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“ Du Treshault (tres haut) et puissant Seigneur Moroghe O'Brien, Conte de Tomond, Seigneur de Insewyne, du royaume de Irelande, &c., &c. The king's majestie gave them their robes of estate, and all things belonging thereunto, and paid all manner of duties belonging to the same."*
This earl was in the same year sworn of the privy council. He married a daughter of Thomas Fitz-Gerald, the knight of the valley. He died 1551, and was succeeded in the barony of Inchiquin by his eldest son, according to the limitations of his patent, while the earldom went, by the same provisions, to his nephew's family.
Bernard Fitz-Patrick, Second Baron Upper
The reader of ancient Irish history may recollect to have met the name of M'Gil Patrick, prince of Upper Ossory, among the most valiant opponents of the first settlers in the 12th century. A still earlier recollection carries us back to the famous field of “Ossory's plain," where the ancient warriors of Munster were crossed upon their homeward march from the battle of Clontarf, by Magilla-Patrick and his men, and subdued their generous enemies with the noblest display of heroism that history records.†
The grandfather of the baron who is the subject of this notice, is also commemorated by an amusing anecdote, which is repeated by all the Irish historians. În 1522, this chief sent an ambassador to Henry VIII. with a complaint against Pierce, earl of Ormonde. The ambassador met king Henry on his way to chapel, and delivered his errand in the following uncouth sentence: “ Sta pedibus, Domine Rex! Dominus meus Gillapatricius me misit ad te et jussit dicere, quod si non vis castigare Petrum Rufum, ipse faciet bellum contra te.”
The son of this chief, Barnard Fitz-Patrick, made his submission in 1537, to the commissioners of Henry VIII. They entered into indentures with him to make him baron of Cowshill, or Castleton, with a grant of the lands of Upper Ossory, at the annual rent of three pounds to the king, which agreement was carried into effect by a patent, dated 11th June, 1541. His first wife was a daughter of Pierce, earl of Ormonde, the "Petrum Rufum” of his father's complaint. By her he left a son, Barnaby, who succeeded him as second earl; and who was eminently distinguished for bravery, and for his prudent and honourable conduct as a public man.
This nobleman was the distinguished friend and favourite of Edward VI., who wrote him many affectionate letters, still extant, while he was in France, where he served as a volunteer in the king of France's army. Afterwards, when he returned from France, he signalized his valour in England, in Wyat's insurrection; and in 1558 was knighted
* State Papers. Note to paper cccxcvi.
+ Page 218 of this volume.
by the duke of Norfolk for his distinguished services at the siege of Leith.
An extract from a letter of the lord deputy Sidney to the Irish council, written while he was at Waterford, affords an honourable testimony of this lord: “Upper Ossorie is so well governed and defended by the valour and wisdom of the baron that now is, as-saving for surety of good order hereafter in succession—it made no matter if the county were never shired, nor her majestie's writ otherwise current than it is, so humbly he keepeth all his people subject to obedience and good order.”* Under this impression, so honourable to the lord of Upper Ossory, the lord deputy made him lord lieutenant of the King's and Queen's counties, and the neighbouring country; throughout which the same good order was preserved, so that the turbulent chiefs of those districts were thoroughly repressed.
One of those chiefs whose insurrectionary sallies he had for many years controlled, Rory Oge O’More, having burnt Naas and other towns, was proclaimed by the government. As the baron of Upper Ossory was his most formidable foe, this chief made a characteristic effort to destroy him: he sent a person to the baron, who pretended to give him private information of the movements of O'More, and described the place where he might be surprised with a large prey and a small force, among the woods. The baron knew the rebel chief's character, and the ways of the country, and suspected the truth. The information was not, however, to be neglected, so he took with him a strong party, and when he approached the woods, he sent in thirty men to try the way. O’More seeing this, thought to mask his real force by appearing with an equal number, leaving the rest of his men in ambush. This well devised manœuvre was, however, defeated by the impetuosity of the baron's men, who instantly charged the enemy and scattered them; in the confusion O’More received a sword through his body, and was despatched. The reward of a thousand marks had been offered for O’More's head; this sum was offered to the baron by the council, but he refused to accept more than one hundred marks as a reward for his men. This occurrence happened in 1578.
In the following year, the baron attended the lord deputy into Munster against James Fitz-Maurice; in consideration of which, Lodge tells us, he received a pension with other compensations which showed a high sense of his services. Sir Henry Sidney, in his instructions to his successor, lord Grey, mentions the baron of Upper Ossory, with a few more, as “the most sufficient and faithful" persons he found in Ireland.
This baron died 1581, leaving a daughter only; on which his title and estates passed to his brother Florence, to whom he also left by will all his "wyle stoode,” “ his armour, shirts of mail, and other furniture of war, saving that which served for both the houses of Borriedge and Killenye, which, after his wife's decease or marriage, he wills to remain for the furniture of those two castles constantly. He leaves to him likewise half his pewter and brass; all his tythes in Ossory (except those of Aghavol bequeathed to his wife), all the plate left him by his father,” &c., &c.† * Quoted by Lodge.
Sir William Brabazon.
DIED A.D. 1552.
In August, 1534, Sir William Brabazon was appointed vice-treasurer and receiver-general of Ireland; and was for the eighteen years following the most distinguished person there for his eminent services, and his brave and steady conduct in various trying situations.
In 1535, he distinguished himself greatly by his resistance to the destructive proceedings of lord Thomas Fitz-Gerald, in the country round Naas. Allen and Aylmer, in a joint letter* to Cromwell, mention that but for Brabazon's conduct on that occasion, the whole country from Naas to the gates of Dublin, had been burnt; “ which had been a loss in effect irrecuperable.”
The following year, O'Conor Faly made a destructive inroad upon Carbery, in the county of Kildare, but was at once checked by Sir William Brabazon and the chancellor, who marched into Offaly, where they committed equal devastation in the lands of O'Conor who was thus compelled to return home, on which a peace was presently concluded.
In 1539, Brabazon was, with the chancellor and master of the rolls, appointed a commissioner for receiving the surrenders of the abbeys, and the granting of the necessary pensions for the maintenance of the abbots and fraternities by whom they were surrendered. And in 1543, he was appointed lord justice. At this time the king's style was altered from lord to king of Ireland, and the new official seals were sent through him to the respective officers by whom they were held.
He was again called to the government in 1546, and maintained his character by successful expeditions in which he reduced a dangerous combination of O’More and O'Conor Faly, whose territories he laid waste, forcing O'Conor to seek refuge in Connaught.
On the accession of Edward VI., being nominated of the Irish privy council, at the special desire of that king, who, at the same time, expressed his sense of his long and eminent service, Brabazon suggested the effective repair and occupation of the castle of Athlone, and had the charge of this measure, so important to the province of Connaught, committed to himself. The military importance of this place had been recognised so early as the reign of John, when the castle is said to have been built. Standing on the only part of the Shannon, where this river is fordable for thirty miles; and commanding the territories on either side, this town obviously presented the most important advantages for a magazine, and central position in the western country. Under Brabazon, repairs were made, and additions, which were continued in the reign of Elizabeth. This service was rendered difficult by the strenuous opposition of the neighbouring Connaught chiefs.
In 1549, Brabazon was again called to the head of the Irish go
* State Papers, Paper xcv. p. 260.
vernment by the election of the council, and during his administration performed many important and laborious military services, among which may be specified his expedition against Charles Kavenagh MArt, whom he proclaimed a traitor, and having got £8000, and four hundred men from England, he attacked him in his own lands, and dispersed his soldiers with considerable slaughter; so that Kavenagh was soon after compelled to come to Dublin and submit himself to the council, publicly renouncing his title of M‘Murrough, and surrendering large tracts of his estates.
Sir William Brabazon died at Carrickfergus in 1552. His heart was buried with his English ancestors in Eastwell, and his body in St Katherine's church, Dublin, where there was a long Latin inscription upon a monument, which has been removed in rebuilding the church; and an English inscription summing the above particulars, upon his gravestone. He was ancestor to the earls of Meath.
James, Ninth Earl of Ormonde.
DIED A. D. 1546.
The ninth earl of Ormonde took a prominent part in the Irish affairs of his time, long before the death of his father, in whose memoir we have already had occasion to notice him. He was, for many years, the great support and prop of his father's declining age, whom we can ascertain by his letters, recently published in the State Papers, to have placed much reliance on his zeal and judgment; at times, maintaining his character in the English court against the whispers of court intrigue; at other times, supplying by his youthful activity and valour, the activity which his father's infirmities did not always allow.
We have already mentioned his spirited and noble answer to a letter from his unfortunate and guilty cousin.* We have also mentioned, that in 1532, seven years before his accession to his father's honours, he was appointed lord high treasurer of Ireland for life. In 1535, he was appointed admiral of the kingdom, and the same year was created viscount Thurles. He was also appointed joint governor with his father, over Kilkenny, Waterford, and Tipperary; and in the following year distinguished himself by the suppression of disturbances raised in Munster by James, the young earl of Desmond, whose father having died the same year, he was led by inexperience, inordinate ambition and evil counsel, to launch into the rebellious course so native to his family, and so fatal to many of them. Lord Butler, then lord Thurles, was sent against him, and proceeded with the spirit and prudence of his character, to the attack of his territories about Limerick; he also seized his castle at Lough Gur, and converted it into a fortress against him. We here give the reader one of his own letters on this occasion, which has been preserved in the chapter-house, and recently published:t
“ Lord Butler to Cromwell.
“Please it your goodness to be advertised, that I have of late addressed mine other letters to you, containing my proceedings in the west parts of this land, immediately after the winning of Dungarvon, to which my journey, if the lord deputy had spared me one of the battering pieces (God being my leader) undoubtedly such service might have been done with so little charge, that the king's highness should have been therewith pleased and well contented. But as it chanced, with such company as I then had of my own, with the good assistance of Stephen Appany, captain of 100 spears, I rode forth to Youghal, Cork, and Limerick, and had, of the young pretended earl of Desmond, such reasonable offers at his coming in, that I suppose these many days the lords and captains of that country were not so testable to good order, like as more amply appeareth in my former letters. Sir, of truth, the lord deputy* minding to have his service and proceedings the better advanced, and blowen out by the report of my lords, my father and me, instantly desired us to put our hands to a letter (devised by himself) in his recommendation [commendation]; which letter, I suppose, is sent forth by him unto the king's grace. And albeit, my lord, my father's service or mine was never much commended by his advertisement, yet partly of courtesy, and also trusting he would then with better will have lent me one of the said battering pieces, I put to my hand, and so did my lord, my father, at his return from Waterford, trusting also to have had the said piece to serve against the Breenys. I reckon it no great wisdom, nor yet matter of honour, where any man procureth another to be his herald. And for my part, God and the king knowith my true heart, to whom I humbly commit the construction of my poor service. And since there now repaireth unto his grace, Sir John Saintlaw, who never spared for pain of art and charge to do his grace good service worthy of remuneration, I commit unto his breast the report of my proceedings, and sball most heartily desire you to thank him for the loving approved kindness I have always found in him towards my lord, my father, and me. The king's grace, and he himself, being so pleased, my desire is that he may return hither again, since I have at full perceived his diligent service to be such, as if he return not, I shall have great lack of him, as knowith God who ever preserve you. At Waterford, 17 day of October, 1535.
" Your assured kinsman, (Signed)
“JAMES BUTLER.” (Superscribed.) “To my right honourable cousin, and most loving
friend, master Cromwell, the king's secretary.”
Lord Butler's patent, by which he was created lord Thurles, had not yet passed. But it is remarked in a note on this letter, that neither he, nor Grey, or viscount Grane, who were ennobled, or advanced at the same time, seem to have assumed their titles “either in their signatures, or in the style by which they were addressed.”+