Hardiman's History of Galway

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

Charter of James I

Chapter 4

From 1484 to the commencement of the Irish Rebellion in 1641

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Old map of Galway

Immediately after the accession of James, the corporation petitioned for a confirmation and extension of their privileges, which the king answered by letter under his own hand, to the earl of Devonshire, lord lieutenant, dated 20th December, 1603, stating that, "Although for some respects we thinke not fitt to enlarge any further liberties to them, than formerly they have had, yet wee are pleased that they shall have a confirmacon and renuinge of such privileges and liberties as by any former charters they doe hold." aaa -This answer not being so favourable as was expected, they declined for the present suing out the charter, expecting a more seasonable opportunity;bbb which accordingly was supposed to have offered in 1608, when they again petitioned, but with no better success than before, as appears by the king's letter, dated at Westminster, the 3d of March, in that year, and afterwards recited in the charter. Not discouraged at this disappointment, they immediately again renewed their solicitations, not oniy for a renewal and confirmation of all former privileges, but also that the town and liberties might be erected into a separate and distinct county; sheriffs appointed in place of bailiffs; and, in consideration of the great increase of mercantile transactions, that a guild of merchants of the staple might be incorporated. - Geoffry Lynch Fitz-Dominick and Patrick French Fitz-Robert were deputed to present this petition to the king in person; and, through the interference and interest of Rickard, then earl of Clanrickard, (who shortly before was appointed first lord president of Connaught,ccc) their application proved successful. Accordingly, letters, signed by the privy council of England with the royal assent, were transmitted to the lord lieutenant of Ireland; in pursuance of which, by charter, dated 18th December, 1610, all the former privileges of the corporation were fully confirmed: and as the town of Drogheda was one entire county by itself, incorporate in fact and name, distinct and separate from the counties of Louth, Meath, and all other counties, so it was given and granted that the town of Galway, and all castles, messuages, rivers, rivulets, lands, tenements and other hereditaments whatsoever, Iying and being within the space of two miles of every part of the said town, in a straight line, should, from thenceforth, for ever be one entire county of itself, distinct and separate from the county of Galway,ddd to be named and called the county of the town of Galway: that the site and precincts of the abbey of Saint Francis and Saint Augustine's fort, and the lands belonging to the fort, should be reserved and excluded from the county of the town of Galway, and be and remain within the county of Galway; that the judges of assize and gaol delivery might hold their sessions in said abbey, and the sheriffs of the county of Galway their county courts there. The mayor, bailiffs, burgesses and commonalty, were incorporated by the name of the mayor, sheriffs, free burgesses and commonalty of the town. A guild of merchants of the staple, consisting of one mayor, two constables, and such number of merchants as they should think most expedient, was incorporated. Ulick Lynch was appointed the first mayor, and Walter Martin and Peter Lynch the first constables. The corporation was empowered to have and use several ensigns and ornaments for the honor and dignity of the town; and the mayor, for the time being, to have a sword borne before him, as a mark of the very great eminence of the office of mayor of the town, and of the authority thereto belonging.

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