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Theobald Taaffe, 1st Earl of Carlingford (c. 1603 – 31 December 1677), known as 2nd Viscount Taaffe, of Corren and 2nd Baron of Ballymote between 1642 and 1661, was an Irish Royalist officer who played a prominent part in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Following the outbreak of the Irish Rebellion of 1641, the Catholic Taaffe remained loyal to the authorities in Dublin. He later joined the Irish Confederates, and was awarded command of the Munster Army. Taaffe was a supporter of the moderate faction, and strongly supported an alliance between the Confederates and Irish Royalists. After the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, Taaffe accompanied Charles II in exile.[1] Following the Restoration, he was created 1st Earl of Carlingford.


Theobald was the eldest of Sir John Taaffe's, 1st Viscount Taaffe of Corren, fifteen children. His mother was Anne Dillon, daughter of Theobald Dillon, 1st Viscount Dillon. Theobald succeeded his father to the viscountcy in 1642.

He represented County Sligo in the Parliament of Ireland from 1639 until his elevation to the peerage.

Theobald Taaffe was appointed to lead the Irish Munster army by Donagh MacCarthy, Viscount Muskerry in 1647. He was not an impressive commander, failing to prevent the sack of Cashel and then leading the Munster army to defeat at the battle of Knocknanauss in 1647. He had an antiquated sense of chivalry - before Knocknanuss he suggested to Baron Inchiquin, the enemy general, that the battle should be decided by 1000 hand-picked men from each side. Inchiquin's reply was sarcastic: you have performed as much as I desire in bringing your army hither, I shall not desire you to lose any advantage you have in numbers of men, being your offer was only made for recreation.

As fate would have it, Taaffe and Inchiquin fought on the same side at the Battle of Arklow two years later. Unfortunately for Taaffe, Inchiquin lost this time.

With the defeat of the Royalist cause in Ireland, Taaffe went into exile with Charles II. He was the ninth on the list of people excluded from pardon in the Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652 as leaders of the Royalist forces in Ireland.[2]

Following the Restoration of Charles II, he was created Earl of Carlingford.[1]

He was sent on missions to the Duke of Lorraine and to the Holy Roman Emperor, by which was established the connection of his family with the house of Habsburg and Lorraine, which continued to the end of the Habsburg monarchy.[1] Critics said that he had no qualifications for the position except a capacity for drink.

He was married twice, firstly to Mary Weld, daughter of Humphrey Weld (of Lulworth), by whom he had a son, The Hon. John Taaffe, who married Lady Rose Lambart, daughter of Charles Lambart, 1st Earl of Cavan, and secondly to Anne Pershall, without issue. He also had a daughter by Lucy Walter named Mary Crofts (The Hague, 1651–1693), whose father some sources claim to have been Theobald Taaffe, 1st Earl of Carlingford[3][4] and others Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington. Mary married firstly William Sarsfield and had female issue, and married secondly William Fanshawe (b. The Hague, May 1651), and had issue.[5][6]


  • Firth, Charles Harding; Rait, R. S. (1911), The Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, vol. 2, London: H. M. Stationery Office
  • O Siochru, Micheal. Confederate Ireland, 1642–1649. A Constitutional and Political Analysis. Four Courts Press, 1999.
  • See Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexicon Österreichs. Memoirs of the Family of Taaffe (Vienna, 1856), privately printed; article in the Contemporary Review (1893), by E. B. Lanin. The Prague Politik published in December 1904 contains some interesting correspondence collected from Taaffe's papers.[1]
  1. ^ a b c d Headlam, James Wycliffe (1911). "Taaffe, Eduard Franz Joseph von, Count" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 321.
  2. ^ Firth & Rait 1911, p. 599: "That James Butler Earl of Ormond, James Touchet Earl of Castlehaven ... Theobald Taaffe, 1st Earl of Carlingford ..."
  3. ^ Robin Clifton, 'Walter, Lucy (1630?–1658)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004
  4. ^ Evans, Richard K. (2007) "The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales," pp. 101–103; 197 Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society
  5. ^ Haddick-Flynn, Kevin. (2003) "Sarsfield and the Jacobites," pp. 22–23 Douglas Village, Cork: Mercier Press
  6. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Walter, Lucy" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 296–297.

3 Annotations

First Reading

JWB  •  Link


by Beinecke Staff

"Theobald Taaffe (d. 1677), a Catholic Irish loyalist, was the son of John, lst Viscount Taaffe by his wife, Anne, daughter of Sir Theobald Dillon, first raised to the peerage in 1642. During the English civil war, he joined the Catholic Confederation and participated in negotiations between Irish Confed- erates and the party led by James Butler, Earl of Ormond. He served as commander of the Irish forces in Munster (1647) and Master of the Ordinance (1649). In 1650, he was sent to the Continent to negotiate with Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine, for assistance to the king's followers in Ireland.

During the 1650's, Taaffe remained on the Continent, serving the exiled Charles II as informal counselor and boon companion, described by Charles II as "one of the best Dancers in the Country, and is the chief man at all the Balls" (Crist, p. 10).

Taaffe's personality, and his Catholicism, made him a useful representative of the king in both personal and diplomatic affairs. He served as a liaison between Charles II and several of his mistresses, in particular, Lucy Walter. He also met with various Catholic leaders such as Don Alonzo de Cardenas, the Duke of Lorraine, the count of Neuburg and the Papal Nuncio, among others.

After the Restoration, Charles II rewarded Taaffe for his years of loyal service, granting him an annuity of eight hundred pounds and restoring him to his estates in Ireland. On 26 June 1661, Taaffe was created 1st Earl of Carlingford in the Irish peerage.

Carlingford's final diplomatic mission took place during the second Anglo Dutch War (1665-67). In 1665, he was sent as Envoy-Extraordinary from Charles II to Leopold I, Emperor of Germany, and the prince-bishop of Munster in order to gain support for the English cause against the Dutch. He replaced Sir William Temple, who had no taste for the kind of sociability expected in German courts. Carlingford, on the other hand, was known as "a fattey man and a good Drinker, which is a condition very necessary in banquetts, where he is every day" (Lachs, p. 64). His mission, however, was not a success. The Venetian ambassador complained that Carlingford "in no way corresponded to the greatness of the occasion," being "destitute of the knowledge and ability required for such transactions" (Crist, p. 12). After he returned to England, Carlingford retired from public life. He died on 31 December 1677.

Carlingford married, first, Mary, daughter of Sir Nicholas White of Leixlip, county Kildare; and, secondly, Anne, daughter of Sir William Pershall. By his first wife he had three sons and a daughter: Nicholas, 2nd Earl, who served in the Spanish army and fell at the Boyne in 1691; Francis, 3rd Earl, page to emperors Ferdinand III and Leopold I and, later, an Austrian field-marshal; and John (d. 1689)."…

Pauline  •  Link

from L&M Companion
2nd Viscount Taaffe, cr. Earl of Carlingford 1661 (d. 1677). Irish Catholic; royalist commander in Ireland during the Civil War, and close friend and confidant to the King in exile. In 1666 envoy-extraordinary to the Emperor and the Prince-Bishop of Munster--a post in which his capacity for drink was said to be his best qualification.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

TAAFFE, THEOBALD, second Viscount Taaffe and first Earl Of Carlingford (d. 1677), grandson of Sir William Taaffe; commanded the forces of the catholic confederation in Connaught, 1644, and Munster, 1647; defeated by Lord Inchiquin, 1647; employed in negotiations between Queen Henrietta Maria and the Duke of Lorraine; created Earl of Carlingford at the Restoration.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

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


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