CHAPTER I. CIVIL WAR IN ENGLAND - ITS EFFECTS ON THE ANGLO-IRISH - THE KNIGHTS OF SAINT JOHN - GENERAL DESIRE OF THE ANGLO-IRISH TO NATURALIZE THEMSELVES AMONG THE NATIVE POPULATION - A POLICY OF NON-INTERCOURSE BETWEEN THE RACES RESOLVED ON IN ENGLAND.
The mention of the Lord Deputy, Sir Roger Outlaw, the second Prior of his order though not the last, who wielded the highest political power over the English settlements, naturally leads to the mention of the establishment in Ireland, of the illustrious orders of the Temple and the Hospital. The first foundation of the elder order is attributed to Strongbow, who erected for them a castle at Kilmainham, on the high ground to the south of the Liffey, about a mile distant from the Danish wall of old Dublin. Here, the Templars flourished, for nearly a century and a half, until the process for their suppression was instituted under Edward II., in 1308. Thirty members of the order were imprisoned and examined in Dublin, before three Dominican inquisitors - Father Richard Balbyn, Minister of the Order of St. Dominick in Ireland, Fathers Philip de Slane and Hugh de St. Leger. The decision arrived at was the same as in France and England; the order was condemned and suppressed; and their Priory of Kilmainham, with sixteen benefices in the diocese of Dublin, and several others, in Ferns, Meath, and Dromore, passed to the succeeding order, in 1311. The state maintained by the Priors of Kilmainham, in their capacious residence, often rivalled that of the Lords Justices. But though their rents were ample, they did not collect them without service. Their house might justly be regarded as an advanced fortress on the south side of the city, constantly open to attacks from the mountain tribes of Wicklow. Although their vows were for the Holy Land, they were ever ready to march at the call of the English Deputies, and their banner, blazoned with the Agnus Dei, waved over the bloodiest border frays of the fourteenth century. The Priors of Kilmainham sat as Barons in the Parliaments of "the Pale," and the office was considered the first in ecclesiastical rank among the regular orders.
During the second quarter of this century, an extraordinary change became apparent in the manners and customs of the descendants of the Normans, Flemings, and Cambrians, whose ancestors an hundred years earlier were strangers in the land. Instead of intermarrying exclusively among themselves, the prevailing fashion became to seek for Irish wives, and to bestow their daughters on Irish husbands. Instead of clinging to the language of Normandy or England, they began to cultivate the native speech of the country. Instead of despising Irish law, every nobleman was now anxious to have his Brehon, his Bard, and his Senachie. The children of the Barons were given to be fostered by Milesian mothers, and trained in the early exercises so minutely prescribed by Milesian education. Kildare, Ormond, and Desmond, adopted the old military usages of exacting "coyne and livery" - horse meat and man's meat - from their feudal tenants. The tie of Gossipred, one of the most fondly cherished by the native population, was multiplied between the two races, and under the wise encouragement of a domestic dynasty might have become a powerful bond of social union. In Connaught and Munster where the proportion of native to naturalized was largest, the change was completed almost in a generation, and could never afterwards be wholly undone. In Ulster the English element in the population towards the end of this century was almost extinct, but in Meath and Leinster, and that portion of Munster immediately bordering on Meath and Leinster, the process of amalgamation required more time than the policy of the Kings of England allowed it to obtain.
The first step taken to counteract their tendency to Hibernicize themselves, was to bestow additional honours on the great families. The baronry of Offally was enlarged into the earldom of Kildare; the lordship of Carrick into the earldom of Ormond; the title of Desmond was conferred on Maurice Fitz-Thomas Fitzgerald, and that of Louth on the Baron de Bermingham. Nor were they empty honours; they were accompanied with something better. The "royal liberties" were formally conceded, in no less than nine great districts, to their several lords. Those of Carlow, Wexford, Kilkenny, Kildare, and Leix, had been inherited by the heirs of the Earl Marshal's five daughters; four other counties Palatine were now added - Ulster, Meath, Ormond, and Desmond. "The absolute lords of those palatinates," says Sir John Davis, "made barons and knights, exercised high justice within all their territories; erected courts for civil and criminal causes, and for their own revenues, in the same form in which the king's courts were established at Dublin; they constituted their own judges, seneschals, sheriffs, coroners, and escheators." So that the king's writs did not run in their counties, which took up more than two parts of the English colony; but ran only in the church-lands lying within the same, which was therefore called THE CROSSE, wherein the Sheriff was nominated by the King. By "high justice" is meant the power of life and death, which was hardly consistent with even a semblance of subjection. No wonder such absolute lords should be found little disposed to obey the summons of deputies, like Sir Ralph Ufford and Sir John Morris, men of merely knightly rank, whose equals they had the power to create, by the touch of their swords.