The Execution of Three Martyrs

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXVII

Three persons who had been treacherously given up to the Viceroy, were spared for special torments; those were—a priest named Lawrence, an Englishman named William Willick, and Oliver Plunket. They were offered liberty if they would renounce the faith; but on their resolute refusal, their legs and arms were broken in three places, and after they had been allowed to pass that night and the next day in torment, they were hanged and quartered. The State Papers confirm the account given by Saunders of these barbarities. The English officers now endeavoured to rival each other in acts of cruelty, to obtain official commendation and royal favour.

Sir Walter Raleigh was especially active in Cork, and brought a charge of treason against the Barrys and Roches, old English settlers; but Barry set fire to his castle, and took to the woods, where he joined Lord Desmond. Lord Roche was taken prisoner, but eventually escaped from his persecutors. Pretended plots were rumoured in all directions, and numbers of innocent persons were executed. William Burke was hanged in Galway, and forty-five persons were executed. The Geraldine cause was reduced to the lowest ebb by the treachery of Jose. The Earl of Desmond and his sons were fugitives in their own country. The latter was offered pardon if he would surrender Dr. Saunders, the Papal Legate, but this he resolutely refused. Saunders continued his spiritual ministrations until he was entirely worn out with fatigue, and he died, at the close of the year 1581, in a miserable hovel in the woods of Claenglass. He was attended by the Bishop of Killaloe, from whom he received the last rites of the Church.