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English Supremacy Period



In 1495 Henry VII extended English law over the entirety of Ireland, and assumed supremacy over the existing Irish parliament. By the time that Queen Elizabeth ascended to the English thrown, Roman Catholicism became linked with Irish sentiment and the Irish refused to accept English imposed ecclesiastical change. But when Henry VIII attempted again to introduce the Reformation into Ireland in 1537, the dissolution of the monasteries was begun. Somewhat later, relics and images were destroyed and the dissolution was completed. The native chieftains were conciliated by a share of the spoils and received English titles, their lands being resettle under English tenure. It was Henry's policy thus to conciliate the Irish and to leave them under their own laws. An English commission held courts throughout the island, but Irish right was respected, and the country remained peaceful. In the Parliament of 1541, attended for the first time by native chieftains as well as by the lords of the Pale, Henry's title of lord of Ireland, which had been conferred by the papacy, was changed to king of Ireland.

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