Where faith and politics meet: Sir Thomas Cusack’s ambitions for Tudor Ireland

March 2012
Jeffrey Cox, researcher at the School of History and Archives (UCD)

HS12-Tudor IRLSir Thomas Cusack, a native of Meath, was arguably one of the most influential Anglo-Irish politicians in the Tudor political establishment. Entering politics in the 1530s, he served well into his sixties with only brief periods of absence from the workings of the Dublin Administration. Although his presence is well evidenced in state documentation, the absence of personal papers has made an analysis of his personal convictions difficult. One such area of ambiguity is the seemingly inconsistent and contradictory evidence of Cusack’s faith.

Historians are of divided opinion concerning his religiosity; some labelling him a staunch protestant or crypto-catholic, others an irreligious politique. From his role in the dissolution of the monasteries (including Lismullen) to his Catholic sympathies, this lecture weighed the evidence of Cusack’s personal faith and allegiance, ultimately seeking to understand it through the religious context of the mid-sixteenth century and the political ideals he championed for Ireland.


It will be given by Jeffrey Cox, researcher at the School of History and Archives (UCD). Formerly a history teacher in the United States, and a Fulbright sponsored teacher in Northern Ireland, Jeffrey Cox completed a Masters in Early Modern History at University College Dublin. His master’s research focused on the political career of Sir Thomas Cusack. Jeffrey is currently a PhD candidate in the School of History and Archives at UCD, and a research assistant for the Iberian Book Project. His current research centres on Catholic communities in Elizabethan and early Stuart Sussex and Kildare.

The back drop to the details about the Lismullin spring heritage series (view here) shows part of a letter Sir Thomas wrote from Lismullin.

View Heritage Series brochure here

Date 2012-11-20 Filesize 551.62 KB Download 7815

What is the Heritage Series?

In its Heritage Lectures the Lismullin Institute seeks to explore various aspects of our local heritage so that visitors to the Lismullin Conference Centre and our neighbours will have a greater knowledge and appreciation of the history and attractions of their surroundings. The Lismullin Institute is pleased to invite you to some or all of these public, stand-alone lectures in Lismullin Conference Centre. The Lectures will begin at 8pm and light refreshments will be served afterwards.

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