tipperary: 13 peers

Down: 7 peers

Longford: 8 peers

Waterford: 6 peers

Sligo: 6 peers

Ulster

Fermanagh: 2 peers

Louth: 7 peers

Londonderry: 3 peers

Meath: 20 peers

Monaghan: 7 peers

Queen’s County: 10 peers

Tyrone: 6 peers

Westmeath: 10 peers Wexford: 11 peers Wicklow: 10 peers

monasteries, shrewd property dealings and, occasionally, donations of land by a grateful ruler. The disparate holdings of the Butlers of Ormond or Annesleys of Mountnorris (discussed below) were more typical. Though a significant proportion of these acres might lie close to the area where the family had originated and perhaps from where it derived its title, the obstacles to further consolidation were considerable.14 The combination of male primogeniture, together with the legal device of entail, led to the continuation and creation of large estates and ensured that landed wealth passed down through male heirs without individuals being able to dispose of landed assets. As Hamish Scott has noted, this was fundamental to an aristocracy ‘which depended upon the transmission of social and political power, together with the human and economic resources to support this, from one generation to the next’.15 An entail was an unbreakable legal trust that regulated succession to landed property, but it did give fathers some right to mortgage and alienate lands. Wills or marriage settlements frequently laid down entails whereby an heir held property in trust. During his lifetime he enjoyed the benefit of the property before passing it to his own heir, ideally

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in the condition in which he had received it. Numerous examples of this practice survive amongst the papers of the titled nobility, and the example of the Annesleys of Mountnorris is typical. In 1638 it was agreed that Arthur Annesley, son and heir of Lord Mountnorris and later earl of Anglesey, should marry Elizabeth Altham. Lands in Counties Wexford and Armagh were designated as their marriage portion. Two years later an indenture conveyed to Arthur all of his father’s lands, except his County Down estates, on the condition that Arthur paid to his father and mother a lump sum of £4,000 and an annual annuity of £900, and agreed to a separate provision for the Annesleys’ other children (three daughters and four sons).16 Only property not included in the trust could be demised to younger children, and provision for younger sons – and the creation of cadet branches of a lineage – became an important status symbol and a testament to the wealth of a lineage. Of course, inheritance depended on the ability of a lineage to produce a male heir, something that resident peers did with mixed success. In this they were typical of their continental counterparts where the direct male line died out after four or five generations and ‘from a quarter to a third of all lineages might become extinct every century’.17 This biological failure broke ‘the connection between a lineage and the land’ and resulted in the extinction of the title (see chapter 2 above).18 In the absence of direct male heirs, uncles, brothers and nephews became important ways of securing dynastic continuity and preventing lands from reverting to the Crown. Female inheritance happened rarely in Ireland, and in stark contrast with the previous century inheritance by illegitimate males occurred under exceptional circumstances and they had no legal rights to property. Titled Landholding in County Dublin The complex landholding patterns in County Dublin illustrate the predominance of the titled nobility as landowners (see table 11 and map 3). Situated on a fertile coastal plain in the heart of the Pale, County Dublin enveloped the city of Dublin, seat of political and administrative power. An observer described Fingal in the north of the county as ‘a little place, but very well husbanded, ever the garner and store-house of this kingdome, so great [a] store of corne it yeeldeth every yeare’.19 As map 3 and the figures in table 11 indicate, 14 peers held lands there in 1641 and twenty in c.1670. Only a small number actually resided in the county, though a number did rent or acquire property in Dublin city (see chapter 12 below). The St Lawrences of Howth, who held estates in the barony of Nethercross and around the port of Howth in north Dublin, were an established family of Old English provenance who embraced Protestantism during the early decades of the seventeenth century. In 1615 Sir Henry Power, later Lord Valentia, received a grant

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Map 3.  Titled landholding in County Dublin in 1641 (based on the Books of Survey and Distribution and William Smyth, Map-Making, Landscapes and Memory: A Geography of Colonial and Early Modern Ireland c. 1530–750 (Cork, 2006), pp. 237, 240.)

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Table 11.  Titled noble landholders in County Dublin in 1641 and c.1670 (in plantation acres). Surname

Title

Total 1641 Co. Dublin 1641/1670

Barnewall

Trimleston

3,938

Barnewall

Kingsland

8,789

Barry

Santry

2,933

1,841/550? Balrothery, Coolock, Nethercross

Brabazon

Meath

8,754

519/1,151

Rathdown, Uppercross

Butler

Ormond

224,087

1,044/3,314

Balrothery

Fitzwilliam Merrion

2,761

2,761/2,923

Balrothery, Rathdown, Castleknock

873/1,963

Nethercross, Newcastle

566/550

Baronies Rathdown

5,790/5,875

Balrothery, Coolock, Nethercross

Jones

Ranelagh

20,977

Moore

Drogheda

15,191

Netterville

Netterville

6,685

Nugent

Westmeath

O’Brien

Thomond

Plunkett

Fingal

20,627

35/35

Plunkett

Dunsany

8,116

188/178

Castleknock

Power

Valentia

10,792

354

Castleknock

Preston

Gormanston

10,211

679/677

10,422

5,248/5,090

St Lawrence Howth

250/? Coolock 73/35

Balrothery

40,346

380/0

Coolock

120,230

2,578/2,578

Balrothery Balrothery

Balrothery Balrothery, Castleknock, Coolock, Nethercross, Uppercross

Catholics listed in bold

to lands and the town of Chapelizod in the barony of Castleknock, and built a ‘ffayre mansion house’ of brick with 15 chimneys, a courtyard, outhouses and entrance gate, and grand gardens.20 The core estates of the Catholic Fitzwilliams of Merrion were in the west and south of the county (in the baronies of Castleknock and Rathdown). The Barnewalls, including the houses of Trimleston and Kingsland (whose title dated from 1646), were the most important Catholic landholders in County Dublin. Non-residents also

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held land: Lords Meath, Moore, Ormond and Ranelagh owned small parcels of the county, as did the Catholic Lords Dunsany, Fingal, Gormanston, Netterville and Westmeath. The Thomonds had acquired, through marriage, large estates in the barony of Balrothery. In 1641 Catholics held 60 per cent of the land in County Dublin and clung on to it with remarkable tenacity. Though some of the holdings of the Catholic lords did decrease or in the case of the earl of Westmeath were lost, the entries in the Books of Survey and Distribution for c.1670 capture this survivalism and suggest that 40 per cent of rural properties in County Dublin remained in the hands of the Catholic elite. Some families, the Barnewalls of Kingsland and the Fitzwilliams of Merrion, increased their landed holdings (see table 11).21 These men, like the four peers who acquired relatively small parcels of land in the county after the Restoration,22 did so at the expense of Old English gentry (the Barnewalls, Dillons, Plunketts and Prestons). Established (but non-resident) Protestant landowners – Lords Meath, Ormond and Ranelagh – also increased their holdings. Eager to secure a county seat close to the city, the duke of Ormond bought Chapelizod in 1660 and asked William Dodson to renovate the mansion. Dodson did so at a cost of £3,000 and created a sumptuous viceregal lodge. From 1665 Lady Ormond lived there, preferring it to Dublin castle (as did her sons), and laid out gardens in the ‘Dutch fashion’.23 An extant inventory illustrates how the couple furnished Chapelizod in great style. There was an impressive library.24 In the dining room there was a suit of gilt leather hangings, two dozen gilt leather chairs, three gilt leather carpets, two Spanish tables, an ornate set of fire irons and a landscape painting over the chimney. Five magnificent tapestries depicting the story of Samson adorned the duke’s bedroom, which was dominated by a great four-poster feather bed, a large mirror, gilt chairs and a carpet from Tangiers.25 Few could match the conspicuous consumption of the Ormonds, though families like the Fitzwilliams of Merrion did try (discussed in chapter 14 below). Tenure In theory, land was feudally held and there were two types of tenure by which it could be held from the Crown. Land could be held in free and common socage or by knight’s service (in capite tenure). Settlers much preferred to hold lands in common socage because of the feudal dues, especially wardship, involved in holding lands in knight’s service. Where possible, enterprising landlords also aimed to hold land in fee simple (i.e. rent free and in perpetuity), rather than by a lease for lives or at a fixed rent or in fee farm (i.e. forever but at a fixed rent). Written leases became widespread as did a growing awareness of the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. Though

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aimed primarily at English audiences, pamphlets like Charles Calthrope’s The relation between the lord of a mannor and the copy-holder his tenant would probably have enjoyed a significant readership in mid-seventeenth century Ireland. In it Calthrope, a judge, offered a basic guide to landholding and explained clearly the functions of a manor, court baron and a steward along with the various types of land tenure and lease.26 For its part, the Crown wanted both to maximize its financial return and to increase the profitability of Ireland, and to use land tenure as a means of civilizing the country and securing the allegiance of the titled nobility. In practice, these matters proved unimaginably complicated. During the early decades of the seventeenth century a land-grabbing frenzy gripped Ireland as the Crown rewarded loyal followers, including the peers, or sold chunks of Irish land to the highest bidder. The greediest speculators were often members of the Dublin administration who enriched themselves, invariably at the expense of the Crown.27 The lengths to which adventurers were willing to go to secure good title to their lands, the level of concealment and the scale of corruption amongst the Dublin administration, horrified Lord Deputy Wentworth. In August 1633 he reported back to London: I find this kingdom abandoned for these late years to every man that could please himself to purchase what best liked him for his money, and consequently all the crown revenue reduced into fee farms, all defects of title either through fraud or error in drawing assurances from the crown industriously made valid in law by new grants upon a commission formerly awarded by King James for defective titles, so as . . . there is little left either to befit the kings servants or to improve their own revenues by.28

During his brief tenure as lord deputy, Wentworth sought to reverse this trend and attempted – unsuccessfully and with disastrous long-term results – to plant with English colonists parts of Clare, Connacht and the lordship of Ormond.29 Whatever the nature of the title, the significance of these tenurial changes cannot be overstated. Royal patents for manors ‘converted a landowner into a landlord with power over his tenants’ and provided the basic legal framework within which an estate could be managed and developed, and conflicts resolved.30 As the century progressed, the peers also extended their authority to include control over recently founded towns (though not the established ones, where the townsmen fiercely guarded their independence and privileges). There are numerous examples of this below, so a single example illustrates what occurred all over Ireland during an era of intense urbanization (discussed in chapter 13 below). In September 1668 the Crown awarded the manor of Longford to Lord Aungier, who was anxious to plant and settle it

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‘in the hands of our English and Protestant subjects’. He was given the right to enclose 600 acres, to establish baronial courts and to appoint a clerk of the market. The Crown also made the county town of Longford ‘a free borough and corporation . . . consisting of a sovereign, two bailiffs and twelve burgesses’, and with the privilege of returning two burgesses to parliament.31 Plantations Demands for more formal colonial enterprise and expropriation of native lords dated from the later Middle Ages. However, only after the Desmond rebellion of the 1570s did wholesale plantation win widespread acceptance. These windfalls, much like the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s and 1540s, provided the Crown with an opportunity to hand out vast swathes of Irish land to its favourites or to reward with acres those who supported its wider civilizing agenda. Further rebellions, especially the Nine Years War (1594–1603) and the Confederate Wars (1641–52), focused attention on the treachery of the Irish. Edmund Spenser, in A view of the Present State of Ireland (written in 1596 but not published until 1633), called for the destruction of the existing Gaelic order and the systematic colonization of Ireland with English settlers who were to be made responsible for the erection of the political, economic and social framework that was considered the necessary support of a civil life and of the Protestant faith. The greatest seventeenth-century exponent of ‘civilization’ through conformity with the Church of England and, above all, plantation was Lord Deputy Thomas Wentworth. He believed that the settlement of English colonists remained the best means of enriching the English government and for ‘civilizing . . . this people, or securing this kingdom under the dominion of your imperial Crown’. He continued that ‘plantations must be the only means under God and your majesty to reform this subject as well in religion as manners’.32 Or in the words of Raymond Gillespie, plantations ‘aimed at creating a social framework drawing on English models and using the law and the church . . . to provide the infrastructure for social engineering’.33 The titled nobility were also a key element in this ‘social framework’. Early attempts at plantation in Ireland during the 1550s, on the lands belonging to the O’Connors, O’Mores and O’Dempseys in King’s and Queen’s counties failed. Similarly in Ulster, efforts in 1571–2 by Sir Thomas Smith (in the Ards) and the earl of Essex (in Claneboye) to establish private military settlements, which would provide bulwarks against the destabilizing influences exerted by the MacDonnells, ended in disaster.34 However, after the outbreak of the Munster rebellion, plantation became an instrument of royal policy and private enterprise was put to work for the purposes of state. In 1585, shortly after the first abortive English attempt to colonize the New

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World, the government announced an ambitious scheme that aimed to recreate the world of south-east England on the confiscated Munster estates of the earl of Desmond. The unfolding of the Munster plantation is discussed in detail below but grants of land, ranging from 4,000 to 12,000 acres, were awarded to 35 English landlords (or undertakers) who agreed to introduce English colonists and to practise English-style agriculture based on grain growing. By the end of the sixteenth century roughly 12,000 adult settlers were actively engaged in farming. In the wake of English victory at the end of the Nine Years War (1603), Ulster met a similar fate. The unexpected departure of leading native Irish lords to the Continent (1607) and the revolt of Sir Cahir O’Doherty (1608) enabled the state to confiscate vast tracts of Ulster (encompassing present-day Counties Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Londonderry, Cavan and Donegal). In particular, the Flight of the Earls presented the government with an opportunity, as one astute contemporary observed, ‘not only to pull down for ever these two proud houses of O’Neill and O’Donel, but also to bring in colonies of the English to plant both countries, to a great increase of His Majesty’s revenues, and to settle countries perpetually in the Crown’.35 The Ulster plantation is discussed at length later in this chapter, but it is important to note that the unofficial and unregulated plantation of the non-escheated counties of Down and Antrim, by private entrepreneurs, proved particularly successful in attracting settlers and promoting ‘civility’. In addition to formal policies of plantation, the Crown sought to tame ‘those rude parts’ – while at the same time enriching itself – by interfering in land titles. In 1606 James VI and I established the Commission for the Remedy of Defective Titles which, on pain of fine or forfeiture, required all Irish landowners to prove their title to their land. Many failed and this resulted in the redistribution of land in Counties Wexford, Leitrim, Longford and parts of the Midlands between 1610 and 1620. This contributed to the outbreak of civil war in Ireland almost a decade later in much the same way that the Edict of Restitution (1629), which aimed to recover church lands for the emperor, alienated many German princes and helped to transform the Thirty Years War (1618–48) from a German religious war into an international struggle.36 The Munster Plantation The earl of Desmond’s confiscated lands that formed the basis for the Munster plantation comprised much of County Limerick, a corner of County Tipperary, a corridor of land in County Kerry stretching from Dingle in the west to the Limerick–Cork county border in the east, and swathes of south and north Cork and west Waterford, especially along the fertile Blackwater valley (see map 4). There was additional English settlement outside the

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1. Barrymore 2. Shannon 3. Cork 4. Broghill 5. Castleconnel 6. Brittas 7. Ormond 8. Dunboyne 9. Ikerrin 10. Cahir 11. Coursey of Kinsale 12. Roscommon 13. Kildare 14. Kerry 15. Muskerry 16. Thomond 17. Inchiquin 18. Valentia 19. Power 20. Roche 21. Kilmallock 22. Castlehaven (Catholics are in bold)

Map 4.  Titled landholding in Munster, 1641 (based on the Books of Survey and Distribution).



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official plantation area in the south-west of County Cork. Of the 35 successful undertakers originally allocated Desmond lands only Thomas Butler, twelfth earl of Ormond, who received 3,000 acres in the seignory of Swiffin in County Tipperary, was a member of the Irish peerage. Francis Annesley, the son of Robert, another undertaker, who received 2,599 acres in the seignory of Rathurde south-east of Limerick city (which he quickly sold), later became Baron Mountnorris. Within a relatively short period of time other titled nobles, aware of the rich pickings, acquired lands in Munster.37 Officials in the Dublin administration, headed by Richard Boyle, later earl of Cork, were particularly well placed to secure Munster lands at bargain prices. Between 1598 and 1611, 11 of the Munster plantation seignories changed hands. Donough O’Brien, fourth earl of Thomond, bought one (Knockainy seignory) in Limerick and later acquired an adjoining one (Fedamore seignory). Thomond transformed his vast Munster patrimony, which by 1641 comprised 120,230 acres (49,749 of which were unprofitable) and made him the fourth largest landowner in Ireland. The core of the Thomond estate was in County Clare, in the baronies of Bunratty and Tulla, with additional acres in neighbouring Counties Limerick and Tipperary and the more far-flung Counties of Carlow, Dublin, Westmeath and Queen’s. Thomond’s magnificent seat was at Bunratty castle, ‘a noble ancient structure’ with a large deer park, situated on the banks of the River Shannon near Limerick (see plate 17).38 During the midseventeenth century the papal nuncio held Bunratty to be ‘the loveliest of any place of any kind that I have yet seen [in Ireland]’ and ‘worthy of a king’, particularly the gardens ‘the likes of which put Italy’s to shame’ and the deer park that allegedly held 3,000 stags.39 An inventory of Bunratty castle, dating from August 1639, recorded how the castle and its farm buildings were ordered and furnished, and how the castle stood at the centre of a vibrant agricultural enterprise. Its public rooms were furnished with great splendour. Eleven pairs of tapestries hung in the dining room, which could accommodate 40 people seated around eight tables. A large Turkish carpet covered the floor. The master bedroom, dominated by a bed hung with dark orange velvet trimmed with gold and silver loops, and matching stools and cupboard cloths, also had rich Arras carpets and tapestries.40 The castle courtyard, with its kitchen, laundry and outhouses, was the hub of domestic activity. The two-storied stables held up to 60 horses. The confederates removed many of the more valuable household items, the livestock and ‘thoroughbred horses’ of Thomond’s heir, when they captured the castle in July 1646. The Munster plantation attracted titled newcomers, whom many regarded as upstarts. In 1605 Sir Dominic Sarsfield, chief justice of Munster and later Viscount Kilmallock, bought the seignory of Carriglemlery in Cork, and in 1641 the family held County Cork estates of 10,919 acres. Sir Thomas

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Roper, later Viscount Baltinglass, had a life interest in the seignory at Castleisland in Kerry, which actually belonged to Sir Edward Herbert who was elevated to the Irish peerage but never resided in the kingdom. Baltinglass later transferred his interests from Kerry to the coast of west Cork. In the 1610s and 1620s he established fisheries at Skull, Crookhaven and Bantry, which attracted settlers and, together with his other industrial ventures, prospered. Another ex-soldier, the Catholic George Touchet, eleventh Baron Audley (later earl of Castlehaven), bought lands in north and west Cork, including those around Castlehaven.41 In 1641 the earl held in the region estates of 2,380 acres. The First Earl of Cork The most avaricious and best documented Munster speculator of all was, of course, Richard Boyle, later first earl of Cork, and a close examination of his tenurial activities provides a glimpse of what other titled men on the make were doing across Ireland, albeit not on the same scale. The second son of a Kentish squire, Boyle had been educated at Cambridge and the Inns of Court. In 1588 he arrived in Ireland virtually penniless and thanks to the patronage of Sir Geoffrey Fenton, who presided over the Munster confiscations and whose daughter Boyle later married, he secured the pivotal position of deputy escheator. This office provided Boyle with endless opportunities to identify, value and lease confiscated lands, including those he secured for himself or allocated to his allies.42 Boyle was clerk of the presidential council of Munster when in 1602 he bought for £1,500 Sir Walter Raleigh’s three and a half seignories in Counties Cork and Waterford. Boyle went on to purchase six seignories plus portions of four others in Counties Cork and Waterford. Wherever he could he also bought up lands from native Irish owners or secured them by mortgage, which meant that the former owner effectively became his tenant and he charged rent at 10 per cent of the amount of mortgage.43 Mortgaging land was endemic and a single example illustrates the wider trend. On 1 November 1637 Cork lent £700 to Ulick Roche, who offered as collateral lands in the barony of Fermoy. Cork took possession and immediately leased back the land to Ulick at an annual rent of £70 (or 10 per cent of the capital borrowed). In June 1640 Ulick borrowed an additional £200 and his rental increased to £90.44 Having accumulated a vast territorial empire in Munster (36,008 acres by 1641), the earl consolidated the Boyle network by a series of astute marriages with local settlers and established families like the Barrys of Barrymore (discussed in chapter 6 below).45 The earl of Cork, like the other Munster planters, was fortunate in that he had bought land cheaply in the aftermath of a decade of destructive warfare. Even without investment and improvement, land prices increased

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significantly during the peaceful decades of the early seventeenth century. Conditions for landlords proved favourable and the plantations prospered with the majority of tenants holding relatively short leases (21 to 31 years) at economic rents, usually paid in cash (but some were in kind). For example, on 26 May 1638 Cork signed a 31-year lease with Gerrot and Thomas Russell, who paid a fine of £40. Their annual rental was ‘two hogs, 2 muttons, 4 hens’, and Cork required the Russells ‘to enclose the lands with quicksets and build an English house of lyme and stone, slatted within 5 years’.46 Longer leases were only granted in special circumstances. Improving leases, which included provisions for building a house and enclosing land, were common, as was a requirement to support the militia and another that prevented subleasing land to Irish tenants. An extant rent roll for the Boyle estates for Lady Day 1637 recorded rents paid on 1,267 individual leases, all but 42 for the core Boyle estates in Munster. ‘The most striking feature of the rental,’ Nicholas Canny noted, ‘is the fairly even spread of tenants throughout Cork’s properties.’47 Many of these tenants were English. They in turn attracted English subtenants who also built stone or timber houses and improved their holdings. These men and women brought with them the English language, dress, social customs and agricultural practices. They helped to make parts of Munster English. Cork himself embarked on an ambitious construction programme. His main seat was at Lismore castle in County Waterford (see plate 18), which adjoined the medieval cathedral and boasted one of the finest ‘polite’ gardens in Ireland with its raised walkway and terraces.48 He also built mansions at Bandon and Youghal, together with schools, churches, hospitals, almshouses, roads and bridges. In his 1642 will Cork made provision for the masters and free schools at Youghal and Lismore, together with the almshouses there.49 He also left money to build a ‘substantial bridge of Lime and Stone with my Arms Cutt in Stone’ over the River Bandon at Bandonbridge. He planned for the repair and upgrading of Bennet’s Bridge in the county of Kilkenny, which he believed to be ‘a Work of great Charity much Tending to the Ease and Safety of Travellers’, and hoped to replace the wooden bridge over the River Blackwater near Fermoy with ‘a very gracefull and substantial Bridge’.50 For his heir, Lord Dungarvan, he bought a vast estate at Mallow with gardens, an orchard and deer park (which cost him £15,000), and probably intended to restore the earl of Desmond’s castle as Dungarvan’s residence. For his son-inlaw, the earl of Barrymore, he funded (at a cost of at least £2,500) ‘the re-edifying and new building’ of Castle Lyons, and spent £500 buying up the surrounding land to prevent men moving in who ‘might be offensive and prove an unpleasing neighbour’. As his other sons reached maturity he planned mansions for Lord Broghill at Broghill, near Charleville, and for Francis, later Viscount Shannon, at Macroom.51 These grand mansions with

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their gardens, orchards, deer parks and neighbouring model villages stood as powerful testaments to Cork’s status, wealth and power, and of his commitment to making Ireland English. A fellow English planter later claimed of Cork that ‘no subject in 40 years hath done or will do so much in building, enclosing and planting with English and altogether after the English fashion, insomuch that all his lands are English colonies, even in the midst of Irish countries’.52 Of course, Cork combined public service with private gain. Having acquired his cheap land, often by dubious means, he needed to secure a legal title to it by obtaining a new patent from the king either through surrender and regrant or through a process of composition with the Commission for Defective Titles. Cork pursued both options and as he did so ensured that the bureaucrats who processed the issue of his grants and regrants (and blocked the applications of his opponents) were his clients. He aimed to hold as much of his land in free and common socage (rather than by knight’s service) and in fee simple (i.e. rent free and in perpetuity), and over the course of the early seventeenth century proved remarkably effective in securing this, much to the disgust of Lord Deputy Wentworth who after 1635 challenged his titles at every opportunity. The Roches and MacCarthys New English speculators with close contacts to the Dublin administration were ideally placed to subvert tenurial processes to their advantage. Those excluded from government were more vulnerable. Yet as map 4 highlights, continuity of landholding amongst established members of the titled nobility is striking, even in those counties that formed part of the Munster plantation. That said, the fortunes of these families – the Barrys of Barrymore, the Courcys of Kinsale, the Fitzmaurices of Kerry, the MacCarthys of Muskerry and the Roches of Fermoy – were mixed as they interacted, often reluctantly, with the newcomers and struggled to adjust to the new economic order that took hold of Munster as the plantation became established (table 12). Consider the specific examples of the Roches of Fermoy and the MacCarthys of Muskerry. Of Old English provenance, the Roches were elevated to the peerage in 1461 (and styled viscounts from the mid-sixteenth century). David, who became seventh viscount in 1600, had served the Crown during the Nine Years War and had proclaimed James VI and I as king in Cork when the mayor refused to do so. The king rewarded his loyalty by awarding, in a surrender and regrant agreement, his father’s estates at Castleton Roche in the barony of Fermoy, north of Cork city.53 Though the details are obscure, the Roches appear to have alienated some of their lands, possibly through

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Table 12.  Titled landholding in Munster in 1641.54 Name

Title in 1641

County

Munster acres [total Ireland]

Barry

Barrymore

Cork

18,401 [18,401]

Boyle

Shannon

Cork

107 [107]

Boyle

Cork

Clare, Cork, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford

36,008 [46,257]

Boyle

Broghill

Cork, Kerry, Limerick

11,838 [11,838]

Bourke*

Castleconnel Limerick, Tipperary

7,786 [7,786]

Bourke

Brittas

Limerick, Tipperary

5,196 [5,196]

Butler*

Ormond

Tipperary, Waterford

6,6571 [224,087]

Butler

Dunboyne

Tipperary

7,382 [13,937]

Butler

Ikerrin

Tipperary

12,611 [12,882]

Butler

Cahir

Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford

13,694 [13,694]

De Courcy

Kinsale

Cork

1,913 [1,913]

Dillon

Roscommon

Tipperary

1,328 [17,353]

Fitzgerald

Kildare

Limerick

2,044 [39,051]

Fitzmaurice

Kerry

Kerry

9,978 [9,978]

MacCarthy

Muskerry

Cork

82,037 [82,037]

O’Brien

Thomond

Clare, Limerick, Tipperary

112,592 [120,230]

O’Brien

Inchiquin

Clare, Limerick

21,007 [21,007]

Power

Valentia

Waterford

80,48 [10,792]

Power

Power

Waterford

400 [400]

Roche

Fermoy

Cork

18,656 [18,656]

Sarsfield

Kilmallock

Cork

10,919 [10,919]

Touchet

Castlehaven

Cork

2,380 [2,380]

Includes lands belonging to a wife or mother Catholics indicated in bold Those involved in the Munster plantation indicated in italics

mortgages, but also acted as improving landlords. During the early years of the seventeenth century the Roches attracted English Catholic settlers to their north Cork estates.55 In December 1612 Viscount Fermoy secured a licence to hold three weekly markets and three annual fairs.56 By 1641 the family held 18,656 acres of largely profitable land in the baronies of Fermoy and

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Orrery-Kilmore (see map 4). Tensions between the Roches and the English migrants manifested themselves in sporadic outbursts of violence between their followers and tenants, and the authorities regarded the viscount’s son, Maurice, later eighth viscount, with suspicion. Yet over time natives and newcomers appeared to establish a modus vivendi. The seventh viscount, a committed Catholic, nevertheless developed a close friendship with Protestant grandees, including the earl of Cork, who attended his daughter’s wedding. Cork lent him money and the viscount mortgaged lands to the Percivals, local Protestant planters. Debts and mortgages aside, the Roches appear to have prospered, as did their kinsmen, the MacCarthys of Muskerry.57 Descended from the ancient noble Gaelic line of MacCarthy Mór, Charles MacCarthy, first Viscount Muskerry, had married Margaret, a daughter of the earl of Thomond, and taken as his second wife Ellen, widow of Donell MacCarthy Reagh, and daughter of David, seventh Viscount Fermoy. Charles’s second son and heir, Donough, married Eleanor, the eldest daughter of Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles, and twin sister of James, later duke of Ormond. The family thus enjoyed a formidable range of kinship ties that included the Butlers of Ormond and Cahir and the houses of Thomond, Fermoy, Buttevant, Courcy of Kinsale, and Kerry. Like Viscount Roche, Muskerry enjoyed a close friendship with the earl of Cork and stood as godfather to one of his younger children. Muskerry lorded it over vast estates (82,037 acres, only 1,181 of which were unprofitable) in the baronies of Cork, Muskerry and Barrets in County Cork (see map 4). Blarney castle, just north of Cork city and situated on a limestone outcrop overlooking the junction of two rivers, was ‘a place of great strength’ and the family’s principal residence. It was an unusual L-shaped medieval defensive structure that had been renovated in the sixteenth century when large windows had been added.58 They also resided at Macroom castle in mid-Cork, which was described in 1645 as ‘strong in situation and of almost impregnable construction’.59 Thanks to prudent management (and unlike so many of his Irish neighbours), the family finances were healthy and the estates unencumbered with mortgages.60 An historian of the Munster plantation attributed Muskerry’s success to the fact that he ‘had a great deal of land to start with, an unusual tribal control over the whole barony, advantages which were denied the newcomers, but he developed his resources with acumen’.61 Though Muskerry retained the traditional customs associated with Gaelic lordship, he also acted as an anglicizing speculator, loaning money and securing lands through mortgages, and as an improving landlord who encouraged English settlers to his estates and especially his main town of Macroom, in mid-Cork.

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The Butlers The Butlers were the greatest landholders in the unplanted parts of Munster (see table 12 above), and from the mid-fourteenth century they had dominated County Tipperary and County Kilkenny in the neighbouring province of Leinster. The strategic position of the Butler estates, which formed a corridor along the Munster–Leinster border, underpinned their political power within the region and ensured that the Crown did everything possible to secure their cooperation.62 By the mid-sixteenth century Thomas, ‘Black Tom’, tenth earl of Ormond, was one of the most influential and wealthy of Elizabeth I’s nobles. He and his lineage dominated lands spread across 78 parishes, controlled 25 castles and assembled a formidable network of clients that included the leading mercantile and civic figures in the region. The Ormond estates increased significantly in size thanks to accidents of succession, the tenurial bonanza associated with the dissolution of the monasteries, fortuitous marriages along with prudent purchases. Black Tom’s rentals from his lands in Counties Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary grew accordingly: in 1574 he received between £1,500 and £1,750, and by 1610 this figure had grown to £3,000.63 Much of the Butler land, especially the midland basin, was fertile and agriculturally productive and by the midseventeenth century Kilkenny was the fourth largest county in grain production (wheat, oats and barley) in Ireland with fifteen mills operating within a four-mile radius of the city. The Butler lands were relatively densely populated, with a number of major walled towns that the Butlers worked hard to develop. Kilkenny, the largest city in the region and its administrative centre, was home to 4,000 people, while Callan and Thomastown each had about 1,100 inhabitants. More modest were the towns at Inistioge and Gowran in County Kilkenny, and Nenagh, Thurles, Roscrea, Clonmel, Carrick-on-Suir, Fethard and Cashel in County Tipperary. A network of navigable rivers (the Nore, the Suir and the Barrow) facilitated internal communications and provided access to the ports of Waterford and New Ross, which linked the entrepreneurial Kilkenny merchants to overseas markets in England and continental Europe.64 According to the Books of Survey and Distribution, by 1641 the Butler peers held 154,640 acres in Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny (map 5). Viscount Mountgarret’s estates to the north of County Kilkenny, 18,139 acres concentrated in the baronies of Fassadinin and Galmoy, fronted the former Gaelic zone. A patent of 1621 listed the lands, castles and three mills that comprised Mountgarret’s four manors and which he held ‘in capite, by military [knight’s] service’, along with his rights to the former ‘priory and convent at Kenlis’ and ‘the dissolved friary of Augustine friars of New Rosse’. It empowered him to establish ‘courts-baron’ and ‘courts-leet’ and ‘to appoint

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Map 5.  Butler landholding in Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny, 1641 (based on the Books of Survey and Distribution and William Smyth, Map-making, Landscapes and Memory: A Geography of Colonial and Early Modern Ireland c.1530–1750 [Cork, 2006], pp. 284, 317).

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seneschals and other officers, to have jurisdiction in all actions of debt for any sum under 40s sterling’, along with the right to set up a market and fairs.65 The holdings of the other cadet branches of the family, Lords Cahir, Dunboyne and Ikerrin, formed patchworks across County Tipperary. The ethnic composition of tenants on the Butler estates varied. For example, the head tenants on Viscount Ikerrin’s estates in eastern Tipperary (primarily the baronies of Slievardagh and Ikerrin) were of Old English provenance, whereas many of the head tenants on Baron Cahir’s more compact holdings in the barony of Iffa and Offa in south Tipperary were of native Irish extraction. While the bulk of the Butler lands were concentrated in Kilkenny or Tipperary, Viscount Mountgarret held 2,217 acres in Bantry barony in County Wexford and Pierce Bulter, later Viscount Galmoy, held 5,015 acres there as well (Galmoy only secured lands in County Kilkenny after the Restoration). Marriages may explain the acquisition of Butler holdings in Counties Limerick, Meath, Sligo and Wexford.66 Without a doubt the most significant Butler landowner in 1641 was the twelfth earl (and first duke) of Ormond who lorded it over an empire of 191,626 acres, stretching from County Mayo in the west (where he held 68,922 acres, much of which was deemed unprofitable) to Counties Dublin and Meath in the east. Most of Ormond’s lands were located in the southeastern counties of Tipperary (35,733 acres), Kilkenny (41,485 acres), Carlow (20,118 acres) and Waterford (17,166 acres). His countess controlled an additional 32,291 acres, mostly in Counties Tipperary (13,505 acres) and Kilkenny (17,357 acres). Ormond was one of the great beneficiaries of the Restoration land settlement and by c.1670 his territorial empire had increased to 259,329 acres (for details see chapter 11). Ormond ran his vast patrimony from his magnificent castle in Kilkenny, which had been modernized in the 1580s when the great gallery was added, and his Tudor mansion house at Carrick-on-Suir in south Tipperary.67 Thomas, tenth earl, had built the H-shaped, two-storied mansion house at Carrick in c.1565. Aside from a few gun loopholes it had no defensive features and large bay windows formed a central aspect of the long gallery on the first floor. A frieze panelled ‘with intermediate fluted pilasters’ and ‘full-length female figures with tablets inscribed IVSTICIA or EQVETAS, within an arched surround, alternating with wreaths enclosing either a bust of Queen Elizabeth in crown and ruff, and initials ER, or the royal arms’ adorned the long gallery. In the same room there were two elaborate stone chimney pieces, one inscribed with the date ‘1565’. With its 30 chimneys, oriels, grand mullioned windows, richly moulded plaster ceilings and friezes, and oaken wainscots, it rivalled any country house in Elizabethan England.68 Grand though the mansion was, by 1635 an English visitor to Carrick felt that the town had been neglected but believed that ‘If his [Ormond’s] land

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were improved and well planted, it would yield him great revenue; for it is said he hath thirty-two manors and manor-houses, and eighteen abbeys.’69 According to 1621 figures, Ormond’s personal lands were worth more than £2,000 per annum in rent alone; with agricultural income this would have risen well beyond £3,000.70 Cash strapped, Ormond was very conscious of the economic potential of his landed resources. Having first reunited his patrimony by marrying his cousin, Elizabeth Preston, Ormond set out after 1633 when he acceded to his earldom to improve and commercialize his estates by reducing the number of long leases held by his tenants and introducing newcomers who were willing to pay high rents. He did this against the backdrop of the plantation of the lordship of Ormond, which had been mooted in government circles at court and in Dublin since the death in 1614 of the Protestant tenth earl.71 In the event Lord Deputy Wentworth, Ormond’s ally in Dublin, oversaw the royal seizure of the territories of Idough in north-east Kilkenny and of Upper and Lower Ormond in northern Tipperary. Idough passed to Wentworth’s confidant and political crony, Sir Christopher Wandesford, who wanted to establish an English plantation based around Castlecomer. Initiatives such as this effectively facilitated the demise of the Ormond lordship and the displacement of traditional tenants and clients.72 The fact that Wentworth did this with Ormond’s connivance really rankled with his Butler kin. Traditionally the earls of Ormond had behaved as feudal overlords and exercised considerable power over their own lands as well as those of the wider Butler clan. As Ormond forsook traditional obligations of overlordship he severed these feudal bonds. A recent study has shown how at home in Kilkenny he turned his back on the local catholic gentry and associated himself instead with Protestant New English officials and colonists. On the Ormond estate he replaced some of his family’s old Catholic clients with Protestant newcomers, and he engaged in a spate of evictions and money-making schemes that made his New English friends rich and alienated the established supporters of his house.73

Little wonder that Ormond’s kinsmen and former clients and allies rose in rebellion against him in December 1641. The insurgents included his influential kinsman Richard, Viscount Mountgarret, who was held to be the natural successor of Walter, eleventh earl, and thanks to a series of astute English marriages enjoyed influence at court at a moment when Ormond was particularly vulnerable.74 The political damage of Ormond’s ‘improving policies’ was very real, but in the short term the reorganization of Ormond’s estates brought financial reward. An anonymous chronicler noted how during the 1630s Ormond ‘by

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good husbandry and carefull management of his estate, [managed] to free himself from ye great incumbrance he had contracted for his own and his ladys wardship; and to ease himself of some other debts his grandfather had incurred’.75 Rentals for 1639 from his estates in Counties Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary suggest a landed income of approximately £5,000.76 In 1640 the Ormond estates in Counties Carlow, Dublin, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Waterford were valued at £7,489; nothing is said of his lands in Meath, Mayo, Wicklow and Wexford. The 1640 valuation listed 24 chief tenants, including established figures who had probably held land from the family for generations (Theobald Butler, William Cleary, Sir John Dongan, Nicholas Everard, Edmund Fitzgerald, Richard Lawless, John Meagher, Darby O’Donnell, Teige and Edmund Ryan, James Sall, and James and William Walsh), as well as newcomers, Sirs William Flower, John Temple, Robert Parkhurst and Hardress Waller.77 In 1641 Ormond’s landed income (of between £5,000 and £8,000 per annum) was comparable to that of Thomond (approx. £7,000) but not to that of Cork (approx. £18,000).78 The outbreak of war in 1641 totally disrupted his attempts to pay off his debts and improve his estates but, as David Edwards has noted, provided him with a political lifeline and, perhaps ironically, secured his position as Ireland’s premier peer.79 The Ulster Plantation In his Basilikon Doron, James VI had expressed the hope that the Western Isles of Scotland would be tamed by planting ‘colonies among them of answerable inland subjects, that within short time may reform and civilize the best inclined among them: rooting out or transporting the barbarous and stubborn sort, and planting civility in their rooms’.80 The same held true for Ulster. During the early decades of the seventeenth century, members of the titled nobility played a key role in promoting ‘civilization’ as part of the plantation of Ulster, just as they had in Munster.81 Some concerned themselves more with the informal settlements of Counties Antrim, Down and Monaghan whilst the remainder became involved in the formal plantation of the six escheated counties of Armagh, Cavan, Donegal, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone.82 The peers involved in the Ulster plantation need to be divided into those men whose Ulster holdings were of secondary interest to their other landed concerns and those whose estates and interests centred primarily on the northern province. In the first category were twelve peers, six of whom were Catholic, who held estates (all of which were less than 10,000 acres) in Ulster but as part of a wider territorial empire. The case of George, sixteenth earl of Kildare, was unusual in that his holdings in the barony of Lecale in County

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Down predated the plantation. Kildare’s principal estates were in Queen’s County and Counties Kildare and Westmeath, but through marriage the family had acquired lands in County Down. The Kildare letter-book recaptures the lengths to which the earl went during the 1630s to secure his grip on his northern holdings and to fend off encroachments from newcomers. Local tenants importuned Kildare for leases. One promised to ‘build and repair the house of Ardglass’ and ‘to plant the town and lands with Protestants’.83 Another undertook to make ‘a brave plantation here’. The tenant continued that ‘I have already planted 3 English protestant families upon your land and this gent[leman] is one of them, and have pulled down a mass house that was built upon your Lordship’s land to the great terror of the papistical tenants’.84 According to a local factor, ‘the Lecale soil [is] a great deal better, for though your land be richer at Maynooth, yet Lecale is a more firm pasture and a quicker and a nimbler air, which will cause your horse to be more finely headed and I think the world hath not a finer place for your stud to run in than your manor hath here in Lecale.’85 The Catholics with secondary landed interests in Ulster were, with the exception of Lord Audley, later earl of Castlehaven (discussed below), of Old English extraction: the Flemings of Slane, the Nugents of Westmeath and the Plunketts of Dunsany, Louth and Fingal. The Old English lords held their acres in the non-escheated county of Monaghan (Lords Slane and Louth) or in the confiscated county of Cavan, where the proportion of the county allocated to servitors and natives was much higher than elsewhere. Old English servitors – including Lords Slane, Westmeath, Dunsany and Fingal – held 14 per cent of the county, particularly lands in the baronies of Clanmahon and Castlerahan.86 In 1614 the Crown rewarded another Old English lord, Christopher St Lawrence, ninth baron of Howth, who intermittently conformed, with acres in County Monaghan for his support during the Nine Years War, and by 1641 this represented 41 per cent of his total landed patrimony.87 It would seem from the Books of Survey and Distribution that all of these lords of Old English provenance (with the possible exception of the earl of Westmeath) retained their Ulster holdings after the Restoration. The other peers with secondary interests in Ulster had served the Crown as soldiers and bureaucrats: the Annesleys of Mountnorris, the Brabazons of Meath, the Moores of Drogheda, the Powers of Valentia, the Touchets of Castlehaven and the Wingfields of Powerscourt. One of the most entrepreneurial was the Munster planter Sir Francis Annesley, later Baron Mountnorris, who was a client of Lord Deputy Chichester and the duke of Buckingham and later fell foul of Lord Deputy Wentworth. During the 1610s Annesley acquired lands in Counties Armagh, Tyrone and Down, which equated to 36 per cent of his total holdings in 1641 (the rest were in Wexford, discussed below).88 Mountnorris later inherited additional acres in County Armagh

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1. Balfour of Glenawley 2. Blayney of Monaghan 3. Caulfeild of Charlemont 4. Chichester of Belfast 5. Conway 6. Cromwell of Lecale 7. Hamilton of Claneboye 8. Hamilton of Strabane 9. Folliott of Ballyshannon 10. Lambert of Cavan 11. MacDonnells of Antrim 12. Magennis of Iveagh 13. Maguire of Enniskillen 14. Montgomery of the Ards 15. Annesley of Mountnorris 16. Brabazon of Meath 17. Fitzgerald of Kildare 18. Fleming of Slane 19. Moore of Drogheda 20. Nugent of Westmeath 21. Plunkett of Dunsany 22. Plunkett of Louth 23. Plunkett of Fingal 24. Power of Valentia 25. St Lawrence of Howth (Catholics in bold)

Map 6. Titled landholding in Ulster in 1641 (based on the Books of Survey and Distribution and Philip Robinson, The Plantation of Ulster: British Settlement in an Irish Landscape, 1600–1670 [Dublin, 1984]).

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from Viscount Valentia. Letters patent, conveyances, leases, mortgages and staple bonds relating to the manor and castle of Mountnorris in the barony of Orier, County Armagh, survive and recapture how over the course of the early seventeenth century the O’Hanlons and other native landowners mortgaged and sold properties to Annesley.89 Another Munster planter, George Touchet, Lord Audley and earl of Castlehaven, was a neighbouring planter in the barony of Orier.90 He was awarded lands in the barony of Omagh, County Tyrone, and built the plantation castle of Ballynahatty (south of the town of Omagh), eight miles from Castle Curlews, the seat of his son-in-law, Sir John Davies, the attorney general of Ireland.91 In December 1612 Sir Josias Bodley described Ballynahatty: very near finished a dwelling house of lime and stone of 40 feet long and 20 broad (as part of a great work, which he there intended) [which] was much hindered and cast behind by a violent storm of thunder, lightning and tempest, which overthrew part of the said building, slew one of his workmen, and hurt divers others. The same he is now again re-edifying and purposeth to encompass with a bawn of good circuit. It is situated within the woods in a plain of some 2 acres which he (purposeth to make) the best seat for security of that part of the said precint.92

Audley also oversaw the construction of Davies’s two residences, at Castle Curlews and Castlederg. In 1615 the king noted Audley’s efforts in planting the ‘most barren and rough land in all that country’, settling English and Scottish tenants (by offering low rentals without fines), introducing English cattle to his estate, investing £2,000 in buildings and developing a market at Castlederg.93 The following year he rewarded him with his earldom. By 1619 there were 64 tenants on Castlehaven’s estate and twenty Irish ‘gentlemen’, who lorded it over 3,000 ‘souls of all sorts’.94 Within a generation, however, the family had divested itself of its Ulster holdings and Davies’s allocations in the baronies of Omagh in Tyrone and Liscoole in Fermanagh passed to his daughter, Lucy, who married Ferdinando Hastings, later sixth earl of Huntington. The Huntingtons never resided in Ireland and a series of agents managed their estates, the archives for which are remarkably complete and extant in the Huntington Library in California. Despite their non-residence the estates appear to have prospered in the pre-war years. The 1629 rental listed 21 English individuals with freehold of 21-year leases and seven Irish tenants with shorter leases (of seven, nine and eleven years); and 18 Irish tenants with one-year leases. The 1638 rental highlights the favourable long leases with low rents offered to ‘British’ settlers. In fact, it seems (from the 1633 rental) that Lady Huntington expended more

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(£525 8s 10d) on her Irish interests in Counties Fermanagh and Tyrone than her agents collected in rentals (£523 5s 0d). Her disbursements included the purchase of livestock, pursuit of legal cases, payment of agents and rent collectors, king’s rent, together with the improvement of property – the construction of a tuck mill, lime kiln, buttery, dairy, and introduction of ditches and whitethorn quicksets.95 What then of the ‘planter peers’? In all there were 16 titled nobles who were directly involved in the king’s plans to colonize and ‘civilize’ Ulster. In terms of estate size the most significant Ulster landholders in 1641 can all be associated with the plantation: Lords Antrim, Claneboye, Blayney, Maguire of Enniskillen and Magennis of Iveagh (see appendix I). Between them these five men, three of whom were Catholic, held 261,006 acres and were amongst the most significant landowners in Ireland, never mind Ulster. The holdings of the other ‘planter peers’ ranged from reasonably sized estates of roughly 15,000 acres (Lords Chichester, Montgomery and Lambert) to more modest holdings of fewer than 10,000 acres (Lords Londonderry, Castle Stewart, Folliott of Ballyshannon and Hamilton of Strabane). A detailed examination of the estates and ‘civilizing’ activities of those who were involved in the informal settlements of Counties Antrim, Down and Monaghan, together with an analysis of those who served as undertakers and servitors or were involved in the plantation of the remaining six escheated counties as ‘deserving Irish’, begins to capture the complexities of the plantation process and the endless compromises inherent in it. The extent to which members of the titled nobility operated as political, economic, social and cultural brokers also becomes apparent. The Earls of Antrim A cadastral study of the MacDonnells of Antrim provides insights into how one ‘new’ aristocrat exploited the circumstances in Ulster. Though the geographic context and the family’s experiences were particular, the Antrims appear to have been emblematic of a wider process that was underway across Ireland. With an estate of nearly 150,000 acres, the earl of Antrim was the largest landholder in Ulster and amongst the top three in Ireland (see appendix I). MacDonnell connections with east Ulster predated the formal plantations. A devout Catholic, Randal MacDonnell, first earl of Antrim, was a descendant of Somerled, first Lord of the Isles. The MacDonnells, whose hereditary estates were in Kintyre and Jura, settled permanently in County Antrim, occupying by the early seventeenth century much of the Route and the Glynns of Antrim.96 The Antrim estate, ‘thirty miles of territory and vast estates with several castles’, was bounded by the River Bann in the west, the Giant’s Causeway and the coastal towns of Coleraine and Ballycastle in the north, and

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the ports of Cushendall, Glenarm and Larne in the east.97 According to the Books of Survey and Distribution, in 1641 the second earl of Antrim held 149,353 acres (108,915 of which were deemed to be profitable) spanning five baronies: Dunluce (40,293 acres), Cary (29,545 acres), Kilconway (40,334 acres), Glenarm (30,406 acres) and Toome (2,119 acres) in County Antrim, and 6,656 acres in Coleraine in neighbouring County Londonderry.98 Patches of bogland littered Antrim’s baronies, which were in places barren, mountainous, wooded or inaccessible, but this was offset by fertile coastal plains suitable for tillage, especially along the north-east coast.99 Despite the first earl’s attempts to improve the roads and build bridges, internal communications remained poor and only two roads, one of which was impassable in winter, linked the Antrim estate with the outside world.100 Nevertheless this sprawling, isolated territorial base on the periphery of Stuart Britain made its owner one of the greatest landholders in Ireland, third only to the earls of Ormond and Clanricarde who, according to the Books of Survey and Distribution, held 191,626 acres and 152,131 acres respectively.101 The first earl of Antrim’s meteoric rise within the peerage was largely due to his enthusiastic support for James VI and I’s schemes for the plantation of Ulster. The earl would have been familiar with this concept because he had been fostered on the Scottish island of Arran (hence his name Randal Arranach) and thus exposed to James’s unsuccessful attempts to ‘plant’ the troublesome Highlands with Scottish Lowlanders. In fact, one scholar has suggested that the earl formed an important human link between the Irish and Scottish plantations.102 Antrim recognized the economic advantages of the English system of landlord–tenant relations and of a commercial economy, both of which were introduced with these plantations. His patents included the right to hold two annual fairs and three weekly markets. In 1617 he was admitted as a free burgess to the town of Ayr and in 1630 to the town of Coleraine.103 Between 1609 and 1626 he leased considerable amounts of land to lowland Scots and within a relatively short period of time there was a thriving colony of Scottish Protestants living in the baronies of Dunluce and Glenarm.104 Certainly the town of Dunluce consisted ‘of many tenements, after the fashion of the Pale, peopled for the most part with Scotsmen’.105 The earl’s far-sighted policies soon paid off and in 1629 it was noted that he ‘hath good tenants and is very well paid his rents’.106 By 1630, there were 814 Scots and 142 Englishmen of military age living on the Antrim estates. Half of these families were in the barony of Dunluce, on the fertile lands of the Route, with most of the rest in the town of Glenarm or along the coast of County Antrim. At least half of Lord Antrim’s chief tenants, together with many smaller lessees, were Irish or highland Scots.107 He also developed the town of Ballycastle – a market house dating from the 1620s has recently been identified – and its neighbouring saltpans.

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In addition to progressive economic and agrarian policies, the earl of Antrim improved his property by building castles at Kilwaughter, Ballygalley, Glenarm and Ballycastle. He also refurbished Dunluce castle, which overlooked Scotland and was within easy striking distance of towns of Coleraine and the corporate plantation at Londonderry.108 Though the outer walls at Dunluce were defensive in character, the inner great house, ‘a good house of stone with many lodgings and other rooms’, was more like an English manor house with three mullioned, two-storied bay windows and leaded, diamondshaped panes of glass, and an ornately carved sandstone fireplace in the main hall.109 Craftsmen and builders working on the nearby plantation town of Londonderry, including William Parrat, carried out at least part of the work. A mid-century inventory provides a sense of the style in which the earl lived in Dunluce. In the living quarters there were over 30 Turkish or Persian carpets, tapestries, ornate and exotic cabinets of ebony and ivory, delicately crafted folding screens, gilt-framed pictures, attractive wall hangings and other exclusive items of furniture – 12 armchairs, 63 chairs and 17 beds – upholstered in the most exquisite, expensive fabrics. There was also a library of over 50 books and an opulent collection of miscellaneous items such as mirrors, maps, abacuses, a telescope and globes.110 During these years the first earl also constructed a Scottish baronial gate tower and extended the outer castle courtyard to include a series of workshops, built additional quarters for entertaining and a simple church for his Protestant tenants close to the castle. Immediately outside the castle walls Antrim also commissioned an elaborate formal garden, planted an orchard and laid out a bowling green. Recent archaeological excavations of the town of Dunluce reveal the full extent of the plantation town nurtured by the earl. Wide (approx. 10–12 metres) cobbled streets, ideal locations for markets and fairs, linked the castle to the court house, church and townsmens’ dwellings. The remains of dozens of large, two-storey houses (15 × 8 metres), with their allotment gardens, have survived; some were built in stone, some in timber, and some were a combination of both. Scottish coins (dating from 1614), a Polish coin, which was probably worn as an amulet, together with clay pipes, pottery remains and evidence of a glass works have been uncovered in or close to one stone house, which probably belonged to one of the Scottish merchants who settled in Dunluce during these years. Despite the fact that there was no natural harbour near the town, Dunluce briefly prospered and provided a focus for the diverse elements of rural society until the Irish insurgents burnt it down early in 1642.111 The elaborate nature of the settlement and the scale of the first earl’s investment in Dunluce were a tribute to private enterprise. The precise details of how Antrim funded this and other plantation initiatives are not clear, but the expenditure must have been very considerable indeed. Yet it does not appear

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to have stretched the resources of the richest man in Ulster whose wealth in 1635 (on the eve of his death) was estimated at £10,000 in land and £3,077 in goods (discussed in detail in chapter 13 below).112 The Dunluce development also represented a powerful political statement about the importance of supporting royal policies of plantation and promoting ‘civility’ in a particularly remote corner of Ireland. On numerous occasions the king thanked the first earl for ‘his services in improving those barren and uncultivated parts of the country, and planting a colony there’.113 An early seventeenth-century poem records the change in the Ulster landscape at this time, with ‘the mountain all in fenced fields; fairs are held in places of the chase; the green is crossed by girdles of twisted fences’.114 Extant leases, dating from a major re-leasing in 1637 (the year after Randal, second earl, succeeded his father’s earldom), capture the nature of the transformation and offer insights into how the earl exploited his vast landed resources.115 The provisions in each of the 123 surviving leases were remarkably consistent and are typical of leases signed elsewhere in Ireland. First came the name of the townland (or quarter of land) being let, together with the amount of rent to be paid bi-annually in cash to the earl, the amount due to the king and to the receiver who executed the transaction, followed by a provision for distraint if the rent was not paid or if the terms of the lease were not upheld. The earl retained his rights to the estate’s natural assets, which included all mills, waterways, mines or quarries, together with all fishing, hawking and gaming. He insisted that the lessee should grind grain at his mill and seek justice at the manor courts of Glenarm, Dunluce, Oldstone or Ballycastle.116 The tenant was also obliged to offer his best beast or a fine in lieu as heriot (tribute), and to improve the land either by fencing or digging ditches and by planting trees (although no fine was levied for failing to do so). Some – but by no means all – of the leases included a clause obliging the tenant to contribute to ‘all risings and general hostings and other public services that will require to be done in or by the inhabitants of the said County of Antrim’.117 Leases were, however, mutual contracts. The quid pro quo was that the landlord agreed to provide his tenant with land for a fixed period of time and to protect and safeguard his legal, physical and financial interests.118 The duration of these leases from 1637, as table 13 illustrates, varied: 39 (or 31.7 per cent) of those which survive ran for 21 years (expiring in 1658) and 70 (or 56.9 per cent) ran for 41 years (expiring in 1678). On the one hand, the notable absence of short leases (under 10 years) suggests a stability and continuity of tenantry on the Antrim estates, while on the other it indicates that the earl was prepared to forego any immediate financial reward in return ‘for capital investment by the tenants in improving their properties’.119 Moreover, the surviving leases from 1637 indicate that Antrim

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Table 13.  Antrim leases (1637): type of lease granted. Lease

Glenarm

Dunluce

Fee farm

6

2

21 years

8

41 years

Kilconway

Cary

Total

1

3

12 [9.75%]

14

17



39 [31.7%]

16

35

14

5

70 [56.91%]

Other

1*





  2 [1.63%]

Total

31

51

8

123

1† 33

* The length of this lease was not stated † This lease was for 31 years

leased the bulk of his property – at least 80 per cent – either to ‘gentlemen’ or to substantial ‘yeoman’ farmers who were presumably better able to husband it. For in a society where land was abundant and where good tenants were in constant demand, long improving leases to well-established individuals enabled a landlord to retain better tenants and prevent neighbours from poaching them.120 Presumably the Catholic small farmers later volunteered to take up arms at Antrim’s brequest and the Protestant ones helped to secure his estates for him during the landed upheavals associated with the 1650s (see chapter 10). Antrim also encouraged a select handful of tenants, almost 10 per cent according to the surviving leases, to participate in developing his property by leasing land in ‘fee farm’ (that is, in perpetuity) at fixed rents.121 Naturally, the earl was well aware of his own achievement and proudly reported to Dublin in August 1637 that ‘I have compounded my affairs here with my tenants wherein I was not so inward to my [own] profit as to the general good and settlement by binding them to plant [trees] and husband their holdings so near as may be to the manner of England’.122 The Informal Plantations The Crown cultivated other native lords such as the Magennises of Iveagh. In 1584 Elizabeth I awarded Sir Hugh Magennis the lands of Iveagh in County Down and the lord deputy suggested he be elevated to the peerage, being ‘the civilest of all the Irishry in those parts’.123 It was 1623 before Sir Hugh’s son Arthur Magennis purchased the title Viscount Magennis of Iveagh for the sum of £2,000 and acquired ‘in capite by knight’s service’ a formal title to 20,161 acres in the baronies of Upper and Lower Iveagh. Despite this, the Crown regarded the first viscount and his son, Hugh, later second viscount, as potentially subversive, thanks in part to their links with the earl of Tyrone,

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and insisted that Hugh be educated under the care of the archbishop of Canterbury.124 The validity of the Magennis land titles later came under close scrutiny. In 1637–8 the second earl of Antrim intervened on behalf of the second viscount, whom he described as his impoverished cousin ‘germain’, and asked Lord Deputy Wentworth that Iveagh ‘be admitted to composition [before the commission of grace] as other men are’ and requested that ‘no part of that which he now possesses be diminished or taken from him’.125 On Iveagh’s death in 1639 the earl immediately importuned the king for the wardship of Iveagh’s eldest teenage son (by Sarah O’Neill, one of Tyrone’s daughters). Wentworth resolutely opposed this and referred the matter to the court of wards with the recommendation that the youth be educated under the king’s supervision, so that ‘he might easily be set straight in his religion, and civilized in his education for I do not take the earl of Antrim to be so good at breeding up of children’.126 But the king ruled in Antrim’s favour on the rather unpromising grounds that ‘the youth [now 16] had but little time to be in wardship and was soured already’.127 When rebellion broke out a few years later the young viscount was quick to take up arms on behalf of the Catholic cause and attack his Protestant planter neighbours, including Thomas Cromwell, first Viscount Lecale. Viscount Lecale’s father, Edward, had settled in Lecale in 1605 after creditors had seized his Leicestershire manors. Edward was awarded lands belonging to one of the local Irish chieftains, Phelim McCartan, on condition that he educated and provided for McCartan’s son in his household. The king also made him governor of Lecale with the power to exercise martial law. His son, Thomas, later first viscount, had served in Ireland and in 1625 assumed command of a regiment in Ernst von Mansfeld’s abortive expedition to the Palatinate.128 Yet his military training did little to help him defend his settlement against Iveagh’s attack in 1642.129 The great proponents of plantation in East Ulster – James Hamilton, first Viscount Claneboye, and James Montgomery, first Viscount Montgomery of the Ards – also suffered a rebel onslaught in 1641. Both men came from Ayrshire, the former the son of a minister and the latter the son of a local laird. Favourites of the king, they dominated the informal plantation of County Down. In 1605 they carved up the estates of Con O’Neill, lord of Upper Claneboye and the Great Ards, in a tripartite agreement with O’Neill. Lord Deputy Chichester took umbrage on the grounds that ‘all is given in free and common socage, whereby his majesty’s tenures are lost’.130 Con’s portion was in the north-west at Castlereagh, while the newcomers settled in the north-east of County Down, taking control of the sea coasts along the Ards peninsula and effectively creating a ‘Scottish Pale’. Their plantations quickly prospered and by 1630 their estates in north Down could muster 2,718 men, the majority of them Scots, ‘or a settler population of 4,509’.131 According to

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the Montgomery family chronicler, Scottish colonists, including tradesmen, settled and within a short period of time: everybody minded their trades, and the spade, building, and setting fruit trees, &c, in orchards and gardens, and by ditching their grounds. Now the golden peaceable age renewed, no strife, contention, querulous lawyers, or Scottish or Irish feuds, between clans and families, and sirnames, disturbing the tranquillity of those times; and the towns and temples were erected, with other great works done.132

In 1611 plantation commissioners who visited the Claneboye estates commented on the ‘fayre stone house’ and the town of Bangor, which ‘consists of 80 newe houses, all inhabited with Scotyshmen and Englishmen’.133 They also noted that Montgomery’s town, Newtown, contained 100 houses, all inhabited by Scots. In 1625 Claneboye commissioned the cartographer Thomas Raven to draw maps of his estate. Raven’s exquisitely detailed, coloured maps provide a vivid snapshot of the varied nature of the land (meadow, pasture, moor), how it was farmed and divided (the name of the holder is given), and show the location of roads, castles, deer parks, orchards, houses, cottages, mills, the harbours and the prospering towns of Bangor (with 70 houses), Killyleagh (with 75 houses) and Newtown, together with other natural features, especially bogs and woods. The depiction of Killyleagh castle, the Scottish-style tower house built in c.1610, is particularly vivid. In 1635 Claneboy’s estimated wealth was £3,750 in land and £1,154 in goods; Montgomery’s was £2,000 in land and £615 in goods.134 By 1641 Claneboye’s estates in the baronies of Ards, Castlereagh and Dufferin totalled 44,569 acres (nearly all of them were profitable). Montgomery held 16,001 acres in the baronies of Ards and Castlereagh (15,495 of which were described as profitable). Greed for additional acres by both planters alienated the native population and ensured that the two neighbours quickly became embroiled in lengthy and expensive litigation with each other, largely over boundaries.135 Hostility reached such a pitch that Claneboye threatened to disinherit any of his heirs who ‘shall marry with any of the posteritie of Sir Hugh Montgomery’.136 Only the outbreak of rebellion in 1641 forced an uneasy reconciliation between the two families as they scrambled to resist the onslaught from local insurgents, many of whom had been dispossessed as a result of their plantations. Lord Claneboye also disputed boundaries with another neighbour, Edward, Viscount Killultagh, who was more commonly known by his English title, Viscount Conway. The Conway family held lands in England (at Ragley in Warwickshire), Wales (Conway castle in Caernarvonshire), and near Lisburn along the border between Counties Antrim and Down. Their archive is

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exceptionally rich. Extant correspondence vividly recaptures their activities as landed entrepreneurs and improving landlords. During the late 1620s the first viscount refurbished his house at Lisnagarvey. He populated his deer park with animals that Lords Antrim and Chichester provided and stocked his farms with mares and horses brought over from Ragley.137 He built churches on his estates and a local school, and promised to appoint a master if the school prospered (in the interim the local minister ran it).138 Writing back to London in 1630, Conway appeared pleased with his lot, describing his new home as a ‘curious place’, full of contrasts. No two faces were alike; the weather varied from great storms to periods of great calm; the terrain was boggy in parts and pleasant in others. He continued ‘rivers [are] full of fish, full of game, the people in their attire, language, fashion, [are] barbarous; in their entertainment [they are] free and noble’.139 In July 1634 an English traveller passed through Lord Conway’s estates en route from Belfast to Dublin. He observed that the town of Dromore in County Down ‘belongs to my Lord Conoway [sic], who hath there a good handsome house, but far short of both my Lord Chichester’s houses, and this house is seated upon an hill, upon the side whereof is planted a garden and orchard, and at the bottom of which hill runs a pleasant river which abounds with salmon; hereabouts my Lord Conoway is now endeavouring a plantation, though the land hereabouts be the poorest and barrenest I have yet seen, yet may it be made good land with labour and charge’.140 During the later 1630s Lord Conway and his factor, George Rawdon, worked hard to attract committed tenants and to introduce English ones from his Warwickshire estates, to import the best livestock and to make use of natural resources, especially timber.141 In April 1633 the annual revenue of Lord Conway’s ‘land in Ireland’ was estimated to be £2,000.142 War during the 1640s temporarily interrupted progress, but by the 1670s the estate had recovered its pre-war levels of prosperity (see chapter 13 below for details). The settlement patterns in County Monaghan differed from Antrim and Down in that five peers – Lords Blayney of Monaghan, Caulfeild of Charlemont, Fleming of Slane, Plunkett of Louth and St Lawrence of Howth – held lands there but only the Blayneys resided in the county. During the early decades of the seventeenth century, Sir Edward Blayney, a Welsh soldier who had served in Ireland during the Nine Years War, had held a variety of offices, including seneschal and later governor of Monaghan. In 1604 the king granted him 2,000 acres provided he built a castle for the ‘relief of Monaghan’.143 Within a decade Blayney had built his castle, fortified the town, developed a commercial infrastructure of weekly markets and annual fairs, established ‘courts leet and baron’, added substantial acres to his initial grant, and secured the region for the Crown. In 1614 he even received a licence to sell ‘strong waters’ (i.e. whisky) in Monaghan.144 Gaelic land

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ownership persisted longer in Monaghan than in other Ulster counties, yet Blayney’s estates continued to grow as the family speculated in land and by 1641 they amounted to 24,572 acres centred on the baronies of Cremore, Dartree and Monaghan.145 The family had prospered during these years, a fact illustrated in a deposition Lord Blayney made to the authorities in Dublin following the outbreak of the 1641 rebellion. On 11 July 1643 Blayney claimed that he had lost his castle at Blayney, together with goods and riding horses worth £237; plate (£500); linen (£500); and beasts, cattle and sheep (£925). There was ‘More howsholdstuff in his 2 howses worth at least 1,000 markes, ready money £296, due debts £400, a library of bookes worth £500’, besides other things he could not recall. In all, Blayney estimated that the insurgents had inflicted £13,873 8s 4d worth of damage on his property, goods and livestock, and that he had lost an annual rental of £2,250.146 The Formal Plantations The unregulated colonization of Antrim, Down and Monaghan, led by these peers, proved hugely successful in attracting settlers to Ulster and merits comparison with the informal colonization of Orkney and Shetland by planters from Fife, which resulted in the extension of Lowland practices to the Northern Isles. Less successful was the colonization of the forfeited Isles of Lewis and Harris with adventurers from Fife (there were three failed attempts, in 1595–1602, 1605 and 1609) and this, together with experiences of the Munster plantation, influenced the king’s attitude towards the formal plantation of the escheated Ulster counties. After 1610 land was allocated in relatively small parcels (ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 acres) to three classes of grantees: undertakers, servitors and native freeholders. The chief responsibility for plantation fell to the 100 Scottish and English ‘undertakers’ and about 50 ‘servitors’ (largely English army officers who had settled at the end of the war, together with servants of the state) in the hope that they would create a British type of rural society. The undertakers were to take possession of their holdings by late 1610 and were obliged to plant 24 adult males (English or lowland Scots), representing at least 10 families for every 1,000 acres they held. Undertakers, who were to be resident for five years, and their tenants were to take the oath of supremacy and no land was to be leased to any Irish or to any person who refused to take the oath (this changed in 1622 when the Irish were permitted to become tenants on one-quarter of the undertakers’ holdings). All articles concerning building, planting and residence were to be fulfilled within five years. The servitors received land on the same conditions as the undertakers but could let land to Irish tenants since there was no requirement to plant. The third group of grantees, the native

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Irish freeholders (or ‘deserving Irish’ who had served the Crown during the Nine Years War), held their land in the same precincts and on the same basis as the servitors but were required to farm in accordance with lowland practices.147 The most important titled undertakers were James Balfour, first baron Balfour of Glenawley; James Hamilton, first earl of Abercorn and later baron of Strabane; and Andrew Stewart, first baron of Castle Stewart and Lord Ochiltree. Balfour of Glenawley, an adventurer from Fife, was the largest planter in County Fermanagh. He was the second son of Sir James of Pittendriech and brother of Michael, Lord Balfour of Burleigh, an undertaker who received lands in County Fermanagh, which he later sold to James. According to the Books of Survey and Distribution, by 1641 the Balfour estates comprised 8,275 acres, 7,520 of which were profitable, in the baronies of Knockninny and Magherastephana.148 Development of the estate progressed slowly, partly because Balfour spent too much time in Dublin, and in 1619 ‘most’ of his tenants were Irish.149 Nevertheless he oversaw the construction of Castle Balfour and the neighbouring village of Ballybalfour (now Lisnaskea), which by 1622 had 40 mud houses inhabited by ‘Britons’, 17 of whom were freeholders or leaseholders.150 An extant rent book from March or April 1632 lists 90 tenants, living in two manors; 52 were Irish and 38 had English and Scottish surnames, and they would have leased lands to an unknown number of sub-tenants. The ‘British’ settlers lived primarily in or near Ballybalfour or along the main road to Dublin and by the 1630s appear to have formed a stable community that sustained itself through farming, especially wool and corn production (there was a mill near Ballybalfour).151 An inquisition held after the first baron’s death in 1634 highlights the extent to which the costs stemming from lengthy and acrimonious legal disputes, especially with Lord Blayney and the bishop of Clogher, and other liabilities associated with his three marriages, had left his estates encumbered with debts.152 Desperate for cash, he alienated in July 1634 much of this estate to his brother Sir William Balfour, keeper of the Tower of London, for £3,328.153 One of the most successful and wealthiest planters was a royal favourite, James Hamilton, first earl of Abercorn, from Renfrewshire, who in 1611 received estates in County Tyrone along the River Foyle.154 In addition to fulfilling his conditions as an undertaker by attracting roughly 180 Scottish settlers, he developed the market town of Strabane, which had 80 houses in 1618 and returned burgesses to the Irish parliament with Scottish surnames. He also built a castle, 100 houses, a mill, ‘a sessions house and market cross’, together with a gaol.155 Freeholders and leaseholders on the Abercorn estate lived in stone houses. For example, William Lynne, Abercorn’s agent, was granted a freehold lease in the manor of Dunnalong in 1614 and agreed to

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build within four years a ‘good and sufficient house of stone and lime or stone and clay with windows and chimneys after the form of Scottish buildings’.156 Abercorn’s early death in 1618 and a period of minority interrupted the pace of settlement. The year before his son and heir, James, had been created first baron Strabane, but in 1633 James resigned his peerage in favour of his brother, Claude. According to the Books of Survey and Distribution, his heir, James, third baron of Strabane, held 7,069 acres in the barony of Strabane in 1641. In 1610 the king assigned lands in Mountjoy barony to another favourite, Andrew Stewart, first baron of Castle Stewart and Lord Ochiltree, who hailed from Ayrshire. This was presumably his reward for leading a ‘fire and sword’ expedition as part of the failed attempt to colonize the Western Isles in 1608. Despite being plagued by debts that forced him to sell his Scottish estates and title in 1615, Castle Stewart quickly introduced settlers to his estates, which were on prime land bordering Lough Neagh, built a castle and developed an urban settlement at Stewartstown. According to a 1622 report, 50 ‘British’ families lived on his estates (approx. 100 males), along with 84 Irish.157 By 1641, according to the Books of Survey and Distribution, the family had increased its holdings to include 2,116 acres in the barony of Dungannon, as well as 3,000 plantation acres in Mountjoy. For its part, Stewartstown had become a proto-industrial settlement and home to 30 leaseholders who formed a diverse community of tradesmen, craftsmen and a schoolmaster.158 In addition to three titled undertakers, there were at least five servitors who later acquired peerages: the Caulfeilds of Charlemont, the Chichesters of Donegal, the Folliotts of Ballyshannon, the Lamberts of Cavan and the Ridgeways of Londonderry. Lord Deputy Chichester was the most important. In 1603 James VI and I granted him in free and common socage significant properties in the south of County Antrim, including Belfast castle. A series of wily land deals allowed him to increase his estates in south Antrim and to acquire additional acres in north Down. Large portions of O’Doherty’s Donegal lands fell to Chichester in the aftermath of his 1608 rebellion, and in 1611 the lord deputy secured a grant to lands in County Tyrone that included the town of Dungannon.159 It was one thing to grab a vast estate and quite another to populate it with suitable tenants. Eager to attract English settlers, many of whom were his kin or soldiers who had served under him, Chichester offered farms with low rents and long leases (60 years) but with improving and building clauses. In a few instances he alienated larger tracts of land in return for sizeable cash payments. Thus in 1618 Moses Hill, an ex-soldier, acquired for 99 years much of Island Magee in return for a single payment of £600. Despite this, the annual rental from the Chichester estates was roughly £4,000 in c.1630. Lord Chichester made a considerable capital investment in his estates.160 At Carrickfergus, Chichester renovated the ramparts and constructed in

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c.1618 Joymount, an elegant English mansion house that also boasted French architectural influences (see plate 15). An English visitor, William Brereton, described Joymount in 1635 as a very stately house, or rather like a prince’s palace, whereunto there belongs a stately gate-house, and graceful terrace and walk before the house, as is at Denton my Lord Fairfax’s house. A very fair hall there is, and a stately staircase and fair dining-room carrying the proportion of the hall; fine garden and mighty spacious orchards, and they say they bear good store of fruit. I observed on either side of his garden there is a dove-house, placed one opposite to the other in the corner of the garden, and ’twixt the garden and orchards a most convenient place for apricots or some such tender fruit, to be planted against the dove-house wall, that by the advantage of the heat thereof they may be rendered most fruitful, and come sooner to maturity, but this use is not made thereof. Very rich furniture belongs unto this house, which seems much to be neglected and begins to go something to decay. It is a most stately building, only the windows and rooms and whole frame of the house is over-large and vast; and in this house you may observe the inconvenience of great buildings which require an unreasonable charge to keep them in repair, so as they are a burthen to the owners of them.161

Chichester also built a fort on his County Tyrone settlement at Dungannon and refurbished Belfast castle. He secured a charter and developed the commercial infrastructure for the town of Belfast, laying the foundations for its later emergence as an important economic centre.162 Brereton also visited Belfast. He noted: ‘At Belfast my Lord Chichester hath another dainty stately house (which is indeed the glory and beauty of that town also), where he is most resident, and is now building an outer brick wall before his gates. This is not so large and vast as the other [i.e. Joymount], but more convenient and commodious; the very end of the loch toucheth upon his garden and backside; here also are dainty orchards, gardens, and walks planted.’163 After the war both properties were refurbished. Chichester’s nephew and heir, the earl of Donegal, retained two ‘Polanders, that he hath kept at work this half-year making statutes and many fine things of alabaster’.164 In the 1660s both Belfast castle and Joymount were each returned as having 40 hearths, making them amongst the largest houses in Ireland.165 As lord deputy, Chichester used his public position to promote his private interests. Other servitors associated with the plantation of Ulster (and plantations elsewhere in Ireland) did likewise. Sir Toby Caulfeild, the younger son of a Shropshire gentleman, had distinguished himself in France and the Low Countries before serving in Ireland, first in Ulster and later at Kinsale. In 1610 he received a grant to 1,000 acres in the barony of Dungannon in

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County Tyrone. He bought additional acres in the barony, and by 1641 the family held over 5,000 plantation acres in County Tyrone and a further 6,251 in neighbouring County Armagh. He held the governorship of both counties, together with Dungannon and Charlemont where in 1623 he built a castle of lime and stone on a low hill overlooking the Blackwater river. Nicholas Pynnar’s fine coloured drawing of Charlemont depicts a square, four-storey stone mansion house with numerous large windows, chimney stacks and an elaborate tower. External, trace italienne fortifications, a drawbridge, a substantial wooden bridge over the river and adjacent houses are also shown (see plate 16). Situated six miles west of Armagh and four miles south of Dungannon, Charlemont occupied a key strategic position in terms of defence of the Pale.166 Little wonder it was a prime target for the insurgents in October 1641. Caulfeild also built a fine H-shaped, three-storey dwelling at Castle Caulfeild, which was fired in 1642. It was a mansion 80 feet long and 28 feet wide, and in 1619 Pynnar described it as ‘the fairest building in the North’, with its thick stone walls, cut-stone mullioned windows, and its ornamental stone chimney flues.167 In 1620 Sir Toby was raised to the peerage. After outlining his service to the Crown during times of war, his letters patent recorded his contributions to the plantation: How much he has strengthened and improved a great part of Ulster by his just and firm discharge of the duties of a justice of the peace, by advancing and enlarging the plantation formed by his (the king’s) direction, to be the model, the salvation, the very life of that province, by propagating true religion, by uprooting the barbarous manners and customs of a rude and savage race; for he has brought many (and amongst them some of the higher ranks) to civility, and they have so continued.168

By comparison with Lords Chichester and Caulfeild the contributions made to the Ulster plantation by the other titled servitors were more modest. Oliver Lambert, baron of Cavan, had served with the earl of Essex in Ireland and helped to reduce the province of Ulster. He was rewarded with acres in the baronies of Clanmahon, Loughtee and Tullyhaw in County Cavan, together with other estates elsewhere in Leinster and Connacht.169 Henry Folliott, baron of Ballyshannon, had fought at Kinsale in 1601 and secured a small estate (2,895 acres) in west Donegal. Thomas Ridgeway, earl of Londonderry, was a Devon man who had served the Crown during the war before acquiring lands in Counties Monaghan and Tyrone.170 According to Lord Deputy Chichester, he brought to Ireland ‘12 carpenters, mostly with wives and families, who has since been resident, employed in felling 700 timber trees and preparing 400 boards and planks, besides stone for tenements, and timber ready for the immediate setting up of a water mill’.171 In 1616

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Ridgeway effectively ‘sold’ his 2,500 acres in County Tyrone to Sir James Erskine when he purchased his earldom and thereafter focused his efforts on his smaller settlement in Queen’s County.172 In addition to the newcomers, James VI and I and Lord Deputy Chichester felt it expedient to include key ‘deserving’ Irish families in the formal plantation. For as Sir John Davies, one of the plantation commissioners, observed: His Majesty did not utterly exclude the natives out of this plantation, with a purpose to root them out, as the Irish were excluded out of the first English colonies; but made betwixt plantation of Brittish and Irish, that they might grow up together in one Nation. . . . And this truly is the master-piece, and most excellent part of the work of Reformation.173

As a result Brian Roe Maguire, who had submitted to the Crown in a surrender and regrant agreement, received the barony of Magherastephana in County Fermanagh (22,351 acres, 13,372 of which were profitable), making him by a very considerable margin the largest landowner in the county and one of the main in the country. Yet Brian felt aggrieved. On the one hand, he had hoped for the award of the three baronies over which the Maguires had traditionally exercised influence, and on the other his ancestral seat at Lisnaskea (renamed Ballybalfour) had been assigned to Lord Balfour, one of the Scottish undertakers.174 In 1628 Brian became first Baron Maguire of Enniskillen. The marriages of his sons – Connor, later second baron, to Mary Fleming of Castle Fleming in County Cavan, and Rory, his brother, to Deborah Blennerhasset, the widow of a prominent local planter and Audley Mervyn’s sister – linked the Maguires to the established Old English families of the Pale and the Protestant newcomers.175 The second baron attained later notoriety as one of the leaders of the 1641 rebellion, along with his kinsmen and accomplices, Roger Moore and Sir Phelim O’Neill.176 Why did the baron become involved in rebellion when so many of his fellow peers shunned such a course of action (also see chapter 9 below)?177 First, he was deeply in debt, particularly to local creditors, and it is interesting to note that one of the first incursions undertaken by Rory Maguire on 23 October was to seize Castle Balfour and destroy the county records held there, including those relating to debt. During an interrogation in 1642 Lord Maguire attributed his action to the fact that he was ‘overwhelmed in debt’. Second, the plantation and ‘the smallness of my estate and the greatness of the estates my ancestors had’ left him feeling aggrieved, much as it had his grandfather.178 Third, he later alleged that the objective of the rising was to remedy Catholic grievances and to secure toleration of religion.179 Whatever his motivation, early intelligence of the attempt to seize Dublin castle enabled the authorities to arrest Lord Maguire of Enniskillen.180

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In 1645 an English jury found him guilty of treason against both the king and the state, and he was hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in London in a public execution on 20 February.181 He forfeited his title, though his son styled himself as ‘baron’, and his estates passed to Sir Henry Brooke, a planter from neighbouring Donegal, who took advantage of cheap land to create for himself a considerable territorial empire.182 Other Early Stuart Settlements After the apparent success of the Ulster plantation, James VI and I authorized a series of smaller plantations directed at the distinctively Irish areas of King’s County, Leitrim, Longford, Westmeath, Queen’s County, Wexford and Wicklow. For example, ‘under the commission for the plantation of the county of Leitrim’ the king granted in ‘common socage’ territory belonging to the O’Rourkes and other Gaelic landowners to Richard, earl of Westmeath, on the condition that he did not assume any customary titles (such as ‘the O’Rourke’), pay tribute, or divide land ‘according to the Irish custom of gavelkind’.183 Wexford, the first of these smaller plantations, has been the most fully researched.184 Unlike the Munster and Ulster plantations that attracted highprofile colonists from across the Stuart kingdoms, members of the Dublin administration dominated these small settlements which often formed the nucleus for later proto-industrial and urban development. After 1610 the Crown confiscated the baronies of Gorey, Ballaghkeen North and South, and the eastern portion of the barony of Scarawalsh in County Wexford, identifying the territories reserved for the plantation by the names of the Gaelic septs living there (the Kinshelaghs, MacMurrough Kavanaghs and O’Morchoes). Veteran servitors benefited the most, including three men who later acquired peerages: Sir Richard Wingfield, later Viscount Powerscourt, Sir Francis Annesley, later Baron Mountnorris, and Sir Roger Jones, later Viscount Ranelagh. These men were awarded grants of 1,000 acres of land ‘in free and common scouage’, together with permission to fell timber, on condition that they built a house and did not alienate land to the ‘mere Irish’.185 Wingfield had seen active service on the Continent and in Ireland before becoming involved in the plantation of Ulster.186 In February 1618 he received a patent for 1,700 acres in the territory of Kilcheele and later built Wingfield House at Ballynabarney. He consolidated his hold on his Wexford properties and increased his estates until by 1641 his heirs owned 2,350 acres in the baronies of Gorey and 400 acres in Scarawalsh.187 The largest English landowner in north Wexford was Annesley, who acquired lands through royal grant, mortgage and purchase. By 1641 he held 9,549 acres which, he later claimed, yielded an annual income of £4,000 (he also held Ulster estates,

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discussed above).188 In accordance with the conditions of plantation he built a defensible house, Castle Annesley, at Camolin, a structure 40 by 24 feet, reinforced by one or two flankers adjoining a walled court or bawn.189 Annesley’s son and heir, Arthur, lived there prior to the rebellion. He later wrote that ‘there never was more unity, friendship and good agreement, amongst all sort and degrees (or Roman Catholics and Protestants) . . . I remember very well the summer before the rebellion, the titular Bishop of Ferns coming on his visitation in the county of Wexford, where I then dwelt. At the request of the Popish priest, I lent most of my silver plate to entertain the said Bishop with, and had it honestly restored.’190 Servitors also dominated new settlements elsewhere. Letters patent, dating from 1618, provided ‘for the planting of Birnes County, Wicklow’ by Edward Brabazon, baron of Ardee and later earl of Meath, a leading figure in the Dublin administration. By 1641 the family held 7,608 acres in the baronies of Arklow and Rathdown, which yielded an annual income of roughly £3,000. His grandson later claimed that a capital investment of ‘near £10,000’ had been made in the plantation, which included the construction of ‘a faire stone built house’ and the development of local towns.191 The earl of Meath’s servant, Henry Williams, provided similar testimony for the earl’s losses in Counties Dublin and Wicklow, and for those of his eldest son, Lord Brabazon. He claimed that the earl had lost £700 in annual rents from his County Dublin lands, and the castles he held at Bray and Kinleston, along with other property, had suffered £900 worth of damage.192 In County Longford, Francis Aungier, master of the rolls and later first Baron Aungier of Longford, acquired estates which, by 1641, amounted to 3,390 acres in the baronies of Ardagh, Granard and Longford. In 1627 the English Privy Council granted him permission to import the lead he needed for his new house and buildings, deeming his ‘worke soe necessarie and profiteable both for the strength of those parts and good of that plantacion in generall’.193 The Aungiers remained a major presence in the region and developed the towns of Longford and Granard, along with the Forbes family from Aberdeenshire who had settled in Ireland in 1620 having secured plantation lands first in Leitrim and later in Longford (Arthur Forbes, who in 1675 became first viscount of Granard, was elevated to the earldom in 1684). A deposition dating from 1642 by Lady Jane Forbes provides a vivid snapshot of the family’s prosperity. She claimed total losses of £3,774 8s 4d, which included ‘beasts and cattle’ worth £540 0s 8d, horses and mares worth £182, sheep and hogs worth £331 8s 0d and household goods worth £154 3s 0d, plus an annual rental income of £541.194 According to the Books of Survey and Distribution, in 1641 her son, Sir Arthur, held 3,149 acres (only 1,778 of which were described as profitable) in the baronies of Longford and Granard in County Longford and in the barony of Mohill in County

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Leitrim.195 By the late 1670s the estate had trebled in size to 9,466 acres (7,573 of them profitable) and generated an annual income of £1,700.196 Conclusion The revolution in Irish landholding, which began with the plantations and ended with the Restoration settlement, was exceptional in its scale and in the fact that the processes were remarkably well documented. The ubiquity of warfare in the seventeenth century, however, ensured that windfalls in land appropriation occurred across early modern Europe, especially in Bohemia, Muscovite Russia, Sweden and Denmark.197 The parallels between Ireland and Bohemia are striking and worthy of detailed comparative analysis.198 In 1618 the more radical Protestant Bohemian lords rebelled in an attempt to recover their political privileges and secure their faith. Imperial forces defeated them at the battle of White Mountain in 1620 and the Habsburgs consolidated their position by passing a decree that made conversion to Catholicism a requirement for landholding. This resulted in large-scale expropriation and the sale of the estates of 700 nobles, many of them Protestants. By the midseventeenth century nearly one-third of landholders in Bohemia had acquired their property since 1620 and on the basis of primogeniture, rather than partible inheritance which had been common practice in the pre-war years. These massive transfers in landholding allowed the Habsburgs to create a Catholic service nobility, the majority of whom were newly ennobled men who were delighted to accept land, titles and office in return for their loyalty.199 Similarly, in Ireland the Crown used land to create a landed nobility, albeit of mixed ethnicity and faith. That said, Protestant peers with close links to the Dublin administration did particularly well, as did the lords of Scottish and Old English origin who enjoyed royal favour. Across Ireland and particularly in Ulster and Munster, these titled landholders adopted the Crown’s ‘civilizing’ landed policies with varying degrees of enthusiasm, but many did act as ‘improving’ landlords and promoted the new commercial economy so closely associated with the plantations (also see chapter 13 below). Their ‘civilizing’ initiatives reconfigured the Irish landscape. A frenzied programme of building – castles, fortified mansions, schools, churches, gaols, roads and bridges – together with extensive deforestation, the enclosure of lands and the planting of orchards and gardens transformed the physical landscape and resulted in new patterns of rural nucleated settlements and the emergence of major urban ones.200 In short, these developments not only enriched many individual lords but facilitated the anglicization of the Irish landscape and represented powerful physical manifestations of the Crown’s civilizing message. This leads to a second conclusion that also resonates with what occurred in Bohemia. Though it is difficult to calculate with certainty, it would seem

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that native Bohemian families secured over half of the confiscated lands (53 per cent) and newcomers received two-fifths (41 per cent), with the remainder passing to the Catholic Church and Habsburg monarchy.201 In order to avail themselves of the landed bonanza and to hold property the native nobles – 10 major families and roughly 20 lesser ones – had to convert to Catholicism, which they did not hesitate to do, though a number of younger lines remained Protestant, thus allowing the family to hedge its bets. Of the newcomers, some had prior links with Bohemia and others were pure parvenus, especially the military entrepreneurs and generals who had served the Habsburgs loyally during the Thirty Years War. In Ireland the proportion of established nobles who secured lands was probably as high or even higher. Certainly in 1641, 39 peers of Old English and Gaelic origin held 69 per cent of all land owned by nobles and 19 New English lords held 16 per cent, while the remaining 15 per cent were held by four Scottish peers and one Welsh one (see table 7 above). These established, native lords – only a few of whom converted to Protestantism – exploited the fluid land market, mortgages and the opportunities that plantation created to consolidate their position as property owners, much as the newcomers, most of whom had lived in Ireland since the late sixteenth century, used these windfalls to accumulate territorial empires that underpinned their upward social mobility. Thus from the early seventeenth century, power and property owning were inextricably linked, something that became stronger as the century passed and as the peerage increased its overall share of Irish land. Moreover, the number of acres a lord held broadly correlated with his rank within the peerage, a trend that occurred throughout early modern Europe. Finally, the political geography of an Irish estate was as important in 1685 as it had been in 1603, and the great aristocrats who held vast estates in remote regions prospered providing they remained loyal to the Crown. The medieval lordships of Bourke, Butler, Fitzgerald and O’Brien were recon­ figured into improving and commercially orientated lineages that operated alongside landed dynasties founded on the back of cheap or forfeited acres belonging to the Annesleys, Boyles, Cootes and MacDonnells. It is important to note the ability of recusant lords to retain their estates and to act as adventurers, entrepreneurs and speculators if it was in the interests of a lineage to do so. This should not suggest that religion was not important. It was. The significance of faith and particularly of Catholic survivalism is discussed fully in the next chapter.

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CHAPTER 5

Religion By 1641 loyalty to the person of the king, a shared sense of honour,

common landed and political interests together with social and economic interdependencies, held together a peerage of mixed ethnicity and faith. The Protestant earl of Anglesey later suggested that There never was more unity, friendship, and good agreement, amongst all sorts and degrees (except in the standing root of mischief, the difference in religion) then at this time [the summer before the 1641 rebellion], nor mutual confidence. I can say, being that time there, the sheep and the goats lived quietly together; and there was that intire trust in one another, as to all matters civil and temporal.1

In 1603 the vast majority of peers were Catholic, but a combination of conversions and new Protestant ennoblements during the early decades of the seventeenth century ensured that by 1641 the religious composition of the resident peerage had changed very dramatically indeed: roughly half were Catholic and the other half Protestant (table 14). The bulk of Protestant lords conformed to the Established Church and a very small minority espoused Presbyterianism. These proportions remained fairly constant throughout the course of the century (after 1685 the percentage of Catholic peers briefly crept up). In short, any attempt by the early Stuarts to establish a conforming peerage progressed very slowly and it was the early eighteenth century before the peerage in Ireland was predominately Protestant. The fact that half of the resident peers practised a religion different to that of their king flew in the face of the contemporary doctrine of cuius regio, eius religio and would not have been tolerated elsewhere. For example, Lower Austria was the only Austro-Bohemian territory that did not experience the religious repression which occurred particularly in Upper Austria and Bohemia where Protestant nobles where forced to espouse Catholicism on pain of exile.

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Table 14.  Religious breakdown of the resident peerage. 1603

1628

1641

1670

1685

Protestant

3

34

36

39

37

Catholic

24

31

32

37

38

Total

27

65

68

76

75

Even in Lower Austria, where by the late sixteenth-century 90 per cent of nobles were largely Lutheran, the Crown only advanced Catholic families, with the result that 60 per cent of Catholic nobles in 1620 served the Crown and only 10 per cent of Protestant lords did. In Bohemia only Catholics could hold land or serve the king, which resulted in mass conversions since this was the only means that the nobles had of surviving and demonstrating their loyalty. In other words, securing the lineage and its continued economic and political prosperity mattered more to most Bohemian nobles than their faith.2 The choices facing lords in Stuart Ireland were never that stark and as a result ambiguity flourished and religious pluralism was ubiquitous.3 Despite requiring office holders to take the oath of supremacy and securing conversions wherever possible, the Crown effectively tolerated the Catholicism of the established lords, elevated active recusants to the peerage and promoted the interests of these families at court. Nonetheless, religious tensions bubbled beneath the surface, especially in the pre-war years. The Catholic nobility, excluded from serving the king and holding high office, resented this discrimination and the fact that the Crown elevated Protestant upstarts in their place. At home and abroad they challenged and contested religious policies at every opportunity and consistently defied attempts on the part of the Crown and the Dublin administration to secure their conformity. In short, their faith was central to the identity of many of these Catholic peers and they believed that it in no way compromised their ability to serve their monarch. This chapter explores the relationship between the Stuarts and their Catholic subjects, and analyzes the dogged determination of the recusant lords to maintain their faith even when it resulted in the state questioning their loyalty to the Crown and depriving them of office. The second goal of this chapter is to analyze the composite religious and secular attitudes the peers had towards religion. On the one hand, it examines their relationship with the institution of the Church and the need many felt to protect and promote it, almost as an extension of traditional obligations associated with lordship. On the other, it attempts to probe how faith and a belief in providence helped to define the identity of individuals, and what faith actually meant to these lords and their wives.4 Finally, this chapter examines conversions and particularly the

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Crown’s use of wardship to secure converts to the ‘English religion’ as part of a wider civilizing mission. Catholicism and Kingship As the scholarship of Breandán Ó Buachalla and, more recently, Marc Caball has shown, the accession of James VI and I to the Crown of the three kingdoms in 1603 was a source of hope and joy to Irish Catholics (his mother was, after all, a Catholic). Contemporary poets recaptured this sense of optimism.5 A Donegal poet, Eoghan Ruadh Mac an Bhaird, celebrated his Irish lineage and held James to be Ireland’s legitimate monarch: Three crowns – ’tis fitting for him – shall be placed on James’s head; the utterance of the books is no secret, every seer confirms it . . .   That young Prince so high of mind, James Stewart, shall have Ireland’s wondrous crown – an honour, I know, he well deserves . . .   The Saxons’ land has been long – ’tis well known – prophesied for thee; so likewise is Ireland due to thee, thou are her spouse by all the signs.6

The adoption of James as Ireland’s spouse by the Irish learned classes is reflected most vividly in the work of the genealogists, who created an impeccable Irish ancestry for him (something James himself readily seized upon). Writing in the 1630s, Geoffrey Keating, an Old English priest from County Tipperary, provided in Foras Feasa ar Eirean an historical legitimation for the authority of James and his successors. Similarly, the ‘Annals of the Four Masters’, compiled by Franciscans in Louvain, recounted the annals of the ‘Kingdom’ of Ireland, a kingdom ruled over by ‘the Crown’. With these poems and works of prose a vocabulary of kingship – words such as ‘writ’, ‘sovereign’, ‘majesty’, ‘commonweal’, ‘crown’ – now entered the Irish language for the first time.7 But what was important to Irish Catholics, especially those of Old English provenance, was their relationship with the person of the king.8 How then could the Irish reconcile their very genuine sense of loyalty to James with their devotion to Catholicism? Drawing on the writings of the Jesuit theologians, Bellarmine and Suarez, the exiled Catholic archbishop of Armagh, Peter Lombard, struggled to find a satisfactory accommodation that distinguished between temporal and spiritual authority, making it possible for Irish Catholics to give allegiance, at least in temporal affairs, to a ‘heretical’ prince. Lombard’s new formulation was adopted and approved by the clerical synods held in 1614 in Drogheda and Kilkenny, and later in Armagh (1618) and Cashel (1624).9 The general principle was also laid down in the earliest catechisms translated into Irish. For example, the fourth commandment (‘Honour thy father and thy mother’) clearly stated that ‘Not only are we

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bound to honour our fathers and our mothers but we are likewise bound to give the same honour to every superior either of Church or State.’10 Thus the Catholic Church in Ireland gave James what he could live with: acceptance of his God-given authority and their temporal – if not spiritual – loyalty. For his part, James identified ‘three sorts of recusants’. In a letter to the Irish judges, the king categorized Catholics as follows: The first are they that for themselves will be no recusants, but their wives and families are. And they themselves do come to church but once or twice in a year, as is forced by law, but more false to God than the other sort. The second sort are they that are recusants, and have their consciences misled, and therefore refuse to come to church; but otherwise live as peaceable subjects. The third sort are practising recusants. These force all their servants to be recusants with them; they will suffer none of their tenants but they must be recusants; and their neighbours, if they live by them in peace, must be recusants also. These you may find out as the fox by the foul smell a great way round his hole.

The king concluded his letter ‘I can love the person of a Papist, being otherwise a good man and honestly bred, never having known any other religion.’11 Pragmatic though James may have been, the hope amongst Irish recusants that James would grant full toleration proved misplaced. That said, he did all he could to temper his Irish lord deputy’s anti-Catholic zeal, preferring to convince Catholics to conform, rather than coercing them to do so.12 During the early decades of the seventeenth century Catholic lords engaged in what the Dublin administration perceived to be subversive activities. They worshipped openly and sent their children abroad to be educated in continental seminaries. Their sons served in the armies of Catholic princes and their names became associated with plots and conspiracies. These recusant lords constantly tested the limits of royal authority as they sought to promote religious toleration and regularly took issue with penal legislation that in Ireland, unlike England, was aimed at the laity, rather than the clergy. In 1605 the lords of the Pale, led by Jenico, fifth Viscount Gormanston, Oliver, fourth Baron Louth, and Robert, seventh Baron Trimleston, petitioned the king, requesting the suspension of a proclamation that forbade ‘the private use of our religion and conscience’.13 Richard, Baron Delvin and later earl of Westmeath, along with Gormanston, led the recusant lords in opposing proposed penal legislation in the 1613 parliament.14 Negotiations in the early 1620s around a possible match with Spain provided Gormanston and Lady Kildare with an ideal opportunity to promote religious and political toleration for Catholics.15 The prospect of war with Spain shortly afterwards

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allowed Westmeath to broker religious concessions, known as the ‘Graces’ (discussed in chapter 8 below). Needless to say, the Dublin government constantly monitored these recusant peers whom they feared were subversive. In 1632 one official described Westmeath as ‘a vehement papist’. The fact that his son had married a daughter of the earl of Antrim, himself an influential recusant, alarmed them further.16 As it turned out, these fears were not without foundation. In September 1639 ‘Gilbertus Fulgentius’ Nugent, Westmeath’s younger brother, travelled to Madrid to secure Spanish support for an armed rising in Ireland. Ireland would become a Spanish protectorate in return for military support and an undertaking that any members of the Irish nobility involved in the rising would be provided with Spanish titles and lands if it failed. The earls of Westmeath, Antrim and Viscount Roche appear to have been involved in the plot, which fizzled out because Philip IV preferred to maintain strong relations with England rather than intervene in Ireland.17 Two years later another Catholic ‘plot’ did plunge the country into a decade of civil war (see chapter 9 below). Despite the fact that the Catholic confederates, the body that ruled Ireland for much of the 1640s, blatantly violated the king’s royal prerogatives and consistently refused to obey his instructions, they still referred to themselves as ‘loyal subjects’ and the majority operated ‘within the context of loyalty to the Crown’.18 After the restoration of the Stuarts, Irish Catholics reiterated their loyalty. In an attempt to clarify the nature of allegiance between the Protestant king and his Catholic subjects, Richard Bellings, former secretary to the confederation, drafted a remonstrance that paraphrased the 1606 oath of allegiance. By promising to ‘disclaim and renounce all foreign power be it wither papal or princely’, which in any way threatened ‘your majesty’s person, royal authority . . . the state or government’, it aimed to neutralize Protestant hostility by minimizing papal claims.19 Twenty-one peers, including the earls of Carlingford, Castlehaven, Clancarthy, Clanricarde, Fingal, Inchiquin and Tyrconnell, subscribed to the Catholic remonstrance.20 Peter Walsh, a Franciscan and an intimate of Lord Deputy Ormond, offered limited clerical support for this compromise.21 In The History and Vindication of the Loyal Formulary – addressed to the ‘British and Irish Catholics’ inhabitants of ‘this famous Empire of Great Brittaine’ – Walsh reassured the king and Parliament ‘of our steadfast and inflexible loyalty’. He beseeched them never to perceive the Irish ‘as men whose faith is faction, and whose religion is rebellion’.22 The remonstrance represented yet another attempt to mediate conflicting allegiances and obscure the complexities of the situation on the ground. This confessional ambiguity can be regarded as a means of co-existing with religious diversity and promoting some level of tolerance rather than being constrained by confessional boundaries. Certainly relative toleration

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characterized the 1660s and 1670s, something that the letters of Oliver Plunkett, archbishop of Armagh, illustrate. ‘The viceroy himself [John Berkeley, who had a Catholic wife and sympathies] treats privately with some of our clergy with great courtesy,’ he reported back to Rome, ‘urging them to live peaceably avoiding tumult or interference in affairs of state, attending only to their ecclesiastical functions. In return he promises them every protection, and there is every indication that this will not be wanting unless they fail to meet his requirements.’ The archbishop noted that ‘chief men’ in the government’s administration ‘are secretly Catholics’ including the ‘Protestant primate’, Micheal Boyle, archbishop of Armagh, who ‘is very favourably disposed to the Catholics’.23 Plunkett’s relationship with the Moores of Drogheda is particularly illuminating of attitudes towards Catholics. The Moores were a Protestant planter family that, thanks to a series of astute marriages, had prospered during the seventeenth century. In 1670 the countess of Drogheda, whose son-in-law was Baron Slane, a Catholic, invited the archbishop to dinner. He then reported back to Rome that Her husband [i.e. the earl of Drogheda], although a Protestant, has not a single Protestant in his whole estate, and he has handed over all the churches to my priests and Mass is said publicly. Similarly, the earl of Charlemont [William Caulfeild whose elder brother, Toby, had been murdered in 1641] treats me with great respect, so that I am able to appear publicly in every part of my diocese as in Dublin, unmolested. I have already written to you that the Protestant primate [Michael Boyle] gave me permission to have Catholic school teachers in my diocese.24

In another letter the archbishop added that the earl of Drogheda ‘allows me a public church with bells etc. in his estate, which are exempt from the jurisdiction of the royal ministers. Nine times I was accused before the viceroy’s court because of the schools and for the exercise of foreign jurisdiction. But this benign gentleman had always reserved the cases to himself, and thus they faded out.’25 The onset first of the Popish Plot and later the Exclusion Crisis temporarily soured the remarkably harmonious relations, and destabilised the modus vivendi that had operated since the early 1670s. The Catholic Church Apart from brief interludes of relative toleration and a decade of independence during the 1640s, the Catholic Church in Ireland operated as an underground and clandestine organization. There were 30 Catholic dioceses and in 1641 there were 15 bishops living in Ireland.26 It is not known how many recusant clergy ministered to the Irish population, the majority of which was

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Catholic. Estimates suggest that 800 secular clergy and 300 members of religious orders (largely Dominicans, Franciscans and Jesuits) were active in Ireland by 1623, and that perhaps one-third of these men had been educated in continental Europe in Counter-Reformation seminaries.27 By 1641 this number had risen to about 1,600 friars (around 1,000 Franciscans and 400 Dominicans plus other smaller orders). The number of diocesan clergy is unknown but there were insufficient priests for Catholic parishes (the estimates for the number of parishes range between about 2,500 and 8,000).28 In Dublin alone during the 1620s there were 14 Mass houses, together with religious houses associated with the Franciscans, Dominicans, the Capuchins, the Poor Clare, the Discalced Carmelites, the Augustinians and the Jesuits, mostly in the parish of St Audeons.29 On the eve of civil war seven religious communities had established themselves in the wealthy towns of Drogheda and Kilkenny.30 A government source claimed in 1613 that the Catholic Church had established an effective means of financing itself by ‘taxing’ the laity. For every marriage and christening they charged 2s 6d and 6d for the clerk; 10s was due to the church for a divorce, 10d for the administration of extreme unction, and 2s for a burial.31 ‘At every burial of any person of worth, the people yield offerings, which is divided betwixt the priests and friars, and part for scholars educated in seminaries beyond seas.’ Priests also charged for praying for the dead and for a range of other services.32 Many of these clergy, especially those trained in Counter-Reformation theology in the continental seminaries, were skilled and experienced preachers capable of offering sermons in both English and Irish on topics which were both spiritually instructive and sufficiently familiar to their listeners that the key messages could be remembered and repeated.33 For example, as Bernadette Cunningham has shown, the Munster priest and writer Geoffrey Keating in his sermons chastised those who renounced or hid ‘their Catholic faith for fear of displaying disobedience to secular authority’. Keating warned them ‘not to make an enemy of God for the sake of transient friendship on earth’.34 The literati poured particular scorn on the ‘church papists’ and on those who wavered, suggesting that all they cared about was how to make money.35 Initially, these priests focused on countering heresy but from the 1630s they also attended to education and moral reform, as well as ministering to the liturgical and sacramental needs of their flock.36 The bishops focused on creating an efficient parochial system, which allowed for greater hierarchical control even if it did cause tension between the regular and secular clergy. By 1641 the Church was resurgent. Networks of parishes extended across much of the country, with established communities often worshipping openly in Mass houses.37 During the 1640s, when the Catholic confederates ruled, the Church offered political and spiritual leadership and enjoyed a full complement of resident bishops, all of whom had been seminary trained. The

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purpose of the mission to Ireland between 1645 and 1649 of the papal nuncio, Giovanni Battista Rinuccini, was to build on these earlier developments and to transform the Church ‘into a fully articulated, post-tridentine, national church’.38 The 1650s were years of persecution and therefore priests either fled to the Continent or operated covertly. Fairly typical were the experiences of Father Barnaby Barnewall, commissioner general of the Capuchins in Ireland, who in May 1652 escaped from Kilkenny disguised as a common soldier and took refuge in the County Meath home of his kinswoman, Mabel Barnewall, a daughter of Nicholas, first Viscount Barnewall of Kingsland; Mabel had married Christopher Plunkett, second earl of Fingal. During the 1650s Father Barnewall clandestinely ‘performed excellent service to the whole neighbourhood over a wide area to the profit of a great many souls’.39 After a decade in hiding and exile, the Catholic Church appears to have flourished and after the Restoration had a number of talented bishops and roughly 1,000 secular and 600 regular clergy.40 In fact, the Catholic archbishop of Armagh complained to Rome in 1673 that the secular clergy was ‘too numerous’. He added ‘Every gentleman wishes to have a chaplain and hear Mass in his own room, under pretext of fear of the government. They compel the bishops to ordain priests, and then they turn the world upside down in order to get a parish for the priest who is dependent on them.’41 Too many priests was better than too few, but this also underscored the intimate relationship between the clergy and the recusant laity. Lay Patronage of the Catholic Church In 1613 a government source complained that the Catholic Church flourished because of ‘the great favour they find from the noblemen and gentlemen of worth . . . who continually harbour and maintain them’.42 Faithful members of the laity did indeed protect the clergy from persecution, took care of their material needs, offered their own homes as places of sanctuary and worship, and funded the education of young priests abroad. Powerful recusant peers could exclude sheriffs from exercising penal legislation on their estates, and in 1623 Lady Kildare demanded immunity for her tenants from religious persecution.43 Those living in urban areas were more vulnerable to prosecution. In 1616 the court of castle chamber fined and imprisoned Dermot, fifth Baron Inchiquin, for harbouring a Jesuit priest, Nicholas Nugent, who frequently said Mass for Inchiquin, his family and servants in the baron’s Dublin home.44 Despite the risk of prosecution many leading nobles retained personal chaplains and confessors. A list of priests dating from 1622 linked Lady O’Doherty (a sister of Lord Gormanston) with a Jesuit and another priest; Richard, earl of Westmeath, with two Jesuits (Nicholas Nugent and Robert

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Netterville) and his brother with another one; Lord Dillon with the Jesuit, Michael Chamberlain; Viscount Gormanston with James Dillon; Viscount Netterville with James Hussey; and the dowager baroness of Killeen with the vicar general, James Plunkett.45 William Sarsfield, second Viscount Kilmallock, took a learned friar as his personal chaplain and offered sanctuary to local clergy during the mid-century excesses. These clerics, many of whom had been seminary trained, formed part of the noble household and in addition to ministering to the spiritual needs of the family often assumed the role of educator, political confidant and business adviser.46 Priests moved between noble households and created transnational networks. For example, recusant English brides brought English priests to Ireland and thereby consolidated links with leading Catholic titled families in the two kingdoms. The Scottish Jesuits operating in Ulster during the 1620s moved from one aristocratic household to the next.47 A report by the earl of Cork dating from 1630 reflects the extent to which leading lords of the Pale sustained the Catholic Church. Cork had uncovered ‘ten houses of friars, nuns, Jesuits, and priests of several orders’. A daughter of the earl of Westmeath, who had arrived from Dunkirk, ran one convent while the daughters of Lords Fingal, Gormanston and Dillon formed part of other religious communities.48 He complained that Lady Kildare had founded a house for the Jesuits. The patronage that Elizabeth, dowager countess of Kildare, extended towards the Jesuits exemplifies the dynamic relationship between the laity and clergy. Elizabeth was the daughter of Mary Fitzgerald (herself a daughter of the eleventh earl of Kildare) and Christopher Nugent, third Baron Delvin and a sister of the earl of Westmeath. In 1600 Elizabeth married her cousin Gerald, fourteenth earl of Kildare, who died prematurely in 1612, and she devoted her widowhood to promoting the interests of the Jesuits. It seems likely that she was involved with the Jesuit sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin founded in Dublin in 1628. Its extant membership roll records 23 male and 44 female members who took it upon themselves to promote Christian piety through the sacraments.49 During the later 1620s Lady Kildare supported Jesuit efforts to establish a seminary and university in the heart of the city. She provided the community with a splendid building, Kildare Hall, and ensured that the chapel was suitably and richly adorned and the library well stocked with books. By 1629 there was a staff of seven priests and eight novices. Stephen White, the great scholar from Clonmel, was probably the superior. Another likely teacher was Father Robert Nugent, later superior to the Jesuit Irish mission and Lady Kildare’s cousin, who was also a distinguished scholar, gifted musician and a fluent Irish speaker. Lady Kildare did her best to recover Kildare hall after the state seized it in 1630. In the interim the Jesuit community relocated to her estate at Kilkea in County Kildare, which she bequeathed to them on her death in

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1645, earning her the accolade of ‘truly the mother of our society in this realm [of Ireland]’.50 Further south, the Catholic Church flourished under the patronage of the Butlers of Ormond, including Thomas, tenth earl, who succeeded to the title in 1546 and converted to Catholicism on his deathbed in 1614, and especially his successor Walter, eleventh earl, whose personal piety earned him the nickname ‘Ualtéir na bPaidrín’, ‘Walter of the Beads and Rosary’. By the early seventeenth century the city of Kilkenny provided a base for 27 clergy, including three Franciscans, who built a new friary. The Cistercians inaugurated a novitiate (c.1618); by 1622 the Dominican community numbered eight; and the Discalced Carmelites set up a friary (c. 1635). By contrast, in 1615, only four Church of Ireland ministers operated in the town. In effect Kilkenny had become ‘the Catholic capital of Ireland’ and hosted two provincial synods (1614 and 1624). During his tenure as Catholic bishop of Ossory (1618–50), David Rothe resided openly in the city and organized a functioning diocese with a well serviced system of parishes. With the accession in 1633 of the Protestant James Butler to the earldom of Ormond, the Butlers of Mountgarret became the principal patrons of the Catholic Church and the viscount offered his cousin, Rothe, his protection when required.51 Catholic Butler connections stretched into Munster where the earl of Ormond’s twin sister, Helena, who had married Donough, Viscount Muskerry, maintained an exemplarily devout household. In 1645 Lady Muskerry entertained the papal nuncio at Macroom castle.52 The nuncio’s private secretary recorded their first meeting. ‘Kneeling down with her children and all the household the noble lady begged the nuncio’s blessing.’ He presented her with ‘some pictures and objects of devotion’.53 The first post-Reformation church opened in Cork in 1624 under the guidance of Bishop William Tirry (Viscount Kilmallock’s brother-in-law). Tirry’s attempts to restore order and clerical discipline to his diocese brought him into conflict with the regular clergy, particularly the Franciscans and the Dominicans. Robert Barry, a close kinsman of the earl of Barrymore and great supporter of Rinuccini, succeeded him as bishop of Cork in 1646.54 In the north a number of influential Catholic peers provided support for organized Catholic life. Noble patronage secured the Franciscan communities in the north of Ireland – in Antrim, Armagh, Cavan and Donegal – and at Multyfarnham in County Westmeath.55 In December 1629 the Protestant bishop of Derry reminded Claude, master of Abercorn and later second baron of Strabane, that his responsibilities as a planter included the promotion of Protestantism. Instead, thanks to his influence and that of his kinsmen and close business associates, Strabane had become a magnet for Catholics, especially Scottish ones and Jesuits. ‘The place is become’, lamented the bishop ‘the sink into which all the corrupt humours purged out of Scotland run.’56

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The bishop threatened to arrest and prosecute those who openly celebrated the Mass and warned Claude to embrace the reformed religion or to keep his own religion to himself and not to poison others with popery. Nonetheless, during the 1620s and 1630s the Derry diocese flourished and a network of parishes became established that allowed for the emergence of a remarkably stable Catholic community.57 Thanks to the patronage of the first earl of Antrim, the priest Brian McTeig held a church court in County Antrim in the mid-1620s. The earl entertained his kinsman, Bishop Magennis, during his visits north and in 1620 welcomed Patrick Anderson, of the Society of Jesus, who had been exiled from Scotland. At Ballycastle the earls of Antrim maintained a vibrant community of Franciscans, who ministered to great effect along the western seaboard of Scotland as well as in east Ulster.58 The Maguires of Enniskillen were equally devout and took particular care of the Franciscan community, despite the destruction of their convent at Lisgoole. Under Maguire patronage Michael O’Cleary, a compiler of the ‘Annals of the Four Masters’, wrote the ‘Book of Invasions’. It was here during the late 1630s that a team of scholars translated the ‘Annals’ from Irish into English.59 In 1633 Mary, Lord Maguire’s wife, donated a chalice to the Franciscans. The strength of conviction displayed by lords like Maguire was why the authorities worried about the vitality of the Catholic Church in Ulster and also Connacht. In 1621 the lord deputy reported to the earl of Clanricarde that in County Galway ‘priests and friars live with more boldness than in any part of the kingdom’. The earl’s abbey of Ross was full of friars, as were the other abbeys around Galway.60 Of course, one reason the clergy in Connacht flourished was thanks to the patronage that the earls of Clanricarde and their Bourke kinsmen afforded them. The fifth earl funded the repair of the Dominican friary at Athenry abbey and retained Dominic Bourke, prior of the abbey, as his confessor.61 Clanricarde described Bourke as ‘young, yet very exemplary both in life learning, and disposition’. During the 1640s Bourke invoked the wrath of the archbishop of Killaloe in the province of Tuam and of the Roman hierarchy by remaining loyal to Clanricarde, who had been excommunicated when he refused to take the oath of association.62 On the one hand, lay patronage of the clergy had helped to sustain the Church but, on the other, it created very real tensions at moments like this when secular patrons (and the clergy under their influence) refused to obey the wishes of the local bishop or the papal nuncio. During the 1640s the Catholic Church enjoyed a brief period of predominance and played a very significant role in setting up and then running the confederation of Kilkenny. Tensions between the clergy and between secular and ecclesiastical authorities periodically surfaced, especially during the later 1640s when the clerical faction, led by the papal nuncio, clashed with those who favoured securing a peace settlement with the king. Matters reached

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crisis point in the spring of 1648 when on 27 May Rinuccini excommunicated those who supported the truce negotiated between Lord Inchiquin and the confederates (20 May 1648). The confederate supreme council immediately appealed to Rome against the excommunication and a brief period of intense and bitter civil war followed which divided the Catholic political nation and the hierarchy (discussed in chapter 9 below). The excommunication provoked a major spiritual crisis for men like Thomas Preston, later Viscount Tara, who commanded the army of Leinster. According to Richard O’Ferrall, Preston on his deathbed in 1655 cursed Oliver Darcy, bishop of Dromore and chaplain to the confederate armies, for persuading him to support the Inchiquin Truce and thereby incur excommunication.63 James Butler, fourth Baron Dunboyne, who like Preston had supported the Inchiquin Truce, found himself in a similar situation. He, together with his Dominican chaplain (and the poet), Pádraigín Haicéad, cleared his conscience by seeking an absolution which the Pope granted in April 1651.64 Clerical Connections One reason why the peers protected and nurtured the clergy was because so many of their kinsmen and kinswomen had chosen to pursue religious lives.65 In the case of Thomas, the eldest son of Christopher, twelfth baron of Slane, he let his title pass to his younger brother, William, when he took ‘the habit’ as a Franciscan friar. Thomas had been educated at Louvain, along with his younger brothers, and remained there until he returned to Ireland after October 1641 and took an active role in the confederation of Kilkenny.66 Richard Nugent, heir to the second earl of Westmeath, was a Capuchin friar in France and appears never to have assumed the peerage.67 Other clergy returned to Ireland and pursued successful careers under the protection of their kinsmen. For example, many members of the Catholic episcopate during the 1640s were the sons of peers, including Archbishop Fleming of Dublin (Lord Slane), Bishops O’Dempsey of Leighlin (Lord Clanmalier), Magennis of Down and Connor (Lord Iveagh) and Plunkett of Ardagh (Lord Killeen, later Fingal).68 At times it seemed as if careers in the Church formed part of a wider family strategy. Consider the example of Sir John Taaffe, first viscount, who had 17 children, six of whom took up religious lives (the boys went to the Augustinians, Cistercians and Francisicans, and the girls to the Dominicans and the order of St Clare).69 Similarly, Matthias Barnewall, a son of Robert, seventh Baron Trimleston, became a Franciscan and appears to have served as a chaplain in the army of Flanders during the 1650s. His elder brother, John, had studied at St Anthony’s College in Louvain where he held the chair of theology before returning to Ireland in June 1630. In 1638 John became

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provincial of the order and helped to establish a convent in Drogheda with seven nuns from the community at Bethlehem near Athlone (see below).70 Theobald, first Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen, had eight sons, two of whom pursued careers in the Church, along with two of their sisters (discussed below). In 1629 the Francisian Louis Dillon was nominated for an appointment in Killaloe, being ‘the best man’ who was ‘well versed in theology and the canons’.71 In 1641 he was elevated to the Catholic see of Athenry, with a statement in his provision that his father and relatives would protect and help to support him in a manner befitting his episcopal dignity.72 His brother, George Dillon, was guardian of the Franciscan community which was forced during the late 1620s to relocate from Athlone to near Killinure on Viscount Dillon’s estates.73 During the later decades of the seventeenth century, Archbishop Oliver Plunkett of Armagh, himself related to the houses of Fingal and Roscommon, reported back to Rome that ‘the Irish Capuchins drew many of their members from the Anglo-Norman families of the Pale – the Nugents, the Barnwalls, the Plunketts, the Cusacks’.74 The daughters of Catholic peers, especially those of Old English provenance, entered religious life at home and abroad. The Poor Clare convent in Gravelines near Dunkirk, where dowries allegedly ranged from £250 to £750, included the daughters of Lords Fingal, Gormanston and Westmeath. The daughters of Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen, Eleanor and Cecily, also made their novitiate there. These women were particularly pious.75 In 1629 they returned to Dublin where Cecily was abbess of the Poor Clare convent on Merchant’s Quay. When the earl of Cork suppressed it in 1630, they established a new convent (Bethlehem) near Athlone under the watchful eye of their Dillon menfolk.76 During the later 1630s the duchess of Buckingham and the lord deputy’s wife visited the community and told the women ‘that it was noted how those who persecuted them out of Dublin, did never after prosper well’. During these years other Dillon kinswomen, including their nieces and the granddaughters of James, first earl of Roscommon, joined them to form a thriving community which grew so large (60 women, many of whom were Irish speakers) that they established another convent at Drogheda. There were other communities in Wexford, Waterford and Galway.77 Elsewhere Sister Honoria Bourke (aged 14) of the house of Mayo took the habit of the Third Order, St Catherine of Sienna, and lived a holy life at the Dominican convent at Burrishoole, County Mayo.78 Ormond’s half-sister, Frances Mathews, became a nun and lived in the Dominican community in Drogheda.79 Other Irish women took the veil abroad. The association between the Barnewalls of Trimleston and the convent at St Malo dated back to the 1580s when Margaret Barnewall fled there, and over the course of the seventeenth century the barons sent their daughters to the convent for an education.80 In

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1652 Lady Honour Bourke, the eldest daughter of the marquis of Clanricarde, was ‘so taken with’ the English Benedictine monastery in Ghent that she asked to remain ‘for her education’. The young woman was ‘most piously inclin’d not withstanding all distracted occasions’ and had ‘been bred most innocently’ and decided to take vows, something to which her mother, who was trying to arrange a match with a local noble, objected. As it turned out, the young woman died of plague, but not before she had taken the vows of St Benedict and made a bequest to the monastery.81 During the 1650s the nuns of Port Royal, near Paris, looked after the duke of Ormond’s sisters, and one of his nieces, Helen MacCarthy, a daughter of Viscount Muskerry, planned to join the community.82 When his ‘cousin Moll’ entered a convent in 1667, Ormond wished her well and made donations to Abbess Mary Knatchbell’s convent in Ghent, presumably for sheltering him during his exile.83 Presbyterianism and the Peers From the perspective of the Crown, the Presbyterians represented more of a political threat to domestic security than the Catholics, especially during the 1630s, 1640s, and again at key moments after the Restoration of 1660. With the exception of the English Presbyterian Sir John Clotworthy, later Viscount Massareene, none of the peers espoused Presbyterianism with enthusiasm (even if some of their wives did).84 The Stewarts of Castle Stewart had associations with reformed Protestantism, and John Knox’s son-in-law tutored Andrew, the second baron, while he was in France. Others toyed with Presbyterianism. In 1621 the Anglican archbishop of Armagh complained that Sir Hugh Montgomery had allowed ‘certaine factious and irregular puritans . . . intertayning the Scottish discipline and litergie’ to settle on his estates.85 Though he may also have offered refuge to persecuted Presbyterian clergy, James, first Viscount Claneboy, conformed and in 1639 signed the ‘Black Oath’ which condemned the Scottish Covenanters. As the 1640s progressed and the Covenanters became established in Ulster, the ‘Scottish peers’ came under considerable pressure to sign up for Presbyterianism in the form of the Solemn League and Covenant. As the royalist cause flagged during the later 1640s, Hugh, second Viscount Montgomery and later earl of Mount Alexander, flirted with Presbyterianism but he incurred the wrath of the local presbytery which excommunicated him having first instructed their people not to speak ‘favourably of him, or pay contribution towards the maintenance of his army’.86 At Mount Alexander’s funeral in 1663 George Rust, dean of Connor, excised any association with the presbytery and praised his ‘zeal and cordial affection for the Church of England’.87 During the 1650s Mount Alexander insisted that his own children attend ‘orthodox schools’,

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not tainted by Presbyterian, Puritan or Anabaptist doctrines.88 Despite his father’s best efforts, Hugh, the second earl, appears to have harboured Presbyterian sympathies and in 1704 secured £1,200 per annum for loyal Presbyterian ministers.89 The second earl’s Presbyterian inclinations might be linked to the influence of his stepmother, Catherine Jones, a daughter of Lord and Lady Ranelagh and a granddaughter of the first earl of Cork, who had married the first earl of Mount Alexander in 1661. Lady Mount Alexander’s commitment to the presbytery highlights the importance of female protection for nonconformists and the fact that, with the exception of Lord Massareene, the most active Presbyterians of noble rank during these years were women. In 1663 Lady Montgomery complained to Ormond of injustices inflicted on Scottish Presbyterian ministers in Ulster.90 Ladies Massareene, Chichester and Meath gathered as a community in Cook Street, Dublin, under the spiritual leadership of Edward Baynes.91 From the mid-1660s the young Presbyterian minister Daniel Williams served as chaplain to the countess of Meath. He preached regularly to a joint Presbyterian-independent congregation at Drogheda and in 1675 married a sister of Alice, countess of Mountrath.92 Though the details of her beliefs are unknown, Mary King, sister of Baron Kingston and wife of William, second Baron Charlemont, bequeathed £5 ‘to the silenced ministers’ of Charlemont in 1663, which suggests a sympathy with the dissenters.93 The government kept a particularly close eye on the Massareenes, especially during the 1670s when events in Scotland threatened to destabilize Ulster much as they had during the late 1630s. In 1678 Ormond quizzed the second viscount about ‘a meeting house, erected and frequented without and contrary to law’ in Antrim. He also chastised him for failing to attend the local church, preferring to worship at a ‘conventicle’ held in the home of his mother-in-law.94 Old Lady Massareene, a daughter of the first Viscount Ranelagh, took Ormond to task for the ‘resentment’ he had shown towards her son-in-law. In a letter to the duchess of Ormond she explained how age and infirmities forced her family to worship at home. On Sundays, her son and tenants joined her for a sermon (by a dissenting preacher) before they attended the local church.95 Massareene himself claimed that he had ‘persuaded her [the dowager viscountess] to have no more resort of such people to her house’.96 Ormond eventually lost patience with Massareene and in October 1683 dismissed him from office. ‘The plain and short truth of the matter’, he wrote to the earl of Arran, is that unless his lordship [Massareene] will solemnly under his hand undertake that he will entirely conform to the Church in what he enjoins, and absolutely and totally abstain from assisting at conventicles at home or

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abroad, he must not expect to continue a Privy Councillor or governor of any county or place. If his conscience will not suffer him to comply, his best course will be to lay down those and all other public employments and retire to his house, where if he give no scandal, nor call congregations to him, he may live unmolested for aught I know.97

The Massareenes’ commitment to Presbyterianism was unusual and the majority of Protestant peers conformed to the Established Church, often with real enthusiasm. The Church of Ireland and the Peers Writing in 1633 one Church of Ireland bishop informed William Laud, later archbishop of Canterbury, that the Protestant churches were ‘ruinous and sordid’, the clergy ‘irreverent’, pluralism was rife (‘one Bishop in the remoter parts holds twenty-three benefices’), and church lands had been alienated to the laity at low rents.98 By 1641 the Church of Ireland did, however, have a full complement of bishops who attempted, under the watchful eye of Laud, a root-and-branch reform of the fabric and personnel of the Church.99 It remained, however, woefully under-resourced with an insufficient number of ministers to service the Church’s approximately 2,500 parishes. Many churches lay in disrepair. After the Restoration, under the leadership of Archbishop Bramhall and thanks to the patronage of the duke of Ormond, the Established Church experienced a dramatic revival after its fortunes had hit a particularly low ebb during the 1640s and 1650s. By January 1661, 17 vacant sees had been filled and the restored episcopal bench, many of whom had close connections to Ormond, breathed new life into the Established Church.100 During the early decades of the seventeenth century the Protestant lords had an important role to play in helping the Church become established on their estates or in neighbouring towns. Many built or refurbished churches. Typical was Lord Balfour of Glenawley who offered his home as a venue for divine worship until the new church at Ballybalfour had been built. His chaplain, Geoffrey Middleton, officiated and also served as master, along with another minister, at the ‘free school’ which Lord Balfour built at Ballybalfour. Balfour was patron of the local parish church of Drumally in Fermanagh, but by 1630 it was described as ‘ruinous’ and a new church at Newtownbutler served the spiritual needs of the local settlers.101 Lord Conway built the church at Lisburn and over the course of the century his family determined who ministered there.102 His neighbour, Viscount Claneboy, provided £20 for the curates in Ballabalbert, Bangor, Dundonnell, Hollywood and Killyleagh. He also appointed seven schoolmasters in these parishes, along with Belfast and Whitechurch, providing each of them with £5 ‘besydes such

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monies as they shall have from the scholers for their teaching’.103 The viscount wanted to use the ‘tithes belonging to me, to be employed to goodlie [godly] and religious uses, for the service of God, manteyning of churches, breeding of scholers and preachers and for the poor, and charitable works’.104 His son, the earl of Clanbrassil, honoured these commitments and in his will of 1659 increased to £20 the allowances paid to the schools at Bangor and Killyleagh ‘for the masters, enabling of them to educate poor scholars’.105 Further south the earls of Thomond spearheaded the evangelical mission in the west of Ireland and rebuilt the parish church at Bunratty as well as providing glass and lead for windows in Limerick cathedral.106 The earl of Cork nurtured the development of the Church of Ireland throughout Munster and built free schools at Youghal and Lismore. In his will the earl left money for the refurbishment of the ‘Collegiate and parochiall Church of Youghall’.107 The earl and later his son took great care to fill vacancies with ‘Learned and Religious Ministers and Preachers of good Life and Doctrine’.108 From the 1630s the twelfth earl of Ormond offered his patronage to local Protestant churches and schools, especially the one at Kilkenny. Even though he resided primarily in England, the earl of Cork’s wealthy grandson, Viscount Ranelagh, left funds in his will of 1712 for the construction of four free schools, two in or near the towns of Killaloe and Roscommon, and stipulating that any residue should be put towards enlarging the parish church in Roscommon and the market house there.109 Viscount Powerscourt left a bequest in 1718 to found a ‘charity-school’ in Powerscourt.110 Whether in Dublin or on their estates, the lives of most peers and their families appear to have included church attendance as a regular spiritual and social event. There they listened to Bible readings and sermons, received the sacraments, interacted with the minister and the social elite, paid homage at the tombs of their ancestors, and were seen by their tenants and followers. Rank and influence determined the seating arrangements. For example, at St Peter’s church in Dublin, the earl of Longford, who had funded the construction of the church in the 1670s, held a pew in the middle of the gallery, close to others occupied by Lord Abercorn and the marchioness of Antrim.111 The ability of the minister to preach effectively was critical since sermons also contained important political, as well as spiritual and moral, messages.112 Raymond Gillespie has suggested that in the Church of Ireland preachers took ‘their lead in the choice of subjects and manner of preaching from their bishops’, who ‘emphasized moderation and sober preaching’ with the result that sermons ‘in the Church of Ireland tradition became rather arid and formalised affairs’.113 The wealthy also retained a personal chaplain who often schooled any children living in the household. The earl of Cork held his chaplain, Mr William Snell, to be a ‘Learned, Religious and well deserving man’.114 The

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second earl of Cork remembered his domestic chaplain, Mr Pynnye, in his will.115 In 1675 the earl of Donegal bequeathed £50 plus four years’ salary to ‘Mr Samuel Bryan my household chaplain as a testimony of my sincere love to him’.116 Donegal’s son-in-law, the earl of Longford, had Mr John Arthur from Oxford as his chaplain.117 Over the years the Ormond family employed numerous chaplains. In 1658 Lady Ormond requested that Mr Lesley, whom she described as ‘a persone learned, of peasebell [peaceable] and Seville [civil] conversatione’ and who had served her husband during the 1640s, minister to her spiritual needs in her home at Dunmore.118 In 1662 Ormond appointed two domestic chaplains, Richard Underwood, dean of Lismore, and William Chamberlain, rector of Callan.119 In 1679 the earl of Ossory recommended his chaplain, Mr Young, to his father, ‘for he is eminent both for preaching and good living, and not being troublesome. Besides, he is an Oxford man.’120 Rearing godly children was of central importance (also see chapter 15 below). In 1670 Anne, Lady Dungannon, noted that her son Lewis, later second viscount, wanted to learn to read but she found it difficult to find ‘a sober devine’ as his tutor.121 Lady Clanbrassil wrote to Ormond early in 1663 asking if he could suggest a learned, pious and orthodox tutor at Oxford so that her son ‘becomes a true son of the church’.122 In his will the earl of Cork reflected on how he and his wife had raised their children ‘to be most zealous and Constant in that undoubted true Protestant Religion now possessed and Established in the Churches of England and Ireland’. He urged his sons and daughters to ‘breed up their Children in the same true Protestant Religion’, something that they all did.123 According to the personal chaplain of Cork’s son, Roger, later earl of Orrery, the earl raised his children ‘in all vertue and piety, putting them upon the performance of religious duties in their early and most tender years’.124 Cork’s boys all went on a ‘grand tour’, which only served to deepen their attachment to Protestantism. During their travels their tutor read to them every evening two chapters from the Old Testament and offered ‘a brief exposition of those points that I think that they doe not understand’. They visited Geneva where the divines, according to the tutor, were ‘farr from puritanisme but very orthodoxe and religious men, and there is no danger heere, that ye yong gentlemen should haue any conuersation either with Jesuits’.125 When Orrery sent his sons abroad, he told their governor that ‘He had rather he should bury them beyond the seas virtuous, than bring them home vicious’, adding ‘That vice must be crish’d [crushed] in the egg, else twill soon become a serpent.’126 Great emphasis was also placed on maintaining a godly household. The earl of Orrery insisted that his servants attended family prayers twice a day. His personal chaplain, Thomas Morris, added that it would be a blessing ‘if all Masters did imitate him in this’, which would ensure that ‘there would be more

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religion amongst servants than I fear there generally is amongst a great many’.127 Orrery’s father, the earl of Cork, instructed his household servants to meet for prayer ‘every morning before dinner and every night after supper’. Whether these prayers were from the Book of Common Prayer or led informally is uncertain, but Cork’s domestic chaplain, Stephen Jerome, wrote scornfully of the ‘common Protestants’ who went in for ‘saying (rather than praying) prayers’, contrasting them with those who ‘dedicate and consecrate their very souls and spirits to the very God of spirits’.128 In 1632 a local minister chastised Viscount Conway for having three Catholic servants (the cook, butler and groom) and asked him ‘to part with them that they may not have a divided house at Lisneygarvey, prayers above in the drawing room and mass underneath in the buttery’.129 It is not clear that the family followed the advice. When the third viscount died in 1683, he left a bequest of £200 to a servant with an Irish name, ‘Constantine Megennis’, but it is possible that Conway had secured Constantine’s conversion before taking him into his household.130 Personal Piety A sense of providentialism permeated belief systems.131 Protestants and Catholics alike remained convinced that God was on their side.132 The absence of evidence frustrates the reconstruction of the devotional worlds of these peers or their wives. What is striking, however, is the enthusiasm and sincerity with which the majority of Catholic peers embraced their faith despite the prohibitions against it. For them their commitment to Catholicism was a matter of personal and family honour, and core to their identity. Individuals made donations to the Church of expensive, ornate silver chalices, which often bore their names, and other utensils associated with the celebration of the Mass.133 Pilgrimage sites became linked to individual lords. The Butlers of Dunboyne refurbished a bridge that led to a flourishing pilgrimage site at Holy Cross in County Tipperary. The bridge bore the Dunboyne coat of arms and an inscription celebrating the association with the site of James, second baron, and his second wife, Elizabeth O’Brien, a daughter of the earl of Thomond.134 On the Baronstown wayside cross underneath a crude image of St Peter runs the legend ‘I pray you, St Peter, pray for the soules of Oliver Plunket, Lord Baron of Louth and Dame Jenet Dowdal his wife’.135 At Brideswell in County Roscommon the first earl of Antrim erected the existing small limestone structure that included a plaque bearing his name and the year 1625, supposedly in gratitude for his wife’s pregnancy following a visit to the well. The first earl also built a house at St Patrick’s Purgatory and pensioned the prior there, and his son did everything possible to prevent the demolition of the pilgrimage site in the 1630s.136

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Testamentary records provide invaluable glimpses of the personal piety of many noblemen and their wives. Particularly insightful was the will drawn up in 1629 by Jenico Preston, fifth Viscount Gormanston, who had been educated at the Irish college in Douai and was one of the great champions of the Catholic Church in early seventeenth-century Ireland (discussed above). He bequeathed his daughters, Besse and Jane, ‘£200 apiece’ and an additional £300 ‘to purchase a place to build a house whereby they shall cause daily prayers to be said for my soul, and some masses’. He also left them his crimson cloak ‘to make some church stuff ’. He left £100 to his other daughters (he had five in all) with the proviso that ‘if any of them take a religious life, each to have £200 besides their entrance’. He also left £100 to the Franciscan friars ‘to say masses for his soul’. The chief mourners at his funeral were to receive ‘a ring worth 40s with the motto “Remember Gormanston” ’. Gormanston also requested that ‘4 or 5 pictures be drawn on canvas or otherwise’. One was to be placed near his tomb in his own chapel and the rest ‘in chapels of the Friars Preachers with these words under them, “Pray for Gormanston” ’. Finally, he asked that ‘the chapel of Strathmullen to be repaired and builded’.137 Donations like this to the fabric of the church were unusual. Bequests to specific communities or individuals were more common. Mathew Plunkett, fifth Baron Louth, died in 1629 and bequeathed £100 to the friars of Drogheda.138 His namesake and grandson, the seventh baron, who died in 1689, did likewise, leaving £100 for the clergy of Drogheda and Dublin, £40 for the Dominicans and £10 for Ambrose Fitzgerald, a Dominican friar who had studied at Holy Cross, Louvain and Rome, and was probably a kinsman.139 His successor, Oliver, eighth baron, was equally pious and when he drew up his will in November 1707 he stated ‘I am and will dy [sic] a member of ye holy Catholick Church in which I was brought up’.140 Donough, earl of Clancarthy, who died in 1665, made no provision in his will for pious uses but asked his wife and executor to distribute £100 to ‘satisfy the clergy’ and recommended to her ‘Francis Fitzgerald [a priest] who has been with me in the time of my sickness in London and in Moore Park’.141 Displays of overt Catholicism might delay the granting of probate and the speedy settlement of an estate, and so the wording of some Catholic wills could be rather vague. In 1610 Lady Mary, dowager baroness of Delvin, left money ‘for pious uses, as she will declare in a letter to her son the Lord of Delvin’.142 In 1682 Anne, a daughter of the second earl of Westmeath and a wealthy widow, asked that her nephew distribute £100 ‘to such poor Priests, poor Gentlemen and Gentlewomen of her relations, and such other objects of charity as he should think best, for the good of her soul’.143 Leaving money to ‘the poor’ could conceal the testator’s real aims.144 The politically astute first earl of Antrim made no mention of religious provisions in his will but

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asked that £120 ‘shall be distributed amongst the churchmen and the poor, att the time of my death . . . as it shall please my wife and the Lord Viscount of Dunluce’.145 The caution might be attributed to the fact that Antrim had already been admonished for ‘receiving Romish priests into his house’.146 The marquis of Antrim, like his father, worshipped openly and according to his own admission he wanted to see ‘the free exercise of the Roman religion, which I am devoted to and am engaged to maintain in duty to God and [in] respect to my future happiness and salvation’.147 His commitment to Catholicism attracted particular praise from one Scottish chronicler who described Antrim as ‘a true and lawfull son of the church, a professor of true religion, and hater of superstition [Protestantism]’.148 His first wife, the duchess of Buckingham, shared his convictions, something that is so vividly captured in her ‘Meditations’ which she composed during a visit to the English convent in Ghent in 1646.149 The six meditations provide rare and fascinating insights into the devotional world of a seventeenth-century Catholic aristocratic woman and Counter-Reformation piety. Mediations like these became, as one scholar has recently noted, ‘a means of struggling to cope not only with the difficulties of understanding God’s Word but also with the conflicts of emotion arising from such struggles’. Mediation enabled women to feel that they were contributing towards ‘their own passage along the road to salvation’.150 This sort of devotional writing also provides, to quote Margaret MacCurtain, ‘insights into the approaches women took in mapping out the paths of personal faith in a period when religion and politics were about power’.151 Raymond Gillespie’s pioneering research on reading has provided some invaluable insights into the personal piety of Protestant peers. According to Gillespie, the duke of Ormond was ‘conventionally pious’ and providential in his outlook. ‘The first duke’s library is that of a man interested in religious affairs (about a third of the books are religious) and most of these are conventionally Church of England in their origin.’ His own prayers are extant. They reflect his sincere conviction and reliance on God’s will, along with Ormond’s committment to duty and honour.152 A 1628 list of the 12 books owned by Lady Lettice Digby, including a French and Latin Bible and a Book of Common Prayer, suggests to Gillespie that she was a ‘formal reader with little delving into the biblical text’.153 Henry Leslie, archdeacon of Down, in his funeral sermon for Lady Rose Antrim reminded the mourners of her enthusiasm for reading the Bible and ‘extraordinary and exemplary piety and devotion’. She prayed three times a day and regularly received Communion (6 times a year when she lived in the country and between 12 and 15 times when she lived in Dublin). ‘She was’, Leslie noted, ‘a diligent and constant reader of the Holy scripture, obliging herself to great portions of it every day.’ According to her own account, Rose had been ‘taught to read the scriptures

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in my childhood’ and as she read other books she learned that all Christians ‘acknowledged the Bible to be the word of God’. On her death Leslie recovered her devotional writings and suggested that ‘Her meditations on the Life and Death of our saviour, and on the different manner of God’s dealing with his own creatures are most excellent and divine.’154 Others appeared to be less orthodox. Consider the devotional practices and the religious beliefs of the Annesley family of Mountnorris and Anglesey. A careful analysis of the correspondence exchanged between Francis, Baron Mountnorris, and his daughter Beatrice Zouche has led Patrick Little to suggest that Francis was a committed Calvinist.155 Mountnorris urged his daughter to pursue a godly lifestyle, to dress soberly, and to undertake a rigorous daily routine of prayer, meditation and Bible reading. She was to ‘shun idleness as the greatest enemy to grace’ and to focus on the ‘education of your children, or considering and ordering of domestic affairs, or reading the holy scripture and other godly books and taking notes and collections out of them for your better instructions and guidance in the ways of godliness’.156 The fact that ‘Mountnorris makes no reference to church attendance or preparation for taking Holy Communion . . . nor is there any mention of the use of fixed forms of worship, specifically the Book of Common Prayer’ provides, Little argues, additional evidence of his Calvinism.157 Whatever his father’s religious beliefs, those of his son, Arthur Annesley, first earl of Anglesey, are less clear cut, but when he died on 6 April 1686 he ‘expressed himself a son of the Church of England’.158 During the 1640s he toyed with Presbyterianism, perhaps out of political necessity. After the Restoration his wife attended congregational services, he employed a nonconformist chaplain and resolved on 31 August 1682 ‘to make a diurnal chronicle of nonconformity and ye nonconformists proceedings from the beginning of the reformation’.159 Others accused him of favouring Catholics, but as the earl of Anglesey pointed out, ‘I hate not the persons of any papists, but I am an enemy to Popery’.160 In other words, on a personal level he accepted Catholics but not the institution of the Roman Church, and he certainly drew the line at granting toleration to or sharing power with Catholics. Anglesey, like Ormond, was willing to accept that religious positions were matters of honour and should be respected, providing the individual was politically loyal. A close scrutiny of Anglesey’s diary for the last decade of his life reveals the earl’s very regular church attendance (every few days), the more interesting sermons he heard at Lincoln’s Inn, Kensington church, Whitehall, and in his own chapel, and the occasions that he ‘received the sacram[en]t of the Lord’s supper’. For example, on 19 May 1678 he took the sacrament in Kensington church and asked ‘the Lord grant that it may be sanctified to me to all those ends for wch it was instituted, that I may be thereby be nourished into

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eternall life . . . having all corruptions mortified and graces quickened that I may become a new man’. On 17 October 1675 he heard Mr Barnes ‘preach a strang sermon of the antiquity of the church and blind obedience’. On 17 June 1677 his personal chaplain, Mr De la Mote, ‘preacht very well’ on Romans 12:2 in Kensington church and the following month in ‘my owne chappell’.161 On 24 November 1678 Anglesey heard at Whitehall the dean of Bangor ‘make an excellent sermon on these characters of the catholick church ag[ains]t the roman’. On 18 December ‘Dr Sprat [preached] at Whitehall on Rom[ans] 2:13’ and on 25 December he heard Dr Tennison’s sermon on Hebrews 10:12 at St Martins.162 He always noted in his diary the anniversary of the outbreak of the Irish rebellion. On 23 October 1677, for instance, he recorded: ‘The lords name be praised for his deliverance of Ireland from ye horrid rebellion.’163 The auction catalogue for the sale of Anglesey’s considerable library, Bibliotheca Angleseiana, sive Catalogus Variorum Librorum (London, 1686), provides a glimpse of his extensive collection of theological works, and rigorous analysis of this might furnish a more nuanced understanding of Anglesey’s religious interests and his complex devotional world.164 Wardships and Conversions The central role that marriage (discussed in chapter 6 below) and wardship played in securing key conversions during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries cannot be overstated. Minors inheriting lands held under knight’s service in capite became wards of the royal court, which became responsible for their education and material welfare.165 This was a constant source of grievance, especially for the Old English community who tended to hold land by knight’s service in capite. Wardship accorded the king – or his nominee – the authority to educate and to manage, for his own profit, the estate of a young lord until he came of age (i.e. became 21). In 1619 Philip III of Spain received an account of Ireland which, among other things, condemned the policy of placing Catholic noble children in the care of English and Scottish guardians who often pressured the young man to ‘marry with the daughter or maid [of the guardian], or other of low fortune without lineage, nor quality of blood nor other nobility, in order that this fate will diminish the Irish nation and establish the English and Scottish heresy in the said kingdom of Ireland’.166 Time and again the Old English community complained that ‘Wardships are commonly granted to mean men and mere strangers to the heirs that are in the King’s ward, whereby the wards are not well nurtured or well bred, and their kindred secluded from any disposition of them.’ Lord Deputy Chichester responded that the king only granted wards to ‘the friends of wards or else persons of good quality’, and every grant

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included that the boys should ‘be brought up at the college near Dublin [i.e. Trinity], in English habit and religion’.167 The Crown was acutely aware that a high-profile conversion from Catholicism to the established faith could result in a cultural reorientation and the introduction of anglicizing initiatives into a region, especially if the convert tried to persuade immediate family members to switch faith and thereby add credibility to the lord’s conversion. By 1603 there were three prominent converts to Protestantism: Lords Thomond, Courcy of Kinsale and Ormond, who had been raised at court with Prince Edward. In the case of the O’Briens of Thomond, Henry VIII had elevated the Gaelic chieftain, Murrough O’Brien, to the earldom of Thomond in 1543, but it was not until the late sixteenth century that his great-grandson, Donough, the fourth earl (d.1624) embraced Protestantism.168 During the course of his lifetime, the fourth earl transformed his vast Connacht patrimony (discussed in chapter 4 above). He sent his sons to Oxford and attempted to convert his kinsmen to Protestantism by offering to educate them, and he encouraged members of his extended family to intermarry with Protestant planters. He ensured that his nephew Patrick Fitzmaurice, baron of Kerry, and his son-in-law, Viscount Muskerry, conformed.169 At the end of the Nine Years War (1603), the lord deputy held in custody Lord Kerry’s five-year-old son and heir, and only released him when Kerry submitted and had his lands restored in a surrender and regrant agreement (16 July 1604). From this point the Kerrys were ‘loyal’ and Protestant.170 This process of cultural reorientation was very real but it took time and even enthusiasts like the fourth earl of Thomond retained many of the vestiges of a traditional Irish lord.171 Yet, significantly, none of his successors shared the fourth earl’s concerns for his native followers. By the 1670s, Henry, the eldest son of the seventh earl (and great-grandson of the fourth), urged his own heir ‘to cherish the English uppon his estate and driue out the Irish, and specially those of them whoe are under the name of gentlemen’.172 Thus, 130 years after the original surrender and regrant agreement had been signed, the metropole had finally succeeded in anglicizing this leading native dynasty. A significant number of peers died in their twenties and thirties (see table 30 below), and if they had married usually left behind them a young family and an heir who was underage. The houses of Bourke of Castle Connell, Boyle of Orrery, Butler of Galmoy, Chichester of Donegal, Coote of Mountrath, Digby of Geashill, Dillon of Roscommon, Hamilton of Strabane, Magennis of Iveagh, Montgomery of Mount Alexander, O’Brien of Inchiquin and St Lawrence of Howth all had young heirs at some point over the seventeenth century. In the pre-war years these boys became wards of the Crown. The premature death of a father thus unwittingly facilitated the conversion to Protestantism of the heirs to the houses of Inchiquin, Kildare and Ormond,

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together with some lesser noble families. For example, when Viscount Thurles, the father of James, later duke of Ormond, died in 1619, James’s mother placed him in the Catholic school in Finchley, north London, run by Mr Conyers. The Crown removed young James to the care of George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, who raised him as a Protestant.173 Lord Deputy Wentworth maintained that if Ormond had been reared ‘under the wing of his own parents’, he would have been Catholic like his brothers and sisters. ‘Whereas now he is a firm Protestant, like to prove a great and able servant to the crowne, and a great assistant . . . in the civill government; it being most certaine that no people under the sunne are more apte to be of the same religion with their great lords as the Irish be.’174 The rewards for conforming were also very real. For example, the king provided John De Courcy, thirteenth Lord Courcy, with an annuity of £150 ‘in consideration of his long services, the nobility of his ancestors’ and regranted it to his son and heir, Gerald, ‘in consideration of his willing conformity to the Christian religion and rites and constitution’ of the Established Church.175 Whatever the rhetoric, young titled wards were at the mercy of strangers. Dermot O’Brien, fifth Baron Inchiquin, died in 1624 when the eldest of his three sons, Murrough, was 10 years old (Dermot’s own father had died in 1597 when Dermot was two years and nine months old). Sir William St Leger, lord president of Munster, took charge of the young man and in 1635 married him to his daughter Elizabeth, having first secured his conversion to Protestantism.176 The authors of the Commentarius Rinuccinianus suggested that on his father’s death the youth had been dispatched to Dublin and ‘dragged forcibly in to a Protestant church’. Robert O’Connell used classical Latin poetry to invective purpose and depicted Inchiquin as a ‘catamite’ who had been abducted and ravished and who, in turn, betrayed Ireland.177 Pádraigín Haicéad felt particularly let down by those who had converted to Protestantism. In one poem dating from the 1640s he named two prominent converts: ‘ask if Inchiquin and Thomond/stay faithful to their own.’178 The heir to the house of Barrymore was another high-profile convert. In 1617 when his grandfather died, David Barry, Viscount Buttevant and later earl of Barrymore, was 12 years old. An orphan, the king passed his wardship to his aunt, Helena, dowager countess of Ormond who had married as her third husband in 1616 Sir Thomas, later Viscount Somerset of Cashel.179 In 1620 the earl of Cork secured the wardship and estates of the young Lord Barry and in 1621 married the 16-year-old to his 14-year-old daughter, Alice.180 In the instances of Inchiquin, Barry and many others, a period of wardship secured the conversion of the young men to the ‘English religion’. The most prestigious pre-war wardship was that of the house of Kildare. When Gerald Fitzgerald, fourteenth earl, died suddenly in 1612 he ‘left behind him a poor and woeful house, his child in his cradle, and not many

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friends of integrity and judgement to manage his estate or to have care of his education, in which consists the welfare of his house’.181 Lord Deputy Chichester suggested that the wardship of the infant fifteenth earl, also called Gerald, be awarded to a Protestant kinsman, the earl of Thomond, or to his uncle, Sir Francis Aungier, who had married Douglas, a sister of the late earl. He excluded the baby’s mother, Elizabeth Nugent, on the grounds that she was a fervent Catholic and great supporter of the Jesuits (discussed above). Elizabeth nevertheless secured his guardianship until the age of five when the king granted his wardship to his kinsman, the third duke of Lennox.182 In 1620 the young earl died at Maynooth and his title passed to his eightyear-old cousin, George, the third but only surviving son of Thomas Fitzgerald, second son of the thirteenth earl of Kildare, and Frances, daughter of Thomas Randolph, postmaster general and chamberlain of the exchequer to Queen Elizabeth. The king awarded the wardship of George, the sixteenth earl of Kildare, to the duke of Lennox. With Lennox’s death in 1624 the wardship passed to his widow, and in 1629 she discussed the possibility of marrying Kildare to one of the daughters of the first earl of Antrim, who also did his best to secure Kildare’s wardship. Lady Kildare warmly supported this match in the hope that the youth would then return to the Roman Church. However, Charles I was determined to isolate Kildare, ‘the first earl of our said kingdom’, from the influence of his Irish relatives and their Catholicism, and instead dispatched the youth in 1629 to Christ Church, Oxford.183 The king also approved the proposal of the earl of Cork to take over Kildare’s wardship (in return for a payment of £6,600 to the duchess of Lennox). Cork promised to revive the family fortunes and to ‘employ all my best endeavours, to reduce [the lineage] to its former lustre’.184 This and the subsequent marriage (15 August 1630) of Kildare to the earl’s daughter, Joan, should be seen as a component of Cork’s wider social, political and territorial ambitions to enrich his own pedigree, to consolidate his influence over Fitzgerald patrimonies in Ireland, and to tap into Kildare’s patronage networks at court. Lord Deputy Wentworth advised the young earl to listen to Cork, whom he felt was ideally placed to assist ‘in the managing of your fortune and repairing your house through his great wisdom and experience’.185 The letter-book of George, sixteenth earl of Kildare, provides a vivid snapshot of the complexities involved in running the Fitzgerald patrimony during a critical moment in the young earl’s life (1627–38) and illustrates the tensions between family members that a period of wardship engendered. By 1641 Kildare’s estate comprised 39,051 plantation acres (only 2,257 of which were unprofitable), which stretched from County Down in the north to County Wexford in the south and from County Limerick in the west to County Louth in the east. The core of the lands lay in eight baronies in County Kildare (21,804 plantation acres) and in the surrounding counties

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of Meath, Westmeath, and King’s and Queen’s Counties. From the 1590s the distinguished recusant lawyer William Talbot oversaw the management of the Kildare estates and ensured that ‘all writings’ and ‘deeds for the estates’ were well looked after.186 After 1629 Cork effectively dismissed Talbot and renovated (at a cost of £1,550) the earl’s seat at Maynooth along with the neighbouring chapel (completed in 1634). Cork provided the castle with expensive and exquisite furnishings, which the insurgents robbed after the outbreak of 1641 together with livestock, corn, hay, household goods, and a ‘library of great value’.187 He also began to redeem the numerous mortgages on the estate and challenged rival claimants to the Kildare patrimony (including Lady Offaly and the dowager countess of Kildare). Cork’s ‘improving’ initiatives caused consternation on the Kildare estates, just as those instigated by the earl of Ormond had alarmed the traditional followers of the house of Butler during the mid-1630s (see chapter 4 above). Writing in April 1632 his Ulster factor, Valentine Payne, implored Kildare not to hand over his Lecale lands to a local entrepreneur, a ‘malicious bloodsucker’, or to ‘neglect your tenants of Lecale’ who were ‘gentlemen of the English nation that would sacrifice lives in your Lordship’s just defence’.188 A few months later Lady Kildare asked him ‘to prefer your poor friends before strangers’ as he dispersed lands in the Kilkea lordship in County Kildare. As the resident of Kilkea castle she wanted ‘to improve the land of Kilkea and to make an orchard and garden and such other work the pleasure and benefit whereof shall redound to your Lordship’, and reminded him that ‘the lessees [should] come to the court and mill of Kilkea, otherwise your mill will be wasted’.189 The correspondence in the letter-book reveals Kildare’s continued affection and support for his Catholic kin and the members of the Fitzgerald lordship, despite his father-in-law’s best efforts to displace them. Here the experiences of the houses of Ormond and Kildare differed in that Kildare, despite his Protestantism, continued to take seriously the traditional responsibilities associated with lordship, whereas Ormond did not and rode roughshod over the interests of his gentry followers. Having lost Kildare’s wardship, the earl of Antrim did everything possible to secure that of his infant grandson, Theobald, third Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen, the posthumous son of Lucas, second viscount, and Mary MacDonnell. Writing in July 1629 Sir William Parsons, master of the court of wards, offered a candid assessment of the situation. He valued the Dillon estate at £1,500 per annum, but because it was encumbered with three jointures (a young widow, a mother and a grandmother), together with other allowances, only £580 remained to the ward. Parsons strongly recommended that the infant be given to a Protestant Englishman and after some jockeying the king nominated Lord Wilmot of Athlone, who promised to find the baby a good nurse, to educate him and to marry him well.190 Denied Lord Dillon’s

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wardship, Antrim did secure in 1629 those of his son-in-law, William Fleming, Lord Slane, and of another close kinsman, Hugh Magennis, second Viscount Iveagh.191 Acutely conscious of the power a guardian exercised, Antrim also took the precaution, in the event of his death, of transferring the wardship of his heir, Viscount Dunluce, from Lord Abercorn to the earl of Westmeath and Nicholas, Viscount Netterville.192 With the abolition of feudal incidents in 1662 the practice of wardship ended. Instead the king insisted that the guardians of underage peers be active Anglicans and that children in their care had to ‘be educated and brought up in the Protestant religion’.193 Recusant lords importuned men who were tolerant of Catholicism, like the duke of Ormond and his sons, to act as guardians for their offspring.194 The duke took a particular interest in his sister’s family, the Clancarthys, and in 1665 became guardian to the infant son of Charles Mccarthy, Lord Muskerry, who had died in battle.195 In the event the baby died the following year and his uncle, Callaghan, abandoned the priesthood to marry Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a daughter of the earl of Kildare, and became third earl. Their son, Donough, was only eight when his father died in 1676. His mother asked ‘to breed him up in the true Protestant religion’ but she feared (quite rightly as it turned out) that ‘her endeavours will meet with much opposition from the titular clergy and others of the Church of Rome, because his father and grandfather were both of that religion’. The king instructed Ormond to support her and to prosecute anyone who attempted ‘to inveigle or take him away from her or to pervert him in the principles of the Protestant religion’.196 Finally, Ormond stepped in as Donough’s guardian and sent him first for his education to Trinity College Dublin and then to Christ Church, Oxford.197 In the event Catholic influences, especially those of Donough’s uncle Justin, later Viscount Mountcashel, prevailed and the fourth earl espoused Catholicism and the cause of James II. In 1691 he was attainted and his vast patrimony, so assiduously guarded by his forebearers and Ormond, was forfeited leaving his mother, sisters and wife at the mercy of William III for the payment of their portions and jointures.198 Ormond also took on the guardianship of another Catholic kinsman, Almericus De Courcy, eighteenth Lord Courcy, whose mother, Ellen, was a younger sister of the first earl of Clancarthy and whose predecessors had flirted with Protestantism.199 Lord Courcy’s father had died of smallpox in 1667 and his elder brother, Patrick, also a minor, had died two years later leaving the four-year-old Almericus as heir. His family initially raised him as a Catholic before he was sent to be educated at Oxford. Like the fourth earl of Clancarthy he attended Christ Church, where the dean, Dr John Fell, regularly reported his progress (or lack of it) to Ormond. As a teenager Almericus was, according to Fell, ‘addicted to the tennis court, proof against all Latin assaults, and prone to kicking, beating, and domineering his sisters,

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fortified in the conceit that a title of honour was support enough, without the pedantry and trouble of book learning’.200 Over time the young man’s manners improved even if his academic abilities remained limited. He appears to have conformed, though without enthusiasm, and Ormond feared the influence of his ‘popish relations’, especially after the change of regime in 1685. In the event Lord Courcy hedged his bets and attended James II’s 1689 Parliament. In 1691 he was attainted but secured a reversal the following year and thereafter conformed. The vast majority of noble conversions from Catholicism to Protestantism arose as a result of the premature death of a father and of his heir being raised by and married to a Protestant. The case of Richard, Lord Dunkellin, heir to the earldom of Clanricarde, was different. He converted to Protestantism as an adult against the wishes of his father but with the support of his wife. Writing in May 1680 in the aftermath of the Popish Plot, the Anglican bishop of Clonfert took particular delight in reporting that Dunkellin had conformed.201 This represented a major coup for the state. The first surrender and regrant agreement with the family dated back to 1543, so 137 years had elapsed before the heir to this important lineage embraced the Established Church. The king immediately congratulated Lord Dunkellin on ‘being thoroughly instructed in the protestant religion as it stands established by law’ and on ‘having forsaken that of Rome’.202 The king rewarded him by inviting him to take his seat in the next Parliament, by making him governor of County Galway and by giving him command of a cavalry unit.203 Secretary of state Leoline Jenkins suggested that money be found to educate Dunkellin’s son at Oxford. ’Tis a consequence worth to that church and kingdom to have this young nobleman brought up in our communion.’204 In the interim and fearing that his grandfather would send the boy for his education ‘beyond the seas’, the English Privy Council ordered that he ‘be placed in the house of one of the bishops of that kingdom to be carefully instructed and bred up in the doctrine of the Church of Ireland’.205 As the bishop of Clonfert had predicted, the family retaliated. Furious, the earl of Clanricarde stopped his son’s allowance. The earl blamed his daughterin-law, whom Dunkellin had married against his wishes, for leading his son astray.206 When she died in 1684, concerns were expressed that Dunkellin might ‘quit the communion of the Church’ (i.e. convert back to Catholicism).207 Writing from Loughrea, Dunkellin reiterated his commitment to the Church of Ireland but also highlighted his total sense of isolation. He wrote that ‘my profession and condition allow me but few friends here and none amongst those that ought to be most dear to me, and therefore I must still be troublesome to my friends at Court to depend on their advice and assistance’.208 In 1687 Dunkellin succeeded to the earldom of Clanricarde. His son predeceased him and on his death in 1704 the earldom passed to his brother, John,

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who in 1689 had been created Baron Bourke of Bophin and was a recent convert to Protestantism. Bophin had been captured at the battle of Aughrim and in order to recover his estates he conformed and promised to educate his six sons ‘in the Protestant religion’ and to demonstrate his commitment to the ‘establishment of a Protestant interest’. By 1701 his two eldest boys had been ‘bred up in the Protestant religion’ and attended Eton.209 Finally, after nine generations, the Bourkes of Clanricarde had joined – like the earls of Kildare, Ormond and Thomond – the ranks of the Protestant ascendancy. The consequences of these conversions were profound for a variety of reasons, but at the very least they ensured that vast swathes of the country, especially the Pale, the west and south-west, formerly held by Catholics, were now owned by Protestants. Sincerity of Conversions The political advantages of conforming were tangible but as Lord Dunkellin also discovered, religious conversion could alienate family, friends and traditional kin bases. In Dunkellin’s case the sincerity of the conversion appears to have been genuine, especially given the resistance he faced from his father and immediate family. In contrast to this the conformity of his brother, John, was an act of political expediency. This was also the case for others. In the pre-war years Christopher St Lawrence, ninth Lord Howth, converted simply to secure political favour, as did the judge Dominick, Viscount Sarsfield of Kilmallock. What then of the other peers who embraced Protestantism during these years, and how sincere were they in their conformity? In the absence of conversion narratives, this is difficult to determine for the majority of converts. In other instances a peer’s actions, especially whom he married, how he educated his children, and how he chose to die and be buried, reveal the depth of commitment to his faith. The experiences of the most celebrated convert, the duke of Ormond, are well documented. There is no doubt that throughout his life he embraced Anglicanism with the zealousness of a convert. He married a Protestant woman, reared his children as committed Anglicans and died in the faith. Yet Ormond had five siblings and three half-siblings, all of whom remained staunch Catholics as did his wider Butler kin group. Despite this the duke remained close to his mother, Lady Thurles, and to his sisters, especially Lady Clancarthy. His mother urged him to return to Catholicism, as did Abbess Mary Butler who wanted him to die ‘as your glorious ancestors have done’.210 The Catholicism of his family did expose the duke to sniping from his political adversaries, especially at the height of the Popish Plot when he was chastised for being ‘very partial to the Papists’,211 allegedly receiving ‘the sacrament the Romish way at my sister Clancarty’s’, and for socializing with

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papists.212 An informer reported that Ormond and his son the earl of Arran allowed ‘most of the Irish nobility’ to come to Dublin, despite prohibitions against them living in the city. They had also transgressed by inviting Lords Clanricarde, Dillon, Dungan and Netterville into Dublin castle where they played cards until the early hours of the morning.213 In a long and revealing letter to his personal secretary, dating from November 1678, Ormond reflected on his Catholic heritage: My father and mother lived papists, and bred all their children so, and only I, by God’s merciful providence, was educated in the true Protestant religion, from which I never swerved towards either extreme, not when it was most dangerous to profess it, and most advantageous to quit it . . . . My brothers and sisters though they were not very many, were very fruitful and very obstinate; (they will call it constant) in their way. Their fruitfulness hath spread into a large alliance and their obstinacy has made it altogether popish. It would be no small comfort to me if it had pleased God it had been otherwise, that I might have enlarged my industry to do them good and serve them more effectually to them, and more safely to myself. But as it is I am taught by nature and also by instruction that difference in opinion concerning matters of religion dissolves not the obligations of nature; and in conformity to this principle, I own not only that I have done but that I will do my relations of that or any other persuasion all the good I can.

However tolerant Ormond may have been he, like James VI and I, would not tolerate political disloyalty. He made it very clear that should any of his kin rise in rebellion he would prosecute them ‘sooner than the remotest stranger to my blood’.214 For Ormond, as Raymond Gillespie has suggested, ‘institutional religious positions were . . . a matter of honour and duty’.215 Some struggled to persuade the authorities of the sincerity of their Protestantism. During the 1650s and early 1660s Pierce Butler, second Viscount Ikerrin, repeatedly claimed that he was a Protestant who had been educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, and dissociated himself from the wartime activities of his confederate grandfather. At his trial before the Court of Claims in 1663 and again in 1666, witnesses testified that he had indeed attended church, stayed for the sermons and taken the sacrament. Eventually, the court accepted this and restored him to his hereditary estates.216 Daniel O’Brien, third Viscount Clare, struggled to shake off accusations that he was a Church papist and somehow implicated in the Popish Plot. According to his detractors, his Catholic English wife, who allegedly harboured the local Catholic bishop, had been sent to a nunnery in France, his eldest son was in French service, his other children ‘all go to Mass’ and all ‘his servants were Papists’.217 On the one hand, Ormond sympathized with his situation. Early

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in 1681 he reminded his son the earl of Arran that Clare ‘is a man of known courage, conduct and intrigue, of a broken and indeed desperate fortune, burdened with a title very unsuitable to it. He is of a noble family, of great esteem and numerous dependances among the Irish Papists, and he is seated on the county of Clare side, a transplanted country, and therefore full of Irish.’ On the other, Ormond appreciated that the political geography of Clare’s estates, ‘upon the mouth of the river of Limerick, the most proper place in Ireland to introduce an enemy and their fleets’, and his ‘present ostentation of zeal to the Protestant religion’, aroused intense suspicion.218 The Catholic Church did everything possible to secure the deathbed conversions of those who had embraced Protestantism. Thomas Butler, tenth earl of Ormond, allegedly died a Catholic. James Dillon, third earl of Roscommon, had been raised and lived his life as a Protestant but as he lay dying Catholic clerics entered his bedchamber and somehow reconciled the unconscious Roscommon to Rome and prepared to bury him according to Catholic rites.219 According to the authors of the Commentarius Rinuccinianus Charles McCarthy, Viscount Muskerry, who died in London in May 1640, converted on his deathbed and his son secretly buried him according to Catholic rites. An account left by Father Cyprien de Gamache, a Capuchin priest associated with Queen Henrietta Maria who attended the viscount when he died, added that it was a coffin full of stones that was officially buried in Westminster Abbey the next day.220 Even at death the decision to switch from the religion of the majority to that of the minority was a significant one; others opted to do this in the prime of their lives. Despite spending a year at Trinity College Dublin, under Lord Deputy Wentworth’s watchful eye, and having a Protestant mother, William Bourke, fifth baron of Castle Connell, married a Catholic and took an active role in the 1641 rebellion.221 Similarly, under the pressures of war and rebellion, Miles Bourke, second Viscount Mayo, and his heir, who had been reared a Protestant and had also wed one, reverted to Catholicism.222 However, their spouses refused to convert and a Protestant minister remained in the Mayo household during the 1640s, much to the fury of the local Catholic archbishop who chided the viscount for ‘maintaining two religions in his house’.223 One particularly prominent convert was the great parliamentary commander in Ireland, Murrough O’Brien, Lord Inchiquin (or Murrough of the Burnings as he was dubbed, thanks to the role he played in the sack of Cashel in 1647 and other atrocities committed in Munster), who reverted to Catholicism in 1657. A personal crisis associated with a serious illness appears to have triggered his conversion, the sincerity of which was not questioned even by hostile commentators. Father Cyprien de Gamache, the Capuchin priest who had served as Muskerry’s confessor (see above), later claimed that Inchiquin

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‘opened his heart to me and desired some direction for his conscience’ and later made ‘his profession of the Catholic faith’ and realised ‘the obligation to pass the rest of his days in the faith of the Romish Church’.224 Inchiquin’s wife was furious and tried (unsuccessfully as it transpired) to prevent her husband raising their younger sons as Catholics.225 After the Restoration in 1660 the family prospered and in September 1674 Inchiquin died, aged 56, a devout Catholic, and in his will he left £20 to the Franciscans at Ennis and £20 ‘for the performance of the usual duties of the Roman Catholick clergy, as also for other pious uses’.226 His heir, however, conformed and the lineage remained Protestant. The reconversion of Thomas, Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen, is documented and was equally significant given the high profile of his family. In 1630, aged 15, Viscount Dillon abandoned the Catholic faith, but on 6 December 1646 in the church of the Blessed Virgin in Kilkenny the papal nuncio ‘reconciled him to the Catholic Church by the Pontifical Roman Rite, in the presence of a great number of people’. The nuncio then invited him to a feast to celebrate very publically his rebirth and encouraged him to secure the conversions of his wife and children.227 Sir Richard Bellings noted in his history that God brought the viscount ‘back to the flock of St Peter and the fold of the Roman Catholicke church (out of which the severity of the laws against wards, when he was yet very young, had drawn him)’.228 Like Inchiquin, Dillon lived out the rest of his life a committed Catholic, something that did not disadvantage him after the Restoration. The family remained Catholic until the late 1760s.229 Conclusion Whether Protestant or Catholic, God and providential belief were of fundamental importance to the majority of seventeenth-century peers and their wives. The personal investment that lords made in the fabric and personnel of the church, together with their devotional practices, reflect their commitment to their faith. Confessional conviction in turn shaped their sense of who they were and how they were represented. The recusant peers played a very significant role in sustaining the Catholic Church and its clergy in urban but particularly in rural areas where the Church of Ireland lacked the physical and human infrastructure needed to become a serious alternative to the Church of Rome. Institutional religious belief was closely aligned to notions of honour, the glue that bound noble society together, and as a result many lords respected the faith of their fellow peers even if they felt that they were misguided. By maintaining this respectful distance the peers muted some of the very real confessional animosities and sectarian hatreds that otherwise characterized this century. In short, even when it came to matters of faith, the

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peers managed to co-exist and operate as a community of honour. This in part reflected the pragmatic attitude that the Stuarts – all of whom married Catholics and two of whom died Catholic – adopted towards religious diversity, preferring to convince, rather than coerce, the peers to conform. Of course, the state used every opportunity and a variety of devices – especially education, wardship and marriage – to convert lords to the ‘English religion’ and did so with considerable success. By the end of the seventeenth century most of the leading aristocratic lineages – Clanricarde, Inchiquin, Kildare, Ormond and Thomond, along with a number of lesser lords like the Courcys of Kinsale, Dillons of Roscommon, Plunketts of Dunsany or the St Lawrences of Howth – had espoused the Established Church and joined the ranks of the Protestant ascendancy. Many, however, chose not to. Catholic survivalism is striking especially in the years after 1649 when a timely conversion might have been politically expedient. It is worth remembering that the numbers of Catholic and Protestant peers remained roughly equal throughout the seventeenth century, until the severe penal legislation of the post-1690 years left the Catholic lords no alternative but to conform.

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CHAPTER 6

Marriage Several years before he died in 1689, Robert Barnewall, ninth Baron

Trimleston, a lesser Catholic peer of Old English extraction whose family had risen to prominence in the fifteenth century, wrote a long and touching letter to his 16-year-old son, Matthias, who was then living in France.1 Only a fragment of Lord Trimleston’s letter, dating from September 1686, survives but it nevertheless encapsulates the family’s successful strategy for economic and political survival. It began by encouraging Matthias to ‘Serve God, your king and your country, all that possibly you can. Be just and honest in all your dealings; for that is the way to prosper in this world.’ Matthias was to take particular care of the family estate and to live within his means, to provide for and nurture his five younger siblings, to avoid debt, to keep good company, and ‘not to addict yourself too much to hunting or hawking; for such of my ancestors as affected them minded not their other affairs’. Above all his father wished his son to marry: for in that will consist all your worldly happiness. My advice to you is to marry as soon possibly as you can. Do not marry in England; for such a marriage will prove your ruin. Most part of her portion you may be forced to spend with herself, besides going with her, often, backwards and forwards, to see her relations. There have been some good Catholic wives had in England; but now it is a great venture. Never bring a Protestant wife into your family. Marry in your country as all of your predecessors have done.2

Clearly anticipating his own demise and concerned about leaving behind him a young family and an heir who was still a minor, Trimleston also established a trust. In this he temporarily put his estates into the care of his politically powerful brother-in-law, William Dungan, who had recently been elevated to the earldom of Limerick, and another close kinsman, Nicholas, Viscount Netterville.

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The baron’s letter of advice to his son clearly articulated the family’s marriage strategy which aimed to secure the financial well-being of the Trimleston dynasty: marry young, marry an Irishwoman, marry an equal and marry within the faith.3 The issues that troubled Lord Trimleston – the problems of identifying a suitable bride, anxieties about her ethnic and religious background, and the economic and political significance of marriage – were widely shared and are discussed in detail in this chapter. One grandee perceptively noted ‘Marriage is the greatest game man plays all his lifetime, his whole [life] there lies at stake, fortune, joys, comfort, and whatsoever else is dear unto him, ‘’tis that which makes him completely happy or for ever miserable.’ For a marriage to work, he added, it was essential that the bride brought to the union ‘a considerable ready portion’ and was ‘a lady nobly extracted, an honourable lady, a beautiful lady, and – which crowns all – a good lady’.4 Not only was marriage a key event in a person’s life cycle, it was quite literally the lifeblood for any titled family and a marriage could raise or ruin a dynasty.5 A good marriage could bring a family immediate financial benefits (in terms of cash and lands), as well as providing access to influential political and patronage networks and to prestigious social circles. Above all, the right wife would provide a lineage with a male heir to continue the line. Contemporaries were also conscious of the extent to which marriage served as a means of anglicization and ‘civilization’. This is a recurrent theme in this chapter. Writing in the early 1670s, Sir William Petty suggested that marriage between Irish men and English women would facilitate ‘the transmuting one People into the other, and the thorough and lasting union of interests upon natural and lasting principles’. Petty suggested the exchange of women would, as one historian has observed, ‘prevent a generation of poor Irish men from marrying poor Irish women, substituting English brides in their place’. This would allow the Irish men to embrace English women who would then raise their children, teach them the English language, culture and manners, and ideally impart the ‘English religion (though this mattered somewhat less)’.6 In short, these women and strategic marriages could, in theory at least, help to make Ireland English. Predictably the practice, as shall be shown below, did not always match the rhetoric. Despite the obvious importance of carefully calculated marriages to the future survival and prosperity of a family, this is a subject to which historians of Ireland have paid remarkably little attention.7 There are, of course, exceptions. Donald Jackson, Intermarriage in Ireland 1550–1650, offers a useful, if somewhat fraught, study of intermarriage between colonists and indigenous families.8 There are a number of important articles in the collection of essays edited by Art Cosgrove, Marriage in Ireland, and others in Women in Early Modern Ireland (edited by Margaret MacCurtain and Mary O’Dowd).9 Nicholas Canny, in The Upstart Earl, drew attention to the marriage strategies

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of Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork, something that Patrick Little explored further in a number of excellent articles.10 Eleanor O’Keeffe’s superb doctoral thesis teases out the marriage strategies of James Butler, first duke of Ormond, and deftly links these to ‘political issues of identity and motivation’.11 Anthony Malcolmson’s The Pursuit of the Heiress offers a fascinating analysis of the economic significance of marriage in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, but much of his argument can be applied to the earlier period.12 Collectively, these works mark important inroads, but clearly much remains to be done. The peers are the obvious social group to study given the survival of a range of sources: genealogical, testamentary and legal records, marriage settlements, literary accounts, together with a smattering of correspondence and letters of advice like Lord Trimleston’s. Certainly marriage contracts, which were growing ever longer and more complex, focused on material matters, and the high survival rate of these documents in family archives points to their financial significance. Women in Stuart Society Attitudes towards women and marriage in seventeenth-century Ireland were profoundly different from the previous century. In native society in medieval Ireland there was no need for a public ceremony, which led to clandestine marriages, and it was a society in which concubines had the status of wives. These attitudes towards marriage, which were widespread across Ireland, stemmed from the fact that the legitimacy of children did not determine inheritance. What mattered was the acknowledgement of paternity. A tradition of cohabitation and desertion developed, which were commonly regarded as marriage and divorce, something that lingered on into the seventeenth century. This often occurred alongside English practices that placed a premium on primogeniture, where the legitimacy of the marriage and therefore any offspring was paramount.13 For example, Laurence, Lord Esmond, married the sister of Morrough O’Flaherty, but after the birth of their son, Thomas, she returned to her family fearing the child would be reared a Protestant. Reminiscent of medieval Gaelic practices, Esmond repudiated his O’Flaherty wife, without a formal divorce, and married, before December 1628, Elizabeth, a grand-daughter of the ninth earl of Ormond.14 In a similar vein, a dispensation was requested in 1630 to release Edmund Roe Butler, Viscount Mountgarret’s eldest son, from his marriage. It was claimed that the couple had uttered the ‘words of the contract’ but parted ‘without any carnal copulation’. A suitable dowry had not been agreed and as a result the young man had married another woman, Dorothy Touchet, a daughter of the earl of Castlehaven.15 Presumably the need to demonstrate the legitimacy of the heir of the house of Mountgarret lay behind this request for a dispensation.

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Clearly the early decades of the seventeenth century were years of transition. The marriages of the Bourkes of Clanricarde reflect the changing power structure. Richard, second earl of Clanricarde (d.1582), was legally married (i.e. according to English practice) three times but probably took between five and six wives according to Gaelic custom. Things began to change with Ulick, third earl (d.1601), who married only once (his union lasted 35 years) but had many mistresses, one concubine and fathered four illegitimate children. His son, Richard, fourth earl, married the eldest daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham, a great Tudor statesman, and unlike his predecessors was apparently uxorious, as was his son, Ulick, fifth earl and first marquis. The marriages of the sixteenth-century earls aimed to forge local alliances and to consolidate power in western Ireland, and those of the fourth and fifth earls reflected the importance of primogeniture and the need to secure patronage at court and to emphasize the family’s Englishness.16 The English marriages of the Clanricardes during these years were typical of the Irish aristocracy (discussed below), and this union of bodies, hearts and minds undoubtedly helped to anglicize some of the premier lineages in Ireland, as it did leading Scottish courtiers who decamped to England after 1603.17 Though women enjoyed limited legal rights under Brehon law, the customary legal code which predominated before 1603, Gaelic society was as patriarchal and hierarchical as Stuart society. It was the responsibility of the husband and father to maintain order in his household, the primary building block of Stuart society, and to exercise authority over his wife and children who, for their part, were to be submissive, loyal and orderly.18 Charles I put particular emphasis on order in the public and private spheres. English common law, which predominated in Ireland from the early seventeenth century, treated a wife as the personal property of her husband who had absolute rights over her body, children and property (in Gaelic law a woman could own property). From birth noblewomen were conditioned to operate under the ultimate restraint of male authority. A wife was expected to behave in a manner that was appropriate to her rank and position in society. Marriage was regarded as an honourable activity that made a person socially complete, and women brought to it their virtue and sexual purity. Many, like Sir Thomas Ridgeway, later earl of Londonderry, believed that ‘none . . . be properly in the world till they be married, before which time they only go but about the world’.19 A wife was required to be civil, loyal, modest, obedient, pure, respectful and virtuous, and to conduct herself honourably. Scandalous behaviour and sexual misdemeanours were to be avoided at all costs, for if a wife (or daughter or sister) behaved or spoke inappropriately she brought shame and dishonour to her husband, his and her families, and risked damaging her reputation. Even if some cynics argued that ‘Every man who believes that his honour depends upon that of his wife is a fool’, attitudes towards women in Ireland

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were no different from the rest of early modern Europe.20 This was an age in which, according to one leading social historian of early modern France, ‘religious and social ideologies were mutually supportive [and] women were placed under the constant surveillance of fathers or husbands within the patriarchal family system. Women were the gates of entry to the maledominated domain of the family, socially by marriage and physiologically by sexual relations.’21 That said, it should not be suggested that women were without power but they often exercised it informally, through personal and familial relationships and the dispensation of domestic and, very occasionally, cultural and political patronage. Periods of warfare or wardship or the economic necessity of running an estate pushed many from the private into the public domain (discussed below).22 Published tracts, such as the one by Francis Boyle, Viscount Shannon, entitled Discourses useful for the vain modish ladies and their gallants, re­­­ inforced social codes and attitudes towards women.23 He argued that ‘a wife, who is truly virtuous, and truly desires to be esteem’d such, is as much concern’d in honour to keep a good name, as she is bound in conscience to lead a good life’. He continued that it was for the woman to ‘satisfy all persons as to her vertue’. Interestingly, Shannon advocated romantic love as the basis for a good marriage even in the instance of an arranged match where ‘the husband is often the gift of a Father, and sometimes forced by him, and not chosen by her’. He believed that ‘a wife’s liking and loving a husband, must depend solely upon her own free choice, and not upon her father’s will. . . . Vertue may make her a good wife, but love can only make her a fond one.’24 Presumably Shannon drew on his marital experiences. In 1638 he had married Elizabeth Killigrew but by the later seventeenth century the couple appear to have become estranged, with Elizabeth living in some luxury in London (she owned properties in Pall Mall and Turnham Green) and her spouse lording it over his County Cork estates. She died in 1681 and did not even mention him in her will (he died in 1699), leaving her considerable fortune instead to their sons and daughters.25 Shannon also probably looked to the marriages of his many siblings which, with the exception of Katherine, Lady Ranelagh, and Lettice, Lady Goring, appear to have been exceptionally happy. Lady Warwick confided to her diary her great passion and love for her husband.26 Richard, second earl of Cork, had married Elizabeth Clifford in 1634. On 3 July 1654 he noted in his diary that it was their twentieth wedding anniversary ‘and I praise God for it, [we] have lived as happily with one another as any two, I think, ever did’.27 Orrery’s 1641 marriage to Margaret Howard, a daughter of the second earl of Suffolk, had proved equally blessed. The earl’s chaplain later described her as a woman ‘of great piety, prudence and reserve . . . she was beautiful in her person, very moderate in her expenses, and plain in her garb, serious and

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decent in her behaviour, careful in her family and tender of her lord’.28 Contemporaries concurred. Writing to Orrery in 1672 the earl of Anglesey observed that ‘you have by marriage of one of the most noble and vertuous ladyes’.29 In fact, Shannon had dedicated his pamphlet to Lady Orrery’s sister, Elizabeth, countess of Northumberland, and in the preface extolled her ‘virtuous life, exemplary piety, and . . . extraordinary charity’, adding these qualities were ‘an honour to your name [and] a credit to your sex’.30 Courtship Contracting the right marriage often proved complex and involved three stages. First, it began relatively informally by gathering information about the prospective bride, making general enquiries to her family, and securing permissions to proceed (often from the king) with more formal discussions. Second, the two families, sometimes using a broker, negotiated the financial arrangements, especially the bride’s dowry and jointure, and secured the signing of marriage articles and the settlement of estates. It often took months to complete this stage since it invariably involved the exchange of sensitive information relating to rentals, along with details of debts, mortgages, liabilities, and general income and expenditure. Finally, the ceremony of marriage took place followed by the consummation of the marriage, which was delayed if the couple were particularly young. Of course, the match-making customs and practices varied in detail from family to family and over time but the majority did adhere in broad outline to these three stages. The earl of Anglesey, who had matched his second son, Altham Annesley, to Alicia, the eldest daughter and heir of Charles Leigh of Leighton Buzzard, captured the various stages of the matching process in his diary. On 3 July 1678 he told Charles II of his intentions to marry his son to ‘a lady of good estate’ and asked that his son be granted ‘a title of honour in Ireland’ (he was created Baron Altham of Altham in 1680). On 8 July the earl visited the Leigh family and found Alicia ‘well bred’. Both parties indicated in writing that they wished to continue the negotiations and the earl presented Alicia ‘w[i]th 200 guinys in 2 purses . . . that she might please her owne fancy in buying jewells’. The young woman had clearly met with the earl’s expectations and he noted how ‘she carryed herself with great modesty and discretion and gave me satisfactory expressions of observance and obedience as her parents had also before’. On 23 August a lawyer, Mr Birch, drew up the marriage settlement (in return for a fee of 10 guineas and £5). On 3 September the couple married at Leighton church. That evening Anglesey brought his son to the bride’s bedroom, where ‘she carried herself wth that innocent modesty and yet unconcerned assurance’. Delighted with the proceedings and convinced of the bride’s virtue, the earl left them ‘to the consumating joys of marriage’.31

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Whether the couple were well suited is unknown and six years later Alicia died of smallpox, aged 24, and childless. On 5 June 1684 the earl noted in his diary the passing of ‘a most excellent woman now w[i]th god’.32 From beginning to end Anglesey, though keen to secure the consent of the couple, exercised total parental control and carefully orchestrated the match according to a set of accepted protocols. This was the normal practice in a society that regarded family discipline as a guarantee of public order and in which young men and women depended on their fathers for their living allowances.33 For example, in September 1614 Thomas, tenth earl of Ormond, objected to the uninvited and ‘distasteful’ overtures made to his only daughter, Elizabeth, who had been recently widowed, by the fourth earl of Thomond and his second son, Barnabas, later sixth earl. Thomond’s persistence left Ormond feeling ‘abused and dishonoured’ since he felt the match ‘might breed destruction to her, and dishonour to himself, in regard of his engagement to His Majesty, from which he never purposes to digress’. If his daughter defied his wishes by seeking an ‘unfit match’ with Barnabas he threatened to ‘forget her to be his daughter’.34 Predictably, Ormond had loftier plans for Elizabeth and shortly after this exchange she married in January 1615 the court favourite Richard Preston, later earl of Desmond, while Barnabas had to make do with Mary Fermor, the younger daughter of an English grandee. The Butler–Preston union immediately produced one daughter, Elizabeth (she was born in July, seven months after her parents wed), who, aged 13, was orphaned but not before her father had betrothed her to a nephew of the duke of Buckingham. Yet her father’s untimely death in October 1628 meant that Elizabeth, unlike so many of her contemporaries, married the man of her choosing, her cousin, James Butler, later twelfth earl and duke of Ormond. A royal favourite and Scottish kinsman, Patrick Wemyss, who also managed Elizabeth’s Irish estates, played cupid. He agreed to ‘be an instrum[en]t of endeavouring an happy union’ between the young couple and chaperoned Elizabeth during her clandestine meetings with James in a London church or at her home when he called allegedly disguised as a pedlar. ‘The young couple liked one another so well’ that they married in August 1629, ‘notwithstand[in]g ye circumspection, and strict guards’ of her guardian, the earl of Holland and his wife.35 The couple went on to have ten children together, five of whom survived into adulthood. Securing suitable partners for her children and then her grandchildren preoccupied Elizabeth for much of her later life. For as she, then duchess of Ormond, later explained, ‘strengthening our family by the best alliances’ was the best way ‘to fortify it against the malice of mean and little people that has [sic] laboured all they could to ruin us’.36 A father’s determination to secure the bloodline and to maximize financial return meant that most sons, especially heirs, had little freedom in choosing a life partner. Though daughters rarely married against the wishes of a father,

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the increased use of marriage settlements, which provided portions for future daughters at the time of their mother’s marriage, allowed girls limited freedom of choice. During the late 1670s Mary Rawdon, daughter of Sir George and a niece of the earl of Conway, considered proposals from Lords Barrymore, Coote of Colooney and Forbes of Granard. The earl of Barrymore, using the earl of Ranelagh as his broker, offered ‘a much better settlement than Lord Coloony’ and intended to settle an estate worth £2,400 per annum on his son after his death, and until then to provide him with an annual allowance of £700. Barrymore also promised to secure on Mary a jointure worth £800 and in return expected a portion of £5,000.37 More importunate still was Lord Granard, who ‘forced a present of a good diamond ring from his lady and put it on her [Mary’s] finger’. According to her father, Mary had a preference for Granard’s heir but did ‘not to admit of any motions’ until the paper work had been finalized.38 Finally, in January 1679 the 18-year-old Mary married Arthur, later second earl of Granard, who was five years her senior. The suitors she rejected also went on to marry. Richard Coote, later earl of Bellamont and governor of New York, opted in 1680 for the daughter of a Worcestershire squire.39 As for Laurence Barry, later third earl of Barrymore, he developed ‘a fierce amour’ for his cousin Katherine Barry, Lord Santry’s daughter. Laurence’s father was furious with his son for ‘embarking himself in fresh amours without my consent, since on his well marrying depends the raising or ruining of the family, which is really the truth’. The ‘unhappy match’, as his father dubbed it, went ahead. Disgusted, Barrymore maintained that his son was marrying beneath him. The Barrys of Santry were of merchant stock, new to the peerage, and their money derived from the baron’s legal practice rather than land.40 More practically, this union with a ‘poor cousin’ did little to boost the flagging Barrymore fortunes and to secure the wider dynasty. Laurence and Katherine Barry clearly knew each other well, but in many instances the bride and groom were virtual strangers when they married, having been allowed no more than a few hours in each other’s company before the ceremony. Relatively little is known of the religious service but, given the premium placed on producing legitimate offspring, it was critical that it occurred publically and was valid in the eyes of the law. Priests officiated at Catholic weddings and Protestants married according to the rites set out in the Book of Common Prayer. Problems arose when couples married across the religious divide. The proposed marriage alliance of the earl of Clancarthy to the earl of Orrery’s niece, Lady Elizabeth Boyle, was threatened by ‘scruples’ concerning ‘the manner of doing it’. The duke of Ormond, who wrote to Orrery for assistance in the matter, said ‘my sister [Lady Clancarthy] is made to believe she cannot consent it should be by a priest of our church without sinning, and my Lady Elizabeth is as much persuaded she shall offend if she shall consent to be married by a popish priest. I am not able to remove the

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scruple from my sister and I am not willing to endeavour to do it with Lady Elizabeth.’41 Orrery concurred and felt that if a priest officiated the marriage would be ‘questionable’, and he pressed for a service ‘celebrated to the form prescribed in the book of common prayer’.42 When Clancarthy insisted on being married by a priest, Orrery sought a compromise noting that ‘there have been many marriages for protestants and papists. My sister Barrimore married Jack Barry; she was a firm protestant and he a firm papist, and yet no scruple did arise.’43 Other mixed marriages are discussed at length later in this chapter. Hardly surprisingly, the Catholic Church developed firm views on marriage. Synods, beginning with the 1614 Dublin synod, decreed that marriage should be consensual, rather than contractual, be public rather than clandestine, and be conducted before a parish priest. Banns were to be published to avoid later disputes regarding any impediments. Increasingly, the Church also promoted sexual morality and condemned pre-marital sex.44 It was not unusual to have a private religious ceremony in the evening but most occurred in public, followed by a feast and dancing, which trumpeted the importance and status of the families that were being united. Sexual consummation completed the union. Writing in 1610 Thomas Ridgeway, later first earl of Londonderry, offered a vivid account of the wedding of his daughter Lady Cassandra and Sir Francis Willoughby in Rathfarnham castle, home to the Loftus family on the outskirts of Dublin. He began his account by noting that Cassandra ‘is a married, nay a bedded wife; your Francis hath lain with a wench’ and then related how the groom had acquitted himself: He plighted his faith to his wife in the public congregation, cheerfully; had her given to him by the viceroy [Lord Deputy Chichester], honestly; was led down to the marriage by two fair virgins, gracefully; armed up again by two great ladies, gravely; kissed the sword and kneeled at his knighting, devoutly; waited at his wedding dinner, with many of us more, diligently and hungrily; danced with his bride, civilly; was well wished unto by many great lords and ladies and other good friends, heartily; graced by maskings, feastings, fireworks and presents, plentifully; was ungartered, unpointed, not disappointed, and went to bed, and rose again, comfortably and contentedly.45

A text of the ‘maskings’ (masques) performed at the wedding has survived and it vividly recaptures the dignity and splendour of the celebrations, which continued well into the early hours.46 Grander still were the weddings that took place at court. On 24 October 1638 the first earl of Cork attended the nuptials of his fourth son, Francis, later Viscount Shannon and author of Discourses useful for the vain modish ladies and their gallants, who married Elizabeth Killigrew, one of the queen’s maids of honour and stepdaughter of his great friend Sir Thomas Stafford. The king

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himself gave the bride away ‘and made a great feast in court for them, wherat the kinge and queen were both presente’. Cork sat with his three daughters at the royal table ‘amongst the great lords and ladies’. The king took the bride to dance and then led her to the bedchamber where the queen helped to undress her. The royal couple and Cork then stayed with the couple until they were in bed.47 Detailed accounts of the nuptials of his other children are not recorded in Cork’s diary but the court poet, Sir John Suckling, wrote ‘Ballad upon a Wedding’ on the occasion of the nuptials of Roger, Lord Broghill, to Margaret Howard at Lord Aubigny’s house, Covent Garden, in January 1641.48 The austerity associated with the 1640s and 1650s meant that the marriages of Ormond’s elder sons were conducted without public display. It was a very different story when Ormond’s second daughter, Mary, married the politically influential William Cavendish, first duke of Devonshire and master of Chatsworth House. Charles II presided over their betrothal ceremony on 5 March 1661. The couple married on 26 October 1662 at Kilkenny castle in a private ceremony, but the lavish wedding feast attracted a large gathering.49 The English poet and playwright Katherine Philips (‘the matchless Orinda’) dedicated a poem to Mary that celebrated the Butlers as Ireland’s premier lineage (‘your high extraction’), the loyalty of her father, the virtue of her mother, and the joy of her union with one of England’s great aristocratic families.50 Philips also dedicated a collection of poems to her dear friend Anne Lewis née Owen when she married (as his second wife) Mark Trevor, first Viscount Dungannon, in 1662. Philips, who had accompanied Anne to Ireland, wrote of their mutual affection: You are so happy in each others love, And in assur’d protection from above, That we no wish can add unto your bliss, But that it should continue as it is.

Her concluding lines encapsulated what every noble family wished for: Whilst you produce a Race that may inherit All your great stock of Beauty, Fame, and Merit.51

In short, the happiness of the couple was important, but it was the wider welfare of the Dungannon dynasty that really mattered. Frequency of Marriage The necessity of securing ‘a race’ and producing a male heir made it compulsory for eldest sons to marry and only a very few made a conscious choice not

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to do so. The selection of a suitable bride for an heir therefore became a priority for any family, since it was the women who perpetuated the family line and infused it with new blood. A detailed analysis of 348 resident peers suggests that the vast majority (70 per cent) married, a significant number (20 per cent) married twice, and a few (4 per cent) married three times or more (table 15). These figures accord broadly with comparable ones for early seventeenth-century Scottish marriages with the notable exception that a higher number of Scottish peers (32 per cent) married twice.52 The focus here is on the marriages of the eldest son and heir, but it is important to note that the peerage in Ireland did not practise restricted marriage and it was usual for younger sons also to marry, despite the financial burdens of establishing a household that this brought.53 In addition to enhancing the collective status of a family the marriages of younger sons also helped to secure the continuity of many dynasties, as the title passed to the son of a younger brother when it failed in the main line (see chapter 2 above for details). The need to produce a male heir usually ensured that a peer remarried quickly if his wife died. The single example of Edward, earl of Conway, vividly illustrates this.54 In 1651 he married Anne Finch, the talented philosopher and daughter of Sir Heneage and half-sister of the English lord chancellor, the first earl of Nottingham.55 In 1660 their two-year-old son died of smallpox, leaving the couple childless. Stricken by chronic ill-health for most of her adult life, Anne finally died on 23 February 1679. In December Anne’s confidant and younger half-brother, Sir John Finch, wrote to Conway from his embassy in Constantinople instructing his 56-year-old brother-in-law to remarry immediately: I am for her sake to beg you to marry again, for, since it pleased God to take your only son and child to heaven, to your own great name and family, to your person and virtues you owe a successor, which, since my dear sister was now incapable of giving you, it may be God was pleased by calling her to your only offspring to make way for a more durable issue and to free her from a perpetual headache and as great a heartache in the prospect of seeing you Table 15.  Marriages of resident peers, c.1600–c.1690.56 No. of peers (total sample = 348) Never married

  20 (6%)

Married once

241 (70%)

Married twice

  73 (20%)

Married three times or more

  14 (4%)

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childless. . . . ’Tis a debt due to her memory, who wished you a happy father, to the ashes of all your noble ancestors, and what you can never answer to God or man, if you endeavour not the satisfying of it by a speedy second marriage.57

In May 1680 Lord Chancellor Finch reiterated the request and enjoined Conway ‘to marry a wife that is young and healthy without consideration of fortune within these two months or to appear at the [Privy Council] Board and give reasons to the contrary’.58 In fact, before Anne died and presumably at her behest, Conway had been looking at who was available on the marriage market.59 His friends advised him that if he wanted to win a ‘young lady’ he would need ‘fine clothes and equipage’ and so his London tailor dressed him in the most fashionable outfits.60 Increasingly, brokers approached the wealthy widower with proposals. In February 1680 Viscount Massareene enquired whether he would accept ‘an overture concerning a deserving young lady . . . a daughter of a family unquestionably noble, ancient and very sober in their educations, the young lady every way well qualified and her fortune plentiful’.61 In June another matchmaker suggested that he consider Lord Crewe’s daughter, ‘a very desirable character’, who had a portion of £5,000.62 The following month another suggested a 22-year-old ‘knight’s daughter’, ‘virtuous and discreet’ with a portion of £10,000. The broker, who refused to name the young woman, added that ‘She is also represented to be so handsome that no man need be ashamed to own her for his lady’.63 Conway eventually opted for Elizabeth Booth, a daughter of Baron Delamere, who brought with her a portion of £13,000. She fell pregnant almost immediately but died in childbirth in July 1681. The following month the earl took as his third wife Ursula Stawell, the co-heir of an army colonel, whose fortune was £30,000 but who failed to provide him with the heir he so desperately craved. Conway died in November 1683 and his title became extinct. The premature death of a spouse was common and in practical terms was the equivalent of divorce in the modern period. Under English law the eldest available male heir inherited the title and entailed estate on the death of his father. Other children were entitled to a third of their father’s other assets; a wife was entitled to a third (which increased to half if there were no children); and the remaining third was at the man’s own disposal and was most often used for the payment of debts, to reward servants and friends, or to make religious or charitable bequests. Provision for a younger son was sometimes by virtue of a marriage settlement or a mother’s will, enabling them to live independently. Many examples are given later in this chapter, so one will suffice here. In accordance with a marriage agreement of 27 February 1624 between Sir John Netterville, later second viscount, and Elizabeth Weston, daughter of the earl of Portland, Nicholas, first viscount, demised lands for the provision of

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Elizabeth’s jointure and portions for each child (£1,000 for each daughter and £500 for each son).64 This level of provision for younger children was fairly typical and highlights the fact that the noble family operated as a collective. In death the wider family also rallied around. Individual experiences of widowhood and the ways widows and widowers negotiated the complexities of the loss of a life partner, their unmarried status and the challenges of finding a new spouse, remain to be studied in the context of early modern Ireland.65 This was undoubtedly a gendered experience that reflected the patriarchal society in which a widow or widower lived. Widowers tended to remarry faster. Roughly a quarter of the 348 resident peers for whom data survive did remarry (see table 15), either because they lacked an heir, as in the case of Lord Conway, or because they had large families that needed a mother and a household that needed a mistress to oversee it. The loss of a wife rarely altered a man’s status, while the loss of a husband invariably and irrevocably brought about a change in a woman’s life even if a jointure provided economic security. Husbands also exercised authority over their wives from the grave. In his will Kildare Digby, who died in 1661, made generous provision for his wife, Mary, and their young family, but he specified that if Mary remarried she was to receive £400 per annum instead of her jointure of £500.66 Mary lived as a widow for 30 years and her own will provides a glimpse of the landed and disposable wealth she went on to accumulate.67 The extant testaments of the widows of other resident peers – Ladies Clancarthy, Cork, Dillon of Costello-Gallen, Orrery, Shannon and Thomond – suggest that they enjoyed comparable levels of wealth and independence.68 The responsibility of looking after young families often fell on the shoulders of a young widow, as in the case of the Montgomery family which suffered from particularly bad luck. Hugh, second viscount, died in 1642 aged 36, and his son, Hugh, first earl of Mount Alexander, died in 1663 aged 38. The duke of Ormond became Hugh’s guardian and, together with his mother Jean, watched over the family’s affairs. At his death in 1663 Hugh left behind him two sons and a daughter by his first marriage and a son and daughter from his second. His pregnant wife, Catherine Jones, a daughter of Arthur, Lord Ranelagh, cared for the latter while William Montgomery of Rosemount, the earl’s uncle, together with the Moores of Drogheda (his mother’s family), looked after the young heir and his siblings.69 After 1664 the unfortunate house of Kildare faced another period of minority when Wentworth, seventeenth earl, died prematurely in 1664, leaving three-year-old John as his heir. Initially, John’s mother, Elizabeth Holles, looked after the interests of her son, but on her death in 1666 responsibility for the young earl passed to his English maternal grandmother, Elizabeth, countess dowager of Clare.70 Other widows, especially those who argued with their sons over their jointure, had less positive experiences of widowhood. Widowed mothers

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occasionally had no option but to take their eldest sons to task. Shortly after her husband’s death in 1635, Joan, mother of Maurice, eighth Viscount Roche of Fermoy, complained about ‘the perverse carriage of her unnatural son’ and of ‘his turbulent, refractory and contentious disposition’, which had ‘fatally brought decay and loss on the honourable house and shortened his father’s days with grief ’. The widow claimed that he kept her from her jointure lands and forced her to live ‘obscurely beholden to her neighbours who provide her with board and lodging’.71 Fermoy’s shabby treatment of his mother brought dishonour and reflected badly on the entire family. The 1627 will of Elizabeth, mother of Nicholas, Lord Howth, captured the heartache that litigation with her son had caused her: ‘And although my son, Nicholas St. Lawrence, Lord Baron of Howth, hath much grieved me, in putting me in suit, for the performing of a bargain, which I never concluded with him, yet I do hereby freely forgive him, and do leave with him, his wife and children, my prayers and blessing.’72 Of course, siblings also litigated against their eldest brother and each other over inheritances and the payment of allowances and jointures. Space precludes an extensive discussion of the relationships between siblings but it is worth noting that most daughters and sisters did marry, which put very real strains on family finances. For example, in 1634 the court of chancery obliged Patrick Fitzmaurice, baron of Kerry, to pay his three sisters – Eleanor, Maria (or Margaret) and Mary – their marriage portions of £500, together with ‘20 markes sterling on the feast of Easter and Michaelmas by equal portions’.73 Cases like this were rare, which suggests that most domestic disputes over money were resolved within the family. Younger sons and brothers, who did not pursue careers in the Church, army or legal profession, also tended to wed the well-to-do daughters of local squires or merchants and used their allowances to support their diminished position in society. Dynastic ambitions determined these marriages, much as they did those of daughters (discussed below). Age at Marriage Though driven by biological imperative, the earl of Conway’s interest in young women attracted scorn from his fellow peers, including the duke of Ormond.74 ‘The youth was but fifteen years of age,’ Ormond quipped, ‘and if this be the lady my Lord Conway was said to pretend to, he must have been at least as much too old for her as my grandson is too young’.75 In a letter to his son, the earl of Ossory, the duke again criticized teenage marriages: ‘And there is more than superstition in my aversion to young matches, how advantageously soever they appear to the world: and there must be something more than ordinary in it, when few of those designed conjunctions hold and fewer prosper.’76 In 1673 Arthur, first earl of Donegal, refused to entertain a

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proposal for his only daughter, Anne, since she was ‘not then past 11 years old and but very little in stature’, which made it ‘too early and indeed dangerous for her to be matched’.77 Anne matured quickly and three years later the ‘exceeding pretty’ teenager did marry Ormond’s youngest son, John Butler, earl of Gowran, despite Donegal’s concerns about Gowran’s profligate lifestyle and his ‘many misses’ (Gowran was 33 when he married).78 In 1676, shortly after the wedding, Gowran died of consumption and two years later Lady Anne, now aged 16 or 17, married as his second wife the middle-aged (he was 46) entrepreneur Francis Aungier, earl of Longford, a confidant of Ormond.79 By Irish, though not continental, standards Gowran was relatively old for a first marriage. It was common practice for the children of peers to marry young, something that Lord Trimleston had advocated in his letter of advice. In Ireland and Scotland eldest sons of peers married in their late teens or early twenties and in England in their mid- to late twenties.80 Their brides were even younger (i.e. in their mid- to late teens, with a handful marrying in their early teens). This suggests that the age of marriage for the Boyle children as calculated by Nicholas Canny, where the average age for the boys was 19 and for the girls 16, was by no means unusual for members of the Irish titled nobility.81 The negotiations that underpinned these unions, however, began when the boys were in their mid-teens and the girls were children. In England there is evidence to suggest that as the seventeenth century progressed, marriage was postponed until the groom and bride achieved a reasonable age. This was probably the case in Ireland as well, but not enough dates of birth for brides are known to offer definitive conclusions.82 When girls did marry before reaching full sexual maturity they did not usually cohabit with their husbands. The earl of Castlehaven’s granddaughter, Lucy Davies, was only 11 when she married the 15-year-old Ferdinando, Lord Hastings. She remained at home and he attended university at Cambridge, it being ‘not held convenient they should cohabit together’.83 Similarly, Sarah Boyle was 12 when she married the heir to Lord Moore and lived with her parents for another two years before joining her teenage husband at his seat at Mellifont.84 The marriage in 1673 between John Power, Lord Decies, the 8-year-old grandson of the earl of Anglesey, and his 12-yearold cousin and his son-in-law’s ward, Catherine Fitzgerald, proved particularly controversial. According to Anglesey, ‘I gave her in the chapel there, and they answered as well as those of greater age. The wedding dinner and supper I gave them, and the rest of the day till 12 at night was spent in dancing &c and they lay in my house.’85 Less than two years later Catherine, whom Anglesey now dubbed his ‘false bold ungratefull daughter Decies’, complained that she had been forced into the marriage against her will and had not given her consent.86 Anglesey kept her under house arrest until Easter 1677 when she escaped and married Edward Villiers, the eldest son of Viscount

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Grandison. Chancery proceedings and a public scandal ensued over the validity of Catherine’s first marriage.87 A respected Irish legal expert concluded that she was setting ‘a pernicious example’ and should be forced to return to Lord Decies and the marriage be consummated.88 Another, representing Catherine and her second husband, declared the first marriage invalid because Catherine had been ‘seduced thereunto by threats, violent persuasions, and undue practices, contrary to her own will and spontaneous inclination, as she hath decalr’d and protested before the Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, and so soon as she could obtain an opportunity to manifest the same by protestation, was neither by Law or Conscience oblig’d to perfect such contract’.89 The marriage was declared null and void and John Power, no doubt scarred by his experiences, died unmarried in 1693. His brother succeeded him but died without a male heir, with the result that the title became extinct. Geographic Origin of Brides An analysis of the geographic origin of the wives of 421 peers (table 16) highlights four broad trends. First, nearly two-thirds of resident peers for whom data are extant (272, or 61 per cent) married women of Irish birth from within the peerage or from the landed, commercial or professional elites in Ireland. This should not surprise us and the level of intermarriage especially between the native Irish and Old English effectively rendered meaningless the use of ethnic labels between these two groups but retains some value for the newcomers, especially the Scots who initially retained their ethnic identity. Second, resident peers rarely married women from the Continent and in the instances of the five lords who did, their unions were invariably associated with prolonged stays in Europe. The great military general Thomas Preston,

Table 16.  Geographic origin of 421 wives of resident peers (based on wives’ fathers), c.1600–c.1690.90 Religion of peer

Ireland

England

Scotland

Continent

Catholic (pre-1649)

95 (22.56%)

18 (4%)

3 (0.7%)

2 (0.47%)

Protestant (pre-1649)

46 (10.9%)

56 (13%)

14 (3.3%)

1 (0.2%)

Catholic (post-1649)

58 (13.77%)

22 (5%)

0

1 (0.2%)

Protestant (post-1649)

55 (13%)

48 (11%)

1 (0.2%)

1 (0.2%)

Total pre-1649

141

74

17

3

Total post-1649

113

70

1

2

Total

254 (c. 61%) 144 (34%) 18 (4%)

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later Viscount Tara, took as his first wife a woman from Brabant and as his second Marguerite de Namur who lived in Flanders and France for the duration of their marriage. In 1659 Thomas, earl of Ossory, who had been in exile in the Netherlands for much of the mid-seventeenth century, married Amelia, daughter of Lodewyk van Nassau, heer van Beverweerd, governor of Sluis. As he was an illegitimate son of Maurice of Nassau, the marriage linked the Ormonds to the royal house of Orange and other leading Dutch families.91 Similarly, during his exile is the 1650s William, Viscount Dungan of Clane, married a Spanish woman. Third, during the early seventeenth century 17 lords, all of whom were of Scottish provenance, took Scottish brides. What is so striking is the virtual absence of Scottish brides after 1649 and the marked preference that peers of Scottish provenance had for Irish women over both Scottish and English ones. In other words the first generation of ‘Scottish peers’ who settled in Ireland either brought with them a Scottish spouse or actively sought one for themselves or their heir. Later generations did not, preferring to consolidate or create national alliances by matching with local women.92 Fourth, over a third of resident peers married English women, especially as first wives, aiming to increase their social status by intermarrying with members of the English nobility, landed gentry or prosperous merchant families. As a result a significant number – the Butlers of Ormond, the Fitzgeralds of Kildare, the Flemings of Slane and St Lawrences of Howth, and branches of the Dillons – acquired landed interests in England.93 As one might expect, Protestant peers preferred women from England. For instance, Viscounts Lambert and Chichester sought English brides: the former married a sister of the earl of Radnor; and the latter wed a daughter of the earl of Bristol. The duke of Ormond found English spouses for three of his five children. More interesting is the number of Irish Catholic lords, especially those from the higher ranks (viscounts and above), who took English brides, a trend that continued after 1649. Why were these wealthy and well connected English families willing to consider an Irish lord as a spouse for their daughters? Some sent their daughters to Ireland with reluctance, associated as the country was with incivility, barbarism, rebellion and popery. In 1616 Sir Barnabas O’Brien, later sixth earl of Thomond, asked the earl of Cork to meet him and his new wife, Mary Fermor, a daughter of a Northamptonshire squire, at Youghal so that ‘his wife think she is in England’.94 During the 1620s Randal MacDonnell, first earl of Antrim, failed to marry off his son to one of the duke of Lennox’s daughters (Lennox was the king’s cousin and favourite). Antrim then focused his efforts on Honoura Bourke, the fourth earl of Clanricarde’s daughter, who had been reared in England. Between 1620 and 1630 both families seriously considered the union. Antrim offered a very

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generous ‘bride price’ of £5,000 and promised to buy the couple an English estate, but Lady Clanricarde rejected his overtures on the grounds that Lord Dunluce was the earl of Tyrone’s grandchild and his County Antrim seat was too remote. Honoura Bourke, however, was the exception, rather than the rule. For many, access to large estates sweetened the pill of geographic isolation and facilitated the passage of women across the Irish Sea. Seven (out of 18) of Ireland’s largest landowners including the top four – Lords Ormond, Clanricarde, Antrim and Thomond – married women of English provenance. The sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of the anglicizing fourth earl of Thomond all married wealthy English women, and from the midseventeenth century the Thomonds spent relatively little time on their Munster estates, preferring to reside in Great Billing rather than Bunratty. Of nine great Catholic landowners, four married English brides from amongst the most prominent Catholic families, which served to reinforce their Catholicism: Antrim, Clanricarde, Mayo (a convert) and Mountgarret.95 There was substance to contemporary perceptions that these English women were ‘civilizing’ influences on their spouses. Equally, the political significance of some of these unions cannot be overstated. Consider the example of the Butlers of Mountgarret, who took English spouses from well-connected and well-healed English Catholic families over the course of three generations. Richard, third viscount (1578–1652/3), married as his second wife Elizabeth Andrewes and, as his third, Margaret Branthwaite. Writing to Sir William Andrewes of Lathbury, his father-in-law, in 1613, the third viscount suggested a possible match with one of his daughters and a prominent English recusant family: ‘I doe understand of late by som in this land that the lorde William Howarde, whoe hath a number of young children, wolde willingly mach one of his daughters unto one of my son[s] his ranke and qualities wherin I wolde wish his lop were moved and his answer retorned unto me, by ye next [post].’96 In the event, this particular match came to nothing. His son and heir, Edmund ‘Roe’, fourth viscount, married as his first wife Dorothy Touchet, a daughter of the earl of Castlehaven; in 1635 as his second, Anne Tresham; and in 1637 as his third, Elizabeth Simeon, Lord Vaux’s granddaughter, which linked him to the Howard family. His son and heir, Richard, fifth viscount (d.1707), married Emilia Blundell from Crosby in County Lancaster. These English connections certainly facilitated Mountgarret opposition to attempts by the government in the late-1630s to confiscate lands in Counties Kilkenny and Tipperary.97 Then, in the wake of the upheavals of the civil wars, these associations enabled the Mountgarrets to parade their ‘Englishness’ despite the family’s close involvement in the confederation of Kilkenny (see chapter 11 below).

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Mixed Marriages Even though Lord Trimleston deemed intermarriage with a Protestant unacceptable, it was nevertheless remarkably widespread throughout the resident peerage and readily accepted by contemporaries.98 Commentators, both Catholic and Protestant, repeatedly emphasized the very real links of kinship – together with friendship, and mutual indebtedness – that united Irish society on the eve of the 1641 rebellion. The Old English historian Richard Bellings, later secretary of the confederate general assembly, noted: The colonyes (setting aside their different tenets in matters of religion) were as perfectly incorporated, and as firmly knit together, as frequent marriages, daily ties of hospitality, and the mutual bond between lord and tenant, could unite any people.99

Sir John Temple famously described pre-war Irish society as ‘one body, knit and compacted together with all those bonds and ligatures of Friendship, Alliance, and Consanguinity as might make up a constant and perpetual union between them’.100 Certainly the following families all married across the religious divide: the Annesleys, the Aungiers of Longford, the Boyles of Cork and Orrery, the Brabazons of Meath, the Bourkes of Clanmorres and Castle Connell, the Butlers of Ikerrin, the Digbys of Geashill, the Esmonds, the Fitzgeralds of Kildare, the Fitzwilliams of Merrion, the Flemings of Slane, the MacCarthys of Clancarthy, the MacDonnells of Antrim, the Moores of Drogheda, the Nettervilles, the O’Briens of Thomond and Inchiquin, the O’Dempseys of Clanmalier, the Plunketts of Louth and of Fingal, the St Lawrences of Howth, and so on. The names represent a complete cross section of the Irish titled nobility: Catholic and Protestant; Gaelic Irish, Old English and New English; some politically powerful, others politically impotent; some great and wealthy territorial lords, others impoverished and landless; some with titles dating back to the Middle Ages and others of recent creation. In the majority of cases Catholic men married Protestant women. King James VI and I cautioned against mixed marriage on the grounds that it led to domestic disharmony.101 Despite this, James allowed Prince Charles to enter into a marriage validated by a papal dispensation which Urban VIII granted in return for rights for English Catholics and assurances that Charles’s bride, Henrietta Maria, would not be required to convert.102 Marriages across the religious divide appear to have been common throughout Irish society. In 1651 and 1653 the Cromwellian authorities prohibited intermarriage between Catholics and Protestants, and in 1658 the Catholic synod did likewise. This suggests that mixed marriages continued to be widespread. Certainly the

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synod conceded that when unions with Protestants occurred, the Catholic spouse should have liberty to practise their faith and that any children resulting from the marriage should be raised as Catholics. Interestingly, the Church even lifted consanguinity restrictions if a mixed marriage might occur as a result of failing to do this.103 Contemporaries clearly believed that marriage could be used as an effective instrument for conversion. The Pope expected Henrietta Maria to achieve the conversion of her husband and to protect English Catholics. The fact that the devoutly Catholic MacDonnells were even willing to contemplate a marriage with the Protestant heir of the house of Kildare reflects a similar attitude. In the 1620s the first earl of Antrim had been so eager to ally with the ancient lineage that he had promised to allow the young earl to practise his religion freely should he wed one of his elder daughters: Your Lordship need not to doubt that any will attempt to alter your opinion in religion, and I hope your Lordship will not seek to force whosoever shall be your wife from hers. You both may live contentedly and each one use their own conscience, for which (thanks be to God) you want not an excellent precedent.104

No doubt Antrim hoped that a union with his family would bring the house of Kildare back into the Catholic Church. Similarly, Orrery, whose niece – ‘a very good young woman, and . . . well settled in her religion’ – had married the earl of Clancarthy (discussed above), expected her to ‘bring my lord Clancarthy to our church, than he bring her to his’.105 As it turned out Clancarthy reluctantly conformed, though he later died of an apoplexy ‘out of communion with the established church’.106 Their son and heir was reared as a Protestant but thanks to the influence of his Catholic uncle Justin, later Viscount Mountcashel, he reverted to Catholicism. By and large, couples who married across the religious divide respected the faith of their spouse and this facilitated significant levels of social and cultural integration. For example, Susanna, a younger daughter of Edward, Lord Brabazon, had married in 1611 (as his second wife) Luke Plunkett, first earl of Fingal, but continued to enjoy the ‘full exercise of her religion’ and received a Protestant funeral in 1623.107 The affection in which Mathew Plunkett, seventh baron of Louth, held his Presbyterian second wife, Anne Hamilton, was such that in his will he bequeathed £10 to the ‘Free Church of Scotland’, together with £40 to his local priest and further legacies to the Dominicans in Dublin and Drogheda.108 Under the pressures of war and rebellion, Viscount Mayo and his heir (who had been reared as Protestants and had married English women) reverted to Catholicism.

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However, their spouses refused to convert and a Protestant minister, Reverend Goldsmith, remained in the Mayo household during the 1640s. The local Catholic archbishop was furious. He chided Mayo for ‘maintaining two religions in his house’ and asked Mayo to hand over Goldsmith. Mayo agreed providing the reverend was given six priests to secure his safety. In the event Goldsmith was confined to a private part of the house where he preached and ministered to Lady Mayo, who ‘would not be an atheist’.109 Ultimately, it was the women who reared Mayo’s grandchildren in England as Protestants which secured the lineage’s political fortunes (see chapter 11 below). The Catholic marquis of Antrim took as his second wife Rose O’Neill, a devout Protestant heiress from County Antrim.110 Henry Leslie, archdeacon of Down, who delivered Lady Antrim’s funeral oration, explained how the couple reconciled their religious differences: Her lord and she intirely loved each other, they in all things thought and spake the same thing, save in the manner of worshipping of God, and even in that, tho’ they differed, they did not disagree, but each enjoyed their own way in which they had been educated in peace, content and happiness, without the least heats, or animosities, which are the usual consequents of differing opinions in the same heuse, betwixt man and wife, and not only betwixt themselves was all bitterness and rancour laid aside, but also their protestant tenants and neighbours enjoyed the favour and countenance of their lord.111

Other mixed marriages proved less successful. Furious that her husband, Murrough O’Brien, Lord Inchiquin, had reverted to Catholicism, his staunchly Protestant wife repeatedly and publicly rebuked him as the couple squabbled over whether their younger children should be raised as Catholics.112 Lady Inchiquin appears to have lost the struggle (only the heir appears to have conformed to the Established Church), and eventually she reconciled herself to her husband’s Catholicism. The union of Alexander, third earl of Antrim, and Elizabeth Annesley, daughter of the Protestant statesman, Arthur, first earl of Anglesey, yielded no such compromise. According to one account, Elizabeth ‘was most arrogantly rude with her husband, and he, of a pleasant humour, would onely and usually return in his Irish language, how can it be otherwise with a man that has maryed the daughter of the devil’.113 Clearly the response to a mixed marriage varied according to personalities and circumstances, but there is no clear evidence to suggest that they brought with them disproportionate levels of domestic disharmony such as adultery, separation, divorce, and physical and sexual abuse.

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Social Status of Brides On the whole contemporaries were more concerned with the social status of a bride than her religion. Information survives regarding the social status for 177 brides who married resident peers over the course of the seventeenth century (table 17). This suggests that these lords married the daughters of fellow Irish, English and Scottish peers (53 per cent), with Catholic peers preferring Irish brides and Protestant peers favouring English ones.114 A significant proportion of Irish Protestant peers also wed the daughters of baronets and knights (who sat at the lower end of the ‘noble’ class). A close analysis of the composition of the ‘other’ category reveals that Irish Catholic peers rarely married outside their social rank whereas Protestant ones, especially pre-1649, married daughters (ideally English ones) of landed gentlemen, senior government officials, lawyers or wealthy merchants. Given the ‘ancientness’ of so many of the Catholic titles, these lords clearly resisted intermarriage with women of unequal rank, presumably on the grounds that this might debase their honour and somehow ‘contaminate’ their lineage by intermingling their blood with those of ‘no breeding’. For example, the anonymous author of Pairlement Chloinne Tomáis poured scorn on the descendants of Tomas Mor (peasants) who had accumulated wealth at the expense of the Old English nobility by wedding ‘women of higher rank’, and who then allowed their blood to mingle with that of serfs and churls and others of no ‘breeding’.115 The willingness of so many Irish Protestant peers to select wives from beneath their own rank is hardly surprising given the high number of new ennoblements and the relatively humble origins of so many of them. However, as these new peers were absorbed into the establishment (both in Ireland and England), they proved less willing to marry women whom they considered ‘unworthy’ of them or their rank. What was exceptional was for any peer – or his siblings – to marry from amongst the ‘lower orders’. Thus the marriage (and subsequent conversion to Catholicism) of John King, third Baron Kingston, to Margaret O’Cahan, ‘a servant maid in his father’s house’, was highly unusual, even unique.116 This mésalliance may have cost Kingston his reputation but it did not affect his noble status, as it would have in many continental countries. Table 17.  Social status of wives of resident peers (based on wives’ fathers), c.1600–c.1690.117 Status of fathers-in-law

Peers

Baronets/Knights

Other

Pre-1649 (total sample = 90)

51.1%

25.5%

23.3%

Post-1649 (total sample = 87)

55.1%

22.9%

21.8%

17th century (total sample = 177)

53%

24.2%

22.5%

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When the Irish data are compared with the social status of Scottish wives for the years between 1560 and 1637, a number of similarities and differences immediately emerge.118 Scottish peers overwhelmingly married within the ranks of the nobility, about 62 per cent of marriages involving peers being to daughters of other peers (the figure for Ireland was 51 per cent), and around 36 per cent to daughters of barons or lairds (25.5 per cent is the comparative figure for Ireland). Scottish grooms rarely strayed outside their social or national grouping.119 This clearly suggests that the barriers between these various ranks were more rigid than in Ireland, where there appears to have been more fluidity in the marriage market and this, in turn, created opportunities for upward mobility.120 Upward social mobility is well illustrated by the ‘Scottish peers’ who settled in Ireland, the majority of whom hailed from humble backgrounds. Close scrutiny of 28 marriages made by resident peers of Scottish provenance, where the rank of the bride’s father is known, reveals that 19 women came from noble backgrounds. Five fathers were Scottish lords and three were English peers. The remaining 11 fathers were Irish lords. With the exception of the first earl of Antrim, who married a daughter of the Catholic and Gaelic Irish earl of Tyrone, these marriages were largely to New English Protestants (the Annesleys, Blayneys, Brabazons, Cootes, Jones, Massareene and Moores). Two matched with the daughters of Protestant Old English peers (Dillons and St Lawrences). Seven brides were the daughters of baronets and knights. These upwardly mobile unions reflect the desire of ‘Scottish peers’ to secure recognition within the social hierarchy of their new home. Others, especially lawyers, government administrators and merchants, used marriage to secure rank and status. The Barnewalls of Turvey are an excellent example of a Catholic legal dynasty that used marriage to ascend the social ladder. Sir Patrick Barnewall, a noted lawyer, married Nicholas, his heir, who had also attended the Inns of Court, to Bridget Fitzgerald, a daughter and co-heir of Henry, twelfth earl of Kildare, and widow of the earl of Tyrconnell. In 1646 Nicholas secured his title of honour (Viscount Kingsland) and was careful to wed his sons to daughters of established families (the Nettervilles of Dowth and Nugents of Westmeath). He also found titled husbands for four of his five daughters.121 The three marriages of Sir George Lane, Ormond’s personal secretary, embody his social ascent and the premium placed on securing English matches: his first wife was Dorcas Brabazon, a niece of the earl of Meath, a recent creation in the peerage; his second was Susan Nicholas, daughter of the influential English secretary of state; and his third, Frances Sackville, was a daughter of the English fifth earl of Dorset. The Colvills, a merchant family from County Antrim, used their wealth to secure a number of prestigious marriages. In the late 1660s the marquis of Antrim tried, unsuccessfully, to broker a union between Colvill’s daughter (who was to have the

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considerable portion of £8,000) and one of the earl of Drogheda’s sons.122 In 1686 Sir Robert Colvill married a daughter of Callaghan, third earl of Clancarthy. The prenuptial agreement mentioned a ‘title of honour’, but Sir Robert did not insist upon it though he encouraged his in-laws to explore the possibility.123 Whatever her social rank, a rich heiress was an appealing option for even the wealthiest family. As the figures in table 18 show, resident peers attracted wives who were described as ‘heiresses/co-heiresses’ and by the later decades of the seventeenth century nearly one in five resident peers married an heiress. In England, however, during the early seventeenth century ‘one in every three arranged marriages were with heiresses’.124 A detailed examination of these women suggests that Protestant peers attracted a higher proportion of heiresses, albeit of a non-noble rank. This, however, changed over the course of the century, and Irish Protestant lords increasingly married the daughters of Irish and English peers who are classified as ‘heiresses/co-heiresses’. Examples of heiresses abound. One of the most colourful was the fifth earl of Clanricarde’s only daughter, Margaret, who brought an ever-decreasing fortune to each of her three marriages (her husbands were Charles, Viscount Muskerry, Robert Villiers, Viscount Purbeck, and Robert Fielding). An anonymous poet celebrated her first marriage, to Muskerry, in 1660 as the union of two great and ancient aristocratic houses.125 He represented Muskerry as a great warrior – strong, brave and valiant – and his bride as ‘the luminous lady’ from Portumna. One well placed court cynic offered an alternative account. He suggested that Muskerry only married Margaret for her money. She was, he quipped, one of the vain fools of the court . . . whose husband most assuredly never married her for her beauty, [she] was made like the generality of rich heiresses, to whom just nature seems sparing of her gifts, in proportion as they are loaded with those of fortune: she had the shape of a woman big with child, without Table 18.  Succession status of resident peers’ wives, c.1600–c.1690.126 Heiress or Only Eldest Younger Illegitimate Unknown co-heiress daughter daughter daughter daughter status Pre-1649 (total sample = 225)

13.3%

4.8%

7.1%

14.6%

0.4%

59.5%

Post-1649 (total sample = 193)

19.2%

4.1%

8.8%

12.9%

2%

52.8%

17th century (total sample = 418)

16%

4.5%

7.8%

13.8%

1.2%

56.4%

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being so; but had a very good reason for limping; for, of two legs uncommonly short, one was much shorter than the other: a face suitable to this description gave the finishing stroke to his disagreeable figure.127

In the case of Lady Muskerry she inherited much of her father’s estate while her cousin inherited the earldom of Clanricarde. Only in exceptional cases did the title pass to the husband of an heiress. Sir John Clotworthy, first Viscount Massareene, and his wife Margaret, a granddaughter of Viscount Moore and a daughter of the first Viscount Ranelagh, had only one child, Mary, who in 1654 married John Skeffington, a substantial landowner in both Staffordshire and Warwickshire. On the death of his father-in-law in 1665, Skeffington became second Viscount Massareene by special remainder and succeeded to a considerable Irish estate in his wife’s right. In this instance it was the heiress’s, not her husband’s, estate which was the beneficiary of the alliance. In a male-dominated world, the presence of a man on the Massareene estate undoubtedly contributed to the family’s long-term survival.128 The Economic Importance of Marriage At the risk of oversimplification, the principal motive behind marriages was, in addition to siring an heir, financial and political gain. Astute unions could secure a family major capital sums in the form of marriage portions and access to new estates, along with political patrons and allies. Marriage involved a series of significant financial transactions. Women often brought considerable marriage portions or dowries to the marriage.129 In return for these payments the father of the groom had to undertake a far wider set of obligations. The most important was the provision of a future jointure, or annual allowance for support of the bride during her widowhood, and the ratio between it and the marriage portion was the main issue around which negotiations turned. A jointure usually took the form of physical ownership of land, though occasionally families preferred to retain the estates under unified management and to pay the widow a fixed annuity instead. The father also had to provide the couple with an appropriate allowance that would enable them to live in a style befitting their rank. In practice, it seems that only a minority of husbands or fathers of husbands used the marriage portion for the purpose for which it was intended (i.e. the purchase of lands or investment), which could result in legal wrangling and financial headache for later generations.130 There was nothing to prevent a husband from increasing a jointure and a number did, either to account for the rising cost of living or as a token of their appreciation for their wives.

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The size of dowries increased over the course of the century from between £500 and £1,000 during the early decades to between £2,500 and £10,000 by the 1630s.131 Of course, the provision a parent made for his daughter or son at marriage was linked to standing and status. In 1621 the earl of Cork gave one of his daughters, Alice, a dowry of £4,000 when she married his ward, Lord Barrymore. With his fifth daughter, Katherine, he gave a dowry of £4,000 when she married in 1630 Arthur Jones, later second Viscount Ranelagh, and asked that her in-laws purchase jointure lands at Grangegorman, near Dublin, worth £500 per annum.132 English grooms commanded higher dowries. In 1629 Lettice, Cork’s third daughter, married Lord Goring and took with her a portion of £10,000, which Goring then squandered.133 Mary’s dowry, when she married Charles Rich, later earl of Warwick, in 1641, was £7,000 (the outbreak of war meant that some of this was never paid). On the eve of civil war the average dowry was about £3,000, though the hardships associated with war reduced dramatically what a family could pay. For example, in 1644 Dorcas Barabazon, niece of the first earl of Meath, married the upwardly mobile George Lane, later Viscount Lanesborough, as his first wife. The earl of Meath was concerned ‘that through ye extremetie of the tymes I cannot as yet saye in what portion shall upon accompt bee found due unto her’, but promised to make interim payments of £40 until the matter could be satisfactorily resolved.134 During the later seventeenth century dowries varied considerably, from £1,500 which the earl of Westmeath allocated to his daughter Anne on her marriage to Lucas, sixth Viscount Costello-Gallen, to £10,000 which the earl of Ranelagh allowed for his daughter Elizabeth when she wed John, eighteenth earl of Kildare. The size of the dowries Ormond bestowed on his daughters reflected his status after the Restoration. As Ireland’s premier peer his daughters, who married members of the English peerage, were given portions of £10,000 or £12,000.135 On the marriages of his sons the duke was obliged to provide them with annual allowances (Ossory’s marriage allowance was £2,000).136 As the Ormonds discovered, these encumbrances put intolerable strain on the resources of even the largest landowners (see chapter 14 below). The amount of the dowry determined the size of the jointure. Jointures rarely generated an annual income of more than £500, but the figure rose with the passage of time and according to the rank of the bride and the wealth of the groom’s family. Even in the eighteenth century ‘a portion of £10,000, rightly employed, would provide portions of the same amount for three younger children, and a jointure of £1,000 a year for their mother for several years’.137 One of Antrim’s daughters, Anne MacDonnell, married as her second husband William Fleming, fourteenth Lord Slane, and brought with her a portion of £2,700 which secured a jointure of £300.138 Another daughter, Mary MacDonnell, received the same portion upon her marriage to Oliver

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Plunkett, sixth Baron Louth. The Louths provided a jointure of £400 and specified portions (of £800) for their future daughters and allowances (of £400) for their younger sons.139 As her first husband, Mary had married Lucas, second Viscount Dillon, and from this union she had an annual allowance of £400 which she brought with her to her second marriage, to Lord Louth.140 The use of a marriage settlement, which determined the portions for future daughters and allowances for younger sons, became common in Ireland. For example, between 1630 and 1631 the Chichesters negotiated a marriage between Arthur, later first earl of Donegal – immediately after the death of his first wife – and Mary Digby, a daughter of John, first earl of Bristol, who brought with her a fortune of £5,500. In return the Chichesters settled on her lands worth £1,000 (which she was to receive ‘in the common dyning hall of the Inner Temple London’), including much of their Devon estates. If Mary outlived Arthur, she was to live in the family home in Exeter and receive an annual income of £300. The marriage portions of their future daughters were also agreed at £6,000 if there was only one and £4,000 if there was more than one; if the girls married without the consent of their parents then their portions were to be reduced to £2,000 (for the eldest) and £1,000 for the others. If Mary died within two years and without ‘living issue’, £2,000 of her dowry was to be returned to her father. Finally, the Chichesters were required to sign a statute staple for £40,000 as security for Mary’s future living.141 In the event the couple did not actually marry until 1638 and Mary lived for another decade, during which time she bore her husband five sons and two daughters, all of whom predeceased her, leaving it to his third wife, Leticia Hicks, whom Chichester married in 1651, to provide an heir.142 The provisions made in settlements dating from later in the century were similar. The 1668 marriage articles survive for the match between Robert Barnewall, ninth Baron Trimleston, and Margaret, youngest daughter of William, Viscount Dungan of Clane. Margaret’s portion was £1,110 and lands in Counties Meath and Dublin, worth £200, were reserved for her jointure. Their daughters were provided for, and in his will (of September 1686) Trimleston allocated portions of £1,450 for his two eldest girls and £1,000 for the two younger ones.143 Complex though these negotiations inevitably were, they nevertheless helped to secure the futures of a daughter and her offspring. Equally important, a legally executed marriage settlement ensured the long-term political survival of a number of prominent noble families, especially Catholic ones (discussed in chapters 10 and 11 below). Marriage was also an effective means of estate acquisition for a lineage, particularly for powerful territorial lords, who manipulated the marriages of their children and extended kin in pursuit of consolidating their landed holdings and creating powerful dynasties. This was particularly true for the Protestant peers who intermarried with impoverished native Catholic families

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* P. Little, ‘Family and Faction: The Irish Nobility and the English Court, 1632–42’ (unpublished MLitt thesis, Trinity College Dublin, 1992)

Figure 1.  The marriages of the Boyles of Cork, 1620–42*



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with a view to expanding their territorial empires while, at the same time, creating an ancient and distinguished lineage for their recently ennobled line. The marriages that the first earl of Cork negotiated with the houses of Barrymore and Kildare are, as Nicholas Canny and Patrick Little have shown, excellent examples of this.144 Cork lacked an extended kinship network and set out to create one. He settled in Ireland many family members, his sister and his cousins, and married them to local grandees. The Boyle empire, however, rested on the marriages of the earl’s own offspring. He had 15 children, 13 of whom survived into adulthood and 11 of whom married (figure 1). A contemporary later noted the first earl’s achievement, ‘the founder of no family in England, was ever so far favoured by Providence, as to see so many of his children settled in the world, and disposed after so favourable a manner’.145 Matches with members of the established English and Irish titled nobility added particular lustre to the new lineage. Cork reserved four (of his five) sons for the daughters of English lords and wed five (of his seven) daughters to Irish ones. Old lineages, strapped for cash, also sought out parvenus like the Boyles. During the late sixteenth and early decades of the seventeenth centuries David, Viscount Barrymore, arranged a series of discerning marriages that consolidated his territorial position and extended his links with the lords of the Pale and Protestant newcomers. It was into this Catholic baronial network that Cork bought when one of his daughters, Alice, married in 1621 Barrymore’s grandson and heir, who also happened to be Cork’s ward. Ultimately, what mattered to Cork was the fact that the son of their union would be heir to this ‘noble and anciently hon[oura]ble house’ which, infused with Boyle blood, would regain ‘its former lustre and greatness’.146 As it turned out this did not happen and neither the second nor third earls of Barrymore distinguished themselves or acquired great riches. It was with the same ambition that in 1630 Cork wed another daughter, Joan, to the heir of the house of Kildare, Ireland’s premier dynasty in the pre-war years. Though of less value in terms of prestige and status, Cork also consolidated his links with more recently ennobled families: the Joneses, Viscounts Ranelagh, the Moores, Viscounts Drogheda, and the Digbys, barons of Geashill. The calculating and apparently callous way in which Cork peddled his children to the richest or most prestigious bidder was by no means unusual. The earl was determined to create a Boyle dynasty and he focused on this long-term goal rather than on the individual feelings and fortunes of his children. Those of his fellow lords, who were in a position to do so, followed his example. Within two generations the tentacles of the Boyle dynasty embraced many of Ireland’s titled houses. Cork’s second cousin, Michael Boyle, lord chancellor and archbishop of Armagh, took as his second wife, Mary, the Catholic sister of the first earl of Inchiquin.147 Alicia, their granddaughter and the eldest daughter of Murrough, Viscount Blessington, married another Catholic,

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Pierce Butler, fourth Viscount Ikerrin, whose title had long outlived his means. After the Restoration, Roger, first earl of Orrery, plugged this Boyle–O’Brien network (figure 2). Orrery’s second son, Henry, ‘an accomplished gentleman, but more of the soldier than the scholar’, married Mary O’Brien, Inchiquin’s youngest daughter.148 In 1666 Orrery’s daughter, Margaret, wed Inchiquin’s Protestant heir, William, later second earl.149 One of the most powerful men in Restoration Ireland, Orrery was ideally placed to protect the Inchiquin estates in the knowledge that his Protestant grandson, William, later third earl, would eventually inherit the vast O’Brien patrimony in County Clare. The Boyle alliances also directly benefited Inchiquin who, according to Oliver Plunkett, archbishop of Dublin, was one of the most influential Catholics in Ireland. The archbishop reported back to Rome that Inchiquin’s ‘sister [was] married to the grand chancellor, one of the two who will govern this country. The earl’s son is married to the daughter of the earl of Orrery, who is governor of the whole province of Cashel. . . . These are offices for life, and so it would be very advantageous to the faith there.’150 These marriages also finally laid to rest a lifetime of political rivalry between the two men and, as Ormond put it, made ‘a good end of old dissensions’.151 The other great political power broker after 1660, Arthur Annesley, earl of Anglesey, like the first earl of Cork, matched kinsmen with Englishwomen and his daughters with prominent, but impoverished, Catholic lineages (figure 3). One of his brothers, John, had married Charity, a daughter of Henry Warren of Kildare, a prominent recusant family. In return for helping the heirless marquis of Antrim (himself married to a Protestant heiress) to secure his Ulster estates and to alleviate some of his more pressing debts, Annesley married Elizabeth, one of his daughters, to Antrim’s heir and brother, Alexander. Since she died without producing a male heir, Annesley’s return on his investment was a poor one.152 At least the match in 1654 between his eldest daughter, Dorothy, and Richard Power, sixth baron Le Power and Curroghmore (Annesley had served as guardian to Richard’s lunatic father), provided a male heir, John, and helped to make ‘his house English’. To reinforce this, Annesley provided the couple with an English nurse for his grandson, an English cook and a Protestant chaplain.153 Annesley used his influence first with the Cromwellians and later with Charles II to safeguard the family’s County Waterford estates and to secure first a viscountcy and later the earldom of Tyrone for his Catholic son-in-law who, when he was later implicated in the Popish Plot, protested his Protestantism. Thanks no doubt to his father-in-law’s influence, Tyrone’s heir, John (later Lord Decies), conformed to the Established Church. Annesley also insisted that the eight-year-old John marry his twelve-year-old first cousin, Catherine, heiress to a vast territory known as the ‘Decies’ with a view to expanding the family’s territorial empire (discussed above). The examples

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Figure 2.  Family tree of the Boyles of Orrery

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Figure 3.  Family tree of the Annesley family



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of the Annesleys and the Boyles are particularly well documented but these sorts of arrangements were replicated across Ireland as nobles used marriage to build and consolidate their dynastic fortunes. Relationships Robert Boyle, confirmed bachelor and the only son of the earl of Cork who did not marry, wryly noted that marriage was ‘a lottery, in which there are many blanks to one prize’. He continued: ‘I have so seldom seen a happy marriage, or men love their wives as they do their mistresses, that I am far from wondering our law givers should make marriage undesolvable, to make it lasting.’154 Boyle was, of course, referring to a marriage being grounded in love in an age when unions, especially noble ones, were very carefully considered dynastic, political and economic affairs. As he wrote, he probably had in mind the disastrous marriage between his beloved sister Katherine and Viscount Ranelagh, or the tortured relationship that his other sister, Lettice, had with Lord Goring, which resulted in her periodically becoming ‘extremely sick in body and mind’.155 The couple had married in 1629 and appear to have been estranged by 1640. Of course, recovering relationships between wives and husbands is notoriously difficult in any era but particularly one where private records are so scarce. There were instances, including those of the Lords Antrim, Cork, Ormond and Orrery (discussed above), where a marriage was grounded in love, mutual trust and respect. Whether grounded on love or not, most marriages operated as partnerships albeit ones in which male authority predominated. Many women were astute at business, managing their estates more effectively than a husband distracted by war or politics. Elizabeth Shaw from Greenock married in 1587 Hugh, first Viscount Montgomery, and played an active role in developing his County Down estates, overseeing the construction of watermills and the manufacture of linen and woollen cloth, providing support for disorientated settlers and rearing her family of five.156 Equally entrepreneurial was Jean, the eldest daughter of Sir William Alexander, Secretary for Scotland, who in 1620 married Hugh, second Viscount Montgomery. Like her mother-in-law, Jean was a loyal and devoted wife (and after Hugh died also to her second husband, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Monro, the Scottish commander in Ulster), a dedicated mother to and educator of her four children, and wily mistress of an extensive estate and large household. She also ‘composed good godly verses’.157 After the Restoration, Antrim delegated the running of his estates to his second wife, Rose O’Neill. Her funeral sermon recorded how her husband, ‘who being bred up in the delicacies of a court, and his genius not inclining to the fatigue of business, left the whole management of his estate and confused affairs to her prudence and discretion . . . few women

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(if any of our age ever attain’d to so great a dexterity in businesse, and yet without diminishing ought of her duty to God)’.158 Some women assumed a public role during the civil wars when they defended and managed the family estates, or during the 1650s and early 1660s when they lobbied and importuned the authorities on behalf of their absent or disgraced spouses (see chapters 10 and 11 below). Lengthy periods of separation, especially during the civil war of the 1640s or the exiles of the 1650s, strained even the closest of relationships. The future Lady Tara did not join her husband in Ireland but wrote him long and passionate love letters from Brussels: Do not think I forget you. I would rather die than forget the man whom I honour and cherish more than myself. I have written you 20 letters or more since I came here, but you have only got three or four of them. If I can only see you again, nothing but death shall take me from you . . . . The longing I have to see you makes me think nothing of the danger of the sea.159

Other women emerge from the shadows during periods of family crisis, particularly during a minority or disputed wardship, or when an estranged husband or grasping brother threatened to violate a marriage settlement which provided financial security for a woman and her offspring. For example, on his deathbed in June 1659 James Hamilton, first earl of Clanbrassil, appointed ‘my beloved spouse, Anne’ as his executor and left his two sons, Henry and Hans, ‘to the education and instruction of my mother [Jane, d.1662] and my wife during their minority, earnestly praying that they may be brought up in the true Protestant religion, and after the best form and manner of civil nurture used in any of the three nations’.160 Anne did not hesitate to importune Charles II for the wardship of her young son and also enlisted the support of her influential parents (her father was the second earl of Monmouth). In 1663 she then dispatched the teenage earl to Oxford to be bred ‘under the care and tuition of Dr Fell, where he will be instructed in better principles than the place he now lives in usually affords’.161 Wills highlight the extent to which husbands regarded their wives as trusted partners and increasingly women served as executors. Of the 86 wills that are extant for the resident peers, 28 named a wife as the sole executor and three as the co-executor. In other words, one in three peeresses was made responsible for honouring the last wishes of their spouse. An unexecuted will, dating from 1616, by James Hamilton, first Viscount Claneboy, entrusted his wife Jean, daughter of Sir John Philips, with ‘the breeding and keeping of my son, James Hamilton, unto his mother, the said Jean, during the tyme of his tender aige’. It was for Jean, together with two other trusted friends, to select a boarding school for young James and ensure ‘that he be bred to all pietie

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and virtue, and be chieflie in the keeping of the said Jean, so long as he shall remain unmarried’.162 These sorts of requests were typical and provide quick glimpses of the love and trust couples shared. It was often in death that a husband publicly revealed his true feelings for his wife. The death of Lady Clanricarde left the fourth earl bereft. A letter dating from April 1632 captured his ‘extreme grief and vexation’ and the great loss he felt for ‘so good a wife and so great an assistant, that even in her greatest infirmities was to be so great a comfort and ease in all my troubled affairs’.163 It is clear from extant correspondence that the marquis of Antrim was devoted to his wife, the duchess of Buckingham, who throughout their relationship acted as his closest confidante and adviser, his deputy, secretary and watchdog. Particularly poignant is Antrim’s appeal, written in the preface to her spiritual meditations after her death, to those ‘that shall happen to looke upon this booke to be pleased to say three Aves for the soule of the duchess of Buckingham’.164 The duke of Ormond may have strayed occasionally but he loved his wife deeply and despite periods of prolonged separation their 55-year marriage was a very happy one. On her death in July 1684, Ormond’s great friend, the Anglican archbishop of Armagh, wrote to comfort him: ‘You have lost the noblest person, the wisest friend, and the best of wives that ever lived; one of such an universal goodness that her death doth worthily challenge not only your Grace’s, but the kingdom’s lamentation.’165 A pastoral upon the death of Her Grace the Dutchess of Ormond appeared shortly afterwards and celebrated the couple’s loving marriage: Full fifty happy years this matchless pair Liv’d in unshaken love; No Jealous care, Or mean distrust, did once their joys molest

The verse went on to recall achievements of the various members of the Ormond family, its ‘warlike’ sons and virtuous daughters.166 Ormond’s children enjoyed stormier relationships with their spouses. Elizabeth had married Philip, second earl of Chesterfield, but he made no secret of his love for his mistress, Lady Castlemaine. A well informed courtier described how Chesterfield had wed Elizabeth ‘without loving her, and had lived some time with her in such coolness as to leave her in no doubt of his indifference’.167 Yet when she attracted the eye of the lascivious duke of York, her enraged husband removed her from court in the midst of a scandal.168 In January 1663 the king became involved, much to Ormond’s embarrassment. The marriage survived, but when Lady Chesterfield died in 1665 it was rumoured that her husband had poisoned her.169 Another of Ormond’s daughters, Mary, who married William Cavendish in 1662, was also trapped in a loveless union. Her husband gambled, partied, accrued considerably

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debts and ignored his wife. Gossip about his mistress and their illegitimate offspring was widespread and led to public humiliation and reputational damage.170 Acrimony characterized the earl of Arran’s second marriage, to Dorothy Ferrar, and Arran declared himself ‘an enemy to matrimony in general’.171 The earl of Ossory’s marriage eventually ended in divorce. Ormond’s niece, Margaret MacCarthy, married Luke Plunkett, third earl of Fingal, in 1666 and over the course of their 20-year marriage suffered unreasonable ‘calumnies’. Her father and friends urged her to leave the earl but she persevered.172 After a 20-year marriage Robert Ridgeway, second earl of Londonderry, deserted his wife, Elizabeth Weston, who, her father claimed, had ‘suffered very much’. In 1635 the king ordered the earl to pay maintenance for his wife and children.173 Lady Katherine Ranelagh had a formidable intellect and was the Boyle family matriarch, exercising considerable influence over her brothers and especially Robert, the famed scientist, but her marriage to Arthur Jones, second Viscount Ranelagh, was deeply troubled.174 The couple married in 1630 but after the birth of a son in 1641 (she had already had two daughters) they lived separate lives interspersed with acrimonious exchanges. On one occasion she urged her brother to bring a formal complaint about her husband to the committee of grievances in the English House of Commons.175 A contemporary who knew them well described her as ‘a more brave wench, or a braver spiritt you have not often mett w[i]thall’ and her husband as ‘the foulest Churle in the world; he hath only one vertu[e] that he seldom cometh sober to bedd’.176 The earl of Clarendon and the duke of Ormond agreed that he was ‘the worst man in the world’ who ‘oppressed’ his wife and children and failed to provide for them.177 Her son, the first earl of Ranelagh, proved more fortunate in his match. When his wife, Elizabeth, died in 1695 much was made of their relationship and family life.178 The experiences of his Boyle cousin were very different. By the early 1680s the second earl of Orrery and his wife, Mary Sackville, a spirited daughter of the fifth earl of Dorset, had become estranged. Orrery wrote despondently to his mother from his seat at Charleville, informing her that he had no wish to live with his wife unless they could regain the mutual love of their first four or five years of married life and preferred instead to secure a military command in Holland. Prolonged lawsuits ensued, which poisoned domestic relations for generations.179 Accounts of the sexual activities of couples have not survived but sex, especially for women, would have been confined to the marital bed. Very occasionally a wife strayed, causing scandal and comment. The affections of Alice Moore, a ‘very handsome, witty and well bred’ daughter of the first earl of Drogheda and wife to Henry, second earl of Clanbrassil, whom she married in 1667, gave ‘too much opportunity and access to noblemen and gentlemen’ in Dublin and London.180 Her relationship with the king himself came under

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close scrutiny and one well informed courtier suggested in 1671 that Lady Clanbrassil ‘thinks to trip up Nell Guin’s [Nell Gwynn] heels, and you cannot imagine how highly my Lord Arran and many others do value themselves upon the account of managing Lady Clan[b]ra[ssil] in this affair’.181 This was unusual since sexual impropriety on the part of a noble wife was not normally tolerated, as the unfortunate experiences of Lady Balfour of Glenawley illustrate. In the 1620s James Balfour of Glenawley ‘though an ancient man of great adge’ married Anne, the 15-year-old daughter of Lord Blayney, who brought with her a portion of £1,200 on the understanding that she be granted jointure lands worth £300. After the wedding, ‘which was done on both sides with more haste than good speed’, Balfour reneged on the marriage settlement on the grounds that another man ‘had abused his wife both before his marriage with her and after’. Under duress, Anne confessed to her infidelities and a lengthy and very public lawsuit ensued that threatened to bankrupt her father, Lord Blayney (something that Balfour had fully intended).182 The ‘causes that induced her to accuse herself in a matter of unchastity, to her own and her parent’s dishonour’ puzzled the king, who then instructed the two peers to settle the ‘unnatural’ dispute without bringing further shame to all concerned.183 A number of the lords, especially the younger ones, frequented whorehouses or kept mistresses.184 An anonymous poem collected by Sir William Petty and probably dating from the 1670s vividly related the antics of Dublin prostitutes and their titled clients, including the earls of Ardglass, Arran, Donegal, Drogheda and Longford, together with Lords Blayney, Blessington, Charlemont, Courcy and Galmoy. The poem made references to extramarital affairs between William, Viscount Charlemont, and Jane, wife of Viscount Loftus of Ely, and to incestuous relationships (the parties were not named). Another London pamphlet published shortly after the outbreak of the 1641 rebellion claimed that one insurgent, Brian O’Dempsey, was ‘a base son to the earl of Clanmelero [Clanmalier], that he had by his own daughter’.185 Whether true or not these bawdy verses and pamphlets, the equivalent of modern-day tabloids, illuminate raunchier episodes of everyday life in early modern Ireland otherwise lost.186 Certainly a few peers infected their wives with ‘the pox’ or fathered bastards.187 Compared with the sixteenth-century, references to illegitimate children are rare even if it has been suggested that one out of 40 babies born was out of wedlock.188 Illegitimate offspring had no legal rights but fathers often provided for them. James MacDonnell, one of the first earl of Antrim’s illegitimate sons, later recounted how he had been raised in his father’s house till the age of 13. He then travelled to Spain, France and Flanders and ‘studied in foreign colleges three or four years’.189 The earl of Arran had at least one illegitimate son. Ormond furnished him with a modest allowance but refused to acknowledge him.190 The will of Cary

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Dillon, earl of Roscommon, who died in November 1689, included a bequest of £100 for his ‘natural daughter Frances whom I left at Mr Henry Dillon’s in the Kings County in Ireland’ and of £200 for Mrs Cecily Evers, who appears to have been her mother.191 The earl of Tyrconnell fathered two illegitimate daughters, who later married foreign noblemen.192 In 1662 Daniel O’Neill referred to one of the duke of Ormond’s mistresses as the duke’s ‘little wife’.193 Of his son, the earl of Ossory, Thomas Carte noted that ‘he was deemed not insensible of the charms of a daughter of Sir C. Swan, with whom he was really in love’ but that he had concealed his feelings so as not to hurt his wife (from whom he was eventually divorced in 1680), and in December 1677 he fought a duel over the wife of a Mr Buckley.194 Wives appear to have known of their husband’s extramarital affairs and had little choice but to tolerate the infidelities of a spouse or son. Conclusion One of the most important things that a lord could do for his lineage was to sire a legitimate male heir and this left him no real option but to marry since the future well-being of their house depended on securing a bride capable of producing a son (and many failed to do so, see chapter 2 above). In aspiring to found and sustain a dynasty, peers were at some level emulating royal behaviour. How this was achieved varied from family to family and was profoundly influenced by the economic, tenurial, dynastic and political concerns of the wider lineage. These familial agendas were further tempered by specific local contexts, political geography, the nature of the relationship a titled family enjoyed with the king and members of the administrations in London and Dublin, or major crises, especially the mid-century civil wars. The imperatives of individual lineages often accorded with the king’s wider ‘civilizing’ initiatives and the desires of men, like Sir William Petty, to make Ireland English, but, predictably, other factors – especially political, financial and landed gain – also helped to determine whom a peer married. What is clear is that marriages, including unions across the religious divide, could ‘raise or ruin’ a family and proved critical in securing the political and economic survival or continued prosperity of individual houses. It was essential for the male heir to marry well, but it was also – for different reasons – in the wider interests of the dynasty for his male and female siblings also to find wellconnected partners. The majority of younger sons did so and lived independently as country gentlemen within the wider orbit of the lineage. Despite the financial burdens marriage placed on a family and the tensions this could cause, daughters of peers were also destined for the altar. As in the case of sons, these marriages were carefully arranged with a view to forging alliances that would benefit the lineage and increase the capacity of the wider kin group to

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survive and prosper. The very real bonds of kinship and loyalty that these marriages forged manifested themselves in a variety of public and private ways: patronage in Dublin and London; active collaboration in Parliament; cooperation over local and landed issues; and socializing on the Dublin dinnerparty circuit, on the racecourse or at weddings and funerals. Of course, noble marriage strategies that placed a premium on social and economic advancement over religious conformity also attracted intense criticism and charges of degeneracy. The eighteenth-century antiquarian Charles Vallancey ranked ‘the degeneracy of many English families as a great hindrance of the reducing of this people to civility, occasioned not only by fostering . . . but much more by marriages with [the Irish], by mean[s] whereof our English, in too many great families become [in] a few generations one both in manners and interests with the Irish’.195 Vallancey may well have had a point. Yet these seventeenthcentury marriages also helped to forge a significant degree of social, even cultural, harmonization in this particularly transitionary century.

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PART II The Peerage in Politics

This part of the book offers a broadly chronological overview of the role that the peers played in politics – parliamentary, courtly, national and regional – between the 1610s and the 1680s. Chapter 7 highlights the importance of the royal court in London, the ‘nerve centre’ of politics and analyzes how the peers exercised power on their estates and in central and local government. The contribution that the peers made to parliamentary politics is discussed in chapter 8. Chapter 9 offers a sustained discussion of the civil wars and analyzes the military and political contributions the peers made to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639–1652). Chapter 10 illustrates how the completion of the Cromwellian conquest reduced the resident peerage, especially those lords with royalist and confederate track records, to particularly low ebbs. Chapters 11 and 12 focus on the fortunes of the resident peerage in the 1660s, 1670s and 1680s. The implementation of the land settlement, which defined the lives of lords for the remainder of the century, is discussed in chapter 11. The focus of chapter 12 is political life after 1660.

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CHAPTER 7

Power, Politics and Public Office This chapter and the next one on early Stuart parliamentary politics

examine how the peers exercised political power in seventeenth-century Ireland. These discussions highlight the level of mutual dependence between the Crown and the titled nobility. On the one hand, the king relied on these lords in his task of making Ireland English; while, on the other, the Crown remained for the peers the best source for securing titles, offices, land and wealth. The focus of this chapter is threefold. First, it underscores the importance of the royal court in London, the ‘nerve centre’ of politics, as the place where policy was formulated, patrons were secured, patronage and clientage were exercised, matches were made and bad habits and debts acquired. Above all the court allowed peers to gain direct access to, and to forge relationships with, the person of the monarch, the fount of all honour, along with his family and favourites. Second, this chapter analyzes the role that resident peers played in central and local government. Across early modern Europe rulers entered into partnership with noblemen who wielded significant authority in their own localities.1 In seventeenth-century Spain and England grandees dominated central government, while in France and the Dutch Republic they played a key role in local politics. Ireland was no different. James VI and I might have fulminated against the lawlessness of his nobles and twisted traditional, baronial rivalries to his own advantage, but he nonetheless realized that effective and inexpensive royal government would prove impossible without their collaboration.2 He rewarded loyal administrative, legal and military service with titles of honour and expected established peers to serve as his counsellors and military officers. The fact that peers were required to take the oath of supremacy before holding office was a major grievance and the cause of considerable tensions. Who actually held office in Stuart Ireland and to what end? What role did the titled lords play in governing Ireland? How did they promote the Crown’s ‘civilizing’ agenda? What was the relationship between administrative and military service and upward social mobility?

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Third, this chapter explores the exercise of baronial power in the context of the law, which was ingrained in every aspect of early modern life.3 Military might underpinned Stuart rule in Ireland, but James VI and I favoured reforming initiatives that promoted the maintenance of law and order and minimized the exercise of private violence. It was the law, as Sir John Davies noted, that would make Ireland English.4 The introduction of English law throughout the island was central to any policy that aimed to demilitarize and to harness the Irish lords.5 This, of course, was nothing new. From the mid-sixteenth century the state had set out with renewed vigour to assert law and order by attacking the military systems on which lordly power rested and by pressuring lords, Old English and native Irish alike, to accept royal authority. Accordingly, legislation proscribed the collection of tribute, cattle-raiding and the maintenance of armed retainers, and mandated that all lawsuits be settled by English common law, all in an attempt to bring the people to ‘the obedience of English law and the English empire’.6 Determined to build on this, James appointed Sir John Davies solicitor general in 1603 (he was promoted to attorney general in 1606). Davies argued that the civillaw doctrine of conquest, to which James had appealed in The Trew Law of Free Monarchies, was the basis upon which English common law could be imposed and all competing Irish systems and customs, which allowed Irish lords to raise private armies, swept away.7 The Stuart Court The court, according to a recent historian of the Scottish nobility, was ‘the most powerful institution in European kingdoms’.8 Across early modern Europe relationships between kings and nobles were changing. The court has been seen as the crucial link in a chain of developments that transformed the higher nobility from local provincial power brokers and even semi-independent warlords to a more dependent position in the king’s entourage. The presence of the noble elite at court, which cut them off from their local power bases and the sources of their military strength, has often been viewed as part of the process by which the early modern state domesticated its aristocracy.9 This was precisely what the Tudor and Stuart monarchs intended to achieve when they summoned to court recalcitrant Irish lords or insisted that the eldest sons of the leading Catholic peers spent time living at the royal court. During the sixteenth century the heirs to the houses of Ormond, Desmond and Kildare spent prolonged periods of time at court, either basking in royal favour or languishing in disgrace. The possibilities and pitfalls of incurring royal (dis)favour are exemplified by the contrasting experiences of the tenth, eleventh and twelfth earls of Ormond. Reared as a Protestant, Thomas Butler (‘Black Tom’), tenth earl of

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Ormond, was educated at Oxford and Gray’s Inn. He spent much of his youth in London as a member of the courts of Edward VI, Mary and then Elizabeth I, only returning to Ireland in 1553 at the age of 23. The political geography of the Butler lordship ensured that he enjoyed the queen’s favour, something he skilfully used to consolidate his regional power base even in the face of local rebellions and turbulent politicking amongst warring factions in Dublin and at court.10 The experiences of Black Tom’s successor proved very different. His failure to cultivate friends at court left Walter, eleventh earl of Ormond, and his estates vulnerable. In the wake of a legal battle with Elizabeth, the only surviving child of the tenth earl, and her husband, Richard Preston, Lord Dingwall and later earl of Desmond, himself a royal favourite and a Buckingham client, Walter was forced to hand over half of his patrimony, including his seat at Kilkenny. When he complained the remainder of his estates were sequestered and he spent six years in gaol in London.11 The earl of Desmond’s daughter Elizabeth became heir to much of the Ormond fortune on her parents’ deaths in 1628. Despite plans for her to marry Buckingham’s nephew, she persuaded the earl of Holland to convince the king that she should be allowed to marry her cousin, James Butler, later twelfth earl and first duke of Ormond, also a grandchild of the tenth earl, and heir to the title. Their union secured for the time being the Butler estates and lineage and underpinned Ormond’s future political successes. A favourite first of Charles I and later his son, Charles II, Ormond held after the Restoration the privileged position of lord steward to the royal household, which gave him easy access to the person of the monarch and endless opportunities for the exercise of patronage. Ormond bore the crown at the coronations of both Charles II and James II, while his son, the earl of Ossory, served as chamberlain to Queen Catherine of Braganza. Ormond held dukedoms in both Ireland and England, together with other honours. In fact, Ormond and the earl of Ossory were both Knights of the Garter simultaneously, which testified to the extent of Ormond’s social and political importance after the Restoration.12 As the examples of the tenth and twelfth earls highlight, the English monarchs preferred to turn to their great nobles for advice, seeing them as the natural point of contact with their Irish subjects, and sought to work in partnership with them. Equally in Ireland, kingship determined the exercise of political power and the centre of that power was not Dublin castle or Westminster palace but the royal court in Whitehall. When viewed from the perspective of the titled nobility, the court in London was the essential point of contact between the Stuarts and their power brokers in Ireland. It also enabled physical access to the king, the source of honour, wealth, office, land and status. Both James VI and I and his son Charles I appreciated the

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importance of patronage, however modest the amounts.13 An award by letters patent entitled peers to an annual pension. For example, the earl of Thomond received £200, the earls of Castlehaven £500 and Conway £2,000, and the duke of Ormond £1,000.14 Many young Irish lords spent time at court, usually in their late teens or early twenties, sometimes after a continental ‘grand tour’ (see chapter 15 below). The court provided these young men with an opportunity to parade their loyalty and to secure the ‘cultural capital’, social skills and networks that underpinned their status as nobles.15 The favoured few enjoyed close physical proximity to the king as members of his household and entourage. John De Courcy, thirteenth Lord Courcy of Kinsale, was a gentleman of James VI and I’s bedchamber, and his son, Gerald, served Charles I until 1636 when he reverted to Catholicism and fell from favour. When compared with the Scots (149 Scots, many of them nobles, found employment at James’s court especially in the inner sanctum of the bedchamber), very few resident peers held court office, which further enhanced the status of those who did.16 In a world where direct access to the person of the monarch determined success or failure, these gentlemen of the bedchamber were recognized brokers capable of charging considerable sums for their services and support.17 The ability to gain access to the person of the monarch and to the patronage networks that enmeshed him and his household profoundly shaped Irish politics, and throughout the seventeenth century promoters of Protestant and Catholic interests vied for the attention and munificence of the king, his family, favourites and ministers. For others access provided opportunities for rapid advancement in a period of intense change. Chief governors, members of the Dublin government and the Established Church, together with prominent landed grandees and titled nobles, regularly importuned those who wielded power and patronage in London. As a result Irish lords, particularly the earls of Kildare and Ormond, had sought during the later decades of the sixteenth century to secure Elizabeth I’s favour and direct access to influential, and often overlapping, patronage networks at her court. With the accession of James VI and I in 1603 the number of peers from Ireland vying for royal approval or for the patronage of the king’s ministers and favourites, especially the duke of Buckingham, increased, a trend that continued throughout the seventeenth century.18 Consider the fairly typical example of Lord Balfour of Glenawley, who mobilized all of his courtly connections in order to further his various Irish vendettas, including one against a fellow peer and his father-in-law, Lord Blayney. In 1627 Balfour sent his daughter to London to lobby Buckingham and to bribe prominent courtiers, warning her that ‘the eyes of all men are upon you, and the business you have in hand’.19 Over the course of the early seventeenth century the Old English proved particularly skilled at securing the king’s ear, especially at times of political

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crisis: in the late 1620s and again between 1640 and 1641 (discussed in chapter 8). The patronage of a select coterie of exceptionally well placed resident peers provided direct access to influential brokers in both the English Parliament and at court.20 The prolonged residence in England – both at court and at Summerhill, conveniently located near the fashionable spa at Tunbridge Wells – of the Catholic fourth and fifth earls of Clanricarde and St Albans, together with their deep ties of kinship with members of the English nobility, ensured that they exercised very real influence. Prior to his death in 1635 Richard, fourth earl, used his political contacts at court to sabotage Lord Deputy Wentworth’s attempts to plant Connacht. Clanricarde dubbed it ‘a most abominable wicked invention, I should rather wish my hand in the fire first’.21 Back in Ireland the lord deputy had dishonoured Clanricarde by staying in his house at Portumna and holding ‘his court of inquiry in the hall, to find the earl’s whole estate in Ireland for the king’. To add insult to injury Wentworth allegedly slaughtered the earl’s deer, grazed his horses in the best meadow and cast ‘himself in his riding boots upon very rich beds’. The 72-year-old earl died shortly afterwards. At the funeral, which was attended by leading figures from court, Ulick, fifth earl, claimed that Wentworth’s shabby actions had hastened his father’s demise.22 The fourth earl’s widow and the fifth earl’s mother was the daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth I’s secretary of state. She had previously been married to Sir Philip Sidney and the queen’s disgraced favourite, Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex. Their son, Robert, third earl of Essex, who later headed the parliamentarian armies, castigated Wentworth for his rough carriage towards his stepfather.23 In short, Wentworth’s actions brought dishonour to a particularly influential aristocratic lineage (see chapter 3 above). The fifth earl continued his father’s campaign and in 1641 the king finally agreed to abandon the proposed plantation of Connacht. Clanricarde’s contacts included the earl of Northampton whose daughter, Anne, he had married in 1623 and the duke of Buckingham, to whom Anne was related by a previous marriage.24 The Catholic marquis of Winchester married the fifth earl’s sister, Honoura, and Clanricarde enjoyed friendships with the earl of Bristol, the earl of Holland, a prominent member of the queen’s household, and the duke of Lennox and Richmond, the king’s cousin and a great favourite.25 These links helped Clanricarde to survive the upheavals of the mid-seventeenth century. During the 1640s the earl of Essex used his political influence to protect his half-brother and his Kentish estates. The family’s English connections also proved invaluable after the Restoration and marriages in the later seventeenth century reinforced these cherished networks, culminating in the marriage of William Bourke, seventh earl of Clanricarde, to Lettice Shirley, a granddaughter of the earl of Essex.26

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Other Irish Catholic peers were exceptionally well placed at court during the pre-war years and especially in the Catholic household of Queen Henrietta Maria.27 The second earl of Antrim’s marriage to the duke of Buckingham’s widow brought him the patronage of Charles I himself, together with that of his queen and William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. The Villiers connection also linked Antrim to the earls of Desmond, Arundel, Suffolk, Northampton, Nithsdale and Pembroke, and two of the most powerful men at court – the dukes of Hamilton and Lennox (and after 1641 also the duke of Richmond).28 During the 1630s and 1640s, Antrim used these networks to promote the Catholic cause and the interests of his own lineage and clients, much to the disgust of resident chief governors. After the Restoration Antrim’s close contacts with Henrietta Maria and other Stuart courtiers helped to secure his survival (see chapter 11). The Villiers connection also brought Antrim access to unprecedented wealth. Together with her sons the duchess inherited an enormous fortune from Buckingham, which included his London mansions – Wallingford House, Walsingham House and York House – regarded by contemporaries as among the finest palaces in Europe. These were all near Whitehall. There were 19 more modest properties on the Strand, a mansion in Chelsea and another, New Hall, north of Chelmsford in Essex. The duchess was extremely wealthy in her own right. She received an annual income of roughly £4,550 from the Irish customs and a state pension of £6,000; she was sole heir both to her mother’s fortune and to extensive, unentailed portions of the Manners estates in Northamptonshire and Yorkshire; and she also owned estates near Winslow and Bletchley in Buckinghamshire, and others in Leicestershire.29 Given his position at court Antrim wanted an impressive English estate and late in 1637 he purchased for £12,000 a magnificent mansion at Bramshill in Hampshire, together with neighbouring lands that were worth £400 per year, because his wife disliked ‘the air at Newhall [in Essex]’.30 Almost everyone regarded the purchase as ‘an excellent bargain’,31 but one quipped that he ‘did not exchange Newhall with Bramsell [sic] for unhealthfulness so much, as because he conceived it in diminution to himself to live in his wife’s house forth of his own. This I assure you was the magnificat which fell forth of his own mouth.’32 Though Antrim later fell from favour, other Irish Catholics populated the court. From the 1650s Richard Talbot, later earl of Tyrconnell, and his brothers, together with other Catholic peers such as Theobald Taaffe, earl of Carlingford, became the advocates of the Catholic cause at court.33 Acutely conscious of the power these courtly connections afforded their Catholic and Old English compatriots, members of the New English peerage adopted similar tactics. In particular, the earl of Cork assiduously cultivated his English contacts and especially members of the queen’s household. Cork and his sons pandered to the king’s love of hunting and dispatched him

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presents of Irish hawks and wolfhounds.34 The earl sent the king other expensive gifts and made a number of trips to Whitehall to secure the patronage of Buckingham and other influential courtiers.35 In return they watched over the earl’s Irish interests and helped to secure for him coveted privileges such as the wardship of the young earl of Kildare, into whose extensive English networks Cork now tapped. From the early 1630s Cork won over members of the queen’s court by marrying off his children (four sons and a daughter) to influential members of it, including Sir Thomas Stafford, the queen’s gentleman usher, Lord Goring, her master of horse, and the earl of Dorset, her lord chamberlain.36 Cork also enjoyed, again thanks largely to astute marriages, contacts with the opposition earls of Bristol, Salisbury, Northumberland, Warwick and Bedford.37 In 1638 Cork bought from the earl of Castlehaven a fine estate at Stalbridge in Dorest, close to the earl of Bristol’s seat at Sherbourne. From there he entertained his extended family, cultivated his patrons and clients, and visited the spa at Bath and the court in London.38 The earl and his sons received a warm welcome from the king and ‘all the lords’ when they visited Whitehall in October 1638. The following week Cork had a ‘free and gracious conference’ with the king, who thanked him for his ‘many good services’ in Ireland ‘which he would reward to me and my children’.39 He did not have long to wait for his reward. On 28 June 1640 Cork was sworn in as a privy councillor of England and in November he took his seat in the English House of Lords. As with Ormond, Clanricarde and Antrim, these influential networks worked well for the Boyles as the family negotiated the complexities of the 1640s and 1650s. After the Restoration the second earl of Cork, who lacked his father’s political savvy, nevertheless maintained strong connections with the court which, together with his wife’s lineage (she was a Clifford) and his loyalty to the Stuarts, secured in 1665 his English earldom of Burlington, together with a variety of other regional appointments, including lord lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire and recorder of York.40 In terms of their longevity and scale, the courtly connections enjoyed by the Boyles of Cork, Butlers of Ormond and Bourkes of Clanricarde were exceptional. The vast majority of resident peers lacked the financial resources to spend sustained periods of time living in London and oiling the wheels of courtly patronage. Yet even the shorter stays were significant and exposed Irishmen to the anglicizing impulses and ‘civilizing’ influences inherent in court life and culture. The very presence of Irish nobles in London, the melting pot of the Stuart kingdoms, helped to facilitate social integration between English, Scottish and Irish nobles which intermarriage reinforced (see chapter 6 above).41 Shared political grievances, especially during the 1620s, late 1630s and early 1640s, and again after the Restoration, forged further bonds between members of the Stuart nobility (see chapters 8 and

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12).42 There was also a downside to prolonged stays at court. The need to maintain a residence in London and another in the country, and to live a life of conspicuous consumption, challenged the resources of even the wealthiest Irish aristocrat (see chapter 14 below). Gambling, excessive drinking and extravagant socializing exacerbated matters and plunged many deep into debt. Moreover, absence at court could weaken a lord’s ties to his locality and left some exposed to politicking back at home. The Exercise of National and Local Power The Crown rewarded loyal service with titles and expected peers to serve as royal advisors and administrators. In Ireland many lords enjoyed some sort of public office. At a national level Protestants held paid administrative posts as privy councillors, lords justices and treasurers; legal positions as lord chancellor, judges and attorneys general; and military commands as governors of forts or army officers. At the regional and local levels Protestant peers served as members of provincial councils, governors, commissioners, or custodians of local records (custos rotulorum). The only exception to this, aside from during the reign of James II and VII, were the earls of Clanricarde who were governors of Galway. These offices provided sources of income and influence, as well as patronage for dependants. That lords vied with each other to hold lucrative and prestigious posts is understandable, and for many the ability to secure office was regarded as a reflection of their status and authority. For others office-holding facilitated upward social mobility, enrichment and, for the lucky few, ennoblement or the acquisition of new honours. Officeholding thus strengthened a peer’s position within his community and his ability to serve as an effective mediator between the local and national worlds. In the absence of a paid bureaucracy it also made the peers particularly valuable to the Crown. Catholic lords, especially the Old English ones, felt particularly aggrieved that their religious beliefs prevented them from holding local office as they had for generations. They repeatedly voiced their wish to be allowed to hold ‘any kind of office or dignity in the state, cities, towns and beyond, and may freely elect catholics as magistrates and all other officials, as well as judges, lawyers, schoolmasters, advocates, civil officials’.43 The position of chief governor, the king’s representative in Ireland, was highly coveted and accorded the incumbent quasi-regal status.44 During the course of the seventeenth century a total of 24 men served as lord deputy or lord lieutenant, some for very short periods of time. Of these only six were from the resident peerage but the longevity of their appointments ensured that men like Lords Chichester and Ormond dominated the political landscape during their tenures. In October 1604 James VI and I appointed

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Sir Arthur Chichester, later Baron Chichester, as lord deputy, an office he held until 1614. The first duke of Ormond served as lord lieutenant on three occasions (1643–50, 1662–9 and 1677–85), with his sons – the earls of Arran and Ossory – acting as his deputies during his lengthier trips to England in the mid-1660s and early 1680s. Prior to the earl of Tyrconnell’s appointment in 1687, Ulick Bourke, marquis of Clanricarde, was the only Catholic lord deputy (1650–2), but his tenure was as brief and as tortured as that of Tyrconnell, who died in 1691. In the absence of a chief governor the king appointed lords justices to rule Ireland. A number were titled nobles. During the pre-war years they included (in chronological order) Sir Adam Loftus, later first Viscount Loftus of Ely, who was also lord chancellor; Richard Wingfield, first Viscount Powerscourt; Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork; and Robert Dillon, second earl of Roscommon. After 1660 Roger Boyle, earl of Orrery, Sir Charles Coote, earl of Mountrath, Sir Arthur Forbes, earl of Granard, and (after 1687) the Catholic William Bourke, seventh earl of Clanricarde, held the position of lord justice and governed Ireland, often with two or three others. Peers regularly held the important office of treasurer-at-war and treasurer or vice treasurer and in the case of the Boyles, the first earl of Cork passed the treasurership to his eldest son.45 These offices conferred precedence in the Irish parliament, a daily allowance and, more importantly, gave the holders access to patronage and enabled them to reward political allies with lesser posts in the various branches of the central administration.46 Whatever form they took, patronage and clientage were features of Stuart society and operated at every level from the greatest nobleman to the lowliest tenant.47 A contemporary captured the advantages of having a powerful titled patron: ‘every gentleman (especially private ones) should have some potent personage of ye nobility (if of kin the better) to bee his friend, to scar men from attempting injurys, and unto whom he may resorte for protection, when wronged: And to take shelter under his cover, in stormy times.’48 The exercise of political patronage in early Stuart Ireland has been well documented. During the early decades of the seventeenth century, thanks to the influence of Lord Deputy Chichester, many newcomers rose to prominence first as administrators and later as lords and landowners. Francis Annesley, later Baron Mountnorris, Sir Francis Aungier, later Baron Aungier, Sir Toby Caulfeild, later baron of Charlemont, Sir Edward Blayney, later first Baron Blayney, Roger Jones, later first Viscount Ranelagh, Sir Garret Moore, later Viscount Moore, and others were all clients (and sometimes kinsmen) of Chichester, and through him they secured their offices and often their lands. The lord deputy promoted natives as well as newcomers: Sir Dominic Sarsfield, later Viscount Sarsfield of Kilmallock, Viscount Butler of Tulleophelim, and the earls of Ormond, Clanricarde and Thomond all benefited from his patronage.49

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A chief governor looked for advice and guidance to the collective wisdom and experience of his council.50 The Irish executive comprised the chief governor, the lord chancellor and archbishop of Dublin, the bishop of Meath, the vice treasurer, both chief justices, the chief baron, the master of the rolls and other appointed councillors, who were traditionally members of the titled nobility. The council met roughly 10 times a year (or less). Of the 309 peers who were politically active during the seventeenth century, a significant number served as members of the Privy Council (see appendix II). Seventyfour (24 per cent) sat as members of the Irish Privy Council, the majority of whom (56) were Protestant. During Lord Chichester’s deputyship membership of the council stood at roughly 50 and many of the leading figures were related to each other by marriage, which helps in part to explain the adept way the lord deputy managed it.51 Others were clients of the duke of Buckingham.52 The Privy Council advised the chief governor, issued proclamations and instructions, but left the business of government to provincial and county officials.53 Beneath the executive, there were roughly 70 other offices (largely administrative and legal) in the central government.54 Although lacking the status associated with council membership, involvement in the lower levels of the Dublin administration often proved lucrative and served as an important source of patronage. The system of governing distant and difficult areas through the appointment of a lord president and provincial council dated from 1569 (in Connacht) and 1570 (in Munster). With an army and a large number of officials at his disposal, the lord president enjoyed absolute authority in his own province and his commissions gave extensive powers, embracing civil, criminal and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and martial law. Over the course of the seventeenth century three peers sat as the lord president of Munster (there were nine in all): Donough O’Brien, fourth earl of Thomond (1615–24), Murrough O’Brien, sixth Baron Inchiquin (1645–8), and Roger Boyle, earl of Orrery (1663–72). Peers predominated as lords president of Connacht: Richard Bourke, fourth earl of Clanricarde (1604–16), Sir Charles Wilmot, later Viscount Wilmot of Athlone (1616–30), Roger Jones, first Viscount Ranelagh (1630–44), Thomas Dillon, fourth Viscount Dillon of CostelloGallen (royalist appointee, 1644–51), Sir Charles Coote, later earl of Mountrath (parliamentarian appointee, 1645–60 and 1660–1), and John King, first Baron Kingston (1666–72). Both offices were suppressed in 1672. The presidents appointed their own councils, akin to the councils of the Marches of Wales or of the North of England, which involved another layer of local grandees, usually of New English provenance. In 1615 the majority of councillors for Munster were either established lords or peers in waiting.55 The council book for the province of Munster survives and vividly recaptures the extent to which the council acted as a ‘civilizing’ agent as it brought law

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and order to the province, inculcated English tenurial, economic, educational, cultural and social practices, and promoted the Established Church.56 In 1615 the king ordered the council of Munster and Lord President Thomond to cherish ‘the reformed and civill sorte of subjects’ and to instruct the ‘ignorant and disobedient . . . to imbrace knowledge and civillitie’.57 The earl of Clanricarde, lord president of Connacht, received a similar set of instructions.58 Thomond appears to have been particularly effective and the lord deputy later refused to let him travel to England because of his importance in Munster, ‘especially at Waterford, where his presence and judicious carriage has produced general obedience of those people to the provincial government since their disenfranchisement’.59 Regional governors were expected to pursue a comparable ‘civilizing’ agenda and over the course of the seventeenth century roughly 50 titled nobles served as county governors, for which many received annual payments of between £240 and £365.60 In theory, as governors they enjoyed considerable authority over the counties under their jurisdiction. Responsible for the ‘defence and safety of good and loyal subjects’ and the ‘punishment and reformation of . . . evil disposed persons’, they were entitled to assume command of local military forces and levy men, and to convene parleys with disaffected natives and issue protections. Some governors even held ‘power of life and death’ over their subjects ‘according to the martial law’ and often exercised this office with great brutality.61 In a number of instances the office passed from father to son. Thus the earls of Clanricarde held the governorship of the town and county of Galway throughout this period and received an annual payment of £243 6s 8d. After 1660 the government restored the Catholic sixth earl to the governorship on the grounds that the family had demonstrated its loyalty to the Crown and that ‘the now Earl has the greatest influence among the loyal Irish of any peer or native officer or commander in that kingdom’.62 With the exception of the 1640s and after 1685, Protestant peers usually held these key local positions, along with that of custos rotulorum. In addition, peers of both denominations regularly undertook specific administrative duties helping with the collection of taxation or serving as commissioners who evaluated the progress of the plantation. The commissioners nominated to raise money for the army in 1627 included virtually every lord, Catholic as well as Protestant, but this was exceptional.63 Whatever their religion peers rarely held any of the lesser offices of government – provost marshalships, the martial-law commissionerships and the county shrievalties – but often ensured that one of their clients did. During the early decades of the seventeenth century the earls of Ormond placed trusted cronies in most of the key positions in local government throughout Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny, and attempts to reverse this after 1633 caused considerable disquiet.64 The evidence is impressionistic and the

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detailed research remains to be undertaken, but it is clear that other key aristocrats did likewise. Public service at the highest levels could be a double-edged sword. For some the burdens associated with royal service tended to be overwhelming.65 A recent examination of the office-holding of Henry Docwra, Baron Culmore, who served as governor of Derry at the turn of the seventeenth century (he has been dubbed its second founder) and as treasurer-at-war between 1616 and 1631, suggests that ‘He served long and died poor’, having failed to secure for himself plantation lands in Ulster or elsewhere. His landlessness and poverty might be attributed to the fact that he never attempted to defraud the government, as so many of his predecessors had done and successors went on to do, including Sir Thomas Ridgeway, later earl of Londonderry.66 By the 1630s even the seemingly endless resources of the earl of Cork began to show strain due to his political activities (as lord treasurer and lord justice). During four years of office, which he claimed were ‘ruinous to my estates’, he allegedly spent £6,000 of his own money ‘maintaining hospitality and the dignity of the state’ and a further £1,200 repairing and improving the fortifications of Dublin castle.67 Similarly at the Restoration, Ormond’s salary and allowances rarely covered his expenses as lord lieutenant or lord steward and in 1682 he reported to his agent in Ireland that ‘the king’s affairs go on well . . . but if my own decline as fast it will be hard to repair them’.68 Yet office-holding provided opportunities for enrichment: the acquisition of land, prestige and status, together with easy access to patronage networks and lucrative fees and a royal pension. For some, these represented important income streams. After the Restoration the sale of ‘those places in the king’s household that were under him and voyd’ netted Ormond £17,000.69 Royal salaries were provided for Lords Annesley (£600 as vice treasurer) and Ranelagh (£1,500 as treasurer).70 By 1640 the presidency of Munster, which carried a salary of £1,500, was worth an additional £1,500 to the holder.71 The careers of two fairly typical newcomers, Sir Richard Wingfield and Sir Edward Blayney, illustrate the rewards that public service brought. Of English stock and a military background, Wingfield had fought in the Nine Years War and helped to suppress the O’Doherty rising of 1608. He served as a privy councillor, a member of the council of Munster, a lord justice, a commissioner for raising money for the army, and sat in the 1613 Parliament for Downpatrick. He also commanded a troop of horse and company of foot for which he received 15 shillings per day from the establishment. In 1609 the king awarded him the lands of Powerscourt and Fercullen in Wicklow, and Wingfield later secured additional acres in Wexford and a further 2,000 acres in the manor of Benburb, County Tyrone. In recognition of his administrative and military services he was created Viscount Powerscourt on

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1 February 1618.72 Similarly, Sir Edward Blayney held a variety of offices, including seneschal of Monaghan and the council of Munster and a military command. In 1604 the king appointed him governor of Monaghan (on a daily stipend of 10 shillings) on the grounds that he was ‘a gent[leman] of good sufficiency and understanding in matters appertaining to the wars and peaceable government’, and granted him 2,000 acres provided he built a castle for the ‘relief of Monaghan’.73 Within a decade Blayney had built his castle, fortified the town, and secured the region for the Crown. In 1614 Chichester appointed him to the Privy Council ‘by reason of his knowledge and sufficiency and long employment in his service in Ireland’.74 In 1613 he sat as an MP for Monaghan. It was 1621 before he received the title of honour, Baron Blayney of Monaghan, for which he had worked so hard. The career paths of Lords Blayney and Powerscourt were also typical of the 14 swordsmen who acquired titles during the early decades of the seventeenth century (see chapter 2 above). The fortunes of these men clearly illustrate the connection between military service, the acquisition of cheap lands and upward social mobility. Military careers, especially for lesser nobles and the sons of peers, remained important as the century progressed, even if English victory in the Nine Years War reduced the Crown’s standing army to a modest force. This, combined with the Crown’s concerted efforts to demilitarize Ireland’s warlords by undermining the ‘fighting and feasting’ culture that sustained them, transformed the domestic martial landscape. Yet Ireland remained a violent and highly militarized society especially when compared with its neighbours. Roger Manning has suggested that the number of ‘military peers’ (i.e. career soldiers with direct experience of battle) in Ireland in 1605 was significantly higher (at 72 per cent) than either in England (45 per cent) or in Scotland (43 per cent). By 1625 the proportion of Irish ‘military peers’ remained the highest at 68 per cent (the figure for England was 57 per cent and for Scotland 55 per cent). It was 1640 before the numbers of ‘military peers’ in England (69 per cent) almost matched the figure for Ireland (71 per cent), while that for Scotland soared to 73 per cent.75 The Crown expected the nobility to provide military leadership. The lords, especially the established ones, perceived themselves as a military caste where service on the battlefield continued to be inextricably linked to a lord’s public and private sense of privilege, honour and virtue.76 Thanks to the exercise of martial law, which was in operation in Ireland for much of this period, levels of state-sponsored violence were high. In short, the state and its titled agents in the localities used violence to wield power.77 Though the evidence is scarce, peers seem to have maintained private baronial armies or retinues and exercised considerable military authority, which became very apparent after the outbreak of war in 1641. During the later 1610s contemporaries noted how Viscount Gormanston presented himself in Dublin with large retinues of

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men, including some of his own men in livery.78 Others seized moments of national crisis, especially during the 1620s, to consolidate and modernize their personal retinues. The earl of Antrim’s patent required him to provide for royal service ‘120 foot soldiers, 60 to be good shot, and the rest swordsmen and pike men, and 24 horsemen’.79 In 1625, as the Spaniards threatened to invade Ireland once again, Antrim asked that his men be suitably attired with his colours (crimson and yellow taffeta) and properly equipped with the latest weapons, since he was loath to let them ‘go to the field like kernes’.80 Protestants, however, dominated the small military establishment, and attempts in 1627 to appoint Catholic lords of the Pale as colonels of regiments came to nothing.81 Instead, Protestant peers commanded five (out of nine) troops of horse in 1630 and the non-resident Richard Bourke, fourth earl of Clanricarde and stepfather to the earl of Essex, was the only Catholic lord to serve as a colonel of foot.82 Of course, Clanricarde owed his military command to the pre-eminent position he enjoyed at the Stuart court and his personal relationship with the sovereign. The centrality of military service to an aristocratic ethos also ensured that young nobles – Catholics and Protestants alike – volunteered for service when opportunities arose, such as the duke of Buckingham’s proposed expedition to La Rochelle in 1627.83 For instance, in 1626 the earl of Westmeath toyed with the notion of going to court to obtain a commission, and Secretary Conway suggested that a person of his distinction would be best suited to a cavalry command.84 Lords also took up arms in the service of European rulers: the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs, together with the Dutch, French, Swedes, Russians and Poles (see chapter 15 below). But many only did so largely because they did not have – until the 1640s – an opportunity to serve the Stuarts at home. Law and Order Whether in local or central government, one of the primary functions of the Irish administration was to promote law and order. From the early seventeenth century the English legal system increasingly ‘defined and regulated relationships in Ireland whether between government and the governed; landlord and tenant; master and servant; and even, by the end of the century between Catholics and Protestants’.85 Or, in the words of a well-informed contemporary, the ‘Lawes are the ligaments of euery state, the sinewes of societie, the firme bands of unitie and comon concorde, and the high marshall of discipline and all comely order.’86 In Ireland a system of courts replicated the English judicial hierarchy. The high court of Parliament sat irregularly. The four central courts – exchequer, chancery, king’s bench and common pleas – functioned effectively and were located in Dublin castle,

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along with the court of castle chamber which was the judicial arm of the Irish privy council. A parallel structure of prerogative courts – the court of wards and the commission for the remedy of defective titles – emerged in part as a response to the uncertainties associated with a period of war and plantation. Assize and presidency courts were established as part of the surrender and regrant process and provided justice in the localities, alongside manorial courts (leet and baron). By 1624 the country had, as one recent scholar has suggested, a ‘full establishment of justices of the peace, constables, subsheriffs, bailiffs, gaolers, portreeves, recorders, sovereigns and other local functionaries essential to the task of carrying out litigation’.87 In 1621 James VI and I boasted to his English House of Commons that Ireland had never been more orderly. It had been ‘one of his masterpieces to reform it’.88 Despite complaints about the cumbersome nature of the judicial system and gripes about the corruptness of individual lawyers, judges and juries, levels of litigation appear to have increased significantly and this, in turn, can be linked to the decline in private violence.89 Analysis of 415 individual Dublin chancery recognizances dating from 1627 to 1634 reveals that litigants embraced every ethnic and religious group living in early modern Ireland.90 The fact that a disproportionately large number of Catholic Gaels appear in these legal records is particularly significant and indicates that chancery also acted as a forum whereby suits arising from English common law and Gaelic customary law could be mediated. A contemporary English observer, Fynes Moryson, suggested that ‘the inferiour Gentlemen and all the Common people, gladly imbraced this liberty from the yoke of the great lords’.91 In other words, the native Irish looked to the common law as the lesser of two evils and as a means of protecting them from the traditional obligations associated with a ‘fighting and feasting’ culture. From the early seventeenth century regular assizes and quarter sessions were held throughout the country, together with borough, sheriff, church and manorial courts.92 The lord president’s court also provided a cheap and speedy means of pursuing litigation and was widely used. Of most immediate concern to the tenants of local lords was the manor court, consisting of ‘court baron’ and ‘court leet’. The function of the court baron was to maintain the records of the manor and settle problems between the landlord and his freehold tenants according to customary law, and to regulate these relationships. A jury composed of tenants and presided over by the lord’s factor gave judgements. The factor also played the role of judge in the ‘court leet’ administering, with the authority of the Crown, basic justice in minor criminal cases. Little is known about the detailed operation of these courts but in many areas they clearly provided swift and affordable settlement of disputes amongst tenants, even if the landlords did pack them with their own nominees and relations.93 For example, in 1611 the earl of Clanricarde received a grant to

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‘hold a leet or view of frankpledge and a court baron within the manor of Tyaquyn, co. Galway, and also another leet and court baron in the manor of Callowe’. A generation later the Protestant bishop complained that these courts were so effective that they enhanced the earl’s power at the expense of that of the Church.94 At least 12 manor courts operated in Fingal, north County Dublin, including those for the tenants of Lords Ormond (at Whitestown and Rush), Thomond (at Holmpatrick) and Howth (at Howth and Jordanstown). Lord Gormanston’s tenants made the short journey across the border to attend his court at Gormanston in neighbouring County Meath.95 From the Crown’s perspective, the commitment of local lords to the enforcement of law and the provision of justice was of paramount importance for effective governance. In this era of increased and intensive colonization and expropriation, which brought with it tenurial insecurities and opportunities – in terms of acquiring lands and local influence – a knowledge of English law could well increase a family’s chances of political and economic survival and enhancement. Hardly surprisingly then, the peers, Protestant and Catholic alike, appreciated the importance of acquiring some legal knowledge and of cultivating contacts with the wider legal community in Dublin but especially in London. Some peers spent limited spells attending one of the Inns of Court in London or enjoyed an honorific association, and others dispatched close family members or clients to study the law (discussed in chapter 15 below).96 Four of the resident peers were practising lawyers: Adam Loftus, first Viscount Loftus of Ely; Francis Aungier, baron of Longford; Dominick Sarsfield, first Viscount Sarsfield of Kilmallock; and James Barry, Baron Santry. Their elevations to the peerage during the early decades of the seventeenth century highlight how effective the legal profession was as a means of securing social advancement. Between them these peers held principal legal positions: lord chancellor, master of the rolls of chancery, baron of the exchequer, chancellor of the exchequer, chief justice of king’s bench, or chief justice of common pleas. The son and heir of Sir Dudley Loftus of Rathfarnham, Adam Loftus was admitted to the Middle Temple on 10 November 1604 and as an honorary fellow to Lincoln’s Inn on 7 August 1628.97 In Ireland his uncle, Archbishop Loftus, facilitated Adam’s preferment in the court of chancery (from 1598 he served as a master of chancery), as a member of the Irish privy council (1608), constable of Maryborough castle (1611), and judge of the new Irish admiralty court (1612). In 1619, after offering the cash-strapped duke of Buckingham £1,000, Loftus of Ely succeeded his uncle as lord chancellor and after 1622 he served on a number of occasions as a lord justice. From 1613 to 1615 he sat in the Irish House of Commons as a member for King’s County and in 1634 took his seat in the upper chamber. Well connected though he undoubtedly was, Loftus of Ely

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also made powerful enemies and during the later 1630s fell foul of Lord Deputy Wentworth, who had him imprisoned and dismissed from office.98 Wentworth maintained that Loftus was unfit for his post of lord chancellor ‘both in respect of the weakness of his understanding, as also of his indirect, oppressive, and corrupt proceedings in the execution thereof ’.99 As lord chancellor Loftus of Ely worked closely with Francis Aungier, baron of Longford, who was appointed master of the rolls in 1609, an office he held until his death in 1632. He was a distinguished lawyer, first attending Trinity College, Cambridge, before being admitted to Gray’s Inn in 1577 (he was called to the bar in 1583 and became a bencher in 1602).100 The participants in Lord Longford’s funeral procession in 1632 provide an interesting snapshot of how his clientage networks permeated the profession. Among the chief mourners were five of the ‘six clerks’ of chancery and the clerk of decrees and recognizances.101 Given that their offices were in the gift of the master of the rolls, or subject to his approval, their presence at his funeral is not surprising.102 In addition, at least three barristers who regularly pleaded in chancery formed part of the cortege.103 Longford had used his privileged position to dispense patronage and to acquire property in London and Dublin and lands in County Longford and Surrey. His marriage in the 1590s to Douglas Fitzgerald, a daughter of the fourteenth earl of Kildare, allowed for his quick absorption into the ranks of the landed nobility. Dominick Sarsfield, later Viscount Kilmallock, was of a similar vintage and another of Lord Deputy Chichester’s clients. The son of a wealthy Cork merchant, he had been admitted to the Middle Temple in 1594 and became a bencher of the King’s Inns in 1607, and was very active on the council of Munster where he held the position first of attorney general (1600–4) and later chief justice (1604–8). In 1607 he moved to the king’s bench and between 1616 and 1634 served as the chief justice of common pleas.104 Like Loftus he fell foul of Wentworth (discussed below).105 Kilmallock’s humble origins and the fact that he used his position to enrich himself also incurred the wrath of Catholic commentators.106 James Barry also used his legal career to gain social advancement, but it was 1661 before he secured his baronage as Lord Santry. The son of a prominent Dublin merchant family, he was educated at Trinity College Dublin and called to the English bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1628 and to the King’s Inns two years later. He enjoyed an illustrious legal career and was appointed prime sergeant in 1629, baron of the exchequer in 1634 and chief justice of king’s bench in 1660. His political experience was also extensive and he sat as an MP in the 1634, 1641 and 1661 Parliaments and in the convention.107 Socially, Lord Santry, like the other legal lords, was upwardly mobile and he serves as an excellent example of a man who used his office and influence to acquire wealth and status. His merchant background, however, remained

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something of an obstacle to his integration into the wider peerage, and the earl of Barrymore took umbrage when his heir married Santry’s daughter (see chapter 6 above).108 The direct involvement of other peers in legal processes took a number of forms: occasionally as criminals or more commonly as litigants (discussed in chapter 14 below); as members of public courts; and as dispensers of justice in their own baronial courts. The lords temporal sat as members of the high court of Parliament. In that capacity they tried Lord Dunboyne in 1628 and during the Irish parliament of 1661–6 became increasingly involved in mediating the land settlement (discussed in chapters 3 above and 11 below). Membership of the court of castle chamber was limited to members of the Privy Council, supported by common-law judges, but the peers attended irregularly.109 Other lords sought to influence the exercise of local justice or, in the words of a recent historian, ‘to annex the legal system to their own interests’. They secured the appointment of local justices of the peace, commissioners and sheriffs, and lorded it over their own manorial courts.110 No doubt the first earl of Antrim had an ulterior motive for asking that the quarter sessions of the assize be held on his estates at Oldstone, near Glenarm, rather than requiring his tenants to travel to the assizes held at Carrickfergus.111 Certainly in 1627 he refused to let judges of the assize take cattle from his land, put bailiffs in stocks for trying to execute writs in the county, and fined in his own manorial courts those who had turned for justice to the local sheriff.112 Many disgruntled tenants or business associates complained that this baronial influence made it impossible for them to secure justice or to receive a fair trial.113 Complaints regularly raised against the Protestant planter Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork, noted his ability to drag out lawsuits (and thereby impoverish his suitors) and his tendency to bully local sheriffs, to intimidate witnesses and, as a result, to prevent his opponents from enjoying a fair hearing.114 Other peers faced similar allegations over the abuse of private justice. Cornelius Kelly of Killeen in Galway complained in 1629 that Viscount Clanmorres had raided his mother’s property, taking away her cattle and horses, and had then embroiled the family in expensive litigation. Kelly begged for justice and asked that the proceedings begun against him be voided and the stolen cattle restored.115 In May 1634 Lord Deputy Wentworth summoned Lord Balfour of Glenawley before the court of castle chamber to account for the outrages he had allegedly committed while he served on an assize circuit. ‘I do not think there is such another tyrant in the king’s dominions,’ wrote Wentworth, ‘who [is], utterly drunk with the vice of violence, [and] hath with unequal and staggering paces trod down his majesty’s people on every side’.116 This echoed earlier charges made against overmighty lords. The poet Edmund Spenser had portrayed the Catholic lords as lawless princelings, as

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forces of degeneration, as the principal obstacles to the implementation of government policies and Protestantism, as upholders of an alien and subversive culture, and as disloyal ‘half-subjects’ who would rise in rebellion at the slightest provocation. ‘The Irish lords are great opposers of justice’ wrote one government official at the turn of the century. He added that Ireland was a country where a man could be advanced or beggared at the will and discretion of a lord and that the people feared for their personal safety if they complained about a lord’s behaviour.117 Matters barely improved over the course of the 1610s and 1620s. Shortly after his arrival in Ireland in 1634, Lord Deputy Wentworth articulated his contempt for the peers: ‘They would have nothing shew more great or magnificent than themselves so they might . . . lord it the more bravely and uncontrollably at home, take from the poor churl what, and as they pleased.’118 The key difference in 1634 was that these ‘opposers of justice’ included the Protestant newcomers as well as established lords and men who were supposedly committed to a ‘civilizing’ agenda, albeit one clearly tempered by self-interest. Extant correspondence reveals the extent to which the peers packed local juries with their own men or exerted their influence with judicial officials on behalf of their clients. In 1616 Lord Castle Connell asked Sir Richard Boyle, later earl of Cork, to ensure that the jury trying his dispute with Lord Inchiquin would be free of Inchiquin sympathizers. Later the same year, David Barry, fifth Viscount Barrymore, begged ‘his interest’ with the lords of the assize in a spat with one of his Castle Lyons tenants.119 With the passage of time baronial sway over the administration of justice became entrenched, especially among the Protestant peers. In a letter back to Rome, dating from 1670, Oliver Plunkett, Catholic archbishop of Armagh, noted how he had cultivated many of the local Protestant lords so that ‘I would be able to avail myself of the good will of these powerful men, upon whom all depends, whenever I should be summoned before a protestant tribunal.’120 The dispute between Richard Power, earl of Tyrone, and a local gentleman, Hubert Bourke, with whom Tyrone drank, fished and hunted, vividly recaptures the power local lords wielded in the 1670s. Bourke had represented Tyrone at the earl’s ‘court-baron’ in a case ‘betwixt the said earl and some of his neighbours and tenants concerning certain trespasses’.121 The next day the two quarrelled when Bourke refused to help with Tyrone’s alleged attempts to secure French aid for Ireland. According to Bourke’s published account, Tyrone imprisoned him in Waterford gaol and secured his trial before the Waterford assizes for allegedly assaulting a local sheriff, a friend of the earl. Bourke maintained that Tyrone had bribed the local legal and judicial officials and packed the jury with his ‘kindred and tenants’ and with Catholics. As the case escalated so too did Tyrone’s fury, and his henchmen tied up Bourke and marched him through the town as entertainment and a warning to the ‘multitude’. Bourke’s

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appeals to Ormond and other Dublin officials, in which he accused Tyrone of ‘popish plotting’ and pleaded for a fair trial, fell on deaf ears, and fearing for his life he fled to England.122 Whatever the veracity of Bourke’s allegations against Tyrone, there is little doubt that Tyrone’s behaviour was that of a bully and a thug who manipulated the legal system to his own advantage. Yet, as Tyrone discovered, he was not above the law. Having been accused of involvement in the Popish Plot, he was indicted at Waterford (August 1679 and again in March 1680) and taken to England, where he was incarcerated until 1684.123 Earlier in the century the lords justices were chastised for failing to reprimand the fourth earl of Thomond for an ‘error committed by him’. Thomond’s status as ‘a peer of that realm and a man of eminent place’ did not give him licence to ‘prefer his own profit before the public good of that kingdom’.124 In a separate charge Sir Daniel O’Brien complained that the fourth earl of Thomond had forcibly acquired lands from the McNamarras prior to 1624, ‘being then Lord President of Munster and so powerful that [none] could or dare oppose him in any his actions’. He added that the fifth earl was ‘so wealthy and allied and befriended with all the gent[lemen] freeholders in the several countries of this kingdom as your supplicant [Sir Daniel] may not expect any indifference of trial to be had by course of common law’.125 Thomond’s counterpart in Connacht, Roger Jones, Viscount Ranelagh, also transgressed and in 1641 faced charges of extortion, false imprisonment, and of using his position to secure lands by dubious means and bullying.126 Viscount Sarsfield was dismissed from office in 1634 following a case against him in the court of star chamber, which found him guilty of threatening and intimidating jurors.127 Despite these high-profile cases, the Dublin administration maintained that the situation did improve. On the eve of the 1641 rebellion, the lords justices boasted that ‘the great Irish lords, who for so many ages so grievously infested this kingdom, are either taken away or so levelled with others in point of subjection as all now submit to the rule of law, and many of them live in good order’.128 The outbreak of the 1641 rebellion made short shrift of the ‘good order’ and initially reduced the country to anarchy, before the Catholic confederates took charge and established a judiciary closely modelled on the pre-war legal infrastructure (see chapter 9). Conclusion In an age of personal monarchy government was the king’s business. Whether in London or Dublin it was ultimately the king who mediated the exercise of political power. The limitations on royal power in Ireland were very real, as they were elsewhere in early modern Europe. The monarch depended on

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securing the goodwill of noble power brokers in order to rule and ‘civilize’ Ireland. Given the precarious nature of royal finances and in the absence of a large army to coerce the population or of a significant body of bureaucrats to administer them, the Stuart monarchs found it hard to rule the ‘dark corners of the land’ without securing the cooperation of regional magnates, whatever their religion.129 For their part, however, many members of the Catholic ruling elite resented the very real diminution of their influence that occurred as the Crown promoted Protestant parvenus. Richard Bellings justified Catholic involvement in the 1641 rebellion on the grounds that they were denied adequate opportunity to serve the king: We have considered the condition of all the other kingdomes of Europe, and we are the sole subjects, who, being much the more numerous and powerfull, are made incapable of raysing our fortunes by serving our King in any place of honour, profitt, or trust, in that country wherin we were borne, and which God, of his providence, appointed us as a part of the earth which our ancestors for soe many hundred yeares did inhabit.130

The Dublin administration also grumbled that the king promoted the interests of the Catholic lords, especially those who exercised influence at court, but had no alternative than to accept this. The compromise that the limited co-option of the Catholic aristocracy represented might have proved distasteful to some Protestants, but it nevertheless reflected the realities involved in ruling seventeenth-century Ireland. The ambiguities and tensions that characterized Stuart Ireland would end in 1691 with the military defeat of Irish Catholics and their total exclusion from power, politics and public office. Thereafter, Ireland resembled more closely the Habsburg lands of Bohemia and Lower Austria where, after 1620, nobles who wished to wield power, own land and have a political voice had no alternative but to espouse the religion of their ruler.131

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CHAPTER 8

Early Stuart Parliaments

1

In an important article on communication in early modern England Kevin

Sharpe noted that open two-way communications – from the court to the locality and from the locality to the centre – underpinned the effective operation of government, the key elements of which were the court, the council and the aristocracy. Parliament was not an ordinary institution of government and its two most important functions – passing laws and voting taxes – were themselves extraordinary. However, with the collapse in England of this chain of communication, problems, grievances and issues normal to political life (and generally ironed out by informal contact and action between the court and the locality) increasingly came before Parliament.2 In Ireland something similar was happening over the course of the early seventeenth century, reaching crisis point during the late 1630s. Having been excluded from serving their king during the early decades of the century, the Irish parliament remained the only arena where Catholics could engage in national politics. Or, in the words of the earl of Castlehaven, by 1641 the Irish parliament had become ‘the only way the nation had to express their [sic] loyalty and prevent their [sic] being misrepresented to their sovereign’.3 This chapter examines the contribution that the peers made to parliamentary politics, especially in the parliaments of 1613, 1634 and 1640–1, while chapter 12 focuses on their role in the Restoration Parliament. Though in no sense representative, the pre-1641 Irish parliaments included elected Catholic and Protestant MPs from a variety of ethnic backgrounds (native Irish, Old English, New English and Scottish), who sat together with an upper house of spiritual and temporal peers.4 Sir William Brereton visited Dublin castle in 1635 and described the houses of parliament, which he felt were ‘much less and meaner than ours [i.e. in England]’. The House of Lords was ‘a room of no great state nor receipt. Herein there sat [in] the first session about eighty lords . . . . The Commons House is but a mean and ordinary place; a plain, and not very convenient seat for the Speaker, nor officers.’5 However modest

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the building may have been, natives and newcomers alike acknowledged the fundamental importance of parliament to the exercise of political authority in Ireland. Writing shortly after the opening session of the 1613 parliament, an Old English recusant observed that ‘a parliament is in the nature of a principle w[hi]ch a man must believe in, without dispute or question’.6 Though the circumstances of his selection as speaker proved fraught (discussed below), Sir John Davies’s acceptance speech in 1613 captured the importance of parliament as a place where ‘all the inhabitants of the kingdom, English of birth, English of blood, the new British colony, and the old Irish natives, do meet together to make laws for the common good of themselves and their posterities’.7 Nearly thirty years later, in July 1641, the Irish House of Commons reiterated the centrality of parliament to the exercise of power in Ireland and declared that ‘the subjects of this his majesty’s kingdom are a free people, and to be governed only according to the common-law of England, and statutes made and established by the parliament in this kingdom of Ireland, and according to the lawful customs used in the same’.8 This was the theory; predictably, the practice proved less clear cut. From the scrappy evidence that has survived, historians have reconstructed the procedures and protocols of the Irish parliament which largely followed English practice, including those that accompanied the opening of a parliament, the election of the speaker, respect for the ancient privileges of the lower house (freedom from arrest and the freedom to speak freely), and the daily routine of sitting from 8 or 9 a.m. until midday and reserving the afternoons for committee work.9 The Dublin assembly even followed English precedents to exercise the parliamentary right of impeachment.10 The Irish parliament met infrequently in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.11 From the 1530s until 1603, a period of 73 years, eight parliaments assembled usually sitting for a year, two at most. There were only five Stuart parliaments. James VI and I’s only Irish parliament, which was the first assembly to meet since 1585–6, opened in 1613. This body had three sessions, which lasted for one week, six weeks and four weeks, or a total of 11 weeks. Charles I’s first Dublin parliament met between July 1634 and April 1635 (with three sessions lasting in all nearly 20 weeks), and his second between 1640 and 1648. Charles II’s Irish parliament met between 1661 and 1666 but in fact it sat for less than three of the five years. In 1689 James II convened what is known as the ‘Patriot Parliament’ and it met for only 12 weeks.12 Poynings’ Law, which mandated that no parliament could meet in Ireland unless licensed to do so by the king and that the king and his English council approved all legislation to be submitted to an Irish parliament, restricted the legislative function of the Irish parliament. The 1613 parliament only passed a subsidy bill and 10 statutes, a fraction of what had been contemplated.13 The legislative record of the 1634 parliament was, however, very different,

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with 72 statutes being enshrined in law.14 This extraordinary level of activity, which has been attributed to Lord Deputy Wentworth’s close working relationship with Charles I and his bullying tactics (rigging the elections, manipulating the Commons, arrest of MPs and so on), was repeated in the first session of the 1640 parliament which passed 14 laws.15 The removal of Wentworth and the outbreak of civil war ended this legislative bonanza until the Restoration parliament passed 87 bills, including the controversial and lengthy (600 pages) Act of Settlement (31 July 1662), followed by the Act of Explanation (23 December 1665).16 Whatever the legislative significance of Poynings’ Law, it is important to note the extent to which Poynings shaped – and continued to shape throughout both the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries – the constitutional relationship between Ireland, the English council and, above all, the Stuart king.17 The other key constitutional development was the passage of the Kingship Act in 1541, which transformed Ireland’s status from a lordship into an imperial kingdom: That his Majesty, his heirs and successors, be from henceforth named . . . kings of this land of Ireland . . . for ever, as united and knit to the imperial crown of the realm of England.18 (italics mine)

The phrase ‘united and knit’ implied that the two kingdoms were equal, albeit under the rule of the English sovereign (but not his English Parliament).19 Yet according to the English statute that gave legislative sanction to the act, it ‘united and annexed [Ireland] forever to the Imperial crown of his highness’ realm of England’.20 Thus from the outset the roles played by the English and Irish parliaments in defining the nature of kingship in its Irish context were ambiguous and understandably resulted in a variety of interpretations, particularly during the 1640s and after 1688 when the tortured working relationship between the king and his English Parliament disintegrated.21 Equally, English military victories after 1649 reinforced Ireland’s position as a vanquished and conquered nation. And with the passage of the Adventurers’ Act (1642) and the Acts of Settlement and Explanation (1652, 1662 and 1665) the English Parliament asserted its legislative supremacy, something it continued to do for the rest of the seventeenth century. What role then did the temporal resident peers play in these parliaments and what were their spheres of influence? The political career of 309 peers has been examined between 1603 and 1689 (see appendix II for details). Of these men, roughly 200 (65 per cent) took their seats in at least one national parliament in either Ireland or England, with 140 (45 per cent) sitting in only one parliament, 44 (14 per cent) sitting in two parliaments, and 16 (5 per cent) sitting in three or more parliaments. The majority sat in the Irish House of

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Lords but nine peers, who also held English titles, sat in the English upper house (the first and second dukes of Ormond, the first and second earls of Cork, and three generations of Lords Conway and the first and second earls of Clanricarde). The relationship between the two houses was critical. Many peers sat as MPs before assuming their titles and ensured that their close kinsmen or clients were elected to the lower house. Over the course of the century a significant number of peers had been elected as MPs. Forty-seven (15 per cent) sat in the Irish Commons and served as important points of contact between the two chambers. Twenty (6 per cent) had sat in the English House of Commons either prior to moving to Ireland, as part of the antiWentworth campaign of 1640–1 (discussed below) or after the Restoration (see chapter 11 below).22 Nine Protestant peers sat as MPs in both the Irish and the English lower houses. Whether in London or Dublin, 40 (13 per cent) lords sat in both the Commons and the Lords, providing them with considerable practical experience of parliamentary processes and access to influential political networks and patrons on both sides of the Irish Sea.23 The 1613–15 Parliament The need to promote the interests of one group over those of another characterized parliamentary politics in Dublin throughout the seventeenth century. Traditionally, the Old English had dominated political processes and parliamentary structures, to the virtual exclusion of the native Irish.24 However, by the early seventeenth century the Crown and its Dublin executive determined to replace the Catholic majorities in the Elizabethan parliaments with those who supported the Protestant interest. Thus James VI and I created 40 parliamentary boroughs out of the newly founded plantation towns, with the specific intention of packing the 1613 Irish House of Commons with Protestant MPs and thereby diluting the Old English influences that had hitherto predominated. The state’s electoral strategy resulted in the return of 100 Catholics (only one of whom was from Ulster) and 134 Protestants (63 of whom were from Ulster). For the first time Protestants enjoyed a majority in the lower house.25 The king also tried to increase his hold of the upper house by calling ‘by writ’ the earl of Abercorn, together with Lords Ibracken, Ochiltree (later Baron Castle Stewart) and Audley (later the earl of Castlehaven).26 These encroachments strengthened the resolve of the ‘opposition’ to resist. From the late sixteenth century, the opposition – invariably Catholic and of Old English provenance – focused on religious and constitutional grievances over the collection of cess (or taxation) without their consent, their exclusion from government, and their identity as the ‘English’ of Ireland. Catholic opposition to the government’s preparations for James’s Parliament had

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begun in November 1612 when some of the leading lords of the Pale claimed that they had the right to be consulted about bills that were to be presented. In April 1613 Lord Deputy Chichester reported that ‘the contrary faction are now in consultation dayly, with their lawyers, Jesuits and seminary priests, how to make their party strong and to give impediments unto the designes in hand’.27 The following month 12 recusant lords wrote to the king, indicating that the policies of the Dublin administration, especially the creation of new boroughs and the proposed anti-Catholic legislation, risked inciting ‘dis­­ orders’.28 These ‘disorders’ had already manifested themselves during contested parliamentary elections. For example, local recusants disputed the returns of Sir James Hamilton and Sir Hugh Montgomery, both of whom were later elevated to the peerage, for County Down, arguing that Rowland Savage and Sir Arthur Magennis, later Viscount Iveagh, had secured more votes. Similarly, the local Protestant sheriff rigged the returns for Counties Armagh, Fermanagh and Cavan, and scuffles occurred between the supporters of the various candidates.29 In the Cavan election Oliver Lambert, who was returned as the MP and later became baron of Cavan, intimidated one elector ‘with a truncheon’, striking ‘him on the head’ and imprisoning others.30 As for the upper house, Viscount Roche of Fermoy complained that not all of the ancient nobility had been summoned according to ancient custom.31 On the eve of the opening of parliament the Catholic lords wrote to Lord Deputy Chichester ‘with sundry exceptions, but specially against the place, appointed for the parliament to be houlden at, and against the erection of so many borroughes’.32 After a series of disputes relating to precedence, official proceedings finally began on 18 May 1613 with a service in St Patrick’s cathedral. Chichester ‘with the Lords Spiritual and temporal all in their Parliament Robes . . . attended also by the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of the Commons house in Parliament’ processed from Dublin castle to the cathedral, which the Catholic lords refused to enter preferring to wait outside. After the archbishop of Dublin delivered his sermon they processed back to the parliament chamber, where Chichester addressed both houses and invited the Commons to appoint their speaker.33 Matters took a turn for the worse when, led by the lawyers, the opposition disputed the legality of the Protestant majority. They became involved in an unseemly scuffle that involved Sir Walter Butler, later eleventh earl of Ormond, trying to replace the government nominee for speaker (Sir John Davies) with their own candidate, Sir John Everard, himself a noted lawyer. When Everard was ejected, the opposition, encouraged by the Old English peers, withdrew.34 The following day, the recusant lords requested leave to see the king and a delegation that included Lords Barry, Delvin, Dunboyne, Fermoy, Gormanston, Killeen, Slane and Trimleston, together with a number of MPs, travelled to London where they met with a frosty reception. How, demanded

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James, could the Irish claim to be ‘loyal vassals when they had given their souls to the Pope and their bodies to the king of Spain’?35 Baulking at the prospect of further confrontation, however, the king finally acquiesced to some of the demands of his ‘half subjects’.36 The token compromise ended the boycott and parliamentary business resumed without further incident.37 Back in Ireland the government published a royal proclamation in which the king dismissed those who had raised objections in Parliament and at court as stubborn and ‘undutifull’ children but ones who would be reconciled to their benign parent.38 Attendance in the Lords during the later sessions was patchy but 11 recusant peers, led by the Viscount Gormanston, regularly took their seats and closely monitored proceedings.39 The government’s majority in the Lords, however, depended on securing the attendance of 20 spiritual lords and four Protestant peers (some of whom had been summoned by writ for the occasion), led by the earl of Thomond.40 This dependence on the spiritual peers left the Dublin administration feeling exposed and so it welcomed the creation in the late 1610s and 1620s of a new cohort of Protestant peers, many of whom were non-resident and simply handed control over their proxies to the state (see chapter 2 above). The Graces With the conclusion of James’s only Irish parliament in 1615 the active phase of his kingship in Ireland, which had itself only begun in 1606, ended. Thereafter James took little interest in his third kingdom, delegating it to his favourite Buckingham.41 External threats, linked to James’s foreign policy, destablized Irish affairs and fears of a continental war and later of a possible Spanish invasion of Ireland resulted in the increase of the Irish military establishment. The new king, Charles I, looked to the Irish grandees, especially the Old English nobles, for support. Eager to display their loyalty by helping their new king in his hour of need, the Old English responded positively and communicated with Charles I through the agency of Richard Nugent, elevated in 1621 to the earldom of Westmeath. Understandably, Lord Deputy Falkland had his concerns about these developments and described Westmeath as ‘very busy and ambitious, and his ways very popular, appearing upon all occasions wherein the country may seem to be entitled to an interest, and eager in pressing of grievances’. Falkland continued that ‘he is the minion of the Jesuits and priests, who labour to rivet him in the opinion of the people of the Popish party, who have all their eyes fixed upon him, as for them the principal person of consequence in this kingdom’.42 Despite Falkland’s concerns, Charles I and Westmeath reached an agreement and in September 1626 the king instructed Falkland to increase the Irish army to 5,000 foot and 500 horse and to call a meeting of the nobility

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where arrangements would be made for the support of the army. Charles also sent Falkland a list of 26 concessions that he was willing to consider, including the suspension of recusancy fines, along with other religious tests for officeholding. After October 1626 leading grandees held a series of meetings, culminating in a ‘Great Assembly’, as the gathering became known, that met in April ‘after a parliamentary way’. The lord deputy pressed his case for support for the increased military establishment, but the lords prevaricated. The Protestants baulked at the prospect of royal compromises and the Catholics, increasingly distrustful of the king’s real intentions, called for a parliament that could enshrine in legislation any concessions. In May the earl of Westmeath sailed for England, returning triumphantly in mid-June with the news that Charles I was willing to receive an Irish delegation. Months of negotiation ensued, which finally resulted in the king’s agreeing in May 1628 to 51 ‘Instructions and Graces’ in return for four annual subsidies of £40,000.43 The Graces guaranteed Catholic security of tenure and ended much religious discrimination.44 Desperate to secure the promised subsidies, Falkland made hasty preparations for the calling of a parliament in 1628, but a procedural error on his part meant that it never met and ratification of the Graces was postponed. The external crisis passed, which led to a reduction both in the military establishment and the subsidies, now £20,000 for four years. In 1630 the earl of Cork reported to London that in the 43 years he had lived in Ireland, things had never been so quiet. ‘The great lords with their great followings are all gone and rebellious spirits grown old.’ He added that ‘barbaric practices and plunder’ had ended, the Irish gentry had titles to their lands, and rural settlements and urban developments were prospering.45 The 1634–5 Parliament For the time being the Old English had clung on to their privileged position as political and parliamentary power brokers. By 1634 the situation was very different. Lord Deputy Wentworth was determined to ensure that, rather than being an instrument of the former colonial elite, the Irish parliament would serve as a tool of government. In the lower house the government now held a clear majority with 142 Protestant MPs, many of them recent planters, together with a high number of office-holders and non-residents, often Wentworth clients. New temporal ennoblements gave the government full control of the upper house for the first time (chapter 2 above). Back in 1613, 12 Catholic and four Protestant peers had attended the Lords, leaving the government embarrassingly dependent on the support of 20 bishops. However, by 1634 the composition of the upper house had been radically transformed. Membership trebled to 123 peers, 24 lords spiritual and

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99 lords temporal. Of the temporal peers, two-thirds were Protestant and one-third non-resident. This influx of new peers gave the government a clear majority, for the first time, an advantage that Lord Deputy Wentworth planned to make the most of. In a confidential memo sent to England in the spring of 1634, he outlined his parliamentary strategy: I shall endeavour, the lords house be so composed as that neither the Recusants, not [nor] yet the Protestants shall appear considerably more one then the other, and holding them as much as may be, upon equall balance, for they will prove them easier to governe, then if either party were absolute.46

For Wentworth’s ‘divide and rule’ agenda to succeed in the Lords, he required the full support of the bishops (which the king agreed to secure for him) and control over the proxies of all the non-resident peers.47 In accordance with his wishes, the king encouraged non-residents to absent themselves and to send Wentworth their blank proxies. George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, noted how it had been suggested that he and ‘other members of that Parliam[en]t that are here [i.e. in England], to be absent from it [the Irish parliament]’, adding, ‘I conceive it good manners to accept of it, for it is lit[t]le less of then a com[m]and to do soe.’48 Thus Wentworth’s strategy for managing the Lords revolved around his control over the 36 proxies of absent peers, preferring ‘their proxies’ to ‘their company’.49 As a result eight peers, each armed with four or five proxies, ‘could outvote all the temporal nobility present’.50 To consolidate his position further, Wentworth also forged during the early weeks of the parliament a temporary alliance with the Old English activists (many of whom had formed the backbone of the opposition in 1613). This facilitated the passage in the first session of four subsidy bills and other important legislation. However, the lord deputy’s refusal to enshrine in statute the 1628 Graces shattered this uneasy coalition. Yet, ultimately Wentworth succeeded in pushing through a carefully prepared body of government legislation. In the process he not only alienated key members of the Old English community, but also many Protestant New English planters by depriving them of administrative office or challenging their titles to land. For his part, the earl of Westmeath, who had done so much to secure the Graces and ‘whose movements were rarely without political significance’, sought permission to make a pilgrimage to Loreto in Italy.51 The 1640–1 Parliament From Wentworth’s perspective the 1634–5 parliament, with its raft of government legislation, had proved an overwhelming success and he planned to

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deploy his ‘divide and rule’ strategy in the parliament which assembled in March 1640. However, on this occasion his political enemies – Catholic and Protestant, Old and New English – allied against him. With few exceptions, Wentworth’s policies had seriously challenged the personal power bases of the landed elites and during his brief lord deputyship he had castigated and humiliated most of the peerage.52 The earls of Antrim, Clanricarde, Cork, Fingal, Kildare, Meath and Westmeath; Viscounts Dillon of Costello-Gallen, Loftus of Ely, Roche of Fermoy, Sarsfield of Kilmallock, Valentia and Wilmot of Athlone; Lords Balfour of Glenawley, Esmond, Lambert, Mountnorris – to name just a few – all fell foul of Wentworth’s waspish pen and heavy hand.53 Two examples illustrate the sort of treatment that Wentworth meted out. Viscount Roche of Fermoy was a Catholic peer of Old English provenance whose title dated from the fifteenth century. He had riled the lord deputy when ‘at the chusing of Parliament men, he “stickled much for Papists” ’. When Roche was warned that Wentworth ‘will powder you’, he laughed claiming that he had as much powder as the lord deputy. Roche paid a high price for his perceived insolence and was tried before the star chamber, along with others who had dared to challenge Wentworth’s authority.54 Protestant newcomers received similar treatment. In the case of William Brabazon, first earl of Meath, he was ‘wrested out of his estate by the potency of the late earle of Strafford’. In 1638 Wentworth found issue with the legality of Meath’s title and in July 1639 confiscated his Wicklow estates and regranted them by letters of 5 June 1639 to his cronies, Sir Adam Loftus, Sir Robert Meredith and Sir Philip Percival. When the earl of Meath objected, he was bullied into submission and only complained to the English House of Lords after Wentworth’s downfall.55 Late in February 1641 the peers struck back. A petition to the king articulated their collective position: ‘That, of late years, the nobility of this your realm have been [held] in so little esteem, and so much undervalued by the powerfulness and misgovernment of Thomas, earl of Strafford.’ Their appeal continued ‘that by his untrue representations and misinformations unto your majesty’ and his employment of ‘sundry persons of mean condition’ he had not only performed a great disservice to the king but had dishonoured the nobility.56 The contempt in which Lord Deputy Wentworth held the peerage in Ireland was well known and is fully documented.57 A pamphlet entitled A Discourse between two councillors of state (1642) outlined his abysmal treatment of the ‘loved and honoured’ fourth earl of Clanricarde, a Catholic peer of Old English provenance, during a visit to his Portumna estate in 1635. The author recounts Wentworth’s browbeating the earl’s kinsmen and dependants who came to do honour to the house and him, his scornful casting himself in his riding boots upon

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very rich beds, the slaughter of the deer, not by hunting for pleasure, but by a disorderly and unreasonable destruction . . . his horses turned into the best meadows, then ready to be mowed, and such havoc made of everything as if the house had no master. These things when they came to the hearing of that brave lord, took such impression that he fell into a deep melancholy and in a few days his memory decayed, and soon after he fell sick and died.

The pamphlet concluded by suggesting that this sort of dishonourable behaviour made Wentworth unworthy of royal office and favour.58 Wentworth’s humiliations of the Protestant Lord Mountnorris, the earl of Anglesey’s father, and Adam, Viscount Loftus of Ely, elicited similar condemnations.59 According to one tract, Wentworth’s ‘arbitrary forme of government’ had deprived Mountnorris ‘of those honourable imployments’, ‘his owne private fortunes, and the birthright and liberty of a subject’, together with ‘his honour and integrity’.60 By riding roughshod over the interests of the peerage, Wentworth had demonstrated that he lacked the virtues necessary to serve a king. His behaviour had, according to the disgruntled lords, dishonoured the peers and the person of the king. Little wonder, then, that the resident peers retaliated when they felt that it was safe to do so. The determination of his enemies in both houses to get rid of Wentworth, his cronies and his policies comes as no surprise. Working closely with their allies in Westminster and, more importantly, at court, this crossdenominational coalition finally secured the chief governor’s downfall (he was beheaded on 12 May 1641).61 Having successfully ousted Wentworth, the opposition, led by Catholic lawyers, focused their efforts on a reform programme to dismantle any policies – especially those relating to land tenure and plantation – that threatened to undermine their Irish power bases.62 Central to their strategy was a determination to restrict the power of the executive by insisting that the Irish judges respond to the 21 ‘Queries’, which questioned the legality of Wentworth’s government of Ireland since 1634 (discussed below). In short, the opposition were using Parliament as a force for constitutional change. How many of the 69 resident temporal peers were politically active in 1640–1? According to the lists printed in the Journals of the House of Lords, attendance at this parliament was small, especially when compared with the 1634–5 parliament (which had attracted 43 temporal lords for the first session, 39 for the second, and 24 for the third). Only 38 (55 per cent) of the resident lords attended at least one of the sessions in 1640; while the opening session of 1641 (26 January–5 March) attracted only 24 (35 per cent) temporal peers. The reasons for this low turnout in January 1641 are fourfold.63 First, a number of absences can be easily explained: Le Power was a lunatic; Hamilton of Strabane was a minor; Roche of Fermoy languished in

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London; Cork asked that his two sons be excused ‘in regard they were both underage’;64 while ill-heath and old age kept Chichester and Athenry at home (though they sent proxies). Second, Castlehaven, Clanricarde and Conway, who all held English titles, took their seats in the English Lords, as did Cork in his capacity as an English privy councillor.65 Third, a significant number of resident peers had flocked to London either as members of a delegation from the Lords or as prosecution witnesses at Wentworth’s trial which began on 22 March 1641 (frenzied preparations for it dated from mid-November 1640). Finally, a number of Protestant lords who had supported the government with such enthusiasm in 1634 stayed away from the early sessions of 1641.66 Given a frustrating absence of evidence for the final sessions (the journals from 5 March 1641 to 1 August 1642 are not extant), it is likely that attendance for the heated fifth session (11 May until 7 August, when it was adjourned) was much higher and included a significant number of the lords who had been absent in England from the earlier sessions.67 With about a dozen exceptions, the bulk of the peers who attended in 1640–1 had taken their seats in the upper house in 1634; while Muskerry and Sarsfield of Kilmallock had served as MPs in the Irish Commons, and Lambert had gained political experience in the English Commons in 1626 and 1628–9.68 Twenty-three ‘activists’ (see appendix II for details) quickly emerged.69 Of these 23 lords, 13 were Catholic (only Antrim and Slane lacked previous parliamentary experience) and 10 Protestant (only Baltinglass lacked previous parliamentary experience). Virtually all of them enjoyed links to members of the lower house.70 Perhaps because of the poor turnout, the Lords quickly settled down to business. By the end of March 1640 four subsidies had been voted ‘with one voice’.71 Wentworth, now on the verge of departure from Ireland, was delighted with the proceedings and attributed this to the intervention of key ministers of the state, which ensured that the others dare neither ‘to oppose or open their mouths’.72 While the Lords may have been cowed into compliance during the spring of 1640, by the autumn they adopted a more belligerent stance. As the political climate shifted dramatically in England, they took the offensive, picking as their battleground the government’s manipulation of proxies in 1634. Determined that this should not happen again, Viscount Gormanston, whose father had led the Old English opposition in 1613, supported by Lord Digby of Geashill, a Protestant newcomer and Cork’s son-in-law, moved ‘that no proxy be received without sight of the proxy, and allowance of this House’.73 Gormanston and Sarsfield of Kilmallock then asked the Committee of Privileges and Grievances to consider whether ‘lords as have titles of honour only in this kingdom, and no lands, may be compelled to purchase lands in a convenient time, or otherwise forfeit their votes in parliament’.74

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The issue of proxies and the absentee peers, together with 15 other complaints relating to Wentworth’s ‘unlawful, arbitrary and tyrannical government’, formed the basis of a list of grievances from the Lords (18 February 1641) and a further petition to the king from Gormanston and Sarsfield of Kilmallock.75 Their complaints coalesced around a number of issues that had long concerned the Old English members of both houses, together with others that related to Wentworth’s harsh treatment of the peers: unlawful imprisonment, the use of scornful language, preventing the peers from hunting on their own land, and placing his cronies in positions of authority.76 In February 1641 the Irish Commons provided further fodder for those determined to topple Wentworth by compiling a list of 21 ‘Queries’ for the Irish judges, which questioned the legality of his government of Ireland since 1634. As Aidan Clarke has noted, these Queries ‘were not simply a random series of grievances: they were, rather, the balanced ingredients of a calculated policy of rendering impossible a repetition of the events of the recent past by establishing an agreed delimitation of the competence of the executive government’.77 Then, at the end of February, impeachment charges were brought against Wentworth’s leading administrators.78 Ultimately, these impeachment proceedings came to naught, but in the short term they deprived the chief governor of key defence witnesses at his trial. The anti-Wentworth factions in London immediately seized upon these collective grievances, and they formed the basis of a number of charges subsequently brought against the disgraced earl.79 Wentworth’s heavy-handed treatment of the peers – especially Clanricarde, Cork, Loftus of Ely, Mountnorris and Wilmot of Athlone – had alarmed many English lords who no doubt felt that a dangerous precedent was being set.80 In order to raise awareness further among the English political nation about Wentworth’s ‘powerful acts’, the peers bombarded the English Lords and Commons with petitions over the winter of 1640 and spring of 1641.81 Details of Mountnorris’s court martial (for allegedly ridiculing the lord deputy at a dinner party) and other humiliations since 1635 were printed and circulated in London.82 The anti-Wentworth propaganda mill was also fed by reproducing the ‘Queries’ alongside various speeches made to the Lords by the Speaker of the Irish Commons ‘concerning their priviledges, and their exorbitant grievances in that kingdome’.83 The Irish contribution to Wentworth’s downfall was not simply limited to petitions and pamphlets. In all, at least 19 resident peers (12 Protestant and 7 Catholic) appeared in London to testify against him.84 At the trial Wentworth claimed that ‘a strong conspiracy against me’ had been hatched between the Irish Lords and the English Commons.85 Even though Wentworth later withdrew this allegation and apologized, there was undoubtedly some truth in it. The fact that Cork and Clanricarde focused their efforts on influencing politics in London (neither returned home until the summer of 1641) should

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not obscure their political clout in Ireland. While Cork saved his sons for well-connected English heiresses, he married his daughters into some of the great Irish noble families. The earl of Barrymore, who had been his ward, married Alice, and this linked Cork to many of the leading Catholic lords. Another daughter, Sarah, wed as her first husband the younger brother of Viscount Moore of Drogheda, while Robert Digby of Geashill was her second. Joan Boyle married George, earl of Kildare, himself a ward of Lennox before Cork took over his guardianship.86 Finally, Katherine married Arthur Jones, Viscount Ranelagh’s son and heir, who sat as an MP in the Long Parliament (1640–8). Bonds of indebtedness supplemented these ties of marriage: Kildare and Barrymore quickly became financially dependent on their father-in-law; while Cork lent money to a host of other peers from Ireland.87 Patrick Little has suggested that ‘Cork’s extensive correspondence shows that his ready abdication of parliamentary influence in the Irish House of Lords was matched by an astonishing lack of interest in the elections for the lower house in the spring of 1640.’88 The fact that so many of his kinsmen and clients were nevertheless returned suggests otherwise.89 What then of Clanricarde? In the Lords, he was related by marriage to Lords Brittas, Castle Connell, Clanmorres (which in turn allied him to Slane and the lords of the Pale) and Mayo. While Clanricarde could not muster the same number of supporters in the Irish Commons as Cork, he served as the patron to at least six influential lawyers, who played a critical role in shaping developments in the later sessions of 1641.90 In addition, he had a number of relatives who sat as MPs, including his nephew Thomas Bourke, an active member of the Irish parliamentary delegation to London.91 Whether in London or Dublin, what united the resident peers was their hostility to Wentworth. Having successfully ousted him, they focused their efforts on a reform programme that aimed to dismantle any policies – especially those that related to land tenure and plantation – which threatened to undermine their Irish power bases. However, their stance on other matters demonstrates that this anti-Wentworth coalition was fluid and, at times, fraught with tensions. This meant that membership of various interest groups operating in the Lords fluctuated according to specific issues. However, as the parliamentary opposition increasingly grew in confidence, Ormond’s position as the principal and, at times, only influential ally that the government had in the upper house (aside from the spiritual peers) forced him to resort to delaying and obstructionist tactics.92 For example, in the impeachment proceedings against Wentworth’s acolytes, Lord Lambert, with Catholic support, urged the Lords ‘to follow the late precedents of England’ and to arrest them.93 Ormond, together with Kerry and Mayo (all three of whom were converts from Catholicism and had been favoured by Wentworth), retaliated by repeatedly trying to block their initiatives. In particular, Ormond

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used his chairmanship of various committees in the Lords in an effort to derail the impeachment proceedings and to undermine the competence of the Irish parliament to judge on the ‘Queries’, which, he maintained, intruded on the royal prerogative.94 But how much influence did Ormond actually wield? Unlike Antrim, Cork and Clanricarde, his English contacts were at this stage in his career fairly limited, but his close associations with Wentworth gave him considerable clout in both houses.95 Thanks to Ormond’s influence, at least six (of the 12) MPs returned for the Kilkenny constituencies were government men. But Ormond’s hold over the Kilkenny electorate had been undermined by his political rival, Viscount Mountgarret. Working with the earl of Arundel, his well-placed English kinsman, Mountgarret exercised real influence and secured the backing of at least five MPs who opposed the government’s agenda.96 In the upper house Ormond’s kinsmen Lords Dunboyne, Ikerrin and Upper Ossory appear to have absented themselves for much of the proceedings, thereby avoiding direct and unpleasant confrontation. However, his brother-in-law, Viscount Muskerry, was politically active and chastised Ormond for his delaying tactics. According to an anonymous account, Muskerry visited Ormond at home in the spring of 1641 and ‘told him yt [that] he smelt him out, and was convinced yt his carping . . . [was] but out of a design to keep ye House in heats to delay by yt means ye impeachm[en]t ag[ainst]t ye E[arl] of Strafford, and therefore in plain dealing told him he must no longer depend upon his friendship to be dissuaded from being call’d to ye bar and sent to castle chambers’.97 Ultimately, Ormond’s Protestant allies in the Lords proved more biddable. Bonds of indebtedness linked him to leading government men and a number of others, especially Viscount Moore of Drogheda, who had been the other government ‘manager’ in the 1634 parliament.98 However, Moore of Drogheda’s family connections with Lords Cork, Loftus of Ely, Ranelagh and Wilmot of Athlone forced him to adopt a more cautious stance in 1640–1.99 With Wentworth out of the way, he clearly favoured a reform agenda and supported Digby of Geashill in the debate over the legitimacy of the fourth session (11 May–17 November). Yet in the discussions over the ‘Queries’, Moore of Drogheda rallied behind Ormond, as did his son-in-law Blayney, Esmond, Inchiquin, Thomond and the aged Valentia.100 The Opposition Peers What then of the opposition? The tactics of the dissident activists centred on the removal of the person of Wentworth. Once this had been achieved in May 1641, they aimed to restrict the power of the executive by having the judges respond to the ‘Queries’, and, following the English precedents, to exercise

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the parliamentary right of impeachment. During the 1640 sessions the opposition peers included the Catholic lords of the Pale, led by Viscount Gormanston, together with Lords Sarsfield of Kilmallock and Muskerry, and at least four Protestants: Lords Digby of Geashill (himself a nephew of the earl of Bristol and Cork’s son-in-law), Baltinglass, Dillon of Costello-Gallen and Lambert. When the bulk of these men shifted their sphere of political operations to London in the spring of 1641, Lords Maguire, Netterville and Slane joined Lambert to form the core of the opposition.101 Baron Lambert’s position is particularly interesting. Raised by his mother in Cornwall, he married in 1625 a sister of the earl of Radnor, later one of the opposition lords in the Long Parliament.102 He returned to Ireland in 1634, with a letter of support from the influential duke of Lennox, and almost immediately crossed swords with Wentworth over the plantation of Connacht.103 He also alienated Cork by disputing the title to property held by the earl in Roscommon, with Cork maintaining, quite plausibly, that Lambert intended to use parliament to regain these lands.104 Self-interest explains, at least in part, why Lambert embraced the opposition with such enthusiasm and, according to one waspish observer, ‘carryes yt here with a great roage, havinge by sidinge with the papist partie gained strength’.105 However, the Protestant members of the ‘papist partie’ did not form a homogeneous body. By the middle of June one government supporter maintained that the ‘Protestant party [was] much disgusted with the course held by the other party, in their retrenchment of His Majesty’s due profits, and pressing too near upon the honour and power of the government.’106 Yet, despite rumours throughout June and July of a split ‘between the Papists and Protestants’, the dissident lords appear to have maintained a remarkably united front and in July sent a further petition directly to the king complaining about the subsidies.107 By August the lords justices found ‘the Popish party in both Houses of Parliament to be grown to so great a height, as was scarcely compatible with the present government’. In an attempt to counter this and to secure the support of the leading Protestant ‘reformers’, Lambert, Digby of Geashill and Dillon of Costello-Gallen were admitted as members of the Dublin government.108 The confidence of the opposition stemmed in large part from the apparent success of their commissioners in London. In July the king and his council had agreed to a further raft of concessions and promised to enact the 1628 Graces.109 Having achieved most of their objectives, the parliamentary delegation prepared, in the words of one contemporary, to return home ‘fully satisfied and loaden with all the Graces and Bounties, good subjects could hope to receive’.110 All that remained was for the Irish parliament to enshrine ‘these bounties’ in legislation. To celebrate their victory, Cork hosted in August a slap-up dinner at the Nag’s Head in Cheapside for the members of

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‘the comyttees of bothe howses’ and lent Viscount Sarsfield of Kilmallock £600 to finance his trip home.111 Despite enjoying the support of Ormond and a handful of other Protestant peers, together with the bishops, who early on distanced themselves from the dissidents, the Irish government had clearly been outmanoeuvred in both London and Dublin.112 Why? First, the English connections, especially of Cork and Clanricarde, provided essential human links with the English Parliament. More importantly, these facilitated meaningful interactions with the king, who, after all, remained the source of ‘supreme political authority in Ireland’.113 Little wonder, then, that the Irish lords paraded their loyalty to Charles I. They supported him both militarily and financially during the Bishops’ Wars (May–June 1639 and August–October 1640) and involved themselves in a myriad of royalist intrigues, particularly the Army and the Antrim Plots (spring of 1641).114 Second, with the removal of Wentworth, the government lacked effective leadership, which in turn seriously impacted on its ability to manage the Lords and to prevent the peers working closely with the lower house. The ‘divide and rule’ strategy that had proved so successful in 1634 failed miserably, especially in the sessions of 1641. One example highlights the government’s abysmal performance. The admission to the Commons in February 1641 of John Fitzgerald, who had been returned as MP for Inistiogue the previous November despite being involved in litigation with Lord Kerry, a government supporter, created uproar among the peers, who believed that Fitzgerald’s admission impugned their privilege and honour.115 The Commons responded by beseeching the Lords to drop their protest and to ‘keep the bond of unity’ between the two houses. Despite Ormond’s best attempts to manipulate this issue of privilege to derail the ‘Queries’ and to stir up animosities, the matter was quietly dropped. The two houses continued to work very closely together, and the frequency of their meetings increased until these occurred on an almost daily basis by July. Finally, effective management of the peers rested on the government’s ability to control proxies, and the Lords repeatedly frustrated their attempts to do this by disallowing the proxies of non-residents.116 By May 1641 the lords justices had become desperate and begged the English Privy Council to intervene and to support them over this critical issue.117 A list of proxies was dispatched to London with a request that ‘The most to [do] come [to] Ormond, Kerry, Thomond and [Montgomery of the] Ards.’118 Matters deteriorated further over the early summer and reached crisis point early in August. On 3 August Lord Justice William Parsons reported that the ‘Queries’, which the Commons had approved, were now with the Lords and ‘by plurality of votes of the Papist party and much urgency of some of the Commons are . . . like to pass’.119 To prevent this, the lords justices adjourned Parliament on 7 August until November on the grounds that ‘Great mischiefs

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will follow if this parliament is allowed to have its way.’120 As it turned out, ‘great mischief ’ did follow when rebellion erupted in Ulster a few months later.121 Conclusion The early decades of the seventeenth century were a period of intense political change and the membership of the early Stuart Irish parliaments reflected this. The king effectively replaced the political dominance of the Old English elite in parliament with a reconfigured political body, which the king and his lord deputy attempted to manage, manipulate, cajole and coerce into cooperation and compliance. The temporal lords, many of whom were seasoned political operators, were key not only to the smooth running of the upper house but also exercised real influence in the lower house as well. Moreover, as the peerage coalesced as a social and cultural group, the nobles became increasingly politically integrated. What is clear from the activities of the temporal peers in 1640–1 is that, despite the very real religious differences which civil war so painfully exposed, they enjoyed a common political and constitutional agenda, albeit one tempered by individual landed and family interests and by political intrigue in Dublin and in London. With few exceptions, Wentworth’s policies had seriously challenged personal power bases, and so the determination of the peers to oust him comes as no surprise. United by bonds of kinship and mutual indebtedness, the peers created powerful webs of intersecting interest groups within both houses that cooperated, however loosely, in order to render obsolete the men and mechanisms that Wentworth had devised in order to control them. While it would be unwise to downplay the significance of individual MPs and the sheer complexity of events during these months, at certain key moments the peers, like their counterparts in England, shaped the Irish parliamentary agenda.122 They may well have been obsessed with matters of protocol, precedence and procedure, but the need to defend their position in the social and political hierarchy ensured that this grouping had became politicized across ethnic and sectarian divides. Of course, a communal sense of identity, shared concepts of honour and loyalty to the Crown, had their limitations and did not prevent the community of nobles from fracturing along sectarian lines after the outbreak of rebellion in October 1641. In a speech made at Knockcrofty Hill early in December, Roger Moore, one of the leaders of the insurrection, reminded the crowd that ‘the nobility and gentry of Ireland were unique in Europe in being unable to improve their fortunes by serving their king in places of honour, trust and profit’.123 In their negotiations with the king during the 1640s, the confederates consistently demanded that there should be a restitution ‘of

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blood, honour and lands’, as well as the free exercise of Catholicism. The confederates wanted an Act of Parliament to ratify this so ‘no memory shall remain thereof to the blemish and dishonour of those who shall be restored’.124 In the event this did not happen, but their request highlights the importance attached to the institution of Parliament as an arena for engaging in national politics.125

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CHAPTER 9

Civil War The seventeenth century was one of intense soldiering across early

modern Europe and during the 1640s war came to Ireland. This was a particularly complex period in the island’s history and one in which the resident peers, as the military caste, played a prominent role both on and off the battlefield. The established Catholic lords and a few of the Protestant ones, especially the converts, called their followers and tenants to arms in timehonoured fashion and provided them with weapons. For some Catholics the outbreak of war offered them the first opportunity to serve at home since the conclusion of the Nine Years War in 1603. The speed with which lords like Antrim, Mountgarret and Muskerry mobilized forces underscored their continuing military potential and, despite the fact that warlords often lacked direct experience of warfare, many were at the forefront of the fighting. Moreover, their ability to wage war for sustained periods testifies to their resilience as military power brokers. The fact that as the war dragged on some, including Lords Antrim, Muskerry and Ormond, exported manpower to the Scottish, English and continental theatres of war in return for supplies and cash, highlights their success as military enterprisers. Protestant lords also mobilized their tenants and followers but their capacity was more limited and they ultimately depended for survival on recruits shipped into Ireland from England and Scotland. This chapter analyzes the military and political contributions the peers and their sons made to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639–52), as the conflict between the subjects of Charles I is now known. How did the war impact on the development of the resident peerage? The chapter takes a broadly chronological approach and after examining the role that the peers played in the Bishops’ Wars (1639–40) and their responses to the 1641 rebellion, it focuses on the respective contributions they made to the confederate, royalist and parliamentarian war efforts both in Ireland and in England, where a number chose to serve. How did the peers mobilize men and

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resources for war? How successful were they as warriors and military strategists? The dogged loyalty of the resident peers to the king, the fount of their honour, is also striking, as is the reluctance with which the leading Catholic aristocrats joined the insurrection. Yet local circumstances and external influences often forced individuals to abandon the royal cause and place their personal interests above those of the king. The onset of civil war in England followed by the 1643 ceasefire with the confederates and the signature of the Solemn League and Covenant (September 1643) created a real crisis among the Protestant lords, who either opted to support the king or his English Parliament. For their part, most Catholics remained loyal to the Stuarts albeit within the context of the confederate assembly, but their commitment wavered as the 1640s progressed and military and confessional pressures increased. Why did a number of key lords switch allegiance, many more than once, during the course of the conflict? In short, the 1640s provide a fascinating case study illustrating how relations between the monarch and his peerage broke down and also how tensions, often around religion, came to the fore and complicated relationships between the king and his nobles, and within the ranks of the peerage. A Military Caste1 Like their contemporaries throughout early modern Europe, the resident peerage in Ireland viewed itself as a fighting class and believed that military service was an integral part of being noble. It afforded them a privileged position, enhanced local status and helped to secure financial and social advancement for other members of the lineage or tenants or clients. Gaelic society encouraged a strong martial ethos and during the later Middle Ages great lords had retained a body of professional swordsmen. For instance, the rebellious earl of Tyrone and his Ulster allies allegedly mustered 2,000 buannachts (native mercenary soldiers) in 1594, and between 4,000 and 6,000 ordinary swordsmen regularly enlisted for service during the later stages of the Nine Years War.2 Scottish mercenaries (gallowglass or redshanks) supplemented these native soldiers and between the 1560s and 1590s some 25,000 such mercenaries found employment in militarized Ulster.3 Military requirements remained a feature of domestic architecture. Many lords lived in well-fortified medieval castles: Dunluce (seat of the MacDonnells of Antrim), Kilkenny (seat of the Butlers of Ormond) and Blarney (seat of the MacCarthys of Muskerry and Clancarthy) immediately spring to mind. Others built grand mansions that retained defensive features. The earl of Clanricarde’s magnificent and ornate residence at Portumna was also fortified in that the projecting, angled towers had gun loops that provided flanking fire and inner and outer bawns, albeit ones that took the form of gardens.4 After

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the Restoration the earl of Orrery ensured that flankers, mounted with sixteen guns, defended his great house of Charleville.5 Of the extant portraits of seventeenth-century resident peers, roughly half depict the lord in armour or military garb. See, for example, the portrait of Ulick Bourke, marquis of Clanricarde, replete with long beard, a plain white collar adding some colour to his grey armour (plate 3). After 1660 John Michael Wright painted fine portraits of Randal MacDonnell, marquis of Antrim, and Murrough O’Brien, earl of Inchiquin. Antrim is wearing armour, adorned by a delicate lace collar and a thick sash, as is Inchiquin. Similarly, a full-length portrait of the earl of Clancarthy, possibly from the studio of Sir Peter Lely or by Garret Morphy, depicts him standing in armour with a curtain half-drawn behind him and a castle, presumably Blarney, visible in the distance. He wears a long wig with a lace cravat at his neck and a gold and emerald sash around his waist, and he carries a walking stick with a silver-gilt top in his hand (plate 7). This desire to be represented as warriors, especially on the part of the Catholic peers, highlights the continuing importance of the exercise of arms in noble culture. Given the limited opportunities for Catholics to participate directly in war at home, during the early decades of the century they looked to the continental theatre as the most effective arena in which to secure military training (discussed below in chapter 15). Exposure to warfare, often as part of a ‘grand tour’, in the various continental conflicts, but especially the Eighty Years War (1568–1648) and the Thirty Years War (1618–48), not only offered young grandees the chance to gain practical military experience but also to garner military honour. In the case of the marquis of Antrim, his lengthy French sojourn (1625–7) would have afforded him ample opportunity to make contact with his exiled O’Neill cousins serving in the army of Flanders, and with his natural half-brothers, one of whom (Maurice) was an infantry captain in Flanders.6 Antrim later claimed that he had ‘no experience in war’, but he nonetheless demonstrated during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms a surprisingly clear idea of how an army should be organized and knowledge of the basic principles of modern warfare.7 The technological, tactical and logistical innovations that underpinned the Military Revolution came relatively late to Ireland (the 1590s and then the 1640s), but elsewhere they transformed the nature of warfare from the late fifteenth century.8 In brief, technological advances in firepower and fortifications led to a dramatic increase in the size of armies in which the infantry, rather than the heavily armoured cavalry, predominated. Christopher Storrs and Hamish Scott have examined how the social changes associated with the Military Revolution impacted on nobles across early modern Europe and have argued that these innovations strengthened and redefined, rather than undermined, the position of the fighting classes. In fact, they suggest that

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‘noble men were the principal agents of these changes and benefited considerably from them’ as they became the officers in the new larger armies that mushroomed up across Europe.9 In Ireland these military developments undoubtedly benefited the Protestant peers and had the added bonus, from the perspective of the state, of reducing the size of private armies and curtailing lawlessness. On the one hand, they facilitated social advancement into and within the ranks of the nobility and, on the other, they created opportunities for employment as officers (see chapters 7 and 12). Catholic peers, prevented from serving in the royal armies at home, nevertheless retained considerable personal retinues and used every opportunity to fight for the Stuarts abroad. The link between military service and upward social mobility was established during the early decades of the seventeenth century when the Stuarts ennobled many swordsmen, mostly Englishmen along with a few natives, who had served in Ireland during the Nine Years War (see chapter 2). This highlighted the extent to which the Crown continued to expect the nobility to provide military leadership and the importance of military service as a route to ennoblement. Moreover, the peers, especially the established ones, perceived themselves as a military caste for whom service on the battlefield continued to be inextricably linked to a lord’s public and private sense of honour and virtue. It comes as little surprise then that throughout the conflict of the 1640s the peers provided the political and military leadership for whichever side they supported: the Irish confederates, the Crown or the English Parliament (and sometimes combinations of all three). Of the 68 resident peers in 1641, three served in England: Oliver, later third Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion, fought for the king at Naseby (1645), as did his brother William; Thomas, first Viscount Lecale, commanded a royalist regiment of horse; and Edward, second Viscount Loftus, held Middleham castle (his wife was the co-heir) in Yorkshire, for Parliament. Of the remainder the majority, roughly 50 (74 per cent), saw active service in Ireland (see appendix III). With the exceptions of Lords Mountgarret and Netterville, who were in their sixties, the youth of the Catholic peers is striking. The majority of confederate lords tended to be men in their prime (twenties through to their forties) and went on to make major contributions to the Catholic war effort: Lords Antrim, Castlehaven, Muskerry, Taaffe and Westmeath all held major commands. With the possible exception of Castlehaven, who during the late 1630s had spent some time observing the European theatre of war and later distinguished himself in French and Spanish service, none were particularly gifted soldiers. This had major long-term repercussions but in the short term hardly seemed to matter, since their military power stemmed from their extensive baronial networks that gave the confederate commanders access to large personal armies. A

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Protestant from Dundalk suggested that the insurgents were ‘like hydra’s heads; one is no sooner cut off, but there arise three in his place’.10 Only a small number of peers enjoyed senior commands. The majority fought at the provincial and county levels, defending their estates and neighbouring urban centres and capturing local places of military strength and strategic importance. Given the high levels of engagement a significant number (roughly a dozen) died in combat or sustained serious injuries over the course of the 1640s (see appendix III and chapter 16). Others were captured, imprisoned and then usually exchanged for enemy prisoners of comparable rank. During the initial phase of the war titled grandees took the lead and summoned their followers, tenants and kinsmen to arms in a fashion reminiscent of earlier Irish wars and of the ‘barons’ wars’ of fifteenth-century England. The contribution of Luke Plunkett, third earl of Fingal, to the Catholic war effort was typical. At a gathering at the hill of Tara late in 1641, Fingal was appointed general of the horse for County Meath with the power to nominate ‘so many captains as [he] thought fitt out of the baronies’.11 The earl raised provisions for the Irish forces from his own estates and those of his dependants and commanded a troop of horse at the siege of Drogheda (November 1641–March 1642), and later fought at Dungan’s Hill (August 1647) and at Rathmines (August 1649), where he was captured (he died shortly afterwards in Dublin castle). Elsewhere, Catholic peers also summoned their followers, tenants and kinsmen to arms. On the Leinster–Munster border the aged Viscount Mountgarret called to war the Kilkenny and Tipperary Butlers, including Richard of Kilcash who was Ormond’s brother and Lords Cahir, Dunboyne and Ikerrin, together with the neighbouring Fitzpatricks and Purcells, including Theobald Purcell, titular baron of Loughmoe.12 Like Fingal, he led his men from the front. Lords Antrim and Muskerry did likewise, as did Lord Barrymore, a recent convert to Protestantism (discussed below). Because of their direct involvement there was a wider perception of the war as a ‘baronial’ struggle dominated by the titled nobility. As in civil war England, popular pamphlets, especially those printed during the early years of the conflict, extolled the wartime exploits of titled commanders and recounted their regional skirmishes. There are numerous examples that portrayed the conflict as a struggle between rival noble warlords, including tracts with titles like A Renowned victory obtained against the rebels on the first day of June, neere Burros the Duke of Buckinghams castle, by the valour of these noble and valiant commanders. The Earle of Ormond. The Earl of Eastmeath. The Lord Don Luce, Earle of Antrim . . . Against the Lord Mountgarret. The Lord Dunsany. The Lord Plunket. The Lord Muskro. The Lord Dunhowin with 18000 rebels. Wherein is manifested how the Lord Don-luce tooke the Lord Dunsany prisoner, with five of the great commanders, which are now prisoners in

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the castle at Dublin . . . (London, 1642). More particularly, the author’s representation of Antrim’s personal combat with Dunsany, which is fully developed in the text, evoked chivalric warfare, with each combatant determined to authenticate his personal honour on the battlefield. An account of one of the earliest battles of the war, fought at Kilrush in County Kildare on 15 April 1642, represented a grisly yet very personal encounter between the leading Catholic lords (Dunboyne, Ikerrin and Mountgarret) and the Protestant ones (Coote, Lambert, Ormond, and the eldest sons of Roscommon and Meath) who eventually triumphed.13 Similarly, the battle of Liscarrol fought on 3 September 1642 (discussed below) was portrayed as a baronial struggle between the Boyles of Cork and the neighbouring Irish warlords. Equally interesting are later accounts of the war.14 For instance, in his history Richard Bellings, Caroline poet and confederate lawyer, argued that members of the titled nobility, and especially those of Old English provenance (whatever their religion), were Ireland’s natural leaders, and his account dwelt on the martial conduct and wartime actions of these key figures.15 Similarly, the earl of Castlehaven’s memoirs portrayed the war as a noble struggle.16 Though written from a very different perspective, that of Gaelic Ireland, the Aphorismical Discovery of Treasonable Faction represented the war as a baronial conflict, with members of the traditional Irish nobility (only some of whom held royal titles), led by Owen Roe O’Neill, vying with upstarts such as the earl of Castlehaven, who was ‘hapily desirous of honor’ despite the fact his father had been executed for ‘buggery’, or Viscount Taaffe, whom he branded ‘a comon, cogginge gamster’ and ‘a man of meane ranke (though Viscounte) lesse experience and leaste authoritie’.17 The anonymous author suggested that by the later 1640s the influence ‘in civill or militarie government’ of the traditional nobles had waned, much to the detriment of the Catholic cause. Established leaders like Lords Castle Connell, Dunboyne, Ikerrin, Muskerry and Roche had been ‘secluded from the handlinge of any publicke affaire’ and in their place ‘poore mecanicall people, pedlers, dumbebaristers, atturneys, and route-banck-merchants [were] promoted to the managinge of civill and ecclesiasticke government’.18 This inversion of the traditional social order, he argued, was one reason why the Catholics lost the war. War in Scotland and Rebellion in Ireland A number of resident peers fought alongside the king during the Bishops’ Wars (May–June 1639 and August 1640) and used the conflict as an opportunity to demonstrate their military valour and loyalty to Charles I. In May 1638 the marquis of Hamilton, a leading Scottish courtier who was eager to foster an anti-Campbell alliance, recommended the earl of Antrim to the king

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and suggested using the MacDonnells on both sides of the North Channel to take on the Covenanters in western Scotland. Hamilton argued that an army levied and paid for by Antrim, and supplemented where possible by Lord Deputy Wentworth, should be the first line of royalist offence in the west of Scotland. In return Charles promised the earl that ‘whatsoever land he can conquer from them [the Campbells], he, having pretense of right, he shall have the same’.19 By spring 1639 Antrim had levied an army of 5,000 foot and 200 horse. These men were drawn from the leading Irish families in Ulster, with many of whom the earl enjoyed kin or clientage relationships: the MacDonnells, Magennisses, MacGuires, MacHenrys, MacMahons, O’Haras, O’Lurgans, O’Neills; or, as the lord deputy charmingly phrased it, ‘as many Oe’s and Macs’s as would startle a whole council board’ and ‘in a great part the sons of habituated traitors’.20 Ultimately, the expedition was frustrated by Charles I’s inconsistency and by Wentworth’s hostility. Yet the abortive initiative was not without significance. On the one hand, it destabilized affairs in Scotland by alienating support for the king and forcing Argyll and his followers into the Covenanting camp. On the other, the king’s willingness to conspire with an Irish papist against his Protestant subjects (albeit Scottish ones) did little to dispel the rumours of Popish plots that were circulating in London. The king also turned for help to the extended Boyle network. The earl of Cork’s youthful sons, fresh from continental ‘grand tours’ and eager to flex their military muscle, enthusiastically volunteered for royal service, albeit against their father’s better judgement. Cork’s son-in-law, the earl of Barrymore, served with royalist forces during the First Bishops’ War. In July 1639 Cork reported that Barrymore ‘intends to offer his prince thousands of Irish, and he saies they shall be all Geraldines’.21 The earl later complained that the £2,000 that the king paid him for this was insufficient ‘for raising and bringing out of Ireland to the campe near Skotland fifteen hundredth Irishe soldiers to serve against the covenanting rebelleouse Skots’.22 Cork’s heir, Lord Dungarvan, ‘rashly [and] without my [i.e. Cork’s] privitie undertook’ to raise men ‘at his own chardges, and with them to attend and serve his Maty in his warres in Scotland’. In all, Cork spent £3,000 to enable Dungarvan ‘to perform his unadvised engagement’.23 In April 1640 Cork expended a further £1,000 on weapons, armour and saddles, imported from Rotterdam, for Dungarvan’s troop of horse and to equip his other sons, Lords Kinalmeaky and Broghill, ‘to serve the kinge in this expedicion againste the Scots’.24 In the spring of 1641 Dungarvan also became embroiled, along with his brother-in-law, Lord Goring, in the botched ‘army plot’ in which the royal army was to march to London and threaten the recidivist English Parliament into compliance. Back in Ireland the levying of a ‘new army’ by Lord Deputy Wentworth over the spring of 1640 provided other lords with an opportunity

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to serve. Despite the fact that the earl of Ormond had limited formal military training (Buckingham had refused to allow the teenager to join the expedition to the Isle de Rhé in 1627), Wentworth appointed him lieutenant general and colonel of a regiment of horse. Lords Baltinglass, Blayney, Conway, Cromwell, Dillon, Docwra, Lambert, Moore and Wilmot, all Protestants, also held commands.25 Their men never saw action and in June 1641 Wentworth’s ‘new army’ was disbanded, again with Cork’s help (he contributed £2,000 towards the costs). This left a modest standing force, in which 14 Protestant peers held commands, to put down the rebellion that broke out in Ulster late in October 1641.26 The authorities managed to frustrate an attempt on 22 October to seize Dublin castle but could do little to prevent the rising taking hold in Ulster. There it began at a dinner party hosted by Lord Caulfeild at Charlemont Castle in County Armagh. According to a contemporary pamphlet Sir Phelim O’Neill, the principal dinner guest and Caulfeild’s close friend, told his host ‘now my Lord you are my prisoner’. Caulfeild ‘taking it as a jest, spoke merrily: nay Sr. Philip [Phelim] you are my prisoner, meaning because he was in his Lordships house at the present, upon which words Sr. Philip [Phelim] had the doores opened’.27 Sir Phelim’s armed accomplices seized the young lord, stole his ordnance and pillaged his house. For the next three months Sir Phelim held Lord Caulfeild, his mother, sisters and brothers captive in the castle. He then moved Caulfeild to his home at Kinard where, much to Sir Phelim’s distress, an Irish soldier shot him.28 From Charlemont the rising quickly spread across Ulster as the insurgents seized other strongholds of strategic importance, including Lord Blayney’s castle in Monaghan, Castle Balfour in Fermanagh and Mountjoy castle, together with others in Armagh, Tandragee and Newry (only Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Derry, Enniskillen and Lisburn escaped).29 The outbreak of the Ulster rebellion and the ensuing popular rising of the ‘common sorts’ provoked a major crisis for the peerage in Ireland. Only one, Connor Lord Maguire of Enniskillen, had been directly involved in hatching the insurrection. Despite the fact that Lord Maguire was one of the leading insurgents, there is no clear evidence to suggest that other Catholic lords supported him (albeit many, especially the earl of Antrim, had involved themselves in other plots).30 Their initial reaction to the rising and their determination to find a political solution to resolve it highlights this. The lords of the Pale immediately pledged their loyalty and requested arms to protect themselves.31 In response, the lords justices issued commissions of martial law to the ‘chief persons of power in the countrey’, including Lords Ormond and Mountgarret (County Kilkenny), Lords Costello-Gallen (County Mayo), Gormanston (County Meath), Kildare (County Kildare) and Nicholas Barnewall, later Viscount Kingsland (County Dublin). The state also provided

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arms, powder, lead and match to Viscount Gormanston (500 guns), the earl of Kildare (300 guns) and Lords Montgomery and Claneboy (400 guns).32 The Dublin government demanded that the Irish parliament, which had been adjourned the previous August, be prorogued.33 When parliament finally reconvened, under an armed guard, in mid-November, a committee from both houses implored the lords justices to reconsider their decision to abandon the session.34 They refused. Finally, in a last-ditch attempt to regain control over events, the upper house instructed Viscount Dillon of CostelloGallen to travel to Scotland to persuade the king to continue parliament ‘at least till the rebels (then few in number) were reduced’.35 After sitting for two days parliament was prorogued.36 Early in December the lords justices summoned a Grand Council to discuss the situation. Many Catholic lords refused to attend on the grounds that they feared for their personal safety and that the government had already ignored their counsel and suspected their loyalty.37 Nevertheless, a government insider reported in December that ‘the Earls of Clanrickard and Antrim, and other of the best of the nobility in that kingdom, albeit they are catholics, declare themselves very firm for the King, and are forward both in words and actions by themselves, their friends and tenants in suppressing that rebellion’.38 This show of loyalty did little to stem the ‘sudden commotion of the people’, as Clanricarde dubbed it, and by the middle of December the lords justices reported back to London that ‘this rebellion hath overspread the whole kingdom, and that many members of both Houses are involved therein so as the Parliament can not sit’.39 The Dublin administration immediately mobilized for war. On 11 November it appointed the earl of Ormond (who had been at his house at Carrick-on-Suir awaiting the birth of his sixth child) lieutenant general of the king’s army.40 The Protestant standing army, initially a pitiful force of 2,297 foot and 943 horse, was reinforced with the arrival of 2,600 foot from England over the winter of 1641/2. Ormond, elevated to a marquisate in 1642, found himself compromised as an increasing number of his kinsmen joined the Catholic cause. He noted how ‘scandal [was] dayly cast upon me by those that conclude me guilty because most of my papist kindred and friends’ were in rebellion.41 Ormond ignored these slurs and went on to win a number of victories, especially during the initial phases of the war (at Kilrush in April 1642 and at Old Ross in March 1643). With time his military inadequacies became increasingly apparent, especially his lack of strategic vision. He was no great general and one hostile observer suggested that he was more like ‘a hunts-man then . . . a souldier’.42 That said, Ormond cultivated his image as a ‘fighting warrior’ and an ‘illustrious cavalier’ even if the court, rather than the camp, underpinned his prominence.43 Ormond served alongside Sir Charles Coote and Lords Blayney, Kildare and Moore as they launched numerous forays against the insurgents in

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Leinster and relieved besieged strongholds, often crammed with Protestant refugees.44 According to one pamphleteer, they ‘fired all the Pale, for 17 miles in length, and neare 35 miles in breadth’.45 The outbreak of rebellion had left the earl of Kildare, another recent convert, as exposed as Ormond. Yet Kildare also refused to entertain repeated overtures from the insurgents, many of them his Fitzgerald kinsmen, to join them.46 In retaliation they pillaged Kildare’s livestock and household goods, including ‘divers bookes out of the earles studye’, before burning his ‘new house at Maynooth’.47 Despite speculations about ‘how he will proceed against his countrymen’,48 Kildare, like Ormond, quickly became one of the ‘strong pillars of the Protestant Army’.49 In the meantime Lady Kildare and her five children took refuge in England, where they joined her sisters, Ladies Loftus and Ranelagh.50 When Viscount Moore of Drogheda learned of the rebellion he sent for his tenants, who pledged ‘their lives, for their king, him and their country’. In all he managed to raise nearly 1,000 men, ‘all his friends and tenants’ (but only half of whom were armed) and oversaw the fortification of the strategically important town of Drogheda. On 8 June 1643 Moore died of wounds received when he was hit by a cannonball.51 One of the most experienced and ruthless in combat was ‘that humaine-bloudsucker’ Coote, who had led the anti-Catholic forces against the insurgents during the winter and spring of 1641–2.52 A terror to the Irish and a hero amongst his men, Coote’s acts of great bravery were repeatedly lauded by the English press.53 One pamphlet described his performance on the battlefield: Coote ‘as if he had been but 30 years old, charged in amongst them’ and, despite losing his cap, he ‘scoured about the field, crying Kill, Kill and with his hand gave the example’.54 He died at the siege of Trim in May 1642 from friendly fire, and one Gaelic chronicler gleefully noted that at last Coote had received his ‘ticket’ to ‘hell’.55 The losses of Moore and Coote represented severe blows to the Protestant war effort. As the rising gathered momentum and the ‘common sorts’ and ‘meaner sort of people’ seized the initiative, the Catholic lords of the Pale had no alternative but to join the Ulster insurgents if they were to regain control over their followers and secure their estates.56 Having done so these lords, in order to ensure their own survival, pressured, cajoled and threatened their fellow Catholic peers living elsewhere in Ireland to join them. Many initially refused; others joined reluctantly only when the spread of unrest to their respective localities presented them with no realistic alternative, something of which Catholic writers like the earl of Castlehaven and Sir Richard Bellings later reminded their readers. The majority of Catholic lords, especially the aristocrats, dissociated themselves from an insurrection, which, according to Ulick, earl of Clanricarde, had been hijacked by ‘loose people, desperate in their fortunes’. The Catholic Clanricarde, writing in November 1641 to his

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half-brother and the future commander of the English parliamentary army, the earl of Essex, maintained that the insurgents did not include ‘any man of qualitie, either of English descent or antient Irish’, or any ‘nobleman in the kingdom’.57 By the middle of December 1641, Clanricarde believed that the whole province of Connacht was in revolt. For his part the earl scrambled what resources he could to defend his estates, as did his noble neighbours, Lords Dillon of Costello-Gallen and Mayo.58 Early in December a meeting took place at Knockcrofty near Drogheda, which resulted in an alliance being forged between the Ulster insurgents and the Old English.59 Influential lords of the Pale – Lords Dunsany, Fingal, Gormanston, Louth, Netterville, Slane and Trimleston – attended.60 Having joined the insurrection, these lords now asked that Lords Bermingham of Athenry, Clanmorres, Clanricarde, Mayo and Mountgarret do likewise.61 Clanricarde was implored ‘to serve God, the king, and country in a right way’.62 He refused. According to the lords justices, Clanricarde remained ‘unshaken in his loyalty’ but, they added, ‘so great a defection hath happened amongst those of his religion’.63 In Munster Viscount Muskerry, later earl of Clancarthy, learned of the rising during a dinner party attended by the earl of Cork, his sons ‘and some other men of quality of the Irish nation, with whom they lived in an easy and familiar way’.64 According to a later account, on hearing of the rebellion ‘My lord Muskerry, who was a facetious man, and an excellent companion, employ’d all the wit he was master of to turn the whole story into ridicule’.65 Of course, the insurrection proved to be no laughing matter and in March 1642 Muskerry reluctantly (and against his wife’s wishes) threw in his lot with the insurgents on the grounds that the rebellion had become the only means of preserving Catholicism, the king’s prerogative and the ‘antient privileges of the poore kingdome of Ireland established and allowed by the Common Law of England’.66 Thus from the outset commitment amongst the Catholic lords to an armed rising as the best means of securing political, tenurial and constitutional objectives was fraught with contradictions. The abortive parliamentary session of November 1641, combined with the bungling and hyperbole of the lords justices, and the deteriorating political climate in England, effectively undermined the prospect of any negotiated settlement to the crisis. A series of proclamations, issued after February 1642, declaring 15 peers, including Lords Castlehaven, Fingal, Gormanston, Mountgarret and Muskerry, to be guilty of high treason, further fuelled distrust and inevitably alienated many influential lords and their followers.67 The military excesses committed by government troops (especially Sir Charles Coote) also proved a particular source of contention amongst the peers and drove many lords into the ‘rebel’ camp.68 One of the lesser lords, Barnaby Fitzpatrick, sixth baron of Upper Ossory, who later took part in the siege of Borris-in-Ossory (April 1642) and

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the capture of Ballinakill (May 1643), articulated something that his fellow peers undoubtedly shared. In December 1641 he wrote to Ormond saying ‘that I do not well know how to behave myself . . . I can do nothing as I would otherwise, though I have been threatened as well by the Irishry, as by the Lord President of Munster’.69 Edward Hyde, later earl of Clarendon, in his History well described the dilemma faced by ‘many persons of honour and quality’ during these months when he noted how the course of events left them no alternative but to engage ‘themselves by degrees in it [i.e. the insurrection] for their own security’.70 The Impact of the 1641 Rebellion The insurrection inevitably resulted in bloodshed and unnecessary cruelty. During his captivity Lord Charlemont perished at the hands of an Irish insurgent (discussed above). Others suffered physical assault. Shortly after the rising broke out, Lord Dunsany, a Catholic, and his family fled to Dublin but, according to his own account, the local rebels ambushed him ‘and for his loyalty, had his own daughter and his son’s wife, being both great with child, stripped and sent home naked’. They ‘burned and destroyed’ Dunsany’s house at Castlecore, together with furniture and goods allegedly worth £4,000.71 The 1641 depositions offer fascinating detail on the actions of other local peers, their families and servants and their material fortunes. The witness testimonies of deponents from Ulster relate the comings and goings of Lords Antrim, Blayney, Charlemont, Magennis of Iveagh and Maguire of Enniskillen. Those from Leinster and Munster comment on the activities of Lords Castlehaven, Clanmalier, Cork, Dunboyne, Fingal, Fitzwilliam of Merrion, Gormanston, Ikerrin, Kildare, Mountgarret and Ormond. Finally, the Connacht depositions contain a wealth of material on the reaction to the rebellion of Lords Bermingham of Athenry, Clanmorres, Clanricarde, Dillon of Costello-Gallen, Mayo and Ranelagh. The responses of individual peers varied across the country and a number are discussed below. What is immediately clear is the rapidity and extent with which law and order broke down and how people who had previously been neighbours, acquaintances and even friends engaged in acts of violence against individuals and communities. On occasion peers or their immediate kin were the perpetrators of violence. Deponents paid particular attention to the extent to which a local lord, one of his close relatives or his servants interacted with local insurgents. A tenant on Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion’s Ringsend estate claimed that the viscount entertained a ‘great number of rebels’ over the summer of 1642.72 In January 1642 the earl of Fingal’s brother allegedly robbed a local settler of his cattle and household goods.73 Fingal himself reputedly used the disorder to

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settle an old score with a Scottish minister, George Creichton, over a dispute about property in County Cavan.74 By April 1642 Viscount Mountgarret’s sons were accused of being rebel leaders.75 Other deponents claimed that Lords Clanmorres, Mayo and Muskerry were involved in particularly bloody encounters (discussed below and in chapter 10). In a deposition dating from 1652 Jane Cooper from Cashel maintained that Lord Bourke of Castle Connell had besieged Cullen castle between November 1641 and August 1642 and that Lord Roche had ordered an attack on a convoy of 50 people.76 Thomas Mansell from Cork deposed that Lord Roche’s wife had ordered the hanging of his servant, Walter Hart.77 According to James Weld from Mountrath, Barnaby Fitzpatrick, sixth baron of Upper Ossory, ordered some local men to be hanged and ‘whilst he was hanging some of them thrust darts’ through them.78 In July 1642 James Colville, also from Queen’s County, recounted that Upper Ossory’s mother, Margaret, who was a daughter of Walter, eleventh earl of Ormond, was ‘as bad or worse than the men’.79 These accounts of Ladies Roche and Upper Ossory, along with Lady Iveagh (discussed below), suggest that Catholic women were as brutal and barbarous as their menfolk and reinforced long-held English views that Irish women were even more subversive and treacherous than their male counterparts.80 In contrast, Protestant women were blessed with qualities – valour, loyalty and honour – normally the preserve of men. Lady Offaly was represented as a heroine, the epitome of ‘Englishness’.81 In April 1642 O’Dempsey insurgents repeatedly attacked her strategically located castle at Geashill in King’s County.82 Lewis O’Dempsey, second Viscount Clanmalier, offered safe quarter to her, her children and her grandchildren (her son had married a daughter of the earl of Cork). She angrily replied: ‘I little expected such a salute from a kinsman, whom I have ever respected, you being not ignorant of the great damages I have received from your followers.’ She continued: ‘I can think of no place safer than my own house, wherein if I perish by your means, the guilt will light on you, and I doubt not, but I shall receive a crown of martyrdom, dying innocently.’83 She later informed Clanmalier that she would rather they batter her castle down than surrender to men who have no sense ‘either of honesty or honour’.84 Though there were numerous eyewitness and hearsay accounts of their activities, few peers actually deposed. The exception was Henry, Lord Blayney, who recounted how the rebels had seized the town and castle of Monaghan, together with Castle Blayney and his cattle and goods. The insurgents expelled Lord Blayney but took prisoner his wife, seven children, his two sisters and ‘manie of his kindred and servants’.85 James Cranford represented the family’s incarceration in The teares of Ireland. A crude woodcut depicts Lady Blayney and her children sitting on a pile of straw in front of a man

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hanging from a gallows. The caption read: ‘the Lord Blany forced to ride 14 miles without bridle or sadell to save his life: his Lady lodged in strawe beeing allowed 2d a day to releve her & her children. [The insurgents] slew a kindsman of hers and hanged him up before her face [for] 2 dayes telling her she must expect the same to terrifie her the moore’ (plate 12). In the cases of Lords Kildare, Lambert, Loftus, Londonderry and Meath a land agent or trusted servant deposed on their behalf, listing their losses and giving an account of the progress of the rising on their estates. The wives of two Catholic peers, Lady Mary Netterville and Jane, countess of Westmeath, testified on behalf of their men, as did the mother of another, Alice, Lady Antrim (unlike the others this deposition dates from the early 1650s). More common were testimonies by individuals associated with the peers – their servants, factors, men and women who worked on their estates or as members of their households. Deponents close to the elderly Richard, first earl of Westmeath, captured his reactions to the outbreak of the rebellion.86 One eyewitness testified that on 11 February 1642 a party of rebels arrived at Westmeath’s home ‘in a violent manner’ causing the earl, who refused to join their cause, to fall ‘into a passion and hath been ever since driven to keep his bed’.87 Old age and clerical influences prevented the insurgents securing Westmeath’s direct support for their cause, but William Baker, ‘a cooke in his lordship’s houses’, reported that the earl allowed his servants to join forces with those besieging Drogheda. They included his butler (Donal Birne), his coachman (Patrick Ward), George ‘the taylor’, the ‘postillion’ (Henry Kellie), ‘Donnell the waineman’, the undercook (John Bernie), together with the bailiff and the groom.88 William Parker, who had been offered refuge in the earl’s house and had worked as his cook for six months, later heard how Westmeath had died after rebels ambushed his coach. According to Parker, the rebels had ‘forcibly drawne and halled [Westmeath] out of his coach’, shot him in the thigh and dislocated his shoulder. The earl, who was over 60 and ‘blinde of his eyes and often struck wth a dead palsie’, then died.89 In her testimony Westmeath’s wife Jane, who was a sister of the earl of Fingal, added that the rebels had, on the night of her husband’s funeral, stolen their livestock (cows, cattle, sheep, mares and colts), and deprived Westmeath’s grandson and heir of his annual rental income of £3,000. She calculated the family’s total losses to be ‘the sume of twenty thowsand & twenty fiue poundes or therabouts’.90 In the case of Westmeath, he provided refugees with clothing and money for their passage to Dublin, as did Lord Dunsany.91 The depositions thus record the extent to which the peers offered refuge and support to the bewildered victims of violence.92 Catholic peers helped their Protestant neighbours. Viscount Mountgarret and his sons saved from hanging English settlers living in Kilkenny.93 The earls of Antrim and Castlehaven allowed

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many families to take refuge with them in Maddenstown house in County Kildare. According to a deposition by William Collis, a saddler from Kildare, Antrim in particular ‘harboured & releeved a great number of English protestants that had beene robbed by the rebells and would without doubt have been killd if the said Erle had not saved and sheltered them: & the said Erle (when they desired it) sent them away to Dublin with mony & clothes which hee freely gave them’.94 The testimony of William Dynes, a Kildare carpenter, corroborated this but Dynes also claimed that the English (including Collis) who stayed at Maddenstown ‘went to masse’ even though ‘they were proteste [i.e. Protestant] before ye rebellion began’.95 Further north, Antrim’s mother, Lady Alice, claimed that during the weeks after the onset of rebellion she never refused anyone shelter, and her house was ‘full of Irish, Scotch and English’ including the local carpenter, miller, smiths and servants.96 Elsewhere Lords Clanricarde, Mayo and Muskerry did likewise.97 As one might expect, Protestant lords and their wives immediately rallied to help refugees. Lady Ormond offered succour to hundreds of refugees in Kilkenny castle and used her influence with her kinsmen to secure their safe convoy to Waterford and other places of safety.98 In Munster local Protestants flocked to strongholds – Castle Lyons, Youghal and Lismore castle – defended by Lords Barrymore, Cork and Broghill. The 1641 depositions capture the distress, fears and anxieties of those caught up in the insurrection and how the war tore families and communities apart and shattered livelihoods. As far as the English state was concerned, the depositions illustrated the great cruelties perpetrated against the Protestant community by the Catholics and formed the basis for convictions in the warcrimes tribunals of the early 1650s (see chapter 10). In this sense they must be seen as ‘documents of conquest’.99 The 1641 depositions also record acts of toleration, friendship and compassion, where lords or their family members protected the local Protestants from the excesses of the insurgents. During the 1650s and especially after the Restoration, testimonies recounting these kindnesses proved important in securing the survival and revival of many families, especially Catholic ones. The Baronial Context of the Civil Wars By Christmas 1641 the rising had engulfed much of the country, with the Irish in Counties Kilkenny, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Wicklow joining the insurgents from Ulster and the Pale. Viscount Mountgarret and his allies had taken Kilkenny town, together with key strongholds in Tipperary and Waterford. In January 1642 Lords Brittas and Castle Connell (‘a new and younge reconciled Catholicke’) followed Mountgarret’s example and took the insurrection to County Limerick.100 In

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February Mountgarret marched into County Cork, together with the baron of Upper Ossory, at Lord Roche’s invitation.101 In March Viscount Muskerry finally joined the insurgents and ‘raysed his country’. From the Catholic perspective securing Muskerry’s support was essential. Of an ancient and very illustrious Irish pedigree and a committed Catholic, he was related to every noble house in Munster and allied by marriage to the houses of Thomond (his mother, Margaret, was the only sister of Barnabas, sixth earl) and Ormond (his wife, Ellen, was Ormond’s twin).102 Moreover, according to even hostile observers, he was a natural leader: He was a man extraordinarily perspicacious, most apt to uniting people’s minds with himself, popular, clever, not known for being deformed by the stains of any vice and having collected all the virtues that may suit a man apt for navigating the ship of a troubled state according to his will.103

Whether Muskerry could in fact muster an army of 8,000 men, as one pamphleteer maintained, was debatable, but he did rally in time-honoured fashion ‘the Irish septs or tribes, which they preserve with as much integrity and care as the ancient Jewes did theirs’.104 Muskerry and his forces based themselves at Blarney castle, just five miles from Cork, ‘a place of great strength . . . with very strong walls and turrets, with battlements, and contrived many places of defence’.105 By April 1642 Catholic forces, led by Garret Barry, controlled much of Munster, except for Tralee, Cork, Youghal and Bandonbridge. According to the earl of Cork, ‘the height of their revenge is principally bent against the Earle of Barrymore, my selfe and my sonnes’.106 There was undoubtedly truth in this, as the Catholic confederates took up arms against men with whom only months previously they had dined and politicked.107 Cork poured his immense fortune into the Munster war effort. According to his own account, the earl fortified Youghal and manned it with two companies of foot ‘compounded of English Protestants and well disciplined’. He left his ‘owne strong and defensible house of Lismore’ to the care of his son Roger, Baron Broghill, and 100 horse and 100 foot (at a weekly cost of £20 plus provisions). Another son, Lewis, Viscount Kinalmeaky, with 100 horse and 400 foot, took charge of the town of Bandonbridge, ‘the walling and fortifying whereof stood me 14,000li [pounds sterling], wherein are at least 7,000 soules, all English Protestants’. Cork’s investment delivered immediate results as troops sallied out from the town, capturing seven ‘strong castles’ and winning a number of skirmishes.108 Meanwhile his son-in-law, David, earl of Barrymore, defended his recently renovated seat at Castle Lyons. As they prepared for war, Cork drew attention to the rich pickings that might be had in the wake of the rebellion and suggested to his political allies in London

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that Catholic lands should be confiscated and planted with Protestants.109 Others concurred. One noted in April 1642 that ‘a man with one hundred pounds in his purse shall purchase that [land] here, whereupon he may live better than he that hath 100 per annum in England’.110 Early in 1642 the earl gave a rousing speech in Cork city. He lambasted the ‘bloody and barbarous enemy . . . [that] hath brought to ruin whole families, nay destroyed, and quite overthrown the fairest of our buildings, and whole towns and cities’. He urged his audience to rally and fight back: ‘When thy neighbours house is on fire, thou are not secure, but the same danger may reach thee also.’111 According to the earl, rebel excesses had ‘bred such desires of revenge in us, that every man had laid aside all compassion, and is as bloody in his desires against them [the Irish], as they have been in their execution against us’.112 He reported that his son, Lord Broghill, was ‘full of hot blood and courage’, which may have been linked to the insurgents’ onslaught in February 1642 against Lismore, now home to hundreds of Protestant refugees and the Broghill family. Again in May 1643 the insurgents fired the town of Lismore and Cork’s almshouses and killed about 60 of his Irish tenants. The following month Viscount Muskerry summoned the castle to surrender.113 Nearby Castle Lyons also became a refuge for hundreds of Protestants whom the countess of Barrymore clothed and the earl later escorted to Youghal.114 The insurgents made every effort to win over Barrymore, who ‘hath been tempted with promises, and threatened with menaces, to joyne with the rebells in Munster’.115 He refused and reassured his father-in-law of his loyalty, ‘enlightened with the understanding of God’s true religion and gospell’.116 More practically, Barrymore ‘raised some 500 horse and foot of his tenants, and friends for the kings service and his own defence’.117 This did not prevent Lords Roche and Muskerry, his erstwhile dinner partner, from capturing and sacking Castle Lyons in May 1642 (though, significantly, Muskerry allowed Barrymore to escape the onslaught unharmed).118 These baronial armies came face to face at the battle of Liscarroll (3 September 1642) when troops led by Lords Brittas, Castle Connell, Dunboyne, Ikerrin, Muskerry and Roche took on a Protestant force led by Lords Broghill, Dungarvan, Inchiquin and Kinalmeaky. The Protestant forces won the encounter, but Liscarroll proved to be a personal disaster for the earl of Cork: Kinalmeaky died in a pre-battle ambush, Barrymore suffered wounds that later killed him, and Broghill narrowly escaped capture.119 Fearing for the safety of his other sons, the earl immediately dispatched Lords Dungarvan and Broghill and their families to England.120 The great hero of Liscarroll was Murrough O’Brien, Baron Inchiquin, a Protestant of Irish Catholic stock and related by marriage to neighbouring settler families.121 Despite his relative youth (he was only 27 in 1641) and his limited experience of warfare (though he had spent some time in Spanish service in Italy during

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the late 1630s), he won early victories at Liscarroll and in other skirmishes with the insurgents. Inchiquin used his kin connections with the Irish to secure accurate intelligence of their plans and movements and always led his men from the front. His leadership skills helped to overcome the perennial problems he encountered fighting in the Munster theatre of war and the fact that his forces constantly lacked seasoned reinforcements, sufficient money and adequate munitions. According to contemporary pamphleteers, Inchiquin ‘performed all the offices of a resolute man and a wise commander’;122 and ‘showed excellent demonstrations of his valour, and by his example encouraged all the army to acts of chivalry and honour’.123 Yet despite his reputation in the popular press as a man of ‘chivalry and honour’, Inchiquin committed numerous outrages, earning him the nickname ‘Murrough of the burnings’ (Murchadh na dTóiteán). In September 1647 Inchiquin’s men stormed St Patrick’s cathedral, Cashel, leaving dead 700 men ‘besides some women’ who had sought refuge there. The carnage at the cathedral was such that the bodies lay six deep, and it did not stop there: allegedly, an additional 2,000 townsfolk perished during the sack of Cashel.124 Inchiquin’s personal rivalry with the Boyles of Cork, especially Lord Broghill, left him vulnerable to politicking at Westminster, and this helps to explain why he changed sides in 1644 (from the king to Parliament) and again in 1648 (when he returned to fight for the king).125 Despite being appointed in January 1645 the parliamentary lord president of Munster, Inchiquin proved reluctant to embrace the Solemn League and Covenant, something that Broghill and hard-line parliamentarians held against him.126 Although consistently undermined and marginalized by Broghill, now largely based in London, and his Westminster allies in the ‘Independent’ faction, Inchiquin took the offensive in 1647 and launched a major campaign into Counties Waterford and Tipperary which forced the confederates to order the Munster commander, Theobald, Viscount Taaffe, to take action against him. Their armies engaged at Knocknanuss, near Mallow in County Cork, on 13 November. Inchiquin’s smaller force routed the confederate army. Despite this, Parliament, now dominated by his political enemies, failed to supply Inchiquin’s troops. This forced him to conclude a truce with the confederate forces in Munster and to switch sides yet again, leaving the Protestants of south Munster once more vulnerable to the Catholic forces.127 From a Protestant view point, west of the Shannon was the most militarily vulnerable province, in part because the Protestant nobility did not enjoy a significant military presence there. News of the rising reached Barnabas, sixth earl of Thomond, then resident in the strategically sited Bunratty castle early in November. Over the course of the next few months he urged his followers to remain loyal to the Crown and attempted to protect his estates, coordinate the defence of County Clare and maintain law and order.128 Local Protestants

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later criticized the earl for his lack of military leadership and for not having armed his English and Dutch tenants, who ‘might not only have awed, expelled and quelled all the rebels of that country, but have done much good against the other rebels of Munster’.129 Throughout the early 1640s Thomond took a strictly neutral stance, something that the confederates tolerated because so many of his O’Brien kinsmen (Inchiquin excepted) supported the Catholic war effort.130 Finally, in the spring of 1646 Baron Inchiquin and Thomond’s English wife persuaded the earl to hand Bunratty castle over to a small parliamentary garrison and to retire to his wife’s estates in Northamptonshire.131 A few months later (14 July) the confederates captured Bunratty castle and broke the parliamentary blockade of Limerick. The earl of Clanricarde held much of Connacht for the Crown by virtue of ‘the generall affection borne to his family, and the dependence upon him, by reason of his great estate’.132 Because of the influence Clanricarde exerted both at home and at the royal court, the confederates repeatedly asked him to join their cause, appealing directly to his sense of honour.133 In November 1642 a fellow peer evoked the memory of his ancestors and begged Clanricarde ‘not to expose the honour descended from so noble a father to so much obloquy, as that the world may see, when all the rest of the catholicks of this kingdom answer their father, your lordship should be the only branded member for denying to your own father, your king and country’.134 As in the case of Thomond, the confederates tolerated Clanricarde’s military neutrality. The earl attributed this to three things. First, ‘the memory of my father was very precious to most of the kingdom’. Second, some believed that Clanricarde’s English connections might, in the event of a defeat, prove ‘a powerful instrument for their obtaining pardon, and the future settlement of a good peace; many through compulsion and mere necessity, being involved in this general calamity’. Third, he had close friends – especially the Galway lawyers – within ‘their council of Kilkenny’ who protected his interests.135 Unlike so many of his fellow peers, Clanricarde was a true royalist who put the king’s cause above his personal interests or those of his compatriots. He nonetheless meddled in confederate politics and attempted to mediate a political settlement between the Crown and confederates. Throughout the war he also implored his fellow peers to act with honour in their dealings with the enemy and chastised them if troops under their command behaved inappropriately.136 It was 1647 (significantly, after the death of his stepbrother and parliamentary commander, the earl of Essex) when Clanricarde finally committed himself to the confederate cause.137 Clanricarde later became Ormond’s deputy but his belated involvement did little to further either the royalist war effort in Ireland or the confederate cause.138 Clanricarde may have maintained his neutrality during the early years of the war but other Connacht lords supported the Catholic cause. Francis

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Bermingham, ‘a very gallant proper man’ who in 1645 succeeded his elderly father as twelfth Lord Athenry, was, according to Clanricarde, ‘drawn into the confederacy, and made a colonel in that party, somewhat, I believe, to the disturbance of his private thoughts and affections’.139 Despite Clanricarde’s assurances that Viscount Clanmorres was ‘as careful and compassionate of the English as any man can be’, the viscount pressed the town of Galway to declare for the confederates and ‘marched to the field, [taking] foure or fiue castles from the enemie perforce’.140 The anonymous author of the Aphorismical Discovery of Treasonable Faction added that ‘such of them [i.e. the captured castles] as did not in time sue for quarter, was putt to the sworde and all this in one day, such was his zeale, but soone after tooke a sicknesse, wherof in a shorte space died, to the noe small greefe of all the Catholicks of Ireland’.141 An account, dating from 1653, offered an alternative version of Clanmorres’s ‘sicknesse’. It recorded in graphic detail his alleged onslaught against the inhabitants of Clarinbridge, County Galway, and how the ‘mad and raving’ Clanmorres engaged in an orgy of violence that began when he ‘drank a health to his lordship [i.e. Clanricarde] and thereupon caused one of the men to be turned off the ladder and presently after called for more wine, drank another health to Clanricarde and caused another to be turned off and hanged, and soe the health upon the hanging of every person until they were all executed’. Clanmorres died of a fever shortly afterwards, ‘much disquieted’, Clanricarde later wrote, by ‘some violent acts committed by him’.142 Another Bourke kinsman, Viscount Mayo, did his best to maintain law and order in north Connacht but in February 1642 lost control of his men, who launched a particularly brutal attack on a convoy of Protestants travelling to Galway at Shrule Bridge, County Mayo. Despite the fact that Mayo, a recent convert to Protestantism and new to the peerage, had promised the refugees a safe conduct, Irish insurgents massacred them and robbed the bodies of their clothing and other valuable items. According to one eyewitness account, when Mayo heard of the atrocity he went into his ‘chamber, and there wept bitterly, pulling off his hair, and refusing to hear any word of persuasion, and comfort . . . having no manner of means left him at that time to be revenged for that inhuman and bloody massacre, and the irreparable dishonour done unto himself ’.143 Mayo’s genuine sense of horror at the nature of the bloodletting and how it violated existing codes of conduct and honour is clearly evident. When atrocities involving a lord (his tenant, servant or kinsman) did occur, the honour of that individual was compromised, often resulting in private distress and public humiliation.144 Despite this and his reversion to Catholicism, Mayo’s subsequent relationship with the confederation of Kilkenny was tense and he often operated as an independent warlord as he did his best to protect his County Mayo estates.

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The 1641 insurrection had begun in Ulster and the Protestant lords there bore the brunt of the action as they defended their estates from incursions by Irish insurgents. By 1643 Lords Blayney, Charlemont, Claneboy, Conway, Cromwell and Montgomery, together with other local Protestant grandees, raised 9,900 foot and 750 horse, and the arrival of a further 10,000 Scots in April 1642 enabled them to regain control over much of central and east Ulster. In November 1641 Parliament appointed Viscount Conway as a regimental colonel (he arrived in March 1642). From his base at Lisburn he acted as commander-in-chief of the British forces and fought alongside Robert Monro, the commander of the Scottish army. Of the leading Catholic lords in Ulster – Antrim, Magennis of Iveagh and Maguire of Enniskillen – only Magennis was in situ when the insurrection broke out. The fact that ‘all the Irish lords of Ulster were in noe posture of seruice’ was, according to Bellings, ‘a greate hinderance to the royall service in the north’.145 Early intelligence of the attempt to seize Dublin castle enabled the authorities to arrest Lord Maguire of Enniskillen and his followers, and forced the insurgents in County Fermanagh to turn to his brother, Rory, for leadership. Maguire’s arrest seemed to fuel the rebel onslaught and the absence of his restraining and moderating influence might explain why the early weeks of the rising in County Fermanagh were so violent and bloody.146 For his part, Viscount Magennis of Iveagh with his men attacked Downpatrick and besieged Lord Cromwell’s house.147 Magennis granted the defenders safe quarter but then burned down Cromwell’s ‘faire goodly howse and but lately built’ and ransacked his estate in Lecale, allegedly depriving Cromwell of an annual income of £2,600.148 In June 1642 a County Down deponent described Magennis as ‘a young but a desperate and cruel rebel’.149 His mother, Mary, Lady Magennis of Iveagh, according to another deponent, was ‘so cruel against the English and Scottish’ held captive in the town of Newry that she urged the insurgents to kill them.150 The earl of Antrim, who in the spring of 1641 had been involved in ‘popish plots’ unconnected to Maguire’s, remained in Dublin and agreed to act as an intermediary with the ‘discontented gentlemen’ (as Antrim termed the insurgents). Antrim’s neutrality did not prevent his followers in County Antrim joining the rising or the Scottish army, under Robert Monro, from occupying his east Ulster patrimony. The need to recover his estates became Antrim’s priority for the next 20 years and he was prepared to do almost anything in order to secure their return. In May 1642 he travelled to Dunluce in the hope of forging a deal with Monro who instead incarcerated him in Carrickfergus castle. Six months later he escaped disguised as an invalid and fled to a waiting ship bound for Carlisle; from there he journeyed to York, where he joined his wife and Queen Henrietta Maria sometime in November. He spent most of the winter and spring plotting an invasion of Scotland with

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the queen, the details of which became public in May 1643 when a Scottish colonel recaptured him off the County Down coast. Following another dramatic escape from Carrickfergus in November, Antrim hurried to Waterford, where the third general assembly of the confederate Catholics had just convened. Almost at once he secured the support of the general assembly for an invasion of Scotland. The confederates promised to raise and transport 2,000–3,000 men to the Western Isles to join forces with troops levied by the Scottish royalists under the command of the marquis of Montrose. In June 1644 some 1,600 fully armed soldiers under the command of Alasdair MacColla left Ireland to form the backbone of Montrose’s very successful royalist army.151 By acting as a military entrepreneur, Antrim combined the royalist goal of taking the war to the Covenanters in Scotland with his own personal objective of ridding his Irish estates of the Scottish army of occupation. When this failed to remove Monro’s men from east Ulster, Antrim turned to others – first the papal nuncio and later the Cromwellians – in an effort to retrieve his patrimony. Professional career soldiers, many of whom enjoyed close kinship links with members of the resident peerage, fought alongside local lords. Generals Owen Roe O’Neill (‘a soldier since a boy, in the only martial academy of Christendom – Flanders’),152 Thomas Preston and Garret Barry were all veterans who had spent most of their careers fighting in the Spanish army of Flanders. A nephew of Hugh O’Neill, earl of Tyrone, Owen Roe O’Neill had distinguished himself at the defence of Arras (he was the governor) before returning to Ireland in July 1642 to lead the army of Ulster.152 Preston, later first Viscount Tara, was the second son of Christopher Preston, fourth Viscount Gormanston, and uncle to the sixth viscount who, as his will made clear, ‘was persuaded by the nobility and gents of Leinster to send for my uncle Thomas Preston . . . assuring me that his charges should be defrayed and my uncle at no losse which I hope they will perform’.154 Thomas Preston had fought alongside O’Neill at the much celebrated siege of Breda (1624–5), helped to relieve the siege of ’s-Hertogenbosch (1629) in Brabant and held Louvain against a French onslaught (1635) before becoming in 1641 governor of Gennepp, on the eastern borders of the United Provinces. He and his family arrived in Wexford in September 1642 to a warm reception ‘with dayly invitations, feasts and banquetts . . . gratulatorie poems, civill and martiall representations of comedies and stage playes’.155 Preston then took over the command of the army of Leinster.156 Garret Barry, who ‘from his youth had been a souldier and grew ould in the warres’ had served in Germany and the Netherlands (he too was at Breda), was a kinsman of the earl of Barrymore and initially took command of the Munster armies despite the fact that he was ‘old and unfortunate’.157 In January 1642 Mountgarret’s brother, Colonel John Butler, a professional swordsman, arrived home to

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fight alongside his kinsmen.158 These men brought with them to Ireland the latest military techniques and technologies associated with the Military Revolution. War and Politics The onset of civil war in Ireland after October 1641 shattered pre-war political groupings in the Irish parliament. The fifth session of the parliament began on 11 January 1642 and ended on 9 February 1647, but conflict pre­­ occupied the majority of peers who simply retreated to their country seats and mobilized for war. Aside from Richard, second earl of Westmeath, who took his seat in the Dublin House of Lords for the first time on 15 April 1644 and Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion who attended in 1645 and 1646, only a small Protestant rump of six lords ever attended. In February 1645 there were ‘not two viscounts present to accompany’ Viscount Ranelagh as he was introduced to the house and two barons had to substitute for them.159 With the outbreak of civil war in England after August 1642 the bulk of the Protestant peers – and many of the Catholic ones – initially remained loyal to Charles I (see appendix III). Determining who the royalists actually were, however, is fraught since a number changed sides and a few avoided making a commitment. It would seem that while the degree of engagement varied according to circumstances, many peers remained loyal to the king and those who joined the confederation of Kilkenny did so in the context of loyalty to the Stuarts.160 The conclusion in September 1643 of a ceasefire between the forces loyal to the Crown, led by Ormond, and the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant a few weeks later forced peers to choose between king and Parliament. After the Restoration the earl of Anglesey claimed that 14 Protestant lords (there were 34 at this point) opposed the cessation together with later peace treaties that Ormond concluded with the confederates and as a result should be regarded as supporting the parliamentary cause.161 This is an oversimplification and Protestant responses to the 1643 ceasefire, the later peace treatises and the Solemn League and Covenant varied. For instance, Sir Arthur Chichester, who succeeded his aged father as the second viscount in 1648, initially served as Ormond’s commander-in-chief in Ulster, and after Monro surprised his Belfast regiment (May 1644) Chichester retreated to Dublin where he remained for most of the 1640s and kept a low profile. Viscount Conway, whose Lisnagarvey regiment refused to take the Solemn League and Covenant in 1644, was initially a staunch loyalist but after 1646 felt that he had no alternative but to cooperate with the parliamentary forces based in Ulster. In September 1644 Lord Blayney objected to the continuation of the ceasefire between the royalists and confederates, claiming ‘None that hath an English heart in his body, a protestant face, and a Christian

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conscience, will give any obedience to such an unnatural composition of so great a quarrel, so just a war.’162 By 1646 Lord Blayney, who like Conway had initially adhered to Ormond, had joined with the Scots (he later lost his life at Benburb). Lord Castle Stewart transferred his allegiance to the parliamentarians under Michael Jones.163 Others inclined to the Westminster Parliament, which from the outset had become the effective paymaster of the Protestant troops in Munster together with the British forces and the Scottish army in Ulster. With the outbreak of war in Ireland in 1641 Lords Loftus of Ely and Mountnorris retreated to London and lobbied Parliament for aid for Ireland. However, as the war gained momentum in England, Loftus fought for Parliament and Mountnorris, who succeeded as Viscount Valentia in 1642, retired from politics and spent the 1640s and 1650s either in Ireland or on his estate at Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire. His eldest son, Arthur Annesley, later first earl of Anglesey, served in 1645 and again in 1647 as a parliamentary commissioner to Ireland (Annesley was one of the commissioners to whom Ormond surrendered Dublin). Purged from the Westminster Parliament in 1648, Annesley lay low during the 1650s but sat for Dublin in Richard Cromwell’s parliament early in 1659.164 The other resident peers who figured in Westminster politics were Lords Broghill and Inchiquin (until he reverted to the king in 1648), who held Munster for Parliament, together with Lord Esmond who commanded Duncannon fort prior to his death and its capture by General Preston in 1645. It is not clear which peers actually adhered to the Solemn League and Covenant. Lords Broghill probably had no choice but to sign it, along with Lords Claneboy, Folliott, Montgomery and possibly Castle Stewart, whom Parliament nominated governor of Derry in 1648.165 Hugh, second Viscount Montgomery, became the de facto leader of the Scottish planters in east Ulster and worked closely with the Scottish commander, Monro, who married his widowed mother. Montgomery initially resisted taking the Solemn League and Covenant but in June 1644 he finally acquiesced. Thereafter he served under Monro, attended the councils of war of the Ulster British forces and fought at Benburb, where he was captured.166 He languished in gaol for over a year until he could be exchanged with a confederate captive of equivalent rank (the earl of Westmeath, who had been taken prisoner after Dungan’s Hill in August 1647).167 James Hamilton, second Viscount Claneboye, also fought under Monro and probably took the Solemn League and Covenant with his men in 1644. Like Montgomery, Claneboye later supported the Engagement but in 1649 he reverted to the king’s cause. The execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649 proved a turning point for many peers who up until this point had supported Parliament, however unenthusiastically. Images of ‘the innocent streams of

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blood’ issuing from ‘his martyred body’ haunted one ‘Christian’ peer, who valued ‘true honour’.168 Confederate Catholics Over the summer and autumn of 1642 the Catholics established the Confederate Association. Bellings described it as ‘such a Government as might best suite with the condition of the times and constitution of their affayres; to which end there mett in the citty of Kilkenny a very numerous assembly of Prelates, of noblemen and trustees chosen from all the counties and Corporations haveing right to send burgesses to Parliament’.169 Another contemporary observer described the confederate ‘model of government’ as comprising ‘a countie councell to be chosen in euerie countie, a prouinciall in euery prouince, and another councell [i.e. the General Assembly] to be indifferently choosen, by the whole kingdome’, together with a supreme council.170 The architecture of confederate government and the exercise of power thus closely resembled pre-1641 structures and processes. Aside from the important difference that the general assembly was a unicameral body and, very significantly, that the executive (or the supreme council) was subordinate to the legislature, the general assembly was modelled on Parliament. By the mid-1640s there were 34 Catholic peers, 26 (76 per cent) of whom can be associated with the confederation of Kilkenny (see appendix III for details). Of those not included, John Power, fifth Baron Le Power, was a lunatic; Patrick Plunkett, ninth Lord Dunsany, had been incarcerated in Dublin castle during the early 1640s; and James, third baron of Strabane, was a minor.171 The earl of Clanricarde, Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion, Lord Courcy of Kinsale and the recently elevated Barnewall of Kingsland were either neutral or served in the royalist armies in England. While, as the earl of Clanricarde gleefully observed, ‘The good old earl of Westmeath [who] was nearly allied to most of the nobility of the pale . . . would not embrace their ways.’172 Old age (he was 72) kept Lord Athenry at home, but his grandson and heir later joined the confederation, as did Westmeath’s. At least 20 lords (59 per cent) took their seats in one or more of the nine confederate general assemblies that met at Kilkenny between 1642 and 1649 (in 1643 the meeting was held in Waterford).173 Sir Richard Bellings, secretary to the supreme council, noted that the general assembly met in ‘some large roome appointed for the place of meeting, seats were built to the height of three assents. Those at the upper end were designed for the Lords and Prelates. . . . The precedency of speakeing, as to the other members of the House was determined by the Prolocutor: but a nobleman or Prelate that offered to speake, was allwayes preferred.’174 Ever jealous of their privileged position in society the lords also ensured that they ‘had an upper room’ in

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Robert Shee’s house ‘for a recess for private consultation’.175 At least 13 (38 per cent) peers sat as members of at least one supreme council. For instance, in 1647 Viscounts Mountgarret and Dillon of Costello-Gallen represented Leinster; Viscount Muskerry and Baron Dunboyne stood for Munster; Viscount Mayo and Baron Athenry for Connacht; and the marquis of Antrim, Viscount Magennis of Iveagh and Antrim’s brother, Alexander MacDonnell, for Ulster. The most politically active – or at least those who sat on four or more supreme councils – were Lords Antrim, Castlehaven, Fermoy, Magennis of Iveagh, Mountgarret, Muskerry and Netterville. Viscount Mountgarret presided over every council between 1642 and 1646, and the marquis of Antrim briefly took over in 1647 as the effective head of state. The peers also served abroad as roving diplomats: Antrim travelled to Paris in 1648, Muskerry to Oxford in 1644 and to Paris in 1648, and Taaffe to the duke of Lorraine in 1651. As with the pre-war parliaments the influence of the titled nobility was clearly discernible and one contemporary noted that ‘those peeres did soe well thrive, that they perswaded, both Councell, and many of the chiefe members of [the] Assembly to theire owne opinion’.176 Despite the fact that their administrative experience was limited because they had not been allowed to hold high office in early Stuart Ireland, the lords, together with the lawyers and former MPs, continued to represent landed interests and brought to the confederate assembly experience of parliamentary procedures, practices and traditions.177 Legislative structure followed parliamentary practice and one of the first acts passed by the 1642 general assembly specifically mandated that ‘the common laws of England and Ireland . . . and all other statutes . . . shall be punctually observed within this kingdom’. Another confederate act specified that any land transfers that occurred would later have to be ratified by a free parliament, a clear recognition of the Irish parliament’s position as the supreme source of authority in Ireland.178 More innovative, but little studied, were the networks of provincial and county councils that formed an intimate part of the framework of confederate government.179 Though the details are often obscure, it appears that local lords provided political leadership at the regional level. For example, in August 1642 the Connacht provincial council selected Lords Clanmorres and Mayo and Mayo’s son, Sir Theobald Bourke, as three of their general assembly delegates (there were 12 in all). The provincial council that met at Ballinrobe appointed Lord Mayo as governor for County Mayo and ‘sat there daily for a week together and there gave out orders both for raising men and for the maintaining of them as also for the settlement of possession’.180 An oath of association, drawn up in June 1642, bound together the confederate movement. A hostile pamphleteer reported to his English audience that the oath was ‘administered and received, with twenty vain antics, ceremoniall

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superstitions and ridiculous fopperies, as crossing, sprinkling, bead-dropping, and the like’.181 Closer to home, the earl of Clanricarde heard of the ‘violent proceedings of the clergy, inforcing men to take the oath of association, both by excommunication, and keeping them from mass, and by threatening to set all others upon them’.182 Whatever the truth, a considerable number of Irish lords signed the oath of association, and at least 17 of the 34 Catholic lords (50 per cent) subscribed to the revised oath of 1647, though this figure is probably an underestimate (see appendix III). They thereby swore never to lay down arms until full toleration had been granted for the Catholic religion and the clergy had been restored to their pre-Reformation properties and privileges. Baronial Leadership The peers may have played a very prominent role in the conflict of the 1640s but yet they failed to provide either the decisive military or political leadership that the Catholic cause so desperately needed. For instance, the feud in 1644 between Lords Antrim and Castlehaven over who should be given supreme command of all the confederate armies ensured that the summer offensive against Ulster ended in a shambles. Jealousies between Viscounts Taaffe and Muskerry over who should command the army of Munster resulted in military disasters in 1647.183 Contemporaries were acutely aware of this vacuum and Bellings noted ‘the great scarsity and fatall barrenesse of abilityes among the then sett of noblemen’.184 The deaths between 1642 and 1643 of three prominent lords – Westmeath, Slane and Gormanston – combined with the neutrality of key Catholics like Clanricarde, help to explain this ‘fatall barrenesse of abilityes’ amongst the nobility.185 The other natural leaders lost at this time were William Fleming, Lord Slane, and especially Nicholas Preston, Viscount Gormanston (Thomas Preston’s nephew), who were regarded as being ‘the two best peeres of L[e]inster, for witt and loyalltie’ and ‘both yonge and reasonable’.186 Slane and Gormanston were both succeeded by young sons. In short, the Catholic war effort lacked a charismatic titled figure, an earl of Essex, who could provide decisive and overarching political, as well as military, leadership. Instead, the confederate lords either politicked amongst themselves or allowed external forces – the Crown or the clergy – to divide and rule them. Micheál Ó Siochrú has suggested that Lords Castlehaven, Mountgarret, Muskerry and Taaffe headed up the ‘peace faction’ and enjoyed the support of the lords of the Pale and the other Butler lords (Cahir, Dunboyne and Galmoy).187 Political opponents to the Confederate Association regarded the majority of peers as ‘Ormondists’ though a significant minority, led by the marquis of Antrim, favoured an agenda driven by the papal nuncio,

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Rinuccini, and his fellow clerics. As the 1640s progressed the Confederate Association became increasingly divided between the pro-clerical and proroyalist groupings, and this profoundly undermined the ability of the confederates to wage war effectively.188 Matters reached crisis point in the spring of 1648 when on 27 May Rinuccini excommunicated those who supported the truce negotiated between Lord Inchiquin and the confederates (20 May 1648). The supreme council immediately appealed to Rome against the excommunication. The peers within the confederate assembly split into those who supported the supreme council (Lords Bermingham of Athenry, Clanmalier, Dunboyne, Fingal, Galmoy, Mountgarret, Trimleston, Upper Ossory and Westmeath) and those who stood firm behind the papal nuncio (Lords Antrim, Dunsany, Gormanston, Ikerrin, Louth, Magennis of Iveagh, Maguire of Enniskillen, Mayo and Slane).189 A brief period of intense and bitter civil war followed until Ormond finally managed to conclude in January 1649 an uneasy peace treaty, which paved the way for the dissolution of the Confederate Association and the creation of a pan-archipelagic royalist coalition. The Protestant cause in civil war Ireland had no equivalent to the earl of Essex either. However, Ormond’s far-reaching kinship links, especially with the lesser Butler houses and Viscount Muskerry, combined with the influence that his clients (the ‘Ormondists’) enjoyed within the Confederate Association and his close personal relationship with Charles I, ensured that he exerted extensive political clout on confederate strategy for most of the 1640s.190 As the war in England gained momentum and the king’s hunger for Irish troops grew, Ormond became increasingly embroiled in seemingly endless negotiations with the confederates, which resulted in a ceasefire in 1643 and pacifications in 1646 and 1649. The political furore that ensued after the first Ormond Peace pushed Ormond into surrendering Dublin to Parliament and fleeing first to England and later to France. Ormond’s actions and the perception that he was looking after his own interests rather than those of his royal master attracted criticism and accusations of disloyalty. After January 1649 the confederates threw their weight behind the marquis and his royalist coalition, which included Lord Inchiquin, and their combined forces took the strategic towns of Dundalk, Newry, Trim and Drogheda. Any successes were cut short by the rout of Ormond’s forces at the battle of Rathmines (2 August 1649), a defeat that not only discredited Ormond but paved the way for the landing of Oliver Cromwell and his force of 12,000 veterans, armed with heavy artillery. Within three months the key royalist and confederate strongholds of Drogheda (11 September) and Wexford (11 October) had fallen, followed by New Ross (19 October) and Carrickfergus (2 November). Small wonder the remnants of the royalist force became mutinous. Admittedly, Ormond had managed to offset some of the disastrous

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losses by persuading Owen Roe O’Neill and the army of Ulster to join him; but O’Neill’s death (6 November), less than three weeks after the treaty had been signed, created a power vacuum and helped to pave the way for the capture of Kilkenny (27 March 1650), Clonmel (10 May), Carlow (24 July) and Charlemont (14 August), together with the defeat of the army of Ulster at Scarrifhollis in County Donegal (21 June 1650). Ormond’s ineffective attempts to rally the royalist cause and his lack of leadership left him vulnerable to criticism. The anonymous author of the Aphorismical Discovery of Treasonable Faction held him to be ‘a man of small deseruinge in martiall affaires, weake in his directions . . . and unfortunate in his actions, in whom was nothinge noble or greate but his bloude’.191 This was anathema to Ormond who, whether on or off the battlefield, wanted to be represented as a man of public honour and private virtue whose conduct was beyond reproach. On 11 December 1650 he sailed back into continental exile, leaving the marquis of Clanricarde, who took over as lord deputy, and his erstwhile confederate allies to fall out amongst themselves and to negotiate the surrenders of Limerick (27 October 1651) and finally of Galway (12 April 1652). On 12 May 1652 the army of Leinster agreed terms with the Cromwellians at Kilkenny, and Lords Clanmalier, Iveagh, Mayo, Muskerry, Slane, Westmeath and their forces laid down their arms.192 The following month Clanricarde also submitted to the Cromwellians. The war in Ireland was as good as over. Conclusion A number of conclusions can be drawn from this broadly chronological overview of the conduct of the war and the role that the peers played in it. First, the Irish lords perceived themselves as a warrior class and initially viewed the outbreak of war in Scotland as an opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to Charles I and to court royal favour with military service. With the onset of rebellion in October 1641 the conflict spread to Ireland and the peers proved less enthusiastic about taking up arms. However, the escalation of the violence and the widespread involvement of the lower orders in the insurrection over the autumn and winter of 1641 forced the peers to engage in the conflict if only to protect their lineage and landed interests. Second, the peers may have been reluctant to fight but it was partly their intervention that made the continuation of the war possible. Lords, especially of ancient lineage, called their followers and kinsmen to arms much as their forefathers had done, while the more recently created nobles mobilized the settler community. Many peers then served as military commanders, with varying degrees of effectiveness, in the local and national arenas. In addition to mobilizing thousands of men for war, the peers also formed a critical

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component in the political infrastructures in London, Oxford, Dublin and Kilkenny that sustained these forces and offered, often with limited effect, strategic leadership for the various war efforts. Third, while some peers acted primarily in the interests of the king or, in the case of recusant lords, the Catholic Church, the majority did not. Often local circumstances and selfinterest determined military actions and political agendas and when these were combined with a lack of strategic leadership, it is remarkable that the war in Ireland lasted for as long as it did. Its duration can be attributed, at least in part, to the fact that England had dissolved into civil war. Finally, the conduct of the peers during the 1640s, especially their reaction to the 1641 rebellion and the nature and level of their military engagement, had very significant consequences for their material fortunes and political careers not simply during the 1650s, when the Cromwellians did everything possible to destroy their military potential once and for all, but also after the Restoration and beyond. The next two chapters explore this in greater detail.

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CHAPTER 10

Survival Cromwellian military victory after 1649, followed by English recon-

quest, paved the way for another round of expropriation on a scale that not even Edmund Spenser or Thomas Wentworth would have imagined possible. The completion of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland reduced the titled nobility, especially those lords with royalist and confederate track records, to particularly low ebbs. In a world where land, wealth and power were inextricably linked, expropriation represented a profound threat to their status and their very existence as a privileged group in Irish society. Many peers preferred exile on the Continent to remaining in Ireland. Abroad, as is discussed below, they eked out existences as political refugees at the royal court in exile or as military entrepreneurs. Many peers also took their chances in Ireland and this chapter examines their fate. Some faced death after protracted war-crimes tribunals. Others simply survived and a few eventually prospered. The terms under which a lord surrendered to the new regime often determined his future and that of his lineage. While Oliver Cromwell and his generals had been willing to cut deals with prominent Catholic power brokers, the majority faced confiscation of their estates and transplantation to Connacht. This chapter examines the challenges that the Cromwellian land settlement posed for members of the resident peerage and the various strategies they developed to cope. How many peers were liable for transplantation and how many actually moved west of the River Shannon? What became of their estates? A detailed examination of the marquis of Antrim’s pre-war patrimony suggests that there was a disjuncture between the theory of confiscation and transplantation and the reality of what happened. The situation proved less threatening for the Protestant peers. Those who had supported Parliament prospered. Lord Broghill became a key figure in the political regime in Westminster and others acquired vast landed estates that facilitated further upward social mobility after 1660. Those who had supported the king eventually negotiated a satisfactory

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compromise even if, for a brief period, the Scottish peers – Lords Montgomery and Claneboye – also faced transplantation. This chapter also explores how members of the peerage, especially the pre-war Protestant lords (now termed ‘Old Protestants’), became integral to the smooth running of Ireland and how they helped to secure the restoration of Charles II. By the later 1650s the Cromwellians had become dependent on securing the goodwill of these men and did not hesitate to reach accommodations that effectively reinstated the peers as the political power brokers in their regional communities. On the whole, Catholic lords kept extremely low profiles. Political necessity forced some to spend time lobbying the new regime in London but the majority retreated from public view, some to their much diminished pre-war estates and some to new ones in the west. Though the evidence is extremely scrappy, some lords appear to have done everything possible to protect the interests of their fellow peers, to whom they were related by marriage or connected by a shared debt. Those in a position to do so also tried to prevent Cromwellian parvenus from exercising power, acquiring lands and attaining rank and status. Others did their best to secure the fortunes of their exiled king, the fount of their honour, and, working with their counterparts across the three kingdoms, a handful of peers from Ireland eventually helped to secure the restoration of Charles II. Exile Over the course of the 1640s and 1650s many resident peers and their families spent extended periods of time living abroad, often in straitened circumstances. The long-term political, social and cultural importance of the dislocation and the relationships formed amongst the exiles themselves – whether at Westminster or at the Stuart court first in Oxford and later abroad – and with their host communities in England, France and the Spanish Netherlands, are discussed elsewhere in this book (see chapter 15). They proved particularly important for the survival of Catholic peers after 1660 and for the Protestant ones during the 1650s. In the short term these periods of exile brought intense uncertainty and personal misery. Petitions submitted to the English House of Lords during the early 1640s reveal the plight of titled refugees who fled to England, especially London. Lord Baltinglass, whose estates were in County Wicklow, depended for survival on English government handouts.1 Similarly, prior to the outbreak of the rebellion Patrick Fitzmaurice, baron of Kerry and Lixnaw, owned an estate of 9,978 plantation acres in County Kerry, which was ‘competent to support him in his quality’. As a result of the insurrection Kerry, his wife and seven children fled to London where they lived in poverty.2 By 1650 Kerry, hounded by creditors and regarded as politically suspect, languished in the

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Tower of London, though he was later allowed to travel to Bath for two months ‘on security and recognizances’ of £2,000.3 The family only returned to their seat at Lixnaw during the later 1650s.4 With the outbreak of rebellion Alice, Viscountess Moore, and her two young sons (aged four and two) took refuge first in Dublin and, after her husband’s death in combat in 1643, in London.5 In 1647 she petitioned Parliament for her allowance (£1,000) and her husband’s arrears (£8,000), complaining that ‘her whole estate in Drogheda is wholly destroyed and eaten up by the army’ and that the ‘subsistence and education’ of her sons depended on ‘the charity’ of a friend.6 In the immediate aftermath of the rebellion the wider Boyle clan decamped to England where the war (and total absence of income from Ireland) forced them to live more modestly than they were accustomed. By the mid-1640s the Boyle women had established their households in London, and Lady Ranelagh’s salon offered a particularly stimulating refuge for the Irish Protestant community in exile. During the 1650s Lady Ranelagh badgered the authorities for money for her estranged husband and her immediate family.7 Lady Kildare did likewise and secured pensions and protection from the avaricious creditors who harassed her husband into his grave.8 During the 1650s a significant number of peers – Lords Antrim, Claneboye, Clanricarde, Montgomery, Netterville and Trimleston – also spent time in London as they lobbied the Cromwellian court, just as they had the Stuarts in the pre-war years (discussed below). Other lords sought refuge on the Continent. During the 1650s a significant minority, faced with sequestration and even death at home, opted to follow the Stuarts into exile where they acted as roving diplomats, secured military commands in the armies of France, Spain or Germany, or simply camped in Caen in Normandy or in The Hague in Flanders where they plotted amongst themselves.9 They included Lords Castle Connell, Castlehaven, Fitzwilliam, Gormanston, Inchiquin, Muskerry, Netterville, Ormond, Taaffe, Tara and Richard Bourke, later earl of Clanricarde. Ormond, who resided first in north-western France at Caen, then Paris and later in the southern Netherlands at Bruges, enjoyed the special favour of the king and his court in exile, and during these years he developed close relationships with figures who went on to dominate English politics, especially Edward Hyde, later earl of Clarendon, and Edward Nicholas, secretary of state.10 After the Restoration, Clarendon noted how during these years Ormond was reduced to living in a humble Parisian boarding house and to walking ‘the streets on foot, which was no honourable custom in Paris’.11 Ormond conspired with English and Irish royalists and in 1658 made a daring visit to England from his Flemish base to discuss the possibility of a restoration.12 Exiled from his immediate home and family (his eldest sons joined him only briefly) and living in reduced circumstances, these years took their toll on him and on his

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marriage.13 Writing in May 1678 Ormond reminded Richard Boyle, second earl of Cork and also earl of Burlington, of the difficulties of these years in exile: ‘I cannot possibly live over again so many ill years as we have done. I am sure a thatched house in Ireland or a grave anywhere will please me better than the Louvre or Palais Royal.’14 During their continental sojourns the peers joined forces with established communities of Irish military, intellectual and economic émigrés.15 Lord Inchiquin, for example, secured a French command despite the fact that local priests tried to block his appointment on the grounds that his actions at Cashel in 1647 made him ‘a murderer of priests, friars and such like’.16 Between 1654 and the conclusion of peace in 1659 he served in Catalonia as governor of the French-controlled regions.17 According to the earl of Castlehaven’s own account, Henry Ireton promised that ‘if I would retire and live in England, I should not only enjoy my estate, but remain in safety with esteem and favour of the parliament’.18 Yet Castlehaven opted for exile and his memoirs document his continental military career, which was reasonably distinguished. He headed the Irish regiments fighting for the French Crown in the war with Spain, holding the rank of maréchal-de-camp, or major general, and was present at major military encounters, including the sieges of Rocroi (1653) and Arras (1654) and the battle of the Dunes in 1658.19 Lord and Lady Muskerry and their children followed their eldest son, Cormac, to France where he was in military service.20 Muskerry’s daughters entered the convent at Port Royal near Paris, while the viscount roamed Europe seeking employment as a swordsman until he returned home in 1653 to bear his ‘crosses’ and stand trial before a Cromwellian court. Reprisals Viscount Muskerry stood trial charged with ‘war crimes’, allegedly committed during the early months of the insurrection when Muskerry had attempted (often unsuccessfully) to protect local Protestant refugees from the insurgents’ onslaughts and organized safe convoys for them. Interestingly, Muskerry had chosen to stand trial, returning to Ireland from exile in the Iberian Peninsula, to bear (as he put it) his ‘crosses’. Muskerry offered a spirited defence and after a three-day ordeal was acquitted, three judges having found him guilty and three innocent. In a moving speech he thanked the court, which, he believed, had acted ‘with justice’. He continued: ‘I consider that in this Court I come clear out of that blackness of blood . . . [which] is more to me than my estate. I can live without my estate, but not without my credit [i.e. honour and reputation].’21 He was retried in February 1654 for his part in royalist conspiracies, but thanks to the influence that Lady Ormond enjoyed with the Cromwellian authorities he was again acquitted. He returned to the

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Continent where he served as a confidant of Ormond and Charles II, who in 1658 elevated him to the earldom of Clancarthy in recognition of his loyalty to the Stuarts in their darkest hour. The Cromwellians conducted other war-crimes trials during the early 1650s. In 1652 a Cork court found Lord Castle Connell innocent of the charges brought against him of alleged involvement in atrocities committed in Limerick.22 Later the same year a Kilkenny court found Lord Clanmalier guilty of having committed murder but then reprieved him. Edward Butler, Viscount Mountgarret’s second son, was also found guilty of the murder of five people at Ballyraggett in 1642.23 For his part, Edward claimed that he had tried to save refugees but that a ‘guarlan ague’ kept him in bed for a month, which prevented him for protecting the English from ‘bad usage’ at the hands of his men.24 He was executed in 1653, as was Theobald, third Viscount Mayo, after a Galway court found him guilty of being involved in the murders at Shrule Bridge, County Mayo (discussed in chapter 9). In 1652 Lady Ellen Roche of Fermoy, wife of the eighth viscount, mother of the ninth, and a granddaughter of an earl on her mother’s side and a baron on her father’s, was brought before the High Court of Justice. She was tried, condemned and hanged on the evidence of a ‘strumpet’ for allegedly shooting a man even when it could be proved that she was 20 miles away.25 That the authorities treated an aristocratic woman with such dishonour and hanged her like a commoner rankled with many of her contemporaries. Nicholas French, Catholic bishop of Ferns, later claimed that Lady Fermoy had been ‘dragged before a foul multitude of heretical common people, who had once been her subjects, as though she were appearing before a council’. She ‘trembled merely to look on a naked sword-blade, and grew pale at the sound of the faintest gun-shots’. French related how she was ‘accused of handling weapons to kill Protestants’ before being ‘convicted by false witnesses and throttled by a noose of ill-repute . . . in the sight of her children and friends’.26 Even by Cromwellian standards Lady Roche’s execution was particularly brutal. Catholic Survival Just as Lord Mayo and Lady Roche perished at the hands of the Cromwellians, others managed to survive, even prosper. The terms under which they surrendered to the Cromwellians often determined their fate. The marquis of Antrim made contact with the invaders shortly after their arrival in Ireland and demonstrated his willingness to serve the Cromwellians by securing the surrender of New Ross (19 October 1649). Henry Ireton later reminded the English council of state of the ‘singular service’ Antrim had done the army ‘since the first day they came before Rosse’.27 He appears to have remained

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with the main English army for much of 1650 and tried to persuade his former followers in Ireland to surrender peacefully.28 For his part, Antrim received several important favours from the new regime. Ireton promised Antrim that he should either be allowed to compound for his estates in Ulster or be awarded lands equivalent to them elsewhere in Ireland (in the event, his wife secured lands in Connacht, discussed below).29 Early in January 1652 parliamentary commissioners requested that Antrim – ‘not having been so active as most others have against the parliament, nor being a man of designing head, or guilty of the massacres’ – might be ‘left out of the exception for life and estate’ and allowed to compound for his property.30 In the event, the administration in Dublin proved unable to restore the marquis to his estate but it rewarded him financially for his loyalty to the regime (an annual pension of £500, later increased to £800).31 This substantial regular income was supplemented throughout the 1650s by occasional, additional contributions towards everyday expenses.32 As the 1658 ‘civil list’ clearly demonstrates, Antrim received a larger allowance (£800) than any other Irish pensioner (Lord Mayo, son of the executed viscount, was his closest competitor, with a combined stipend of only £134). In fact, he was paid nearly as much as Lord Deputy Henry Cromwell, whose official annual salary was only £1,000, and considerably more than the average civil servant, who received between £20 and £30 per annum.33 To the Cromwellians, securing Antrim’s compliance was worth paying for. The marquis of Clanricarde received similar treatment. On 6 September 1652 Clanricarde concluded articles with the Cromwellians, which protected him from arrest for his debts as he journeyed through England en route to the Continent. In the event his poor health prevented him from joining the royalist court in exile, and instead he travelled in March 1653 to London, where he was ‘civilly treated by all men, as a man who had many friends, and could have no enemies but those who could not be friends to any’.34 The following year Cromwell awarded him £600 and agreed that his wife should receive 4,000 acres of profitable land from her husband’s estate in Ireland. The state even contributed £100 towards his funeral expenses when he died in May 1658 and honoured his wife’s later request for her Irish jointure lands.35 Between March and June 1652 parliamentary commanders negotiated a number of surrenders, the qualifications of which varied slightly. The most important was the surrender of the Leinster army, commanded by the earl of Westmeath, on 12 May 1652, which offered a series of concessions including ones relating to the exercise of the death penalty and other punishments, along with an undertaking that the army would intercede with the Westminster Parliament and secure favour for those who had surrendered.36 This later proved advantageous to the signatories of these treaties since, as the forensic

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research of John Cunningham has shown, Oliver Cromwell insisted, against the advice of the regime in Dublin, that the terms of the agreement be honoured.37 The example of Richard Nugent, second earl of Westmeath, illustrates how the ‘Leinster officers’ operated. Westmeath’s track record as a confederate did not prevent him from petitioning the lord deputy and asking for the return of his estates on the grounds that his loyalty was ‘so different from all other Catholics of this nation’. He had been a teenager living in England when the rebellion broke out, only returned to Ireland after the 1643 cessation and, so Westmeath alleged, ‘attended to the advancement and interests of England’ by hazarding ‘his life and fortune’ in opposing Owen Roe O’Neill and the papal nuncio.38 The state denied him access to his pre-war estates in Counties Cavan, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath, but in 1655–6 it awarded him 57,870 Irish acres in Counties Galway and Roscommon (see table 19 below). English connections and a legitimate jointure claim appear to have saved a number of prominent titled families. Nicholas, Viscount Barnewall of Kingsland, for example, touted his ‘Englishness’. Anxious to avoid transplantation he petitioned Oliver Cromwell in 1656 claiming that he was of English extraction and even though he had initially fled to Wales, he had always been attached to the English and Protestant interest in Ireland. Lord Broghill and a number of leading parliamentarians supported his claims and argued that he ‘carried himself in a different manner from the rest of his countrymen’.39 In 1659 Oliver, second Viscount Fitzwilliam, lived in Irishtown at Ringsend in Dublin city, which was within striking distance of his pre-war patrimony in the baronies of Balrothery, Castleknock and Rathdown. An ordinance of 1654 provided for the restoration of some of his property to his English Protestant wife (Eleanor Holles), and he then requested that this be rented to ‘my cousin Annesley’. Arthur, later earl of Anglesey, was particularly well placed to look after Fitzwilliams’s interests (see below).40 The Nettervilles of Dowth proved equally fortunate despite their active engagement in the confederation. John, later second viscount, had married Elizabeth Weston, daughter of Richard, earl of Portland. In April 1653 she secured an order allowing her one-fifth of the profits of her husband’s estates. Later she was allowed to retain temporary possession of the manors of Dowth and Proudfootstown, yielding an annual rental of £200, ‘scarce the eight part of her husband’s estate’.41 Lady Elizabeth then went to England ‘laying her case before kindred and friends’ but she died on 16 September 1654. Despite this, her supplications helped to secure in February 1657 an order allowing the family to retain Dowth and Proudfootstown.42 In short, a pre-war marriage settlement protected the Netterville lineage and enabled Lady Netterville, herself from an influential English family, to importune the Cromwellian authorities. The ‘Englishness’ of Lady Thurles also protected her. In an order dating from November 1654 the Cromwellians allowed Lady Thurles, Ormond’s

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English Catholic mother, to remain on her estate of Thurles. When they reviewed her case two years later, they justified her continued residence on the grounds that during the early months of the rebellion she had protected many English families who had been plundered and robbed (60 people in all), kept them in her own house until the 1643 ceasefire, and then paid for them to travel to Dublin or Cork. Moreover, she had supported the local English garrison. When Lord Inchiquin had campaigned in Tipperary in 1647, he looked on her as ‘English, and of English interest and affection’ and protected her and her tenants. It was the Irish insurgents who viewed Lady Thurles as an enemy, plundering her estate of 1,500 sheep, 60 cows, many horses, mares and colts, and threatening to burn her house for her refusal to cooperate with them.43 She remained in her home throughout the 1650s and according to the ‘poll-tax’ returns, she was living in Thurles in 1659–60 in a community of 518 people, 72 of whom were English and 446 Irish (appendix IV). Transplantation Individual Catholic lords may have reached an accommodation with the Cromwellians but many nevertheless faced transplantation to Connacht. The land settlement of the 1650s represented the most ambitious attempt to plant Ireland at any point in the island’s history. The Adventurers’ Act (March 1642) had begun the process of expropriation by offering Protestant speculators 2,500,000 acres belonging to Irish ‘delinquents’ who had lost their lands because of their alleged involvement in the rebellion. Legislation the following year allotted parliamentary soldiers serving in Ireland land in lieu of their pay on the same terms as the adventurers. In order to recompense these soldiers and adventurers, the English Parliament stipulated in the Act of Settlement (August 1652) that virtually all land held by Catholics should be confiscated and that many of the dispossessed should be transplanted to Connacht. The Act of Settlement classified the opponents of Parliament according to the degree of guilt imputed to them. The act exempted ‘from pardon of life and estate’ anyone who had been involved in any aspect of the rising prior to the first meeting of the general assembly in November 1642. It specifically excluded from pardon 22 peers, the bulk of whom had been Catholic confederates, together with four Protestants (Ormond, Montgomery of the Ards, Roscommon and Inchiquin, who converted to Catholicism in the mid1650s).44 Clauses six and seven mandated that those who had served against Parliament would be liable to the confiscation of two-thirds of their estate, with the remaining third providing for dependants. Catholics who could demonstrate that they had remained loyal to the Commonwealth only had to forfeit a third of their estate but were liable to transplantation.45

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Extracts from anonymous petitions by Old English persons of ‘rank’ offered a number of objections to the proposed legislation. They claimed that Connacht lay wasted and that they, who had been reduced to living on the charity of their pre-war tenants on their old estates, had no stock and could not persuade labourers to accompany them, which was particularly significant in an age that valued loyalty and the ability to command retainers. They argued that transplantation was unwarranted since their forebears had affected and continued the civility, breeding, language, lawes and manners of the English, their extraction, int’rest, education, and affection . . . whose example have beene forcible meanes to introduce among the people the same; who now be proscribed to a wilderness devoid of all accommodation is to diswont them from there [sic] accustomed civilitie and betray the same to barberities.46

Their protests and their lobbying in London did nothing to abate the process of transplantation. The Act of Satisfaction (26 September 1653) reserved the greater part of Connacht and Clare for the transplanted Irish and a further act (30 November 1654) ordered all transplantable people to move by 1 March 1655. In December 1654 Parliament appointed commissioners to sit at Athlone and Loughrea to decide on the claims of the transplanted Irish. John Cunningham has shown how these commissioners granted settlements to 1,800 claimants from 30 counties (of these 1,205 transplanters came from west of the Shannon and were assigned 40 per cent of the land earmarked for redistribution). The process of land allocation comprised, in the words of Cunningham, a complex combination ‘of truncation, redistribution, transfer and consolidation’.47 In order to secure sufficient land for the transplantees a number of Protestant lords who held land in Connacht had to surrender their holdings (it is not clear whether they were compensated with lands elsewhere). Over 40,000 Irish acres belonging to the earl of Thomond in County Clare were redistributed, together with acres belonging to Lords Cavan, Cork and Ranelagh (Sir Charles Coote, later earl of Mountrath, was also affected). As table 19 shows, seven Catholic peers – Lords Athenry, Galmoy, Ikerrin, Kingsland, Sarsfield of Kilmallock, Trimleston and Westmeath – were awarded lands in Connacht (Athenry, Trimelston and Westmeath had been exempted from pardon in the 1652 Act of Settlement but could claim under the articles of Leinster).48 The lands they received, especially when compared with the estates that they had forfeited, were modest. That said, the earl of Westmeath managed to secure a considerable estate amounting to 57,870 Irish acres in Counties Galway and Roscommon, and Viscount Galmoy 23,558 Irish acres in Counties Clare, Galway and Mayo.

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Table 19.  Peers or close family members awarded lands in Connacht.49 Transplanter surname

Christian Title held in name c.1655

1652 Act of Settlement (excepted from pardon)

County transplanted to

Irish acres (profitable)

Barnewall

Matthias

Baron Trimleston

X

Galway

2,924 [1,462]

Barnewall

Nicholas

Viscount Kingsland

Bermingham

Francis

Baron Bermingham of Athenry [and Mary, his mother]

X

Galway

7,40751 [1,062]

Bourke née Compton

Anne

Lady Clanricarde

Husband

Galway

231+

Burke

Katherine Lady Clanmorres

Galway

951

Burke

Elizabeth

daughter of Lord Castle Connell

Galway

193 [193]

Burke

Margaret

dowager of Lord Castle Connell

NS

[700]

Butler

Pierce

Viscount Ikerrin

Clare, Galway & Mayo

15,00052

Butler

Edward

Viscount Galmoy

Clare, Galway & Mayo

23,558

Fitzpatrick

Mary

baroness of Upper Ossory

Fleming

Lady Ann baroness of Slane

MacCarthy née Roche

Ellen

MacDonnell née O’Neill

Roscommon50 135+

? Husband

Galway & Roscommon

1,726 [274]

Lady Muskerry Son

Clare & Roscommon

2,000 [1,000]

Dame Rose

countess of Antrim

Galway & Mayo

26,66453 [8,888]

Nugent

Richard

earl of Westmeath

Galway & Roscommon

57,870 [11,574]

Plunkett

Nicholas

2nd son of earl Father of Fingal

Galway & Mayo

778 [389]

X

(Continued Overleaf  )

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Table 19:  Contd. Plunkett née Barnewall

Dame Mable

countess of Fingal

Plunkett

Lady Mary

Sarsfield

David

Husband

Galway

2,667

baroness of Louth

Roscommon

777

Viscount Sarsfield of Kilmallock

Galway, Mayo 3,796 & [1,448] Roscommon

The state also awarded lands to the mothers, wives, or daughters of peers, including Ladies Antrim, Castle Connell, Clanmorres, Clanricarde, Fingal, Louth, Muskerry, Slane and Upper Ossory. These estates were modest and rarely exceeded 1,000 Irish acres. The exception was Lady Rose Antrim, who secured in her own right 26,664 Irish acres of good-quality land, ‘with convenient accommodation’ (8,888 acres in County Galway and the remaining 17,776 in County Mayo).54 The Cromwellians agreed to provide her with ‘some convenient seat that is undisposed of and that doth belong unto the Commonwealth’, although there is no evidence to suggest that she ever left Ulster.55 Rose’s address in 1656 was given as ‘Dunluce’, while her husband was living in a small village (Eden) near Carrickfergus in 1657, and in Belfast when the 1660 poll tax (the so-called ‘1659 census’) was taken.56 More typical was Anne, Lady Slane, Antrim’s sister and mother both of the earl of Westmeath and Charles, fifteenth Baron Slane. No doubt Antrim and his nephew, Westmeath, exercised what influence they could on Anne’s behalf, but she also appears to have claimed the entitlement her son secured under the Leinster articles. The fact that five sisters, all daughters of Walter, eleventh earl of Ormond, also acquired acres may be attributed to the nature of their jointures or possibly to the influence that Lady Ormond might have been able to exercise on behalf of her kinswomen (also see below).57 It is not clear how many of the seven peers who received grants actually moved west. The fact that Matthias Barnewall, eighth Baron Trimleston, was buried in Kilconnell abbey, County Galway, when he died in 1667 suggests a close connection with the county and his headstone reads: ‘here lies Matthew Lord Trimleston, one of the transplanted’.58 The 1660 poll-tax returns shed light on only one of the seven peers: Viscount Sarsfield of Kilmallock was living in Tulla barony in County Clare (though he had been awarded lands in Counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon). Viscount Kingsland does not appear to have moved and was living with other Barnewalls on his family estates in Balrothery barony in County Dublin (he had been allocated lands

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in County Roscommon).59 Though the details are lost, Viscount Galmoy also appears to have cut a deal with the Cromwellians and used his connections to avoid transplantation (despite securing 23,558 Irish acres in Counties Clare, Galway and Mayo) and to secure access to a portion of his pre-war estate and to ‘some competent pension’.60 The Case of Antrim Whether Catholic peers moved west or not, their pre-war estates were forfeited and redistributed to adventurers and Cromwellian soldiers. A detailed example from the marquis of Antrim’s estates in Ulster illustrates what appears to have happened on confiscated estates across the country, though further cadastral studies need to be undertaken in order to confirm this. In June 1653 lots were drawn for the adventurers’ lands in Ireland, and the barony of Dunluce was accordingly set aside for 16 entrepreneurs, largely Londoners, who had advanced a total of £8,656 in return for 42,611 Irish acres of land.61 In the months following the lottery the speculators either sold or exchanged their adventures. Sir John Clotworthy, later Lord Massareene, who had originally invested £2,254 and received 11,231 acres in the baronies of Massareene and Dunluce, doubled his territorial empire in County Antrim by buying up lots in the barony of Dunluce to the value of £3,187.62 In 1654 the remainder of the Antrim estate was surveyed (the ‘Civil Survey’) in order to establish how much land was available for distribution to the Commonwealth’s unpaid soldiers in lieu of wages.63 As a result, over the course of the next two years more than 65,000 acres of the Antrim estate were parcelled out to over 800 Cromwellian soldiers.64 Troops in seven separate companies were allotted ‘debentures’ in the baronies of Kilconway, Cary and Glenarm, and in the Long Liberties in neighbouring County Londonderry. The average debenture was between 9 and 15 acres, with the officers receiving substantially more than the enlisted men. For example, Captain Richard Franklin received 1,476 acres while Privates Henry Langdale and Abraham Thompson were each allotted just under two acres. The majority of Cromwell’s troops were eager for cash and merely sold their debentures and went home so that, as with the adventurers’ lots, there was an immediate redistribution.65 Three categories of individuals purchased the new acres. First, several Cromwellian officers with debentures in the area added to their own holdings by acquiring those of their men. Second, local landowners, particularly Clotworthy and Dr Ralph King, MP for Coleraine and Derry in 1654, 1656 and 1659, bought up this cheap land so as to expand and consolidate their own estates. Finally, the original tenants of the marquis’s estates, who were naturally anxious to return to their farms, also purchased debentures wherever they could.66

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This rapid turnover of personnel makes it impossible to estimate accurately the number of adventurers and soldiers who actually settled on the Antrim estates during the later 1650s. Even at the Restoration the matter was hotly disputed. Antrim’s enemies suggested that 900 persons had established themselves on the estate between 1656 and 1659, while the marquis argued that no more than five adventurers and 100 soldiers had taken up residence.67 Contemporary observers confirmed the latter figure. One noted that the only adventurer ‘of condition’ was Clotworthy, while ‘the rest [were] without names, save some citizens of London, for whom he [Clotworthy] is an undertaker’.68 The same source added that ‘there were not six English tenants placed by those into the north unto whom it was assigned’.69 Antrim himself claimed at the Restoration that those few adventurers and soldiers who had actually settled did nothing to encourage further English plantation or to improve their holdings. Only one even bothered to build a house of ‘stone and timber’, while others allowed the property on their lots to fall into disrepair. Antrim’s house at Dunluce, which had been improved during the 1630s, was totally neglected.70 Moreover, the adventurers and soldiers bled their holdings for a quick economic return on their investment, with the result that within a three-year period the adventurers whose lots fell in the barony of Dunluce were said to have ‘received treble their adventure or debenture money’. Other settlers allegedly ‘received more than seven fold’.71 Yet despite having his inheritance carved up and parcelled out to mercenary entrepreneurs, Antrim was able to maintain very close links with his estates throughout the Interregnum. This was largely thanks to the fact that considerable portions of the estate apparently were not doled out to adventurers and soldiers. Who actually ‘owned’ or, at least, controlled these acres is unclear; presumably they remained in government hands and continued to be farmed by Antrim’s pre-war tenants. Perhaps some of the land was set aside for those of Antrim’s followers who agreed to submit to the Commonwealth. This would certainly explain why a considerable portion of the estate rental continued to find its way into the marquis’s pocket. For instance, after 1652 he received a monthly allowance of £340 ‘out of the profits from his estate in Ulster’.72 In May 1654 he was awarded £100 ‘out of the rents and profits that Archibald Stewart makes out of the said Earl his estate in Ulster’.73 In addition to these legitimate stipends, Antrim was involved in endless schemes designed either to raise further revenue from the land or to re-establish his hold over it. In the barony of Cary, for example, he was somehow able to conceal from the authorities over 2,194 acres of land, which were later ‘discovered’ by Dr Ralph King. The earl also collected over £200 worth of rents in the barony of Glenarm between 1658 and 1660.74 Finally, Antrim instructed his old tenants to purchase back land for him. Thus during the later 1650s John Shaw of Ballygally bought ‘four

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town[land]s and a half ’ in the barony of Kilconway for £359-3s-9d from Alderman Thomas Miller of Limerick and other property from Captain Samuel Porter, which he conveyed to Antrim in 1666 (when it was at last safe to do so). In addition to paying the principal, the marquis allowed Shaw, as his reward, the annual rental (of £11) from the lands for 41 years.75 Presumably, Antrim made similar arrangements with the inhabitants of the barony of Glenarm who paid £2,000 to Major Smith and his men for their Glenarm holdings. The former occupier of a farm of 80 acres in the barony of Cary who was able to re-enter his holding on paying the soldier to whom it had been allotted the sum of £10. A tenant on a neighbouring farm repurchased it from soldiers for a relatively small sum, ‘that as it had become overgrown with “whins” the land was of little value!’76 The poll-tax returns suggest that Antrim’s leading Protestant tenants from the 1630s (the Boyds, Dunlops, Kennedys, Shaws and Stewarts) continued to influence local affairs and that they were only occasionally supplemented by fresh settlers such as John Galland.77 As this detailed examination of the Antrim estate highlights, the implementation of the Cromwellian land settlement proved problematic at a number of levels. First, only a small number of newcomers actually settled and ‘a projected influx of 36,000’ dwindled to 8,000 (7,500 of whom were soldiers and 500 civilians).78 Second, in some cases it proved impossible to separate lords from their hereditary lands and to resettle them west of the Shannon. By retaining close links with their pre-war tenants, many of whom had taken long leases for their farms which pre-dated the outbreak of war, lords helped to minimize disruption to their estates. The Commonwealth not only recognized as legally binding those leases made with Protestant tenants before the rebellion but did everything possible to encourage continuity of landholding at the tenant level. Impressionistic evidence suggests that many of the Catholic peers – Lords Dunsany, Fitzwilliam, Galmoy, Kingsland and Strabane – appear to have returned to their pre-war estates and developed survival strategies akin to those used by the marquis of Antrim. The 1660 poll-tax returns list the ‘tituladoes,’ or individuals with local influence and land who were obliged to pay the highest taxes (see appendix IV), together with their ethnicity and those of the inhabitants of the communities in which they resided.79 From these it is clear, for example, that Thomas Plunkett, Lord Dunsany, resided at Killeen in the barony of Skreen in County Meath on lands that had formed part of his pre-war holdings, and in a community of 105 people (98 of whom were Irish and seven English) whom he knew well.80 It would seem that other peers – Lords Fitzwilliam, Kingsland and Le Power – were in similar situations, as no doubt were other lords whose names were not recorded in the poll-tax returns.

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Protestant Survivors Members of the Protestant titled nobility also reached an accommodation with the new ruling regime, often citing the articles of Dublin that the marquis of Ormond had negotiated with Parliament in 1647.81 The example of Lady Ormond is particularly well documented.82 In 1653 she petitioned the council of state for access to the estates she held in her own right (32,291 plantation acres, largely in Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny) and her house at Dunmore.83 Lady Ormond became involved in protracted negotiations with the Cromwellians regarding the fate of the Ormond estates. And with some success: in March 1653 she was assigned Dunmore house, a cash sum of £500 and lands worth £2,000 per annum on condition that she did not send funds to or make contact with her husband (she disregarded this and the state turned a blind eye).84 She enjoyed the support of key Cromwellians such as Lord Broghill, Sir Robert King, Sir Gerard Lowther and even Henry Cromwell, which undoubtedly helped her case.85 The reaction of Sir Robert King, one of the Irish commissioners of revenue and father of John, later first Baron Kingston, was typical. ‘I did never observe more eminent virtues in any lady’, he wrote, adding ‘It is hard that she that was born to a great inheritance shall want bread for her children because of her Lord’s delinquency.’86 Their support did not prevent Ormond’s Irish and English creditors from hounding his wife.87 She resorted to borrowing on the Dublin staple, and between 1658 and 1659 Sir Gerald Lowther (to whom her husband was already indebted) and others lent her £1,800 on bond.88 These pre-war relationships, combined with a sense of respect for rank and status, helped Lady Ormond and her brood to survive the 1650s. It was 1657 before Lady Ormond and her family moved back to Ireland on a permanent basis. The problems that she then encountered were numerous. Much of her estate was unprofitable or had been let to tenants on short-term leases and without improving clauses. Yet an examination of the leases she made between 1655 and May 1660 (table 20) illustrates Table 20.  Length of leases on Lady Ormond’s estates, 1655–60.89 Length of Lease

1655

11 years

1

1656

1657

1658

1

1

8

14 years 8

31 years

1

12

8

2

99 years

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1660 (pre-May)

1

21 years

Total (44)

1659

1 10

1

1

8

16

8

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how stability returned to her holdings. By the later 1650s long-term leases (of 21 years) at economic rents with improving clauses once again became the norm and replaced the one-year leases that had characterized the 1640s and early 1650s. After a decade of warfare lands, which had yielded £2,400 in 1640 could no longer generate sufficient income to support Lady Ormond and her family, and so she requested additional help.90 She fretted about money to her exiled husband and in May 1659 complained that the children were ‘under some disadvantage . . . by want of such helps as is necessary for their education’, but she did maintain ‘them decently’.91 These years apart undoubtedly placed a strain on her relationship with her absent spouse. Richard Boyle, the second earl of Cork, had not been a particularly prominent royalist commander but claimed benefit of the Dublin articles (1647) when he returned to Ireland in May 1651. According to a fellow peer his Irish estates were in a miserable condition and the ‘rents were stopt in the tenants’ hands’.92 However, during the mid- and later 1650s, especially after the arrival of Henry Cromwell in 1655, the situation improved dramatically and, thanks to the influence of his brother, Lord Broghill, Cork was allowed to compound for his English estates and recover his Irish lands.93 By 1658 he was taking an active role in local affairs and that summer welcomed the lord deputy to his estates.94 Cork’s ability to recover his patrimony stemmed in large part from the prominence Broghill enjoyed with the ruling regime. In 1655 he headed the civil government in Scotland and in 1657 he was one of a small group that offered the crown to Oliver Cromwell. Throughout these years Broghill also watched over the interests of the wider Boyle lineage. With the death of the earl of Kildare in 1657, Broghill and his brothers took control of the young earl’s financial affairs.95 Broghill’s nephew Richard, second earl of Barrymore, a teenager when his father died in 1642, benefited from his uncle’s political connections and patronage. Presumably it was Broghill who secured a match in 1656 between Barrymore and Martha Lawrence, daughter of the president of Oliver Cromwell’s council of state, and thereby consolidated Boyle links with leading Cromwellians. Barrymore spent much of the 1650s living in England but by 1659 had returned to Ireland to reside with his mother, Joan, at the family seat of Castle Lyons, where there was a thriving community of 297 people, 86 of whom were English and 211 Irish.96 By 1654 most Protestant ‘delinquents’ had compounded for their estates by paying a fine that was equivalent to twice the annual value less the quit rents. The authorities had initially imprisoned Edward Brabazon, second earl of Meath, and when they released him they had required him ‘to pay a third of all his estate in Ireland and a fifth in England’.97 Viscount Moore of Drogheda struggled to cope with debts of £20,000 accrued during the 1630s

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and 1640s, the unpaid marriage portions for his sisters and his (reduced) compounding fine of £3,349.98 Lords Montgomery and Claneboy had negotiated terms with Lord Deputy Henry Ireton in April 1650, but nevertheless as a result of the Act of Settlement adventurers laid claim to portions of their County Down estates. More seriously, an order for the transplantation of 256 Ulster Presbyterians, issued on 23 May 1653, left them particularly vulnerable. Only after lengthy representations did they avoid transplantation and were allowed to compound for their estates: Montgomery’s fine was ‘set at £3,000 without any abatement in regard of the legacies and debts’ and Claneboy paid a fine in excess of £9,000.99 By the mid-1650s the Protestant peers, even those who had been loyal to the Stuarts, men like Lords Barrymore, Cork, Kildare, Meath and Montgomery, had reached an accommodation with the new regime, much as the royalists did in England.100 Henry Cromwell, who arrived in Ireland in July 1655, was eager to secure political stability and promoted policies of reconciliation that often involved restoring the Old Protestants (as they were now termed) to positions of authority and local influence. The fact that by the end of the 1650s so many of them had returned to live on their estates and served as poll-tax commissioners highlights this (see appendix IV). The commissioners included 10 established peers (Lords Barrymore, Cork, Chichester, Conway, Folliott, Lambert, Meath, Montgomery, Moore and St Lawrence), the majority of whom would have been supporters of the Stuarts especially in the early 1640s, along with two men (Clotworthy and Coote) who were later elevated to the peerage. For example in Ulster, Arthur, second Viscount Chichester, high sheriff of Counties Antrim and Down, lorded it over the 589 inhabitants of Belfast (366 of whom were English and 223 Irish).101 In neighbouring County Down, Viscount Montgomery served as a commissioner and held sway over the town of Newtown, which had a population of 146 (87 of whom were Scottish and English and 59 Irish).102 In the absence of a paid bureaucracy and a standing army to coerce the population, the Cromwellians instinctively turned to these traditional power brokers in order to rule the remoter regions of Ireland. The 1650s and the apparent surfeit of land ripe for redistribution presented others with opportunities to improve their status by acquiring estates and offices. As in the earlier period, many of the greediest speculators were socially ambitious members of the local Protestant landed gentry. Sir John Clotworthy, later Viscount Massareene, was an active land grabber who benefited from the marquis of Antrim’s demise (discussed above). He had kept a low political profile during the later 1640s but re-emerged in the mid1650s to bask in Cromwellian favour. He sat on a committee that determined differences among the adventurers for Irish land and on another that proposed the establishment of a college at Antrim, presumably a place where

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Presbyterian ministers could be trained.103 Sir John King, later Baron Kingston, is another example of a landed gentleman (he was the grandson of Baron Folliott of Ballyshannon) on the make who courted both the Cromwellians and Charles II. He spent the 1650s increasing his estates largely by purchasing debentures from English soldiers across Ireland. In 1641 the family had held 12,916 acres, mostly in County Roscommon. After the Restoration, Kingston was one of the largest landowners in Ireland with an estate of 104,128 plantation acres spread across 13 counties and three provinces.104 King’s great rival was Sir Charles Coote, later earl of Mountrath, who also bought up cheap Irish acres. In 1641 the Cootes had held 18,601 acres mostly in Connacht and by around 1670 this had increased to 47,231 acres in Counties Galway, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Roscommon, and King’s and Queen’s counties. Coote’s purchases were, no doubt, facilitated by his political influence (he sat in all three of the Protectorate parliaments) and his position as a commissioner for the land settlement. At Athlone (December 1654) he helped to adjudicate Catholic claims to receive lands in Connacht; at Loughrea (June 1655) he set out the lands to be awarded; and he also sat on the committees dealing with Sir William Petty’s survey and the distribution of land to the soldiers.105 The opportunistic land deals associated with Clotworthy, Coote and King during these years were reminiscent of the earl of Cork’s at the turn of the century. Land and wealth were one thing but these parvenus, like Cork before them, also craved titles and status, something that only a restored monarchy and associations with established aristocrats could deliver. The role that Clotworthy, Coote and King played in the Restoration of Charles II (discussed below) and the speed with which they acquired titles, and in the case of Coote immediately established a cadet line (that of Colooney), is hardly coincidental. By the mid-1650s a small number of Irish lords also became involved in politics at Westminster where MPs from across England, Ireland and Scotland gathered in the first ‘national’ assembly. In 1654 and 1656 Broghill sat for County Cork in the first and second Protectorate parliaments, and in 1658 he was one of the few peers to take his seat in Cromwell’s ‘other house’. No other peer from Ireland enjoyed the political influence that Broghill did, and only a few even sat in the Westminster Parliament.106 Richard, later fourth Baron Blayney, sat in the 1656 Parliament as MP for Cavan, Fermanagh and Monaghan. In the 1659 Parliament Francis Aungier, later first earl of Longford, was one of the 30 representatives from Ireland and rose to prominence as MP for Longford, Westmeath, and King’s County, and as one of Henry Cromwell’s confidants.107 Arthur Annesley, later earl of Anglesey, also sat in the 1659 Parliament and was on equally good terms with Henry Cromwell, who involved him in the planning for the foundation of a second

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college in Dublin. These men, together with the Cromwellian upstarts and others who had barely reached an accommodation with the new regime, all played a role in the return of Charles II who was proclaimed king in Dublin on 14 May 1660. Architects of Restoration The intrigues that resulted in Charles II’s restoration to the throne of the three kingdoms began long before Henry Cromwell left Ireland in June 1659. A core of Protestants loyal to the Stuarts – Sir Arthur Forbes, later earl of Granard, Mark Trevor, later Viscount Dungannon, and Hugh, Viscount Montgomery – sought out sympathetic figures in the crumbling Cromwellian regime. The Boyle kin network was particularly important. Lord Broghill was in close contact with General Monck, who on 3 February 1660 entered London to restore Parliament, and liaised with his brother Francis, later Viscount Shannon, based in The Hague, together with other family members who enjoyed access to the king and those such as Clotworthy, a relation by marriage, based in Ireland.108 In the early spring of 1660 Forbes arrived in Brussels and outlined to Charles II the extent of the support he enjoyed in Ireland.109 This core of Old Protestants maintained a strong presence in the convention that held its first meeting in Dublin on 7 February 1660.110 Richard Blayney, who succeeded to the title in 1669, sat for County Monaghan and William, Lord Caulfeild, who had fought for Parliament, sat for Lifford in County Donegal. 111 Clotworthy sat for County Antrim and held sway in neighbouring Londonderry, and enjoyed close connections with the representatives for County Tyrone and with the wider Boyle nexus. Lord Broghill’s sphere of influence encompassed Counties Cork, Down, Kerry, Leitrim, Roscommon, Tyrone and Waterford (Broghill’s nephew Richard, earl of Barrymore, sat for the county).112 Broghill himself sat for Dublin university, as did Chidley Coote. His brother, Richard Coote, later Lord Colooney, represented County Roscommon, and another, Sir Charles, later earl of Mountrath, Galway city. The Cootes held Cavan in their sway and enjoyed close associations with the representatives from Counties Armagh, Donegal, Down, King’s County, Leitrim and Sligo.113 The baronial networks nurtured by the Boyles and Cootes dominated the convention. There appears to have been some rivalry and jockeying for power between Broghill and Sir Charles Coote, who in January 1660 had been appointed joint commissioners for the government of Ireland. Of the two, contemporaries regarded Coote as the stauncher supporter of the king’s cause.114 Of real significance in this regard was the ‘unequivocally royalist influence of the Montgomery-Hamilton-Trevor-Cromwell network’, which helped to compensate for the fact that Ormond’s influence was limited to his

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wife’s cousin, Sir Patrick Wemyss, who sat for County Kilkenny and had in any case worked closely with the Cromwellians.115 Catholic royalist representation, especially by the Old English peers who had been the traditional power brokers in the pre-war parliaments, was missing. Instead the returns, as Aidan Clarke has noted, ‘reflected the newly evolving local power structures . . . they chiefly demonstrate the success with which the Old Protestant community had consolidated and extended its influence’.116 Whatever its composition, the convention declared on 1 May its support for the king’s return. Irish agents hurried to London in readiness for Charles II’s formal entry on 29 May. Three interest groups were already frantically at work in the capital. The first comprised a core of Irish Protestant peers – the earls of Conway, Cork and Meath – who approached Ormond. They also used their own court contacts to great effect and paid £3,000 to the solicitor general, Sir Heneage Finch (Conway’s brother-in-law), ‘to make his pen run the quicker’ as he drew up agreements on their behalf.117 The second group, led by Lords Aungier and Valentia (later Anglesey), busied itself by lobbying in the English Parliament for the Protestant interest and for those who had supported ‘the usurper’. Finally, Old English Catholic lords, deprived of a political voice at home, established themselves in London and appealed for help to Ormond. The Protestant interest prevailed during the early stages of the Restoration and ensured that the king’s general pardon (29 August) specifically excluded those involved in the 1641 rebellion. It was really the king’s Declaration (30 November) that provided for ‘innocent papists’, as well as confirming Cromwellians in possession of their lands.118 Significantly, the Declaration named 36 members of the Irish Catholic nobility and gentry for restoration to their former estates ‘without being put to any further proof ’. It included the names of 20 Catholic peers: Athenry, Sir Valentine Browne (later Kenmare), Clancarthy, Clanricarde, Dillon of Costello-Gallen, Dunboyne, Dunsany, Fingal, Galmoy, Gormanston, Ikerrin, Iveagh, Mountgarret, Netterville, Sir Daniel O’Brien (later Clare), Strabane, Taaffe (later Carlingford), Trimleston, Upper Ossory and Westmeath.119 Mayo, now a Protestant, was added later. The stage was now set for a particularly intense period of lobbying as Catholic and Protestant lords scrambled either to retain or recover their landed estates. Conclusion A number of conclusions can be drawn from this examination of the resident peerage in Cromwellian Ireland. First, the 1650s posed a very particular set of challenges, along with some opportunities, for the peers, many of whom had supported the Catholic or royalist cause and whom the state regarded as being potentially subversive. Those lords who opted for continental exile must have wondered whether they would ever see their families, retainers and estates

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again. Those who remained in Ireland had little choice but to make a series of compromises in order to secure their own survival. The terms under which Irish military personnel surrendered, especially the Dublin and the Leinster articles, or the deals that prominent individuals cut with Henry Ireton or Oliver Cromwell, often determined the nature of their relationship with the English conquerors, certainly during the early 1650s. A willingness on Cromwell’s part to honour these agreements, however disagreeable the Dublin government may later have found them, along with the regime’s determination to respect pre-war legal agreements, especially instruments guaranteeing debt, marriage settlements and jointures, allowed a number of peers to reach some sort of accommodation with the Cromwellians. Thankful for a modest income and even limited access to landed wealth, these peers retreated into obscurity. Second, the Cromwellian land settlement and the revolution in landholding that it initiated had the capacity to overturn the established social hierarchy in Ireland. In fact, it was never fully implemented during the 1650s and the duke of Ormond later modified it (see chapter 11 below). However, this was in the future. For those lords who faced the confiscation of estates that had been in their families for generations, or transplantation to Connacht, the land settlement represented a source of great anxiety. For others, greedy for Irish acres, the land settlement offered opportunities for the acquisition of great estates and upward social mobility. Finally, the Cromwellians may have proved reluctant to deal with their former titled Protestant opponents and initially found them unwilling allies, but as time passed and in the absence of a paid bureaucracy or a standing army they had little alternative but to work with the political elite, especially the Old Protestants, and Henry Cromwell did what he could to court these regional titled power brokers. As a result certain established lineages, especially the Boyles, exercised influence much as they had in the past. Others, especially those with English relatives or Butler connections, were also well placed to survive. These men, whose titles pre-dated the war, now rubbed shoulders with a new generation of Protestant adventurers and speculators, many of whom had lived in Ireland since the early decades of the seventeenth century and secured political office and landed wealth during the 1650s. It was the Restoration of Charles II that brought together into an uneasy coalition the Cromwellian upstarts, the Old Protestant aristocracy, exiled royalists, titled trimmers and Catholic survivors. The next two chapters examine how this apparently heterogeneous community of nobles functioned in Restoration Ireland and how the Restoration land settlement impacted on the material and political fortunes of these resident peers.

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CHAPTER 11

The Restoration Land Settlement It is commonly held that the revolution in Irish landholding, which began

with the plantations of the early seventeenth century and culminated in the Cromwellian and Restoration land settlements, reduced the Catholic share of land from 59 per cent in 1641 to 22 per cent in 1688, and thus paved the way for the Protestant ascendancy of the eighteenth century.1 More recently these figures have been revised. Kevin McKenny in a statistical interpretation of the land settlements, which draws on figures from the Books of Survey and Distribution for landholding in 1641 and c.1670 when the Restoration land settlement was largely complete, suggests that the Protestant share of land increased from 30 per cent in 1641 to 67 per cent in c.1670 and that the percentage of land held by Catholics fell from 66 per cent to 29 per cent in the same period.2 Whatever the precise percentages, these figures reflect the revolution in landholding that occurred in mid-century Ireland and the wholesale transfer of land from Catholic to Protestant hands. When viewed from the perspective of the resident peerage these figures can be interpreted differently. The amount of land controlled by the resident peerage rose by almost a half between 1641 (18 per cent) and 1670 (26 per cent). Thus the peers (collectively) increased significantly their share of Irish land in a generation, which suggests that the process of aristocratization begun by James VI and I had proved very successful. In some respects the Restoration land settlement was a windfall akin to the Munster and Ulster plantations and, as in the earlier period, the Stuarts viewed Irish land as a resource that could be exploited in the interests of wider politics. Hardly surprisingly, then, Charles II ensured that his Irish and English favourites received vast handouts. His brother James, duke of York, acquired 113,732 acres and other courtiers, including the earls of Albermarle, Arlington, Essex and Strafford, also secured Irish estates.3 In other words, the settlement needs to be considered as an exercise par excellence in the operation of patronage and clientage. The politics that lay behind the Restoration land

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settlement is fully discussed in chapter 12. Of paramount importance in this was access to the king and his royal court at Whitehall. If Charles II wanted an individual to be rewarded with new lands or restored to his estate (or a portion of it), it inevitably happened. Those close to the king, his immediate family, Ormond and the Irish Catholic lords like Viscount Taaffe and the Talbot brothers, thus enjoyed positions of very real influence. Beyond this inner circle of courtiers stood men like the earls of Anglesey and Orrery, who could also secure the ear of the king – or the ears of his immediate entourage – for their respective causes and clients. Baldly stated, those who enjoyed the patronage of these figures were the winners and prospered; those who did not suffered and lost out. The importance of spending time in London courting influencers and oiling the wheels of patronage with bribes and gifts cannot be overstated, but this, combined with the need to retain lawyers and legal teams, strained – often to breaking point – the resources of already impoverished titled families desperate to secure the return of their estates. Drawing on the voluminous documentation generated by the land settlement, especially petitions to the king, Ormond and the Irish House of Lords, and the records of the commissioners of the Court of Claims, it is possible, using broad brushstrokes, to outline the mechanics of the Restoration land settlement. It began with the Cromwellian land settlement, was continued and modified by legislation passed at the Restoration (discussed in chapter 12 below), and largely completed by 1670, though Catholics continued in their attempts to recover former estates. This chapter examines how the peers fared during the upheavals wrought by the settlement. Land underpinned the exercise of political power in early modern Ireland and so the consequences of these transfers were very real. Who were the ‘winners’, ‘survivors’ and ‘losers’? Why did some lords prosper and others not? Did Catholic peers suffer from expropriation to the same degree as their non-titled countrymen? A Revolution in Titled Landholding? The Books of Survey and Distribution identify landholders in 1641 and again in c.1670 and thus vividly recapture the upheavals associated with the land settlements. In 1641, 63 resident peers had held 1,591,109 plantation acres, or 18 per cent of Ireland (see chapter 4 for details). In c.1670 72 resident lords held 2,348,703 acres, or 26 per cent of Ireland, which meant that the total share of land held by peers increased by roughly 8 per cent. The scale and extent of Catholic estates for the top peers in 1641 and c.1670 are illustrated on maps 7 and 8, and from this a number of general observations can be made. First, the continuities between 1641 and c.1670 are notable and while the ranked position of an individual fluctuated, Lords Antrim, Clancarthy, Clanricarde and Muskerry remained major landowners. Inevitably

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Map 7. Catholic titled landholding (top 20 resident peers; ranking designated by number) in 1641 (based on the Books of Survey and Distribution) 2. earl of Clanricarde 3. earl of Antrim 5. Viscount Muskerry 10. earl of Westmeath 11. Viscount Mayo 13. Viscount Clanmalier 14. Baron Maguire of Enniskillen 17. earl of Fingal 18. Viscount Mountgarret 19. Viscount Magennis of Iveagh 20. Viscount Roche of Fermoy

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Map 8.  Catholic titled landholding (top 20 resident peers; ranking designated by number) in c.1670 (based on the Books of Survey and Distribution) 2. earl of Clancarthy 3. earl of Clanricarde 6. marquis of Antrim 10. Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen 11. earl of Inchiquin 12. Viscount Clare 13. Viscount Kenmare 19. earl of Carlingford

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there were some losers but they tended to be lesser lords like Clanmalier and Roche of Fermoy. Second, when viewed from a provincial standpoint the westward shift in landholding is clear and the number of Catholic lords with estates in Connacht and west Munster, much of it deemed ‘unprofitable’, increased. These estates tended to be geographically inaccessible from Dublin and London, more difficult to govern, and the land there was regarded as being less productive. The conversions of Lords Dillon of Costello-Gallen and Inchiquin to Catholicism and of Mayo to Protestantism, who all held major estates there, together with the elevations of Lords Clare and Carlingford and later Kenmare to the peerage, altered the dynamic of titled holdings in the west. Just as Catholic landholding increased in the west, it declined elsewhere. The number of Catholic lords with properties in Ulster and Leinster decreased significantly, as Lords Magennis of Iveagh and Maguire of Enniskillen forfeited their acres, and key lords of the Pale, especially the earls of Westmeath and Fingal, failed to recover their estates in the east. Those fortunate enough to acquire additional acres, like the earl of Carlingford in County Louth, did so because of their favoured position at court. A parallel set of conclusions can be drawn from a review of maps 9 and 10, which illustrate the scale and extent of Protestant landholding for the top peers in 1641 and c.1670. First, the continuities with pre-war years are striking, particularly for leading aristocrats like Lords Cork, Kildare, Ormond and Thomond, and a handful of lesser Protestant lords like Clanbrassil and Ranelagh who either retained or added to their patrimonies. Second, in 1641 the Protestant peers had amassed considerable landed bases throughout Leinster and north-east Munster, together with sizeable pockets of land in Ulster and Munster. By c.1670 Protestant titled holdings were more geographically widespread. Their presence in Leinster and east and central Munster, where some of the richest land was located, had increased very significantly and now included the holdings of newcomers like Baron Kingston. Thanks to the elevations of Lords Colooney, Massareene and Mountrath, baronial estates in Ulster and Connacht also increased and helped to compensate for the conversions to Catholicism of Lords Dillon of Costello-Gallen and Inchiquin. In short, Connacht became a Catholic redoubt and Leinster a Protestant one. There were surprisingly few big landowners in Ulster and Munster, and here the lesser nobility and gentry gained most in terms of land transfers. The size of individual properties also grew: in 1641 only 19 peers held estates of over 20,000 acres but 29 did by c.1670 (see chapter 4 above). A close scrutiny of estates that in c.1670 exceeded 20,000 acres suggests that the titled hierarchy of landholding remained remarkably stable. The figures presented in table 21 suggest that with the exception of Lords Anglesey,

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Map 9. Protestant titled landholding (top 20 resident peers; ranking designated by number) in 1641 (based on the Books of Survey and Distribution) 1. earl of Ormond 4. earl of Thomond 6. Viscount Dillon of Costello-Galen 7. earl of Cork 8. Viscount Claneboye 9. earl of Kildare 12. Baron Blayney 15. earl of Inchiquin 16. Viscount Ranelagh

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Map 10. Protestant titled landholding (top 20 resident peers) in c.1670 (based on the Books of Survey and Distribution). number designates overall top 20 1670 ranking 1. duke of Ormond 4. earl of Anglesey 5. earl of Thomond 7. Baron Kingston 8. Viscount Mayo 9. earl of Cork 14. earl of Mountrath 15. earl of Clanbrassil 16. Viscount Massareene 17. earl of Kildare 18. baron of Colooney 20. earl of Ranelagh

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Table 21.  Titled landholders in c.1670 with estates over 20,000 plantation acres.4 Ranked 1641 1

Ranked 1670 1

Surname

Title held in 1670

1641

1670

gain/ loss

Butler*

duke of Ormond

224,087

290,303a

66,216 79,592

5

2

MacCarthy*

earl of Clancarthy

  82,037

161,629b

2

3

Bourke*

earl of Clanricarde

152,131

148,970c 3,161

30

4

Annesley

earl of Anglesey

14,972

144,546

4

5

O’Brien

earl of Thomond

120,230

122,014

3

129,574 1,784 d

6

MacDonnell* marquis of Antrim

149,353

119,061

30,292

7

King

12,916

104,128

91,212

99,898e

75,006

Baron Kingston

11

8

Burke*

Viscount Mayo

24,892



7

9

Boyle

earl of Cork

46,257

  78,832

32,575

6

10

Dillon

Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen

53,629

  75,036

21,407

15

11

O’Brien

earl of Inchiquin 21,007

  69,452

48,445

12

O’Brien

Viscount Clare

  57,022

22,275

13

Browne

Viscount Kenmare

14

Coote*

earl of Mountrath

18,601

  47,231f

15

Hamilton

earl of Clanbrassil 44,569

  44,569

16

Clotworthy

Viscount Massareene

  42,429

17

Fitzgerald

earl of Kildare

18

Coote

Baron of Colooney

53

19

Taaffe

earl of Carlingford

5,377

  30,115

24,738

16

20

Jones

earl of Ranelagh

20,977

  28,636

7,659

25,480g

9,479

8

9

34,747

  54,430

41,935

  38,801

28,630 0

3,134

  38,048

27

21

Montgomery

earl of Mount Alexander

16,001



12

22

Blayney

Baron Blayney

24,572

  25,388

816

10

23

Nugent

earl of Westmeath

40,346

  24,723

15,624

22

24

Barry

earl of Barrymore 18,401

  23,823

5,422

22,761h

17

25

Plunkett*

earl of Fingal

20,627



35

26

Boyle

earl of Orrery

11,838

  22,312

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29

27

Chichester

earl of Donegal

15,605

21,300

5,695

24

28

Dillon

earl of Roscommon

17,353

20,522

3,169

21

29

Lambert

earl of Cavan

18,410

20,111

1,701

Catholics are indicated in bold; newcomers to the peerage in italics * includes lands assigned to a wife or mother, or, in the case of Antrim, a brother a

 In c. 1670 Lady Ormond held 30,974 acres and the duke of Ormond held 259,329. In addition the earl of Arran held 15,292 acres and the earl of Ossory held 5,403. b In c.1670 Lady Clancarthy held 6,387 acres. c In c.1670 Lady Clanricarde held 1,424 acres. d In c.1670 Lady Antrim held 5,906 acres. e In c.1670 Lady Mayo held 124 acres. f In c.1670 Lady Mountrath held 12,851 acres. g This includes 7,218 acres held by a ‘Montgomery’ whose address was given as the ‘Ards’. h In c.1670 Lady Fingal held 3,337 acres.

Kingston and Mayo, the top 10 landholders in c.1670 mapped on to the top 10 in 1641 and those displaced – the earls of Clanbrassil, Kildare and Westmeath – remained substantial landholders. Though the Protestant share of land held by peers undoubtedly increased, Catholic holdings remained high thanks to the significant increases achieved by established peers, particularly Lords Clancarthy, by the converts Dillon of CostelloGallen and Inchiquin, and by newcomers, such as Carlingford, Clare and Kenmare. The survival of so many Catholics can be explained by a number of factors ranging from bribery and corruption to the fact that those who exercised power in London and Dublin, beginning with the king, his brother and their courts, respected the traditional position of the titled nobility within the Irish body politic. The English lord chancellor Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, maintained that ‘the surest way to preserve that kingdom’ and achieve a lasting settlement was to restore handpicked Catholics, both native Irish and Old English.5 Of course, this strategy caused controversy and according to Sir Daniel O’Neill this determination ‘to restore some noble families’ generated ‘a great noise’.6 One of the commissioners of the Court of Claims went further than Clarendon, suggesting that the land settlement could only succeed if the marquis of Antrim was restored in the north, the earl of Clanricarde in the west and the earl of Clancarthy in the south: ‘Each of which beside their proper dependents have very considerable neighbours that have given good proof of their loyalty.’7 Of course, in order to remain effective instruments of government and ‘civilization’ the peers required a

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minimum level of wealth.8 In other words, it became an imperative for the smooth running of Ireland to restore to their hereditary estates those men who had supported the Stuarts during the 1640s and 1650s, those who had facilitated the king’s restoration and those who would help him to govern his third and, potentially, most troublesome kingdom. Although experiences varied from family to family, detailed examinations of how peers negotiated the Restoration land settlement suggests that success stemmed from a number of factors. First, their career during the 1640s and 1650s, particularly whether they had fought for Charles I and had shared exile with the king and his brother, James, duke of York, made a real difference. Second, close links proved essential with members of the royal family – Charles II, his brother and his mother, Henrietta Maria – and influential figures at court, such as Henry Jermyn, earl of St Albans, Sir Henry Bennet, who in 1665 became earl of Arlington, Sir Daniel O’Neill and his wife, Lady Chesterfield, and the Talbots, and in Ireland, especially the duke of Ormond and the earls of Anglesey and Orrery. Even though the king watched over the interests of the offspring of his favoured peers who had died, these sons and grandsons rarely enjoyed a direct relationship with Charles II, which left them vulnerable to avaricious speculators. Third, the greed of these key political and administrative figures created amenable allies. Bennet, for instance, ‘loves money immoderately, and would get it by all means imaginable’.9 Fourth, and linked to this, was access to corrupt officials in Dublin and Westminster, especially Secretary Morris, through whose hands all of Ormond’s letters to the king passed, and Joseph Williamson (Bennet’s secretary). In short, success or survival depended on the ability of the peers to manipulate some or all of these factors to their own advantage. Furthermore the extent to which a peer was in debt prior to 1641 or to which his estate was encumbered with mortgages, jointures and other legal obligations, also proved advantageous to many. Unpaid creditors now formed powerful pressure groups that lobbied for the restoration of indebted lords so that they could recover their outstanding obligations. The existence of pre-war marriage settlements, which provided portions for siblings as well as jointure lands, ensured that importunate mothers, wives and sisters proved effective in helping to secure the restoration of a husband, son or brother.10 The Winners When viewed from the perspective of the resident peerage, the land settlement resulted in the emergence of three groups of lords: winners, survivors and losers. Clear winners were the established Protestant lords – Anglesey, the Boyles, Mount Alexander and Ranelagh – who acquired additional acres, as

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did the Protestant newcomers to the peerage, Lords Conway, the Cootes, Kingston and Massareene. A number of Old English families – Barrymore, Bourke of Mayo, Ormond and Roscommon – prospered largely because they had espoused the English interest and religion with such enthusiasm. As has already been noted, a surprisingly large number of Catholics also augmented their holdings, especially Lords Carlingford, Clancarthy, Dillon of CostelloGallen and Galmoy, and Inchiquin. As is clear from table 22, the Ormond family remained the largest landholders in Ireland, with family estates in excess of 310,000 acres. The Act of Settlement provided for the full restoration of Ormond and his wife, who held over 30,000 acres in her own right, and the Act of Explanation settled additional acres on him and a lump sum of £60,000 to cover his arrears.11 The duke’s personal lands increased by over 60,000 acres, which though considerable was significantly less than lands acquired by Anglesey and the newcomer Kingston. Ormond consolidated his estates in the south-east, doubling his holdings in Tipperary and increasing by a quarter his Kilkenny properties, usually at the expense of lesser Butler kinsmen and cadet branches (the Mountgarrets, Dunboynes, Ikerrins and Butlers of Kilcash), together with a host of Old English landholders (the Archers, Comerfords, Keatings, Ryans, Shees, Walshes and Whites) and others of native Irish extraction (the MacGraths and O’Carrolls). Ormond also acquired for himself new lands in Queen’s County and Counties Kildare and Galway, and his sons, the earls of Ossory and Arran, became prominent landowners in Counties Galway and Clare, giving the family a considerable landed base in the west. Ormond’s personal secretary later admitted that the duke had received great ‘bounties’ without which the family ‘might have been on the borders of want’, so great were his debts.12 Having been restored to his patrimony Ormond set about rejuvenating his estates, paying his enormous debts, redeeming mortgages, attracting a cohort of ‘improving’ tenants and refurbishing Butler properties.13 Lady Ormond rebuilt her three-storey mansion at Dunmore, adding a portico, wainscoting to rooms and a carved staircase that was so large that allegedly 20 men could walk up it abrest, together with a bowling green and an ornate garden. The cost of rebuilding for the period between February 1663 and October 1664 alone was £3,308.14 A later inventory provides a glimpse of the splendid furnishings. The medieval fortress at Kilkenny was also transformed into a French château: ornamental cornices, tall chimneys and large windows replaced parapets; the interiors were remodelled and grand marble fireplaces installed, along with a classical circular banqueting house; formal gardens – replete with terraces, elaborate water features and statues made in London – were laid out by English and French gardeners in what had once been the moat.15 Extant inventories record the opulence of the interior furnishings.

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Table 22.  Winners, c.1670.16 Name

Title in 1670

Annesley

earl of Anglesey

King MacCarthy*

1670

gain

14,972

144,546

129,574

Baron Kingston

12,916

104,128

91,212

earl of Clancarthy

82,037

161,629

79,592

Bourke*

Viscount Mayo

24,892

99,898

75,006

Butler*

duke of Ormond

224,087

290,303

66,216

Butler

earl of Arran



Butler

earl of Ossory



O’Brien

earl of Inchiquin

21,007

69,452

48,445

Boyle

earl of Cork/earl of Burlington

46,257

78,832

32,575

Boyle

earl of Orrery

11,838

22,312

10,474

Coote*

earl of Mountrath

18,601

47,231

28,630

Coote

baron of Colooney

38,048



Taaffe

earl of Carlingford

5,377

30,115

24,738

O’Brien

Viscount Clare

34,747

57,022

22,275

Dillon

Viscount Dillon of Costello-Gallen

53,629

75,036

21,407

Montgomery

earl of Mount Alexander

16,001

25,480

9,479

Butler

Viscount Galmoy

7,692

16,278

8,586

Lane

Viscount Lanesborough

1,148

9,225

8,077

Jones

earl of Ranelagh

20,977

28,636

7,659

Forbes

earl of Granard

3,149

9,466

6,317

Chichester

earl of Donegal

15,605

21,300

5,695

Touchet*

earl of Castlehaven

2,380

8,060

5,680

Barry

earl of Barrymore

18,401

23,823

5,422

Barnewall

Viscount Kingsland

8,795

14,180

5,385

Dungan

Viscount Dungan of Clane

7,223

12,461

5,238

Trevor

Viscount Dungannon

15,054

19,080

4,026

Dillon

earl of Roscommon

17,353

20,522

3,169

Brabazon

earl of Meath

O’Brien

earl of Thomond

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1641

15,292



5,403



8,754

11,268

2,514

120,230

122,014

1,784

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Aungier*

earl of Longford

4,200

5,974

1,774

Lambert*

earl of Cavan

18,410

20,111

1,701

De Courcy

Baron Courcy of Kinsale

1,913

3,489

1,576

Roper

Viscount Baltinglass

Conway

earl of Conway

?

10,954

12,072 8,441

1,118 ?

Clotworthy

Viscount Massareene

?

42,429

?

Catholics indicated in bold and post-1641 creations in italic * includes lands assigned to a wife or mother or in the case of Lambert, a brother

One hostile commentator noted that Ormond ‘hath added as much to his own ancient estate by the new Act of Settlement in Ireland as would have satisfied all the claims of the just adventurers, and Anglesey and Kingston little less’.17 There is probably considerable truth in this. The political crises of the early 1660s created by the land settlement in Ireland and the anti-Catholicism that characterized the 1670s, especially in England, formed the explosive backdrop for the publication of three polemical and provocative accounts by Nicholas French, the Catholic bishop of Ferns.18 In all three he vented his spleen at the role that Ormond, along with the earls of Orrery and Clarendon, had played in the land settlement. French’s hope that posterity would censure Ormond’s betrayal of the Catholics, which ‘had made the noble house of Ormond an infamous den and couch of rapine whose whelps are made fat by the prey and booty made upon their neighbours’.19 This, together with French’s other works, had an immediate impact. One of Ormond’s Dublin correspondents noted how: ‘your Grace’s ill wishers both English and Irish makes it now of late their business of copying of a book entitled: A Narrative of the Earl of Clarendon’s Settlement and Sale of Ireland, and spreading the same amongst the people, wherein it is set forth publicly amongst that factious people that your Grace is the only man that destroyed the Irish nation’.20 This struck a particularly raw nerve in a man determined ‘to lie well in the chronicle’.21 Ormond attracted the greatest scorn from the pen of the poet Dáibhí Ó Bruadair. In ‘How queer this mode’ and ‘Thou sage of inanity’ Ó Bruadair excoriated Ormond for abandoning his people and the value system that his ancestors had espoused. He represented him as a traitor whose weakness had betrayed his kinsmen and who had forfeited his right to be regarded as a man of honour.22 In ‘Thou sage of inanity’ Ó Bruadair took particular issue with those who flattered the duke and represented him as Ireland’s great hero.

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He dismissed their verse as a ‘smeary stream of lies’, ‘turgid twaddle’, ‘putrid verse’ and ‘drivelling, devoid of wit’.23 The theme of betrayal pervaded Ó Bruadair’s verse. He attributed defeat in ‘A fateful wound hath made of me’ to those, like Ormond, who had curried favour with the English and collaborated with the newcomers. The poet represented them as unfaithful, disloyal, and sluttish: Nor to the shameless harlot hath the change been hateful, Who now with all in common shares her love’s embraces; Once in wealth and peace, in affluence and comfort, Amid her own she lived, without disgrace or insult.24

As a result of their treachery, Ireland had been left desolate.25 There is no doubt that Ormond and his lineage benefited as a result of the land settlement, but it is also clear, presumably because it was in the interests of his dynasty to do so, that he protected many of his kinsmen and allies from expropriation. As lord lieutenant, a favourite of Charles II and allied to some of the most powerful men at court, Ormond was ideally placed to secure his own position, that of his immediate family and more generally that of the Protestant interest. If inclined, he could also help his Catholic kin and clients. His old friend Richard Bellings captured the duke’s position of influence in a letter he wrote to him in June 1661: The nobility and gentry of this kingdom are most of them personally known to your Grace and no man living can make a clearer judgement upon their affections as having been an eye witness of their action. I am confident your Grace will . . . labour to prevent that the nation for which your Grace did so often expose yourself, among whom you have plentiful fortune, a very numerous kindred, and a large stock of friends and descendants, should be ruined and instead of them others introduce[d] . . . being the scum of England . . . a generation of mechanic base men who are strangers to all principles of religion and loyalty.

Bellings continued that there were only 100 Irish Catholics with ‘just title to be restored’.26 He could have added that Ormond was related to many of the Catholics with a ‘just title’. His dependants, friends and relations included the earls of Carlingford and Castlehaven, together with the earls of Clancarthy, Clanricarde and Fingal who were married to Ormond’s sister, aunt and niece respectively. Lords Cahir, Galmoy, Ikerrin and Mountgarret were also among Ormond’s many Butler relations who needed his patronage, along with his other nieces and nephews who had married Dillons and

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Plunketts.27 Typical was the request that Theobald Mathew, his half-brother, made when he asked Ormond to insert a clause into the Act of Settlement which confirmed Lord Cahir in his estates and which secured ‘my daughter’s jointure, his own debts, his children’s portions’. Mathew wanted to ‘prevent any trobles yt busy peeple’ may stir up for his grandson, the future Lord Cahir.28 Bishop French and others may have questioned the extent to which Ormond supported the wider Catholic interest, but there is no doubt that the duke, like Charles II, facilitated the restoration of many Catholic peers. Ormond’s support for his brother-in-law, Donough, earl of Clancarthy, and his sons illustrates this well. A devout Catholic, Clancarthy had spent most of the 1650s in exile with the Stuarts, but Ormond’s influence at the Restoration undoubtedly helped to secure his position.29 Named in the king’s 1660 Declaration, a clause in the Act of Settlement, which Clancarthy drafted himself, specifically stated that he and his heir, Charles, Viscount Muskerry are hereby restored unto their blood and honour, and shall and may derive their pedigree and descent from their and every of their ancestors, lineal and collateral, and shall be and are hereby restored unto, and shall and may have, hold, possess and enjoy unto them and their heirs respectively, all and singular the titles of honour, dignities, honours, mannours, castles, lordships, lands, tenements, reversions, remainders, and all other hereditaments, right, title, and interest whatsoever in the said kingdom of Ireland [which they held on 22 October 1641].30

Two clauses in the Act of Explanation reiterated this, included additional lands largely in the barony of Muskerry, and clarified how the land was to be held (‘in free and common socage’).31 As a result of the land settlement, the Clancarthys nearly doubled their County Cork holdings (in the baronies of Cork, Muskerry and Barretts) from 82,037 acres in 1641 to 161,629 in c.1670 and improved the tenure by which they held their estates. Thus, with the exception of 1,128 acres in Muskerry that passed to a Cromwellian soldier, Clancarthy recovered his pre-war patrimony intact. Moreover, he consolidated his lands by acquiring neighbouring acres in the baronies of Cork, Muskerry and Fermoy and the barony of Magunihy in County Kerry from a number of small Catholic landholders (Eagans, Goulds, Healys, other MacCarthys, MacSweeneys, Nagles, O’Dalys, O’Mahonys and O’Learys) whom he may have been protecting. Not only did Ormond facilitate this transfer but throughout the 1660s he protected the Clancarthy estates from litigious tenants and avaricious adventurers. He also appears to have pressured his brother-in-law to attract English head tenants, and by 1688 English

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names outnumbered those with Irish patronymics.32 Even though Clancarthy modernized his mansion at Macroom, political necessity meant that he spent little time on his estates, flitting instead between Dublin and London (he died at Ormond’s English residence of Moor Park in 1665). Of all of Ormond’s kin, Clancarthy secured the most but others, as shall be seen, clearly benefited from the duke’s protection and patronage. Of course, Ormond’s munificence extended well beyond his immediate kin to include his friends and clients. His support for the earl of Mount Alexander, a staunch royalist and a committed member of the Church of Ireland who died suddenly in 1663, illustrates this. As a result of the land settlement Mount Alexander’s total holdings increased from 16,001 to 25,480 acres. Yet he lost a portion of his estate in the baronies of Ards and Castlereagh, where his holdings were reduced from 16,001 to 13,441 acres, and he became embroiled in a lengthy dispute with a Cromwellian soldier over lands in County Kildare to which the newcomer had a legitimate claim.33 The unexpected death of the first earl in the midst of delicate negotiations left his young heir under the protection of his relations, Ormond and Charles II. Ultimately, the king – at Ormond’s behest – intervened and granted Mount Alexander the disputed estate. This, combined with debentures that had been purchased during the 1650s, left the second earl of Mount Alexander with scattered pockets of land in Counties Down, Wicklow, Wexford, Limerick, Tipperary, Leitrim and Roscommon, and Queen’s County.34 He was the only peer to hold land in all four provinces. Like Ormond, Anglesey and Orrery used their positions of influence to protect their own landed interests and to promote those of their kin and clients.35 Both the Acts of Settlement and Explanation made provision for Anglesey, who held the influential position in Ireland of vice treasurer and receiver of the king’s rents and in England was lord privy seal (1673–82).36 A well-informed contemporary described him as ‘knowing in the law’, ‘a graceful speaker’, but added that he was ‘weake and fraile and could never contend with temptations’.37 According to the Books of Survey and Distribution, he was the greatest beneficiary of the land settlement and his holdings multiplied tenfold from 14,972 acres in 1641 to an incredible 144,546 acres, 129,432 of which were deemed to be profitable, making him the fourth largest landholder in Ireland (see table 22). The bulk of the family’s pre-war estates had been in County Wexford (9,549 acres), with additional holdings in Counties Down and Tyrone (discussed in chapter 4). As a result of the mid-seventeenth century revolution in landholding, Anglesey’s acres in Wexford trebled to 30,179 acres and he also acquired lands in 17 counties.38 Anglesey’s gains were at the expense of hundreds of Catholic gentry and small farmers. Having amassed a vast territorial empire of his own, Anglesey made a series of strategic marriage alliances that aimed to extend further the landed base of

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his lineage as well as adding lustre to it. For example, in 1654 his eldest daughter, Dorothy, married Richard Power, fifth Baron Le Power and Curroghmore (Richard’s father was a lunatic and Anglesey had served as his legal guardian). Anglesey used his influence initially with the Cromwellians and later with Charles II to safeguard the family’s County Waterford estates and to secure first a viscountcy and later the earldom of Tyrone for his Catholic son-in-law (who claimed to be a Protestant). The precise details surrounding Power’s restoration remain obscure but involved securing a decree in the second Court of Claims and cutting a deal with Secretary Bennet.39 Friends, clients and kinsmen of Anglesey were also well placed to secure their own interests. In the case of Francis, third baron of Longford, family links to Anglesey combined with good relations with Orrery and Ormond undoubtedly helped him regain his pre-war estate (of 4,200 acres) in Counties Kilkenny, Leitrim and Longford, together with additional acres in Counties Louth and Westmeath that Bennet had designs on. In a frank letter to Bennet (who happened to be related to Longford’s wife), one of the commissioners of the Court of Claims noted that Lord Aungier holds out for possession of his estate and tells me to let you know there is a clause in the Bill for giving you a reprise of equal value. It is possible that he being of the Council and a peer and – what is more – related to my Lord of Anglesey (who questionless put it into his head) may give some trouble if he should not be satisfied. We had best let him have his own way for the present.40

After some tense negotiating, a clause in the Act of Explanation rendered their deal into law.41 By comparison with Lords Ormond and Anglesey, the earl of Orrery’s personal gains as a result of the land settlement were more modest but were still considerable. Whether ‘the earl [of Orrery] is too busy with the public settlement of Ireland to attend to his private estate’, as the king suggested, is debatable. His chaplain hinted at his funeral that he drew ‘up that Act of Settlement with his own hands’ and throughout ‘referred the publick good before his particular private advantage . . . making his princes interest and countries good, two inseparable companions, the compass by which he steer’d all his publick actions’.42 In the event he nearly doubled the land he held from 11,838 acres, predominantly in County Kerry, in 1641 to 22,312 in c.1670 (and of these 18,960 acres were deemed profitable). The earl gained most in County Cork at the expense of the Catholic Carews, Condons, Fitzgeralds and Powers. He invested heavily in his country seats, one at the old Fitzgerald stronghold at Castlemartyr 25 miles east of Cork city and the other at Charleville, named in honour of Charles II, 30 miles north of Cork city.

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Orrery, who designed the house, began work on Charleville in 1661. He spent £4,000 buying stone and employed dozens of workmen (masons, carpenters, bricklayers, slaters, joiners, glaziers, smiths, turners and carvers). With 56 chimneys and 65 rooms Charleville was one of the largest country houses in Ireland and consisted of lavish living quarters on one side of a walled court with flankers that could be defended with 16 guns. Orrery modelled the town of Charleville on the plantation town of Bandon in County Cork and attracted Dutch weavers and English artisans to it.43 He also developed it by building a church and school. In 1671 he secured a charter of incorporation, which made it a free borough on which was conferred the privilege of returning two MPs to the Irish parliament and thereby consolidating the political influence of the Orrery dynasty. In 1672 Orrery moved from Charleville to Castlemartyr, which he renovated to make it more ‘English like’ and more suitable for his younger son. An inventory dating from 1677 listed the contents of Castlemartyr’s chapel, dining room, 10 bedrooms (each with sizeable closets), together with the kitchen, brew house, bake house, cooling room, the stable, the laundry, pantry, hallways, wine and beer cellars.44 The interior furnishings were as lavish as those in Kilkenny castle. By 1677 Orrery reported that he had spent £20,000 ‘in building and parks and their improvement for the good of posterity’.45 The earl of Orrery also found time to watch over the tenurial interests of the wider Boyle clan.46 The holdings of his elder brother, the second earl of Cork and Burlington, increased from 46,257 acres in 1641 to 78,832 by c.1670. His younger brother, Viscount Shannon, acquired 3,684 acres; his ward and son-in-law, Viscount Powerscourt, held 1,959; and his nephews the earls of Barrymore, Ranelagh and Roscommon acquired additional lands amounting to 5,666, 7,659 and 3,169 acres respectively.47 Having helped to secure their estates, Orrery then lobbied the king and his London allies, especially Secretary Bennet, for further favours, grants and offices.48 In addition to consolidating the Boyle nexus, Orrery used his position to extend his own influence. This is clearly illustrated in the rapprochement between Orrery and his old rival, the earl of Inchiquin, which culminated in the 1665 marriage of Margaret Boyle to William O’Brien, Inchiquin’s Protestant heir and a godson of the first earl of Cork. The union and alleged impropriety that surrounded it came back to haunt Orrery four years later when he was impeached. Orrery strongly refuted the allegations that he had illegally helped to restore Inchiquin to his new seat at Rostellan, near Cork: The earl of Inchiquin, a man of eminent loyalty, whose son, the accusants say, married my daughter (I hope they do not mean this to be part of my charge; but the implication apparently is that the alliance was enacted as a

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bribe to me to do injustice, but that my relations have rather gone to law before any judge than before me) Lord Inchiquin, I say, petitioned me saying that he had been for three years in possession of Rostellon and was forcibly kept out of it, and prayed to be quieted in his possession. I called for evidence of the three years’ possession, and, on its being given, I ordered the Sheriff of the co. Cork to quiet Lord Inchiquin in his possession till he should be legally evicted.49

Whatever the rhetoric and whether ‘the alliance was enacted as a bribe to me’, Orrery’s support helps to explain why Inchiquin managed to more than treble his holdings from 21,007 acres in 1641 to 69,452 in c.1670 (albeit only 41,975 were deemed profitable). He doubled his acres in County Clare and acquired others in Counties Cork and Limerick from dispossessed Catholics, including nearly 3,000 acres in the barony of Limerick from his fellow peer, Baron Bourke of Castle Connell, who served abroad for much of the 1660s.50 Restored in 1660 to his Irish honours and estates by a private act of the English Parliament, named in the 1660 Declaration and restored in the Act of Settlement, Inchiquin was also awarded (in the Act of Explanation) £8,000 ‘as a marke of his Majestie’s favourable and gracious consideration of the losses and sufferings’.51 Thanks to years of shared exile, Inchiquin also enjoyed direct access to the king and his ministers at Whitehall, including the well-placed Secretary Bennet, whom he lobbied on his own behalf and that of his brother, Christopher. Inchiquin also maintained good relations with the earl of Carlingford, Richard Talbot and other key advocates of the Catholic cause at court.52 The fact that Inchiquin had changed sides with alarming regularity during the 1640s and had abandoned Protestantism during the late 1650s does not appear to have impacted negatively on his ability to secure his position at the Restoration. With estates primarily in the west of Ireland, Inchiquin was one of a number of western peers who navigated the Restoration land settlement with skill and success. The Bourkes of Mayo and Dillons of Costello-Gallen, who between them owned much of County Mayo and had their estates redistributed during the 1650s, did likewise.53 In February 1661 Theobald, fourth Viscount Mayo, petitioned the king and outlined how his Catholic father had suffered for the king’s cause: Theobald, late Viscount, served the King loyally in Connaught in the quality of a colonel until the Marquis of Clanricarde was overpowered and terms were made with the usurper. In the articles then made the petitioner’s father was particularly comprised; yet such was the malice against [the] petitioner’s father that he was unjustly tried and ‘shot to death’ under an illegal sentence of a High Commission Court, and his whole estate and his

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brother and sisters, being all children of tender age, repaired to England to his mother’s relations (who were of the ancient family of the Talbots, of Bashall in Yorkshire). There he has lived nearly eight years, and has been educated as a Protestant under that reverend divine Dr Roberts. His friends think he should be able to support himself. He prays for restoration to his estate.54

Not originally named in the 1660 Declaration, the House of Lords successfully petitioned for Mayo’s inclusion and he was named in the Act of Settlement.55 His uncle, Orrery, continued to lobby Bennet, Ormond and others on Mayo’s behalf, and he was also included in the Act of Explanation and restored without reprisals.56 The effort was worth it. In 1641 Mayo’s estates had comprised 24,892 acres, only 8,188 of which were regarded as being profitable, spread across five baronies in County Mayo. By c.1670 the Mayo estates had increased fourfold to comprise 99,898 acres (26,043 of which were deemed profitable). As in the case of so many others, gains had been at the expense of local Catholic landholders – Blakes, Bourkes, Darcys, Gibbons, Jordans, Keegans, MacDonnells, O’Kellys and Philbins. Though not clearly documented, it is likely that Mayo’s survival depended in part on his family connections. His mother’s English kin links to the politician and historian John Rushworth and the fourth viscount’s marriage to Ellen Loftus, the earl of Orrery’s niece, also proved invaluable.57 Lord Dillon’s experiences were similar. In 1641 Thomas, fourth viscount of Costello-Gallen, then a Protestant, held 53,629 acres primarily in County Mayo. By c.1670 Viscount Dillon, now a Catholic, held 75,039 acres, 66,191 in Mayo and the other lands in Counties Roscommon and Westmeath (only 29,988 were deemed profitable).58 The Books of Survey and Distribution show that a portion of Dillon’s pre-war estate in County Mayo passed to the duke of York, soldiers and innocent Catholics. Any losses were more than compensated by the acquisition of additional acres from dispossessed Catholics (his Dillon relatives together with Bourkes, MacLaughlins and O’Connors). Interestingly, 751 acres formerly held by the earl of Kildare in County Westmeath also passed to Lord Dillon, which may be linked to a pre-war mortgage. The precise details explaining Lord Dillon’s restoration remain vague. The fact that he had served the king ‘well both here and beyond the seas’ during the 1640s and 1650s and was named in the 1660 Declaration and the Acts of Settlement and Explanation were important but in themselves could not have guaranteed his restoration.59 Of more weight was the access he enjoyed to prominent figures at court, including those who espoused the Catholic cause. In particular his nephew, Theobald Taaffe, earl of Carlingford, watched over the affairs of his uncle, Lord Dillon.60

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First and foremost, however, the earl of Carlingford looked after his own interests. As a favoured courtier and close associate of Charles II, Carlingford was ideally placed to ensure that his modest pre-war holdings of 5,377 acres in Counties Louth, Meath and Sligo increased by nearly 25,000 acres to include lands in County Tipperary as well. Carlingford politicked in London, securing the support of Bennet and his principal secretary, Joseph Williamson, along with Sir Heneage Finch, the English solicitor general, ‘who drew my proviso, being my friend and councel’.61 He later wrote to Williamson on behalf of one of his kinswomen, adding ‘A “Papist Dog” has little cognisance of affairs in this kingdom’ yet on occasion ‘we shall be found loyal and useful’. He concluded knowingly ‘that none wishes your prosperity or would contribute more to the increase of it than your most obedient and humble servant’.62 Back in Dublin, Carlingford’s kinsman and agent, Sir John Bellew, busied himself bribing and befriending key officials and coordinating the efforts of an array of lawyers and legal counsel. Carlingford clashed with Lords Mountrath and Colooney over estates in Sligo and only a letter from the king on Carlingford’s behalf resolved the matter, much to the unease of the resident ex-soldiers. Legal disputes over lands with Lords Dungannon and Massareene and others dragged on for much of the 1660s. Bellew recorded in a notebook every bribe he paid out: three shillings to the doorkeeper at Orrery’s office; a piece of gold to Sir William Domville, the attorney general ‘to befriend my lord [Orrery]’; and payments to lawyers (including Sir Nicholas Plunkett) and the clerks to the commissioners of the Court of Claims.63 In July 1662 Carlingford relocated to Dublin. He helped to smooth the passage of the Act of Settlement, in which he was named, through the House of Lords and petitioned the Court of Claims.64 His was one of the last cases to be heard and because of his blemished track record during the 1640s it was referred for further scrutiny before a decree of innocence was finally awarded in October 1663. Delighted with the result, Carlingford celebrated by hosting a dinner party for two of the commissioners (Broderick and Churchill) and his local supporters, Lords Inchiquin and Arran, Ormond’s son.65 He then hurried back to London where, according to his own account, he was ‘feasted every day’ and passed ‘his time with satisfaction’ and pressed for the settlement in Ireland so that he ‘might shew his friends that this own fireside is more pleasing to him than anything here’.66 The Act of Explanation enshrined his gains in law and by 1677 Carlingford’s annual rental from his estates in Louth, Meath, Sligo and Tipperary exceeded £3,000.67 Of Carlingford’s good fortune, the archbishop of Armagh, Oliver Plunkett, later noted that ‘it is better that a Catholic should have them [these lands] rather than Protestants’.68 Carlingford’s peerage, like those of every lord discussed so far, dated from the pre-war years. In terms of gains as a result of the land settlement a number

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of the post-1641 Catholic creations – Lords Clare, Dungan of Clane, Galmoy and Kingsland – were also ‘winners’ (see table 22). The same held true for recent Protestant creations, especially Lords Kingston, the Coote brothers (Colooney and Mountrath) and Massareene who used the settlement as an opportunity to secure arrears of pay and to consolidate estates that they had acquired from adventurers and soldiers during the 1650s (see chapter 10).69 While each case is slightly different, successfully navigating the complexities of the settlement depended on enjoying access to influential figures in London and Dublin; the capacity to bribe and lobby, and a willingness to accommodate royal favourites by vacating lands, as in the instance of the earl of Carlingford and the Coote brothers. The Survivors The ‘survivors’ were a diverse group and comprised those who simply survived the revolution in landholding with their estates relatively intact or modestly enlarged/reduced (see table 23). Protestants like Lords Ardglass, Blayney, Cavan, Charlemont, Clanbrassil, Digby and Kerry or Catholics like Lords Slane, Tyrconnell and Trimleston all fell into this category. With the exception of the earl of Tyrconnell, the restoration of these lords proceeded without comment or controversy. Baron Trimleston had been named in the 1660 Declaration even though he had accepted lands in Connaught during the 1650s and the Acts of Settlement and Explanation provided for his full restoration.70 The Court of Claims awarded Lords Cavan, Charlemont and Slane decrees of innocence, and the Act of Explanation secured the jointure lands of Anne, lady dowager of Slane, a sister of the marquis of Antrim (see appendix VI).71 The earl of Tyrconnell was one of the few Catholic peers the Court of Claims found ‘nocent’ or guilty. Ormond immediately asked Bennet to secure ‘the King’s protection from the just severity of a judgement passed against him’.72 His English in-laws also lobbied on behalf of his wife, Eleanor Holles, a daughter of the first earl of Clare, and sister to Denzil Holles, an active parliamentarian, whose marriage portion had been used to redeem the mortgages held against the estate.73 Much to the dismay of the 1649 officers who had been awarded his estates, the king duly overturned the nocent verdict on account of Tyrconnell’s ‘endeavours in our dear father’s service do in our opinion overbalance anything that can be objected against him’.74 Two clauses in the Act of Explanation provided for Tyrconnell’s full restoration to his pre-war estates in Counties Dublin, Meath and Wicklow.75 A small number of Protestants lost lands as a result of the Restoration land settlement. The earl of Londonderry absented himself in England to the detriment of his Irish holdings. The king’s support for the baron of Howth,

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Table 23.  Survivors c.1670.76 Name

Title in 1670

1641

1670

Gain/loss

Fleming

baron of Slane

16,472

17,510

1,038

Blayney

Baron Blayney

24,572

25,388

816

Digby

Baron Digby of Geashill

7,422

8,168

746

Fitzwilliam

earl of Tyrconnell

2,761

2,923

162

Barnewall

Baron Trimleston

3,938

4,071

133

Moore

earl of Drogheda

15,780

15,837

57

Hamilton

baron of Strabane

7,069

7,069

0

Stewart

Baron Castle Stewart

2,116

2,116

0

Hamilton

earl of Clanbrassil

44,569

44,569

0

Folliott

baron of Ballyshannon

2,895

2,895

0

Fitzmaurice*

baron of Kerry

9,978

9,978

0

Cromwell

earl of Ardglass

10,968

10,968

0

Caulfeild

Viscount Charlemont

12,119

12,119

0

Ridgeway

earl of Londonderry

6,791

6,738

53

St Lawrence

baron of Howth

10,422

10,284

Bourke*

earl of Clanricarde

152,131

148,970

3,161

Fitzgerald

earl of Kildare

41,935

38,801

3,134

138

Catholics indicated in bold * includes lands assigned to a wife or mother

‘an antient nobleman, very stout, constantly in the late King’s service, never having had any reward for it’, kept his losses to a minimum.77 Wentworth Fitzgerald, seventeenth earl of Kildare, was named in the Acts of Settlement and Explanation and enjoyed the support of the king and his Uncle Orrery yet appears to have lost lands as a result of unredeemed mortgages and other acres passed to Lord Dillon of Costello-Gallen.78 Kildare’s premature (he was only 30) and unexpected death in 1664 exacerbated matters, since his young widow and infant heir were ill-equipped to negotiate the complexities of the land settlement. Clanricarde’s losses were roughly equivalent to those of Kildare (approx. 3,100 acres), yet the overall size of the estate meant that Clanricarde remained the third largest landholder in Ireland (in 1641 the family had been second). Clanricarde’s position was, however, complicated by the longevity of Anne, widow of Ulick, first marquis, and the fact that the

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marquis’s only daughter, Margaret, was heir to a considerable portion of his estates. The Court of Claims restored Anne to her jointure lands while the remainder of the marquis’s estate passed to Margaret, who had married Viscount Muskerry, and to Richard, sixth earl, who only held lands that had been granted ‘in tail’.79 Endless wrangling over jointure payments ensued and to complicate matters further the marquis had mortgaged the Clanricarde estates to the tune of £50,000, leaving his heirs vulnerable to claims from frustrated creditors who formed a powerful lobby, petitioning the king for Clanricarde’s restoration but on the condition that the sixth earl honour the debts of his predecessor.80 When compared with other Catholic peers Clanricarde’s losses were negligible (see table 23). According to the Books of Survey and Distribution, Lords Fingal, Gormanston and Ikerrin lost roughly a tenth of their pre-war holdings; Lords Antrim, Athenry and Cahir lost a fifth; Viscount Mountgarret a quarter; and Lords Brittas, Netterville and Westmeath roughly a third (though Brittas later asserted that he had been restored to even less).81 Yet for some of these Catholic peers restoration even to two-thirds (or more) of their pre-war estates Table 24.  Catholic survivors, c.1670.82 Name

Title in 1670

Butler

Viscount Ikerrin (1665 nominee)

12,882

11,933

949   7%

Plunkett*

earl of Fingal

22,761

20,627

2,134 10%

Preston

Viscount Gormanston

10,211

9,177

1,034 10%

MacDonnell* marquis of Antrim

1641

1670

Loss

As %

149,353 119,061 30,292 20%

Butler

Baron Cahir

13,694

10,896

2,798 20%

Bermingham

Baron Bermingham of Athenry (1665 nominee)

10,546

8,377

2,169 21%

Butler

Viscount Mountgarret

20,356

15,144

5,212 26%

Netterville

Viscount Netterville

6,685

4,368

2,317 35%

Nugent

earl of Westmeath (1665 nominee)

Bourke*

baron of Brittas (1665 nominee)

5,196

3,090

2,106 40%

Plunkett*

Baron Louth

8,382

3,181

5,201 62%

40,346

24,723 15,624 39%

Catholics indicated in bold 1665 nominee – to be restored to their chief seats and 2,000 adjacent acres, but only after reprisals had first been allotted to the Cromwellian occupants.83 * includes lands assigned to a wife or mother

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represented a major achievement and one that cost them dear. It often involved lengthy stays in London or Dublin, engaging expensive legal counsel and paying hefty bribes. Securing access to influential figures at court was, of course, essential. In many instances a strategic marriage alliance with an influential English family proved vital in determining a family’s long-term survival. Catholic survivalism is vividly and extensively documented in the extreme example of the marquis of Antrim and the more typical experiences of Lords Fingal, Gormanston, Louth and Netterville. Their campaigns to save their lands began with the Restoration and for many dragged on well into the 1670s. One of the most infamous cases was that of the marquis of Antrim. In August 1663 the Court of Claims had proclaimed Antrim innocent. According to one commissioner, when the judges found in Antrim’s favour a great[er] shout of joy followed in the court than was ever heard since the opening of the commission. My lord’s agent never desired any injunction to the sheriff for possession. . . . Many of the poor men [Antrim’s tenants] coming from the north to this town in expectation of this jubilee, the rest in the country making bonfires and feasts throughout the four baronies [in County Antrim].84

The soldiers and adventurers, threatened with dispossession, responded by publishing towards the end of August 1663 a pamphlet entitled Murder will out, which drew public attention to their grievances.85 After giving a detailed account of Antrim’s hearing and reproducing the king’s letter in his favour, the anonymous author of the pamphlet concluded: There never was so great a rebel, that had so much favour from so good a king. And it is very evident to me . . . that the consequence of these things will be very bad; and if God of his extraordinary mercy do not prevent it, war, and (if possible) greater judgments, cannot be far from us, where vice is patronized, and Antrim, a rebel upon record, and so lately and clearly proved one, should have no other colour for his actions but the king’s own letter, which takes all imputations from Antrim, and lays them totally upon his own father.86

Attempts were immediately made in all three kingdoms to suppress the pamphlet and to hush up the entire affair, but it was not long before it was being discussed throughout the Stuart dominions.87 In September 1663 it was reported from London that ‘The cry here is so loud against that and other late proceedings of the court of claims,’88 while Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary how the ‘king hath done himself all imaginable wrong in that business

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of my Lord Antrim in Ireland’.89 ‘That business’ was deemed important enough to merit lengthy reports in the ambassadorial dispatches of the day.90 Ultimately, the public outcry forced the king to overturn their verdict in October and to review Antrim’s case yet again.91 As a result of this inquiry the controversy between the marquis and his opponents dragged on for a further two years. But his tenacity was eventually rewarded and clause 173 of the Act of Explanation granted him a full pardon and restored him, his wife and brother to his property in County Antrim. The Antrim family holdings had dropped by 20 per cent from 149,353 to 119,061 acres. Given the marquis’s activities during the war years he was fortunate to secure even this. After initially supporting Charles I with enthusiasm, he switched allegiance to the clerical party within the confederation of Kilkenny before cutting a deal with the Cromwellians, who protected him from transplantation and provided him with a modest income during the 1650s. How did Antrim, who was after all ‘guilty’ of virtually every charge brought against him between 1660 and 1665, manage to be restored? A careful examination of the voluminous documentation, both official and personal, which deals with Antrim’s hearings and tribulations during these years, indicates four explanations: the support of his family and his patrons and his friends from the 1630s; his own ability to manipulate skilfully the corrupt and inefficient Caroline bureaucracy; the advocacy of his creditors; and the disorganization and the ineptitude of his enemies. To begin with, Antrim’s Irish and Scottish kinsmen pestered the great men involved in his case in both London and Dublin and provided him with some of the cash he so desperately needed to organize his legal defence. Their generosity was more than matched by that of his second wife, Rose O’Neill, who mortgaged her own property in order to raise the funds needed for his campaign. She lobbied on her husband’s behalf the king, his secretaries, the English Privy Council, Ormond and the lords justices. The queen mother, Henrietta Maria, and members of her court were another pressure group instrumental in securing Antrim’s restoration. Largely out of loyalty to his first wife, the duchess of Buckingham, Henrietta Maria took up his cause. She wrote numerous letters to Ormond pleading for Antrim’s restoration. She even prevailed upon her son to write similar letters pressing for the reinstatement of ‘so ancient a family to its possessions’.92 She railroaded through the controversial letter (10 July 1663) from the king ordering Ormond to arrange a hearing for Antrim before the Court of Claims. When Ormond refused to do so, it was again Henrietta Maria who insisted that a second letter (11 August) be sent directly to the commissioners.93 ‘The queen mother,’ the marquis noted at the end of July, ‘upon advice out of Ireland has moved the king that my late letter relating to my restoration may be renewed and immediately directed to the commissioners of the court of claims.’94

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Antrim’s ‘few (though very powerful) friends’ – as the earl of Clarendon dubbed them – followed Henrietta Maria’s lead and importuned the king on his behalf at every opportunity.95 His wife’s uncle, Sir Daniel O’Neill, now a groom of the bedchamber and an intimate of Charles II whom Antrim had supported during the 1630s, and who continued to receive an annual allowance of £400 from him, urged Ormond to restore the marquis because of ‘the queen mother’s concernment and the king’s intentions’.96 Other influential patrons at court included Henry Jermyn, first earl of St Albans, who at Henrietta Maria’s request pressed Antrim’s suit to maximum effect. For his efforts St Albans was awarded the annual quit rents charged on the Antrim estate.97 Orrery assured Secretary Bennet in June 1664 that ‘I have provided that my lord of Antrim shall be restored to every foot of his estate.’98 Bennet’s brother-in-law, Colonel Gilbert Talbot, had persuaded him to secure Antrim’s restoration; according to Orrery, ‘Talbot and his friends had been very industrious and useful to the said marquis to procure him his estate’, and in return the marquis had promised Talbot a 31-year lease to lands on his estate worth £300 per annum. Antrim promised financial reward to avaricious royal administrators – Bennet, Morris and Williamson – in return for information, for the speedy processing of petitions and letters, and for securing the king’s signature on letters that Antrim had drafted.99 Since Antrim was unable to pay them fully at the time, it was in their future interests to see him restored and he frequently promised ‘that if ever I be again established in my fortune, I shall endeavour a return answerable to the trouble you take in assisting my restoration, and providing for my distressed condition’.100 Particularly vocal were Antrim’s pre-war creditors whom he owed at least £40,000, plus interest. They petitioned the king for his restoration so that he would be able to pay his debts. For his part, Antrim argued that if he was not restored, those who settled on his mortgaged estates would be liable for his debts, together with his mother’s jointure and other allowances charged to the estate.101 Finally, the weakness of his opponents also facilitated Antrim’s restoration. While his enemies were extremely vocal, they were nevertheless disorganized, disunited and unprepared. Even Ormond had to admit that ‘my lord of Antrim hath gained much by the negligence of his opponents’.102 The earl of Anglesey, who had initially opposed Antrim’s restoration, made an ‘odious defection’ when his daughter, Elizabeth, married ‘without a portion’ in 1665 Antrim’s younger brother and sole heir, Alexander.103 Although the adventurers and soldiers found Ormond and the lords justices in Dublin sympathetic to their cause, even they were reluctant to cross swords consistently with the king, the queen mother and their other English benefactors. Ormond, for his part, would have been personally delighted to see Antrim receive the punishment he felt that his behaviour deserved, but he was unwilling publicly to condemn him, and this greatly undermined the opposition’s case.

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Ormond was also hamstrung by the fact that he had been instrumental in securing the restoration of other Catholics, usually his kinsmen, whose record was as dubious as Antrim’s (discussed above). Antrim therefore had precedents to appeal to, while the lord lieutenant, who had favoured others in a similar predicament, was unable justly to single out Antrim for particular persecution. For example, neither Viscount Galmoy, an active confederate and a known Cromwellian sympathizer with whom Antrim had associated during the early 1650s, nor the earl of Clancarthy (formerly Muskerry) who had been a leading confederate, nor Lord Dungan of Clane who according to one of the commissioners of the Court of Claims ‘subscribed every roll with the marquis, and one more notorious, the renunciation of the peace which the marquis never subscribed’, would have been restored without Ormond’s support.104 The same was true of Richard Butler of Kilcash (Ormond’s brother) and Lord Mountgarret (Ormond’s uncle). At the Restoration, Mountgarret also invoked Lord Vaux and his English in-laws who were keen to secure their daughter’s jointure lands.105 Yet even Ormond’s patronage had its limitations and Mountgarret still lost over 5,000 acres from his pre-war estates in Counties Kilkenny and Wexford, much of it to soldiers and adventurers and some to Ormond and Anglesey (table 24). Of course, Ormond could also have been settling old scores with Mountgarret dating back to the 1630s (see chapter 4). Ormond promoted the interests of his nephew by marriage, Luke Plunkett, third earl of Fingal, who had been 10 when his father, a confederate commander in Ormond’s royalist army, died of wounds received at the battle of Rathmines in 1649. He argued that by all rules of honour, if not strict justice, Fingal should be restored and ensured that he was included in the 1660 Declaration and in the Acts of Settlement and Explanation.106 Despite this and securing a decree of innocence from the Court of Claims for his own estates and his mother’s jointure, Fingal’s landed holdings decreased by 10 per cent.107 Moreover the costs associated with procuring his restoration (bribes, legal expenses, trips to London and so on) left him penniless and unable to honour his mother’s jointure or provide for his wife and children.108 By 1670 Fingal claimed not to have ‘a farthing of money’ and depended for survival on his royal pension, which was in arrears.109 In terms of losses suffered and the support he enjoyed from the king and Ormond, Jenico, seventh Viscount Gormanston’s position was similar to that of Fingal. Despite having been a child when war broke out, having spent the 1650s in exile, being named in both acts and securing a decree of innocence from the Court of Claims in June 1663, he struggled to regain possession of his estates, in part because the earl of Mountrath and other influential figures had acquired them.110 Gormanston’s attempts to claim by force his hereditary

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seat unnerved the incumbent, who reported back to London that ‘there was lately a most notorious riot and forceable entry made in the night time by my Lord Gormanston and about 120 Irishmen upon some men of mine in possession of the house and manor of Gormanston’.111 Four years later the matter remained unresolved. Gormanston claimed that he had exhausted ‘his whole fortune amounting to near £10,000’ in his attempts to secure his estates. He was unable to maintain his family or make provision for his English wife’s jointure (of £500 per annum), she being ‘a person of honour and a stranger whose fortune he hath spent in his preservation’.112 He had married Frances Leake, a daughter of the first earl of Scarsdale and a sister of Lord Windsor.113 In March 1667 the king intervened once again on Gormanston’s behalf and instructed the second Court of Claims to restore him and secure alternative acres for those who had been living on his estates.114 Still nothing happened and in August 1668 he travelled to England to press his case. A friend asked Joseph Williamson ‘to countenance him even if nothing else can be done for him’, adding ‘I am sure he is of too modest a nature to be troublesome or impertinent as many of my countrymen are’.115 Despite the close English connections of Nicholas, third Viscount Netterville of Dowth (in 1624 his father, John, second viscount, had married a daughter of the earl of Portland), his case proved as protracted as Gormanston’s. Viscount Netterville claimed that his father had always been loyal ‘yet, by the oaths of profligate villains since detected of perjury, he was not restored to his estate by the Court of Claims’.116 Even though it was later overturned by the king, Netterville’s failure to secure a decree of innocence from the Court of Claims was a particular setback and one that surprised Ormond.117 In March 1663 he wrote to Sir Daniel O’Neill: I was as much amazed as grieved to hear my Lord Netterville was found nocent, and that, in his own person. I thought he had been at least five years younger than the proof made of him. What remedy there is now for him I know not. That of favouring him when reprisals are had is remote and uncertain. I expect his counsel will propose something, which, if it prove practicable, shall receive all assistance from me. My Lord of Carlingford says he could have helped him to his estate at three years purchase, to have been raised out of the land. If I had known of that offer I should have advised the acceptance rather than to have run the hazard of such a lottery as the swearing of witnesses now is.118

In another letter to Bennet, Ormond lamented the fact that nothing could be done for Netterville who, since the court’s decision, could obtain neither credit nor anything else and depended for his survival on a royal pension of

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£400.119 The Books of Survey and Distribution suggest that Netterville held 4,368 plantation acres in c.1670 (in 1641 he had held 6,685), predominantly in Counties Westmeath and Galway, where he was awarded his reprisals, and thereby lost his geographically proximate pre-war holdings in Counties Dublin, Louth and Meath. In the Act of Explanation provision was made for Netterville as well as his siblings, whom the court had judged innocent, but the soldiers and adventurers remained in possession.120 Netterville continued to petition the king and Ormond but as late as 1684 he had received limited satisfaction for the reprisals he had been promised in Counties Galway and Westmeath, and a royal pension kept him going.121 Lord Louth had to wait until the 1680s before being granted letters patent to his estates.122 Oliver Plunkett, sixth baron, and his son and heir, Mathew, had fought for the confederates and then followed the king into exile. Mathew proved his innocence to the Court of Claims, thus protecting his inheritance and securing the jointure of his mother (Mary, the marquis of Antrim’s sister) and the portions of his sisters, which had been specified in his parents’ 1634 marriage settlement.123 He was, however, obliged to wait until his father died (and he lived until 1679) before being allowed to claim lands, mostly in County Louth. In the meantime his father also petitioned the second Court of Claims and on 31 May 1667 secured a decree in his favour. As these seemingly endless legalities dragged on, the Louths took every opportunity to buy back their estates from resident soldiers and adventurers.124 Miserable though Louth’s situation undoubtedly was, others fared worse still as they struggled to retrieve their lands.125 In 1674 the earl of Westmeath petitioned the king on behalf of Lords Bermingham of Athenry, Dunboyne, Ikerrin, Mountgarret, Netterville, Trimleston, Upper Ossory and others, ‘touching the manner in which they might be relieved’.126 A few years later in 1682, Westmeath begged for Ormond’s favour: ‘the charge of two of my daughters and one son, yet unpreferred, and my grandchildren, and the payment of the portion of my last daughter I marryed, will leave but a very inconsiderable estate to my grandson, unfitt to supporte the quality like to descend on him’.127 It was the late 1670s before Westmeath’s lands in Roscommon (4,184 acres) and Galway (6,983 acres) were finally confirmed to him, and this represented 60 per cent of what he had been granted in the 1650s.128 The Losers The third group were the ‘losers’ whose holdings decreased very significantly as a result of the land settlement. According to the Books of Survey and Distribution, Dunsany lost about 75 per cent of his 1641 holdings;

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Dunboyne, 88 per cent; and Upper Ossory and Magennis of Iveagh, virtually everything. Like Viscount Netterville, Patrick Plunkett, ninth Baron Dunsany, never fully recovered from being declared nocent by the first Court of Claims, despite being named in the 1660 Declaration, the Act of Settlement and the Act of Explanation, which restored him to ‘possession of the principal and capital messuages or seat, and also one third part of all and singular the castles, lands, tenements and hereditaments, rents, reversions, remainders, right, title’ held in 1641.129 According to the Books of Survey and Distribution, Dunsany (or rather his eldest son, Edward) appears to have retrieved roughly a quarter of his pre-war estates in Counties Cavan and Meath, together with more modest holdings in County Dublin. The bulk, however, passed to soldiers, adventurers and established figures like the earl of Cavan, Sir Tristram Beresford, Sir Theophilus Jones and Sir William Petty. In January 1668 Dunsany wrote a pitiful letter to Sir Edward Dering, one of the commissioners of the Court of Claims: However it comes my misfortunes are evermore the same and w[i]th the greater waight still perseveres to torment my declining days . . . the god of heaven and earth knowes my sadd and deplorable condition; my weake and aged bedd-riden condition together with that unspeakable want few knowes but myselfe.130

Dunsany’s pleas achieved little and he died a broken man two years later. In 1684 his grandson petitioned the king, noting how he had been ‘wrongfully kept out’ of an estate that had been in his family for the past 300 years.131 The situation of Piers Butler, fifth baron of Dunboyne, seemed equally dire. Ormond explained that ‘here are many of the antient nobility in miserable condition, amongst the rest here is a very sad peere call[e]d the Lord of Dunboyne of my name and family’.132 According to the Books of Survey and Distribution, he lost nearly 90 per cent of his holdings, largely in County Tipperary. Ormond, however, intervened on his behalf and recovered some of Dunboyne’s estates which he leased back to him rent free. In return, Dunboyne promised to entrust the education of his 13-year-old son to Ormond so he might ‘be bred a Protestant and a fit tutor and servant of that religion provided for him, for which I will provide allowance’.133 Like so many others, Dunboyne continued to claim his rights as a nominee in the Act of Explanation and in 1684 repeated his request that his hereditary estates in County Tipperary be restored.134 The position of Arthur, third Viscount Magennis of Iveagh, was utterly miserable. With the exception of 40 acres, the pre-war County Down estates of the viscount and his wife Sarah were carved up and shared out amongst soldiers, adventurers and established local figures like Sir George Rawdon.135

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Table 25.  Catholic losers, c.1670.136 Name

Title in 1670

Plunkett

Baron Dunsany

Butler*

1641

1670

Loss

As %

8,116

2,062

6,054

75%

baron of Dunboyne (1665 nominee)

16,220

1,989

14,231

88%

Fitzpatrick

baron of Upper Ossory (1665 nominee)

11,190

522

10,668

95%

Bourke*

Baron Bourke of Castle Connell

7,786

Sarsfield

Viscount Sarsfield of Kilmallock

10,919

Roche

Viscount Roche of Fermoy

18,656

Preston

Viscount Tara

Magennis*

Viscount Magennis of Iveagh (1665 nominee)

20,161

O’Dempsey

Viscount Clanmalier

22,457

233 40 2,179?

Catholics are indicated in bold Post-1641 creations in italics 1665 nominee – to be restored to their chief seats and 2,000 adjacent acres, but only after reprisals had first been allotted to the Cromwellian occupants.137 * includes lands assigned to a wife or mother

In 1661 the king asked that Iveagh be restored to his County Down estate and committed the welfare of ‘poor Lord Iveagh’ to Orrery’s care on the grounds that when Charles II had first came to Bruges, Iveagh had offered him a home and hospitality.138 Orrery’s patronage did little to help an impoverished Iveagh, forced ‘to live on credit in England for two years’, from being arrested for debt. During his time in London, Iveagh cultivated Colonel Talbot, Bennet and Williamson, and to some effect.139 In 1671 the king finally granted him 2,399 acres in County Limerick, ‘being parcels of the lands formerly set out upon the pretended adventures of Thomas Cunningham and Lewis Dick’.140 A 1674 petition mentioned other lands of ‘Lissiallow, Glanella, and others amounting to 1,455 acres in the barony of Ballintubber, in county Roscommon . . . and also the lands of Bunowen and others amounting to 598 acres, in the parishes of Balldoony and Moyruch, in the barony of Ballynelinch [in] county Galway’.141 In the meantime Iveagh’s hereditary estates in County Down passed to Sir George Rawdon, the earl of Conway’s factor, and the Trevors of Rosetrevor, Welsh settlers who became

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Viscounts Dungannon in 1662.142 Iveagh died in May 1683 and his widow immediately importuned Ormond for her late husband’s pension since he had ‘no estate’.143 Despite being declared innocent by the Court of Claims, Lewis O’Dempsey, Viscount Clanmalier, lost all of his lands (in excess of 20,000 acres, and allegedly worth £4,000 a year) in King’s and Queen’s Counties to the grasping royal favourite, Bennet.144 Usually sympathetic to the Catholic interest, Bennet used his extensive networks in Whitehall to marginalize Clanmalier and to secure the compliance of clients like Talbot. In May 1663 Lord Aungier, who had an interest in the Clanmalier estate, suggested that Bennet also ingratiate himself with Sir Audley Mervyn, the speaker of the Irish House of Commons, ‘whose humor it is to love courtship especially from men in your place; and I am sure three kind words from you will make him watch the most seasonable opportunities of offering the bill to the House, wherein lies no small art, especially in so populous and factious an assembly’.145 In the event Bennet did flatter Speaker Mervyn. He also turned to Sir William Domville, whose responsibility it was to help draft the Act of Settlement; to the earl of Anglesey, ‘the man who can do most in this matter’; and to Sir Winston Churchill, one of the commissioners of the Court of Claims. Bennet’s greed was matched by Clanmalier’s obstinacy and refusal to contemplate a compromise settlement.146 Lord Aungier noted in December 1662 how ‘Nature has clouded his [Clanmalier’s] brain with so gross an ignorance that nothing of reason can prevail . . . he is a man so wilful and obstinate that rather than part with one acre of his ancient inheritance he is resolved to run the risk of losing the whole.’147 The Act of Explanation did precisely this and shortly afterwards the earl of Arlington (as Bennet now was) received his letters patent. Yet as the earl of Roscommon’s speech to the House of Lords highlights (discussed in chapter 12), many felt that Clanmalier should as a matter of honour be compensated with lands elsewhere.148 Viscount Clanmalier’s experiences were the exception rather than the rule, but they were not unique. The Books of Survey and Distribution contain no data for Lords Bourke of Castle Connell, Sarsfield of Kilmallock, Roche and Tara, but other sources suggest that they suffered a fate similar to that of Clanmalier. Consider the case of Viscount Roche of Fermoy. He may have enjoyed the sympathy of his fellow peers, but without a powerful patron to look after his interests in London he was assigned land in ‘ye remotest parts of Thomond, all waste and unprofitable’, together with a meagre pension.149 In 1666 there were fears that Colonel David Roche, Lord Roche’s son, would cause trouble for, as the earl of Orrery termed it, ‘I find a storm abrewing from such sort of people in this kingdom, as well as from phanatticks [i.e. protestant fanatics].’150

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Conclusion A number of conclusions can be drawn from this analysis of the operation of the Restoration land settlement and how it impacted on the fortunes of the peers. First, the importance of patronage cannot be overstated and explains why private interests prevailed time and again. It was the most important factor that determined how a peer fared during these years. Securing royal favour or the support of a leading figure at court or within the Dublin administration ensured the survival of many lineages, especially Catholic ones, and the prosperity of others, particularly the Old Protestant families. Second, the relative cohesiveness of this community of nobles became clear during the machinations around the land settlement, as kinsmen looked after each other irrespective of their religion and as aristocratic patrons secured the interests of their titled clients. No doubt these patrons – especially Lords Ormond, Anglesey and Orrery – had particular short- and long-term motives for protecting Catholic lords, and undoubtedly acted with the specific intention of strengthening their own dynasty. Third, the amount of land controlled by the resident peerage increased by almost a half between 1641 (18 per cent) and 1670 (26 per cent), and despite the unsettled times the relative stability of the landed hierarchy is striking, with a small number of aristocrats consolidating their position at the top of the social and landed pyramid. The pre-1641 Protestant lineages, along with a select few Catholic aristocrats, did best, which was similar to the revolution in landholding that occurred in early seventeenth-century Bohemia where the old families, many of whom had converted to Catholicism, secured the bulk of confiscated lands.151 Though regional changes did occur in Ireland, particularly the westward shift in Catholic landholding, there was also considerable continuity of landholding from the pre-war years amongst the higher- and middle-ranking peers. That said, modifications to the landed hierarchy happened and upward and downward social mobility occurred. On the one hand, a new generation of land grabbers emerged, who had acquired landed empires in the 1650s and secured titles of honour at the Restoration, while, on the other, lesser nobles of ancient title lost the means to support their dignity and slipped into the ranks of the gentry. The biggest losers of all were Catholic gentry. Further research on the Books of Survey and Distribution might illuminate the relationships that the peers, especially the Catholic ones or the converts, had with these small farmers and whether they protected gentry interests or at least moderated them from the vicissitudes associated with dispossession. Finally, by the mid-1670s it became clear that the Crown had created a powerful territorial aristocracy upon whom it depended and the core of which was more loyal than ever to the Stuarts. When the peers had an

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opportunity in the 1689 Jacobite Parliament to unravel the Restoration land settlement, they – like the king himself – proved reluctant to interfere with it and pressure to reverse it came instead from the MPs in the lower house, who were the landed gentlemen who had lost out.152 The Repeal Act, which repealed the Acts of Settlement and Explanation and annulled all titles derived from them, finally became law on 22 June 1689. It authorized landholders in 1641 or their heirs to take steps to recover their property, and provided for a Court of Claims that would determine the rights of individuals to recoverable property. It also ordered the forfeiture of the lands of those who had rebelled against James, with Lord Kingston’s Irish estate passing directly to the king. If James had won the war and this act had been implemented, it would have ushered in another revolution in landholding. But William III triumphed. On 22 February 1689 he declared that he intended to confiscate the estates of all who opposed him.153 In the event the state reluctantly honoured commitments made to those who submitted under the articles of Limerick (3 October 1691) and upheld legal agreements, like marriage settlements, which limited the extent of the Williamite land settlement. Ex-Jacobite peers submitted claims for the return of their estates. Between 1692 and 1694 the Privy Council heard 491 claims and upheld 483 of these, and after 1697 a panel of judges restored an additional 783 claimants, including lords like Antrim, Barnewall of Kingsland, Bermingham, Cahir, Dunsany, Fingal, Gormanston, Kenmare, Kinsale, Mountgarret and Westmeath. As a result, many Catholic nobles saved their properties from confiscation, although pressure from the penal laws made it increasingly difficult to live as Catholic landholders and by 1703 Irish land owned by Catholics had dropped to 14 per cent.154 As in the past, the king used forfeited Irish acres to reward his favourites and his Protestant subjects grabbed land in much the same w