Thomas Cusack

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Cusack, Thomas, Lord-Chancellor of Ireland, a scion of an old Anglo-Norman family, was born in Meath about 1490, was educated at Duleek, and studied law either in Dublin or London. We hear little of him until he was appointed a judge, in which office he was much esteem ed on account of the respect he paid to the customs and traditions of his countrymen. Yet later on, in 1541, we find him knighted for his efforts to enforce the English law instead of the Brehon code. At the dissolution of the monasteries he was enriched by a grant of the abbey of Lismullin, in recognition of his "honest service donne to his Majestie, both in this parliament and otherwise." Upon the promotion of Sir John Alan to the post of Chancellor, Cusack was made Master of the Rolls. On 5th August 1551 Edward VI., "having been well informed of the wisdom, learning, good experience, and grave behaviour of Sir Thomas Cusack, appointed him Lord-Chancellor," and the sum of £100 a year was added to his stipend. Under Queen Mary he was Lord-Justice, and was appointed to " review and restore the cathedral church and chapter of St. Patrick to its pristine state;" while under Queen Elizabeth he interceded for the restoration of Shane O'Neill to favour. He died at his country seat in Meath, in 1571, and was buried at Trevet, near Dunshaughlin. He was twice married, having been divorced from his first wife.

Sources

76. Chancellors of Ireland, and Keepers of the Great Seal: J. Roderick O'Flaherty. 2 vols. London, 1870.

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