Images de page

and that she had come away from Turvey freely and of her own entire consent. 'I beseech you, my lord,' she added, 'perfect the marriage between us, the sooner the better.' And they were forthwith united according to the forms of the English church. Mabel became a Catholic, and no doubt lived happily as Tyrone's wife. Her married life, however, was brief, as she died in 1596, leaving no children.

Contemporary authority for the parentage of O Neill's fourth wife is the following passage taken from The Description of Ireland in Anno 1598, published by the late Dr. Edmund Hogan (p. 7): 'Tyrone hath to his Wife the sister of this McGennis [Sir Arthur].' When or where she died is unknown, but O Neill's Will definitely establishes the hitherto doubtful conjecture that she survived the Earl.


That O Neill had three wives legitimately married was the common view in his own lifetime. This view is so adequately expressed in Peter Lombard's De Hibernia Commentarius, written in 1600, and published in 1632, that it may be quoted here in full :—

Aliqui ex alio capite eundem traducentes commenti sunt quod is, tametsi profiteretur se pro religione bellum gerere, nihilominus ab ea professione vita eius ita discreparet vt in aperto viuens adulterio tres quasi vxores simul retineret, sed maligna haec calumnia. Habuit quidem ille tres vxores at legitimo matrimonio singulas sibi copulatas. Primam omnium lectissimam foeminam ex illustrissima familia Odonellorum ex qua suscepit plures proles: inter quas duo filii optimae indolis et maximae expectationis nunc adolescentes Hugo et Henricus. Ea deinde defuncta aliam duxit vxorem Britannis parentibus in Hibernia natam, sororem Marescalli totius regionis. Qua quomodocumque apud suos de religione primum docta, constat quod postquam vxor huic principi facta, in aedibus suis a Catholicis sacerdotibus tam bene instituta fuerit, vt et religiosissime vixerit et sanctissime obierit. Ab huius itaque morte postremo inde loco habet vxorem ex familia Aeneadum seu Magnesiorum aetate quidem iuniorem, sed educatione, moribus, prudentia pietate maturam.1

It is, therefore, very regrettable that a recent volume, which otherwise does ample justice to Hugh O Neill, revives the slanderous report sent by Lord Justice Drury to England in 1579, that the then Baron of Dungannon had divorced O Donnell's daughter, and married a daughter of Turlough Lynagh O Neill. That Hugh O Neill ever intended such a

1 Pages 382-3 of the Louvain edition. The edition of 1868 (Dublin), p. 158, which is taken from a Roman manuscript dated 1600, adds after Henricus: 'quorum juniorem dum haec scribo advenisse audio in aulam Regis Hispaniarum.' The Indestructible Nation: A Survey of Irish History from the English Invasion. By P. S. O'Hegarty. Maunsel and Company, 1918. See page 130. VOL. XIII-3

proceeding may be doubted; but whether he did or not, it never took place. The few documents in which this report is embodied are collected by Daniel MacCarthy in the Kilkenny Archaeological Journal for 1856-7 (pp. 307-8). The Lord Justice wrote on February 11 to Burghley as follows:


What letters he [Turlough Lynagh] sent to me or received from me, your Lordship shall see either the originals or copies of them which I send by Mr. Carew to the end you may the better look into his nature and inclination, and see how little hold is to be taken of one that is so rude and so wild or savage as he is. Before my coming down the Baron of Dungannon and he had met and parleyed together and were entered into a great league of friendship, in so much as the Baron should have put away his wife that now he hath, and have taken Turlough's daughter to wife; but I have so conjured the Baron, as that match is broken.

On February 22 Fitton, the Secretary of the Council, wrote to the same effect, and on March 30, Drury informs the Privy Council that the divorce and re-marriage had actually taken place. On April 8 the Privy Council instruct Drury to impedite the match between Dungannon and Turlough Lynagh's daughter.' Drury's successor, Lord Justice Pelham, deals with the affair in letters written in December 1579 and January 1580; see the Calendar of the Carew Papers, pages 185, 199, 200, 201, and particularly the correction on page 277. Now it is quite clear O Neill never put away Ó Donnell's daughter, because, (1) If he did, there would surely be further reference to the event in the State correspondence, more particularly about the time of O Neill's marriage with Mabel Bagenal, when, as we have seen, his enemies were at their wits' end to formulate a sound charge against him.1 (2) In 1585 Lord Deputy Perrot, by letter of June 30, sent an account of Dungannon's petition to Parliament of that year for his place of Earl of Tyrone. The Queen directed the Lord Deputy to hold inquisition before granting the title, and instructed him that Dungannon was 'to bear 100 soldiers.' Regarding the earldom, the Queen thinks that as he has had two wives and children by them both, if the limitation be made to exclude his first children, as he desires, some controversy may hereafter come." O Neill's wife was then manifestly O Donnell's daughter, whom we hear of again in


[ocr errors]

1 On this point see MacCarthy, loc. cit., whom I have not space to quote at length here.

2 Calendar of the Carew Papers, p. 407.

1587; otherwise the Queen, providing that 'controversy hereafter' might not arise, would certainly have mentioned the third wife if she existed. (3) In a subsequent petition for the grant of the earldom, dated 1587, O Neill asks that the remainder be granted to Hugh O Neill, 'the eldest son of your suppliant and the lady Johan his wife.' Clearly the reference is to his then present wife, not to a lady whom he is alleged to have divorced eight or nine years earlier. Compare the passage from Peter Lombard, cited above.

Drury's discovery of a matrimonial alliance between Hugh O Neill and Turlough Lynagh was, therefore, of the nature of a 'mare's nest.' In the light of Hugh's subsequent dealings with the English Government, it is not difficult to find a motive for his fooling of Lord Justice Drury. But it is a pity to find a report so damaging to the moral character of O Neill served up as historic fact by a thoroughly sympathetic writer in this present year, 1918.


Dealing with O Neill's family, I shall first briefly mention his sons. When he went into rebellion in 1594, one of his most efficient captains was his son, Conn. He is referred to in the contemporary documents as a bastard son of Tyrone. Meehan, in opposition to all the evidence, styles him the Earl's nephew' (op. cit. 77); but he is clearly described in the Four Masters, at the year 1607, as the 'son of O Neill.' It is quite possible that Conn was a child of O Neill's first marriage-it is certain that there was a son or sons of Brian mac Feilim's daughter alive in 1585, otherwise the Queen could have no misgivings as regards the succession to the earldom which she was then about to grant. I make the suggestion that Conn was one of these sons. If O Neill's divorce was valid, of course Conn was illegitimate by English law. His father had to acknowledge him and describe him as such, for he could not make a child of his second marriage his heir and maintain at the same time that those of the first were legitimate. But it by no means follows that Conn or any other children of O Neill, described as illegitimate, were the children of concubines. Conn was a capable soldier. He was wounded near Killmallock in 1600, and there is no trace of him afterwards.

1 Calendar of State Papers (1587), p. 290.

2' Con O Neale, Tyrone's base son, was hurt --Pacata Hibernia, Bk. i. c. 4.

Of the children of O Neill's second marriage, Hugh and Henry are mentioned in the petition of the year 1587. The Government were endeavouring to secure them as pledges in 1594, and we learn from Tyrone's letter of August 25 of that year that they were then at fosterage. Hugh died September 24, 1609. According to the epitaph published by Meehan (op. cit. 342), he was then in his twenty-fourth year. Henry was sent to the court of Spain in 1600.3 He became Colonel of the Irish regiment in Flanders as early as 1604, and continued in the command till his death, which occurred prior to the publication of O Sullivan's Historia Catholica in 1621.1

The sons of the Earl by his last wife were three in number: Sean (who is not referred to in the above abstract of the Will of his father), Brian, and a second Conn.5 Sean assumed the title of Earl after his father's death. He succeeded his half-brother Henry in the command of the Irish regiment, and was killed in Catalonia in 1641. He left 'onely one boy, by name Huigh Oneyll, fruit of his loynes, behinde him, thin of the age of 9 yeares." Brian, the second son, became page in the palace of the Archduke, and was assassinated at the age of 13, on August 16, 1617. Concerning the child Conn the younger, Chichester wrote to the Privy Council on September 7, 1607 :

I have given warrant likewise to Sir Tobias Caulfield to make search for Con O'Neill, one of the earl's children, among his fosterers in Tyrone, and to take him into his safe custody, until he receive other direction in his behalf. This child was by accident left behind, for the earl sought him diligently, but by reason he was overtaken with shortness of time, and that the people of those parts do follow their creates, as they call them, in solitary places, and where they best like their pastures (after the manner of the Tartars), they are not therefore always ready to be found."

Caulfield captured the child after some time. He was subsequently despatched to Eton College, and on August 12, 1622, he was committed to the Tower of London. We hear no more of him.

1 See Calendar of State Papers (1594).

2 See my edition of O Keenan's Flight of the Earls,

p. 193.

3 See Murphy, Life of Hugh Roe, p. cxxiii, note, and the reference to his arrival in the passage from Peter Lombard above.

See tome 3, book 8, chap. 6.

5 They are referred to in a document of the year 1605 as Tyrone's 'three young sons by the now countess' (Hill, op. cit. p. 210).

• Gilbert, History of Affairs in Ireland, i. p. 6.

7 See Mechan, op. cit. p. 323.

8 Calendar of State Papers (1607), p. 261.


Regarding O Neill's daughters, it is difficult to secure detailed information. The following particulars have been noted in casual reading, and make no claim to completeness, In the case of four daughters known to have existed, I have not yet discovered their names. It is, in most cases, impossible to say of which marriage they were children.

(1) Name unknown. Hugh Maguire, Tyrone's staunch ally in all the rebellion, was married to his daughter. Burghley notes this fact on the margin of a document dated April 21, 1593.1 This Maguire was killed in a skirmish near Cork city in 1600.

(2) Name unknown. 'Young McMahon created McMahon in his father's place. He hath married Dungannon's daughter." This was Ross MacMahon, chief of his name, who surrendered his country to the Queen in 1587, and had a re-grant in the same year. He died in 1589.3

(3) Name unknown. A daughter married a filius M'Guyr. The name and parentage of this Maguire is not yet determined.

(4) Catherine, married to Sir Henry Og O Neill, grandson of Shane O Neill. He possessed an extensive country in the south-east of County Tyrone and the adjoining district of Tiranny, in County Armagh, and obtained a patent of the same in 1606. He and his father-in-law were by no means friends. He was foreman of the jury that sat at Lifford in the end of 1607, and before which the Earl and his followers were indicted for treason. Sir Henry was slain in the operations against O Doherty the following summer.5

(5) Margaret, married Richard Butler, son and heir of Edmond Butler, second Viscount Mountgarret. In 1598 the latter concluded a peace with O Neill; hence the following in Ireland in 1598, in the description of County Kilkenny (p. 72): The L. Mountgarrat accompanied with many Butlers, Graces, and all the younger Brethren of Gent [lemen] of this Countie are now in Rebellion. He is able to make about 150 Horsemen and 500 Footemen. They

[ocr errors]

1 See Calendar of State Papers, p. 95.

2 Lord Justice Drury to Burghley, February 11, 1579.

3 Annals of the Four Masters.

4 Calendar of State Papers (1593), p. 95.

• See Calendar of State Papers, pp. 406, 559. For the names of his wife,

sons, and numerous followers, see Fiant of Elizabeth, n. 6735.


• Annals of the Four Masters, vi. 2082.

« PrécédentContinuer »