Wallop, Sir Henry (c.1531–1599), administrator, was eldest son of Sir Oliver Wallop of Farleigh, Hampshire, England, and his wife Bridget Pigott of Beachampton, Buckinghamshire. At an unknown date, he married Katherine, daughter of Richard Gifford of King's Somborne, Hampshire. Both his father and his father-in-law were prominent and early promoters of the protestant reformation.
Following his father's death in 1566, he inherited one of the largest estates in Hampshire, and began to play a leading role in the administration and politics of the county. Reflecting his status, he was knighted (1569) and returned as MP (1572) for Southampton, where he had a second residence. During the 1570s he was appointed to a number of local government commissions, impressing his superiors with his protestant zeal and knowledge of commercial affairs. Thus in summer 1579 the secretary of state, Sir Francis Walsingham, arranged his appointment as vice-treasurer of Ireland. He had not sought this promotion, knew nothing about Ireland, and asked for time to settle his private affairs before taking up his office. However, the eruption of the second Desmond rebellion (1579–83) in Munster a few months previously made his presence in Ireland essential, and he landed at Waterford on 12 September.
Vice-treasurer of Ireland Shortly after arriving he was given command of a company of 100 foot but did not lead this band into battle due to his ministerial responsibilities. He resided at the White Friars in the suburbs of Dublin, having bought a lease of the property of the dissolved religious house of the White Friars. About 1585 he moved his residence to Bagotragh, Co. Dublin. The vice-treasurership was a powerful and lucrative office, particularly during a time of war, when the holder enjoyed virtually unsupervised control over the disbursement of large subsidies sent from England. However, vice-treasurers also had to contend with the jealousy of their colleagues and the Irish exchequer's lack of adequate financial controls, which often made this post politically perilous for its occupants.
Like many newly arrived English administrators Wallop regarded Irish society as irredeemably backward due to its Gaelic culture and catholic religion, and advocated its total refashioning on English lines. However, while many officials were content merely to pay lip service to this goal, he pursued it with unswerving commitment during his initial years in the country. He kept his distance from his fellow ministers, most of whom he regarded as time-servers and self-seekers, regularly denouncing them for corruption in his missives to London. His self-depiction as an incorruptible, high-minded public servant is contradicted by the subsequent progress of his career. He always had an eye on his own personal gain, while his stewardship of the crown's finances in Ireland was frequently overshadowed by allegations of financial impropriety.
His arrival in Ireland proved something of a baptism of fire due to a destructive and prolonged war in Munster. The English treasury's tardiness in providing the necessary subventions drove him to despair, and he was often obliged to dig into his own pockets to make good some of these financial shortfalls. For much of the duration of the second Desmond rebellion, he appealed for larger and timelier subsidies from the English exchequer. His hectoring letters quickly antagonised the lord treasurer of England, Lord Burghley, who preferred his subordinates in Dublin to make do with what they had. The alienation of this powerful figure was counterbalanced by the continued patronage of Walsingham, who shared Wallop's concerns regarding the uncertain loyalty of Ireland's overwhelmingly catholic population.
Extreme courses, 1580–81 From February to August 1580 Wallop was at Limerick, where he busied himself in arranging supplies for the royal forces. Once back in Dublin he was confronted with a failed uprising within the Pale led by James Eustace (qv), Viscount Baltinglass, and a more durable one in south Leinster led by Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne (qv). This convinced Wallop and a number of other leading English officials that the established communities in Ireland, both the Gaelic Irish and the catholic and partially gaelicised descendants of the medieval colonists (the Old English), were determined to overthrow the English crown's rule of Ireland and bore an unappeasable hatred against all of English birth. Indeed, he regarded the Old English of the Pale as the more dangerous, believing that they masked their sinister intent behind an outward appearance of loyalty.
He successfully urged the newly appointed lord deputy of Ireland, Arthur Grey (qv), to adopt repressive measures of exceptional ferocity within the Pale after both the Baltinglass rebellion and the uncovering of a planned uprising within the Pale in autumn 1581. As a result, a number of landowners within the Pale were arrested and executed for treason during 1581–2. Wallop hoped to benefit by receiving the property of those who had been condemned as traitors, and boasted that he had immersed himself in the interrogations and trials of these suspects while many of his more cautious colleagues had remained aloof. With Wallop's encouragement, Grey also refused to negotiate with the rebels in Munster or Leinster and dismissed the relatively moderate Thomas Butler (qv), 10th earl of Ormond, as general of the royal army in Munster in 1581. Ormond was the most powerful aristocrat in Ireland and inclined towards a negotiated conclusion of the conflict, which led many English officials to regard him with suspicion. His dismissal had been prefigured by a smear campaign led by Wallop, who came to detest and fear Ormond due to his ability to thwart his favoured policies.
However, Wallop's hawkish stance conflicted with the limited resources at his disposal as vice-treasurer. Burghley was horrified at the debts being incurred in Ireland and exasperated at Wallop's failure to provide a proper set of accounts, suspecting him of financial profligacy if not outright corruption. Then about the start of 1582 the queen's patience snapped under the mounting costs of suppressing the continuing Desmond rebellion. She rebuked Walsingham and his clients in Dublin for dragging her into a quagmire in Munster. Wallop was dismayed at this development and more particularly at Burghley's demand that he submit his accounts for auditing in England. In a series of panicked letters, he stressed the inconvenience of holding the audit in England, but presumably his real concern was that it would be harder to conceal any irregularities.
Royal displeasure led to recriminations among the leading royal officials in Dublin. Wallop's relationship with Grey had already cooled during autumn 1581 over the lord deputy's failure to reward him adequately with property confiscated from executed Leinster landowners. Smarting over this slight and eager to make Grey a scapegoat, he revealed to Walsingham in January 1582 how Grey had distributed the attainted land exclusively among his own personal cronies. This contributed to the queen's decision to dismiss Grey in summer 1582, following which she appointed Wallop joint lord justice of Ireland along with Adam Loftus (qv), archbishop of Dublin. However, he remained in bad odour with the queen over his suspected financial wrongdoing.
Lord justice of Ireland, 1582–4 During 1582–3 he dragged his feet over Burghley's demands for a thorough examination of his accounts, trying unsuccessfully to appease him by preparing various interim reports on the state of Irish finances. The royal auditor for Ireland, Thomas Jenison (qv), complained constantly of Wallop's unhelpfulness. In return, he protested with some justification that the ongoing military crisis rendered an audit impractical, and that the administrative structures were not in place to ensure that the funds he disbursed reached their intended recipients. This problem was particularly acute within the Munster military establishment, where the captains regularly overpaid themselves. Wallop and a number of these officers traded accusations of pocketing public funds. The embattled vice-treasurer tried with some success to deflect attention from his conduct by casting aspersions on Sir Edward Waterhouse (qv), who, as collector of the queen's casual revenues, administered a significant portion of the crown's Irish finances. The pressure on Wallop eased considerably in December 1582 when the queen yielded to his entreaties and permitted the audit of his accounts to proceed in Dublin.
When not preoccupied with defending his reputation, he governed Ireland in conjunction with Loftus. Both men maintained a façade of unity while tensions bubbled beneath the surface. Loftus had a large family to maintain, and his blatant nepotism outraged Wallop; they also differed in their approaches towards the Desmond rebellion. While Loftus despaired of bringing the war in Munster to a successful conclusion, Wallop continued to advocate a military solution. Wallop had his way in that respect but was dismayed when the queen reappointed Ormond as her general in Munster and empowered him to offer generous surrender terms to the rebels. When Ormond reassumed this position (January 1583), Wallop tried unsuccessfully to undermine him again by complaining of his alleged financial extravagance when discharging his public duties. Ormond's more measured approach led to a flood of rebel submissions and the final defeat of the insurgency in November 1583. Wallop protested at this lenience but was humiliatingly forced to deny attempting to impugn Ormond's honour in September.
For the sake of peace Wallop adopted a more compromising stance, having absorbed painful lessons of the limits of state power in Ireland. In August 1583 the lords justices went to Dundalk, where they held talks with Turlough Luineach O'Neill (qv) and composed differences between him and other Ulster lords. The next month they engaged in negotiations with the landowners of the Pale regarding the cess, a hugely unpopular and burdensome prerogative tax levied in kind to support the royal army. In a bid to placate the disgruntled Palesmen, the lords justices agreed to a major concession by dropping the cess in return for an annual cash sum of £1,500. Despite his clashes with Ormond, Wallop's contribution towards the gradual restoration of stability to Ireland during 1583 led his political stock to rise, and he was gratified to discover that Burghley, formerly his fiercest critic, spoke up in his favour in November when some soldiers petitioned against him. His last months as lord justice were relatively tranquil, although the government's execution (June 1584) of the catholic archbishop of Cashel, Dermot O'Hurley (qv), proved controversial. Along with Loftus, Wallop had somewhat reluctantly authorised O'Hurley's torture prior to having him hurriedly put to death.
The Munster plantation, Enniscorthy, and the economic development of Ireland Wallop surrendered his position as lord justice on 21 June 1584 when Sir John Perrot (qv) arrived in Dublin to take up the position of lord deputy of Ireland. From September to November 1584 he was in Munster as part of a royal commission charged with surveying the attainted property of the earl of Desmond (qv). The commissioners had little time with which to appraise a vast swathe of territory and were necessarily dependent on the unreliable testimony of local Irish. He was struck by how under-populated Kerry and Limerick were, and his recommendation that these properties be subjected to English colonisation helped convince the authorities in London to authorise the Munster plantation. Despite its flaws, this survey became the basis for the subsequent plantation scheme.
Wallop was one of the ardent advocates in Dublin for the colonisation of Ireland by English settlers in order to promote the civilisation and economic growth of the island. As a man of considerable business acumen, he was eager to participate in this venture, which he hoped would enrich both himself and his queen. Unlike most English officials, who regarded Ireland as an opportunity for short-term plunder, he was prepared to invest heavily in the country and lobbied repeatedly for grants of land there. However, he met with a series of rebuffs, mainly because the queen did not want her leading officials in Ireland to hold property there, which she feared could lead to conflict between their public and private interests.
Undeterred, he sought to enact his own unofficial settlement in Co. Wexford. This idea had first occurred to him in summer 1581, when he had accompanied Grey on an expedition to the county and had noted the quality and quantity of its woodland. By summer 1583 he was buying land within the Slaney valley and around Enniscorthy. In Easter 1585 he bought a lease of the manor of Enniscorthy and immediately set about rebuilding Enniscorthy castle, breaking up rocks that obstructed the Slaney river in order to make it navigable for another 5–6 miles (8–10 km), and settling English and Irish tenants on these lands.
He continued acquiring land, gradually building up a large estate centred on Enniscorthy. In August 1586 he bought a lease of the friary of Enniscorthy, and in December 1587 the queen granted him a lease of the property of the dissolved abbey of Selskar. Furthermore, the bishop of Ferns granted him 1,500 acres of church property on a ninety-year lease (1588). This generous lease was in return for Wallop's allowing the bishop to pocket the proceeds of a royal levy that should have been remitted into the exchequer. The Enniscorthy region had previously been uncultivated and lawless, but under Wallop a flourishing English colony emerged, bringing with it a greater degree of prosperity and security. Such was its growth that in November 1587 the government licensed the establishment of a weekly market at Enniscorthy.
Conflict with Perrot Meanwhile, the political infighting within the Dublin administration intensified under the turbulent lord deputyship of Perrot, with whom Wallop fell out almost immediately on the former's arrival in Dublin (summer 1584). The cause of this dispute was the possession of the manor of Athlone, which Wallop had obtained in March and which had traditionally been held by the vice-treasurers of Ireland. Perrot soon wrested Athlone from him, claiming it by right of his office. Later (July 1585) Wallop received a twenty-one-year lease of former monastic property at Adare, Co. Limerick, and its environs in compensation for the loss of Athlone. Soon after, he was forced to surrender this lease by the English privy council before purchasing it off the new grantee of this property. He was infuriated by the loss of Athlone, but at Walsingham's behest he swallowed his pride and tried to cooperate with Perrot. This proved easier said than done due to Perrot's irascible and domineering nature, which soon alienated most of his colleagues on the Irish privy council. Wallop tried to remain above the fray and defended Perrot from charges of venality while discreetly criticising his fractiousness and more over-ambitious initiatives.
Nonetheless his relationship with Perrot deteriorated steadily and had collapsed completely by the start of 1586. In 1585 Perrot muscled Wallop out of a potentially lucrative scheme to plant woad crops in Munster, and in 1586 he berated Wallop for the defects in his survey of Munster. Unable to stomach the lord deputy's haughtiness any further, Wallop began openly accusing him of corruption in 1587. Despite Perrot's hostility, Wallop maintained his political autonomy. Indeed, the abolition of the office of collector of the queen's casual revenues in spring 1585, and the subsuming of these duties within Wallop's ministerial brief, further consolidated his control over public finances. After long delays, his accounts were finally audited in 1586 and subjected to more regular checks thereafter. The royal auditor Jenison complained bitterly about his sloppy record-keeping, but London deemed his accounts acceptable.
Interlude in England In 1588 Perrot's replacement as lord deputy by Sir William Fitzwilliam (qv) seemed to bode well for Wallop. However, within days of Fitzwilliam's assumption of office, Wallop was complaining that the new lord deputy rebuked and undermined him at every turn. Determined not to brook a powerful vice-treasurer, Fitzwilliam sought to lever Wallop out of office by exploiting a formal complaint presented by the new royal auditor, Christopher Peyton, to the English privy council against Wallop's conduct as vice-treasurer. He probably could have weathered this storm but was anxious to attend to his private affairs in England and decided on a tactical withdrawal. In April 1589 he returned to England for the first time in nearly a decade.
He probably intended staying for a relatively short period, but Walsingham's death in 1590 deprived him of his main patron and correspondingly increased Fitzwilliam's power. As a result he remained in England indefinitely; and although he had appointed a deputy to administer his office as vice-treasurer during his absence, Fitzwilliam seems to have seized control of Irish public finances. This development was not unwelcome to Wallop, as he continued to enjoy many of the perquisites of vice-treasurer but few of the responsibilities. Admittedly Peyton's charges continued to hang over him, but the fervour with which this investigation was pursued abated noticeably once Wallop removed himself from Dublin. Only in June 1591 did he respond to Peyton's allegations before the English privy council, which he seems to have satisfied.
From England he directed the continued development of his Enniscorthy estates. About 1590–92 he established English lumberjacks on his Wexford estate to fell trees on his lands, and erected a mill at Enniscorthy to saw the logs into planks, which were then transported along the River Slaney to Wexford town for shipment abroad. However, in late 1592 Fitzwilliam banned the export of all timber, on the suspicion that much of this was going to Spain, which was by far the most lucrative foreign market, but with which England was at war. In January 1594 Wallop secured licence to export timber to certain ports in France and to the Spanish islands of Madeira and the Canaries. Subsequently he found a less controversial customer in the form of the English navy.
Return to Ireland; Hugh O'Neill Fitzwilliam's ignominious recall as lord deputy in summer 1594 paved the way for Wallop's return to Ireland, although it was not until 19 July 1595 that he landed in Dublin. To encourage him and in recognition of his development of Enniscorthy, the queen granted him permanent possession of his land at Enniscorthy and at Adare. During his absence a powerful rebel confederation had emerged in Ulster under the leadership of Hugh O'Neill (qv), earl of Tyrone. Characteristically, Wallop did not mince his words in his reports to London, arguing that the queen faced a long and expensive war and that she should recognise that reality instead of trying to contain the rebels on the cheap. Although militarily sound, this advice was politically ill advised: the queen would not countenance increased spending on Ireland.
In January 1596 he and Sir Richard Gardiner negotiated on behalf of the government with Tyrone and his confederates near Dundalk. Given the queen's attitude, Wallop appreciated that the government's best hope lay in appeasement and believed that a permanent agreement could be reached. However, the confederates were aware of the strength of their position and adopted an unyielding stance. After two and a half weeks of negotiations, during which the gulf that separated both sides became starkly apparent, they concluded (26 January) a renewal of an ongoing truce until 1 April, with the possibility of an extension for another month. His illusions shattered, Wallop warned the queen to prepare for an intensification of the war in Ireland.
However, her initial reaction was to chastise Wallop and Gardener for tolerating the rebels’ insolence during the January talks. Tyrone had refused to meet with them in Dundalk and their conferences had been held in a field outside the town, which the queen regarded as a slight on her royal dignity. This was unfair and reflected her unwillingness to admit her own responsibility for the worsening crisis. Despite her carping, she did not overturn the truce made on her behalf and appears to have largely heeded the informed counsels of Wallop and Gardener during 1596–7. At their prompting she established a commission in 1597 to rein in the excesses of certain crown officials who had contributed to the rising discontent in Ireland by illegally seizing property from native landowners.
Troubled final years Nonetheless, the queen became increasingly infuriated by the cost and course of the war in Ireland, as the escalation in her military expenses failed to prevent the rebels from overrunning much of the country. Once more Wallop was obliged to ward off charges of laxity, pleading vainly that his tight-fisted stewardship of the queen's finances had made him enemies within the army. His relationship with Burghley reverted to its old dynamic: Wallop appealed constantly for more money, which served only to irritate Burghley and led him to question the Irish vice-treasurer's motives. Matters came to a head in July 1597 when he advised that soldiers in the royal army be clothed in Irish-style garments instead of having their uniforms shipped in more expensively from England. The proposal was sound but earned him a stinging rebuke in August from Burghley's son Sir Robert Cecil, who accused him of seeking to claim a portion of the extra subsidies that would come into his hands as part of this scheme. Cecil further reminded him that he was widely known both to help himself to a number of financially lucrative allowances in discharging his office and to accept bribes from army captains, for which he facilitated the speedy payment of their salaries. He tendered his resignation, but the queen refused to accept this and many subsequent attempts by Wallop to quit his increasingly thankless duties.
Hitherto Co. Wexford had being spared the destructive violence that had consumed most of Ireland, but in May 1598 O'More and Kavanagh rebels inflicted a decisive defeat on Wallop's company, which had been charged with protecting the county. As a result, Wallop's property in north Wexford was devastated by the rebels, with only his castle at Enniscorthy holding out. The death of his son Oliver that summer in a battle with rebel forces at Saggart, Co. Kildare, compounded his misery. Demoralised, in poor health, and assailed by renewed charges of corruption, he redoubled his efforts to secure permission to return to England, and in March 1599 the queen relented by allowing him to resign as vice-treasurer. However, she stipulated that he remain in Dublin for a time to advise his successor, Sir George Carey, which indicates that despite her harsh criticisms of Wallop, she valued his experience and efficiency.
In the event, he died in Dublin on 14 April 1599, the very day of Carey's arrival in the city to replace him, and was buried in St Patrick's cathedral. He was succeeded by his surviving son, Henry. A portrait of him by Nicholas Hilliard was kept by his descendants until it was destroyed in a fire around the start of the twentieth century. This painting is reproduced in the sixth volume of Philip Hore's History of the county and town of Wexford.