Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork

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Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork (13 October 1566 – 15 September 1643), also known as the Great Earl of Cork, was Lord Treasurer of the Kingdom of Ireland.

Boyle is an important figure in the continuing English colonisation of Ireland (commenced by the Normans) in the 16th and 17th centuries, as he acquired large tracts of land in plantations in Munster in southern Ireland. Moreover, his sons played an important role in fighting against Irish Catholic rebellion in the 1640s and '50s, assisting in the victory of the British and Protestant interest in Ireland.

Contents

Background

Boyle was born at Canterbury 3 October 1566, the second son of Roger Boyle (d. 24 March 1576 at Preston, near Faversham in Kent), a descendant of an ancient landed Herefordshire family, and of Joan (born 15 October 1529 at Canterbury - died 20 March 1586), daughter of John Naylor, who were married in Canterbury on 16 October 1564. Both are interred in an Alabaster tomb in the upper end of the Chancel of the parish church of Preston.[1]

Young Boyle went to The King's School, Canterbury, at the same time as Christopher Marlowe. University education began at Bennet (Corpus Christi) College, Cambridge, England, in 1583.[2] After this he studied law at the Middle Temple in London and became a clerk to Sir Roger Manwood, Kt., who was then the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer.

Before completing his studies, Boyle decided "to gain learning, knowledge, and experience abroad in the world"[3] and left London for a new start in Ireland. He arrived in Dublin on 23 June 1588 with just over £27 (£5,287 as of 2011),[4]as well as a gold bracelet worth £10 (£1,958 as of 2011),[4], and a diamond ring (given to him by his mother at her death and which he wore all his life), besides some fine clothing, and his "rapier and dagger".[3]

In 1590 he obtained the appointment of deputy Escheator to John Crofton, the Escheator-General. On 6 November 1595, he married Joan Apsley, the daughter and co-heiress of William Apsley of Limerick, one of the council to the first President of the province of Munster.[3] This marriage brought Boyle an estate of £500 a year (£73,435 as of 2011),[4], which he continued to receive until at least 1632.

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