Sir Edward Poynings

The position of Lord Deputy of Ireland was given to Sir Edward Poynings, one of Henry VII's most trusted advisors. It fell to Poynings to bring the Irish chieftains under control ' a task some would have felt was impossible. However, Poynings was a very loyal follower of Henry and tried to assert monarchical authority in Ireland. He failed in Ulster but was more successful in controlling the Irish Parliament when it met in 1494 in Drogheda. Here he got the Irish chieftains to agree that the Irish Parliament could only be called with the king's prior agreement and that any attempt to discuss future legislation or to pass laws also had to have the king's prior agreement. In addition, any law passed in England automatically applied to Ireland. The logic behind what was called 'Poyning's Law' was to remove any independent authority that the Irish Parliament believed it had and reinforce the authority and therefore the power of the king.

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by Stephen Luscombe