Black Tom was a nickname printed on pamphlets to tarnish the reputation of Thomas Wentworth (1593-1641), Earl of Strafford and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Wentworth was a towering political figure in the tumultuous period leading up to the beginning of the English Civil War and had a ruthless reputation when he was sent to Ireland in 1633 as the King’s representative known as the Lord Lieutenant. In Ireland he managed to succeed in proving himself unpopular with both the Catholic and Protestant population leading to his blackened name.
Although a strong supporter of King Charles 1, Thomas Wentworth was ironically convicted of high treason and was beheaded on 12th May 1641 on Tower Hill in London. On hearing of the King’s agreement to his execution, Wentworth was said to have famously remarked not your trust in Princes”.
His association with Tinahely dates to the beginnings of the Coolattin Estate which was owned initially by Thomas Wentworth. The foundation for a hunting lodge were being constructed in Tinahely leading to the area being referred to as Black Tom’s Cellars located near the Wicklow County Council Offices in Tinahely. Wentworth’s lands in Wicklow were retained by his descendants and the Coolattin Estate endured until the mid-20th century.