IRELAND, Robert (c.1532-99), of Ireland's Mansion, Shrewsbury, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. c.1532, 2nd s. of Thomas Ireland (d.1554) of Adbrighton by Jane, da. of William Ottley of Pitchford. educ. I. Temple 1555; BCL Oxf. 29 July 1560. m. Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Scriven.1
Common councilman, Shrewsbury 1565, bailiff 1566, 1569, 1592.2
The identification of this Member as Robert Ireland, son of Thomas Ireland of Adbrighton, rather than his uncle, Robert Ireland, son of David Ireland of Shrewsbury, rests on a petition, dated 1570, from Robert Ireland ‘the younger’ to the council in the marches, complaining of non-payment of wages due to him from the town. A writ from the council directed the bailiffs to pay £10 for his expenses in attending the Parliament in the fifth year, and in 1581 ‘Mr. Robert Ireland, Esq.’ received £15, as full discharge of, the money due to him as burgess of Parliament ‘in the 1st, 5th and 13th years of Her Majesty’s reign’.3
Ireland played a prominent part in the life of the town, and is frequently mentioned in its records. In 1564 the bishop of Coventry and Lichfield reported him ‘meet to bear office ... because many times corrupt men are chosen to be bailiffs’. Apparently a wealthy man, he built the magnificent half-timbered house in the High Street that bears his name, and in 1588 contributed £25 for the defence of the kingdom. As well as property in Shrewsbury, he had an interest in lands in other parts of the county. But it was Robert Ireland the elder, and not this Member, who was displaced from the 12 for non-residence in 1582.4
Although a freeman of the Shrewsbury Mercers’ Company, and several times a warden, Ireland allowed the drapers to purchase his support for the bill which, in 1566, forbade any but the drapers to trade in Welsh cloth. This bill passed the Commons between 26 Nov. and 4 Dec. 1566, but on 16 Nov. Ireland had received leave of absence ‘for his special affairs’. In 1570 the drapers voted to keep their promise to him, and made his brother, instead of himself, and three other leading mercers, free of the Drapers’ Company. In 1571 Ireland again had licence to depart, on 16 May, nine days after the repeal of the 1566 Act had passed its third reading in the Lords, though it did not receive the royal assent in this Parliament.5
Robert Ireland died 6 Oct. 1599. The town chronicle supplies his epitaph. He was
a stout protestant, and a furtherer of the poor, a good housekeeper, and one that kept great countenance in his proceedings in this town. He died godly, in good remembrance unto the last end, and was solemnly buried in St. Chad’s church, Shrewsbury, for whom were many weeping tears, and great moan.
An inquisition post mortem was held in 1600.6