Lordship of Mellifont 1612 from Newgrange and the bend of the Boyne by Geraldine Stout
In 1541 Mellifont and all its spiritual and temporal possessions were leased to Laurence Townley for a term of 21 years. It reverted from Townley to Sir William Brabazon in 1546 for a further term of seventeen years. In 1551 it was again leased to Brabazon. The manors of Oldebrige, Staling, and Shepehowse were held by William Twaites in right of Anne Brabazon his wife in full payment of the same issues due at the Feast of Michaelmas in the first year of Queen Elizabeth (1558-9). Half of the Manors of Oldebrige, Shepehowse, Stalinge, Ramolian with others were held by Robert Fleminge.In 1563 Edward Moore married Elizabeth Clifford, the widow of Sir William Brabazon. Edward and family had settled at Mellifont by May 1654. Their two sons Henry and Garret were born at Mellifont. Moore petitioned Elizabeth I in 1565 for the possessions of Mellifont Abbey and a grant of 21 years was given in 1566.
In 1592 Red Hugh O’Donnell, prince of Ulster, took refuge at Mellifont following his escape from Dublin Castle. In 1603 the Treaty of Mellifont was signed at Mellifont Abbey between the English Crown and Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone. Mellifont Abbey was now a fortified house and the property of Garret Moore a close friend of Hugh O’Neill. In 1607: Hugh O’Neill visited Mellifont before he left Ireland
In 1610 Moore had his rights to Mellifont and its possession confirmed which was confirmed again in 1612. In 1641 Moore defended Drogheda against the attack of the rebels. Moore’s estates were confiscated under the Cromwellian land settlement but he manged to re-acquire some of them in 1653.
Moores of Mellifont
Sir Edward Moore (c.1530–1602), soldier and settler, was second son of John Moore of Benenden, Kent, England, and his first wife, who was apparently the daughter of a Robert Washington. At some point after 1550 his presumably widowed father married Margaret, daughter of John Brent of Charing, Kent, and widow of John Dering in Pluckley, Kent. A follower of the earl of Warwick, Edward served in the English garrison at Berwick on the Scottish border during the 1550s before going to Ireland c.1561, probably having been encouraged to do so by his kinsman Sir Henry Sidney, who had held senior appointments in Ireland in the late 1550s.
About 1563 Moore married Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Nicholas Clifford of Chart, in Kent, and his wife Mary Harpur. Thrice widowed, she had previously been married to Sir William Brabazon (d. 1552), Christopher Blunt, and Humphrey Warren (d. 1561). Her first husband, Brabazon, had held vast tracts of former monastic property in north Leinster including a twenty-one-year lease, granted in 1551, to the property of the suppressed Cistercian monastery at Mellifont, Co. Louth, where Moore had established his residence by May 1564. On 20 June 1566 his tenure in Mellifont was confirmed by the crown when it granted him a twenty-one-year lease of the property. By virtue of his possession of this strategic site close to the Ulster border, Moore was to play an important part in the defence of the Pale for nearly forty years. He converted the abbey into a fortress, from which he offered obdurate resistance to repeated incursions into the Pale by the Ulster Irish during the 1560s. As custodian of Mellifont, he also provided sustenance to locals suffering from the devastation caused by these attacks, thereby perpetuating the former monastery’s tradition of hospitality. A more sinister aspect to his duties emerged as early as May 1564, when he received the first of a series of pardons for any excesses he may have committed while exercising martial law in Co. Louth. Over the following decade he received at least five further commissions to execute martial law for the defence of Louth and served as sheriff of the county for a number of years. About 1569 he was included on the royal military establishment and given command of a company of twenty Irish kern based at Mellifont.
His military effectiveness owed much to the income of £500 a year which his marriage had brought him, enabling him to hire soldiers and generally hold his own as a semi-private warlord in a frontier territory. This self-sufficiency facilitated his receipt of further grants of strategically important land from the crown, which appreciated that he would require little or no military or financial aid. Many of his men were local Irish, and the authorities in Dublin noted approvingly that he had the respect of a number of Irish lords on the Leinster–Ulster border. Foremost among these was Hugh O’Neill, Baron Dungannon, who sought with the crown’s help to make good his pretensions of becoming lord of Tyrone, and thus assisted Moore in resisting the assaults of Turlough Luineach O’Neill, lord of Tyrone from 1567. Their alliance was cemented during the 1560s when Dungannon transferred his title to land at Balgriffin, Co. Dublin, to Moore, which the latter subsequently sold for the considerable price of £900.
In May 1574 Moore expanded his influence into the midlands when he was authorised to wage war with a force of 300 men on those members of the O’Connors of Offaly who opposed the establishment of an English plantation in the region. This commission gave him very broad discretionary powers, including the right to kill supporters of the O’Connor rebels and to seize the goods of those inhabitants of the Pale who aided them. By June he boasted of having suppressed the midland rebels, but they merely seem to have gone to ground for a time. Moreover, Moore’s installation in Offaly aroused the jealousy of Gerald Fitzgerald, earl of Kildare, who regarded the midlands as his personal bailiwick and used his considerable influence to encourage opposition to Moore there. Nonetheless, aided by Kildare’s long-term imprisonment for treason in 1575, Moore consolidated his position in Offaly and was appointed constable of Philipstown castle and seneschal of King’s Co. in May 1576; he retained the constableship till his death. Operating in a lawless and chaotic environment, he could not afford to be overly scrupulous in his duties. During 1576 he engaged in a private feud with the loyalist Irish lord Barnaby Fitzpatrick that devastated much of the midlands and impoverished the settlers he had been charged with protecting. Neither was he averse to employing or doing business with rebels if it suited his own interests: prior to his coming to Offaly, he had been accused in 1573 of engaging in commerce with O’Connor rebels, while in 1577 it was alleged that he actively encouraged rebel activity in the midlands.
These criticisms throw a new light on the otherwise puzzling speed with which he expanded his landed interests. During the 1560s and 1570s he acquired a series of leases from the queen: of former monastic properties such as that of the hospital of St John of Ardee, of the monastic cells of Colpe and Duleek, and of the monastery of Gallen, all of which gave him control of huge properties in Co. Louth and Co. Meath; he may have held as much as 51,000 acres. Many of these grants appear merely to confirm purchases of these leases previously made by Moore. Indeed, such was his wealth that he was able to lend large sums of money to the government during the 1560s and 1570s. Even allowing for a highly propitious marriage and his evident shrewdness, such a rapid accumulation of property and wealth can only be explicable if he was engaging in some sharp practice. For example, he appears to have secretly and illegally had the property vested in the constableship of Philipstown transferred to himself. Also, as well as associating himself with Gaelic lords, he adopted some of their more unsavoury (but financially rewarding) habits such as military racketeering.
Following the outbreak of the second Desmond rebellion in summer 1579, Moore accompanied the lord justice Sir William Drury in his campaigns in Munster, for which he was knighted that autumn. By November he had been compelled to return to Mellifont to help resist a feared invasion of Leinster by Turlough Luineach O’Neill. There he earned further approbation from his superiors by dissuading Dungannon from proceeding with his intention to join Turlough Luineach in armed opposition to the government. For the rest of the 1580s, and despite operating on opposite sides of Ireland’s great political and ethnic divide, Moore and Dungannon cooperated closely and thereby facilitated their advancement within their respective spheres. Through his own efforts Dungannon supplanted Turlough Luineach as the dominant figure in mid Ulster by the middle of the decade, and the crown accepted this, even creating him earl of Tyrone. Moore undoubtedly facilitated his ally’s rise, particularly in his role as adviser on Ulster affairs to Sir John Perrot, lord deputy of Ireland 1584–8. Possibly under Moore’s influence, Perrot prioritised the extension of the crown’s authority into the previously autonomous lordships of Ulster and regarded Tyrone’s ascendancy there as a welcome development. The centrepiece of this strategy was his composition of Ulster, whereby the leading lords agreed to pay for the maintenance of royal soldiers in the province. As someone likely to be acceptable to Tyrone, Moore became the principal collector of this payment, thereby furthering himself both politically and financially. Being a cousin of Francis Walsingham, secretary of state in London, to whom the queen delegated the management of Irish matters during the 1580s, further augmented his clout.
Although not a high-profile figure within the central administration in Dublin, by the end of the 1580s Moore had established himself at a regional level as the linchpin of a formidable political and dynastic network. Three brothers had accompanied him to Ireland and pursued careers in the royal administration and army. The youngest, Sir Thomas Moore, soldiered in Offaly and became a landowner at Croghan. Also, his first wife’s previous marriages brought him a clutch of stepsons, many of whom were influential soldiers and landowners. He was particularly close to his Warren stepsons, who held important military offices in King’s Co. and in east Ulster. His friendship with the Warrens survived the death of his first wife and subsequent marriage (March 1589) to Dorothy, daughter of Sir Richard Southwell, master of the ordnance in England, and widow of John Wentworth of Essex. The largeness of his extended family was not an unmitigated benefit, encumbering his estate with maintenance payments for some of his stepchildren. His refusal to pay maintenance to one of his Blunt stepsons led to legal action in 1581, after which he was compelled to acknowledge a large debt. Nonetheless, in King’s Co., Louth, and parts of Meath he and his associates dominated local society as landowners, military leaders, and royal officials, while in Ulster the Moore axis was perfectly poised to prosper as the crown tightened its hold there.
In fact the crown and its agents had overreached themselves dangerously in Ulster, where attempts to bring the province within the remit of the Dublin administration were threatening by the late 1580s to provoke a furious backlash; not least from Tyrone, who was determined to preserve his quasi-sovereign powers. Moore’s levying of the composition tax on various Ulster lordships aroused deep resentment among Tyrone’s allies in the province, and strained the previously harmonious relationship between the two men. In spring 1590 Moore became alarmed when Tyrone defied the government by executing one of his local rivals. He warned presciently that unless the government took immediate action to curb Tyrone’s power it would be faced with a major crisis.
Fatefully, this advice was disregarded due to Moore’s being on the wrong side of a power struggle within the London and Dublin administrations. Indeed, his well-known friendship with Tyrone, for so long a source of strength, now became a liability due to the earl’s estrangement from the government, and contributed to the most serious reverse of his career. After Perrot stepped down as lord deputy (1588), Sir William Fitzwilliam assumed this position. During his first stint as lord deputy (1571–5), Fitzwilliam had repeatedly lauded Moore for his service and had been responsible for advancing him into Offaly. However, now regarding Moore as an adherent of his enemy Perrot, Fitzwilliam froze him out and tried to defeat Moore’s attempt to undertake the farm of the Ulster composition. At first, Fitzwilliam’s hostility mattered little, as Perrot then exercised great influence over the crown’s Irish policy from London. Thanks to Perrot, Moore was sworn a member of the Irish privy council in autumn 1589 and given command of a troop of fifty horse in April 1590. The English privy council also ordered Fitzwilliam to rely on Moore in Ulster.
In early 1590 Fitzwilliam accused Perrot of treason, at which the queen established a commission to investigate these claims. Moore was included on this commission, which was composed overwhelmingly of Perrot’s clients and which was to interrogate the former priest Dennis O’Roughan who had made the original allegations. However, the death (May 1590) of Walsingham, the patron of Perrot and Moore, led to the emergence of Lord Burleigh, Fitzwilliam’s patron, as the dominant minister in London. Perrot was arrested, while his supporters in Ireland were subjected to legal harassment. In June O’Roughan accused Moore (probably correctly) of presiding over his torture, while Fitzwilliam’s hints that he was part of a treasonous combination (involving Tyrone) sealed his fate. By the start of 1591 Moore was imprisoned in London. At some point later that year he was released on bonds but still faced a trial in the court of castle chamber in Dublin, and found the manner in which he had acquired most of his property coming under official investigation. About this time he conveyed his Mellifont property to Sir Anthony St. Leger to hold in trust in order to forestall a potential royal confiscation. In the end nothing came of these proceedings, although he was expelled from the Irish privy council and stripped of his troop of horse.
Moore kept a low profile for a time and seems to have spent most of 1592–4 in England. Embittered by his treatment and eager to destabilise Fitzwilliam’s administration, he allowed Mellifont to be used as a place of refuge in early 1592 by Hugh O’Donnell who was a recent escapee from Dublin Castle, a close ally of Tyrone, and a future rebel leader. Fitzwilliam’s recall as lord deputy in 1594 quickly led to Moore’s political rehabilitation and put a stop to any further flirtations with Tyrone and his confederates in their rebellious designs. Had he not been in disgrace for 1590–94, he might have been able to prevent the gradual breakdown in relations between Tyrone and the Dublin administration, but by the time the government belatedly dispatched him to Ireland in autumn 1594 the drift towards war had become irreversible. Finding the defences of the northern borders of the Pale to be inadequate, he was happy to agree to a series of rolling truces with the rebel confederation of Ulster lords led by Tyrone, and believed that a peaceful resolution was possible. His optimism in this regard was understandable, as his estates in north Leinster would effectively become the front line in a war between the crown and the Ulster confederates.
After intermittent fighting during 1595–6, he was involved in further attempts in July 1596 to broker an end to the conflict. He brought Tyrone a royal pardon and another truce was agreed. This time, however, Moore was under no illusions: in his report to the lord deputy, William Russell, he declared that Tyrone would not submit to the crown and had thrown his lot in with Spain. Sensitive to claims of softness on his part towards Tyrone, he requested that he be excluded from any future talks with the rebel leader, pleading ill health. Although the truce lasted till early 1597, this did not prevent a series of raids by rebel forces on north Leinster in late 1596. He sought to preserve his properties from these attacks but was unable to participate in the fighting due to age and illness, delegating that role to his son and heir Garrett, who was granted a command in the royal army in 1597. The attacks on his estates by rebels, and the burden of often having royal soldiers quartered on his lands, left him in financial difficulties and meant he struggled to pay an annual rent of £600 due to the crown for his lands, although revenues from estates inherited from his father and cousin in Kent provided some relief. In order to encourage him the queen restored him to the Irish privy council in March 1599.
The same year he was described approvingly as one of only two English proprietors who had not fled Co. Louth, but for some royal officers this was seen as proof that he was colluding with Tyrone. In 1598, and again in 1600, his son Garret was accused of aiding the rebels and it was said that Mellifont was left relatively unscathed while neighbouring properties were ruined by rebel onslaughts. These allegations, which were not acted on, were substantially untrue and Garret served with distinction against the rebels, but it is possible that at times the Moores and Tyrone may have pursued a decidedly neighbourly mode of warfare. Significantly, during his talks with Tyrone in summer 1596, the rebel leader had informed him of an impending uprising in the midlands, warning him to look to his family, friends, and property in Offaly.
That said, such accommodations could only hope to mitigate the harsh realities of war, and even then only temporarily. In autumn 1601, as the nine years’ war reached its climax following the landing of Spanish forces as Kinsale, Tyrone led his forces through the Pale in overwhelming strength and devastated Moore’s estates. In the aftermath of these depredations he claimed to be facing financial ruin, having suffered losses of £3,000. During his last days he harboured rather exaggerated fears that he would forfeit his lands due to his inability to pay his royal rents. He died early in 1602, by 10 March at the latest, and was buried in St Peter’s Church, Drogheda.
Sir Garret Moore of Mellifont
1st Viscount Moore of Drogheda
Garret Moore, (c.1566–1627), 1st Viscount Moore of Drogheda , landowner and soldier, was the second and eldest surviving son of Sir Edward of Mellifont, Co. Louth, and his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Nicholas Clifford of Chart, Kent, England. Due to Sir Edward’s disgrace on politically motivated charges of treason, Moore began about 1592 to play a leading role in the management of his father’s large estates in Co. Louth, Co. Meath, and King’s Co. (Offaly). In early 1592, probably because he bore a grudge against the lord deputy of Ireland, Sir William Fitzwilliam, over his father’s treatment, he harboured Hugh O’Donnell, recent escapee from Dublin Castle and future rebel, in his residence at Mellifont.
As agents of the centralising protestant state in a frontier territory, the Moores tried to mitigate their military vulnerability by cultivating good relations with their Gaelic Irish neighbours. Moore and his father were particularly close to Hugh O’Neill, earl of Tyrone, who, however, assembled a confederation of Ulster lords determined to resist royal encroachments into the province during the early 1590s. From 1594 Garret and Sir Edward acted as intermediaries between Tyrone and the government in a series of diplomatic initiatives, all of which failed to halt the drift towards a destructive and prolonged war. On 12 March 1594 Garret arranged a meeting between Tyrone and a group of royal commissioners outside Dundalk. A dramatic (but probably staged) scene ensued, whereby Tyrone protested his loyalty but was virtually dragged away by his fellow confederates, who had accompanied him to the parley. Moore andThomas Lee followed them but hastily withdrew when members of the rebel party levelled their muskets at them. In January 1596 Moore was present at another meeting between Tyrone and royal commissioners near Dundalk, but again the meeting failed to provide a breakthrough. That November he is said to have distinguished himself in resisting rebel attacks on Co. Louth, and in 1597 the lord deputy, Thomas Burgh), gave him command of a troop of thirty horse in the royal army.
However, in January 1598 William Paule, an army officer who had been arrested after Moore’s half-brother Sir Henry Warren alleged he had falsified army musters, accused Moore and Warren of treason. He claimed that the recently deceased Burgh had discovered that Moore and Warren were in secret communication with the rebels, for which they had poisoned him. In May Paule alleged that he had been attacked by Moore on his way to Swords, Co. Dublin, for having aired his concerns about Moore to the authorities, and that one of Moore’s own kinsmen had been killed at Moore’s behest for fear of what he might reveal. The matter rested until July 1600, when Owen O’Neill accused Moore of providing Tyrone with intelligence and of indicating that he would never serve against the rebel earl. Moore had been in contact with Tyrone that spring, but this was in relation to a prisoner exchange that he had been trying to arrange with the government’s approval.
In any case his superiors had no doubts about his loyalty, appointing him to a commission for the defence of Louth and Meath (1 May 1598), giving him command of 100 foot along with his troop of horse (1599), and knighting him (6 September 1599). He seems to have been active against the rebels in Cavan and Monaghan, and in summer 1601 was stationed in the newly established fort at the River Blackwater on the borders of Tyrone’s personal lordship. That October, as the Nine Years War approached its climax following the landing of a Spanish expeditionary force at Kinsale, Tyrone marched through the Pale in overwhelming strength and devastated the Moore estates, which would appear to give the lie to the earlier allegations that Moore was secretly confederated with the rebels. In November he marched south as part of reinforcements dispatched to assist the royal forces besieging the Spanish at Kinsale, Co. Cork. He remained for the duration of the siege and for the royal army’s victory over Tyrone’s forces outside Kinsale in December.
After his father’s death in early 1602, he succeeded both to his estates and to his constableship of Philipstown in King’s Co.; this position was later confirmed to him for life. That summer he campaigned as part of Mountjoy’s main field army, which overran the rebel heartland in mid-Ulster, while in November he secured the surrender of a number of leading rebels in Cavan. However, Tyrone proved frustratingly elusive, and in November 1602 the rebel leader informed the government through Moore that he was prepared to negotiate the terms of his surrender. Having been authorised to treat with Tyrone, he rode alone from Dungannon to meet the earl in his fastness on the night of 27 March 1603, persuading him to come to Togher, near Dungannon, on 29 March and place himself in Sir William Godolphin’s custody. They then hastened to Mellifont, arriving on the evening of 30 March, where Tyrone submitted to the lord deputy of Ireland, Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, on relatively lenient terms thereby bringing the war to a close. The political uncertainty caused in England by the death of Queen Elizabeth I the previous week had left Mountjoy desperate to secure Tyrone’s submission; Moore’s role in facilitating this was greatly appreciated.
In the aftermath of the war Moore was pardoned (9 June 1603) for any treasons he might have committed, which may refer to certain communications he had with Tyrone during the war, and was appointed seneschal of Co. Cavan and of the town of Kells on 20 June. He was sworn a member of the Irish privy council in autumn 1604, and by 1609 was in receipt of a royal pension. Following the cessation of hostilities in 1603, his company was cashiered but he remained one of the dominant figures in the Ulster–Leinster border region, which continued to be of great strategic importance due to the crown’s still-uncertain grip on the northern province. In summer 1605 he was commissioned by the government to put down local disturbances in this area. In recognition of his influence and of the fact that he was able to raise and maintain soldiers out of his private resources, the cash-strapped government granted him the command of a troop of twenty-five horse in September 1607.
He had inherited from his father vast estates in the counties of Meath, Louth, Westmeath, King’s Co., and Cavan; at his death he held at least 51,000 acres. However, most of these territories were leased from the crown. By 1608 he had succeeded in having these leases extended to last at least another seventy years, but he complained that he paid more in rents to the crown than any other landholder in Ireland. His ultimate goal was to have all his lands passed to him in fee farm, which would have made them his permanent possessions.
His efforts in this regard were furthered by Sir Arthur Chichester, lord deputy of Ireland (1605–16), with whom he established a close relationship and who was often a guest at his house in Mellifont. A less welcome but equally regular visitor throughout 1603–7 was Tyrone, whose relations with the government (and particularly with Chichester) remained fraught. Later Moore claimed that he wished to discourage Tyrone from visiting but that Chichester dissuaded him from doing so, as the earl would immediately suspect that the government was behind this.
In May 1607 Sir Christopher St. Lawrence, 9th Baron Howth, informed the government of Tyrone’s involvement in a plot hatched by leading members of the catholic nobility, to rebel against the crown with Spanish assistance. Howth was well known to Moore, the two men having served together in the royal army during the Nine Years War when they had clashed bitterly. Then, Howth’s attempts to build a personal power base in Moore’s personal bailiwick of north Leinster had been vigorously opposed by the latter, who had eventually succeeded in discrediting his rival. Unconvinced by the accuracy of Howth’s claims and even suspecting that the baron was acting as a double agent, Chichester ordered Moore to monitor the activities of Howth and of certain disaffected nobles, but does not seem to have told him of Howth’s role as a government spy. He reported on meetings held during that period between Howth and Ruaidhri O’Donnell, earl of Tyrconnell, who was a close ally of Tyrone, and also met with Howth at Mellifont in August.
Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone
Both Moore and Chichester also spoke with Tyrone at Slane (29 August), where they tried to gauge his intentions. Initially Moore judged that, although troubled by reports that King James I was displeased with him, Tyrone would comply with a royal summons to London, made in July. However, Moore and Tyrone then proceeded from Slane to Mellifont where the clearly agitated earl complained while in his cups that the king had turned against him. On leaving the next day, Tyrone brought away his son, whom he had fostered out to the Moores, and treated the Moore family to an emotional farewell. Moore immediately went to Dublin to inform Chichester, who put his forces on high alert. In the event Tyrone fled into exile some days later.
The power vacuum created by the flight of Tyrone and other leading Ulster lords destabilised the province, leading to an upsurge in violence. In December 1607 Chichester authorised Moore to lead 200 soldiers into Cavan in pursuit of Richard Nugent, Lord Delvin, who had escaped from Dublin castle after being arrested on suspicion of treason. However, the political fallout from the ‘flight of the earls’ proved far more threatening to Moore’s position. Still nursing a grudge against Moore and convinced that Chichester had deliberately exposed him as a government informer, Howth stated in February 1608 that Moore had declared his knowledge of and support for Tyrone’s projected uprising at their meeting in Mellifont the previous August. The fact that Moore’s career to date had been dogged by innuendo surrounding his relationship with Tyrone, and that he had met with the earl immediately prior to his departure, facilitated Howth in casting these aspersions on his loyalty.
Howth also claimed that Moore’s chaplain John Aston was a sorcerer and that he had invoked the Devil in order to foresee the consequences of Tyrone’s flight, presumably at his master’s behest. Rumours that Aston practiced magic had been rife in Ireland in late 1607, and Aston voluntarily confessed as much (while denying that he had engaged in a compact with the Devil) in February 1608 to the incredulous Chichester, implicating both Moore and the lord chancellor of Ireland, Thomas Jones, in these activities. Jones said that one of his servants had, without his knowledge, turned to Aston to divine who had stolen a certain sum of money from his master. In his own defence Moore protested that he had employed Aston from November 1605 on the recommendation of the bishop of Chester and of a gentleman of the king’s privy chamber, and that he had expelled him from his household after about a year as his true nature became apparent. He denounced Aston in the strongest terms as a moral reprobate, and argued that his testimony was based on a desire to revenge himself on Moore. By May, Aston had admitted to merely posing as a sorcerer, but the suspicion remained that Moore and Jones had believed him to be one and had asked him to use his powers on their behalf.
This affair was greatly embarrassing, but a belief in the occult was not uncommon among even the highest ranks of society during this period. The revelations regarding Tyrone were far more dangerous. The charge that Moore, a pillar of the protestant establishment, would collude with Tyrone in treason was fantastical, but that was beside the point. In many respects, Moore was a pawn in a bigger political game in which the credibility of Chichester’s lord deputyship of Ireland was at stake. The crisis that gripped Ireland for much of 1607–8, and which threatened to become a full-scale rebellion, had been largely precipitated by Chichester’s aggressive harrying of the earls and by his vigorous persecution of catholicism during 1605–7. Such was the king’s desperation to appease catholic opinion that he contemplated replacing his lord deputy in spring 1608, and Howth’s charges against a member of Chichester’s inner circle could have provided a pretext for doing so. Despite affecting nonchalance in his correspondence, Chichester felt threatened by Howth’s proceedings and exerted himself to secure Moore’s acquittal.
Aware that Howth was gathering evidence against him, Moore sent a messenger to tell the baron that he was a coward and a liar. This was designed to provoke the notoriously volatile Howth into coming forward before he had fully prepared his case, and he took the bait by formally accusing Moore of abetting Tyrone’s flight (3 May 1608). Subsequently Howth expanded on these claims to assert that Moore and his father had aided Tyrone during the Nine Years War, that Moore had also assisted the flight from Ireland earlier in 1607 of Cuchonnacht Maguire, and that Moore had assured Tyrone that he would join him on his return to Ireland at the head of an invading Spanish army. During the course of the summer Moore and his supporters were able to uncover the identity of some of Howth’s intended witnesses, whom they successfully intimidated or otherwise dissuaded from testifying. Later Howth alleged that Chichester had wrongfully revealed to Moore details of the charges made against him. In September 1608 Moore was suspended from the Irish privy council pending the resolution of the case. Meanwhile, the rivalry between Moore and Howth led to violence during the course of 1608, in which some Irish soldiers in Moore’s pay, under the leadership of Shane O’Carolan, killed one of Howth’s retainers. Howth pressed for the trial and execution of Shane O’Carolan and his associates, but Chichester eventually granted them a royal protection.
Flight of the Earls
With Howth unwilling to submit his evidence to Chichester, the king summoned Moore and Howth to England to arbitrate on the affair. In January 1609 Moore went to England with Chichester taking bonds of £8,000 for his appearance before the relevant authorities, and was questioned by royal officials in England in March. However, by then it was apparent that Tyrone’s flight had led to the consolidation of royal power in Ulster: Chichester’s methods had been vindicated. Moreover, Howth’s evidence was weak and the witness he produced, claiming to have overheard Moore plot treason, was discredited. Thus, on 28 April the king declared his confidence in Moore’s loyalty and permitted him to return to Ireland.
Having been acquitted and enjoying the backing of the Dublin administration, Moore was able to harass Howth with impunity back in Ireland and eventually forced him to withdraw to England for his own safety. With his dangerous friendship with Tyrone no longer an issue he was able to keep a lower profile thereafter and consolidated his position as one of the leading landowners in Leinster. He continued to benefit from official favour, being granted 1,000 acres in the Ulster plantation at Orior in Armagh (1610), obtaining a grant of all his lands in fee farm (January 1612), and being created Baron Moore of Mellifont (15 February 1615), and Viscount Moore of Drogheda (7 February 1621). He was also elected as MP for Dungannon in the 1613–15 Irish parliament. On 9 November 1627 he died at Drogheda, and was buried in St Peter’s church there on 13 December.
He married Mary (d. 3 June 1654), daughter of Sir Henry Colley, of Castle Carbery, Co. Kildare; they had seven sons and five daughters. He was succeeded by his third son, Charles.
Charles Moore, 2nd Viscount of Drogheda
Charles Moore, (1603–43), 2nd Viscount Moore of Drogheda and royalist army commander, was eldest surviving son of Sir Garret, 1st Viscount Drogheda, and his wife Mary (d. 1654), daughter of Sir Henry Colley, of Castle Carberry, Co. Kildare. His grandfather was Sir Edward Moore. In 1627 his father died and he succeeded to the family title and estates, being appointed as a privy counsellor and commissioner for regranting escheated lands in Ulster in 1628. He attended the opening of parliament in July 1634 and was appointed as a member of the lords’ committee on grievances.
He came to prominence during the rebellion of 1641, when he played a significant part in the defence of Drogheda, Co. Louth. After the outbreak of the rebellion, realising that his own castle at Mellifont could not be defended, he raised a troop of sixty horse and went to Drogheda, where he set the townspeople to repairing the defensive walls and also had cannons taken from a cellar and a ship in the harbour and installed in the Mill Mount fort. He then went to Dublin to petition the lords justices for help; during his absence the town’s governor, Sir Faithful Fortescue, resigned his commission and fled. Fortescue was replaced by Sir Henry Tichborne, who arrived in Drogheda in November 1641 with a force of around 1,100 men. By the end of November the town was surrounded and Moore played an active part in its defence, leading several attacks on the besiegers’ positions. He led a final sally on 5 March 1642, which compelled the rebel force to abandon the siege.
He took part in the campaign to recapture Dundalk, which fell on 26 March 1642, and replaced Tichborne as the governor at Drogheda. Using Drogheda as his base, he led a series of raids against the rebel forces in Co. Meath, defeating a large force near Ardee and Navan, before capturing the fort at Siddan in August 1642. He was a staunch royalist and Charles I signed letters patent appointing him governor of Co. Louth and of the barony of Slane. The lords justices of Ireland, who were divided in their political loyalties, refused to ratify this appointment, but in January 1643 Moore was appointed by the king as a commissioner to hear the grievances of the catholic confederation. In March 1643 he went with Lord Roscommon and Lord Clanrickarde to Trim, where they received the confederation’s statement, or ‘remonstrance’, which was forwarded to the king.
He continued to take military action against the confederate army, and in April 1643 led a foraging expedition into Co. Louth and Co. Cavan. Throughout this expedition his force was harassed by the cavalry of Owen Roe O’Neill; while O’Neill refused to become embroiled in a full engagement, Moore was forced to withdraw to Drogheda without gathering the much-needed supplies. In August 1643 he led a force of around 1,000 men out of Drogheda towards Athboy, which was being threatened by O’Neill. This move was part of a larger strategy and it was hoped that O’Neill’s army would be caught between Moore’s force and two other forces led by Col. George Monck and the marquis of Ormond. On 7 August 1643 Moore attacked O’Neill’s army, which was in prepared positions at Portlester ford, near Trim, Co. Meath. An attack on a fortified mill building and then an advance up a sunken laneway both failed, his army suffering heavy casualties. Moore was in the process of organising another attack when he was struck by a cannonball and killed. According to many accounts, O’Neill himself had laid and fired the cannon which killed him. Moore’s remains were returned to Drogheda and buried in St Peter’s church.
He married Alice, daughter of Sir Adam Loftus; they had five sons and four daughters. Soon after her husband’s death she was implicated in a conspiracy to surrender Drogheda and Dundalk to the parliamentarians. She was imprisoned in Dublin Castle but later released. On 10 June 1649 she broke her leg in a fall from a horse, and died three days later. She was buried beside her husband in St Peter’s. Their eldest son, Henry Moore (d. 1675), succeeded as 3rd Viscount Drogheda and was created earl of Drogheda in June 1661, after the restoration of Charles II.
Henry Moore, 1st Earl of Drogheda
Henry Moore, 1st Earl of Drogheda (died 11 January 1676) was a peer, politician and soldier.
Moore was the son of Charles Moore, 2nd Viscount Moore of Drogheda, by his wife Hon. Alice Loftus, the youngest daughter of Adam Loftus, 1st Viscount Loftus. He served in the Irish House of Commons as the Member of Parlaiment for Ardee between 1639 and 1643, when he succeeded to his father’s viscountcy. He became a Royalist Colonel of Horse and served as Governor of Meath and Louth in 1643. Moore served in the forces of Confederate Ireland and fought at the Battle of Dungan’s Hill in August 1647. In 1653 he was forced to pay £6,953 to the Commonwealth government in order to retain his estates under the Act of Settlement 1652. Following the Restoration he was made Governor of Drogheda in 1660 and invested as a member of the Privy Council of Ireland. On 14 June 1661, he was created Earl of Drogheda in the Peerage of Ireland.
He married Hon. Alice Spencer, sister of Henry Spencer, 1st Earl of Sunderland and the fifth daughter of William Spencer, 2nd Baron Spencer and Lady Penelope Wriothesley. They had five children. They had a daughter Penelope, who married Randal Fleming, Lord of Slane. She died and was buried at St. Erc’s Hermitage and a raised tombs and stone. In the chancel is a large box tomb with the inscription on top; This monument was erected by Randall, Lord Baron of Slane, married first to Ellenor Barnewall who here is interred. Daughter to Sir Richard Barnewall of Chrickestowne Knight and baronet & after to the Lady Penelope Moore daughter to Henery Moore Earle of Drogheda Anno 1667.
And another stone which was on the side of the tomb but which at present cannot be seem as it is lying under the top stone with the following inscription; This is the coate of Henry Moore Earle of Drogheda (Arms) And Dame Alice Spenser his wife whose daughter Penelope Moore is second wife to Randall Lord Barron of Slane The said Dame Alice Spencer daughter to William Lord Barron of Worme Layton whose sonn being killed at Nuberry in his Matis service was before by Charles the first his said matis created Earle of Sunderland. The mother to the said Dame Alice was Penelope Wrioethesly Daughter of Henry Earle of Southampton whose brother Thomas Earle of Southampton sonn to the said Henry was created Lord High Treasurer of England and died anno 1667.
Tombs at St. Erc’s Hermitage, Slane, drawn by George du Noyer.
Alice outlived her husband by many years. She seems to have been a person of considerable strength of character. She was appointed guardian to her infant grandson Christopher Fleming 17th Baron Slane (son of her daughter Penelope and the 16th Baron). She lobbied the Crown vigorously for restoration to her grandson of all lands forfeited by the Fleming family during the troubles of the 1640s and 50s.
Some authors suggest that the streets in Dublin, Henry Street, Earl Street, Moore Street and Drogheda Street were set out by this Henry Moore but in my opinion his son Henry Hamilton Moore is a more likely candidate.
He died in 1676, was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles.
Charles Moore, 2nd Earl of Drogheda
Charles Moore, 2nd Earl of Drogheda wedded, in 1669, the Lady Letitia Isabella Robartes, daughter of John, Earl of Radnor, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. They had two children, Isabella, died an infant and was buried at St. Bride’s, Dublin, 8th July 1673 and Alice, also died an infant and buried at St. Bride’s 18 October 1664. In 1676 Charles was appointed Custos Rotulorum of Co. Louth. Charles died at his house on North Earl Street. in 1679 without surviving issue, the honours devolved upon his brother, Henry.
Henry Moore, 3rd Earl of Drogheda
Henry, 3rd Earl, who had assumed the surname of Hamilton upon inheriting the estates of his brother-in-law, Henry, Earl of Clanbrassil. He succeeded his older brother as 3rd Earl of Drogheda, 5th Viscount Moore and 5th Baron Moore on 18 June 1679.
In 1667 Henry Hamilton, the 2nd Earl of Clanbrassil married Lady Alice Moore, daughter of the Earl of Drogheda, sister to Henry. She was described as “very handsome, witty and well bred. She had expensive tastes and entertained lavishly. Their only child, james, was born in April 1670, but died two months later on 13 June.. Lady Alice discovered that her father-in-law, the first Earl of Clanbrassil, had, in the event of his son dying without issue, left his entire estate to five cousins. Rather than accept her disinheritance, Lady Alice took the law into her own hands and hatched a deadly and dastardly plot which would take her husband to his grave. With icy calm, she broke into the charter room of Killyleagh Castle, removed the will from its envelope and laughed blackly to herself as she burnt its contents in her bedroom. Shen then forced her husband to make a will of his own, seconding the estate to her and her brother. The second Earl may have been a weak man, but his mother, the Dowager Countess, was more of a match for Lady Alice. Although she knew nothing of the original will’s disappearance, she distrusted her daughter-in-law and warned her son: “Within three months of the day you sign that you will with your father in the vault of Bangor.” Foolishly, the second Earl ignored the warning and on March 27, 1674, did as his wife directed and signed the will. On 12 January 1675 he was found poisoned. His body was disembowlled five hours later and given a private burial in Christchurch Cathedral. A year later Alice re-married to Scottish widower, John Hamilton, 2nd Lord Bargeny.
Lady Alice died at Roscommon House, Dublin, 26 December 1677, leaving the estate to her brother. The cousins, however, were aware of the 1st Earl’s will and pursued their rights as inheritors. The matter was concluded 20 years later when a copy of the original will was discovered. By then, the cousins were all dead. The last to die was James Hamilton of Neilsbrook, County Antrim, son of Archibald Hamilton, the next brother of James Hamilton, 1st Viscount Claneboyne. James Hamilton of Neilsbrook had been confident of a settlement in his favour and had bequeathed the estate to be divided in two, with one half going to his daughter Anne Stevenson, née Hamilton, and the other half to his younger brothers Gawn and William Hamilton. In 1697 the probate court divided the castle, with Gawn and William gaining the main house and the two towers and their niece Anne receiving the bawn and gate house of Killeagh Castle. Gawn and William had to open a new entrance on the north side in order to enter their castle.
Henry Hamilton-Moore, 3rd Earl of Drogheda married Mary Cole, daughter of Sir John Cole, 1st Bt., on 3 July 1675. In 1682 Henry petitioned the King, claiming that his estates yielded an annual rent of £4159-1s and from this he owed the king £599 6s per annum, had to pay a jointure for his mother Alice (£1000), and his brother’s widow (£800) and provide an annual allowance of £300 for his younger brother. This left him £1459 15s “to his honour”. His grandfather, Charles, had contracted war liabilities of at least £18,000 before his death in 1643 and his brother, Charles, had added new debts of £115,000. The third Earl had to also find £5,000 for his sisters’ portions and he was liable for the “many great lawsuits” in which his brother was involved, usually with unpaid creditors. These financial obligations put the family under financial pressure.
Henry was a coronet in the reign of King Charles II, was Custos Rotulorum of Louth and Meath in 1679 and of Queen’s County in 1686. Henry was made a Privy Councillor by James II in February 1685 but attainted by the Catholic Parliament of 1689.
After the Prince of Orange’s arrival in England Henry was appointed a colonel and given the right to raise a regiment of men. On 26th August 1689 he was in command of a regiment at the taking of Carrickfergus Castle. He was serving in the regiment of Sir Thomas Gower but when Gower died Henry took over the command of the regiment. He commanded a regiment of foot in William’s army at the Battle of the Boyne. This was the regiment to which Rev. George Story was chaplain who wrote and account of the battle – A true and impartial history. On 9th August 1690 Henry led the advance guard of the Williamite army on Limerick. His men encounter the enemy three miles from Limerick and there was a skirmish. At the siege his grenadiers entered the breach made in the walls on 27th August but were forced to withdraw. On the 30th August the siege was raised and William departed for England. Henry’s regiment were disbanded in 1698.
Henry was appointed to the Privy Council by William III on 1 December 1690. Henry entered the Irish House of Lords on 5th October 1692. In 1699 he was appointed one of the commissioners for forfeited estates in Ireland.
Rocque’s Map of 1756 showing Henry Moore, Earl of Drogheda’s legacy: Henry St, Moore St, Earl Street, Off Lane, and Drogheda St
The Moore family gained possession of the lands of St. Mary’s Abbey in 1619/20 from James I. Laying out the streets, about 1708-11 Henry Moore, 3rd Earl of Drogheda, named some of his new streets Henry St, Moore St, Earl St (now North Earl St), Drogheda St, Mellefont Place (which was Tucker’s Row and became Cathedral St). A small lane, now called Henry Place, linking Moore St to Henry St was called Of or Off Lane.
This entire development was laid out before 1728 on what was called Ash Park by the monks of St Mary’s Abbey, where the Earl of Drogheda had taken the Abbot’s House as his city residence. After laying out his new streets, the Earl built Drogheda House, a mansion situated between Earl St and the next street north, now called Cathedral St. The Earl called this street Mellefont Place (he was also Baron Moore of Mellefont). A fountain was situated at the front of the house, “pouring water into Drogheda St”. Drogheda St, linking Sackville St (northern end) to the river was by then only a narrow lane, and indeed on Rocque’s map, did not continue to the river.
The change from Drogheda to Sackville reflects also the earlier changing land ownership. Drogheda’s reign came to an end following the death of the Earl. The lands passed through the hands of Sir Humphrey Jervis, who sold them to Luke Gardiner around 1714. It was he who laid out Gardiner’s Mall, and the northern stretch of Sackville St; the name coming from Lionel Cranfield Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset, who was viceroy for the periods 1731-37 and 1751-6. Gardiner also called his younger son Sackville. Gardiner’s grandson Luke continued the street to the river later that century, and Drogheda St disappeared from the map. Sackville St eventually became O’Connell St.
Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Henry was appointed on of the Lord Justices of Ireland in 1696, 1701 and 1702 He was re-appointed to the Privy Council by Queen Anne.
The Dublin City Assembly, early in 1700 decided to erect a statue of King William, to be placed on a pedestal in the old Corn Market. From the inception of this project, the Assembly was aware that the statue could become a focus for protest by Jacobite supporters, and decreed that it should “be defended with iron banisters”. Two Dublin merchants, Henry Glegg and John Moore, who were on business in London, were asked to commission the sculptor Grinling Gibbons to execute an equestrian statue of the king in copper or mixed metal and a contract was signed on 9 April 1700. In fact, the statue was executed in lead. Gibbons was to be paid £800 sterling in four instalments: £200 on signing the contract, the same again two months later, a further £200 when the statue was shipped off, and the final £200 when the statue had arrived and was in position. The Assembly then decided that the statue should be placed, not in the Corn Market, but in a more prominent location, in College green. It was also agreed that the stones of St. Paul’s gate in the city walls, which had been demolished by alderman George Blackall, should be used to make a pedestal for the statue. The statue was unveiled on 1 July 1701, which was the 11th anniversary of the Boyne (following the Julian calendar in use at the time). The lord justices, who were guests of honour, were “entertained by publicly running out some wine” – presumably so they could have the fun of watching the populace scramble for a drink. The lord justices were Henry Moore, 3rd earl of Drogheda; Narcissus Marsh, archbishop of Dublin; and Hugh Montgomery, 2nd earl of Mountalexander.
Henry Moore, 4th Earl of Drogheda
Henry Moore, 4th Earl of Drogheda (7 October 1700 – 29 May 1727), styled Viscount Moore from 21 May to 7 June 1714, was an Irish peer and rake who briefly served in the Parliament of Great Britain. He inherited his title and estates at the age of 13, when his father and grandfather died in quick succession. Drogheda rapidly became a debauchee, and after squandering large sums, died at the age of 26, leaving his younger brother a heavily encumbered estate.
Moore was the eldest son of Charles Moore, by his wife Lady Jane Loftus, the daughter of Arthur Loftus, 3rd Viscount Loftus. His father Charles was the heir apparent of Henry Hamilton-Moore, 3rd Earl of Drogheda. Charles was baptised 1 December 1676.Charles was MP for Drogheda during the reigns of William and Anne. He married Jane Loftus, daughter of Arthur, Viscount Loftus of Ely on 24 August 1699. They had three sons, Henry, who succeeded his grandfather, Edward who succeeded his brother and Charles who died young. Charles Moore died on 21 May 1714, followed shortly after by his father the 3rd Earl on 7 June, upon which Henry succeeded in the earldom and family estates and quickly became a drunkard.
Sent on the Grand Tour by his guardian, the Dowager Countess of Drogheda, he escaped from his governor, a French Huguenot refugee, in Brussels in June 1717. informing his grandmother that he could no longer bear the man’s ‘peevish humours’. Proceeding alone to Paris, he returned home when he ran out of money. In 1719, his grandmother obtained a release of responsibility for him from the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, writing that “he exceeds all the youth that ever went before him for wickedness”. Drogheda regularly overspent his allowance of £1,500 per year. In 1720, he married Charlotte, the daughter of Hugh Boscawen, 1st Viscount Falmouth, on 11 February, by whom he had one daughter, who died in infancy.
Drogheda’s father-in-law was the Government electoral manager for the Cornish boroughs and obtained for him a seat at Camelford at the 1722 election. In 1725, upon the death of his maternal grandfather Viscount Loftus, he inherited the Loftus estate of Monasterevin. Drogheda continued to spend immense sums on racing and other extravagances and died in Dublin on 29 May 1727. His mother and grandfather had to appeal to parliament to bestow the title and lands on the younger brother Edward. Edward had to sell much of the Moore estates in Louth and Meath to meet Henry’s debts of over £180,000, thenceforth the family made their seat at Monasterevin, where they later built Moore Abbey.
Porter Family of Oldbridge
Porter and Dowdall coat of arms on tomb in Ardmulchan, Navan, graveyard.
Walter Porter of Kingstown, Navan died in 1623. He was the son of Simon Porter and his second wife, Eleanor Dowdall of Staffordstown. A George Porter decided to raise a regiment to fight in Spain in 1641.
Walter Porter was the eldest of three sons of Simon Porter, a landed gentleman of an Old English family, from Kingstown near Navan in Co. Meath. He attended a school for Irish students in Lille where he concluded his studies in 1653. He renounced his material goods and rights as his father’s heir at the time of his profession in the Franciscan order in 1654, indicating that he had undertaken his noviciate a year earlier. It was at this time that he took the name Francis in place of Walter, his baptismal name. He then entered St Isidore’s College, an Irish Franciscan foundation in Rome, where he spent most of the remainder of his life. He was appointed a professor of the college, teaching philosophy from 1664 and theology from 1669. He acted for some years as procurator at the Roman curia for his province of the order, and also undertook duties on behalf of some of the Roman congregations. He published works defending catholic orthodoxy. He began a prolonged involvement in the controversies over the teachings of the Flemish theologian Jansen, and in 1679 he was retained by a congregation of Belgian anti-Jansenists as an agent in Rome. His zeal occasionally led him to act without discretion. Porter had strong personal and family connections to the cause of James II; a second edition of his Securis evangelica in 1687 was dedicated to the earl of Castlemaine, the king’s ambassador to the holy see. His brother was Colonel Patrick Porter. In 1690 further intrigues, this time in St Isidore’s College, forced Porter into temporary exile; he left Rome in April and was in France by October of that year. In the same year he published a compilation of documents about the history of the Irish church. His compendium of the ecclesiastical annals of the Kingdom of Ireland was published in Rome in 1690, and dedicated to Pope Alexander VIII. He probably visited the exiled Jacobite court at St Germain-en-Laye, and on 6 October 1690 he was appointed theologian and historian to James II. On his way back to Rome he spent some time in Avignon, in 1693. He was back at St Isidore’s in the same year. He died 7 April 1702 at St Isidore’s.
Colonel Patrick Porter of the family was a tutor to Henry Fitzjames, son of James II and his mistress, Arabella Churchill. He returned to Ireland and as an officer in Fitzjames infantry regiment, fought with James at the Battle of the Boyne. Patrick was the beneficiary of his brother’s renunciation of inheritance rights, but was attainted in 1691. Colonel Patrick Porter died in 1696.
In 1677 the Porterfamily presented a chalice to Ardmulchan parish.
Walter and Eleanor had a son, William, who may be same William who settled at Oldbridge. In 1623, Maude, wife of William Porter of Oldbridge died. In 1638 William Porter of Oldbridge died. On 16 April 1642 among those identified as supporting the Rebellion of Sir Phelim O’Neill, which commenced the previous years was Richard Porter of Oldbridgein the County of Meath. In 1649 he was identified as one of those support the Royalist cause.
Porter Esq of the old bridge mentioned in the last line on the image as one of the rebels in the deposition of John Montgomery taken in Monaghan 26 January 1642.
Oldbridge mentioned in the deposition of Henry Smith, weaver, of Dowth as a crossing place for his master, Sir John Netterville of Dowth. 23 May 1643.
Jennet Family from Oldbridge
Lease to Jennet in the reign of Charles II
John Jennet of Oldbridge acquired a lease of the lands and tithes of Gillown, Rothdrinagh and Knockhoman on 22 July 1677.
Drogheda Signature on the lease
John Jennet’s signature on a lease
In 1724 John Coddinton, the son of Dixie of Holmpatrick, purchased an estate at Oldbridge from the fifth Earl of Drogheda. John acquired the lease from the former lessees, Patrick and Richard Jennett. This lease had been in contravention of the 1704 Act to Prevent the Further Growth of Popery in Ireland.
Deed between Jennet and John Coddington
On 6 July 1713 Henry Moore, leased for thirty one years the Oldbridge lands to Patrick and Richard Jennett for the annual rent of £118 2s 6d. A genealogy of the Jennet (also written Gennet) family was prepared by the Ulster King of Arms and was witnessed by the British Consul in Cadiz, Spain. The family arrived in Ireland during the reign of King John in 1211. The family established themselves in Drogheda and intermarried with many Meath and Louth landowners and nobility including the Aylmar family of Balrath, Preston family of Gormanstown, Warrens of Louth, Plunket of Beaulieu, Clonton of Louth, Betagh of Moynalty, Netterville of Dowth, Bellew of Barmeath and D’Arcy of Platin. Patrick Jennet, captain in the regiment of Finglas, died in Cromwell’s attack on Drogheda. Christopher Jennet was a captain in Bellew’s infantry, in the service of King James in 1690. In the document prepared for the Spanish authorities by the Ulster King of Arms it stated that the ancient residence of the Jennet family was one mile from Drogheda, on the road to Dublin. The “on the road to Dublin” seems to be a mistake but certainly Dublin could be reached by passing Oldbridge and going on to Dublin by the Slane Dublin Road. The family were said to have lost all their possessions after the Battle of the Boyne.
The church at Donore was restored by the Jennet family and a large tombstone to the family is located within the ruins today.
Near the west side of the ruined church, in the centre of the graveyard, are the broken remains of the alter tomb. Some lettering and the shield of a coat of arms can be seen with the surname Genet. With the condition of the site and the dense undergrowth, it was impossible to make any progress during fieldwork. However, Thomas U. Sadlier records in “ Memorials to the Dead” (1X. 1914) “The arms are of Genet impaling Blake below the initials J.G. On either side of the shield running parallel to the side of the slab are the following lines:- ALL – PEOPLE – THAT – ON – EARTH – DRAW – BREATH – IN – HEALTH – PREPARE – FOR – THE – HOUR – OF – DEATH. . Above and below the shield is the following:- —–th—–the—–John Genet—-ridge—-this tombe who departed this life 1690? The Poore, the Worlde, the Heavens and the Grave, His Almes, his Praise, His Soule and Bodie have”.
Sadlier goes on “This curious monument is evidently to John Genet of Oldbridge, referred to in the Jennet inscription. This heraldic device or bearing on the impaled shield is not quite clear but appears to be a fret; so the arms are possibly of Blake. To obtain its proper meaning the last four lines of the epitaph should be read thus:- “The Poore have his Almes, The Worlde has his Praise, The Heavens have his Soule and the Grave has his Bodie”.
D’Alton who saw this stone in 1844 records the date as 1609, making it the earliest stone in the graveyard.
A John Jennet of Oldbridge is recorded as making a will in 1685. Some of the family seem to have remained in the local area as there is another gravestone which reads: “
Here lieth the body of Richard Jennet of Drogheda who was a descendant of John Genet of Oldbridge who died anno 1785 aged 65 years. Also the bodies of Mary Dowdall, his wife, deceased anno 1789 aged 76 years and of Margaret Linch , their daughter , and four more of their children. Pat Marron of Drogheda erected this stone anno 1790 in memory of said Richard, his father in law; of the others above mentioned and of fourteen of his own children who are here interred.”
Henry Moore, Earl of Drogheda, entertained some of William’s highest generals at Mellifont on the night before the battle.
House at Mellifont c. 1680 – William and his generals at Mellifont – I am still trying to establish if William came to Mellifont
Map by Captain John Richardson Eyewitness of the Scene shows a Slated House at the Battle of the Boyne to the west of the Village