Cardinal Vivian

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XVIII

Cardinal Vivian now proceeded to Dublin, where he held a synod. The principal enactment referred to the right of sanctuary. During the Anglo-Norman wars, the Irish had secured their provisions in the churches; and it is said that, in order to starve out the enemy, they even refused to sell at any price. It was now decreed that sanctuary might be violated to obtain food; but a fair price was to be paid for whatever was taken. It is to be feared these conditions were seldom complied with. The Abbey of St. Thomas the Martyr was founded in Dublin about this time, by FitzAldelm, at the command of Henry II., one of his many acts of reparation. The site was the place now called Thomas Court. The Viceroy endowed it with a carnucate of land, in the presence of the Legate and St. Laurence O'Toole. After the settlement of these affairs, Cardinal Vivian passed over to Chester, on his way to Scotland.

One of Roderic O'Connor's sons, Murrough, having rebelled against him, Miles de Cogan went to his assistance,—a direct and flagrant violation of the treaty of Windsor. At Roscommon the English were joined by the unnatural rebel, who guided them through the province. The King was in Iar-Connaught, and the allies burned and plundered without mercy, as they passed along to Trim. Here they remained three nights; but as the people had fled with their cattle and other moveable property into the fastnesses, they had not been able to procure any spoil on their march. Roderic soon appeared to give them battle; but they were defeated without considerable loss. Murrough was taken prisoner by his father, and his eyes were put out as a punishment for his rebellion, and to prevent a repetition of his treachery.

Another violation of the treaty of Windsor was also perpetrated this year, A.D. 1177. Henry II. summoned a council of his prelates and barons at Oxford, and solemnly conferred the title of King of Ireland on his youngest son, John, then a mere child. A new grant of Meath to Hugh de Lacy was made immediately after, in the joint names of Henry II. and John. Desmond was also granted to Miles de Cogan, with the exception of the city of Cork, which the King reserved to himself. Thomond was offered to two English nobles, who declined the tempting but dangerous favour. It was then presented to Philip de Bresosa; but though the knight was no coward, he fled precipitately, when he discovered, on coming in sight of Limerick, that the inhabitants had set it on fire, so determined was their resistance to foreign rule. The territory of Waterford was granted to Roger le Poer; but, as usual, the city was reserved for the royal benefit. In fact, Sir John Davies well observed, that "all Ireland was by Henry II. cantonized among ten of the English nation; and though they did not gain possession of one-third of the kingdom, yet in title they were owners and lords of all, as nothing was left to be granted to the natives." He might have said with greater truth, that the natives were deprived of everything, as far as it was possible to do so, by those who had not the slightest right or title to their lands.