Thomas Spring of Castlemaine

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Thomas Spring of Castlemaine (died 1597) was an English Protestant soldier, politician and Constable of Castle Maine in County Kerry, Ireland. [1]



Thomas Spring was born in Lavenham, Suffolk, the son of Robert Spring. He was the grandson of Thomas Spring of Lavenham, the richest merchant in England during the early 1500s. [2]

Spring was an officer in the army of Elizabeth I during the Tudor conquest of Ireland. He served with distinction, coming to the attention of Walter Raleigh who lobbied Sir Michael Hicks for a reward for Spring. [3] As part of the Plantation of Munster he was granted over 3,000 acres of land in County Kerry in 1578. In 1584, he was appointed Constable of Castle Maine, with responsibility for maintaining English royal authority over the locality. [4] He was accorded the right to hold several country fairs as a source of income and was in control of collecting tolls and taxes for the Crown. His land increased to approximately 6,000 acres when, on 12 December 1588, he was granted the estates of Killagha Abbey, which had been seized by The Crown during the dissolution of the monasteries. [5] Spring was instructed to rebuild the abbey in a castle-like manner, so that it could serve as a defensive structure.

From 1585 to 1586 Spring was the Member of Parliament for County Kerry in the Irish House of Commons and he served as High Sheriff of Kerry in 1592. [6] [7] He was the first of the Spring family to settle in Ireland. [8] [9]

Spring married Annabelle Browne, the daughter of John Browne, Master of Awney, Co.Limerick, [10] with whom he had two sons and five daughters. [11] His eldest son, Thomas, was a practising lawyer. His younger son, Walter, served as High Sheriff of Kerry in 1609. Walter's grandson was Walter Spring, who lost much of the family's Irish estate during the Irish Confederate Wars. [12] Of Thomas's daughters, Alice married Colonel James Ryves, elder brother of Sir William Ryves and Sir Thomas Ryves.


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  1. Michael C. O'Laughlin, Families of Co. Kerry, Ireland (Irish Roots Cafe, 1994), 137.
  2. Joseph Jackson Howard, ‘Spring’, The Visitation of Suffolk (Whittaker and Co, 1866), 165-206.
  3. Raleigh in a letter to Hicks: "I am most earnestly to entreat you for this gentleman Captain Spring, that partly for love, partly for honest consideration, you will further him with my Lord Treasurer for a debt of £300 which her Majesty doth owe him. It hath been long due and he hath good warrant for it. Besides he hath served her Majesty very long, and hath received many wounds in her service. These reasons delivered by a man of your utterance, and having his good angel at your elbow to instruct you, I doubt not but it will take good and speedy effect." Carmody, p.290.
  4. James Carmody, Story of Castle Magne, Co. Kerry, Kerry Archaeological Magazine, Volume 1, No. 2 (April 1909), pp. 49-79.
  5. James Carmody, 'The Abbey of Killagha, Parish of Kilcoleman, County Kerry', The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Fifth Series, Vol. 36, No. 3, p.290.
  6. Brid McGrath, A biographical dictionary of the membership of the Irish House of Commons 1640-1641 (Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), 1998), p.A50 (Retrieved 31 March 2020).
  7. Michael C. O'Laughlin, Families of Co. Kerry, Ireland (Irish Roots Cafe, 1994), 137.
  8. Joseph Jackson Howard, ‘Spring’, The Visitation of Suffolk ( Whittaker and Co, 1866), 165-206.
  9. Charles Smith, The Antient and Present State of the County of Kerry (1756), 57.
  10. "Notes on Kerry Topography, Ancient and Modern" (ctd.) by Mary Agnes Hickson, Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association, Fourth Series, Vol 5, No. 44 (Oct 1880), pp.349-364.
  11. Joseph Jackson Howard, ‘Spring’, The Visitation of Suffolk ( Whittaker and Co, 1866), 165-206.
  12. James Carmody, 'The Abbey of Killagha, Parish of Kilcoleman, County Kerry', The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Fifth Series, Vol. 36, No. 3, p.291.
Parliament of Ireland
Unknown Member of Parliament for County Kerry
With: John Fitzgerald
Succeeded by
Daniel O'Sullivan Beare
Stephen Rice