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Sidney, Sir Henry

Sidney, Sir Henry (1529–86). Lord deputy of Ireland. Sidney, of Penshurst (Kent), was brought up with Prince Edward who was eight years younger, and on his accession was made a gentleman of the privy chamber. In 1551 he married the daughter of Northumberland. He backed Northumberland's attempted coup on behalf of Lady Jane Grey in 1553 but distanced himself in time to avoid disaster. Though Northumberland perished, Sidney still had Leicester as a brother-in-law and patron. In 1556 he accompanied Sussex to Ireland, acting as deputy in his absence. Elizabeth appointed him lord president of the marches in Wales in 1559, a post he held for the rest of his life. In 1565 he was given the Garter and sent back to Ireland as lord deputy. His first task was to deal with Shane O'Neill who was in rebellion, but who was assassinated in 1567. By 1571 Sidney had had enough of trying to pacify Ireland and resigned. But fresh rebellions led to his recall in 1575. This time the difficulty was expense, since Elizabeth was unwilling to accept that Ireland could not be subdued on the cheap. He was replaced in 1578. Though clearly an able man, his forward policy was never adequately supported. His son was the poet Sir Philip Sidney.

J. A. Cannon

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