The causes of Tudor Rebellions from 1485-1601

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Kildare 1534 ('Silken' Thomas)

Factional; From 1532 Cromwell began to favour Kildare’s rivals for government offices and the Earl began to resent his declining influence in court circles in both London and Dublin. In September 1533 Henry ordered Kildare to visit him as he doubted he could enforce the reformation acts. The Earl replied by sending his wife and in the meantime began to transfer weapons and gunpowder from Dublin castle to his own estates. A further demand from the King finally brought Kildare to London and once lodged in the tower he never left. ‘Silken’ Thomas began a revolt having heard of the arrest and imprisonment of his father, the Earl of Kildare, in the Tower of London.

His son ‘Silken’ Thomas not surprisingly ignored requests to visit London and he and his 5 uncles raised 1000 men in Munster and invaded the Pale. Although rebels called on the catholic church for support and condemned Henry’s religious reforms, the uprising was primarily political in cause and intent. Thomas’s objectives were to expel the English administration and become sole ruler of Ireland. However, with no imperial aid coming Thomas surrendered on promise of his life. He was sent to London where he was executed with his five uncles.

Potentially dangerous as Ireland was becoming a hot bed of rebellion and was a useful landing stage for Spanish or French invasion fleets/armies.

The rebellion had cost £25,000 to suppresses remarkable leniency was shown with only 75 executions. With Kildare lands confiscated and the large Geraldine affinity leaderless, the crown embarked on radical administrative reform. Henry ended generations of Irish Aristocratic rule and seriously destabilised relations between English governments and Irish subjects and Gaelic clans. For the first time English-born officials were appointed to key administrative posts as lord deputies, lieutenants, treasurers and chancellors. The crown no longer had an Irish family, such as the Kildares, to safeguard its interest, and rival clans, like the Butlers, O’Neills, O’Mores, O’Connors and O’Donnells, felt less intimidated and more willing to break the law.

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