The Chief Governors: The Rise and Fall of Reform Government in Tudor Ireland 1536-1588

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This book offers an extended reinterpretation of English policy in Ireland over the sixteenth century. It seeks to show that the major conflicts between Tudor governors and native lords which characterised the period were not the result of a deliberate Tudor strategy of confrontation, but arose from a failed experiment in legal reform and cultural assimilation which had been applied with remarkable success elsewhere in the Tudor dominions. The book identifies a distinct administrative style which evolved in Irish government in the mid-sixteenth century under a complex set of pressures acting on the would-be reformers both in Ireland and at the Tudor court, and argues that it was this highly centralised and intensely activist mode of government that undermined the aims of reform policy and provoked alienation and hostility.