Saturday, July 14, 2012

Penal Laws in Ireland

The tragic legacy of war.
After these decisive victories in Ireland, and the Jacobite surrender of the seige of Limerick, more punitive Penal Laws were passed against Irish Catholics, including, but limited to:

~Exclusion of Catholics from most public offices (since 1607)

~Ban on intermarriage with Protestants; repealed 1778

~Catholics barred from holding firearms or serving in the armed forces (rescinded by Militia Act of 1793)

~Exclusion from the legal professions and the judiciary; repealed (respectively) 1793 and 1829.

~Education Act 1695 – ban on foreign education; repealed 1782.

~Bar to Catholics entering Trinity College Dublin; repealed 1793.

~On a death by a Catholic, his legatee could benefit by conversion to the Church of Ireland;

~Popery Act – Catholic inheritances of land were to be equally subdivided between all an owner's sons with the exception that if the eldest son and heir converted to Protestantism that he would become the one and only tenant of estate and portions for other children not to exceed one third of the estate. This "Gavelkind" system had previously been abolished by 1600.

~Ban on converting from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism on pain of Praemunire: forfeiting all property estates and legacy to the monarch of the time and remaining in prison at the monarch's pleasure. In addition, forfeiting the monarch's protection. No injury however atrocious could have any action brought against it or any reparation for such.

~Ban on Catholics buying land under a lease of more than 31 years; repealed 1778.

~Ban on custody of orphans being granted to Catholics on pain of 500 pounds that was to be donated to the Blue Coat hospital in Dublin.

~Ban on Catholics inheriting Protestant land

~Prohibition on Catholics owning a horse valued at over £5 (in order to keep horses suitable for military activity out of the majority's hands)

~Roman Catholic lay priests had to register to preach under the Registration Act 1704, but seminary priests and Bishops were not able to do so until 1778

~When allowed, new Catholic churches were to be built from wood, not stone, and away from main roads.

~'No person of the popish religion shall publicly or in private houses teach school, or instruct youth in learning within this realm' upon pain of twenty pounds fine and three months in prison for every such offence. Repealed in 1782.

~Any and all rewards not paid by the crown for alerting authorities of offences to be levied upon the Catholic populace within parish and county.

These repressive penal laws wouldn't be repealed until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Catholic relief acts, while other practices, like Catholics paying tithes to the Church of Ireland survived even those legislative milestones. The Orange Order marches on The Twelfth still provoke disorder, conflict and violence. (Read entire post.)

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