Cecil Papers: July 1583

Pages 4-8

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 3, 1583-1589. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1889.

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July 1583

16. Warrant for licence to John vom Oldinshed, of Lubeck.
1583, July 10. Warrant under the Signet granting him a licence to transport from any English port a hundred tuns of Eng ish beer, custom free.—Greenwich, 10 July 1583.
Sign Manual.
1 p.
17. Sir Warham St. Leger to the Queen.
1583, July 15. Your gracious letter I received the 12th of this month. I hold it my part to advertise your Highness what hath happened in this province since the writing of my letters bearing date June 20, in the which mine advertisements I will something touch the fruits of our protections and afterwards sundry great abuses in this your service meet to be reformed.
One James Meugh, a merchant of Kinsale, with two sons of the sovereigns of the same town and seven of the corporation, accompanied with fifty kern which he entertained, the greatest number of' them having been traitors lately protected, came with force of arms in most riotous sort to Ringnybilly in Kynalcoi's country, co. Cork, a town halfway between Cork and Kinsale belonging to Tracton Abbey, which I holding in farm from your Majesty had set over to one Jasper Wadger, a servant of mine. Wadger was commanded by injunction out of the Exchequer to keep the said town to her Majesty's use. Another was served upon Meugh, commanding him to give over the possession, as he intruded on your Highness' lands. Meugh, notwithstanding, came the 29th June about midnight to the said town, where Wadger was building a castle, as lawful was for him to do, which being half builded and more, the said Meugh and his lewd associates scale secretly into the castle, it being unwa ded and none therein but a boy of Wadger's and a woman that dressed the workmen's meal. And being entered in they lighted candles they brought with them, asking—“Where be the English traitors ? Let us kill them,” thinking Englishmen were there. Upon which words of killing, the boy leapt out of one of the windows, and, so running for the best game, brought his master news at Tracton Abbey. After whose escape these wicked people wounded the poor woman well near to death, and then [brake] down the castle to the ground, and when it was day took the prey andthe goods of the town, stripping all the poor people naked. Not content with this outrageous act, they came out to Tracton Abbey to train out Wadger, to have the murthering of him; who, hearing the cry of the country, and understanding that his town was spoiled, rose out himself and his brother, with five Englishmen of his servants and five kern more, whereof two were unweaponed. So following the cry, thinking to do their best to recover their prey, they were, unawares unto them, upon Meugh and his wicked company, who, incontinently, seeing them to be but a small number, set upon them, and with their shot at the first encounter slew two of the Englishmen dead, wounding the two Wadgers also with their shot in such sort as they were not able to stand, but fell to the ground. Whereupon the other three Englishmen, seeing no way but death if they tarried, fled for safeguard of their lives, and with much ado escaped. The Wadgers lying on the ground, these pretended murtherers disarmed them, stripping them naked, and afterwards most shamefully and cruelly wounded them in such sort as they be both dead—two proper soldiers, and of as much value as any two in this land.
This shameful murther is the coldest followed that ever was; for the Lord General coming to this town within two days after, being moved by some of their friends for a protection, presently granted one to these ten murtherers of Kinsale to come safely unto him, they being fled upon the murther; where they had their lawyers pleading for them, as though they had done but a small offence in defending their vile action. Such a sufferance I have never heard of, that any lawyer is permitted to plead for any offender in cases touching your Majesty without special licence. His Lordship hath protected those ten till the next General Sessions in Cork, at which time they are bound to appear if the Lord General himself be present; if not, they are to stand upon their keeping : a favour, the like was never seen in this realm on so detestable a murther, and an encouragement to lewd disposed people upon every light occasion to commit murther, and a discouraging of Englishmen hereafter to maintain your Majesty's possession, if this be not severely followed, of which I have no hope. And therefore do humbly beseech your Highness to direct your letters of commandment to your Lords Justices that this foul murther may be tried in your Majesty's Bench at Dublin. For here there is no justice to be looked for, so great friends and favourers have the murtherers, being linked in blood and kindred with those that be the ministers of your laws in this Province.
And now will I deliver unto your Majesty such abuses as are let pass over in this Province. First, tawniship, an Irish custom forbidden by law, is erecting anew by sinister practises of some of good calling that might be better occupied, considering the offices they bear and the oath and vow they have taken. The proof whereof now falleth out, for Sir Cormac Mc Teige, knight, who died on Thursday last, bequeathed the country of Muskerry, that he was captain of, to his brother Callaghan McTeige, to be captain of that country during his life, and so to descend to others as tawniest till it come to his children, if they overlive the other tawniest. This device was, as I hear, devised by lawyers in fee with your Majesty, and by Sir Cormac, by an untrue and politic suggestion preferred to your Highness, under colour to surrender up the said country to your Majesty, relinquishing Irish custom and to hold the same immediately from your Highness by knight service; upon which suggestion your Majesty, granted your letters patent to him for life, and afterwards to dispose the same by will. By bequeathing it to his brother as tawniest he hath established tawniship again, and, as the country people say, hath injuriously dealt with his eldest brother's children, Sir Dermot McTeige, who, calling Sir Cormac unto him on his death-bed, committed unto him the trust of breeding his children, and the charge of his country, till his eldest son came to his lawful years, and then to deliver him the country, Dermot having three denisons under the great seal of England granted to his ancestors for enjoying the said country of Muskerry to him and heirs males, according to the tenure of England. One was from Edward IV., another from Henry VII., and the third from Henry VEIL By this patent Muskerry ought to descend to the heirs males of Cormac Oge, to whom the said denisons where granted, and now the dispossessing the said heirs is like to breed such a stir in Munster as was not this forty years, unless the matter be taken up and determined by your Majesty. Blood between them is already drawn and great party-taking. By this tawniship your Majesty is abused of the wardship of the heir of that country, which would have been worth you in the heir's minority seven or eight thousand pounds.
Your Majesty is also to be hindered in the wardship of McDonnoghoe's son, captain of a country called Dowalla, who died in the castle of Limerick last year. Upon his death his son was seised as ward to your Highness, and so seised, a commission was sent from your Lords Justices to me and Justice Meugh for inquiring what lands he died seised of, which commission we were forbidden to deal in by the Lord General, Donnogho McCormac—one of the sept of the McDonnoghoes, a traitor with the Earl of Desmond and lately received by the Lord General to protection—being to his Lordship a near kinsman, and standing to have the said McDonnoghoe's country as tawniest thereof, and so to hold it by Irish custom. The wardship with good usage would have been worth in the child's nonage two or three thousand pounds.
Your Majesty is also hindered by a subtle conveyance of James Viscount Buttivant and Lord Barry last deceased, who conveyed his land to David Barry his second son, his eldest, who is alive, being deaf and dumb, and thereby your Majesty is entitled to the profits of the land during the life of the heir, worth 2,000l. by the year.
Your Majesty is also greatly injured by one Barry Oge, who usurpeth from you the country of Kinalea, his ancestors and himself being but seneschals thereof, and by long continuance in the said office do now claim the same country to him and to his heirs males for ever; and hath secretly enfeoffed Viscount Barry, he having no child of his own to be his heir, meaning by this crafty conveyance to disinherit your Majesty of a goodly country which lieth between this town and Kinsale. In like sort is another proper country called Kynalbekyne in Carbery usurped, of which the Barry Oges were seneschals as of Kinalea.
Patrick Condon's, the White Knight's, and the Knight of the Valley's countries is like to be disposed upon those traitors three, whose fathers lost them by attainder for treasons before the Earl of Desmond's rebellion, and their sons since the Earl's rebellion began have joined with him in his treasons, till now of late they were received to protections, which three countries be as trim soils as any in this Province.
Your Highness is like to be also hindered by a suit that is shortly to be moved concerning your grant of licence for 1he bwing [sic] of Lord Coursey's lands, an ancient baron and barony which Lord Coursey has sold to merchants of Kinsale and others for wine, which barony will be recovered to your Majesty's use for want of heirs if you withhold licence of alienation.
There will also be a suit made unto your Highness that will greatly hinder your Majesty if you yield thereunto, and that is the releasing of Carbery for the finding one hundred soldiers that country hath compounded to find. Five or six hundred pounds is offered by that country for the release. I could rather wish you should give to the gentleman that mindeth to be a suitor for it treble the sum than that your Majesty should forego the precedent, for thereby other countries may be brought to do the like.
Many abuses more are let go for want of good ministers, which will not be remedied till you have an English Governor, a Chief Justice an English man, and your officers English. For a thing impossible it is for Irish ministers and English laws to accord well together, and chiefly where the ministers that have the execution of your laws be men bred and borne in the country where they be officers, and allied in consanguinity or affinity or in fostering in a manner with the whole country people. And besides not an office that falleth, but is disposed upon the Irishry and thereafter goeth forward your . . . (fn. 1) I write not this I protest for malice.—Cork, 15 July 1583.
18. The Privy Council to Lord Burghley.
1583, July 19. Pray him to give order for the transportation from the Port of London of 2,000 tuns of beer.—19 July 1583.
1 p.
19. — to —.
1583, July 24. Understands that he is displeased at his ingratitude, as he terms it, and accuses him of forgetting all his obligations.
His conscience however acquits him of nil these imputations, and he has sufficient witnesses, common friends to both, of the pain and travail he took, even at the hazard of his life, for the furtherance of his affairs.
Commends the bearer to his notice, who will communicate to him such little intelligence as he has been able to gather on the subjects that concern him.—24 July 1583.
Signed—“Aluayeis One.”
1 p.
20. The Privy Council to Lord Burghley.
1583, July 26. By the enclosed letter from Mr. Burroughes his lordship will understand with what success it has pleased God to bless him in the service undertaken by him. Request his lordship to give order for the re-delivery of the prizes to their proper owners. Have signified to Mr. Burroughes their desire that after this has been done, he should proceed to the Narrow Seas, to clear them from the French pirates who infest the neighbourhood of Dover and Sandwich.—26 July 1583.
1 p.
21. E. Lesieur to Archibald Douglas.
1583, July 29. At the request of Monsieur Sidney, presents his most affectionate recommendations, desiring to hear of his welfare, and how affairs are progressing in Scotland.—Ramsbury, 29 July 1583.
French, 1 p.
22. Debt of the Low Countries.
1583, July. Statement of the sums advanced to Messrs. de Sweningham, Davison, Duke Casimir, and others, amounting in the sum total to 98,374l.
Endorsed :—“The States' debt to her Majesty, July 1583,”
French, ¾ p.


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