23 random kotes on the history of the co. Mayo



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JOURNAL OF THE GALWAY ARCHÆOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY, JGAHS Vol. XIII. (1924), Nos. i and ii. Random Notes on the History of County Mayo with Special Reference to the Barony of Kilmaine, G. V. Martyn, 23-49.
23 RANDOM KOTES ON THE HISTORY OF THE CO. MAYO.
Random Notes on the History of the County Mayo and with special reference to the Barony of Kilmaine.
By G. V. MARTYN.
RANDOM NOTES published in Vol. XII. of the Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, brought us to 1340: Knox fixes on that year as the period when the Mac Williamship rule may be said to have begun, and we may now proceed to consider why that form of government was substituted for Norman rule.

The name Mac William obviously means " the son of William." Sir William (Liath) de Burgh ruled Connacht for 50 years and when his sons usurped the De Burgh Lordship it was convenient to give them a name by which they could be distinguished from the other or direct De Burgh descendants. Put in another way, the Mac Williamship meant the establish­ment of an Anglo-Irish form of government in Connacht. The essence of the Irish system was that the chief should be elected. Sir William Liath's sons dispensed with that formality as they seized the De Burgh Lordship, but they had no doubt the prior approval of the two principal Irish families of Western Connacht-the O'Malleys and O'Flaherties. As an aid to securing that approval, Edmond Albanagh married O'Malley's daughter, and Ulick secured the hand of an O'Flaherty.

The professed ground for the usurpation was that the last of the direct De Burghs, "The Brown Earl," having been killed in 1333, the Lordship became vested in the Crown, and this might result in annexation of the Province. Usurpation on the other hand implied a return to the Irish system with in future elected chiefs. What we need then to ascertain is some clues as to where the usurpers Edmond (Albanagh) and Ulick De Burgh were at the period 1338-1340.

Knox says (p. 282) that Ballinrobe castle and lands were
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probably let by Maurice Fitzgerald's heir to Sir William Liath, or his sons. This must have been prior to 1300, as all the Fitz­gerald Connacht lands were transferred to the De Burghs about that year. Ballinrobe became Sir William Liath's frontier post in his attempt to establish his hegemony of Mayo, and when he died in 1324 his son Edmond made it his headquarters. Edmond was either living there or in the vicinity in 1338 when his cousin Edmond De Burgh (brother of "The Red Earl" who died in 1326) was captured and drowned in Lough Mask.

Edmond Albanagh is said to have married an O'Malley of Westport and in 1338 he sought an asylum in the Islands of Clew Bay. All these facts form clues to establishing his connec­tiem with Ballinrobe previous to the usurpation.

Of Edmond's brother Ulick no information is forthcoming but fortunately there are some clues. The fact that he was known as Ulick of Annaghkeen establishes his connection with that place and Colonel Nolan found he was living in that castle about 1320-1325.

In the Conquest of Connacht in 1235, the O'Flaherties were driven out of Claregalway. By 1256 it was found that so long as the O'Flaherties held the territory on the western shore, no effective control of the Lake was possible. It was necessary for the Normans to seize Moycullen and this is what they appear to have done in 1256. The Four Masters writing of that year say:
"Mac William Burke set out on a predatory expedition against Roderic O'Flaherty. He plundered Gnomore and Gnobeg and took possession of all Lough Orbsen."
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A tradition in one of the tribal families-the Martins-is that they held Moycullen in ancient times. As the O'Flaherties possessed it from 1300 to 1650, tradition must refer to the period 1256 to 1300. A curious corroboration of this is to be found in a Map in Walpole's History of lreland. It purports to show the Anglo-Norman Settlements in Connacht in the 13th century. The Martins are placed about Annaghdown on the East of the Corrib and are also in Moycullen barony. For want of corrobora­tion the Map has hitherto been regarded as of little value, but the discovery of the De Burgh Expedition of 1256 and of the return of the O'Flaherties to Moycullen in 1300 throws new light on the subject. Both Moycullen and Claregalway would appear to have been in the hands of Anglo-Norman families, either as seneschals or subgrantees of Walter De Burgh. The hostility shown by the Tribes to the Upper Mac Williams in the 14th and 15th centuries can now be understood. Moreover, the problem of the Norman Occupation south of the Robe in the 13th century is capable of some sort of solution.
25 RANDOM NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF THE CO. MAYO.
Walter De Burgh, Earl of Ulster, is clearly here referred to. It may be inferred he felt the inconvenience of not having com­plete control of Lough Corrib and for this as well as other reasons, the expedition to MoyculIen was decided on. As he was engaged in the summer of 1256 in defeating a combination of O'Conors and O'Rourkes in Northern Mayo the presumption is he employed a subordinate leader for the operations in Moycullen.

Hardiman in Iar Connacht (p. 382) says the O'Flaherties were back in Moycullen about 1300. This implies that they had formed an alliance with Sir William Liath or his son UIick. The date is more likely to have been 1320 than 1300. They were to be the western guardians of Lough Corrib and Aghna­nure Castle was to be their headquarters. The most vulner­able point in Lough Corrib is Knock Ferry. Here the Lake is a bottle neck under half a mile wide and Aghnanure Castle was built as the western warden as Annaghkeen Castle was intended as the eastern warden of the Ferry and the reaches of the Lake to north and south of it.

We can now understand why the usurpers adopted Irish laws and customs. They had formed marriage alliances with the O'Malleys and O'Flaherties. Their father's policy gave them the baronies of Claregalway and Kilmaine and their alliance with the chief holding all the territory to the west of Loughs Corrib and Mask secured them water communication. The con­version of the Stauntons of Castlecarra into Mac EviIlys added the second most important barony in Mayo and the establishment of the Lower Mac Williamship became a fait accompli. Simil­arly the upper (or nearer) Mac Williamship was founded on the alliance between Ulick of Annaghkeen and the 0' Flaherties. The return of the latter to Moycullen in 1300 is perhaps the most important clue to the situation at this time.
So little of historical value appears to be known of the Mac Williamships up to 1569 (when Sir Edward Fitton became the first English governor) that we may ignore domestic quarrels and endeavour to concentrate on essentials. These appear to be:-

­

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(i) The consolidation of the territories of the two Mac Williams.

(ii) The introduction and establishment of Scots mercenary troops.

(iii) The division of the Estates of Sir Thomas Bourke (2nd Mac William) in 1401, by which the Mayo Bourke family broke up into several clans, each qualified to produce a claimant to the Mac Williamship.

(iv) The struggles for supremacy between the Mayo Bourkes and Clanricards culminating in the Battle of Knockdoe.
Knox calls the first Lower (or further) Mac William Sir Edniond Albanagh (The Scot). The family name of De Burgh was converted into Bourke in Mayo and Burke in Galway. The question as to whether Edmond was entitled to be called Sir Edmond is not one of vast importance. Although he rebelled against English authority it was condoned by the King's pardon in 1340. It was more convenient then to recognise him than to brand him as a rebel.

Sir Edmond, in consolidating his territory, had first to subdue two powerful Anglo-Norman families and then to assert and sustain his claim to be the senior Mac William. Being a man of ability and determination he effected his objects in so far that he was recognised as supreme in Mayo and admitted by Ulick Burke of Annaghkeen as the superior Mac William. The strongest Anglo-Norman family in Mayo Sir Edmond had to deal with was the Prendergasts of the barony of Clanmorris. The correct modern spelling of this territory would appear to be Clanmaurice as Orpen says the younger Clan Muiris comes from the first conqueror Maurice Prendergast. He was an illegitimate son of Gerald, who had large estates in Cork, Limerick and Wexford, and appears to have been at Brige Castle before 1235. The tenacity with which the Prendergasts held on to Clan Maurice for 350 years is a testimony to their powers of not only fighting but securing the good will of their subjects.

In 1341 and again in 1366 Sir Edmond Albanagh came into conflict with the Prendergasts and in the second attack the latter sought refuge with Richard Og the Galway Mac William.
27 RANDOM NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF THE CO. MAYO.
Sir Edmond's real objective was Richard Og who probably dared to question Albanagh's superiority. Aedh O'Conor (nominal King of Connacht) joined Albanagh in this expedition as he evidently considered the balance of power between the two Mac Williams was endangered. Richard Og was in due course subdued and presumably the Prendergasts also submitted.*

The second powerful Anglo-Norman family Sir Edmond Albanagh had to deal with was the Berminghams.

The Berminghams are first mentioned at Athenry in 1241 but they probably took part in the conquest of Connacht in 1235. In 1315 Richard Bermingham was in chief command at the Battle of Athenry and was created a Baron. With the Clanricards on one side and the O'Kellys on the other, the Berminghams of Athenry gradually lost their power and lands. A branch of the family acquired lands in the barony of Dunmore and another branch migrated about 1235 to Ardnarea. Failing to submit to Sir Edmond Albanagh the latter were subdued and then became his allies.

We have no information of the other Anglo-Norman families in Mayo at this period, such as the Jordan de Exeter, Barretts, etc., but as all appear later on with Irish names they evidently decided to accept Mac William rule.
Knox refers to this period (1340-1400) when the Scots mer­cenary troops-locally called Clan Donnell Gallowglass-were introduced into Mayo. t Stephen Gwynn (History of Ireland) says
* The O'Conor Memoirs say that about 1315 Sir William Liath dropped the name of De Burgh, assumed that of Bourke and aimed at the sover­eignty of Connacht. In Bruce's attempted attack on Dublin, Richard de Burgh was suspected of conniving at it and was imprisoned. Thus, after the Battle of Athenry, Sir William Liath found O'Conor's power broken in Connacht and Richard De Burgh's prospects of being Overlord in Ireland destroyed. His own services had not been adequately rewarded and he decided the time was opportune for assuming direct control of Connacht and making it an inheritance for his sons. The usurpation of the De Burgh Lordship may have been conceived before 1316 but was de­ferred and ultimately put into effect in 1338.

t Hugh O'Neil, Earl of Tyrone, having fallen foul of the Mac Donnells of Antrim, found about 1596 he must in future rely on Irish soldiers. He endeavoured to solve the problem of training them by importing sergeants or instructors from the Spanish Army. but he appears to have done nothing towards forming a corps of officers.

The basic elements of warfare are security. mobility and offensive
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that in 1259 Hugh O'Conor married a Mac Donnell and brought home with him a bodyguard of 150 trained fighting men, but we do not hear of any considerable body of mercenary troops until the 14th century. The employment of mercenary soldiers goes back to the times of the Roman Empire, and continued in Europe up to the end of the 18th century.

Scotland being in close touch with France learnt the value of a professional soldiery and put that knowledge to use by defeating England at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The discovery that 100 trained men were more than a match for 200 irregulars was probably made in Ireland about this period and Scots mercenaries then became an institution in Antrim. Sure of employment, their services became more and more valuable as they increased in efficiency.

Like other professions the military has its secrets. The leaders must study the theory and practice of war before they can aspire to be efficient; the rank and file must be taught how to act together on the Parade ground and in the field. All this could be equally well done by Irishmen, if the organisation existed for training officers and men. The Scots realised this and consequently Irish cadets and soldier recruits would not be admitted into their mercenary corps. Had the Irish chiefs combined they might have been able to find funds for sending young men to France to study the science and practice of war but even if unity for such a purpose were possible, money was not available.

The discoverer of the value of professional soldiers was probably Edmond Albanagh. He and his father were taken to Scotland as prisoners in 1315, and when he returned to Ireland he had reached the impressionable age of 17 or 18. His after career shows he had military ability and there is evidence of gallowglass being employed in, Mayo in his time, though for want of funds the nunbers were small.

In Mayo the leaders of the Scots were MacDonnells, who, by getting grants of land, became settlers. Their followers became their tenants and the next generation would be agricul-

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action or the powers to guard, move and hit. It is remarkable that Ireland possessed in supreme degree the asset of mobility. Its horsemen were renowned on the Continent but their value at home was overlooked or neglected.
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turalists but not entierly devoid of military knowledge. They became the nucleus of a standing army. Fresh blood was introduced from Antrim or Scotland from time to time but the true professional soldiery continued to be the corps of mercenaries and only they could be relied on to fight with any hope of success against English troops.
Sir Edmond Albanagh died in 1371 and by the law of primo­geniture should have been succeeded by his eldest son William Saxonagh. The name Saxonagh implies that William was brought up in England but as the election of a Mac William in Mayo was in the hands of the chiefs, they selected Thomas Bourke who was another son of Sir Edmond-an unfortunate choice. Thomas proved a failure. He was not only superseded as the Senior Mac William in Connacht but allowed Mayo to lapse into disorder.

The Irish system of electing a Mac William in Mayo, being in force, resulted in a break up of the Bourke family into four or five great branches each aiming at providing a Mac William. Instead of family affection, rivalry and jealousy were created between them and Mayo consequently was only at peace when an exceptionally strong Mac William reigned.

We have no information as to whether the Upper Mac Williams were elected or not. There was no break up of the main stock of the Galway Burkes, but in the 16th century and possibly owing to the Battle of Knockdoe and the irregularities of Ulick Finn, his brother Richard succeeded him. If special circumstances did not intervene the law of primogeniture appears to have been followed.

Hardiman says Ulick Burke of Annaghkeen on becoming 1st Upper Mac William took possession of Galway but soon found the climate unhealthy. The tribal families were beginning to find their feet in the town and meant to continue their allegiance to the Crown of England. It is doubtful, therefore, if Ulick Burke resided within the walls. He may have been the builder of Tirellan Castle as a suburban residence and one which per­mitted of uninterrupted communication with Annaghkeen.

Ulick I. died in 1353 and was succeeded by his son Richard
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Og, the founder of the Clanricard Burkes. Richard probably annexed the remainder of the De Burgh Lordship including Loughrea, as we hear later on of his son Ulick resisting an attempt of the legitimate De Burghs to recover Loughrea. This Ulick II. also tried to get possession of Galway, failed and submitted. This happened after Richard Og's death in 1387, and we may assume that from this on the Clanricard Burkes acknowledged allegiance to the Crown.

Loughrea Castle is said to have been built by Richard De Burgh about 1230, and Loughrea Manor became the basis of all subsequent Land Agreements but Galway was the centre from which all De Burgh political activities radiated, until 1484 when the town was freed by Charter of all Clanricard interferences. Yet it is impossible to imagine the reigning Mac William making Galway his headquarters after 1396. Prior to that year the governing body of the town was appointed by the De Burghs but a Royal Grant then deprived the family of this privilege.
Returning to Mayo there is nothing worth noticing in Sir Thomas Bourke's reign but on his death in 1401 an event of first class importance occurred, viz., the division of his estates amongst his five sons. A study of Hist. et Gen. Fam. De Burgo (Knox, p. 352) may give us an appropriate idea of these estates. It must first be noticed that there appears to be confusion in the Hist. et Gen. between the lands of Mac William and the private estates of Sir Thomas Bourke.* Mac Williams being elected, Sir Thomas obviously had not the power of devising to his sons the lands set apart for the Mac William of the time being. To ascertain what these lands were we have the Indenture of Com­position of 1585 to guide us. That document shows that the

________________________________________________________ *The Septs into which the descendants of Sir Thomas Bourke's sons divided were :­-

I.-Sept Walter or "The Bourkes of Kilmaine" from 'Walter I.

(Mac William 1401-1440).

II.-The Bourkes of Castlebar from Edmond (of the Beard) (Mac William, 1440-1458).

(i) Sept Ulick of Carra and Umall from Ulick son of Edmond.

(ii) Sept Ricard of Tirawley from John, grandson of Edmond.

In addition to these there were numerous Bourke families or minor septs such as Clan Jonyn, Clan Philipin, Clan Mac Tibbot, etc., etc.

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Mac William of that period had:

(1) The Castle and Manor of Ballinrobe with or about 1,000 profitable acres in demesne.

(2) The Castle and Manor of Bally Lough Mask with about 3,000 profitable acres in demesne.

(3) The Castle and Manor of Kinlough with about 2,500 profitable acres in demesne.
He had also a rent-charge of 1d. per statute acre from all free­holders' lands in the Barony of Kilmaine-about 63,000 statute acres. In addition he had the castle and manor of Newtown (Castlegore) in Tyrawley with about 2,500 acres in demesne and a rent charge of 1d. to 1 1/2d. per acre on freeholders' lands in that Barony and in Carra and Burrishoole.

From the other baronies he was entitled to call up a specified number of armed men. In 1401 the reigning Mac William had not such extended authority as in 1585, and his rents from freeholders probably did not come from any baronies except Kilmaine and Carra.

We can now attempt to ascertain what Sir Thomas Bourke's family estates were. Knox, at p. 283, gives the division of them to be as follows :­

Kilmaine to Walter I.

Castlebar Estate to Edmond (of the Beard).

Turlough Parish to Richard Bourke.

Robeen to John Bourke.

South Kilmaine to Thomas Bourke.
The confusing way in which these lands are described in the Hist. et Gen. makes it difficult to recognise where they were situated. In 1401 baronies had not been formed and an estate comprised a number of townlands in different parishes. Speak­ing generally Walter I.'s possessions appear to have been in the western half of Kilmaine and may be said to have included the demesnes of Ballinrobe, Creagh, The Neale and Congo His brother Thomas had an undefined area in the south. To John's descendants Knox gives Belanaloob (Newbrook). .

When we come to 1585 we find the families of Thomas and John extinct. William Bourke of Shrule was then head of the Sept Walter. Some clues are available to explain the positions which Walter Bourke's descendants occupied in the period 1570-1585.
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Richard Bourke of the Sept Walter was Mac William from 1558 to 1570. His brothers were Walter II. " (Ear to Storm) " and William of Shrule. In February 1570 Fitton attacked Shrule Castle and the Commander of the Bourke forces was Walter II. who was killed in the fighting.

At p.187 Knox gives us a clue as to one of the estates of the defunct Walter. He says" Meiler son of Walter II., son of John of the Termon, was killed in 1578 in a night attack on the Neale Castle." With this information it is possible to conceive how the original Walter Bourke's descendants settled in Kil­maine in the 15th century. Strategically the most important positions in South Kilmaine were Cong and Shrule. The large demesnes attached to the castles at these two places are evidence of occupation by chiefs.

William Bourke of Shrule was living at Cloghan, a small place, in 1585. As head then of the Sept Walter he took the family name of "Bourke of Shrule." It is reasonable, therefore, to argue that Walter II. had Shrule Castle and Dalgan demesne as headquarters. He also had The Neale. Cong appears to have been in the hands of his uncle, Edmond. At Cloonagashel was Thomas Roe son of Richard Bourke (Mac William 1558-70) and at Cuslough were the Mac Tibbot Bourkes. Excepting Cuslough and Hollymount all the principal castles and manors in Kilmaine in 1570-1585 thus appear to have been in the hands of the Sept Walter family. Shrule Castle on being captured in 1570 became Crown property. When we come to the Composi­tion of Connacht, the importance of knowing something of the Bourkes of Kilmaine will be realised.
The death in 1387 of Richard Og Burke, (2nd Galway Mac William) constituted Thomas Bourke of Mayo Senior Mac William. Perhaps, fortunately for Thomas the quarrels of the O'Conors culminated in 1385 in a division of territory between the two main branches of the family-the O'Conor Don and O'Conor Roe. The former got the Castles of Roscommon and Ballintober; the latter got Tulsk Castle. A third branch, O'Conor Sligo, rose to importance from being caretakers of the corridor between Con­nacht and Ulster. Neither the Mac Williams of Mayo nor the
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O'Donnells of Donegal could afford to hold Sligo and Bally­shannon as the O'Conors of Roscommon could join either of these parties and make the occupation of Sligo expensive. By 1400 the O'Conor Sligo family became recognised as Chiefs of the territory.
*

The only descendants of Sir Edmond Albanagh who showed military capacity were Edmond II. (of the Beard) and Richard II. (of the Bent Shield), but beyond quarrels with the Clanricards and O'Conors nothing is known of their proceedings. Generally speaking, Mayo history is a blank from 1340 to 1570, with the exception of the Battle of Knockdoe which properly belongs to Clanricard history.

The supremacy of the Upper over the Lower Mac Williams began with the death of Sir Edmond Albanagh and appears to have been due to the political necessity of the Irish chiefs in Southern Connacht supporting the Clanricard Burkes. Athlone Castle was held by English troops and Galway was in the hands of a pro-English obligarchy. If the O'Flaherties, O'Kellys and O'Heynes refused to support the Clanricards, all would be submerged in time and Southern Connacht would become an English Province. The Mayo or Lower Mac Williamship on the other hand had Irish enemies, instead of allies, and the Anglo­-Irish chiefs of baronies in the county, were entirely occupied in domestic quarrels and in maintaining their own positions.
Up to 1396 the Clanricards possessed the privilege of appointing annually the Ruling Authorities of Galway City. From that time on their authority waned until 1486 when Galway was freed by Charter of all Clanricard's authority. This resulted in increasing Clanricard power and authority in Southern Con­nacht. They were regarded by the Irish as a bulwark against English encroachment and by the Galway Tribes as "degenerate Burkes. "

In 1485 a turbulent and aggressive Clanricard Burke, known as Ulick Finn, became Mac William. Garrett the Great Earl of Kildare, had become Lord Deputy in 1478 and before the
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century was out was "almost King of Ireland." He had so far not attempted to compel Connacht to recognise his authority but probably hoped that by giving his daughter in marriage to Ulick Finn the first step would be taken towards that end. Instead of a friend he found a foe. Ulick had no intention of allowing his territory to be absorbed; on the contrary he deter­mined on forming a confederacy with the O'Briens, etc., to safe­guard South Connacht from the North as well as from the Earl of Kildare.

It seems quite likely that the Battle of Knockdoe would never have taken place but for Ulick Finn's ill-treatment of Kildare's daughter. By discarding her he incurred the resent­ment of her father who could bring both English and Irish forces against him. O'Donnell of Donegal and the Mayo Mac William viewed Ulick Finn's policy with suspicion and welcomed an alliance with Kildare in order to suppress a dangerous neigh­bour.

The Battle of Knockdoe was fought on 16th September, 1504, and Ulick Finn sustained a disastrous defeat. The effect on Galway may be gauged from a Bye Law of 1578 prohibiting the inhabitants from entertaining on Feast days any Clanricard Burkes, O'Conors, O' Flaherties, etc. But for the Reformation-as we shall see presently-the Clanricards might have suffered the same fate as the Mayo Bourkes.
In 1535 the English Parliament passed the Act of Supre­macy by which Henry VIII. was constituted head of the Church of England. In a corrupt age it is not surprising that Dublin Castle officials should be eager to adopt the Reformation, more especially as the clergy in Dublin gave them a lead. To fan the flame Lord Leonard Grey, a fanatical Reformer, came to Ireland as Lord Deputy and in 1537 he set out on a proselytising campaign to the South and West, arriving in Galway in 1538. We have no information as to what happened to Ulick Finn Burke after the Battle of Knockdoe in 1504. He died in 1509 and there appear to have been six different Mac Williams in the
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succeeding 29 years. When Lord Grey appeared in Galway U1ick Burke (Negan-"Beheader") was a claimant to the Mac Williamship but the de facto holder of the title was his uncle Richard. Ulick lost no time in submitting to Lord Grey and in undertaking to be a loyal convert if the Lord Deputy installed him as Mac Wil1iam. His uncle Richard had evidently failed to secure Galway to his side as he was living at Claregalway Castle. Lord Grey had no difficulty in ejecting him from that position and Ulick immediately assumed the Mac Williamship. What happened after this may be gleaned from Hardiman's chapter on the Ecclesiastical History of Galway.* The main facts appear to have been as follows:-The first Anglo-Norman families in Galway erected a small chapel as a place of worship, and by 1320 they became numerous and wealthy enough to undertake the erection of "the superb structure" called St. Nicholas'

Church. It was dedicated to St. Nicholas "the titular saint of mariners who was chosen as the patron of the town in conse­quence of its early and extensive commerce." St. Nicholas was Archbishop of Myra in Asia Minor and died in A.D. 342. His festival is celebrated in Galway on the 6th of December annually and is a testimony to the antiquity of the sea-faring trade of the Port.

In 1324 Galway came under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the See of Tuam and the clergy appointed to St. Nicholas's Church were Irishmen who "in their principles, manners and common habits of life differed widely from their Anglo-Norman parishioners." It was not, however, till 1484 that the Tribes became wealthy and powerful enough to secure the privilege of appointing vicars and pastors to St. Nicholas's. They paid "an ample equivalent" (or about £10,000 modern) to Rome for this privilege. The Irish parishioners showed some dis­content but the Pope sided with the Tribes and threatened their opponents with excommunication.

This dispute did not end with either the Reformation or Cromwell. Dutton quotes a long statement dated 1792 by a "non-Tribe" which shows the controversy was then as active as ever. The non-Tribes had by then become powerful enough to resent, with justice, the exclusiveness of the Tribes.

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* Hardiman's History of Galway p. 234.
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Lord Grey having converted Ulick Negan and established him as Mac William next turned his attention to St. Nicholas's Church. He seized the "jewels and ornaments, crosses and images" and instead of regarding them as Crown confiscations appropriated them to his own use. Being however, a con­scientious man he paid his Vice-Treasurer what he conceived to be their value or £12 (modern). He also seized and dissolved three monastic establishments. The people and clergy of Galway now became thoroughly alarmed; the Corporation took counsel and headed by the Mayor, John French, decided to transfer their allegiance from the Pope to Henry VIII. It was not till two years after Edward VI. had been on the throne that St. Nicholas's Church was converted into a Protestant institution and designated "The Royal College of Galway." Its clergy were still Catholic but realising when Elizabeth came to the throne that their time was short they alienated the Church possessions into hands they could trust. Elizabeth retaliated by the simple expedient of confiscating the possessions of Annaghdown and Ballintubber Abbeys and bestowing them on St. Nicholas's College.

Galway at this period was in a flourishing condition of trade. For 200 years the Tribes maintained it as a stronghold against the Anglo-Irish government of the Clanricards in Souther Connacht. It cannot be pretended that they were not actuated by self-interest but in electing in 1340 to constitute Galway into a bulwark against anarchy they showed political foresight. So long as Ireland, as a nation, accepted English authority it was the duty of Provincial rulers to support that policy. The Tribes were self-constituted rulers who regarded the relapse of Connacht to tribal conditions as opposed to progress and the welfare of the people. They rendered good service to the Province as well as to England by their rule in Galway, but instead of receiving gratitude their organisation was dismembered. Fanatical religious Reformers created the split in the first instance and it was followed up in Elizabeth's reign by corrupt rulers for their own private aggrandisement. Then came Strafford with his repudiation of all previous Crown engagements and agreements.* Galway from being the mainstay of the English

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* Strafford speaking to the Dublin Corporation in 1633, said: "Ireland
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government was converted into a discontented and dis­united town. Its prosperity was arrested and then decayed. The evil of religious division sown in 1538 created two parties in the country, one of which, because it was Protestant, became the "Ascendancy Party." Into its hands were granted or transferred the best estates and it became the repository of all local power.
That we have no information of the life and character of Ulick Negan is not surprising as Dutton says Queen Elizabeth's government instructed the Earl of Essex in 1558 to destroy all the manuscripts he could find in Galway.* It is known, however, that Ulick was married three times and that he separated from his first two wives. His third spouse Mary Lynch survived him and afterwards married Pierce Martin of Galway. In 1547 she petitioned Edward VI's government and characterised Ulick as a man of "wylde government." Into such hands Lord Grey in 1538 confided the Upper Mac Williamship. By 1543 Ulick was created 1st Earl of Clanricard and he died in the same year. We can only conjecture that he aided the Dublin authorities in their drastic measures for converting Galway and breaking up the Tribal organisation.

As might be expected there was some difficulty in finding a legitimate successor to Ulick Negan. His son Thomas was elected chief by the clan but was deposed and shot. Richard appears to have been selected by the English government and became 2nd Earl of Clanricard. It was his sons the Mac Earles who were constantly in rebellion between 1570 and 1580. Richard died in 1582 and was succeeded by Ulick VIII. who married a daughter of John Bourke of Tyllyra and who became Commander of the Forces in Connacht from 1599 to his death in 1601.
A good deal of space has been devoted to the Clanricards

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was a conquered nation and the King might do with them what he pleased. Their Charters were worth nothing and did bind the King no further than he pleased."

* Dutton's Statistical Survey of Galway, p. 244.
38 GALWAY ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
and Galway for the 30 years prior to the appointment of Sir E. Fitton, 1st Crown Governor of Connacht, because Mayo his­tory is a blank at this time. The proceedings at Galway when the Reformation began and the change in the fortunes of the Clanricard Burkes from being Anglo-Irish rulers to being English Earls indirectly affected Mayo and accounts for the unequal treatment meted out to the Mayo Bourkes. They had had no opportunity of realising the advantages of joining the Reformed religion and instead of becoming Earls of Mayo they lost not only their Irish titles but their possessions and ultimately melted in to peasantry.

Henry VIII's policy of creating Earls of Ulick Negan and O'Brien of Thomond in 1543 was the death-blow to Anglo-Irish government in Connacht, but it was not till Sir Henry Sidney's appointment in 1566 as Lord Deputy of Ireland that practical steps were set in motion for assuming the government of the Province. Sidney was not a persona grata with Queen Eliza­beth but he had 10 years experience of Ireland as Lord Justice and Treasurer, and inspired confidence amongst the people by his just dealing.

Sidney came down to Athlone in 1568 and began by making an amicable settlement between the Upper and Lower Mac Williams "upon whose factions all the intestine wars in Connacht hath grown."

This probably refers to Ulick Negan's attempt at the peace­ful penetration of Mayo about 1543. He had acquired by pur­chase the Castle of Moyne and certain lands in Kilmaine without apparently the concurrence of the then Mayo Mac William.

Sidney's next step was to recommend that a Governor and Council be established for Connacht. Unfortunately Queen Elizabeth's government selected Sir Edward Fitton, a man Hardiman describes as "cruel and sanguinary." Fitton had been a judge and showed a want of political capacity. He made no secret of the fact that he was out to take over Connacht without apparently any regard to vested interests. It seems likely the question of religion was brought in as the Earl of Clanricard's sons who were Roman Catholics, were Fitton's most persistent opponents.

Fitton's apologists could say he was not well treated by Queen Elizabeth. He was given a fee of £133: 6: 8 (about
39 RANDOM NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF THE CO. MAYO.
£800 modern) a year* and was expected to carry out military operations at the cost of the Province. His actual pay, however, did not represent his true income.t In Walsingham' s instruc­tions to Sir Nicholas Malby in 1579 it is laid down that the Governor of Connacht was entitled to "thympost and customs of Wynes within the town of Galway," as part of his entertain­ment allowance. This probably refers to the right to the manor of Galway which descended from Lionel Duke of Clarence to the Crown when he died in 1369.tt

The first trouble Fitton had was with the Earl of Clanricard's sons known as the Mac an Earlas. Knox, at p. 396, gives their names as Ulick, John and William, but only Ulick was legitimate, and as he succeeded his father in 1582, it is unlikely he took any part in his brothers' proceedings.

Fitton had to shut himself up in Galway (1570) until Sidney sent him relief. The moment he was free he made arrangements for an expedition against the Mayo Bourkes.. He was joined by the Earl of Clanricard who thus showed he was not in sympathy with his sons. He had also ulterior motives. He had a claim to Moyne Castle and lands in Kilmaine and he saw an opportunity of being put in possession of them.

Fitton had about 1,000 Horse and Foot and some artillery. He is said by some authorities to have met with a reverse but he was able to capture Shrule Castle and put the garrison to the sword. He found, however, he could not advance further just then, but in the following year he invaded South Mayo, laid waste 16 square miles of country and destroyed corn valued at £3,000. His opponents were the young bloods of the Mayo Bourke families, who were acting in sympathy with the Mac an Earlas. Fitton took 19 castles including Ballinrobe, Lough Mask, Cloonagashel Newbrook, The Neale and Clogan. This "scourging" brought submission.

The Mayo Mac William from 1558 had been Richard Bourke of the Sept Walter. He died at the end of 1570

____________________________________________________________________________________

* Hardiman's Iar-Connacht page 303, note.

t A fee was not a salary. It was due whenever an act was done.

The Court, Church and Law functionaries all took fees. Bacon as Attorney General valued his place at £600 a year (now £3,000) though the King only paid him £81 : 65. : 3d. (£500 now).

tt Hardiman's History, p. 83, note.
40 GALWAY ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
and was succeeded in February, 1571, by John Bourke of Tyrawley. John had only been a few months in authority when Fitton came on his scourging expedition and he was wise enough to recognise that his resources were in­sufficient to warrant his hiring a body of mercenaries capable of withstanding the Queen's troops. He made a virtue of neces­sity and became opposed to the proceedings of the young bloods. Fitton, therefore, considered it politic to convene a meeting in Galway in March 1572 of the Chiefs and Gentlemen of Galway and Mayo at which presumably he propounded the Queen's policy.

The "graceless imps" the Earl of Clanricard's sons were not appeased. They suddenly fled the town and raised rebellion. Fitton retaliated by carrying off their father a prisoner to Dublin. In May Fitton returned to Galway and hanged four pledges. Then he attacked Claregalway Castle, the occupiers of which had seized John Bourke who was on his way home from the Galway meeting and who had to be ransomed. The garrison was only 16 men and all were put to the sword, the women and children apparently being also victims.

Knox is now vague. He implies that John Bourke joined in the rebellion and "saved his country till 1576." The Earl of Clanricard was released in order to negotiate a peace. The Crown was obviously tired of Fitton's methods and knew that both Mac Williams could arrange matters if they were approached. Peace was duly negotiated. At this point Knox gives extracts from a Document called the Division of Connacht, dated 27th March 1574, but we may defer consideration of it until we come to a subject which needs special treatment, viz., the Composition of Connacht.

It is remarkable that we hear nothing of Fitton's proceedings from December 1572 to 1576 when he was replaced by Sir Nicholas Malby. The Dictionary of National Biography says Fitton went to England to seek the intercession of the Queen as he was at issue with the Lord Deputy Sidney. He showed an entire lack of diplomacy and it was by diplomatic methods that Sidney aimed at carrying out the transfer of Connacht government. Sidney could be severe when necessary and he hanged many malefactors at Galway but he recognised that neither the Mac Williams nor the local gentry were in sympathy with the risings
41 RANDOM NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF THE CO. MAYO.
fomented by young bloods and that diplomacy was needed to replace force.

*

In a document dated 27 April 1876 Sidney gives such an interesting account of the condition of Mayo Chiefs at this time that an epitome of it may be given here. At a meeting with John Bourke, Sidney explained the government policy, which was (1) that the chiefs should surrender their lands on the con­dition that they received them back from the Queen; (2) that the succession should be hereditary and (3) that sheriffs should be received as representatives of the Crown. Sidney first notices the Clandonnells who accompanied John Bourke. He says they were represented by seven of their principal men "who possessed most of the wealth of the country." With their gallowglass they were able "to go where they will and make war with the greatest." Yet out of 127 castles in Mayo shown in the List of 1574, only three appear as in the hands of MacDonnells.

Sidney found John Bourke to be an old man of an amiable disposition. He was "very sensible though wanting in the English yet understanding the Latin; a lover of quiet and civility; desirous to hold his lands of the Queen and to suppress Irish extortion and expulse the Scots." John Bourke's retinue included five Anglo-Irish chieftains, viz., Barrett, Staunton, Nangle, Dexter and Prendergast, with lands sufficient for Barons "but so bare and barbarous now as not to have three hackneys between them."* Sidney was evidently touched by these chiefs and their "gentry of English surnames all lamenting their devastation and crying for justice and English government." There is an Oriental flavour about this form of appeal. On the otherhand in O'Conor, Connacht MSS., we get the Irish side of the picture. The aboriginal Irish chiefs welcomed a change "be­cause they were harassed by the warlike English families who had fenced themselves round with formidable castles and entrench­ments and who were better armed and disciplined than they."

Sidney showered honours which cost nothing on John Bourke.

_________________________________________________

* As will be found later on all the resources of the Mayo Mac William­ship were devoted to defraying the cost of mercenary troops and this accounts for the poverty of the Anglo-Irish chiefs. They had, however, large castles and vast landed possessions.
42 GALWAY ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
He gave him a knighthood, the seneschalship of Mayo and "other trifles." The English government, later on, thought some further recognition should be made of Sir John's loyalty, and Secretary Walsingham drafted an Order in 1579 indicating that it was intended to "nobilitate" Sir John and create him an Earl. His son William was to be made a Baron and mirabile dictu the same title was to be conferred on Morogh na doe O'Flaherty. Before these Orders issued Sir John Bourke died (1580).

The terms agreed to between Sidney and Sir John were that Mayo should pay a Crown rent of £1,000 (modern) a year and maintain a force of 200 Horse and Foot for two months yearly. It will be found later on that the terms exacted in the Composition were £3,600 Crown rent and a force of 305 Horse and Foot, but Sidney had left Ireland before 1585 and to Bingham must be given credit or discredit for the change of terms.
Knox gives Sir John Bourke 10 sons of whom only one William, was regarded as legitimate. The others saw no pro­spects before them under English laws and in 1576 when Clan­ricard's sons broke out again the Mayo youths rose and deprived Sir John Bourke of Castlebar. They were joined by one of the Clanricard imps, probably William. Sidney restored the situa­tion and recovered Castlebar to the hands of Sir John Bourke "to be kept for the Queen's use." Sidney then returned to Dublin leaving Sir N. Malbie as Chief Commissioner with gar­risons at Athlone and Roscommon.

The failure of the Mayo rising induced Clanricard's sons to submit to Sidney who sent them prisoners to Dublin. They were liberated on parole by the Privy Council.
Lord Ernest Hamilton shows in his book Elizabethan Ulster that corruption was rife in Dublin Castle in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Lord Deputy before Sidney, Sir William Fitz­william, was notoriously corrupt and the Permanent Secretary, Sir George Fenton, was in league with Hugh O'Neil when the latter was in rebellion. Sidney in 1577 was on the point of leaving Ireland and corrupt officials were therefore under no apprehension as a new Lord Deputy could be kept in the dark. The knowledge
43 RANDOM NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF THE CO. MAYO.
of this state of affairs probably misled Clanricard's sons into breaking their parole and again going into rebellion. They sacked Athenry and threatened Galway. Sidney was at grips with them post haste and sent them flying to the mountains. Being despicable characters they implicated their father by declaring they acted with his counsel and consent. His castles were taken possession of by Sidney and he was sent to Dublin for close confinement. He was an old man and in his dying will of 1582 he left " his perpetual curs" on any of his sons who opposed the Queen.

Sidney placed a garrison of 100 Foot and 50 Horse in Lough­rea Castle and then departed for Dublin. When he was out of the way Clanricard's sons came down from the mountains and attempted to recover the castle but were beaten off. In a foot­note of p. 88 Hardiman says that in 1580 Clanricard's youngest son William, together with the Earl of Thomond's son, was captured near Galway and after a summary trial both were hanged with undue haste by the Marshall, William Martin. If there was any public indignation over this execution, time apparently showed it was misplaced as William Martin became Mayor of Galway in 1586.
We have seen that Sir John Bourke the Mayo Mac William came to reasonable terms with Sidney and it is evident he aimed at his only legitimate son William succeeding him. His elected successor, however, was not a man who would consent to be superseded. He was of the Sept Ulick, one of the several branches into which the original stock (the Bourkes of Castlebar) broke up. The Sept Ulick may conveniently be called "The Bourkes of Burrishoole" although they had estates also in Carra. The member of this family nominated to succeed Sir John Bourke was called Richard an Iarainn (Iron Dick). Not only was he aggressive but he had a wife still more aggressive. She was known as Grace O'Malley.

The history of how the Sept Ulick got a footing in Burris­hoole has not been disclosed but it seems likely that it was due to Edmond Albanagh having married an O'Malley about 1340. David Bourke of the Sept Ulick was Mac William about 1550 and his son Walter Fada was his nominated successor. David
44 GALWAY ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
married a second time, his second wife being an ambitious woman named Finola O'Flaherty. The issue of this marriage was "Iron Dick." Finola secured the succession to the Mac Williamship to Iron Dick by the simple expedient of getting Walter Fada murdered. Grace O'Malley first married an O'Flaherty, and secondly Iron Dick. Sidney describes her in 1583 as a famous feminine Sea Captain commanding three galleys and 200 fighting men and "more than a Mrs. Mate to her hus­band (Iron Dick)."

Whatever Iron Dick might think, his wife was determined on being Queen of Mayo. When therefore in 1579 it was found Sir John Bourke aimed at making his son William his successor something had to be done. The Desmond revolt in Munster was nominally "for church and country" but neither the Galway nor Mayo Mac Williams would take part in it. Iron Dick and his spouse on the other hand were willing. They had secured the invincible Clan Donnells of Carra, the O'Malleys and others and trusted to the remoteness of Burrishoole "environed by mountains, bogs and woods" as a safe base from which to act. Malbie was away in Munster so Iron Dick had no difficulty in plundering Southern Connacht. Malbie lost no time in return­ing and organising an expedition against Burrishoole. Malbie's own account of this expedition is one of great interest. He started from Athlone on 6th Feb. (1580) and marching via Shrule reached Liskellen in six days. The distance is about 100 miles and considering the time of the year and the poor condition of the roads it is a remarkable testimony to the efficiency of his means of transport. Liskillen is shown on Knox's Map as about four miles north of Ballinrobe and is the site of the royal fort of the Kingdom of Carra in pre-historic times. Here Thomas Roe Bourke of the Cloongashel family and Justin MacDonnell, Iron Dick's chief confederates, submitted. Malbie was, how­ever, taking no risks. Mac Donnell's Castle at Clooneen close to Newbrook was still held and could not be captured without sapping. To meet contingencies of this nature Malbie had brought masons with his force.
The question arises here-were artificers for the destruction as well as the erection of castles in Ireland, attached to operating
45 RANDOM NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF THE CO. MAYO.
forces prior to this period? The history of the Royal Engineers indicates that the first permanent establishment of rank and file of "soldier artificers" was formed at Gibraltar in 1772. On the other hand we know that in 1186 De Lacy was covering Meath with a network of castles and during the subsequent 586 years, both forts and castles had to be destroyed in carrying out the operations of war. While the work of castle building could be carried out under peaceful conditions that of destroying castles in existence implied the work being frequently done "under fire." The artificers employed were sappers and miners for the time being. They were not on the permanent establish­ment but were probably registered and liable to be called up in a case of necessity and on special terms as regards pay. In 1580 there were 3,000 or 4,000 castles in Ireland and in the wars of that period great experience must have been acquired in the methods of sapping and mining. The development of artillery made seige operations less difficult and the necessity of a per­manent establishment of sappers did not arise until the science of fort building demanded subterranean form of attack. The value of stone castles and forts does not appear to have appealed to the Irish, whose successful leaders relied on rapid mobility for results. Hence the saying "Better a castle of bones than a castle of stones."

*

Malbie after capturing Clooneen and Donamona was joined by Sir John Bourke and marched without opposition to Burris­hoole Abbey. Iron Dick, feeling deserted by his allies, deputed his wife Grace O'Malley to treat with the conqueror, while he himself with about 50 followers sought refuge on Clare Island. He had not time to furnish the place with supplies and stormy weather coming on, communication was cut off with the main­land, with the result that many of his followers died of hunger and exposure.

Malbie describes Burrishoole Abbey as pleasantly situated on a river and about three miles from the sea "where a ship of 500 tons may be at anchor at low water." According to the Ordnance Map the Abbey is about one mile NW. of Newport and its site was ev'idently chosen to control the crossing of the river connecting Lough Feagh (or Furnace) with the sea. It
46 GALWAY ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
was an important strategic point on the western frontier of Mayo and enabled the O'Malleys to control Blacksod and Clew Bays and the territories along the coast. Headquarters were at Cahernamart (Westport) but the Norman forces in 1235 showed that Westport was not inaccessible and if Burrishoole were not held, retreat to the West might be cut off.

By the capture of Burrishoole Abbey, it became evident to Sir John Bourke and the local inhabitants that a walled town was needed for the security of the west coast territories. Burris is named as the position for this walled town but whether this meant Newport or Westport seems to be uncertain. Stress is laid on the value of the salmon and sea fishing and to all appear­ances Newport would seem to be the position selected.

The weather having prevented a meeting with Iron Dick, Malbie decided on leaving a garrison of 100 men at Burrishoole Abbey and marching his force homewards. Snow fell so heavily on the way as to create anxiety about supplies but fortunately cattle and swine sought refuge in his camp from the weather and were promptly eaten up.
Mayo was now in a fair way of becoming peaceful when Sir John Bourke died (Nov. 1580). His brother Richard Bourke of Castlegore in Tyrawley concluded that Iron Dick, by going into rebellion, had forfeited his claim to the succession or at least that English influence would not be exercised in his behalf, Richard claimed the Mac Williamship and both sides mobilised their forces.

Mercenary Scots in Ulster were always on the look out for opportunities of taking part in political quarrels in Connacht. A well-disciplined and well equipped force of 500 Scots could count on being the decisive factor in a contest for the Mac Williamship and a force of this strength duly appeared on the scene. Malbie decided on being the arbiter on this occasion and before the Scots had joined either side, he succeeded in getting into touch with Richard of Tyrawley who came in "a great fear." Malbie reassured him but pointed out that so long as the Scots force was in the country no settlement could be made. Richard undertook with help to drive them out and the united forces compelled them to retreat across the Moy. The Scots finding
47 RANDOM NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF THE CO. MAYO.
they were not appreciated marched out of the Province in dis­gust. At Straide Abbey, near Foxford, Iron Dick came in and Malbie decided that the Mac Williamship should go to him, Richard Bourke agreeing, provided that-to save his face-he were recognised as successor and made Sheriff of the County.

Iron Dick did not get the Mac Williamship without a quid pro quo. He had to pay 100 marks or 100 cows-equivalent to about £400 modern-for the Queen's Majesty, and Malbie naively admits accepting a similar sum for himself, as Iron Dick gener­ously recognised that Malbie was put to great private expense in carrying out his duties.

A strange statement is made by Malbie in regard to the "standing army" maintained by the Mayo Mac William. He puts it at about 1,000 Scots, 80 Horse and 300 Irregulars. "The charge per annum was at the rate of £16,800 (equivalent to about £100,000 now.)"

It is unbelievable that Mayo in 1580 could afford to pay £100,000 a year for military charges. It had then but one-fifth of the present population and its sole industry was agriculture. The war strength of Mac William's force was probably 1,000 Scots mercenaries and an uncertain number of Irregulars. The cost may have been £8,000 to £10,000 a month but the operations could only have lasted two or three months of the year. They were seldom of a conclusive nature and in consequence were recurrent, thus impoverishing the country.
Sir John Bourke's eldest son William Kittagh appears to have made no effort to establish a claim to the Mac Williamship. English law was not yet in force and the only claimant who could hope to succeed must have force at his back. William Kittagh accepted the situation and settled down on the family estate in Tyrawley. By the end of 1582 he was made Sheriff of Sligo.

Iron Dick became Sir Richard Bourke in September 1581, and at an Assembly of chiefs in Galway in 1582, Malbie says Iron Dick's wife, Grace O'Malley, "thinketh herself no small lady." We do not however hear of her taking the title of Lady Bourke.
48 GALWAY ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Richard Bourke of Tyrawley (known as Mac Oliverus) did not accept the position of recognised successor to his nephew, Iron Dick, with good grace. He endeavoured to foment trouble but Iron Dick and Malbie being in cooperation, there was no great difficulty in maintaining order. Malbie instead of being thanked by Elizabeth's government for his services was censured for spending too much money and if he had not died at Athlone in 1584 he might have suffered more than censure.
Although Iron Dick had been Mac William for nearly two years-he died in 1583-little appears to be known of where he lived and how he governed. We can, however, gather from Knox's History that in 1580 "Mac Williams country" comprised Kilmaine, Carra and North Tyrawley. The chiefs of Costello, Gallen and O'Malley territory apparently paid no tribute to Mac William, except by being bound to provide stipulated quotas of forces, when called upon. The Prendergasts in Clanmorris appear to have been exempt from any obligation either of rent or services.

Malbie finding this to be the condition of affairs made two engagements as follows :­

(i) With Mac William by which he was to pay £1,000 (modern)

a year rent and to find the pay and provisions of 100 of the Queen's soldiers for three months yearly, esti­mated as equivalent to £2,000. This means that the cost of the Queen's troops averaged £80 per head per year. (In the Great European War of 1914-18, the cost per head of a British Division is given as £375 per year but this included all the modern appliances of warfare).

(ii) Malbie dealt with the Prendergasts of Clanmorris separa­tely and apparently required them to pay £300 a year rent besides furnishing about 30 Horse and Foot when required.
Thus the Crown rent per barony was about the same as the De Burghs were entitled to in the Norman period 1237 to 1300, but in 1580 there was an additional charge for troops, making the total about £400 (modern) per barony per year. Hence the Crown rent agreed to between Sydney and Sir John Bourke about
49 RANDOM NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF THE CO. MAYO.
1575 was adopted by Malbie in 1580. When Bingham appeared on the scene in 1585 it was at once trebled.

*

The death of Iron Dick in 1583 gave the Tyrawley Bourkes the honour of providing the last Mac William. Richard Bourke brother of Sir John assumed, by arrangement with Malbie, the title but he was cognisant that his rule would be a short one as the scheme for transferring the government of Connacht to the Queen was nearing maturity. Malbie dying in 1584 might have delayed matters but a stormy petrel-Sir Richard Bingham-­at once took his place and lost no time in requiring the Connacht chiefs to put their signatures to the Composition. A drama was about to be enacted which, perhaps, did more to embitter Irish­men in Connacht against England than any acts subsequent to Elizabeth. The confiscations of large estates placed the tenants under alien landlords of a different religious belief. The specious charge that the people were not entitled to harbour shipwrecked Spaniards and became liable to the death penalty for so doing incensed a population already agitated over the religious question. The neglect of England when assuming the government of Con­nacht to ensure that the rights of small landowners would be recognised added materially to their discontent. A great oppor­tunity was lost of wedding the people to the soil and of converting them from discontented tenants-at-will into loyal subjects.

It is a remarkable fact that whereas Connacht was annexed to the Crown in 1585, it was not till 1870 that it began to be recognised that small tenants in Ireland had any rights. Yet the Province of Oudh, which was annexed in 1858, had by 1870 a highly trained body of settlement officers employed in determin­ing on the spot the rights of such tenants. The truth is the big landlords in Oudh had but little influence with the government of India and practically none with Parliament.
(To be continued.)


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