Thomas Spring Rice, 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon
Thomas Spring Rice, 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon, was a British Whig politician, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1835 to 1839. Spring Rice was born into a notable Anglo-Irish family, he was one of the three children of Stephen Edward Rice, of Mount Trenchard House, Catherine Spring and heiress of Thomas Spring of Ballycrispin and Castlemaine, County Kerry, a descendant of the Suffolk Spring family. He was a great grandson of Sir Stephen Rice, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer and a leading Jacobite Sir Maurice FitzGerald, 14th Knight of Kerry, his only married sister, was the mother of the Catholic converts Aubrey Thomas de Vere and the Liberal Member of Parliament, Sir Stephen de Vere, 4th Baronet. Spring Rice's grandfather, had converted the family from Roman Catholicism to the Anglican Church of Ireland, to save his estate from passing in gavelkind. Spring Rice was educated at Trinity College and studied law at Lincoln's Inn, but was not called to the Bar, his family was politically well-connected, both in Ireland and Great Britain, he was encouraged to stand for Parliament by his father-in-law, Lord Limerick.
Spring Rice first stood for election in Limerick City in 1818 but was defeated by the Tory incumbent, John Vereker, by 300 votes. He entered the House of Commons, he positioned himself as a moderate unionist reformer who opposed the radical nationalist politics of Daniel O'Connell, became known for his expertise on Irish and economic affairs. In 1824 he led the committee. Spring Rice's fluent debating style in the Commons brought him to the attention of leading Whigs and he came under the patronage of the Marquess of Lansdowne; as a result, Spring Rice was made Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department under George Canning and Lord Goderich in 1827, with responsibility for Irish affairs. This required Spring Rice to accept deferral of Catholic emancipation, a policy which he supported. Spring Rice served as joint Secretary to the Treasury from 1830 to 1834 under Lord Grey. Following the Reform Act 1832, he was elected to represent Cambridge from 1832 to 1839. In June 1834, Grey appointed Spring Rice Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, with a seat in the cabinet, a post he retained when Lord Melbourne became Prime Minister in July.
A strong and vocal unionist throughout his life, Spring Rice led the Parliamentary opposition to Daniel O'Connell's 1834 attempt to repeal the Acts of Union 1800. In a six-hour speech in the House of Commons on 23 April 1834 he suggested that Ireland should be renamed'West Britain'. In the Commons, Spring Rice championed causes such as the worldwide abolition of slavery and the introduction of state-supported education; the Whig government fell in November 1834, after which Spring Rice attempted to be elected Speaker of the House of Commons in early 1835. When the Whigs returned to power under Melbourne in April 1835, Spring Rice was made Chancellor of the Exchequer; as Chancellor, Spring Rice had to deal with crop failures, a depression and rebellion in North America, all of which created large deficits and put considerable strain on the government. His Church Rate Bill of 1837 was abandoned and his attempt to revise the charter of the Bank of Ireland ended in humiliation. Spring Rice, unhappy as Chancellor, again failed.
He was a dogmatic figure, described by Lord Melbourne as "too much given to details and possessed of no broad views". Upon his departure from office in 1839, Spring Rice had become a scapegoat for the government's many problems; that same year he was raised to the peerage as Baron Monteagle of Brandon, in the County of Kerry, a title intended earlier for his ancestor Sir Stephen Rice. Lord Monteagle of Brandon was Comptroller General of the Exchequer from 1835 to 1865, despite Lord Howick's initial opposition to the maintenance of the office. Monteagle differed from the government regarding the exchequer control over the treasury, the abolition of the old exchequer was determined upon when he died. From 1839 he retired from public life, although he spoke in the House of Lords on matters relating to government finance and Ireland, he vehemently opposed John Russell, 1st Earl Russell's policy regarding the Irish famine, giving a speech in the Lords in which he said the government had "degraded our people, you, now shrink from your responsibilities."
In addition to his political career, Spring Rice was a commissioner of the state paper office, a trustee of the National Gallery and a member of the senate of the University of London and of the Queen's University of Ireland. Between 1845 and 1847, he was President of the Royal Statistical Society. In addition, he was a Fellow of the Geological Society. In May 1832 he became a member of James Mill's Political Economy Club. Spring Rice was well regarded in Limerick, where he was seen as a compassionate landlord and a good politician. An advocate of traditional Whiggism, he believed in ensuring society was protected from conflict between the upper and lower classes. Although a pious Anglican, his support for Catholic emancipation won him the favour of many Irishmen, most of whom were Roman Catholic, he led the campaign for better county government in Ireland at a time when many Irish nationalists were indifferent to the cause. During the Great Famine of the 1840s, Spring Rice responded to the plight of his tenants with benevolence.
The ameliorative measures he implemented on his estates bankrupted the family and only the dowry from his second marriage saved h
Westport, County Mayo
Westport is a town in County Mayo in Ireland. It is at the south-east corner of Clew Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Ireland. Westport is a popular tourist destination and scores for quality of life, it won the Irish Tidy Towns Competition three times in 2001, 2006 and 2008. In 2012 it won the Best Place to Live in Ireland competition run by The Irish Times; the design for the town was commissioned in the 1780s by the John Browne of the nearby stately home, Westport House, as a place for his workers and tenants to live. John Browne cleared the original village of Cahernamart, that had 700 inhabitants, to make way for his gardens at Westport House; the current town centre was designed by William Leeson in 1780, in the Georgian architectural style. Its layout follows the medieval principles of urban design introduced by the Normans in the 13th century. A particular feature is the incorporation of the river into the composition, contained for two blocks by low stone walls producing, on each side of the river, tree lined promenades with several stone bridges over the river Carrow Beg.
The layout further includes several tree lined streets, addressed by the narrow fronted commercial buildings typical of Irish towns, though with many here remaining of a singular refinement and charm. Some modern interventions, such as the Garda station, are less successful in maintaining the original continuity of the urban fabric; the famous pilgrimage mountain of Croagh Patrick, known locally as "the Reek", lies some 10 km west of the town near the villages of Murrisk and Lecanvey. The mountain forms the backdrop to the town. Westport originates and gets its name, in Irish, from a 16th-century castle - Cathair na Mart - and surrounding settlement, belonging to the powerful local seafaring Ó Máille clan, who controlled the Clew Bay area known as Umaill; the original village of Cathair na Mart existed somewhere around what is now the front lawn of Westport House. It had a high street, alleys down to the river and a population of around 700. A small port existed at the mouth of the Carrowbeg river.
Roads lead from the village to the south and the east. The town was moved to its present site in the 1780s by the Browne family of Westport House to make way for their gardens and was renamed Westport. Westport is designated as a heritage town and is unusual in Ireland in that it is one of only a few planned towns in the country; the most notable feature of his town plan is the tree-lined boulevard, the Mall, built on the Carrowbeg River. James Wyatt finished Westport House, the stately home of the Marquess of Sligo and designed its dining room. Westport House was built by Richard Cassels, the German architect, in the 1730s, near the site of the original Ó Máille Castle. Since the late 20th century, Westport has expanded with several new estates; some of the most populous estates are Springfield, the Carrowbeg Estate, Horkans Hill, Cedar Park, Knockranny Village and Sharkey Hill. Designed by the famous architects Richard Cassels and James Wyatt in the 18th century, Westport House is situated in a parkland setting with a lake, terraces and views overlooking Clew Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, Clare Island and Ireland's Holy Mountain, Croagh Patrick.
In October 2015 it was revealed that the Westport House Estate was in the National Asset Management Agency for debts secured on the 380 acre estate, but not the house, for 10 million Euros. In January 2017, it was announced that a local family had purchased grounds. In 2007 the owned estate received a grant of 1.34 million Euros for repairs to Westport House, from the state funded Heritage Council. The previous owners, the Browne family, are direct descendants of wealthy slave plantation owners in Jamaica, Howe Peter Browne and his wife Lady Sligo, as well as the 16th-century pirate, Gráinne Ní Mháille, Queen of Umaill. An exhibition at Westport House styles Howe Peter Browne as'Champion of the Slaves', a suggestion that one historian refers to as'hyperbole', pointing out that "Browne benefited from slavery from the cradle to the grave and did not free his slaves until the institution of slavery was abolished by an act of parliament" and that Howe Peter Browne claimed, received, substantial compensation from the British government for the loss of his slaves.
The original house was built by Colonel John Browne, a Jacobite, at the Siege of Limerick, his wife Maude Bourke. Maude Bourke was Ní Mháille's great-great granddaughter; the house did not have the lake or a dam, the tide rose and fell against the walls. Between the censuses of 2011 and 2016, the town showed a limited growth from 5,543 to 6,198 inhabitants. People from Westport town are traditionally known as Coveys; some decades ago the Covey dialect still was unintelligible to outsiders. For example, the Covey word for a woman was a "doner". To this day inhabitants of nearby areas, including Castlebar, refer to the people of Westport, sometimes mildly disparagingly, sometimes affectionately, as Coveys. Matt Molloy of the Chieftains has a music venue on Bridge Street. Westport Town Hall Theatre was established in the early 1900s and has been renovated and refurbished in recent years; the town hall hosts a range of entertainment events by national artists and musicians, local theatre groups and children's puppet shows.
The hall overlooks the Octagon monument at the centre of Westport town. The venue has been an
Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby
Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, KG was an English nobleman and politician. He was a titular King of Mann, stepfather to King Henry VII of England, he was the eldest son of 1st Baron Stanley and Joan Goushill. A landed magnate of immense power across the northwest of England where his authority went unchallenged by the Crown, Stanley managed to remain in favour with successive kings throughout the Wars of the Roses until his death in 1504, his estates included what is now Tatton Park in Cheshire, Lathom House in Lancashire, Derby House in the City of London, now the site of the College of Arms. Although the king for the early part of his career, Henry VI, was head of the House of Lancaster, Stanley's marriage to Eleanor, daughter of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury and sister of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick in the late 1450s constituted a powerful alliance with the House of York; this did him no harm, however after Warwick was toppled from power, in 1472, with the House of York again occupying the English throne, he married his second wife Lady Margaret Beaufort, whose son, Henry Tudor, was the leading Lancastrian claimant.
He was the last to use the style ‘King of Mann’, his successors opting for the safer ‘Lord of Mann’. Stanley was “a man of considerable acumen, the most successful power-broker of his age”. After the death of his father in 1459, Stanley inherited his father's titles, including those of Baron Stanley and King of Mann as well as his extensive lands and offices in Cheshire and Lancashire, it was a formidable inheritance and gave him ample opportunity to gain experience in the leadership of men. At the same time, his father's prominence in the king's household had provided him with an early introduction to court where he was named among the squires of Henry VI in 1454. In the febrile and bloodthirsty circumstances of the Wars of the Roses it was a position fraught with danger as rival claimants for the throne – successively the Houses of Lancaster and York – demanded, threatened or begged for the support of Stanley and his followers; the Stanleys had been among the earliest supporters of Henry Bolingbroke’s bid to win the English throne for the House of Lancaster in 1399 and Stanley’s great-grandfather Sir John Stanley, had been richly rewarded for his assistance.
After some years of weak and ineffectual government led by the Lancastrian Henry VI, a challenge from the House of York broke out into open warfare in the 1450s in the War of the Roses. In 1459, an accord between the Lancastrian and the Yorkist lords broke down, the conflict lapped at the borders of the Stanleys’ sphere of influence. With the Earl of Salisbury mobilising on behalf of the House of York, Queen Margaret of Anjou at Lichfield ordered Stanley to raise forces to intercept him. However, when the two armies met at the Battle of Blore Heath in 1459, though only a few miles away, Stanley kept his 2,000 men out of the fight, his brother, Sir William Stanley, in the Yorkist army was subsequently attainted. Yet by 1460, Lord Stanley had begun to co-operate with the Yorkist lords who by this time had possession of the King and ruled in his name, he consolidated his association with the new regime. In the early 1460s he joined his brother-in-law, Warwick, in the campaigns against the Lancastrian forces and Stanley was confirmed in his fees and offices as the new King, Edward IV, needed him to secure the north-west.
In the late 1460s, the coalition that had brought the Yorkist Edward to the throne was fracturing and Stanley found his loyalties divided once again. “The dramatic shifts in political fortune between 1469 and 1471, their impact on the tangled networks of affinity and allegiance, are hard to unravel.” When Warwick, fleeing before Edward in 1470, made his way to Manchester in the hope of support, Stanley was not forthcoming, but on Warwick's return he lent him armed support in the restoration of the House of Lancaster and of Henry VI. Lord Stanley was soon forgiven for his disloyalty. After the restoration of Edward IV in 1471, he was appointed steward of the king's household and thereafter became a regular member of the royal council. Yet, the death of his first wife, Eleanor Neville at this period severed his connection with Warwick and the Nevilles and allowed in 1472 a marriage of still greater political significance, his new wife, Lady Margaret Beaufort, dowager Countess of Richmond, was the mother of Henry Tudor – potential heir of the House of Lancaster.
Militarily during this period, now a stalwart of the Yorkist regime, Stanley led several hundred men in the expedition to France in 1475 and in 1482 served with a large company in the campaign of the Duke of Gloucester in Scotland, playing a key role in the capture of Berwick upon Tweed. After the unexpected death of Edward IV in 1483 and the accession of his twelve-year-old son Edward V, Stanley was among those who sought to maintain a balance of power between the young king's uncle, Duke of Gloucester, now Lord Protector, his maternal family, the Woodvilles.. When Gloucester attacked this group at a council meeting in June 1483, Stanley was wounded and imprisoned but at least spared the fate of Lord Hastings – that of summary execution; that month, Parliament declared Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York illegitimate on the grounds that their father Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was bigamous, by way of a prior pre-contr
Earl of Derby
Earl of Derby is a title in the Peerage of England. The title was first adopted by Robert de Ferrers, 1st Earl of Derby, under a creation of 1139, it continued with the Ferrers family until the 6th Earl forfeited his property toward the end of the reign of Henry III and died in 1279. Most of the Ferrers property and, by a creation in 1337, the Derby title, were held by the family of Henry III; the title merged in the Crown upon Henry IV's accession to the throne. It was created again for the Stanley family in 1485. Lord Derby's subsidiary titles are Baron Stanley of Bickerstaffe in the County Palatine of Lancaster, Baron Stanley of Preston, in the County Palatine of Lancaster; the 1st to 5th Earls held an earlier Barony of Stanley, created for the 1st Earl's father in 1456 and abeyant. The courtesy title of the heir apparent is Lord Stanley. Several successive generations of the Stanley Earls, along with other members of the family, have been prominent members of the Conservative Party, at least one historian has suggested that this family rivals the Cecils as the single most important family in the party's history.
They were at times one of the richest landowning families in England. The Stanley Cup, the championship trophy of the National Hockey League, was presented to the Dominion of Canada in 1892 by Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby during his tenure as Governor General of Canada; the family seat is Knowsley Hall, near Merseyside. Ferrières in Normandy, the hometown of the de Ferrers family, was an important centre for iron and takes its name from the iron ore mines used during the Gallo-Roman period. Lord of Longueville, a Domesday Commissioner; the Ferrers, lords of the barony of Ferrières in Normandy, were accompanied to England by three other families who were their underlords in France: the Curzons, the Baskervilles and the Levetts. Robert de Ferrers, 2nd Earl of Ferrières was created Earl of Derby by King Stephen in 1138 for his valiant conduct at the Battle of Northallerton, he was married to Hawise de Vitre and died in 1139. His son Robert de Ferrers, 2nd Earl of Derby became the next earl and was married to Margaret Peverel.
He founded Merevale Abbey. His son William de Ferrers, 3rd Earl of Derby was married to Sybil de Braose, he was imprisoned at Caen, Normandy. He died in the Crusades at the Siege of Acre, he was succeeded by his son William de Ferrers, 4th Earl of Derby who married Agnes de Kevelioc, daughter of Hugh de Kevelioc, 3rd Earl of Chester. He was succeeded by his son William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby who married Sibyl Marshall and Margaret de Quincy with whom he had his son and heir Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby, who became the next Earl, he rebelled against King Henry III and was arrested and imprisoned first in the Tower of London in Windsor Castle and Wallingford Castle, in 1266 his lands and earldom were forfeited, including Tutbury Castle which still belongs to the Duchy of Lancaster. Through one line the descent of the Earls of Derby gave rise to the Earls Ferrers. Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers, was the only peer of the realm to be hanged for murder. Another familial line takes in the Baron Ferrers of Chartley descent.
The large estates which were taken from Robert in 1266 were given by Henry III to his son, Edmund Crouchback. In 1337 Edmund's grandson, Henry of Grosmont, afterwards Duke of Lancaster, was created Earl of Derby, this title was taken by Edward III's son, John of Gaunt, who had married Henry's daughter, Blanche. John of Gaunt's son and successor was Henry Bolingbroke, who acceded to the throne as Henry IV in 1399; the title Earl of Derby merged into the Crown. The Stanley family was descended from Ligulf of Aldithley, the ancestor of the Audleys. One of his descendants married an heiress whose marriage portion included Stoneley, Staffordshire – hence the name Stanley. Sir Thomas Stanley served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and represented Lancashire in the House of Commons. In 1456 he was summoned to the House of Lords as Lord Stanley, his eldest son Thomas Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley, married Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of King Henry VII, Eleanor Nevill. The title of Earl of Derby was conferred on him in 1485 by his stepson Henry VII after the Battle of Bosworth Field where Thomas decided not to support King Richard III.
The title derives from the family's extensive lands in the hundred of West Derby and not the county or city of Derby. His eldest son and heir apparent George Stanley, Lord Stanley, married Joan Strange, 9th Baroness Strange and 5th Baroness Mohun, was summoned to the House of Lords as Lord Strange in right of his wife. Lord Derby was succeeded by the eldest son of Lord Strange, he had succeeded his mother as tenth Baron Strange and sixth Baron Mohun. He married daughter of Lord Hungerford and Hastings; the second Earl's son Edward became the 3rd Earl. He notably served as Lord High Steward at the coronation of Queen Mary of England in 1553 and was Lor
Edward Stanley, 1st Baron Monteagle
Edward Stanley, 1st Baron Monteagle KG was an English soldier who became a peer and Knight of the Garter. He is known for his deeds at the Battle of Flodden. Born about 1460, he was fifth son of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, by his first wife Eleanor, daughter of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, he was knighted during the reign of Edward IV by Richard, Duke of Gloucester on 24 August 1482 at the capture of Berwick upon Tweed. On 17 April 1483 he was one of the pall-bearers at Edward IV's funeral, his father's marriage with Henry of Richmond's mother and services at the battle of Bosworth gained Henry's favour for the family, when he became King Henry VII. Edward became High Sheriff of Lancashire for life in the autumn of 1485. On 4 March 1488–9 he was granted the manors of Farleton in Lonsdale, Farleton in Westmoreland, Brierley in Yorkshire. In 1511 he served as commissioner of array in Yorkshire and Westmoreland, in 1513 was prominent in the battle of Flodden. Edward was paid £ 4220 for bringing their wages during the Flodden campaign.
Popular ballads represent the English army as begging the Earl of Surrey to put Stanley in command of the van. These details receive no confirmation from the official version. On 8 May 1514 he was installed Knight of the Garter. Six days he is said to have landed at Calais with Sir Thomas Lovell, fought the French. On 23 November 1514 he was summoned to the House of Lords as Baron Monteagle, he was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in June 1520. He died on 6 April 1523, was buried at Hornby, Lancashire where the family owned Hornby Castle. There he had set up a religious foundation in commemoration of his success at Flodden. Monteagle firstly married Anne Harrington, daughter of Sir John Harrington, by whom he had no issue He married secondly, Elizabeth Vaughan, daughter of Sir Thomas Vaughan of Tretower and widow of John Grey, 8th Baron Grey de Wilton, by whom he had: Thomas Stanley, 2nd Baron Monteagle, who succeeded to the peerage and died in 1560 William Stanley, 3rd Baron Monteagle, died without male issue in 1581, leaving a daughter Elizabeth who married Edward Parker, 12th Baron Morley, was the mother of William Parker, who succeeded as 4th Baron Monteagle and 13th Baron Morley.
"Stanley, Edward". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Stanley, Edward". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900
House of Lords
The House of Lords known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Unlike the elected House of Commons, members of the House of Lords are appointed; the membership of the House of Lords is drawn from the peerage and is made up of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. The Lords Spiritual are 26 bishops in the established Church of England. Of the Lords Temporal, the majority are life peers who are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister, or on the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. However, they include some hereditary peers including four dukes. Membership was once an entitlement of all hereditary peers, other than those in the peerage of Ireland, but under the House of Lords Act 1999, the right to membership was restricted to 92 hereditary peers.
Since 2008, only one of them is female. While the House of Commons has a defined number of seats membership, the number of members in the House of Lords is not fixed; the House of Lords is the only upper house of any bicameral parliament in the world to be larger than its lower house. The House of Lords scrutinises bills, it reviews and amends Bills from the Commons. While it is unable to prevent Bills passing into law, except in certain limited circumstances, it can delay Bills and force the Commons to reconsider their decisions. In this capacity, the House of Lords acts as a check on the House of Commons, independent from the electoral process. Bills can be introduced into the House of Commons. While members of the Lords may take on roles as government ministers, high-ranking officials such as cabinet ministers are drawn from the Commons; the House of Lords has its own support services, separate from the Commons, including the House of Lords Library. The Queen's Speech is delivered in the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament.
In addition to its role as the upper house, until the establishment of the Supreme Court in 2009, the House of Lords, through the Law Lords, acted as the final court of appeal in the United Kingdom judicial system. The House has a Church of England role, in that Church Measures must be tabled within the House by the Lords Spiritual. Today's Parliament of the United Kingdom descends, in practice, from the Parliament of England, though the Treaty of Union of 1706 and the Acts of Union that ratified the Treaty in 1707 and created a new Parliament of Great Britain to replace the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland; this new parliament was, in effect, the continuation of the Parliament of England with the addition of 45 MPs and 16 Peers to represent Scotland. The House of Lords developed from the "Great Council"; this royal council came to be composed of ecclesiastics and representatives of the counties of England and Wales. The first English Parliament is considered to be the "Model Parliament", which included archbishops, abbots, earls and representatives of the shires and boroughs of it.
The power of Parliament grew fluctuating as the strength of the monarchy grew or declined. For example, during much of the reign of Edward II, the nobility was supreme, the Crown weak, the shire and borough representatives powerless. In 1569, the authority of Parliament was for the first time recognised not by custom or royal charter, but by an authoritative statute, passed by Parliament itself. During the reign of Edward II's successor, Edward III, Parliament separated into two distinct chambers: the House of Commons and the House of Lords; the authority of Parliament continued to grow, during the early 15th century both Houses exercised powers to an extent not seen before. The Lords were far more powerful than the Commons because of the great influence of the great landowners and the prelates of the realm; the power of the nobility declined during the civil wars of the late 15th century, known as the Wars of the Roses. Much of the nobility was killed on the battlefield or executed for participation in the war, many aristocratic estates were lost to the Crown.
Moreover, feudalism was dying, the feudal armies controlled by the barons became obsolete. Henry VII established the supremacy of the monarch, symbolised by the "Crown Imperial"; the domination of the Sovereign continued to grow during the reigns of the Tudor monarchs in the 16th century. The Crown was at the height of its power during the reign of Henry VIII; the House of Lords remained more powerful than the House of Commons, but the Lower House continued to grow in influence, reaching a zenith in relation to the House of Lords during the middle 17th century. Conflicts between the King and the Parliament led to the English Civil War during the 1640s. In 1649, after the defeat and execution of King Charles I, the Commonwealth of England was declared, but the nation was under the overall control of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, S
William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle
William Parker, 13th Baron Morley, 4th Baron Monteagle was an English peer, best known for his role in the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. In 1605 Parker was due to attend the opening of Parliament, he was a member of the House of Lords as the title on his mother's side. He received a letter: it appears that someone a fellow Catholic, was afraid he would be blown up; the so-called Monteagle letter survives in the National Archives. William was the eldest son of Edward Parker, 12th Baron Morley, of Elizabeth Stanley and heiress of William Stanley, 3rd Baron Monteagle, he had both a younger sister, Mary. William's father appears to have been in favour at court. However, William was allied with many Roman Catholic families, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I was in sympathy with their cause, his wife, the daughter of Sir Thomas Tresham, came from a well-known Roman Catholic family. His sister married Thomas Habington a Roman Catholic, he was knighted while with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex in Ireland in 1599, in 1601 he took part in the latter's rebellion in London.
He was punished by imprisonment and a fine of £8,000. Having close ties with the extremist Catholic faction during Queen Elizabeth I's rule, a hand in organising Thomas Winter's mission to Spain in 1602, William Parker declared to be "done with all formal plots" after King James I took the throne. Parker went as far as writing a letter to his new king with a promise to follow the state religion. Like some reformers, Parker blamed his childhood for his previous wrongdoings, stating: "I knew no better." When King James I began his reign, English Catholics had hoped that the persecution felt for over 45 years under his predecessor Queen Elizabeth would end. Though more tolerant than others before him, James was still faced with plots and schemes by priests and rebels trying to end the mistreatment of Catholics through force. To please the Protestants, who were distressed over the growing strength of the Catholic religion, James proclaimed his detestation for Catholics in England. Once again priests were expelled, fines were taxed, Catholics went back to living a hidden life.
But some Catholics weren't so accepting of the secretive nature in which they had to practice their faith. In 1604 Robert Catesby, a devout Catholic with a magnetic personality, recruited friends and rebels to meet and discuss his plot to blow up the House of Lords in an attempt to reestablish Catholicism in England; those present at that first meeting with Catesby were Thomas Wintour, John Wright, Thomas Percy and Guy Fawkes. With the imminent threat of plague, Parliament postponed re-opening until November 5, 1605, which gave the plotters ample time to lease out a small house in the centre of London where Fawkes would live under the alias “Jhon Jhonson” as Thomas Percy's servant while gathering the gunpowder necessary. By March 1605, the 36 barrels of gunpowder were moved to the newly leased out cellar directly under the House of Lords. On 26 October an anonymous letter warned Lord Monteagle to avoid the opening of Parliament; this letter was sent by Monteagle's brother-in-law, Francis Tresham.
In any event it caused enough suspicion that on the night of 4 November the undercroft beneath the House of Lords was searched by guards, where Guy Fawkes was found in possession of matches and gunpowder was found hidden under coal. After intense torture in the Tower of London Fawkes gave his true name and those of his fellow conspirators. All but one of the plotters pleaded not guilty but the seven were found guilty of high treason and each were executed on 30 and 31 January. On 26 October 1605, while sitting at supper at his house in Hoxton, London, he received a letter warning of the Gunpowder Plot, it is believed by some historians that he authored the letter himself to win acclaim and favour with the King. Fraser posits. Had it been a conspirator, such as Francis Tresham, the writer would have intended to end the plot before it began; the argument against Mary Habington having sent the letter is that the letter was too clumsy, that there were far better ways to discreetly deliver the information, had it come from her.
As for a conspirator, Parker benefited too richly—and the conspirators too terribly—for that to be the case. After deciphering the letter, Parker rushed to Whitehall and showed it to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, who showed it to the King. On 4 November, Parker joined Thomas Howard in searching the basement of Parliament, where they found the stash of gunpowder and explosives. For his service in protecting the crown, Monteagle was rewarded with 500 pounds and 200 pounds' worth of lands. In 1609, William Parker became a member of the council, he had shares in the East North West Companies as well. Parker used his influence to protect his brother-in-law, Thomas Habington, from the possible consequence of death, after harbouring the forbidden priests at Hindlip. Although Habington was condemned, his wife's pleas to her brother secured his reprieve. Despite revealing the Gunpowder Plot, Parker seems to have retained some connections to the Catholic community, his eldest son of six children, Henry Lord Morley, was a known Catholic and in 1609, he was suspected of sheltering students from St. Omer's seminary