This study provides the first sustained address of The Book of Howth and its compiler, Christopher St. Lawrence, 7th baron Howth (ca. 1510-1589). The Book of Howth ultimately offers a unique and extended Old English perspective on colonial conflict, displacement and identity formation in response to the Tudor question of “failed” conquest and the measures of reform government it generated.
This book addresses the evolution and impact of the Tudor re-conquest of Ireland on the Old English colonial community through a detailed study of The Book of Howth. Its compiler, the 7th baron Howth, an influential member of the Old English colonial aristocracy, has traditionally received only passing mention for his opposition to Sir Henry Sidney as lord deputy, for which he was imprisoned in 1577 and again in 1578, and for the charges of domestic abuse brought against him in 1579 for which he was imprisoned a third time. More careful attention to these episodes within the context of intensified measures of conquest and its attendant displacement of the Old English draws attention to the turbulence created within the Old English community prior to their more strident displays of opposition in the later Elizabethan and Stuart periods.
The Book of Howth, though long neglected as an erroneously-perceived work of uncertain authorship, dating, and worth, was in fact, as this study argues, compiled purposefully by Howth over the decade of the 1570s in response to this process. This study therefore reassesses Howth’s text for its contribution to assessments of colonial practice, conflict and positioning in the later sixteenth century.
1. Contexts: Tudor conquest, the Old English and historical writing 1 2. Christopher St Lawrence, 7th Baron of Howth (c.151089) 11.3. Compiling Opposition: Manuscript construction and contents 38 Part 1: The Construction of The Book of Howth 39 Part 2: The Contents of The Book of Howth 52 4. Colonial Conflict and Positioning: Assessing The Book of Howth 87 5. Circulation of The Book of Howthand its Use 114 6. Conclusion: Tudor Imperialism and Old English Displacement 125 Appendix A:Lands held by Christopher St Lawrence, 7th Baron of Howth 133 Appendix B:Stages of Manuscript Construction 135 Appendix C:Select emendations to the Calendar of the Carew Manuscriptsedition of The Book of Howth 137 Bibliography 141 Notes and References 161 Index 199
Valerie McGowan-Doyle lectures in Irish and British history at Kent State University and John Carroll University