3rd January 1602. The Scourging of Ireland.
Ireland since the time of Henry II has been subject to English control and brutal oppression down the centuries. The roots of conflict had been planted by the only English pope, Adrian IV who supposedly granted the right to take over the territory, based on the supposed 8th century document known as the Bull of Laudabiliter of which no copy is extant.
However papal involvement is a red herring as irrespective of authorization Henry II was determined to take control of Ireland to secure his western defences.What is certain is that down to the 20thc England’s control was to cause bitter conflict
Come the reformation a new political authority was necessary for England’s continued control so in December 1542 Henry VIII declared himself King [not Lord] of Ireland in the 1541 Act.
What it didn’t do was change the religious affiliations of Ireland to the Pope, until Ulster was settled by the Presbyterian Scots.
Sixty years later Today in 1602 the final subjection of the territory came with the Battle of Kinsale, County Cork, part of the ‘Nine Years War’ (1594-1603).
Kinsale constituted the largest conflict of the Elizabethan era, destroyed the stronghold of Hugh O’Neil 2nd Earl of Tyrone, and ended with the momentous settlement of Ulster.
The Anglo-Irish nobility had come under attack early in the 16th century, from Thomas (‘Silken‘) FitzGerald 10th Earl of Kildare in the Kildare Rebellion, when he attacked Dublin Castle, prompting Thomas Cromwell to establish English rule over the Pale (area around Dublin), and the great lord-ships.(1)
The resultant ‘scorched earth’ policy finally destroyed the Gaelic culture and Irish earls whose departure abroad left a vacuum to be filled by the English commanded by Charles Blount, 8th Baron Mountjoy, whose amphibious landing in July 1601 at Lough Foyle near Derry, ended in defeat for O’Neil’s Spanish allies in December.(2)
Mountjoy survived to be one of Walter Raleigh’s trial judges in 1603, was Master of Ordnance in the same year, and under James I (VI), became first, and last of the Earl of Devonshire creation.(3)
(1) After the arrest of Fitzgerald and his five uncles, according to G G Nichols (ed) Chronicles of the Gray Friars of London,(London 1852) P. 39: [on 3rd February 1537 ], ‘The five uncles were …’draune from the Tower in to Tyborne [Tyburn] and there alle hongyd and hedded and quartered save the Lord Thomas for he was but hongyd and hedded and his body buried at Crost Freeres in the qwere’ (sic).
(2)The Blounts seem to be one of the favoured families down the ages, from Sir Thomas, Treasurer at Calais during the wars of Henry VI. Thomas the son of Walter was to marry into the Gresley Family when Margaret born in 1393 had married a Thomas Blount of Elvaston in 1419. Sir Walter Blount Lord High Treasurer in 1464 to Edward IV became the first Lord Mountjoy.
(3) Mountjoy was sent to Ireland in 1600 as Lord Deputy after Robert Devereux 2nd Earl of Essex’s tenure. He was assisted by Sir George Carew, later Baron Carew of Clopton, Warwicks. Mountjoy became Lord Lieutenant under James I.