Treaty of Limerick

Last updated
The Treaty Stone on which the Treaty of Limerick may have been signed. Treaty-Stone-Limerick-2012.JPG
The Treaty Stone on which the Treaty of Limerick may have been signed.

The Treaty of Limerick (Irish : Conradh Luimnigh) ended the Williamite War in Ireland between the Jacobites and the supporters of William of Orange and concluded the Siege of Limerick. The treaty really consisted of two treaties, both of which were signed on 3 October 1691. Reputedly they were signed on the Treaty Stone, an irregular block of limestone which once served as a mounting block for horses. This stone is now displayed on a pedestal in Limerick, put there to prevent souvenir hunters from taking pieces of it. [1] Because of the treaty, Limerick is sometimes known as the Treaty City. [2] [3]

Irish language Goidelic language spoken in Ireland and by Irish people

Irish is a Goidelic language of the Celtic and Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of non-habitual speakers across the country.

Williamite War in Ireland Irish Theatre of the Nine Years War

The Williamite War in Ireland (1688–1691), was a conflict between Jacobites and Williamites over who would be monarch of the three kingdoms of Ireland, England and Scotland. It is also called the Jacobite War in Ireland or the Williamite–Jacobite War in Ireland.

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.



After his victory at the Battle of Boyne in July 1690, William III had issued the Declaration of Finglas which offered a pardon to Jacobite soldiers but excluded their senior officers from its provisions. This encouraged the Jacobite leaders to continue fighting and they won a major victory during the 1691 Siege of Limerick. However, defeats the following year at the Battle of Aughrim and the second siege of Limerick left the Williamites victorious. Nonetheless the terms they offered to Jacobite leaders at Limerick were considerably more generous than those a year earlier at Finglas.

The Declaration of Finglas was issued on 17 July 1690 by William III of Ireland at Finglas in County Dublin, shortly after his Williamite army's decisive victory at the Battle of the Boyne during the War of the Two Kings.

Siege of Limerick (1691) siege

The Siege of Limerick in western Ireland was a second siege of the town during the Williamite War in Ireland (1689–91). The city, held by Jacobite forces was able to beat off a Williamite assault in 1690. However, after a second siege in August – October 1691, it surrendered on favourable terms.

Battle of Aughrim 1691 battle in Ireland

The Battle of Aughrim was the decisive battle of the Williamite War in Ireland. It was fought between the largely Irish Jacobite army loyal to James II and the forces of William III on 12 July 1691, near the village of Aughrim, County Galway.

The Military Articles

These articles dealt with the treatment of the disbanded Jacobite army. Under the treaty, Jacobite soldiers in formed regiments had the option to leave with their arms and flags for France to continue serving under James II in the Irish Brigade. Some 14,000 Jacobites chose this option and were marched south to Cork where they embarked on ships for France, many of them accompanied by their wives and children. Individual soldiers wanting to join the French, Spanish or Austrian armies also emigrated in what became known as the Flight of the Wild Geese.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

James II of England 17th-century King of England and Ireland, and of Scotland (as James VII)

James II and VII was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland, his reign is now remembered primarily for struggles over religious tolerance. However, it also involved the principles of absolutism and divine right of kings and his deposition ended a century of political and civil strife by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown.

Cork (city) City in Munster, Ireland

Cork is a city in south-west Ireland, in the province of Munster. As of the 2016 census, the city had a population of 125,657, but following a boundary change in 2019, this was increased to approximately 210,000.

The Jacobite soldiers also had the option of joining the Williamite army. 1,000 soldiers chose this option. The Jacobite soldiers thirdly had the option of returning home which some 2,000 soldiers chose.

This treaty had twenty-nine articles, which were agreed upon between Lieutenant-General Ginkle, Commander-in-Chief of the English army, and the Lieutenant-Generals D'Usson and de Tessé, Commanders-in-Chief of the Irish army. The articles were signed by D'Usson, Le Chevalier de Tesse, Latour Montfort, Patrick Sarsfield (Earl of Lucan), Colonel Nicholas Purcell of Loughmoe, Mark Talbot, and Piers, Viscount Galmoy.

Godert de Ginkell, 1st Earl of Athlone Dutch general in the service of England

Godard van Reede, 1st Earl of Athlone, Baron van Reede, Lord of Ginkel, born in the Netherlands as Baron Godard van Reede was a Dutch general in the service of England.

Philibert-Emmanuel de Froulay, chevalier de Tessé, was baron d'Ambrières and a French army commander, fighting in the Williamite War in Ireland.

Nicholas Purcell, 13th Baron of Loughmoe was the son of James Purcell of Loughmoe and the maternal nephew of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde.

The Civil Articles

These articles protected the rights of the defeated Jacobite landed gentry who chose to remain in Ireland, most of whom were Catholics. Their property was not to be confiscated so long as they swore allegiance to William III and Mary II, and Catholic noblemen were to be allowed to bear arms. William required peace in Ireland and was allied to the Papacy in 1691 within the League of Augsburg.

Landed gentry largely historical British social class, consisting of land owners who could live entirely off rental income

The landed gentry, or simply the gentry, is a largely historical British social class consisting in theory of landowners who could live entirely from rental income, or at least had a country estate. It was distinct from, and socially "below", the aristocracy or peerage, although in fact some of the landed gentry were wealthier than some peers, and many gentry were related to peers. They often worked as administrators of their own lands, while others became public, political, religious, and armed forces figures. The decline of this privileged class largely stemmed from the 1870s agricultural depression; however, there are still a large number of hereditary gentry in the UK to this day, many of whom transferred their landlord style management skills after the agricultural depression into the business of land agency, the act of buying and selling land.

William III of England 17th-century Stadtholder, Prince of Orange and King of England, Scotland and Ireland

William III, also widely known as William of Orange, was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from 1672 and King of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1689 until his death in 1702. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known in Northern Ireland and Scotland as "King Billy".

Mary II of England joint Sovereign of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Mary II was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, co-reigning with her husband and first cousin, King William III, from 1689 until her death; popular histories usually refer to their joint reign as that of William and Mary. Mary's father, James II and VII, was unpopular due to his Roman Catholicism and his attempts at rule by decree. He was deposed in the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the adoption of the English Bill of Rights and the instalment of the Protestants William and Mary as king and queen regnant.

This Treaty contained thirteen articles which were agreed upon between the Right Honourable Sir Charles Porter, and Thomas Coningsby, 1st Earl Coningsby, Lord Justice of Ireland, and his Excellency the Baron de Ginkel, Lieutenant General and Commander-in-Chief of the English army, and the Right Honourable Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, Piers, Viscount Galmoy, Colonel Nicholas Purcell of Loughmoe, Colonel Nicholas Cusack, Sir Toby Butler (who was the actual draftsman), Colonel Garrett Dillon, and Colonel John Brown. The treaty was signed by Charles Porter, Thomas Coningsby, and Baron de Ginkel, and witnessed by Scavenmoer, H. Mackay, and T. Talmash.

Sir Charles Porter, was a flamboyant and somewhat controversial English-born politician and judge, who nonetheless enjoyed a highly successful career. He sat in the English House of Commons, and was twice Lord Chancellor of Ireland. As Chancellor, he survived an attempt by his political enemies to impeach him, and attempts to persuade the English Crown to remove him from office. In the last months of his life he was effectively head of the Irish government. In his dealings with the Irish people he was noted for tolerance in religious matters.

Thomas Coningsby, 1st Earl Coningsby English politician

Thomas Coningsby, 1st Earl Coningsby PC of Hampton Court Castle, Herefordshire was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times from 1679 until 1716 when he was created a peer and sat in the House of Lords

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.

It has been said that "the ink was not dry on the Treaty" before the English broke it—the civil articles were not honoured by the victorious Williamite government. [4] The few Catholic landowners who took the oath in 1691-93 remained protected, including their descendants. Those who did not were known as "non-jurors", and their loyalty to the new regime was automatically suspect. Some managed to have an outlawry specifically reversed, such as the 8th Viscount Dillon in 1694, or the Earl of Clanricarde in 1701.

The Papacy again recognized James II as the lawful king of Ireland from 1693. From 1695 this provoked a series of harsh penal laws to be enacted by the Parliament of Ireland, to make it difficult for the Irish Catholic gentry who had not taken the oath by 1695 to remain Catholic. The laws were extended for political reasons by the Dublin administration during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14), and reforms did not start until the 1770s.

It is often thought that Limerick was the only treaty between Jacobites and Williamites. A similar treaty had been signed on the surrender of Galway on 22 July 1691, but without the strict loyalty oath required under the Treaty of Limerick. The Galway garrison had been organised by the mostly-Catholic landed gentry of counties Galway and Mayo, who benefited from their property guarantees in the following century. The Limerick treaty marked the end of the war.

The Williamite Settlement forfeitures

In the following 8 years further confiscations were made from the continuing adherents to the Jacobite cause, and also further pardons were granted. The Commissioners of Forfeitures reported to the Irish House of Commons in December 1699 as follows: [5] [6]

Of these,

See also




Related Research Articles

Thomas Tollemache English general

Thomas Tollemache was an English soldier.

Siege of Athlone

Athlone was besieged twice during the Williamite War in Ireland (1689–91). The town is situated in the centre of Ireland on the River Shannon and commanded the bridge crossing the river into the Jacobite-held province of Connacht. For this reason, it was of key strategic importance.

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 1690, 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.

Henry Luttrell was an Irish soldier known for his service in the Jacobite cause. A career soldier, Luttrell served James II in England until his overthrow in 1688. In Ireland he continued to fight for James, reaching the rank of General in the Irish Army.

Charles Chalmont, marquis de Saint-Ruth was a French general. Early in his military career, he fought against Protestants in France. Later, he fought in Ireland on the Jacobite side in the Williamite War. While in command of the Jacobite Irish Army, he was killed at the Battle of Aughrim.

Events from the year 1690 in Ireland.

John Barrett was a colonel and head of the barony of the Cork Barrett family.

Alexander MacDonnell, 3rd Earl of Antrim (1615–1699) was a Roman Catholic peer and military commander in Ireland. He fought on the losing side in the Irish Confederate Wars (1641–1653) and in the Williamite War (1688–1691). Twice his lands were forfeited and twice he regained them. However, he is probably best known for having been shut out of Derry by the apprentice boys at the beginning of the latter of these two wars.

Lady Honora Burke (1674–1698), styled at different times as Honora Sarsfield, Countess of Lucan and Honora FitzJames, Duchess of Berwick, was an Irish aristocrat of the late seventeenth century.

The Capture of Waterford took place in July 1690 during the Williamite War in Ireland when a force under the command of Percy Kirke captured the town of Waterford from its Jacobite Irish Army garrison. Full control of the town was not secured until Duncannon Fort across Waterford Harbour was also taken from its garrison under Michael Burke shortly afterwards. In both cases the garrisons were allowed to march out under escort to Jacobite-held Mallow in County Cork, but were denied the "honours of war" which they demanded.

William Dorrington was an English army officer of the seventeenth century, known for service in the Jacobite cause of James II. Dorrington rose to the rank of Major General in the Irish Army, fighting in the Williamite War.

Dominic Sheldon, often written as Dominick Sheldon, was an English soldier. A leading Jacobite he served in James II's Irish Army during the Williamite War between 1689 and 1691. He was a noted cavalry commander, present at the Battle of the Boyne and Battle of Aughrim. Later after going into exile, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in the French Army. He was also remained a prominent courtier at the Jacobite court in exile at Saint Germain.

Disappointed with his alliance with France's King Louis XIV, Christian V of Denmark in 1689 entered into a treaty of military assistance with King William III of England. A Danish corps of seven thousand men was transported to Ireland, fighting against the Jacobites, participating in the battles of the Boyne and Aughrim, as well as the sieges of Limerick, Cork, Kinsale, Athlone, and Galway. In early 1692 the corps was transported to Flanders for future service in English pay.


  2. University College Cork - The Treaty of Limerick, 1691
  3. Limerick City: A Bit of History - The Treaty of Limerick Archived 2004-11-03 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Lenihan 1866, p. 386.
  5. Appointed under 10 William III., c. 9; report of 16 December 1699
  6. Simms J.G., The Williamite Confiscation in Ireland (London 1956)