Earl of Ormonde

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXV

The Four Masters record the following events under the year 1545:—A dispute between the Earl of Ormonde and the Lord Justice. Both repaired to the King of England to decide the quarrel, and both swore that only one of them should return to Ireland. "And so it fell out; for the Earl died in England, and the Lord Justice returned to Ireland." Sir Richard Cox asserts that the Earl and thirty-five of his servants were poisoned, at a feast at Ely House, Holborn, and that he and sixteen of them died; but he does not mention any cause for this tragedy. It was probably accidental, as the Earl was a favourer of the reformed religion, and not likely to meet with treachery in England. The Irish annalists do not even allude to the catastrophe; the Four Masters merely observe, that "he would have been lamented, were it not that he had greatly injured the Church by advice of the heretics."[6]

Great dearth prevailed this year, so that sixpence of the old money was given for a cake of bread in Connaught, or six white pence in Meath.

In 1546 they mention a rising of the Geraldines, "which did indescribable damages;" and two invasions of the Lord Justice in Offaly, who plundered and spoiled, burning churches and monasteries, crops and corn. They also mention the introduction of a new copper coin into Ireland, which the men of Ireland were obliged to use as silver.


[6] Heretics.—Annals, vol. v. p. 1493.