William Fitz-Adelm de Burgh
The Bourkes of Clanwilliam
by James Grene Barry, J.P.
(originally published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland in 1889.)
Few of the Anglo-Norman adventurers who
accompanied Strongbow and Henry II in the twelfth century
acquired such possessions in Ireland, or attained to such honours
and power, as the family of De Burgh or De Burgo; or as the name
came to be spelled subsequently, Burke or Bourke. The progenitor
of this powerful family was William Fitz-Adelm de Burgh, who got
immense grants of land from Henry in Leinster, Munster and
Connaught. His Lordship in Munster included the most fertile
portions of the present counties of Limerick and Tipperary,
called after him the Baronies of West and East Clanwilliam. He
made his chief residence at Athassel, on the banks of the river
Suir, in the midst of the Golden Vale of East Clanwilliam. He
there erected a castle and laid the foundation of a Priory of
Augustinian Canons about A.D. 1200.
In after years this humble religious foundation, owing to the munificence of his descendants, developed into that noble Abbey, the picturesque remains of which to this day bear testimony to the piety and bounty of the Bourkes of Clanwilliam.
Castleconnell, picturesquely situated on a rock overlooking the Shannon, about six miles north of Limerick, became the principal castle of the Bourkes in West Clanwilliam. This was the ancient seat of the O'Conaings, and took their name Caislean-ui-Chonaine. It subsequently fell into the possession of the O'Briens of Thomond.
King John made a grant of Castleconnell, with five knights' fees, to William de Burgh, who erected a strong castle there. Walter De Burgh, about the end of the thirteenth century, considerably enlarged and strengthened this castle, which was the chief stronghold of his descendants at the end of the sixteenth century.
The Lords of Castleconnell and Brittas were descended from Edmond (Mac-an-Iarla), a younger son of Richard De Burgh, "The Red Earl of Ulster," whose father Walter, through his marriage with Maud, only daughter and heiress of Hugh De Lacey, had succeeded to the Earldom of Ulster and Lordship of Meath. The tragic death of Edmond Mac-an-Iarla is worth recording here, as it gives an insight into those sanguinary family feuds characteristic of Ireland in the fourteenth century. William De Burgh (the Brown Earl, who was assassinated at Carrickfergus by his uncle, Richard de Mandeville), by his marriage with Maud, daughter of Henry Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster, left at his death in 1333, an only daughter, a minor.
Edmond Mac-an-Iarla was her guardian, and assumed in his own right the Lordship of Connaught. He also aspired during his ward's minority to the Earldom of Ulster. His pretensions in due course caused a serious family feud. A powerful faction of the Bourkes, under the leadership of Edmond Albanach Bourke, adhered to the fortunes of the youthful heiress.
On Low Sunday, A.D. 1337, while Mac-an-Iarla, with some of his kinsmen and adherents, were partaking of the hospitality of the Augustinian Friars in the town of Ballinrobe, a band of armed men, headed by Edmond Albanach, forcibly entered the monastery and seized Mac-an-Iarla after a stout resistance. Several gentlemen of the Bourkes were killed in the melee, and Mac-an- Iarla was carried as a prisoner to Lough Mask Castle some two miles distant. The following night he was removed to Ballydonagh Castle, at the south end of Lough Mask, and on the third day was carried across the lake to another stronghold of the Bourkes situated on an island since known as Oilean-an-Iarla (the Earl's Island).
The Archbishop of Tuam and the principal gentlemen of the Bourkes were here assembled, tradition says, to effect a reconciliation between the rival factions, and that their efforts were about being crowned with success but for the tragedy which followed.
The principal retainers of Edmond Albanach, Stauntons by name, had taken an active part in the outrage at the monastery in Ballinrobe, and as we learn from O'Flaherty in his Iar-Connaught, "Despairing of their own safety, if he was set at liberty, they turned him (Edmond) into a bag, and cast him out of the island into the lake, with stones tyed to the bag, for which fact they were called Clan Ulcin ever since ... Hence followed great combustions and wars in Connaught after." It is a curious fact, in corroboration of this tradition, that the Stauntons of Mayo, who were descended from an Englishman, a retainer of the Red Earl whom he had knighted on the field of battle, changed their name to MacEvilly (Mac-a-mhilid) the "Son of the Knight."
Edmond Mac-an-Iarla left several sons by his wife Slainy, daughter of Turlogh O'Brien, Lord of Thomond. These sons took an active part in the "combustions and wars" which ensued on the death of their father. Finally, the eldest, with the powerful assistance of his kinsmen, the O'Briens, established himself at Castleconnell, and was recognized as the chief of the Clanwilliam Bourkes. Sir William de Burgo assumed the Celtic title of MacWilliam Uachtar (Lord of Galway), while his brother Sir Edmond, took that of MacWilliam Iochtar (Lord of Mayo) - thus dividing the Lordship of Connaught between them, and throwing off the English yoke at the same time.
In the sixteenth century his descendants took an active part in the great Desmond wars, which eventuated in the confiscation of the princely territory of the Earl of Desmond in the counties of Limerick, Cork and Kerry. Sir William Bourke of Castleconnell, who was married to Catherine, daughter of the 15th or "Great" Earl of Desmond, suffered heavily by the part he took in the war of 1569-75.
On the occasion of Sir Henry Sidney's, the Lord Deputy's, visit to Limerick in 1575, Sir William and his kinsmen came in and made their submission, and were "restored to the Queen's favour, and confirmed in their estates."
On the landing of the Spaniards in Smerwick Bay, A.D. 1579, James Fitzmaurice, Pierse de Lacy, and other confederate chiefs, made every effort to seduce the Clanwilliam Bourkes from their allegiance and to induce them once more to cast in their lot with the Desmonds. Sir WIlliam and his kinsmen, however, remained staunch to their promises, and steadfastly declined all overtures.
Fitzmaurice thereupon turned for assistance to his relatives in Connaught, and in attempting to force his way through the Bourke country, encountered his kinsmen in a wood close to the present Barrington's bridge. There are many versions of this sanguinary fight, but the following is the most graphic:
James Fitzmaurice having designed to go into Connaught to procure sufficient aid, and coming into the Bourke country, ordered his men to take the first horses they met for his use, which they did out of a ploughland belonging to Sir William Bourke. The ploughman thereupon set up a hue and cry, which Sir William and his sons hearing of, with some kerns, followed the track, and at last overtook his cousin Fitzmaurice in a wood, who seeing Sir William's eldest son, addressed himself to him saying: Cousin Theobald, the taking of garrons between you and me shall be no breach: if you knew the cause we have no in hand you would assist us; and then related to him the assistance he had from the Pope and the King of Spain.
To which Theobald Bourke replied that
he and his father and brethren had too much meddled that way
already, and had cause to curse the day when they first opposed
the Queen's authority; and that having sworn fidelity they were
resolved never more to break it, which answer not being at all
agreeable to Fitzmaurice, he refused to part with the garrons he
had taken; and thereupon happened an encounter, wherein Theobald
and his younger brother Richard were killed, and on the other
side James Fitzmaurice and most of his followers had the same
The Annals of the Four Masters give the following account of this fight:
James Fitzmorris went through the middle of Clanwilliam and proceeded to plunder the country as they went along. The country began to assemble to poopse them; and first of all the sons of William Bourke, son of Edmond, namely Theobald and Ulick. Theobald despatched messengers to Tuath-aesa-Greine summoning Mac-I-Brien Ara to came and banish the traitor from the country. Mac-I-Brien sent a body of gallow-glasses and soldeirs to Theobald. These then went in pursuit of these heroic bands, and overtook James, who had halted in a dense and solitary wood to await their approach. A battle was fought between both forces, in which James was shot with a ball in the hollow of his chest, which caused his death. Nothwithstanding this, he defeated his lordly pursuers. In this conflict a lamentable death took place, namely that of Theobald Bourke, a young warrior, who was a worthy heir to an earldom for his valour and military skill, and his knowledge of the English language and law.
The Bourkes cut off Fitzmaurice's head,
placing it over the gate at Castleconnell; they sent his quarters
to the Lord President, who set them over the gates of Kilmallock,
which was the principal town of the Desmonds in the county of
Limerick. Theobald Bourke, who lost his life this encounter, was
a notable personage, not alone as heir to the Lordship of
Castleconnell, but as one who had made a name for himself in that
warlike age as a warrior and leader of men.
This encounter resulted in bringing the loyal conduct of the Bourkes prominently before Elizabeth. The Queen wrote Sir William BOurke a letter of condolence on the loss of his sons, and as a mark of her favour created him a peer, by letters patent, dated May 16th, 1580, with the title of Lord Baron Bourke of Castleconnell. He was given an annuity of two hundred marks. Theobald Bourke, Sir William's eldest son, was married to Lady Mary, daughter of Donagh Ramhar O'Brien, Earl of Thomond, and left at his death four sons. The eldest, John, succeeded his grandfather as second Lord Castleconnell in 1584.
He appears to have held aloof from all the intrigues and fighting so rife in Ireland at that period. While in London in 1592 however, he got into an altercation with a Captain Arnold Cosby, an English adventurer who had profited by the Desmond confiscations. A duel was the result. Both parties, with their seconds, met on horseback, according to the Irish custom, on Hounslow Heath. Cosby proposed that the quarrel should be settled on foot, which was agreed to. Lord Castleconnell, having dismounted, was in the act of taking off his spurs when he was attacked by Cosby, who ran him through the body before the seconds had time to interfere. Cosby was arrested and tried for the treacherous act. He was found guilty of murder, on the evidence of those who were present, and was hanged on the spot where Lord Castleconnell fell.
In the Annals of Limerick this event is
John Bourke, Lord Castleconnell, was basely slain
By Captain Arnold Cosby - for they twain
Resolved to fight; but Cosby stops - demurs,
Prays Castleconnell to take off his spurs:
And as he stoop'd, yielding to his request,
Cosby most basely stabb'd him in the breast;
Gave twenty-one, all dreadful wounds - base act,
And Cosby only hang'd for the horrid fact.
Richard Bourke succeeded his brother as third Lord. His life was a short but a merry one, as far as fighting went. Although he could not be seduced from his allegiance to Elizabeth, and helf aloof from the Desmond rising of 1598, we find him one day skirmishing with the retainers of the "Sugan Earl"; another day, slaying in a cavalry charge no less a personage than the Lord President of Munster; again, settling an agrarian dispute with his relatives of O'Briens of Thomond, by force of arms. Sir Thomas Norris, the Lord President, took up his quarters in the town of Kilmallock in the Spring of 1598. It was his custom to ride out daily, with a strong escort of horse, to scour the adjoining hostile country of the Desmonds.
In one of these raids, in the direction
of Kilteely, close to the Bourke country, he came across a strong
body of horse, under the command of Thomas Bourke, brother of
Lord Castleconnell, who were likewise on a reconnoitering
expedition. Bourke, observing what appeared to him as a hostile
party approaching, could not resist the temptation for a fight -
explanations might come afterwards. He and his men charged home,
shouting their war-cry, Gareach- aboo. The Lord President,
nothing loth, met them in full career, when a bloody fight
ensued, which resulted in the death of Sir Thomas Norris and the
defeat of his escort. It is to be presumed that the Bourkes
apologized for their mistake, as no reprisals were made by SIr
George Carew, who succeeded as Lord President.
In the autumn of the same year Lord Castleconnell had an encounter with the O'Briens, on the Limerick side of O'Brien's Bridge.
On the death of Murrogh, four Baron of Inchiquin, who was drowned in Lough Erne, a dispute arose between his widow, Lady Margaret, daughter of Lord Chancellor Cusack, and Lord Castleconnell, about a townland called Portcrosi, now Portcrussa, lying along the Shannon and adjoining Castleconnell. Lady Margaret, with her sons and retainers, crossed the Shannon, with the intentions of cutting and bringing home the harvest then ripe on these lands. Lord Castleconnell thereupon assembled the Bourkes, and attacked the harvesters before they had accomplished their purpose. A fierce fight ensued, many gentlemen were slain on each side, among others Ulick Bourke, uncle of Lord Castleconnell. The O'Briens were driven across the Shannon without their harvest, which the Bourkes secured in peace as the fruits of their prowess.
Early in the following year Lord Mounjoy came over to Ireland as Lord Deputy. In conjunction with Carew he carried fire and sword into the Desmond country, and took effectual steps for breaking up the league. He put a price of 1000 pounds on the heads of Tyrone and the Sugan Earl.
Dermot O'Conor, who had taken an active part with Tyrone, had been sent to aid the Munster confederacy. He was closely related to the Desmonds, having married Lady Margaret, daughter of Gerald, the sixteenth Earl, who was so foully murdered in 1584, and whose immense estates, some 800,000 acres, were then confiscated. O'Conor, having collected some 1400 bonoghs in Connaght, with a strong body of horse, reached safely Owney (Abington), the Pass into Clanwilliam. Lord Castleconnell, with his brother Thomas, mustered the Bourkes, and opposed his passage.
With the assistance of his neighbours,
the O'Ryans, they kept up a running fight with O'Conor, who had
succeded in forcing the Pass at Owney for eight miles, until they
reached the confines of the Clangibbon country. At the bridge of
Bunbristy O'Conor made a stand, having received assistance from
the garrison of Lough Gur Castle, which was a stronghold of the
Desmonds. A fierce engagement followed. Finally, Lord
Castleconnell and his brother were slain in an attempt to force
the passage of the bridge, whereupon the Bourkes retired,
allowing O'Conor to form a junction with the Desmonds. Thus died
in harness the third and fourth Lords of Castleconnell,
"though young in years," we are told, "they were
manly in renown and noble deeds."
Dermot O'Conor was a mere mercenary, willing to sell his sword or his country to the highest bidder. His wife seems to have been endowed with the spirit of intrigue. Before the year was out she entered into negotiations with Carew, with the object of earning the reward of 1000 pounds offered by him for the capture of the "Sugan Earl." After several unsuccessful attempts O'Conor succeeded by stratagem in securing the person of the Earl, whom he sent with a strong escort to Castlelisheen, near Dromcollagher, where the Lady margaret had established herself. She at once communicated the news to Carew, who immediately set out from Kilmallock, but the Earl was rescued before the Lord President arrived. Dermot O'Conor, when his treacherous conduct was found out, fled for sagety with his bonoghs to Ballyalinan Castle (near Rathkeale).
Here he as besieged by the
confederates; but fearing that the castle would be taken before
Carew could come to his assistance, he surrendered, and made his
peace with the Desmonds. He soon after applied for, and got, a
safe-conduct into Connaught from the Lord President for himself
and his bonoghs. Fearing to venture far into the Bourke country,
O'Conor kept along the Shannon, passed by Limerick during the
night, and attempted the passage of the Shannon at a ford above
the city (Athlunkard). Theobald Bourke, who had assumed the
chieftainship of the Bourkes on the death of his brothers at
Bunbristy, having had notice that O'Conor was attempting to steal
a march on him, collected his retainers, and with the assistance
of his friends in the city attacked the bonoghs as they were
crossing into Thomond. O'Conor, however, successfully crossed the
river, with the loss of 100 men and a large part of the prey
which the Connaught-men were laden with. The Limerick Corporation
had to mourn the loss of one of their members in this encounter,
a gallant alderman named Roche.
Dermot O'Conor, in October of 1600, entered into an agreement with Carew to join him against the Confederates. He got a safe- conduct from Carew, and an escort of 100 foot from Lord Clanricarde to see him safely through the O'Shaughnessy country (Gort) and Thomond. He was, however, overtaken on the confines of the Inchiquin territory by Theobald na longa Bourke. After a fierce fight, O'Conor and the survivors of his escort retired into a ruined church, and there defended themselves bravely. Bourke set fire to the boildings, and Dermot O'Conor, with forty of his men, were slain. Theobald na longa sent Dermot's head as a present to Castleconnell, and wrote to Lord Clanricarde demanding protection as he had merely slain O'Conor to revenge the deaths of his cousins at Bunbristy. This Theobald na longa (of the ships) was a son of Sir Richard Fitzdavid Bourke, McWilliam Oughter, and the celebrated Grace O'Malley, Granuaile. He was created Viscount Bourke of mayo in 1627. These Bourkes evidently respected the old saw:
A bed death, a priest's death,
A straw death, a cow death -
Such death likes not me.
Within the space of twenty-one years six of the sons and grandsons of Sir William Bourke, Lord Castleconnell, died with sword in hand, with their faces to the foe. Within the same period, five of the direct descendants of James, 15th Earl of Desmond, father-in-law of Lord Castleconnell, died fighting for the Desmond cause and the broad lands of their fathers. The last spark of the Desmond conflagration, which had consumed, for half a century, the fairest portion of Munster, was not extinguished until the premature death, in the Tower of London in 1608, of the Sugan Earl, whose base betrayal for a reward of 1000, by his kinsman, the "White Knight," is a sad and disgraceful episode of Irish history.
The most notable member of the Bourkes during the first years of the 17th century was Sir John Bourke, of Brittas, the "Captain of Clanwilliam," a man of great influence and power. Through his mother he was nearly related to the O'Ryans, Chiefs of Owney, and the "White Knight." He was step-brother of the celebrated Confederate leader, Piers de Lacy, of Ballygrennan Castle, Bruff. After his tragic death in 1607, his castle of Brittas, and estates were granted to his cousin Theobald Bourke. This Theobald was uncle and guardian of the youthful Lord Castleconnell, and claimed to be chief of the Bourkes. He assumed the title of Lord Castleconnell during the minority of his nephew, and actually sat as a Peer in the Parliament of 1613.
Edmund, son of Thomas, 4th Lord Castleconnell, was educated in England at the instance of Sir Thomas Brown of Hospital, whose daughter Thomasin he subsequently married. On his coming of age in 1617, his legitimacy - question by Theobald - was established. Theobald Bourke, having conformed, was created Lord Bourke Baron Brittas by letters patent, dated 28th January 1618; but still refusing to surrender the castle and lands of Castleconnell to his nephew, he was arrested by order of the Lord Deputy and imprisoned in Dublin Castle in the spring of 1619. Before the winter set in he appeared more amenable. He petitioned the Lord Deputy and gave security, agreeing not to further interfere with his nephew, and was released. Lord Brittas married Lady Margaret Bourke, daughter of Richard, second Earl of Clanricarde.
The following twenty years seem to have been uneventful in the Bourke family. When Sir Thomas Wentworth - afterwards better known as Black Tom, Earl of Strafford - came as Lord Deputy in 1632, a spirit of toleration had succeeded the religious persecutions of the early part of the century. Most of the gentry who ahd then conformed returned to the religion of their fathers, and brought up their children unmolested in the old faith. When the Civil War broke out in 1641-2, both Lord Castleconnell and Brittas cast in their lots with the Confederate Catholics. William, sixth Lord Castleconnell, who sat among the Peers in the General Assembly in Kilkenny in 1642, raised a regiment of horse which took no inglorious part in the seven years' war which followed. His cousin, WIlliam Bourke, second son of Lord Brittas, was Lieutenant-Colonel in this regiment. He was taken prisoner by the Cromwellians in an engagement near Cork in 1653, ans was executed next day, leaving an only son, who succeeded as third Lord Brittas. Theobald Lord Brittas and Lord Castleconnell were attainted and their estates confiscated. the following is a copy of the transplanters' certificate given to Lord Brittas:
We, the said Commissioners do hereby certify, that Theobald Bourke, Lord Baron of Brittas, in the county of Limerick hath, upon the 19th day of November 1653, in pursuance of a declaration of the Commissioners of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England for the affairs of Ireland, bearing date the 14th of October 1653, delivered unto us, in writing, the names of himself and such other persons as are to remove with him, with the quantities and qualities of their stocks and tillage; the contents whereof are as followeth, viz: - The said Theobald, Lord Baron of Brittas, aged seventy-five years, red-gray hair, slender face.
The Lady Margaret, his wife, aged sixty years, gray hair, slender face. Margaret and Mary, daughters to Sir John Bourke (2nd Lord Brittas), under the age of twelve years. Thomas Bourke, his servant, aged twenty years, slender face, yellow hair. Daniel O'Bruoder, aged forty years, gray hair, slender face, and lame of one leg. Robert Lenane, aged sixty years, gray hair, full face. Shryilly Maley, aged eighteen years. Shryilly na Bruoder, aged forty years, gray hair, middle stature. Catherine Grady, maid servant, aged thirty years, full face, middle stature, black hair. Any ny Mahoney, aged thirty-six years, gray hair, full face, middle stature. His substance - three cows, one gelding, two garrans, and six hogs, for which he payeth contribution. The substance whereof we believe to be true.
Margaret, Lady Dowager of
Castleconnell, is described in her certificate, dated 19th of
December 1653, as "aged seventy years, middle stature,
flaxen hair ... Her substance, twenty cows, twenty sheep, ten
mares and garrans, and two riding nags: four sows, six acres of
winter corn, out of which she pays contribution."
Twenty-seven servants and retainers are also named and described
who are to move with her. This Lady Castleconnell was widow of
Donough O'Brien, of Carrigogunnell, and had from his as jointure
lands, three ploughlands in Clare, 720 acres, Cratloe (2), and
Portdrine; also portion of the lands of Corbally (Tervoe), all of
which were confiscated. The following are the names of some of
the Clanwilliam Bourkes who were transplanted and lost their
estates at this time:
1. William, Lord Castleconnell, and his wife, Lady Ellen (daughter of Maurice Roche, Viscount Fermoy).
2. Sir John Bourke and his wife, Lady Margaret (daughter of Thomas Fitzmaurice, Lord Kerry).
3. Sir David Bourke, of Kilpeacon, his wife and four sons, Oliver, Edmond, Patrick and David.
4. Theobald Bourke of Ballynagarde.
5. Richard Bourke of Caherconlish.
6. Walter Bourke of Luddenbeg.
7. Edmond Bourke of Ballysimon.
8. John Bourke and his brother, of Kissyquirke and Lismolane.
9. John Bourke of Ludden Castle.
10. Richard Bourke of Kilcoolen.
11. Edmond Bourke of Carrigmartin.
12. Richard Bourke of Ballyvarra.
13. William Bourke of Killonan.
14. Thomas Bourke of Ballylusky.
15. Thomas Bourke of Cahernany.
There are the names of forty-nine Bourkes in the Book of Transplanters' Certificates from the county of Limerick. By order of Parliament dated March 22nd 1653, the estates of Lord Brittas, in the barony of Clanwilliam, county Limerick, were granted to Sir Charles Coote in lieu of his claim for 1200.
On the accession of Charles II the attainder was reversed in the cases of Lord Castleconnell and Lord Brittas, and their estates were restored in part under the Act of Settlement.
Lord Castleconnell, who had joined the King's standard beyond the seas, returned at the Restoration, ans was named in the King's Declaration among those who had faithfully served under the King's Ensigns.
In his Petition he says he served "Your Royal Majesty five or six years in the Netherlands, trailing a pike in the Duke of York's Regiment. He understood no miserie, but now he has run in debt for food and raiment, and is at the end of his credit, in imminent hasard of imprisonment for his debts, and unable further to subsist, if your Majestie relieve him not." The Duke of Ormond, his relative, succeeded in getting him a temporary pension from the king of 1000 pounds a year, which was not, however, paid with regularity. He writes to the Duke of Ormond, complaining, "My Lord, as to my father, who pretended the honour of a near relative to your Grace and the Duchess's family, and by the means of your ancestor, Thomas, Earl of Ormond, was bred in his home. I doe take the presumtion to open my miserable condition to your Grace, and doe expect no less favour from you. I am confident your Grace knows how faithfully I served His Majestie and your Grace at home and abroad, and am during my life resolved to dispose of myself as your Grace shall think fitte.
"Therefore, I humbly beg your Grace's pardon that I plainly open my unfortunate grievance; for on my word, my Lord, I was forced, as Captain Henessy can inform your Grace, to pawn the very clothes I had for to bring me out of Dublin, and ever since had a mind to wait on your Grace. I was not able to appear for want of clothes, my wife and children being ready to forsake house and home, and all the little stocke I had being taken for rent. Sir Valentine Brown adn Sir Edward Fitzharris being engaged for what monies brought me to Ireland, are like to suffer for me. I beg of your Grace to send Sir George Lane or Secretary Page to Sir Daniel Bellingham to cause him to see me satisfied my arrears, and your Grace will ever oblige him that is
"Most obedient faithful Servant,
"Castledrohid, April 3, 1667."
This pension was reduced to 100 pounds a year, and was badly paid, as it was in arrear at Michaelmas, 1680. Lord Brittas likewise received a pension of 100 pounds a year.
William, eighth Lord Castleconnell was Lord Lieutenant of the County and City of Limerick. He sat in the Parliament of 1687-9, eithth in precedence among the Barons. He was second Lieutenant- Colonel in Colonel Hugh Sutherland's Regiment of Horse, and fought at Aughrim. He retired to France with James, and there died unmarried, when the title devolved on John, fourth Lord Brittas, whose father, Theobald, was married to Honora, Daughter of the Earl of Inchiquin (Morrogh-an-Toitean).
Theobald, Lord Brittas, who also sat in the Parliament of 1687-9, as tenth Baron in the roll of precedence, raised a regiment of horse, and served up to the end of the war, when he also retured to France, his estats and those of Lord Castleconnell having been confiscated.
During the siege of Limerick, September 1691, Brigadier-General Levison surprised the cavalry camp of the Irish between Sixmile- Bridge and Newmarket, and took many prisoners, including the Dowager Lady Castleconnell. Lord Brittas, with his troop, made good their escape into Limerick.
John, fourth Lord Brittas and ninth Lord Castleconnell, served in the Irish Brigade. He married Catherine, daughter of Colonel Gordon O'Neill, and left two sons, John (fifth Lord Brittas), a captain in the French army, who died unmarried, and Thomas, a General in the Sardinian army. According to Ferrar's History of Limerick, General Bourke was living in France in 1787. We are told that "he was a disinterested friend to his countrymen abroad." The king once said to him, "Bourke, you have solicited many favours for your Irish friends, but never asked one for yourself." His son was a captain in the Regiment of Rothe, and was a Knight of St. Louis. He died unmarried about 1796, when the direct line of the Bourkes of Clanwilliam became extinct.
Copyright 1998 by Andrew J. Morris -- http://www.genealogy.org/~ajmorris/