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The Earl of Tyrconnell

Richard Talbot 1st Earl of Tyrconnell.jpg
Richard Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnell, watercolour by John Bulfinch after a portrait by Kneller
Lord Deputy of Ireland
In office
1687–1689
Preceded byThe Earl of Clarendon
Succeeded byLords Justices
Personal details
Bornc.1630
possibly Dublin
Died14 August 1691 (aged 60–61)
Limerick
Spouse(s)Katherine Baynton; Frances Jennings
RelationsPeter Talbot (brother)
Military career
Allegiance Confederate Ireland
Spain Spain
Royalists in exile
Kingdom of Ireland
Jacobites
Service/branchCavalry
Years of servicec.1645–60; 1685–91
RankLieutenant general (Jacobite)
Battles/warsIrish Confederate Wars
Dungan's Hill; Drogheda
Anglo-Spanish War (1654–1660)
Dunkirk; Battle of the Dunes
Williamite War in Ireland
Battle of the Boyne

Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell PC (1630–1691) was an Irish politician, courtier and soldier.

Talbot's early career was spent as a cavalryman in the Irish Confederate Wars. Following a period on the Continent, he joined the court of James, Duke of York, then in exile following the English Civil War; Talbot became a close and trusted associate. After the 1660 restoration of James's older brother Charles to the thrones of England, Ireland and Scotland Talbot began acting as agent or representative for Irish Catholics attempting to recover estates confiscated after the Cromwellian conquest, a role that would define the remainder of his career. James converted to Catholicism in the late 1660s, strengthening his association with Talbot.

When James took the throne in 1685, Talbot's influence increased. He oversaw a major purge of Protestants from the Irish Army, which had previously barred most Catholics. James created him Earl of Tyrconnell and later made him Viceroy, or Lord Deputy of Ireland: he immediately began building a Catholic establishment by admitting Catholics to many administrative, political and judicial posts.

Tyrconnell's efforts were interrupted by James's 1688 deposition by his Protestant son-in-law William of Orange. Tyrconnell continued as a Jacobite supporter of James during the subsequent Williamite War in Ireland, but also considered a peace settlement with William that would preserve Catholic rights. Increasingly incapacitated by illness, he died of a stroke shortly before the Jacobite defeat in 1691.

Talbot was controversial in his own lifetime; his own Chief Secretary, Thomas Sheridan, later described him as a "cunning dissembling courtier [...] turning with every wind to bring about his ambitious ends and purposes".[1] Many 19th and early 20th century historians repeated this view. Recent assessments have suggested a more complex individual whose career was defined by personal loyalty to his patron James and above all by an effort to improve the status of the Irish Catholic gentry, particularly the "Old English" community to which he belonged.

Birth and origins

Early 18th century view of the now demolished Talbot house at Carton Demesne; Talbot grew up here, later renaming it "Talbotstown" at the peak of his power.

Richard Talbot was born in about 1630, probably in Dublin. He was one of sixteen children, the youngest of eight sons of William Talbot and his wife Alison Netterville; William was a lawyer and the 1st Baronet Talbot of Carton.[2] His mother was a daughter of John Netterville of Castletown, Kildare.[3]

The Talbots were descended from a Norman family that had settled in Leinster in the 12th century; from the late 16th century, the term "Old English" was often applied to those of Anglo-Norman or Cambro-Norman descent in Ireland. Like most "Old English" families, the Talbots had adhered to the Catholic faith, despite the founding of the Reformed Church of Ireland under Henry VIII.[4]

Other sons included Robert (c.1610–1670), who succeeded his father as the 2nd baronet, and Peter (1620–1680), a Jesuit who became the Catholic archbishop of Dublin.[4] At least three of the eight brothers were entered into religious service on the Continent.[4]

Little is recorded of Talbot's upbringing. As an adult he grew to be unusually tall and strong by standards of the time: the Mémoires of the Count de Gramont described him as "one of the tallest men in England and possessed of a fine and brilliant exterior". Contemporaries considered him strikingly good-looking; Sheridan, otherwise a critic, remembered him as a "tall, proper, handsome man".[5] He was, however, notoriously quick-tempered, with a habit of throwing his wig onto the ground or into the fire when angry; his reputation for duelling earned him the nickname "Fighting Dick Talbot".[6]

Irish wars

Talbot began his military career in the Confederate War that followed the Irish Rebellion of 1641. He served in the Confederate Leinster army as a cavalry cornet under Thomas Preston; when Preston was defeated at Dungan's Hill in 1647 by Parliamentarian forces, the victors slaughtered several thousand of the Irish troops and Talbot was extremely fortunate to be ransomed back to his own side.[5]

In September 1649 he was part of Aston's Royalist and Confederate garrison besieged in Drogheda by the Parliamentarians; he survived the wholesale massacre of the defenders by being so badly wounded he was assumed to be dead. He later escaped the town disguised as a woman, possibly with the help of a Parliamentarian officer.[5] Talbot fled Ireland and vanished from records, re-emerging in Madrid in 1653, where he served as a captain in the Spanish army alongside other Royalist and Confederate exiles.[5]

Introduction to the Stuart court

In 1655 a Royalist agent, Daniel O'Neill, took Talbot to meet Charles II.[5] Talbot volunteered to be part of a plot to assassinate Oliver Cromwell, but was arrested in England in July after details were leaked to the government.[7] Initially released, he was re-arrested in November after the seizure of another assassin, Colonel James Halsall.[7]

Talbot was questioned at Whitehall by spymaster John Thurloe, with Cromwell himself present for part of the time. Cromwell allegedly claimed a family link with Talbot and asked why he wanted to kill a man who had "never prejudiced him in his life"; Talbot's brother Peter, recalling the story, said that "nothing made me laugh more".[7] Talbot was threatened with torture and moved to the Tower of London; that night he spent the last of his money plying Cromwell's servants with wine before climbing down a rope to a waiting boat and escaping to Antwerp.[7] It was later suspected that Talbot might have been permitted to escape in exchange for information; nothing was proved but the affair raised suspicions in "Old Royalist" circles.[7]

In 1656 his brother Peter introduced him to James, Duke of York. The two men struck up a close and lifelong friendship: James appointed Talbot a Gentleman of the Bedchamber. He later put Talbot in command of his own regiment, against the advice of leading Irish Royalist the Duke of Ormond, who was doubtful of Talbot's reliability and his Catholicism. Despite Ormond's misgivings, Talbot served with James's regiment in Flanders in 1657 and was present at the 1658 Siege of Dunkirk.[5]

The Restoration

Katherine and Charlotte, Talbot's daughters
The Duke of Ormond did not trust Talbot.

Talbot's influence increased after the 1660 Restoration of Charles as king. He travelled to England, where he was confirmed in the post of Gentleman of the Bedchamber and undertook a variety of diplomatic missions for the Stuart court.[5]

The Act of Settlement 1662 rewarded those who had fought for the Royalists by making a partial reversal of the Cromwellian land settlement in Ireland. Talbot began acting as a land agent for clients hoping to acquire estates from ejected Cromwellian grantees; some were Irish Catholic landowners seeking restoration of previously forfeited estates, but his clients also included James and other court figures.[5] After 1663 he lobbied for Catholic landowners hoping to get their cases included in a further Act. In the process he again clashed with Ormond, now Viceroy in Ireland; their argument ended with Charles sending Talbot to the Tower for a month.[5]

Over the next decade Talbot used his influence with James to cement his position at court: he began building links with others, like the Earl of Orrery, who were hoping to supplant the "Old Royalists" such as Ormond.[5] He remained a divisive figure at court thanks to his imposing presence, domineering manner, and "strong opinions expressed with much swearing".[5] In 1669 he married noted beauty Katherine Baynton, daughter of Colonel Matthew Baynton and Isabel Stapleton. They had two daughters, Katherine and Charlotte;[8] Baynton died in 1679.[9]

In February 1669 Ormond was dismissed and Charles began to relax restrictions on Catholics; around the same time James himself secretly converted. In 1670 Talbot, presenting himself as the "agent general" for Irish Catholics, asked for the land question to be reopened: his initiative appeared to be making progress but collapsed in 1673 after Parliament moved to counter Catholic influence at court. The resulting 1673 Test Act led to James's conversion becoming public and with James no longer in a position to back him, Talbot was effectively barred from court for the next ten years.[5] He spent much of the time in Yorkshire with his wife's family, later settling on his estate at Luttrellstown, County Dublin, where in 1678 he was planning to lay out a garden.[5]

Popish Plot and second marriage

Frances Jennings, Talbot's second wife

In August 1679 he fled from Ireland to France to avoid being taken into custody for involvement in the alleged Popish Plot. His brother Peter was not so lucky: named as a key conspirator, he was arrested early in the Plot hysteria and died in prison in November 1680.[10]

In Paris Talbot met his old love Frances Jennings, sister of Sarah Jennings (the future Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough) and married her in 1681.[11]

Talbot returned to London following the discovery in 1683 of the Rye House Plot, an alleged plan by dissident Protestants and former Cromwellians to assassinate Charles and James. Charles issued a Royal Warrant confirming Talbot could live in Ireland, keep horses and arms, and travel freely; his prospects improved rapidly with James back in the ascendant at court and confirmed as heir to the throne.[5]

Apotheosis: Lord Deputy of Ireland

Despite his Catholicism, James succeeded to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on his brother's death in 1685 with overwhelming support. Many among the political class feared a return to the violence of the Civil War and there was widespread rejoicing at the orderly succession; Protestant-backed rebellions by Charles's illegitimate son Monmouth and the Earl of Argyll were quickly put down.[12]

James rewarded Talbot's loyalty by creating him Baron of Talbotstown, Viscount Baltinglass and Earl of Tyrconnell (2nd creation),[13] sending him to Ireland as commander in chief of the Irish Army. James had already ordered the disbandment of Protestant militias following the Monmouth and Argyll rebellions; with James's approval Tyrconnell now began to accelerate the recruitment of Catholics into the army and by summer 1686, two-thirds of the rank and file and 40% of officers were Catholic.[14] Reports received by the Viceroy, the Earl of Clarendon, of tensions between Catholic army units and Protestants began to cause concern both in Ireland and England. Clarendon's secretary noted "the Irish talk of nothing now but recovering their lands and bringing the English under their subjection".[15]

Despite some reluctance on James's part, Tyrconnell continued to promote Irish Catholic interests. Legal representation was a key part of this: in 1686 he got Catholics admitted to the Privy Council and one Catholic judge appointed to each of the three common law courts.[14] He also resumed lobbying for a resolution of the land question; James held back, partly as English Catholics had written to him expressing concern at the effect Tyrconnell's actions might have on Protestant opinion.[5] Clarendon found Tyrconnell's presence in Ireland deeply problematic, writing to his brother "whether my lord Tyrconnell will continue to be so terrible as he is at present nothing but time will determine".[5]

James appointed Tyrconnell Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1687, replacing Clarendon. James had no wish to alienate Irish Protestants and made it clear Tyrconnell was not to dismiss anyone on grounds of religion; he also vetoed a statutory solution to the land question although indicated he might call an Irish parliament to discuss it in the future.[5] He placed restrictions on Tyrconnell's power by making him Lord Deputy, rather than Lord Lieutenant, and forced an unwilling Tyrconnell to accept Thomas Sheridan as his Chief Secretary.[5] Nevertheless, Tyrconnell pressed ahead with the appointment of Catholics to most Irish government departments, leaving only the Treasury in Protestant control: by issuing new borough charters he was able to rapidly Catholicise the local administration in preparation for a future sitting of Parliament.[5]

The Glorious Revolution

Now in his 50s, James had no male children and his daughters were Protestant. Tyrconnell's main concern had been to build a Catholic establishment secure enough to survive James's death, but his reforms had been carried out at a speed that destabilised all of James's realms. In early 1688 he sent two judges to London with two draft land settlement bills; Tyrconnell hoped the second bill in particular, which proposed splitting estates and allowing Cromwellian grantees to receive the benefit of improvements, would satisfy Protestants. He wrote to James that it would resolve the issue with "as little disturbance as possible to the protestant interest and [...] restore the catholics to no more than what seems absolutely necessary".[5] His plans, however, were to be put on hold after two events turned dissent against James into a crisis.[16]

The birth of James Francis Edward on 10 June created a Catholic heir, excluding James' Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange. Prosecuting the Seven Bishops seemed to go beyond tolerance for Catholicism and into an assault on the Anglican establishment; their acquittal on 30 June destroyed James's political authority.[16]

Tyrconnell saw the crisis coming: in August he warned an incredulous James that a coup was being planned in Holland.[5] In September he was ordered to send 2,500 of his best troops to England; despite the difficulties this would cause him he complied, understanding that Ireland's security was ultimately dependent on that of James's other two kingdoms.[17]

Between William's landing in Devon in November in the Glorious Revolution and James's flight from England on 24 December, Tyrconnell was faced with a series of challenges in Ireland. Despite his regular appeals to law and order many Protestants fled to Ulster or England; Tyrconnell attempted to secure the towns with loyal Catholic army units but initially failed in the north at Enniskillen and Derry, which were held by Protestant militias.[5] Apparently shaken by the speed of James's fall, he briefly considered opening negotiations with William.[18] He made it known he would consider disbanding the army and resigning if Catholics could be guaranteed their position as it stood at the end of Charles's reign; William seems to have been minded to accept the offer, but Tyrconnell subsequently decided against negotiation.[5]

The Williamite War in Ireland

Talbot in later life, attributed to François de Troy; by the late 1680s he was increasingly ill, possibly with bouts of osteomyelitis.[19]

In January Tyrconnell issued warrants for an enormous expansion of the Irish army by 40,000 men, giving commissions to the Catholic gentry to raise new regiments.[20] By spring 1689, the army theoretically stood at around 36,000 although there was little money to pay them and experienced officers remained in short supply.[21] Accompanied by French army officers, James landed at Kinsale on 12 March, intending to use Ireland as a base from which to retake England and Scotland. He met Tyrconnell at Cork several days later, creating him Duke of Tyrconnell and Marquess of Tyrconnell (titles recognised only by the Jacobites).[22]

Tyrconnell was preoccupied with preparations for the sitting of Parliament, scheduled for May and vital both to raise taxes to fund the war and to make a new Act of Settlement.[5] His work as Viceroy on reforming local corporations meant that the so-called "Patriot Parliament" was overwhelmingly Catholic. However at this critical moment Tyrconnell fell seriously ill, meaning he was unable to attend the Parliament he had spent so long working towards; he did not return to public life until August.[5] Tyrconnell's absence meant that Parliament rejected his original fairly moderate bill for repealing the Act of Settlement, intended to placate Protestant opinion. To James's dismay they would not grant him taxes unless he agreed to the far more radical proposal of undoing the Cromwellian settlement entirely.[5]

By the time Tyrconnell had recovered, the military situation in the north had worsened. On 28 July, Percy Kirke's forces relieved Derry and the Jacobites were forced to withdraw. A large expeditionary force under Schomberg landed in Belfast Lough and captured Carrickfergus. Schomberg marched south to Dundalk and threatened to advance on Dublin; after a lengthy stalemate, the two armies withdrew into winter quarters. Both Tyrconnell and James rejected advice from their French allies to burn Dublin and retreat behind the River Shannon: Tyrconnell argued that James should take the fight to England with French support.[5]

William himself, accompanied by thousands of new troops, landed at Carrickfergus on 14 June 1690. Tyrconnell, primarily concerned with preserving the Jacobite army, now argued against defending Dublin: "if I see any reasonable probability of beating the prince of Orange I am not for declining the battle, but if I doe not, I confess I am not for venturing the loss of all to preserve a place which you must lose as soon as the battle is lost". Nevertheless, his cavalry were one of the few Jacobite elements fully engaged in the defeat at the Boyne, mounting fierce resistance: after the battle he urged James to leave for France.[5]

Tyrconnell emerged as the leader of the Jacobite "Peace Party", which argued in favour of reaching a settlement with William that would preserve Catholic rights. He was opposed by Patrick Sarsfield's "War Party", influential among junior army officers, that advocated fighting on. When in August William was forced to raise the siege of the Jacobite stronghold of Limerick, Tyrconnell seemed to be proved wrong; he sailed from Galway in October, hoping to exert influence on James and the French and gain a better peace settlement by prolonging the war.[5] He set out to return to Ireland in December but again fell sick in Brittany. After neutralising from his sickbed an attempt by the "War Party" to discredit him at James's court in exile, he arrived at Galway in January 1691, where many of the increasingly war-weary Irish were glad of his return.[23]

It was noted that Tyrconnell, accompanied by a group of Irish lawyers rather than soldiers or weapons, appeared "better prepared to make peace than war".[23] He immediately attempted to reassert his authority as Lord Deputy, particularly over the army. During February a French officer arrived with a letter announcing that a French general, Charles Chalmot de Saint-Ruhe, was on his way to take over command from Tyrconnell: a heartened Sarsfield had copies distributed, while Tyrconnell spread a story that the letter was a forgery and that Saint-Ruhe was his subordinate.[23]

Tyrconnell Tower

Following Saint-Ruhe's arrival Tyrconnell based himself at Limerick, sending Sarsfield to the strategic town of Athlone. In June he joined the army at Athlone, but he was treated with "undisguised contempt" and his views on the town's defence ignored.[5] Rather than risk splitting the army he returned to Limerick, thereby avoiding responsibility for the loss of Athlone on 30 June or the catastrophic Jacobite defeat at Aughrim on 12 July, where Saint-Ruhe and thousands of others were killed.[5]

Tyrconnell re-established his authority at Limerick by demanding Jacobite officers swore a collective oath; however he died of apoplexy on 14 August following a "merry" dinner with Saint-Ruhe's former subordinate d'Usson.[5] He is thought to have been buried in St Mary's Cathedral. By depriving the Jacobites of their most experienced negotiator, his death may have had a substantial impact on the terms of the Treaty of Limerick that ended the war.[17]

His widow, Frances, and his daughter, Charlotte, remained in France, where Charlotte married her kinsman, William Talbot of Haggardstown, called 3rd Earl of Tyrconnell in the Jacobite peerage; his other daughter Katherine became a nun. His estate in nearby Carton, renamed Talbotstown, was uncompleted when he died. Tyrconnell Tower on this site was originally intended by him as a family mausoleum to replace the existing vault at Old Carton graveyard, but was also left unfinished.[24]

Assessment

Talbot made many enemies in his own lifetime; leaving little in the way of correspondence, for many years historians were compelled to rely on the letters of political adversaries such as Ormond or Clarendon. This led to an overwhelmingly negative assessment of his career and to his portrayal as "a figure midway between a buffoon and a villain".[6] The Whig historian Macaulay depicted him as a liar and bully, calling him a "cold hearted, farsighted, scheming sycophant", while even J. P. Kenyon, writing in 1958, described him as a "bogtrotter" who spoke for the "rapacious, ignorant, anarchic forces of Irish Catholicism, at the lowest stage of civilisation in western Europe".[17]

Recent historians have more sympathetically assessed Talbot as pursuing a realistic and attainable plan to return the Irish establishment to Catholic control, while his admitted vices are seen as reflecting the court circles in which he operated.[17] His biographer Lenihan has written that while Talbot "could have lived uneventfully and comfortably [...] he was driven (and that is not too strong a word) to use his high connections to redress a communal and national grievance".[17]

Notes

  1. ^ Shepherd 1990, p. 7.
  2. ^ Petrie 1972, p. 29: "Sir William Talbot and his wife had in all sixteen children, eight sons and eight daughters of whom Richard was the youngest." sfn error: no target: CITEREFPetrie1972 (help)
  3. ^ Cokayne 1896, p. 444: "RICHARD TALBOT, 5th or 8th son of Sir William Talbot 1st Bart., [I.] of Carton, co. Kildare (d. 16 March 1633), by Alison, da. of John NETTERVILLE, was b. probably about 1625;"
  4. ^ a b c Williams 2014, p. 127.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af McGuire, DIB. sfn error: no target: CITEREFMcGuire,_DIB (help)
  6. ^ a b Schwoerer 1992, p. 238.
  7. ^ a b c d e Lenihan 2015.
  8. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1957, right column, line 64: "His Grace [Richard Talbot] m. firstly Catherine, dau. of Col. Matthew Boynton and had two daus., of whom the elder, Lady Charlotte, m. her cousin Richard Talbot, called Lord Baltinglas ..."
  9. ^ Sergeant 1913, p. 266: "In March his wife Katherine died, being buried at Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin on the 17th."
  10. ^ Gibney 2009, pp. 32–33.
  11. ^ Bagwell 1898, p. 332, right column: "His wife died in Dublin in 1679 and before the year was out he married in Paris his old love Lady Hamilton whose husband had been killed in 1676 leaving her with six children."
  12. ^ Miller 2000, pp. 120–121.
  13. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1957, right column, line 58: "Richard, Earl and Duke of Tyrconnell, who by Patent, dated 20 June 1685, was created Baron of Talbot's town, Viscount of Baltinglas, and Earl of Tyrconnell, with remainder in tail-male for his nephews;
  14. ^ a b Connolly 1992, p. 33.
  15. ^ Connolly 1992, p. 34.
  16. ^ a b Harris 2005, pp. 235–236. sfn error: no target: CITEREFHarris2005 (help)
  17. ^ a b c d e Lenihan 2014. sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFLenihan2014 (help)
  18. ^ Szechi 1994, pp. 42–44. sfn error: no target: CITEREFSzechi1994 (help)
  19. ^ Kelly 2015, p. 176.
  20. ^ Hayes-McCoy 1942, p. 6.
  21. ^ Bartlett and Jefferey 1997, pp. 189–190. sfn error: no target: CITEREFBartlett_and_Jefferey1997 (help)
  22. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1957, right column, line 61: "[Richard Talbot] was subsequently, 20 March 1689, advanced to the dignity of Marquess and Duke of Tyrconnell by JAMES II, in whose service, as Chief Gov. of Ireland, he d. 14 August 1691."
  23. ^ a b c Childs 2007, p. 295.
  24. ^ Cullen 2014.

References

  • Bagwell, Richard (1898), "TALBOT, RICHARD EARL and titular DUKE OF TYRCONNEL (1630–1691)", in Lee, Sidney (ed.), Dictionary of National Biography, 55, London: Smith Elder & Co, pp. 331–336.mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Lock-green.svg")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg")right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}
  • Bartlett, Thomas; Jeffery, Keith (1997), A Military History of Ireland, Cambridge UP
  • Burke, Bernard (1949), A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire (99th ed.), London: Burke's Peerage Ltd.
  • Childs, John (1987), The British Army of William III, 1689–1702, Manchester University Press, ISBN 978-0719019876
  • Childs, John (2007), The Williamite War in Ireland, Bloomsbury
  • Cokayne, George Edward (1896), The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant, 7 (1st ed.), London: George Bell and Sons – S to T
  • Connolly, S.J. (1992), Religion, Law, and Power : The Making of Protestant Ireland 1660-1760, OUP
  • Cullen, Seamus (2014), Tyrconnell Tower, Maynooth Newsletter
  • Gibney, John (2009), Ireland and the Popish Plot, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Harris, Tim (2007), Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy, 1685–1720, Penguin
  • Hayes-McCoy, G. A. (1942), "The Battle of Aughrim", Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, 20 (1)
  • Kelly, James (2015), "Review: Pádraig Lenihan, The Last Cavalier: Richard Talbot (1631–91)", Irish Economic and Social History, 42
  • Lenihan, Padraig (2015), "Richard Talbot – the man who didn't kill Cromwell", History Ireland, 23 (3)
  • Lenihan, Padraig (28 November 2014), "In defence of Fighting, Lying, Mad Richard Talbot", The Irish Times
  • McGuire, James, Dictionary of Irish Biography: Talbot, Richard, Cambridge UP
  • Miller, John (2000), James II: A Study in Kingship, Yale University Press
  • Schwoerer, Lois (ed.) (1992), The Revolution of 1688-89: Changing Perspectives, OUPCS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Sergeant, Phillip (1913), Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot: A Life of the Duke and Duchess of Tyrconnel, 1, London: Hutchinson
  • Shepherd, Robert (1990), Ireland's Fate: the Boyne and After, Aurum
  • Wauchope, Piers (2004), "Talbot, Richard, first earl of Tyrconnell and Jacobite duke of Tyrconnell (1630–1691)", in Matthew, Colin; Harrison, Brian (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 53, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 717–722, ISBN 0-19-861403-9
  • Williams, Mark (2014), The King's Irishmen: The Irish in the Exiled Court of Charles II, 1649-1660, Boydell and Brewer

Further reading

  • Lenihan, Pádraig (2014), The Last Cavalier: Richard Talbot (1631–91), Dublin: University of Dublin Press, ISBN 9781906359836

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Clarendon
Lord Deputy of Ireland
1687–1689
Succeeded by
Lords Justices
Peerage of Ireland
New title Earl of Tyrconnell
1685–1691
Forfeit

8 Annotations

Sjoerd  •  Link

A younger brother of the Jesuit Peter Talbot, who became Archbishop of Dublin. Colonel Richard Talbot, was also remarkable for his devotedness to the cause of the exiled monarch and stood high in royal favour. Under James II he became Duke of Tyronnell and Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14432c.htm

Pauline  •  Link

from L&M Companion
cr. Earl of Tyrconnel 1685 (1630-91). Groom of the Bedchamber to the Duke of York from 1660; gentleman-volunteer at the Battle of Lowestoft 1665. Leader of the Catholic interest n Ireland; and from 1685 commander of the army and James II's chief agent there.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

From Warrington: "Richard Talbot, who figures conspicuously in Grammont's 'Memoires'. He married, first, Catherine Boynton, and secondly, Frances Jennings, elder sister of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. Talbot was created Earl of Tyrconnel by James II, and made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and elevated by him to the dukedom Tyrconnel after his abdication.

Bill  •  Link

TALBOT, RICHARD, Earl and titular Duke of Tyrconnel (1630-1691), youngest son of Sir William Talbot; taken prisoner at the rout of Preston's army, 1647; was wounded at the siege of Drogheda, but escaped abroad; returning to England, was arrested by Cromwell on suspicion of plotting his murder, 1655, but also accused by Clarendon of being in the Protector's pay; gentleman of the Duke of York's bedchamber at the Restoration; imprisoned for challenging Ormonde, 1661; fought in the naval action at Lowestoft, 1665; engaged in various love affairs; as spokesman of the Irish Roman catholics opposed Ormonde in Ireland, and was again imprisoned, 1670; arrested for supposed complicity in the 'popish plot,' 1678; given command of the army in Ireland, Ormonde being recalled, and on accession of James II made Earl of Tyrconnel, with chief power in Ireland, and with the object of repealing Act of Settlement, bringing back Roman catholic domination, and making James II independent in England by means of an Irish army; protestant forces disbanded and oath of supremacy dispensed with; made viceroy, 1687; despatched three thousand men to King James's assistance in England; met James II at Kinsale; instigator of all James II's violent proceedings, including the attainder of 2,455 protestant landowners; made duke; commanded at the battle of the Boyne, 1690; advised James's retreat to France, and was left with full powers in Ireland; accused of treachery by the Irish party; left for France after the raising of the siege of Limerick, where he gained the full confidence of James and Louis XIV; returned with money and arms as lord-lieutenant, 1691, and commander-in-chief; died of apoplexy shortly after the battle of Aughrim.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Richard Talbot was the youngest of 16 children of the Roman Catholic Sir William Talbot, 1st Baronet, of Carton, Co. Kildare, and his wife, Alison Netterville.

This story explains Talbot's good relationship with James, Duke of York, rather than Charles II, Hyde or Ormonde:

Highlights from
https://www.historyireland.com/volume-23/richard-…

The Stuart court-in-exile tried to assassinate Oliver Cromwell throughout the 1650s. Most plans involved gunmen ambushing the Lord Protector and his mounted escorts as they wended through narrow streets between Whitehall Palace and Hampton Court, where the Protector liked to spend his weekends.

In 1655 Col. John Stephens (a client of James Butler, then the Marquis of Ormonde) and Daniel O’Neill set in motion an assassination plot. Richard Talbot volunteered for the mission.

On 13 July 1655, Henry Manning, Secretary Thurloe’s spy at Cologne, warned that Talbot, ‘a tall young man’, and Robert Dongan (Ormonde’s page and Talbot’s nephew) would pass through Dover on their way to help Col. John Stephens and Col. James Halsall assassinate the Protector.

Stephens and Richard Talbot were duly arrested sometime before the end of July 1655, but were soon released.

Stephens and Richard Talbot badgered Col. Halsall to press on, but Halsall temporized and a disillusioned Stephens crossed back over the Channel.

On 16 November, 1655 Halsall was seized in his lodgings and his cipher and papers were pulled from the lining of his hat. Richard Talbot and page Robert Dongan were also arrested.

Nine days later Thurloe interrogated Halsall, who denied there was any plot.

In December 1655 Henry Manning was unmasked as an informer and some royalists assumed he was to blame for the arrests. Chancellor Hyde interrogated the spy, who confessed he had warned Whitehall about Richard Talbot’s departure from Cologne but did not admit to knowing anything else, let alone Halsall’s hiding place in London.

Shortly afterwards some cavaliers took Manning to a secluded copse outside Cologne and executed him.

In mid-December, 1655, Thurloe interrogated Richard Talbot at Whitehall, with Cromwell present for some of it. The Protector began by offering ‘great preferments’ (he or Thurloe probably promised to excuse Talbot’s mother, eldest brother and sisters from transplantation to Connacht). Cromwell next claimed kinship through the Talbots, Earls of Shrewsbury, and then abruptly demanded to know why Richard would kill a man who had ‘never prejudiced him in his life’.

Peter Talbot, recounting what Richard told him of the interrogation, snorted that ‘nothing made me laugh more’. Cromwell insinuated that Col. Halsall had cracked under interrogation and named Richard Talbot, but the cavalier kept his nerve and denied connection with any plot.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

PART 2

Luckily Richard Talbot’s name was not in Halsall’s captured cipher. Frustrated, Cromwell gave up but paused at the door to threaten that he would get at the truth even if he had to ‘spin it out of his bones’. Talbot retorted that even if he were to ‘spin him to a thread’ he could only invent lies.

Thurloe offered Talbot a lot of money before reminding him that he would be sent to the Tower of London the next day. Realizing escape would then be more difficult, Richard spent his last money and ‘bestowed much wine’ on Cromwell’s servants that night before slipping down a rope cast from a Whitehall Palace window to the Thames, where a river boat awaited.

Ten days later Richard Talbot disembarked at Calais and made his way with his brothers Peter and Gilbert to Antwerp, which they reached on 3 January 1656.

Richard Talbot wrote a report to Ormonde about his capture, interrogation and escape, but in retrospect it looked suspicious when, shortly afterwards, he was with his brother Gilbert when the latter was caught red-handed collecting correspondence from Thurloe at the Antwerp post-house.

Pointing out that Thurloe's letter grumbled about the lack of hard intelligence, Gilbert (AKA ‘Monsieur Burford’) pleaded he was pretending to spy for the Protector as a way to cadge money from Thurloe.

Chancellor Hyde promptly wrote off Richard, Peter and Gilbert Talbot as a pack of knaves.

Next their nephew, the page Robert Dongan (who had been sprung from prison in London by the Royalist underground) cited rumors to Ormonde that seemed to bolster Hyde’s suspicions.

Languishing in the Tower, Col. James Halsall brooded over who had betrayed him and concluded that his servant,
William Marston, was the only one who knew ‘all his business’, including where he had hidden his papers.
Halsall passed on a scribbled warning to Ormonde, but that this was not enough to exonerate Dick Talbot is clear from the tenor of a letter Peter Talbot wrote to Ormonde at the beginning of February 1656.

Richard Talbot’s biographer was disgusted at Peter Talbot’s less than ‘brotherly’ attitude and, on the face of it, his letter damns his younger brother with faint defense.
A careful parsing of that letter suggests neutrality was a pose to let him argue all the more effectively on Richard’s behalf.
Peter claimed it was really ‘Gilbert’s business’ that cast suspicion on Richard, implicitly discounting page Robert Dongan’s rumor-mongering, and concluded with a telling argument: ‘Truly I think [Gilbert] would have more credit with his correspondent than he hath if Dick were a knave’.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

PART 3

Like everyone involved, “Dick” Talbot appealed to Ormonde.
On 1 February 1656, Richard Talbot hinted at Col. Halsall’s ‘cowardice or some private end’ (he was not sure whether Halsall had been the one to point the finger at him -- he wasn’t). Talbot could not prove a negative (that he was not a spy) so instead reminded Ormonde of the long-standing Talbot family loyalty to him.
Richard’s appeal did not recite his sufferings, but he had been gravely wounded, stripped and left for dead at the sack of Drogheda.

If the other two occasions when “Dick” Talbot was taken prisoner (in 1647 and 1650) are anything to go by, he fell because he was the last to flee, always fighting to the end.

Richard Talbot pointed to the ‘bare surmises’ rather than hard evidence against him and implored Ormonde to ignore it.

Ormonde show his confidence in Gilbert and Richard Talbot by having them accompany him to meet the Princess Royal, Mary Stuart, Charles II’s older sister and mother of William of Orange, later William III.

Were Hyde’s suspicions justified? Richard Talbot’s twice escaping from custody smacks of connivance with Parliament.

On the first occasion, a spy warned Thurloe to ‘Take a care of releasing the Irish Talbot’, but the tip-off came AFTER Talbot, along with page Robert Dongan and Col. John Stephens, had been released, probably as unwitting bait to net bigger fish.

The second escape seems implausibly theatrical until you remember royalists escaped from prison by scrambling out of windows, tying sheets together to make ropes, or dressing up in women’s clothes. The protectorate’s security was poor (Richard Talbot’s accuser, nephew Robert Dongan, had also broken out of gaol) and turnkeys often took bribes to look the other way.

In 1657, Dick Hopton, another would-be assassin, also broke out of Whitehall only to be wounded in a duel by Richard Talbot over a bet laid on a game of tennis.

Apart from unmasked traitors like Henry Manning and William Marston, there had been loose talk among royalists that ‘Cromwell shall not live long’. Page Robert Dongan was blamed for being indiscreet, so his insinuations may have been a bid to deflect blame.

Assassination plots like Richard Talbot’s must have given the Protector sleepless nights, but the main outcome was Talbot’s bid to gain credit with the Old Royalists backfired.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

PART 4

True, Ormonde took Richard back under his protection, but any rapprochement between the Talbots and the Old Royalists failed.

Peter Talbot’s politico-religious ambitions were uncontainable, and after the foiled assassination he renewed his pleas that Charles II should secretly become a Catholic, whereupon the pope and Philip IV of Spain would supposedly ‘engage themselves to get him all his own again’.

Hyde and Ormonde were aghast at the Jesuit’s incorrigible proselytizing, and Richard’s guilt by association (apart from his whiff of treachery) meant that he had no future in Old Royalist circles.

Opportunity soon beckoned at another Stuart court: The Anglo-French alliance pushed Philip IV of Spain and Charles II into a counter-alliance: Charles was promised a subsidy and allowed to move his court to the Spanish Netherlands.

This alignment with Spain widened the gap between Charles and his mother, and between the respective Louvrian and Old Royalist factions.
Charles purged suspected ‘Louvrians’ from the household of James, Duke of York.
In response York fled the court. Fearing this would undo his deal with the Spanish, Charles backed down and allowed York a position of power and some autonomy as master of what was almost a rival court, where York promptly dismissed all courtiers but ‘such as were absolutely his own’.

Peter Talbot found York more appreciative of his influence in Brussels and Madrid than Charles II, and he was well placed to insinuate brother Dick into this expanding court. Even Hyde could see why York appointed Talbot as a groom of the bedchamber: ‘He was a very handsome young man [who] wore good cloaths and was without Doubt of clear ready Courage which was Virtue enough to recommend a Man to the Duke’.

The clearest proof of Dick Talbot’s courage had been the bid to kill Cromwell. With this guise, Talbot forged an enduring connection which would shape his entire career.

Old Royalist disdain, so painfully apparent after the failed plot, began to push the Talbot brothers towards what became after the Restoration of 1660 an opposing faction of out-groups (such as Catholics and Presbyterians) and hungry opportunists.

Richard Talbot’s final disenchantment with Ormonde came in 1664, after the now Lord Lieutenant of Ireland put through an Act of Settlement that confirmed the Cromwellian land confiscations. Talbot accosted Ormonde at his apartments in Chelsea and abused him for selling out his Irish Catholic followers.

Ormonde hastened to Charles II to complain he had been insulted and implicitly challenged to fight a duel merely for carrying out his official duties. Charles was ‘incensed’ and punished Richard Talbot for his ‘insolent presumption’.

Nine years after the assassination plot, Richard Talbot finally got to experience life in the Tower.

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1662