Francis Cosby

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Cosby, Francis, settled in Ireland in the reign of Queen Mary. He was in 1558 appointed by patent General of the Kerne, and in 1562 was granted the site of the suppressed Abbey of Stradbally, Queen's County, still owned by his descendants. He fell in the battle of Glenmalure, 25th August 1580. The leadership in the massacre at the moat at Mullaghmast, in 1577, of a number of the native Irish in cold blood, has been usually attributed to Francis Cosby; but written records do not bear out the tradition, although he may have borne part with the other English settlers, who were naturally anxious to clear off as many as possible of the old occupiers. The following is the account given of the transaction in the Four Masters, under date 1577: "A horrible and abominable act of treachery was committed by the English of Leinster and Meath upon that part of the people of Offaly and Leix that remained in confederacy with them, and under their protection. It was effected thus: they were all summoned to show themselves, with the greatest number they could be able to bring with them, at the great rath of Mullach-Maistean; and on their arrival at that place they were surrounded on every side by four lines of soldiers and cavalry, who proceeded to shoot and slaughter them without mercy, so that not a single individual escaped by flight or force."

Sources

53. Burke, Sir Bernard: Landed Gentry. 2 vols. London, 1871.

134. Four Masters, Annals of Ireland by the: Translated and Edited by John O'Donovan. 7 vols. Dublin, 1856.

176. Ireland, Story of: Alexander M. Sullivan. Dublin, 1868.

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