Anglo-Norman power in Ireland was consolidated by the Great Charter (1217), derived from Magna Carta, and reached its zenith in the elective Parliament of 1297. Formed originally of the Norman nobility, knights and clergy, town burghers were added in 1299. Thereafter Scots invasion, famines, and the ravages of the Black Death serially undermined the Norman ascendancy. The Statutes of Kilkenny (1367) were the enactments of a now threatened ruling order. These Acts banned colonists adopting ‘the manners, fashions and language of the Irish enemies’. Amongst the swathe of prohibitions were intermarriage with locals, ‘hockey and quoits’, and visits of Irish minstrels (who were suspected of spying). It was all to little effect; Anglo-Irish magnates like the Burkes and Butlers valued their independence, and the Normanized Augustinian, Benedictine and Cistercian abbeys were balanced by the increased Gaelic recruitment of the Dominicans and Franciscans. The Normans established over 50 towns, but their inhabitants were increasingly Irish in ‘manners, fashions and language’.
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