Hardiman's History of Galway

Chapter 4: From 1484 to the commencement of the Irish Rebellion in 1641

Charter of Elizabeth, 1579

Chapter 4

From 1484 to the commencement of the Irish Rebellion in 1641

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Old map of Galway

These troubles having at length subsided, the town was rewarded by the queen for its losses and fidelity to her government. On the 14th of July, 1579, she granted it a charter containing most ample privileges. All similar preceding grants were confirmed, power was given to create, yearly, a recorder, coroner, escheator, comptroller of the customs, gauger and all other officers, and to grant safe conduct, to and from the town, to all foreign merchants. Every mayor, for the time being, was created admiral of the port and bay, as far as the islands of Arran, and was to be entitled to all the wrecks of the sea. The inhabitants were exempted from attending at assizes, juries, or other civil duties, outside the town. The customs, as contained in the grant of Richard II. were confirmed with many additions, but were directed, however, to be applied to the murage and pavage of the town. The mayor, sheriffs, burgesses and corporation were authorized, from time to time, to assemble in arms, and to pass and go with flags; displayed in hostile array, to any country, island, arm of the sea, or other place whatsoever, to take, recover and punish all robberies, felonies and crimes committed against them. The mayor and recorder, for the time being, were created justices of the peace and gaol delivery within the town, the franchises, liberties and suburbs thereof; and no other was to exercise like power therein; nor was any other officer of the queen, her heirs, or successors, to have any authority whatsoever within the town: power was given to have a prison and keeper thereof; and, finally, all privileges enjoyed by the city of Waterford and the town of Drogheda, were fully granted. hh The queen's bounty did not stop, even after the extension of these ample privileges, but was further extended by patent, dated 11th September, 1578, in pursuance of letters under her own hand, stating, "The veary good commendacon made unto us, for divers respects, of our loving subjects of our town of Galway, for their dutyfulness and good services sondry times constantly showed, as occasions have been offered, for which we would they should be considered and encoradged:" the corporation was accordingly granted leases in reversion of the possessions of the dissolved monasteries of St. Francis, St. Augustin and St. Dominick, adjoining the town; the parsonage, fishing and cocket; and as much land as should amount to the yearly value of 100 marks, nearest the town, and most commodious to them. These, with other grants to the wardens anrl vicars, and particular encouragement to individuals, were the marks of the royal recompence and favor to the inhabitants for their sufferings and loyalty in those perilious times.ii

Next: Sir William Pelham arrives in Galway, 1579

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