Dublin in the 15th Century

1402
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Excerpt from Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland for the metropolis of Dublin (pub. 1837). For more snapshots of pre-famine local history for Dublin city parishes, see below.

15th Century Dublin

The border war between the citizens and the Irish of the neighbouring mountains was carried on with great fury during this and the succeeding reigns.

  • In 1402, John Drake, the provost, led out a strong party against the O'Byrnes, whom he defeated with a slaughter, as some writers say, of 4000 men, but according to others of 400, and compelled them to surrender the castle of Newcastle-MacKynegan.
  • In 1410, the lord-deputy made another incursion into the territory of the O'Byrnes, but was forced to retreat in consequence of the desertion of a large body of his kernes; and in 1413 the O'Byrnes gave the citizens a signal defeat and carried off many prisoners.
  • In 1431, Mac Murrough, King of Leinster, made an incursion into the vicinity of Dublin, defeated the troops sent out to oppose him, and carried off much booty; but the citizens having collected a fresh body of troops, pursued the enemy the same evening, attacked them unawares, and routed them with great loss.

The city was much disturbed, about this time, by the contentions between the Kildare and Ormonde families.

  • To decide one of their disputes, in which Thomas Fitzgerald, prior of Kilmainham, had accused the Earl of Ormonde of treason, a trial by combat was appointed at Smithfield, in Oxmantown; but the quarrel being taken up by the king was terminated without bloodshed.
  • The mayor and citizens, having taken part with the Fitzgeralds in these broils, and grossly insulted the Earl of Ormonde, and violated the sanctity of St. Mary's Abbey, were compelled to do penance, in 1434, by going barefoot to that monastery and to Christ-Church and St. Patrick's cathedrals, and craving pardon at the doors.

In 1479, the fraternity of arms of St. George, consisting of thirteen of the most honourable and loyal inhabitants in the counties of Dublin, Meath, Kildare, and Louth, was formed by act of parliament, for the defence of the English pale: the mayor of Dublin was appointed one of the commanders of the force raised in the city; the fraternity was discontinued in 1492. A bull for the foundation of a university in the city was published by Pope Sextus in 1475, but was never carried into effect.

When Lambert Simnel claimed the crown of England, in the beginning of the reign of Hen. VII, his title was recognised in Dublin, where he was crowned in Christ-Church, in the presence of the lord-deputy, the lords of the council, the mayor, and all the citizens; after the ceremony was concluded, he was carried in state to the castle, according to the Irish custom, on the shoulders of Darcy of Platten, a man of extraordinary stature.

  • On Simnel's defeat at Stoke, the mayor and citizens made a humble apology to the king for the part they had taken in the affair, pleading the authority and influence of the lord-deputy, the archbishop, and most of the clergy.
  • Their pardon was granted through Sir Richard Edgecumbe, who was specially deputed by Henry to administer the oaths of fealty and allegiance to the Irish after the insurrection: this officer entered Dublin on the 5th of July, 1488, for the fulfilment of his mission, and embarked for England at Dalkey, on the 30th of the same month, after having successfully accomplished the objects for which he had been deputed.

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