A question of timing: Walter de Lacy’s seisin of Meath 1189–94
Veach, Colin T. (Trinity College Dublin)
Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 109C, (2009)
The Irish kingdom of Mide was granted by King Henry II to Hugh de Lacy in 1172. After Hugh’s death in 1186, what had come to be known as the lordship of Meath passed, after a period of wardship, to Hugh’s son, Walter. Until now, the transfer of the lordship to Walter was generally thought to have occurred in 1194; but this article examines a charter, the existence of which challenges that theory. The charter, which dates to before 1191, is an explicit example of Walter exercising lordship in Meath at least three years earlier than historians had, up to now, thought he had done. The resultant revised chronology depicts John, lord of Ireland (and future king of England), depriving Walter de Lacy of Meath in 1192; only to have this action over-turned by King Richard the Lionheart upon the latter’s return from crusade in 1194. This article therefore establishes and re-dates a key development in the history of the English community in Ireland, which has consequences for how we understand Irish politics in the early years of King Richard’s reign.