Gustavus Hamilton, Viscount Boyne

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Hamilton, Gustavus, Viscount Boyne, was born in 1639, and obtained a commission in the army towards the end of Charles II.'s reign. At the commencement of the War of 1689-91, the Protestants of Coleraine entrusted him with the defence of their town. He was ultimately forced to evacuate it and fall back on Enniskillen, followed by crowds of Protestant refugees from the surrounding country. He was appointed Governor of Enniskillen, and organized those regiments of horse and foot afterwards known as the Enniskilleners — the forerunners of the present Inniskilling regiments.

"These Enniskilleners were furious fighters. They were attended by their favourite preachers,.. who encouraged them in their efforts to 'purge the land of idolatry.' They attacked with the utmost impetuosity, and were rarely deterred by inequality of numbers. They had no system of attack, but fell on pell-mell. They rode together in a confused body, each man attended by a mounted servant, bearing his baggage; and they only assumed a hasty and confused line when about to rush into action."[175]

He defeated Lord Galmoy in his attack on Crom Castle, and in the spring of 1689 was successful in several engagements with the Catholic forces. In July his army is said to have numbered seventeen troops of light horse, thirty companies of foot, and a few very ill-armed troops of heavy dragoons. Later on, at the head of his Enniskilleners, he defeated General MacCarthy at Newtownbutler. He commanded a regiment at the battle of the Boyne, and took a prominent part in the after operations of the war, heading the troops in the successful attack on Athlone in 1691, and being afterwards made governor of the town. When peace was concluded he received an ample share of the forfeited estates, and was made Privy-Councillor and Brigadier-General. For his bravery afterwards at the siege of Vigo, he was presented with a service of plate by Queen Anne, and George I. raised him to the peerage as Viscount Boyne. He died 16th September 1723, aged 84.


175. Ireland, History of: Samuel Smiles, M.D. (the Invasion to 1829). London, 1844.

196. Irishmen, Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished, Rev. James Wills, D.D. 6 vols. or 12 parts. Dublin, 1840-'7.

216. Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, Revised and Enlarged by Mervyn Archdall. 7 vols. Dublin, 1789.

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