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Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork

(1566-1643), Irish statesman

Sitter associated with 2 portraits
A ruthless opportunist, Boyle became a substantial landowner and administrator in Ireland. Knighted at the beginning of the reign of James I, he was created Earl of Cork in 1620, made Lord Justice of Ireland in 1629 and Lord Treasurer in 1631.

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Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, by Isaac Oliver - NPG 2494

Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork

by Isaac Oliver
watercolour on vellum, circa 1610-1615
NPG 2494

King James I of England and VI of Scotland wrongly identified as Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, after Unknown artist, published by  William Richardson - NPG D26690

King James I of England and VI of Scotland wrongly identified as Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork

after Unknown artist, published by William Richardson
stipple and line engraving, published 1803
NPG D26690

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Laurie Pettitt

22 March 2017, 20:43

Sometimes, people become so powerful that they think they are above the Law. Richard Boyle was such a person. Then he met Thomas Wentworth who saw into his schemes and land appropriations. Rogues hate an honest man and this rogue was no exception. At the beginning of Wentworth's Deputyship, almost the whole of the Irish Revenue came from recusancy fines. Churches in Ireland were in disuse and disrepair. Some were used as such things as Tennis Courts, Stables and Drinking Dens. Lands which were supposed to supply Ministers with their living, through tithes, had been sold, illegally by the Bishops. So.... Irish Catholics were being fined for not attending churches that had no Ministers. So when o0ne of the destitute ministers turned up at Wentworth's court, he was amazed to 1:be listened to. 2: be promised justice. 3: Because he could not afford to stay in Dublin, he was allowed to stay with Wentworth. This was when Wentworth started to look at the misappropriation of Church Lands and Lord Cork, Richard Boyle was a main beneficiary. So confident was Boyle of his power that he had built a memorial to his wife in the place of the Altar in St. Patrick's. Wentworth had him shift it.
Corruption cannot be treated nicely and Wentworth pursued Cork and certain Bishops with a vengeance. Had Cork worked with Wentworth, they could have transformed Ireland but Cork didn't know how to be 'straight'

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