Sir John de Wogan

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXI

In 1309 De Wogan was again appointed Governor. The exactions of the nobles had risen to such a height, that some of their number began to fear the effects would recoil on themselves. High food rates and fearful poverty then existed, in consequence of the cruel exactions of the Anglo-Normans on their own dependents. They lived frequently in their houses, and quartered their soldiers and followers on them, without offering them the smallest remuneration. A statute was now made which pronounced these proceedings "open robbery," and accorded the right of suit in such cases to the crown. But this enactment could only be a dead letter. We have already seen how the crown dealt with the most serious complaints of the natives; and even had justice been awarded to the complainant, the right of eviction was in the hands of the nearest noble, and the unfortunate tenant would have his choice between starvation in the woods or marauding on the highways, having neither the dernier resort of a workhouse or emigration in that age.

The Viceroy had abundant occupation suppressing the feuds both of the Irish and the colonists. Civil war raged in Thomond, but the quarrels between the Anglo-Norman settlers in the same province, appear to have been more extensive and less easily appeased. In a note to the Annals of Clonmacnois, MacGeoghegan observes, that "there reigned more dissentions, strife, warrs, and debates between the Englishmen themselves, in the beginning of the conquest of this kingdome, than between the Irishmen ;as by perusing the warrs between the Lacies of Meath, John Coursey, Earle of Ulster, William Marshal, and the English of Meath and Munster, Mac Gerald, the Burke, Butler, and Cogan, may appear."