Sunday, 13 November 2011

Earls of Kildare

Earls of Kildare - Ireland and the English Kings

Edward IV of England

The Earls of Kildare and their interaction with the various English Kings is an intriguing one to observe. With the succession of Edward IV to the English Crown, Ireland was impacted upon once again. In Irish history this again was important because at this time a quarrel broke out between the Butlers, led by the carl of Ormond and the Talbots led by Richard Talbot, archbishop of Dublin.

In 1454 the Wars of the Roses began with the Gearldines siding with the house of York and the Butlers with the House of Lancaster. When they went to do battle in England the Irish rose up everywhere and took back whole districts.

The Pale reduced in size everyday and their defences grew weak.  The duke of York was defeated in 1460 but just the next year, the Yorkists won power back and Edward IV was proclaimed as king of England. Understanding how the Earls of Kildare heavily influenced the History of Ireland is complex but vitally important to understand.

The Geraldines of Desmond and Kildare now found favour and the Butlers were in a state of disgrace. In 1462 they fought out a mini version of the Wars of the Roses and the Butlers were defeated.

Thomas, the eighth Earl of Desmond was appointed lord deputy.  Although popular he like many others failed to restore any peace or order to Ireland.  His rule did not last very long and the Crown was suspicious of his close links with many of the Gaelic chieftains.

He was tried on a charge of treason and when found guilty was beheaded in Drogheda in 1468. He was replaced by Sir John Tiptoft in 1467. The beheading provoked an uprising from the chieftains and the Anglo-Irish.

The Earl of Kildare had also been charged with treason, and as part of a settlement process, the Earl of Kildare was restored to favour. Tiptoft, known as the butcher because of his ruthless activities, now returned to England having failed to enforce English rule. He himself was executed when the Lancastrians returned to power in 1470.

Without any enforcement of English law and the inability to deliver a full scale invasion, the English realised they would have to allow the bigger Anglo-Irish Lords to run Ireland. The appointed Governor at that time was Garret Mor Fitzgerald, the Earl of Kildare 1478.

Fitzgerald had six daughters and they were all married into important Anglo-Irish and Gaelic families. It was a strong power base, yet despite this Fitzgerald promoted the Yorkist cause. He chose this in preference to establishing himself as the leader of an independent kingdom in Ireland. There was always a delicate balance between the Royal rule in England and the power of the Earls of Kildare.

I would now recommend that you read about Lambert Simnel