Newly Discovered Papers Shed Light on Limerick during Tudor Times

  • Civic Trust Glucksman Library - Pic: Keith Wiseman
Limerick Civic Trust handing important papers to the Glucksman Library, University of Limerick are Edmund Pery, Earl of Limerick and Dr Des Fitzgerald, President of the University of Limerick. (Pic: Keith Wiseman)

Limerick Civic Trust has presented a cache of previously unseen historical papers relating to Limerick to The Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick on behalf of the Pery Family. The recently discovered papers provide rich insight into the social, political and economical landscape of Limerick city and county from the 1500’s to 1800’s.

The papers were discovered by Sylvia Countess of Limerick in Sussex recently. They had been put aside by her father-in-law in 1962 after he had presented other papers of historical importance to the National Library.

While much of the papers document the life and times of the Pery family which has links with Limerick going back to the early 17th century, they also provide context and evidence to many of the military actions during that time. Two volumes of handwritten correspondence between Edmund Sexten, who was Mayor of Limerick in 1535, and the authorities in Dublin and London provide a wealth of information about the activities of prominent families like the Sextens, Thomonds, O’Briens and Fitzgeralds. A forbear of the Pery’s, Edmund Sexten became the representative of the Tudor monarch and a major local beneficiary of the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538.

The newly discovered material includes:

  • Transcripts made by Edmond Sexten the younger (1594-1636) of correspondence by his grandfather who was Mayor of Limerick in 1535
  • Historical notices of the Sexten family and the City of Limerick from 1600’s
  • Abstracts and copies of records relating to the Sexten, Casey and Stackpoole families from late 1600’s
  • Book concerning County Limerick circa 1638
  • Edmund Pery’s Account and Commonplace book from 1671-1729
  • Tenement Valuation of the Estate of the Earl of Limerick in Counties Limerick, Cork and Clare in 1884

The Account and Commonplace book of Colonel Edmund Pery from 1671 and 1681 provides more amusing insights into the daily concerns of that time. It includes a lengthy section on how to look after your horse and recipes and tips on how to get curly hair, get rid of unwanted hair, make cucumbers last the winter and keep wine fresh.

The Glucksman Library at University of Limerick will now archive and digitise the papers so that they are available to the public.

On presenting the papers to the Glucksman Library, Edmund Pery, the Earl or Limerick, said, “We felt it was important that these papers are made available, at no cost, to anyone who has an interest in them and hope they support the research and work of historians and students. The Glucksman Library is the most obvious place to look after them given they are 100% about the city and county of Limerick. I would like to thank the Limerick Civic Trust for their encouragement and facilitation in bringing them back to where they belong.”

Gobnait O’Riordan, Director, Glucksman Library, said, “The Glucksman Library is delighted to receive these early manuscript records of the Pery family in Ireland from the Earl of Limerick and his family. It is our intention to catalogue and digitise the material. It will then be made available to all researchers in the UL Digital Library in an open access environment. The University of Limerick is grateful to the Pery family and to the Limerick Civic Trust for bringing these manuscripts to Limerick”

Limerick Civic Trust has a long-standing relationship with the Glucksman Library and previously presented its Oral History Archive to the Library in 2015.

David O’Brien, CEO, Limerick Civic Trust, said “As part of our mandate to create a better understanding of our heritage,we carry out a lot of research on unpublished material. These papers are fascinating and provide another layer to Limerick’s rich and colourful past. We’re thrilled that they are going to the Glucksman Library to be protected, preserved and made accessible to everyone.”

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Treaty Stone Limerick. Photo Piotr Machowczyk