The restricted representation contained in Tralee’s Charter of 1613 was further curtailed as a result of the take-over of the corporation by the leading settlers of the Munster Plantation.
This is clear from Abstracts of Charters and Grants to Corporate Towns in Ireland from Henry II to Charles II (1154-1685), a document in the English archive office copied on microfilm in the National Library of Ireland. Under Tralee we find the following. The date of the Charter is March 31, 1613. The Charter provides for a Portrieve, 12 free Burgesses and a Commonalty. The Portrieve and the Burgesses are to return two members to Parliament. The Portrieve is to be chosen on 24 June and installed on 29 September.
There is to be Court of Record every Thursday “to determine all personal actions of debt, contract not exceeding the the sum of five marks, to make byelaws, to have a mercatory Guild and a common Seale, to appoint two Serjeants at Mace and other inferior officers during good behaviour or pleasure – To hold a Tuesday market and a fair on St James’s day and the day after, if not a Saturday or Sunday.” The Portrieve is to be Clerk of the Market.
The same manuscript contains a grant to Sir Edward Denny, dated June 25 1630, to hold a Saturday market and a fair on 28 October and the day following.
It is often forgotten that the predecessors of these Munster Planters, the earls of Desmond, enjoyed equally extensive and well documented levies and charges for their support. We find these set out in the Desmond Survey taken when the last of the earls was overthrown, reproduced in The Kerryman, August 1927:
“From the Cocquet (custom receipts) of Dingle-cushe of merchandises as well of English merchants as of foreigners, for goods and merchandise imported or exported into and from the ports and creeks of Dingle, Bantry, Smerwick, Ardcanny, and other places; wrecks of ships and storms, alias shipwrecks, from the island in Desmond called Valentia to Beale, in the County of Clanmorris.
And also the prisage of all wines discharged within the aforesaid ports and creeks, the late Earl of Desmond received in right of inheritance.
And further, the aforesaid late Earl of Desmond used to receive and perceive a custom from every ship or boat coming thither to fish when and as often as it would come.”