I find very few particulars as to the state of religion in Ireland during the reign of Edward VI, but then Queen Mary, known better as Bloody Mary, came to the throne in England, 1553-1558. Towards the conclusion of the barbarous sway of this relentless bigot, she attempted to extend her inhuman persecutions to this island; but her diabolical intentions were happily frustrated in the following providential manner. Mary had appointed Dr. Pole (an agent of the bloodthirsty Bonner) one of the commissioners for carrying out her barbarous intentions into effect. When Dr. Pole arrived at Chester with his commission, the Mayor of that city, being a papist, waited upon him; when the doctor, taking out of his cloak bag a leather case, said to him, "Here is a commission that shall lash the heretics of Ireland." The good woman of the house being a Protestant, name of Mary Brian, and having a brother in Dublin, was greatly troubled at what he said. But watching her opportunity, while the mayor was taking his leave and the doctor politely accompanying him downstairs, she opened the box, took out the commission, and in its stead laid a sheet of paper with a pack of cards and the knave of clubs at the top. The doctor, not suspecting the trick that had been played him, put up the box and arrived, with it, in Dublin in September 1558.
Anxious to, accomplish the intentions of his "pious" mistress, the Queen, he immediately went to Lord Fitz-Walter, at that time viceroy, and presented the box to him; which, being opened, nothing was found in it but a pack of cards. This startled all the persons present. His lordship said, "We must procure another commission; in the meantime let us shuffle the cards."
Dr. Pole, however, would have directly returned to England, but he received word that Queen Mary was dead.