Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Irish Net Tightens

Leonard Grey, Viscount Grane had been sent to Ireland by Henry VIII where he was to strike down "hostile clans" who opposed the English rule which he seemed to have done perfectly well. However, when Leonard Grey returned home to England in 1540 he was immediately redirected to the Tower of London as a prisoner charged with high treason. As it turned out Leonard was not the easiest person to work with which naturally brought him many enemies at court especially when he (while still in Ireland) completely stopped his correspondence with the council. During his five year absence these enemies - including a gentleman by the name of Ormond - had been working on his downfall and succeeded.

The charges Grey faced of high treason was founded on accusations that he had not indeed been working on stopping the uprisings but had formed close ties with many of the Irish clans as well as having directly aided them on their missions which included the destruction of churches and castles. According to the State Trials (1163-1820) bowed to pressure and thought it better to plead for the King's good graces and hope for the best. Apparently, Leonard had not learnt much of Henry VIII's character. The State Trials mentions that his "services did infinitely overbalance his faults" which is as close to saying "he was innocent" as possible. Consequently, Leonard Grey was beheaded on Tower Hill on 28th July 1541.

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