Edmund Ludlow

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Ludlow, Edmund, a distinguished Parliamentary General who served in Ireland, was born in Wiltshire about 1620. He was employed by Cromwell as Lieutenant-General of the Horse in Ireland in 1650; after Ireton's death in 1651, he succeeded him as Commander-in-chief, and spent altogether several years in the country. The portions of his Memoirs relating to Ireland are extremely interesting. While recounting few striking events, they throw much light on the conduct of the closing scenes of the war between 1651 and 1653, the condition of the people, and the Cromwellian settlement. The most vivid pages relate to Ireton's siege of Limerick, the surrrender of Galway to Sir Charles Coote, 12th April 1652, the reduction of Gorteen Castle, near Portumna (where he speaks of the garrison "sounding their bagpipes in contempt of us", the capture of Ross Castle, Killarney, on 27th June 1652, and the consequent surrender of Lord Muskerry's army of 5,000 horse and foot.

On the 11th October 1652 the last vestige of royal authority disappeared from the island, when Clanricard surrendered at Carrick-on-Suir, on terms to transport himself and 3,000 followers to a foreign country within three months. While there is much to show that Ludlow was a high-spirited and compassionate man, in the course of the war he hesitated at no measures, however extreme, which he believed necessary for the conquest of the country — as when he half-smothered and put to the sword a party of Irish in a cave near Dundalk, and when (Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 8) he and other officers caused the mother of Colonel FitzPatrick to be burned to death for complicity in the early transactions of the war.

Ludlow was engaged in all parts of the country against large bands of the Irish who held out for months, and carried on a harassing warfare against the Cromwellians. The war was not proclaimed at an end until 26th September 1653, and he returned to England in December. His recitals are singularly deficient in dates. His life outside Ireland — his early career as a Parliamentary general; his participation in the trial of the King; his independent opposition to Cromwell; his flight at the Restoration, and his long exile and death at Vevay in l693 aged 73 — do not come within the limits of this work. He was buried in the church of St. Martin, Vevay, where may be seen a slab erected to his memory by his widow. His Memoirs, written by himself, relating more to the events of his time than to his life, were published at Vevay in 1698 and 1699. He was also the author of some political tracts.

Sources

42. Biographical Dictionary: Rev. Hugh J. Rose. 12 vols. London, 1850.

117a. Dundalk, History of: John D'Alton and J. R. O'Flanagan. Dublin, 1864.

219a. Ludlow, Edmund, Memoirs. 3 vols. Vevay, 1698-'9.

323b. Tomb Stones and Monuments.

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