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of the clergy to the king instead of to the Popc; * which suppressed thirteen abbeys; † and resumed to the Crown the estates of absentees. I

By the Act of 1537, and by a subsequent statute in 1542, || all the property of the religious houses which had been or “ought to " be "surrendered” to his majesty, was vested in the Crown. The houses confiscated numbered upwards of four hundred. The personalty, was valued at £100,000, and the land yielded an annual revenue of £32,000. Pensions of various amounts were given to the heads of houses and to most of the brethren, in consideration of orderly self-effacement. The rendering” was, of course, compulsory. Opposition was met by imprisonment, as in the case of the abbot of St. Mary's, Thurles. Many of the smaller houses became parish churches; the revenues of a few of the larger were transferred to the bishoprics in connection with them. The bulk of the land surveyed in Henry's reign was granted either for a real or a nominal price to the Englishmen composing the king's council in Dublin, the corporate towns, and some of the Irish and Anglo-Irish chiefs; the principal recipients being the judges, the lords of the Pale, and a few officers of the army.


I c. 3.

§ c. 16.

* 28 Hen. VIII., cc. 8, 26. † c. 16.

|| 33 Hen. VIII., c. 5.



A.D. 1540-1550.

HENRY had imposed his will upon the Church, and upon the Parliament of the Pale. He had overawed the great lords; he had exhibited his strength to the native Irish tribes; and to some extent had re-established order. It remained for him to carry out his policy of conciliation. Overtures were now made to the native chiefs; to the Earl of Desmond, who had been in open revolt, and had endeavoured to strike up an alliance with Charles V.; and to other recalcitrant nobles of Munster. Both Irish enemies and Irish rebels were half ruined with their everlasting petty warfare. They had learnt to dread the strong arm of the king; and they had before their eyes the example of the Earl of Ormonde, who had been promised, and had obtained, a portion of the plunder of the Church lands, on his engaging to uphold the king's supremacy against

Sir Anthony St. Leger was now lorddeputy; and he conducted the negotiations with great address. McMurrough of Carlow sent in his submission;

the pope.

the O'Dempsys, the O'Duns, and O'Moores, of Leix followed ;

so did O'Connor of Offaly; so did the O'Molloys, the O'Melaghlins, and the McGeoghans, of Meath. Then came the O'Carrols of Tipperary, the O'Tooles and the O'Byrnes of Wicklow. The Earl of Desmond came in, and McYoris of Athenry, and McWilliam, Lord of Clanricarde. O'Brien of Thomond at first held back, and so did the chiefs of the north.

St. Leger summoned a Parliament at Dublin ; and then was seen a sight which had never been witnessed in Ireland before: the English lords and the Irish chiefs sitting beside each other in a national assembly. The Earl of Ormonde with McGilapatrick of Upper Ossory; the Earl of Desmond, and the Lords Barry, Roche, and Fitzmaurice, with the Tanist of Thomond ; the barons of the Pale with O'Moore, O'Reilly, and McMurrough; Lord Bermingham of Athenry, and McWilliam Bourke. The speaker's address concerning the business of the session was translated into Irish by Ormonde. The Act of Supremacy was accepted and confirmed; and a bill * was passed conferring on Henry and his heirs the title of King instead of Lord of Ireland. The chiefs flung down their girdles, skeins, and caps in acknowledgment of Henry as their liege lord. Dublin was en fête : bonfires were lit, guns fired, wine flowed in the street ;

all prisoners, except those detained on capital charges, were set at liberty ; and a general pardon was published by the king throughout all his dominions.

Soon, O'Brien of Thomond and O'Neil and


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33 Hen. VIII., c. 1.

O'Donnel agreed by indenture to be faithful to Henry. The royal favours were then distributed ; many of the leading chiefs being persuaded to pay a visit to the English court, that they might be impressed with the king's might and the resources of England, and be convinced of the futility of a struggle with their neighbour should she choose to put forth her strength.

Under the commission for the suppression of the religious houses, issued in 1538, twenty-four abbeys and priories were compulsorily surrendered to the Crown. The first attacked were those of the Pale, which were the only ones which could be reached. But it was in Leinster and Munster that by far the largest proportion were situated. Those which were beyond the practical extent of the English jurisdiction were left to a more convenient season, and many of these were not surveyed till the reigns of Elizabeth and James, a few escaping the notice of the commissioners altogether. The Church lands which had not up to this time fallen within the king's grasp, by reason of their being situated in the Irish and Anglo-Irish country, were on the submission of the chieftains of these territories handed over to them as a reward for their newly found loyalty. All the abbeys and benefices in Thomond, excepting bishoprics, were granted to O'Brien, who was created Earl of Thomond for life and Baron Inchiquin. The great Abbey of Clare was given to the Tanist of Thomond, who was made Baron Ibrackan, and granted the earldom of Thomond in reversion on the death of his uncle the chieftain of the tribe. The monasteries of Aghadoe and Aghmacarte were given to McGilapatrick, who took the name of Fitzpatrick and was created Baron of Upper Ossory. McWilliam Bourke was made Earl of Clanricarde and received extensive Church lands in Galway. McMurrough took the name of Kavenagh and became Baron of Ballyan. It was arranged that O'Connor should become Baron of Offaly, and O'Donnel was promised the earldom of Tyrconnel, but their patents were never made out. Con O'Neil was created Earl of Tyrone, and his bastard son Baron of Dungannon. Large sums of money were also distributed amongst the Irish chiefs, and to each was assigned a house in Dublin, for his occupation during the sitting of Parliament, “that they might suck in civility with the court air.”

Formal indentures were entered into between the king and the tribal chieftains. The greater chiefs agreed to hold their lands of the king according to English law, to encourage agriculture, ard to conform to English habits. They were to come to the king's courts for justice, to attend in their places in Parliament, and to provide a contingent to the lord-deputy's forces when required ; to send their sons to be educated at the English court, and to renounce the authority of the pope. The lesser chiefs promised allegiance, agreed to pay a head-rent for their cattle, and to turn out with all their men to assist the lord-deputy in his wars. The king in return engaged to protect their lands from invasion, and to permit them to manage their own affairs within their own territory.

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