Sir William Skeffington

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Skeffington, Sir William, was in 1529 appointed by Henry VII. commissioner to Ireland — "to restrain the exactions of the soldiers; to call a parliament; and to provide that the possessions of the clergy might be subject to bear their part of the public charge." This commission he discharged to the entire satisfaction of the King, and he received the honour of knighthood. Next year he was made Lord-Deputy to the Duke of Richmond., and signalized his appointment by marching against O'More and O'Conor. In 1531 "he neglected not the service of the publick, but.. made an inroad into Ulster, and having taken and demolished O'Neill's Castle of Kinard, destroyed the neighbouring territories, burned the villages, and thereby terrified O'Donnell into a submission." A violent enmity existed between him and the Earl of Kildare, who procured his recall in the following year.

On the breaking out of the insurrection under Thomas FitzGerald, Sir William was again made Lord-Deputy, landed at Dublin on 11th October 1534, with a well furnished army, and "was received by the mayor and citizens with great joy, to whom he delivered the King's letters of thanks for their approved fidelity." On 28th October he raised the siege of Drogheda, and next spring reduced Maynooth by the aid of his heavy ordnance. In July 1535 he concluded a treaty with Con O'Neill at Drogheda, and received him into favour. He died in Dublin on the 31st of December 1535, and was buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Amongst the Irish, Sir William was known as "The Gunner," on account of the extent to which he employed artillery in reducing their strongholds. The Massareene family are his descendants.

Sources

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

311. State Papers relating to Ireland, Calendar 1171-1610. 6 vols. London, 1860-'75.

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