Burke of Lismore

© Donal G. Burke 2013

Fergus Madden, the last of the Maddens to reside at Lismore castle in the parish of Clonfert in east Galway, married Catherine Madden alias Donnellan and had a son Joseph and four daughters, Maria, Dorothea, Catherine and Christina.[i] He died after falling from his horse on the 7th September 1687 and was buried at Meelick friary.[ii] As his son and heir Joseph Madden died between 1684 and 1687, the administration of the estate was given to his widow and three of his daughters, Maria, Dorothea and Christina.[iii] His widow Catherine remarried, on the second occasion to one Richard Burke and she and her second husband claimed Lismore and other property as her dowry.[iv] Lismore Castle and estate, however, passed to Maria, the eldest daughter of Fergus Madden and her husband, Miles Burke of Cloghroak.

Lismore castle

The ruins of Lismore castle, County Galway in the early twenty-first century.

Burkes of Cloghroak

Maria Madden’s husband Miles descended from a senior branch of the Burkes who had been established about Cloghroak or Clogheroke in the parish of Ardrahan, Co. Galway from an early period. Their family lands lay between the modern villages of Craughwell, Ardrahan and Kilchreest in Clanricarde to the west of the town of Loughrea. John Burke of Clogheroke held the office of Sheriff of the lordship of Clanricarde during the lifetime of Ulick 1st Earl of Clanricarde.[v] Having been deemed to have ‘well and faithfully executed the office of sheriff’ of Clanricarde since the death of the first Earl in 1543, he was permitted to continue in that role until he be directed otherwise by the Crown and, as such, he would receive the profits due to that office.[vi]

Shane óg son of John son of Edmund Burke was given as one of the three chief men of the barony of Dunkellin in 1574. At that time he held the castle of Clogheroke, the castle of Corbally and that of Mannin, within a mile of Clogheroke in the same barony and in the barony of Kiltartan the castle of Tullira and Carnan castle in the barony of Clare.

The sons of Shane oge of Cloghroak

His sons were prominent rebels against the Crown in the late 1570s and early 1580s during the rebellion of Ulick and John Burke, sons of Richard, 2nd Earl of Clanricarde. The family were regarded as ‘of the greatest patrimony there next to the Earl, and very closely related.[vii] In or about 1565 Ulick Burke, the elder of the rebellious sons of the Earl (and later 3rd Earl of Clanricarde), married Onora, daughter of Shane oge Burke of Cloghroak.[viii]

The sons of Shane oge were held by the English administrators of the province to be ‘the only mischievous and very best men of Clanricard excepting only the Earl’s sons’.[ix] The eldest of these sons of Shane Oge; Shane reagh, was a principal supporter of the Earl’s son John and about 1580 was regarded by the administration as his ‘only upholder.’[x] Shane reagh’s lands within the branches wider territory lay near Clogheroke about his (ie. Shane reagh’s) castle of Creggymulgreny in the parish of Killogilleen.[xi] He was executed in the Summer of 1580.[xii]

Rebels killed at Creggymulgreny

In mid March 1581 William McShane oge, one of the sons of Shane oge Burke of Cloghroak left the rebels and came over the English. Sir Nicholas Malbie, governor of the province, described this son of Shane oge as ‘a gentleman of Clanrycard, and one of the greatest patrimony there next to the Earl, and his very near kinsman.’ A brother-in-law of Ulick Burke, (the Earl’s son), Ulick deprived him ‘of all his living’ since he turned away from his previous rebellious activities, which, according to Malbie, was ‘a general course held by the Irishry against all such as do adhere unto Her Majesty.’[xiii] William McShane oge informed the English of certain background details to the Earl’s sons rebellion and other information he provided would lead to the killing by English soldiers of an O Kelly and another, ‘two notorious villains.’ [xiv]

About that same time several hundred rebels held out against the forces of the Crown at the ‘town’ or settlement about Creggymulgreny, between Ardrahan and Loughrea.[xv] While Shane reagh Burke had been executed the previous summer, several of his brothers were still out in rebellion. It would also appear that at least three of his other brothers; Hubert, Redmond and Ulick were supporters of the Earl of Clanricarde’s rebellious son John.[xvi]

Soldiers garrisoned in the wider district under Captains Acre and Mordant attacked Creggymulgreny on the last day of March 1581, killing about two hundred people including ‘two gentlemen,’ one of the sons of Shane oge Burke and the five year old son of the Earl’s daughter Mary, wife of the rebel leader O Rourke.[xvii] (Thomas Roche, the constable at Ballinasloe reported that only one of the sons of Shane oge was killed while Malbie, eight days later, gave the figure as three sons.) [xviii]

Among the other sons of Shane oge were Thomas and William. The former was present at the castle of Leitrim in east Galway about 1604 when giving evidence under oath relating to the marriage of the Earl’s son Ulick to their sister and was seated at Tullira in the seventeenth century.[xix] (Thomas Mc Shane oge of ‘Tulierie’ and Una Ny Thomas of the same, alongside William Mc Shane oge of Cloghacroky, were among the many issued a general pardon by the Crown in 1603.)[xx]

Other sons of Shane Oge Burke appear to have been Hobert mcShane Oge, Redmond McShane Oge and Ulick McShane Oge, all of whom were given pardons in September of 1582 at the request of John Burke the Earl’s son, suggesting that they were still aligned with him at that time.[xxi]

Another individual, one Gerald McShane oge of Clanricard was pardoned at this time also but not alongside the other sons of Shane Oge at the suit of John the Earl’s son. His place among the sons of Shane oge is confirmed by one James McGeralt Burke, in all likelihood his son, resident at Cregganmulgreny and holding a portion of the castle of Corbally alongside a number of his uncles about 1619.

Shane oge, and his sons William, Hubert, Ulick, Henry, Redmond and James McGeralt held lands principally in the barony of Dunkellin in 1619.[xxii] Both Shane oge and William were described at that time as of Cloghroak, while Hubert, Ulick, James, Henry and Redmond were described as of Cregganmulgreny. Hubert, Ulick and James lands were confined to the barony of Dunkellin and each held a fifth share of the castle of Corbally.

Both Shane oge and his son William were the largest landholders of the branch, with the latter holding extensive lands in both the baronies of Dunkellin and Kiltartan.[xxiii]

Late seventeenth century

The Burkes continued at Cloghroak for some time. John Burke of Cloghroak, great grandson of Shane oge had at least seven sons; Miles, Thomas, John, Dominick, William, Ulick and Richard and died in 1681.[xxiv] John’s eldest son Miles of Cloghroak married Maria or Mary, daughter of Fergus Madden of Lismore while from John’s son William descended the Burkes of Ballydugan, Co. Galway.[xxv]

William Burke of ‘Cloghrocker,’ gentleman, was one of the many Galway Jacobites indicted for high treason after the accession to the throne of King William III, while Captain Richard Burke of ‘Cloghroka’ had his case for admission to the benefit of the articles of Limerick adjudicated under the court of claims in 1699.[xxvi] Another of the family, Thomas Burke of Cloghroak, became a Dominican and having studied in Louvain, Paris and Rome, was appointed Prior of the convent of St. Sixtus in Rome in 1683. Three years later he was appointed Prior of the Dominican Convent at Athenry and held that office until his return to Rome in 1697, whereupon he was re-appointed Prior of St. Sixtus and died abroad in 1724.[xxvii] The will of Oliver Burke of Cloghroak, Co. Galway, esq. was proved in 1724.[xxviii]

Intermarriage of the Burkes with the Maddens of Lismore

The Maddens of Lismore were doubly connected by marriage to this Burke family, with one Christina Madden of Lismore married to ‘Ulici de Burgo de Clocrogh’, whose daughter Evelina would later be buried in the friary church in Meelick.[xxix]

Miles Burke, who married Maria Madden, as the eldest son of John of Cloghroak was the senior-most member of the family and played a prominent part in the political affairs of the Galway in the late seventeenth century. He was still described as ‘of Clogheroke’ while serving as one of the Commissioners appointed by King James II in 1690 to fix the rate of taxation within the county of Galway.[xxx] Miles of Clogheroke and Maria Madden had one son, John Burke of Lismore, who was twelve years of age when his father died in 1692. His mother Maria or Mary Madden died sometime between 1689 and 1696 and John was placed under the guardianship of his uncle Thomas Burke.[xxxi]

John Burke of Lismore

John had been resident at Lismore since at least the age of twenty.[xxxii] A Roman Catholic and tertiary of the Franciscan Order, he married Alice, daughter of William Brabazon of Ballinasloe and maintained the long connection between the house at Lismore and the Franciscan friary at Meelick, to which he proved a good benefactor.[xxxiii] Their marriage produced no surviving male heir and their only daughter, Mary married, while quite young, the Hon. James Burke, third son of John 9th Earl of Clanricarde.[xxxiv] Mary’s husband, however, died in August of 1718 on the same day that their only child, Letitia, was born. Letitia had been left in ward to her father’s ‘friend and relative’, Edmund Burke of Birr. Some time before his son’s death the Earl settled the castle and lands of Clondegoffe on the western shore of Lough Derg on John Burke and he was described as ‘of Clondegoffe’ at his death. Mary Burke still held Clondegoffe as his widow in 1718.[xxxv]

John Burke of Lismore died, aged about sixty-five years, on the 15th November of 1745 and was buried in the Franciscan church at Meelick.[xxxvi] He was survived at Lismore by his widow Alice, who would live for another fifteen years, and by his daughter and sole heiress, Mary. Through Mary’s second marriage, to Anthony, son of Charles Daly of Calla, near Kilconnell in east Galway, the Daly family would eventually succeed the Burkes at Lismore Castle.

Mary had a monumental stone erected in the church at Meelick to the memory of her father, placed below that mural tablet erected earlier by her great grandfather Fergus Madden.  The tablet dedicated to John Burke, however, survived only until the late nineteenth century, at which time  it was lost in restoration work, along with many others.

Burke of Lismore burial place final

Plan of Meelick Roman Catholic Church, parish of Meelick, showing the approximate location of the burial place of the Burkes of Lismore


 

[i] Thomas More Madden, JGAHS, Vol. II, no. i. 1902; More Madden gives only three daughters of Fergus; Maria, Dorothea and Katherine Deborah. Christina married John ffrench of Derryffrench, in the parish of Tynagh, and was mentioned in land transactions in the year 1700, involving, among others, her brother-in-law, John Burke. The ffrenches son, Madin ffrench died in 1719 and nine years later, Christina died. The Meelick friars describe her on her death as ‘filia Domini Fergusi Madden et Dominae Catherinae Donnellan, uxor Domini Johannis French, benefactrix optima hujus conventus.’ The lands of Derry lay in that part of Tynagh in the half barony of Leitrim, and after the restoration of Charles II had been confirmed on Fergus Madden under the Act of Settlement.

[ii] A finely carved stone tablet was erected at Meelick friary for the Maddens of Lismore in 1671. Located on the south wall of the church in the late-twentieth century, its inscription reads, ‘Pro familia Madden de Lismor, D. Fergussius Madden me sibi, ac dilectae conivgi, D. Catharinae Madden, als Donnellan, ac posterissus, necnon in memoriam sepulturea maiorum, erigi fecit, die 14 Iunii 1671.’

[iii] Sturgess, H.A.C., Register of Admissions to the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, from the fifteenth century to the year 1944, Butterworth & Co., London, 1949, Vol. I, p. 214. ‘1684, October 20, Joseph Madden, son and heir of Fergus M. of Lismore, County Galway, esq.’ Joseph Madden pursued a legal career and was admitted to the Middle Temple on the 20th October 1684. At his admission he was described as the ‘son and heir’ of Fergus of Lismore but he died some time between that date and 1687, leaving only his sisters to inherit the Lismore estate.

[iv] Trustees for the sale of the forfeited estates in Ireland, ‘A list of the claims as they were entered with the Trustees, at Chichester-House on College Green, Dublin on or before the tenth of August 1700,’ J. Ray, Dublin, 1701, p. 219. Claim no. 1927.

[v] Fahey, J., D.D., V.G., The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, M.H. Gill & sons, Dublin, 1893, p. 245

[vi] Brewer, J.S. and W. Bullen, W. (ed.), Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts, 1515-1574, First published on behalf of P.R.O., London, 1867, pp. 210-213. ‘Whereas a controversy between the Earl of Ormond and the said Ulick is referred to the consent of each of them to the determination of the wives of the said Ulick and of John Grace, gentleman; nevertheless, in case those arbitrators cannot agree, the final judgement shall remain with the Lord Deputy and Council.’ Order dated 9th October 1544.

[vii] Brewer, J.S. and W. Bullen, W. (ed.), Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts, 1575-1588, London, Longman, Green, Reader & Dyer, 1868, p. 324.

[viii] Cal. Pat. 9 James I. In information deposited in April 1610 by Edward Kelly, one of the prebendaries  of Clonfert Cathedral, it is stated that ‘in the lifetime of Richard 2nd Earl of Clanricarde, about 45 years ago, that Ulick was married in the parish church of Athenry to Onora Burke, daughter of John Burke of Clogheroke’.

[ix] Hamilton, H.C. (ed.), Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland of the reign of Elizabeth 1574-1585,London, Longman, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1867, p. 298.

[x] Hamilton, H.C. (ed.), Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland of the reign of Elizabeth 1574-1585,London, Longman, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1867, p. 298.

[xi] Calendar of Fiants Queen Elizabeth I, The thirteenth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland, 12 March 1881, Dublin, A. Thom & Co., 1881, Appendix IV, Fiants Eliz. I, p. 77. Both ‘Shane rieoghe mcShane oge Burcke of Crekmagrenye and Hubert mcEdmund Burcke of Gorttinmacknett, Co. Galway, gentlemen’ were together issued a pardon by the Crown for a fine of ten English pounds at the same time in May of 1578.

[xii] Hamilton, H.C. (ed.), Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland of the reign of Elizabeth 1574-1585,London, Longman, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1867, p. 298.

[xiii] Brewer, J.S. and W. Bullen, W. (ed.), Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts, 1575-1588, London, Longman, Green, Reader & Dyer, 1868, p. 324.

[xiv] Hamilton, H.C. (ed.), Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland of the reign of Elizabeth 1574-1585, London, Longman, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1867, p. 293, No. 35. Captain Nicholas Mordant, writing from Galway to Sir Nicholas Malbie, dated 18th March 1581; Brewer, J.S. and W. Bullen, W. (ed.), Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts, 1575-1588, London, Longman, Green, Reader & Dyer, 1868, p. 324.

[xv] Hamilton, H.C. (ed.), Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland of the reign of Elizabeth 1574-1585, London, Longman, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1867, p. 296.

[xvi] Calendar of Fiants Queen Elizabeth I, The thirteenth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland, 12 March 1881, Dublin, A. Thom & Co., 1881, Appendix IV, Fiants Eliz. I, p. 191. Among the other sons of Shane oge were Thomas and William, Hobert mcShane Oge, Redmond McShane Oge and Ulick McShane Oge. The last three of these were given pardons in September of 1582 at the request of John Burke the Earls son, suggesting that they were still aligned with him at that time. Another individual, one Gerald McShane oge, of Clanricard, was pardoned at this time also but not alongside the other sons of Shane Oge at the suit of John the Earl’s son.

[xvii] Hamilton, H.C. (ed.), Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland of the reign of Elizabeth 1574-1585, London, Longman, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1867, p. 298. This Mary Burke, a strong supporter of her rebellious brother John, would later marry John Moore of Clonbigney, Cloghan Castle, Balla and Brieze and, after a turbulent life, was buried in the abbey of Ballinasmal near Claremorris in Country Mayo.

[xviii] H. C. Hamilton (ed.), Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland of the reign of Elizabeth 1574-1585,London, Longman, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1867, p. 298.

[xix] Caillard Erck, J. (ed.), A Reportery of the Inrolments of the Patent Rolls of Chancery in Ireland commencing with the reign of King James I, Vol. I, Part I, Dublin, James McGlashan, 1866, p. 106, footnote a.

[xx] Calendar of the Patent Rolls of the Chancery of Ireland, 1800, I James I, Part I, pp. 18-20.

[xxi] Calendar of Fiants Queen Elizabeth I, The thirteenth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland, 12 March 1881, Dublin, A. Thom & Co., 1881, Appendix IV, Fiants Eliz. I, p. 191.

[xxii] Calendar Patent Rolls 17 James I, pp. 437-443.

[xxiii] Calendar Patent Rolls 17 James I, pp. 437-443. William mcShane óg of Cloghroak was given in an inquisition of 1631 to have been involved in a property transaction of 1604 with Melaghlin O Madden of Clare. (Reporteries of Chancery Inquisitions, Charles I.) The same Melaghlin of Clare was described as married to Annable, daughter of William McShane of Cloghroak.[xxiii] (NLI, Dublin, G.O., Ms. 221, Milesians II, p.333.) No other details were given in relation to this Melaghlin other than a date of 1631 given below his name but no indication as to the significance of that date.

[xxiv] Burke’s Genealogical & Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland, Sir Bernard Burke, Edited L.G. Pine, 4th edition, 1958, London.

[xxv] Burke’s Genealogical & Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland, Sir Bernard Burke, Edited L.G. Pine, 4th edition, 1958, London.

[xxvi] Analecta Hibernica No. 22, IMC, 1960, p.72, p. 107.

[xxvii] Fahey, J., D.D., V.G., The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, M.H. Gill & sons, Dublin, 1893, p. 324.

[xxviii] Vicars, Sir A. (Editor), Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810, Dublin, 1897.

[xxix] G.O. MS 5203, Copy of records of the Franciscan Convent of Meelick, Co. Galway, made by Fr. James Hynes in 1858, ‘Hoc die 5 Novembris anni 1728 sepulta fuit in nostra ecclesia Domina Evelina Burke pietate et religione illustris filia Ulici de Burgo de Clocrogh et Christina Maddin de Lismore valde addicta.’

[xxx] Fahey, J., D.D., V.G., The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, M.H. Gill & sons, Dublin, 1893, p. 323

[xxxi] Thomas Burke was second son of that John Burke of Clogheroke who died in 1681. Burke’s Genealogical & Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland, Sir Bernard Burke, Edited L.G. Pine, 4th edition, 1958, London.

[xxxii] Dunsandle papers, Analecta Hibernica No. 15 1944. John Burke of Lismore is mentioned in land transactions dated April 1700, involving John ffrench of Derry and Christina his wife, Denis Kelly of Lisduff and Owen Maddin and Ambrose Maddin, his son and heir, of Kilmacshane.’ The Convert Rolls show one Ambrose of Kilmacshane conforming to Protestantism in 1705.

[xxxiii] Fennessy, I., OFM, The Meelick Obituary and Chronicle (1623-1873) (with index), Archivium Hibernicum, Vol. LX, 2006-7, p. 403. While he did not leave a legacy to the friary in his will, the friars acknowledged in his obituary that he was ever a good benefactor.

[xxxiv] Lodge, J. (revised by M. Archdall), The Peerage of Ireland or a genealogical history of the present nobility of that kingdom, Vol. I, Dublin, James Moore, 1789, p. 180.

[xxxv] Burke’s Genealogical & Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland, Sir Bernard Burke, Edited L.G. Pine, 4th edition, 1958, London.

[xxxvi] Fennessy, I., OFM, The Meelick Obituary and Chronicle (1623-1873) (with index), Archivium Hibernicum, Vol. LX, 2006-7, p. 403.