STANIHURST, Richard. De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, Libri Quattuor, ad carissimum suum fratrem, clarissimumque virum, P. Plunketum, Dominum Baronem Dunsaniae. Accessit his libris Hibernicarum rerum Appendix, ex Silvestro Giraldo Cambrensi peruetusto scriptore collecta … .


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Antwerp: Apud Christophorum Plantinum, 1584. Small quarto. pp. 264, 6 (index), 2 (errata). Later half calf on marbled boards, spine divided into six panels by five double raised bands, title in gilt direct in the second. Seminary library stamp on titlepage. Some toning, light stain to lower right-hand corner of titlepage, occasional foxing. All edges marbled. A very good copy of a very rare book. COPAC with 3 locations. The 1st of two Allison and Rogers printings - 1127. Bradshaw 6300 Gilbert
777. Sweeney 4804.

Richard Stanihurst (c.1545-1618), author and Jesuit, was born in Dublin, the son of James Stanihurst, Recorder of Dublin and Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. Educated at Oxford, where he befriended Edmund Campion. Under the latter’s guidance he contributed a general description of Ireland for Holinshed’s Chronicles, which was dedicated to Sir Henry Sidney, the Lord Deputy, a friend of his father. Richard studied law at Lincolns Inn; returned to Ireland, married, and became a Catholic. Following the death of his wife in London, he left Ireland for the Low Countries, where he remained for the rest of his life. He subsequently took holy orders and became chaplain to Archduke Albert of Austria. He was uncle of the famous ecclesiastic, Archbishop James Ussher. The author of several theological discourses, Stanihurst is best remembered for the present work which is a treatise on the early history of Ireland. He makes much use of the writings of Giraldus Cambrensis (Barry), who had accompanied Prince John to Ireland in the late 12th century. The final three books contain a narrative of the arrival and settlement of the Normans here. The first, though, provides a detailed description of the country as it stood in Elizabethan times; the territorial divisions, cities and towns, the origins of the Parliament within the Pale as well as an extensive piece on Gaelic Ireland, which in a matter of twenty-five years would be swept away in the aftermath of the Nine Years War and the Plantation of Ulster. He tells of their customs and culture, their military organisation and their legendary hospitality. The work was dedicated to his brother-in-law, Lord Dunsany. Keating in his general history of Ireland criticises Stanihurst on three points; that he was too young when he wrote, that he was ignorant of the Irish language, and that he was bribed by large gifts and promises of advancement to blacken the character of the Irish nation. Stanihurst contributed the description of Ireland to Holinshed’s Chronicles. His ‘De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis’ is a treatise on the history of Ireland down to the reign of Henry II, with an appendix of extracts from Giraldus Cambrensis.


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