Four Days After the End of His Campaign Against the O'Tooles, O'Byrnes and O'Nolans in Leinster, Justiciar Thomas Rokeby Dies in Kilkea, Co. Kildare

  • April 23, 1357

Sir Thomas de Rokeby (died 1356 or 1357) was a soldier and senior Crown official in fourteenth-century England and Ireland, who served as Justiciar of Ireland.

He was appointed to that office to restore law and order to Ireland, and had considerable early success in this task, but he was recalled to England after the military situation deteriorated. He was later re-appointed Justiciar, and returned to Ireland to take up office, but died soon afterwards.

In 1353 the Clan MacCarthy of Muskerry, the dominant clan in central County Cork, who had until then been loyal to the English Crown, rebelled. Rokeby showed considerable skill in crushing the uprising and succeeded in replacing the rebellious head of the clan, Dermot MacCarthy, with his more compliant cousin Cormac. Cormac’s descendants gained great wealth, extensive lands and the title Earl of Clancarty.

This promising state of good order did not last long: a rebellion by the O’Byrne Clan of Wicklow in 1354 was followed by a general uprising headed by the MacMurrough-Kavanagh dynasty. Although Muirchearteach MacMurrough-Kavanagh, the self-styled King of Leinster, was captured and executed, Rokeby suffered several military defeats. He was unable to suppress the O’Byrnes’ rebellion, and other risings took place in Tipperary, Kildare and Ulster.

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