A Jacobean Journal

Being a Record of Those Things Most Talked of During the Years 1603 -1606

by G.B Harrison

First published 1941 by Butler and Tanner Ltd, Frome and London

A series of extracts relating to Ireland. A Jacobean Journal was compiled after extensive research of original sources.

Table of Contents

The Year 1603 12th April: The Submission of Tyrone
5th May: The State of Ireland
15th May: The Troubles in Ireland
22nd May: The Lord Deputy of Cork
6th June: The Lord Mountjoy's Return
6th June: The Charges of the Irish Wars
8th June: A Proclamation for the Earl of Tyrone
14th June: Irish News
12th July: The State of Ireland
22nd July: The Base Money in Ireland
6th August: A Deputation from Ireland
17th September: New Coin for Ireland
21st October: The New Moneys Proclaimed in Ireland
27th November: Court News
3rd December: The Irish Moneys
The Year 1604 26th March: The Parliament
15th October: A New Lord Deputy for Ireland
The Year 1605 4th July: A Proclamation against Toleration in Ireland
12th October: The State of Ireland
9th November: News from Ireland
15th December: Religion in Ireland
19th December: A Petition from the Recusants in the Pale
The Year 1606 24th January: The Council's Advice to the Lord Deputy
23rd February: The Irish Recusants
6th March: The Wretched State of Ireland
14th April: Irish Stirs
10th July: The French King
22nd September: The Lord Deputy's Journey
1st October: The Decayed State of the Soldiers in Ireland

Related timeline

Hugh O'Neill (Earl of Tyrone) Biography

James I Biography

Ireland circa 1600

Nine Years War: Wikipedia
Hugh O'Neill                              The Year 1603


A few days before the death of the Queen, the Lord Deputy having received from Tyrone a new offer of submission, replied that if he desired to obtain her Majesty’s mercy he must beg the same on his knees in such a place as should be directed. These conditions, though hard and dangerous for one whose head was set to sale by a public Act not yet reversed, were by him accepted. Tyrone therefore came to Mellyfant with a very small train, and there in a great presence offered himself on his knees to the Lord Deputy. Thence he attended my Lord to Tredagh and to Dublin, where he was the only Irish nobleman present at the proclaiming of his Majesty. On the 8th April he made his submission in the Castle of Dublin upon his knees, in the presence of the Lord Deputy and Council, solemnly swearing upon a book to perform every part thereof as much as lies in his power; and if he could not perform any part therefore he vowed to put his body into the King’s hands to be disposed at his pleasure. Moreover, he renounced all kinds of dependency on any foreign power, and especially the King of Spain, and will serve the King against all invaders, divulging any practices he shall know of against the King’s person or crowns. He will be conformable and assistant to the King’s magistrates for the advancement of his service and the peaceable government of his Kingdom, especially for the abolishing of all barbarous customs contrary to the laws.


From Ireland comes news that in Ulster, where at the coming of the Lord Deputy there was not one man in subjugation there is now not one in rebellion. In Connaught and Leinster likewise there is but little or no rebellion. Only Munster those in the towns (and especially in Cork), with Kilkenny and Wexford, have, with some insolence, set up the public exercise of Mass. Unto them the Lord Deputy has written commanding them on their allegiance to desist, and purposeth to go amongst them with 2,000 men, fearing lest in the miseries and ill disposition the towns may cast themselves into the protection of Spain. The discontent at the new base coin is infinite; nor is there any way to make it acceptable save by the cannon. The companies are found exceeding weak of English, for the miseries of the war are so intolerable, specially by the new coin, that all the best men forsake them, and no providence can prevent it. As for the Lord Deputy himself, he is tired of wrestling with this generation of vipers, and cannot hope to bring things to a better pass but with a long time that must polish what he was rough-hewed, which he hopes that the King will appoint to be the work of some other man.


On 27th April the Lord Deputy departed from Dublin to make his journey to the seditious towns in the south. On the 29th the Sovereign and four principal citizens of Kilkenny were brought before him, and charged with allowing the erection of the Mass, and public breach of the laws of the Realm. They humbly besought pardon, confessing that they had been seduced by one Dr. White and a friar named Edmund Barry, who came unto them from Waterford, hallowed their churches and enjoined them to celebrate Mass openly. This friar also at the same time submitted himself, and confessed his fault, alleging that he thought it agreeable to his Lordship’s pleasure, but now understanding the contrary, promised to desist from further exercises of mass.

Two days afterwards, the Lord Deputy with his army encamped within five miles of Waterford, from which city is much disorder reported, for some have exclaimed openly, ‘We will not have a Scot to be our King’: and even after they had yielded, they erected the Mass in several churches, deferring the proclaiming of the King’s title and right until their churches had first been hallowed.

From the city four agents came to request public toleration of the Mass and that the Lord Deputy would enter the city with no greater number than they themselves would allow, to which effect they showed a clause from the ancient charter granted by King John.

The next day, which was the 2nd May, learning that they were manning the walls of the city for resistance, the Lord Deputy encamped his army within a mile of the city, when the agents again asking that only a certain number should enter the city, and that Dr. White might come to the camp in the name of the Commons, with a Dominican friar, as one that had great power with the common people; to which the Lord Deputy agreed. This Jesuit doctor hath caused them to establish the further exercise of the Mass, contrary to law. He hath, moreover, entered by force into churches, taking away the keys and excluding the ministers, and torn and burnt the service books: and beside this, he exacted an oath of all the inhabitants that they should be true for the Pope, and maintain the Romish religion with their goods and lives.

The Jesuit and the friar, apparelled after their orders (the Doctor wearing a black gown and cornered cap, and the Friar a white woollen frock), came therefore to the camp, attended by divers of the town, carrying a crucifix which they showed openly, so that the soldiers could hardly be kept from offering them violence. When he came until his Lordship’s presence, the Jesuit protested that he had ever been a loyal subject to the Queen, and now to the King, whom he acknowledged to be the lawful heir to the crowns of England, Scotland, France and Ireland. It was true that he was a Catholic and a Jesuit: these names he would not deny.

Hereupon the Lord Deputy, perceiving the Doctor to be a scholar, began to enter into a learned discourse with him touching obedience, and by degrees did urge him to answer whether a subject might take arms against his Prince for matters of religion; to which the Jesuit would give no direct answer, but seemed to answer that he might. At one point the Doctor cited a passage in St. Augustine for his proof, whereat his Lordship, having the book in his tent, showed all the company that he had falsely cited the Father, for howsoever the very words were found there, yet they were by way of an assertion which St. Augustine confuted in the discourse following.

At length the Lord Deputy said, “To deal plainly with you, if your conscience will not let you answer negatively to this question, you shall upon my honour return safely to the town, but presently after I will proclaim you a traitor, and all that shall relieve you. For my master is by right an absolute King, subject to no Prince or Power upon the earth: and if it be lawful for his subjects upon any cause to raise arms against him, and deprive him of his royal authority, he is not then an absolute King, but hath only a precarium imperium. This is our opinion of the Church of England, and in this point many of your own great doctors agree with us.”

So the Jesuit and the rest withdrew; but after three hours he came again, renewing his protestation of loyalty, and disclaiming the principle that it is lawful for subjects upon any cause to bear arms against his Prince. Further he declared that the people would receive his Lordship and his army.

The next morning the Lord Deputy, leaving a sufficient guard in his camp, marched towards Waterford, which he entered in state. At the cross there was an oration in Latin, magnifying the King and justifying their courses, that what they had done was only for their consciences, and the further profession of their religion. After dinner, the Lord Deputy admonished the chief men, and administered to them an oath of fidelity to the King. Then he told them that because they had confessed that they were too weak-handed to keep in awe their unruly multitude, he would leave 150 English soldiers. Accordingly these men were placed in a strong castle, commanding one of the ports, and my Lord returned with the rest of his army to his camp, purposing within a day or two to make his journey to Cork.

In Cork the townsmen behave very seditiously; for after things had remained doubtful for some days upon the death of the Queen, they treated Lady Carew (the wife of the Lord President of Munster), with great insolency, so that she had to remove to Shandon Castle. When Sir Charles Wilmot and Sir George Thornton had received confirmation of their commissions, they came to Cork intending either to place some companies within the town or take thence some victuals and munitions. But the townsmen would not admit them, and made a tumult, sending forth 800 men to pull down the Fort of Skiddir where the munition was, until Sir Charles drove them forth with 300 men and some loss on both sides. Hereupon the townsmen manned their walls and began to play upon the companies until Sir Charles manned all the alleys at both ends of the town, and beat them from the walls. Every day since then there is an action, the cannon sometimes playing upon Shandon, and sometimes upon the Bishop’s house. Nevertheless, Lady Carew is nothing daunted thereat, nor would she be persuaded to move to any other place for her safety, such is her disdain for the mayor of Cork. Moreover, as it seems, this trouble hath brought her to very good health, for before she was extremely sickly.


The Lord Deputy came into Cork on the 10th May, and the day following he admitted the townsmen to speak on their own behalf of any offences which they had received or justly suspected before they were called in question for their own disorders. They endeavoured to divert their public offences by a colourable excuse of private spleen, and some grudges against one of the commissioners. The next day his Lordship heard the townsmen’s answers in justification of their own actions. It was objected against them that they had publicly set up the Romish religion, against the laws, and maintained these actions by force and armed men; they had attempted to demolish the King’s fort at the south gate of the city; they had stayed the issue of the King’s munitions and victual, seizing them into their own hands, and imprisoning the King’s officers and munitions; lastly, they had borne arms and done acts of hostility against the King’s forces, wherein their insolency was so far followed that they had killed a grave and learned preacher walking upon the hills adjoining to their walls, and had battered Shandon Castle where the wife of the Lord President lay. After due examination of these accusations, his Lordship resolved to leave the censure to his Majesty’s pleasure. Only he took notice of some few of the principal offenders and ringleaders, whom he commanded to be hanged for example and terror to the rest. Others are left in prison, principally Master Meade, the Recorder, to be tried in the course of law.


The Lord Mountjoy, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, is now come to London, bringing in his company Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, who abides private at Wansted. Before his departure his Lordship gave authority to Sir George Carew to be the King’s Deputy during his absence. Moreover, because at the first settling of peace so many petitions were exhibited against the late rebels for restitution of goods which cannot now be restored, that the exacting thereof is like to produce new troubles, his Lordship caused an Act of Oblivion (for all like grievances) to be published.

On their way thither, the Lord Lieutenant and his company were in great danger, for sailing towards the coast of England in the King’s pinnace called the Tramontana, they encountered a sudden fog, and, bearing all sails, fell suddenly upon the Sherries, a hideous black rock off the Isle of Anglesey. Here they had all been cast away, had not the gulls, seeing the ship ready to rush upon their desert habitation, rose calling and fluttering about them. Whereat the governors of the pinnace cried out to the steermen, “Aloof for life!” which the steersmen effected and brought the ship suddenly about, but so near to the rock that the boat hanging to the stern was dashed against it. Having landed at Beaumaris, the Lord Lieutenant, with the Earl of Tyrone and his company rode to London, and on the way, howsoever his Lordship’s happy victory against the traitor made him gracious in the eyes of the people, yet no respect for him could contain many women in those parts, who have lost husbands and children in these Irish wars, from throwing dust and stones at the Earl of Tyrone as he passed, and reviling him with bitter words.

The Lords Mountjoy has requested that the King shall make some public declaration to avoid violence or disgrace in speech to the Earl of Tyrone, as he sees the people much inclined to it, and it would give him great discontent that might exceedingly prejudice the King’s service.


At the departure from Ireland of the Lord Mountjoy, the list of the army stood at 1,000 horse and 11,150 foot. During the last year, ending 31st March, the charges of the Irish wars, besides concordatums, munition and other extraordinaries, amount to £290, 733 8s. 9 7/8d; and from the 1st October 1598, being four years and a half, besides extraordinaries, to £1, 198, 717 19s. 1d. For the year now coming, if the horse stand at 1,000, and the foot be reduced to 8,000, the cost to his Majesty will be £163, 315 18s. 3 3/8d.


It is proclaimed that, since the Earl of Tyrone did obtain pardon of Queen Elizabeth, and hath sithence been confirmed in his state and condition of a good subject and in the rank and dignity of an Earl, he is received into his Majesty's grace and favour. Wherefore if any man shall by words or deed abuse the Earl of Tyrone, or misbehave  towards him, and not yield him such respect and usage as belongeth to the person of his sort, it shall be esteemed an offence, deserving such punishment as contempt of his Majesty's pleasure expressly signified doth deserve.

14th June. IRISH NEWS.

In Ireland there is general expectation that the new base moneys will shortly be called in. Whereupon all the King’s tenants and farmers hasten to bring their rents and debts into the receipt, but those that have any fees or pensions forbear to ask for them. Hereby the whole loss is like to fall upon the King.


Since the departure of the Lord Lieutenant from Ireland a great swarm of Jesuits, seminaries, friars and priests frequent the towns in the English Pale and borders more boldly than before, and few of the best houses in the Pale but relieve and receive them. These priests would persuade the people that there will be a toleration of religion, and for procuring of it they will send agents to the Court, wherein they are strongly supported by some lawyers and some of the King’s officers. William Meade, the Recorder at Cork, is still in prison in Dublin, for such is his popularity that the commissioners have much ado even to bring in an indictment against him for his treasons.


The Lord Deputy and the Council of Ireland declare that there is great scarcity of all things, and excessive prices of provisions, for the people fear to sell unless they be paid in silver, crying that they will keep their wares in their shops rather than rent them for this base money, seeing they can make no use of it. Wherefore the sooner the coin is altered to the better for the King.


Two knights and two lawyers from Ireland have petitioned the King for the redress of three grievances; that there shall be a change in the officers of justice, that the Irish money may be restored to what it was before the war, and that they may have liberty to worship as Catholics. To the first and second the King showed more inclination, but to the third he replied that if he had to wade in blood and had but ten followers, and on such conditions might he recover his kingdom, he would lose all rather than grant this request. And with that he commanded them to the Tower.

17th September. NEW COIN FOR IRELAND.

It is now resolved to take away the base money current in Ireland and to establish a new standard of 9 ozs. fine, being the amount standard of the country. A large quantity of the new moneys have been coined and will shortly be sent over, each piece bearing the name of a shilling, and appointed to be current term for 12d., and containing 9d. of fine silver. At the publishing of the new standard, the base coin shall be called down, the piece of 12d. current to be current for 4d. of the new standard. The copper money, as pence, halfpence and farthings, shall remain for the use of the poor, but no man shall take in payment above 50s in the £100.


The proclamation for the new moneys in Ireland was signed in Dublin on the 11th of this month and publicly made on the day following.

27th November. COURT NEWS.

Out of Ireland are come many captains and cashiered officers with their pockets full of brass; and sue to have it made good silver; but Lord Treasurer’s skill is not that of alchemy. The coffers are no empty that household officers are unpaid, and the pensioners and guards ready to mutiny.

3rd December. THE IRISH MONEYS.

It is now proclaimed that the new money of Ireland shall be current in all the king’s realms at their value in fine silver.

King James I                                The Year 1604


In the House of Commons… Sir Oliver St. John then moved touching the wants and miseries of those who served in the rebellion in Ireland, and took occasion thereby to relate some particulars of it, remembering also the last exploit of invasion by the army of the Spaniards. In these wars the service of many captains was known to be used; some spent their fortunes, their best means and time to do her Majesty service there; some received wounds and disablement there. Their recompense was prevented by the Queen’s death. In this alteration of state they were least thought on; most of them were like to perish for want, and all of them humble suitors, and he for them to this Assembly. It was appointed to take understanding of the particulars of their want and to consider the fittest course for their relief.


The King is now pleased to license Sir George Carew, that hath been Lord Deputy in Ireland since the coming over the Earl of Devonshire, to return to England, and to deliver over the Sword to Sir Arthur Chichester to be Lord Deputy in his place. Further there shall be a Parliament of the three Estates of the Realm to consult to consult and resolve of all things that shall be good for the Realm.

A Jesuit Priest                                   The Year 1605


There is a proclamation made for Ireland denying the King’s intention, which is very generally spread abroad there, to give liberty of conscience or toleration of religion to his subjects in that Kingdom. The people are hereby commanded to resort to their parish churches to hear divine service every Sunday and holy day; and further all Jesuits and priests ordained by any authority derived from the See of Rome shall depart from that Kingdom before the 10th of December, unless he shall conform and repair the Church according to the Statute.


Of late the Lord Deputy made a journey in Northern Ireland to compose certain differences and to view the state of the Kingdom, and is now returned to Dublin. Noted that among the impediments to that Kingdom’s tranquillity are the corruption of under officers and the scarcity of good Justices of the Peace, which can only be remedied by planting of English and others well affected. In the matter of banishing the Jesuits and priests, few or none but English will help them, and the Government can do little. Nor do our Englishmen fulfil their duty, for many are content to receive the pay and suck the sweets of Ireland, but few love the service or the country, accounting it base and obscure in that it is not countenanced with greatness.

As for remedies, declareth the King would more conform and strengthen his state, and leave a more honourable memory behind him by reforming and civilizing Ireland than by conquering France. It is much wasted and unpeopled, and the replenishment of it with civil men would be a great strength in every way to his Majesty in all his wars and defences. It must needs be a folly that many should run to Virginia and Guiana and other remote and unknown countries, whilst this of our own is left waste and desolate.

9th November. NEWS FROM IRELAND.

Sir Arthur Chichester, the Lord Deputy, complaineth that divers young gentlemen of the Pale and borders do now run to the wars, so that the King’s subjects serve foreign States and Princes, one against another in bands and companies, a course which the Switzers have found base and dangerous. Most of them serve with the Archduke, and these will be, as much as in them lies, firebrands for a new rebellion in Ireland, to which they are much affected, though at present lacking the means.


The Lord Deputy goes about to repress popery in Ireland, summoning those by whose example the rest of the people are most led to come to church upon pain of the King’s displeasure and further penalties; by which course it is hoped either to bring them to what is desired or by law to have good grounds to lay sound fines upon them, which may be employed upon the ruined and decayed churches, bridges and such good works. But the chiefest cause that the people are misled by the doctrine of Rome and are now so hard to be reconciled is the sluggish and blockish security and ignorance of the unworthy Bishops.

In Ireland there are ten Archbishops and under them should be twenty Bishops at least. The dowry of the Church by the book of first-fruits is very great, but the churchmen for the most part are mere idols and ciphers, and such as cannot even read if they should stand in need of the benefit of their clergy; yet most of them, though many be but serving-men and some horseboys, have two or three benefices apiece, for the Court of Faculties doth dispense with all manner of non-residence and pluralities. And yet for all their pluralities they are most of them beggars, for the patron taketh the greater part of their living by plain contract before their institution; it is even said that the Agent of the Pope hath £40 or £50 a year of the profits of a parsonage within the Pale. For an example of pluralities the Archbishop of Cashell is worthy to be remembered, for he hath in his hands four bishoprics, and seventy-seven spiritual livings besides.

To make a beginning with those that will not obey the proclamation, of late the Lord Deputy caused some sixteen principal personages in the Pale, that had refused to obey, alleging that the proclamation was against their consciences, to be censured by the Irish Star Chamber and fined £100 or £50 apiece, and to be imprisoned and put from all offices until they shall conform themselves and take the Oath of Supremacy.

Nevertheless, certain noblemen and gentlemen within the Pale protest against the proclamation and propose a petition to the Privy Council; in anticipation whereof the Lord Deputy prays the Lords of the Council that neither the petition nor the agent shall receive any favour; for if the Lords of the Council would hold that course which was held in the Queen’s time that no suitor from Ireland should be regarded, but rather be punished, if he come without a certificate or letters of recommendation, they will be less troubled with them.


The Viscount Gormanston and others within the Irish Pale have made a petition against the late proclamation that Jesuits should be banished from the Pale, protesting that they could never be alienated in their loyalty to his Majesty by the inducements of priests, but they find themselves not a little grieved both at the imputation and at the severity of the proclamation against themselves and the priests for mere matter of religion and conscience. This petition was signed by more than 220 of the principal persons of those parts. When it was presented to the Lord Deputy, he caused the Viscount Gormanston, Sir Patrick Barnewell, and one Flashbury, a lawyer, to be committed to the Constable at Dublin Castle. The petition has now been sent to the Privy Council, with the complaint of the Viscount Gormanston that very harsh measures are taken with the recusants beyond the law. Some in authority in Ireland are of opinion that though the entry be difficult, yet there will be good success in this work of reformation, if it be constantly pursued. If this one corporation of Dublin be reformed, the rest will follow; for the multitude is ever made conformable by edicts and proclamations. So it happened in King Edward the Sixth’s days, when more than half the Kingdom of England were Papists; and again in the time of Queen Mary when more than half the Kingdom were Protestants; and again in Queen Elizabeth’s time, when they were turned Papist again.

A soldier at the time of King James I                                The Year 1606


The Council have written to Sir Arthur Chichester, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, advising a temperate course between two extremes, for (considering how recently the people have been reduced from an almost general revolt, how apt they may be to relapse, and how deeply this superstition is rooted, and how widely spread), a main alteration in religion is not to be suddenly obtained by forcing against the current, but by gaining little by little, as opportunity be taken.


Some months since fines were imposed upon certain recusants at Dublin; and these fines being estreated into the Exchequer, the Sheriffs impanelled a jury to inquire of their lands and goods, and to value them that the fines might be raised. Whereupon there were offered to the jury certain deeds of gift, by which it appeared that they had given in general words all their goods and chattels, not reserving so much as their wearing apparel, to their children, prentices or friends. Moreover, the deeds were antedated six months at least, and the donors themselves continue in possession of their goods, so it is a manifest collusion and mockery. Notwithstanding this clear fraud, the jury found that there was nothing for the King.


The Lord Deputy complaineth greatly of the want of money for the Irish service, and sees no remedy but that our men must break and fall upon the country next [to] them. All things there are worse than in time of war, and a greater scarcity of money, the commanders never so poor. Most men are disheartened to labour in the service, and wish any employment to be discharged thence, where a fourth part of their payment being taken away in the coin, they would give half of the remains to have the other half. He is wearied of their complaints, for he can do nothing to satisfy them, and can no longer stay them from resorting to England. The principal recusants of Dublin remain very obstinate, though the meaner do in reasonable sort conform themselves in most parts of the towns.

14th April. IRISH STIRS.

The Jesuits and seminaries in Ireland being now put to their shifts are busy contriving innovation, and of late pretend that a Bull is come from the Pope of Rome, commiserating with the Irish Catholics, and assuring them of the aid of great strengths of Romans, Germans, and Spaniards, with shipping and great store of arms. It is also rumoured that this summer, Henry, the second son of the Earl of Tyrone, who is now with the Archduke (to whom many loose men flock constantly), will come in command of 4,000 Irishmen who went to the King of Spain and the Archduke, and that there will be greater troubles and garboils than ever heretofore.


From France the speech is that the King has sent away two ships laden with Irish beggars (that lingered about Paris) home to their country again, after he had clad and refreshed them, with commandment that no more come thence in his dominions.


During August and September the Lord Deputy of Ireland made a journey through the counties of Monaghan, Fermanagh, and the Cavan. He findeth the people very poor, and unacquainted with the laws of good government, having been long subject to oppression and tyranny, as they shall ever be, unless some men of more civility and understanding be sent among them to instruct and defend them; for it is death to their great Lords that their tenants and followers should know or understand more than brute beasts, for their greatest profit in times of peace, and for opposition and defence in times of rebellion ariseth from the ignorance of the baser sort.

In Fermanagh the Deputy hath commanded that at Lisgool a quarter sessions shall be held, and a weekly market, hoping that the town shall increase there, and that this peace will beget civility and bring forth plenty. Urgeth that some charge shall be spent in planting towns, forts, and castles in places of advantage, for howsoever untuneable that string, yet it is good husbandry for the King to spend a pound now to save a hundred; for this people having entered into rebellious courses, never subject themselves out of any true feeling of duty to their Prince, but are brought thereto by famine and necessity; whereby the country is long after poor and miserable, when small forces may carry sundry businesses to good ends. But they no sooner increase in store of corn and cattle, but forthwith they become proud and contemptuous.


The state of the soldiers in Ireland is said to be very miserable. They want clothes, by reason of their want of pay which of late hath been reduced, and if they continue in such a sorry state as they now are (having had no means to repair their last winter’s suit of apparel) they will become a scorn and occasion of laughter to the people, rather than a bridle to restrain them. Moreover, if for want of sufficient means the soldiers shall be forced to plead “need has no law,” then will follow robbing and murder, discontentment in the country and revenge, and encouragement to secret practisers.

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