A History of Castlegarde – Part 4

A History of Castlegarde – Part 4

In Part 3 we posed the question of who got Castlegarde after 1588.

Following the failure of the Desmond Rebellion and its crushing defeat in 1583 the lands owned by the former Earl of Desmond and his supporters were attained by the crown. The process of their distribution thereafter seems to have been slow and elongated as the records show that the estate at Castlegarde was not distributed until 1589.

We cannot tell for certain if at this time Castelgarde was attained from the Earl of Desmond or from their supporter Brian “Bouy” O’Brien. What is certain is that Brian “Bouy” O’Brien was at least the main tenent in charge of Castlegarde up to 1588, but that at this stage whatever part he had played in the rebellion (perhaps from what we can assertain he just sat on the fence) the lands were attained from him and the Desmond estates in Co. Limerick.

Sir Henry Sydney is mistakenly mentioned in some sources as being the “owner” of Castlegarde, however there is little to indicate that that he ever owned the estate. He might have had some say over it on behalf of the crown prior to the peace following the first Desmond Rebellion (1573).

We believe that it is most likely that as former Lord Deputy of Ireland and a member of the Queens Privy Council he did have some responsibility for oversight of John Perrot the Lord Deputy up to 1588 who was then replaced by Sir William FitzWilliam as Lord Deputy in 1588.

In the meantime Perrott through a series of intrigues found himself imprisoned in the Tower of London (where he later died). Following his imprisonment his Irish appointees to positions of power were replaced with hard line anti-gaelic crown representatives who were staunchly Edwardian protestant, and hence we believe the reason for Brian “Bouy” O’Brian (who apprears to have sat on the fecnce during the rebellion) being evicted from Castlegarde at the end of the attainment in 1589.

It is difficult to blame Brian “Bouy” O’Brian for taking little action either way during the Desmond Wars. On one side he owed his famaily loyalty to the Earl of Thomond who was the successor to the O’Brian Kingship of Thomond. The Earl of Thomond in 1581 was Donogh O’Brian a staunch supporter of Elizabeth the 1st at whose court he was fostered at in England. On the other side his “masters” and overlords of Castlegarde were the Earls of Desmond, a force to be reckoned with as the anals record their mustering of armies up to 20,000 men, a feat not matched by several countries at the time, let alone one noble family.

Furthermore to add to Brian “Bouy” O’Briens concerns the previous one hundred years had been ones of turmoil for any crown subject, the Wars of the Roses were followed by the reformation under Henry, the counter reformation under his daughter Queen Mary, and the reversal of Mary’s policy under Queen Elizabeth. It was a time where even Kings and Queens feared strongly for the security of their thrones, and given the level of rebellion in both England and Ireland these fears were not unfounded.

Additionally politics was filled with rebellion and intrigue, such as the Pilgramage of Grace in the North of England, Lady Jane Grey’s rebellion and the plotting of Mary Queen of Scotts just to mention the major ones. There were many other plots and rebellious activities afoot that were so numerous they are merely mentions in the footnotes of history. So with all this going on, it was difficult for Brian “Bouy” O’Brien to aliagn himself with any one side for fear of his own life.

During both the first and second Desmond rebellions a young English captain had distinguished himself in duty, mostly in the West of Ireland, at one stage even being captured by James FitzMaurice FitzGerald in 1573 and handed back when Essex met the Earl of Desmond near Waterford.

This captain Sir George Bouchier (knighted for his part in putting down the first rebellion) continued in Ireland after the rebellions ended and was elected to the old Irish Parliment in 1585. Having again fought with valour against the second Desmond Rebellion he was then granted the lands of both Castlegarde and Lough Gur, and surrounding areas totalling in all 12,800 acres in Co. Limerick in 1589 following the appointment of Sir William FitzWilliam as Lord Deputy of Ireland.

Boucheir was in a good position to gain this land grant as he was of good English stock, the third son of 2nd Earl of Bath, and had additionally proven his loyalty in the field of battle. His profile would fit well with the type of Estate owner desired by those pushing the Elizabethian plantations in Munster as he would have had no connections with the Irish tenants and therefore little empathy in replacing them.

Sir George Bouchier made a good marriage for himself with Martha Howard the granddaughter of the Duke of Norfolk. She had five sons three of whom died young, however Sir John Bouchier survived to inherit Castlegarde and other Limerick lands on the death of his father in 1605.

Sir John Bouchier was knighted in 1610 and also seems to have come into the Manor of Clare in Co. Antrim which added 7,000 acres to his estates. We are not certain if these lands were aquired by his father or by himself by means of reward from the crown.

Sir John Bouchier died a young man in 1614 leaving his estates in both Antrim and Co. Limerick (which included Castlegarde) to his younger brother Henry Bouchier (the last surviving of five sons of George Bouchier and Martha Howard).

In 1637 Henry left Ireland and became one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in England as he inherited the Earldom of Bath from an heirless cousin. However he still held ownership of his Irish estates which were heavily involved in the Royalist cause during the turmoil of the years to come.

Henry Bouchiers departure for England meant the begining of absenteeism of both him and his heirs from their Irish estates. Therefore we know he would have appointed his senior agents as warders over their management and defences (in times of war).

We know that Henry Bailey (Bally, Baylee or Baillee in some documents) was the main tenant in charge and Bouchier agent over both Castlegarde and Lough Gur castles in 1659. We are not sure if this Henry Bailey is one and the same or a son of Henry Bailey who defended Lough Gur castle as Warder against the Irish confederacy during the seige of 1641 when he was also responsible for holding Castlegarde for Royalist forces.

Henry Bouchier himself was a staunch Royalist supporter and during the English Civil War was captured and imprisoned in 1642 by Parlimentarian forces for attempting to raise troops for the king. He was released a year later but immediately took up the royalist cause again and was appointed Lord Privy Seal by Charles the first.

In 1638 he married Rachel Fane with whom he had no family. He died in 1654, out of favour with the Cromwellian government of the day. However he managed to hold his estates despite his royalist credentials but he was heavily taxed as a penalty for his loyalties to the King. The Earldom of Bath was left without an heir while his wife Rachel Fane remained countess dowdger of Bath.

Rachel Fane on coming into her husbands estates became a great patron to her family. One of the major beneficiaries was her newphew Sir Henry Fane to whom she gifted her Irish estates including Castlegarde on his marrriage to Elizabeth in 1668. We know he kept Baileys on as tennants in charge and most likely as agents for his wider Irish estates in the area.

In our next article we will deal with some of the history of the Fanes and their sale of Castlegarde to whom we will reveal in Part 5.