Provincial government and administration in Jacobean Munster
Curtis, Margaret P.
University College Cork
This is a study of government and administration in the province of Munster, Ireland, in the reign of James I. After the 1601 Battle of Kinsale the whole fabric of life of the Gaelic and Old English sections of the population changed irrevocably. A new influx of New English planters heightened tensions between Catholics and Protestants. Using the Council Book of Munster (BL, Harleian 697) I have reconstructed the administrative structure through which the south of Ireland was controlled. The role of the lord president’s court and its operation are examined and its impingement on the lives of the general population is considered. I have identified the lower ranks of officialdom which supported the institution of the presidency and compared the operation of this system of local government with that in Wales and the North of England. At this period local government officials of longer-standing – such as sheriffs – supported the presidency. They were augmented with new (or renewed) officials such as justices of the peace, collectors, and escheators. These local government structures, together with many minor posts, are examined and many of the personnel identified. This work demonstrates that military adventurers were replaced by bureaucratic adventurers and examines whether government intentions of making Ireland a mirror-image of English law and civility were attained. The study shows how upwardly-mobile, impecunious individuals were able to amass wealth and influence courtesy of the many government positions available in the reinvigorated plantation of Munster. This small group of people, in virtue of their Protestantism, supplanted the traditional Catholic community leaders and changed the face of Munster. Volume 2 of the thesis is a transcription of the Council Book of Munster (BL, Harleian 697), making this unique document available to a wider audience and facilitating early modern scholarship.
Government , Administration , Local government structures , Jacobean Munster , Provincial government
Curtis, M. P. 2006. Provincial government and administration in Jacobean Munster. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.