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The Penal Code

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In 1695, shortly after the Siege of Limerick, Lord Capel summoned a Parliament to enact and re enact certain Penal laws. The object of these laws was threefold:

(1) To deprive the Catholics of all civil life

(2) To reduce them to a condition of ignorance

(3) To dissociate them from the soil

The following is a list of this new Penal code given to Mac Manus 'The Story of the Irish Race.'

  • The Irish Catholic was forbidden the exercise of his religion

  • He/She was forbidden to receive education

  • He/She was forbidden to enter a profession

  • He/She was forbidden to hold public office

  • He/She was forbidden to engage in trade and commerce

  • He/She was forbidden to live in a corporate town or within five miles thereof

  • He/She was forbidden to own a horse of greater value than five pounds

  • He/She was forbidden to purchase or lease land

  • He/She was forbidden to accept a mortgage on land, or security for a loan

  • He/She was forbidden to vote

  • He/She was forbidden to keep any arms for his protection

  • He/She was forbidden to hold a life annuity

  • He/She was forbidden to buy land from a Protestant

  • He/She was forbidden to inherit land from a Protestant

  • He/She was forbidden to receive a gift of land from a Protestant

  • He/She was forbidden to rent any land that was worth mre than thirty shillings a year

  • He/She was forbidden to reap from his land any profit exceeding a third of the rent

  • He/She could not be a guardian to a child

  • He/She could not, when dying, leave his infant children under Catholic guardianship

  • He/She could not attend Catholic worship

  • He/She was compelled by the law to attend Protestant worship

  • He/She could not, himself, educate his child

  • He/She could not employ a teacher to come to his child

  • He/She could not send his child abroad to receive education

  • Any Catholic gentleman's child who became a Protestant, could at once take possession of his father's property

  • Any Catholic priest who came to the country would be hanged

  • The priest was banned

  • The school master was banned

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Lindel Buckley

1998/2008 Donegal Genealogy Resources