Thomas Desmond, 8th Earl

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Desmond, Thomas, 8th Earl, son of the preceding, was in 1463 appointed Lord-Deputy under the Duke of Clarence. On assuming the government he was opposed by 5,000 of the English of Meath, whom he soon reduced to obedience. On many other occasions he had to take the field both against the "King's English rebels," and the "King's Irish enemy." The Irish Parliament, in letters to the King, referred to the great services which he "at intolerable charges," and "in jeopardy of his life, rendered to the reigning monarch, as well as to his father, 'the right noble and famous prince of blessed memory, Richard Duke of York.' They certified that he was and ever had been the King's true and faithful liegeman, governing himself always by English laws, and by those who were well-wishers to his Highness. By God's grace and the great travail and labour of the Deputy, the land, they wrote, was in a reasonable state of peace and tranquillity. The Parliament prayed that it might please the King to bear in remembrance the great services, costs, and charges, of the Earl Thomas, to have him in tenderness and special favour, and to reward him according to his wisdom and bounty."[147]

In 1464 he founded the collegiate church of Youghal. In 1467 he was succeeded in the government by John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, "who caused him to be attainted of treason in a parliament held at Drogheda, with the Earl of Kildare and Edward Plunket, for alliances, fosterage, and alterage with the Irish; for furnishing them with horse and arms, and supporting them against the King's subjects; for which he was beheaded, 15th February 1467, at Drogheda, and was there buried in St. Peter's Church." Lodge makes the following statement in a note: "His tomb was removed, by order of Sir Henry Sidney, to the church of the Holy Trinity in Dublin, where it seems to represent the person of Earl Strongbow, whose monument was broken by the fall of the roof of the church on Whitsun-eve, 1572." He married Ellice, daughter of John, Lord Barry of Buttevant. Three of his sons, James, Maurice, and Thomas, became Earls of Desmond. One account attributes his death to the intrigues of Edward IV.'s Queen, Elizabeth Gray, who was jealous of Desmond's influence over her husband.


147. Geraldine Documents: Edited by Rev. James Graves: in Journal of the Archaeological Association of Ireland, October, 1869.

147a. Gillespie, Major-General Sir Robert R., Memoir. London, 1816.

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

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