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Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland
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Land and Law: The New Nobility

The defeat and exile of the Ulster earls caused revolutionary changes in landownership in the north and elsewhere in Ireland. The social landscape also underwent radical change, as the Stuarts worked hard to fashion a new nobility, like-minded and loyal. Whereas Elizabeth had been stingy with elevations to the nobility, James gave his subjects what they wanted. However, what began as a social good—the elevation of the loyal and deserving—quickly turned sour as the regime handed out titles to favorites and sold others to the highest bidders. Because of the new vacancies, Ireland typically served as the site of these new ennoblements. The crown even created a new category of minor nobility, the baronet, which could be peddled to social climbers with deep pockets, a development that scandalized the “ancient” nobility.

Boyle's funerary monument. St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

Thomond Pedigree. 16th century

Pedigree of the Taylor family, Shadoxhurst, Kent. Manuscript, 1665

Desiderata curiosa Hibernica. Dublin, 1772

John Cusack. Ireland's comfort. Manuscript, 1629?


Edmund Tilney. Topographical descriptions, regiments, and policies. Manuscript, ca. 1597-ca. 1601

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