Shortly after the battle of Kinsale, Sir Walter Raleigh made the decision to divest himself of his Irish seignories. He had grown obsessed with the notion of establishing a permanent colony in Virginia. The Irish properties were causing him financial and mental stress. He had enjoyed limited success in inducing English tenants to settle on his estates. His most successful activity had been the export of oak and yew. Land prices had hit rock bottom on account of the on-going wars. His cousin, Sir George Carew, now President of Munster, recommended a young English clerk in his company whom he had lately rescued from the ‘verge of ruin’.
On 7th December 1601, Raleigh sold his 42,000 acre Irish estate, lock, stock and casket, to Richard Boyle for the paltry sum of £1500. The purchase included the towns of Youghal, Cappoquin and Lismore, all linked by the navigable River Blackwater, as well as castles, lands and fisheries, with the extra bonus of the ship Pilgrim. Temple Michael, Molana Abbey and the parkland at Ballynatray were also now given over to Richard Boyle. Indeed, while Boyle later increased his land-holdings, it was this sale that formed the basis for the entire Boyle – Cork – Burlington fortune and went a considerable distance to providing the present Duke of Devonshire with much of his birthright. Sir George Carew became the new resident of Myrtle Grove. The only property Raleigh maintained in Ireland was the castle at Inchiquin, which he had let for life from the Dowager Countess of Desmond.
The Countess died in 1604, allegedly aged 140, after a fall from an apple tree. These ripe legends also claim that, as a young woman, she had danced with Richard III before his death at the battle of Bosworth. She was buried in the Desmond plot at South Abbey but unfortunately no trace of the graves exist with the present church.The Olde Countess of Desmond is not buried at St. Mary's of Youghal as many people believe, although Earl of Desmond did establish the College to provide priests for the church. There is also a rumour, since disproved, that there was a secret tunnel from Myrtle Grove into the Church. Tadhg O'Keeffe, Professor of Medieval Archaeology in UCD, found no evidence of such a tunnel ever exisitng. (Thanks to Kieran Groeger).
There is also a curious legend that suggests William Shakespeare may have visited Youghal. This is presumably derived from the fact that Thomas Shakespeare of Bristol was harbour master in Youghal in the 15th century, and the family name of Shakespeare survived in East Cork until the 1970s. And there is also a connection through the possibly Jewish Francis Annyas, thrice Mayor of Youghal (1569, 1576 and 1581), whose sister Sarah married Rodrigo Lopez, the man on whom Shakespeare modeled Shylock. And for those interested in conspiracy, have a look at the Bard's links to Thomas Harriot and the Molana Abbey set here.
Sir Walter Raleigh was indicted for treason in 1604, having allegedly given his support to the attempted coup by Lady Arabella Stuart. After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, his life was always in danger. James Stuart, King of Scotland, succeeded to the throne as King of Scotland, England and the ‘semi-kingdom’ of Ireland. The nature of the Irish administration immediately changed. Under Elizabeth, magnates like Ormonde and favourites like Raleigh and Essex had always held a certain adulation from the monarch. When James arrived in London, he came with his own elite of power-hungry Scotsmen. He also had his own sexual desires to cater to and, as such, first Robert Carr and then the Duke of Buckingham secured positions of influence that not even Leicester or Essex had managed under Queen Elizabeth. Always paranoid, the new monarch, King James, simply could not stand Raleigh. He was tried by Sir Edward Coke, convicted of espionage, sentenced to death and imprisoned in the Tower of London for 13 years. Deeply depressed the 50-year-old veteran attempted suicide. Harriot came to console him. So too did fellow prisoner Florence MacCarthy who was writing a mythical history of Ireland. Security was considerably tightened in the wake of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605.
Initially, Boyle could only raise £500. The balance was still outstanding when Raleigh was tried for treason in 1604. King James attempted to confiscate the lands but Boyle managed to have his title confirmed by paying him the balance of £1,000. Boyle claimed it was a fair price because the estate was so ‘woefully dilapidated’ that he had to spend £3,700 improving it. That said, it was assuredly the bargain of the century. While Raleigh was imprisoned the following year, Boyle consolidated his ownership of the property by letters patent. Order on the estate was maintained by at least thirteen strategically placed castles, garrisoned by retainers. As such, Captain Smyth may have been assigned watch from the old Geraldine castle at Ballynatray from as early as 1603.
Richard Boyle was an entrepreneur from Canterbury who became one of the most extraordinary and powerful characters in Western Europe during the early 17th century. Boyle’s relevance to Ballynatray comes in at several levels. In the first instance, he owned the land as part of his purchase of the Raleigh estate. Secondly, he was closely related to the Smyth family who inhabited the land from 1611 through to the late 20th century. In 1593, Mary Boyle, the younger of his two sisters, married Captain Richard Smyth, an officer of the English army. When Sir Richard Boyle acquired Raleigh’s lands in 1602 he leased Ballynatray to his brother-in-law, Sir Richard Smyth, ancestor of the present owner. An inquisition of that same year found that ‘the said Captain Smyth hath built an English house thereon and dwells therein’, and in the following year Boyle records that he had ‘given my brother Smyth in money £20 sterling and all his timber towards re-edifying of my Castle of Ballynatray’.
As uncle and godfather to the Smyth family, Boyle played a vital role in the shaping of Ballynatray from its earliest conception as a deer park. The fortunes of the Smyth family were inextricably linked to those of their Boyle cousins. In 1620, Richard Boyle was created Earl of Cork, after which he is often known as the ‘Great Earl’. He was also 1st Viscount Dungarvan, 1st Baron Boyle of Youghal and sometime Lord High Treasurer of the Kingdom of Ireland. By the time of his death in 1643, he was one of the wealthiest men in the known world. As to the dynasty he established, five of his sons became Earls, a sixth was Robert Boyle the scientist and his daughters lived lives of much curiosity.
Richard Boyle is often accused of covering his tracks to make his ancestry seem more prestigious. However, critics are harsher on the man than they need be, for his pedigree was one of reasonable antiquity, traceable to a Ludowick Boyle living in the reign of Henry III. Richard’s grandfather, Lewis Boyle of Bidney, prospered during the War of the Roses and founded a Friary in the City of Hereford. By his wife Elizabeth, Lewis had two sons. The younger son Roger settled in Canterbury with his wife Jane, daughter of Thomas Patishall of Hereford. They had three sons – John, who stayed in Hereford and married one of the Haworths of Burop Hall; Roger, who was father of the Great Earl of Cork; and Michael, ancestor of the Viscounts Blessington.
Roger Boyle, Richard’s father, was born at Canterbury in about 1524 and lived at Preston, by Faversham, Kent. In October 1564, five years after Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne, he married Joan, daughter of John Naylor of Renville, Kent. Three sons (John, Richard and Hugh) and two daughters (Elizabeth and Mary) followed. The eldest brother John studied divinity at Oxford before joining Richard in Ireland where he became Bishop of Cork and Cloyne. He died prematurely at Bishop’s Court in Cork in the summer of 1620 and was among the first persons interred in Richard’s elaborate tomb in Youghal. Richard’s younger brother Hugh was the black sheep of the family, as third sons are wont to be. Little is known about him save that he was born in 1568 and seems to have died fighting on the Continent. Richard’s sister Elizabeth was born at Canterbury in about 1570, came to Ireland and was married to one of his closest henchmen, Piers Power. The younger sister Mary was also born at Canterbury, shortly after the Queen’s excommunication in 1572. She came to Ireland in the early 1590s and was married in 1593 to Captain Richard Smyth.
Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, deliberately encouraged the public image of himself as a rags to riches Dick Whittington who came to the kingdom of Ireland with nothing and died practically owning the country. As early as 1616, when he was still very much in his prime, the legend was circulated that when ‘not above 16 years afore, being a poore fellowe and in prison at Munster in Ireland, [Boyle] borrowed sixpence and now hath a great estate £12,000 yearly of Irish land’. In time, storytellers decided he had arrived at the age at 22 and increased his possessions to include £27 cash, a diamond ring, a treasured bracelet and, of course, the clothes he stood up in. A rather less colourful version of events is that Richard Boyle was born in Canterbury in 1566 and educated at the King’s School in Cambridge (alongside Christopher Marlowe) before moving on through Bennett's College to the Middle Temple, London. Unable to afford the completion of his legal studies in London, he came to Ireland to seek his fortunes. He landed on 23rd June 1588 and began to acquire a small fortune by exploiting legal uncertainties of land titles in Munster. In November 1595, the rising English adventurer considerably enhanced his wealth when he married Joan Apsley, a rich heiress from Limerick.
Boyle was living in Mallow when his 21-year-old wife Joan died in childbirth shortly before Christmas 1599. The marriage left him with an annual pension of £500 a year which he continued to receive until 1632. Meanwhile, he became acquainted with Catherine Fenton, daughter of Sir Geoffrey Fenton. Her uncle Edward was a friend of Sir Francis Drake and a successful sailor. Boyle got on famously with her mother, Lady Alice Fenton, a resourceful woman who made her own personal fortune out of copper mines in Dublin. On 25th July 1603, Sir George Carew knighted Richard Boyle at St Mary’s Abbey, Dublin. That same afternoon, Richard and Catherine Fenton were married. Catherine went on to bear her husband six sons and eight daughters. One assumes his sister Mary was present at the wedding with her husband Captain Richard Smyth.
Richard Boyle is not a man whom history looks upon favourably. Even his biographer Nicholas Canny confessed he would be loath to sit down at the same table with him. Ken Nicholls described him as ‘a most repellent character but an extraordinarily able one’. He was undoubtedly a product of his age. Sporting a dark black goatee and clad in a humourless black skirt, he comes across as a dour egomaniac. He did not share Raleigh’s passion for dancing but enjoyed reading, gardening, field sports, dice-playing, falconry and bowling. He enjoyed listening to Barry Bodell [sic] in church and had his own harpists at Lismore. He dined on venison and rabbit and drank whiskey to keep warm in winter. At Lismore, guests were lavishly entertained and he went to great expense to ensure the castle was always in peak condition. In 1614, for instance, ‘two glasurs’ were paid to paint the staircase and schoolhouse and a plasterer was engaged ‘to ceil with fretwork my study, my bed chamber, and the nursery and to wash them with Spanish white’.
There were several aspects to Boyle’s character that mark him out as an absolute genius. As someone who had effectively come from nowhere, Boyle understood the power of self-invention like few in his age. He knew there was little chance of his being accepted by the social hierarchy of his day but he also seems to have divined that the entire structure of England’s aristocracy was about to change dramatically. As such, he concentrated on securing his fortune and nurturing his children to become leaders in the new world. In many ways, he was the pioneer of the merchant based aristocracy that emerged during the reign of the Stuarts.
His determination to establish himself as anything other than a self-made man and give his family immediate provenance is perhaps best symbolized by the five elaborate Boyle funerary monuments he built to his ever-lasting memory while he was still very much alive. One of these is to be found in the south transept of St Mary's Collegiate Church in Youghal. Boyle renovated the building some fifty years after it was so badly damaged in the Desmond rebellion. The monument, a large faded mausoleum, designed by Alexander Hills, was ‘composed of white, red and grey marbles of the most expensive kinds’. Boyle lies casually on his elbow, striking a distinctly medieval pose, with his doting wives either side, his mother keeping watch from the top and his fifteen children and four siblings poised thoughtfully around and about. It was his older brother John Boyle, Bishop of Cloyne and Cork, who was actually buried inside this in 1620. Mary Smyth, wife of Captain Smyth of Ballynatray, is also here.
The key to Richard Boyle’s success almost certainly lay within the confines of his office at his principal residence, Lismore Castle. As a man who had lived without any fixed office for 35 years prior to his acquisition of the castle, he had clearly learned a few tricks along the way. His extraordinarily efficient office would be the envy of many a modern businessman. Perhaps life was simpler back then for there were no banks and so all his dealings consisted of gold, silver and IOU’s. Nevertheless, every aspect of every transaction – loans, borrowings, defaulters, dates - was meticulously chronicled in hardbound ledgers and systematically filed in draw-boxes for easy retrieval. The account books are among five tons of Lismore manuscripts now held between the National Library in Dublin and the library in Waterford. His diaries, written between 1619 and his death in 1643, are also a remarkably detailed, although trawling through them for jovial anecdotes on 17th century society is an ill-fated pastime. The Devonshire estate at Chatsworth currently holds the originals although they were transcribed into ten volumes in 1886 by Alexander Grosart; his footnotes and index have been described as ‘comical’ by modern historians. Between the diaries and the account books, we gain a remarkable insight into the frugality of Boyle’s mind. Aside from his massive investments in pig-iron and timber, he was dealing with some £20,000 of annual rent alone, matching that of Lord Ormonde. No outgoing expense escaped his attention – not even the thread used in his wife’s embroidery.
By taking such a massive personal interest in all his business transactions, Boyle naturally commanded a great deal of knowledge on all his vested interests. He urged the same approach to all those who worked for him. The agents entrusted with managing his estates - including Captain Smyth, Sir Percy Smyth and Piers Power - were obliged to report to him on a regular basis, wherever he was. A network of agents and spies operated on his behalf from the Netherlands to Bristol to Youghal, submitting details of all transactions and offering up-to-date advice on the best prices he might fetch on the European market for the timber, iron and staves manufactured on his Munster estates. Boyle made the ultimate decision on what was sold and where. Among those on his payroll were Sir George Carew and his illegitimate son, Thomas Stafford. Carew lived at Myrtle Grove in Youghal for a short period. Such men provided Boyle with vital information about what was going on in both Hampton Court and Westminster. When he rebuilt Lismore Castle and the Old Collegiate in Youghal, he sought the best masons and architects in the land. When the time came to educate his children, he wrote to the senior masters at Eton and asked their recommendations on the best possible tutors. That was the essence of Richard Boyle, to seek as good as you get. Such was the mind of a man who, according to The Times Rich List History, had become the wealthiest man in the British Isles by the time of his death.
Without question, Richard Boyle was the dominant figure on the Blackwater Valley for the first forty years of the 17th century. As his boat plied between his residence at The Collegiate in Youghal and the old castle in Lismore, so every man, woman and child who watched him go must have thought ‘There but for the grace of Boyle go I’. He owned all the land and every major building. He had set about restoring many dilapidated old buildings, pitching round towers on the town walls around St. Mary’s in Youghal. Since the terrible plundering by the Desmond army in 1579, Youghal had regained its self-confidence and, by 1600, had re-established extensive trade links throughout Britain and Europe. It was not a landlord town like others but a port town frequented by merchants and traders. There was an established business community at Youghal long before Boyle laid claim to the various lands of its dissolved friary.
After the defeat of the Gaelic Irish at Kinsale in 1601, Munster’s post-war economy became entirely based on exploitation of the land for profitable returns. Richard Boyle excelled at this. So too did the merchants of Youghal, Cork and Kinsale and all three towns duly prospered as trade once again began to pass through their ports. Cork handled the imports but Youghal dominated Munster’s export trade, particularly the wool and cattle that went to England. In 1616, 4378 stone of raw wool was exported from Youghal. By 1625, it had increased to 15,716 stone.
Many of Richard Boyle’s early triumphs in Munster were attributable to his successful colonisation of lands with hard working English Protestants. Fishing villages dominated by English immigrants sprang up all along the southwest. Kinsale became a major stronghold, but Youghal remained the principal port. Youghal’s open policy towards English immigrants – tradesmen, apprentices and skilled labourers – was key to its prosperity.  In contrast, the reluctance of the cities of Cork and Limerick to admit new blood rendered their economies stale. Contemporary accounts show nearly six hundred new inhabitants moving to Youghal between 1610 and 1641. More than four hundred came directly from England. Although there was no predominant industry in Youghal, many were skilled workers. Eighty were involved in food and drink and seventy-six were in leather. Among the other professions represented were fifty-five shoemakers, thirty-two mariners, twenty-three carpenters, forty-seven tailors and twenty-six weavers. These sharp-dressing newcomers were closely affiliated with Boyle’s English tenants, from his new Protestant enclave at Bandon all the way east to Tallow. Many came from the Bristol area and were employed to produce pig iron. Like Raleigh before him, Boyle recognised the suitability of the richly wooded lands around Youghal for the production of pig iron. Plentiful supplies of timber for charcoal combined with rich iron ore deposits, ample waterpower and a fine port inspired an active and prosperous iron industry in the locality. Legend has it that not even the ancient yew trees from which Youghal derived its name (eochaill) were spared when it came to feeding the ironworks.
Other of these English settlers were skilled masons who helped build schools, roads and bridges, opening up the interior of Munster and making possible the development of the first real industrial and agricultural structure in the region. Bridges and roads were particularly welcome in an age when people were generally obliged to travel by sea. Carriage tracks were virtually non-existent outside the principal towns. Indeed, an overland journey from Youghal to Dublin in a horse litter would take three to four days, with stops for refreshments and fresh horses at Dungarvan, Gowran and Naas. Such journeys risked not only highwaymen and fallen trees but a constant shortage of bridges. On the Blackwater, Boyle proved an enthusiastic bridge builder, particularly after a violent storm on 23rd September 1628 swept away the pre-existing bridges at Cappoquin, Fermoy and Mallow.
Youghal was Boyle’s town, no error. When the merchants of Cork City turned their back on him, he brought his patronage to Youghal to such an extent that the town’s heritage society was capable of holding a well-attended historical weekend dedicated to Boyle four hundred years later. Boyle’s masons and craftsmen completed Youghal's town walls, first commenced in the 1200's. In 1610 he paid for the construction of six almshouses in the town for war veterans, each of whom was to receive a pension of £5 per annum.  That same year, they built the Free School, later converted into a home for war veterans. In 1634, he commissioned another almshouse for Protestant widows. In 1612, a public clock was erected on the Trinity Gate (now the Clock Gate). Perhaps most dramatically he restored the former Geraldine college of St. Mary’s, a ruin since the Desmond Rebellion, and converted it into his own townhouse. His advice was constantly sought, his suggestions always swiftly adopted.
For all that Youghal’s ruling elite did not change dramatically in the first decades of the 17th century and civic leadership was still drawn from the same Anglo-Irish families who had represented the town under the Tudors.
By the 1630s, the town had become Ireland’s principal centre for the production of traditional frieze. The business was almost entirely staffed and managed by settlers. Amongst the most successful of these was Simon Gibbons who invested heavily in the local cloth making business and saw major returns when these clothes were exported to the Netherlands. Gibbons business seriously suffered when a ship laden with clothes left Youghal and disappeared without trace in May 1640.
On 6 September 1616, King James I elevated Richard Boyle to the peerage as Lord Boyle, Baron of Youghal in the county of Cork. The title was bestowed in recognition ‘of the introduction into maritime ports of our Province of Munster, and particularly in the neighbourhood of Youghal, a very excellent Colony, consisting of veteran soldiers and many other persons, brought by himself out of England’. On 26th October 1620, he was created Viscount Dungarvan in the County of Waterford and, most crucially, Earl of Cork in the Kingdom of Ireland. His appointment as Lord Justice came in 1629 and in November 1631, he was promoted Lord High Treasurer of Ireland.
Sir Walter Raleigh was released in 1616 and soon afterwards he set sail on his final expedition to Guyana. He called into Cork on the way and caught up with his old nemeses, Lords Barry and Roche, who apparently let bygones be bygones and entertained him lavishly. He also went hawking at Cloyne with one of the FitzGeralds stayed with Boyle at his former home in Lismore and. Boyle lent him £350 and provided ships with 100 oxen and provisions such as beer, biscuits, a large quantity of iron ballast and, most importantly, a 32-gallon cask of Irish whiskey. In return, Raleigh abandoned all outstanding claims upon his old estate. He also signed a statement maintaining that Henry Pyne had forged the lease he held on Mogeely Castle near Tallow. Boyle had been trying to oust Pyne for several long years, not least because Pyne was a major rival in the stave-making business. Raleigh’s agents, Maule and Colthurst, had been prohibited from giving leases to anyone for more than 21 years. However, Raleigh’s rents were comparatively low and some of his freeholders were able to sub-let at the very competitive rate of 6d an acre. Such economies infuriated Boyle, particularly Pyne’s lease on Mogeely which had been extended to 80 years. Raleigh’s statement allowed Boyle to move in on Pyne’s land. However, shortly before his execution the following year, Raleigh denounced this statement as untrue. Pyne’s descendents went on to live at Ballyvolane House in Castlelyons.
The expedition to Guyana ended in disgrace when Raleigh attacked a Spanish town. He was declared an outlaw. When he sought refuge in Kinsale upon his return, Boyle kept his distance. On 18th October 1618, Raleigh mounted the scaffold in the Old Palace Yard in Westminster. He asked his executioner to show him the axe, then ran his thumb along the blade. ‘This is a sharp medicine’, he mused, ‘but it is a physician for all diseases’. He then went to each corner of the scaffold, knelt down and asked the on-lookers to pray for him. He refused a blindfold and put his head on the block. He delivered a short prayer and the urged the axe-man on. The axe-man hesitated. ‘Strike man, strike!’ called the great adventurer. The head was severed with two strokes; the lips were still moving when it tumbled to the ground.
Boyle’s influence was now rapidly spreading beyond Munster into Dublin and across the sea to London. In 1617, a few words in the right direction ensured the appointment of his older brother John Boyle as Bishop of Cloyne and Cork. John stayed in the role for just three years before his sudden death aged 64. At the time, Boyle was landscaping the demesne around his castle at Lismore, adding a walled garden for vegetables, a bowling green, a rabbit warren – rabbit flesh was particularly succulent in such toothless times – and an orchard. The apple trees were to be grown from the seeds of Arthur Hyde’s orchard in Castle Hyde and Sir Walter Raleigh’s at Lisfinny. Ships were already unloading prize oxen from England to munch the lush grasses of the surrounding meadows. In due course, a Mr. Mellet was instructed to purchase a herd of deer from Bridgewater in Somerset. Boyle left little to the imagination. Mellet was advised to acquire goats to serve as suckling companions for the deer on their journey across the Irish Sea. It seems likely that, if Ballynatray was one of Boyle’s original deer parks, then the deer that roamed the demesne also hailed from Somerset.
On 29th December 1614, Margaret Fitzgibbon, sole heiress of Edmund Fitzgibbon, the White Knight, was married to Sir William Fenton. The marriage took place at Boyle’s house in Youghal and was orchestrated by Sir William’s brother-in-law, Richard Boyle. Only sixteen days earlier, Boyle had purchased the Earl of Thomond’s wardship from Margaret. As a thank you for organising such a lucrative marriage, Sir William sold Boyle his manor in Clontarf. Sir William and Dame Margaret went on to establish the foundations of modern day Mitchelstown. By 1618, the Fentons had acquired 100,000 acres in Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Dublin.
Richard Boyle understood the social and economic implications of marriage ever since he secured wealthy Joan Apsley for his first wife. As the father of fifteen children, he ensured each one was carefully groomed and educated as befitting the sons and daughters of an aristocrat. The tutors who instructed them in arts and sciences were the best in the British Isles; small wonder that Boyle’s youngest son Robert would go on to become one of the greatest scientists of his day.  However, while the sons were duly dispatched on to Eton and the big universities and then on grand tours of Europe, he kept his seven daughters closer to hand.
It is often maintained that Boyle regarded his daughters first and foremost as business commodities. The husbands he secured for them were certainly promising on paper even if many were to prove deeply disappointing. Nonetheless, it is worth a wink that at least three of his descendants appear in the direct line of ancestry to the present Queen. Alice, the eldest daughter, married the Earl of Barrymore but continued to live at Lismore long after. Sarah, the second daughter, married Sir Thomas Moore, son of Sir Garret Moore, Viscount Drogheda. The third and prettiest daughter, Lettice, was unhappily married to George Goring, son of the 1st Earl of Norwich, a fabulous drunkard whose debauchery put him in the same league as Johnny Rochester. The fifth daughter, Catherine, married Arthur Jones, 2nd Viscount Ranelagh, another Englishman on the make in Ireland. They only had one child but she became one of the major female intellectuals of the Restoration era and a key player in the life of her younger brother Robert Boyle. Dorothy, the sixth daughter, married Sir Arthur Loftus of Rathfarnham. Mary, the seventh daughter, fell into a deeply gloomy marriage with Charles Riche, 4th Earl of Warwick in July 1641 - against her fathers wishes - and became a fanatical evangelist, sponsoring Protestant clergymen across the land. Margaret, the youngest daughter, died unmarried.
Arguably the most troublesome marriage that Boyle oversaw was that of his fourth daughter Joan to Gerald FitzGerald, 16th Earl of Kildare. The marriage took place in August 1630, less than a year after Boyle’s appointment as one of the Lords Justices of Ireland. Shortly before the wedding, Boyle paid forty pieces of gold to Lord Carlton to somehow render obsolete the claims of Maurice FitzThomas, Gerald’s heir apparent. Gerald, who had succeeded to the Earldom at the age of 9 in 1620, was a sickly child, not expected to live long. His father-in-law clearly had a beady eye on the vast estates of the Earls of Kildare. FitzThomas was thus proving rather inconvenient. Carlton duly reported that, as FitzThomas’s grandfather was one of Silken Thomas’s uncles executed in 1537, the FitzThomas bloodline had forfeited all claims to the Earldom. It was a fatuous argument but, as it happened, Gerald survived to become the celebrated ‘Fairy Earl’. Gerald was a man of Machiavellian persuasion and spendthrift passions whose principal ambition was to survive. Considering the violent age during which his life was set, he fared remarkably well and it was his grandson, Robert FitzGerald, 19th Earl of Kildare, who built Carton House.
In 1633 Richard Boyle’s arch-nemesis arrived in Ireland to take up the office of Lord Deputy. Thomas Wentworth, later Earl of Stafford, was one of Charles I’s closest allies and arguably the most influential man in Britain. Ireland would prove to be the undoing of him. His dislike of Boyle was immediate. On arriving at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to give thanks to God for his safe passage to Ireland, the new Lord Deputy was appalled by the ostentatious Boyle memorial installed beside the High Altar in the Cathedral. He proclaimed the tomb ‘one of the most scandalous pieces that was ever seen’ and demanded its removal. Boyle complied but he felt so utterly humiliated by the affair that he would ultimately send Wentworth to the executioner’s block.
Behind many a great fortune lies a great crime. Boyle’s diaries are filled with indignation that a noble God-fearing loyalist like him should ever come under investigation but powerful eyebrows were inevitably raised that so much land and power had become vested in one person. Whilst it is true that he inherited some very doubtful land claims through the Raleigh estates, Boyle was up to his neck in the time-honoured policy of blind eyes and brown envelopes. His most disputed land title was that of Lismore Castle, granted to Raleigh by Myler Magrath in the 1580s. As early as 1614, Boyle was distributing money in a successful bid to convince MPs to throw out a bill submitted by the Bishop of Waterford to regain the castle. The recovery of church lands was also the brief given to John Atherton when, in 1636, he was sent to Ireland by Wentworth to fill the see of Bishop of Waterford and Lismore. Atherton, a headstrong soul, immediately began investigating Boyle’s claims to Lismore. Boyle responded by having the new Bishop framed for ‘buggery’ with a manservant. Atherton was arrested, tried and sentenced to death. He was hanged in Dublin in 1640 and, thus far, is the only Church of Ireland bishop to have met such a fate.
Richard Boyle was a cold and humourless fish, for sure, but like any fish had a soft underbelly. When his second wife Catherine died at Lord Hawkins house in Dublin on 26th February 1629, Boyle allowed himself to write in his diary that the event had filled him with ‘unspeakable grief’. She had born him fifteen children during their 26 years together, the last one just ten months before her death. The death of his daughter Sarah after she had given birth to a stillborn baby was likewise ‘lamentable’. Boyle spent £1000 on her funeral and installed an elaborate monument at St Patrick’s Cathedral to commemorate ‘myself, my wife, her father and mother, her grandfather and grandmother’ (ie: his Fenton in-laws). This was the monument that so offended Wentworth.
As the godfather of this extraordinary network of freshly wealthy English settlers and grand aristocracy, Boyle’s life held few days where he was not receiving some or other visitation. His diaries are replete with references to local and foreign dignitaries seeking his advice and patronage. He is constantly lending money to relatives and advancing monies to other persons deemed worthy. When a nephew or child heads for England, he duly equips them with silver and letters to distribute amongst vital allies when they arrive. His diaries slow everything down. It is no longer a simple case of the rise and fall of Wentworth and the King. Instead the world stage becomes the slow, steady and inevitable grind of every day life. Babies are born, couples marry and older people die. And occupying central stage throughout Boyle’s life are his sister Mary and her family, the Smyths of Ballynatray.
Back in 1600, during the latter stages of the Nine Years War, Richard Boyle had been appointed clerk of the council of Munster. It was in that capacity that he visited Queen Elizabeth in December 1601 and gave her the news of the English victory over the Irish at Kinsale. Amongst those officers given special mention in his report was his brother-in-law Captain Richard Smyth. Captain Smyth was married to Boyle’s sister Mary. Burke’s Peerage describes Smyth as a Knight ‘of Ballynatray, co. Waterford, and Rathcogan, co. Cork’ and that he ‘flourished in the reign of Queen Elizabeth’.  It is not known where Captain Smyth’s forbears came from. He may have belonged to the circle of minor Kent gentry from which pool Boyle himself sprang. He may have been a kinsman of Thomas Smyth, the man charged with organizing Queen Elizabeth’s Royal tours, whose daughter Mary married Edward Brabazon, Baron of Ardee, one of the Queen’s Privy Councilors in Ireland.
As the autumn of 1601 faded into winter, a fleet of ships carrying four thousand Spaniards docked at Kinsale on the south coast of County Cork. Their plan was to unite with the Ulster chieftains, O’Neill and O’Donnell, and oust the invading English army from Ireland’s shores for once and for all. Unfortunately for the Spanish, Kinsale is situated about as far away from Ulster as you can get. In an early example of rapid response, the English swiftly surrounded Kinsale and laid siege to the Spanish. The Ulster chieftains gamely attempted a rescue, leading their armies on a colossal march south through the centre of Ireland. On Christmas Eve 1601, the Spanish and Irish forces attempted to lift the siege. Their defeat was inevitable, bloody and calamitous. O’Neill and O’Donnell surrendered and, in due course, fled the country. Their exodus signalled the end of Gaelic Ireland. It was during this battle that Captain Smyth’s moment of glory came. He commanded a small band of English soldiers who ousted the Spanish garrison from James’s Fort. Their expulsion was vital to the English victory.
When Boyle purchased the Raleigh estates in 1603, his new lands included the abbey at Molana, the Geraldine castle of Temple Michael and the parklands of Ballynatray which he established as a deer-park. By 1610, Boyle was living in Lismore Castle and concentrating on the wider Protestant settlement in Munster. The following year, he gifted Ballynatray to his brother-in-law, Captain Richard Smith. In the cellar at Ballynatray today, there are traces of two distinct buildings from this period. The first, a tower house, was to the east of the hall while the second, a simple house, seems to have covered about two thirds of the present site. In the stable yard there is also a small single storey building from this period which features 16th or 17th century window opes. Smyth’s descendents would remain at Ballynatray for the next 350 years.
Captain Smyth and his wife Mary had at least two sons, Boyle Smyth and Sir Percy Smyth, and three daughters, Kathryn, Dorothy and Alice. In time the elder daughters would marry into two established Cork gentry families – the Supples and Frekes – while the youngest sister Alice married William Wiseman, a prominent merchant from Boyle’s new Protestant enclave of Bandon. As such, we now turn to Kathryn, the eldest of these three Smyth daughters.
On 24th April 1622, the bond between the Boyle and Smyth families was further strengthened when Captain Smyth’s eldest daughter Kathryn (known as ‘Kate’) married Richard Boyle’s protégé, William FitzEdmond Supple. William was heir to Agahdoe Castle in Killeagh, located a few kilometres north east of Castlemartyr and some 10 kilometres west of Youghal. His life story represents an intriguing case study for the colonisation of Ireland for he was a Catholic child, adopted by the Boyle family, and subsequently raised to become a classic 17th century Protestant gentleman.
The Supples were an old Anglo-Norman family, descended from Philippe de Capella (or de Capel), one of Strongbow’s original mercenaries. Philippe came to Ireland with Robert FitzStephen in 1177 and took part in the successful Norman conquest of Viking Cork. Sometime before 1182, FitzStephen, as lord of the surrounding manor of Inchiquin, rewarded Philippe with the grant of an estate along the Little Dissour River at Killeagh. After the Desmond Rebellion, the Supple family suffered serious financial loss when Edmund Supple – William’s Catholic father – was obliged to mortgage 1150 acres of his 5200 acre estate to raise money to replace stock seized by the marauding armies of both English and Irish. Most of these mortgages went to the Dean of Cloyne, a FitzGerald, who duly forged all necessary documents to verify that these same lands had been sold to him and not mortgaged.
Edmund died in about 1604, leaving a minor heir, William. At this time, English policy dictated that minor heirs of Catholic landowners be raised as Protestants. Thus, wardship of the heir of Aghadoe devolved upon Richard Boyle, lord of the manor of Inchiquin. He duly took young William into his care at Lismore. In 1613, Boyle sent the boy to live with his brother John, the clergyman, in England and there finish his education. By 1616 William was attending Cambridge University. The Boyles seem to have been genuinely fond of William and he, educated as a Protestant, adapted to their world with ease. He returned to Ireland in 1620, a useful propaganda tool for the government, a native convert to Protestantism. He may have subsequently been employed as some sort of agent or middleman for the Boyle estates in Munster. In early 1622, for instance, he escorted Boyle’s 15 year old daughter, Sarah, on a journey from Co. Louth to Lismore.
William’s marriage in 1622 to the Earl’s niece, Kate Smyth of Ballynatray, and his subsequent admission as a freeman to the town of Youghal, may be taken as further proof of Boyle consolidating his patronage over the Killeagh landlord. Supple did not escape the scorn of his peers. A few months after his marriage, his face was disfigured when attacked by an Englishman with a cudgel. The Earl continued to act as patron to the Supples for many years. On 11th January 1634, he wrote:
‘My necc Katherye Smyth’s son was Xtened at Ballynetra by my daughter, Countess of Barrymore, Sir Richard Smyth and my self, and named Boyle Burt: God bless him’.
On 31st December 1634, he noted:
‘I sent my poor cozen Crips 20s to Ballynetra, by my Cozen Kate Supple’.
As late as Christmas 1637, the Earl noted in his diary a gift of six lace handkerchiefs ‘by my niece Kate Supple’.
It must have been during William and Kate’s time that a new mansion was built at Aghadoe. Although the house has not survived, it is shown in detail on a map of 1700 and appears to have consisted of a straightforward central block with two gabled wings. William and Kate probably lived in quarters affixed to a 15th century tower-house while the new house was built. The tower-house has also since vanished but a splendid ivy-clad 'Sheela-nagig' that once graced its walls survives.
In 1630 William Supple was appointed a famine commissioner for Co. Cork. The following year, he obtained a royal license to hold a Tuesday market and two fairs each year at Killeagh on June 1st and November 1st. By 1642, he had secured a more influential position when he became sheriff for Co. Cork. Aghadoe’s relative proximity to Youghal may have protected the castle from desecration when the Confederate Wars broke out. William was certainly resident at Aghadoe in May 1643. During the ensuing wars, William fought for the Boyles against the Irish Catholic army. By 1649 he held the rank of major in the Parliamentarian Army and was commander of the English garrison in Youghal. He died some time in the early 1650s and was succeeded by his son, another William Supple. The younger William continued to forge a close alliance with the Boyle family, was Sheriff of Cork City in 1681 and was a direct ancestor of the De Capel Brookes, Bart, of Oakley. The Supple (or Capel) family continued to hold the Aghadoe estate until the 20th century.
Sir Percy Smyth’s second sister Dorothy married Captain Arthur Freke, ancestor of the Lords Carbery. Arthur’s grandfather, Robert Freke, apparently survived as Teller and Auditor to the Exchequer for from the reign of Henry VIII through Edward VI and Mary to that of Elizabeth. Arthur’s parents, William and Ann Freke, emigrated from Hampshire to County Cork around the turn of the century. Arthur’s brother Sir Thomas Freke was appointed to the Council for Virginia in 1607. He was almost certainly known to Raleigh and became a prominent player in the colony at a time when Captain John Smith was befriending the Indian princess, Pocahontas.
The Freke’s original base was Rathbarry Castle, a 15th century fortress pitched between Inch and Long Strand, some 3km south east of Rosscarbery. Arthur purchased the castle from the Barry family in about 1617. In 1641, he seems to have made considerable repairs to the castle walls which proved necessary when, the following year, an Irish army headed by the MacCarthys laid siege to it for ten months. Some 100 men, women and children were reported to have fled to Rosscarbery, from where they were taken away by an English ship. The Rathbarry garrison defended themselves with remarkable courage but were on the point of surrendering when a relief army arrived under Sir Charles Vavasour and Captain Jephson. The castle was burnt to prevent it becoming an Irish stronghold. 
Sir Percy’s youngest sister Alice married twice. Her first husband was William Wiseman of Bandon, eldest son of Simon Wiseman, one of the original Bandon colonists. As early as 1612, the East India Company took an interest in the town, when Boyle founded a settlement near Downdaniel Castle for smelting iron ore. William was appointed a free man of the Bandon Corporation in 1628. The name Wiseman suggests Jewish origins. As such, perhaps William was involved in the decision to inscribe the following note on the town’s gates:
‘Turk, Jew or Atheist
may enter here,
But not a Papist’.
To which a local wag added:
‘Who wrote it, wrote it well;
For the same is written on the Gates of Hell’.
George Bennetts’ seminal History of Bandon (1869) notes: ‘Mr. William Wiseman, Escætor dni Regis, held many of his Inquisitions Post Mortem in the Kings’ ‘Ould’ Castle, in the city of Cork, as well as at Bandon and other places’. Wiseman’s first wife Catherine was the eldest daughter of Raleigh’s friend, the poet Edmund Spenser. They lived ‘on the banks of ‘the pleasant Bandon,’ as Spenser himself has written it; a spacious residence, now, alas! a hopeless ruin, with nothing left but a crumbling wall to represent what was once the Castle of Kilbegge’. Catherine Wiseman died in this castle and ‘her remains were borne to the graveyard of her parish church in Bandon; and there the shadow of the spire of the oldest Protestant edifice in Ireland, uniting with the shade of the chestnut and elm, spreads the broad dark pall over her grave - a fitting resting place for a child of the immortal bard’.
By 1634, William was certainly one of the most influential men in Bandon. On 30th May, Lord Deputy Wentworth wrote to Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, seeking to have his brother, Sir George Wentworth, appointed one of Bandon’s two burgesses. In an uncharacteristic show of camaraderie between Wentworth and Boyle, the latter promptly wrote ‘to his verie loving friende, Mr. William Wiseman’, urging him to ‘move the provost and burgesses effectually to intrust him with the nominating of two burgesses for the town, to serve in the next Parliament’. The Earl’s request was answered and Sir George was duly appointed burgess. The other burgess, it might be added, was ‘our loving friend’, William Wiseman. William died at Drinagh, Co. Cork, in 1639.
In 1631, the dining tables of Ballynatray, Lismore and across the province of Munster must have been stunned by the news of the fate of the English colonists of Baltimore. Algerian pirates had ransacked the small port in West Cork on the night of 20th June 1631. Although only two men were killed, the pirates escaped with over one hundred men, women and children seized as slaves.
The future Sir Percy Smyth was born in about 1598 but it is not known where. Details of his early life are sketchy. One of the earliest references to him is to be found in the Council Book of the Corporation of Youghal of 1629 which records his name as one of several local merchants who sub-let the tower house in Youghal from English entrepreneur, Robert Tynte, in 1629:
‘The grant of the Castle of Youghal and other lands, from Sir Rob. Tynt unto John Browne, Percy Smith, &c, for and in consideration of 100li. Paid 4° Caroli Regis.’
The Tynte family historian Daniel McCarthy suggests the tower house in Youghal was ‘used for trading produce from the rural hinterland, including those of Tynte, whilst the residential space above would have provided apartments in town’. In other words, young Percy took a room at the castle, perhaps while waiting for the completion of his stone house at Ballynatray.
Sir Percy’s landlord, Robert Tynte, hailed from the North Somerset village of Wraxhall, some 7 miles from Bristol. His interest in Ireland probably came through contact with Sir Walter Raleigh’s close friend and cousin, Sir Arthur Gorges, whose family also came from Wraxhall. He came to Munster as a soldier during the Desmond Rebellion. After the wars, he secured possession of the castle in Youghal from the Walshes, an affluent merchant family resident in Youghal since the 14th century but dispossessed for supporting Desmond. The castle gave him a firm foothold in the new economic infrastructure of Munster and he quickly worked his way up the administration, filling the office of High Sheriff from 1625 to 1626. As Youghal developed to serve the needs of the new colonists, so Tynte’s Castle provided an excellent base for storage and organization. During his lifetime, Tynte also acquired lands in the Barony of Imokilly, including the tower house at Ballycrenane, near Ladysbridge, Co. Cork.
A friend of the Richard Boyle, Tynte was married in 1612 to Elizabeth Spenser, widow of Edmund the poet. In time, the Tynte’s son Henry would marry Sir Percy Smyth’s eldest daughter, Mabel. Robert Tynte outlived his son by two years, passing away in 1663. He was buried at Kilcredan graveyard, near Ladysbridge.
Percy was knighted on 17th January 1629. That same month, King Charles reopened Parliament in London. He had suspended it the previous summer when they refused to cooperate and now hoped, wrongly, that the MPs would comply and grant him further subsidies. Talk of open rebellion against the King was already in the air.
Sir Percy Smyth’s first wife Mary was a daughter of Robert Meade of Broghill. The Meades – also called Miagh, Meagh and Myagh – were settled in Cork since time immemorial. In 1559 and again in 1585, John Meade was elected MP for the City of Cork. His grandson Sir John Meade of Ballintubber was knighted on 23rd January 1623 and married one of the Sarsfields, a daughter of the 2nd Viscount Kilmallock. Robert Meade may have been a brother or possibly an uncle of this Sir John. A Robert Meade of Broghill certainly reported financial losses in the aftermath of the 1641 uprising. Sir Percy and Mary were presumably married at some point in the 1620s. She bore him two daughters, Mabella and Joan, before she passed away on 27th November 1633, just ten month’s after Percy’s mother Mary.
Richard Boyle’s diaries are replete with references to his nephew Percy borrowing money from him. On December 10th 1633, for instance, he ‘lent my Nephue Sir Peercie Smyth £20 & to my Nephue Roger Power £10 ster’. In pencil beside this comment he later added ‘both which somes are repaid me’. A few weeks later, he again notes that Sir Percy still owes £600 for ‘fifty tons of barr I sowld him at Mydsomer Laste’.
On 20th April 1634, two days after Wentworth dissolved the Irish Parliament, Boyle made an important alteration in his will with regard to the lease held on Ballynatray by the Smyths, Smiths or Smythes as he variously calls them. He decided that, upon Sir Richard Smyth’s death, the estate should fall to the newly married Sir Percy Smyth, rather than to his godson and nephew, Boyle Smith, as previously written. The complete entry reads:
‘Whereas I had a purpose, and thereupon made it part of my will (which remaineth with my Lo Primate) that my godson and nephue Boyle Smith, after Sir Richard Smythe his ffather’s death, should be my tenant at Ballynetra, and such other lands and tythes as my brother Smyth now holdeth by a leas from me, yet afterwards, at thearnest sute of my nephue Sir Peercie Smyth, and to Compass a marriage for him with Sir Wm Uscher’s grandchilde, the said Sir Peercie’s now wife, I altered my former resolution, and have leased Ballynetra and all my other lands and tithes now held by Sir Richard, to the use of the said Sir Peercie and his Lady, at the yearly rent of £120 ster; per annum, for terms of their two lives; the owlde rent of £36, 10 shillings, during Sir Richard’s lyffe to be only paid me, and after his decease £120 a year, whereupon Sir Peercie hath entered into security of £500 to pay me £250 within one year after his fathers decease, and in the meantime, to pay me £30 upon demand, and £15 at May 1636, and so half yearly £15 during his father’s lyffe, for the maintenance of Boyle Smyth abroad in the warrs. To whose use I took the said security given by his brother for the payment of the said £250, and the £30 per annum till that £250 is paid him, or me for him’.
Boyle Smyth was Sir Richard and Lady Mary Smyth’s eldest son – and godson of the Earl of Cork. He was evidently serving in the army at the time his uncle changed the will in his younger brother’s favour. It is not clear why he should have been pushed aside to allow Percy to inherit Ballynatray. It may simply have been part of the bargaining process by which Percy secured Isabella Ussher as his second wife. On 4th June 1635, Richard Boyle noted in his diary that: ‘Boyle Smyth departed from Dublin into England, and so for Holland, to be entered in the art of warr under the prosperity of the prince of Orange’. Before Boyle Smith left, his great-uncle gave him a letter ‘for my daughter Goring’ in which he asked her ‘to procure him (Boyle) paie in her husband’s Regiment as soon as he should arrive there’. The Earl also gave the young man 10 pieces of silver ‘for two lean geldings that, without great charges and trouble, he could not ship over with him’ as well as £5 ‘to defray his charges on his journey’.
For his part, young Smyth was to deliver a letter to the Duke of Bedford, in which the Earl sought to borrow the expertise of the Russell family’s French tutor, Monsieur Rosamond. It was hoped Rosamond might offer guidance to the Earl’s ‘younger sons, Lewis and Roger, in their travailes abroad’. The young man was also to give some money to the Earl’s London tailor, Mr. Perkins, ‘for the makings of two bed steddles’. As Boyle’s tailor, Mr. Perkins was permanently on hand to advise his Lordship on the latest fashions sweeping in from the continent, perhaps a new style of hat that might be worn when riding out of town, or maybe the revolutionary new saddle Prince Rupert was sporting. It was all part of Boyle’s determination to leave the coarser aspects of his background behind and reincarnate himself as something of a Renaissance figure. ‘And so God bless him and prosper him’, concluded the octogenarian Earl as his godson set forth.
Sir Percy’s first wife Mary (nee Meade) died in the autumn of 1633. On 9th February 1635, Percy married secondly Isabella Ussher. She was one of at least eleven children born to Arthur Ussher of Donnybrook and his wife Judith, daughter of Sir Robert Newcomen of Ballyfermot Castle. Several of Isabella’s forbears on the Ussher side had served as Mayors of Dublin under the Plantagenets and Tudors. Her grandfather, Sir William Ussher, a personal friend of King James, was responsible for translating the New Testament into the Irish language. In 1603, Sir William was knighted by Sir George Carew and granted Donnybrook Castle in Dublin. Sir William’s wife Isabella, for whom his granddaughter was named, was the second daughter of the Most Rev. Adam Loftus, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Archbishop of Dublin and co-founder of Trinity College Dublin.
Lady Isabella Smyth’s father Arthur was the eldest son of Sir William and Isabella. Arthur’s only brother Adam was appointed Ulster King of Arms in 1632 but died in a horse fall the following year. Arthur’s six sisters – Isabella’s aunts - all married men of influence – William Crofton of Temple House, Co. Sligo; Daniel Molyneaux, another Ulster King of Arms ; the sea-faring Sir Beverley Newcomen; the Ulster magnate Sir Thomas Phillips; Charles Forster, sometime Mayor of Dublin; and Sir Robert Meredith, Chancellor of the Exchequer. It must have been extremely useful for Sir Percy to have such men as uncles.
On 2nd March 1628, Arthur Ussher drowned in the River Dodder near Ballsbridge aged 40. A contemporary, who described the Dodder as ‘a dangerous brook’, mentions that many people lost their lives crossing it. Arthur was apparently making his way across on horseback when swept away by the current, ‘nobody being able to succour him, although many persons, and of his nearest friends, both afoot and horseback, were by on both the sides’. Arthur’s young widow Judith must have become increasingly wary of both horses and water as time wore on. In 1632, just four years later, Arthur’s only brother Adam, the newly appointed Ulster King of Arms, was killed in a horse-fall. On 28 April 1637, Judith’s sea-faring brother, Sir Beverley Newcomen, was drowned with one of his sons when their ship capsized 1637 in Passage East, Waterford Harbour. Her father-in-law, old Sir William Ussher, died that same year and Donnybrook Castle passed to his eldest son, also called William. Judith survived until 1652.
Isabella’s eldest brother succeeded as Sir William Ussher and held residences at Portrane, Co. Dublin, and the Castle of Grange on Co. Wicklow. He was knighted on 26th May 1636. By his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Parsons, Lord Justice of Ireland, he was ancestor to the Usshers of Eastwell, Co. Galway and Gerardstown, Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath. Six of Isabella’s brothers either died young or did not marry. Her fifth brother Beverley Ussher of Kilmeadon, Co. Waterford, actually married – as his first wife – Isabella’s step-daughter, Joan Smyth. Joan was Sir Percy’s daughter by his first marriage. Beverley and Joan’s daughter, Mary Ussher married Francis Smyth, of Rathcourcy, co. Cork.
As for Isabella’s sisters, Margaret married Sir Paul Davys (sometime Secretary of State for Ireland) , Catherine was married in 1626 to the prosperous land speculator Sir Philip Perceval  and Alice married the respected military commander, Sir Theophilus Jones of Lucan Castle.
On August 5th 1636, the Earl recorded that Sir Percy Smyth had purchased the parsonage of Athdare in County Limerick from Sir John Jephson and his son William for £1000.
In 1634, Sir Percy was returned to Parliament as MP for Dungarvan. Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Stafford, was then two years into his controversial seven-year tenure as Lord Deputy of Ireland. However, by 1640, the political situation had changed so that practically all groups in Ireland – native and settler – had united to oust Wentworth. Munster was still very much a Boyle stronghold and Tallow and Youghal were effectively pocket boroughs for Percy’s uncle, Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork. In the early days, the concept had simply been to create new boroughs in Protestant areas so that loyal Protestants could be returned to Parliament. That said, Sir Percy’s Protestant faith was by no means a guarantee of election. Protestant candidates lost to Catholic ones in Youghal in both 1634 and 1640.
By 1640, Boyle seemed to be showing little interest in who came to power in any of his boroughs. Perhaps he regarded the Irish parliament as impotent. Certainly it must have seemed a somewhat irrelevant institution when compared to the massive ripples then running through the English Parliament. Like his wealthy uncle, Sir Percy apparently considered the prospect of his being elected to Parliament a waste of time. In a letter to Boyle, Sir Percy wrote, ‘I am like to be chosen a burgess this week for the parliament for the town of Tallow, but I hope they will have more wit and think of a graver servant’.
The Smyths of Ballynatray may have had a similar attitude on Irish Catholics to Richard Boyle. Much is made of Boyle’s fundamentalist streak but it is important to note that his anti-Catholic stance did not take hold until the late 1630s. Moreover, in terms of the times in which he lived, his attitude was by no means exceptional. In the first two decades of the 17th century, common people who did not attend church were fined 12 pence a service. The Church of Ireland clergy simultaneously found itself catering to two distinct congregations – firstly the Protestant English parishioners who were mainly settlers and secondly, a native population forced into conformity by the civil law. At Youghal the graduate preacher was Thomas Wilson whose English parishioners numbered one hundred souls in all. A campaign of coercion in 1606 by Sir Henry Brouncker, President of Munster, briefly upped the number to 600 by November, the vast majority of them conformed Irish inhabitants. Brounckers death the following June 1607 saw a relaxation of the laws and a subsequent fall in Irish attendance. Boyle’s early life showed a penchant for liberalism and he was at ease conversing on subjects of divinity with some of the older friars from the dissolved Franciscan abbey in Youghal. At the same time, he was intrigued by celestial matters noting, for instance, that his youngest son Robert was born within the zodiac of Libra.
Following the outbreak of the Thirty Years War in 1618, Boyle’s attitude as a Protestant magnate on the western fringes of an increasingly violent Europe inevitably toughened. There was a very real possibility that the Catholics would reassert control in England, especially after Charles I’s divisive marriage to the Spanish Catholic Princess Henrietta Maria. Boyle was horrified by such a prospect. He became virulently anti-Catholic to such an extent that he was seen to applaud loudly when a friar was hung in the early 1640s.
As Lord Deputies went, Thomas Wentworth enjoyed considerable success during his tenure, increasing revenue and securing further lands for the Crown. However, he was universally loathed by all members of society in Ireland – not least Richard Boyle who was still smarting from having to move his wife’s monument in St. Patrick’s. In September 1639, as the crisis between Crown and Parliament worsened in England, Wentworth was recalled to serve as the King’s chief advisor. He was created Earl of Strafford a few months later but thereafter his fortunes plummeted. He was arrested in January 1641 and put on trial for attempting to subvert the fundamental laws of the kingdom. Considerable emphasis was laid on his reported counsel to the beleagured King: ‘You have an army in Ireland you may employ here to reduce this kingdom’. In due course, with Boyle amongst the chief advocates, Wentworth was condemned to death and beheaded on Tower Hill before a crowd of about 200,000 on 12th May 1641. Nearly four years later, his principal supporter Archbishop William Laud, another who dared criticise Boyle, met the same fate.
In October 1641, Richard Boyle’s masons were working on the construction of a new church at Lismore when news arrived of the outbreak of a rebellion in Ulster. It was the first major rising since the battle of Kinsale nearly forty years earlier. The Earl received the news ‘coolly’ as he sat down for dinner with his son-in-law, Lord Barrymore, his son Lord Broghill and his Catholic neighbour, Lord Muskerry. Perhaps he foresaw that the rebellion would bring death and destruction to his family. But he was probably more concerned with a leak in one of the nine fishponds at the castle. Worse still, a pike had lately escaped into a neighbouring pond and eaten all the carp and tench. Two days later, word arrived that his friend Lord Muskerry was up in arms at the head of several thousand Irish rebels.
According to Burke’s Landed Gentry, Sir Percy Smyth ‘raised one hundred men to assist Sir William St. Leger, Lord President of Munster, and obtained at the same time, with Lord Broghill and Captain Broderick, his commission as Capt. of Foot’. He was duly ‘distinguished for his loyalty and courage in the rebellion of 1641’. The first major engagement of the Confederate Wars in Munster took place at Liscarrol Castle on the Blackwater in September 1642. The castle belonged to Sir Percy’s brother-in-law, Sir Philip Perceval. It was besieged by a 6000 strong force of Irish Confederates commanded by General Garret Barry, a veteran of the Spanish wars. A Parliamentarian army was dispatched from Cork to dislodge them under the command of Murrough O’Brien, Earl of Inchiquin. The principal officers in Inchiquin’s army included Lords Barrymore and four of Richard Boyle sons – the Lords Kinalmeaky, Dungarvan, Broghill (later Earl of Orrery) and ‘Master Francis’ (later Earl of Shannon). Sir Percy Smyth was almost certainly in the ranks.
Disaster struck when Boyle’s eldest son and heir, Lewis, Lord Kinalmeaky, was struck by musket shot and killed. His brother Richard, Lord Dungarvan, duly succeeded as heir apparent. The day after Lewis’s death, the Confederate’s cavalry, led by Oliver Stephenson, charged and scattered Inchiquin’s force and somehow captured Inchiquin himself. However, in the chaos that followed, Stephenson was killed by a direct hit through the eye-piece of his helmet. His cavalry fell back in shock at this King Harold-like demise. Their infantry had neither the stomach nor the discipline to face Inchiquin’s advancing model army and the battle was soon a complete rout. Over 700 Confederates were killed, including a high proportion of their officers and many of the local Catholic gentry. The already crippled House of Desmond lost eighteen sons in the battle. Inchiquin subsequently executed fifty more Confederate officers whom he had taken prisoner - hanging them the next morning. Henceforth, Cork remained a Protestant stronghold for the rest of the war.
Within a few months, Lismore was under siege from five thousand Irish Confederates under Sir Richard Beling. While the elderly Earl of Cork removed to Youghal for safety, his third son, Lord Broghill (later Earl of Orrery) prepared to defend the town. Broghill wrote to his father:
‘I have sent out my Quarter-mailer to know the posture of the enemy. They were, as I am informed by those who were in the action, 5,000 strong, and well armed. They intend to take Lismore. When I have received certain intelligence, if I am a third part of their number, I will meet them tomorrow morning, and give them one blow before they destroy us’.
In the ensuing siege, Boyle’s grand scheme for an orchard and gardens were destroyed. In 1645, Major Roger Power - first cousin to Sir Percy and the Boyles – garrisoned the town with 100 of Lord Cork’s tenants. At length, a superior force of Confederates under Lord Castlehaven attacked again. After losing 500 men, Castlehaven finally took the town and destroyed the castle.
Ballynatray Castle was garrisoned by the Earl of Cork’s men during the Confederate Wars. In June 1643, the Confederates further avenged their defeat at Liscarrol when an army under Castlehaven surprised a Parliamentarian cavalry regiment in the misty Funcheon Valley and annihilated them. Peace negotiations soon commenced between Castlehaven, representing the Confederates, and his friend, the Royalist commander, Lord Ormonde. On September 15th 1643, the very day that the Great Earl of Cork passed away, an armistice was announced. It was noted that all of Waterford was with the Confederacy – except for ten castles, including Ballynatray, held for the Royalists.  With its vital location on the estuary, control of Ballynatray must have changed frequently as the rival armies of Castlehaven and Inchiquin secured control of the river.
In June 1645, Ballynatray Castle was taken by the Confederate army under the Earl of Castlehaven while they marched to besiege Youghal.Sir Percy Smyth was appointed Military Governor of Youghal shortly before the Confederates began their siege. His defence force consisted of approximately 1000 foot-soldiers and 60 cavalry, maintained at the expense of Lord Cork, and fifteen companies organised by the townsmen. There were no Irish Catholics in the town as they had been driven out the previous year. Cromwell dispatched Admiral William Penn and two frigates to supply aid to the garrison but they were unable to break the blockade. Nonetheless, Sir Percy’s men managed to repulse several attacks before Lord Broghill came to the rescue. On 31st March the following year, Sir Robert Pye brought a message to the House of Commons, by which he desired ‘concurrence in an Order to pay out of Haberdashers Hall, Three Hundred Pounds unto Sir Peircy Smyth, upon Accompt’ for the costs he had occurred in his defence of Youghal. This money was ‘to be deducted and allowed upon his Arrears due unto him upon his Entertainment in the Service of Ireland.’ The House duly agreed to pay Sir Percy £300.
On learning of Charles I’s execution in January 1649, Lord Ormonde at once proclaimed his son Charles II in Youghal, Carrick-on-Suir, Cork, Kinsale and other towns in Munster. Prince Rupert, the late King’s nephew, sailed into Kinsale Harbour with a small fleet of sixteen ships, all draped in black for deep mourning. Cromwell swiftly sent two ships to blockade the harbour and the Prince was obliged to make haste for Lisbon.
In July 1649, Oliver Cromwell landed in Ireland in order to put down the rebellion and garner support for his war in England. He was determined to eliminate the military threat posed by the alliance, signed earlier in the year, between the Confederate Catholics and English Royalists. The geographical location of Youghal offered him a strategic headquarters from which he could strike at any of the major towns of the south of Ireland. He arrived at the gates of Youghal in August. After a brief inspection, he decided to winter his army of 10,000 cavalry and foot soldiers in the town. He stayed in the old priory of St. John's on North Main Street – a door arch and a small window from the priory still survive. Every morning, he lined the army up three deep from one end of the town to the other for a personal inspection.
Cromwell’s nine-month campaign was famous for its brutality. He had a passionate horror of Irish Catholics and was determined to bring them to heel, whatever the human cost. In a letter to the Irish Catholic Bishops he wrote: ‘You are part of the Anti-Christ and before long you must have, all of you, blood to drink’. He captured Drogheda in September and executed 3500 of its defendants. A similar number of people were slain when his New Model Army ran amok in Wexford a few weeks later. Under his command, the Parliamentarians went on to take possession of Cork and besiege Waterford, Kilkenny and Clonmel. Kilkenny surrendered on terms, as did Carlow and New Ross. When the defenders of New Ross enquired as to future of their liberty if they surrendered the town, he stated: ‘If by liberty of conscience, you mean the liberty to exercise the Mass … where the Parliament of England has authority, that will not be allowed’. However, he failed to take Waterford and at the siege of Clonmel in May 1650, he lost up to 2,000 men in abortive assaults before the town surrendered.
According to tradition, the castle at Temple Michael was the last on the Blackwater to surrender to Cromwell. This once important fortress rose five stories high with well-grouted walls nine feet thick. According to local tradition, it was built by Maurice FitzGerald, son of the beautiful Princess Nesta and the first of the family to settle in Ireland. Legend also claims Maurice was succeeded, in regular progression, by six Maurices and nine Garrets, all from the house of Desmond. The last occupant was Garralth Crogagh, or Garrett the Great. He was in possession in 1645 when Lord Castlehaven crossed the Blackwater in order to attack Sir Percy in Youghal. FitzGerald presumably assisted the Confederate leader in the crossing and one imagines a Fleming or two might have been in range too. At any rate, four years later, Cromwell’s canons knocked two sides of his fortress down. The north and western walls, resting on stone arches, were pummelled to their foundations by Cromwell’s canons but the east and south still stand today, rising some 80 feet. There are still parts of the staircase up which armoured soldiers once stomped and the pointed windows from which their womenfolk gazed across the water.
After his castle was destroyed, Garrett abandoned Temple Michael and retired to his Ballinaketha estate on the opposite side of the Blackwater. He lived many years after and was finally buried at Ardmore. Or perhaps not so finally. For centuries afterwards, the Seannachus told how, on the night of his burial, people living near Templemichael heard a voice crying out from the ruins. ‘Garralth harroing, Garralth harroing!’, it moaned, meaning means ‘Give Garralth a ferry!’ Night after night for year on end, this same terrible wail commenced every midnight. At length, some spirited young men from Templemichael went and collected Garralth’s body from Ardmore and reburied him with his forefathers. The dreaded midnight voice was heard no more.
Another popular legend from this time concerns the ferry-boat that escorted people to and from Templemichael and Molana Island. From time immemorial, this ferry was operated by the Fleming family, who were well respected for their refusal to accept payment when taking a funeral procession across to the Templemichael graveyard. Their boat was so ancient and rickety and had been restored so many times that not a single particle of the original timber was in her. Her occasional repairs were always carried out under extraordinary circumstances. On one occasion, a renowned boat builder from Youghal pitched the boat up on supports, preparing to give her a complete restoration the next day. When he awoke, all the reparations had mysteriously been done during the darkness of night.
Arguably Cromwell’s greatest victory in Ireland came when Sir Percy’s cousin Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery, persuaded the Protestant Royalist troops in Cork to abandon the Confederacy and throw their lot in with Parliament. The truth behind these negotiations remains clouded in mystery. When Isabella Smyth’s brother-in-law General Michael Jones, the victor of Rathmines, apparently urged Orrery to break with Cromwell, he died suspiciously at Dungarvan just two days later. He was interred in Boyle’s tomb at midnight on 12th Dec 1649. The subsequent collapse of the Confederacy brought about the end of the wars in Ireland although absolute conquest dragged on for almost three years of bloody sieges and guerrilla warfare. In May 1650, Cromwell heard that Charles II had been proclaimed king in Scotland by the Covenanter regime. It was time to return to England. Tradition has it that when he departed Youghal on May 29th, he left via the Watergate, thereafter known locally as Cromwell's Arch. Generals Henry Ireton and Edmund Ludlow were instructed to stay behind and finish his campaign. In the wake of the Cromwellian conquest, the public practice of Catholicism was banned, all priests were to be executed and all Catholic-owned land was confiscated. These lands were subsequently distributed amongst Scottish and English settlers, the Parliament's financial creditors and Parliamentary soldiers
In his demographic Civil Survey of Ireland conducted in the 1650s, William Petty estimated that the war of 1641-53 had resulted in the death or exile of over 600,000 people, or around one third of Ireland's pre-war population. The same survey noted that Ballynatray House was the residence of ‘Sir Peter Smyth Kt’, who was leasing it from the Earl of Cork. ‘Upon this land is a stone house, a weare and mill’. The castle had presumably been dismantled, perhaps to provide stones for rebuilding the house. Five years later, the census of 1659 revealed that there were now 61 persons – 13 English Protestant and 48 Irish Catholic – registered in the townland of ‘Ballynetra’ in the parish of Temple Michael. Amongst these were Sir Percy Smyth and his brothers, Boyle, William and John.
The Great Earl of Cork may have established a dynasty but its influence in Ireland was largely limited to his own lifespan. His descendents retained estates in Ireland but - aside from Henry Boyle, Earl of Shannon –made little impact on the running of the country. His second son and ultimate heir, Richard, succeeded as the 2nd Earl in 1643. Three months later, the death of his father-in-law, the fabulously wealthy Earl of Cumberland, made him one of the wealthiest persons in the British Isles. In 1635, long before he succeeded to the Earldom, Richard married Cumberland’s daughter and sole heiress, the society beauty Lady Elizabeth Clifford. In December 1643, she succeeded to the Clifford’s vast estates in Cumberland and the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Although born in Youghal and raised in Lismore, the 2nd Earl took much less interest in his Irish estates than his father. That said, after the collapse of the Confederacy in 1649, he consolidated the Boyle’s influence in Munster by purchasing, at knockdown prices, the confiscated property of the disgraced Waterford insurgents. Indeed, the town of Youghal now became a significant income earner for the Boyles, bringing in some £3000 p.a. or almost 10% of their total rentals. The rest of their income came in from agricultural lands.
In March 1664, the 2nd Earl realised the fullest ambitions of his father when, much aided by the social prestige of his Countess, Charles II created him Earl of Burlington in the English peerage. It is doubtful that he ever considered himself an Anglo-Irish aristocrat. After his elevation to the English peerage, he certainly saw himself as an English one. By the 1670s, the 2nd Earl had become the prototype of an absentee landlord. Munster became little more than a source of income as he revelled in his new status in London. He used some of his income to make Lismore Castle habitable again but expended the bulk on building houses in England such as Burlington House in Piccadilly (now home to the Royal Academy) and, after 1682, a suburban retreat away from the repugnant odour of London at Chiswick House on the Thames. He also maintained the old Clifford family mansion in Yorkshire. Lady Elizabeth died in 1698, having born him one son Charles, Viscount Dungannon, and four daughters. The 2nd Earl’s children were exceedingly desirable to those seeking strategic marital alliances. His daughters were married to the Earls of Roscommon, Thanet, Sandwich and Rochester respectively. Old family friends like the Smyths simply didn’t get a look in. 
Mabel Smyth was the eldest daughter of Sir Percy Smyth by his first wife, Mary Meade. She married Sir Henry Tynte, MP for Youghal, eldest son of Robert Tynte, the Somerset entrepreneur who owned Tynte’s Castle in Youghal. On April 25th 1661, Sir Henry was returned for County Cork, alongside the Hon. Richard Boyle, to the Restoration Parliament. He died soon after this for, in a by-election of June 2nd 1661, his seat was filled by Sir John Perceval, Bart, of Burton. The Tynte family held the castle in Youghal until 1866 and, despite moving to Wicklow, remained interested in Youghal politics to such an extent that the Right Hon. Sir James Tynte of Old Bawn, Dublin and Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow was elected MP for Youghal in the early 18th century.
On May 26th 1663, King Charles sat at his desk in Whitehall and wrote a letter to the Duke of Ormond in which he specifically recommended that ‘Lady Mabel Tynte, administratrix of Sir Robert Tynte, deceased, and executrix of Sir Henry Tynte, deceased, to have due satisfaction for several sums of money, amounting in the whole to £5,011, which were expended for the relief of the King's Army in the Province of Munster, at the beginning of the late Rebellion’. After Sir Henry’s death, Lady Mabel appears to have married secondly. Little is known of her second husband, Colonel Roger Osborne. However it is entirely possible that he was the very same Robert Osbourne appointed Governor of Montserrat in 1663. Governor Osbourne’s tenure coincided with a volatile era in the island’s politics and he lost all his lands in the wake of a rebellion shortly afterwards.
The Bodleian Library in Oxford also holds a petition dispatched by Colonel Chidley Coote to the Duke of Ormond on 31 December 1666. Coote successfully claimed that he was owed money, under bond, by the late Sir Henry and Mabella as his executrix. As such, Coote ‘prays his Grace's license to proceed, in due course of law, against Colonel Osborne aforesaid, not withstanding his military capacity’. The Duke seemingly gave ‘the order as prayed for’.
Sir Henry and Lady Mabel Tynte’s daughter Elizabeth married Sir Richard Hull of Leamcon Castle, near Schull, in West Cork. In June 1685, a fiant noted by Sir William Domvile to the Lords Justices of Ireland granted Sir Richard ‘the castle, town and lands of Leamcon, and several other lands, in the county of Cork’. From 1692 to 1695, Sir Richard was MP for County Cork. His father – or possibly grandfather – was Sir William Hull, a shady character appointed Vice Admiral of Munster in 1609. Hull’s ancestry is unknown but he may well have been the same William Hull, son of a former Mayor of Exeter, pardoned for piracy in Devon in 1608. If that is the case, his appointment had a certain poacher-turned-gamekeeper irony for it entrusted him with protecting the Munster coastline against piracy. Admiral Hull aroused considerable suspicion by his ambivalent relationship to the pirates who effectively had their Atlantic base right beside Hull’s castle at Leamcon, ten miles west by sea from Baltimore. Instead, the crafty Admiral concentrated on establishing a series of pilchard fisheries along the south-west coast of Cork, particularly along Roaringwater Bay and Dunmanus Bay. He was particularly active at Crookhaven where he had a major fishery in operation by 1616. His business partner was Richard Boyle, the Great Earl of Cork, who would subsequently lease his interest in Clonakilty to the Hull family. When the Earl’s elder brother John Boyle, Bishop of Cork and Cloyne, passed away in 1620, his Leicestershire-born widow Elizabeth took the freshly knighted Sir William as her second husband.
Sir Percy and Lady Isabella Smyth’s eldest daughter Margaret died unmarried. In 1670, their second daughter Elizabeth married 24-year-old Charles Oliver of Castle Oliver, Co. Limerick. Born in 1645, Charles was the eldest son of Captain Robert ‘Robin Roux’ Oliver of Kent, born circa 1593, who served with distinction as an officer in Cromwell’s army in the 1640s. Robin Roux was elected MP for Limerick in May 1661. Five years later, he was granted land under the Act of Settlement consisting of twenty-four townlands in the Barony of Coshlea, County Limerick, and nineteen in the Barony of Clanmorris, County Kerry.
By 1670 Robin had also secured the old Roche castle of Cloghanodfoy (later Castle Oliver) from Sir Edmund Fitzharris, including its, stable, orchard and garden.. Charles’s mother was Bridget Ormsby and he had one surviving sister, Frances Mary, who married Thomas Sadleir, JP, High Sheriff of Sopwell Hall in Co. Tipperary. After Bridget’s death, Robin Roux married secondly the two time widow, Valentina Hamilton, daughter of Sir Claud Hamilton of Cocknow. Charles succeeded Robin Roux at Cloghanodfoy in 1679. He filled the office of High Sheriff in 1692 and was elected MP for Middleton in William of Orange’s Parliament of 1695-99 and for County Limerick in Queen Anne’s Parliament of 1703.
His son Robert was likewise MP and married a daughter of Sir Robert Southwell, Clerk to the Privy Council and Secretary of State for Ireland. Robert’s descendent Sir Charles Oliver was grandfather to the remarkable Lola Montez who became virtual Empress of Bavaria in the 1840s.
Sir Percy and Lady Isabella’s third daughter Isabella married Walter Galwey of Cork. The Galways were a long established Galway family and served as aldermen and Mayors of the city during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. A Walter Galwey married one of the daughters of Sir Dominick Sarsfield, 1st Viscount Sarsfield of Kilmallock.
Sir Percy and Lady Isabella’s fourth daughter Maria married the Very Rev. Arthur Stanhope, Archdeacon of Lismore and later Dean of Waterford. He was possibly a close kinsman of the Earl of Chesterfield. Samuel Pepys notes an Arthur Stanhope in his diary of 1660 as standing for election in Nottingham alongside the regicide, Colonel John Hutchinson. In the 1680s, Stanhope was sent a questionnaire by William Molyneaux (1656-98), a leading member and secretary of the Dublin Philosophical Society. The idea was for Stanhope to compile a description of County Waterford for Molyneaux's proposed Natural History of Ireland. However, Stanhope's answers to the questionnaire were apparently unsatisfactory.
Sir Percy and Lady Isabella’s fifth and youngest daughter Catherine married Rev. John Rugge of Ballydaniel. No further information has yet surfaced about them although Ballydaniel seems to have been outside Mallow. 
The date of Sir Percy Smyth’s death is unknown. Perhaps that information is locked away in the mausoleum at Templemichael. By two wives, he fathered at least nine children. Although he stood as MP for Tallow, his eldest son, Boyle Smyth - Lord Cork’s godson - appears to have died relatively young. His will was dated 15th August 1661 and was proved the following year. The second son Percy also died unmarried, date unknown, while a fifth son, John Smyth, have died in Dublin in the summer of 1688. As such, the future of the Smyth family rested on Sir Percy’s third and fourth sons, William and Richard. William, his prime heir, was ancestor of the Smyths of Headborough and may be dealt with later. For the Smyths of Ballynatray, follow this link.
 Cal. Rolls James I, pp 37-38.
 Erck, Cal. Rolls James I, p. 15.
 Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland (1912), pp 649-650.
 Inquisitions Post Mortem, Co. Waterford, James I, no. 9.
 Grosart, Lismore Papers, First Series, I, p. 7.
 Joan Boyle lived until 20th March 1586 and was interred in the family tomb in Youghal. Roger died on 24th March 1576 and was interred at Deptford in Kent.
 Right Rev. John Boyle, D.D. Oxford, Bishop of Cork and Cloyne, was born at Canterbury in 1564. He married firstly Elizabeth Lacy, eldest daughter of Matthew Lacey, of Melton, Leicestershire. He died on 10th July 1620 and was buried in St Mary's, Youghal, Ireland. He left a widow and, with others, two sons, Edward (m. William Hull’s daughter Mary) and John (of Borris, Co. Cork, a lawyer admitted Gray’s Inn, 3 Aug 1626, married Anne, widow of Martin Dodsworth and daughter of Jasper Scoales of Waterford). The Widow Boyle was married secondly to Sir William Hull, of Lemcon, co Cork.
 H.C. Maxwell, report on the manuscripts of Philip Playdell Bouverie, Esq’, Historical Manuscript Commission, 10th report, Appendix 6 (London 1887), p. 87.
 Clodagh Tait has convincingly argued that ‘far from being the vainglorious extravagances of a bombastic arriviste’, these monuments were deliberately utilized by Boyle ‘to bolster, and often create, an official view of the past, the present and the future’. Like many a present day entrepreneurial millionaire, Richard Boyle knew that while memories are short, history can be deliciously malleable in the shaping of new dynasties. Colonising memory: manipulations of death, burial and commemoration in the career of Richard Boyle, by Clodagh Tait, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Volume 101, Issue 4 (2001)
 When he commissioned a new house of Gill Abbey at Carrigaline for his eldest son Lewis, the builders from Bristol were given specific instructions which quarry they were to use. The builder’s passion for the project was further sustained by the promise of a lot more work if they did a good job.
 Despite amassing such extraordinary wealth, Boyle never built a mansion for himself. Instead he enlarged and modernised two existing buildings, namely the original 15th century St. Mary’s Collegiate in Youghal and the old castle at Lismore, his principal residence. St. Mary’s had been destroyed by Desmond’s men in 1579. Congreve the dramatist lived here when his father was agent for the Earl’s estate. The Earl’s son Roger Orrery built two mansions at Castle Martyr and Charleville. His neighbours the Percevals built a massive mansion at Burton Park outside Churchtown. It became the seat of the Earls of Egmont in 1670 but was burnt by King James’ Troops in 1690. It was rebuilt around 1792.
 According to Smith, foreigners referred to Youghal as ‘Jokile’ and ‘Youkelain’ or even by its Latin name, Ochella.
 MacCarthy-Morrogh, p. 241-242.
 The six houses were built in 1610 and continued in use in their original form until the mid-19th century, when some alterations took place. They are now owned by Youghal Urban District Council and still serve a similar generous purpose.
 The orchard was destroyed by rebels in 1641. In later life, Lord Cork also devised the formal gardens around Stalbridge, the Jacobean mansion in Dorset where his scientific son Robert Boyle grew up.
 The Munster Plantation: English Migration to Southern Ireland 1583-1641, Michael MacCarthy-Morrogh (Oxford University Press, 1986).
 Robert ‘the Philosopher’ Boyle was born at Lismore on 25th January 1627. Robert entered Eton College with his brother Francis on 2nd October 1635 and left on 23rd November 1638. In 1639 he travelled to France and Switzerland with Francis and returned to England in 1644. He settled in Stalbridge, Dorset where he spent most of his time for the next decade. In 1656 he lived in Oxford and collaborated with Robert Hooke. Robert Boyle was famous for his work on the properties of gases. ‘Boyle's Law’ - also called Mariottes's Law after Edme Mariotte, a French physicist, who discovered the same law - states that the pressure (p) of a given quantity of gas varies inversely to its volume (v) at constant temperature; ie, pv = k. In 1668 he settled in Pall Mall, London with his sister, Lady Ranelagh. Robert was the founding member of the Royal Society of London. He died in December 1691 and was buried in the chancel of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, England
 The Earl of Cork’s firstborn son Roger Boyle died in 1615 aged 9.
 Lady Alice Boyle (1607 – 1667) was married on 21st July 1631 to David Barry, 1st Earl of Barrymore. She subsequently married John Barry, of Liscarroll, co Cork, died in 1667 and was buried in St Mary's Collegiate Church, Youghal.
 When Sir Thomas died soon afterwards, Lady Sarah Boyle (1609 - 1633) was married in December 1626 to Robert Digby, 1st Baron Digby, of Geashill in the Kings County.
 For reasons unclear, Boyle nonetheless agreed to support Goring, lending him an enormous sum of £2000 in 1631. In time, Goring disappeared from his sight. They lived at Goring House, located on the present site of Buckingham Palace.
 In 1641, FitzThomas’s grandson captured and destroyed Gerald’s principal residence at Maynooth Castle.
 ‘One of the Most Scandalous Pieces that was Ever Seen’: Reading Richard Boyle’s Tombs, by Dr. Clodagh Tait, University of Essex. The Boyle Conference, Youghal Celebrates History, September 2006.
 Thanks to Julian Walton for providing this information.
 Irish Family Records, edited by Hugh Montgomery-Massingbred, published by Burke's Peerage Ltd, London: 1976
 Construction on the present day James’s Fort began soon after the English victory.
 Copyright © 2005 Shane Supple Singer Songwriter Youghal Cork Ireland. All rights reserved.
 The principal evidence supporting this grant actually comes from the diary of Earl of Cork, written when he himself had become Lord of Inchiquin. On April 8th 1636, he notes: ‘Mr. William Supple [of Aghadoe] showed me the deed of his lands made by Robert FitzStephen unto his ancestor Philip de Capella’. Although this deed has not survived, legal records from the early 14th century also hold that the Capel or Supple family held their land under a feoffment of Robert FitzStephen to Philip de Capella. It was also for Philippe de Capella that Capel Island took its name. He is sometimes referred to as Philip de la Chapelle.
 A stone representation of a female exposing her genitalia, it appears to have had a talismanic function against evil in pagan times.
William and Kate Supple also had an unnamed daughter who was the first wife of the Catholic landowner, Sir William Fitzgerald of Glenane. She bore Fitzgerald's eldest son around 1657.
 The siege of Rathbarry Castle became the longest siege in Irish History, lasting from 14th February 1642 to 17th October 1642. The original account of the seige signed by Arthur Freke, 'Owner of the Castle & Commander-in-Chief' of the forces there, and countersigned by Edward Beecher, Captain of a Company sent from Bandon to aid the besieged, is stored in the British Museum.
 When peace returned to Ireland, Arthur and Dorothy’s descendents purchased the port of Baltimore in 1703 and, with the subsequent income, converted the ruined Rathbarry Castle into the Gothic Revival mansion of Castle Freke. The estate was divided up by the Land Commission in the 20th century. The castle, for long a Gothic ruin, has lately been purchased by Hon John Evans-Freke, a grandson of the 11th Lord Carbery, and is undergoing restoration.
 One of Alice and William Wiseman’s more unusual lineal descendents was Nicholas Wiseman, born and bred a Roman Catholic, who died ‘an archbishop, a cardinal, and a prince of Rome’. After William’s death, Alice is said to have married a Bernard Roche of Ballyhenden, Kilcrumper, near Kilworth.
See: ‘The History of Bandon, and the Principal Towns in the West Riding of County Cork’, George Bennett (Francis Guy, Cork, 1869).
 Baltimore (by the Spaniards called Valentimore, and anciently known as Dunashad) derived its name from Beal-tee-more (i.e.-the great residence of Beal). It is supposed to have been the site of a sanctuary of the Druids, and to have been a place much frequented by those who venerated the mistletoe and the oak.
 A further hazard is that his name varies from Sir Peirce Smith to Sir Pierce Smyth to Sir Piercy Smith.
 Wraxall is sometimes written as Roxhall or Wraxhall. The origin of the name seems to be an expression for to be ‘a nook of land frequented by Buzzards’.
 Depositions for Co Cork, 1641–1642. Trinity College Dublin. MSS No. 823.41.
 In January 1633, Lady Mary Smyth, mother to Sir Percy and sister of the Earl of Cork was buried in the Boyle’s elaborate tomb in Youghal. Her sister Elizabeth Power was also interred there.
 The Rev. Alexander Grosant, editor of Boyle’s diaries, writes in 1886 that ‘Ballynetra’ had been ‘for more than two centuries the residence of the Smyth family (not the plebian Smith)’.
 In 1632 Daniel Molyneaux succeeded Isabella Smyth’s uncle Adam Ussher as Ulster King of Arms. By then he must have been a man of advanced years. It was his second time in the office, having first filled the seat in 1597. He was educated at Cambridge University, and in the opinion of the great Primate Ussher was ‘for learning and parts a Daniel indeed.’ He was one of the two sons of Thomas Molyneaux, sometime Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland under Queen Elizabeth. Daniel’s father Thomas Molyneaux was born in Calais in 1531 at which time the port was an English possession. When the French recaptured Calais, Thomas migrated to Bruges in Flanders, where he married the daughter of a burgomaster of high repute and considerable wealth. He subsequently moved to England and, by 1581, was described as keeper of the store in Dublin. In 1590 he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer and he remained head until 1596. Thomas is said to have been a wonderful host, famous for throwing lavish parties at his town house in Thomas Court and at the castle of Tallaght, which re rented from Archbishop Loftus. After his death, his sons Samuel and Daniel Molyneaux acquired Newlands from the Stanyhurst family. Samuel, a bachelor, was Clerk of the Works (1600) and Crown Seneschal for the manors of Newcastle, Saggart, Esker and Crumlin. The Library of Trinity College contains a large collection of his papers. He was MP for Strabane in 1613. Daniel’s sister Judith was married to Sir Robert Newcomen but the two men did not get on. Indeed, one of Sir Robert’s son-in-laws apparently assaulted Daniel in an incident over a woman that set tongues wagging across Ireland. Daniel Molyneaux died soon after he succeeded Adam Ussher as Ulster King of Arms in 1632. He closed ‘his pilgrimage in this vale of tears’ at Newlands. Sir Thomas Molyneaux (1661-1733), the distinguished philosopher and physician, was a grandson of Daniel Molyneaux and Jane Ussher.
 Sir Beverley was son and heir of Sir Robert Newcomen and lived at Moystown, Co. Offaly. A keen naval officer he died when his ship sank while on a sounding mission in Waterford Harbour in 1637.
 Sir Thomas Phillips, a seasoned veteran of the Elizabethan Wars and one of the more active planters in Ulster, achieved a great reputation at the Court in London for his capture of O’Neill’s castle at Toome. He was subsequently granted the Limavady estates, amounting to 3,500 acres of the best agricultural land in the Roe Valley. He invited twenty five families over from England and created a new village, consisting of a few houses and an inn, which he named 'Limma Vadde'. In 1612 the town was made a corporate borough and given the right to select two members of parliament. As early as 1628, Sir Thomas was warning the Crown that ‘it is fered that they will Rise upon a sudden and Cutt the throts of the poor dispersed British’. (A History of Ireland, Vol I - Eleanor Hull, 1931). In 1697, the Phillips family sold the Limavady estates to William ‘Speaker’ Connolly.
 ‘A History of the County of Dublin – The People, Parishes and Antiquities from the Earliest Times to the close of the 18th Century’, Part V, F Elrington Ball (Greene’s Bookshop, 1917).
 After 1700, the Usshers rented Donnybrook out. It features in Jonathan Swift's Journal to Stella but fell into decay and was demolished 1759. The Sisters of Charity bought the site in 1837.
5. Burke's Landed Gentry Of Ireland,
 One of Lady Isabella’s brother-in-laws was Sir Paul Davys, sometime Secretary of State for Ireland. He was a remarkable character who managed to survive the complex political environment of 17th century Ireland to such an extent that he enjoyed the confidence of three extremely different administrations – Wentworth (the Earl of Stafford), Henry Cromwell and the Duke of Ormonde. His father was a country gentleman resident in the County Kildare. It was Sir Paul’s first marriage to Isabella’s eldest sister Margaret that paved the way for his rise to success. After the Restoration, he became a close friend of the Duke of Ormonde who greatly respected Sir Paul’s loyalty to the Protestant interest. On 16th August 1664, for instance, Sir Paul sent ‘An Act of Free and General Pardon, Indemnity, and Oblivion [for Ireland]’ to the Duke. The Act fulfilled the guarantee given in the Declaration of Breda that reprisals against the ruling establishment of the Cromwellian Interregnum would only be taken against those who had officiated in the regicide of King Charles I. Ormonde subsequently became a generous patron of Sir Paul and Lady Margaret’s son William who, as the Right Hon. Sir William Davys, rose to become Recorder of Dublin, Prime Serjeant, and Chief Justice of the King's Bench in Ireland. The Davys family lived at St. Catherine’s Park, Leixlip, situated midway between Clonsilla and Lucan.
 Sir Philip Perceval (1605 – 1647) was another unusual character. His father Richard Perceval (1550 – 1620) of Burton, Somerset, was one of the great spymasters of the Elizabethan Age. He was the man who deciphered and translated the secret letters that revealed the first news of a Spanish Armada. In 1591, three years after the Armada was crushed, he rather suavely published a Spanish dictionary. In 1616, he was appointed registrar of the Court of Wards of Ireland by which he was able to acquire substantial lands in Munster. Sir Philip became one of the principal government officials in Ireland during the 1630s and so came into temporary control of large sums of money which he proceeded to utilize for mortgage loans. By this legal if unorthodox method, he soon bankrupted several major North Cork families such as the Barrys and obtained forfeited lands to the tune of 101,000 acres. These extensive estates stretched in an arc from Kanturk through Liscarrol to Churchtown. He died aged 44 from a fever while visiting London in November 1647. Sir Philip’s great-grandson was John Perceval, 1st Earl of Egmont (1683—1748), an Irish politician who became partner, with J. E. Oglethorpe, in founding the American colony of Georgia.
 Lady Isabella Smyth’s brother-in-law Sir Theophilus Jones was one of three brothers who always managed to be on the winning side in the eventful times through which they lived. The Jones brothers were all exceptional soldiers, an unusual accolade for the sons of a Bishop of the Irish church. The younger brother was Colonel Michael Jones, the victor of the Royal army in the Battle of Rathmines (or Baggotrath) in August 1649, which left perhaps 5,000 people dead and effectively brought the Confederacy to its knees. The battle is considered equal in political importance to England's Battle of Naseby. Sir Theophilus began his military career under Charles I and served in Ulster during the rebellion of 1641. He was taken prisoner at Kells by the Confederates, but after confinement for some time was released. He accepted a command in the Parliamentary army. In that service he showed conspicuous courage, and was severely wounded while acting under his brother Colonel Michael Jones in an attack on Ballysonan Castle, County Kildare, where he had been detained while a prisoner. During Cromwell’s Commonwealth he was considered one of its most fervent adherents but in 1659 he joined the Earl of Cork’s son Lord Orrery and Sir Charles Coote in wrestling control of the government of Ireland from the civil power. He was active in securing the Restoration of Charles II who duly appointed him a privy councillor. His chief residence was at Lucan Castle, considered ‘one of the fairest houses’ in the County Dublin, and rated as containing no less than twelve hearths. In May 1663, Lucan Castle was the scene of a historic interview between Sir Theophilus and Colonel Alexander Jephson, one of the ringleaders in Colonel Thomas Blood's plot. Blood planned to take Dublin Castle and overthrow the Government. Sir Theophilius gave Jephson a tankard of ale and a bottle of cider, the result being that the drunken Colonel spilled the beans. Jephson disclosed Blood’s intention to offer Sir Theophilus the command of the army after the castle had fallen. Sir Theophilus reported the plot immediately although Colonel Blood survived to steal the crown jewels in 1671. Sir Theophilus died at Osberstown in 1685. His wife, Alice, nee Smyth, had passed away some months earlier. He is ancestor, through his daughters, of the Earls of Lanesborough and the Saundersons of Castle Saunderson.
 That same day Boyle noted that he ‘gave Smyth who married my cozen Roger Boyle’s daughter £10 ster: in golde as a help to stock his farm near Waterford withal’. It is not entirely clear who this Smyth was.
 In 1636, the Abraham, owned by Matthew Craddock of London, first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company, called in at Kinsale, Bandon, Cork and Youghal to bang its drums and advertise for indentured retainers to settle the colony at Virginia. The response was slow but eventually they assembled sixty-one servants for the journey.
 The Munster Plantation – English Migration to Southern Ireland 1583 – 1641, Michael MacCarthy Morrogh (Clarendon Press Oxford, 1986).
 With the Counter-Reformation underway, the deposed Franciscans of Youghal may well have believed the ball would return to them. In 1607, the Irish Franciscan College of St Anthony’s was founded in Louvain precisely to train friars in the eventuality of their return to the friaries. The college had a rather inauspicious first winter when it hosted the Earls mid-flight.
 In the 1630s, for instance, Wentworth devised the plantation of Connaught, seizing the vast Dillon estate while the Lord was a minor, dividing it into holdings and awarding it to his loyal followers from Yorkshire.
 Francis Boyle, 1st Viscount Shannon, (1623 – 1699) was buried in St Mary's Collegiate Church, Youghal.
 Roger ‘the Wise’ Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery, Baron Broghil, Lord President of Munster, was born at Lismore in 1621. In January 1640, he married Lady Margaret Howard, third daughter of the 2nd Earl of Suffolk.
 The garden walls at Lismore, which means in Irish 'great fort', date from 1626 and are just as the Great Earl left them, wide enough to walk along. They were not merely built for ornament; they played an important part in the siege of 1642.
 Grosart. Lismore Papers, First Series, V, p. 207.
 Bellings, Confederation and war in Ireland, II, p. 371 et seq.
 Ibid., III, p. 11; TCD Depositions of murders and robberies.
 The British Museum, London, has a letter dated June 29th 1645 from Earl of Castlehaven calling on Sir Percy, as Governor of Youghal, to surrender (Add. Ms. 9750).
 By letters patent under the privy seal, dated February 14th 1660, the estates and franchises seized from the citizens of Youghal in Cromwell’s time were restored to the inhabitants, being ‘innocent Papists’.
 Admiral Penn, who subsequently captured Jamaica for Britain, was granted lands in West Cork by Cromwell. His son, William Penn, was born near Youghal and was founder of Pennsylvania in the United States.
 House of Lords Journal Volume 8: 31 March 1646', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 8: 1645-1647 (1802), p. 247.
 St. Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal also contains a memorial to a Thomas Smyth, tide-waiter, of Youghal, who died in 1669.
 It is worth probing this family as there was a major dispute over land in the Clifford family at this time that also involved the Thanets :
 The eldest daughter Frances m (1) Col Francis Courtenay and (2) Wentworth, Earl of Roscommon; the second daughter Elizabeth m. Nicholas Tufton, Earl of Thanet; the third daughter, Anne, m. Edward, Earl of Sandwich; the fourth, Henrietta, married Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester, the highly influential and heavy-drinking Tory leader.
 MS. Carte 43, fol(s). 186, Carte Calendar Volume 36, May - June 1663
Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, Edward Edwards (2005)
 Columbus had claimed the Caribbean island of Montserrat for Spain in 1493 and named it 'Santa María de Montserrat'. It fell under English control in 1632 when a group of Irish, fleeing anti-Catholic sentiment in St. Kitts and Nevis, were forcibly settled there. The import of West African slaves followed and an economy based on sugar, rum, arrowroot and Sea Island cotton was established.
MS. Carte 154, fol(s). 104v
 Carte Calendar Volume 61, 1685-1687, MS. Carte 167, p(p). 18-19. >
 A letter from William Hull to Lord Cork from 1618 explains the relationship of the two men. A pirate called Ellis had arrived at Schull and a number of other pirate’s wives, then living on Hull’s estates, had gone to join him. Hull was in a quandary as to whether to arrest the wives or not. The letter ends on a provocative postscript: ‘I hear Ellis has very rich beaver skins out of a Frenchman from Canada’. Like most members of the colonial elite, Hull was knowingly receiving pirate goods at this time. In 1625, however, Hull captured eight pirates at Long Island opposite Leamcon and sent them to Cork where they were executed. Sir William subsequently returned to sea as a privateer, raiding French and Spanish ships with the blessing of Charles I. Among the captains on his ship was a Walter Ellis, perhaps the same Ellis who was at Skull a decade earlier. However, it is at this point that the Irish seas began to experience a new, more violent type of pirate in the form of Algerians. See MacCarthy-Morrogh. Also: Settlers and Pirates in Early 17th Century Ireland: A Profile of Sir William Hull, J.C. Appleby (Studia Hibernica No.25 1989-90,).
 Cloghanodfoy Castle was described in 1655 as a bawn with a crenellated wall and four turrets with conical roofs at the angle. There is a portrait of Robin Roux Oliver in Blarney House.
 Thomas Sadleir’s father was Colonel Thomas Sadlier, a no-nonsense military commander and parliamentarian much favoured by Oliver Cromwell.
 Valentina’s first husband was Colonel Charles Blount, a cousin of Lord Mountjoy and a major player in the Earl of Essex’s ultimately unsuccessful campaign against O’Neill and O’Donnell. He became ‘Coronell Governor’ [Colonel] of Cahir Castle in Tipperary in 1599 but died the following year aged 32 on the voyage back to England. He was buried in St Thomas’s Church; Portsmouth. Valentina’s second husband was a Colonel Knight.
Founded in 1683, Sir William Petty (1623-1687) was the Society’s first president.
 In keeping with the Somerset-Munster tradition, another John Rugge was Archdeacon of Wells Cathedral in Somerset during the 1580s. 'Archdeacons: Wells', Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541-1857: volume 5: Bath and Wells diocese (1979), pp. 9-11.
 John Smyth’s will, dated 15th August 1688, was proved in Dublin.
With thanks to the Youghal Historical Society, Kieran Groeger and others.