Explores the relationship between England and Ireland in the Tudor period using William Cecil as a vehicle for historical enquiry. Argues that Cecil shaped the course and character of Tudor rule in Ireland in Elizabeth's reign more than any other figure, and offers a major reappraisal of this crucial period in the histories of England and Ireland.
William Cecil, Ireland, and the Tudor State explores the complex relationship which existed between England and Ireland in the Tudor period, using the long association of William Cecil (1520-1598) with Ireland as a vehicle for historical enquiry. That Cecil, Queen Elizabeth's most trusted advisor and the most important figure in England after the queen herself, consistently devoted his attention and considerable energies to the kingdom of Ireland is aseldom-explored aspect of his life and his place in the Tudor age. Yet amid his handling of a broad assortment of matters relating to England and Wales, the kingdom of Scotland, continental Europe, and beyond, William Cecil's thoughts regularly turned to the kingdom of Ireland. He personally compiled genealogies ofIreland's Irish and English families and poured over dozens of national and regional maps of Ireland. Cecil served as chancellor of Ireland's first university and, most importantly for the historian, penned, received, and studied thousands of papers on subjects relating to Ireland and the crown's political, economic, social, and religious policies there. Cecil would have understood all of this broadly as 'Ireland matters', a subject which he came to know in greater depth and detail than anyoneat the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Maginn's extended analysis of Cecil's long relationship with Ireland helps to make sense of Anglo-Irish interaction in Tudor times, and shows that this relationship was characterized by more than the basic binary features of conquest and resistance. At another level, he demonstrates that the second half of the sixteenth century witnessed the political, social, and cultural integration of Ireland into the multinational Tudor state, and that it was William Cecil who, more than any other figure,consciously worked to achieve that integration.