King Henry's Institutions

Justin McCarthy
Chapter III | Start of Chapter

Henry went to work to organize the country after his own fashion, and set up some great institutions which have kept their undisputed place up to the present day. He laid the foundation of the legal system and established the courts of law, which no subsequent revolution has endeavoured to disestablish. He divided the island into counties. But he also introduced the feudal system, as it prevailed in England, in place of the principle of land tenure and the arrangement between Chieftain and people which had existed in Ireland from the earliest days. His new systems of government were intended mainly for the security and benefit of the new settlers, and for a time, at least, the native Irish were allowed to maintain the old systems which they had derived from the Brehon laws.