The Book of Howth
Elizabethan Conquest and the Old English
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Cork University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Thanks go first and foremost to Hiram Morgan, under whose direction this book began as a doctoral thesis. His patience, assistance and generosity far surpassed the obligations of a thesis supervisor, and his generosity and support since that time have been immeasurable. Particular thanks are also due to a number of readers who painstakingly...
Note on Conventions
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In the midst of the early parliamentary sessions of 1569–71 Christopher St Lawrence, 7th Baron of Howth, began to compile material on the history and state of conquest in Ireland. His compilation ultimately became a ten-year-long project as Howth continued to add entries to it over the decade of the 1570s. The product of his work, known as The...
1. Contexts: Tudor conquest, the Old English and historical writing
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The Tudor period saw Ireland transformed. At the outset Ireland was a lordship, governed by the powerful 8th Earl of Kildare in control of a network of resources and allies straddling the colonial and Gaelic worlds. By its end, Hugh O’Neill’s submission in 1603 within days of Elizabeth’s death brought the Nine Years War to a close, opening...
2. Christopher St Lawrence, 7th Baron of Howth (c. 1510–89)
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The life of the 7th Baron of Howth spanned much of the sixteenth century, coinciding with many of the pivotal events that would transform English control in Ireland, and ultimately the position of the Old English: the transition from lordship to kingdom, the effects of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, the shift from policies of conciliation...
3. Compiling Opposition: Manuscript construction and contents
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In 1569 Howth began to compile material for ‘his book’, as he signed the manuscript upon its completion. It was a project that commenced in the context of Howth’s emerging opposition to the policies of Sidney and continued throughout the 1570s, a period that saw his opposition culminate in the cess controversy of 1577–8 and his incarceration on...
4. Colonial Conflict and Positioning: Assessing The Book of Howth
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Howth’s compilation was driven by competing perceptions of failed conquest. This issue had been central to Tudor administrators’ and analysts’ policies for the transformation of English governance in Ireland since its first clear articulation in Patrick Finglas’s ‘Breviate’ in the reign of Henry VIII. The question resurfaced with particular intensity...
5. Circulation of The Book of Howth and its Use
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Little was formerly known of the history of the Book of Howth other than its acquisition by Carew under unknown circumstances and its ultimate deposit in Lambeth Palace Library along with other items in his collection. Lack of information regarding its early circulation generated the erroneous assumption that Howth’s compilation existed only...
6. Conclusion: Tudor Imperialism and Old English Displacement
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Through the archival evidence we catch only intermittent glimpses of what seem to be pendulum swings in Howth’s political position. An early supporter of Sussex, Howth reappears with clarity in documentary records only much later in 1577–8 as one of the leading figures in the movement against Sidney’s cess, with little explanation for this apparent...
Appendix A: Lands held by Christopher St Lawrence, 7th Baron of Howth
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Appendix B: Stages of Manuscript Construction
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Appendix C: Select emendations to the Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts edition of The Book of Howth
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Notes and References
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Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2011