Patrick Sarsfield, 1st Earl of Lucan

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The Rt Hon. The 1st Earl of Lucan
Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan.jpg
Bornca. 1660
Lucan, Ireland
Died21 August 1693 (aged about 33)
Huy, France (now in modern Belgium)
St. Martin's Church, Huy, Belgium
Allegiance Ireland (1682–88)
Jacobites (1688–91)
France (1691–93)
RankLieutenant General
Battles/wars Battle of Sedgemoor, Battle of the Boyne, Siege of Limerick, Battle of Landen
Spouse(s) Honora Burke
Children James Sarsfield, 2nd Earl of Lucan

Patrick Sarsfield, 1st Earl of Lucan (ca. 1660 – 21 August 1693), was an Irish Jacobite and soldier, belonging to an Irish Catholic family long settled in Ireland. [1]

Earl of Lucan title in the Peerage of Ireland

Earl of Lucan is a title which has been created twice in the Peerage of Ireland for related families.

Jacobitism political ideology

Jacobitism was the name of the political movement in Great Britain and Ireland that aimed to restore the House of Stuart to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The movement was named after Jacobus, the Latin form of James.


Sarsfield gained his first military experience serving with an Anglo-Irish contingent of the French Army during the 1670s. When James II came to the throne he was commissioned in the English Army, and served during the suppression of Monmouth's Rebellion in 1685. During the Glorious Revolution of 1688 he remained loyal to James and led an English cavalry detachment at the Wincanton Skirmish, the only military engagement of the campaign.

French Army land warfare branch of Frances military

The French Army, officially the Ground Army to distinguish it from the French Air Force, Armée de l'Air or Air Army, is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces. It is responsible to the Government of France, along with the other four components of the Armed Forces. The current Chief of Staff of the French Army (CEMAT) is General Jean-Pierre Bosser, a direct subordinate of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA). General Bosser is also responsible, in part, to the Ministry of the Armed Forces for organization, preparation, use of forces, as well as planning and programming, equipment and Army future acquisitions. For active service, Army units are placed under the authority of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA), who is responsible to the President of France for planning for, and use, of forces.

The English Army existed while England was an independent state and was at war with other states, but it was not until the Interregnum and the New Model Army that England acquired a peacetime professional standing army. At the restoration of the monarchy, Charles II kept a small standing army, formed from elements of the Royalist army in exile and elements of the New Model Army, from which the most senior regular regiments of today's British Army can trace their antecedence. Likewise, Royal Marines can trace their origins back to the formation of the English Army's "Duke of York and Albany's maritime regiment of Foot" at the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company on 28 October 1664.

Glorious Revolution 17th Century British revolution

The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III, Prince of Orange, who was James's nephew and son-in-law. William's successful invasion of England with a Dutch fleet and army led to his ascension to the throne as William III of England jointly with his wife, Mary II, James's daughter, after the Declaration of Right, leading to the Bill of Rights 1689.

In 1689 Sarsfield accompanied James to Ireland and served in the Jacobite Irish Army. After an early setback at Sligo, he became one of the celebrated Jacobite leaders of the war, noted in particular for Sarsfield's Raid shortly before the Siege of Limerick in 1690. James rewarded him by making him an Earl in the Peerage of Ireland. After the war's end following a second siege of Limerick in 1691, he led the Flight of the Wild Geese which took thousands of Irish soldiers into exile in France where they continued to serve James. After a planned invasion of England had to be abandoned following a French naval defeat in 1692, Lord Lucan (as he then was) served in Flanders and was killed at the Battle of Landen in 1693.

Sligo Town in Connacht, Ireland

Sligo is a coastal seaport and the county town of County Sligo, Ireland, within the western province of Connacht. With a population of approximately 20,000 in 2016, it is the second largest urban centre in the West of Ireland, with only Galway being larger. The Sligo Borough District constitutes 61% (38,581) of the county's population of 63,000.

Siege of Limerick (1690)

Limerick, a city in western Ireland, was besieged twice in the Williamite War in Ireland, 1689-1691. On the first of these occasions, in August to September 1691, its Jacobite defenders retreated to the city after their defeat at the Battle of the Boyne. The Williamites, under William III, tried to take Limerick by storm, but were driven off and had to retire into their winter quarters.

The Peerage of Ireland consists of those titles of nobility created by the English monarchs in their capacity as Lord or King of Ireland, or later by monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The creation of such titles came to an end in the 19th century. The ranks of the Irish peerage are Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron. As of 2016, there were 135 titles in the Peerage of Ireland extant: two dukedoms, ten marquessates, 43 earldoms, 28 viscountcies, and 52 baronies. The Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland continues to exercise jurisdiction over the Peerage of Ireland, including those peers whose titles derive from places located in what is now the Republic of Ireland. Article 40.2 of the Irish Constitution forbids the state conferring titles of nobility and a citizen may not accept titles of nobility or honour except with the prior approval of the Government. As stated above, this issue does not arise in respect of the Peerage of Ireland, as no creations of titles in it have been made since the Constitution came into force.


Sarsfield was born in Lucan c. 1660. His family were a mix of Norman Irish and Irish Gaels. His father was Patrick Sarsfield and his mother was Anne O'More. Among his grandparents he counted Ruairí Ó Mórdha (who was a key organiser of the Irish Rebellion of 1641), and Eibhlín Ní Dhíomasaigh from the Viscount Clanmalier family. The extended family of the powerful family of O'Mores, an estimated 120 people, had been virtually wiped out by the English during the Massacre of Mullaghmast.

Patrick Sarsfield was an Irish landowner and soldier of the seventeenth century noted for his role in the Irish Confederate Wars. He is best known as the father of Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, and is sometimes referred to as Patrick Sarsfield senior because of this.

The Irish Rebellion of 1641 began as an attempted coup d'état by Irish Catholic gentry, who tried to seize control of the English administration in Ireland to force concessions for Catholics. The coup failed and the rebellion developed into an ethnic conflict between the Gaelic Irish and old English Catholics on one side, and both ethnically English Protestants and Scottish/Presbyterian planters on the other. This began a conflict known as the Irish Confederate Wars.

Viscount Clanmalier, in the King's and Queen's County, was a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created on 22 December 1631 for Sir Terence O'Dempsey, Sheriff of Queen's County in 1591 who was knighted in 1599. He was made Baron of Phillipstown, in the Queen's County, at the same time, also in the Peerage of Ireland. His grandson, Lewis, the second Viscount, joined the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and was consequently attainted with his titles forfeited. However, in 1662 he was restored to a third of his former estates and presumably to his titles. His son, Maximilian, the third Viscount, was Governor of King's County. It is believed that Terence O'Dempsey, the youngest son of Maximilian fled Ireland with his cousin Sir John Byrne to England. The actual velum title document still exists.

His paternal family were Roman Catholics of Norman origin (by this time the origin was known as "Old English") and possessed an estate with an income of £2,000 a year. His father had been implicated in the 1641 Rebellion, supported the Irish Confederacy during the subsequent war, and assisted the Anglo-Irish Royalist forces against the English Republicans during the Siege of Dublin. Following the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland Patrick Sarsfield senior had his Leinster estates confiscated, and was transplanted to Connacht where he was given a smaller estate. Some sources suggest that his son Patrick was born while the family was in the west of Ireland.

Pound sterling official currency of the United Kingdom and other territories

The pound sterling, commonly known as the pound and less commonly referred to as sterling, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British Antarctic Territory, and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence. A number of nations that do not use sterling also have currencies called the pound.

Irish Confederate Wars war which took place in Ireland between 1641 and 1653

The Irish Confederate Wars, also called the Eleven Years' War, took place in Ireland between 1641 and 1653. It was the Irish theatre of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms – a series of civil wars in the kingdoms of Ireland, England and Scotland. The conflict in Ireland essentially started by pitting the native Irish Catholics against English and Scottish Protestant colonists and their supporters, and ended with Royalists, Irish Catholics and Scottish Presbyterians fighting the ultimate winners, the English Parliament. It was both a religious and an ethnic conflict – fought over who would govern Ireland, whether it would be governed from England, which ethnic and religious group would own most of the land, and which religion would predominate in the country. It was the most destructive conflict in Irish history.

The Siege of Dublin took place in 1649 during the War of the Three Kingdoms. It was a failed attempt by combined Irish Royalist and Confederate forces to capture the capital of Dublin which was held by English Republican forces under Michael Jones. It was part of a strategy by Duke of Ormonde, head of an alliance loyal to Charles II, to seize the remaining foothold of Ireland still under control of the London Parliament.

Following the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, the Sarsfields made attempts to recover their lost estates but the Court of Claims found them guilty of taking part in the initial rebellion. The family's fortunes were boosted by the marriage of Patrick's elder brother William Sarsfield to Mary Crofts, who was widely believed to be an illegitimate daughter of King Charles and Lucy Walter, and the younger sister of James Scott, Duke of Monmouth. The King now intervened on behalf of the Sarsfields, and agreed to a compromise: Lucan Manor would be restored to the Sarsfield family after the death of its current occupant, Colonel Theophilus Jones.

Restoration (Ireland)

The Restoration of the monarchy began in 1660. The Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland (1649–60) resulted from the Wars of the Three Kingdoms but collapsed in 1659. Politicians such as General Monck tried to ensure a peaceful transition of government from the "Commonwealth" republic back to monarchy. From 1 May 1660 the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under King Charles II. The term Restoration may apply both to the actual event by which the monarchy was restored, and to the period immediately before and after the event.

The Court of Claims in the United Kingdom is a special court established after the accession of a new Sovereign to judge the validity of the claims of persons to perform certain honorary services at the coronation of the new monarch.

William Sarsfield was an Irish landowner of the seventeenth century. He was the elder brother of the Jacobite soldier Patrick Sarsfield and was married to Mary Crofts, a woman believed to have been an illegitimate daughter of Charles II.

Following the death of his nephew Charles Sarsfield, Patrick advanced his own claim to Lucan Manor with the legal assistance of his cousin Francis Sarsfield.

Early military career

Patrick, as a younger son, sought a career as a soldier. His first experience may have been some brief time spent with the Irish Guards in Dublin. Although Catholics were notionally forbidden from military service, the ranks of the Guards were frequently an exception. [2]

He entered Dongan's Regiment of Foot on 6 February 1678. [1]

In his early years he is known to have challenged Lord Grey for a supposed reflection on the veracity of the Irish people (September 1681), and in the December of that year he was run through the body in a duel in which he engaged as second. [1]

In 1682–83 while in London, Sarsfield took part in two abductions of heiresses. In May 1682 he helped his friend Captain Robert Clifford to abduct Ann Siderlin, a wealthy widow, and was considered lucky not to be prosecuted. Then he abducted Elizabeth Herbert, the widowed daughter of Lord Chandos, on his own account. Elizabeth refused to marry him, but agreed not to prosecute him in exchange for her freedom. [3]

During the last years of the reign of Charles II he saw service in the English regiments that were attached to the army of Louis XIV of France. The accession of James II led to his return home. [1]

Monmouth's Rebellion

He took part in the suppression of the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685. After Monmouth had landed in the West Country and proclaimed himself King in defiance of James, Sarsfield was given permission to accompany the Royal Army as a gentleman volunteer. He was wounded with a sword slash to the hand during a skirmish with the rebels at Keynsham. [4] He was present again at the decisive victory at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685. During the fighting he was knocked off his horse, clubbed by muskets and left for dead by the rebel infantry. Wounded in several places, he nonetheless survived, and the battle gained him recognition for his conduct. His actions were even brought to the attention of the King. [5]

As a reward he was formally given a commission, appointed as a Captain in Richard Hamilton's regiment of the Irish Army. However before he could take up this position he was transferred to an English cavalry regiment and promoted to Major. [6] In the following year, he was promoted to a Colonelcy.

Glorious Revolution

During the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Sarsfield remained loyal to James. While other officers defected to the invading Dutch Army, Sarsfield was active on the King's behalf, and fought the Wincanton Skirmish against an enemy detachment.

King James had remodelled the Irish army from a Protestant-led force to a Catholic-led one, and Sarsfield, whose family was Roman Catholic, [1] was selected to assist in this reorganisation. He went to Ireland with Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell, who was appointed commander-in-chief by the King. [1]

Williamite war 1689–1691

The Battle of the Boyne in 1690. William III at the Battle of the Boyne.jpg
The Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

In 1688 the death of his elder brother, who had no son, made Sarsfield the heir to the family estate, which brought him little money while he was on the losing side of a civil war.

Sarsfield sat in the 1689 Patriot Parliament as a member for Dublin County.

The Catholic King James came into Ireland with the backing of Louis XIV attempting to regain his throne from his son-in-law, the Protestant William of Orange. William had been invited to invade England by a group of influential political and religious leaders in what became known in England as the "Glorious Revolution", in 1688. Louis XIV was the terror of Europe at this time, spreading French hegemony across the continent.

Most Irish people supported James because of his 1687 Declaration of Indulgence or, as it is also known, the Declaration for the Liberty of Conscience, which granted religious freedom to all denominations in England and Scotland. James had promised the Irish Parliament an eventual right to self-determination.

For the Catholic and Anglo-Irish in Ireland (also known as Gall or More Irish than the Irish themselves), the invasions by thousands of 'planters' during the preceding century in the Elizabethan and Cromwellian Plantations threatened to dispossess them. They feared for their lives and their property and rallied around James and his promises of tolerance for all religions.

Sarsfield came with King James in command of the Irish soldiers James brought. [1] King James's army also included French, Dutch, Danes, Swedes, and Prussians, or Brandenburghers. The Irish army was largely composed of recruits, little drilled and badly armed. [7] Sarsfield's soldiers were involved in battles with soldiers in the service of William of Orange through the streets of Reading and at Wincanton. [1]

During the earlier part of the Williamite war in Ireland, Sarsfield secured Connacht for the Jacobites.

The Battle of the Boyne (1 July 1690), in which the Pope backed and financed William of Orange as part of the Papal States while Louis XIV of France backed James to further his own imperial ambitions, was a disaster for Ireland, but Sarsfield emerged as its hero.

At the Boyne and also during the Siege of Limerick in August and September 1690, Sarsfield became prominent as a leader. He captured a convoy of military stores and artillery vital to the English at Ballyneety, near Pallasgreen between Limerick and Tipperary, [1] in a raid guided by a renowned rapparee, Galloping O'Hogan. [8] This delayed the siege of the town and flooding rains forced the English to retire. [1]

The 1st Duke of Berwick, King James's illegitimate son, jealously claimed that the achievement turned Sarsfield's head. It certainly made him the popular hero of the war. His generosity and courage had already commended Sarsfield to the affection of his people.

The Treaty Stone of Limerick. Treaty stone of Limerick.jpg
The Treaty Stone of Limerick.

King James is said to have described him as a brave fellow who had no head, unlike himself since at the first intimation of defeat, James fled and was the very first to reach Dublin, 50 kilometres away. Sarsfield bitterly exclaimed: "Change kings and we will fight you over again", [9] as recorded by Gilbert Burnet. [10] (King James was forever after known in Ireland as Séamas a' Chaca, or James the Shit.)

On the evening after the battle, James's Irish supporters retreated in good order southwards through Duleek to Dublin. In the Vatican a Te Deum was sung in gratitude for King William's victory.

When James's cause was ruined, Sarsfield arranged the Treaty of Limerick and sailed to France on 22 December 1691, leading 19,000 of his countrymen to enter the French service in the first phase of the military denuding of Ireland known as the Flight of the Wild Geese. That year James created him Earl of Lucan, [11] and promoted him to the rank of brigadier and then to major-general. [1]


Lord Lucan (as he was now) received a commission as lieutenant-general (maréchal-de-camp) from King Louis XIV of France. He fought with distinction in Flanders until he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Landen on 19 August 1693, less than two years later. [11] He died two or three days after the battle, at Huy, Belgium, [11] where he is buried in the grounds of St Martin's Church. A plaque on the wall of this church marks the approximate location of his grave.[ citation needed ] He was quoted as saying, while his lifeblood ebbed away, "Oh, if only this were for Ireland." [12]


Sarsfield married Lady Honora Burke (or de Burgh), daughter of the 9th Earl of Clanricarde, on 9 January 1689 in Portumna Abbey. [13] They had one son, James Sarsfield, 2nd Earl of Lucan, who died childless in 1718. [11]

Sarsfield's widow married Charles II's illegitimate son, the 1st Duke of Berwick. [11] Berwick raised Sarsfield's only child James as his stepson.

Patrick Sarsfield is sometimes said to be the father of Catalina Sarsfield, the wife of German adventurer Theodor von Neuhoff, who briefly ruled as King of Corsica. She was in fact the daughter of David Sarsfield, a distant cousin of Patrick from the Cork branch of the family. Michael Corcoran, a Union general in the American Civil War, claimed maternal descent from Sarsfield. [14]

The title Earl of Lucan was recreated in 1795 for Sarsfield's great-nephew Charles Bingham. [15]


Sarsfield is well commemorated in County Limerick. A figure of Patrick Sarsfield is on the coat of arms of County Limerick. One of the three main road bridges in Limerick is named Sarsfield Bridge; it adjoins Sarsfield Street. Sarsfield Barracks is the army barracks of Limerick. An 1881 bronze statue of Patrick Sarsfield by the sculptor John Lawlor in the grounds of St John's cathedral. [16]

Part of the route Sarsfield took for his daring attack on the Williamite siege train is marked out today as Sarsfield's Ride, and is a popular walking and cycling route through County Tipperary, County Clare and County Limerick. Sarsfield Rock, which overlooks the site of the attack, is marked by a plaque commemorating his victory

Sarsfield House, a large office block in Limerick, is the office of the Revenue Commissioners. [17]

Elsewhere in Ireland, a number of GAA clubs bear the name of Sarsfield. A fine portrait of Sarsfield by John Riley (1646–91) hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland. [18]

The town of Sarsfield in eastern Ontario was named in honour of Patrick Sarsfield in 1874. [19]

Part of the California Army National Guard, Bravo Company, 184th Infantry Regiment out of Dublin, California was called the Sarsfield Grenadier Guards at a time when the unit comprised soldiers of Irish birth or descent. [20]

The anonymous Irish poem "Slán le Pádraig Sáirséal" ("Farewell to Patrick Sarsfield") is considered a significant work of Irish-language literature. [21] [22] The 19th-century song Jackets Green commemorates Sarsfield's soldiers and their loss to Ireland.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Chisholm 1911, p. 223.
  2. Wauchope p.11
  3. Kelly 1994 , p. 10 cites Wauchope 1992 , pp. 22–26
  4. Wauchope p.29-30
  5. Wauchope p.30-32
  6. Wauchope p.33
  8. Todhunter 1895, p. 91.
  10. Wauchope 2004 cites Wauchope 1992
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 Chisholm 1911, pp. 223, 224.
  12. McCaffrey 2006, p. 106.
  13. Portumna Friary, Co Galway Secret Ireland: A Guide to Ireland's Historic and Cultural Treasures
  14. General Michael Corcoran (1827-1863) Fenian Graves
  15. The O'Byrne-O'Moore-Windsor Pedigree Archived 25 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  16. "Dictionary of Irish Architects – lawlor, john *". Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  20. "California State Milita and National Guard Unit Histories Sarsfield Grenadier Guards". The California State Military Museum. Retrieved 24 November 2011. (Originally publisher March 1939 issue of California Guardsman)
  21. Kiberd, Declan (1979). Synge and the Irish Language. Springer. ISBN   9781349045709 . Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  22. Craig, Patricia (2007). Asking for Trouble: The Story of an Escapade with Disproportionate Consequences. Blackstaff Press. ISBN   9780856408083.

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PD-icon.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sarsfield, Patrick". Encyclopædia Britannica . 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 223, 224.

Further reading

Peerage of Ireland
New creation Earl of Lucan
Succeeded by
James Sarsfield, 2nd Earl of Lucan