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"The borough of Belfast was created by charter dated 27 April 1613, the charter providing for a Mayor, to be known as the Sovereign, 12 burgesses, and commonalty, two members of Parliament to be chosen by the Sovereign and burgesses. The charter also contained clauses providing special powers for the family of Chichester, as keepers of the Castle of Belfast.
The creation of the borough of Belfast should not be seen in isolation but, instead, as a small part in a far wider scheme to rig the forthcoming Irish Parliament by providing for a large number of boroughs to be created, all of which could be relied upon to elect, or one might say appoint, Protestant members of Parliament.
The chief promoter of this scheme appears to have been the Lord Deputy, Sir Arthur Chichester, but in forwarding his scheme to the King and Council in London he is careful to point out that he consulted with Sir George Carew. At page 133 of the relevant volume of the printed Carew papers, he says 'We have not omitted to deliberate concerning the summons of the Parliament etc. I have delivered my conceit thereof unto my Lord Carew.'"
This article looks at a Southern Irish family, the Carews, who rapidly became established as leading gentry in County Wexford.