More savage English repression

The Earl of Essex came to Ireland in 1574 at the head of a large and costly army to ‘quell’ the disaffected Irish. This was about the time of the conclusion of the first Desmond Rebellion in Munster (in which Bagenal participated against ‘the rebels’ – next article to come …) and the Queen expected a similar ‘successful’ outcome in the North. It was not to happen.

Among those in Ireland who were put out by this was Marshall Bagenal. There is a record of a letter from the Privy Council in Dublin to Bagenal requesting him ‘to spare his house in Newry for Essex and for him to remove himself to some other place for a convenient time’. 


This thing the Marshall positively refused to do.


The following year Essex returned to England and in his stead Sir Henry Sydney (friend of Bagenal’s friend the Earl of Leicester) came to Ireland as Lord Deputy. 


He ‘pacified’ the Pale (put his enemies, the Irish, to fire and sword) and moved northwards on 5th October with 200 horsemen and 400 foot soldiers. 


Perhaps the friendship mentioned above coloured his view of Bagenal’s estates, as he wrote …


‘I found soche good pollecye and order in the countrie where the Marshall dwelleth, his Landes so well manured, his Tenants so cherished and maintained, the town so well planted with inhabitants, and increased in bewtye and building, as he is much to be commended as well, that he useth his tenants to lyve so welthilye under hym, as his own bountie and large hospitallite and housekepings so able and willinge to geve entertainment to so maney and chiefely, to all those that have occasion to travel to or froe Northwards, his house lyeing in the open highway to their passage’.


The above words are often quoted in Bagenal’s favour. 


The present writer remains most sceptical, especially since Bagenal had point-blank refused the Privy Council’s entreaties the previous year for hospitality on behalf of the former Deputy! 


Sydney was merely promoting his friend – and the soldier who had campaigned before with him in brutally repressing the ‘mere’ Irish. 


One example, the repression of the ‘Desmond Rebellions’ follows …


… more Desmond Rebellions ….

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.