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Encyclopedia > Statutes of Kilkenny

The Statutes of Kilkenny were a notorious series of thirty-five acts passed at Kilkenny in 1367, aimed at curbing the alarming decline of the Hiberno-Norman Lordship of Ireland. Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh) is the county seat of County Kilkenny, Ireland, with a population (including environs) of 20,735. ... Events Battle of Najera, Peter I of Castile restored as King. ... The term Hiberno-Norman is used of those Norman lords who settled in Ireland, admitting little if any real fealty to the Anglo-Norman settlers in England. ... Ireland in the century prior to the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1169 is probably best described as a national kingdom lacking a settled monarchy, the kingship being disputed by three regional dynasties. ...

Contents


Background to the Statutes

Since the middle decades of the 13th century, the Hiberno-Norman presence in Ireland had been increasingly under threat from powerful Irish kings. By the 1360s the situation had gone beyond critical to desperate, with many Hiberno-Normans taking up Irish law, custom, costume and language, to the point where they were becoming "more Irish than the Irish themselves" The most famous example of this occurred as a result of the de Burgh or Burke Civil War 1333-38 which led to the disintegration of the estate of the Earl of Ulster into three separate lordships, two of whom were in outright rebellion against the crown. The term Hiberno-Norman is used of those Norman lords who settled in Ireland, admitting little if any real fealty to the Anglo-Norman settlers in England. ... Upon the death of William Donn de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster, the various factions of the de Burghs, now called Burke, began a civil war for supremacy among each other. ... The title of Earl of Ulster has been created several times in the Peerages of Ireland and the United Kingdom. ...


Much of the territorial gains that Hiberno-Norman families such as de Bermingham, Butler, fitz Gerald and le Poer had made were, when not entirely lost to Irish Kings and Lords, subject to them and thus brought within the Irish sphere of influence. Such incidents constituted a loss the colony could not afford if it were to merely sustain itself; with this in mind, a parliament held at Kilkenny in 1367 enacted statues aimed at stemming the tide.


The prime author of the statues was Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence and by right of his wife - Elizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster - 4th Earl of Ulster. As he by right was entitled to the huge de Burgh Lordship (encompassing large areas of Ulster, Connacht and Munster) he had a vested interest in turning the tide back in favor of the Hiberno-Normans. Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, (November 29, 1338 - October 7, 1368) was the third son of Edward III of England, and was so called because he was born at Antwerp, Belgium. ... Duke of Clarence is a title which has been traditionally awarded to junior members of the English and British royal families. ... Elizabeth de Burgh, Duchess of Clarence, suo jure Countess of Ulster, born 1332, died 1363. ... The title of Earl of Ulster has been created several times in the Peerages of Ireland and the United Kingdom. ...


The Legislation

The opening section of the statues summed the situation up succinctly:


"Whereas at the conquest of the land of Ireland, and for a long time after, the English of the said land used the English language, mode of riding and apparel, and were governed and ruled, both they and their subjects called Betaghes, according to the English law, in which time God and holy Church, and their franchises according to their condition were maintained and themselves lived in due subjection. But now many English of the said land, forsaking the English language, manners, mode of riding, laws and usages, live and govern themselves according to the manners, fashion, and language of the Irish enemies; and also have made divers marriages and alliances between themselves and the Irish enemies aforesaid; whereby the said land, and the liege people thereof, the English language, the allagiance due to our lord the king, and the English laws there, are put in subjection and decayed, and the Irish enemies exalted and raised up, contrary to reason."


Statue II outlined how far the decay of English influence had set into the colony, and the manner in which to fight it:


"Also, it is ordained and established, that no alliance by marriage, gossipred, fostering of children, concubinage or by amour, nor in any other manner, be hencefoth made between the English and Irish of one part, or of the other part; and that no Englishman, nor other person, being at peace, do give or sell to any Irishman, in time of peace or war, horses or armour, nor any manner of victuals in time of war; and if any shall do to the contrary, and thereof be attainted, he shall have judgment of life and member, as a traitor to our lord the king."


Other statues "ordained and established that"

  • "every Englishman do use the English language, and be named by an English name, leaving off entirely the manner of naming used by the Irish; and that every Englishman use the English custom, fashion, mode of riding and apparel, according to his estate" (II)
  • " that no Englishman, having disputes with any other Englishman, shall henceforth ... be governed in the termination of their disputes by March law nor Brehon law, " (III)
  • " that no Irishman of the nations of the Irish be admitted into any cathedral or collegiate church by provision, collation, or presentation of any person, nor to any benefice of Holy Church, amongst the English of the land" (XIII)

Failure of Statutes to halt the Tide

But such measures were too little, too late. The very fact that such statues had to be enacted in the first place demonstrates the desperation of the colonial administration. Men such as Clarence and his native-born lieutenants had by this stage neither the finance nor resources to fully implement their laws. Thus, accommodations were made with Irish Kings and lords - payment of "the Black Rent" to dynasts such as O Morda, Mac Murrough, Ua Conchobhair Falighe to prevent annual raids of plunder - because the colony had little choice in the matter if it was to survive, even in its meagre status.


Clarence was forced to leave Ireland the following year, and Hiberno-Norman Ireland continued its long decline. Only at the dawn of the 17th century would the long process of making Ireland English even begin to make appreciable gains, and even then at great cost. (See Tudor re-conquest of Ireland) The Tudor re-conquest of Ireland took place under the English Tudor dynasty during the 16th century. ...


See also

Norman Ireland A tower house near Quin. ...


Sources

  • http://www.uhb.fr/langues/cei/statkkgb.htm
  • http://www.kilkenny.ie/hist/heritage1.html

  Results from FactBites:
 
Kilkenny - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (787 words)
Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh) is the county seat of County Kilkenny, Ireland.
Kilkenny is also the only city in the republic that has neither an institute of technology nor university although National University of Ireland, Maynooth maintains an outreach center in the city at St.
Kilkenny was the capital of Confederate Ireland between 1642 and 1649, until it surrendered during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.
Statutes of Kilkenny - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (539 words)
The Statutes of Kilkenny were a notorious series of thirty-five acts passed at Kilkenny in 1367, aimed at curbing the alarming decline of the Hiberno-Norman Lordship of Ireland.
Such incidents constituted a loss the colony could not afford if it were to merely sustain itself; with this in mind, a parliament held at Kilkenny in 1367 enacted statues aimed at stemming the tide.
The prime author of the statues was Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence and by right of his wife - Elizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster - 4th Earl of Ulster.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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