James I: February 1604

Pages 140-151

Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, 1603-1606 . Originally published by Longman and Co, London, 1872.

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James I: February 1604

206. Warrant for Thomas Ram to be Bishop of Laughlin and Ferns. [Feb. 6.] Add. Papers, Ireland.

Warrant to pass letters to Thomas Ram, M.A., to have the bishopric of Laughlin and Fernes, void by the death of Nicholas Stafford, with the parsonage of St. Mary's in Wexford, in commendam, and as the bishopric is of small value, not above 50l. yearly, the said Thomas Ram may hold the deanery of Fernes, chancellorship of Christchurch, and vicarage of Bulroddery, all of small value, likewise in commendam.

The said Thomas Ram resigns the deanery of Cork, and John Guynn (?), the Earl of D[evonshire's], chaplain when in Ireland, is to be preferred to the same.

Draft. P. ½. Endd.: "Th. Ram, vi. Feb. 1604.'

207. Captain Philipps to Cecil, from Castletome [Toome] in Ireland. [Feb. 8.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 216, 2.

Being possessed with a fear of reducement of the army, beseeches Cecil, as his only patron and the life of his fortunes, to continue him in his gracious favour, and that his company may be one of them which shall stand. Kept almost these two years the garrison in which he now remains, which, on his going thither, was one of the remotest and most dangerous places in the north; in which time he has not let pass any opportunity for the oppression of the rebellion, and at this instant, were it not for this garrison, the many evil-disposed people would do much hurt to those which are now desirous to enjoy the peace. A place so important requires a continual garrison. Humbly prays, therefore, that his company may continue there without casting; protesting that it would be his utter undoing. Has no other dependance but Cecil, though confessing himself much bound to the Lord Lieutenant, who has promised that he shall not be removed out of the place which he now holds.—Castelltome [Toome], 8 February 1603.

Hol. P. 1. Add.: "Captain Philipps to Cecil."

208. Warrant for Incorporation of Derry. [Feb. 8.] Warrant Book, 1, p. 95.

Warrant for the incorporation of the town of Derry in the North of Ireland. Sir Harry Docwray to be governor thereof for life.

[Charter recorded, under date 11 July 1604, by Erck, Calendar, p. 114.]

209. Sir George Carey, Lord Deputy, to Sir John Davys, Solicitor-General. [Feb. 10.] Carte Papers, vol. 61, p. 125.

Original warrant for a fiant of the King's free and general pardon (treason tending to the destruction of the King's person only excepted) unto the persons under-named, all of the county of Cavan, being in number 100, inserting therein the usual provisoes of putting in sureties; and that the same shall not extend to any that are in prison or upon bail, nor to any defendant for matter of Star Chamber, nor to pardon any intrusions, fines of alienations, debts, arrears, or accounts due to His Majesty.—10 February 1603.

P. 1. Endd.: "Sir Arthur Chichester, Lord Deputy, to Sir Charles Calthorpe, Attorney-General, or to Sir John Davys, Solicitor-General."

210. The King to the Lord Lieutenant, Earl of Devonshire, or the Deputy. [Feb. 11.] Docquet Book, Feb. 11.

Letter to the Lord Lieutenant Devonshire or to the Deputy in Ireland, for Capt. Thos. Brown to have in fee-farm the dissolved Abbey of Cahirdanesk, according to the entry thereof in the private Signet Book.

[The letter (dated Westminster, Feb. 10) is printed by Erck, Calendar, p. 98.]

211. Fenton to Cecil. [Feb. 12.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 216, 3.

Has of late intermitted his wonted course of writing to Cecil of the affairs of this Government, not with purpose to pass over his first duty, but from want of health, and partly from yet not having recovered the grief of his first disgrace, to be the only man in this State thrust out from his place, and no other officer as much as touched with any manner of discountenance in his calling. Having by several letters bemoaned his case to Cecil, and not receiving so much as a line in reply, he dares not presume to recontinue his former course of intelligence till he shall see something from Cecil to set him at liberty, which is now the suit he makes. Desires Cecil's directions therein, that he may conform himself accordingly. Though it may be thought that by reason of this new entrance of peace into the kingdom, the necessity is not so strong of frequent advertisements as before, yet it is not to be doubted that the dregs remain, and will in their time work to broach fresh diseases in the unsound body of the State. The whole realm is possessed with discontentments, and with resolute blind zeal to their counterfeit religion; Cecil may consider how strong may be those two impressions to lead this people again into new altercations. And though it hath pleased the King to grace most of the heads with great gifts and employments, which in reason ought to bind them the faster in obedience and love to him; yet that princely remedy worketh contrary operations in most of them, who think but basely of his gifts and bounty. Warns Cecil, therefore, that this little sunshine of peace doth no ways diminish the necessity of frequent advertisements from hence, but rather increaseth it, as well in order to foresee that the weeds do not grow up again as to consider what may be meet for reformation. In which course he will be ready therefore to give Cecil his observations, when it shall please him to signify his commandment and mind therein. For, so long as it shall please His Majesty to continue his service, he will discharge his duty with all the faithfulness there is in him; and neither this disgrace nor other matter whatsoever put any stop to him to follow His Majesty's service with resolution and fidelity, hoping in time God will put in His Majesty's heart to give him some proportionable reparation.—Dublin, 12 February 1603.

Hol. Pp. 2. Sealed. Add.: "Sir Jeffrey Fenton to Cecil."

212. Warrant for payment of 600l. Irish to Sir Henry Broncar. (fn. 1) [Feb. 15.] Docquet Book, Feb. 15.

Letter to Sir Geo. Carey, Lord Deputy and Treasurer at Wars, to imprest to Sir Henry Broncar, Knight, appointed President of Munster, repairing thither, the sum of 600l. Irish, for his better furnishing.

[See Docquet, Feb. 27.]

213. Sir John Davis to Cecil, from Castle Reban. [Feb. 20.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 216, 4.

Hitherto has had neither time nor employment nor other extraordinary means to attain to the clear understanding of anything here, because ever since his arrival the contagion hath been such in Dublin that few have attended the State for dispatch of any business, the term hath been adjourned, and now in the end the Lord Deputy hath retired to a remote and solitary place, where he (Davis) not unwillingly attends him. Though he does the King little service, yet notwithstanding his small experience of things, there are some abuses so much in the eyes and mouths of all men, that were he mured up as an anchorite, he could not choose but understand them.

First, touching the state of religion here, there are 10 archbishops, and under them are or should be 20 bishops at least. Has perused the book of first fruits, wherein the spiritual livings are all numbered and valued, and finds the dowry of the church to be very great; but is informed by such as are both wise and honest, that the churchmen for the most part throughout the kingdom are mere idols and ciphers, and such as cannot read, if they should stand in need of the benefit of their clergy; and yet the most of those, whereof many be serving men and some horseboys, are not without two or three benefices a-piece, for the Court of Faculties doth qualify all manner, of persons and dispense with all manner of non-residence and pluralities. And yet for all their pluralities they are most of them beggars, for the patron or ordinary, or some of their friends, take the greater part of their profits by a plain contract before their institution; so that many gentlemen, and some women and some priests and Jesuits, have the greatest benefit of our benefices, though these poor unlettered clerks bear the name of incumbents. Nay (that which is almost incredible, but I heard it of one that hath a place of special credit in this kingdom) the agent or nuncio for the Pope that lieth lurking here in this land, hath 40l. or 50l. a year out of the profits of a parsonage within the Pale. But for an example of pluralities the Archbishop of Cashell is worthy to be remembered, having now in his hands four bishopricks, Cashell, Waterford, Lismore, and Imoly [Emly], and three-score and seventeen spiritual livings besides. Should corrupt his Lordship too much if he should tell him how they disinherit their churches by long leases, there being no such laws here as are in England to restrain them.

But what is the effect of these abuses? The churches are ruined and fallen down to the ground in all parts of the kingdom. There is no divine service, no christening of children, no receiving of the sacrament, no Christain meeting or assembly, no, not once in a year; in a word, no more demonstration of religion than amongst Tartars or cannibals. For redress hereof, there came some few days since a particular direction from the Lords of the Council in England to survey the Church within the Pale, and to certify the state thereof to England. Their purpose is religious and honourable, but he fears there will be no such issue and success thereof as they expect; for the Lord Deputy having withdrawn alone into the country, hath referred the matter to the Council at Dublin to consider of the best course that is to be taken in this business; and they have resolved that the bishops within the Pale are the fittest men to be employed in this survey. Knows well that none can certify the abuses of the Church more truly than they, for some of them are privy and party to them; but doubts whether they will not deliver such a verdict as the country churchwardens are wont to do when they are visited by the archdeacon; "Omnia bene," when the verdict should be "Omnia pessime." But if the business is to be really performed, let visitors be sent out of England, such as never heard a cow speak and understand not that language, that they may examine the abuses of the Court of Faculties, of the simoniacal contracts, of the dilapidations and disherison of the churches; that they may find the true value of the benefices and who takes the profits and to whose uses; to deprive these serving men and unlettered kern that are now incumbents, and to place some of the poor scholars of the college that are learned and zealous Protestants; to bring others out of that part of Scotland that borders upon the North of Ireland, which he is informed can preach the Irish tongue; to transplant others out of England and to place them within the English Pale. And albeit, no man doubts but that every Christian Prince hath (without an Act of Parliament) power and authority to reform the Church in his own dominions, yet, because there is an express Act of Parliament enacted in this kingdom (28 Hen. 8. c. 5), whereby the King, his Deputy, and commissioners are authorized to visit, redress, reform, order, correct, restrain, and amend all errors, abuses, enormities, and contempts in the Church, which by any spiritual authority or jurisdiction may or ought to be lawfully reformed, to the pleasure of Almighty God, increase of Christ's religion, and to the copulation of unity and tranquillity in this part of Ireland, if their Lordships shall send such a commission hither, perhaps the recital of it in the commission will not be impertinent in regard of the nature of this people.

His next note is more proper to the place wherein he serves, because it concerns His Majesty in point of profit, and it is touching some abuses of the escheator and surveyor. And first, it is found very inconvenient that there is but one escheator, one feodary, one surveyor, one auditor, one receiver for all this kingdom. It were too long to recite the particular mischiefs; but touching the escheator, he hath a deputy in almost every county. These deputies make a suggestion that they are able to find many titles for the King in their several counties, and thereupon desire to have a general commission to inquire of all wards, marriages, escheats, concealments, and forfeitures, and the like. If this commission were well executed and returned, these were good servitors. But what do they? They retire themselves into some corner of the counties, and in some obscure village execute their commission; and there having a simple or suborned jury, find one man's land concealed, another man's lease forfeited for non-payment of rent, another man's land holden by the King and no livery sued, and the like; this being done, they never return their commission, but send for the parties and compound with them, and so defraud the King, and make a book and spoil upon the country; so that it may be conjectured by what means one that was lately an escheator clerk is now owner of as much land here as few of the Lords of Ireland may compare with him. Understood lately of one such commission awarded into Munster, and heard of some such abuses done by the commissioners, and thereupon moved the Lord Deputy to give direction to the Chief Baron to grant a supersedeas of it; which was done accordingly.

Thus much for the escheator. For the surveyor, the damage that he doth is especially at this time, when books pass from the King to the subject, and principally in the valuation of the land which he surveys; for three parts of the land being now waste and unmanured, he finds upon his survey at this time that land at 10s. per acre, which if the peace continue and the land be peopled and improved, will within a few years be worth 100l. per acre; howbeit, it passeth in their books but for 10s., so that a book of 100l. per annum will draw from the King such an extent of land as is incredible. This abuse, however, is for the most in the valuation of lands that have not been formerly in charge, for of such lands as are found in charge the auditor makes particulars according to the ancient rates. By reason of the adjournment of the last terms, has not had opportunity to understand the carriage of things in the Exchequer, but hears (albeit the Chief Baron be an honest and industrious gentleman), that many of the inferior officers are very negligent and ignorant, whereby the King suffers much loss in his revenues. These things are prejudicial to the King, but the loss and misery of the subject grows in so many ways that he hears many of them say, that hitherto the peace hath been more heavy and grievous to them than the wars, for besides the famine and pestilence, they suffer the "cesse" (as they call it) of the soldier, which they think the worst plague of all; for the soldier will not be satisfied with such food as the country farmer hath in his house, but will kill his pig, his lamb, his calf, and so destroy (spem gregis) the hope that he hath to restore his flock again, or otherwise doth extort old sterling silver from him, to save what he hath from havoc and spoils. Every day there comes complaints of this nature to the Lord Deputy, and albeit, he (Davis) knows it is a clamorous and whining nation, and will make things more heinous than they are, yet doubtless there is much oppression and wrong done unto them.

But there is nothing hinders the peace and security of the country so much as the facility of obtaining the King's pardon. It hath ever been the cause of thefts, rapines, murders, and rebellions in this kingdom; they commonly vaunt and brag of it, and say that if they can steal 100 cows and get a pardon for 20, they gain by the bargain, for the 80 that remain are clearly their own. Hereupon they remember an answer that one Grace, a follower of the Earl of Desmond's in his wars, made to one that offered him his pardon from the Deputy if he would come in: "I can," said he, "have my pardon at any time; I have seven pardons already in my chest, and I hope to have my chest full ere I die." The King hath done princely in giving pardon to all those who were in action of rebellion, and therein it is not doubted but His Majesty's meaning was to pardon only such offences as were committed by them while they were in action, and not to pardon all offences committed against the public justice since laws took place and armies were laid aside; howbeit, till this day the effect is to pardon 100 and 200 at once, and they are all pardoned of all offences till the day of the date of the pardon. This is the cause that many murders and robberies are committed in sundry parts of the realm, and that many Robin Hoods yet live in the woods. Don Espagne (fn. 2) and his followers have lately committed a murder upon some who came to take a distress upon his land, and yet this man hath been pardoned thrice within the 12 months, and now he sueth for a fourth pardon. The sons of Feagh M'Hugh have likewise of late committed many murders, and their followers go up and down the mountains armed with pikes and muskets. What should these men do with arms? There is no foreign enemy to fight against; the only use they can make of them is to cut the throats of the King's subjects. It would much avail for the safety and security of this land if a general muster were made and all their arms taken from them, and a law made that it should be death to keep any guns or pikes in their houses. The King of Spain holds this course with nations that are more civil and less mutinous than this.

Beseeches their Lordships further, for the public good of this kingdom, to give some direction to the Council here to cause the justices of the peace to hold quarter sessions, and to have assemblies and meetings as they have in England. This would be a great terror and a means to repress public malefactors, and besides the gentlemen here that understand not their office would by this means learn to govern the country.

Lastly, concerning the Parliament which is expected shortly to be summoned here. Has sent their Lordships a copy of Poynings' Act (which directs the manner of holding the Parliament here), together with all the other Acts which have either superseded that Act or expounded it. Sir John Perrot, who held the last Parliament, could not obtain any dispensation at all. Presumes to trouble their Lordships with them, because he guesses that about this time it is a matter like to fall into counsel and deliberation amongst them. It is time that the Council here had instruction to consider what Acts are fit to be passed, for by the time they shall be certified to and fro, the year will be almost passing. For the base monies there is little hope that any proclamation will bring it either into any credit or into use. There is a better hope that since the King will not buy it in, the English and Dutch merchants will transport it all and melt it down. If there be any occasion that will hold any part of it here, it will be kept by the King's tenants to pay his rent; and then such as have entertainment of the King must receive it for their wages, which perhaps they will utter to the King's tenants again (for no merchant will take a groat), and so it may have a circular course till Domesday. Hopes they will pardon this advertisement, &c.—Riban, 20 February 1603.

Pp. 7. Signed. Sealed. Add.: "Sr John Davis to Cecil." Encloses,

214. "Parliament, Ireland. A. Poynings." [Feb. 20.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 215, 4, 2.

Sir Edward Poynings, Lord Deputy.

An Act that no Parliament be holden in this land until the Acts be certified unto England. 10 H. 7. c. 4.

"That no Parliament to be holden hereafter in the said land, but at such season as the King's Lieutenant and Council there first doth certify the King, under the great seal of that land, the causes and considerations of all such acts as them seemeth should pass in the said Parliament, and such causes, considerations, and acts affirmed by the King and his Council to be good and expedient for that land, and his licence thereupon, as well in affirmation of the said causes and acts, and to summons the said Parliament under his great seal of England, had and obtained; that done, a Parliament to be had and holden after the form and effect aforesaid; and if any Parliament be holden in that land hereafter contrary to the form and provision aforesaid, it be deemed void and of no effect."

Leonard L. Graie, Lord Deputy.

The Repeal of Poynings' Act. 28 Hen. 8. c. 4.

"That it be enacted by authority of this present Parliament summoned, began, and holden, and every act and ordinance provision, thing or things of what nature, name, condition, or quality it be, had, done, made, or established, or hereafter to be had, done, made, or established, by authority thereof, shall be good and effectual to all intents and purposes according to the tenor and effect of the said acts, ordinance, and provisions; the Act made at Drogheda in the Parliament there held the Monday after the Feast of St. Andrew in the tenth year of the most noble King of famous memory, King Henry Seventh, before Sir Edward Poynings, Knight, then being Deputy of this land, or any act or acts, use or custom heretofore had, done, or made within this realm to the contrary of this present Parliament, or any thing made or established by authority of the same, notwithstanding. Provided always, and be it enacted that by force and virtue of this present Act or anything therein contained, no act, ordinance, provision, thing or things of what nature, name, condition, or quality soever it be, for any manors, lordships, lands, tenements, advowsons, abbeys, priories, fells, or any other hereditaments whatsoever, &c."

Thomas, Earl of Sussex, Lord Deputy.

An Act declaring how Poynings shall be expounded. 4 Mary, c. 4.

Sir Henry Sidney, Knight, Lord Deputy.

An Act authorizing statutes, ordinances, and provisions to be made in this present Parliament concerning the government of the common weal and the augmentation of Her Majesty's revenues, notwithstanding Poynings' Act. 11 Eliz. c. 1.

Sir Henry Sidney, Knight, Lord Deputy.

An Act that there be no bill certified into England for the repeal or suspending of the statute passed in Poynings' time before the same bill be first agreed on in a session of Parliament holden in this realm by the great number of the Lords and commons. 11 Eliz. c. 8.

Sir Edward Poynings, Lord Deputy.

An Act that no Parliament be holden in this land until the Acts be certified into England. 10 Hen. 7. c. 4.

Leonard L. Graie, Lord Deputy.

Duplicate of the repeal of Poynings' Act. 28 Hen. 8. c. 4.

Thomas, Earl of Sussex, Lord Deputy.

Duplicate of an Act declaraing how Poynings shall be expounded. 4 Mary, c. 4.

Sir Henry Sidney, Knight, Lord Deputy.

Duplicate of 11 Eliz. c. 1.

Sir Henry Sidney, Knight, Lord Deputy.

Duplicate of 11 Eliz. c. 8.

20 February 1603–4.

Pp. 18. Endd.: "Parliament, Ireland," repeated several times.

215. The King to the Lord Deputy. [Feb. 21.] Add. Papers, Ireland.

Warrant to grant to Charles Coote, for good service in the wars of Ireland during the reign of the late Queen, the reversion of the office of Provost Marshal of Connaught for life, with all the usual entertainments.—Westminster, 21 February 1604.

P. 1. Not signed or sealed. Endd.: "13° Febr 1604. To the L. Deptie for the reṽsion of Provost Marshall of Connaught for Charles Coote."

216. Sir Arthur Chichester to Cecil. [Feb. 22.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 216, 5 A.

Since his last letters has been in the north, settling some business there, and appeasing a humorous discontent of the lords of countries in those parts, grounded upon their poverty, and the soldiers ranging from place to place for want of necessary provisions in their standing garrisons. Has brought things to a more pleasing form, albeit until supplies shall come from England, the country cannot be eased as it ought, all their stores but Loughfoyle being empty. For the decried money, does not think there is 50,000l. of it in the kingdom, the greedy merchants having bought it up and transported it in casks, as vendible commodities. The country is so corrupt and far from happiness that he may liken it to Pharaoh's lean oxen, which consumes the fat of His Majesty's other kingdoms, and is ever lean itself; which cannot be amended unless some honourable and powerful governor establish a general reformation, and by strong hand force the King's laws and good orders to be obeyed, as well in the church as commonwealth. A poor purse and a temporising humour is unfit for this nation, in which the members and whole body hath been corrupted, and are not yet free from the dredges (dregs) thereof.

Leaves farther wading in this matter and descends to his private. About three years since, made suit for the remain of a debt due him from our Queen deceased, and besought Cecil's favour, that he might be paid it out of such rents as he should raise to the Crown, within the government of Knockfergus (which country was all that time for the most part in rebellion). Cecil directed him to stay the said rents in his hands until order were taken, as appears by his letters. Now the rent of Sir Randall M'Donnell being the first that hath been paid since that time, it is collected by the Lord Deputy's order, and bestowed for other the King's uses, and not towards his (Chichester's) payment. Prays Cecil, therefore, to strengthen his former grant by setting his hand to a letter directed to the Treasurer for his (Chichester's) behove in that behalf. Is likewise a suitor to my Lord Treasurer, and the Lord Lieutenant. Has made all things perfect with the auditors, and there shall be no abuse in the accounts or receipts. Humbly recommends his suit to Cecil's consideration, having lately lost the best part of the fruits of his travels in this kingdom by shipwreck going to Knockfergus. —Dublin, 22 February 1603.

Endd. Hol. Pp. 2. Sealed. Add.: "To the Right Honorable my very good Lord, the Lord Cecyll, principle secretary to the King's Maty."

217. Warrant for Pardon. [Feb. 22.] Carte Papers, vol. 61, p. 127.

Warrant for a fiant of pardon for the persons under-named, in all 13, of the county of Galway, gentlemen, (treason tending to the destruction of the King's person, and coining of money only excepted).

[At foot is a note in Sir Arthur Chichester's hand, "These men were recommended by the Lo. President of Connaught." —Dated at the Castle of Dublin, 1604–5.

P. 1. Endd.

218. Declaration of Account. [Feb. 29.] S.P., Ireland, vol. 216, 1b.

A brief declaration of Mr. Joseph Earth and Mr. Walter James their accounts, taken at Wanstead, the last of February 1603.

219. The Earl of Devonshire, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and in his absence, to our right trusty and wellbeloved Sir George Carey, Lord Deputy, on to any other Deputy or Governor that hereafter for the time shall be, and to our Chancellor, Treasurer, and other our officers and ministers of the said realm, to whom it may appertain. [Feb. 29.] S.P., Ireland, Add. Papers.

Royal warrant to pay a pension of 8s. of current money of Ireland per diem, during life, to Sir Edward Fysher, Knight, out of the rents and receipts of the realm of Ireland, in consideration of good service rendered to the late Queen and to the Crown, payment to commence from the 5th of October last past.

Given under the signet, the last day of February, the first of the reign of England, and 37th of Scotland (1603–4).

Add., sealed, and entered on the rolls of the Chancery of Ireland. Endd.: "To our right trusty and right wellbeloved cousin and councillor."

220. The King to the Lord Lieutenant and Deputy. [Feb. 29.] Docquet Book, Feb. 29.

Docquet of No. 219.

[The grant is printed in Erck, Calendar, p. 99.]

221. The King to Sir Arthur Chichester. [Feb. 29.] Docquet Book, Feb. 29.

The King to Sir Arthur Chichester, to admit Henry Pratt, a fellow of Joyce Frankland foundation, in the college at Dublin.

P. 1.

222. A note of the victuals sent by the last contract into the provinces of Leinster, Connaught, and Ulster, and for what time the same are appointed to serve the number of 4,500 men in the foresaid provinces. [Feb.] S.P. Ireland, vol. 216, 6.

P. 1. Endd.


  • 1. Variously written in contemporary documents Broncar, Brounckar, Brouncker, Brunckar, Brunckard, Brunkard.
  • 2. The individual here meant is doubtless a very noted personage of that day, Donel Kavanagh, commonly called Donel Spaniagh, "Daniel the Spaniard." His name is found under many varieties of orthography in the English State Papers of the time, as Spaniolde Donell, Spannio Donnio, Spanio Donell, and, as here, Don Espague. It occurs frequently in the Carew Papers.