[ Early Ireland ]
 [ The Anglo-Norman period ]
 [ Early Tudor period ]
 [ The Reformation ]
 [ Fitzgerald & O'Neill wars ]
 [ Early Stuart kings ]
 [ Cromwellian Settlement ]
 [ Williamite war and the  Protestant ascendancy ]
 [ Revolutionary influences ]
 [ The Union ]
 [ Home Rule crisis & WW I ]
 [ Irish Revolution ]
 [ Partition of Ireland ]
 [ Irish civil war ]
 [ Cosgrave government ]
 [ De Valera period ]
 [ Éire ]
 [ Republic of Ireland ]
 [ Bloody Sunday ]
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History of Ireland
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[ Chapter 3 ] - [ Early Tudor Period ]
 

The participation of the Anglo-Norman nobility from the coastal Pale in the Wars of the Roses greatly impaired English strength in Ireland. When Henry VII became king of England, he left Gerald Fitzgerald, 8th Earl of Kildare, as viceroy of Ireland, although Kildare belonged to the Yorkist party.

The assistance rendered by Kildare to the Yorkist pretenders Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, however, finally compelled the king to replace him in 1494 with the English soldier and diplomat Sir Edward Poynings. Poynings represented the purely English interest, as distinct from the Anglo-Norman interest, which up to that time had prevailed in Ireland. He at once summoned the Parliament of Drogheda, which enacted legislation providing for the defence of the Pale and the reduction of the power of the Anglo-Irish lords.

The nobility was forbidden to oppress the inferior baronage, to make exaction upon the tenantry, or to assemble their armed retainers; and the Statutes of Kilkenny, which compelled the English and Irish to live apart and prohibited Irish law and customs in the Pale, were confirmed. All state offices, including the judgeships, were filled by the English king instead of by the viceroys, and the entire body of English law was declared to hold for the Pale.

Most important of all was the so-called Poynings Law, which made the Irish Parliament dependent on the English king by providing that all proposed legislation should first be announced to the king and meet with his approval, after which he would issue the licence to hold Parliament.

In 1494 Henry VII eventually re-established Kildare, the most powerful of the Irish nobles, as viceroy, and under Kildare's rule the Pale grew and prospered. After Kildare's death in 1513, the power of the Geraldine family steadily declined, as his successor, his son Gerald Fitzgerald (known as Garret Óg), spent much of his time under careful scrutiny at the court of Henry VIII. 

Rumours of the earl's death in 1534 precipitated a revolt by his son Thomas Fitzgerald, known as Silken Thomas. The rebellion was soon quashed and Thomas's execution in 1537 marked the end of the Kildare ascendancy.


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