Named after Englishman Edward Poynings (1460-1521), the British-appointed governor of Ireland.

His official title: Lord Deputy of Ireland.

In the eyes of the English, Irish independence had run amok while mother England was preoccupied by a civil war, the so-called War of the Roses (1453-1489).

Ponyings' had backed the right side, his choice, the Tudor candidate who became King Henry VII (pictured). Once throned, Henry sent Poynings to Ireland to quell the rumblings.

Ponyings landed in Ireland at Howth on October 1, 1494 then summoned an Irish Parliament to meet at Drogheda. At that Parliament, Ponyings introduced a new law, which carried the formal title of Statute(s) of Drogheda.

Henry VIIIn England, it became formally known as Ponyings' Law Act 1495, It became the 22nd Chapter of the statutes of the 10th year of the reign of Henry VII.

The most drastic step was to import, in one fell swoop, the entirety of existing British statutes, and quashing any inconsistent Irish law. Thus, this extract:

"Forasmuch as there been many and diverse good and profitable statutes late made within England by great labour, studie, and policie, as well in the time of our sovereign lord the King, as in the time of his full noble and royal progenitors, late Kings of England, by the advise of his and their discreet counsail, whereby the said realm is ordered and brought to great wealth and prosperity, and by all likelyhood so would this land, if the said estatutes were used and executed in the same.

"Wherefore all estatutes, late made within England, concerning or belonging to the common and publique weal of the same, from henceforth be deemed good and effectuall in the law, and over that be acceptyd, used, and executed within Ireland in all points at all times requisite according to the tenor and effect of the same; and over that they and every of them be authorized, proved, and confirmed in Ireland. And if any estatute or estatutes have been made within this said land, hereafter to the contrary, they and every of them be anulled, revoked, voyd, and of none effect in the law."

Ponyings law made the Irish government subordinate to that of England, a situation which subsisted until the law was repealed in 1782.

Remarkably, Ponyings managed to get the Irish Parliament to approve of this law.

Ponyings law made it unlawful for the Irish Parliament to be called without a written license from the King of England. No Irish law could have any effect without approval by the government of England.

Although without the dripping condescending tone, Ponyings Law Act built on the Statute of Kilkenny, circa 1367.


  • Connolly, S. J., The Oxford Companion to Irish History (Oxford: Oxford Press, 2002)
  • Drogheda, Ireland, Official Website
  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Statute of Kilkenney, 1367.
  • Sinder, J., "Irish Legal History: An Overview and Guide to the Sources", (Chicago: The American Association of Law Libraries, Law Library Journal, October 2001, Volume 93, Number 2), pages 254-256.